THEOSOPHIA
A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XVI
No. 2 (80) - Fall 1959

[Cover photo: Chillon Castle, Geneva Lake, Switzerland.]

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THEOSOPHIA
A Living Philosophy for Humanity

Published every Three Months. Sponsored by an International Group of Theosophists.
Objectives: To uphold and promote the Original Principles of the modern Theosophical Movement, and to disseminate the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy as set forth by H.P. Blavatsky and her Teachers.
Editor: Boris de Zirkoff.
Subscriptions: $1.50 a year (four issues); single copy 40 cents. Send all subscriptions, renewals and correspondence to: 615 South Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles 5, California. Make checks and money orders payable to "Theosophia."

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.

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THOUGHTS TO REMEMBER

"... each one of you should be and actually is a leader, a leader of men, a Theosophical leader, one more or less trained to guide his fellows. Oh! I pray that you do not forget this; for if this idea prevail among us, no matter what one may say about the relatively small number of adherents that the Theosophical Society at present has as compared with the many millions of humanity - if this spirit prevails, I repeat, we Theosophists shall be not merely the leaven raising the general average of humanity, but verily you will be leaders, guides, teachers; and that is what each genuine Theosophist should aspire to be ... Love is no mere sentimental emotion: love is vision; love is harmony; love is that which flows forth from one to others; and when a man or woman has this in his heart or in her heart, then he or she is a natural leader. I desire you all to be leaders. Don't be ashamed of this lofty calling. Proclaim yourselves as aspiring to be true leaders. No one in the T.S. is too humble to help someone else, to show the way, and the way-shower is the leader, the guide, and the teacher." - G. de Purucker, in Messages to Conventions, pp. 30-31.

"Each one of us has to learn to consider everything for himself, and that is the only way to qualify to lead or help others. A leader is not one who tries to regiment other people, make them think as he wants them to think for his own reasons. There are such leaders in politics of different parties, and their followers become a flock of sheep and echo the leader's thoughts. The less we have of such leaders in our Theosophical movement, the better. Every Theosophist has to learn to lead himself, in the sense of not being pushed either by others or by the momentum of his own past thoughts. He must help people to lead themselves, to find out and express what is best, most beautiful and precious in themselves. That is the only kind of leadership which would serve our Society, which has to be as a spiritual republic in which each one shines with his own light, and makes it his contribution to the total illumination of the world." - N. Sri Ram, in The Theosophist, August, 1959, p. 290. [3]

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MUSINGS ALONG THE ROAD ...
Boris de Zirkoff

The Editor of this journal has now returned from a somewhat lengthy trip abroad, lecturing in various countries, meeting many friends of long standing, and making new ones. Much has been seen and experienced, many valuable lessons learned, some uncertainties cleared up and many thoughts shared with active workers in our Movement here and there.

With all due recognition of the splendid efforts made by various students on behalf of the Movement, and their tireless exertions to spread the teachings of Theosophy wherever possible, a number of difficult circumstances and very baffling problems can be easily seen almost everywhere. They call for serious consideration, and a concerted effort towards their solution.

It does not take long to realize that, in spite of some activities organized by younger workers, the percentage of young people in Theosophical lodges and groups is appallingly small, and in some places practically non-existent. Whatever may be the actual reason for this condition, it would seem that organized Theosophy and the teachings as presented therein have no appeal to the younger generation. To blame the latter for this would be unrealistic, even though there may be some truth in it. The fact is that the presentation of the Theosophical teachings, by and large, is dull, uninspired, colorless and dogmatic, and more often than not stands in no vital relation to the problems of the day, therefore can have no appeal to minds and hearts which are vibrant with new ideas or seek new approaches to life's great riddle. And a Movement which has no living appeal to the youth of the day can hardly have any future.

This sad situation demands a soul-searching re-appraisal of the Theosophical work, a clinical dissection of its prevailing methods and objectives, and a wide-spread change in public work, if it is to attract the younger generation into the sphere of the Movement.

The impression produced in many places is of a few younger and stronger minds, energetic and creative, enthusiastic and courageous, lost in a whole sea of much older people, who have seen better days, had ample time to lose their original enthusiasm, if any, and to settle comfortably within the safe precincts of a Lodge, waiting for the appearance of a new Messenger around the last quarter of the century. This mildly Seventh-Day Adventists' state of mind provides all the excuses required for continuing the status quo, making no immediate changes of any kind, and letting things ride until some better day. Grooves that deep and firm need only to become a little deeper yet in order to be graves!

Can any of the younger people be blamed for stepping out from such groups and starting on their own, often in some totally different Movement, provided it has some leaning towards the betterment of humanity!

It is our considered judgment that unless a specific effort is made on a very large scale within the present-day Theosophical Movement to enroll the youth of the day into its ranks, by providing them with an adequate field of operation and tangible opportunities [4] to build and work, the organized Theosophical Movement will not outlive the century, if it lasts that long.

Another rather sad realization which seemed to force itself upon one's mind is the obvious fact - which no amount of colorful decorations could conceal - that deep-seated inharmony exists in many places within the Movement, resulting in stresses, strains, psychological misunderstandings, personal pulls, "professional" jealousies, and occasional back-biting and open enmity - all of this against the traditional background of a Movement based on Universal Brotherhood as a fact in nature. The criticism that was heard more often than any other, from people outside the organizations, was to the effect that Theosophists talk about very noble ideas but they do not live them. They write books about very lofty themes, but do not put into practice what they preach. They point out the weaknesses of other systems, political, social and religious, but have had their own organizations broken up and torn asunder by internal struggles and contentions of an ordinary, garden-variety type, such as have existed in all other organizations throughout known history. What right have they to teach Brotherhood anyway? Can anyone provide a suitable and adequate answer, without becoming abusive?

It is merely the A B C of genuine occultism that no spiritual progress can ever be made along the age-old path unless harmony, good-will and real solidarity become the watchword in the life of the would-be disciple. It is applicable as much to the individual student, as it is to their collectivity as a Movement or group. Dissension of any kind, jockeying for outward positions and honours, schemes for personal benefit, and all the other factors at play within the sordid sphere of human personal selfhood, are an impassable barrier to any progress and a blight on the work we are engaged in. The sooner this is realized, the better it will be for all concerned.

It was especially interesting, not to say bewildering, to the present writer, to observe the literature displayed on Theosophical book tables, both at public meetings and elsewhere. If nothing else around proved beyond doubt that this was a Theosophical center, the literature displayed would not suffice alone to prove it. In addition to works embodying the technical teachings of genuine Theosophy, and interspersed among them, were books of many other organizations, mystical, spiritualistic, metaphysical, pseudo-occult, psychic and generally speaking non-descripts of all kinds, intended to tickle the palate of occult addicts or whet the appetite of professional lecture-goers. A mere glance at some of this literature would have shown to any serious student that most of it was in direct contradiction to the genuine theosophical teachings, appealed to the personal, the psychic, the wonder-loving, and the sensational in the mind of the would-be reader, and should not have found any room on a Theosophical book table. What prompts librarians or book stewards in these groups to clutter their book table with this worthless stuff, upon occasion dangerous and harmful, is not clear, unless it be financial benefit as a result of sales. Whatever may be the cause of this [5] condition, it calls for a speedy change, if we are to live up to our professed intentions, namely the liberation of man from the slavery of the senses, the spreading of the teachings of the ancient Esoteric Philosophy, and the enlightenment of the people by means of the noble spiritual principles of thought handed down from ages past - principles of thought intended to curb sensationalism, ritualism, emotionalism and to control the psychic tendencies of the age we live in.

It is our considered judgment that some of the book tables we have seen, perhaps even most of them, are contributing mightily to the further confusion of would-be students, thus militating against the very foundations of the Movement they are supposed to represent.

Looking at the general Theosophical situation from the standpoint of the outsider - and we think that it is salutary and wise to try and do so from time to time - it must be stated that the seeker who desires to find out whether Theosophy has anything to offer, and who visits a center of Theosophy, is apt to find in it teachings which blandly contradict each other, and this with regard to some of the most vital problems of life. Visiting more than one center, he is likely to come to the conclusion that Theosophists really do not know what they are talking about; and this for the simple reason that he will find the earlier Theosophical teachings either mixed up with, or completely superceded by, later teachings which bear no relation whatsoever to the former ones, yet both given under the auspices of the same organization. He will find the same condition prevailing in many of the books he will read. When asking for elucidation of this condition, he might be told something to the effect that the Theosophical Society has no dogmas and that truth has many facets, and that there is complete freedom of opinion within the organizations, and that later presentations of Theosophy are more suitable to the present age than the earlier ones. In terms of mechanics, this would mean that while it was possible to build a solid bridge some years ago on the principle that two and two were four, and on the basis of a good knowledge of engineering, it is better today to take it for granted that two and two are really 5-and-a-quarter, and that the laws of gravitation have been badly shaken up by Albert Einstein and others. We wonder how long would the new bridge stand up! ... Pity the inquirer or seeker! Can you blame him for not coming again? Can you blame him for taking unto himself a rather uncomplimentary impression of Theosophy? The reaction of the Theosophists, however, is usually ready in advance - the inquirer is just not ready for the teachings! Which teachings?

Another fact which cannot be overlooked is the small number of people who can be called students, in the sense of being seriously interested in the technical teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy, intent upon becoming thoroughly informed regarding them, and being able to present them to others in an understandable manner, simple yet profound. The overwhelming majority of people connected with lodges and groups are either just listeners, or merely friendly people in [6] general sympathy with the Movement, who come to lodges to be entertained by the speaker of the day. Even such as have been in the organizations for a considerable number of years seem to have but the haziest idea as to what the technical teachings of the Ancient Wisdom really are, and very few could give them any sort of formulation in words.

This is perhaps more apparent in the U.S.A. than anywhere else, but our own country is by no means the only one to show this particular weakness. It is simply that the distractions of life are here even more numerous than they are in other countries, and the restlessness of the people, more marked than anywhere else.

And yet how is it possible for Theosophists to present the teachings of their Wisdom to others unless they become trained in the understanding of the technical teachings of this ageless philosophy, and have a clear cut picture in their minds of at least the basic principles, if not the ramifications of the various teachings? How many people within the organized Movement can formulate in simple language what the Theosophical teachings are in regard to such subjects as: the Dualty of Man; the Inner God of Man; the after-death-states of man; the nature of the Devachan; the nature and function of Karma; what is meant by Reincarnation; what are Cycles; the spiritual concept of Evolution; the nature of the Path which leads to Enlightenment; the ethical principles upon which this Movement is based; if not other more recondite teachings which we do not expect anyone to tackle who is not prepared to dedicate his entire life to this Work.

While Theosophy is a very broad philosophy, and cannot be defined in a few cursory words, as succinct as a chemical formula, and while it is very pliable and has many aspects, it contains nevertheless, as explained on other occasions in this Journal, very specific teachings on equally specific subjects, and a formulation of basic tenets and principles regarding which no uncertainty or confusion needs to be entertained by anyone. In spite of this fact, it is entirely non-dogmatic and un-sectarian. The expression of these two ideas represents no contradiction, but merely points to the inherent paradox which can be met with in all of nature.

To mention with commendation any particular name in connection with Theosophical work (or any other work, for that matter) is to court resentment on the part of someone else who may also be doing very commendable work in his or her own way, but remains un-named. Running this risk, we will nevertheless permit ourselves to make special mention of the inspiring Theosophical work conducted in Holland by Brother Jan H. Venema, a life-long student of the Ancient Wisdom, a dynamic lecturer, and organizer, and a widely-known Mason in his native land. The meetings held under the auspices of his School for the Study and Promulgation of the Esoteric Philosophy, in a number of cities in the Netherlands, were marked especially by two factors; the presence of a considerable number of younger students, and the high percentage of men, as compared with women, a sign definitely lacking in the overwhelming number of theosophical meetings almost [7] anywhere. The serious nature of their studies and of the questions asked are an evidence of the solid spiritual foundation upon which this work rests. Mr. Venema has a number of most able co-workers and helpers showing creative initiative of their own in carrying out various aspects of this work, literary, organizational and others.

Another especially pleasant and soul-gratifying memory is of a small group of dedicated students who, in a tiny community high up in the Black Forest of Germany, are engaged in the selfless task of translating into their native German some of the most difficult works on technical Theosophy, to make up for the wholesale destruction of occult literature that took place in recent years. Their able work is being issued in mimeographed form, which, bypassing expensive printing processes, makes it available to students everywhere. The difficulties encountered by conscientious translators are many, and are not generally known; theirs is a creative work and the mechanical aspect of it is the least important. More power to them!

In a few places, in stark contrast to others, there were groups of very serious and devoted students engaged in the methodical study of the teachings, and creating by means of this study, and of their attitude of devotion and harmony, an atmosphere of true esoteric value. These stood out like little flames of spirituality, here and there, in the vast sea of human confusion, and were, no doubt, in inner touch with other similar centers, maybe hundreds of miles away, where other students kept their own flame burning, shedding light around them, giving help and sustenance to those who seek for light. Real centers of light are few in number, and their work is not widely known; unrecognized by the crowds, they nevertheless produce their silent effect upon the surrounding community, and may, in the long run, accomplish more potent a work along genuine esoteric lines than larger groups where worldly considerations have taken the place of spirituality. It is always an inspiration and a privilege to find them and to take part in their atmosphere of deep devotion and creative harmony.

Some very basic changes of human consciousness are in progress upon the stage of present-day history the world over; progress, both physical and psychological, goes on at a considerably increased rate; ideas, many of them originating within the ranks of the Theosophical Movement, are taking firmer root in the minds of men; our Movement is not large in numbers, nor is it powerful from the standpoint of worldly affairs; our workers are few, and the pressures and distractions they must face and overcome are many. Hence it is imperative that we should eliminate every possible waste in our efforts, and concentrate to the best of our knowledge upon ideals and ideas which are basic in our Movement, and which contain the foundation-teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy - the seed-thoughts destined in the evolution of time to bring about a complete reappraisal of our worldly values, and to give rise to a new philosophy of life among men. [8]

Therefore it is of paramount importance that Theosophical groups and Lodges, wherever they may be, should dwell upon the basic teachings of the Ancient Wisdom, and their practical relation to life, and leave of all the numerous and relatively un-important subjects which, being mere by-products, may just as well be handled by other organizations and groups which have no directly Theosophical work to perform.

Astrology, vegetarianism, occult powers, yoga, animal welfare, and the work of the United Nations, are no doubt very interesting and useful in their place. But they must not crowd out, as they very often seem to do, serious and frequent discussion on the basic Theosophical principles of thought, so as to become proficient in the understanding of these, with a view to handing them down the line to others waiting for them.

These teachings, as outlined by the early Theosophical workers, pre-eminently H.P. Blavatsky and her own Teachers, remain as basic today as ever before, and those called upon to meet the public are in duty bound to become thoroughly familiar with them, and with everything that they imply. - B. de Z.

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H.P. BLAVATSKY COLLECTED WRITINGS - VOL. VII
Covering the years 1886-1887.

This new Volume of the Uniform Edition of H.P.B.'s Writings, published by The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras, India, is now off the Press. As the earlier Volumes, it contains a vast amount of erudition, teachings, and information on a multitude of occult and related subjects. It may be obtained in the United States from The Theosophical Press, P.O. Box 270, Wheaton, III., and in Europe from The Theosophical Publishing House, 68 Great Russell St., London, W.C.I, England.
Price in U.S.A.: $8.00; in Great Britain: 42/-.
Work is already in progress on the manuscript of Volume VIII, and an early publication is anticipated. [9]

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SPARKS FROM THE ANVIL
Excerpts from the Writings of H.P. Blavatsky

"... Theosophists have very little to do with 'asceticism.' It is a hereditary disease of the Hatha-Yogins, the Hindu prototypes of the Christians who whip themselves, and mortify their flesh until they become idiots and converse with the Devil without converting him ... A solitary ascetic is a symbol of the most cowardly egotism; a hermit who flees from his brothers instead of helping them to carry the burden of life, to work for others, and to put their shoulders to the wheel of social life, is a coward who hides himself when the battle is on, and goes to sleep drunk on an opiate." [Transl. from the French article "Fausses Conceptions," Le Lotus, I, Sept., 1887.]

"Once Theosophy and its principles are known, it will be demonstrated that our philosophy is not only a 'close relative of modern science,' but its forbear, though greatly transcending it in logic; and that its 'metaphysics' is vaster, more beautiful and more powerful than any emanating from a dogmatic cult. It is the metaphysics of Nature in her chaste nakedness, both physical, moral and spiritual, alone capable of explaining the apparent miracle by means of natural and psychic laws, and of completing the mere physiological and pathological notions of Science, and of killing for ever the anthropomorphic Gods and the Devils of dualistic religions. No one believes more firmly in the Unity of the eternal laws than do the Theosophists." [Ibid.]

"Neither the true Christianity of Jesus - the great Socialist and Adept, the divine man who was changed into an anthropomorphic god - nor the sciences...., nor the philosophies of today which seem to play at Blind Man's Buff, breaking each other's noses, will allow the Occident to attain its full efflorescence if it turns its back upon the ancient wisdom of bygone centuries. Happiness cannot exist where Truth is absent. Erected upon the shifting sands of human fiction and hypotheses, happiness is merely a house of cards tumbling down at the first whiff; it cannot exist in reality as long as egotism reigns supreme in civilized societies. As long as intellectual progress will refuse to accept a subordinate position to ethical progress, and egotism will not give way to the Altruism preached by Gautama and the true historical Jesus (the Jesus of the pagan sanctuary, not the Christ of the Churches), happiness for all the members of humanity will remain a Utopia." [Ibid.]

"... [Theosophists] believe in the Great ALL, in Sat, i.e., absolute and infinite existence, unique and with nothing like unto it, which is neither a Being nor an anthropomorphic creature, which is, and can never not be. Theosophists see in the priest of any religion a useless if not a pernicious being. They preach against every dogmatic and infallible religion and recognize no other deity, which dispenses suffering and recompense, than Karma, an arbiter created by their own actions. The only God which they worship is [10] TRUTH; the only devil which they recognize and which they fight against with unabated fury is the Satan of egotism and human passions." [Ibid.]

"... A progress build on the exploitation of poor people and of laborers is but another car of Juggernaut plus a false nose. One has the right to prefer even a quiet death under the manchineel tree to the progress of the rich and learned classes achieved over the bodies of thousands of poor and ignorant people ... As long as people, instead of fraternizing with and helping each other, claim but the right to safeguard their national interests, while the rich man refuses to understand that in helping a poor stranger he helps his poor brother in the future, and sets a good example for other countries; as long as the feeling of international altruism remains an empty phrase in the air, progress will accomplish no other function than that of executioner of the poor." [Ibid.]

"If your Grace, from your high pinnacle, will cast your eyes around, you will behold a Christian civilization in which a frantic and merciless battle of man against man is not only the distinguishing feature, but the acknowledged principle. It is an accepted scientific and economic axiom today, that all progress is achieved through the struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest; and the fittest to survive in this Christian civilization are not those who are possessed of the qualities that are recognized by the morality of every age to be the best - not the generous, the pious, the noble-hearted, the forgiving, the humble, the truthful, the honest, and the kind - but those who are strongest in selfishness, in craft, in hypocrisy, in brute force, in false pretense, in unscrupulousness, in cruelty, and in avarice. The spiritual and the altruistic are 'the weak,', whom the 'laws' that govern the universe give as food to the egotistic and material - 'the strong.' That 'might is right' is the only legitimate conclusion, the last word of the 19th century ethics, for the world has become one huge battlefield, on which 'the fittest' descend like vultures to tear out the eyes and the hearts of those who have fallen in the fight. Does religion put a stop to the battle? Do the churches drive away the vultures, or comfort the wounded and the dying? Religion does not weigh a feather in the world at large today, when worldly advantage and selfish pleasure are put in the other scale; and the churches are powerless to revivify the religious sentiment among men, because their ideas, their knowledge, their methods, and their arguments are those of the Dark Ages. My Lord Primate, your Christianity is five hundred years behind the times." [From "Lucifer to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Greeting!" in Lucifer, I, December, 1887.]

"Ought Theosophists ... then, to be regarded by Christians as their enemies, because they believe that orthodox Christianity is, on the whole, opposed to the religion of Jesus; and because they have the courage to tell the Churches, that they are traitors to the MASTER they profess to revere and serve? Far from it, indeed. Theosophists know that the same spirit that animated [11] the words of Jesus lies latent in the hearts of Christians, as it does naturally in all men's hearts. Their fundamental tenet is the Brotherhood of Man, the ultimate realization of which is alone made possible by that which was known long before the days of Jesus as 'the Christ spirit.' This spirit is even now potentially present in all men, and it will be developed into activity when human beings are no longer prevented from understanding, appreciating and sympathizing with one another by the barriers of strife and hatred erected by priests and princes." [Ibid.]

"The function of religion is to comfort and encourage humanity in its life-long struggle with sin and sorrow. This it can do only by presenting mankind with noble ideals of a happier existence after death, and of a worthier life on earth, to be won in both cases by conscious effort. What the world now wants is a Church that will tell it of Deity, or the immortal principle in man, which will be at least on a level with the ideas and knowledge of the times. Dogmatic Christianity is not suited for a world that reasons and thinks, and only those who can throw themselves into a medieval state of mind, can appreciate a Church whose religious (as distinguished from its social and political) function is to keep God in good humor while the laity are doing what they believe he does not approve; to pray for changes of weather; and occasionally, to thank the Almighty for helping to slaughter the enemy. It is not 'medicine men,' but spiritual guides that the world looks for today - a 'clergy' that will give it ideals as suited to the intellect of this century, as the Christian Heaven and Hell, God and the Devil, were to the ages of dark ignorance and superstition. Do, or can, the Christian clergy fulfil this requirement? The misery, the crime, the vice, the selfishness, the brutality, the lack of self-respect and self-control, that mark our modern civilization, unite their voices in one tremendous cry, and answer - NO!" [Ibid.]

"The 'Christ principle,' the awakened and glorified Spirit of Truth, being universal and eternal, the true Christos cannot be monopolized by any one person, even though that person has chosen to arrogate to himself the title of the 'Vicar of Christ,' or of the "Head' of that or another State-religion. The spirits of 'Chrest' and `Christ' cannot be confined to any creed or sect, only, because that sect chooses to exalt itself above the heads of all other religions or sects. The name has been used in a manner so intolerant and dogmatic, especially in our day, that Christianity is now the religion of arrogance par excellence, a stepping-stone for ambition, a sinecure for wealth, sham and power; a convenient screen for hypocrisy." [Lucifer, I, Nov., 1887.] [12]

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THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT

A new edition, the third one, of this Theosophical Classic is about to be published. It is to be issued by the Theosophical Publishing House of Adyar, with the full backing of our friend N. Sri Ram, President of The Theosophical Society (Adyar), and the Organization which he leads. This, no doubt, will be good news to many students throughout the world.

The Manuscript for this new edition has just been completed and has been handed over to Sri Ram personally by the Trustees of the Mahatma Letters Trust, Elsie Benjamin and Christmas Humphreys in London. In addition to a certain number of corrections, emendations and improvements based upon a painstaking study of the original Letters, and a better reading of passages made somewhat uncertain on account of a difficult handwriting, the new edition will contain a few new items left unpublished by A. Trevor Barker, yet definitely belonging to the Series as a whole.

Every uncertainty existing in the previous editions has been reconsidered, and no alterations have been made unless supported by the considered judgment of several students, such alterations being in every case minor and having to do mainly with punctuation, spelling and points of grammar. The Editor of the present Journal has had the great privilege of taking part in this final checking, having spent considerable time in the British Museum, working on the original Letters which, as is well known, are in the permanent possession of this world-renowned Institution of learning, where they have been deposited in 1939, together with H.P. Blavatsky's Letters to A.P. Sinnett.

It is generally known that these Letters have been written mainly in two colors: red in the case of Letters from Master M., and blue for those written by Master K.H. This, however, is merely a generalization. Close observation reveals the fact that there are at least 15-16 different colors, some of which are ink while others are pencil or crayon. Even if a certain amount of fading is allowed to have taken place through the years, it is still perfectly evident that many letters have been written in such colors as: light-black-brownish, fiery red, light-blue, black, greenish-blue, sepia, light-brown-yellow. It is interesting to note that Letter XCIII is written by Master K.H. in red ink, also that a number of letters, such as XXB, for instance, appear to have been written in blue pencil over a rather rough surface, producing a ribbed appearance.

A microscopic examination of various letters showed the fact that some of them have the writing material deposited on the surface of the paper, while others appear as if the writing material was woven into the paper itself. It is likely that the latter cases are those when the paper itself was precipitated together with the writing on it, or rather in it.

The original Letters from the Masters and those written by H.P.B. to Sinnett are beautifully bound in seven separate volumes, and show very little wear or deterioration of any kind. Their preservation through the years has been quite phenomenal in itself, mainly due, probably, to the fact that [13] they rested undisturbed for many years inside a special box in Sinnett's house. The collection has been fully microfilmed some years back, and rolls of microfilm have been deposited in several other Institutions for safekeeping. Thus the original Letters are now available in facsimile form, a fact which would partially compensate for any destruction of the originals.

Great controversy has gone on in past years among various groups of Theosophists throughout the world as to whether these Letters from the Adept-Brothers should or should not have been published at all. We do not intend reviving this controversy at this time. It appears to us that the most important fact is not whether they should or should not have appeared in print, but that they are published. As we and future students face this obvious fact, it is of paramount importance that the finished product, the published book, should be as faithful a reproduction of the original MSS as possible, and that no effort be spared to improve upon uncertain readings of words and punctuation, if necessary, as long as no attempt is ever made by anyone to alter the meaning of any passage, edit the text itself or in any other way tamper with the original MSS, as has unfortunately been done many times, and to an alarming degree, with the writings of H.P.B. herself.

It can be truthfully stated that the forthcoming edition of The Mahatma Letters, being prepared as it has been by the Trustees themselves, can be confidently accepted by all students as being faithful to the original MSS, as anyone can prove to himself, if he wishes to compare it with a facsimile in microfilm form.

It is historically important and interesting to note that the present edition will be published at Adyar, where H.P.B. herself, at various times during the early period of the Movement, provided the "occult link" which was required for the carrying of the correspondence between A.P. Sinnett and the Brothers. She was not the only one to do so, but most definitely the chief individual. This work, therefore, bears a special relation to the Adyar Headquarters, a relation which, we trust, will be fully recognized by those who will be instrumental in carrying out the various details connected with the production of this volume.

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"You were told ... that the path to Occult Sciences has to be trodden laboriously and crossed at the danger of life; that every new step in it leading to the final goal, is surrounded by pit-falls and cruel thorns; that the pilgrim who ventures upon it is made first to confront and conquer the thousand and one furies who keep watch over its adamantine gates and entrance - furies called, Doubt, Skepticism, Scorn, Ridicule, Envy and finally Temptation - especially the latter; and that he, who would see beyond had to first destroy this living wall; that he must be possessed of a heart and soul clad in steel, and of an iron, never failing determination and yet be meek and gentle, humble and have shut out from his heart every human passion, that leads to evil. Are you all this? ..." - Master K. H., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, pp. 341-52. [14]

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FRIENDS IN COUNSEL
Theosophy for the Aged
T.B. Marriott

You old people sitting by your fireside have a most wonderful opportunity to work a bit of magic. You have the experiences of a long life to look back upon, mostly of sorrows and disappointments perhaps, but with some glimpses of happiness. Would you turn all the past into Peace, and look into a future full of Joy? You can do this, and more, if you will call Magic to your aid and use it wisely.

What is the Magic? Where is it to be found?

It is the magic of the realization that you are Souls, and it can be found in your own hearts.

Don't stop to consider what a Soul is, or what it does or feels, or what it is made of. The knowledge of all these will spring up within you in time. Forget yourselves for a moment. Live in the highest, most fervent, and best that you are able to feel, and you will realize that there must be an eternity behind and an eternity before you with your friends and comrades a, members of the great Human Family, all living with one purpose: that of unfolding and growing to a state of absolute Perfection and Joy.

Standing thus apart from your smaller selves, as spectator Souls instead of human actors, look into and consider the scenes of the past and learn their lessons and meanings, and look forward into the future with confidence.

The picture of a Soul's struggles comes before my mind.

One of a large family living in a tiny hamlet, miles away from a town or even a church, as a child she had no contact with the outside world, no outlook, no pleasures beyond those of healthy youth amidst woods and moors. The parents were both descended from old cultured stock which had sunk into poverty in the preceding generation, but they retained a certain amount of refinement and culture which expressed itself chiefly in the acquirement and production of instrumental and vocal music of the highest order; and a somewhat didactic and dogmatic manner with others through the sense of their mental and physical superiority to all around them.

The children had these qualities as much as their parents, together with the ambitions and restlessness of healthy youth, but their ambitions were necessarily of a narrow kind on account of the lack of acquaintance with other conditions.

Such the environment. Ruled with a rod of iron in the style of the times the great possibilities of this young life were stunted and crushed until the time came when she was sent away, at about her second decade, to a neighboring family. But here again the conditions were rural and narrow, and the opportunity for understanding other phases of life or of developing her good and strong innate qualities were almost nil.

Though good-hearted and conscientious, her hard and stern upbringing showed through in her efforts when helping others, as there was no soft and gentle touch in her methods.

About the age of thirty-five she was called to take charge of a [15] consumptive sister and family of husband and six children. These were in moderately good circumstances but the husband was even narrower in mind than his wife's people, having had a similar youth; he had no ambitions outside his office and was content with the daily routine.

Her sister died. Years passed. During this period her strength of will and persistence in doing what she believed to be best led to frequent quarrels, mostly relating to her efforts to raise the standard of living and for the betterment of the children; but these efforts were often mistaken and caused much misery and suffering to them as they grew up.

As the family circumstances improved, these efforts to rise into superior surroundings naturally led to ostentation and incongruities of many kinds. Every few years she forced her brother-in-law to take a step upward in the social world, and this went on until the children had grown up and left home and he had passed away.

Now she lives in retirement, with no real friends, doing a considerable amount of good to those around, but feeling the loneliness and despondency of a hard old age.

Does the picture of this tragic life recall too poignantly incidents of the past? Does it make you miserable and sad?

If SO, STOP! Apply the magic touch of SOUL, and you will be able to make of the experiences of the past such a power for good that your loved ones, and it may be thousands of others, will shower blessings on you in the future time.

Remember that you are a Soul, full of love and courage; that you will have many lives in the future in which to adjust previous mistakes, and in which you will be able to help others knowingly and wisely.

Ponder well on all the incidents, and see how and where a little extra knowledge would have helped you to do just the right thing. Think of the real needs of the children; how they want so badly to be active and doing things; how they can be guided, and their minds and sympathies unfolded and drawn into right channels; how ardently they desire to know of the realities of life!

Does this not bring a great influx of Love and Strength to your heart? To be sure it does, and you will return after your period of rest with all the strength and wisdom you now draw to your heart from the clear insight you gain from pondering over these things, and in the time yet remaining you will better understand the hopes and conditions of those around you and will give them something of the peace and wisdom you now possess.

Many of the mistakes we make are due to the mistranslation of the urge of the Soul. We want to be always progressing to better conditions, and in our ambition we often take the wrong path.

Is not the effort to keep up appearances and to appear in better circumstances than our means warrant one of the mistranslations of the Soul's urge to higher things?

The mind in lacking any knowledge of the true laws governing evolution has little or no basis on which to build. Yet, behind it all we learn many lessons from the people we meet, through these mistakes, and it may be that Karma put them in our way in order [16] that we might not fall into grooves, for the consideration and sympathy we often receive from chance (?) acquaintances keep alive in us our longings for better conditions, and the wish to emulate their external modes of life is but the unfortunate effect of ignorance of the higher states to which we are journeying.

Strong characters are never satisfied with existing conditions, but if high ideals and a real philosophy have not been held in the mind from early youth their energies and strength tend to lead them into wrong paths, or their valuable qualities are put to inadequate uses.

It is to point out these side-tracks and to show the way to obtain a true, philosophy that Theosophy is in the world today. Its teachings of Karma, Reincarnation, and the ultimate Perfectibility of Man, bring hope and peace to many sorrowing hearts and enable them to understand many of the difficult problems which confront them.

After looking back and studying our own needs and longings in the past we must see that others were and are in the same position. When this is realized, we are in a better position to help those around, and while we may feel diffident about advising, yet there are ways by which just a word, a touch, or a little help at the right time may change the whole of the future life for the better.

Shall we not then make use of our added knowledge to lead the lives of those about us into the right direction? We dare not perpetuate the wrong methods which helped to make our lives so crushed and purposeless. We must help as much as we are able; but above all, we must tell them where and how they may find out for themselves the true solution of their difficulties.

Five minutes daily study of Theosophical books will give such an insight into the realities of life, its problems and difficulties, its meaning and beauty, that a new start will necessarily follow, for they are written with just this object and the Truth thrills through them.

Theosophy gives us courage to face ourselves, and while overcoming our weaknesses, to step out boldly away from the limitations of the past, and to advance steadily and surely along the path which leads to ultimate perfectibility together with the rest of humanity, in the strong bonds of UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD.

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WHAT THEY THINK ...

"The first issue of Parent-Teacher magazine to come out since the decision by the PTA to evaluate television programs contains capsule reviews ... As an old pro at the TV reviewing dodge, I applaud the PTA for getting into this mess ... Television is a crime against the nation's children. It has ruined their reading habits ... Whenever unrestricted TV watching is allowed, it has wrecked children's school work. It could be a tremendous instrument of enlightenment and education and instead, in so far as children are concerned, television is an almost unqualified evil ... The people in charge of television ... actively use it for instilling, propagating, and arousing the worst in children - sadism, violence, brutality, mindlessness." - John Crosby, New York Herald Tribune's syndicated TV critic. [Quoted in Newsweek, September 14, 1959.]

Theosophia thinks so too!