[Cover Photo: Zermatt, Riffelalp, Matterhorn, Switzerland.]
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"It is not enough that you should set the example of a pure and virtuous life and a tolerant spirit: this is pure negative goodness and for Chelaship will never do. You should, as a simple member, much more as an officer, learn that you may teach, acquire spiritual knowledge and strength that the weak may lean upon you, and the sorrowing victims of ignorance learn from you the cause and remedy of their pain. ... Intentions ... and kind words count little with us. Deeds are what we want and demand ... The members ... have such an opportunity as seldom comes to men. A movement calculated to benefit an English-speaking world is in their custody. If they do their whole duty, the progress of materialism, the increase of dangerous self-indulgence, and the tendency toward spiritual suicide, can be checked. The theory of vicarious atonement has brought about its inevitable reaction: only the knowledge of Karma can offset it. The pendulum has swung from the extreme of blind faith towards the extreme of materialistic skepticism, and nothing can stop it save Theosophy. Is not this a thing worth working for, to save those nations from the doom their ignorance is preparing for them?
"Think you the truth has been shown to you for your sole advantage? That we have broken the silence of centuries for the profit of a handful of dreamers only? The converging lines of your Karma have drawn each and all of you into this Society as to a common focus, that you may each help to work out the results of your interrupted beginnings in the last birth. None of you can be so blind as to suppose that this is your first dealing with Theosophy? You surely must realize that this would be the same as to say that effects came without causes. Know then that it depends now upon each one of you whether you shall henceforth struggle alone after spiritual wisdom through this and the next incarnate life, or in the company of your present associates, and greatly helped by the mutual sympathy and aspiration. Blessings to all - deserving them." - From a letter of Master K.H. to Francesca Arundale, received at Elberfeld, Germany, in September, 1884. Original is in the Adyar Archives. 
In the pages of our contemporary, Theosophical News and Notes, the Journal of The Theosophical Society (Adyar) in the British Isles, in its July-August and Sept.-Oct., 1958, issues, Dr. Laurence J. Bendit, recently elected General-Secretary of the British Section, T.S., contributes editorially some pertinent remarks on the freedom of thought in our Movement and the non-sectarian character of ideas presented under the name of Theosophy.
There is much in what he says that is most commendable, sensible, and a needed reminder to most students. We are glad to see some of these ideas clearly stated by the chief Official of a large and influential Section, and to be told, for instance, that "there is ... no heresy in Theosophy," that "everybody has the right to question the writings even of those who are looked upon still, and with good reason, as more-than-average students," - and that "deep study and understanding should gradually lead to an intuitive feeling for what is the direct line of truth, and what is truth distorted or misinterpreted."
We are also thoroughly in agreement with the writer when he states that "Wisdom can only be evoked from within, from a realm which is beyond language and words," and that "humility and the sense of wonderment which is the mark of every true Theosophist" are qualities the loss of which is to be regretted whenever it is superceded by a "know it all" attitude.
But we cannot help feeling that the writer has somewhat hurriedly given expression to certain ideas in both of his articles, which a closer examination of existing evidence might have modified to a considerable extent. It often happens that we find ourselves carried away by our own most laudable feelings and convictions, and show a tendency to go to extremes and to disregard certain other aspects of the total picture.
He finds it very unfortunate that some lecturers on the Theosophical platform should use such expressions as "Theosophy teaches ..." or "the teachings of Theosophy are ...," and that some people would be "so bold as to set themselves up as Theosophical teachers." This seems to him to be "quite inconsistent with the emphasis on freedom of belief." "Yet," he adds, "when all is said and done, there is a loose body of thought which seems to deserve the label 'theosophical,' if only to distinguish it from other philosophies ..." In his opinion, "Theosophy is neither eastern nor western, neither ancient nor modern; neither has it any teachings or teachers," because Theosophy is Wisdom, and one cannot teach Wisdom.
It is precisely at this point that our esteemed author leaves the solid ground of impartial research, and the sound intellectual foundation of our work, and sails, perhaps quite unwittingly to himself, into the domain of slogans and convenient cliches. Let us look into this subject a little closer.
The foundation-rock upon which the modern Theosophical Movement is established, as far as its philosophy is  concerned, is H.P.B.'s The Secret Doctrine, a rather curious title to be used in a Movement which is supposed to have no definite teachings. This work, let us hasten to say before we are misunderstood, is no Theosophical Bible, and its students are no bibliolaters sitting in raptured awe before the unspeakable "revelation" contained in its pages. It is neither "divinely" inspired, nor devoid of errors, neither a final statement of all possible truth, nor anything more than a lifting of a "corner of the veil," in the words of H.P.B. herself. But it is most decidedly an authoritative declaration of a system of thought, a statement of specific teachings, an outline of a "doctrine" whose precepts, principles and positive assertions are as distinct, unalterable and definitive as are the basic laws of chemistry, physics, genetics or astronomy. Let there be no mistake about it. It is not a "loose body of thought," not "by a long shot," to use an Americanism.
H.P.B.'s magnum opus is permeated through and through with some very definite statements. It proclaims that "the Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages, and its cosmogony atone is the most stupendous and elaborate system" (I, 272.). It establishes "three fundamental propositions," specifically defined and elaborately explained (I, 14 et seq.) It speaks of the divine Substance-Principle as "the fundamental Law in that system" (I, 273.), and goes on to outline a large number of teachings, based on facts of Nature, which are in their sum-total the foundation-principles of the Esoteric Philosophy (I, 273-82.). Moreover, it never fails to point out that these teachings were brought by higher Beings to nascent humanity, and impressed upon its collective consciousness for its own good and future growth.
The pages of The Secret Doctrine, as well as of The Mahatma Letters, teem with statements such as: "the esoteric philosophy teaches," "theosophy establishes," "the Ancient Wisdom proclaims," "the secret teachings state," and many other similar expressions.
If we consult our friend Webster, we will find that he defines a doctrine as "that which is taught; what is held, put forth as true, and supported by a teacher ..." He speaks of a dogma as a "doctrine laid down with authority," but without necessarily an arrogant insistence upon such authority. There can be little question of the fact that the teachings of The Secret Doctrine are authoritative, put forth as true, supported by teachers, namely, those original sources of inspiration whence they came, and that, moreover, such teachings are never arrogantly insisted upon, pushed down the throat of a reluctant following, or insolently paraded as infallible or as the last word of Truth. With these provisos, the postulates of. Theosophy are most decidedly a doctrine, a system of thought, and a body of teachings.
And it is precisely because of the fact that H.P.B.'s writings and the writings of her superiors, the Adept-Brothers, have been allowed to be set aside for many years in certain portions of the Theosophical Movement, and to gather dust on forgotten shelves, to the advantage of pseudo-revelations by various psychics, that there has grown among some students the totally erroneous idea that Theosophy or the  Esoteric Philosophy has no specific teachings to proclaim, no definite doctrine to promulgate, and that almost anything can and should be called Theosophical that is put forward by sincere and well-intentioned, but self-deluded individuals, whose sincerity can never be the guarantee of direct spiritual knowledge.
If our writer means by "teachers" individuals who imagine they know it all, and who feel themselves vastly superior to those others whom they have decided to "teach" from the profundities of their own very questionable understanding, we are in complete agreement with him that such people injure our Movement, destroy self-confidence in students, and make themselves ridiculous by filling the air with empty word-weavings. But if by "teachers" are meant individuals who have become through years of deep study proficient in the philosophy of the ancient wisdom, have tried to live its precepts the best they know how, and who are called upon, by their general karmic stage-setting, to help others to acquire a deeper understanding of Theosophy than they already have, and to bring out from within their own inner Selves the knowledge hidden therein, - then we will have to let them be called by that time-honored title, which, in reality, designates someone who shows, who imparts knowledge, who makes aware of information, who guides, adjusts, and leads on towards a greater vista and a wider horizon. Would any sincere Theosophist refuse the privilege of becoming in due time a "leader of men," whose word and whose life point out to others nobler and ever-receding horizons of achievement, and show them the method to be used in their march forward towards the Light?
We see, therefore, that the "teachings" are much more than a "statement of what Theosophists of all ages and nations have discovered as a result of their own searches and experiences," as our writer seems to think. If they were that, and nothing more, they would contain some truth and a very large degree of uncertainty and error, were they even the result of the understanding of exalted men, such as the Adepts themselves. In reality, these "teachings" are a formulation of the facts of Nature, irrespective of the opinions or the views of any particular man or group of men concerning them, and subject only to the limitations imposed upon our ways of expression by the paucity of the languages employed. Essentially, as has been said by H.P.B. and others, these "teachings" have been handed down from one generation of Seers to another, and originated in the far distant times of infant Humanity from spiritual Beings whose knowledge and wisdom are of an order entirely above those of our terrestrial mankind.
When the student of the Esoteric Philosophy finds it stated that the human constitution is composed of certain specific seven qualities of substance and consciousness, or that the structure of the planet includes a specified number of invisible globes, or that there exists a certain definite co-ordination as between various Hierarchies of Beings, or again that the succession of root-races and rounds follows a certain specified pattern, and no other, and that the after-death states of the human entity can be known with considerable certainty, as a  natural result of certain states of consciousness in embodied existence, or that cycles stand in a certain numerical relation to each other, - these proposition are as definite and positive, and we might even say, as unalterable, as any proposition of chemistry, physics, or mathematics.
Is it dogmatic to assert that under normal conditions of atmospheric pressure water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, that the sum of the angles of any triangle is 180 degrees of arc, and that the acceleration of falling bodies is the same in Australia as in Europe? Upon propositions as definite as these, and others like unto them, are based some of our scientific structures. Upon equally definite spiritual-intellectual propositions, derivative from facts in Nature, are based those formulations of the Esoteric Philosophy which some have called its teachings. There is no vague, loose uncertainty about them.
H2O is water everywhere on earth, irrespective of the opinions of anybody. NaCl is common salt on all the five continents. The key to the atomic era - E=mc2 - does not depend upon human attitudes towards it. As a matter of fact any constant is a numerical quantity expressing some physical law or magnitude as a fixed relation, because it is based on Nature's own operations, i.e., facts of Nature. The same is applicable to psychic, intellectual and spiritual facts in Nature's structure, as determinable by those who have complied with the conditions necessary for the acquirement of that knowledge.
A professor of chemistry, physics or astronomy, presenting to his audience a statement of alleged laws and numerical relations which the experiments of the laboratory or observatory do not justify, would have but scant chance of continuing his career as a professor, although he might found a new school of thought, completely satisfying to himself and some others, even if unrelated to the facts of Nature.
Similarly, an individual who would attempt to explain the structure of the invisible worlds in a manner which the experience of generations of Seers does not justify, and whose ideas, logical for himself and perhaps a few others, do not stand in harmony with the facts of Nature and collide head-on with the pronouncements of the greatest spiritual minds evolved upon this earth, would have scant chance at having his presentation become an integral part of a workable philosophy of life, and endure for ages to come as consonant with the facts of Nature.
It has been our experience of recent years to find that Theosophical Lodges in various parts of the world present such a sorry picture of stagnation and somnolence precisely because their platform has often nothing positive to offer to the public, and therefore the public is conspicuous mainly by its absence, partial or total. The seeker after truth and light, the individual, whoever he or she may be, who is trying to find a solution to his troubles and a workable philosophy of life, would welcome any speaker who would outline for him specific yet undogmatic teachings concerning the nature of man and the Universe, and give him definite keys with which to tackle his own difficulties and open for himself a new treasure chamber of knowledge within himself. If this is done by the speaker without bombast, humbly, impersonally, and sympathetically, with  dynamic conviction in the truth of what he says, and with an attitude of companionship with the one who seeks and asks, the result will be that the heart and mind of the seeker will be deeply moved and something within his soul will stir in response to the speaker. Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm. Conviction arouses response. Positive statements, backed by facts, generate an attitude of positive endeavor on the part of the seeker, and might do a lot more than that.
What chance would any Lodge have to help others, if the visitor heard it stated from its platform that Theosophy is but a loose body of thought, that it has no real teachings or teachers, and that all it can do for anyone is to lead him somewhere into a realm of blue ether, beyond language and words!
To judge by some of the gatherings we have attended from time to time, certain lecturers achieve an eminent success in this sort of voluble emptiness, with the result that promising people in search of truth never come back.
No, my friends and brothers, the Esoteric Philosophy is something far more definite and dynamic than some apparently imagine it to be. It is the direct heir to the innate knowledge of super-human, quasi-divine Beings, or at least that much of this infinite knowledge as our finite minds can grasp today. It is a system of thought embodying in itself the positive experience of generations of Seers, Adepts, Initiates, whose personal and direct acquaintance with the operations of Nature - a clinical observation, we might say, of its functions, behind the veil of the visible - places them in a position to state with no uncertainty whatsoever what are the facts of Nature, and to outline its laws.
Students of Theosophy, whether in organized Theosophical Societies or not, have not only the opportunity and the privilege, but also the duty of offering to those who seek for light a consistent and all-embracing philosophy of life, wherein the philosophical, the religious and the scientific elements blend together in a harmonious system, vitalized moreover by noble ethical precepts upon which to erect a life of constructive endeavor. If The Theosophical Society of the present era had no philosophy to present to the world, and no system of thought to promulgate, it would be but another useless excrescence upon the decaying stump of materialism, another worthless "ism," to be swept away by the revolution of time into the mounting heap of discarded human delusions.
It is up to everyone of us, to see that the banner of Theosophy fly high over the battlements of human thought, so that others can see it and rally to the Universal Cause it stands for.
"There are no distant points in the world any longer ... The myriad millions of human beings of the Far East are as close to us as Los Angeles is to New York by the fastest trains ... In the future what concerns them must concern us, almost as much as the problems of the people of California concern the people of New York. Our thinking in the future must be world wide." - Wendell L. Willkie. 
The world's history is yet to be written, and it rests with scholars ... to furnish the alphabet in which its pages are to be traced. We must first scuttle Noah's Ark and drown these fabulous sons who have served so useful a purpose to the pious ethnographers in search of progenitors for the races of mankind, and then the ground will be cleared for the real historian to build upon. There can be no true archaeology among Christian nations until the last remnant of superstitious reliance upon Biblical chronology and history is swept away. These two have composed a mephitic theological atmosphere in which truth has been asphyxiated. (The Theosophist, Vol. I, March, 1880, p. 163.)
The hope of the century is in the young, the ardent, the susceptible, the energetic, who are just stepping upon the stage. It is worth more to fire the heart of one such lad than to rekindle among the ashes of their elders' hopes the flickering semblance of a flame. So let us give the young men a chance to explore old records, question and counsel with their parents and teachers, and then publish the results to the public. (Ibid., June, 1880, p. 229.)
Men in the mass do not think but feel, are emotional rather than rational, and go by flocks and swarms to that religion which most appeals to their emotions and imagination and least to the reason. (Ibid., Sept., 1880, p. 309.)
Our Fellows are of the most varied opinions and each has a right to claim respect for his ideas as he is bound to respect those of his brothers ... Nor are all, or even a large minority, students of occult sciences, for rarely is the true mystic born. Few, alas! have they ever been, who so yearned after the discovery of Nature's secrets as to be willing to pursue that hard and unselfish course of study: and our own century can show fewer than any of its predecessors ... The Parent Society is, in one word, a Republic of Conscience, a brotherhood of man in search of the Absolute Truth. (Ibid., Sept., 1880, p. 298.)
A crisis had arrived in which it was absolutely necessary to bring within reach of our generation the Esoteric Doctrine of the eternal cycles. Religion, both in the West and East, had long been smothering beneath the dust heaps of Sectarianism and enfranchised Science. For lack of any scientific religious concept, Science was giving Religion the coup de grace with the iron bar of Materialism. To crown the disorder the phantom-world of Hades, or Kama-loka, had burst in a muddy torrent into ten thousand seance-rooms, and created most misleading notions of man's post-mortem state. Nothing but a few fundamental tenets from the Esoteric philosophy, sketched in broad outlines .... could snatch mankind from drowning in the sea of ignorance ... (Lucifer, Vol. III, Oct., 1888, p. 174.) 
The moral regeneration of India and the revival of her ancient spiritual glories must exclusively be the work of her own sons. All we can do is to apply the match to the train, to fan the smouldering embers into a genial warmth. (The Theosophist, Vol. 11, January, 1881, p. 86.)
History teems with examples of the foundation of sects, churches, and parties by persons, who like ourselves, have launched new ideas. Let those who would be apostles and write infallible revelations do so, we have no new church but only an old truth to commend to the world. Ours is no such ambition. On the contrary, we set our faces like flint against any such misuse of our Society. If we can only set a good example and stimulate to a better way of living, it is enough. Man's best guide, religious, moral, and philosophical, is his own inner, divine sense. Instead of clinging to the skirts of any leader in passive inertia he should lean upon that better self - his own prophet, apostle, priest, king, and savior. No matter what his religion, he will find within his own nature the holiest of temples, the divinest of revelations. (Ibid., March, 1881, p. 118.)
Men naturally disagree on most subjects, and we cannot hope to force others to accept as facts the things that appear so to us. But what we can do is, to show more mutual tolerance and abstain from dogmatism and bigotry as there is too much of it already outside of our own unpopular and equally tabooed systems. One undeniable fact exists on earth; a sad, a tacitly and universally recognized yet as universally ignored "Fact," namely - that MAN is man's worst enemy. Born helpless, ignorant, and doomed to a life-long struggle through that ignorance, surrounded by intellectual darkness which no amount of scientific or spiritual research can entirely dispel, instead of helping each other in that life-struggle, one half of humanity is ever striving to create obstacles, over which the other half may trip, stumble and even break its neck, if possible. Were we wise, instead of boasting of our partial knowledge, we ought to unite and act on the principle common to the Books of Wisdom of all nations; on the sublime precept taught by all sages; by Mann, Confucius and Buddha alike, and finally copied into the Christian Gospels: "as ye would that men do unto you, do ye also to them." (Ibid., Vol. III, Dec., 1881, p. 71.)
Were we to remark to this [an account of the newly-invented telephone] that there are other and still less bulky and objective apparatuses in existence as yet unknown to science, which enable a person to hear any speaker he likes to choose and at any distance, and even to see him - the Madras Standard would scoff at the idea. And yet, hardly ten years back, the bare mention of the possibilities of the telephone and the phonograph - both bringing back to life again "the waves of sound which have died away into silence" - would have been regarded as the fiction of a lunatic! (The Theosophist, Vol. III, June, 1882, p. 223.) 
FACT is the only tribunal we submit to and recognize it without appeal. And before that tribunal a Tyndall and an ignoramus stand on a perfect par. Alive to the truism that every path may eventually lead to the highway as every river to the ocean, we never reject a contribution simply because we do not believe in the subject it treats upon, or disagree with its conclusions. Contrast alone can enable us to appreciate things at their right value; and unless a judge compares notes and hears both sides he can hardly come to a correct decision. Dum vitant stulti vitia in contraria - is our motto; and we seek to prudently walk between the many ditches without rushing into either. For one man to demand from another that he shall believe like himself, whether in a question of religion or science is supremely unjust and despotic. Besides, it is absurd. For it amounts to exacting that the brains of the convert, his organs of perception, his whole organization, in short, be reconstructed precisely on the model of that of his teacher, and, that he shall have the same temperament and mental faculties as the other has. And why not his nose and eyes, in such a case? Mental slavery is the worst of all slaveries. It is a state which, as brutal force has no real power, always denotes either an abject cowardice or a great intellectual weakness. (Ibid., Vol. 11, July, 1881, p. 218.)
Somebody made the remark, the other day, that Providence must be an Irishman, because, in the celestial economy, there is such a total ignoring of the value of time. And certainly, the more we look at it in that light, the more this judgment seems to be justified by events; for it seems as if most of time was simply thrown away, without any profitable result whatever, and, it must be added, without any visible harm coming from all this lavishness either - which is the most disappointing thing to people who are deep in the secrets of Providence, for if much evil seems to be piled up, they know at once that it has all to be expiated in a future birth, and so their utilitarian claims are satisfied, and they are content.
But time goes on and on, and nothing seems to come of it, neither good nor evil. This is particularly evident, if we watch the moments and hours and days of our own particularly valuable lives. We take this extreme case, because, as we are interested in justifying Providence, we like to give Providence every possible advantage by choosing the best possible materials. To begin, then, with our own particularly valuable lives; who will not admit that, looking back over ten years or so, only ten hours of it all, if so much even, were of real and permanent value; some ten hours of real insight into this very perplexing universe; some ten hours in which we felt our own real power and the greater powers behind and above us? We are immortal spirits - in those good hours we are as certain of that as we are that the  sun shines - but most of the time we neither feel like immortal spirits, nor, one may hazard the conjecture, do we quite give people the impression that we are. The hours go drifting onward uninspired, packed full of portentous trifles, heavily weighted with all kinds of nothings; we even hesitate to remember that we once felt like archangels, because the contrast would be too appalling. But, in the dispensation of Providence, we are not keenly conscious through most of these unelevated days; there is a kind of dreamy enchantment over them, so that we are not resentful of their emptiness, and let them go by even with something of contentment. But that only makes it all the worse, at least so far as Providence is concerned, for the less we feel the wastefulness of time, the more utterly wasted that time evidently is.
By another dispensation of the same inscrutable Providence, most of the people we know have to spend most of their time in simply keeping up with time. They work all the time to supply necessities that time is perpetually bringing, by providing things that time as perpetually takes away, to put them, perhaps, in the wallet on his back, wherein he keeps alms for oblivion. All that does not seem to be very profitable. And all that emphasizes the conjecture we started with, as to the nationality of the planetary spirit of this world-period. Then there is a most perplexing thing; time does not seem always to go on at the same rate. There were sixty minutes, so at least the chronometer said, in each of two hours. But one of the hours was gone before we thought it had well begun, and the other was so slow about it that we have a lurking misgiving that there is some of it left, still lingering somewhere, lying in wait for us. So there are bad quarters of an hour, though I do not remember that anyone has so far put on record any class of good quarters of an hour.
Then we can dream seven years, seven good years as full of plenty as those the Egyptian's corn-ears foretold, while people close beside us, in the next room, are living only seven minutes; or, in deeper sleep, seven minutes may pass between the evening and the morning of the next day, while some luckless mortal, overtaken by evil works done in a former birth, is dragging through a night that seems months long. So that, before formulating that grievance of ours about the waste of time, and Providence's complicity therein, we shall have to settle what time is; and the more we work at it, the less satisfactory to the lean ancient with the scythe our settlement is likely to be.
For we shall surely arrive at the result that all the other sages came to long ago - but we must here allow ourselves a moment's digression, to suggest another problem that utilitarian minds may make themselves miserable over - how about the waste of space? What of the unprofitable fields between planet and planet, between star and star, in which absolutely nothing grows, as far as we can tell, not even the new light, which is darkness visible? But we must not stray too far away from the solar system, so we shall come back to the question of time, and the solution already reached by our predecessors, the philosophers. The truth about time seems to be, that there is not any. We couch our result in  these terms, in order to fall in with the presumed spirit of the present planetary genius. Time seems to be, but is not; it is in us, who imagine, and not in the things outside us. We make it for ourselves, and so we can make it of exactly the length we want, and this accounts for its being of different lengths for different people. So that the real truth about all the flat, stale, and unprofitable hours in our own exemplary lives, is that there is, in ourselves, a large capital of fairly enjoyable fatuity, which we are anxious to make the most of, and would on no account consent to diminish.
Most people enjoy their misery. Look at the relish with which pessimists prove their theme. Our lives are precisely what our entire wills chose them to be; we do not suffer a single pin-prick without our own consent. We are, minute for minute, precisely where we ought to be, where our own wills put us, without the slightest reservation or exception whatever. All these seemingly waste years are the weaving of our own fancies, which make the warp and woof of every day of our lives. For ages and ages this spiderweb spinning has been our only and altogether soul-satisfying occupation, and we have ourselves to thank for it, not only touching the past, but the present also; for, as far as we can honestly tell, those fancies of ours are as lively and busy as ever.
We are beginning to get a little tired of it at last, as we show by talking about waste of time and unprofitable days, and impeaching Providence, and the time will perhaps come soon when our wills will consent to something better. There has really been no time-waste at all; only endless weaving of fancy, which has held our souls enchanted by their own misdemeanors. The celestial hours are not separated from each other by years of uselessness, but go on continuously; the life in a better part of us is quite unbroken.
Some day, the coming of which our own wills shall decide, we shall be able to laugh ourselves out of our fancies and begin our real lives; or rather continue those celestial hours in which we really were, and really knew ourselves to be, immortal.
There are few real friends. Even in the T.S. we find few exceptions to this, though there are some. A good many are called by that name, but not many know the meaning of friendship. Do you know it? A little perhaps, but it would do you no harm to think it over and see how real your power to be a friend can be before you say that you know it or that some others do not know it.
Ordinary friendships (or what are called by that name) always remind me of varnish, pretty and shiny at first, but easily scratched. Never indulge in varnish friendships and never offer such.
Pretty talk doesn't mean friendship, affectionate actions or expressions count for nothing, even personal love doesn't have to do with friendship. If you think it does then you view it as the ordinary run of people view it, and have very little idea what real friendship means.
You will never know what true  friendship is unless you learn to look below the surface of things, and feel the souls of people more.
I've seen you throw off those who would be your truest friends (if you would only forget yourself and your likes and dislikes for a while).
I've seen you judge some of these from the standpoint of intellect, personal appearance, manner, or what some one else thought of them. This is no good, and shows you have much to learn on this before you, understand the true meaning of friendship.
You may admire ---'s articles, not knowing who the writer is and think you like to have him for a friend; but if you knew him would your friendship and admiration count for much with him do you think, when in ordinary life he knows you, and he also knows he does not suit you personally, does something you do not approve (though perfectly harmless in itself) because it goes against your well-defined ideas, - built up by you as your standard of what should be. Would you be able to take him for the friend you now think you would like to have in him? I fear not. Why? because you do not look below the surface to the soul of the writer who writes, you do not realize that there is the friend you would find, there in the pace where real friendships grow.
Do I judge you externally? I do not. I give you facts, as you know. In our talks we call things by their real names, but we always talk from the inner basis, never from the external, and so you understand what I mean and do not think the less of me because of these talks, but feel that inside we are truer and better friends than before, because we are of mutual help to each other, in our pleasures and our sorrows, our virtues and our faults. That we ripen each other by this kind of friendship and are not simply friends to talk pretty, and to mean little. Well, then, if our friendship is a real thing, take it in it's inner meaning and take others in the same way, and don't try to find friends unless you are able to accept them as such inside, and have the courage to face the outside.
Make friends always when you can, "for this is the time to make friends," but make them from the soul, if you want them to be lasting and real friendships.
Never think of your friend what you would not wish him to think of you. Never speak to him as you would not have him speak to you.
Let him be as frank to you as you would be frank to him.
Be glad with him as you would have him glad with you. The appreciation of a friend goes a long way to make life sweeter and better, you know this from your own experience. Then give this to your friend. Appreciation to the things you like in others knocks off many of the rough corners of life, and leaves a perfume which is sensed by the lowly as well as the great in life.
Learn then, I say, what friendship means, for the world is getting very weary in its search for friends. If you can learn the meaning of friendship you will help others to know what it means, and so in time we will make the world our friend, because, instead of being only lovers and talkers of love, it will feel that we are friends, and there is no holier thing, I say, than the friendship of a friend. 
A friend who had written some three or four articles once complained to me that he had ventilated all the original thoughts at his command. He could write no more. Later on he came to the conclusion that he had never had any original thoughts, and immediately commenced to write again. To say a new thing is not possible and he had realized it. We must remain content to repeat the oft-told stories of the past, feeling them true and having carried them in our hearts.
So without apology I join the ranks of those who for ages have been counseling a greater love for all that lives. Such a simple thing; such an antiquated cry. But day by day there is a wider need for just this simplicity. The wisest words I ever heard were these: "Be compassionate, and sit still is the midst of all that may be said, inclining only to your duty." If we are not compassionate the rest is of no account. Men seek wisdom, but the mind and soul and spirit of wisdom is love, and that they have not got and do not seek. They think it will come in time; and meanwhile they try to flatten what skimpy love they have, and spreading it over the universe call it "impersonal." The misery of it!
They work, yes; they may grow learned in many different ways; they may write and speak and give sage counsel to others. But where is that fire of love whose light shines and whose beams bring faith and hope into the world's darkest places? Such people are wise in their own way. They find many blemishes in others - for they look for them. They see hidden motives - for they know something of their own. And they are always anxious that others should share their wisdom - for it is their own. We know them. Someone sees in another some glimpse of his own divinity and pays homage to the divine. Whereupon those who have not love must adjust this matter; they well know the blemishes in this temple of God's light and proceed to hint or boldly point to their existence. A crack in a window-pane through which God's light shines! Perhaps they go still further and deny that the light is there at all - they are better at seeing darkness than at seeing light. And if it be not there, what of it? It has been seen there, and the seer in paying homage did reverence to deity. Is it that he should bow to some other idol, of which they have possession? Or is it that he bows to any and should climb to their loveless heights where benevolent esteem is spread so thin over boundlessness? It matters not. They were better occupied in seeing that they themselves still live; they may yet die.
Is there so little evil in the world that we must needs be for ever hunting it in our friends? If found, is it not better to turn away our eyes in sorrow, than act as devil's showmen at our friends' expense.
If we have insight into character we can surely use it, not by a silly cynicism which rejoices in its own cleverness, nor by assuming the odious duty of exposing the weaknesses of others, but by seeing and evoking the best in those around us, helping them to a wider usefulness and more perfect expression of themselves. For that is love and that is service. 
Poor people who have not love! They work and work, maybe for years, but as they work they forget their end in the means adopted for its attainment. Let them turn round on themselves before it is too late and find out why they work. Rules of conduct will not save them, nor rules of thought. They may tie themselves up in a maze of rules and precepts and feel themselves safe - but they are not. Jealousy, ambition, envy, vanity, meanness, ingratitude, with back-biting and all unbrotherliness as their offspring, will do their slow, sure work, now in secret, now in open lawlessness. And they will be powerless against them if they have not love. With it they would have the might of the universe with them and could pass through hell untouched.
Therefore love, or thy heart will turn to stone and kill thee; love or thy life will turn to a death more bitter than thy life already is.
Be compassionate, and thy light, which is the One Light, will shine wherever is darkness, and thy service will he of the kingly service which lives and endures for ever. In thee will spring up wisdom, and as thy love becomes more perfect thou shalt know thyself as among the Brethren of the Flaming Heart, the Brotherhood of Compassion. - T.
THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY
Volume VII in this chronological Series of Volumes will be on sale before the end of the year, published by the Theosophical Publishing House at Adyar, India. It will contain over 450 pages and will sell in the U.S.A. for $8. Orders should be placed with The Theosophical Press, P.O. Box 270, Wheaton, Ill., who are the sole distributors in this country.
The Editorial work on future volumes in this Series has now reached very advanced stage, so that several subsequent volumes are ready in MSS form, and will be published one after the other, at the earliest possible opportunity. Earlier volumes in the same Series, which have been out of print for a number of years, will also be issued in due course of time in a revised greatly improved edition.
Every one of the volumes will contain a considerable number of Editorial comments concerning various historical events and individuals connected with the material published, and authentic data about many of the early workers in the Theosophical Movement, concerning whom information is becoming rather scarce.
Work has also been in progress for several years past in producing complete translation into English of all the Russian writings from the pen H.P.B., some of which are entirely unknown to English-speaking students.
The Theosophical Publishing House at Adyar is to be highly commend for undertaking the publication of all the remaining volumes in this Series and the Compiler of it wishes to express his appreciation of the far-sightedness  of Brother N. Sri Ram, President of The Theosophical Society, in making this possible.
Every volume that appears in print adds that much more to the arsenal of facts and ideas which, in their totality, will constitute the final vindication of H.P. Blavatsky and her mission. - Editor, Theosophia.
The Editor of this magazine had the privilege this summer of attending by invitation the sessions of the Annual Convention of The Theosophical Society in America, held at their beautiful Headquarters near Wheaton, Ill. The experience was a memorable one in more than one respect.
The gathering of upward of 300 active Theosophists from all over the U.S.A. and some from Canada, Mexico and Central America, intent upon increasing the value and scope of their Theosophical activities, and sharing ideas and plans with their companions, is an event that usually generates an atmosphere of intense interest, earnestness and unanimity of purpose, a sense of "togetherness," and of dynamic will to achieve and to attain. These qualities were more than evident throughout all the sessions and in the personal intercourse of students. A delightful sense of humor was provided by a great many of those present, so that sessions and deliberations were neither formal, nor stiff or set, and creative individuality had plenty of opportunity to assert itself for constructive purposes.
It is of special interest to note that at least one third of those present were either young or youngish. With all due respect for the achievements of our older workers and their unquestioned devotion over many years, it must be stated as a matter of simple fact that a Movement can have a future only if it attracts younger people. Considering the number of such at the Convention, the American T.S. doubtless has a future, and, we think, a very brilliant one!
Due recognition must be given to the most gracious hospitality of the Headquarters Staff, especially the kindly and sympathetic attitude and consideration for everybody on the part of the Hosts, James S. Perkins, President, and his charming wife and co-worker, Katherine Perkins.
The smooth performance, the splendid organizing capacities and the efficiency with which various activities were discharged, are a credit to all those whose leading example and co-ordinating abilities stand back of the outward results and inspire them.
No account, however brief, would be complete without mention being made of the presence of Brother N. Sri Ram, International President of the Society, and his wife, Mrs. Bhagirathi Sri Ram. His gentle and self-effacing demeanor, his attitude of universality and unchanging good-will to all, his simplicity of manners and constant availability, not to mention his forceful and timely talks, were the many qualities which endeared him to all those present.