VOL. 67, NO. 4 TORONTO, SEPT.-OCT., 1986 Price 75 Cents
The Theosophical Society is not responsible for any statement in this Magazine, unless made in as official document.
A MIND IN MEDITATION
(Based on a talk given at the Annual Meeting of The Theosophical Society in Canada, at Vancouver, British Columbia, July 5, 1986.)
The views I wish to share with you on the boundless subject of meditation merely echo a message that has run through the perennial philosophy like a golden thread, and which is so beautifully epitomized in The Voice of the Silence. In essence, this message affirms that the ultimate purpose of a human life is to reach a state of enlightenment - not in a vague heavenly world, or in a distant Golden Age - but here and now within the priceless inheritance of a human form. In the words of Aurobindo:
"The body is the temple wherein man may discover the whole reality of spirit and being, the ultimate Truth, which may be seen, felt, lived and held in the inmost heart and soul."
We are all ultimately destined to make this discovery, but we must first awake to the ephemeral nature of a material existence and seek for that which is Eternal. This momentous "turning point" marks the beginning of the quest for Self-Transformation; and when this deliberate process of discovering the Higher Self commences, we have begun to cultivate "a mind in meditation."
There are as many paths towards the Godhead as there are thinking people, yet all paths have a common rendezvous in the human constitution. This meeting place has been described by Madame Blavatsky as the Antaskarana, or the bridge between the lower mind and the higher mind. Only the formidable barrier of the turbulent lower mind bars the path to Reality and must, therefore, be brought under control.
To accomplish this tremendous task, the nature of mind must first be understood. When the behaviour of the mind is discerned, our predicament becomes apparent and the remedial action unmistakable.
Let us first examine the four basic modes of mental action from a Yogic viewpoint. By doing so we can, perhaps, determine what must be done to cultivate a mind in meditation. These modes are: the scattering tendency; the darkening tendency; the gathering process; and the state of concentration. The scattering and darkening tendencies mark the monad's descent into matter, while the processes of gather-
ing and concentration reflect its ascent towards spirit.
The Scattering Tendency
The irresistible energy of the mind has been running outwards to its fields of pleasure for countless lives, for it is the nature of mind to seek pleasure and flee from pain. Like a butterfly it flits from one sensuous delight to another. In fact, the mind is so unsteady, that sages have likened it to a drunken monkey stung by a thousand scorpions. Furthermore, the mind is highly impressionable and has the uncanny propensity of absorbing the atmosphere of its immediate surroundings like the chameleon that changes the colour of its skin to blend with its background. This assailability is the mind's downfall. The gullible mind has no defence against its own inborn scattering tendency.
The Darkening Tendency
Understandably, the vulnerable mind is easily entangled in the world of the senses and sense objects. It sees an object, a car, a human form or a work of art, and simultaneously the object becomes a desire. If the desire is strong enough, the will is activated to fulfil that desire. Hence the law of cause and effect is brought into play and karmic attachments are made.
Desire, everyone possesses; for without desire we could never achieve the noble goals in life. We have all felt the "tug-of-war" between our higher aspirations and the lower desires which keep the mind in a state of constant agitation. Moreover, the restless mind becomes so obsessed with the body; with relations, home, country; with pleasure and with its pain and sorrow; that it becomes oblivious of its own true identity, the Higher Self. When the light of Spirit is forgotten, the darkening tendency dominates.
The Gathering Process
How are we to reverse these worldly tendencies? Fortunately, we are endowed with the power to detach ourselves from the influence of the mind and body and when this power is deliberately exercised, the gathering process commences. "Gathering" is best accomplished from the foundation of meditation which is the most direct means of collecting the scattered rays of the mind and bringing them to a one-pointed focus at the "eye-centre". Furthermore, meditation establishes a direct link with the Higher Self which is an infallible guide in the conduct of daily life.
The eye-centre is considered to be the centre of concentration and the point from which we exercise intelligent control over the body. Occultists posit its location to be about two and a half inches behind and between the brows where psychic nerve systems meet in a ganglion before separating into the brain. It is also the point of focus for the repetition of a mantra and, in this respect, serves as a storehouse for spiritual energy.
By the practice of Japa, which is essentially the silent repetition of a mantra, scattered thoughts are gradually channeled into a controllable focus, but not without a long and painstaking struggle. It is a fight with back to the wall.
Certainly, mere sitting in passive meditation will not bring about self-transformation, for unless one's karmic duties are faced and fulfilled spiritual growth will be thwarted. Purposeful meditation, then, is a way of combining spiritual growth with the action required in our daily lives. At the same time a mental detachment from the world and its pleasures must be cultivated. This should not be mistaken for asceticism, but it does imply that the senses be trained to be obedient servants. The cultivation of detachment is reinforced by the practice of Viveka, or discrimination, requiring a searching enquiry into the conduct of thought and into the nature of
Existence. There can be no profound meditation, no lasting spiritual experience, until a meaningful state of detachment is developed.
The Way of Works
Fundamental to the path of meditation is the practice of Karma Yoga which the Gita defines as: "Action, without regard to the fruits of action," and which, of course, implies that if there is an ulterior motive in the performance of a so-called good deed, it becomes a karmic-binding action.
The Gita also makes clear the importance of knowing where our karmic duties lie: "Better to die doing one's own duty moderately well, than to die doing the duty of another exceedingly well." This does not suggest walking away from a situation requiring action for, as The Voice of the Silence affirms: "Inaction in a deed of mercy becomes an action in a deadly sin."
Marcus Aurelius had a commendable attitude toward helping others. He taught that: "A man makes no fuss over a good deed but passes on to another, like a vine to bear fruit again in season." Perhaps the good deed performed anonymously is the noblest.
The word "concentration„ is generally understood to mean: "The direction of attention towards a single object," but the word has a deeper meaning expressed in the Sanskrit word Dharana, which also implies "internal concentration." This is achieved when the meditator is capable of holding his entire attention at the eye-centre to reach a state that Lao Tse described as "concentration without deviation." In that state the mind is entirely interiorized and oblivious of the outside world and, therefore, operating on another plane of consciousness. Having been temporarily freed from its agelong anchorage in matter, the mind has made a quantum leap from the state of fragmented thought images to the highest mode of mental action, that of uninterrupted concentration which leads to Inner Vision.
Prior to reaching this state, meditation was essentially a fight against a rebellious mind, waged apparently by personal effort. But now that the initial uphill battle has been won, the meditator feels an inward and upward pull from within himself and knows intuitively that without this greater inner power his own efforts would be futile.
The Spiritual Journey
Seen from a Yogic perspective, the spiritual journey begins at the tip of the feet and finishes at the top of the head. There are two distinct stages. During the first stage - the gathering process - the life currents are drawn up to the eye-centre to establish concentration. The second stage is the "inner journey" from the eye-centre to the crown of the head, seat of the symbolical thousand-petalled lotus associated with sainthood, during which the vast astral and ineffable spiritual regions are miraculously reached as psychic nerve centres are systematically activated during deep meditation.
When the practice of "going within" is established, a gradual tranformation takes place as various inner organs awake, as it were. Christmas Humphreys throws light on this process of transmutation:
"These organs begin to separate themselves from the chains of their bodily counterparts to operate on a plane that is particularly theirs. Meanwhile, the astral form must be carefully extracted fibre by fibre, from every cell in the body, a feat achieved only by perfecting the power of concentration and by repeated experiment."
If the concentration is broken by inner or outer distractions the astral and subtle bodies will slip back into the physical sheath
as if drawn by a powerful magnet. Similarly, the principle of concentration applies to the daily practice of meditation. It is futile to gather concentration - which is a form of spiritual energy - at the eye centre, if that energy is dissipated throughout the day by allowing the mind to lose itself in the vortex of worldly pursuit. This is spiritual haemorrhage.
Constant vigilance is necessary. The mind must be trained to return automatically to the eye-centre in remembrance of the Higher Self whenever it is not engaged in demanding duties. It must be saturated by the concept that the Higher Self is ever present and watchful within, "closer than breathing" as Tennyson puts it. Indeed, closer than the mind itself.
Expansion of Mind
It is an occult law that as we move "within" closer to the Higher Self our horizons begin to expand, or as Socrates put it: "The deeper a man is rooted in spirit, the more he knows directly." As a result we begin to see life as a counterpart of another plane of existence and the inexorable process of birth, growth, decay and death is perceived as the pattern of spiritual transformation. The unity in multiplicity is sensed as we discover experimentally that we are not different from existence but an integral part of it.
The false notion that meditation is practiced solely for personal salvation is dispelled, for it will become apparent that the ultimate effect of meditation is to scuttle the "web of dreams" we call personality and to shatter the cemented ego which, after all, is only an attempt to maintain a separate existence. For how can "a mind in meditation" cling tenaciously to its sense of separateness or to the spurious myth of "individualism" and be unheedful of the happiness and the suffering of five billion souls who also inhabit the earth?
The Way of Naturalness
Spiritual development is nurtured by aligning one's self with the laws of nature, for the soul can breathe more easily when we are close to the elements than among the disturbing forces of an artificial life. As early as 600 B.C., the Chinese sage Lao Tse taught the importance of working in harmony with nature's laws by "moving with the Tao." We are intimately related with nature and must therefore welcome her healing and soothing caresses: the life-giving rays of the sun, the crisp mountain air and the spray of the ocean. Exposure to the elements keeps us in tune with ourselves and with the flowing river of life.
For the time being we are in charge of - or should be in charge of - a miraculously complex mind and body which we are duty bound to keep as a fitting sanctum for the Higher Self. When we move in harmony with the Tao, nature bestows health and is ever ready to heal and renew. Conversely, when the body or mind are abused, nature punishes us with pain. Pain is nature's alarm signal warning us to get back on the right tracks. A balanced life with adequate exercise, pure air and a sattvic diet provides a firm foundation for spiritual growth. The Law of Balance must be revered, for nature knows no physical bounds. It will destroy all who thwart its purpose. "Help Nature and work on with her," says The Voice of the Silence, and Nature will regard thee as one of her creators and make obeisance."
The Outcome of Meditation
If I have painted a formidable picture of the meditative way of life, let me summarize some of the tangible benefits that arise as the result of consistent effort:
- A heightened awareness of the Overself which, if heeded, provides a protective armour against the accumulation of unnecessary karma.
- A marked acuteness of the senses
accompanied by greater awareness of daily behaviour and habitual responses to life and to people.
- A therapeutic effect upon the mind and body arising from the occult law that "A mind imbued with Truth will keep the body in health."
- The development of a "one-pointed" mind resulting in a reduction of unnecessary worldly thoughts and an increase in the flow of thought towards the Higher Self.
- The cultivation of serenity from which arises those cherished moments when the "Higher nature touches the lower, and soul qualities of love, compassion and a kinship with all things springs forth."
- Spasmodic inner experiences which serve to assure the meditator that he is moving in the right direction.
Perhaps the greatest blessing is that meditation prepares the way for a controlled and peaceful passage through the Antaskarana at the time of death. For the practice of deep meditation familiarizes the seeker with the nature of the transition and, as a result, the fear of death is diminished or removed.
Take a comfortable sitting position in which the body is free from all tension. If possible, the spine and neck should be kept in alignment.
- Open the portals of the heart in complete surrender to the Overself and cultivate the "Buddhic Smile" - the smile of inner peace and bliss.
- Gently close the eyes and silently repeat a mantra at the eye-centre - or use an inspirational prayer. Japa must never become mechanical but must emanate from the heart.
- When the mind wanders, bring it back again and again to the eye-centre and continue Japa.
- Always meditate upon rising when the mind is refreshed and events of the previous day have faded into the background. It is worthy of note that the Adept meditates between the hours of three a.m. and dawn, when the earth currents are at their lowest ebb and spiritual energy at its peak.
- A fifteen-minute period upon rising and before retiring is sufficient for beginners. This may be increased considerably when meditation is established and whenever favourable circumstances permit.
- Meditation before retiring elevates the soul during sleep. With constant practice, an unbroken awareness of the Higher Self is brought into both the dream state and into the deep sleep state.
- Do not break the continuity of daily meditation and thereby deprive yourself of guidance from the Higher Self.
- Make your daily walk a "Walking Meditation."
The Yoga of the Sound Current
It would be remiss of me to close without mentioning the "inner sound" that accompanies profound meditation, especially as there are many references to this in Theosophical literature. For this "mystic melody" is none other than the "Soundless Sound" described in Madame Blavatsky's The Voice of the Silence. Briefly stated, the creative aspect of this Sound Current reverberates throughout the entire creation and is vibrating through you at this very moment. In fact, should it cease to flow through you, you would become a corpse. It is the only REAL thing about you. It is your link with Eternity and with Atman, permeating as the audible life-stream of the universe.
Orthodox religions have failed to under-
stand its significance or to recognize its omnipotent power, yet it is known to most religions. It is the Logos or "Word made flesh" of the Bible; the Nada, or "Soundless Voice" of the Upanishads; the "Nam" or Name of the Sikh Adi Granth; the Kalma or "Inner Sound" of The Koran; the "Vach" of The Secret Doctrine; the "Kwan-Yin-Tien" of Chinese mysticism; and the "Bardol Thodol" of Tibetan Buddhism. Pythagoras described it as "the music of the spheres," while Patanjali's Aphorisms call it "OM". By simply listening to it, these comparative references become mere rhetoric.
All humans are endowed with the capacity to hear it. In fact, you may already have heard one or more of its seven frequencies ringing in the skull without realizing its significance. Current schools of the Sound Current refer to it as the "Shabdh" - a word common to Hindi and Sanskrit, meaning "inner spiritual sound." The Shabdh has two distinct attributes: metaphysical and terrestrial. The terrestrial aspect has an outward centrifugal flow relating to the "descending principle" that sustains the universe, which can be measured scientifically and also manifests as "struck sound" within the range of the ear.
We are all familiar with "struck sounds" resulting from percussion of some kind arising from the magnificent voices and rumblings of nature and from the repelling noise pollution produced by man.
On the other hand, the metaphysical aspect of the Shabdh which flows centripetally inwards and backwards to its Source, is an "unstruck" sound beyond the range of scientific instruments and inaudible to the physical ear, because, to put it simply, IT IS NOT OF THIS WORLD. Hence, H.P.B. has paradoxically named it The Voice of the Silence, for like the all-pervading Atman it remains forever distinct and apart from the material universe. Moreover, unlike "struck sounds" which have a beginning and an end, the Voice of the Silence has no beginning and no end. "It rings throughout Eternity." At first, only its faint echoes are heard during meditation. Later the sound becomes distinct and at that time its tremendous uplifting power is also felt. Just as the snake-charmer's flute hypnotizes the cobra, the enchanting Voice of the Silence will wean the mind from its attachment to the senses and carry the soul back to its true home.
In conclusion, the perennial philosophy makes it quite clear that we have been tied to the wheel of Samsara for interminable lives. However, it does not teach that we must remain helpless wanderers on a relentless evolutionary journey forever bound by cyclic and karmic law. On the contrary the sole mission of the great spiritual teachers who have dwelt among men at all times is to point a way out of this labyrinth. Surely it is time to realize the folly of trying to perpetuate a physical existence that must forever end in ashes, and instead, to seek "within for that which is eternal."
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
THE LIGHTED SHADOW: PERSONALITY, SELFHOOD AND REBIRTH
William R. Laudahn
"Myself." Perhaps, "yourself."
At face value, these terms are convincing. The common belief is that personalities, however different, are the selfhood of each human being. The daily and hourly clash of such personal "selves" appears to be the stuff of life. A very few suffer from "multiple personalities" - raising the question of which is the dominant self.
Are there at least two selves? In metaphysics, yes: the Higher and the Lower. In Theosophy, the only true Self - fused with Divinity - is the Higher. Personality and its characteristics are so transitory and superficial that they are assigned as properties of the lower self.
In shallow religious views, the lower self (as "Soul") is thought to be changeless and immortal. The hope is that the permanent person, ideally with the Personal God, will be gratified forever. A heaven with endless opportunities for sensual pleasure is projected. Seldom noted in this context are spiritual and intellectual pleasures. If this is a nice example of wishful thinking, is it really so nice?
"To me, that ... is horrible," said a great theosophical thinker, G. de Purucker. "To remain permanently as I am in my Ego and never be able to change and go higher," would be a bleak destiny. (Studies in Occult Philosophy, p. 500) Further, he observed that the idea of immortality as permanent personalities has ushered in world and personal misery, selfishness, suffering and pain.
The light of the true Self banishes those shadows. Alone, it is immortal. The lower self with its personality is a classic example
of mortality. Often, it is so empty that it perishes even before the body. In any event, both the body and personality are subject to change within their natural limits.
The human scene teems with all types of "personas," masks of personality. Some are pleasant, others border on disaster. Most are bland. Some great and brilliant people are sadly deficient in personal relationships. On the other hand, certain amiable souls have no other qualifications. It is nice, but rare, to find "well rounded" individuals.
Consider the enigmatic and volatile personality of Madame Blavatsky. It is not true that she never enjoyed placid moments. Her associates truly appreciated such moments! Those sunny periods contrasted so vividly with the other more stormy but "normal" times. Outstanding about the Blavatsky personality is that it was "most remarkable ...exceedingly strong and self-willed, and withal endowed with extraordinary psychic faculties... " (William Kingsland, The Real H.P. Blavatsky, p. 59)
Such characteristics involved her in a titanic struggle with the lower self. Due to her great soul, iron will, and philosophic genius, she achieved victory for the Higher Self. This triumph was especially evident in her "lifework and mission" as revealed from a loftier plane. Then it was urged that the psychical be cast aside in favour of the metaphysical and philosophic. Madame Blavatsky was metamorphosed into "H.P.B."
Usually, however, Madame Blavatsky allowed the personality free rein. Like the rest of us, she was human - only more so! Therefore, she did not appear before the world as an ideal "saintly figure" or typical
"religious leader" - so called. Unlike some of these, she was not a hypocrite. In her case, the burden is put on the observer to be able to see what is behind the facade. That is not easy, which explains the many unfavourable views of Blavatsky. The mystical and metaphysical H.P.B. is overlooked. The lower self looms larger, in the common view, than the Higher Self. Indeed, the latter is invisible. The lower self dies, except in the memory of small selves - and their biographies.
What about Reincarnation and the Self? There are many ideas about this subject. The Master K.H. drew attention to "...the difference between Reincarnation a la Allan Kardec, or personal rebirth - and of the Spiritual Monad." (The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, 3rd. ed., p. 324) Discussing Reincarnation, William Q. Judge in 1890 wrote that
"Many theosophists accept doctrines of that name, but are not able to say what it is they have accepted. They do not pause to find out what reincarnates ...Some at first think that when they die they will reincarnate, without reflecting that it is the lower personal I they mean, which cannot be born again in a body." (Echoes of the Orient, I, 123).
Told that "the Bible says that man was made in the image of God," Mr. Judge replied that "Man is made in the image of his God, who is his Higher Self." (ibid., II, 295) This rather than the "Soundless Sound," which he wryly observed is "very difficult to hear." (347) As to the development of inner Selfhood, he cited the "continual war" between the lower and the Higher Self. It is here that most people, "ever compromising," give way to the lower demands, waiting for a more opportune time before giving "the Higher the reins of government - but that day will never come under such a course." (II, 417)
The spiral points downward, there is no rest. "Think," urged G.de P., "of the horror of everything remaining forever as it is!" Can we face the truth? Immortality is relative. It is held that the inner God or Higher Self is immortal. Venturing even further ahead, if you will, in "endless Duration":
"... even the Atman changes and grows to something sublimer... Growth, change, progress, evolution, bringing out in ever larger measure the stored-up fountain of life, of intelligence, of being, lying within us: THAT ... is the future, not static immortality." (Studies, 501)
The path to inner peace follows the recognition that "here within" is the Cosmic Life, Intelligence - deathless, for it is always here, there and everywhere. "Myself" and "yourself" are THAT. Nameless, it cannot be described. Neither spirit nor non-spirit, it is both and more.
Generally, theosophical literature has it that the Higher Self "overshadows the series of personalities which appear and disappear like evanescent phantoms in the great cyclic process of the phenomenal world of time and space." (The Real H.P. Blavatsky, 62) Madame Blavatsky spoke of the vital significance of mortals being
"... overshadowed by their divine SELF, with every chance given to them to become immortal hereafter, but no other security than their personal efforts to win the kingdom of heaven, the so chosen man has already become an immortal while yet on earth." (Isis Unveiled II, 153)
It remained for de Purucker to rephrase and re-emphasize the relationship of Higher and Lower Self by explaining that
"... with the single exception of... 'lost souls,' who are exceedingly rare, every human being, and indeed every entity, is over-enlightened, or to use the curious English expression 'overshadowed,' by an inner god, of which inner god such human being or such other entity is the expression, one expression at least, on this Earth. This inner god is our link with the divine worlds, and the channel through which we receive those numerous and voiceless intimations of spiritual glory, of self-forgetfulness, and of impersonal love. This is what the Avatara Jesus had in mind when he is reported to have said: 'I and my Father are one.' It is verily so...
"This inner god is our Parent-Star. Now make of that statement what you can! It is not so much the physical star, although that is true also as being the corporeal vehicle of the inner god. Mere spacial distance has nothing to do with this fact, because the links are links of consciousness and spirit." (The Dialogues of G. de Purucker, II, 356)
The Higher Mind, the Higher Self. These are potent concepts in the universal mystical world outlook. They express inner truths that scientific or physical experiment cannot touch. At least, not yet. The inner god can only be approached by way of this Mind, this Self - for they are of the same Stuff.
Light of this hue was again seen by de Purucker when he related that:
"The radiant light which streams forth from this immortal centre or core of our inmost being, which is our inner god, lightens the pathway of each one of us; and it is from this light that we obtain ideal conceptions ... we can (then) guide our feet towards an ever large fulfilling in daily life of the beautiful conceptions which we as mere human beings dimly or clearly perceive, as the case may be.
"The divine fire which moves through universal Nature is the source of the individualized divine fire coming from man's inner god....
"Hence, call it by what name you please (the Christ Immanent, the living Buddha, Brahma, etc.), the reflective and mystical mind intuitively realizes that there works through him a divine flame, a divine life, a divine light, and that this by whatever name ... is himself, his essential SELF." (Occult Glossary, 67)
In the inner, real and super-nature, there is a close relationship, even identity of each and all. In the case of conscious beings (with lower selves), the Higher is in the area of divine unity. In the realm of Maya (Illusion), we find process, separation, distinction, differences. The Cycle of Necessity operates, making for expression, emanation, creation, and evolution - even good and evil. We may try to make the good better, the evil less. In the meantime, appreciate the grand display.
As it is neither deserving nor so constituted, there is no private "personal salvation" for the lower self. Immortality is only through the Higher Self, which "over enlightens" all. Let us be enlightened without seeming to be. For "there is wickedness in high places." And "pride goeth before a fall." Act in the spirit - and in the light - of the Golden Mean. All else will then be added, born and reborn, if it is to be.
You never can obtain the spiritual powers until every vestige of the selfish selfhood is washed out of you.
- G. de Purucker
SET TO WORK TO CONQUER THE GREAT BOOKS
...Once inside the Theosophical Movement we fall back into our old habit of relying on somebody to arrange some kind of an easy compromise for us. We are pledged to the pursuit of truth to its sources; and we say no religion is higher than truth is; but when we come on one of the great source-books of truth - or what, because so many men have lived and died for it bears evidence of being nearer to truth - Buddha's, Jesus's, Krishna's, Lao Tse's, Plato's, the Kabbala, the Divine Pymander, the Avesta, Pistis Sophia, the Secret Doctrine, do we set to work to conquer it? No, we have spent all our daring for this life getting where we are, so fater [[sic]] a feeble effort we look around for a book by somebody who will undertake to make the big book easy. And read that? Not if it is hard. We look around for a third book that undertakes to make the second easy. And presently if we persist in our quest of what is easy we are back again, inside the Movement just as we were outside of it, relying on another sanctified clergy whose trade it is to make truth easy even if it has to tell untruth about it.
I think this is fundamental. If somebody has enunciated something so that it can be easily and cheaply understood we can be sure he has altered it. Truth is neither cheap nor easy. Unless he be a great provocative and disturbing artist as the Teachers are, the simplifier achieves his result by removing something essential to the full understanding of the mystery. A garageman with a Stillson wrench can, by making away with the carburetor and the electrical equipment, so simplify an internal combustion engine that a child can understand it, but at the same time he will make it that a man cannot.
How then are we to progress, if somebody's good book is too hard and somebody else's easy book is wrong. So long as we believe that the process of wisdom is in what somebody's book does to us instead of what we do to somebody's book, we cannot progress at all. We had better hire a clergyman to comfort us. The basis of all Theosophy is that truth dwells within a man's own being and is elicited by the effort he puts on the hints in the book he reads. A great book hints at everything and can therefore elicit everything. A poor book offers explicit information about the things it professes to deal with. Its powers of provocation and elicitation are therefore contemptible.
- From "In the Margin," in Toronto Theosophical News, Vol. III, No. 7. January, 1928.
THE USE OF THE SECRET DOCTRINE
The Secret Doctrine has the quality of all great occult books. It does not address you; it answers you. It does not offer remarks; it offers rejoinders. It is the other person in a colloquy. It will not speak until spoken to. It will not give you a thought, but it will, and this is its index of greatness, adjust the thought you bring to it.
So because we have been for the most part a body of fitful and unsteady receivers instead of a body of fertile producers, we have all but missed the point of The Secret Doctrine. It stands, therefore, inert on our shelves or lies vexedly thumbed on our tables, and it will continue so until we learn to use it as it was intended we should.
Our work is not with The Secret Doctrine at all but with the field of general knowledge and the Doctrine stands to us in that work as mentor and guide, a mentor that will only serve us as we labour.
- Roy Mitchell
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
I was pleased to see that the Annual Meeting of the T.S. in Canada was so well attended. I compliment the members of the Vancouver area Lodges for their good choice in selecting the Unitarian Church for the meeting as it provided a delightful setting, better seen than described. It was good to meet again with the Western members I had met before in Edmonton two years ago, and to make acquaintances with members from the local Lodges in the Vancouver area and some members-at-large. I probably did not get to meet and say hello to everyone present, and did not get to say goodbye to all that I had met, but meeting and saying hello is much better than saying goodbye.
After the Annual Meeting, Lillian and Eric Hooper very kindly invited to their apartment a few members, Presidents of Lodges, Ted Davy and myself for an informal get-together and discussion. The setting was delightful: a very tastefully decorated apartment, pleasant hosts and company, and a magnificent view from any window - especially the mountains. I was very impressed by Vancouver's mountain scenery. I arrived back home in Georgetown on Sunday, very weary from being awake for over 24 hours, but I was spiritually refreshed by the contact with our good members.
I wish to thank Eric Hooper again for his kind assistance given to me by driving me from my hotel to the meeting, then to his apartment, and then to the airport.
I had the pleasure of meeting our International President Radha Burnier again when she visited Toronto Lodge in June. She spoke at the public meeting on the topic of "Reality and Relativity." She said that knowledge is relative because of our limited ability to perceive and understand due to our impediment of being stuck in the Three Worlds in Time and Space. The Soul lasts, the physical perishes. If something in Time is gone, where is its reality?
Even the soul in the sense of the Causal Unit goes after the 4th Initiation, thus making the Monad more real than the Soul. The relativity of real knowledge is a subject dear to my heart. I am concerned by the lack of willingness to continue to learn by the public in general. Even some of our members might fit into this category. Most people stop their learning when the compulsion of formal education ends, and for the rest of their lives may accumulate only the equivalent of what could be learned by two or three years of university or college type cramming. A pity. It is intended that the 5th Race develop mind (or Manas, if you prefer Sanskrit). I have noticed that most people think they know all there is to know, or at least, all that they need to know. That condition is self limiting for it negates any tendency to grow further.
As one increases one's knowledge, the more one is aware that the more one knows, the more one knows one does not know. This has a corollary: for one then cannot help but notice how little too many of his environing fellows know. A willingness to actively learn is a most desirable asset, but must not be the be-all and end-all of existence. Development of mind without a corresponding development of spirituality is a very dangerous thing (H.P.B.) (See also "Cosmic Fire" on the mysterious eighth sphere.)
Ernest Pelletier and members of the Edmonton Lodge have done some excellent work by printing some rare works and out-of-print books. Assisted by a grant from the Lizzie Arthur Russell Theosophical Memorial Trust, they have used a copier to reproduce a few books in limited numbers of 10 to 25 copies of each, and these were then professionally bound. One ten-volume set contains a complete collection of Theosophical Notes, a journal written and published by
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OFFICERS OF THE T.S. IN CANADA
- General Secretary - Stan L. Treloar, 57 Eleanor Crescent, Georgestown, Ont. L7G 2T7
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- Ted G. Davy, 2307 Sovereign Crescent S.W., Calgary, Alta T3C 2M3
- Lillian K. Hooper, 15153 - 98th Avenue, Apt. 120, Surrey, B.C. V3R 1W4
- Peter Lakin, 621 Euclid Avenue, Toronto, Ont. M6G 2T6
- Viola P. Law, 204 - 2455 Beach Drive, Victoria, B.C. V8R 6K2
- Simon G. Postma, 3322 - 112 C Street, Edmonton, Alter. T6J 3W8
- Sharon L. Taylor, 1350 Limeridge Rd. E., Unit 36, Hamilton, Ont. L8W 1L6
- Sharon L. Taylor, 1350 Limeridge Rd. E., Unit 36, Hamilton, Ont. LBW 1L6
- Mollie Yorke, 1959 Beach Drive, Victoria, B.C. V8R 6J4
- 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.
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Victor Endersby. Inquiries regarding this program should be addressed to the Edmonton Lodge, P.O. Box 4804, Edmonton, Alberta T6E 2A0.
On behalf of all the members of the Canadian Section T.S., I congratulate our friends across the border on the 100th Anniversary of the American Section T.S. A week-long convention was held in July at Wheaton as part of this celebration. Three of our members attended as official delegates of the Canadian Section and of the Toronto Lodge. They are Richard Ayres, Barbara Treloar and Robert Zuk. Our delegates are still at Wheaton as these notes are being written (in July), so I cannot report now on the events there.
I wish to welcome into the fellowship of our Society the following new members: Miss Eleanora E.S. Galiuss, Toronto Lodge; and Miss Lynda S. Bonner, Vancouver, as a member-at-large.
Edmonton Lodge held its last meeting prior to the summer recess on June 11, at which time Annual Elections were held. The positions remain the same, namely: President: Ernest E. Pelletier; Vice-President: B.J. Whitbread; Secretary-Treasurer: Simon G. Postma; Librarian: Joy Wade.
On June 17, we were pleased to host a visit by the International President, Mrs. Radha Burnier. Her topic that evening was "The Inner Unfoldment of Man." Mrs. Burnier's lecture was recorded on our video equipment, which was recently purchased
through financial assistance of the Lizzie Arthur Russell Theosophical Memorial Trust. The tape is available to borrow or purchase.
Three members of Edmonton Lodge attended the Annual Meeting of the T.S. in Canada, held in Vancouver on July 5. Joy Wade, Ernest and I were pleased to see so many familiar faces as well as meet new friends. It was a particularly fruitful visit. Using the recently acquired video camera, we were able to record Gordon Limbrick's excellent address, "A Mind in Meditation." Copies of this are also available.
As well we were able to explain some of the work done during the last year in support of our efforts - to make out-of-print materials available to interested parties. A number of photocopied reproductions of rare Theosophical books and journals were displayed to members present at the meeting.
Later, our Librarian, Joy Wade, met with Diana Cooper of Hermes Lodge, a Fine Arts Librarian by profession. Diana volunteered much useful information to help Joy set up a proper system for the Edmonton Lodge library. Joy is currently cataloguing the books on computer and Diana's advice is proving most helpful.
Greetings are extended from members of Edmonton Lodge to the new General Secretary, Stan Treloar, and many thanks to the retired head, Ted Davy, for many years of devoted service to the T.S. in Canada.
Our regular meetings resume in September.
- Rogelle Pelletier
THE "MONDAY" SECRET DOCTRINE CLASS
With the exception of the two summer months, the Monday Secret Doctrine Study Class continues to meet every Monday at Hermes Lodge from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. For several years it has been my privilege to be Chairperson of the Monday Class.
Over the years it has been interesting to see how the class fluctuates. Three or four new students will attend for a while, then move on, either to find work or to travel. Then the Class settles down to the original core once again. It is almost like an inbreathing and an outpouring that keeps our Study Class functioning.
There is a wonderful bond of friendship within our group that grows deeper as we earnestly help each other in our search to understand and live up to the teachings of the Masters.
During the past term we welcomed a few new members into the Class. Their sincerity and faithfulness is very encouraging. We average ten members and occasionally have twelve or thirteen around our table.
A voluntary collection taken during the year allowed us to send $175.00 to the Olcott Harijan Free School at Adyar.
Because of my hearing and eyesight problem, I have asked to be relieved as Chairperson, but of course will continue to attend Class as long as possible.
- Vera Gill
Mr. R.H. (Bob) Hedley died on July 9, 1986, after a short illness, at age 86. For some fifty years Bob has been a member of Orpheus Lodge in Vancouver. While he was not born into a Theosophical family, he was no doubt influenced by his mother, Mrs. R. Hedley and his sister, Mrs. Anne Vater, who were both keen students of Theosophy and Orpheus Lodge members. Bob was Lodge President for many years, an office to which he brought a sincere dedication and faithfulness. His latter years were spent in Kelowna,
B.C., thus making it impossible for him to attend the meetings regularly, but he supported fully the work of the Lodge and also of the Section. We in Orpheus shall miss him.
- Lillian Hooper, President
In June we completed the video series entitled "The Long Search" which commenced in January. These alternate programs embraced a study of comparative religion as well as direction of life's journey on the inner planes. The titles were as follows: Rome, Leeds and the Desert; The Romanian Solution; The Protestant Spirit, U.S.A.; No God but God; West Meets East; and Some Loose Ends.
Our lecturers have been generous in their cooperative response to our needs for spiritual progression. Carl Emmanuel addressed us on "The Path to Regeneration" and, at a later date, on "Prayer: Its Efficacy, Use and Misuse." Dr. Chris Holmes chose as his subject "The Physics of The Secret Doctrine." Another illustrated lecture by Gerard Pederian, entitled "The Step Pyramid," the oldest existing pyramid, included the development of burial customs in Egypt. "Why We Human Beings Don't Change" was the subject selected by Naftaly Ramrajakar.
We welcomed Dr. Radha Burnier, International President of the Theosophical Society, as our Guest Speaker on June 19, a link in her North American tour. We had selected the title "Reality and Relativity." Prefacing her lecture with Wordsworth's "The world is too much with us," she revealed the esoteric truth of the quotation by explaining that not only do we tend to become too involved both physically and mentally, but that the world as we know it is too real for us. She specified the role of the mind and the process of selection, the distortion of the senses and the fact that we mistake shadows for reality. The importance of spiritual awareness is implicit since everything that exists is only a relative, not an absolute, reality. "The reality may be where the dewdrop becomes part of the ocean." Members of Hamilton and York Lodges joined us to enjoy the radiance of this occasion.
Wheaton was visited in July by three member delegates: Barbara Treloar, Richard Ayres and Robert Zuk. The purpose of the visit was to join in the celebration of the centenary of the American Section. Selections from our collection of video tapes of lectures given at Toronto Lodge were donated to our hosts. A gift of Persian violets was also presented. Our delegates have brought back a glowing and comprehensive report.
At the request of the new Beaconsfield Study Centre, our President, David D. Zuk, conducted a two-day seminar and workshop held in June at the Unitarian Church in Beaconsfield. The subjects included meditation, theosophy for beginners and students, and a Tibetan study.
Toronto Lodge is not only closed for the summer, but will not be offering any programs until it re-locates in new premises; nor will the library re-open until further notice.
- Ruth E. Playle, Secretary
HOME STUDY COURSE
A Theosophical correspondence course is now available to Canadian readers. It is offered to new students of Theosophy, especially those who are unable to participate in local study groups.
Further information may be obtained by writing: HOME STUDY, P.O. Box 1912, Victoria, B.C. V8W 2Y3.
T.S. IN CANADA 1986 ANNUAL MEETING
July 5 was a beautiful sunny day in Vancouver. At 1:30 p.m. the Annual Meeting of The Theosophical Society in Canada convened at the meeting rooms of the Unitarian Church at 949 West 49th Street.
The arrangements had been made by the Hermes, Orpheus and Vancouver Lodges, and they had chosen a delightful location. The Unitarian Church is situated in a gardenlike setting of colourful flower beds, shrubs and luscious green grass, so typical of the west coast.
Over forty members and a number of guests were present. As well as those from Vancouver, the attendance included members from Calgary, Edmonton, Georgetown, the Gulf Islands, Toronto, Victoria and Waterdown.
The outgoing General Secretary, Ted Davy, opened the meeting by reading a few lines from The Voice of the Silence, and after introducing the Directors all present were asked to identify themselves individually.
The meeting then proceeded to the business affairs of the Society. The new General Secretary, Stan Treloar, was introduced to the meeting; and the two new Directors to the Board for the 1986-89 term, Mollie Yorke of Victoria, and Peter Lakin of Toronto, were also introduced.
Ted expressed thanks to the retiring Board members, Mary Taylor and Wolfgang Schmitt; and paid personal tribute to the work of Simon Postma, who had served as Section Treasurer for eleven years. He also mentioned with gratitude the 15-year service on the Board of Judith Myrtle, whose death occurred last January. A hearty vote of thanks was accorded Arthur Cooper, the Section's Accountant for the past two years.
In concluding his eighteen years as General Secretary, Ted remarked that it has been a wonderful experience, although not without its periods of turbulence. It had been a privilege for him to work with fellow members past and present who had made a significant contribution to the character of the T.S. in Canada.
On behalf of the members, Ralph Chatwin then presented Ted with a framed scroll in recognition of his service. The scroll set out the words "In performance of plain duty man mounts to his highest bliss," from The Song Celestial. This had been beautifully scripted within a border of lotus flowers by Margaret Donald. Ted expressed his grateful thanks to the members for this lovely gesture.
After the meeting adjourned, there was a break for refreshments, following which the program reconvened under the Chairmanship of the new General Secretary, Stan Treloar. He spoke briefly to the members, then introduced the Guest Speaker, Gordon Limbrick. Gordon, a member of the Victoria Lodge, spoke on "A Mind in Meditation."
Following the talk and a question and answer period, those present sat down as guests of the three Lodges in Vancouver to a vegetarian buffet, prepared by a member of the Unitarian Church. This was a delicious meal, and enabled members to mingle and talk informally with each other.
By early evening most members had departed, some to catch ferries to Vancouver Island, others to travel back east, and still others to spend a few days in the beautiful surroundings of the west coast.
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.
IUCHIAN THE POET
The Associate met Iuchian the poet at the entrance to the School. They spoke briefly about earlier visits, and then both entered the classroom. The students welcomed the poet in the customary manner by standing while he walked to the dais at the front of the rows of semi-circular wooden benches. The Associate withdrew from the room, and all attention turned to Iuchian. He motioned the students to be seated.
The classroom was very quiet. Each student's eyes were fixed on Iuchian. He was an imposing figure, standing there in front of them on the raised platform. The rust brown mantle that he wore was thrown behind his shoulders. His hair was still fair, despite his years, and reached down to the collar of his homespun tunic. His kilt and stockings were also homespun and matched the mantle. His sturdy legs were criss-crossed with the thongs of his high sandals. The only ornament he wore was a gold clasp holding the mantle at his throat. It had an acorn and mistletoe joined together in a simple device.
Iuchian looked like some hero of long ago. He had the sort of bearing that suggested quiet authority. A soft smile played across his weather beaten face. He looked first at all the students in turn. They each returned his gaze, with reverence and deep friendship. Then he appeared to look beyond the students as if recalling some memory. He spoke low words that carried through the room in rhythmic beat. All the youthful minds were tuned to his, all were at one with the thoughts he formed.
"We meet at this moment when time wishes our discourse. We bring to birth words that have long lain asleep in our breasts. We come to consider the ways we have been walking, and the premises that our hearts have placed before us. At this season they have reached their time of bloom, and we look on them with amazement and reflect on their beauty and symbol. It is so tangible a beauty that we are impressed with a sense that appears to be of some other dimension, and yet it is of truer quality than that encountered in the commonplace. Would that we could ascertain the depths of all its meaning."
He paused for a moment, unclasped the golden brooch and lifted off his mantle, which he laid across the bench beside the dais. Resting on a point far off in time and place, his eyes were seeing other than was present at hand. He then continued speaking.
"The dawn breaking along the purple hills gives some hint of homeland. The Sun coming forth after his heralder gives such a wealth of meaning to our quest, and invigorates the mind. The stars, though now unseen behind the canopy of light, still go their courses and send their energies over vast distances to us. The great deep void is all an ordered space, with secrets there to open when we will. The distant firmament awaits the golden rays to add to its diadem."
He stopped again for a moment, his eyes coming back to meet the eyes of the students. Then, again looking beyond them, he went on:
"The sea, pushing against the waiting shore, moves as does the heart. The wind, strumming the high hills, is the touch of a familiar breath. The coloured land is the garment of the day, and all its flowers and trees are ornaments. And all are made in the processes of thought and coloured in with loves, and songs, and sighs, and separations, and rebuilt unities. But the light that shines in the eye, and the fire that burns in the mind, and
the imagination of the heart, are of different births.
"We meet here deciphering, as we have met so many times before, remembering our origin and our race." He smiled now in the direction of the younger members at the front of the rows of seats, and made a motion with his hands as if presenting a point to be especially considered.
"This Isle, magnificent in the setting of the western sea - how small it is, and yet how dear to all our fond fraternity! In the consciousness of time it flashes still an emerald. Time makes such markers across the spiral space. We find our present exile here, and sense the task we long ago assumed. We meet once more to give another impulse to that great undertaking to which we once pledged our full intent. We join as comrades confirming the nature of that long sojourn from our true estate.
"Our Druid Princes, fathers of our race, were demi-gods who walked with Solar Kings. They deigned to set in this green isle a dynasty that would mirror back their own fair commonwealth. We walk in turn heir to that far estate that sends us such a radiance every morn that we delight in all we see and do, and thus confirm each day its festival."
The poet stilled his words, and for a few moments the students did not move. Then a young man, Aengus, a senior in the class, rose to his feet. Iuchian, seeing him standing, signaled that he could speak. The youth paused a moment, and then asked his question: "Why do you say that the Sun forces the mind to renewed vigour? Does the Sun not have its own reality, or are we talking about the illusion of the Sun based on some conjecture?" The youth sat down, and Iuchian answered:
"Danu of the golden vision taught these many times that the Sun we see with our eyes when it is reflected on our sacred lake is in its fourth reflection. From that advice we know that when seen by the eye in his high heaven, the Sun is but a star turning on its axis in like manner as the orbits of the planets. But the Sun thus seen is not one of the seven planets.
"The inner eye sees best beyond the veils. The golden star is symbol only of the bright light beyond. From cosmic matter all the heavenly bodies of the universe were clothed. The real within us, dear pupil, is not dependent on form. We can look behind what Danu said about symbols, but there are truths behind them, and then further truths. We know that the Central Sun is there behind it all.
"We could not hope to see Spirit with the eyes of earth, any more than could we see the true Sun. Nor could we know what Danu knows just by looking at the form. So we have to consider how the Real sees the symbol of the Spiritual Sun, and align ourselves with that view. The Real will not see it relative to the earth body - how could it? We know our heart-hymns tell us we are Children of Light. The symbol is the key, and it is the inward passage that has to be traveled. That is why I said that the definition of the Sun we see is a relative condition of thought. But, see it as a symbol, and reach for its hidden meaning, and its real association with each of us becomes apparent. Do you agree?"
Aengus rose again and answered: "Yes. I agree the bright star is symbol only, and beyond its form there is a shining, and beyond that the true Sun. It is the same premise which we hold when we say that behind all form is the user of that form, and in its trinity resides the Real. We know that Danu's ways were a shining of that trinity. We in turn reverence Danu when we try to bring that shining into our own living."
Aengus sat down. Iuchian continued: "Yes, you are correct. We reverence Danu by our own conduct. We give the Real its validity when we offer a gentle service to others. We see in this the symbol of the sustenance which the Real Spiritual Sun gives to all the Universe."
THE DHARMA OF THE HEART
- Jerome Wheeler
Real culture is spiritual. It proceeds from within outwards, and unless a person is naturally noble-minded and arrives to progress on the spiritual before he does so on the physical or outward plane, such culture and civilization will be no better than white sepulchres full of dead men's bones and decay.
- "Progress and Culture," in H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, XII, 272.
Does Self have a real being distinct and dissociated from objects of perception, construed and conceived within the limitations of human consciousness? Does manifestation of any kind have independent existence apart from the perceiving consciousness? What, finally, is the "connecting bond" between the Perceiver and any and all subjects or objects of perception? These are the three questions whose solution we call the pursuit of Self-knowledge. If Self is the reality, then all else is but a manifestation or definition of Self.
If we ourselves are the Trinity-in-ONE, the Creative, Preservative and Destructive POWER, then we are beyond them as the "whole" exceeds the part. Spirit does not become matter, for the sun never really "sets". Matter becomes not other than it is, for the sun never really "rises". And what of Mind? Does the sun ever really cross the mid-day sky? Spiritual or Monadic Evolution; Mind or intellectual Evolution; Physical or Astral (or Chhayic) evolution; these are motions within the one life. Spiritual or Buddhic evolution is not the evolution of a form of any kind, but the expansion of Self-Consciousness.
There is no finality, no reality, but Soul itself, whether in the waking, the dreaming, or the deep sleep state. One and all they are but states, transitional and transitory, into which the Soul is born, in which it lives, and to which it dies, as it travels through endless duration. They begin in Soul-imagination; and are maintained and changed by Soul-Sacrifice - the worst as well as the best. They are all transformable, one into the other, in endless repetition until the Soul is its own Master.
"...the whole secret of Life is in the unbroken series of its manifestations: whether in, or apart from, the physical body." - H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, I, 238. (Italics added.)
To represent a focus worthy of the Inner Rounds, we must learn the art of responsibility as proceeding from within outwards along the line of the "Three Upadhis." When the Monadic or inner centre grows stable, each cell receives its due share of bliss:
"If we believe in the doctrine of the One Life, then every cell in these material bodies must be governed by the same laws. Each cell must be a life and have its karma, devachan, and reincarnation. Every one of these cells upon incarnating among the others in our frame must be affected by the character of those it meets; and we make that character. Every thought upon reaching its period dies. It is soon reborn, and coming back from its devachan it finds either bad or good companions provided for it. Therefore every hour of life is fraught with danger or with help. How can it be possible that a few hours a week devoted to theosophic thought and action can
counteract - even in the gross material cells - the effect of nearly a whole week spent in indifference, frivolity or selfishness? This mass of poor or bad thought will form a resistless tide that shall sweep away all your good resolves at the first opportunity."
- William Q. Judge, "Universal Applications of Doctrine," in Echoes of the Orient, I, 110.
There is no word in the English language to compare with Imagination as a term to express the fundamental creative power of the Soul. Whatever the nature of our experiences or acquisitions of any kind, whatever the means employed either to preserve, destroy, or recreate, imagination is the king power, the king faculty. Through it thought, will and feeling find expression.
Soul as perceiver, Soul as creator, Soul as creature - these are the "three hypostases" of Soul which are imaged or shadowed in every religion; which are incorrectly separated by all of them into the "three Persons" of the Godhead. As abstractions, they are more correctly expressed by the words Spirit, Mind and Matter, but here again we Seekers fall prey to the maya of three distinct "realities." The independent and substantial nature of Life itself, of which all Trinities are but the changing vehicles - this is not seen because, as stated by Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita, "the Path of the Unmanifested is with difficulty attained by embodied beings." In other words, as explained by the same great Teacher, until Soul recognizes itself as "the Knower in every mortal body," it can only perceive itself at best as partly creator and partly creature of "circumstances" and "environment."
Our inmost life, its success or failure, depends ever and always not on what happens to us, but on our reaction to it - "how we take it." Every minutest experience is a blessing or a curse to us, depending wholly on our own attitude of mind. Thus the idea that "reality is not to be sought in external events" will see one through many a dark hour as the cycles run their course. By such means we gradually extricate ourselves from the "Dharma of the Eye." By such mantrams we remind ourselves that existence on this plane is not fundamental. It is, at best, a sacrificial descent, a cleansing process for that which is fundamental, or as the Voice has it:
"The lamp burns bright when wick and oil are clean. To make them clean a cleaner is required. The flame feels not the process of the cleaning."
- H.P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence, p.29.
For it is that flame that epitomizes the Responsibility of Unity, for as any humble taper can tell us, there is no light for any Soul so long as one beam remains apart from the world of light. In our solar world, with its madly spinning planets, our humble sun sacrifices such Free Agency on the altar of a larger circle:
"Sweet are the fruits of Rest and Liberation for the sake of Self; but sweeter still the fruits of long and bitter duty, Aye, renunciation for the sake of others, of suffering fellow-men." - ibid., p. 43
Study and work for the Sacred Science of Brotherhood unites men in a way that cuts across all boundaries of organization and method. The Science of the SELF, the WAY, the PATH, has a traveling potential peculiar to the pace of each Pilgrim.
Through Meditation one may seek out higher ground, universal and eternal, for Self-knowledge is beyond desire as the Whole is beyond the part, as the Cause is beyond the effect, as the Knower is beyond the known. Most humans might be designated as "Self absorbed in its misconceptions," while the lower kingdoms could be
seen as "Self absorbed in its powers." Self is the "origin and dissolution of all existing things." From Self "come memory, knowledge, and also the loss of both."
It may be that Desire is but one of seven basic principles, each of which, in turn, may be the centre, or fulcrum of "meditation and action" in the human being. Whichever one is the seed, the others are not thereby annihilated; but become polar, or relative to the one which, for the time being, is absolute, because it is the fulcrum around which the others revolve. But that motion is eccentric until we find that centre or principle, from which all the others are but variations or departures.
On rare occasions we all have glimpses of this last Royal Principle of Unity, of Human Solidarity if you will. However rare such moments are, they are evidence of the verity of the Sacred Science, evidence of our power to learn. Even a single such experience proves that others may be had; just as a single self-induced step proves that walking is possible. While the failure to live up to our intuitions may go on for some time, "it will get weaker as other senses (inner ones) begin to appear. For we know the new fully before being off with the old."
Thus there is the origin of fire, the fuel for fire, and those who are willing to become fire - the THREE-IN-ONE.
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.
7. ARCHETYPES/PROTOTYPES - PART 1
Question. Are "archetypes" forms or qualities thrown up by past humanities? And does progress consist in conforming towards them? Then adding to them?
Answer. The best way of answering this series of questions is to provide passages from The Secret Doctrine, which give information in regard to prototypes; for the subject is not a simple one, dealing as it does, with the origin of prototypes. Consideration should first be given to the dictionary meaning of "archetype"; (1) original model from which copies are made; (2) prototype. Then the meaning of prototype; earliest form; most primitive type. Prototype is used much more frequently than is archetype in The Secret Doctrine. In connection with the citations, it should be borne in mind that prototypes are referred to as existing on subjec-
tive planes rather than on the physical plane:
"Occultism teaches that no form can be given to anything, either by nature or by man, whose ideal type does not already exist on the subjective plane. More than this; that no such form or shape can possibly enter man's consciousness, or evolve in his imagination, which does not exist in prototype, at least as an approximation." (S.D. I, 282; I, 324 6-vol. ed.; I, 302 3rd ed.)
"Everything that is, was and will be, eternally IS, even the countless forms, which are finite and perishable only in their objective, not in their ideal Form. They existed as Ideas, in the Eternity, and, when they pass away, will exist as reflections. Neither the form of man, nor that of any animal, plant or stone has ever been created, and it is only on this plane of ours that it commenced 'becoming,' i.e., objectivising into its present materiality, or expanding from within outwards, from the most sublimated and supersensuous essence into its grossest appearance. Therefore our human forms have existed in the Eternity as astral or ethereal prototypes; according to which models, the Spiritual Beings (or Gods) whose duty it was to bring them into objective being and terrestrial Life, evolved the protoplasmic forms of the future Egos from their own essence. After which, when this human Upadhi, or basic mould was ready, the natural terrestrial Forces began to work on those supersensuous moulds which contained, besides their own, the elements of all the past vegetable and future animal forms of this globe in them. Therefore, man's outward shell passed through every vegetable and animal body before it assumed the human shape." (Ibid.)
"In other words, that dual motion transfers Kosmos from the plane of the Eternal Ideal into that of finite manifestation, or from the Noumenal to the phenomenal plane." (Ibid.)
The "dual motion" here signifies the centripetal and the centrifugal forces, positive and negative, or physical and spiritual; although the two forces are "the one Primordial Force." The Noumenal and phenomenal planes are equivalent to the subjective and physical planes previously mentioned.
Therefore, considering the question which was submitted, a dual process is involved: (1) from the prototypes already existing in the Akasa surrounding a former planetary system, a form was projected for the humanity then existing, which was worked upon by natural forces; (2) in due time this "evolved form" was then thrown into the Akasa of that former planetary system by "past humanities." In the same way our present human forms are the resultant of natural terrestrial Forces which have been working upon, and will continue to work upon, the forms of the Human Kingdom as it proceeds upon its various evolutionary developmental phases - which are described in The Secret Doctrine under the seven Root-Races.
Further in connection with the passage in the first quotation: "objectivising into its present materiality, or expanding from within outwards," the following explanation will be of assistance in clarifying the concept:
"The expansion 'from within without' of the Mother, called elsewhere the 'Waters of Space', 'Universal Matrix,' etc., does not allude to an expansion from a small centre or focus, but, without reference to size or limitation or area, means the development of limitless subjectivity into as limitless objectivity. 'The ever (to us) invisible and immaterial Substance present in eternity, threw its periodical shadow from its own plane into the lap of Maya.'
It implies that this expansion, not being an increase in size - for infinite extension admits of no enlargement - was a change of condition. It 'expanded like the bud of the Lotus'; for the Lotus plant exists not only as a miniature embryo in its seed (a physical characteristic), but its prototype is present in an ideal form in the Astral Light from 'Dawn' to 'Night' during the Manvantaric period, like everything else, as a matter of fact, in this objective Universe; from man down to mite, from giant trees down to the tiniest blades of grass.
"All this, teaches the hidden Science, is but the temporary reflection, the shadow of the eternal ideal prototype in Divine Thought; the word 'Eternal,' note well again, standing here only in the sense of 'Aeon,' as lasting throughout the seemingly interminable, but still limited cycle of activity, called by us Manvantara ... Fohat runs the Manus' (or Dhyan-Chohans') errands, and causes the ideal prototypes to expand from within without - viz., to cross gradually, on a descending scale, all the planes from the noumenon to the lowest phenomenon, to bloom finally on the last into full objectivity - the acme of illusion, or the grossest matter." (S.D. I, 62-3; I, 91-2 6-vol. ed.; I, 131 3rd ed.)
In response to the question: "Then do the prototypes exist on a plane higher than that of the Astral Light?" H.P. Blavatsky replied:
"The prototypes or ideas of things exist first on the plane of Divine eternal Consciousness and thence become reflected and reversed in the Astral Light, which also reflects on its lower individual plane the life of our Earth, recording it on its 'tablets.' Therefore, is the Astral Light called Illusion (Maya). It is from this that we, in our turn, get our prototypes." (Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, p. 75)
Another question was asked which is also related to the present series of questions: "Is there an evolution of types through the various planes of the Astral Light?" to which H.P. Blavatsky replied:
"You must follow out the simile of the evolution of the acorn. From the acorn will grow an oak and this oak, as a tree, may have a thousand forms, all of which vary the one from the other. All these forms are contained within the acorn, and though the form which the tree will take depends on extraneous circumstances, yet that which Aristotle called the 'privation of matter' exists beforehand, in the Astral waves. But the noumenal germ of the oak exists beyond the plane of the Astral Light; it is only the subjective picture of it that already exists in the Astral Light, and the development of the oak tree is the result of the developed prototype in the Astral Light, which development proceeds from higher to lower planes, until on the lowest plane it has its last consolidation and development of form." (Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, pp. 16-7)
Question. What is the meaning of Aristotle's "privation of matter"?
Answer. Aristotle stated that there are three principles of natural bodies: privation, matter, and form. H.P. Blavatsky provided this explanation:
"No form can come into objective existence - from the highest to the lowest - before the abstract ideal of this form - or, as Aristotle would call it, the privation of this form - is called forth. Before an artist paints a picture every feature of it exists already in his imagination; to have enabled us to discern a watch, this particular watch must have existed in its abstract form in the watchmaker's mind." (Isis Unveiled, I, 310)
- Vol. 51, No. 5
REPRINTS OF OLD THEOSOPHICAL LITERATURE
Edmonton Lodge is pleased to announce its program to produce a number of rare Theosophical books and journals in a quality reprint format.
Some of the titles already available are:
An Introduction to the Study of the Kabalah, by William Wynn Wescott (1926).
The Bhagavat Geeta. (1849 Trilingual edition in Sanskrit, English and Canarese. English translation by Charles Wilkins.)
Dawn, An Independent Australian Theosophical Journal (1921-1924).
Psychic Notes, A Record of Spiritual and Occult Research. A Journal published in India January to April, 1882. (Mentioned in The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett. )
Theosophical Notes. Written and published by Victor Endersby from 1950 to 1978. Ten large volumes.
All the above are in good quality bindings. Write for complete list to: Edmonton Lodge, Theosophical Society P.O. Box 4804
Edmonton, AB Canada T6E 2A0
"THE SLEEPING SPHERES"
Now available: "The Sleeping Spheres", by Jasper Niemand, with notes by Willem B. Roos.
Price $1.25 plus 60 cents postage. Available from: The Canadian Theosophist 2307 Sovereign Cres. S.W. Calgary, Alberta, Canada T3C 2M3
T.S. IN CANADA TAPE LENDING LIBRARY Audio and video cassette tapes of lectures, etc., are available on free loan from the T.S. in Canada tape lending library. (This service is for residents of Canada only.) Borrowers are only required to pay return postage. Write for list to:
Doris Davy, 2307 Sovereign Cres. S.W. Calgary, Alberta T3C 2M3
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.
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BLAVATSKY INSTITUTE PUBLICATIONS
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- 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
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