[Cover photo: Snowflakes, Enlarged Twelve Times (photo by Vans Hans Hammarskiold, Svenska Turistforeningen Yearbook, 1955.)]
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by an International Group of Theosophists.
None of the organized Theosophical Societies, as such, are responsible for any ideas expressed in this magazine, unless contained in an official document. The Editor is responsible for unsigned articles only.
"The purpose of life, its true direction ... is inherent in the very nature of life, not separate from it, and therefore to be discovered in the very experience of living. Ideally it is a certain fulfilment from moment to moment that makes each moment, the thought and action of that moment, complete and significant. If each moment can be a 'high light,' not in relation to others but in its own right, unique in its significance, then it is an illumined moment, the purpose is fulfilled entirely. The endeavor should therefore be to free life, which means both thought and that which is deeper than thought, from everything which impedes and limits its expression. The flowering of each moment into its own appropriate beauty is the serving of life's highest purpose." - N. Sri Ram, The Theosophist, November, 1955.
"Occultism is the descriptive science of the things that are causal, and therefore of the things which are in most instances invisible - Nature's fundamental structure, operations, and 'laws'; and anyone who studies these realities and who has reached some understanding of them from individual experience and insight and who delivers what he knows to his fellow-men, is a true and genuine Occultist ... Occultism is the science of the things which are invisible. This science actually exists. It is an operative science but also a descriptive one. There is a way of going behind the veils of Nature; there is a secret, a sacred, science, and this science is Occultism. Occultism bears the same relation to Theosophy that Wisdom bears to its Works among men. Occultism is that part of Theosophy which pertains to the secret and sacred Science; and Theosophy is that part of Occultism which pertains to the operations and descriptive work of the secret and sacred Science among men. When parts of this secret and sacred Science are delivered to men in formulated fashion, more or less openly and clearly so that any who are worthy many receive and understand, that is Theosophy - the Wisdom of the Gods, as given to mankind. - G. de Purucker, Questions We All Ask, Second Series, pp. 256-57. 
With every new year that is opening, fresh evidence becomes available of the steady growth of the Theosophical Movement, and the wide dissemination of the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom. It is not so much the actual numerical growth of Organizations that counts, but rather the degree to which Theosophical ideas and principles penetrate into the consciousness of the people, and find lodgment in their minds. And this takes place on a very large scale these days, and is noticeable everywhere.
So rapid are some of the thought-developments in various quarters of the globe, that the idea suggests itself very naturally that the promised twentieth century effort on the part of the Occult Brotherhood may not be so far away, and that its appropriate symptoms can already be discerned.
The actual appearance of a direct Messenger from the Lodge of the Masters is expected by many students towards the latter quarter of this century, and some of them have already built in their minds a rather definite idea as to what kind of an individual that Messenger will be. Too much definiteness in this respect seems, however, both premature and risky, as a number of factors will undoubtedly play an important role. A considerable degree of uncertainty is perhaps a wiser attitude in this respect, at least for the time being.
Is there any valid reason for supposing, for instance, that the expected individual, to be sent by the Lodge for the new occult impulse, is to be a so-called "Caucasian," however uncertain and indefinite this term may be? Could he not belong to one of the other great divisions of mankind? Our inbred leanings toward Occidental superiority may trip us in this regard.
On what basis should we expect such an individual to appear within the ranks of one or another of the existing Theosophical Societies? His identification with one or another of them is bound to be the cause of intense jealousy on the part of those less favored in this respect. This in itself would be a great handicap to be working under. The various Theosophical organized bodies have by now made a rather specific picture in their minds as to what this particular Messenger should be like, and if the latter proves to be considerably different from these mental constructs, he will find it very difficult to work within the ranks of any such organization.
Can it be stated with any degree of certainty as to whether this individual would use the outer form of a man or of a woman? In some students' minds either the one or the other would be unacceptable, or at least not welcome.
Careful observation seems to show that a great number of students expect this individual to be one of some prominence, either in intellectual achievements, general scholarship, or in regard to some special talent, cultural qualities, or personal appearance. Why should this be the case? Is it not possible that such a Messenger would be a man or woman of intense spirituality, occult insight, and inner power, without exhibiting any intellectual  scholarship of the purely mundane type? Could he not be a leader of men in the deeper sense of this term, without being a brilliant speaker or writer? To limit our picture of existing possibilities in this regard may result for some of us actually missing the opportunity of recognizing that individual when he does turn up.
Is there any valid reason for supposing that he could not possibly appear outside the ranks of any organization, drawing to himself from everywhere men and women who are ready and well qualified, eager to follow the lead of his spiritual impulse?
It seems to be thoroughly believed by many at the present time that this individual will be imbued with Theosophy as it is understood today, using terms already well established. Why should this be the case? Could he not instead bring a new installment of the same Wisdom under some similar but not identical term, and show us how to merge into a larger picture the various schools of metaphysical thought existing today, and this without departing one iota from the traditional teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy?
It is of paramount importance for us students not to become crystallized in any particular mould of thought on this or any other subject. We must remain fluidic in our minds and ready to receive truth wherever it may come from. The laws of occult life are too little known to us yet, to warrant on our part too much certainty, as to the exact manner in which they are enacted. Messengers from the Lodge have been known to be men and women of immense wealth and power in the world, such as the Count de Saint-Germain; and they have been known to be people seemingly very poor, friendless, and alone, such as H.P. Blavatsky, when making artificial flowers in d small apartment in New York, around 1874. They have been known to be at home in palaces and in the company of kings, and to have led the life of poor shoemakers, such as Jacob Boehme.
In the meantime, it is our bounden duty to prepare the soil into which new and more vital seeds will be cast before long, by men and women perhaps far more experienced and wiser than we are ourselves, in the business of this Movement. Let us resolve at the opening of this New Year to keep our minds open, our hearts attuned to spiritual sources of knowledge, and our Vision of the future, upon the horizons of our souls, clear and vivid.
"It is of the very life blood of democracy that there be freedom to seek the truth through knowledge. The inquiring mind, indeed the boldly inquiring mind, persistent intellectual curiosity, the testing of every thesis and dogma against fact and reason are the working tools of free men and of the democratic educational process.
"It will be fatal to our way of life ... should our educational process ever become shackled by the bonds of conformity of thought induced by fear, perverted by anti-intellectualism, or lose through intimidation its zest for knowledge and truth." - Ralph Bunche, in Wisdom, January, 1956. 
Perhaps the most widespread and universal among the symbols in the old astronomical systems, which have passed down the stream of time to our century, and have left traces everywhere in the Christian religion as elsewhere, - are the Cross and the Fire, the latter the symbol of the sun. The ancient Aryans had them both as the symbols of Agni. Whenever the ancient Hindu devotee desired to worship Agni - says E. Burnouf (La Science des religions, ch. x) he arranged two pieces of wood in the form of a cross, and, by a peculiar whirling and friction obtained fire for his sacrifice. As a symbol, it is called Swastica, and, as an instrument manufactured out of a sacred tree and in possession of every Brahmin, it is known as Arani.
The Scandinavians had the same sign and called it Thor's Hammer, as bearing a mysterious magneto-electric relation to Thor, the God of Thunder, who, like Jupiter armed with his thunderbolts, holds likewise in his hand this ensign of power, over not only mortals but also the mischievous spirits of the elements, over which he presides. In Masonry it appears in the form of the grand master's mallet; at Allahabad it may be seen on the Fort as the Jaina Cross, or the Talisman of the Jaina Kings; and the gavel of the modern judge is no more than this crux dissimulata - as de Rossi, the archaeologist calls it; for the gavel is the sign of power and strength, as the hammer represented the might of Thor, who, in the Norse legends splits a rock with it, and kills Medgar. Dr. Schliemann found it in terra cotta disks, on the site, as he believes, of ancient Troy, in the lowest strata of his excavations; which indicated, according to Dr. Lundy, "an Aryan civilization long anterior to the Greek - say from two to three thousand years B.C." Burnouf calls it the oldest form of the cross known, and affirms that it is found personified in the ancient religion of the Greeks under the figure of Prometheus "the fire-bearer," crucified on mount Caucasus, while the celestial bird - the Shyena of the Vedic hymns, - daily devours his entrails. Boldetti (Osservazioni I, 15, p. 60) gives a copy from the painting in the cemetery of St. Sebastian, representing a Christian convert and grave-digger, named Diogenes, who wears on both his legs and right arm the signs of the Swastica. The Mexicans and the Peruvians had it, and it is found as the sacred Tau in the oldest tombs of Egypt.
It is, to say the least, a strange coincidence, remarked even by some Christian clergymen, that Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God, should have the symbols, identical with the Hindu God Agni. While Agnus Dei expiates and takes away the sins of the world, in one religion, the God Agni, in the other, likewise expiates sins against the gods, man, the manes, the soul, and repeated sins, as shown in the six prayers accompanied by six oblations (Colebrooke, Essays, Vol. 1, p. 190.).
If, then, we find these two - the Cross and the Fire - so closely associated in the esoteric symbolism of nearly every nation, it is because on the  combined powers of the two rests the whole plan of universal law. In astronomy, physics, chemistry, in the whole range of natural philosophy, in short, they always come out as the invisible cause and the visible result; and only metaphysics and alchemy - or shall we say Metachemistry, since we prefer coining a new word to shocking sceptical ears? - can fully and conclusively solve the mysterious meaning. An instance or two will suffice for those who are willing to think over hints.
The Central Point, or the great central sun of the Kosmos, as the Kabalists call it, is the Deity. It is the point of intersection between the two great conflicting powers - the centripetal and the centrifugal forces - which drive the planets into their elliptical orbits, making them trace a cross in their path through the Zodiac. These two terrible, though as yet hypothetical and imaginary powers, preserve harmony and keep the Universe in steady, unceasing motion; and the four bent points of the Swastica typify the revolution of the Earth upon its axis. Plato calls the Universe a "blessed god" which was made in a circle and decussated is the form of the letter X. So much for astronomy. In Masonry the Royal Arch degree retains the cross as the triple Egyptian Tau. It is the mundane circle with the astronomical cross upon it rapidly revolving; the perfect square of the Pythagorean mathematics in the scale of numbers, as its occult meaning is interpreted by Cornelius Agrippa. Fire is heat, - the central point; the perpendicular ray represents the male element or spirit; and the horizontal one the female element - or matter. Spirit vivifies and fructifies the matter, and everything proceeds from the central point, the focus of Life, and Light, and Heat, represented by the terrestrial fire. So much again, for physics and chemistry, for the field of analogies is boundless, and Universal Laws are immutable and identical in their outward and inward applications. Without intending to be disrespectful to anyone, or to wander far away from truth, we think we may say that there are strong reasons to believe that in their original sense the Christian Cross - as the cause, and Eternal torment by Hell Fire - as the direct effect of negation of the former - have more to do with these two ancient symbols than our Western theologians are prepared to admit. If Fire is the Deity with some heathens, so in the Bible, God is likewise the Life and the Light of the World; if the Holy Ghost and Fire cleanse and purify the Christian, on the other hand Lucifer is also Light, and called the "Son of the morning."
Turn wherever we will, we are sure to find these conjoint relics of ancient worship with almost every nation and people. From the Aryans, the Chaldeans, the Zoroastrians, Peruvians, Mexicans, Scandinavians, Celts, and ancient Greeks and Latins, it has descended in its completeness, to the modern Parsi. The Phoenician Cabiri and the Greek Dioscuri are partially revived in every temple, cathedral, and village church; while, as will now be shown, the Christian Bulgarians have even preserved the sun worship in full.
It is more than a thousand years since this people, who, emerging from obscurity, suddenly became famous through the late Russo-Turkish war, were converted to Christianity. And yet they appear none the less pagans than they  were before, for this is how they meet Christmas and the New Year's day. To this time they call this festival Sourjvaki, as it falls in with the festival in honour of the ancient Slavonian god Sourja. In the Slavonian mythology this deity - Sourja or Sourva, - evidently identical with the Aryan Surya ... sun ... is the god of heat, fertility, and abundance. The celebration of this festival is of an immense antiquity, as, far before the days of Christianity, the Bulgarians worshiped Sourva, and consecrated New Year's day to this god, praying him to bless their fields with fertility, and send them happiness and prosperity. This custom has remained among them in all its primitive heathenism, and though it varies according to localities, yet the rites and ceremonies are essentially the same.
On the eve of New Year's Day, the Bulgarians do no work, and are obliged to fast. Young betrothed maidens are busy preparing a large platiy (cake) in which they place roots and young shoots of various forms, to each of which a name is given, according to the shape of the root. Thus one means the "house," another represents the "garden"; others again, the mill, the vineyard, the horse, a cat, a hen, and so on, according to the landed property and worldly possessions of the family. Even articles of value such as jewelry and bags of money are represented in this emblem of the horn of abundance. Besides all these, a large and ancient silver coin is placed inside the cake; it is called babka and is tied two ways with a red thread, which forms a cross. This coin is regarded as the symbol of fortune.
After sunset, and other ceremonies, including prayers addressed in the direction of the departing luminary, the whole family assemble about a large round table called paralya, on which are placed the above-mentioned cake, dry vegetables, corn, wax taper, and, finally, a large censer containing incense of the best quality do perfume the god. The head of the household, usually the oldest in the family - either the grandfather, or the father himself - taking up the censer with the greatest veneration, in one hand, and the wax taper in the other, begins walking about the premises, incensing the four corners, beginning and ending with the East; and reads various invocations, which close with the Christian "Our Father who art in Heaven," addressed to Sourja. The taper is then laid away to be preserved throughout the whole year, till the next festival. It is thought to have acquired marvelous healing properties, and is lighted only upon occasions of family sickness, in which case it is expected to cure the patient.
After this ceremony, the old man takes his knife and cuts the cake into as many slices as there are members of the household present. Each person, upon receiving his or her share, makes haste to open and search the piece. The happiest of the lot, for the ensuing year, is he or she who gets the part containing the old coin crossed with the scarlet thread; he is considered the elect of Sourja, and every one envies the fortunate possessor. Then in order of importance come the emblems of the house, the vineyard, and so on; and according to his finding, the finder reads his horoscope for the coming year. Most unlucky he who gets the cat; he turns pale and trembles. Woe to him and  misery, for he is surrounded by enemies, and has to prepare for great trials.
At the same time, a large log which represents a flaming altar, is set up in the chimney-place, and fire is applied to it. This log burns in honor of Sourja, and is intended as an oracle for the whole house. If it burns the whole night through till morning, without the flame dying out, it is a good sign; otherwise the family prepares to see death that year, and deep lamentations end the festival.
Neither the momtzee (young bachelor), nor the mommee (the maiden), sleep that night. At midnight begins a series of sooth-saying, magic, and various rites, in which the burning log plays the part of the oracle. A young bud thrown into the fire and bursting with a loud snap, is a sign of happy and speedy marriage, and vice versa. Long after midnight, the young couples leave their respective homes, and begin visiting their acquaintances, from house to house, offering and receiving congratulations, and rendering thanks to the deity. These deputy couples are called the Souryakari, and each male carries a large branch ornamented with red ribbons, old coins, and the image of Sourja, and as they wend along sing in chorus. Their chant is as original as it is peculiar and merits translation, though, of course, it must lose in being rendered into a foreign language. The following stanzas are addressed by them to those they visit:
Sourva, Sourva, Lord of the season,
The singing Souryakari, recompensed for their good wishes with a present at every house, go home at early dawn ... And this is how the symbolical exoteric Cross and Fire worship of old Aryavart go hand in hand in Christian Bulgaria ...
AVAILABLE AGAIN ...
One of the best works of William Kingsland, The Gnosis or Ancient Wisdom in the Christian Scriptures, is in print again. It is published by George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 40 Museum Street, London, W.C.I., England, and can be obtained for 16 shillings (about $2.25). We highly recommend this work from the pen of one of H.P.B.'s personal pupils. Its basic ideas should be studied by all serious students. The author shows the true origin of the Christian teachings in the Gnosis of ancient days, and its gradual corruption through priestcraft and superstition. His mystical interpretations are confirmed by science and scholarship. 
They bring none to his or to her terminus or to be content and full,
Here is inspiration - the voice of the soul. And we, who professed to bring such wisdom, what have we to say? Have we uttered with equal confidence such hopes, or with such daring and amplitude of illustration? Let us confess we have not. There are one or two exceptions which will occur to everyone. Now, as we adventure afresh, let us see what it is has brought despondency and failure in our work upon us in the past. I think it is because we have been saying things we have never realized; we have been repeating without imagination the words of those few leaders. We have lowered their heroic tone because we thought we were speaking to a fallen people who could not respond to our highest. But it was not the way, it was not the way. It is not with the dust we have brotherhood, but with the ancient spirit it clouds over. To this spirit we must speak heart to heart as we know how. I would not willingly recognize aught in anyone but the divine. Often indeed the form or surface far removed from beauty makes us falter, and we speak to that form and so the soul is not stirred; it will not respond. But an equal temper arouses it. To whoever hails in it the lover, the hero, the magician, it will answer, but not to him who accosts it as Mr. So-and-So. Every word which really inspires is spoken as if the Golden Age had never passed. The great teachers ignore the personal identity and speak to the eternal pilgrim. Do we not treasure most their words which remind us of our divine origin? So we must in our turn speak. How often do we long to break through the veils which divide us from some one, but custom, convention, or a fear of being misunderstood prevent us, and so the moment departs whose heat might have burned through every barrier. Out with it - out with it, the hidden heart, the love that is voiceless, the secret tender germ of an infinite forgiveness. That speaks to the heart. That pierces through many a vesture of the Soul. Our companion struggles in some labyrinth of passion. We help him, we think, with ethics, with the moralities. Ah, very well they are; well to know and to keep, but wherefore? For their own sake? No, but that the King may arise in his beauty. We write that in letters, in books, but to the face of the fallen who brings back remembrance? Who calls him by his secret name? Let a man but feel for that is his battle, for that his cyclic labor, and a warrior who is invincible fights for him and he draws upon divine powers. Let us but get that way of looking at things which we call imaginative, and how everything alters. For our attitude to man and to nature, expressed or not, has something of the effect of ritual, of evocation. As our aspiration so is our inspiration. We believe in life universal, in a brotherhood which links the elements to man, and makes the glow-worm feel far  off something of the rapture of the seraph hosts. Then we go out into the living world, and what influences pour through us! We are "at league with the stones of tile field." The winds of the world blow radiantly upon us as in tile early time. We feel wrapt about with love, with an infinite tenderness that caresses us. Alone in our rooms as we ponder, what sudden abysses of light open within us! The Gods are so much nearer than we dreamed. We rise up intoxicated with the thought, and reel out seeking an equal companionship under the great night and the stars.
Let us get near to realities. We read too much. We think of that which is the goal, the Comforter, the Lord, the Witness, the resting-place, the asylum and the Friend." Is it by any of these dear and familiar names? Alas, our souls are becoming mere bundles of theories. We follow the trail of the Monad, but often it is only in the pages of The Secret Doctrine. And we talk much of Atma, Buddhi and Manas. Could we not speak of them in our own tongue and the language of today will be as sacred as any of the past. No wonder that the Manasa do not incarnate. We cannot say we do pay reverence to these awful powers. We repulse the living truth by our doubts and reasonings. We would compel the Gods to fall in with our philosophy rather than trust in the heavenly guidance. We make diagrams of them. Ah, to think of it, those dread deities, the divine Fires, to be so enslaved. We have not comprehended the meaning of the voice which cried, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord," or this, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates. Be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in." Nothing that we read is useful unless it calls up living things in the soul. To read a mystic book truly is to invoke the powers. If they do not rise up plumed and radiant, the apparitions of spiritual things, then is our labor barren. We only encumber the mind with useless symbols. They knew better ways long ago. "Master of the Green-waving Planisphere, ... Lord of the Azure Expanse ... it is thus we invoke," cried the magicians of old.
And us, let us invoke them with joy, let us call upon them with love, the Light we hail, or the Divine Darkness we worship with silent breath, hymning it in our hearts with quietude and more enraptured awe. That silence cries aloud to the Gods. Then they will approach us. Then we may learn that speech of many colors, for they will not speak in our mortal tongue; they will not answer to the names of men. Their names are rainbow glories. Yet these are mysteries and they cannot be reasoned out or argued over. We cannot speak truly of them from report, or description, or from what another has written. A relation to the thing in itself alone is our warrant, and this means we must set aside our intellectual self-sufficiency and await guidance. It will surely come to those who wait in trust, a glow, a heat in the heart announcing the awakening of the Fire. And, as it blows with its mystic breath into the brain, there is a hurtling of visions, a brilliance of lights, a sound as of great waters vibrant and musical in their flowing, and murmurs from a single yet multitudinous being. In such a mood, when the far becomes near,  the strange familiar, and the infinite possible, he wrote from those words we get the inspiration:
"To launch off with absolute faith, to sweep through the ceaseless rings and never be quiet again."
Such a faith and such an unrest be ours: faith which is mistrust of the visible; unrest which is full of a hidden surety and reliance. We, when we fall into pleasant places, rest and dream our strength away. Before every enterprise and adventure of the soul we calculate in fear our power to do. But remember, "Oh, disciple, in thy work for thy brother thou hast many allies; in the winds, in the air, in all the voices of the silent shore." These are the far-wandered powers of our own nature and they turn again home at our need. We came out of the Great Mother-Life for the purposes of soul. Are her darlings forgotten where they darkly wander and strive? Never. Are not the lives of all her heroes proof? Though they seem to stand alone the eternal Mother keeps watch on them, and voices far away and unknown to them before arise in passionate defence, and hearts beat warm to help them. Aye, if we could look within we would see vast nature stirred on their behalf, and institutions shaken, until the truth they fight for triumphs, and they pass, and a wake of glory ever widening behind them trails down the ocean of years. Thus the warrior within us works, or, if we choose to phrase it so, it is the action of the spiritual will. Shall we not, then, trust in it and face the unknown defiant and fearless of its dangers. Though we seem to go alone to the high, the lonely, the pure, we need not despair. Let no one bring to this task the mood of the martyr or of one who thinks he sacrifices something. Yet let all who will come. Let them enter the path, "Yes, and hope," facing all things in life and death with a mood at once gay and reverent, as becomes those who are immortal - who are children today, but whose hands tomorrow may grasp the sceptre, sitting down with the Gods as equal and companions.
H. P. BLAVATSKY COLLECTED WRITINGS
Know that thou too art a God, to abide mid the hurry and haste,
These words, found in an old, old legend of the North, we find repeated in the Vedas of India, the legends of the American Indians, and the Bible of Christianity. This idea, spread through the length and breadth of the land, should not be strange to us of the present sceptical age, for, though clothed in a slightly different robe, it has been placed before us again and again within the last few years, but how many of us have realized it in ever so slight a degree? We had got into a slip shod way of thinking of the immortal part of ourselves - when we did think about it - and needed words of fire to rouse us from our torpid condition; to make us feel that we are something more than body; that of a truth a bright spirit ensouls the frame which walks about on earth; that from all time the soul has existed, ever taking and wearing other and other bodies, and trying to train those bodies to live its life, instead of living the life of the animal. Recognizing the working of the soul, and recognizing the working of the body, we see that, in the vast majority of cases, the body is dominant. Our minds are absorbed by the trivialities of daily life. Sometimes we glimpse something far ahead of us; light is rayed on things that heretofore were puzzles, and sometimes we hear the voice of the soul speaking to us and guiding us when we are anguish-torn and writhing from the forces that seem to be making a playground of us; forces that appear to be wholly evil and from which we can see no loophole of escape.
But the soul makes itself heard through the fury and storm of this internal strife; then, appearing to stand outside ourselves, we view these forces at work, and we know that the soul has power to conquer them, for they belong to a fleeting nature, and the soul is immortal, eternal, imperishable. Realizing this, there comes a cessation from the storm, and then the whole being seems to burst forth into a song of joy, for every time that we conquer ourselves we are helping others to conquer themselves.
Still, we do not always want to fight. Sometimes we feel so tired, and an inclination to drift on the tide arises in our nature. But having once called on the God within to help us in our struggles towards the divine, drifting, for any length of time, is no longer possible to us. The soul cries: "Arise, mortal, take up thy Godhood. Art thou weary? I will support thee. One longing thought cast upward is sufficient to draw me down to thee, for I am ever watching over thee." Then once again we take up the burden of material thoughts and desires, and instead of giving way to them, we determine to make them subservient to us.
Is it not time we grasped some of the knowledge and wisdom awaiting us? It is ours by right of the long-past ages, when we helped to gather and to garner it. Some mighty ones of  the race have gone on before us and found this Wisdom of the Gods; but we - weak mortals - lack the high purpose, the steadfastness and the undaunted will which are absolutely necessary for all those who would walk in the path of the soul. We stretch out our hands feebly, to grasp even the hem of the robe of Wisdom. Never, NEVER shall the feeble hand and the faint heart know aught of it. Only the heart burning with love for humanity, and the hand stretched out to help those who are struggling on, can ever hope to approach near to the great white Flame that burns throughout the ages.
Then let us rise out of our sorrowful state. We are the makers of it, and the have to be the masters of it. We can do it any time that we will. We may fail often, but we will not be discouraged; apparent failure is often success. Do we say that it needs mighty efforts to do this? Who is capable of making those efforts if not we? we who ruled the winds and the waves and the fire and the earth before we forgot our Godhood. And I say we can do it now. Our ancient powers are not lost, they but sleep in us. We may make them living, shooting, burning fires embracing the whole universe.
This great teaching of our immortality, our divinity, dwarfs all other teaching. It spurs us on to greater endeavor; we want to lose the selfishness which is part of our nature now and gain the selflessness which was ours long ago; we want to free ourselves from the garment of flesh and put on the mantle of many colors, "the mantle of flame which sweeps the ends of the universe."
Now is the time to strive towards perfection; now is the time to work with our minds and our hearts in order that the divine may once more manifest through us, that we may indeed become shining as the stars in the blue vault above us.
All you who are endeavoring by earnest effort and unselfish life to reach the goal, I clasp hands with you in brotherhood; we will go, we will work together in peace and unity throughout all time.
"We cannot banish dangers, but we can banish fears. We must not demean life by standing in awe of death. I do not doubt that we shall win in the deepening struggle between liberty and enslavement; that we can emerge better and stronger from the contest. Indeed, we could lose only by default - and Youth must make certain that it does not default ...
"To light the way, You can acquire a body of knowledge. But knowledge is not enough, unless it leads to understanding, and in turn to wisdom. And wisdom implies an appreciation of the basic laws of nature and of man's behavior. It calls for patience to select or develop the best means to achieve the best possible results. You today must accept the fact that the only certainty in life is change - and then they will be in a better position to assimilate change without mental indigestion and moral confusion. In this universe of endless wonders, the most wondrous is the human mind capable of delving so deep, and the heart aware of depths we can never plumb." - David Sarnoff, in Wisdom, January, 1956. 
There are so many different definitions of meditation, and some of them are quite confusing. Is it to be practiced at stated times, or can it become a constant undercurrent of thought?
Meditation is essentially the dwelling in one's mind upon that which you really love. The more you love a thing, the more you dwell on it in consciousness. It does not matter whether the thing is base, high, or in-between. It applies in all cases. Whenever our consciousness dwells on anything we really love or are deeply attached to, our consciousness is in a state of being enraptured with it. Therefore, limiting it to the spiritual and positive side of things, the more we love inwardly the great spiritual ideals that are in the back of our mind, and to which we are deeply devoted, and the more we dwell in thought upon these ideals, the more enraptured our consciousness becomes with the consideration of them. Hence, the greater is our love for a thought, an idea, or a trend of ideas, the more will our consciousness revert to them; and every time it reverts to them, it basks in them, it enjoys their contemplation, it likes to fill itself with these ideas; and that is essentially the condition of meditation. It is a meditative state of consciousness.
Now, if it were really possible and advisable to dwell upon these high and noble themes but a few minutes a day and in a definite place; if it were possible and advisable to limit our love for these ideas to such a short time, it would hardly show our great love for them. In fact, that which you love, you revert to as often as possible. It is a natural bent or inclination of human consciousness, to pour itself into the shape of the ideals one loves. Therefore meditation is rather an undercurrent of high thought, a powerful stream of consciousness, directed towards the ideals of one's life. Meditation has nothing to do with mere thinking; it is not an action of the personal brain mind. If meditation is identified with thought, it is only on account of the lack of words in our dictionary to depict the true state of affairs.
Meditation is a state of consciousness or a direction of consciousness. The objective or subject of meditation is like an arrow, establishing the direction of the flow of our higher consciousness above the brain mentality.
A man can be thinking about his duties, avocations, manual work, his various obligations of the day; he may be busily engaged in muscular work or in the carrying out of some routine, often unpleasant routine, and yet through his entire day and through all of his actions and duties he may be carrying from morning till night, and into his sleep, an undercurrent of unbroken meditation upon some lofty theme, mostly unbeknown to everyone who is around him.
To put it more specifically: every student of the Ancient Wisdom loves the great ideas of Cosmic Unity, of the Oneness of all life, of the indwelling Divinity in everything that is, of the Universal Solidarity of Mankind. He loves very deeply the high precepts of patience, courage, fearlessness, magnanimity, serenity, inner quiet. If he loves these things, his consciousness will be dwelling upon  these subjects. This dwelling is meditation. The more often he dwells on these thoughts, the more often is his consciousness directed like an arrow towards them. And we must not forget that in Occultism the way to become anything is to dwell in consciousness upon that thing. If we desire to become anything in particular all we have to do is to dwell upon the qualities of that which we want to become. Eventually, the mind, the lower personal mental apparatus, is bound to shape itself into the form, or fashion itself into the shape, of the contemplated ideal, or object, or quality.
Meditation therefore, is actually a method whereby the individual eventually becomes, or partially becomes, that which his consciousness dwells upon. As already stated, meditation is essentially the dwelling, in consciousness, upon that which you love.
It has been stated (The Esoteric Tradition, p. 871.) that "The reimbodying Ego evolved forth by the Monad in and on each such planetary chain is one of these fit and appropriate intermediate links. Thus the Monad is evolving, growing greater as time passes, and follows its own pathway of evolution through the spheres, carrying its load of individual consciousnesses - each Ray or Individual holding the various fruitage of each incarnation on earth or of embodiments on other planets."
Does this mean that our Spiritual Monad has projected from itself several Rays which function as embodied individual egoic consciousnesses on all of the planets of our Solar System simultaneously? If this is true, has there been any teaching given out as to whether all of such Reimbodying Egos would die at the same time or tit different times?
This is not an easy question to answer, as it involves some of the most recondite teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy. Analogy is the main key to the correct comprehension of these matters. Let us remember that the Divine Monad in our own hierarchical constitution ranges over the entire galaxy and is therefore at home throughout all of its innumerable solar systems. Its child or ray is the Spiritual Monad which ranges over one Solar System only and is therefore at home in all of the planetary chains of such a Solar System. By analogy, the Reimbodying Monad belongs to just one planetary chain and its consciousness ranges over the various globes of that chain. The child of the Reimbodying Monad is the reincarnating ego of one globe of the planetary chain, such as globe D on which we evolve at the present time. There are, therefore, other reincarnating entities evolving on the other globes of our chain, at various times. However, in the light of the teachings as they have been given out up to the present time in our published Theosophical literature, it would not be possible to state with any degree of finality whether the various entities, belonging to the several globes of one chain, evolve on all of them simultaneously or not. By analogy, it is also impossible definitely to state whether the various Reimbodying Monads - children of the same Spiritual Monad - evolve simultaneously on the various planetary chains of our Solar System. It is highly improbable that such entities would all "die" or rather dis-embody at the same time; this would make the  process a rather mechanical one. There must exist some extremely intimate correlation between them all, and similarity of processes, without any mechanical identity. This is still more likely because of the important fact that the various entities on the different globes of one chain, or the various greater entities on the various planetary chains, are in different evolutionary stages or conditions, and therefore the lengths of their various imbodiments differ widely from each other. The bewildering complexity, differentiation and variety of the existing conditions, however, must be perfectly balanced in the overall harmony, which pervades the entire structure of any particular unit we may be considering.
Do Theosophists believe that Christianity should be abolished and its teachings wiped out?
It may be that some of them do so, in their less lucid moments, but it would be a great mistake to imagine that such is the teaching of Theosophy or the attitude of most of its students.
The Christian religion is based on foundations derived from the Ancient Wisdom of those days; it has its roots in the universal spiritual tradition of mankind. The outward forms of Christian worship, and the body of its teachings, should be purified from the dross accumulated through many centuries, and the various superstitions which have become incorporated into these teachings. Christianity should be raised to the original mystical condition of thought which it started from; it should be rehabilitated and cleansed, both in practice and in its ideas. Centers of Christian worship and study might yet become centers of a very noble mystical tradition, if freed from man-made theology and priestly imposture. Most students of Theosophy believe in a gradual change for the better, and not in violent destruction, which, as a rule, destroys also a great deal of what is good and should be preserved. A man or woman who would actually live the precepts contained in the Christian Scriptures, would be an out-and-out Theosophist. True Theosophists are extremely rare. True Christians are equally rare.
Ever since the Promotion Fund for Theosophia had been set up, donations sent to it have been of very great help in meeting current costs of printing. Occasionally, this Fund became somewhat depleted; at other times, it was building up. At the present time, our Promotion Fund is rather low, and we would like to raise its level somewhat higher, so as to be able to fall back upon its resources if need arose. If any readers would feel inclined to help us to do so, we would be very grateful. - Editor.