Vol. 67, No. 2 Toronto, May-June, 1986 Price 75 Cents
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[[ Photo Here: Helena Petrovna Blavatsky August 11, 1831 - May 8, 1891 ]]
WHAT SHE IS TO ME
A memoir written shortly after the death of H.P. Blavatsky
- Herbert Burrows
Two years ago Annie Besant and I saw H.P.B. for the first time, and now it is not many days since I stood by her lily-covered coffin and took my last lingering look at the personality of the marvelous woman who had revolutionised the lives of my colleague and myself. Two years are but little as men count time, but these two have been so pregnant with soul-life that the old days before them seem ages away. If it be true that life should be counted by epochs of the mind, then life, from the day that I first clasped H.P.B.'s hand to the moment when, majestic in her death sleep, I helped to wreathe around her body the palms from that far-off East which she loved so well, was richer, fuller, longer to me than a generation of the outward turmoil which has its little day and then is gone. I went to her a materialist, she left me a Theosophist, and between these two there is a great gulf fixed. Over that gulf she bridged the way. She was my spiritual mother, and never had child a more loving, a more patient, a more tender guide.
It was in the old Lansdowne Road days. Beset with problems of life and mind that our materialism could not solve, dwelling intellectually on what are now to us the inhospitable shores of agnosticism, Annie Besant and I ever craved more light. We had read the Occult World, and in bye-gone years we had heard - who had not? - of the strange woman whose life seemed to be a contradiction of our most cherished theories, but as yet the philosophy of the book was to us but assertion, the life of the woman a career which we had no means of examining. Skeptical, critical, trained by long years of public controversy to demand the most rigid scientific proof of things which were outside our experience, Theosophy was to us an unknown, and, as it then seemed, an impossible land. And yet it fascinated, for it promised much, and with talking, with reading, the fascination grew. With the fascination also grew the desire to know, and so, on an ever-to-be remembered evening, with a letter of introduction from Mr. W.T. Stead, the editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, as our passport, we found ourselves face to face, in the drawing room of 17, Lansdowne Road, with the woman whom we afterwards learned to know and to love as the most wonderful woman of her time.
I was not foolish enough to look for miracles, I did not expect to see Madame Blavatsky float, nor did I crave for materialised teacups, but I did want to hear about Theosophy, and I did not hear much. She whom we were there to see was a stout, unwieldy lady, playing Russian "Patience", and keeping up a stream of conversation on nearly every subject except the one which was just then nearest our minds. No attempt at proselyting, no attempt to "fix" us, (we were not hypnotised!) but all the while the wonderful eyes were flashing light, and, in spite of the bodily infirmity which was even then painfully apparent, there was a reserve of power which gave the impression that we were seeing, not the real woman, but only the surface character of some one who had endured much, and who knew much.
I tried to keep an open impartial mind, and I believe I succeeded. I was genuinely anxious to learn, but I was critical and on the watch for the slightest attempt at hoodwinking. When I afterwards discovered something of H.P.B.'s extraordinary insight, I was not surprised to find that she had gauged accurately and unerringly my mental atti-
tude on this my first visit, and it is an attitude which she never really discouraged. If those who talk so foolishly about her magnetising people could but know how she continually impressed upon us the absolute duty of proving all things and holding fast only to that which is good!
To go once was to go again, and so it came that after a few visits I began to see light. I caught glimpses of a lofty morality, of a self-sacrificing zeal, of a coherent philosophy of life, of a clear and definite science of man and his relation to a spiritual universe. These it was which attracted me - not phenomena, for I saw none. For the first time in my mental history I had found a teacher who could pick up the loose threads of my thought and satisfactorily weave them together, and the unerring skill, the vast knowledge, the loving patience of that teacher grew on me hour by hour. Quickly I learned that the so-called charlatan and trickster was a noble soul, whose every day was spent in unselfish work, whose whole life was pure and simple as a child's, who counted never the cost of pain or toil if these could advance the great cause to which her every energy was consecrated. Open as the day to a certain point, she was the incarnation of kindness - silent as the grave if need be, she was sternness personified at the least sign of faithlessness to the work which was her life. Grateful, so grateful for every affectionate attention, careless, so careless of all that concerned herself, she bound us to her, not simply as wise teacher, but as loving friend. Once I was broken down through long bodily and mental strain and the wheels of my life ran so heavily that they nearly stopped. Through it all her solicitude was untiring and one special proof of it that she gave, too personal to mention here, would have been thought of, perhaps, but by one in a million.
Perfect - no; faults - yes; the one thing she would hate most of all would be the indiscriminate praise of her personality. But when I have said that she was sometimes impetuous as a whirlwind, a very cyclone when she was really roused, I have told nearly all. And I have often thought it was more than possible that some of these outbursts were assumed for a special object. Lately they had almost vanished. Her enemies sometimes said she was rough and rude. We who knew her, knew that a more unconventional woman, in the very realest sense of the word, never lived. Her absolute indifference to all outward forms was a true indifference based upon her inner spiritual knowledge of the verities of the universe. Sitting by her when strangers came, as they did come from every corner of the earth, I have often watched with the keenest amusement their wonder at seeing a woman who always said what she thought. Given a prince and she would probably shock him, given a poor man and he would have her last shilling and her kindliest word.
How meagre all this is I know full well. Of the real H.P.B. we only caught occasional glimpses, and so necessarily we are thrown back on that human side of her life which appeals most to the human in us. Of her vast and profound knowledge this is not the time to speak, and if it were, how could one speak? Only its ripples ever reached us, but those would make an ordinary ocean. Probably we shall never know all the why and the wherefore of her recent incarnation. In 1889 Annie Besant and I were with her in France at the Forest of Fontainebleau, and while there she went over with us in manuscript part of the Voice of the Silence. Looking back on that time, I remember that the passages over which she was most impressive were those which describe the toilsome ascent of the pilgrim-soul. In the copy of the book which she gave me and which will never leave me, she has written, "To Herbert Burrows, my old friend in another and better incarnation, from his ever-loving H.P.B." It may be that in those words lie part of the key to the life that we knew.
Be that as it may, the real key for us is to be found in the example of her self-sacrificing devotion to her work. This is the note which was struck in the hearts of the hushed crowd who but yesterday gathered for the last time round the body of their loved teacher. That body has vanished from our sight, but the work remains. No great thought can ever die, no great effort for humanity can ever cease, but thought and effort can be accelerated by faithful service for mankind. More than ever now is that service needed, and they who would read aright the lesson of H.P.B.'s life will give that service unstintingly, ungrudgingly, if need be to the bitter end.
- Lucifer, Vol. 8, June, 1891
DOING IT OURSELVES
As if it were yesterday I remember that day in my early schooling when I sat for an oral examination in English literature. The examining master in English prose had asked me to explain a passage in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. I answered him that my English teacher had said it meant so and so. His reaction jolted me.
The master banged the desk in front of me with his fist and said with a penetrating voice, "I am not interested in what your English teacher told you; nor do I want to know what Macaulay, or Shelley, or Blake have said of it either. I want to know what you think about it, and you alone."
"But sir," I replied, "my teacher would only tell me the truth about the passage, and I am equally sure that Shelley, Blake and Macaulay would give the most accurate of opinions."
The remainder of the conversation went as follows if my memory of those tender years is still correct. The master asked if my English teacher could live my life for me, or could Shelley do that for me? I of course answered in the negative. He then suggested that I would have to live my life myself, and consequently would have to think things out for myself in order to do that.
To further make me aware of the importance of this advice, he said that Shakespeare had written A Midsummer Night's Dream as a feast for all to partake of, to digest and appreciate. He asked me would I be content to let the teacher have my share of that feast? Again I replied that I would not.
Then, fixing his serious eyes on me, he said, "If you only heard what others have said about the feast, could you really appreciate its quality? Would it not be more sensible to taste it yourself, and then make your own assessment?"
I began to see that such indeed was the case, and accordingly agreed.
That lesson must have stayed with me, or it would not still be a vivid memory. Yet as so often happens, I failed to apply the good advice until many years later. Then it was brought home to me so forcibly that it has never left me since.
About twenty years or so after the English examination, I was talking to a friend and had quoted him some passages from Emerson and Hawthorne to explain the exact meaning of an idea I was trying to get across. His reaction took me aback.
"I don't want to hear you recite Emerson and Hawthorne, even though I appreciate both viewpoints. This is our discussion. It is
between you and me. Only we can give it substance and dimension. If we confine our discussion to thoughts others voiced in the past, we're not striving to reach our own conclusions. It just doesn't work that way. We have to do it ourselves, out of our own awareness and experience."
I stopped the conversation then and there, realizing that I had been telling my friend what others thought, and really had not done my own homework. The picture of the English testing master came vividly back to mind: yes, even to the bang of his fist on the desk. I asked myself why I had not kept his advice uppermost in mind, had not developed it as the essential matrix in my own thinking. I realized that excuses were really all invalid.
It was that friend who turned the key on my thinking process. He had no credentials to assure him entrance into the professional halls of learning. Yet no professor could have helped me more. What he said to me rang a bell so loud that its echoes still reverberate down the years from then to now. His statement stopped me in my tracks, and challenged my then proud assumptions.
Since then it has become very evident to me that wise ones who have gone before and left us their ideas never intended us to accept their words without question or to see their work as a complete and finished whole. Rather, they hoped that we would think the knowledge out for ourselves, confirm its accuracy and viability, and put it to the test of a different time and circumstance. They wished no followers who held them in awe, or who dared not to test the ideas for themselves. They hoped that future thinkers would rework the knowledge through the grist mill of their own lives, and thus make it their own. They saw a subsequent improvement brought about by the reworking.
It also appears valid that if one takes a system evolved by someone else without subjecting all of its aspects to a rigorous discipline, it is parallel to taking the English teacher's understanding of the passage in A Midsummer Night's Dream as the ultimate. There can be no final "holy and as yet" on any subject on this great globe. At the most, we can take knowledge from former thinkers and give it life by our own study, dissemination and promulgation. If it is validated in this way it will meet the requirements as an aid in our search for self-identity.
Doubtless, at the base of the offerings of knowledge in the past was the compassionate thought of its potential contribution to all mankind in its journey towards self-identity. It then follows that each of us in seeking out our identity has to go through the same tests and trials that gave the essential meaning to the knowledge established by earlier pilgrims on the journey. By so doing, it becomes one's own. Then one in turn becomes its custodian. The life thus given it in the present will permit it in some future time to be a resource for others yet to come on the scene. They in turn will have to use it to give it continued authenticity, and to establish their custodianship.
So it is apparent that systems cannot enclose the mind of man. Each of us must look into our own individual, authentic experience for evidence relative to any idea. This is true for all the different forms of knowledge. The day has passed when a system is accepted on the basis that it is "the only one". True democracy gives the right to think, and the growth of thought is on individual foundations.
Past times and past knowledge produced a great gathering of working ideas from all over the world. These ideas interacted on each other, and discerning minds who regarded them openly could ever find their
own creative path. Examination and experience does away with any monopoly on special ideas. In studying past cultures there comes the conviction that their significance rests on the individual search. To accept them without that proviso is to leave them barren for future time. Without examination we may feel they are right, but to know they are right demands the tests, the experiences, and the very becoming of the ideas themselves.
Today we have access to all the great ideas of the past, to the philosophies and to the scriptures and classical texts from all over the world. We can select from these, investigate, fill our needs, and so walk down the road towards self awareness. Each can establish an identity, and give purpose and meaning to the life lived. Self awareness brings about authentic knowledge. It is a far remove from the closed system.
Again, the easy way of armchair acceptance of knowledge on the authority of a sage that its concepts are correct does not give self awareness. It does not produce growth in real terms. The synthesizing search for self awareness and its actuality is the real goal. Real knowledge has a universal quality. It is authentic because it belongs to all of humanity. There can never be a special knowledge available only to a specific system, for that would be contrary to universality.
The truly great ones of the past have said that a basis of universal knowledge is necessary to serve humanity. We have to do our homework. Then we have to serve the whole of humanity.
We can start with small experiments towards this end. We can try to make universal brotherhood a fact in our actions, and thus a part of our living. In that way we shall give authenticity to what we do in life and serve humanity, all of humanity, in the real sense. As my friend said, we have to do it ourselves.
THE VULNERABLE OUTSIDER
- Montague A. Machell
The Theosophical philosophy is unique in its power to impart "coherence" to life on earth. It declares this universe, and man himself, to be governed by absolute Spiritual law, from which there is no escape. Being of the Spirit, this law is logical, harmonious and utterly beneficent in its rigid inescapability. Because it is completely comprehensive, influencing all life in the universe, it unifies all life. Being utterly beneficent, its operation ensures purest blessedness on him who seeks to understand and reverently apply it. Because of this law, governing a Spiritual universe, the lover of it is set in the path of discovering its nature and meaning. Being universal and timeless, the pathway to its understanding leads the pilgrim beyond the limits of time into eternal beneficence, therein persuading him to cross over the threshold of the personality - which is essentially of Time.
The law affirms unequivocally a divine pattern to life - the pattern of the law. Since that pattern is timeless and universal, its intelligent acceptance can comprehend the disciple's earth-life in its smallest, as in its universal implications. To consciously enter into the pattern is to accept eternal and universal guidance, to tape the inexhaustible resources of man's universe.
Sin, suffering, pain, disappointment, disease - to all of these, he who ignores the pattern is vulnerable. The ultimate Tide of Life is governed by this law. It is every man's privilege to choose whether he will move with the tide or against it. The first choice spells guidance and protection; the second opens the door to perennial vulnerability.
The only quality in man comparable in power to the law is an uncompromising spirituality - complete acceptance of the pattern. The unwavering operation of the law of beneficent unfoldment is alone capable of imparting coherence to daily living - the coherence of a single pattern and destiny.
The beneficence of this law need not be taken "on faith". We have but to accept the sensible conclusion that each of us is on this earth to "grow" in spiritual understanding, to perceive that the law governing that growth, since it is not the will of an avenging Deity, must be benign and "growth-giving". All healthy growth must be voluntary and fearless. Man, no less than the animal, cannot be beaten into a healthy unfoldment. The vulnerability of denial is alone responsible for our suffering and seeming chastisement. Swimming against the tide is a cruel experience, incoherent and unrewarding.
Strangely enough, a multitude of mankind, through indifference or even pure "cussedness" seek to live outside the law, submitting themselves to more or less complete vulnerability. Whatever actual unfoldment takes place in their lives is achieved at an exorbitant price with small satisfaction. So much needless suffering is a tragic loss; complete unawareness of the reason for it is even more tragic, foretelling, as it does, more woe to come.
Theosophists, on the strength of firsthand experience, declare "Life is Joy". Insofar as it embodies a healthy unfoldment, why should it not be? This, of course, is no justification for the claim that life, as it is lived by millions today, is in any sense "joyful". For too many it is sheer agony, whose most heart-rending aspect is its failure to suggest any change for the better.
A potent cause of much unhappiness is the temptation to live largely in the realm of the senses and emotions. Religion, in its deepest meaning, ever transcends mere emotion. It is a higher state of being, a higher rate of vibration in an entity that is lord of his sensations and emotions. In the words of H. P. Blavatsky:
"First comes the aspiration, second the will to become, as one might say, 'spirit borne', lastly the capacity to accept this state as natural and inevitable. Only at the last point is it possible to consciously reinforce this higher vibration frequency until it achieves 'radiance' that impinges upon one's fellow-man, setting up an induced current of sympathetic vibration that words would be impotent to induce."
It may help us if we remind ourselves that this "higher vibration frequency" is that in which the law of life operates - not on the level of man's elemental "desire" consciousness. He who would cease to be subject to the vulnerability of an "outsider" must perceive the beauty, the majesty and the fulfilment of life under the law so clearly that he is ready to make the radical changes in his thinking and living that will change fear into confidence, despair into conviction, and a pathetically limited personalism into the sublime universality of the pattern. The challenge is to exchange a half-hearted, timorous "hope" for a joyous and fearless realization that his ultimate destiny is a spiritual triumph, here on earth, beyond his loftiest dreams. The price of such a triumph is the replacing of inadequate personal goals with the sanity and coherence of Self-knowledge.
Man must wake up to the fact that he has mis-read the legend of life, tragically underestimating the destiny of the Spiritual Reality enthroned in the heart of him. Too long has he been put off with dubious, illogical pros-
pects of unearned bliss after the lethal chaos of this earthly scrimmage. Life has no traffic with chaos. Law ever was and ever will be its pattern of fulfilment, a law that inspires and demands the utmost spiritual daring in pursuit of an unearthly destiny that is the single and eternal goal of man spiritual.
Life is no small, sordid exchange made in the doubtful currency of Desire. It is the high and lofty realization of a divine destiny. Let us lift our eyes from the neon lights and sonic booms of earth's polluted ambience to the regal empire of Perseus, Andromeda and the Pleiades, whose celestial processioning does reverence to Eternal Law. Let us disperse the fumes of passion and greed with the purifying airs of a genuine Spiritual aspiration. Let us loiter no longer outside the Tabernacle of the Law so that we may seek that heavenly Coherence which fearless acceptance of the pattern alone can ensure.
SECRET DOCTRINE QUESTION AND ANSWER SECTION
From 1964 to 1980, Geoffrey Barborka's "Secret Doctrine Question and Answer Section" was a regular and popular feature of this magazine, and there was widespread disappointment among the readers when he was no longer able to conduct it. There have been several suggestions that the series be published in book form, and many more requests than could be filled for back issues containing early instalments. To partially respond to this interest, we shall be reprinting selections from the "Q and A Section". To make the re-issue even more useful, the material has been compiled under subject headings. The originals are identified by Volume and number at the end of each answer. - Eds.
6. THE HUMAN PRINCIPLES - PART IV
Question. When we read of the "ego" we are not always sure what is meant. Will you please explain the difference between the higher and the lower ego.
Answer. The word ego comes from the Greek and Latin and means the personal pronoun of the "first person." In Latin, when declined, ego becomes "me" (just as in English: of me, to me, by me; and the accusative of "I" is "me."). The primary dictionary meaning of "ego" is given as the thinking, feeling, and acting self that is conscious of itself and aware of its distinction from the selves of others and from the objects of its thought and other operations. This is an excellent definition of what is termed the "personal ego" which may be equated to the questioner's "lower ego." In Theosophical terminology a distinction is made between this "lower ego" (so called) and the "higher ego." The latter is made equivalent to the Reincarnating Ego.
A knowledge of the Sanskrit terms is most useful in clarifying the concept of the "two egos." The lower ego is made equivalent to Kama-manas signifying that the desire principle (Kama) is predominant over the mind principle (Manas). In the definition of the higher ego, which is equivalent to Buddhi-manas, it means that the discriminating principle (Buddhi) is prevailing over the mind principle. The point to be remembered in connection with this description of the functioning aspect of these principles, is that the
mind principle is regarded as dual in activity. In other words the higher ego is active when Manas functions by means of uniting with the discriminating principle; instead of functioning by itself alone; and when operating in conjunction with the desire principle it means that the lower ego is active. Buddhi-manas is defined as the Reincarnating Ego, or the higher ego.
- Vol. 53, No. 6
Question. Is the fifth principle - the personal ego, Higher Manas - an independent principle in itself? Will you please cite a few Secret Doctrine references to illustrate your view?
Answer. There seems to be a confusion in the use of terms in this question. Then, in connection with the concept of regarding Higher Manas as an independent principle: this is due to an endeavor to classify the functioning aspects of man's principles into a seven-fold division - by dividing Manas into Higher Manas and Lower Manas. This gives an excellent description of the functioning aspects of the Mind-principle, Manas. However, The Secret Doctrine prefers not to characterize Higher Manas and Lower Manas as independent principles. Instead, Manas is described as functioning in human beings in a dual aspect. When associating with Kama, the desire principle, it forms the personality, along with the three lower principles: Prana, the life-principle; Linga-sarira, the model body; Sthula-sarira, the physical body. Thus it is Lower Manas that is the "personal ego." Higher Manas, when linked with Buddhi, is termed the individuality.
Here are the citations requested:
"'Manas is dual - lunar in the lower, solar in its upper portion,' says a commentary. That is to say, it is attracted in its higher aspects towards Buddhi, and in its lower descends into, and listens to the voice of its animal soul full of selfish and sensual desires." (S.D. II, 495-6)
"Indra, now characterized as 'the god of the firmament, the personified atmosphere' - is in reality the cosmic principle Mahat, and the fifth human - Manas in its dual aspect: as connected with Buddhi; and as allowing himself to be dragged down by his Kama-principle (the body of passions and desires)." (II, 614) - Vol. 45, No. 5
Question. How can Kama be purified without Manas?
Answer. It is logical of course, to assume that Kama cannot "be purified" (to use the words of the question) - that is to say, brought into evolutionary development - without the Mind principle. However, there are more than two aspects to the Desire principle, Kama. Thus there is a manasic aspect to the Kama principle and this is the aspect that is being stressed during the evolutionary development of the Fifth Root-Race. After being "purified" by Manas it should be further developed by Buddhi and Atman. Nevertheless, here is a strange paradox: in order that man may be purified or perfected, the will to do so must be evoked. And this aspect of the will, which may be termed the divine will, is made manifest by means of Kama in connection with the Manas principle.
Eros in man is the will of the genius to create great pictures, great music, things that will live and serve the race. It has nothing in common with the animal desire to create. Will is of the Higher Manas. It is the universal harmonious tendency acting by the Higher Manas. (S.D. V, 557, 6 vol. ed.)* - Vol. 49, No. 3
* Now also in The Inner Group Teachings of H.P. Blavatsky, p. 101
Question. Please explain the significance of Manas-taijasi.
Answer: This is a Sanskrit compound. Manas meaning the mind principle; Taijasi is derived from tejas, light, fire, brilliance. Taijasi, the adjectival form, signifies light, brilliant, and when linked with Manas is rendered the radiant mind. The term is applied to the state of consciousness of the mind principle in Devachan (the after-death state of consciousness of the Higher Mind - the Reincarnating Ego), for the mind has become illumined by means of the transference which has taken place during that which is called the Gestation State. The Gestation occurs in the after-death state during which the good, the true, the beautiful (to use the Platonic triad) is transferred from the personality (the mortal portion of the mind principle) to the individuality (the immortal portion - termed Buddhi-Manas). Manas-taijasi is only briefly mentioned in The Secret Doctrine, but is fully explained in The Key To Theosophy:
"Taijasi means the radiant in consequence of its union with Buddhi; i.e., Manas, the human soul, illuminated by the radiance of the divine soul. Therefore, Manas-taijasi may be described as radiant mind; the human reason lit by the light of the spirit; and Buddhi-Manas is the revelation of the divine plus human intellect and self-consciousness." (p.159)
Then the Enquirer poses the question:
"... if Buddhi is immortal, how can that which is similar to it, i.e. Manas-taijasi, entirely lose its consciousness till the day of its new incarnation? I cannot understand it." (p.159).
"You cannot, because you will mix up an abstract representation of the whole with its casual changes of form. Remember that if it can be said of Buddhi-Manas, that it is unconditionally immortal, the same cannot be said of the lower Manas, still less of Taijasi, which is merely an attribute. Neither of these, neither Manas nor Taijasi, can exist apart from Buddhi, the divine soul, because the first (Manas) is, in its lower aspect, a qualificative attribute of the terrestrial personality, and the second - (Taijasi) is identical with the first, because it is the same Manas only with the light of Buddhi reflected on it. In its turn, Buddhi would remain only an impersonal spirit without this element which it borrows from the human soul, which conditions and makes of it, in this illusive Universe, as it were something separate from the universal soul for the whole period of the cycle of incarnation. Say rather that Buddhi-Manas can neither die nor lose its compound self-consciousness in Eternity, nor the recollection of its previous incarnations in which the two - i.e., the spiritual and the human soul - had been closely linked together. But it is not so in the case of a materialist, whose human soul not only receives nothing from the divine soul, but even refuses to recognise its existence. You can hardly apply this axiom to the attributes and qualifications of the human soul, for it would be like saying that because your divine soul is immortal, therefore the bloom on your cheek must also be immortal; whereas this bloom, like Taijasi, is simply a transitory phenomenon." (pp.159-160)
Then the Enquirer continues with this question:
"Do I understand you to say that we must not mix in our minds the noumenon with the phenomenon, the cause with its effect?
"I do say so, and repeat that, limited to Manas or the human soul alone, the radiance of Taijasi itself becomes a mere question of time; because both immortality and consciousness after (continued on page 40)
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
Toronto Lodge recently saluted the passing of two of its long time members. Horace A. (Bert) Ellam, who joined the Society in 1927, died on February 28, 1986. He was 86 years of age. A well-known artist, Mr. Ellam had studied under Arthur Lismer, one of the Group of Seven painters (who was himself active with the Toronto Lodge in the early days at Isabella Street). As well, he was a leader in the field of lithography and the graphic arts.
Valentine Dersola died in Toronto on March 25, 1986, after a lengthy illness. He was in his 80th year, and had been a member for over 35 years. A memorial service was conducted at the Toronto Lodge by President David Zuk.
An internationally known Theosophical personality, Rukmini Devi Arundale, passed away in Adyar on February 24, 1986, at the age of 82.
When she was 16, Rukmini married George S. Arundale, who later became the third International President of the Theosophical Society. On three occasions, she herself ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the Presidency.
As well as for her Theosophical activities, Mrs. Arundale's name is also associated with the arts. The Kalakshetra Academy, which she founded in 1936, is world renowned as a school of Indian dance.
At one time, she was also active in politics. She was nominated member of the Upper House, Indian Parliament, 1952-1962. One of her most significant achievements in this period was the passing of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals legislation.
The official announcement of the results of the Election of Officers of The Theosophical Society in Canada for the 1986-1989 term, appears elsewhere in this issue.
I know all members will want to join me in congratulating Stan Treloar on being elected to the Office of General Secretary (President). Stan is a third-generation Theosophist, and has been a member for 35 years. He has a long record of activity with the Toronto Theosophical Society, and has been Vice-President of the T.S. in Canada for the past six years.
He and the new Directors will take Office immediately following the Annual Meeting, which will be held in Vancouver on July 5. The incoming Board will have two Directors who were not on the old: Peter Lakin and Mollie Yorke. Both have been very active on behalf of their respective Lodges, Toronto and Victoria.
Current Directors Mary Taylor and Wolfgang Schmitt declined to be nominated for the new term. Wolfgang has been on the Board of Directors, and its predecessor, the General Executive, for fifteen consecutive years. He has been conscientious and a tower of strength, and I count myself fortunate to have had the benefit of his counsel and cheerful assistance during all this time.
As previously announced, the 1986 Annual Meeting will be held on July 5. The place will be the "Fireside Room" in the Unitarian Church, 949 West 49th Street, Vancouver, B.C.
Our Guest Speaker this year will be Gordon Limbrick, a member of the Victoria Lodge. Gordon's articles in this magazine have been extremely well received by the readers, and his Convention talk, "A Mind in Meditation" promises to be most interesting.
I hope as many members as possible will be in attendance.
International President Radha Burnier will tour Canada in June. Starting in Victoria on the 10th, she will thereafter visit Lodges in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto
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- Simon G. Postma, Treasurer, 3322 - 112 C Street, Edmonton, Alter. T6J 3W8
- Wolfgang C. Schmitt, 50 Quebec Ave., Apt. 502, Toronto, Ont. M6P 4B4
- Mary E. Taylor, 2855 Lansdowne Road, Victoria, B.C. V8R 3P8
- Sharon L. Taylor, 1350 Limeridge Rd. E., Unit 36, Hamilton, Ont. LBW 1L6
- Stan L. Treloar, 57 Eleanor Crescent, Georgetown, Ont. L7G 2T7
- Emory P. Wood (Honorary Director), 9360 - 86 St., Edmonton, Alberta T6C 3E7
EDITORIAL BOARD, CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
All letters to the Editors, articles and reports for publication should be addressed to the Editors, 2307 Sovereign Crescent S.W., Calgary, Alta. T3C 2M3.
- Editors: Mr. and Mrs. T.G. Davy
Letters intended for publication should be restricted to not more than five hundred words. The editors reserve the right to shorten any letter unless the writer states that it must be published in full or not at all.
Rannie Publications Limited, Beamsville, Ontario
and Montreal, after which she will leave for the U.S.A. on the 22nd.
Lodge members will be kept informed regarding local program arrangements. Members-at-large should contact the nearest Lodge for details.
It is encouraging to learn of yet another Theosophical symposium which will be open internationally and interorganizationally. I am referring to the announcement in this issue of the Symposium on Mythology to be held in Los Angeles next February. I know that many Canadian students of Theosophy with interests in this subject could write worthwhile papers for consideration by the organizers - the Southern California Federation of Lodges, T.S. in America - and hope they will be encouraged to enter.
The Symposium is a good example of practical networking. May it have the success it deserves.
It gives me much pleasure to welcome the following new members into the fellowship of the Society: Toronto Lodge. James V. Janoff, Arturo A. Sanchez, Theodore T. Tsaousidis. Victoria Lodge. Peter J.S. Ball
Edmonton Lodge hosted a very enjoyable evening for out-of-town members-at-large at the Terrace Inn on April 05. The gathering was organized to give those of us living in the surrounding area an opportunity to get acquainted, and indeed we did!
Many of us had met on prior occasions, but never really got to know each other. The evening gave us a chance to speak to other members-at-large, and to share thoughts and ideas. After a delicious meal and a period of casual conversation, everyone in attendance participated by saying a few words to the group. Some spoke about how they were introduced to Theosophy, others about the effect it has had in their lives. Discussions on various topics ensued, developing into informative and stimulating dialogue.
The evening proved to be very enlightening and everyone left feeling inspired. A future gathering is anticipated, possibly to be held this Fall. What a refreshing change it was to attend a social function where all present had one major thing in common - THEOSOPHY!
- Maurice & Angie Mercier, Members-at-large
The first in a series of biweekly presentations on comparative religion commenced January 9 with "The Way of the Ancestors." The complete series is entitled "The Long Search" and consists of thirteen one-hour video films produced in the U.K. They were used as a basis for discussion.
"The Long Search" is an appropriate title. It refers to the search for absolute truth and meaning, the inner search or spiritual yearning in all of us for Divine Wisdom.
The series continued with the following: "Zulu Zion;" "330 Million Gods;" "Footprint of the Buddha;" "A Question of Balance;" and ''The Land of the Disappearing Buddha."
On alternate Thursday evenings, members spoke from the platform on the subject of their choice. Ruth E. Playle presented "Worship" - a travelogue of slides depicting places of worship, worshipers, gods and goddesses in countries of the Orient (India, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Kampuchia and Japan) and of the Middle East (Iran and Israel).
Gerard Pederian gave an illustrated lecture on "The Pharaoh Akhenaten" who lived during the 18th dynasty, circa 14th century B.C. He was the heretic king who was the first in the world to claim monotheism.
Richard Ayres lectured on "The After-Death States." This involved a comparison of Egyptian, Buddhist and basic theosophical approaches. The title of Peter Lakin's talk was "Some Basic Theosophical Tenets."
An authority on Egypt, Gerard Pederian presented a second illustrated lecture entitled "Mummification in Ancient Egypt." He answered the question, "How and why did the ancient Egyptians mummify their dead?"
"The Long Search" video films will continue through June. The series was coordinated by Peter Lakin and Richard Ayres.
We have welcomed several new members since the New Year.
- Ruth E. Playle, Secretary
The Annual General Meeting of the Vancouver Lodge was held in the Lodge Rooms on April 9, 1986. President Marian Thompson presented her report of the year's activities. The following Officers were elected for the coming year.
President - Marian Thompson
Vice-President - Pearl Mussell
Secretary-Treasurer - Anne Whalen Corresponding Secretary - Doreen Chatwin The Vancouver Lodge Secret Doctrine Class goes back to 1923, perhaps even before, but no earlier records are available. From 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. every Wednesday we read and discuss this work with deep interest. From 1:30 to 2:00 p.m. we have alternate readings. These have included Talbot Mundy's I Say Sunrise; P.G. Bowen's The Sayings of the Ancient One; and The Lost Princess by George McDonald. On May 8, White Lotus Day, we honoured H.P.B. with flowers and readings.
Three of our members attended the Adam Warcup Seminar in Edmonton September 14-15, 1985. Tapes of these sessions were heard by members at Lodge meetings from September 25 to October 30.
Judy Myrtle and Marian Thompson attended the Annual General Meeting in Toronto on September 28. Judy had recently been honoured by the Vancouver School Board for her years of devotion to teaching: the "Miss Myrtle Award" was set up, to be given to two students annually - one primary and one senior. Judy passed on in January, 1986, and we miss her sorely.
We were joined during 1985 by six young people, who enjoyed our meetings as much as we enjoyed their presence, until employment or training programs made it impossible for them to continue on Wednesday afternoons. One has since returned.
Adeline Ayoub has now become hospitalized with Parkinson's Disease, and we miss her at Lodge - she was our Librarian and faithful friend. Former member Colyn Boyce, who now works for the T.S. in England at the London headquarters, came home for a visit at Christmas, so we celebrated with him. Also, we once again enjoyed the annual social gathering of British Columbia Lodges at the Chatwins' on Mayne Island in August.
- Doreen Chatwin, Corresponding Secretary
Apart from our regular study meetings, we had our usual end of the month talks. The subject "Healing and Wholeness" was covered by Laetitia van Hees in March; and Lorraine Christensen, a member of the Lotus Lodge, spoke in April on "Lawren Harris: Theosophist and Artist".
Lorraine illustrated her talk with some beautiful slides of Lawren Harris' paintings, showing his changes in style over the years. These slides had been painstakingly prepared by Henning Christensen.
Both talks were followed by interesting discussions.
We have been happy to welcome a number of visitors to our meetings this Spring. Mary Underhill and Chystre Hayes drove in from Canmore to hear Lorraine's paper; and member Rick Arnold has introduced several of his students to our S.D. Study Class.
On our regular meeting night on May 7 we remembered H.P.B. with a White Lotus Day celebration. Readings were selected by Doris from The Light of Asia and the Bhagavad Gita; and selections from Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata were played.
- Laetitia van Hees, Secretary
ELECTION OF OFFICERS 1986-89
The composition of the Board of Directors of The Theosophical Society in Canada for the three-year term commencing at the 1986 Annual Meeting is as follows:
General Secretary - Stan L. Treloar
Directors - Ted. G. Davy - Lillian Hooper - Peter Lakin - Viola P. Law - Simon G. Postma - Sharon Taylor - Mollie Yorke
Mr. Treloar's was the only name submitted for the Office of General Secretary (President). Only seven nominations were received for the seven positions of Director. There was therefore no necessity to conduct a ballot. Accordingly, I declare the above-named duly elected.
- Ted G. Davy, General Secretary 1986-03-17
DEAD OR ALIVE? - THE ESSENTIAL QUESTION
The death of film star Rock Hudson last Fall was front page news all over the world - such is the society we live in. Shocked with newspaper reports that his body was cremated almost immediately after he expired, one of our American readers, Ann F. Danno, sent the following letter to the major U.S. papers, and to various of Mr. Hudson's friends and associates, including his biographer. To her letter, Mrs. Danno attached copies of the article "Dead or Alive? - The Essential Question" by S.E., which appeared in the May-June, 1985 edition of the C.T. - Eds.
With all the ink that has been spilled over the plight of Rock Hudson, nothing has appeared in print over his last and most serious ordeal. I refer to the unseemly hurry to cremate his remains. Why is this a problem, you ask? Wasn't he dead, so what does it matter?
It matters a great deal, as any knowledgeable esotericist, especially one well-versed in the sacred Eastern knowledge, knows that the soul must make a thorough review at the time of physical death, and that the extrication process can easily take 12 hours, and sometimes as many as 24 hours to complete, depending on the life activities, needs and propensities of that particular individual. Corroboration of the ancient wisdom lies in the fact that scientists have discovered that brain waves can continue to be monitored for up to 24 hours after death.
The teaching of the great eastern Adepts is that, as the soul is very much alert and occupied during this transition period, it is vital not to disturb the body in any way. It must not be moved, and the room must be kept quiet and a reverence for the soul maintained.
To cremate the body before the soul has made its exit is to burn the person alive, with all its terror and agony. It is too late for poor Mr. Hudson, but others would do well to take note and wait for 36 hours or so for their loved ones, just to be on the safe side. Ignorance is not a good excuse; and even if one chooses not to credit this ancient esoteric teaching, why take a chance?
Ann F. Danno
NETWORKING SYMPOSIUM CALL FOR PAPERS
The Southern California Federation of Lodges announces the first inter-Theosophical Students' Networking Symposium to be held February 14-15, 1987 in Los Angeles, California. This first year's theme will be Mythology. Original papers are now being requested for consideration.
Content: The field of mythology is vast and can be dealt with in many ways. Some possible approaches are: to examine a myth or groups of myths, for historical content, occult teachings, symbolism, or cultural context. One might write about the nature of mythology, or ways to approach myths. Comparative studies could be made on certain themes, such as death and resurrection, initiation, cosmology or anthropogenesis.
Papers must be theosophically relevant and should show points of comparison and/ or contrast with H.P.B.'s teachings regarding myths.
Format: Papers presented for consideration must be typed. A copy of the work must be submitted to the Federation for approval no later then December 15, 1986. If desired, a summary of not more than 200 words may be submitted for approval. The deadline for summaries is September 15, 1986.
Restrictions: Papers must be original works and upon acceptance, all right to the contents shall be the exclusive property of The Southern California Federation of
Lodges of The Theosophical Society in America.
Other: You need not be present to have your paper read at the symposium and may make arrangements to have a surrogate speaker.
Exact location of the conference, hotel accommodations, restaurants, etc., will be announced at a later date.
For further information, write: Jerry Ekins, President, 1322 Innes Place, Venice, CA 90291, U.S.A.
- Southern California Federation Newsletter, Winter, 1986.
Secret Doctrine Question and Answer Section (continued from page 34)
death become, for the terrestrial personality of man, simply conditioned attributes, as they depend entirely on conditions and beliefs created by the human soul itself during the life of its body. Karma acts incessantly: we reap in our after-life only the fruit of that which we have ourselves sown in this." (p.160) - Vol. 57, No. 6.
Question. How can we recognize the Higher Manas principle within ourselves, and how can we stimulate it?
Answer. One of the means of recognizing the Buddhi-Manas principle - the Higher Manas - is by hearkening to the voice of the conscience. For conscience is the accumulated wisdom acquired through many lives on earth: the garnered experience of numerous births, of past sufferings, trials, disappointments and achievements. All these are stored within the memory of the Reincarnating Ego. On the theme of activating the Higher Mind, H.P. Blavatsky wrote:
"By the enlightened application of our precepts to practice. By the use of our higher reason, spiritual intuition and moral sense, and by following the dictates of what we call 'the still small voice' of our conscience, which is that of our Ego." (The Key to Theosophy, p.240)
And further, on the duty of a Theosophist to himself:
"To control and conquer, through the Higher, the lower self. To purify himself inwardly and morally; to fear no one, and nought, save the tribunal of his own conscience. Never to do a thing by halves: i.e., if he thinks it the right thing to do, let him do it openly and boldly, and if wrong, never touch it at all." (The Key to Theosophy, p.241) - Vol. 53, No. 3
T.S. SUMMER CAMPS
Camp Indralaya is on beautiful Orcas Island (near Seattle-Victoria). The 1986 summer program runs through July and August. For details, write Camp Indralaya, Rt. 1, Box 86, Eastsound, WA 98245, U.S.A.
Pumpkin Hollow Farm
Pumpkin Hollow Farm is located not far from Albany, N.Y. The program runs from May to October. For details, write: Pumpkin Hollow Farm, R.F.D. No. 1, Box 135, Craryville, N.Y. 12521, U.S.A.
Far Horizons Camp is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Kings Canyon National Park, California. Program runs from June through Labour Day weekend. Details from Far Horizons, Inc., Box 857, Kings Canyon National Park, CA 93633, U.S.A.
Ozark Camp & Educational Center
Still experiencing difficulties resulting from the fire in December, 1984. One weekend program each month, June through October. For further information write: Mr. & Mrs. B. Newcomb, 8504 Booth, Raytown, MO 64138, U.S.A.
Why Meditate? A Practical Guide to Meditation, by Vincente R. Hao-Chin Jr., Foreword by Virginia Hanson. Distributed by The Theosophical Society in the Philippines, Quezon City, 1985, 55 pages.
The author is the General Secretary of the Theosophical Society in the Philippines. He should be congratulated for writing a useful guide for the newcomer to meditation. The subject is presented simply and clearly without the use of Sanskrit terms which confuse the average enquirer. He has recognized a divergence of views on this boundless subject, and offers the reader a wide range of useful references. He supports the contention that the meditator should proceed from the foundation of a fit mind and body, and uses Patanjali's "preparatory steps" as an illustration. Moreover, the neophyte is given sound advice about the pitfalls of meditation which should dispel any mistaken ideas concerning its purpose.
However, the title, Why Meditate? is misleading because the author does not answer the searching question he has posed. Instead, he cites the visionary experiences of a number of well known people and in doing so ascribes undue importance to the psychic spectacle. While he concedes that "a vision can inspire but does not constitute mystical experience in itself," he does not explain that such revelations - though profound - are not necessarily the fruits of meditation, nor should they be regarded as a criterion by which spiritual development is measured. Furthermore, the novitiate should be informed that visions of this nature may occur only once in a lifetime or sporadically. Either way, they are beyond the control of the individual and in marked contrast to the control of the Adept who has developed the ability to enter and leave higher levels of consciousness at will.
Apparently, then, it was not the intention of the author to deal with the question that the title of the book, Why Meditate? poses. Yet, one feels that at least he could have mentioned the ultimate purpose of meditation taught by all great Teachers, which is to release man from his web of dreams into the light of Reality. Possibly the author considered the traditional approach to be too elevated for the average reader and has, therefore, made use of the tangible concepts of the psychologist Maslow. He lists Maslow's "fourteen traits of 'self-actualized' people," and makes this valid comment: "We see in this list a remarkable convergence between the qualities of the enlightened man, as seen from the 'meditational' viewpoint, and that of the self-actualized man, as seen from the psychological point of view." (p. 43)
In discussing the role of mind in meditation he has given the reader some interesting insights. However, he is inclined to speak superficially about "having successfully mastered the art of concentration," without explaining that anyone who has mastered this art is approaching the threshold of Adeptship, a rare achievement which is normally the result of many years of painstaking preparation in this life and in former lives. Furthermore, the meaning of his emphatic assertion that "mystical consciousness is beyond the mind" might have been clearer to the reader had he pointed out that the mind also forms the link between man and Spirit and serves as the Antahkarana which H.P.B. describes as "The bridge between the lower manas and the higher manas."
Although he has wisely left aside the questions of diet and specific techniques of meditation, it is surprising that he makes no reference to the place of a teacher, for surely this question will arise in the mind of a beginner. Perhaps the omission is intentional since the author admits a bias towards Krishnamurti's abstruse philosophy which derides the traditional role of the Guru. At
least he could have assured a seeker that when he has made himself receptive, a teacher will always be there to assist him at every stage of his inner growth.
Finally, he might have warned the pupil to "hasten slowly"; to regard meditation as a lifelong dedication and to bravely accept the fact that unless the meditator is possessed of an indomitable will to reach the goal - that of Self-realization - he will soon fall by the wayside.
On a positive note, a jacket description of this stimulating little book describes it as "a clear statement of the timeless purpose of meditation, reduced to its simplest essentials. Based on accumulated wisdom of both East and West, the book frees the subject of meditation from the complex details which tend to conceal its true value, at the same time throwing light upon the function of certain tools or techniques that are used in the practice of meditation."
In her Foreword, Virginia Hanson concludes: "This is a new kind of book on meditation. May it serve as an agent of renewal for every reader."
- Gordon E. Limbrick
The Masks of Odin, Wisdom of the Ancient Norse, by Elsa-Brita Titchenell. Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 1985. xvi + 294 pp. Price $8.00 (U.S) softcover.
It is probably not far from the truth to say that the mythology of the ancient Norse has often been regarded by many occultists as the crude and primitive ramblings of ale-swigging Vikings - tales told to while away the oppressively cold and dark northern nights. Now, Elsa-Brita Titchenell's brilliant scholarship can illumine the darkness for those who are ready to discover a truer picture of Norse traditions.
At first I was reluctant to review this book. Even though I can delineate my ancestry to three Scandinavian countries, I felt very unqualified to comment on a work on Norse mythology. Despite having received my primary seven-year education in Norway, at a school built virtually on the ruins of a 1,100year old Viking fortification at Tunsberg, and having grown up within a twenty-minute walk of the famous Oseberg burial-ship archeological site, I knew very little about the complexities of Viking mythology.
No doubt the curriculum for Norwegian schools has changed over the last thirty years to include Norse mythology, but in my childhood, children remained uninformed about ancient ancestoral beliefs. As I recall, Christianity had managed to tar the old tales with its Biblical devil's taint. Odin, Freya and Thor had long been deposed and no longer held reign in the celestial realms. It is true that Snorri's Sagas of the Kings and the traditional rural folktales were held in high regard and were well known by all children, but not so the stories from the Edda, the matrix of human wisdom.
Titchenell's book is a very credible and painstakingly researched work. Her translations are rich with insight. The first third of the book builds an impressive array of parallels between the cast of Norse mythological characters and the Edda's cosmogenetic mysteries on the one hand, and, on the other, their correspondents in the Greek, Tibetan, Gnostic and other mystery schools. Theosophical wisdom, such as from the Stanzas of Dzyan, as well as from the author's own deliberations, are drawn upon to weave a coherent fabric from all the many-hued threads of superficial diversity and irreconcilability. What emerges for the reader is the systematic revelation of a unity of cosmic knowledge - east, west, south or north: all cultures have been enriched by similar eternal verities according to the receptiveness and capacity of the subjects' consciousness. Norse mythology is identified as a most worthy theosophy, but one which was clothed in northern garb - in symbology rich with "northernisms" unique
to the Scandinavian lifestyle, mores, language, climate and geography.
For me, this book manages to distill the most essential elements of my ancestors' traditions into an occult philosophy unquestionably linked with its more famous counterparts in other parts of the globe. It is no doubt true that the Ancient Wisdom, as represented in H.P.B.'s writings, provided many important keys which opened doors for Titchenell's enlightening solutions to many of the Norse quandaries.
The last two-thirds of the book contains translations from the Edda, with each section preceded by the author's own explanatory notes. Without them, the uninitiated such as I would quickly lose perspective. A Glossary and an Index concludes the volume.
Here are two excerpts from the translated Edda:
From "Voluspa", p. 91:
1. Hear me, all ye holy kindred,
Greater and lesser sons of Heimdal!
You wish me to tell the ancient tales,
O Father of seers, the oldest I know.
3. This was the first of aeons, when Ymer built.
There was no soil, no sea, no waves;
Earth was not, nor heaven;
Gaping abyss alone: no growth.
From "Havamal", pp. 110, 112:
6. Display not your cleverness; have a care; the wise man is silent
On another's ground, and arouses no anger.
Better friend has no man than good sense.
22. The wretch of mean disposition derides everything;
He knows not, as he should, that he lacks no
This is an excellent work, which can be recommended to all serious students of mythology and of the Ancient Wisdom.
- Dag Westgaard
The Inner Group Teachings of H.P. Blavatsky to her personal pupils (1890-91). A Reconstruction of the Teachings by H.J. Spierenburg. With a Short Historical Introduction by J.H. Dubbink. San Diego: Point Loma Publications, Inc., 1985. xxiii + 188 pp. Price $8.00 (U.S.) clothbound.
H.P. Blavatsky was in precarious health in the year preceding her death in 1891. This may have slowed, but did not stop, her continued strenuous efforts on behalf of Theosophy. Among her activities during those final months was giving special instruction to a select and invited group of Theosophical students in London. Notes taken by them in more than 20 meetings between August, 1890 and April, 1891 are here published in what has to be considered the definitive edition.
From the outset, these privileged students were collectively called the Inner Group. So secret was it, however, that few outsiders appeared to have been aware of its existence until after Madame Blavatsky's death. Eventually, twelve principal members were admitted, plus two others described by Dr. Dubbink as "outside members".
The composition of the Inner Group gives food for thought. Most had been workers for Theosophy - and perhaps this was one of the criteria used in their selection. However, others who were not invited could also be so described and, apart from those naturally excluded for geographical considerations, several names are noticeable by their absence, especially of those who later became prominent personalities in the Society.
Much of the teaching imparted to the Inner Group, and recorded here, originated as replies by Madame Blavatsky to questions which for the most part were prompted by her E.S.T. Instructions. The Notes are therefore supplementary to the latter, and as such are particularly useful. It seems that each member wrote up notes of meetings attended, and submitted these to the Secre-
taries, Annie Besant and G.R.S. Mead for inclusion in the Minutes after they had been checked by H.P.B. It may be inferred that it was always intended to publish these teachings, at least for the E.S., although it was as early as 1897 when they were first made public in the so-called Third Volume of The Secret Doctrine.
Since then, the teachings given to the inner Group have been variously published but never in such a complete form as here. Every variation found in the published versions is meticulously noted, and explanations provided where necessary. In this regard, Dr. Spierenburg's scholarshp is superb. He has also provided an index so detailed that it adds another dimension to the usefulness of this publication.
Other documents relevant to the I G. are also reproduced, including H.P.B.'s Diagram of Meditation; the "Declaration" of the twelve members written and signed by them shortly after H.P.B.'s passing, defending her against scurrilous accusations; and a Blavatsky-signed letter and order, both addressed not only to the Group, but to the E.S., regarding disharmony among the members.
(These latter documents, by the way, were first published in The Canadian Theosophist, Jan-Feb 1967. Copies of them had been given to the then General Secretary, Dudley W. Barr, by Geoffrey Watkins, son of John M. Watkins, who was a close associate of H.P.B.'s, though not himself a member of the Inner Group.)
Dr. Dubbink's all too brief introduction is helpful in explaining the formation and work of the Group. Interestingly, little has previously been written on this subject. One of the few resources he had to work with were Mrs. Alice Leighton Cleather's reminiscences. (Contrary to a widely-held belief, these are still in print by the way.) He also includes a capsule biography of each of the members. An interesting book could be written, in which the subsequent careers of the I.G. members is traced, and Dr. Dubbink is one student of Theosophy who could do this subject justice. Incidentally, not all the members honoured even part of the pledge they took.
The publication of this work helps shed some of the mystery of the Inner Group as well as making available the teaching received by the Group in a practical and scholarly form. It is an important supplement to the works of H.P. Blavatsky, now published in the Collected Writings series. Students of Theosophy now and in the future owe a great debt to Dr. Spierenburg, as well as to Point Loma Publications, Inc., for this valuable work.
- Ted G. Davy
STOP PRESS NEWS
The Society for Psychical Research (S.P.R.) in London has issued the following News Release for publication on May 8, 1986.
MADAME BLAVATSKY, CO-FOUNDER OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, WAS UNJUSTLY CONDEMNED, NEW STUDY CONCLUDES
The "exposure" of the Russian-born occultist, Madame H.P. Blavatsky by the S.P.R. in 1885, is in serious doubt, with the publication in the S.P.R. Journal (Vol. 53 April 1986) of a forceful critique of the 1885 report.
The case has been re-examined by Dr. Vernon Harrison, Past President of The Royal Photographic Society and formerly Research Manager to Thomas De La Rue, who is an expert on forgery. The 1885 report was written mostly by Richard Hodgson, an Australian pioneer of both the British and American S.P.R.'s, who became widely known through the case.
Central to the case were two sets of disputed letters. One set, provided by two dismissed employees of The Theosophical Society at its headquarters in India, were
apparently in the handwriting of Madame Blavatsky and implicated her in fraudulent psychic phenomena. The other set, were ostensibly written in support of The Theosophical Society by members of an oriental fraternity, popularly called Mahatmas. Dr. Hodgson accepted the genuineness of the first set. He argued that the Mahatma Letters were spurious productions by Madame Blavatsky and occasional confederates.
Dr. Harrison on the contrary, suggests that it is the incriminating letters that are forgeries, concocted by the ex-employees for revenge; while the bulk of the Mahatma Letters now preserved in the British Library, are not in Madame Blavatsky's handwriting, disguised or otherwise.
Dr. Harrison concludes:
"As detailed examination of this Report proceeds, one becomes more and more aware that, whereas Hodgson was prepared to use any evidence, however trivial or questionable, to implicate H.P.B., he ignored all evidence that could be used in her favour. His report is riddled with slanted statements, conjecture advanced as fact or probable fact, uncorroborated testimony of unnamed witnesses, selection of evidence and downright falsity.
"As an investigator, Hodgson is weighed in the balance and found wanting. His case against Madame H.P. Blavatsky is not proven."
Much of Dr. Harrison's paper is an examination of the handwriting evidence presented in the 1885 report. He believes this was so weak, partisan and confused that it might just as easily show that Madame Blavatsky wrote "Huckleberry Finn" - or that President Eisenhower wrote the Mahatma Letters.
In an introductory note to the paper, the Editor of the S.P.R., Dr. John Beloff, recalls that other researchers have criticized the 1885 report, and that it had wrongly been taken as expressing an official view of the S.P.R., when in fact the S.P.R. had no opinions. Noting that Dr. Harrison is not a member of The Theosophical Society, but a long-standing member of the S.P.R., Dr. Beloff says:
"Whether readers agree or disagree with his conclusions, we are pleased to offer him the hospitality of our columns and we hope that, hereafter, Theosophists, and, indeed, all who care for the reputation of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, will look upon us in a more kindly light."
Responding to the publication of Dr. Harrison's paper, Dr. Hugh Gray, General Secretary of The Theosophical Society in England, said:
"We welcome the publication of Dr. Harrison's findings, which independently confirm what Theosophists have pointed out in the past century. We hope that the Theosophical message in general, and Madame Blavatsky's work in particular, can now be studied without the distraction of the Hodgson allegations."
THE THREE TRUTHS
There are three truths which are absolute, and which cannot be lost, yet remain silent for lack of speech.
The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendor has no limit.
The principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen or smelt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception.
Each man is his own absolute lawgiver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.
These truths, which are as great as is life itself, are as simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry with them.
- Idyll of the White Lotus
A READER'S NOTES
The first issue of Theosophical Sparks, a new Theosophical journal, appeared in April. It is "edited and published by ULT students independently of any ULT or organization, Theosophical or otherwise."
Much space is given to ULT Lodge and Study Group news. Very interesting too, are some of these reports. From them we learn, for example, that the New York Lodge has been producing its own weekly television show for more than a year. Also, students of the London, Ontario Lodge, have presented both radio and television programs in their city during the past year. Another item that will please many as it did me: the Jacksonville, Florida Study Group has produced an index to Letters That Have Helped Me by William O. Judge.
The contents of this inaugural issue of Theosophical Sparks also includes news of activities in other parts of the Theosophical Movement, and outside it. The San Diego Secret Doctrine Symposium and the Networking for Unity Converence, both held in 1984, are reported; and space is given to an announcement of the forthcoming Conference on Theosophical History, to be held in London, England this summer. This is another good example of networking.
Theosophical Sparks certainly lives up to its Statement of Purpose, which is: "To provide a forum for communication, the sharing of knowledge, talents, resources and mutual aid in the furtherance of the work of The Theosophical Movement." Congratulations to all who are responsible for this refreshing publication. For more information write: Theosophical Sparks, P.O. Box 6849, F.D.R. Station, New York, N.Y. 10150-1907 U.S.A.
"'Shakespeare's deep and accurate science in mental philosophy' (Coleridge), has proved more beneficent to the true philosopher in the study of the human heart - therefore, in the promotion of truth - than the more accurate, but certainly less deep, science of any Fellow of the Royal Institution." - H.P. Blavatsky, "What's in a Name?" in H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, Vol. VIII, p. 13.
Shakespeare is in the news again - or rather still. In recent months, his name has been linked with (1) a newly discovered, rather undistinguished poem; and (2) more plausible with the play Edmund Ironside, which he may have written early in his theatrical career. Certainly, he is perennially topical, for one reason or another.
As may be inferred from Mme. Blavatsky's statement quoted above, much of value to students of Theosophy is waiting to be discovered in the works of William Shakespeare. In this regard, a recently published collection of studies on the plays is of great interest. It is entitled, Essays on Shakespeare, A Theosophical Interpretation.
These papers were originally published 1942-3 in The Theosophical Movement journal. They have now been collected and reprinted in a book of 100-pages by the, United Lodge of Theosophists in London, Ontario. In my opinion, our friends in London have performed a valuable service by providing easy access to these anonymous studies. They are thoughtful and well-written; and open up new facets of understanding of the plots and characters. Students of Theosophy - especially, but not exclusively, those who appreciate the Bard - will derive new ideas and much pleasure from this little book. It may be obtained from the ULT, 799 Adelaide Street, London, Ontario N5Y 2L8. Price $3
On a related subject, when is some enterprising publisher going to reprint Colin Still's Shakespeare's Mystery Play? It is a superlative study of The Tempest. Originally published in 1921, it surely deserves another "incarnation".
H.P.B.'s Diagram of Meditation is reprinted in The Inner Group Teachings of H.P. Blavatsky. As usual, the source cited is The Canadian Theosophist, March, 1943. John Cooper, the Australian authority on the early years of the Movement, says this was the first time it was printed, and everything points to this being correct. However, this seems a good opportunity to ask if anyone is aware of a possible earlier publishing of the now well known Diagram? Or if anyone knows of an earlier private circulation of copies of this valuable chart?
"THE SLEEPING SPHERES"
Announcing a new printing of "The Sleeping Spheres", by Jasper Niemand, with notes by Willem B. Roos. Price $1.25 plus 60 cents postage. Available from: The Theosophical Society in Canada, 2307 Sovereign Cres. S.W., Calgary, Alberta, Canada T3C 2M3
CHANGING YOUR ADDRESS?
If you are a subscriber or a member-at-large and are planning to change your address, please send us a change of address card as soon as possible. If you are a member of a Lodge, please advise your Lodge Secretary so that the information may be passed to us. Second class mail is not re-addressed by the post office. - Eds
THE EUROPEAN SCHOOL OF THEOSOPHY The Fifth European School of Theosophy will take place at Tekels Park, Camberley, England, October 11 - 26, 1986. This year, the full school has been extended, and will cover a two-week period, but if there are vacant places, members may be accepted for either the first or second week of the course.
Joy Mills, Director of the Krotona School of Theosophy, will be Guest Tutor. Geoffrey Farthing, Adam Warcup and others will also take part.
All inquiries should be addressed to: Mrs. Elise Probert, 21 Alfreda Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff CF4 2EH, Wales, U.K.
THE H.P.B. LIBRARY
c/o M. Freeman, Site No. 19, Comp. No. 2, R.R. 1, Vernon, B.C. V1T 6L4
Comprehensive literature of the Theosophical Movement lent by mail. Catalog on request. The library also publishes the following:
- The Voice of the Silence (Peking Edition)
- Works by Alice Leighton Cleather:
H.P. Blavatsky - A Great Betrayal
H.P. Blavatsky - Her Life and Work for Humanity
H.P. Blavatsky - As I Knew Her
- Works by Alice Leighton Cleather and Basil Crump:
Buddhism - The Science of Life
The Pseudo-Occultism of Mrs. A. Baily.
- Nine "H.P.B. Pamphlets", including early articles from Lucifer.
- Write for price list.
BEACONSFIELD STUDY CENTRE: Secretary, Mrs. Suzanne Hassanein, 81 Heritage Rd., Beaconsfield, P.Q., H9W 3V2. (Phone 695-2618 or 697-8198).
CALGARY LODGE: President, Mr. Hank van Hees; Secretary, Mrs. Laetitia van Hees, No. 705 - 4935 Dalton Drive N.W., Calgary, Alta. T3A 2E5 (Phone 286-1271).
EDMONTON LODGE: President, Mr. Ernest E. Pelletier; Sec.-Treas., Mr. Simon Postma, South Side Edmonton Post Office Box 4804, Edmonton, Alta. T6E 2A0. (Phone 434-9326).
HAMILTON LODGE: President, Sharon L. Taylor; Secretary, Laura Baldwin, 304 Emerson St., Hamilton, Ont. L8S 2Y7. (Phone 525-8193) MONTREAL LODGE: President, Mrs. Elizabeth M. Smith; Secretary, Mr. Fred Wilkes, 3679 Ste. Famille, No.22, Montreal, P.Q. H2X 2L5
TORONTO LODGE: President, Mr. David Zuk; Secretary, Miss Ruth Playle. Lodge Rooms, 12 MacPherson Avenue, Toronto, Ont. M5R 1W8 (Phone 922-5571)
VANCOUVER LODGE: President, Mrs. Marian Thompson; Sec.-Treas. Mrs. Pearl Mussell, Lodge Rooms, Room 413, Dominion Building, 207 West Hastings St., Vancouver, V6B 1H7.
HERMES LODGE, VANCOUVER: President, Mr. Larry Gray; Secretary, Mrs. Eva V. Sharp. Lodge Rooms: 2 - 2807 West 16th Ave., Vancouver, B.C. V6K 3C5. (Phone 733-5684 or 266-7340.)
KALEVALA STUDY CENTRE, VANCOUVER: Secretary; Mrs. Hellin Savolainen, 2282 Gravely St., Vancouver, B.C. V5L 3C2.
ORPHEUS LODGE, VANCOUVER: President, Mrs. Lillian Hooper. (Phone 987-8633 or 731-7491.)
PRINCE GEORGE STUDY CENTRE: Secretary, Mrs. Mary Ann Sills, 211 McIntyre Cres., Prince George, B.C. V2M 4P6
VICTORIA LODGE: President, Mrs. Dorita Gilmour; Secretary, Mrs. Mollie Yorke. (Phone 592-9838).
ATMA VIDYA LODGE: Secretary, Mrs. H. Tidberry. Enquiries c/o General Secretary.
BLAVATSKY INSTITUTE PUBLICATIONS
2307 Sovereign Crescent S.W., Calgary, Aberta T3C 2M3
- Modern Theosophy, by Claude Falls Wright Cloth $1.75
- The Exile of the Soul, by Roy Mitchell - a key to the understanding of occult psychology. Cloth $2.75
- Theosophic Study, by Roy Mitchell, a book of practical guidance in methods of study. Paper $1.00
- Course in Public Speaking, by Roy Mitchell. Especially written for Theosophical students. $3.00
- The Use of the Secret Doctrine, by Roy Mitchell. 10c
- Theosophy, An Attitude Toward Life, by Dudley Barr. 50c
- The Wisdom of Confucius, by Iverson L. Harris. 25c
Postage extra on all titles