Vol. 68 No. 1 Toronto, Mar.-Apr. 1987
The Theosophical Society is not responsible for any statement in this Magazine, unless made in an official document.
JUSTICE IN HUMAN LIFE
- Lawren Harris
If you have listened to the previous radio talks on Theosophy, you will have gathered that Theosophy maintains that this is not a religious universe, any more than it is a scientific universe.
What Theosophy does maintain is, that this is a universe of Law.
Religions make the universe of Law into romance, into sentiment, into poetry, when they do not abrogate the law altogether.
Science proves that Law rules in the physical universe, but there it stops.
Now Theosophy not only agrees completely with science, that Law rules in the physical universe, but states that it also rules supreme in the realm of the emotions, and of the mind, and in the realm of spirit - and asserts that nowhere in the universe, in any realm of being, is there any exception to Law.
This basic Law, it calls the Law of Justice, or equilibrium.
It says that either the Law of Absolute Justice rules and determines the greatest movements and events in the universe, as well as the most trivial events of man's daily life, or the life of even a blade of grass - and without exception - or the universe is a chaos, a hoax.
Though the fact of justice is a simple one, yet its workings in all the different realms of being, and in the multitude of individual lives, is extremely complex. And as the Theosophical system of thought claims that it has an answer for every problem, it follows that this system of thought is also very complex.
But fortunately there are a few ideas which, if carefully followed in their implications, will afford a key, by the use of which we can find the logical answer to any of life's problems.
The first, and perhaps most important key that Theosophy offers to the understanding of the manifold problems of life is, the continuity of all life - that life had no beginning, nor will it ever have an ending; that disappearance, and death, are no more than incidents in the life of an individual, or a race, just as days and nights are incidents in the life of nature.
Inseparable from the fact of the continuity
of life is the idea of Reincarnation. Reincarnation is the method of continuing life for man, whereby he lives many lives on earth, but always in human bodies, never in a body of the animal species.
Thus Theosophy views the life of any one individual as having had an endless past, as it has an endless future before it.
It also says that the past of the individual is summed up in what he is today, and that what he makes of himself today, here and now, will exactly determine his future.
For within the Law of Justice, effects always follow causes, and equal them exactly - thus constant readjustments are inevitably taking place in the flux of life. These readjustments may be painful or otherwise, but they always represent the workings of the Law, which ceaselessly operates to reestablish harmony, to maintain an equilibrium.
We have then, in the series of a man's incarnations in physical bodies on this earth - and what he makes of his opportunities therein - one explanation of his problems, his difficulties and his present limitations.
Whereas, from the point of view of one-life-on-earth only, there is no means of proving justice for man at all. Such a view, indeed, makes the vaunted love and justice that are alleged to rule at the heart of nature look like a travesty of even human fair play.
But, if the life of any man is seen as an extended series of lives on earth - in which he both reaps what he has sown in the past and initiates new directions, develops his faculties, and assumes his responsibilities, or fails to do any, or all of these things - then we can come to see his present life as a logical outworking of his long past. And we can come to see also the accurate and remarkable way that every event, every joy and sorrow, is determined by the absolute Law of Justice.
Every great writer in history gives us to feel, in his works, this inevitability, this logical outworking of law through all events, and within all circumstances. The writer may not believe in Reincarnation, yet his innate sense of justice leads him to portray the immutable workings of Law.
Indeed, this logical, living structure, founded on the Law of Justice is, in a way, the secret of all great literature, and no work has been known to live that does not possess it.
It must be admitted, however, that for each one of us to view our lives in terms of the Law of Justice, takes courage.
For then, we can admit of no chance, no coincidence, no accident. Nor can we place the blame for any failure, any wrong, any deficiency, on another individual, or on our circumstances. Nor can we wish the effects of our sins away, by repentance - however salutary repentance may be. Certainly, we can change ourselves - determine not to do such and such a thing again, because it has brought us, or another, pain - but there is no way whereby we can escape paying for what we ourselves have done. But we are just as certain to receive the reward for our good actions.
Thus we see that the Law of Justice places the entire responsibility for all we do, think and feel - good, bad and indifferent - on ourselves.
This, the Theosophist maintains, is not only eminently just, but the only way in which we can become real individuals, and find our true direction.
The second key which Theosophy offers is that in the series, or cycle of our incarnations, we have to pass through, exhaust and learn from all essential experience.
This is, indeed, a large order, but in what
other way, the Theosophist asks, can we possibly earn knowledge, win to wisdom, achieve mastery of life, and thus realize our innate divinity?
Theosophy, therefore, states that we are here on earth primarily for experience - and that it is the one thing we are sure to get, in whatever direction we may seek. It is, indeed, the one thing evolution is concerned about.
For growth, not happiness (except incidentally) is the goal of life. And we cannot skip one lesson that growth involves - for we must acquire all of the virtues, one after another.
This is one reason for the long series of lives on earth, which each one of us has to undergo. What would be the result in our outlook if we viewed all of our fellow men in these terms?
Firstly, we would wish them well in their various experiences.
Secondly, we would see how foolish it is even to try to judge them.
Thirdly, we would be led to see the real, the logical reason for tolerance.
And fourthly, we would find that brotherhood has a very deep, a very exacting meaning. For we would be led to see the entire mankind as linked and bound together within one great, all-inclusive, common experience with one goal before it.
The third key that Theosophy offers for the understanding of life is that, within the cycle of his incarnations, man is twofold. He is at once a god, and a creature, an animal soul.
Though he lives and learns on earth, in a physical body, which has all the propensities of an animal - such as greed, lust and selfishness in varying degree - he is, however, not the physical body, nor its propensities. He is actually, in his innermost nature, a divine spark or immortal and universal spirit - a potential god.
His task, on earth, is to transform his animal part, or the propensities of his lower, earthly nature, into the qualities of his higher, divine nature.
This, Theosophy holds to be a very long task, again requiring many incarnations in the lower nature, before he can both transform it and liquidate all the deeds, thoughts and feelings that have been infringements of the Law of Harmony, or a denial of his innate divinity.
For man can only re-unite permanently with his higher, immortal nature - become the divine being he potentially is - when he, himself, has squared every account of his long past, and has transformed his entire being into immortal consciousness.
The fact then, that within the incarnations man is twofold, explains all the struggles that go on within him, and his outer struggles with his environment - as it also explains the endless incongruities of life.
For this reason, the Theosophist holds that life on earth is the only hell there is, and that once the entire mankind has learned and conquered every part of the lower nature, and has achieved also its long task of transforming this lower, separative nature into the higher, spiritual unity, it will have achieved conscious immortality - its unified life in divine being, and be free from life as we now know it, forever.
The Theosophist says, that the link, or bridge, between the lower and higher self in man, is the mind.
While the mind is not the man himself, it is nevertheless a god-given power - which man must exercise as fully as possible, by giving it the widest range to function in - if he is to find his way out of any dilemma, solve
any problem, or keep his balance in the welter of life.
Therefore, the Theosophist says, it is not alone man's duty to think, but also to keep his thinking principle pure and free from prejudice - and not permit any notion, any idea, any shibboleth, any creed or dogma, to dominate it.
The fact that we have permitted this power - the one divine right that we have - to be dominated by endless fears, manias and the insistence of whatever our surroundings, proves our present limitations and explains many of the difficulties we are subject to.
All history is an illustration of this fact. But history also shows us that those individuals who kept their minds free, and would not succumb to any of the manias of a day, or place, or pursuit - are the ones who have made real contributions to the unfolding of the spiritual man.
And this, in whatever pursuit, in whatever day or place, and despite whatever difficulties, Theosophy holds to be of paramount importance.
The above is one of three known radio talks given by Lawren Harris in a series sponsored by the Toronto Theosophical Society in the 1930s. It was delivered on November 5, 1933. The two others were "Thought and Responsibility" and "Theosophy - The Science of the Inner Facts of Life", published respectively in The Canadian Theosophist, Vol. 66, No. 4 and Vol. 67, No. 3.
In preparing the transcription for publication, as little change as possible has been made to punctuation. The short paragraphs have been purposely retained in order to suggest the pace and emphasis of the original reading.
The "previous radio talks" mentioned by Mr. Harris in his opening sentence included two by Dr. Alvin Boyd Kuhn, during his Toronto visit in the fall of 1933: "What is Theosophy" and "What Theosophy is Not"; and one by Fred Housser: "Karma - The Law of Compensation". Evidently Lawren Harris's delivery was admirably suited to the radio medium. "It is not disparagement to the others," wrote Albert E.S. Smythe (C.T. XIV, 273), "to say that Mr. Harris's address was a model of clear expression, lucid but condensed reasoning and convincing statement." - Eds.
THE HOPE OF THE WORLD
The hope of the world lies in just this - that beyond all sentimental religious ideas; beyond all notions of a God outside his universe who can be propitiated by whatever payments or rites or sacraments; beyond the idea that someone else, whether man or son of God, can save us from our unsolved mistakes; and beyond all the horrors perpetrated by man on earth in the name of whatever God, or in the name of whatever temporary scientific idea - beyond all these, man has an innate sense of justice, of absolute eternal Law, and of the continuity of all life. And when all the rest is gone, sloughed off by vital experiences of its infringement, the One Law is seen as the ultimate of precision, of beauty and beneficence, because in it alone inheres the living spiritual identity of all mankind, true brotherhood and the immortality of the soul.
- Lawren Harris, in The Canadian Theosophist, Vol. XIV, p. 286.
WHAT KIND OF THEOSOPHICAL HISTORY?
- Jean-Paul Guignette
In the Jan-Feb 1986 issue of The Canadian Theosophist may be found the following statement by Ted Davy:
"Few members or students of Theosophy know much about the history of the Movement. This is due not to a lack of interest as much as the unavailability of complete and objective studies. It seems incredible that for a Movement which has survived the challenges and pressures of over a hundred difficult and sometimes tumultuous years, a definitive history of even the first half of that period has yet to be written. This is our great loss. Not only would such a work be instructive, it would make for fascinating reading."
In view of the relatively important number of works published so far and dealing with the history of the Theosophical Movement, such words cause us to wonder. Indeed, there are but few esoteric movements which can pride themselves on having provoked so many historical studies. Of course, here I include the biographies of H.P. Blavatsky, since her life is inextricably tied to the great Movement she founded. True, Ted Davy speaks of "complete and objective studies" (or even of a "definitive history"). The problem is that what is objective to "x" is not necessarily so to "y" and vice-versa. Leslie Price, the editor of Theosophical History, called attention to this in the following manner:
"History is controversial, especially of spiritual movements. It can strengthen leaders, or undermine them, unsettle the faith of the followers, and resurrect embarrassing aspects that some would prefer to leave unsaid."
Not so long ago, we could notice the effects of the publication of The Elder Brother, a biography of C.W. Leadbeater, by the Australian writer, Gregory Tillett. Who will deny the objectivity of this book? Yet, it is far from being approved by the faithful followers of Bishop Leadbeater. The fact is that, notwithstanding the superficial fraternizations among Theosophists of different tendencies which we can witness today, it is vain to hope for some measure of consensus among individuals who adhere to teachings fundamentally opposed to one another. This being said, I do not intend to re-open the debate on "Theosophy and Neo-Theosophy".
Apart from the difficulties mentioned by Leslie Price, there is another point which remains to be cleared up: will the author of such an "objective study" of the Theosophical Movement write history for the sake of history, which would certainly produce an objective work, but which would re-
main purely external in its approach, or will he or she write the history, not only of the body, but also of the soul animating this great Movement? In the first case, we should get a work of the kind of A Short History of the Theosophical Society, by Josephine Ransom, i.e., an accumulation of pieces of information logically following upon each other, and in the other case something like The Theosophical Movement 1875-1951, which is less concerned with accumulating details than by the inner force of the Movement working the challenges and pressures of several difficult and sometimes tumultuous years. If the second solution were adopted, the author would have to take pains to avoid all unpleasant expressions of opinion concerning the various "successors" of H.P.B. and W.Q. Judge, even if only to avoid endangering the climate of artificial fraternization we have reached at present. But even if such a work were published, would that in itself improve the situation? Are we sure that the true cause of the ignorance of numerous Theosophists as regards the history of their Movement results, not from "a lack of interest" but from "the unavailability of complete and objective studies"? Or could it be that some Theosophists simply will not face certain historical realities? Again I should like to quote Leslie Price:
"Some Theosophists doubt the value of history in general; many find references to old accusations against pioneers painful, destructive, distracting and likely to put off new enquirers. The situation is analogous to that in Christian bodies when scholars question the received tradition.
"In a Society however whose motto is 'There is no religion higher than truth', historical aspects cannot be ignored ... The path to spiritual maturity may sometimes include a new perspective on historical events."
Here, the editor of Theosophical History seems to agree with the opinion of Ted Davy. As far as I am concerned, and notwithstanding my interest in the history of the Theosophical Movement and my being in sympathy with any attempt aiming at creating clarity from a new angle and in a constructive manner, my experience has taught me that the true history of this great spiritual Movement will never be written. However, there is a very fine work which, to my mind, sums up everything which any Theosophist ought to know about the history of the Theosophical Movement. Even then, some people may not get my point and they might even be disappointed after reading this very small book: Die Morgenland Fahrt (The Journey to the East). Yet, to close this article, I should like to quote a short passage from this novel by Herman Hesse.
The hero tries to write the history of an Occult Order to which he once belonged, but a large number of difficulties prevents his doing so. He then confides in one of his friends, a former soldier who has just published a best-seller on the last War. This friend confesses that, despite the success of his book, he ran into exactly the same difficulties when writing it. And he concludes:
"...I do not believe that ten books of this kind, even if they were ten times better and more penetrating than mine, would give the most benevolent reader any approximately correct idea of the war, if the reader did not live through it himself."
I'm afraid that the Theosophical Movement falls into the same category. In its own
way, it also is a declared war, against ignorance. In order really to understand the history of this Movement, one must have fought in its ranks, but even then, it is by no means certain that the experience thus gained could be transmitted to those others who were not engaged in similar efforts.
At the end of Hesse's novel quoted above, the hero succeeds in again linking up with the Order, and he even receives permission from its Chiefs to consult the complete secret archives, precisely so as to write a history of this fraternity. But as soon as he enters the room where these archives are kept, he finds himself facing an astounding mass of documents, so much so that he realizes very fast, and with proper humility, that the task was above his abilities, and he curses his own presumption in believing that such an enterprise could have been possible.
None of this should prevent people from writing more histories of the Theosophical Movement, but we should never be so bold as to claim that such works constitute the "definitive history" of this great Movement of spiritual reform.
AENGUS AND IUCHIAN
(A sequel to "Iuchian the Poet", C.T. Sep- Oct 1986, Vol 66, pp. 88-89)
Aengus had tried all evening with little success to focus his mind on reviewing the schoolwork required for the morrow. He was still caught up in the mood engendered in him by the poet Iuchian, who had addressed his class earlier that day. Aengus was striving to reach back into himself in an effort to understand the heritage which he knew was part of his own makeup.
What had Iuchian meant when he said "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"? Did he mean that, as today was one of a long line of days, so this present life was but one of a long line of lifetimes, spent on a duty that was formulated back in a time so distant that its genesis had sunk into the forgotten past?
Somehow, Aengus knew this to be so, but at the same time he wondered why he could not come to terms with it. He glanced in the direction of his parents who were resting in the adjoining room, and for a moment considered asking them about his problem in understanding what Iuchian had said. Then, remembering the advice his father gave him about another problem, he realized that it was his own to solve, and so he forced himself to again try to understand it.
Just then he recalled the subject matter of the Astronomy lesson that afternoon. The class had been discussing the stars, planets and suns that appeared to be rushing away from this part of the galaxy at phenomenal rates of speed. Were his yesterdays anything like that? Were there experiences in which he had been involved that were racing away like that? Was some life he had once lived now joining others in his past, in some distant source? What did such a life mean in the vastnesses involved?
Yet ... how about the rays of the sun! Without them, where would the spring be, and the new life thrusting itself out in nature? Perhaps our work is of great importance like that, not just in nature only, but in the other
levels that Iuchian had mentioned. It was unthinkable that the sun's rays would not get through and do their work. That's how Aengus felt at times, as if his work was indeed so very important that it had to be done, and done right. Maybe that too is just why we have to get on with the work, he thought.
And how about someone like Iuchian? When he smiles it lights up the entire room where he is, as well as everyone in the room. That must be a part of it. And how about the way he lifts everyone's spirits up, and yet he tells us that we can do that just as well!
Yet ... the moment he agreed with these thoughts, the very next moment he realized that they are just a small part of him, and that in reality there is something altogether more important than all this. At times it was as if all this present in him was some sort of a reflection, and not the real Aengus at all. Was it enough to know this, and yet not be able to give the reality definition?
Perhaps, he thought, he should try to see Iuchian, and ask him. But while he was with Iuchian it would all seem so simple, yet when he returned and was here in the house on his own, he would again be without the words to give it a sense of ownership or somehow to encompass it. He wondered if he would ever be able to reconcile this yearning for past and future certainty in terms of today.
Aengus was quiet in his thoughts for a moment or two. Then he recalled that there was a Reality and an illusionary reality. And he thought, "Am I caught up in the illusion? Why did I feel all was fine when the words of the poet ignited the long trail of memories and future possibilities?"
Then he saw himself one day like Iuchian, seeing the whole picture in wonder-filled eyes. He felt that he would be letting others see it as well, sure that they had an equal right to it. If that were so, then no amount of work to accomplish it would be too hard. The Druid teachers had ever said that all work is really a joy, so "hard" is not the right word at all.
Once, last season, on hearing Iuchian talk of the Golden Apples of the Sun, he had envisaged a golden land where every feature of the landscape emitted a joy of its own, and where life really laughed in bud and bloom, in bush and tree; and each movement was made of happy sounds. Youths, too, were wise, and without any awareness other than all was a unity, and all in harmony. And each knew it fully and well. Each friend was as dear in his heart as himself, and all engaged in some fond enterprise.
When he had told Iuchian of his vision the poet smiled and told him that such were the possibilities of every day, and that all he had to do was to give life to them, for it was all his heritage. In fact, "just be yourself."
He also recalled how his father, mother and Iuchian ever met joyfully together, and were happy with the simplest of things. Then he remembered what his mother had said of the poet: he is a link with our yesterdays, and joins them to our tomorrows.
Once, Aengus went with his father to join in the search for a very young boy who had wandered into the deep woods, and now the thought struck him of what a great wave of joy there had been when the boy was found. Not just by the parents, but by all who were there. Going home from the woods, they sang a song about it, and the words just ran across his mind.
Was this journey, these lives, all something like that? Were we all these long ages away from our true home, as Iuchian said, to help in a great task? To change this land indeed to a golden one, and then to change another, and another until the reflection became the real? Was this really at the base of
it, and was it the joy of service that made the great change?
That thought seemed to reverberate in his mind, and he knew so surely that he was closer to finding his answer. A smile passed across his face, and into his eyes, and time decreed that another day was at an end.
His father came into the room to see how Aengus was doing with his work. He saw that he had now fallen asleep at his table with his head resting beside his books. He lifted him gently in his strong arms, and carried him to his cot. He saw in the sleeping face of his son a happy look, and the joy of his own hour felt full. He called to his wife that Aengus was fast asleep, far away in the land of Nod.
FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS
To the 111th Annual Convention of the Theosophical Society
- Radha Burnier, President
It was in 1925, fifty years after the founding of the Theosophical Society, that Mr. J. Krishnamurti began his great mission. Having himself realized freedom, his work was to free men unconditionally from the psychological bondage responsible for their problems as well as for the condition of human society as a whole. He said: "I would help him (man) to break away from all limitations, to free himself from all fears ... My desire is that man should be unconditionally free." Since that time till 17 February this year, when he passed away, Mr. Krishnamurti traveled all over the world speaking to growing audiences, bringing home the profound significance of being inwardly free. With his passing a certain epoch has ended.
Adyar Day will henceforth also be associated in the minds of many members of the Theosophical Society with Krishnaji and his illuminating exposition of the meaning of life. His departure from this world has brought to many a new awareness of the profound and revolutionary nature of his teachings. Numerous educators, philosophers, students of comparative religion, psychologists, scientists, men and women in public life and others met him. The crest-wave of intellectual advancement has indeed been channeled into spirituality through their contacts and discussions with Krishnaji. The content of his talks revealed to them that the root of the human problem is in the psyche of man, and that no tinkering with outer circumstances, inventing of new systems or ideologies can end the travail of man. The soil from which human potentiality can unfold and flower is a mind which has delved into itself.
When there was a danger within the Theosophical Society of it becoming set in a tradition and pattern of thought of its own, Krishnaji's passionately intense challenge shook the presuppositions and attitudes of its members. He called upon everyone to shun the bypaths, to discard beliefs, forms and ceremonies and go to the central point
which is the urgent need to bring about a total change within.
H.P.B. warned that most organizations like ours do not survive for more than one hundred years. Generally they become encrusted with dogma and degenerate into some kind of sectarianism. The members tend to rest upon the oars of their past achievements, giving little attention to discovery and action in the present. If the Theosophical Society has escaped such a fate, it is in large measure due to Krishnaji's questioning and criticism. This may not have pleased all members of the Theosophical Society, but nonetheless it helped to restore vitality to the pursuit of the fundamental aims of the Society.
Those who came into personal contact with Krishnaji saw for themselves the human spirit at its best, a manifestation of utter selflessness, a pure compassion and wisdom. He was a Theosophist in the full sense, a Brahma jnanin or knower of Truth, although he was not a member of the Theosophical Society. The Theosophical Society can be justly proud of having sponsored and made known a teacher who has had such a profound impact on contemporary thought and whose influence is likely to grow, and not diminish, with time.
Human society is built up of concepts and undoubtedly many new ones will be invented in the future by the clever brain of man. These concepts, however brilliant, have not helped to resolve the complex problems with which man has been surrounded. Violence, greed and tensions have steadily increased. Krishnaji has awakened the insight of many to the futility of moving from one set of concepts to another, for all thought and conceptual speculation is limited. The Theosophical Society can continue to be a force for the good, only to the extent that Theosophy does not become another set of concepts or beliefs. Theosophy is in reality the living wisdom which comes into being through observing and understanding the process of life, not merely at the physical level, but also at the psychological and subtler levels of existence. Wisdom is born when the mind casts aside its preconceptions and limitations and moves into a different dimension. It is the work of the Theosophical Society to be in the vanguard of such a change - a change which will help to build a new world-order because there is a different awareness of relationships and of the essential nature of things.
In the present day, the technological transformations which are taking place and the "culture" generated by television and other mass media are reducing the mind to a state of abject mediocrity. Technological ability is constructing the unnatural environment in which most people live, especially in the expanding urban complexes. Pleasure has become a drive so compulsive that the mind becomes an automaton, even while it imagines itself to be free. It is easy in these circumstances for people to close the doors of their minds to new horizons. Spiritual perception is stifled in an atmosphere of conformism and search for enjoyment.
The redeeming feature is that a number of thoughtful people, including scientists, are beginning to realize that in the present strife-ridden society, the mind is missing the meaning of existence. It is so fragmented and superficial that it fails altogether to discriminate between the glitter of illusory aims and the true direction of human growth. The Theosophical Society must show the way towards real progress. Every person can take a step forward from where he is in un- (Continued on page 15)
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
I am pleased to welcome the following new members into the Society: Mr. Richard MacPhail, Hamilton Lodge. Mrs. Melissa Dixon, Victoria Lodge. Ms. Joyce Pooran, Beaconsfield Study Centre. Mrs. Marjatta Hjelt and Mrs. Seija Saari, Kalevala Study Centre, Vancouver. Mr. Stanley Douglas, Bath, Ontario; Mr. Ronald Culshaw, London, Ontario - both members-at-large.
I regret to announce the deaths last November of two members. One was Mrs. Jessie Walker, of South Porcupine, Ontario. She was a member of Toronto Lodge, first joining in November, 1932. The other demise was Mr. Andrew Ferguson, of Victoria Lodge. He joined our Section on November 22, 1971. On behalf of all members of the Society, I extend our condolences to members of both families and friends of the deceased.
On a much happier note, I am pleased to announce the birth, on January 21, 1987, of a daughter to Angie and Maurice Mercier, members-at-large in St. Albert, Alberta. The baby Francine is a sister to their son, Patrick.
The Puerto Rican Section of the T.S. held a conference in San Juan in late December, the Second Inter-American Seminar on Theosophy. The Australian Section, T.S., held a conference in early January, '87. I received notice of both of these conferences much too late to be able to advise the Canadian membership, via these pages, in time for any who may have been interested, and wanted an excuse to go to a warmer climate. When I received the notice and kind invitation for the Inter-American Seminar, it had already started. The notice for the Australian conference arrived just a little later, and about ten days before it commenced. As I write these notes, a letter has just arrived advising me that the Inter-American Seminar was a great success. I hope that the Australian convention was a success too. Mr. Gordon Limbrick, of Victoria Lodge, went there to deliver a lecture.
Headquarters at Adyar held their 111th annual conference on Thursday, December 26, 1986. Mrs. Radha Burnier, our international President, gave the keynote speech, highlights of which appear elsewhere in these pages.
I am informed that the Third Inter-American Seminar will be held in Mexico in October or November, 1987. Exact date and place has not been decided yet.
I do have a notice, in good time, of a conference to be held in New York City on August 8 and 9, 1987, at Loews Summit Hotel, Lexington and 51st Street. The title of the conference is "The Dissemination of Theosophy, New Techniques for a New Age," and is to be "...on the history, current status and the development of new methods for the dissemination of Theosophy."
The affair is sponsored by the magazine, Theosophical Sparks. They are calling for presentations, for which, if you cannot attend to give it, they will provide a reader. They invited suggestions and ideas from all interested persons. Admission is $15.00 (U.S.) payable in advance. For further information and application to attend and/or submit a presentation, and for a list of hotels
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society
The Canadian Theosophist
- In Canada
- Published Bi-Monthly
- Second Class Mail Registration Number 0784
- Return Postage Guaranteed
- Subscription: $4.50 A YEAR
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. 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.
Rannie Publications Limited, Beamsville, Ontario
at reasonable rates in "safe" locations, write to: Theosophical Sparks, P.O. Box 6849 - F.D.R. Station New York, N.Y. 10 150 - 1907 U.S.A.
The Canadian T.S. is catching up with and taking advantage of modern office techniques and equipment. This General Secretary uses a computer, memory typewriter and office copier to both lighten and shorten the (unpaid) office work. I had the prescience to acquire a computer a year ago for another purpose. It has greatly helped to speed up the flow of my letters. (Would that a certain Post Office system would do likewise.) Our editors, Doris and Ted Davy, also use a computer in their work for the magazine. The Edmonton Lodge has been using a very fancy copier to reproduce some rare and out-of-print books. Toronto Lodge also uses a computer. I use mine in T.S. work for filing membership data and in the word processing mode.
The instruction manual for the word processor program is as big and lengthy as The Secret Doctrine, and much more obscure, aided by a grossly inept and inadequate index. The computer could be used for Canadian Section bookkeeping, but I do not do so. If I did, then our Assistant Treasurer would be left with nothing to do, and my workload would be increased, both terrible situations, especially the latter.
After experiencing some of the frustrating, unexplained quirks and idiosyncrasies of these computing monsters, I can say, without hesitation, that there is no way that these things will ever supplant the human mind. The level of intelligence evinced by a computer is the intelligence of matter, and nothing else. They are on-and-off devices with
that function enormously expanded and cleverly wired to produce a resemblance of seeming intelligence that is really just a fast-acting tool.
The "intelligence" in a computer is just reflex action and can best be understood by a physiological model of reflex action. To those who have not studied physiology, I would explain by an example. For instance, when a finger is pricked by a pin, an impulse goes along a neuron (nerve) to the spinal cord, into set circuits of nerve cells and interacts there, NOT in the brain, and sends out an impulse in another nerve to the proper muscles that cause the arm to pull the finger away from the source of detected injury. There is NO thinking in this. It is just a nerve firing on and off in the correct sequence along the correct pathways to produce the correct result-reaction-in response to an external stimuli (input). An impulse is also sent up the spinal cord to the brain (in the computer, this is the extra impulse to the screen to let the operator see what is happening) thus making the finger owner aware of the pin prick by pain. But the pulling away impulse happened before the impulse arrived at the brain and before the owner could think about pulling his finger away. (This is one of Nature's protective devices to get out of harm's way faster than the time for an impulse to go to the brain, think, then back down and remove body part from danger.) So the example shows reflex in action, and the computer is capable of hundreds of thousands of reflex actions in a fraction of a second - but thinking it is not. There is a great difference between the function of Manas (or the Mind) working on the Mental Plane and a mechanical or electrical or neurological on/off function, no matter how seemingly sophisticatedly wired together this on/off may be. - S.T.
When regular meetings resumed in September, members of Edmonton Lodge agreed to continue their chronological study of The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett. We are attempting as thorough a study as we can. There is much information and wisdom within these Letters, and as a result numerous comments and points of discussion arise. At regular meetings it is impossible to pursue every question satisfactorily, so the members agreed that each should pick a topic from a list of suggestions, research and present it to the group. The last Wednesday of each month has been set aside for this purpose.
On November 15,1986, Edmonton Lodge arranged for a gathering of its members together with members-at-large in the area, for a day of Theosophical discussion and camaraderie. In the afternoon, Ernest and Rogelle Pelletier showed slides they had taken while attending the European School of Theosophy at Tekels Park in England. After a short break, we were then honoured to have our guest speaker, Ted Davy, give a talk entitled "R.M. Bucke and Cosmic Consciousness". After Ted answered a number of questions from the audience, the group broke up for a buffet dinner. (Ted's talk was audiotaped-contact Edmonton Lodge.) In the evening, members were free to bring up any Theosophical topic for discussion. Many interesting subjects were considered.
In January we listened to an audiotape of John Algeo's "Theosophical View of War and Violence". Using notes, members participated in John's questionnaire involving a number of hypothetical situations where a decision must be made, choosing either A or B. The results were tabulated and the ethics involved with these dilemmas discussed.
The questions, which touched on such topics as abortion, capital punishment, etc., led to much enthusiastic discussion and encouraged members to research these further for the "Theosophical view".
Work is progressing slowly but consistently in our efforts to "fill the gaps" in the Edmonton Lodge Library collection. We are grateful to all individuals and Lodges involved for their cooperation and assistance. We are also making a few extra copies of some of this rare and valuable material. A small catalog was recently published, outlining what the Lodge now has available.
Emory Wood is once again escaping winter by spending time at his daughter's home in Las Vegas. Until his return this spring, meetings are being held at the Pelletier residence.
We have re-opened after the Christmas holidays, and activities are once again in full swing, heralding a new year. Progress, although it seems slow, is steady. We have three new members and two others interested in joining.
There are now over 80 names on our mailing list. This is looked after by Gladys Cooper, who encloses an inspirational message with the monthly program mailing.
Diana Cooper, the Hermes Lodge Librarian, has drawn up a proposal to increase access to the Library by making it a resource centre, and to permit borrowing by mail. We also have a video tape library, and will send tapes to other Lodges on request. The Lodge Library is open on Saturday afternoons, and on Wednesday evenings, and is being used by the public as well as the members.
Our Secret Doctrine class continues on Mondays. On Wednesday evenings we are studying "The Unity of Man and the Universe" - a series of video tapes with discussion guides. Lodge members meet on the second and fourth Thursdays to study The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett.
On January 25 we held a public meeting, and two video tapes were shown: Dora Kunz and Eric Peper discussing "A Theosophical Perspective: Dealing with Pain"; and "The Unity of Man and the Universe". There were 35 present, and the tapes were well received.
On February 23 we showed a video tape on "The Immortality Principle" - a glance at how art, religion and science respond to such items as: The Way We Die; Reincarnation; After-Death States; Consciousness; the Non-Physical Body; Immortality and Eternity.
Anyone visiting the coast is cordially invited to Hermes Lodge. We now have a telephone answering service which carries a message regarding current meeting schedules, or a message may be left for further information. The 'phone number is 7335684.
- Eva Sharp, Secretary
We have had an interesting series of studies since September. As we have had a number of interested visitors at most meetings, two of whom have now become members, Dorothy Armstrong initiated a special study group to introduce the basics of Theosophy. These meetings took place be-
fore our regular evening meetings. The course has been most successful and is now completed. Dorothy is also conducting Secret Doctrine studies in her home.
Our regular meetings have had studies on the Gita's practical application to everyday life. Each has been conducted by a different member. This year, music has followed an inspirational reading to introduce each meeting. Music has also been used occasionally for meditation. Two video tapes, "The Esoteric Nature of Music", and "Unheard Melodies" have been the subjects of two meetings.
Two Christmas parties took place, one of them for our faithful visitors, hosted by Mary and Alastair Taylor. Members were again welcomed by Pearle and Alf Mavor. Carols and delicious refreshments were enjoyed by all.
A new feature since Christmas has been introduced in the form of afternoon meetings for those who cannot attend in the evening. These are held every other week and have proved to be very popular, averaging eleven members. The Chair rotates and specific questions contributed the week before are discussed. A social tea follows.
Pathways, the journal of the Theosophical Society in Victoria, continues to attract compliments from home and abroad.
In January we received a most welcome gift from Edmonton Lodge, in the form of a video tape. This was a recording of the address given by our member Gordon Limbrick at last year's Section Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver. Gordon has spent the winter in Australia, and latterly in Hawaii. He will return in late April after what he reports has been a very rewarding time Theosophically.
Mollie Yorke, Secretary
FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS (Continued from page 10)
folding his understanding and perceptions. He has to un-learn a great deal and abandon accepted norms and lines of least resistance. Theosophy has a message for each one wherever he is. To give that message is the most important purpose of the Society and its branches.
I cannot sum up the purpose of the Society better than by using the words "human regeneration", the inner revolution which cleanses the mind. When this is not understood, the pursuit of the three Objects of the Society can become wayward and misleading. In fact, with regret one has to observe that there are too many Lodges and groups of members in the Society whose interpretation of the work of the Society indicates a loss of direction. To be theosophical means to be concerned with the movement from the present limitations and folly of the mind to the wisdom from which alone right action emerges. Preoccupation with subsidiary aims, study of methods to improve physical health, research into psychic phenomena and so forth, do not help humanity to a wiser way of life, although they have their uses.
Recasting old ideas, collating knowledge from different sources and academic pursuits are also not synonymous with doing theosophical work. As we said earlier, mere concepts do not help to solve problems or liberate man from his conflicts and unhappiness. The learning of others may at times serve as an aid to activate one's own perceptions. But without clear awareness and inward apprehension for oneself of what is true and what is not in the experiences of life, Theosophy ceases to be a light.
A new impetus is needed within the Society to encourage the spirit of serious enquiry and deep reflection which lead to an "unveiled spiritual perception". The important subjects to ponder over and probe into have been dealt with from different angles in books, but no book can reveal to the mind the secrets of life unless it is alive and ready to see. The subject of death has figured prominently in the literature of Tibetans, Egyptians, Indians and others. But the mystery of death, which is also the mystery of life, cannot be understood simply through reading the numerous verbal descriptions and explanations.
Millions of people, including Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and members of the Theosophical Society, believe that the death of the body is not the end of life and that there is a series of incarnations ahead of each person. They say with apparent conviction, that when the body dies the experiences of life are not over, and so forth. But when actually confronted with the death of the body, the theories vanish, there is dread of the approaching end, sorrow and uncertainty. No clearer proof is needed of the inadequacy and futility of theories and concepts. Other people's words are as chaff in the mouth in a moment of crisis.
The secret of death cannot be plumbed by learning from others about the process of death or about life after death. The phenomenal side of existence is being continually scrutinized and analyzed by scientists. But they are themselves the victims of fear and ignorance concerning the purpose and meaning of the phenomena which they study. Ignorance and alarm are dispelled only through an objective, serious investigation of the essence and significance of death and what life is. The process of shedding vehicles and entering new ones, according to various descriptions, is complex; it is hardly worth while disputing its details, since most people can only speculate upon them or believe on the basis of some authority. But death itself is simple. It means letting go. No authority is needed, no belief has to be accepted to let go. The secret of death is known only by him who has pondered over the happenings around him and understood what is true and false, what is worth while or not. Then he lets go of all the things of no value. His mind is then uncluttered, alive to understand the beauty of life and act with harmony and wisdom.
It seems to me that with the entry into a second century of its life, the Theosophical Society must promote a new spirit leading to direct apprehension. The stale approach is that of turning back to the past, to recapitulate what others have said. This must yield place to the more vital and creative work of seeing for oneself through study, reflection and purity of life. To quote the words of Annie Besant: Theosophists must "regard Truth as a prize to be striven for, not as a dogma to be imposed by authority. They consider that belief should be the result of individual study or intuition and not its antecedent, and should rest on knowledge, not on assertion."
Valuable instructions have been given in theosophical books about the themes which need to be investigated and understood. Membership in the Society is based on freedom of thought and freedom to pursue one's own line of enquiry. H.P.B. gave "free and fearless investigation" as a watchword for members and chose "There is No Religion Higher Than Truth" as the motto of the Society. What is the meaning of "free and fearless investigation"? What sort of obstacles are there within the mind to such investigation? Is investigation compatible with dogmatic assertion, easy acquiescence, be-
liefs, attachment to denominations, to nationality, religion and so forth? How is the mind, conditioned from infancy by a variety of influences, to break out and understand in depth the nature and significance of life?
Before one can investigate with freedom and fearlessness, there must be a great deal of self-observation and thoughtful study of the hidden motives and attachments which cloud the mind. So, a short phrase like "free and fearless investigation" has profound implications and calls for sustained work to understand those implications. If the phrase is repeated because it has come from a person whom one respects, it has little value, being a lifeless piece of verbiage. But when the full depth of meaning is patiently searched for and discovered, then the phrase is the springboard from which the mind soars into the realm of a new understanding and action.
There are other important subjects of theosophical value which have been written about and whose meaning and depth have to be discovered by individual members through private and group work. What does it mean to learn to be "self-reliant," which the Mahatmas stressed? Most religions have made people dependent and afraid. The Theosophical Society does not seek to add to the number of such fear-ridden persons. It promotes an approach of self-responsibility, not seeking favours, saviours and solutions outside. Idolatry and the conventional concept of God have no place in the theosophical approach.
There are members in the Society who are unaware of these essential points and who try to advocate various cults and beliefs in their Lodges. A sufficiently large core of members must take up the task of making the right approach on such questions as these central to the work of the Society and its branches, or else they will deteriorate. The spirit of investigation we spoke about, self-knowledge, self-responsibility, altriusm, brotherhood, concern for the whole of life, etc. - all these are questions of primary interest if the Society is to retain its vitality and if Theosophy is to become a living wisdom in the consciousness of the members.
Apart from Mr. Krishnamurti, another figure known all over the theosophical world, and who formed a link with the events of the earlier part of this century, was Mrs. Rukmini Devi Arundale. On 24 February of this year, she passed away after a prolonged illness. Her role in reviving the classical dance form of India and promoting the arts won for her acclamation from many quarters. As a member of the Upper House of Parliament in India, she was able to get legislation passed for better protection of animals. She came into close contact with the leading figures in the Theosophical Society after her marriage to Mr. Arundale in 1920, and because of her travels with him. Theosophy meant for her the pursuit of beauty and kindness, especially towards the animal kingdom. With her death, the number of persons who belonged to the era of Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater has decreased still further.
During the year, the Theosophical Society in America celebrated its one hundredth anniversary. After several years, the venue of the Convention was once again Wheaton and "Olcott", the Headquarters of the Section. A history of the Section was presented at the Convention through a video programme and a lecture by Miss Joy Mills. A number of well-known workers of the Section gathered together for the occasion which was a very happy reunion. I had the pleasure of being with the American members for this event, along with some Indian and other
overseas delegates. Mrs. Dora Kunz, National President, who presided over all the special events of the Convention, and her staff, provided a warm reception and stimulating programmes.
Another Centenary of importance occurring now is that of the Adyar Library and Research Centre. Mention of this was made in my Presidential Address to the Convention last year. Since then the special Jubilee Volume of the Library's journal Brahmavidya has been prepared and printed and other special publications brought out. Chaturdasalakshani, a classical treatise on logic with two commentaries, the Siddhantapanjara on the systems of Indian philosophy and a literary work, the Naishadhananda are among the highlights of the publication programme. The Upanishad volumes which were out of print are also being reprinted. Contributions have been coming into the Adyar Library Endowment Fund from various sources and it now stands at about Rs.300,000. Much more has to be collected in order to provide a sound basis for the research and publication work which is going on.
Every year I have visited different areas of the world in order to have direct knowledge of the work which is going on and to make contact with the principal workers. During the year, preceding the centenary of the American Section I visited a number of places in the United States and Canada. My journey also included a short trip to Mexico and a stay in the Krotona Centre in California. Miss Joy Mills was in Europe for the European School of Theosophy, while Mrs. Emily Sellon was the chief guest at the British Convention and Summer School. All these visits are, needless to say, valuable to the work of the Society.
...The Theosophical Publishing House in
Adyar has increased its sales. Apart from reprinting a number of titles, it undertook the publication of two new books, namely Truth, Beauty and Goodness and No Other Path To Go, both by myself. Life-subscriptions to The Theosophist have reached approximately the figure of Rs.100,000. It will be of advantage both to the T.P.H. and to subscribers if there is a further increase of life-subscriptions. A scheme has been introduced for providing life-subscriptions for Adyar Newsletter also. The plans for the T.P.H. building to be constructed in Besant Gardens have been submitted to the city authorities and we hope to start construction during the coming year.
The School of the Wisdom had two sessions as usual. Mr. Rohit Mehta was the Director from January to March and gave morning courses on "Theosophy and the Study of Comparative Religion, Science and Philosophy". From October to December, Mrs. Seetha Neelakantan directed the studies. Her theme was "Man in the Universe: His Nature, Latent Powers and Unfoldment". During both terms there were a variety of other courses in the afternoons and some extra-mural lectures in the evenings. These last are attracting more and more of the public from outside our headquarters as a result of steady advertising and publicity through invitations to selected persons.
Mr. C.R.N. Swamy reports that the inflow of fresh material to the Archives was not unsatisfactory. But not all Sections and workers seem to remember that important documents, registers, letters, photographs, press-cuttings and so forth should be sent to the Archives as they may be of great historical interest to posterity. The General Secretary of the Indian Section has decided to deposit the original Minute Books of the Section in the Archives, which we are very glad
to have. As material increases, much more space will be needed for the Archives and its staff than available in the present premises. ...The work at headquarters has been proceeding well on the whole. There have been many activities besides those mentioned by me. Lectures, study programmes and informal gatherings take place throughout the year. Work to improve the buildings, garden, etc. at headquarters is proceeding as fast as possible. Yet, there is so much more to be done. I am very happy that quite a few members from overseas have come to help the work at Adyar in various ways.
...Such a Society as ours cannot function except through the dedication and sacrifice of its members. Dedication exists in different degrees and levels. There are those who give a little of their time, energy or resources. Others give more of themselves or even sacrifice all other interests and preoccupations for the sake of this work. But most difficult of all is to work with no thought of self-without wanting recognition, importance or even results. When there is inner purity and largeness of heart and mind, and a deep concern for others, more is achieved than may be visible at the outer level. The spirit of altriusm does not coexist with demands on behalf of the self. That spirit, the inward purity, is what is needed most to fulfil the aims of the Society.
Outer activities are necessary. They must be carried out with accuracy, dignity and thoughtfulness. A spirit of cooperation must pervade those outer activities. But by themselves they are not enough; even when action is well done, it is not sufficient to give an impetus for the world's progress, unless the heart is clean, the mind open and the vision pure. This, we must all strive to bring about within ourselves if we would lighten the world's burdens and ensure peace and joy for humanity.
KRISHNAMURTI'S CHANGING VIEWS ON THE T.S.
"It was with considerable regret that we read ... the reasons for your resignation from the Theosophical Society ... It is a pity that such an enthusiastic worker as yourself should have taken such a deplorable step...
"...we, who intend to devote our lives to this Society... the enlightenment which we feel our Society is pre-eminently able to bestow...
"...you have definitely chosen a path wholly different from the one which we intend to follow...
"Your action in leaving the Theosophical Society, in our opinion, may be likened unto a son who has been nurtured with care and who abandons his mother on some trivial misunderstanding ...We hopefully await the day of the happy reconciliation..."
From "An Open Letter to Mr. Wadia", signed by J. Krishnamurti and J. Nityananda, dated at Krotona, Hollywood, California, on October 1st, 1922. Included in Supplement to The Theosophist, December 1922.
Krishnamurti himself resigned from The Theosophical Society in 1929.
"Another incident that may interest members of the T.S. occurred during a conversation we had with Krishnaji in Vasanta Vihar, his home in Madras in January '86. Someone referred to the time when he had 'walked out of the Theosophical Society.' He immediately stopped him and said, 'Wait a minute, Sir. I never walked out of the Theosophical Society. They didn't want me there.' I asked him if he would go back to the Theosophical Society if they agreed to live by his teachings and abolished all cere-
monies and the Esoteric Section. 'Is anybody offering that?' he asked. 'No, but suppose they did.' 'When they do, we will consider it,' he said.
- From "J. Krishnamurti - A Reminiscence'' by P. Krishna, in The Indian Theosophist, Krishnamurti Commemoration Number, October-November, 1986, p. 224.
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 IV
"The elementals in the Astral Light are reflections. Everything on earth is reflected there." (H.P.B.)
Question. (a) Re: Elementals. Reflections of what? (b) Since everything is formed from the inner planes I should have thought that the physical earth plane is reflected from the Astral. Again the Chhaya reflects and moulds the body. This implies that the Astral reflects the Physical. It may be that the Astral and Physical reflect each other?
Answer. First a direct response to query (a) - by means of the word "Prototypes". However there are several points requiring clarification, especially in connection with the term "Astral Light," for this term is used in more ways than one in The Secret Doctrine, especially so when "Astral Light" is used as an equivalent of Akasa - representing its lowest reaches and signifying in this aspect the Linga-sarira of the Earth. To quote:
"The astral light stands in the same relation to Akasa and Anima Mundi, as Satan stands to the Deity. They are one and the same thing seen from two aspects: the spiritual and the psychic - the super-ethereal or connecting link between matter and pure spirit, and the physical." (S.D.I, 197; I, 247 6-vol. ed.; I, 219 3rd ed.)
In further explanation to query (a) as well as to the opening quoted passage (which is from Vol. V. 544 - 6-vol. ed.)*
"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.
* Now also to be found in The Inner Group Teachings of H.P. Blavatsky, p. 72.
"All this, teaches the hidden Science, is but the temporary reflection, the shadow of the eternal ideal prototype in Divine Thought." (S.D.I, 63; I, 132 6 vol. ed.; I, 92 3rd ed.)
This very same subject was discussed in "Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge" and H.P. Blavatsky gave answers to questions dealing with the Astral Light and Elementals. For example:
"Question. What is meant by prototypes existing in the Astral Light?
"Answer. Astral Light is here used as a convenient phrase for a term very little understood, viz: 'the realm of Akasa, or primordial Light manifested through the divine Ideation.' The latter must be accepted in this particular case as a generic term for the universal and divine mind reflected in the waters of Space or Chaos, which is the Astral Light proper, and a mirror reflecting and reversing a higher plane. In the Absolute or Divine Thought everything exists and there has been no time when it did not so exist; but Divine Ideation is limited by the Universal Manvantaras. The realm of Akasa is the undifferentiated noumenal and abstract Space which will be occupied by Chidakasam, the field of primordial consciousness. It has several degrees, however, in Occult philosophy; in fact, 'seven fields.' .... The Astral Light is that which mirrors the three higher planes of consciousness, and is above the lower, or terrestrial plane; therefore it does not extend beyond the fourth plane, where, one may say, the Akasa begins.
"There is one great difference between the Astral Light and the Akasa which must be remembered. The latter is eternal, the former periodic. The Astral Light changes not only with the Maha-manvantaras but also with every sub-period and planetary cycle or Round.
"Question. Then do the prototypes exist on a plane higher than that of the Astral Light?
"Answer. 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....
"We may compare the Akasa and the Astral Light, with regard to these prototypes, to the germ in the acorn. The latter, besides containing in itself the astral form of the future oak, conceals the germ from which grows a tree containing millions of forms."
"....every plant - from the gigantic tree down to the minutest fern or blade of grass - has, Occultism teaches us, an Elemental entity of which it is the outward clothing on this plane. Hence, the Kabalists and the medieval Rosicrucians are always found talking of Elementals. According to them, everything possessed an Elemental sprite.
"Question. What is the difference between an Elemental and a Dhyan-Chohan?
"Answer. The difference is very great. Elementals are attached only to the four terrestrial Elements and only to the two lower kingdoms of nature - the mineral and the vegetable - in which they inmetalize and inherbalize,
so to speak." (Blavatsky Collected Writings. X, 360-2)
In Question (b) the querent refers to the Chhaya as moulding the body. Chhaya literally means a shadow and is often used in The Secret Doctrine as equivalent to the Linga-sarira. Reference is also made to the Astral Light and that it is reflected from the Earth. In the quoted passage which follows the three Fires signify the three immortal principles of the human constitution, and the forty-nine Fires signify the seven aspects of the seven principles.
"First of all, remember that the Septenary of visible as of invisible Nature is said in Occultism to consist of the three (and four) Fires, which grow into forty-nine Fires. This shows that as the Macrocosm is divided into seven great planes of various differentiations of Substance - from the spiritual or subjective, to the fully objective or material, from Akasa down to the sin-laden, atmosphere of our earth - so, in its turn, each of these great planes has three aspects, based on four Principles, as already shown above. This seems to be quite natural, as even modern Science has her three states of matter and what are generally called the 'critical' or intermediate states between the solid, the fluidic, and the gaseous.
"Now, the Astral Light is not a universally diffused stuff, but pertains to our earth and all other bodies of the system on the same plane of matter with it. Our Astral Light is, so to speak, the Linga-sarira of our earth; only instead of being its primordial prototype, as in the case of our Chhaya, or Double, it is the reverse. While the human and animal bodies grow and develop in the model of their antetypal Doubles, it is the Astral Light that is born from the terrene emanations, grows and develops after its prototypal parent, and reflects everything reversed in its treacherous wave (both from the upper planes and from its lower solid plane, the earth)." (Blavatsky Collected Writings, XII, 613)
- Vol. 57, No. 3
Hermes Library, established over 50 years ago in Hermes Lodge of Vancouver, B.C., is a growing, well-developed special library which acquires books, journals, pamphlets and cassettes on Theosophy. The Library is open to the public on Saturday afternoons and before and after public meetings.
To aid research and to support further the Theosophical Society, Hermes Library is extending its service across Canada. Books and cassettes are available for borrowing by mail to members of Hermes Library anywhere in Canada.
Membership in Hermes Library is available free to members of Vancouver T.S. Lodges. Members-at-large, members of the Society who live outside the Vancouver area (anywhere in Canada) and non-members may borrow books by purchasing a Library card for an annual fee of $10.00 ($5.00 for seniors).
Reference service and enquiries to: Hermes Lodge, Theosophical Society 2-2807 West 16th Ave. Vancouver, B.C. V6K 3C5 (Phone: 733-5684)
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
TORONTO THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY TRAVELING LIBRARY
The Traveling Library of the Toronto Theosophical Society is operating and offering books on loan by mail to Society members only in Canada. Inquiries to: Mrs. B. Treloar, Apt. 288, 2095 Roche Ct. Mississauga, Ontario L5K 2C8
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).
DHARMA STUDY CENTRE: Secretary, Mrs. Diane Mottus, Box 145 Glendon, Alta., T0A 1P0
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. Phoebe Stone; Secretary, Mr. Fred Wilkes, 3679 Ste. Famille, No.22, Montreal, P.Q. H2X 2L5
TORONTO LODGE: President, Mr. David Zuk; Secretary, Miss Ruth Playle. (Phone 922-5571)
VANCOUVER LODGE: President, Mrs. Marian Thompson; Sec.-Treas. Mrs. Anne Whalen, 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. Dag Westgaard, 2084 McBride Cres., Prince George, B.C. V2M 1Z4
VICTORIA LODGE: President, Mrs. Fiona Odgren; 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