Vol. 42, No. 5 Toronto, Nov.-Dec., 1961 Price 35 Cents
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THE THEOSOPHIC MAN
By Laura Gaunt
The Theosophic man, although he may not be a member of the Theosophical Society, is a student of the laws of the universe. He is, furthermore, distinguished by his attitude toward life; he is not crushed by tragedy or elated by happiness. This attitude has its origin in the Theosophist's opinions concerning the universe and man's place within it. To the Theosophic man the first and most obvious law of existence is the Law of Periodicity or the Doctrine of Constant Renewal.
On a cosmic scale he is accustomed to think of the period of rest, the inbreathing of the universe, as a pralaya, and the period of activity, the outbreathing or creation of a universe as a manvantara. As expressed in the Bhagavad-Gita:
All worlds up to that of Brahman are subject to rebirth again and again. At the coming on of a Day of Brahma all things issue forth from the unmanifested into manifestation. When the Night of Brahma approaches all things merge again into the unmanifested. But there is that which upon the dissolution of all things else is not destroyed; it is indivisible, indestructible, and of another nature from the visible. (chapter viii.)
This "something" it is which is responsible for the universes. The coming into being of any one Manvantara or period of activity is explained in this fashion in The Secret Doctrine:
The one prevailing, most distinct idea found in all ancient teachings, with reference to Cosmic Evolution and the first `creation' of our Globe with all its products, organic and inorganic (strange word for an Occultist to use) - is that the whole Kosmos has sprung from the Divine Thought. This thought impregnates matter, which is coeternal with the One Reality; and all that lives and breathes evolves from the emanations of the one Immutable-Parabrahm-Mulaprakriti, the eternal one-root. The former of these is, so to say, the aspect of the central point turned inward into regions quite inaccessible to human intellect, and is absolute abstraction; whereas, in its aspect as Mulaprakriti - the eternal root of all - it gives one some hazy comprehension at least of the Mystery of Being. (I,339-40.)
The exact operation of this Divine Thought is beyond any merely human intellect but the Theosophic man is helped in his speculations by traditional teachings. Some of these found expression in the Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge:
Referring to the diagrams in the Archaic Manuscript, the first symbol is that of a dark circle, representing the Absolute -Parabrahman. The second figure is that of a dark circle with a white point in the centre: this depicts the first manifestation. This was explained as follows: "We have the plane of the circle, the
face being black, the point in the circle being potentially white, and this is the first possible conception in our minds of the invisible Logos. `Ever-Darkness' is eternal, the Ray periodical. Having flashed out from this central Point and thrilled through the Germ, the Ray is withdrawn again within this point and the Germ develops into the Second Logos . . ." (pp. 67-8.)
Let us examine the terms used in this apparently simple symbol, the plane of the dark circle and the point of white which signifies the coming into being of the second Logos. The word "plane" is not used in its dictionary meaning, not in its original Latin meaning of "level, flat," translating the Latin planus, instead The Theosophical Glossary defines it as follows:
As used in Occultism, the term denotes the range or extent of some state of consciousness, or of the perceptive power of a particular set of senses, or the action of a particular force.
The term logos is quite simply the Greek for "word". If the coming into being of the universe is compared to a word it behooves us to consider more carefully the steps in speaking an ordinary word so that we may better understand the sounding of a divine word, a universe. Consider the steps in speaking a word:
1. the thought about it;
2. formulation of the method of pronouncing;
3. the sound of the word as it is spoken.
God as he is customarily taught in the churches is the 3rd Logos, or the sound of the word as it is spoken; the stage at which there begins to be an apparent separation between spirit and matter. This is an apparent but not real separation in the Theosophic view. The conception of these two unmanifested and self-originating aspects of Deity, the 1st and 2nd logoi, completely alter the Theosophic man's view of a number of things.
1. He sees true Deity as an essential part of every atom. God does not create life but is life. There is no material aspect of life which the Theosophic man would condemn per se. The flesh is not inherently sinful. When the Theosophic man refrains from debauching himself it is because he wishes to conserve his forces not because he is ashamed of them.
2. The Theosophic man wishes to conserve his physical forces because more and more, as he meditates upon the universe, he becomes aware of the potency of spirit and of the power inherent in thought. As he considers cosmic ideation he becomes aware of his own spiritual and creative powers. He reads:
Manvantaric impulse commences with the reawakening of Cosmic Ideation (the `Universal Mind') concurrently with, and parallel to the primary emergence of Cosmic Substance - the latter being the manvantaric vehicle of the former - from its undifferentiated pralayic state. Then, absolute wisdom mirrors itself in its Ideation; which, by a transcendental process, superior to and incomprehensible by human Consciousness, results in Cosmic Engery (Fohat). Thrilling through the bosom of inert substance, Fohat impels it to activity, and guides its primary differentiations on all the Seven planes of Cosmic Consciousness. (The Secret Doctrine, I, 328. )
Fohat is "the bridge by which the Ideas existing in the Divine Thought are impressed on Cosmic Substance as the `laws of Nature'." (The Secret Doctrine, I,16. )
Then, as he reads this, the Theosophic man realizes that something of the energy of Fohat exists in his own thought. He realizes that any thought is self-generated force. Because of this inherent potency the Theosophic man appreciates the efficacy of prayer and the mantram. He wishes his thought patterns, the result of habit, to be constructive.
3. Since the whole universe is to him an inbreathing and an outbreathing of some wonderful something he looks for this same
pattern in himself, periods of inactivity alternating with periods of activity. The most obvious example is sleeping and waking, but the Theosophist also sees himself as moving beyond the activity of life to the refreshment of death, from his own personal manvantara or life to his personal pralaya or death and back into the life activity of the next personal manvantara. No circumstance entirely crushes a Theosophist because he always has the thought, "In my next life I will do this. In my next life I will meet that and triumph over it." The Theosophist sees evidence to show that while skill and specific knowledge vanish between lives, capacity to learn and aptitude remain. Therefore, he knows that no attempt to learn is ever wasted, but that the capability, the scope, the potency may be ever increased and retained. If we are all an integral part of the divine power then our capacity is unlimited and our potentiality infinite. Believing this the Theosophist goes out and does somethng about it. Study the personal history of the early members of the society, who were unburdened by organizations to be run and halls to be maintained, and you will be astonished by the variety of their achievements and activities. Study the records of the adherents today, those who refuse the tasks of the organization, and you will again be astonished. Theosophists are never dull - developing too fast in one direction perhaps, and so temporarily unbalanced, but never dull.
The power in thought, when it is Cosmic Thought which is under discussion, is called Fohat, and has many modes of movement.
Fohat, then is the electric vital power, the transcendental binding Unity of all Cosmic Energies, on the unseen as on the manifested, planes, the action of which resembles - on an immense scale - that of a living Force created by Will, in those phenomena where the seemingly subjective acts on the seemingly objective and propels it to action. (The Secret Doctrine, I, 3 )
Fohat is one thing in the yet unmanifested Universe and another in the phenomenal and Cosmic World. (The Secret Doctrine, I,109. )
Thus when a period of Manifestation is under way, Fohat
. . . is that Occult, electric, vital power, which, under the Will of the Creative Logos, unites and brings together all forms, giving them the first impulse which becomes in time law. But in the unmanifested Universe, Fohat is no more this, than Eros is the later brilliant winged Cupid, or Love. (The Secret Doctrine, I,109. )
This is a very good symbol because everyone is familiar with Cupid, the god of romantic love, who wounds men with the arrows of desire, and everyone can see at a glance the difference between Cupid, the Latin God, and Eros, God of the Greeks, the primal force stirring in the hearts of men and gods. Eros is the godlike side of desire, its noble aspect. Now Fohat in its workings is directed by Desire. Woe to us if it is directed by Cupid instead of Eros! The Rig Veda has some interesting things to say concerning Desire or Kama:
Kama is the first conscious, all embracing desire for universal good, love, and for all that lives and feels, needs help and kindness, the first feeling of infinite tender compassion and mercy that arose in the consciousness of the creative One Force, as soon as it came into life and being as a ray from the Absolute. (The Theosophical Glossary, pp. 170-1.)
As above so below. Where our thought, stirred by Kama goes out it will have something of that electric vital power, some portion of that which is commonly called Fohat. Therefore, the Theosophic man is concerned about his thoughts and is even more concerned about the emotion which inspires them. He makes a conscious effort to become a channel for only beneficence and to eschew the destructive emotions.
Once the Theosophist has achieved a certain control over his thoughts he becomes aware of the added power this gives him. Immediately thereupon he is faced with the possibility of using this power for himself or for others. The choice will be almost imperceptible at first, hardly demanding a conscious response. But it will be repeated and repeated, over and over again, until at last the entity finds himself established, he hardly knows how, on one of the two paths.
What are these two paths? They are called "the open" and "the secret" paths and in order to understand their significance it is necessary to understand the esoteric teaching concerning the ultimate destiny of man. This teaching is that man, having in previous manvantaras passed through incarnation as a stone, a plant, and an animal, in this manvantara will begin as a man and end as a god. At the present time we are said to be about halfway through our journey and the Buddha and the Christ are pointed out as examples of perfected man. All men on the upward path will ultimately achieve perfection and reunite with the spiritual centre of this universe. However, there are two paths by which this may be done and The Voice of the Silence describes them in this fashion:
The Path is one, Disciple, yet in the end, twofold. Marked are its stages by four and seven Portals. (p. 41)
At one end - bliss immediate, and at the other - bliss deferred. Both are of merit the reward: the choice is thine. (p. 41)
"Bliss immediate" means that by resolutely turning his back upon earthly ties and earthly affections the strong-willed man can by crushing out all human feeling become a Glorified Being, assume one of the vestures of the Sambhogakaya, and pass completely beyond our earth, losing all touch with it. He can enter at once into the bliss of the absolute. This view, of course, assumes that this present earth life is all the hell we shall ever have or need. Being quite cut off from earth constitutes bliss when moving on the upward cycle. This is the path of a special kind of selfishness.
"Bliss deferred", on the other hand, refers to the man who transmutes his earthly affections instead of killing them. Thus he reaches the state of Glorified Being still able to feel. Because he can feel he wishes to aid mankind and instead of passing beyond the earth he remains here to assist wherever possible. In the end he too enters the Absolute but only after the rear-guard of humanity has also attained it. The man of compassion assumes what has been called the Nirmanakaya vesture and remains to influence those whose thoughts are pure enough to make them responsive to such influences. And so the two paths, one of forgetfulness and one of feeling, lie before us at every moment of our lives. They are as The Voice of the Silence has described them:
Thus the first Path is Liberation. But path the Second is - Renunciation, and therefore called the Path of Woe. That Secret Path leads the Arhan to mental woe unspeakable; woe for the Living Dead, and helpless pity for the men of Karmic sorrow, the fruit of Karma, Sages dare not still. (p. 41.)
And so we see that the Theosophic man either grows more and more detached or more and more compassionate, but that in neither case does he commit cruelty, unkindness or evil deeds of any kind for he knows that he will come again. He knows, as Tagore put it, that it is not a question of saying, "The truth is in me, therefore, because I am shaping the world I can do anything". He knows, as Tagore said, that it is a question of saying, "I am in the truth." When we are in tune with the absolute how can we be out of harmony with life?
THEOSOPHY AND OLD AGE
By Mrs. R. Griffith
When you come to the West Coast, as so many people do when they retire, you come to a land that harbors a large proportion of people getting on in life, people who have been attracted by the mildness of the climate, the beauty of the scenery and in some places at least, by an atmosphere of peace. Since you have probably come west for the same reason as they have, you become interested in them and their reactions to this rather difficult period of life, quite soon to become yours.
They have courage, these people, both those who are trying to help each other over the difficult places and still more, those who are facing it alone; and what makes it harder is that although most of them have faith in some sort of future life, it is usually of a kind too vague and uncertain to take actual shape in the human mind. Therefore thoughts which should deal mostly with the present in the light of the future, or the future in the light of the present, are turned backwards too often, sometimes in pleasure and sometimes in pain, to a past that is over and cannot be altered. Reflections on the past of course, cannot be wholly neglected, because from it we learn many things, but surely we should avoid that tendency to live in the past almost entirely, as if the present were not worthwhile, and the future too nebulous to be considered.
Now if you believe in the teachings of Theosophy, accepting them as your guide through the tangles of Life's pathway, then you long to say to these people, "You have not finished with this life, which is in reality a vast school, to which you will return many times. All the things that you have tried and longed to do, will be waiting for you again. The people you have loved will be with you. These mountains and flowers, this sea and sky, the sun and the stars will still be here when you return. Troubles and difficulties and ugliness will be here too, because only by facing them, understanding them and overcoming them, can you gather the necessary strength to tread the homeward Path back to Reality." Of course, you do not say these things, at least, you do not say them out loud, because long ago you learnt restraint. You remember a book that meant so much to you, and which you loaned to a friend, only to have it returned by that friend without comment. You remember the cold reception given to your overwhelming enthusiasm when first you caught a glimmer of this wonderful philosophy now called Theosophy, and having caught a glimmer, wanted to pass it on.
In the early part of your life, before you had close contact with them, you probably pictured old people as calm and serene, distilling wisdom from a wealth of experience and meeting all circumstances with patience unknown to the young, and there are no doubt a few who live up to that ideal, but they are the exceptions, and I am not talking of exceptions here, either in or out of our society, but just of ordinary everyday people such as most of us are.
To them the period of old age is one of frustration in which they want to do so much and seem to do so little, in which they want to be a help and are often a hindrance, and lastly in which they hope to be a burden to no-one, yet are often forced by circumstances to be so. Now, Theosophists, or would-be Theosophists have just the same difficulties as other people during this period of old age. They are anxious to read a certain book, but their eyes get tired, they try to recall something which they know quite well, maybe just a name, but their memory plays them false, or they lose the thread of a lecture because their hearing is weak. They misplace this and they lose that, and although
they understand the cause, they feel the same irritation as other people at the constant feeling of frustration. They know of course, that the real and abiding self never gets old, but the bodies through which they manifest do, and like a musician handicapped by having to play on an instrument which is out of tune, they are handicapped by bodies that are beginning to disintegrate.
They have something however, of great value, something which should keep them mentally young, and that is, a future which they can think about and build for now, and it is around this thought that I should like to note down a few ideas that have occurred to me lately, as to how to make old age a useful and fruitful period in life, in spite of its obvious difficulties.
Now, the city in which I live, is a garden city and a number of people whether they know anything about gardening or not, work in their gardens and it is really surprising how often when you are working with flowers and trees and fruit, you see that much of the things you do in a garden could be applied as well to the human kingdom. When the winter comes and the leaves lie on the ground, you look at your garden with an eye to the following year, for the mistakes you have made as well as your successes are fresh in your mind. You see where you have put the wrong colors together or have left empty gaps, or you remember what a struggle you had with a certain weed because you let it spread before you really tackled it, and if you are a good gardener, you note all this down while the results of your efforts are before your eyes. You do something else. You burn all the rubbish on a bonfire and since little in a garden is wasted, you add the ashes of that bonfire to the soil you are keeping for next year. You note it down because when the spring comes again, with the young green of the trees, the yellow forsythias, the carpet of daffodils, the crocuses and tulips, and many other flowers that appear in every corner, you are inclined to forget how your garden will look when these are over, unless you have something else planted to take their place. This is where your notes are useful. Now, isn't old age something like the end of a gardening season?
We have our past life fresh in our memory. We see its successes and failures and we know that after a rest in Devachan, our heaven-world, we shall start another day in the School of Life, so like the wise gardener, isn't this the time for us to make a few notes?
When the spring of our life comes again, when we start once more with enthusiasm and everything is new and fresh, we who feel this knowledge called Theosophy to be our most precious heritage, want to be able to claim it even at an early age, for most of us feel we have drifted long enough.
Now, what are the ideas that we would most like to remember when we arrive once more on the physical plane, ideas that even at an early age we can build into the fabric of our lives? Surely one of the most important is the Oneness of Life, an idea which is not very easy to grasp when you first hear it, but which unfolds as you let it germinate in the mind.
We know of course even now, that we should recognize no difference between "race, creed, sex, caste or color" but it is more than an intellectual recognition that is required. It is a deep-rooted knowledge, a knowledge which is written in all our hearts, waiting for us to give it expression. I read the other day that he who makes two out of one is acting from the manasic or mental plane, while he who makes one out of two is acting from the Buddhic or intuitional plane, so perhaps if we want to know without question that Life is one, we all have to try and rid ourselves of those thoughts and feelings that prevent us contacting the inner Buddhic light, the light which is ever shining and is nearer than hands and feet. This is no easy task in a world such as ours at the present day, with all its antagonisms. It is still more difficult for those of us who were brought up to
think that our country was always right, that our religion was the only real religion and that there were distinctions of people governed by birth and not by character.
It is easy, I think, to feel at one with nature, with a sunset, a lake, and birds arid animals, and distant hills. The sound of waves beating on the shore, or a fire crackling, or even of violent storms, does touch something within us to which they are akin. I have heard this explained by the fact that in Nature we see the one life reflected without distortion, and perhaps this is true, but whatever the reason, it is when we come into contact with our own human kingdom that the serious difficulty begins.
Perhaps it is because we seem to alter each other's lives so effectually for good or ill, or because of the different stages of growth we are all at, or because of our prejudices or bringing up, or it may be that in our efforts to enhance our own personalities and spread our own ideas we come into competition with other people, but whatever the reasons and I am sure there are many, most of us living as we do in the separative principle of mind, do find it difficult to act towards each other in accordance with our ideals of the brotherhood of Man.
Can we not then determine, in the years we have left, to draw nearer to each other in thought and feeling, and like our gardener at the end of a season, should we not burn our rubbish, using the experience we gain thereby, for future growth, for as we try to follow the Theosophical signposts, we find that our hardest task is not acquiring more knowledge, but overcoming our weaknesses, prejudices, and personal desires which are so hampering to our progress.
For our encouragement however, I have read that reincarnation can continue for a whole lifetime, for when the lower forces are less active, as in old age, the higher ones are more easily contacted.
It is not suggested, in this article, that we attempt to plan any details of a future life, but rather that we should gather together those valuable seeds of thought we have found in Theosophy, and in our own experience, and keep them ever fresh in our minds. To do this, we must keep them free from that other type of thought and feeling which like a certain weed would strangle their growth and prevent them from receiving the life-giving rays of the Higher Self, which alone can bring them to fruition.
In this way, perhaps, the period of old age could be used to prepare the ground for another life, and like the good gardener when the spring flowers are over, we shall find our sturdy perennials pushing their way through the ground.
Just one more thought. There are many older people who suffer great physical pain or weakness during the period of old age, and all they can do perhaps, is to cling to the knowledge which they have with all the courage they possess. It is hard to know what to say to such people in so many words, for although from such an experience deep compassion may be born, it would be difficult to realize it, at such a time.
We, however, in the Theosophical Society, have a shining example in H.P.B. who, at the end of her life, though constantly suffering great pain, would work at her desk, writing the Secret Doctrine for hours that would stagger this modern world. With such an example, surely we who owe her a tremendous debt, should try even in our latter years to absorb and spread the light which she so trustfully gave into our keeping!
"I have learned," said the Philosopher, "that the head does not hear anything until the heart has listened, and that what the heart knows today the head will understand tomorrow."
- The Crock of Gold, James Stephens
SOME MEDITATIONS ON LIGHT ON THE PATH
By Cecil Williams
"1. Before the eyes can see they must be incapable of tears.
2. Before the ear can hear it must have lost its sensitiveness.
3. Before the voice can speak in the presence of the Masters it must have lost the power to wound.
4. Before the soul can stand in the presence of the Masters its feet must be washed in the blood of the heart."
Even to the thoughtful reader these four rules appear at first meaningless and paradoxical. The reader pointedly asks "How can we hear when the ear has lost its sensitiveness". The book seems obscure and without sense, and he turns away from the riddle exasperated or contemptuous. But if he is compelled to ponder upon the problem of existence by the effects of external forces that shatter his world seemingly once so stable, or by the pressure of his consciousness with its eternal questioning, the significance of the title and the challenge of the phrases bring him back to the book again and again to attempt the solution of the apparently insoluable.
The author, Mabel Collins, gives some hints. She points out that one must read within the words, and until the reader has attained some power to read with the intuition, these aphorisms must ever remain incomprehensible. It is one of the characteristics of the seer that he clothes his thought in obscure phrases. Ruskin noted this and was somewhat puzzled at the proclivity of great poets and thinkers to speak in paradoxical and cryptic sentences. But he saw that one had to read within the words, pointing out that great writers are not called "men of words" but "men of letters".
Before the eyes can see they must be incapable of tears.
Tears blur vision; and when we consider our reasons for crying we find that it is because we are moved by two opposing emotions - grief, or joy. We weep from self-pity; and great personal happiness brings tears to our eyes. More, we grieve and joy over the happiness of others.
Tears express emotion; they are the physical sign of deep feeling. Are we to be incapable of such emotion? Does not the initiate sorrow for the world? Yes, but their sorrow is in equilibrium, ours unbalanced. Their's is poised by work - the helping of the world; our emotion, alas, incapacitates.
And what shall we see? Applying the ancient axiom, "As above, so below" we shall see - the light. Light has ever been the symbol of truth, and as the blind man yearns for the light so we all yearn for the truth. "Slay me, Lord, if thou wilt" cried Ajax, "let it but be in the light." The physical eye sees apparent reality; the spiritual eye sees reality itself. If we cannot see now, at least we have the sense of touch, and as sight symbolizes the intuition that pierces the veil, so touch symbolizes the intellect that gropes its way through the darkness of illusion.
As we look with our present blurred vision at our deeper reasons for weeping, we see that it is because our knowledge is limited to superficial circumstances. We do not see the causes that produced our pain, nor the beneficial results that follow. We experience elation and forget for a moment that our happiness is ephemeral. We must look below the surface before we can dry our tears so that they can never fill our eyes again. Our tearless gaze must look out on life seeing everywhere the evidence of the Good Law. Are we moved by pain? It teaches us our lesson, then passes. Are
we elated by joy? The peace we intuitively seek is calm, not exultant.
To attain this deep, reposeful equanimity seems well nigh impossible when we are so readily disturbed by the petty irritations and ills of life. But the Masters stand at the head of human evolution, divine evidence of the inevitableness of our success. And if it seems diffiicult to attain indifference to our own Karmic effects, how much more difficult it is to look calmly on the pain of others. The anarchist looks on pain with horror, and unbalanced by his emotions, seeks to shatter the agents of Karmic law. The disciple looks on pain sadly and seeks to alter it by becoming an agent of the opposite Karmic force - the force of love opposed to the force of hate. It is not hardness of heart, indifference, or the blunting of our perception of pain we must strive for, but self-control, with our highest faculties acute, able to see behind the form the spirit ever working to free man from pain. The Lords of Karma, working the mills of the gods are Lords of Compassion, and the end of their labors for all who pass the grindstones is eternal bliss.
The four aphorisms, Mabel Collins tells us, refer to the trial initiation of the would-be occultist; if we do not let life prepare us, we shall have to undergo the terrific trial of the neophyte in Bulwer Lytton's Zanoni, when hope and fear, despair and joy seem at one moment absolute realities, at the next mere forms of fancy. Life is a path which we tread to meet the faint echoes of the great initiations and trials we shall one day face. Do we not sometimes experience a shadow of the fearful ordeal depicted in Zanoni, when life seems empty and vain and we turn to the peace which the world cannot give, only to find the world pressing so close that the higher reality escapes us?
Before the ear can hear it must have lost its sensitiveness.
When we ponder the symbol of hearing we find it means instruction. The pupil sits at the feet of the Master and hears his words; and before we can comprehend the precepts that guide our footsteps on the path, we must be deaf to the sounds of the world. As the student shuts himself up in his study to hear the voice of a great writer, so the pupil has to shut himself up within himself to hear the voice of his real self.
When he has become insensitive to the sounds and the finite wisdom without, the disciple will hear a silence so intense that he will see the dark; he will lose his hold temporarily on spiritual reality. In this great silence, dark as the pit, he realizes that pleasure and pain are one sensation. That pleasure can be so poignant that it becomes pain, pain be so keen that it becomes pleasure, has been noted by many observers of life. Walter Scott, writing in the midst of pain, when describing a hospital scene in The Surgeon's Daughter, speaks of the groans, cries, prayers, blasphemies, and laughter of the suffering. And the fallen angels of Milton's Paradise Lost laugh amid the torments of hell.
If the neophyte can grapple with this intense loneliness, kill out the desire for sensation, at this moment he can open the door of his own soul. Have we not all experienced at times a sense of great loneliness at a moment when we are faced with a new trial; misunderstood, seemingly deserted by the sustaining power within us, all life seems blank, and we feel more like shirking the issue than facing it? Is not this an echo of another great trial we shall some day face?
Before the voice can speak in the presence of the Masters it must have lost the power to wound.
To see and to hear are passive sides of our nature. To speak implies activity. Speech is the symbol of intercourse, relationship with men, the emphasis being not on how they affect us, but on how we affect them; and before we can say to the Great Ones who watch over the destinies of the world, "Show me the truth, teach me the way to love, give me the power to
hwlp humanity"; we must in our relations with others be incapable of doing them any injury in thought, word or deed.
This is a deeper problem than the problem of morality. That is a difficult task enough. When we analyse our actions, there is scarcely a day that passes that we are not directly or indirectly, positively or negatively causing some injury to others, and who has not had to face the choice, not between right and wrong, but between right and right. Victor Hugo in Les Miserables depicts this problem with terrible force in a poignant chapter entitled "A Tempest in a Brain" when Jean Valjean has to decide whether he will let another suffer for his crime, or allow misery and poverty to afflict hundreds, and a mother to die, by breaking his promise to restore her child. A bitter Gethsemane indeed.
Whatever our activity, whatever decision we take, we are creating Karma, and the way of escape from the Law of Karma is to substitute for it the Law of Sacrifice, to put ourselves in harmony with evolution, to do nothing for ourselves but all for the Divine Will. By thus associating ourselves with the One Self, Karma ceases. The law of cause and effect cannot operate when there is only One. Only by thus echoing the words of the Eternal can the voice lose the power to wound.
Before the soul can stand in the presence of the Masters its feet must be washed in the blood of the heart.
Between the second and third rule there is a correspondence. In the former, the soul receives sound, in the latter, transmits it.
So, likewise; there is a correspondence between the first and fourth rules. In the former, the stabilizing of the emotions; in the latter, the stability of the will. To stand is to be in equilibrium; but it is not now the emotions that are balanced, but the soul, and the will, whose nature is stability, now has control. The feet, wont to wander the dusty streets, the pleasant pastures, incarnation after incarnation, seeking experience and adventure, must be cleansed from the travel stains by the blood of the heart, so that they may no longer lead the soul astray, but enable the soul to stand, erect, free and confident above the turmoil of the world.
Blood is the physical life principle, and when it flows away from the heart never to return, the body dies. The stains of impurity and pleasure have to be washed away by the psychic life principle - the desire forlife - that brings man back again and again to reincarnation, flowing away from the heart and thus producing the death of the lower man.
Stabilized by loving work, knowing in very truth that he is divine, having broken the chains of Karma, freed from desire for life; the man passes the first of the golden gates of Initiation, and treads onward to become the superman, whose task is to hasten the day when all shall be free.
(The above article was among the papers of the late Cecil Williams, former President of the Phoenix Lodge, Hamilton, and was forwarded to us by Mrs. Kathleen Marks who is now the President of this Lodge.)
"Theosophy is not a creed; it is the grace of God in one's life; the power of God in one's work; the joy of God in one's play; the peace of God in one's rest; the wisdom of God in one's thought; the love of God in one's heart; the beauty of God' in one's dealings with others." - A.E.S. Smythe
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
Regretfully, and under compulsion, I must notify all members whose dues are in arrears for more than one year and all subscribers who have fallen in arrears with their subscription fees, that if payment is not received before the mailing date of our next issue, their names will be removed from the mailing lists. While we would be glad to continue sending the magazine to all who wish to have it, postal regulations relating to the sending of free copies must be observed. Notices will be sent out to all subscribers in arrears and I hope that the Secretaries of the Lodges will get in touch with their members who have not paid and endeavor to have them restored to good standing.
The somewhat stern tone of the above reminded me of the story of an old Scottish divine who was preaching an old-fashioned hell and damnation sermon to his congregation. He vividly depicted the torments of hell and the agonies of those confined there, who cried out continually for mercy - those who had sinned in ignorance lifted their hands to heaven saying, "Lord, we didn't ken, we didn't ken." "And then the Lord in his infinite mercy and compassion will look down upon ye and will say unto ye, `Aye-weel ye ken the noo'."
Let all in arrears take warning!
I heartily commend to our readers the current issue of The American Theosophist which contains an excellent editorial by Dr. Henry A. Smith, the President of the American Society, in which Wm. Q. Judge is acknowledged as one of the Three Founders of the Theosophical Society and his many and valuable contributions to the Theosophical cause are recognized. This issue also contains biographies of the Three Founders, H.P. Blavatsky, Colonel H.S. Olcott and Wm. Q. Judge.
This recognition of Mr. Judge is of major importance in the Movement. Since 1895 Mr. Judge and his writing have been ignored by our Adyar Society. (except here in the Canadian Section) and this has been one of the main contributing causes of the virtual repudiation of communication between the Adyar Society and the two societies, The United Lodge of Theosophists and the Theosophical Society now of Pasadena, which since their inception have held Mr. Judge in high esteem. Dr. Smith's wise and courageous action, which I am sure will meet with approval throughout the Society, will certainly be warmly acclaimed by our Canadian members.
I have very much pleasure in welcoming into the fellowship of the Society the following members whose applications were received during the past quarter: Mrs. P.E. Mussell and Miss Christine de Courville, both of Vancouver Lodge; Miss Olga L. Deitch, Miss Irene Lovell, Miss Margaret Pildrem, Mr. Henry M. Davey and Mr. Herman A. Haller, all of Toronto Lodge; Miss Lyse Bourget of Montreal, a Member at Large.
The Executive Committee at its meeting on Oct. 15 authorized a donation of $200.00 towards the cost of the microfilming equipment which has been purchased by The Theosophical Society in America as a gift to the Adyar Library where it will be used to record permanently many priceless old manuscripts filed in the Library.
"THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY"
Through the generosity of Mr. Harold M. Davy of Ottawa nearly 250 copies of The Ocean of Theosophy by Wm. Q. Judge have been donated to public libraries in Canada. The work of writing to the libraries, sending follow-up letters, parcelling and mailing the copies was done by Miss F. Eurith Goold also of Ottawa.
Miss Goold's detailed report of the venture is revealing. 273 letters to librarians were sent, but only about one-third replied. The highest percentage of replies was from the County and District Cooperatives in Ontario. There are sixteen of these, serving 226 smaller libraries. Twelve of the sixteen responded; these serve 174 of the smaller libraries. Approximately 158 libraries either refused outright to accept the book or did not reply to the letters. Miss Goold says, "The question we will probably never be able to answer is whether
the reason no reply was received . . . was due to negligence or prejudice. It is pretty clear that in the four cases of refusals, the librarians were exercising a form of censorship which ought to be challenged."
The copies were distributed as follows: in Ontario, 132 copies; British Columbia, 32; Alberta 12; Saskatchewan, 11; Manitoba, 5; Northwest Territories, 5; Quebec, 7; Nova Scotia, 7; Newfoundland, 1; New Brunswick, 2; Prince Edward Island, none.
The Theosophical Society in Canada did not participate in this venture but, of course, benefits therefrom as all efforts to make Theosophical doctrines available to the public are of benefit to the whole Movement.
Our warm congratulations and thanks are sent to Mr. Davy and to Miss Goold. An excellent example has been set which could well be followed by other similar action; also, libraries are bodies serving the public and if more requests were made to our local libraries for books on Theosophy, any future offers of donations might receive a more favourable response.
OFFICERS OF THE T.S. IN CANADA
D.W. Barr, 54 Isabella St., Toronto 5, Ont.
To whom all payments should be made, and all official communications addressed
Charles E. Bunting, 75 Rosedale Ave., Hamilton, Ont.
Charles Mr. Hale, 26 Albion Ave., Toronto, Ont.
Miss M. Hindsley, 52 Isabella St., Toronto, Ont.
George I. Kinman, 262 Sheldrake Blvd., Toronto 12, Ont.
Mrs. C.P. Lakin, S.S. No. 2, 102 Floresta Court, Ancaster, Ont
Washington E. Wilks, 925 Georgia St. W., Vancouver, B.C.
Emory P. Wood, 9360 86th St., Edmonton, Alta.
Treasurer: Mr. Ralph A. Webb
EDITORIAL BOARD, CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
All Letters to the Editor, Articles and Reports for Publication should be sent to The Editor, 52 Isabella St., Toronto 5,
Editor: Dudley W. Barr
Associate Editors: Mr. & Mrs. T.G. Davy
Letters intended for publication should be restricted to not more than five hundred words
Printed by the Beamsville Express, Beamsville, Ont.
The current issue of Theosophists: Re-unite! may certainly be described as a "Progress Report".
In our Sept.-Oct. issue, I reported that joint celebrations of H.P.B.'s birthday were held in several cities and were attended by members of the Adyar Society and of the United Lodge of Theosophists. That a similar commemoration meeting was also held in Sydney, Australia, was not known at that time, but Miss Helen V. Zahara, General Secretary of the Australian Section, reports that the meeting there was also attended by members of the Theosophical Society, Pasadena. Elsewhere in this issue is a letter from Miss Elouise Harrison, a Canadian member, telling of the San Francisco celebration which she attended.
In the leading article of Theosophists: Reunite! Miss Clara Codd says of Wm. Q. Judge, "We tend to forget that he too was one of the Founders of beloved T.S. and that H.P.B. spoke of him as a chela of thirteen years standing from whom she had never asked any pledge as she knew it was unnecessary. In my early Theosophical life I learnt much about W.Q.J. from one of his close disciples who had rejoined us. His writings are very valuable and should be on all our book stalls."
A full-sized portrait of Mr. Judge which now hangs in the headquarters at Wheaton was presented to the American Society by the U.L.T. following a recent visit to that Society's headquarters by Dr. Henry A. Smith and Mr. F. Pierce Spinks. At the Convention of the American Society last July a message of greeting was received from the U.L.T. and in response the Convention extended "to all our theosophical brothers in the United Lodge of Theosophists and in other Theosophical Societies our warmest good wishes as we labor together in the cause of bringing the light of the timeless wisdom to humanity in these days of the world's grave need."
The significance of the above is apparent when one remembers the long years of a "perma-freeze" in the relationships between the various Societies. Mr. Spinks, who has been indefatigable in his efforts to restore communication, is to be heartily congratulated and thanked. At the beginning of the cycle of the last fourteen years before 1975 we can at last look forward to the day when, even if there is not a unification of all theosophical organizations, there will be a more significant unity based upon recognition of the common aim and purpose of all members of the various theosophical organizations in the Movement.
I do not call one greater and one smaller; that which fills its period and place is equal to any. - Walt Whitman
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The Editor, The Canadian Theosophist
Mr. C. M. Hale's letter in your Sept.-Oct. issue hints that some people want the C.T. to review "news and events in the light of Reincarnation and Karma."
`Some' might. Most, however, ask much less. All they want is a C.T. that steadily will use at least some of its space to try making theosophic ideas and philosophy clearly intelligible to people presently unfamiliar with either.
Is that asking too much? Is it beyond the editorial resources or the Society's aims?
Granted: It could mean mention of current events. But that need not create the controversies Mr. Hale so fears. For it would be mention of human circumstances as these seem to be, in order to set forth, in terms of plain common sense, how they actually are!
If to help mankind to see things as they truly are is not the aim of our Society - then what is it? And if that actually is the Society's aim, its reason for existence at all, is the C.T. functioning as it should unless and until it is doing all in its power to set forth the Movement's teachings in that plain, simple, commonsense which is those teachings' essence?
Our correspondent's criticism of the magazine and of the articles appearing in it is apparently not shared by the majority of our readers. Our many valued contributors are assured that each month letters of commendation are received and the articles and editorial policy are spoken of in encouraging terms.
However, on this mundane plane, even perfection is relative and with Walt Whitman we hope to "but level that lift to pass and continue beyond." Mr. Marquis is invited to write the kind of articles which he evidently has in mind.
The Editor, The Canadian Theosophist
Concerning your lead article "The Body of the Resurrection" in the July-August issue, the author makes two statements on which I wish to comment. Speaking of the New Testament he remarks that "when these narratives were written . . . the world was believed to be flat . . ." and later he said "he was not aware of any passage in the Gospels that indicated the Master was a vegetarian.
It was about 200 or more B.C. that Eratosthenes measured the circumference of the earth with a degree of accuracy that still evokes admiration when one considers his method. Belief in a flat earth was part of the mental eclipse that the religious ladders of a later period inflicted on the Western world; the compilers of the Scriptures were members of an enlightened age much of whose knowledge was lost during the early Christian era, and not rediscovered until fairly recently.
It is true that the Scriptural writers kept within the bounds of their own knowledge, but our reading of it is influenced by the gross materialism of our own times and we should not assume, merely because we do not understand, that the Bible is a record of the ignorant superstitions of a primitive people. We will find that every act and word of Jesus was intended not merely as a spectacle for the moment, but as a guide to humanity for many years to come. All the stories concerning fish, for instance, are relative to a miracle, and miracles are parables in action, with hidden meanings. Christ, who pointed out in several ways that a bad deed could not be used to overcome a bad condition, would hardly, be likely to cause the suffering and death of thousands of living creatures merely in order to point a moral. If the fish were part of the miracle, it would be logical to assume that they were themselves miraculous, a part of the miracle and not helpless victims of it. And it is for the meaning of the miracle we should look. Surely that was the intention . . . ?
From this follows the question as to whether Jesus was a vegetarian.
The entire New Testament and part of the Old is a blueprint of the character of Jesus. He was kindly, considerate, deeply concerned with the sufferings of others, aware of even the sparrow's fall, and outspokenly aware of the inevitable results of all actions, stating plainly that we reap exactly as we sow.
Through the centuries there have been many vegetarians, many of whom have proved, beyond all possibility of scientific refutation, that it is possible to live a long and healthy life without the ingestion of any animal substance whatever - flesh, milk, cheese or egg. Most of us follow our diet because we believe that evolution shows it to be the eventual diet for all. Perhaps we are wrong - but at least we can say that as much as possible we avoid direct responsibility for all the horrors of the slaughterhouse. History has proved that we, otherwise ordinary men and women, can indeed live healthy lives without being the deliberate cause of pain and fear and death to other creatures, and from this we can draw only one of two possible conclusions - either Jesus was indeed a vegetarian - or countless numbers of us lesser mortals have proved ourselves more compassionate than the Prince of Compassion ever thought of being.
- Cedric Weaver
The Editor, The Canadian Theosophist
Note on the Joint Celebration of H.P.B.'s Birthday at San Francisco.
On August -12th, when on holidays in San Francisco, I attended Mr. Spinks' Joint Celebration of H.P. Blavatsky's birthday at the Woman's City Club, San Francisco. The speakers were Mr. Sullivan of the United Lodge of Theosophists, Mr. Sproule, Miss Clara Codd and Mr. Arthur Smith of Adyar and Mr. Victor Endersby of the International Fraternity of Theosophists.
Miss Codd and Mr. Endersby were outstanding; the former speaking on her reminiscences of early Theosophists such as Col. Olcott and A.P. Sinnett and the latter presenting a most thought provoking analysis of the meaning of unity among differing Theosophical groups. The gist of this last speech being that we can still be united even if we disagree and if we present the differing sides of two questions we are more likely to arrive at the truth than if we examine only one side.
In closing Mr. Spinks suggested that everyone shake hands with his or her neighbor to the left as a gesture towards the spirit of brotherhood prevalent that night on Madam Blavatsky's birthday. This was done and many new and interesting friends were made. Coffee and some very delightful homemade cookies were enjoyed by all amid the after-lecture discussions - which went on into the early hours. We will certainly look forward to the next meeting of Mr. Spinks on H.P.B.'s next birthday anniversary.
- (Miss) Elouise Harrison, LLB, FTS
The Editor, The Canadian Theosophist
Re: Theosophy and Religion
I have read with much interest and at least partial approval the interesting rebuttal of Dr. Wilks to my suggestion that Theosophy and organized religion were not as incompatible as we sometimes suppose. I heartily agree with Dr. Wilks but only up to a certain point. The point I am referring to concerns the statement that "Theosophy must always stand against all forms of organized religion". Granted, that the vast majority of religious organizations everywhere is utterly untheosophical in every respect, should we not make allowances for exceptions both actual and potential? If we were confronted with even one religious organization which encourages Self-dependence, Self-reliance and Self-responsibility it is obvious that we could no longer stand against all forms of organized religion. Yet, I can affirm from personal experience that there are several religious organizations of this kind, and with the emergence of much very theosophical material from the early Christian centuries the number of these Christian organizations of gnostic orientation is likely to increase.
Whether one likes it or not, it is a fact that the founders of the Society cooperated with all representatives of organized religion who made such a cooperation possible. I feel that we should follow their example. It is more important to go "back to Blavatsky" in such practical matters than on various obscure technicalities of Mars and Mercury!
In this connection allow me also to call the attention of your readers to my article "Religions and Religion" (Not to be confused with the article of a similar title by Mr. G.H. Hall in The Canadian Theosophist) in The Theosophist of Adyar, India which in all likelihood will be published when my present letter comes to your readers' notice.
Yours sincerely and fraternally,
Stephan A. Hoeller
We also acknowledge receipt of a lengthy letter from Mrs. Esme Wynne-Tyson in reply to the article "St. Paul and Women". Unfortunately the reply does not deal with the article itself - nor with the points raised therein, namely that Paul wrote in arcane terms and that in portions at least of his writings, the word "women" is used as a symbol to mean "novices newly entered upon the Way". Mrs. Wynne-Tyson's letter iterates that Paul was an "all-male" who by race and character was incapable of recognizing "the womanly, protective qualities of the androgynous Son of the Father-Mother God - his compassionate love and wisdom . . . undoubtedly it is Pauline Christianity, plus the influence of Judaism and Mithraism, and not the non-violent
cread of Christ which has prevailed in a Church that by its toleration of violence in such forms as `holy' wars, Crusades, the stake and the rack, has inevitably misled its congregations to the logical conclusion of such tolerance - two world wars in half a century, and the invention and use of nuclear armaments."
But surely the Church of Rome, which dominated Christianity for so many centuries in Petrine, not Pauline; the Pope is regarded as the successor of Peter and personifies him. The mystical elements of Christianity derive largely from Paul, not Peter, and it was Paul who taught that the Christ is the inner divinity within each man and that the aim of the Christian teaching is the direct realization of this divinity. "Christ in you the hope of glory" and the compassionate "My little children of whom I travail until Christ be formed in you" are from Paul's letters to his pupils. H.P. Blavatsky contrasts the two disciples as follows: "The Apostle of the Gentiles (Paul) was brave, outspoken, sincere and very learned. The Apostle of Circumcision (Peter) cowardly, cautious, insincere, and very ignorant." (Isis Unveiled) Those interested are referred to the many other passages in H.P.B.'s writings and particularly to two chapters in the Third Volume of The Secret Doctrine, "St. Paul, the Real Founder of Christianity" and "Peter, A Jewish Kabalist; Not an Initiate", and also of course to her The Esoteric Character of the Gospels.
Another letter has been received from a correspondent, Mr. Frederick E. Tyler, the gist of which seems to be that is Mr. Tyler's opinion the magazine, "in its present form should appear less often, and if there is any money to spend it should be used in putting out that type of publication which would attract broad support; this by comment on current matters which concern mankind."
Further to the review of The Evidence of Survival from Claimed Memories of Former Incarnations which appeared in our Sept.-Oct. issue, we are reprinting an excellent short review which was published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal (Eng-land) in July, 1961.
The doctrine of metempsychosis and the belief in survival of the human spirit after death of the material body are as old as history and have been the occasion of no little wrangling between philosophers and scientists. It is doubtless true that scientific proof and that internal proof upon which the philosopher relies are, like oil and wine, two good things which do not readily mix. It is, however, interesting and encouraging to read Dr. Stevenson's essay, which exhibits all the care and precision of the trained scientific observer, combined with the open and unprejudiced outlook of the philosopher. His thesis is worthy of that profound thinker, William James, in honor of whose memory this essay was composed. We congratulate the author on his approach to this difficult subject, and we recommend this booklet to all who are seriously interested in it.
Our notice also drew the following comments from Mr. Victor Endersby, Editor of Theosophical Notes, Napa, California.
Referring to the review of Ian Stevenson's book in the September-October number and the question of what I have elsewhere called "quickie" reincarnations:
This raises the old issue between Theosophy and Kardecism, which was very hot in Madame Blavatsky's time. (There is a reference in the Mahatma Letters, XIV, to this.) The teaching is that the average length of the after-death states is about 1,500 years; but this varies with the spirituality of the mind; the lower limit in the case of very materialistic persons can be very short; the upper limit was never given
but I imagine could run to tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of years. Kardecism taught that the period was always very short; one might reincarnate as one's own grandchild. The Kardecists were spiritualists and got their "revelations" via mediums influenced by "Alan Kardec" - real name Rivail - who was sold on the idea of reincarnation, short term. This movement was aided by the findings of the Salpetriere School psychologists, whose hypnotized subjects gave accounts of similar "reincarnations". The same type of "memory" is now running rife; the accounts of Edgar Cayce*, "Bridey Murphy" and others follow the same pattern. [* "Clairvoyant" inspection of former incarnations of others.]
Years ago I met a woman who claimed to recall bits of three past incarnations. I think she may have done so, because the time factor checked quite well as did the karmic sequence of the lives, though she knew nothing of our philosophy. I personally met a case more of the "Bridey" type!, another "quickie" with a score of three, under hypnosis.
Now this type of memory nearly always shows certain distinct characteristics:
1. The time is too short for the type of personality now present, which is usually at least average and often above average.
2. The past personalities as described run from mediocre to bad - also too poor to fit present karma.
3. Their circumstances are usually as poor as their characters.
4. There is little logical karmic sequence.
From this I deduce that among such memories are the following phenomena:
a. Contact with, and perhaps actual obsession by the kama rupas of the dead, with whose memories the subject identifies himself.
b. Intersection with the astral light history of dead people with whose times and conditions the subject has some affinity. (It is possible for a hypnotized subject, or a man dreaming or in deep reverie, to "drop in" on the astral light record of others, even people living at that time, and identify his own consciousness with theirs.)
c. Bona fide memories of very recent incarnations of a bad sort. (But these must be rare, because the very makeup of the materialistic mind tends to block off higher memories.)
d. Bona fide memories of recent incarnations as a young child. It is part of the teaching that such a child, not yet having amassed the memories and impressions necessary to a long Devachan, or perhaps any Devachan at all, may return very quickly - possibly even to the same parents.
There is however another angle which may produce a confusing overlap of real and pseudo-memories - assuming that real memories can come by these means at all, which is open to question. It is that an age of increasing materialism the Devachanic period will shorten. It must have been growing progressively shorter throughout the initial 5,000 years of the Kali Yuga, which 5,000 ended at the turn of the century. There may thus have been an appreciable shortening even since H.P.B.'s time. Hence there may be quite an overlap of duration between the period necessary for a bad kama rupa to dissipate - which sometimes runs to centuries and the time necessary for an inferior reincarnation. One cannot be arbitrary about it but I would make a guess that after about 300 years it could be either. A sort of clue is given in H.P.B.'s "Karmic Visions", whose hero - though she does not name him - was obviously Frederic III of Germany, formerly Clovis. According to this account, Clovis, a very bad man, who lived 1,500 years before Frederic, had one incarnation, not described prior to that as Frederic. We don't know when or under what conditions. Emerging again as Frederic, he was a benevolent monarch* but with tendencies to-
[* He reigned only during the last months of his life but had been a military commander.]
ward reversion to the old brutality. (The militarization of Germany under Bismarck took place in his time.) Here then was an Ego of very mixed character, certainly not very good, whose average of two incarnations was somewhat less than 800 years. Not a typical case but gives a general idea.
All this is connected with the "population explosion", which certainly is due in the main to the progressive shortening of the Bardo period in the last 5,000 years. Note that the vast majority of these returning egos are born to very bad karma made worse by their untimely return in such vast numbers. If we take as a basis the 1,500 year's average specified last century, and allow 50 years as the material span, then the ratio is 1 to 30 for material versus nonmaterial life. This means that only about a 3 percent shortening in one generation would double the popluation, and less than that since 1900 would account for all the increase. How much farther it can go is conjectural; at any rate it is a cycle which must end some time. There are some signs that it is already tapering off. The increase in the U.S. has been due largely to increasing life span rather than increased birth rate, and the latter has trended toward leveling off for some time. The birth rate of Japan has been cut in two since W.W. II, and some current news indicates the possibility that the Chinese increase has taken a rather sharp drop during the past five years.
Another complicating factor is the probable rapid return of Egos of such high quality that they have been out of incarnation all through the Kali Yuga, and will form the initial numbers of the sixth sub-race to develop in the Americas as predicted.
Of course all we have been told is partial and sketchy; there may even be quite unsuspected factors which we may not know before 1975.
In summary, these quick-term incarnations are to be regarded with caution at least.
"Our philosophy teaches that Karmic punishment reaches the Ego only in its next incarnation. After death it receives only the reward for the unmerited sufferings endured its past incarnation. The whole punishment after death, even for the materialist, consists, therefore, in the absence of any reward, and the utter loss of the consciousness of one's bliss and rest. Karma is the child of the terrestrial Ego, the fruit of the actions of the tree which is the objective personality visible to all, as much as the fruit of all the thoughts and even motives of the spiritual "I"; but Karma is also the tender mother, who heaIs the wounds inflicted by her during the preceding life, before she will begin to torture this Ego by inflicting upon him new ones . . . Death comes to our spiritual selves ever as a deliverer and friend. For the materialist, who, notwithstanding his materialism, was not a bad man, the interval between the two lives will be like the unbroken and placid sleep of a child, either entirely dreamless, or filled with pictures of which he will have no definite perception; while for the average mortal it will be a dream as vivid as life, and full of realistic bliss and visions."
"At the solemn moment of death every man, even when death is sudden, sees the whole of his past life marshalled before him, in its minutest details. For one short instant the personal becomes one with the individual and all-knowing Ego. But this instant is enough to show to him the whole chain of causes which have been at work during his life. He sees and now understands himself as he is, unadorned by flattery or self-deception. He reads his life, remaining as a spectator looking down into the arena he is quitting; he feels and knows the justice of all the suffering that has overtaken him."
- The Key to Theosophy
GOD OR GODS?
By W. Emmett Small
The student of the Esoteric Philosophy distinguishes between a god and an endless series of gods which may be conceived as the god-principle. Beyond a being, no matter how evolved, is Being. Beyond ourselves, the individual, is a Principle of which we are a part. It is a paradox. Yet if we seek to understand the analogy, we shall certainly find a key illuminating the whole esoteric question.
Our selection for thought together is given disturbing pointedness as we read a statement in a recent article of a respected theosophical journal. "In the Logos of our solar system," the author quotes one regarded as having authority; "we have as near an approach to a personal God as any reasonable man can desire." Is this true? Or would you say that in this statement we have about as direct a right about face on the esoteric teaching as has been voiced since H.P.Blavatsky and the Masters lifted the Veil of Isis that we might see truer into the mysteries of nature?
The teachings are clear. Every hierarchy has its hierarch - a being; but that being, the hyparxis of its hierarchy, is a link with a still higher chain of beings with its own hierarch. It is the working together of these great beings and the lesser beings - within them, that forms the Unknowable Principle - not a Being but BEING itself.
Action on this plane, of course, must be accomplished by beings. Hence grew the misconception of the efficacy of supplicating a being who is supreme, with supreme dispensation at his command. The esoteric teaching, however, cuts at the roots of this spurious idea. As beings evolve, reaching closer to Homogeneity in their respective hierarchies; they become "less accentuated" as individuals, more and more impersonal servants of the Law. As such it is utterly ridiculous to imagine them as susceptible to appeal or propitiation from our pitifully limited human viewpoint.
Is it possible that theosophists, no natter how well intentioned, who uphold the idea of a "personal" deity, have failed to grasp the elementary idea back of the great fundamental postulates of the Secret Doctrine which enunciates "an omnipresent, boundless, eternal, immutable PRINCIPLE" which is the heart of Nature? Is it fear of the Unreachable in its sublime "impersonality" that urges them to "play safe" with a cosy personal God who fatuously listens and responds to supplication and prayer? Is their belief in Theosophy merely an enjoyable titillation derived from so-called speculation on occult philosophy, so that in their heart of hearts they hesitate either fully to embrace or entirely to relinquish the esoteric tenets? They cannot have their cake and eat it too.
The Secret Doctrine `admits a Logos or a collective "Creator" of the Universe; a Demiurgos . . . But that Demiurgos is no personal diety, - i.e., an imperfect extra-cosmic god, but only the aggregate of the Dhyan-Chohans and the other forces. (S.D. I, 280)
....Such are H.P.B.'s words - simple, clear, direct. Furthermore, speaking of the "One homogeneous divine SUBSTANCE-PRIN-CIPLE; the Omnipresent Reality" she even more pointedly declares: "Its impersonality is the fundamental conception of the System." The emphasis is her own, and we repeat her words: Its impersonality is the fundamental conception of the System. This is the esoteric idea. No word of supplication here; no word of personalizing that which is Boundless. "One absolute Reality which antecedes all manifested, conditioned being . . . devoid of all attributes . . . It is `Be-ness' rather than Being."
All these sentences lead to one of the grand passages in H.P.B.'s Secret Doctrine (I, 280) where she appeals to her readers
to cherish in life a great objective - the effort to "help the divine evolution of Ideas", by becoming to the best of our ability coworkers with nature. And again she points to THAT which is nameless, the Causeless Cause of all causes - mark you again, not a Being, not personalized, not anthropomorphized - but THAT which
"should have its shrine and altar on the holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart - invisible, intangible, unmentioned, save through `the still small voice' of our spiritual consciousness."
Then, for those who think in molds that still take the form of `worship' or of ritual, she adds:
"Those who worship before it, ought to do so in the silence and the sanctified solitude of their souls; making their spirit their sole mediator between them and the Universal Spirit, their good actions the only priests, and their sinful intentions the only visible and objective sacrificial victims to the Presence."
There should be ideas which the esotericist is willing to fight for, to die for - in the sense of the Bhagavad-Gita - more realistically, to live for. Any attempt to straddle a teaching - to have it yet not to have it; every tendency to accept a seemingly easier, undisciplined attitude or interpretation, must be checked and challenged. To accept the less when we have the opportunity to hold the more, is, when it comes to Teaching, to thicken the veil of Maya, of illusion surrounding us, to lose that much of Reality and to set ourselves and our civilization sliding backwards. It is the great Ideas - such as the one we have been discussing of the Undying Principle, omnipresent, immutable, august - that form the esoteric currents giving sustenance to our lives. To lose them is to lose our real life. Denigration of them is a self-muddying of our mental and spiritual waters, bringing crippling misconceptions, and weakening discrimination. When faced with what may appear choice in understanding a Teaching, as likewise in performance of duty, I think we shall not go wrong if we cleave to the impersonal rather than the personal, the selfless rather than the self-getting, the giving rather than the taking, the gaining only that we may help rather than keep.
As students of the Esoteric Philosophy we shall never deify a being, however god-like; but we shall dignify such a being in the sense of recognition that it is one of the gods, cooperating in those courses which result in the laws or behavior of the universe. And again we shall know that beyond such a being is the Principle from which it draws its light and life. We do not worship that Principle, but we aspire toward It, seek to approach It, to understand It, to vision It. Above all, we do not address supplications to It. True reverence is in our thought placing a being where it belongs on the Ladder of Life and recognizing the function and the duty it performs there - and then seeking to perform our own duty.
Deep and rich are the opportunities of the Theosophist as from out the Vastness of the Teachings he selects a single star for contemplation, knowing that that star-thought itself is inextricably linked with endless other thought-galaxies of which it is but a singular blazing point reflecting the energies and light of the Universal PRINCIPLE. With that Principle we as humans are inseparably linked. It is a mystery and a paradox. But a paradox, someone once said, is a Truth standing on its head to attract attention. What is the Truth about this god-principle? As we ponder on this and other great Ideas we may not receive immediate illumination, but we may know - in proportion to the impersonality we attain - that we bathe ourselves in the same light that enwraps the gods.
Like great music reverberating through the Spaces and echoing back to our uplifted human hearts, we listen as we conclude our meditation . . . "An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless and Immutable PRINCIPLE . . ."
- From The Theosophical Reminder, July 1961.
ARE THE PYRAMIDS OF THE MAYAS THE SAME AS THOSE OF THE EGYPTIANS?
This question has intrigued archeologists for the past hundred years and it has unquestionably been attractive to educated people on frequent occasions. Until a few years ago it appeared that contradiction and harmony could go together. Indeed, the Egyptian and the Mayan pyramids seem so alike on the surface that in some cases, in the light of stairway constructions, which are attributed to the first Egyptian dynasties, the identity seems to be established. However, all the African pyramids have in their interiors ritual or funeral halls, while in those of Central America nothing of the kind has been discovered. The latter seem to have been designed to support the temples or the surveying equipment or the astronomical instruments housed in the apex.
Many students, among others H.P. Blavatsky, who was almost every other year in the Mayan area, especially in Copan, and later on Dr. Roso de Luna, argued through a vast literature in favor of absolute identity, not only architecturally but in symbolism and ritual, between the pyramids of the two continents. These two great esotericists explained the phenomenon on the basis of the existence of a continent which formed a bridge between the beginning of the glacial age and the tertiary period. In the light of the deciphered inscriptions and of the traditions gathered from the degenerated descendants of those Mayas, together with the traditions found in the libraries of the Hindu temples, many thousands of years old, these students had no doubt whatever on the point, and so they made it known toward the end of the last century.
But a great number of scientists, convinced that the word "Atlantis" was not worthy of any serious investigation whatever, drowned those voices in a sea of printed matter and titles, more or less bombastic, emanating from various European and American universities. Thus the story of identity was almost forgotten and the excavations were not continued to the extent they deserved.
However, Dr. Alberto Ruz Lhuiller made careful investigation of the so-called "Temple of the Inscriptions" in Palenque, State of Chiapas, Mexico. In the neighborhood of the Temple of the Cross and the Palace there rises a huge pyramidal construction, something like a solid temple, which in addition must at one time have been of great beauty, but today torn asunder by the apparently motionless, but powerful hands, of the great forest that surrounds it.
The intuition of our archeologist, that sixth sense or kind of clairvoyance which unfolds so rarely in human beings, led him to observe that one of the huge stones was perforated by small holes for no apparent reason. He thought that these orifices could have served as a means of raising up that section of the pyramid and, having tried to pull it up, he soon brought to light a dark and unexpected tunnel, which descended into the interior of the pyramid. Never had Dr. Lhuiller made such a discovery, and for some moments he just could not take in what he saw with his eyes. In a few minutes there was revealed the tunnel-staircase, which had been sealed up with tons and tons of stones mixed up with caked clay.
After working every three years, he managed to discover a small area in the very base of the pyramid which he reached with his ladder, after having taken a rest on the ground. Nothing very important was found
in it beyond a few human remains and some small utensils. Having come to a dead end, another person would have accepted the situation. But here again the keen observation of the archeologist impelled him onwards until he perceived a stone door, triangular in shape, which blended in with one of the walls. Having removed this with tremendous difficulty, he was able to penetrate a spacious crypt, which the centuries had decorated with salt stalactites and stalagmites - a mysterious retreat guarded from human curiosity. He saw bas-reliefs of stucco with the images of the nine Secret Gods of the Mayan Cosmogony, the Lords of Darkness, of the Secret Root and End of the numerical series of the manifested universe. In the centre of the chamber was a heavy monolith, sculptured with the Tree of Life or Mayan Cross, on which shone the Bird Ketzal, joined with serpents and a reclining person. The construction of this work is one of the finest expressions of Mayan art which we have found up to now.
Another discovery has been made by Ruz Lhuiller, who seemed to "know" what he was about to find, after nine attempts to raise five tons in a confined space. This was a new triumph, and this was definitely one of the greatest in modern archeology.
The great stone was the lid of a sarcophagus, itself monolithic, in the form of a fish, in which rested the remains of a king or priest at whose feet were the symbols of the psychic death (sic.), two heads in red stucco. Pectorals, ear-covers, masks, rings, all covered up the mummy as if they were the vestiges of some later and awful ceremonial. A strange red pigment, perhaps coming from the disintegrated articles, covered the whole, following the ritual of that magic which is as old as, if not older than, humanity itself.
Is this the tomb of some king-magician, as the discoverer affirms, or is it an initiation crypt containing the last of the Palenque initiates? Were all the Egyptian pyramids tombs? Or had many of them been nothing of the kind, as the word is generally understood?
For the student of esoteric symbology the fish-form of the sarcophagus and the cruciform tree, together with the sacred bird and the serpents, are more than sufficient evidence that what has been classified as a tomb is in fact an initiation chamber similar to the Great Pyramid of Egypt. Later discoveries and more exact interpretations of the hieroglyphics of the Mayans, together with the measurements and proportions of the chambers and the sarcophagi, can have in store enormous surprises, which once more will bear witness to the spiritual identity of the human race and to the fact that the institution of the Mysteries is universal.
- Translated from Estudios Tedsoficos, Jan.-Feb., 1961, Buenos Aires, Republica Argentina.
The following article is taken from the June 1961 issue of Theosophy in Australia. It is reprinted with the hope that the experience and ideas of our friends from "down under" will be of interest to Canadian Lodges and program organizers.
For some time now the Section Executive Committee has been aware of the increasingly limited application of the lecture as a method of communication at Conventions and Summer Schools, and the necessity of evolving new methods which would not only give opportunity of expression to individual members but, at the same time, allow the use of artistic forms of communication. Accordingly at the Perth Convention, several experimental programs were introduced, which provoked a great deal of interest and comment.
At an early stage of Convention each delegate was handed a duplicated copy of
the following aphorism on wisdom: * "Wisdom lies less in what we learn and more in our reactions to that learning; less in the quantity and more in the quality of our knowledge; less in the accumulation of facts and nomenclature, and more in the knowledge of principles; less in the possession of ideas, and more in the right employment of them; less in all that we gather and must shed, and more in what we assimilate into the texture of that being which is an immortal reflection of the soul." [* By N. Sri Ram] The delegates were asked to endeavor to understand what the author was attempting to convey through his words, and to be prepared to discuss this at a later session.
At the appointed session the whole Convention resolved itself into a number of groups, each of 5 to 8 members led by a discussion leader. The groups then discussed the aphorism in detail, every member being encouraged to contribute. The groups then reassembled and the leaders briefly outlined the trend of discussion in their groups and summarized the main conclusions reached.
The whole session was generally felt to have been successful, not only because of the degree of common ground covered by the different groups, which was to be expected, but because of the many difference of approach to a single aphorism which were revealed. All the group leaders reported a high level of participatio, in their respective groups.
Three sessions were devoted to experimentation with artistic methods of communication. The first, which was arranged and narrated by Mrs. Joyce Carr, combined music selected by Mr. Rae Carr, colored slides, poetry, and prose, in a highly successful attempt to convey the reality of the underlying unity of life, in a form not limited to the use of the intellect. Commencing with appropriate music and using a colored slide of the great nebula Orion as a visual focus, the opening prose was taker from the Stanzas of Dzyan. Different aspects of realization of the unity of life were expressed by combinations of various slides and music with the writings of musicians, philosophers, scientists, poets, the whole culminating in the beautiful prose of Mr. N. Sri Ram. The whole session was a truly imaginative and stimulating one.
Two other sessions were presented under the general title of "Let the Life Speak". In the first Mr. Rae Carr, Mus. Bac., briefly discussed the use of music as a medium of communication for ideas and understandings, and then played selected extracts from a number of works and asked the delegates to write down their individual impressions of the ideas which the composers had sought to convey. After each extract he identified the work and its composer and outline of the central theme or idea. Members were able to check their own ability to "contact the musical thought form" and to share it with others.
For the second session four abstract paintings by two members of the Society were exhibited on several days of the Convention and delegates invited to endeavor to discover the ideas which had inspired the artists and then to write down their impressions. At the actual session Mr. Brian Parry read these comments and then explained the artists' own interpretation of their works.
In both of these sessions it was evident that a significant degree of communication had been achieved and that further experiments along these lines could be profitably undertaken.
"The world needs no sectarian church, whether of Buddha, Jesus, Mahomet, Swedenborg, Calvin, or any other. There being but ONE Truth, man requires but one church - the Temple of God within us, walled in by matter but penetrable by any one who can find the way; the pure in heart see God."
- Isis Unveiled, Vol. II p. 635.
ORIGINAL AND UP-TO-DATE THEOSOPHY
We lend freely by mail all the comprehensive literature of the Movement. Catalogue on request. Also to lend, or for sale at 20c each post free, our eight H.P.B. Pamphlets, including early articles from LUCIFER and Letters from the Initiates.
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- ESOTERIC CHARACTER OF THE GOSPEL by H. P. Blavatsky.
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These four books are cloth bound, price $1 each.
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The above four books are attractively bound; paperbound $1.00, cloth, $1.50.
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