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VOL. VII, No. 4 TORONTO, JUNE 15th, 1926 Price 10 Cents
Beginning at the Beginning
A reproach constantly thrown at the Theosophical Society by people who do not stop to consider the wide field it covers is that it is too highly intellectual for human nature's daily food.
When people insist, as they so frequently do, on explanations of the deepest and most complicated problems of the Universe and are supplied with these, and they fail to grasp the explanations, they are too often apt to say that Theosophy is too intellectual for them.
The truth is that they have been too curious about matters for which their minds have not been prepared. It takes a great deal of thinking to be ready for the understanding of questions of a metaphysical character. It is not the fault of Theosophy that the deeper phases of its teaching are difficult. Nor is it the fault of the enquirer that he does not always understand them.
He cannot comprehend the more advanced problems of Mathematics until he has mastered the earlier stages of the science. Pythagoras required his students to devote themselves to Mathematics, Music, Geometry and Geography. This should at least indicate to enquirers of the present-day that there are many things to be studied before it is possible to comprehend the answers to questions that may be asked.
Many people are unwilling to admit that their minds are incapable of understanding what they are told. They prefer to blame the teacher for lack of lucidity. It is such people who are constantly asking for explanations of the Absolute, when did the Universe begin, when will it end, did God create evil, if man is free why cannot he do as he pleases, and similar questions which even the greatest philosophers are, not of one mind about.
First of all one must learn to think. If we could get beginners in Theosophy to study geometry, if only the first book of Euclid, to read a little science, elementary physics, astronomy, chemistry, botany and biology, and such a book as Paul Deussen's "Elementary Metaphysics," there would be fewer objections raised to the obscurity of the Secret Doctrine.
One cannot learn to read until one has learned the alphabet. That is the whole secret. The alphabet of Theosophy is very simple, but one must begin at the beginning in order to understand what follows. The beginning is in every one's own experience.
Get the bare facts of life under review. Realize Birth and Death as inescapable events. Get hold of the principle of action and reaction, of cause and effect, and their unchangeable consequences. Familiarize the mind with the law by which all things recur, like day and night, summer and winter, eclipses, comets, the zodiacal movements, covering infinite periods of time, and recognize this law
as general. Grasp the limitations of the mind in the presence of such conceptions as Space, Duration, Motion. Think out the contradiction in terms that exists in speaking of a Personal God, since a Persona is merely a Mask, concealing the reality. Face the fact that the Absolute is really beyond the range of the human intellect, because the human intellect is finite and the Absolute is Infinite.
Then try arid keep always in the consciousness that the Universe is one thing, that it is a Unity, and that each man in his central consciousness is a part of that Unity and one with it.
Maintain these thoughts for a year, and always seek within for solutions of the questions that arise, and the intellectual difficulties will pass away.
Nothing has been said here of the Light and the Love which are part of Life, but the mind that is intent on Truth will not go far before the Love and the Light of the Universe will reveal itself as part of the Unity.
LETTERS THAT MAY HELP YOU
Friend . . . . . .
The statements, teachings, hypotheses and guesses regarding man's origin and his ultimate goal, his nature and constitution, etc., are innumerable; nevertheless, they can be grouped under three heads, viz.: philosophical, scriptural, and creedal - or theological, or in other words what the philosophers say on the matter, what the various world scriptures teach, and what the various churches teach.
As the teachings of the Churches are woven closest into the thought and life of the average man, and as they affect him more intimately than scriptural or philosophical teachings, let us take the teachings of the Churches (creeds, as they are called) and see how they shape up alongside the Law of Balance and justice we have been examining.
Taking the Roman Catholic and the Protestant church teachings as concerning us most in this country, we find that they both agree on one particular point, which is this: - Every new-born child is a newly created soul, and comes fresh from the hands of its Maker-God.
As this teaching is of vital importance to us, let us examine it.
We know that, as a matter of daily experience, children are born into this earth-life under conditions ranging from abject poverty to gold-fringed wealth, from rags to the purple, from disease to robust health, from idiocy to intellectuality. We know that - the Constitution of the United States to the contrary- children are not born equal; quite the reverse in fact, for they are born most unequal. Some are born handicapped at the very outset by disease, poor brains and poor bodies, and by being born of ignorant, vicious parents, while others are born with healthy bodies, and blessed with healthy, intellectual parents living in an atmosphere of refinement and wealth.
Now there is no getting away from the fact that, according to this church teaching, as God has made this new soul, and has ordained that this new soul shall be born in its particular environment, God is responsible. However much one may try, one cannot dodge that conclusion. This God, by the way, is the God they claim is a God of Love! If we ask the church fathers as to the WHY? they evade the issue by answering that 'God's ways are inscrutable.'
Let us examine this in a common sense fashion.
If a human father arbitrarily did a similar thing with his human children, exalting the one and giving it the best of everything, debasing and cruelly using the other; giving all the advantages to the one and all the disadvantages to the other, what would be the human verdict of such conduct and of such a father? Would not the verdict of the mass of humanity be that such a father was not fit to have children, and that such a father was a fiend and not a loving parent? Would not that be your verdict? I think we can agree on that for the simple reason that our human sense of justice would rebel at such palpable injustice. Then where is the weak spot in this church statement? Is it in the
statement itself, or is it that their God is not a God of Love but a fiend?
We have found that, logically, there must be a Law of justice, so, if there is a God, that God must, logically, be in harmony with that Law; hence it follows that what that God does must also be just, and that His placing the incoming souls in their particular environment and under their particular conditions must be in accordance with this Law of Justice. Logically, there seems to be no other alternative.
Then are we to accept the position of a blind player of a game (Life) playing against an opponent (God) Whose moves we cannot anticipate, but Who sees all our moves?
Falling back on our Law of justice, we see at once that such an unequal contest would be unjust and not in accordance with the Law of Justice. While the church fathers may say that God's ways are inscrutable, it may be hazarded that our intellect has been given us and developed for, probably, purposes other than merely filling our purses with money and our stomachs with food. It is within the bounds of possibility that our intellect is intended to be used on just such problems as this we are now considering; anyway, some of the brightest minds have thought so, and have wrestled with this same problem; the results being found in the scriptures and philosophies of humanity.
At this point I wish to spring what may be to you a surprise. The teaching of the churches on this particular point (the newly created soul) does not agree with the teaching in the very Book they profess to base their teaching on, - the Bible!
If we examine the Jewish and Christian Scriptures we shall find that they coincide in the main with other world scriptures on this matter. We shall find that they do not teach that every newborn child is a new-made soul! That is an invention of the "Church!" We shall find that the teachings of the Early Christian Fathers of the Christian Church taught quite the opposite!
I shall give - in another letter - the proofs of this statement, so as not to break the thread of the main theme.
An allegory: - A number of youths elect to leave their present environment (to gain wider knowledge) to form a community in a totally new environment - a new state of virgin land. Older men, who had been through experiences similar to those the youths will go through, accompany them in order to advise them and guide them in their new undertaking. In the beginning, the advice of the older men is followed by these young pioneers. The land is tilled and planted with seed according to the instructions of their elders, and with favorable results. After a time the elders withdraw gradually from the community, giving the youths to understand that as they are now reaching maturity they must try to take care of themselves. They have been taught how to take care of themselves and the land; they have been patiently reared up to the point where they should be able to continue their activities without the personal attendance of the elders, and if they will proceed in accordance with the instructions given them, - which have been proven to bear good results, - all will be well; they will develop along the correct lines of evolutionary progression. They will develop happily, quickly, and peacefully.
All went well for a time; then gradually they began experimenting.
Their experimenting was the result of the desire for greater and wider expression of their creative faculty, and had been taken into account by the leaders at the formation of the community. It had been recognized by the elders to such an extent that the youngsters had been constantly warned that whatever results their experiments brought, the experimenters would be held responsible to that extent; that whatever seed they planted they themselves would have to reap the results. ("As ye sow, that also shall ye reap.").
It need not be a matter of astonishment to be told that most of their experiments were not only failures, but that they also brought a lot of trouble in their train. Indeed, they went from bad to worse. So much so that it became imperative to have the original advice and teachings of the elders repeated and given to them time and time again by messengers sent
to them by the elders, to try to induce those, who were tired and disappointed at the result of their experiments along the wrong lines, to hark back to the right way of doing things. Sad to relate, the youths had arrived at a stage where they resented the interference of the elders' messengers, and not only laughed at and abused them, but actually in some cases killed them.
More the youths had gained, as a result of some of their experiments, knowledge which promised immediate power (of an illegitimate kind), but which, carrying the seeds of disintegration within itself, eventually meant destruction not only of their own community but also of other communities which had, in the course of time, settled in their vicinity.
As the purpose of this original community was to gain knowledge that would help evolution and human development and not to retard or destroy it, it can be readily seen that if this community was not to be allowed to destroy itself, severe object lessons were necessary to awaken the youths to the perils of the policy they were pursuing.
Some of the youths had been careful enough to plant good seeds along with the "experimental" seed, so their harvest was not wholly destitute of good reaping; others had gone almost to the limit, with the result that the reaping of good fruitage was down to the minimum. These last were hard put to it to keep alive by hook or by crook (mostly crook), and developed faculties that enabled them to live on the labour of those who had been wiser than they. In so doing they forgot that they were simply adding to the score of indebtedness they had already piled up, which they would, at some time or other, be called upon to pay; for that is the Law of Justice. "As ye sow, so shall ye also reap."
To give the members of this erring community the severe object lesson they needed to bring them nearer the right way of doing things, and to awaken theirs to the penalties they were incurring, the elders arranged matters so that the results of the wrong-doing accumulated, and then allowed those accumulated results to recoil on them in bulk. We find traditions of this in the various accounts of cataclysms, destruction by fire, earthquakes, the "Flood" of the Jewish, Babylonian, Atlantean, and ancient Mexican records. We have had a similar happening in the Great War in Europe where nations of high material development murdered each other; each nation sailing upon its "God of Love" to help them to destroy the other nations, while neutral nations were praying to "God" to stop the massacre, and wondering why "God" didn't answer their prayers; not realizing that as they had sown so should they reap. The sad but grim humour of it being that they asserted their ideal to be the Christ Who taught "If a man strike thee on one cheek, turn to him the other!"
Let us go a little further with our allegory.
Some of the members of this community had become so engrossed in the activities, schemes, devilments, and ambitions of gain, place and power of their little "world" that they utterly lost touch of their original starting place, their original HOME, and when they heard of some of their companions speaking of that HOME, they wrote books in which they proved conclusively (to themselves at any rate) that such a place was nonexistent, that it existed only in the disordered imagination of their fellows who they said were hallucinated. They wrote and wrote, and talked and talked, oh, so glibly! to prove their assertions that the only world that contained sentient life was their own little community, and also proved to their own satisfaction that when death ended their careers, that was the finish.
When the elders withdrew from personal contact with this community, they left behind them groups of men whom they had taught, and to whom they had explained the working of the Law, so that they in turn could keep the knowledge of the Law and its workings before the eyes and minds of the others of the community. These men were called "priests."
These priests were aware of the necessity of keeping themselves free from the contamination of the experiments and
temptations of the others of the community; for on that depended the con-
tinuance of their connection with the elders. For a while, these priests were true to their trust and served the people right royally; but gradually, due to the pride engendered in their hearts, they became more and more worldly, with the final result that with a few exceptions the priesthood totally lost touch of the elders; their high, priestly position being used to enrich themselves with material wealth and power.
Now when the people - who were partly awakened to the need of definite knowledge regarding the causes of their present misery, which was due to their breaking of the Law - turned to the priests for guidance, the answers they received were to the effect that "God's ways are inscrutable" - "You must have faith" - "It will be all right if you are careful enough to repent at the last hour; then you'll go to heaven and eternal bliss," and suchlike evasions.
There were some (among the priests and also among the common people) who had lived lives pure enough to retain their communication with the elders; these tried by various means to keep the original teachings alive in the community. They asserted that while their bodies were asleep they visited their HOME, met the elders face to face, and derived knowledge and wisdom from those meetings. Their assertions were met with scorn and laughter and cries of "hallucination," "unconscious cerebration," and even worse phrases were hurled at them by a class of men who had devoted their time to the study of their physical bodies.
Some of those who lived pure lives asserted that after the death of the physical body, the souls who had inhabited those physical bodies returned to their HOME for a while - to rest and gain more spiritual strength, and then came back to their little world community asserting that they remembered the last life they had lived in that world community, and further asserted that was the common lot of the community.
When asked by the scoffers (of whom there were many) why all did not remember having lived in that community before, they could not answer until, having made investigations into the matter, they discovered that all did not go back HOME, and that most of those who did were so bound up in their thoughts and schemes of their little world community that they were either unaware of the place they were in, or else brought back such vague memories that they were doubtful of the reality.
The ones who never got back HOME in between their lives in the community were those who either disbelieved in that HOME (materialists and atheists), or were so depraved that they never got beyond the dark atmosphere of their world community. These were called "earth-bound spirits." The most depraved formed a community of their own in this dark place after the death of their physical bodies (Hell, Scheol, Purgatory, Kama-Loka, etc.) where they continued their activities along the same lines as when in their world community to which they returned after a more or less protracted stay in this "Hell."
When those who "remembered" were asked why they did not stay HOME when they had the opportunity, they said that as they were in part responsible for the bad state of the community they, in accordance with the Law of Justice (Karma - the Hindus call it), had to return to clean up their share of the evil conditions, and so help to make the world community the "Paradise" it was when they first went there.
They quoted a BOOK, which was held in great reverence, to back up their statements, but owing to the influence of the priesthood (who feared to lose their power over the people), the mental laziness and "I should worry" policy of the mass of the people, such quotations and arguments were disregarded.
As some of these quotations may interest you, I shall give them in my next letter.
I think that there is no need of pointing the moral of this allegory. I imagine it is quite plain enough for a child to understand that it is an allegory of Humanity.
With my best wishes,
(To be continued)
ANCIENT AND MODERN PHYSICS
THE SEPTENARY WORLD
(Concluded from page 59)
Let this motion in this material universe cease, and matter would melt away and resolve into spirit. From spirit it came, to spirit it belongs, and to spirit it returns.
Behind each and every astral globe, whether the globe be but an astral atom, or an astral planet, or an astral world; beyond its physics there is a metaphysical globe, its cause, and that is the real globe, of which the astral is but a temporary phenomenon. Take a spiritual globe and differentiate it. The Motion resulting produces a material astral globe. Stop the motion; bring it to a state of rest. The astral shadow disappears. It was merely spiritual phenomena.
Each and every astral atom is a model in miniature of the material and spiritual universe.
Each and every prakritic atom is the joint result of spirit and matter united and working together - of physics and metaphysics; and in its last analysis pure spirit; pure metaphysics.
Behind each and every prakritic atom of our earth there are six other atoms (or globes), three material shadows and three spiritual realities, so that it is a string of seven - the whole universe in miniature - material and spiritual. And all things combined and formed on a prakritic base are a chain of seven - whether a peach or a planet.
The "chain" belongs to the prakritic plane. The lines of descent from the Light through the star and sun to planet are "strings." The "chains" are beads of the same size strung on a thread. The strings are beads of different sizes strung on a thread. The beads of the chain are in coadunition - in the same space, as gas in water and the water in a sponge.
In metaphysics this earth can only be regarded as a chain of seven globes, its three astral globes in coadunition having their three spiritual doubles. Of course no one of the higher globes can be seen by the prakritic eye, but that is not to say the astral world cannot he seen by the astral eye in sleep, or by the person who qualifies himself for the astral world through the development of his astral body. "No upper globes of any chain in the solar system can be seen," says H.P. Blavatsky in the Secret Doctrine (vol. I. p. 187), yet she means by astronomers, not by sages. And she does not mean the upper globes in the stellar system of Alcyone and its companions.
In pure physics the earth can only be regarded as a chain of four globes consubstantial and in coadunition - four in and three out. This makes seven, and the metaphysician when talking physics uses the metaphysical terms interchangeably and speaks of "the chain of seven globes" meaning in one sentence the four material globes making this earth; in another meaning the line of descent or string of beads of different sizes reaching down from the Divine Consciousness; and in still another the seven beads or globes of the same size in coadunition to form this earth chain. To the student who is thoroughly grounded in the eastern physics this interweaving of the physical and metaphysical presents no difficulties; but to the western mind just beginning the study it is a tangle.
We can now see what is meant by illusion, or Maya, and understand why such stress is laid upon it by every teacher. Take the physical side first. The motion of a top gives it bands of colour to our eyes that it does not have at rest. They are temporary and not permanent, a result of motion merely; illusion and not reality.
The motion of the material atoms of the four planes, in harmony with their vibration, a motion the spiritual world does not have, produces all material phenomena. This is of course within the kinetic belts, for above or below them there is no change, and its phenomena are the mere change in relation of one atom to another caused by motion. The changes are not real. They disappear when the motion stops. They have no existence in matter above or below the belt.
All phenomena of every kind are as much an illusion as the supposed bands of color around the top. The illusion is
the result of changes of relation in differentiated atoms caused by their motion. Without this motion the four material globes would dissolve into the atomic dust of the manasic-world, with all that is within them. The whole material universe is all illusion; a mere temporary relation of its atoms through motion, without Reality or permanence.
What then is real? What is not illusion? That which is beyond the physical, that which is its cause and root; broadly, the metaphysical, which is not the result of differentiated atoms through relation. What was real in the top is real here. What was illusion in the top is illusion here.
The metaphysical or spiritual (the terms are interchangeable) does not have to pass beyond the manasic globe to get on the solid ground of reality. The spiritual world is here in every physical atom and in every aggregation of them; in every planet, sun, and star; for they are seven, each and every one, not four. Behind the illusion of one atom or many, whether here or on Alcyone, there is reality and permanency in the undifferentiated cause, the spiritual archetype, the three higher beads on the string which are the proper study of metaphysics.
STUMBLING-BLOCKS IN EASTERN PHYSICS.
The Western student of the ancient Eastern physics soon meets serious stumbling-blocks; and one at the very threshold has in the last half century turned many back. In beginning his study of the solar system, the pupil is told:
The first three planets - Mercury, Venus, and the moon - are dead and disintegrating. Evolution on them has ceased. The proof of this is found in the fact that they have no axial rotation, Mercury and Venus always presenting the same surface to their father, the sun, and the moon the same surface to its daughter, the earth.
This is a concrete statement of physical fact at which the Western student protests. If in the whole range of Western astronomical science there is any one fact that he has accepted as absolutely proved, it is that Mercury revolves once in 24h.' 5m., 30.5s., and Venus once in 23h., 21m., 22s. He would as soon credit a statement that the earth has no axial rotation as that Mercury or Venus has none; and if he continues his study of Eastern physics it is with no confidence in its accuracy, and as a matter of curiosity.
The statement that Mercury, Venus, and the moon "are dead and disintegrating," the former two "always presenting the same surface" to the sun, is the basis for an elaborate superstructure, both in the physics and the metaphysics of the East. It is used in physics to explain how the "evolutionary wave" came to an end at the perfection of the mineral on Mercury with the loss of its axial rotation; how the "wave" then passed on to Venus with the seed of the vegetable kingdom, where the vegetable evolution ended with the loss of axial rotation; how, from Venus it leaped to the moon, mother of animals and controller of animal life, with the seed of animal life in the vegetable; and how finally it came to the earth, when the moon ceased to revolve, bringing in the animal the seed of man. Here man will be evolved and perfected. Man has not yet been "born" on this earth, they say. He is still in a prenatal or embryonic condition within the animal.
The lunar Pitris, the men-seed, have a physical reason for being, if this evolutionary theory be true; none if it is not.
Axial rotation is necessary in evolution, the ancient physics teaches, which must cease with it. The reasons for this are too lengthy to give here. Briefly, the rotation makes the electrical flow and a thermopilic dynamo of each planet.
The ancient astronomical teaching is absolutely true. There will not be a work on astronomy published in Europe or the United States this year, or hereafter, that will not state that "Mercury and Venus revolve on their axes in the same time that they revolve around the sun," which is another way of saying that "they have no axial rotation, always presenting the same face to the sun," and an inaccurate way of presenting the truth. The screw that holds the tire at the outer end of the spoke does not revolve "once on its axis" each time the wheel revolves. Run a cane through an orange and swing it around : the orange has not revolved
"once on its axis." Nor does the stone in a sling revolve "once on its axis" for each evolution around the hand. The motion of Mercury is identically that of the impaled orange or the stone in the sling. It has no axis and no axial rotation. The modern astronomers, detected in pretenses to knowledge they never possessed, let themselves down easy.
This "discovery," of no axial rotation by the interior planets, made by Schiaparelli and confirmed by Flammarion in 1894, has since been fully verified by our Western astronomers. All the new astronomies accept it. But the admission of astronomical "error," to speak politely, comes too late for the student it turned back from his study of Eastern physics. He cannot regain his lost faith and lost ground.
Thirty years ago Proctor made it clear to Western students that the orbit of the moon was a cycloidal curve (a drawn-out spring) around the sun, the earth's orbit being coincident with its axis; and that the moon was, astronomically and correctly, a satellite of the sun, not a satellite of the earth. This has been the Eastern view and teaching from time immemorial.
The Eastern distinction between father Sun and mother Moon, and the classification of the latter as a planet, did not disturb the Western student. He understood that. It was the "absolute accuracy" of modern astronomers in regard to the length of the day on Mercury or Venus, which the astronomers declared had been corrected down to the fraction of a second, that made it impossible for him to accept the Eastern physics when the latter squarely contradicted his own.
This was but the first of many similar stumbling-blocks in the path of the student of Eastern physics.
"Few were the followers, straggling far,
That reached the lake of Vennachar;"
and when they did, this was what they had to face:
"The planets absorb and use nearly all the solar energy - all except the very small amount the minor specks of cosmic dust may receive. There is not the least particle of the sun's light, or heat, or any one of the seven conditions of the solar energy, wasted. Except for the planets, it is not manifested; it is not. There is no light, no heat, no form of solar energy, except on the planets as it is transferred from the laya centre of each in the sun to them. The etheric globe is cold and dark, except along the lines to them - the 'Paths of Fohat' [solar energy]. Six laya centres are manifested in the sun; one is laid aside, though the wheels [planets] around the One Eye be seven. [This alludes to the moon, whose lays centre in the sun is now also that of the earth; but it is considered as a planet]. What each receives, that it also gives back. There is nothing lost."
"That settles it," says one student; and the others agree. Of the hundred who started,
"The foremost horseman rode alone,"
before the next step was won.
In the light of the tardy but perfect justification of the first stumbling-block, this statement may be worth following out, "to see what it means," and how "absurd" it can be. An etheric globe, cold as absolute zero, dark as Erebus, with here and there small pencils of light and heat from the sun to the planets just rays, and nothing more - is a very different one from the fiery furnace at absolute zero of the modern physicist.
On a line drawn from the centre of the earth to the centre of the moon there is a point where the "weights" of the two bodies are said in our physics exactly to balance, and it lies, says our physics, "2,900 miles from the centre of the earth, and 1,100 miles from the surface." This is the earth's "laya centre" of the Eastern physics. It is of great importance in problems of life; but it may be passed over for the present.
Between the earth and the sun - precisely speaking, between this laya centre and the sun - there is a "point of balance," which falls within the photosphere of the sun. This point in the sun is the earth's solar laya, the occult or hidden earth of the metaphysics.
A diagram will make this clearer. Draw a line from the laya centre in the sun to that in the earth. Draw a narrow ellipse, with this line as its major axis, and shade it. At each end of the axis strike the beginning of an ellipse that will be tangent. If positive energy is along the shaded el-
lipse, negative energy is in each field beyond - earth and sun. This is a very crude illustration of a fundamental statement elaborated to the most minute detail in explanation of all astronomical phenomena; but for the moment it will do.
The point is that along this axial line connecting the laya centres play all the seven solar forces-light, heat, electricity, etc. - that affect the earth, and on every side of this line is the "electric field" of these forces. To this line any escaping solar energy is drawn, as the electricity of the air is drawn to a live wire or magnet. But there is little or none to escape. From the laya point in the sun to the laya point in the earth, the solar energy is transferred as sound is carried along a beam of light (photophone), or electricity from one point to another without a wire.
To the advanced student of electricity the ancient teaching is easily apprehended; to others it is difficult to make clear. These laya centres, it says, are "the transforming points of energy." From the earth laya to the solar laya centre, the energy, we may say, is positive; beyond both the solar and the earth laya centre, in the fields touching at them, it is negative - or vice versa. The line connecting the layas is the "Path of Fohat" - the personification of solar energy.
This is a very crude and brief way of putting many pages of teaching, but the important point is that this line between the layas is one of solar energy, with a dynamic "field" of solar energy, elliptical in shape, connecting with the reverse fields at the laya points. These "dead points" are the limits of each electric field, which "create", we say in electrical work, opposing fields beyond them.
Each one of these planets has its laya centre inside the sun's photosphere. Each planet has a line of solar energy with its "field" of solar energy - not only a wireless telegraph, but a wireless lighting, heating, and life-giving system. These six solar laya points are the six "hidden planets," the earth and moon being one, of the ancient metaphysics. The moon is the one "laid aside." In their reception of energy from the sun, it is as if the planet were at the solar laya point, or connected with it by a special pipe-line. The position of these six planetary laya points in the sun is indicated by the position of the planets in the heavens, and they may often influence or modify one another. If Mars, Jupiter, or Saturn is anywhere near conjunction with the earth, not only will a part of their "fields" be joined, but their laya points in the sun will be modified.
The physical basis of the old astrology was the physical interferences of these fields of solar energy; and what it depended on mainly in its work was the position of the six hidden planets, or laya centres, which was shown by the position of the planet with reference to the earth. That the planets themselves affected any one or anything on this earth, no real astrologer ever believed; that their position in the heavens indicated certain changes and modifications of the flow of solar energy to the earth, they knew from their knowledge of physics. "The twelve houses are in the sun," says Hermes, "six in the north and six in the south." Connect them with the zodiac, and the position of the planets shows the interferences of the solar currents.
The one objection to this ancient theory is that it does not present enough difficulties. The present value to science of the many theories in relation to the sun is the impossibility of reconciling any two of them, and the fact that no two theorists can unite to pummel a third. This ancient theory does not call for any great amount of heat, light, or energy in any condition to keep the Cosmos in order - not even enough for two persons to quarrel over. It merely turns the sun into a large dynamo connected with smaller dynamos, and these with one another with return currents by which "there is nothing lost." In its details, it accounts for all facts - neatly simply, and without exclamation points. It is so simple and homespun, so lacking in the gaudiness that makes (for example) our light and heat less than the billionth part wasted on space always at absolute zero, that we may have to wait many centuries to have it "verified" and "confirmed" by our Western Science. That it will be "verified" in time, even as the first stumbling-block has been removed at the end of the nineteenth century, its students may at least hope.
The lesson, if there is one, is that the Western student of Eastern physics does not ride an auto along asphalted roads. He must own himself and not be owned by another man or even by "Modern Science."
- Thomas E. Willson.
Looking Backward and Forward
- Introspection as a Test of Knowledge
"How profound are the mysteries of own being! We cannot penetrate far into their deeper recesses, but we may find much that stands out clearly revealed in the light of self-consciousness, and it is by this illumination alone that each
one of us can discover that which for him is real knowledge.
In the course of this Paper I shall endeavour to define what I shall call "Real Knowledge" as distinct from belief, acceptance or conviction, and then enquire to what extent some of the tenets of Theosophy may be tested by real knowledge.
Belief consists in thinking an assertion, an idea, a hope, a fear so likely to be true that we accept it as a guide to thought and action.
Acceptance of a statement may consist of little else than a parrot like ability to repeat a set of figures, phrases or formulae.
Belief and acceptance are always liable to disturbance, change and destruction by argument, new evidence, closer examination or a change of teachers. Real knowledge is above argument, beyond dispute, undisturbed by the convictions of other people. Thus one may believe that the earth is round with as much assurance as in a former life he believed that it was flat. He may be convinced that the Mahatmas live somewhere among the Himalayas; that H.P.B. wrote the Secret Doctrine; that Krishnamurti is the "Coming Christ" but he KNOWS none of these things. One may accept the statement that light from the sun reaches the earth in eight minutes on the authority of the Astronomical Society, but if an authority in whom he had more implicit confidence gave him some other figure he would instantly change his so-called 'knowledge' to match the newer statement.
It may be stated, I think, that conviction is the result of some mental activity - reasoning and pondering; one can give reasons for convictions which to another may seem very good or very poor reasons. For instance, an atheist may be absolutely convinced that there is no life after death; he has thought it all out, has become fixed and assured, and can give reasons for his belief which to him are absolutely conclusive, while a Christian may be convinced with an equally unassailable conviction that a welcome awaits him in far-off Happy Land where saints in glory stand, and a Theosophist looks forward to spending blissful centuries amid the joys of Devachan. The reason for the beliefs of the Christian and the Theosophist is reliance on the statements of persons whose authority they do not doubt. But there can be no real knowledge of the future, for real knowledge depends on more than reasons of any sort - it is the consciousness of a fact resulting from simple introspective observation.
For instance, we have 'real knowledge' of the presence in our consciousness of preferences; likes and dislikes with regard to colors, sounds, and a host of other things; one knows that he loves here, hates there; that some things please him, others make him angry, and he is absolutely sure of his own existence.
We have real knowledge that emotions, thoughts etc., exist within us, but it does not follow that we know why they exist - we may have strong convictions as to the causes from which they have arisen, which may be quite correct or quite wrong. One may know that he wants to take some particular action, but he may be completely deceived as to the motives which really prompt his wish. Real knowledge, carries complete conviction with it, but conviction may be maintained apart from real knowledge. One ought to be influenced by one's honest convictions; one simply cannot help being influenced by real knowledge.
We have no real knowledge of any consciousness outside our own, or the real nature of any material object. We only know impressions conveyed to us by our senses: thus, we know nothing of the real nature of a piece of iron, we only know that it feels hard and cold, looks opaque, etc. Its qualities produce sensations, which, however constant and reliable they may be for our needs, are in reality quite deceptive.
We have no real knowledge of any consciousness outside our own, or the real nature of any material object.
Impressions coming from without can create nothing - neither emotion, thought, ideas nor appreciation - they can only arouse response from within. The beauty of a curve, of a color, of a sound, of a landscape, the force of an argument, the value of an explanation, the truth of an idea exists for each one of us within himself. All our convictions, beliefs, hopes and fears result from the working of our mental faculties upon material that has reached us through our senses. They transmit to us all we know, or think we know, of the universe of objects by which we are surrounded; and principally through the medium of speech all we can know of thought and feeling generated in the consciousness of other people, and note well how lamentably far from perfect that medium is; and, moreover, the meaning of every phrase and every word is, on its reception by a mind, immediately modified by the conditions of that mind, just as the appearance of an object brought into a room is affected by the qualities of light and the character of the contents in that room. It is not always easy to distinguish conviction and belief from real knowledge, as they each cover large fields of experience which appear to overlap, but enough I believe has been said to indicate the test to which I shall now subject some of the tenets of Theosophy. It must not, however, be supposed that any teaching that does not come within the narrow limits of what I have called 'real knowledge' is therefore to be regarded as not true. My object is not to deny the truth of any teaching but to show that much of our philosophy is so unquestionably true as to be beyond the reach of argument and change.
Real knowledge then, being a matter of mental observation, I propose to lead my hearers in a search for some of that knowledge by the help of introspection. But I may be asked, how can I tell that my own self-analysis will yield the same results as that of another's self-analysis? Well, I must admit at once that I nave no knowledge of any other consciousness than my own, nor, indeed do I know that any consciousness other than my own has any existence at all outside my own imagination. I have, however, happily for my peace of mind, convictions on the subject of sufficient strength to protect me from the horror of ever doubting the reality of my companions, or that their natures are fundamentally very similar to my own. At any rate for the purposes of this Paper I must assume that to be the case.
Perhaps the first thing to be noted when one tries to observe the workings of his own consciousness is that he is aware of a succession of pictures thrown upon a dark screen. They may come and go unbidden, apparently without restraint and following lines of least resistance, or they may be controlled to a limited extent by a director whom one thinks of as "I, myself." There is one thing, however, that this director is utterly incapable of doing, and that is to stop the pictures from moving - still less can he keep the screen blank - in other words, self-consciousness depends upon continued movement and change. This picture making is performed by the mind, with its principal attributes memory and imagination, and the mind appears to be an unruly self-willed instrument of the I or Ego. Its control, such as it is, is constantly interrupted by emotions, agitated by fears big or little, distracted by alluring imaginings and desires, disturbed by sights and sounds, and irritated often by physical discomforts.
The observer will also note that not only is his thinking largely influenced by his emotions, but also that the whole state of his consciousness is often under their sway, and that frequently they arise from causes that may seem to be quite inadequate to account for their strength and power, or their cause may be more or less completely hidden. Loves and likes, goodwill, jealousy, envy, hate, irritation, peace, good spirits, depression, anger, pity may arise in consciousness suddenly and overwhelmingly, or approach by slow degrees, may remain long increasing in power, or may flare up and vanish again immediately. One knows that the emotions like the mind may be controlled to some extent by a mysterious force that we call the will, acting
through the mind; we may feel that if only the user of this will were more determined, and cared more about the matter, it could gain complete mastery over them.
On continuing his introspective search the enquirer may find that he is sometimes conscious of unselfish inclinations and aspirations, which, though he knows not whence they come, he recognizes instinctively to be of a lofty and beautiful character, and he may even feel a sort of reverence for their unknown source. These inclinations and aspirations, having entered his thoughts, are turned over and contemplated and then may be either rejected or forgotten, or may become the motive for actions that necessitate mental or bodily discomfort - actions in fact that are unselfish, opposing the pleasures, appetites, natural instincts or mundane well being of the individual. They are not the result of any reasoned policy; they cannot be ascribed to "natural selection" or "survival of the fittest" for they are often prejudicial to his animal or social interests.
We may also note the watchful presence of what we call conscience, that quiet voice that may prove to be of more compelling power than even the instinct of self preservation.
Having gone so far in our exploration we will now see to what extent our findings verify the Theosophical sevenfold classification of the "principles" of man. No doubt Theosophical students will generally agree that the analysis given by H.P.B. is the best and most convenient among all the numerous attempts that have been made. But no classification can be regarded as perfectly descriptive for the simple reason that human consciousness is exceedingly complex - aspirations, desires, mental activities, feelings, etc., are interdependent in their action; they fade off the one into the other, forming endless combinations. And, moreover as H.P.B. has pointed out incarnated man must be regarded (except for the purposes of study) as a unit not as a congeries of separate entities. This view is confirmed by the phrases used by H.P.B. in the "Key to Theosophy" under the heading, "The Septenary Nature of Man." She says: -
"Now so plain is it that Plato and even Pythagoras while speaking of but three "Principles" give them seven separate functions in their various combinations that if we contrast our teachings this will become quite plain. Let us take a cursory view of these seven aspects in drawing two tables."
She then gives the following Sanscrit terms with their exoteric meanings -
Rupa, or Sthula - Physical body.
Prana - Life or Vital Principle.
Linga Sarira - Astral Body.
Kama Rupa - The seat of animal desires - passions.
Manas - a dual principle in its functions - Mind, Intelligence.
Buddhi - The Spiritual Soul - the vehicle of pure universal spirit.
Atma - Spirit - One with the Absolute, as its radiation.
Of these seven I think it may be said that we are actually conscious of four, namely, the physical body; that body or congeries of associated personal desires and passions, here called Kama Rupa, though that term is sometimes used in a somewhat different sense; the mind; and the Spiritual Soul, Buddhi.
Taking the other three: it may be said of Prana that we know there must he a vital principle energizing in our bodies, though we may be as unable to observe it as we are the air in our lungs. As to the Astral Body: for my part I must be content to accept belief in its existence on the authority of teachers, confirmed by its reasonableness and evidence. Atma, Universal Spirit, can be only postulated as a philosophical necessity.
Of the four about which we know something, Buddhi is the Theosophical name given to that aspect of our nature which has also been called, the "Christ within," "the divine in man" and by other terms; it is that principle in our nature which as has been noted, we are made conscious by unselfish wishes, by aspirations towards high ideals, etc. It has been Theosophically stated that Buddhi is a universal principle that only becomes active when in conjunction with Manas, the thinking principle and the seat of self-consciousness, and this is well confirmed by what we have seen in our introspection. We saw no sign of aspira-
tion or any will to serve until it entered our consciousness in the form of a thought or an idea which could be observed by the thinker. Anyone, however, who is ever conscious of an urge towards real self-denial, or feels any genuine desire to live in sympathetic unity with his fellows, knows that Buddhi is an aspect or principle of his nature by whatever name it may be called.
Manas, mind or intelligence, is obviously a fact of real knowledge. It might almost be said to be consciousness itself, for certainly there can be no self-consciousness without it, it is the attribute that most definitely, conclusively and irrevocably separates man from the animals guided by instinct. And just as Buddhi is manifested to us by its conjunction with thought - which is the meaning of the phrase "Manas is the 'vehicle' of Buddhi" - so desires, emotions and sensations can only enter our self-consciousness when thought takes hold of them. Indeed, self-consciousness may be temporarily lost when a man is so beside himself with passion that he loses self-control and acts like a madman or an idiot without reason, for his passion has subdued his mind, and the two are, for the time being, disassociated. But as long as the mind is operative in conjunction with the desires and emotions, or, to put it into Theosophic phrase, as long as Kama acts as a vehicle to Manas, the former remains within the boundary of self-consciousness, and the power to choose, direct and plan may still be exercised by the self, and so it is truly said that the mind is the battle field upon which perpetual warfare is waged between the "Higher Self" and the "Lower Self." These two selves however are not separate entities, but aspects of the same self - the two opposing sides of its character.
With regard to the fourth Principle - Kama, which includes the lower desires, pleasures of sensation, selfish hopes and fears, earthly passion, personal loves and hates, etc., enough has already been said to leave us in no doubt that we possess a great deal of real knowledge concerning it.
We now come to the last of the seven Principles to be considered - the physical body, and as no argument could convince us that we do not possess this container of our consciousness and vehicle of expression, we need not further discuss it.
Having thus disposed of the "Principles" we will now turn our attention to the Ego. We cannot define life, we cannot explain what self-consciousness is; we do know something of their manifestations however, and as the Ego seems to consist of a combination of these two, the same may be said of it. We know that is exists for we can be no more strongly assured of any fact than that "I am myself and no other;" self-consciousness is said to consist of the continually alternating assertions, I am I - I am not that. It may be argued that this I-am-I feeling is an illusion produced by the mind and senses, but while the One is manifesting as the Many, the apparent separation of selves must persist, and as an attribute of human consciousness this separation of myself from all other selves is an absolute fact. (To be continued)
- B. Pease.
WHITHER, WHENCE AND WHY.
A human soul came to me;
A soul incarnated by will of mine.
By purpose high or purpose low;
It did not ask, I trow;
Sweet innocent, and trustful;
It came helplessly.
Latent with restitution;
In this new incarnation,
Its rested in measureless content;
Accruing new forces.
I kissed the baby face;
Held the form in close embrace.
It had a power, a power over me.
- But this was its trust in fee?
- Edith Kathrens.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
THE ORGAN OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
Published on the 15th of every month.
[[ seal here - "There is no Religion Higher than Truth" ]]
- Editor - Albert E. S. Smythe.
- Entered at Toronto General Post-office as second-class matter.
- Subscription, One Dollar a Year.
OFFICERS OF THE T. S. IN CANADA.
- Roy Mitchell, 17 Munro Park Ave., Toronto.
- Mrs. Edith Fielding, 206 E. 27th St., N. Vancouver.
- H. R. Tallman, 71 Ellerbeck Ave., Toronto.
- J. Hunt Stanford, 17 Westmoreland Ave., Toronto.
- Felix A. Belcher, 250 North Lisgar St., Toronto.
- Laurance H. D. Roberts, Suite 5 Cornish Court, 19 Sherbrooke Street, Winnipeg.
- Miss Helena M. Hesson, 324 W. 18th Ave., S. Vancouver.
- Albert E. S. Smythe, 22 West Glen Grove Ave., Toronto 12.
The programme of the Scottish Convention to be held on June 5, with Mrs. Besant presiding was sent out early in May. It was arranged for Glasgow this year at the McLellan Galleries, Sauchiehall Street.
Six bound volumes of The Canadian Theosophist are now available and may be had from the General Secretary's office for $2 each post free. Title and Index for Volume vi. may be had on application with postage.
Mrs. Besant will preside over the Fifth Annual Convention of the Theosophical Society in Wales to be held at Colwyn Bay on July 9 and 10. Those desiring to visit this charming spot are advised by Mr. Peter Freeman, the General Secretary, to make reservations early.
The Messenger announces that Mrs. Besant will speak in Toronto in Massey Hall on November 1st and 3rd. There will be no free seats and the lecture tour is in charge of a Bureau. No further Canadian engagements are yet announced, but it is understood that she is to visit Vancouver.
A dozen Jewish Theosophists have banded together to fill the gap they found in the Adyar literature as they stated "no single work of any importance on the Jewish religion has found place in Theosophical literature." An association has been formed with these objects - To study Judaism in the light of Theosophy and Theosophy in the light of Judaism; to spread Theosophical teachings among the Jews; to undertake any other activity which could aid in the realization of the objects of the association. The president is M. Gaston Polak, 45, rue de Lexus, Brussels, Belgium; secretary, M.M. Cohen, rue Dunav, Sofia, Bulgaria; treasurer, M.J.H.Perez, P. O. Box 769, Cairo, Egypt.
Lodge Secretaries will please note that the Dues Slips which are sent out to them at the beginning of each financial year are for their own use and for Headquarters and are not to be given to the members. They are intended to be a check on the Headquarters lists with those of the Lodges, as to addresses, good standing, etc. Each slip should be sent in to Headquarters when the dues of the member is paid, with such corrections of addresses as may be necessary. The slip is then returned to the Secretary or Treasurer as a receipt.
Mr. Jinarajadasa writes: - You will be glad to know that the little mahogany trees that were planted to form the Founder's Avenue, are doing well. A protecting circular enclosure has been built round each, so as to prevent cattle from injuring them while young. On the enclosure of each, we shall presently mount a small marble slab, bearing the name of the country and the date of the formation of the National Society. "The Golden Book" which I intended to have ready for Convention, but which was held up owing to Convention activities, is slowly nearing completion."
It will be remembered that the nominations for the General Executive did not exceed the number of candidates to be elected, and that therefore no election was needed, those nominated becoming the executive for the ensuing year by acclamation. On receipt of the result, Mr. J. Hunt Stanford, who was elected in 1922 and is therefore completing his fourth year as one of the Executive members, wrote to the General Secretary in protest of so many Toronto members being on the National Council, and declining to sit under the circumstances. On his return the General Secretary took up the matter with the Executive and with Mr. Stanford. The latter stood fast by his determination to resign. The Vancouver Lodge having somewhat tardily sent in the nomination of Mr. J. E. Mecredy as a candidate, it was suggested that while Mr. Stanford's resignation be accepted with deep regret, inasmuch as he insisted upon withdrawing, Mr. Mecredy might be substituted in his place. It was quite clear that had Mr. Mecredy's nomination been in time the Toronto Lodge would not have nominated four candidates. Mr. Stanford was consulted and approved the proposal, and all the other candidates, as well as the old members of the Executive, including Mr. Tallman, who is also withdrawing on account of his location in Hamilton during the business days of the week, having assented, it has been agreed as a measure wholly in accord with the wishes of the members and as saving the expense of a general election, that Mr. Mecredy will be co-opted a member of the General Executive for the coming year. No precedent is thereby created, for it is scarcely conceivable that a similar situation
will ever arise again.
AMONG THE LODGES
Mrs. Olive Durant reports for the Regina group which began study some time ago that meetings have been carried on regularly on Sunday evenings, and though the circle is small it is a keen and harmonious one. "Mr. Hawkes is a great help to the younger and less experienced ones. Mr. Palmer takes charge of things generally, and we all feel this is the best way to proceed for the present, quietly, as advised."
Mr. G.S. Carr, Secretary, Victoria Lodge, writes under date May 7: The Victoria Lodge appreciated very much the recent visit of our General Secretary, Mr. A.E.S. Smythe. On Monday evening Mr. Smythe addressed a well attended and appreciative meeting on 'The Secret Doctrine' giving in simple words a well considered epitome of the Ancient Wisdom as contained in that book. On Tuesday evening he addressed the Lodge and we feel sure that his visit will result in greater interest being taken in the Theosophical Movement, and may we express the hope that he will be able to visit us again before very long.
Following up the reference last month to the traveling "occultists" and their courses of instruction at prices varying from $25 to $500, Miss Gates writes from Hamilton citing a letter from one of the Hamilton Lodge members in Pittsburgh, describing the visit of an alleged Swami who has recently been there holding crowded meetings, and receiving, it is said, 600 pupils at $25 each for a first course, and $50 for an advanced course. The son of a prominent F.T.S. is said to be his private secretary, and many T.S. people were among the students. The warning given by Madam Blavatsky is largely forgotten. "One who takes money in exchange for the teaching is either an impostor or a Black Magician."
Enclosing applications from two new members the President of the Montreal Lodge states that the work is progressing quite well and the disturbing press reports did not affect either the members or others interested, although naturally a number of questions were asked and answered along the general lines of "wait and see;" meanwhile maintain neutrality. Two resignations may be reported as a direct result of the publicity given Mrs. Besant's announcement re the "World Teacher" but otherwise the interest remains as ever. At the end of April, consequent on the expiry of the lease of the Hall the Lodge suspended all public work until the Fall, until another place is found.
Members meetings are still held, at present at Miss Burrough's house, and they have been quite well attended.
THE NEW ADYAR POLICIES
The Minutes of the General Council Meetings held at Adyar on December 22, 23, 31, and January 8 last are just to hand. Among other transactions it was resolved "That a member who left the Theosophical Society during the Judge or any other secession can be allowed to rejoin the T.S. while remaining a member of the seceding body."
Mr. Schwarz, The Treasurer T.S., informed the meeting that the annual loss on exchange alone was about 2000 rupees, and there was an annual deficit in the budget of 30,000 to 40,000 rupees, which had been made up by donations, but that the Society ought to be placed in a position where it would not be dependent upon donations. The deficit for the year was 17,445 rupees, or 1342 pounds, about $6,500. It was finally resolved that in Rule 43, Line 2, the words "8d. (or its equivalent) for every active member on its rolls" be canceled and instead the words "ten per cent of the total amount received from its own National dues" be substituted. This amount is to be remitted to the General Treasury on or before the first day of October in each year, and the official year will close on October 31.
Rule 44 was amended as follows on the recommendation of the legal committee. "In the event of the cancellation of any Charter under Rule 36 or the withdrawal from the Theosophical Society of any National Society or Lodge thereof, its constituent Charter Granted by the President shall, ipso facto, lapse and become forfeited, and all property, real or personal, including Charters, Diplomas, Seal, Records and other papers, pertaining to the Society, belonging to or in the custody of such National Society or Lodge (except when the law of the country where the National Society or Lodge is situated prohibits such vesting, in which case the property shall vest as hereinafter provided) and shall be delivered up to the President or his nominee in its behalf; and such National Society or Lodge shall not be entitled to continue to use the Name, Motto, or Seal of the Society. Provided, nevertheless, that the President shall be empowered to revive and transfer the said Charter of the National Society or Lodge whose Charter has so lapsed and become forfeited to such other Lodges and fellows or other nominee or nominees of his as in his judgment shall seem best for the interests of the Society. In case where the law of the country where the Lodge or National Society whose Charter has lapsed as aforesaid, prohibits such vesting in the Society, the property of the s Lodge shall vest in the National Society and the property of the National Society in a local Trustee nominated by the President for this purpose. For the purpose of effectuating any transfer of property which the Society may become entitled to under this rule, it shall be lawful for the President to appoint an agent or nominee for the purpose of executing any necessary document or for taking any steps necessary effectually to transfer the said property of the Society." .
Rule 36 of the Incorporation of April 3, 1905, reads, "All Charters of NationalSocieties or Lodges and all Diplomas of membership derive their authority fromthe President, acting as Executive Officer of the General Council of the Society and may be canceled by the same authority."
Rule 44 appears in the last annual report as follows: "In the event of the withdrawal from the Theosophical Society of any National Society or Lodge thereof, its constituent Charter granted by the President shall ipso facto, lapse and become forfeited" etc., and closes "Provided, nevertheless, that the President shall be empowered to revive and transfer the said Charter of the seceding National Society or Lodge to such non-seceding Lodges and Fellows as in his judgment shall seem best for the interests of the Society."
The President under the new rule can cancel any Charter he or she pleases, and can claim the property of whatever body has been disfranchised. How much more satisfactory is Mrs. Tingley's plan of insisting that all property be put in
her own name at once. We commend this suggestion to the Adyar authorities as neat and effective.
A new and handsome reprint of "Thought Forms" by Mrs. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater has been issued. First printed in 1901 this is the second reprint. The coloured plates are finely executed and may be interestingly compared with the work of an artist in New York who has recently given an exhibition of designs in which he symbolically represented the passions, emotions and feelings of humanity as he has imagined they might appear to the inward eye. It is difficult to suppose that the shapes and images of either psychic or artistic imagination shall always be standard conceptions by which we might recognize these aspects of the kamic nature which they are intended to represent. When nature is so various in her molding of the snow-flakes, we can hardly expect a less varied presentation of human emotion as far as form is concerned, though the colours may more nearly represent the reality.
FELLOWS AND FRIENDS
The Church of the New Age Magazine has some excellent articles in the May issue. "The Cursing of the Fig Tree" is a piece of valuable exegesis.
The death is announced of Pt. Mahadeva Shastri, Librarian of the Adyar Library. He was a great and eminent Sanscrit scholar says "Theosophy in India," and rendered great service to Theosophy and the cause of Oriental learning by many valuable publications. He was responsible for the Hindu Ritual of the Bharata Samaj and he trained Krishnaji in the correct mode of chanting the mantras.
Mr. William Loftus Hare has a long and strong article in the Empire Review for June 1 in which he has given for the first time particulars as to how the Old Catholic Church orders were fraudulently obtained by Theosophists. We publish elsewhere a resume of his lecture on the Gnostics of Cerinthus's teaching that Jesus was overshadowed by Christ. The lecture is to appear in the International Psychic Gazette on June 1. Mr. Hare has also an article in the Occult Review for May explaining the origin and character of the Greek Mysteries and Initiations.
The Prometheus Lodge, which is the Los Angeles Lodge of the Gnostic Society announced free public meetings in the month of May with address on Theosophical topics followed by questions for general discussion. Mr. John Pryse is president of this Lodge. The Gnostic Society is to all intents and purposes doing the same kind of work that the Theosophical Society was founded to do, and is extending its activities. The Krishna Lodge is another branch of the organization in Hollywood.
The Walt Whitman Fellowship held the 107th anniversary celebration of the poet's birth on May 31 in the Sherbourne House Club, Toronto, Henry S. Saunders, president, in the chair. Readings were given by Mildred Bain, Elsie Pomeroy, Nella Jefferis, and the Chairman; addresses by the Chairman on the events of the Whitman Year; by W. A. Deacon on "The Magnificent Idler; by Albert Smythe on Whitman and Woman; and music by Mr. Saunders, Mrs. T. Rutherford Robinson and Elsie Bennett. The attendance was the largest of the eleven Toronto meetings.
The marriage took place at 1.30 p.m. on Monday, May 17, of Mr. Roy Mitchell, a member of the General Executive of the T.S. in Canada, and Miss Jocelyn Taylor, in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Toronto. The following notice appeared in the Toronto Star of May 15: "Roy M. Mitchell, author, lecturer, theatrical director, theosophical leader and onetime newspaperman, is to be married to Miss Margaret C. (Jocelyn) Taylor, well-known artist and sculptress. The marriage, The Star was told today, will take place on Monday. The marriage license was taken out on Thursday.
"Yes," said Mr. Mitchell, "it will take place on Monday, according to our present plans, and it will be very quiet." Both parties are extremely well known in the city, while Mr. Mitchell's connection with the Theosophical Society made his name prominent throughout Canada. He was at one time technical director of the Greenwich Village Theatre, New York, and was the first director of Hart House Theatre. Miss Taylor was formerly assistant director at Hart House under Bertram Forsyth and also did costume designing and scenic work during Mr. Mitchell's regime. Miss Taylor resides with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. William G. Taylor, at 49 Heath street west. Mr. Mitchell lives with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. G. A. Mitchell, at 17 Munro Park avenue. It is understood that they are going down to live near Sydenham in Frontenac county where they will carry on their joint and several artistic pursuits."
A VOICE FROM THE PAST
A member of the Hamilton Lodge has had reprinted the three numbers of "The Theosophic Voice" published in Chicago in 1908 and 1909. This record covers many interesting phases of the re-admittance of Mr. Leadbeater to the Theosophical Society and the subjection of Mrs. Besant to his influence, the real origin of the subversion of the Society from its first intentions to its present antipodal aims. The Voice consists largely of a collection of documents, letters and papers bearing upon or recounting the events following the death of Col. Olcott, the efforts of Mrs. Besant to have herself recognized as President, and the re-entry of Mr. Leadbeater into the Theosophical Society after his virtual expulsion, and his subsequent (and perhaps consequent) domination of Mrs. Besant.
There are two letters that ought to be familiar to all students of the history of The Theosophical Movement. One is from Mrs. Besant herself (page 13) in which she upholds the views which The Canadian Theosophist has continued to inculcate. "A 'commanding personality,' " - she says, "to use the cant of the day - may in many ways be of service to a movement, but in the Theosophical Society the work of such a personality would be too dearly purchased if it were bought by the surrender of individual freedom of thought, and the Society would be far safer if it did not number such a personality among its members. Over and over again have I emphasized this fact, and have urged free criticism of all opinions, my own among them. Like every body else I often make mistakes, and it is a poor service to me to confirm me in these mistakes by abstaining from criticism. I would sooner never write another word than have my words made into a gag for other people's thoughts. All my life I have followed the practice of reading the harshest criticisms, with a view to utilize them, and I do not mean, as I grow old, to help the growth of crystallization by evading the most rigorous criticism. Moreover, anything that has been done through me, not by me, for Theosophy, would he outbalanced by making my crude knowledge a measure for the thinking in the movement, and by turning me into an obstacle of future progress . . . . . . . In the T.S. there is no orthodoxy, there are no Popes. It is a band of students eager to learn the truth, and growing ever in the knowledge thereof, and its well-being rests on the maintenance of this ideal." This letter is dated February 17, 1904, and indicates how much Mrs. Besant has changed her mind.
A letter to Mrs. Besant which appeared in "The Vahan," March, 1908, which was addressed to the Editor of The Theosophist, notes the fact that Mrs. Besant cabled Mr. Sinnett asking him to appoint her his deputy as vice-president of the T.S. on the death of Col. Olcott, and his refusal, when he chose Mr. Davidson, the treasurer, as more neutral. He accuses Mrs. Besant of twisting his article in some passages to give them a meaning they would not bear.
"Of course," he proceeds, "the influence of the Masters has been the main spring of the mighty wave of regenerating thought to which I refer, but the external shaping of the Society was not dictated by Them, and for its manifold blunderings They are not responsible. It is a complete misapprehension of the
whole movement to suppose that They 'sent out' Madam Blavatsky to do that which has actually been done. Madam Blavatsky used positively to assure me that when she was in Tibet with the Masters, They gave her the choice whether she would stay on permanently in Tibet as an occult pupil or return to the world. Because of her affection for her relatives she chose to return.
"When much later she went to America, anyone who reads Colonel Olcott's 'Diary Leaves' will see that the steps taken there to form a Society bore no promise of what ultimately came into existence. Not even when she came to India and got into touch with myself, was the Society as started in Bombay a forecast of the riper movement that followed. That, as far as the western world was concerned, was built up entirely on the basis of teaching the Masters gave out through the books I was enabled to write.
"When the letters of instruction were in process of coming Madame Blavatsky studied them with as much interest as I did, and declared to me over and over again that their contents were as new to her as they were to me. When I left in 1883 she told me she meant to remain for the rest of her life at Adyar, that she did not believe in the possibility of establishing Theosophy in the West. She only changed her mind and came to this country when the London Lodge was well established and a considerable number of people over here were showing serious interest in the new teaching. The whole drift of your public utterances and writings about the beginnings of the Movement are at variance with these facts, as also with the attitude of the Masters towards those of Their followers who may work in the outer world in Their service.
"In the same 'Theosophist' that contains your address, you publish a letter to Mr. Leadbeater over the signature 'K.H.' I do not believe in the verbal authenticity of that letter, but it conveys one idea which is quite in harmony with the principles of the Adept world, and curiously so with the views I am now putting forward. The Master declines to give specific direction to his correspondent, because that would make Him 'responsible for every effect that might flow from the step and you would acquire but a secondary merit.' That is the clue to the mystery by which so many people have been puzzled, as to why the Masters left Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott to flounder along as they did in the beginning and make so many mistakes. Nothing I have said is at variance with the belief I fully entertain that when Madame Blavatsky returned to the world and was eager to do something, the Masters took advantage of that opportunity to test the readiness of the present generation for the reception of teaching concerning the Path and the principles of human evolution. Eventually the experiment proved successful.
"If it had failed no doubt the Masters would have started some wholly different scheme. Their purpose would ultimately have been fulfilled beyond question, but some other group of persons would then have been identified as having been 'chosen' for the work. You come into this movement many years after I had been concerned with its beginnings, and have built upon impressions gathered at a late stage of its progress a body of ideas which I have described as 'mythological.' Because I have objected to the twist you give to the facts you venture to speak of me as denying that 'this great wave of spiritual life is the product of the Masters.' That is a misapprehension of my views so gross as to be almost absurd in presence of my writings during the last five and twenty years.
"In asking me to resign the Vice-Presidency you cannot have been prompted by any doubt as to my loyalty to the Masters, because you have been too intimate with me to make such a mistake. It is not worthwhile for me now to attempt to analyze your motives, but to guard against further misconception let me repudiate the idea that in resisting your mythology I am hostile to the memory of Madame Blavatsky. It is a deplorable mistake to identify the revelation of great knowledge that has been poured into the world by the Masters through various channels during the last five and twenty years, with any of the visible personalities concerned. To re-
gard Madame Blavatsky as Their `chosen representative' is to combine several mistakes in one. All who work on this plane for the progress of human enlightenment are free agents in doing so, as the letter quoted above suggests. To suppose them mere wire-pulled agents, is to saddle the Masters with the discredit of all the mistakes they may make. Of course it would be silly in the last degree to suppose that great Adepts and Chohans could be saddled, under any circumstances, with 'karmic' responsibility for such mistakes.
"Finally, the 'chosen' theory misapprehends the nature of that steady pressure assisting spiritual growth which the Masters bring to bear on human progress from higher planes - and partly manifest in Their readiness to smile upon whatever honest efforts any of us make on this plane, to cooperate in that great work. Meanwhile do not let us burden Theosophy with the short-comings of any of the personalities conspicuous in the early records of the Theosophical Society."
The Dreamer is quoted in two letters from which we take a sentence. "We must never forget that the Society exists not as a background for individual aspirations, nor even as a scheme for securing individual exaltation and altitude, but in order that it may help to raise the humanity around us to a recognition of the Self within." Mr. Upendra Nath Basu retired from the General Secretaryship of India in November, 1908 at the time of this controversy.
The esoteric teaching states that the pole had passed through the equator, and that the "land of bliss" of the Fourth Race, its inheritance from the Third, had now become the religion of desolation and woe. - Secret Doctrine ii. 356
IS THERE SOME SPECIAL BOOK YOU WANT?
But you are not sure of the title, or the author, or even if there is such a book to be had.
Just write me - I am in a position to help you.
N. W. J. HAYDON, 564 PAPE AV., TORONTO
THE GNOSTIC DOCTRINE OF JESUS AND CHRIST
- An Exposure of Theosophical Errors By William Loftus Hare (Ex-Director of Studies in Comparative Religion and Philosophy to the Theosophical Society in England.)
In ordinary circumstances a fresh discussion of this rather out-worn topic would be an exercise in literary archaeology. But it so happens that we have recently been presented with a new World Teacher, and are shortly to hear from Mrs. Besant by means of four lectures at the Queen's Hall the full story of the supposed psychological processes by which World Teachers creep into existence.
Time was when, from the point of view of the Church, the Gnostics were regarded as dangerous heretics; later they became futile, and after the Protestant Reformation were almost forgotten. But by a carious legend, the origin of which is by no means obscure, the Gnostics have received at the hands of Theosophists something like a rehabilitation, and in a very successful manner.
I can imagine H.P.B. of the late 'eighties setting young Mr. G.R.S. Mead to "work up" the gnostic vein for the credit of Theosophy. The preliminary studies undertaken must have been arduous and the results were, at the time, very creditable to the author and to the Society in whose periodical journals they appeared. Finally, in 1900, Mr. Mead published Fragments of a Faith Forgotten and later Pistis Sophia in which he presented to the lay public a mass of material dug out from the inaccessible Fathers and modern European Scholars.
Here, then, was Mr. Mead's study, ready for fresh exploitation. But something had happened in the meantime. Mr. Leadbeater had reappeared in the Society during 1908 and had become Mrs. Besant's right hand man. Her book Esoteric Christianity was based on Mr. Mead's Fragments and Mr. Leadbeater's clairvoyant "Insides." It served to patronize Christianity, but to degrade it to a lower place by calling it "The Lesser Mysteries." People were simultaneously pleased and displeased. This
done, there appeared The Changing World in which the Leadbeaterian element is greatly increased and Mr. Mead's corner stone of historical criticism is rejected. No longer does the British Museum offer any help - it is the Akashic Records that are now used to reveal a completely new and unheard of scheme of religions, compiled and purveyed from inaccessible heights. The banalities of The Lives, Man and other works are diluted and incorporated in a fresh presentation.
In searching for the Gnostic doctrine about Jesus and Christ, we should naturally not expect to go back beyond the historical figure of the first century; but for a particular reason we must do so. It is this: The term "Messiah" has long been in use among the Hebrews to designate one "anointed" for some special purpose, - a king, a prophet, a military deliverer. During the two centuries B.C. it was rendered into Greek Christos and at first meant no more than it meant in its Hebrew form. But about 180 B.C. the afflicted Jews began to think of the Messiah as a Heavenly visitant to earth and to restrict the use of the term to him. Thus it came that Messiah and Christos were the Hebrew and Greek equivalents used by Hebrew and Greek speaking Jews, respectively. Men spoke of The Messiah or The Christ as a unique celestial personality.
We shall now see what the Gnostics have said about the coming of the Christ and at first we shall notice that they do not always say the same things. Mr. Mead himself says: "We can find examples of every shade of opinion among them." There has been some peculiar theosophic discrimination at work in deciding of late which Gnostic to accept and which to reject.
There are two ways of dealing with the material. The first is to add together all the separate and contradictory elements into one total, and this is what Mr. Mead the scholar, Mr. Leadbeater the seer, and Mrs. Besant the orator lave done. Thus we have a totally false result. The second method is the true one: to proceed by a process of elimination - as adopted in the legend of the ten little nigger boys. The results are as follows: -
A. There is no mention of Jesus or Christ in Dositheus or Menander.
B. The doctrine of phantasm is found in Simon, Satornilus (and Cerdo), the Docetoe (and Manes), Marcion (and Apelles and Bardesanes).
We may note that if Jesus were, as affirmed by these writers, an illusionary phenomenon, no birth, baptism, overshadowing, adoption, illumination, death or resurrection could be possible or expected; and, sure enough, none of these elements are found in these fragments.
C. The granting to Jesus of "powers," or the influx of the Holy Spirit is taught in Carpocrates, Basilides and Pistis Sophia. These writers do not say that these "powers" came at the baptism but presumably at the birth of Jesus..
D. The Angel Baruch instructs Jesus in Justinus.
E. The Logos is the Saviour, in the Sethians.
F. Jesus is the Saviour and instructs to gain Christhood, in The Naasenes.
G. Jesus gains divinity by his own efforts, in The Peratae, Valentinus and, by inference, in Pistis Sophia, its author.
H. Fourteen out of the seventeen gnostic sects so far contain no indication of the supposed "gnostic doctrine" of the Christ as the World Teacher uniting himself with Jesus at the baptism. The idea is found alone in The unnamed sect described by Irenaeus, the Cainites; and Cerinthus.
I have no hesitation in identifying "the unnamed sect" with the Cerinthians. A comparison of the phraseology used by the one and the other in Mead's Fragments (pp. 191-2 and 238) is sufficiently convincing. We may dismiss the stupid Cainites, whose only distinction is their championship of the betrayer. He is the sole authority for the neo-theosophy of the Leadbeater-Besant school. Upon him rests the monstrous cult revived in our day in favour of Mr. J. Krishnamurti.
Esoteric Christianity (p. 114 Adyar Edition) gives the official stamp on this theory and transforms it into the Theosophy which the present generation is ex-
pected to believe. Mrs. Besant's words are as follows: "A mighty Son of God was to take flesh upon earth, a supreme Teacher, full of grace and truth . . . . . for Him was needed an earthly tabernacle, a human form, the body of a man, and who so fit to yield his body in glad and willing service? The man Jesus yielded himself a willing sacrifice to the Lord of Love who took unto Himself that pure form as tabernacle and dwelt therein for three years of mortal life."
The sole source of this doctrine can be found in the teachings of Cerinthus, the so-called Gnostic, whose system is lucidly explained by the excellent Mosheim. I extract the following passage:
"He taught that the Creator of this world, whom he considered also as the sovereign and law-giver of the Jewish people, was a being endowed with the greatest virtues, and derived his birth from the Supreme God; that this being fell, by degrees, from his native virtue and his primitive dignity; that the Supreme God, in consequence of this, determined to destroy his empire, and sent upon earth, for this purpose, one of the ever happy and glorious aeons, whose name was Christ; that this Christ chose for his habitation the person of Jesus, a man of the most illustrious sanctity and justice, the son of Joseph and Mary, and, descending in the form of a dove, entered into him while he was receiving the baptism of John in the waters of Jordan; that Jesus, after his union with Christ, opposed himself with vigour to the God of the Jews; and was, by his instigation, seized and crucified by the Hebrew chiefs; that when Jesus was taken captive, Christ ascended up on high, so that the man Jesus alone was subjected to the pain of an ignominious death."
This was the sole origin of the Krishna-Christ fraud.
"You, who are not subject to birth and death, have come down to redeem the born one. You have descended by your compassion, and your duty is to bring the born one to devotion and thus redeem him." - Adi Granth.
THE MAITREYA BUDDHA
Like Avalokiteshwara, Kwan-shi-yin has passed through several transformations, but it is an error to say of him that he is a modern invention of the Northern Buddhists, for under another appellation he has been known from the earliest times. The Secret Doctrine teaches that "He who is the first to appear at Renovation will be the last to come before Re-absorption (pralaya)." Thus the logoi of all nations, from the Vedic Visvakarma of the Mysteries down to the Saviour of the present civilized nations, are the "Word" who was "in the beginning" (or the reawakening of the energizing powers of Nature) with the One ABSOLUTE. Born of Fire and Water, before these became distinct elements, IT was the "Maker" (fashioner and modeler) of all things; "without him was not anything made that was made;" "in whom was life, and the life was the light of men;" and who finally may be called, as he ever has been, the Alpha and Omega of Manifested Nature. "The great Dragon of Wisdom is born of Fire and Water, and into Fire and Water will all be reabsorbed with him" (Fa-Hwa-King). As this Bodhisattva is said "to assume any form he pleases" from the beginning of a Manvantara to its end, though his special birthday (memorial day) is celebrated according to the Kin-kwang-ming-King ("Luminous Sutra of Golden Light") in the second month on the nineteenth day, and that of "Maitreya Buddha" in the first month on the first day, yet the two are one. He will appear as Maitreya Buddha, the last of the Avatars and Buddhas, in the seventh Race. This belief and expectation are universal throughout the East. Only it is not in the Kali Yug, our present terrifically materialistic age of Darkness, the "Black Age," that a new Saviour of Humanity can ever appear. The Kali Yug is "1'Age d'Or" ( !) only in the mystic writings of some French pseudo-Occultists. (See "La Mission des Juifs.") . . . . . . . . Kwan-Shi-Yin is Avalokiteshwara, and both are forms of the seventh Universal Principle; while in its highest metaphysical character this deity is the synthetic aggregation of all the planetary Spirits, Dhyani Chohans.
He is the "Self-manifested;" in short, the "Son of the Father." Crowned with seven dragons, above his statue there appears the inscription Pu-Tsi-K'iun-ling, "the universal Saviour of all living beings."
Of course the name given in the archaic volume of the Stanzas is quite different, but Kwan-Yin is a perfect equivalent. In a temple of Pu'to, the sacred island of the Buddhists in China, Kwan-Shi-Yin is represented floating on a black aquatic bird (Kala-Hansa), and pouring on the heads of mortals the elixir of life, which, as it flows, is transformed into one of the chief Dhyani-Buddhas - the Regent of a Star called the "Star of Salvation." In his third transformation Kwan-Yin is the informing spirit or genius of Water. In China the Dalai-Lama is believed to be an incarnation of Kwan-Shi-Yin, who in his third terrestrial appearance was a Bodhisattva, while the Teshu Lama is an incarnation of Amitabha Buddha, or Gautama .
. . . . . . Kwan-shi-Yin (Avalokiteshwara) and Kwan-Yin besides being now the patron deities of the Buddhist Ascetics, the Yogis of Thibet, are the gods of chastity, and are, in their esoteric meaning, not even that which is implied in the rendering of Mr. Rhys Davids' "Buddhism." p.202: "The name Avalokiteshwara . . . means 'the Lord who looks down from on high.'" Nor is KwanShi-Yin "the Spirit of the Buddhas present in the Church," but, literally interpreted, it means "the Lord that is seen," and in one sense, "the divine SELF perceived by Self" (the human) -the Atman or seventh principle merged in the Universal, perceived by, or the object of perception to, Buddhi, the sixth principle or divine Soul in man. In a still higher sense, Avalokiteshwara - Kwan-Shi-Yin, referred to as the seventh Universal principle, is the Logos perceived by the Universal Buddhi - or Soul, as the synthetic aggregate of the DhyaniBuddhas: and is not the "Spirit of Buddha present in the Church," but the omnipresent universal Spirit manifested in the temple of Kosmos or Nature . . . . . .
Kwan-Shi-Yin, then, is "the Son identical with his Father" mystically, or the Logos - the Word. He is called the "Dragon of Wisdom" in Stanza iii. as all the Logoi of all ancient religious systems are connected with, and symbolized by, serpents . . . . .
To close, Kwan-Shi-Yin and Kwan-Yin are the aspects (male and female) of the same principle in Kosmos, Nature and Man, of divine wisdom and intelligence. They are the "Christos-Sophia" of the mystic Gnostics - the Logos and its Sakti. In their longing for the expression of some mysteries never to be wholly comprehended by the profane, the Ancients, knowing that nothing could be preserved in human memory without some outward symbol, have chosen the (to us) often ridiculous images of the Kwan-Yins to remind man of his origin and inner nature. To the impartial, however, the Madonnas in crinolines and the Christs in white kid gloves must appear far more absurd than the Kwan-Shi-Yin and Kwan-Yin in their dragon garb. The subjective can hardly be expressed by the objective. Therefore, since the symbolic formula attempts to characterize that which is above scientific reasoning, and as often far beyond our intellects, it must needs go beyond that intellect in some shape or other, or else it will fade out from human remembrance.
- The Secret Doctrine I. 470-473 (510-13).
"ALL LIFE IS ONE"
A letter was read at the recent Adyar Convention of which an official copy has been circulated. It purports to come from an Elder Brother and in some magazines a statement appears that it is by the Mahachohan. Remembering the only letter on record from that source it is impossible to suppose that such a claim will be generally admitted, and it carries no conviction to my own sense of literary style. There is one passage, however, which so fully embodies the sentiments which the Theosophical Society in Canada has endeavored to propound and exemplify during the last seven years that we trust all who attribute this Adyar letter to the highest authority will do us the justice of recognizing that "we have fought the good fight and kept the faith" according to the strict terms of this deliverance when others withdraw themselves as from a "soiled garment." Here is the passage:
"It matters little, at the stage of most of you, what are your beliefs, provided Brotherhood is their chief cornerstone but it matters much how you believe. No one need or should leave the Society because he disagrees with other members, be they who they may. Differences of opinion should enrich Our Society's life. But a member might well have reason to leave if his membership is made intolerable by those who disagree with him . . . . Those who are wise will heed Our messengers, but let none for an instant despise those who do not hear. Their time to hear may not yet have come; have they less a place in Our movement because of this? And even if, with the duty to hear, still they hear not, remember even that gentleness alone draws men to truth, never violence or (sic) contempt. We hope We may not have to withhold Our Communications with you because some, with misguided zeal, would make them, in mischievous foolishness, a test of what they may call 'good membership' of Our Society. Let no orthodoxy be set up in Our Society. Good members of Our Society, members whom We, at any rate, honour, are all who strive to live brotherly lives, be their opinions what they may about Ourselves or about aught else. We do not ask members of the Society as a whole to hold aught in common save the first great object upon which We receive them into this outer court of Our Temple. But holding that object, honour demands that they shall maintain the Brotherhood they profess to accept by ensuring to others that same freedom of opinion which they rightly claim for themselves. We welcome differences of opinion, so be it that they are held and expressed in a brotherly spirit, courteously, generously, gently, however firmly. There is room in Our Society for any number of opinions and beliefs, however divergent, provided that those who hold them treat as brothers those with whom they have to disagree, whose opinions they may even feel constrained actively to oppose. Have not our members yet learned the lesson of Kurukshetra, to disagree, and when need be, to fight, lovingly and generously? Let it never be forgotten that all life is one, even though its forms must sometimes seem to clash."
Aristotle in his accounts of Pythagorean doctrines never refers to Pythagoras but always with a studied vagueness to "the Pythagoreans." Nevertheless, certain doctrines may be traced to the founder's teaching. Foremost among these is the theory of the immortality and transmigration of the soul (reincarnation). Pythagoras's teaching on this point is connected by one of the most trustworthy authorities with the doctrine of the kinship of all living beings; and in the light of anthropological research it is easy to recognize the close relationship of the two beliefs. The Pythagorean rule of abstinence from flesh is thus, in its origin, a taboo resting upon the blood-brotherhood of men and beasts; and the same line of thought shows a number of the Pythagorean rules of life which we find embedded in the different traditions to be genuine taboos belonging to a similar level of primitive thought. The moral and religious application which Pythagoras gave to the doctrine of transmigration continued to be the teaching of the school. The view of the body (soma) as the tomb (sema) of the soul, and the account of philosophy in the "Phaedo" as a meditation of death, are expressly connected by Plato with the teaching of Philolaus; and the strain of asceticism and other worldliness which meets us here and elsewhere in Plato is usually traced to Pythagorean influence. Plato's mythical descriptions of a future life of retribution and purificatory wandering can also be shown to reproduce Pythagorean teaching, though the substance of them may have been drawn from a common source in the Mysteries.
- Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison, M.A.,
LL.D., D.C.L. in The Encyclopedia Britannica.
Woe to the deserter, woe also to all who help to bring his soul to the point where desertion first presents itself before
his mind's eye, as the lesser of two evils.