Vol. 69 No. 3 Toronto, July-Aug., 1988
The Theosophical Society is not responsible for any statement in this Magazine, unless made in an official document.
ORTHODOX SCIENCE EXAMINED
- Rex Dutta
People have been taught to venerate orthodox science; after all, because of it, you can press a button with your little finger - and wipe out current "civilization". On the dense-physical-plane-only, its achievements are impressive, but what of its equally impressive failings?
How can be comprehensive a system that: 1) measures a smile as a mere opening of the lips and ignores the life-quality that shines through happy smile, sad, beautiful, tearful, deceitful, joyous smile; infinite variations of life which science can't measure.
2) maintains that you are a mere chemical reaction of a thimbleful of known constituents, that we all have identically the same constituents - and yet we are each so very different in life; a life-quality that science ignores, pretends it doesn't exist, and will be driven away by howls of "subjective" (a dirty word in science, which recognizes only "objective"). So, why are we each so different? Science doesn't know.
3) fails to explain why a tennis player with the identical racquet / balls / court / opponent plays well one match / set / game and then goes off form. The dense physical conditions being the same, but the life-quality-response fluctuating. Science can't explain, since it's lopsided because it shuts its eyes to the "subjective", the livingness.
4) fails to explain why you can go down to the shops to buy chocolate, but a corpse can't; a newly dead corpse, with the identical physical components as yours - but missing the LIFE quality.
5) fails hopelessly to explain what is Life, how it starts. Science cheats desperately by suggesting that a meteor/comet from outer space brought life here - hoping that you won't notice that science doesn't know either how Life started out there!
Impressive indeed are the failings of orthodox science. It even pretends that you are just your dense physical body, and ignores your health body, the etheric; your emotions; your mind (although scientists should have some);
and especially ignores / fears / dreads / runs away from the more subtle planes of: a) higher mind, Manas, which can do telepathy, clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience; b)discriminating principle of Buddhi,
of constant-never failing-stream of flawless knowingness (including the inner Life) of an exalted State of Consciousness that exists, is known to have existed, and can even be Realized by humanity in one life or another; c) Atma / Oneness / Truth / God / Timelessness.
All these vast realms of Life are shut out by orthodox science, are beyond its reach, as it flounders lop-sided in outer-only form - the appearance, not the Reality within.
Impressive indeed are the failings of science. Until it recognizes the Seven bodies of mankind (physical, etheric, emotion, lower-mind, higher Manas, Buddhi, Atma), in Sevenfold Planes, each with its own laws and centres-of-perception, of Powers of timeless vastness far far outreaching the space-time continuum, orthodox science will never understand LIFE. Nor Occultism. Nor you. It's like a deaf-from-birth trying to gauge the quality of music by the splendour of the uniforms, or the shininess of the instruments. It's hopelessly off key. Inadequate. Yet humanity has been brainwashed into veneration! How can the teeming galaxies of the Universe with their entirely unexpected States of Matter, Life-Forms (do they all have to have flat feet like dense scientists?!) MIND-Realms, all be dwarfed into the tiny, unbalanced, outer-form only pint pot of one muddy little planet on the fringes of a local galaxy and its quaint earthy "science" of nuts and bolts - only plane?!
Humanity progressing into the New Age readily would agree - to the amazement of the brainwashed - with this quotation from the magnificent (though maligned) H.P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine:
"Unless LESS trouble is taken to reconcile the irreconcilable - that is to say, the metaphysical and spiritual sciences with physical or natural philosophy, 'natural' being a synonym to them (men of science) of that matter which falls under the perception of their corporeal senses - NO PROGRESS CAN BE REALLY ACHIEVED." (our capitals) (Vol. I, page 166)
So, to progress, LESS effort should be wasted on trying to squeeze the Universe into the pint pot of earth-science, and more should be spent on understanding the Sevenfold Planes, on freeing science from the five-only senses to the Seven Sense States of Awareness. The currents of efforts are to be reversed, to shift to improving science and not to reducing Allness to its dense level.
One more quality is essential for Occult understanding as the above passage later goes on to emphasize:
"Lead the life necessary for the acquisition of such knowledge and powers, and Wisdom will come to you naturally. Whenever you are able to attune your consciousness to any of the seven chords of 'Universal Consciousness,' those chords that run along the sounding board of the Kosmos, vibrating from one Eternity to another; when you have STUDIED THOROUGHLY (our capitals) 'the music of the Spheres,' then only will you become quite free to share your knowledge with those with whom it is safe to do so. Meanwhile, be prudent."
1) Let's have less talk of the scientific approach and much more of ENLARGING quaint theories (i.e., guesses) UP TO THE
PLANES of Occult Science of the Seven Senses / Sevenfold Realms. Our currents of effort are to be reversed: not to "explain" Occultism by science but improve and lift earth-science up to Oneness.
2) And so to do needs a drastic re-orientation
of our lives - to live the life necessary, i.e., selfless; dedicated to Oneness; repeated over many incarnations; and NOT to the acquisition of Powers - a selfish aim - but to an allowing of them to flower in Wisdom as a byproduct of aspiration to Oneness.
Of course, it's harder. Hence the erroneous emphasis on the "Scientific approach" / hostility to Occultism.
Hence, too, your personal choice - Wisdom?
- Viewpoint Aquarius No. 175, May, 1988.
INTERVIEW WITH RADHA BURNIER
This interview with the International President of the Theosophical Society, was conducted by the French Section journal, Le Lotus Bleu, on February 4, 1988, the day before Mrs. Radha Burnier's departure for Africa. It was revised by herself when she came back on April 5. The conversation was in English. The text, translated into French, was originally published in Le Lotus Bleu, Juin-Juillet, 1988.
Le Lotus Bleu: You have just been reelected to the office of International President of the Theosophical Society. In your mind, what is the duty of a P.T.S.? Is it to take care that the activities of the members are in harmony with the objects of the T.S., or to give a keynote that is more or less followed by the members?
Radha Burnier: In the address which I gave on re-assuming office, I think it was on July 17, 1987, I stated to some extent what I considered to be the work of a President. Perhaps there is no harm in repeating some of it. The T.S. is meant to bring about a sense of wholeness in the human community. To put it briefly, by creating a nucleus of universal brotherhood. Some people ask: "Why do you say a nucleus? Why don't you speak of a brotherhood of humanity?" It is because it would be unrealistic to talk about the whole of humanity at this stage. So we begin with a nucleus of people who feel a sense of true brotherhood, who work to realize the unity of existence; and gradually this nucleus will widen till it embraces the whole of humanity.
In The Mahatma Letters that objective is very clear. They have again and again emphasize the need for creating this brotherhood of Man. The T.S. is this nucleus and we can say there is a considerable sense of oneness within the Society. But the Society does not hold together because of its structure which gives a great deal of freedom to its units. What holds them together is more subtle and at the inner level. It is a shared direction, a common purpose and aspirations. I think the President of the Society has the responsibility of seeing that this sense of wholeness remains. The writing; the speak-
ing, the traveling, correspondence and so on, that the President does, must help in bringing this about and strengthening it.
I do not think it is the work of the President to make the Society go in a direction which he chooses, because the Society already has a direction, given from the time it was founded. Though there are clear indications in The Mahatma Letters about what the Society should be, there are various levels of interpretations of the three Objects. They can even be interpreted in a way which takes the Society away from its right direction. Take for example the third Object. There are people who think that this means that we should do research in psychical phenomena and give more information about invisible things. Taking interest in various phenomena may be harmless, provided it is within certain limits, but this is unimportant from the point of view of the wisdom which man needs. If the Society were led in that direction it could become the "Hall of Magic" which the Mahatmas said it should not become. Even the first object can be misinterpreted in such a way that the work of a Lodge or a group of members becomes mere socializing at a superficial level. So I think it is the function of the President, supported of course by other workers, to see that the Objects are fulfilled by understanding them rightly. Perhaps I have talked too long about this?
L.B.: Shortly before her death, Commander Bowen reported that H.P.B. said to her pupils that Jnana-yoga was the yoga of the West. Do you think this is still so? If not what would be the yoga of the West in our present time?
R.B.: Raja-yoga is said to be a synthesis of the different yogas. H.P.B. often referred to raja-yoga as being the same as practical occultism, Theosophy in the deepest sense of the term. I do not know whether it can be divided and you can say that one aspect that is Jnana belongs to the West. The word Jnana has been used in two different ways in Eastern literature. Sometimes it means knowledge in the ordinary sense of the term; sometimes it means wisdom. So, did H.P.B. use it in the sense of knowledge? If it is just ordinary knowledge it is not yoga. Yoga is that which brings about transformation. Or did she refer to the fact that through ordinary knowledge, scientific knowledge, there may be an approach to that which is beyond ordinary science. That is what people nowadays talk about - from physics to metaphysics. Whether she anticipated that I do not know.
L.B.: For instance, in The Theosophical Glossary, she says that jnana means wisdom.
R.B.: Yes. So jnana can mean both wisdom and knowledge in Sanskrit. They therefore sometimes make the difference between Brahma jnana and ordinary jnana. So I really can't say what is the yoga for the West. Personally, if you ask me, I find it very difficult to accept that there is a yoga for the West and a yoga for the East and so on. I think yoga is yoga for all people.
L.B.: But maybe at that time it was because the mind of Western people couldn't grasp or go into real raja-yoga?
R.B.: Yes, that is possible that there are approaches which come more easily to certain types of people, like bhakti-yoga is easier for some people than jnana-yoga. But ultimately everyone has to come to the same point.
L.B.: During the last few years the idea of fraternization among Theosophists from various societies has once again surfaced. A journal called Theosophical Network was started in the U.S.A. to promote this idea.
Last summer, a letter from Mr. Geoffrey Farthing, sent to all the heads of the major societies was published. It is called "To promote further the unity of the Movement". More recently, the Editor of Theosophical Network made a concrete proposition: the creation of a United Federation of the different T.S. What is your opinion about that? And do you think better cooperation and unity within the Movement could promote the work for which the T.S. was started more than a hundred years ago?
R.B.: I think to have a really strong sense of unity in the Society or among the group of people who call themselves Theosophists, something must start within the mind. Unity cannot be brought about simply by having a federation, through structural changes, or even by publishing a magazine. There must be a real understanding which comes from the heart, from within, and that requires that we must respect each other's freedom - freedom to enquire, freedom to discuss - and not have a dogmatic position, feeling that the other group or the other person is wrong and he must accept my point of view. If such attitudes prevail it is no use talking about unity and creating a federation. The attitude must change, we must be all seekers for the truth. The motto of the Society, "Satyan nasti paro dharma" is a wonderful one. Are we really concerned with truth from whatever source it may come or are we concerned with our own opinions, with asserting certain points of view? If we are all equally concerned with truth we will be united spontaneously. So I feel the real move must come from within.
L.B.: Yes, but can't there be a start?
R.B.: I am not sure that by creating a federation there will be a start ... What is meant by a federation? What will it do?
L.B.: I don't know exactly, but he proposed to discuss that in England next July during the Congress. I think his proposition is to try to have more cooperation, but that wouldn't imply that all the Societies would have to melt into just one organization.
R.B.: No. a federation does not mean that. Wherever human beings can cooperate so much the better. There is no doubt that there should be cooperation. But, is cooperation likely to increase by officially saying that there is a federation? that is all I am asking. Or should cooperation come into being and then whatever outward changes are necessary will take place?
L.B.: I don't know if you remember, but I think it was in 1891, Madame Blavatsky wrote to the American Section, among other things, that we (the Theosophists) must stay united otherwise we will be broken one by one and our strength will be lost.
L.B.: Don't you think that if there could be a unity, even not in the structures, that the work for Theosophy - I don't mean for the T.S. or for the other groups but for Theosophy in general - couldn't be better?
R.B.: It will have to be considered carefully because these groups do not even agree on what is Theosophy. So how is a federation going to strengthen the work of spreading Theosophy?
L.B.: Well, we'll see in July if anything comes out of it. The next question is more or less related to the latter. Ted Davy, in The Canadian Theosophist (Sept-Oct 1987) gives out a proposition to constitute an inter-
organizational committee to investigate the "Judge Case". He reports too that "on the basis of earlier semi-official intimations, Joy (Mills) thinks that the Adyar T.S. and E.S. archives would be readily opened provided all the other sources would reciprocate." What can you say about this opportunity that could clear the matter once for all?
R.B.: An international committee may not be capable of doing it. I think if the correct facts are to be presented, then somebody who is really trained to do research in an objective manner must go into all the records available. Recently, the American Section has published a book by Michael Gomes, The Dawning of the Theosophical Movement, which is very well researched. He seems to have gone into every possible source, because he is trained to do research.
L.B.: Well, I think Ted suggested a committee because if there are only people from Adyar, for instance, or from Pasadena, others will feel this won't be impartial. So...
R.B.: How will a committee examine everything? Will they meet together, sit and examine the records?
L.B.: I don't know. It's just a proposition.
R.B.: I don't know if Joy Mills really said that the E.S. archives will be opened up. As far as I know there is nothing in the E.S. archives about Judge.
L.B.: 1988 is the Centenary year of The Secret Doctrine. Do you think the S.D. has still something to bring to humanity and that its study ought to be encouraged and this last point far beyond the Centenary festival?
R.B.: The S.D. certainly has much to convey. You surely know what H.P.B. says in the Introduction. It more or less sets out what the object of writing the S.D. was. And those objectives still remain. The world is still materialistic. There are still religious fallacies of various kinds, there is still a lack of understanding of essential truths, so I think the S.D. will continue to be studied for a long time to come. And what Bowen mentions in his little booklet is important, that the S.D. must be studied in such a way that it leads to an intuitive understanding, that it leads to the truth. H.P.B. herself says either in the Proem or in the Introduction, that an intuitive approach alone can make one really aware of what the S.D. is teaching. So it should not be made into a new scripture, because then it would not serve the purpose for which it was written. It should be studied and made use of to open up one's inner perceptions.
L.B.: At present within the T.S., it seems that there is a tendency (probably influenced by the thought of Mr. Krishnamurti) to put aside, and even reject the fundamental teachings given out by the founders of the Movement. While acknowledging that freedom of thought has to reign within the T.S., is that state of mind not going to sever the mission of the T.S. of one of its important aspects: that is, the spreading of the teaching of the Wisdom-Religion?
R.B.: I don't agree that there is a tendency to put aside the fundamental teachings. The question is again: what is our approach to these fundamental teachings? Are we to be satisfied like the devotees of many of the religions in learning teachings, the way people learn the Veda, the Quran, or the Bible, or should there be an approach which will make use of the teaching which is, of course, verbal, into a living wisdom which one is able to communicate. I think if Mr. Krishnamurti has emphasized anything, it is this living quality; and that is what H.P.B. also said in The Key to Theosophy, that the future of the Society will depend, apart from the earnestness, devotion and selflessness of the members, on Theosophy being a living wisdom, not something which we merely repeat. This does not
mean that one must not study what is said. But if one does not enquire into it, assimilate it, see how it operates in daily life, whether it is reflected in one's relationships, one's attitude towards everything, then it is not a living thing.
If you go back again to the four fundamentals that Bowen mentions, H.P.B. says that there is no such thing as dead matter. All is consciousness, or life. One can repeat it, elaborate it, give lectures on it and yet in daily life behave as if even living things are matter. So that would be a denial in actuality of what one says, of what one has learned as teaching. I think this is important: there must be an awareness of this in the T.S.
So the approach is to be emphasized, and I don't think that there is a tendency in the Society as a whole to reject any of the fundamental teachings. But there are some who feel the need for keeping Theosophy as a living wisdom, and some who are satisfied with the conceptual and verbal.
L.B.: But don't you think for instance that the study of the S.D. or The Mahatma Letters, real study, cannot bring an inner change and a different perception of life?
R.B.: It may or may not bring it. It all depends on how it is studied.
L.B.: Yes, of course. But what I feel is that this is a personal thing, for each one to know or realize what effect the teaching has on oneself; and I think that for persons having this tendency of which I have spoken there is only one way. They think that the study, I mean intellectual study, leads only to intellect and cannot lead to wisdom.
R.B.: I think very often intellectual study remains merely intellectual. Therefore, one must be aware of it. If one is aware that there is a difference between intellectual knowledge and wisdom, then intellectual study can be helpful. The mind must be exercised in order to bring about a certain state of clarity, alertness, etc. But there can also be a state of mind which is very sharp and clever, but which remains purely intellectual and materialistic. So one must guard against that. In the S.D., the M.L., etc., there are certain fundamental things which I think need to be understood, meditated over and brought to life. But one must not make a fetish of the writings. For instance, in the M.L. there are pages about contemporary events. There is no point in studying them and learning every word because it came from a Mahatma. But one must have the discrimination to see what is really basic and go deeply into it. It's the same with the S.D. H.P.B. refuted the materialistic attitudes and the science of her day, but conditions have changed now. We too have to repudiate materialism in any form whether it's scientific or religious. But going through all the details of her arguments may not lead one anywhere. Historically it may be interesting, but as I have said one must see what are the basic truths that she communicated through the work. So discriminating study is essential and that would eliminate any kind of dogmatism.
L.B.: Thank you.
Although she did not fully respond to the question on the "Judge Case", the President is evidently not of a closed mind about it. It would surely be of the greatest benefit to the Theosophical Movement to have this controversy resolved once and for all, whether by a representative committee or whatever means will achieve a definitive result.
By the way, as to whether Joy Mills "really
said" that she thought the T.S. and E.S. archives would be opened up (under certain conditions), I am not one to put words in another's mouth. In any case, Joy read and approved the text of my report on our conversation while still in Canada last September. Under the title "Centennial Histories", this report was inserted at press time in the Sept-Oct 1987 issue of the C.T., p. 94.
It is interesting, and perhaps of the greatest importance, that the President believes there is nothing in the E.S. archives about Judge. This is something I have long suspected. If so, the total "evidence" against Judge is that which is contained in published documents now close to a hundred years old, and from it all open-minded students of Theosophy can reach their own conclusions (as so many have done) regarding his integrity and honesty.
- Ted G. Davy
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.
9. THE ASTRAL LIGHT - PART II
Question. What, if any, is the difference between Akasa and Cosmic Buddhi? If I mistake not it seems to me that they are both vehicles of Cosmic Life - Spirit.
Answer. There is a difference in the significance of the terms, although both represent what may be regarded as "ever-existing" - that is to say, both Akasa and Cosmic Buddhi (usually termed Maha-Buddhi) are present whether there is a universe in manifestation or NOT in manifestation.
Akasa is derived from the verbal root kas - to shine, hence literally "the shining substance" and is defined as the subtil, supersensuous spiritual essence which pervades all space - the Primordial Substance. The word also signifies the fifth kosmic element-principle, especially when linked to its Tattva, thus: Akasa-tattva, and sometimes rendered Aether (not to be associated with ether). As stated by H.P. Blavatsky:
..."Akasa being the first Idea of the yet uncreated Universe; from which must emanate the future Kosmos, in its descending grades of materiality." (Blavatsky Collected Writings, X, 146)
"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.'" (ibid., X, 360)
In regard to Maha-Buddhi: this is a Northern Buddhistic term, literally Great Wisdom or Great Universal Mind. It is equivalent to Mahat as defined in Hindu philosophy: Divine Intelligence. In The Secret Doctrine Mahat is regarded as the aggregate of the divine and spiritual intelligences of our cosmos.
Question. Is not Akasa often associated with the Astral Light?
Answer. It is true that the term "Astral Light" is used with a good deal of latitude, nevertheless it is defined as "The invisible region that surrounds our globe, as it does every other, and corresponding as the second Principle of Kosmos." (Theosophical Glossary, 38).
Here is another explanation:
"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." (Blavatsky Collected Writings, X, 360)
However there is an important difference between the Astral Light and Akasa, which was pointed out by H.P. Blavatsky in this passage:
"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." (ibid., X, 361)
The reason for this "change" of the Astral Light is because the Earth undergoes evolutionary changes during every Round of its period of existence, and this change also occurs in its "second principle."
Question. Does not The Secret Doctrine refer to divine beings in connection with the Astral Light?
Answer. Yes, the reference is a significant one and is mentioned in Stanza IV, sloka 6: "Then the Second Seven, who are the Lipika, produced by the Three (Word, Voice, and Spirit)". (S.D. I, 103; I, 165 6-vol. ed.; I, 129 3rd ed.)
"The Lipika ... are the Spirits of the Universe ... and are connected with Karma - being its direct Recorders." (S.D.1,128; 1,186-7; 1,153 3rd ed.)
The explanation is also given in regard to the connection of the Lipika with Karma.
"The Lipika, from the word lipi, 'writing,' means literally the 'Scribes.' Mystically, these Divine Beings are connected with Karma, the Law of Retribution, for they are the Recorders or Annalists who impress on the (to us) invisible tablets of the Astral Light, 'the great picture-gallery of eternity' - a faithful record of every act, and even thought, of man, of all that was, is, or ever will be, in the phenomenal Universe. As said in Isis Unveiled, this divine and unseen canvas is the Book of Life ... it is the Lipika who project into objectivity from the passive Universal Mind the ideal plan of the universe, upon which the 'Builders' reconstruct the Kosmos after every Pralaya ..." (S.D. I, 103-4; I, 165 6-vol. ed.; I, 130 3rd ed.)
"Mahat, or Intellect, (is) the 'Universal Mind' (literally the 'Great'), which esoteric philosophy explains as the 'manifested Omniscience'" (S.D. II, 58; III, 69 6-vol. ed.; II, 61 3rd ed.)
"Connected as the Lipika are with the destiny of every man and the birth of every child, whose life is already traced in the Astral Light - not fatalistically, but only because the future, like the past, is ever alive in the present." (S.D. I, 105; I, 166 6-vol. ed.; I, 131 3rd ed.)
"The record of those relationships (from birth to birth) imperishably endures in the Akasa, and they can always be reviewed when, in any birth, the being evolves his latent spiritual powers to the 'fourth stage of Dhyana.'" (Blavatsky Collected Writings, V, 93),
- Vol. 57, No. 2
Question. In regard to the statement which was quoted from H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, Volume X, pages 360-1 that "The Astral Light changes not only with the Mahamanvantaras but also with every sub-period and planetary cycle or Round" - in what way do these changes affect the reincarnating entities? And what are these changes?
Answer. The changes will occur by means of the Tattvas (signifying the Element Principles) which are changed by means of an additional Tattva which is brought into activity in every Round. Just as an additional Tattva was brought into the evolutionary activity of the beings during the present Fourth Round, therefore in the next Round there will definitely be changes in the vehicles (or bodies) of the reincarnating entities during the Fifth Round.
The enumeration of the Tattvas provides for three more Elements which are as yet unknown and which will be developed in their fullness in future ages - since the Esoteric Philosophy holds that it requires one Round for the complete unfoldment and development of an Element-Principle (or Tattva). As humanity is progressing in the Fourth Round, the Element-Principle that is being developed in complete unfoldment is that of the "lowest" or densest Tattva, corresponding with the Fourth Round, that of Earth. Likewise each Tattva has a predominating correspondence with each one of the following "sevens": with the Seven Rounds; with the Seven Root-Races; with the Seven Globes (of the planetary chain); with the Seven Kosmic Principles; with the Seven Human Principles; and with the seven senses of man. But this correspondence applies to the basic Tattva or Originant Element-Principle rather than to the developed product which is familiar on this plane.
Here is the list of the Element-Principles, placed in descending emanational sequence, with English equivalents:
1. Adi-Tattva, Primordial Universal Force.
2. Anupapadaka-Tattva, Spirit.
3. Akasa-Tattva, Aether.
4. Taijasa-Tattva, Fire.
5. Vayu-Tattva, Air.
6. Apas-Tattva, Water.
7. Prithivi-Tattva, Earth.
-Vol. 59, No. 6
TAPE LENDING LIBRARY
Audio and video cassette tapes of lectures, etc., are available on loan from the T.S. in Canada tape lending library. (This service is for residents of Canada only.) Write for list to: Doris Davy, 2307 Sovereign Cres. S.W., Calgary, Alberta T3C 2M3.
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
I am pleased to welcome into the fellowship of our Society two new members-at-large: Elaine Pope of North Vancouver, B.C., and John Snider, St. Catharines, Ontario.
Canadian Section members are reminded that dues are now due, and when this gets into print and delivered, dues will be overdue. Most Lodges and Study Centres have already paid. To those who have not yet, consider, as the Master D.K. often says, "There is a hint here ... ponder on this." Members-at-large are requested to send dues to me. The rate is $14.00 ($5.00 for each other member in the same household where only one magazine is sent.)
As to where to send these dues, I remind you all to please note, as first published in the last issue, that I have moved to R.R. No. 3, Burk's Falls, Ontario POA 1 CO.
This address is also shown on the masthead of this magazine. So also is the spelling of my name. Now in spite of this I still get many misspellings of it, from Adyar and general members. In fact, even Lodge officials who should know better frequently misspell my name. One Eastern Lodge (and not the one mentioned below) is consistent in their misspelling, but never consistent in how they misspell. I enjoy the game of waiting for the latest missive from them to see the latest version. The above quote of the Master D.K. may also apply here.
The Annual Meeting of the T.S. in Canada will be held in Victoria on Saturday, September 17, 1988 at 1:30 pm. The place is Cordova Bay United Church, corner of Delmonte and Claremont Streets. Only paid up members may attend.
I have a map drawn by a Victoria Lodge member, which I can copy and send to anyone who wants it, if they would send me a stamped, self-addressed envelope and a request for the map.
We will be guests of Victoria Lodge. They will provide a musical and poetry reading entertainment after the meeting, as well as a catered dinner. You are all cordially invited to attend (if qualified). Those who plan to stay for the dinner are requested to write to Mrs. Dorita Gilmour and advise her of this so that she may better plan with the caterers. Her address is: Apt. 304,1420 Beach Drive, Victoria, B.C. V8S 2N8.
I am very pleased to see that Toronto Lodge (my home Lodge) has purchased an older house at 109 Dupont Street in Toronto, as their new headquarters. They have been without an official home for three years, with some brave directors managing to keep lecture-meetings going at various locations. This new place is within two blocks of their previous location on MacPherson Avenue, the two streets being almost the same street, with just a slight jog.
Miss Ianthe Hoskins is visiting Canada, and will be in Quebec and Montreal until September 18. She will probably be the first lecturer at the official opening of Toronto Lodge's new quarters on September 22. If Miss Hoskins is to lecture further west than Toronto I cannot say for certain now, but local Lodges would make the appropriate announcements to their memberships should her trip be extended.
The Canadian Section's name on a rather isolated rural mailbox may, I would have thought, been odd to the local viewer. Yet
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society
The Canadian Theosophist
- In Canada
- Published Bi-Monthly
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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. 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
one, my neighbor in the farm across the road, seems to have an idea of what it is about. The other day, when returning from some work in a field, I found him seated in front of my garage, waiting for me. He had a copy of a book that he thought might interest me. It was John Allegro's The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross from his book collection. I thanked him, and advised him I already had it in my library (now in storage). He expressed some familiarity with The Secret Doctrine, which surprised me. But that is my failing. That book, and our Society, have a wider spread than we might expect. Something came up to interrupt, so I did not find out how much or how he had known of us.
This new location for me, and therefore the T.S. too, is a tiny cottage in the Southern end of Northern Ontario, about five miles from town, on 63 acres of forest and open fields; with two streams, at least 13 beaver dams in use and out of use, and two abandoned sand quarries. Going with the property at no extra charge are many tent caterpillars (a very bad year), blackflies, mosquitos and deer flies. Besides politicians there is always something or someone out to get our blood.
The quarries on this land I find intriguing. They have been scraped out of the side of a hill, rather than being holes. One might regard them as scars. Yet they do not seem that way to me. They have a bit of new growth of fir trees, plus many granite boulders, some very huge, left as unmovable. There are three tiny springs flowing too. I find that there is some aura or magnetism of a very high or refined type, in this acre of sand and stone. The quarries are elevated and remote from the road, affording a panorama of the area. I would like to meditate there, but a screened pergola would have to be built,
because of aforementioned biting bugs. I wonder if the springs have anything to do with the aura, or if it is just one of those many places that are magnetized and the sensitives notice them.
The tiny cottage (25 per cent of it is my small office) is temporary, I hope, and a bigger house is to be built a few hundred feet farther back from the road.
This year marks the one hundredth anniversary of the publishing of Mme. Blavatsky's magnum opus, The Secret Doctrine. Much will be written in all our various Theosophical journals to mark and comment on this noteworthy event. Why 100-year cycles for any event should be more noteworthy than 66 or 108 (do I hear a Buddhist here?) I could never fathom. Its writing and publishing is the noteworthy event.
The important thing is the fact that the message has been made public and the book is here for us to use. That it endures the assumed-to-be magical number of years is irrelevant. The fact is the Secret Doctrine, or Ancient Wisdom, or whatever you want to call it, has always endured and always will. We have seen but a new presentation at an appropriate time, and in a modern language, of part of the Secret Doctrine, for use.
I always hope that scholars will get more into the inner meanings which H.P.B. herself has said are there: "There are three locks and seven keys, and each key has to be turned seven times." I enlarged on this theme a year ago, May-June '87, wherein I repeated a list of hints on these keys as given in The Secret Doctrine, which list was compiled before I was born. But never have I heard of anyone using it, or of getting more than just the first and outer meanings in The Secret Doctrine. Again, maybe "there is a hint here." - S.T.
At our regular Lodge meeting on May 11 we celebrated White Lotus Day with readings and music.
The Annual Meeting was held on May 25, and the following officers were elected for the ensuing year.
President: Ted G. Davy
Secretary: Doris Davy
Treasurer: Phyllis Olin
Darcy Kuntz, who had prepared a very attractive Library catalog, with a copy for each member, was again elected to the position of Librarian for another year.
The Treasurer reported that even with the expense of a public meeting last Fall, the Lodge had increased its bank balance by a few dollars. Thanks were expressed for donations, and also for the assistance of the Davys' Labrador retriever Bess, who finds golf balls lost in the bush. These are sold by members at flea markets and garage sales, and the funds thus raised are donated to the Lodge.
On Wednesday, June 22, Laetitia and Hank van Hees invited members to their home for a Midsummer get-together. On this occasion, we celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the first publication of The Secret Doctrine. A variety of tasty dishes were contributed by those attending for a Pot Luck Supper. Afterwards, a short talk was given on the writing of the S.D., and this was followed by a discussion.
The Lodge is now closed for the summer, and our regular meetings will resume in September.
- Doris Davy, Secretary
MONTREAL STUDY CENTRE
The membership of the Montreal Study Centre consisted until now of retired people, but reviving interest among those still employed has resulted in our meeting every second Sunday, rather than on weekdays as before.
The activities of the Centre have so far involved discussion of audio and video tapes of exemplary quality, but renewed interest suggests that sessions of book-study may soon return.
Among recent visitors was Mr. Brian Selwood. He gave us an interesting account of his revisiting the fast-changing yet changeless India, where formerly he was a resident.
- Fred Wilkes, Secretary
The Annual General Meeting of Orpheus Lodge was held on Monday, May 30, at which time the following Officers were elected to serve for the 1988-89 season.
President: Eric Hooper
Vice-President: Margaret Nicholas
Secretary-Treasurer: Lillian Hooper
Librarian: Pauline Doberar
Following are highlights from the Annual Report.
From August 27 - 30, 1987, Miss Joy Mills gave a series of talks, her subjects being "The Spiritual Journey" and "The Path to Human Freedom". These meetings were held at the Hermes Lodge rooms with Vancouver and Orpheus Lodges attending.
Our first meeting after the summer holidays was held on September 21. As we did not have a full attendance we did not continue our study based on the Orpheus Lodge Notes, but rather read and talked about an article, "Our Common Humanity" by Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. This article appeared in The American Theosophist Special Spring Issue, 1987. In it is the statement that we cannot live in harmony when we are motivated by greed and jealousy. This provided us with material for a good meeting and a lively discussion.
Mr. Rex Dutta and Mrs. Jean Coulsting arrived from England on October 6 and spent a week in Vancouver with the three local Lodges. We had one joint meeting at the Vancouver Lodge room, when Rex talked about the Concentric Key method of studying The Secret Doctrine. All the other meetings were held in the Hermes Lodge rooms. The titles of their talks were "Mind: the Pivot", "Flying Saucers" and "Inner Rhythms of The Secret Doctrine" - which was actually the Concentric Key - and "Deeper Levels of Life." Rex and Jean shared equally in each of these presentations.
On February 28, Dora Kunz, the former President of the American Section, came to Vancouver for one day only. She spoke at Hermes Lodge on "The Chakras - Part of Human Energy Fields".
On Sunday May 8 we held our White Lotus Day, with readings from The Light of Asia, Light on the Path, The Voice of the Silence, The Bhagavad Gita, and a White Lotus Day lecture by Mr. Clark in 1924. In closing, we took one of H.P.B.'s letters, published under the title "Why I do not Return to India", in her Collected Writings, Vol. XII pages 156 to 167. Boris de Zirkoff felt that is a letter that all Theosophical students should be familiar with, and would do well to study closely.
We have continued to study the Orpheus Lodge Notes, edited by Mr. Clark, of Lodge meetings held in 1924. These Notes seem to have a vitality all their own, which when read and discussed by us all give a much greater degree of understanding than would be possible if one worked alone on such a project. We plan to take this same course of studies in the coming year.
Lillian Hooper, Secretary
The Annual Meeting of the Toronto Lodge was held on June 16, 1988. Twenty-five members were represented. After the meeting, social refreshments were enjoyed, and Peter Lakin was given a fond Bon Voyage as he embarks on his sabbatical and world tour on June 30.
Following is the result of the election of the new Board of Directors:
President: Barbara Treloar
Vice-President: Catherine O'May
Treasurer: Don Keith
Secretary: Wilf Olin
Directors: Les Dadswell, Carl Emmanuel, Steve Karikas
The new address of the Toronto Theosophical Society is 109 Dupont Street, Toronto, Ontario M5R 1V4. The premises are being prepared for the beginning of the new season in September. There is an air of excitement and a lot of enthusiasm evident among the new members. Something good is happening!
Wilf Olin, Secretary
Vancouver Lodge held 47 Wednesday afternoon meetings in 1987, and 16 more to the time of our Annual Meeting on April 27, 1988. On that occasion, all Officers accepted reinstatement in their present positions for the coming year:
President: Marian Thompson
Vice-President: Pearl Mussell
Secretary- Treasurer: Anne Whalen
Corresponding Secretary: Doreen Chatwin
Librarian: Kevin Smith
The main purpose of our meetings is the study of The Secret Doctrine, but the two-hour sessions also include devotional readings. In the past year we have read from Mabel Collins' Through the Gates of Gold, the Upanishads, Echoes of the Orient, Vol. I, and P.G. Bowen's The Occult Way. At two meetings we enjoyed an article on Music from the Victoria Lodge publication Pathways
It would appear that the use of cassette tapes is becoming a very useful part of the dissemination of Theosophical talks and information, offering excellent material for use with the public, as well as being shared among Lodges. Over the past few years we have gradually added to our collection of audio cassettes and listen to them periodically in place of other readings. We recorded Dora Kunz's lecture at Hermes Lodge on "The Chakras" and have that tape available.
Vancouver Lodge was represented at Edmonton Lodge's 75th Anniversary celebration. On August 19, 28 members from Hermes, Orpheus, Vancouver and Victoria Lodges met at the Chatwin's on Mayne Island for an annual social gathering and good discussion.
The next highlight was Joy Mills' visit in August. Her talks were taped, and Lodge members listened to a tape a week for four weeks in September. The Coopers hosted a delightful "high tea" at their home for local Lodge members to meet Joy.
Next, we enjoyed a visit by Rex Dutta and Jean Coulsting from England - both serious followers of the S.D., who have developed a complicated system of study called The Concentric Key. They also gave a talk on Flying Saucers - a subject on which they are experts. All these sessions were taped, if anyone is interested. Their visit was celebrated by a dinner at the Richmond Inn, hosted by local Lodges. At the time Joy, Rex and Jean were here, we had a visitor from New Zealand, Mrs. Phoebe Hoyle-Bennett, who enjoyed all the meetings and took tapes back with her.
Last October a couple of our young members started Tuesday evening meetings to encourage young people not able to attend in the daytime. It is undergoing temporary closure for the summer, but will probably reopen at Anne Whalen's home when convenient.
Vancouver Lodge was chartered in 1898, and at the time of writing we are preparing for our 90th White Lotus Day celebration on May 8, paying tribute to H.P.B. with flowers and readings.
We send joyous Spring greetings to all other Lodges at this wonderful time of Nature's renewal - and a welcome at our Lodge on Wednesday afternoons from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. awaits all members who may be visiting the West Coast during holidays.
- Doreen Chatwin, Corresponding Secretary
TORONTO LODGE ACQUIRES A NEW HOME
Sound the chimes! All our inner bells are ringing! The long saga has ended and Toronto Lodge has emerged from the shadows of homelessness into the sparkling and exquisite joy of a new setting. We are enormously indebted to the few who assiduously pursued the search, despite obstacles of zoning by-laws and a swiftly volatile real estate market, until a fortunate conflux of time and space led them to the purchase of a beautiful house in an attractive midtown residential section.
We have been told that the main floor has a sitting-room and spacious meeting rooms opening on to a lovely patio garden. Our precious library will fit neatly on the second floor, and the third floor will accommodate our offices and the Traveling Library.
We wish to express our appreciation for the concern and good wishes of Theosophists here and abroad during our displacement. Now we will be delighted to have you visit and rejoice with us in our new "gentrified" centre.
Although regular meetings have been held in the two-year interval, the stagnation of homelessness has resulted in a shrinkage of our numbers. Since our physical requirements are now assured, we look forward to a rebuilding of our membership roll and a resurgence of our former energies.
Study classes continued until the end of June and will recess for the summer. Beginning in September, we will hold meetings in the new premises, 109 Dupont Street, Toronto.
- Ruth Eve Playle
NOT SECOND CLASS MEMBERS
Allan Tulip's letter (C.T. May-June '88, p. 37) raises an important issue. His thoughtful remarks should strike a responsive chord with many Canadian members-at-large.
He was responding to remarks made by Mrs. Radha Burnier in her 1987 Presidential Report, which was reprinted in the Mar-Apr issue. She had criticized individuals who are unattached members because they do not want to work with others. Most would agree this is a questionable motive for a would-be Theosophist. I would be surprised, however, if many - if any - Canadian members-at-large are thus motivated. Mrs. Burnier was no doubt thinking of specific instances in certain national Sections, but the problem is by no means universal, and should not be read as such.
The T.S. in Canada probably has a higher proportion of members in the member-at-large, or unattached category, than most other Sections, and the reason is simple. Due to geography a higher proportion of members than in most other countries live a great distance from the nearest organized Theosophical group - be it Lodge or Study Centre. Clearly, they have little option, though most would probably prefer to participate in an organized group. Indeed, in my experience it has not been uncommon for members to drive long distances every week, sometimes in the most atrocious weather conditions, to attend Lodge meetings. In this regard, it is seldom that the spirit is unwilling.
Geography is not the only justifiable reason for being a member-at-large. There are instances in which for one reason or another a member has good grounds for not joining a Lodge, or resigning from a Lodge, and assuming member-at-large status. The present writer was once in such a situation, which while regrettable, is surely far preferable to resigning from the Society, which often happens in similar circumstances. But "Each Member a Centre," as William Q. Judge advocated in an inspiring short article to which he gave that title. (Now included in Echoes of the Orient, Vol. I, 468-9.) All members, whatever their situation, can serve the Cause in one way or another.
Members-at-large are not second-class members. Most are serious students who in their own various ways contribute to the work of the Movement both locally and nationally. It is, of course, a pity their talents and energies cannot be shared more effectively. Some years ago the suggestion was put forward that interested members-at-large scattered across this vast country might form a Lodge, linked by a bulletin through which to exchange views. The model for this was Elsie Benjamin's famous Corresponding Fellows' Lodge, an international group which for many years she efficiently conducted from her home in England. Unfortunately, this idea fell by the wayside as no volunteer could be found to serve as editor. Perhaps it is time to dust it off and try again.
In the meantime, there is always the possibility of dedicated members-at-large attracting others in their community and forming a Study Centre. (It takes only three.) It has been done before, and Allan Tulip seems optimistic the potential for a centre exists where he lives. Those who feel as I do will surely wish him well, and thank him for sharing with the readers of this journal his well-expressed views on the reality of being a member-at-large in Canada.
- Ted G. Davy
TOUR OF THEOSOPHICAL CENTRES
- Ernest and Rogelle Pelletier
On March 28, 1988, we set out from Edmonton to visit Theosophical centres and individual Theosophists, mostly in southern California. The tour was multi-purpose: to make personal contacts with the many Theosophical workers with whom we have corresponded over past years; to see current programs at first hand; and not least, to obtain books, by purchase or trade, to fill gaps in the Edmonton Lodge Library collection. We arrived home on May 10 having driven 8,909 km.
We first visited Emmett and Carmen Small, who run Point Loma Publications, Inc., in San Diego. There, we were able to go through their Library, which is being transferred to a room built especially to house it. We also met with publisher Richard Robb, of Wizards Bookshelf, inspected his Library, and got valuable information from him regarding reference material which should be in the Edmonton Lodge Library. While in San Diego we visited the old Point Loma grounds, the original place to which Katherine Tingley moved the American Section from New York after the death of William Q. Judge.
We then met with Jerry and April Hejka-Ekins, who reside in Venice, California, which borders on Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean. Jerry has acquired a very good library of the history of the Theosophical Movement, and has been collecting references to the teaching and the Movement for most of the twenty-five years he has been a member of the Society. His collection consists of four to five thousand volumes, including rare pamphlets and booklets, plus a rare collection of slides which he uses to make a presentation on Theosophical history.
The United Lodge of Theosophists on 33rd Street and Grand Avenue in Los Angeles has been in existence since 1911. Although in a "bad" section of the city, their building is extremely beautiful, and should serve the purposes of the Lodge for a long time. We managed to take in four classes there, which demonstrated their method of study and dedication to the Cause.
The Philosophical Research Society (Manly P. Hall) in Los Angeles welcomed us, and were very interested in our publishing program. They told us it was a most useful project and encouraged us to continue the fine work. The PRS Library consists of nearly fifty thousand volumes, some of extremely rare quality, and is one of the best libraries of its kind in the world.
We visited Dara Eklund and Nicholas Weeks in Studio City. They are currently compiling a massive index to the fourteen volumes of the H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings. In conjunction with them, Eldon Tucker is designing a computer program for this purpose. We were present at a meeting of the Long Beach Branch when Dara gave a talk on Volume III of Echoes of the Orient, the collected writings of William Q. Judge, of which she is the compiler. We took the opportunity to videotape her talk.
Next, we visited the Theosophical Society (International) in Altadena. We were guests for three days at Deodars, which is an estate of approximately five acres. There are also a printing press and Library in a separate building about three blocks away. Grace Knoche, Leader, along with Kirby and John Van Mater, Archivist and Head Librarian re-
spectively, proved to be extremely helpful regarding rare books, and in researching old manuscripts, etc. Contacts with Will Thackara and Elsa-Brita Titchenell also proved very useful. The Library consists of about forty-five thousand volumes, and the Archives contain numerous letters and extensive records which deal with the Founders of the Society. As a result of this visit, the Edmonton Lodge Library will be able to complete its collections of a number of early Theosophical journals, and benefit in other ways.
Our next stop was at Ojai to visit the Krotona School of Theosophy, of which Joy Mills is the Director. There we took in four of Joy's classes on "The Secret Doctrine: One Hundred Years Later". While in the Ojai Valley we took the opportunity to visit the Krishnamurti residence and library; the (Alice Bailey) Meditation Mount; the Happy Valley School; and the Krishnamurti School. We also spent some time at the Theosophical Book Association for the Blind. Dennis Gottschalk, who runs this program, showed us around and explained how the Braille books are published.
Joy took us for an evening excursion to Santa Barbara, where we took in some sightseeing and attended a meeting of the United Theosophical Fellowship at Crosbie Hall. The following day we met Elton Hall at the Institute of World Culture at Concord House. He showed us the Library and meeting area, and the press room where Hermes magazine is printed.
As we headed northward, our journey home led us through the Mount Shasta mountain range. We met David and Nancy Reigle in Talent, Oregon. Both are Sanskrit scholars and have dedicated their lives to researching old volumes and articles which H.P.B. refers to in The Secret Doctrine. They translate much of the reference material and at one time published some of it, although are now unable to do so. They are also developing the Eastern School Reference Library.
Our last stop was on the Canadian side, to see the H. P.B. Library near Vernon, B.C. We also visited its custodian, Michael Freeman, who was in hospital recovering from a stroke.
To summarize our trip: as to its value regarding contacts made, inspecting libraries and exchanging materials for the benefit of the Edmonton Lodge Library, we would have to say that it was well worth while, and that we ended up with more material than we had hoped.
As to assessing the nature and quality of programs offered by the various organizations we visited, an entire essay would have to be written. The bottom line is that all are run entirely differently, but with the basic ideals being the same, namely the promulgation of Theosophy. Although one could list the pros and cons of any organization, we came away with a better understanding of why they operate the way they do and why certain positions are taken regarding their philosophies.
Regarding material acquired or borrowed, we came home with great expectation for the immediate and more distant future, and feel that as a result the Edmonton Lodge Library will be the best of its kind in Canada. Although in quantity its collection is comparatively small, the quality is hard to match anywhere else, and eventually we hope to have at least copies of the rare material (manuscripts as well as books) found in much larger libraries.
Sacred Word and Sacred Text: Scripture in World Religions, by Harold Coward. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1987. x + 222 pp.
This book is a wide-ranging study of the place and function of the oral and written scriptures in the major religious traditions of the world. Harold Coward's thesis is "that memorized scripture has a much greater power to transform consciousness than written scripture" (p. 14). His contention throughout the book is that for the major religious traditions scripture in oral form is primary, and that even today it is sometimes recognized that the spoken word is more powerful than the written word. We have been, he claims, overly influenced by the western perception that the written word is of primary importance. This has affected the study of scripture and the use of scripture in the religious traditions themselves. He asserts that a recovery of scripture as an oral tradition is necessary if scripture is to function properly as a transforming power. In his attempt to show the primacy of the oral tradition, Coward deals with Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. In each case he covers topics such as the oral tradition, the written text, exegesis, the function of scripture in the life of the tradition, and attitudes to other scriptures.
There are a number of points at which I find myself in disagreement with Coward. While the book is a valiant and eminently readable attempt to show that the oral tradition is primary, the evidence is not conclusive. Rather, it tends to show that the oral traditions are important but not that they are primary. To make his case Coward leans heavily on a few modern apologists and critical scholars, reading their perceptions back into the history of the traditions in question. Ideally, one should have more solid historical evidence for the case Coward is trying to make.
On a related issue, the distinction between oral and written texts is too clearly drawn. Clearly Coward is right to suggest that there is a psychological difference between possessing a scripture in book form and possessing a scripture as memorized oral tradition. Yet, to a point there is no distinction between oral and written text. We all know that oral traditions, though preserved and recited with great accuracy may be as "dead" as any written tradition. What brings a text to life is not its oral nature, but the internalization of a text so that it becomes a lived reality.
Ironically, my disagreements with Coward underline the strengths of the book. Coward is dealing with a controversial issue which will likely fuel debate for some time to come. Unlike many scholars today, he is not afraid to deal with this issue on a broadly comparative basis. We have too few such comparative efforts. This one, though based on a great deal of research, is happily written for popular consumption.
- Ronald Neufeldt
(Orbis Books are available in Canada through Trinity Press, 960 Gateway, Burlington, ON L7L 5K7.)
Echoes of the Orient, The Writings of William Quan Judge, Volume III. Compiled by Dara Eklund. San Diego, CA: Point Loma Publications, Inc., 1987. xvi + 534 pp. Hardcover. Price $18.75 U.S.
Pamphlets, letters to newspapers, articles written for other than Theosophical journals, private papers prepared exclusively for members of the E.S. - is this not a strange miscellany? In a sense, yes, but there is a
satisfying unity in this third volume of Judge's writings, which is a valuable complement to its predecessors.
No matter for whom he wrote, members or the general public; no matter the subject about which he wrote: his thorough grasp of the occult philosophy as expounded by H.P. Blavatsky and her Masters permeates every line of this collection. Whether he was addressing a readership of which perhaps few had even heard the word Theosophy, or trying to explain abstruse points of the esoteric teachings to members, his clear and unequivocal expositions always come through with authority - and, most importantly, with consistency.
The new volume commences with the series of short articles written for Kate Field's Washington in 1890, and first collected and published as "Echoes from the Orient". (Which of course inspired the title of the Collected Writings series.) This slim publication was among the first Theosophical books I read, and to this day the interest it aroused in me is by no means forgotten. I particularly remember being impressed by Judge's mentioning in it an adept's prediction of the eventual discovery of human bones millions of years older than those then known. Now readers in the latter part of the 19th century, as well as most of this, would have found that statement very hard to swallow; yet by the 1950s and especially the early 1960s, Leakey was already dating fossil remains in the millions of years. Then too, Judge's theories on sleep were intriguing, and for me they remain so to this day.
The inclusion of what originally appeared as pamphlets may seem unusual, but they are not out of place. Judge wrote simply and directly - and interestingly - for people who had never heard of Theosophy. But he never wrote down to them: he always assumed that anyone who was genuinely seeking information had the mental ability to grasp universal ideas. While this form of literature is no longer as common as it once was, it surely says something that "An Epitome of Theosophy" is still in print as a pamphlet, a hundred years after it was written. It deserves its permanent place in these collected writings.
Likewise, the newspaper and journal articles included here are not fossils by any means. The slightest word against Theosophy and Theosophists prompted Judge to write a letter to the editor. In addition, such media were useful vehicles to carry articles on Theosophy. It may be assumed that these caught the eyes of many who soon became members of the Society in America.
It is hardly necessary to comment on the "Suggestions and Aids" which were "directed to a Correspondence Group within the Eastern School of Theosophy in order to help clarify the teachings provided by H.P.B." The least that should be said is that here Judge's occult status is now revealed for all to see. Each must decide what that is, and, if they are further interested, how it compares with that of his contemporaries and the subsequent claimants.
As far as I am concerned, Judge certainly "knew his stuff"! For example, among the correspondence to E.S. members, is his answer to a question on healing in terms that are quite contradictory to the views held today in some quarters of the Theosophical Movement. (p. 411: a related opinion was expressed in a letter to a San Francisco journal, p. 259.) Yet his analysis is unswervingly consistent with the Theosophical philosophy.
A revered earlier Canadian Theosophist once remarked that William Q. Judge was the master of the short article. And so he
was. Go through each of the three volumes of Echoes of the Orient, and it is rare to find an article exceeding a couple of thousand words. Most are much shorter. So disciplined was his writing that he never wasted a word or sentence. He concentrated on the essential, spurned "padding" and gave his readers the important points of a topic in clear and unequivocal language.
This is the final volume of the Judge Collected Writings. Of course this series does not include such works as The Ocean of Theosophy, and Judge's commentaries on the Gita, but fortunately these are readily available. Echoes of the Orient is a valuable contribution to Theosophical literature, and students of Theosophy should be grateful to Dara Eklund, who has done a marvelous job as compiler, her helpers, and to Point Loma Publications for making it possible.
It is now with pleasurable anticipation that we await the full-scale biography of William Q. Judge, as promised by the compiler.
- Ted G. Davy
"THE SLEEPING SPHERES"
Now available: "The Sleeping Spheres" by Jasper Niemand, with notes by Willem B. Roos. Price $2.00 including postage. Available from:
The Canadian Theosophist, 2307 Sovereign Cres. S.W., Calgary, Alberta, Canada T3C 2M3
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)
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 The Theosophical Society in Canada, R.R. No. 3, Burk's Falls, Ont. POA 1C0.
KROTONA FALL PROGRAM
The Krotona Fall Program commences September 24, 1988, and continues until November 19.
Dorothy Abbenhouse, National President, The Theosophical Society in America, will deliver the opening lecture. Her talk is entitled "Theosophy's Credibility in Educating for Today's World."
The courses being offered include: "Theosophy Simply Told" - Felix Layton; "Two Eyes, Two Ears - Practical Polarity" - Nancy Whistler; "Studies in The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett" - Joy Mills; "The Journey of a Thousand Miles - The First Step" - Alan Hughes. A study circle on The Key to Theosophy will be conducted by Diana Dunningham.
Weekend seminars include: "Who Was This Woman - Annie Besant?" - Will J. Ross; "Music in the Web of Meaning"- John and Dorinda Hitchcock; "Karma and Creativity" - Christopher Chapple; "Self-Healing" - Erik Peper.
Further information from the Director, Krotona Institute School of Theosophy, 46 Krotona Hill, Ojai, CA 93023, U.S.A.
The Blavatsky letter quoted on p. 26 of the May-June C.T., was addressed to her sister, Vera Zhelihovsky, not her niece of the same name as stated. Niece Vera (who married Charles Johnston) translated this letter for The Path.
We apologize for this error, and thank Leona Sterba of Oklahoma City, who drew it to our attention. - Eds.
Toronto Theosophical Society Traveling Library
The Traveling Library of the Toronto Theosophical Society is operating and offing books on loan by mail to Society members only in Canada. Inquires to: Toronto Theosophical Society, Traveling Library, 109 Dupont Street, Toronto, Ontario M5R 1V4
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. Ted G. Davy, Secretary, Mrs. Doris Davy, 2307 Sovereign Cres. S.W. Calgary, Alta. T3C 2M3
DHARMA STUDY CENTRE: Secretary, Mrs. Diane Mottus, Box 145 Glendon, Alta., T0A 1P0
EDMONTON LODGE: President, Mr. Ernest E. Pelletier; Secretary, Mrs. Rogelle Pelletier, South Side Edmonton Post Office Box 4804, Edmonton, Alta. T6E 2A0. (Phone 434-9326).
HAMILTON LODGE: President, Sharon L. Taylor; Secretary, Mr. Richard D. MacPhail, 200 Hunter St. West, Apt. 18 Hamilton, Ont L8P 1R6 MONTREAL STUDY CENTRE: Leader, Mrs. Phoebe Stone; Secretary, Mr. Fred Wilkes, 3679 Ste. Famille, No. 22, Montreal, P.Q. H2X 2L5
TORONTO LODGE: President, Mrs. Barbara Treloar, Secretary, Mr. Wilf Olin. Lodge Rooms: 109 Dupont St., Toronto, Ont. M5R 1V4 (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, Mr. Eric Hooper, Sec. Treas. Mrs. Lillian Hooper. (Phone 589-4902 or 731-7491.)
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