THEOSOPHIA
A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XVII
No. 2 (84) - Fall 1960

[Cover photo: Sunrise from Monos Island, near Trinidad, F.W.I. (Photo by Minshall; courtesy The Tourist and Exhibitions Board of Trinidad and Tobago.)]

*

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.

*

THOUGHTS TO REMEMBER

"... we must remember that conditions in any organization, and the T.S. amongst them, can never be perfect as long as we have imperfect human beings carrying on our blessed Work, or any Work.

"In a noble and sublime field of labour for mankind, such as ours, it is an infallible certainty that there will be difficulties, many and various, and problems many and various; and throughout the ages, as you will find even in Christianity

if you read the old writings, there is always a complaint that the fields of labour ate so big, and the laborers are so few! It is the same in the T.S. as elsewhere; but it is just these few laborers, with their spirit of devotion and dogged will-power, and determination to succeed, that carry the movement through the ages, and ultimately bring success ...

"As regards the world-situation ... I can only say that I write under the greatest reserves, because my words, if not thoroughly understood, could be greatly misconstrued; but I will briefly say this, that the whole world is passing

through a new stage, a new phase of civilization; in other words an old age is dying, and a new age is coming in; and what we see all around us, are but the birth-pangs of a new era; and be assured that the great spiritual forces which control the world are doing what they can to bring to birth in every way possible the finest that human nature is capable of giving birth to for the new age ...

"Don't worry about world-affairs ... I know they are in the minds of all, and in the hearts of every normal man and woman today, great sorrow and great anxiety, and we have it here also. But we are passing through a changing phase of life, and Karma must be worked out before a new stability and a new order based on right and justice, can again come to unhappy mankind. Keep high courage. Never falter in your devotion. Remember the Masters are guiding and helping as far as man will allow them to do so, and at any rate always are helping individuals who are worthy of the help." - From a Letter of Dr. G. de Purucker, quoted in The Canadian Theosophist, Vol. XX, February 15, 1940. [3]

*

A FORCE AKIN TO THE SUN
Boris de Zirkoff

The enduring strength of the Theosophical Movement lies in the fact that its roots stem from the spiritual-divine origin of all life, and are not subject to the vicissitudes of time.

From age to age various groups of men give birth to temporary organizations intended to focus one or another aspect of the over-all Movement, and to serve as more or less suitable channels through which the vital sap of spiritual life may flow for a while. But these channels are man-made and subject to all the weaknesses of human nature and the eventual deterioration that follows therefrom. But the Movement itself is a force operative in the very structure of the earth - the spiritual structure of the planet - and is not wholly dependent upon man-made channels, as it has higher aspects and more enduring forms through which to manifest.

We may feel at times despondent and sad when viewing the rapid deterioration of various organized efforts started originally for the promotion of the spiritual life and the teachings upon which it is based. But we must never forget that these organized forms are no more lasting than the physical bodies which we use for a number of years and lay down after a while as too worn for any further use. The indwelling spiritual unit or force goes on in its cycling journey and builds for itself other forms which are fresh and new and more fit. And somehow or other, through the marvelous alchemy of Nature, even the essence of the outworn forms is lifted in time to become an integral part of the new shape of things.

The essential nature of the Theosophical Movement under whatever name it may be known is akin to the energies of the Sun itself, as all spiritual-divine life in our system flows from its central luminary and vivifies every atom of the cosmic structure. We must never lose sight of the fact that, being workers in that Movement, we have consciously allied ourselves with the most potent force in Nature, and, according to our earnestness and sincerity will derive strength and power from the stream of solar energies we have attuned ourselves with. This thought alone should be a sufficient deterrent to any despondency which we, as imperfect human beings, are apt to experience from time to time when facing the many weaknesses within ourselves and others.

All difficulties and obstacles, all imperfections and even conscious antagonisms which we encounter in our self-chosen task on behalf of the Movement, are, in the last analysis, merely various manifestations of the general inertia of the more material spheres and aspects of life. They have their own sway and relative value in the lower levels of the evolutionary stream, and will exist until such spheres are raised to higher levels. Many of these obstacles are hard to meet, most difficult to overcome, and often bring sorrow and disappointment. It is needful to remember, however, that they provide an opportunity for renewed effort, for wiser planning, for increased work, and more intelligent handling of the "human equation." Material inertia, after all, is but a lack of spiritual buoyancy, and cannot be [4] overcome by mere force, as it has to be raised vibrationally and be gradually transformed into something higher. Material inertia hides within itself a spiritual potency which, when aroused, becomes an active spiritual force.

We are often shocked at the relative insignificance of our present-day Theosophical organized effort, and the small number of people actively engaged in its work. This feeling is of course justified in more ways than one. But it must not be overdone or over-indulged in. We should remember that we are working in this day and age - as others did in previous ages - against a tremendous material inertia, which often temporarily increases whenever a spiritual force is attempting to dislodge or disrupt it. That inertia does not only come from outer obstructionist forces, but exists within every individual himself, and is often bitterly opposed to the dynamic efforts of our own Higher Ego to strike out into new and higher avenues of life and work. Were it not so, we would have no inner contact with the forces of matter in the midst of which we are supposed to work for the nobler objectives which urge us ahead.

However much attached we may be to those forms of manifestation which the Theosophical Movement has assumed today, we must not forget that they are just as non-enduring as all the other temporary forms which at one time or another served for a while as embodiments for the same solar lifeflow. Shall we weep bitter tears because the ancient Temples of Egypt are but ruins, or the Mystery-Schools are but a memory? The day will inevitably dawn when all the passing forms of this century will have become but a memory themselves, and the spiritual forces will have evolved through the instrumentality of other men greater and nobler forms for their more adequate manifestations. But while human institutions change and pass away, the Movement as such endures from one age to the next, and brings forth nobler flowers nourished by the self-same spiritual sap which flows from its solar heart, unaffected by time, untouched by the imperfections of men, unsoiled by matter, ever young, buoyant and strong.

*

In this era of world wars, in this atomic age, values have changed. We have learned that we are the guests of existence, travelers between two stations. We must discover security within ourselves.

During our short span of life we must find our own insights into our relationship with the existence in which we participate so briefly. Otherwise, we cannot live!

This means, as I see it, a departure from the materialistic view of the nineteenth century.

It means a reawakening of the spiritual world, of our inner life - of religion. I don't mean religion as a dogma, or as a church, but as a vital feeling. - Boris Pasternak, quoted in Los Angeles Times, February 22, 1959. [5]

*

THE DANGERS OF BLACK MAGIC
Col. Henry S. Olcott

[This article was contributed by the President-Founder of The Theosophical Society to the pages of The Theosophist - Vol. V, September, 1884. p. 283 - in connection with an account which concerned Dr. Jules Liegeois' experiments in hypnotism and suggestion conducted at Paris. The warnings of Col. Olcott are as timely today as they were when this article was written. It is intended to clarify a number of points concerning hypnotism regarding which many very fuzzy arguments are indulged in today. - Editor, Theosophia.]

An esteemed Swedish member of our Society sends a translation of a very striking article in the Sydsvenska Dagbladet Snallposten of July 2nd [1884], contributed by its Paris correspondent. In giving it place in these pages, we take the opportunity it affords to point the moral which the startling narrative teaches. It would be difficult to imagine a clearer proof of the wisdom of keeping secret the science of the Esoteric Doctrine, save from those whose moral fitness has been amply tested. It is here shown beyond dispute that a mesmeric subject may be compelled by the mere whispered command of his mesmeriser, given him while asleep and physically unconscious, to commit any awful crime. The two persons, subject and mesmeriser, are to each other relatively negative and positive - passive and active. The one receives, the other imparts a psychic impulse. This is a hidden impulse, a resistless predisposition, a germ of future action, which lies lurking deep down to the region of sub-consciousness, unsuspected by the victim until it bursts out into action at the appointed instant. Then, his unusual self-command, his conscientious scruples, his virtuous habits of life, lost in the mad tumult of the crisis, the unhappy victim robs, rapes, forges, even murders perhaps, without apparent cause and to the bewilderment of his family and most intimate friends. People talk glibly about "the springs of human action," but what do they know of them? How many of the offences against good morals and the well-being of Society have been committed by persons perfectly innocent of criminal intent, persons who were absolutely mesmerised by the powerful evil will of third parties - their neighbor, relative, friend, casual acquaintance, nay, even by some magnetically positive stranger who has brushed against them in the street, sat with them in the same room, or been brought into momentary proximity otherwise? A fine network of psychic influences weaves in all together; and in any given community or human group the aggregate moral tone of the whole insensibly saturates the being of the more sensitive ones, and they may equally well be converted artificially into criminals as into saints. In nine cases out of ten, "fallen women" are mesmerically intoxicated and psychically paralyzed before falling a prey to their seducers. Not long ago a case of this abhorrent nature was judicially tried before a French tribunal, and [6] the mesmeriser who had thus ruined a "subject" sent to the galleys. If Occult Science were as easy to learn as Chemistry or any other branch of Physical Science, such crimes would be of daily occurrence. No father's life would be safe from the sorcery of a wicked son who longed to get hold of his money, no fair maiden's virtue from the wicked desires of the vicious libertine. The would-be assassin must now risk discovery in buying his weapon or his poison, but the sorcerer, who knows and can wield the mesmeric power effectively, can sit in his own room and send at his victim a deadly current through the akasa, which kills and leaves no trace. This has been dwelt upon before in these columns and elsewhere, but it is only in the face of such experiments as those ascribed to Monsieur Liegeois, that the friendly warning acquires a terrible significance. The student of mesmerism cannot too vividly realize that the potency of the will may be used to injure and destroy as easily as to comfort and bless. There have been at all times the sorcerer, or practitioner of Black Magic, as well as the adept, or practitioner of White Magic. One is the enemy, the other the benefactor of humanity. The Chela of the "Good Law" is taught first to abstain from doing evil, next to extinguish the desire to do it, then to develop in himself the ardent predisposition to do and love to do the opposite. Then only can he be entrusted with these secrets of life and death and these transcendent psychic powers.

Prof. Liegeois has thrown by his experiments a strong light upon the question of "spiritual mediumship," and corroborated the opinion of such excellent authorities as "M.A. (Oxon.)" and others, that indiscriminate public seances are most dangerous to the "psychic," besides being very unsatisfactory to the investigator. We can easily comprehend, in view of this fresh discovery of thought-transference, how perilous to the moral nature of the medium is the mesmeric aura of bad visitors of either sex. Once more our pity is excited for these victims to an insatiable and ignorant thirst for marvels and for news from the dead. A notorious case - that of Mrs. P. - a. popular medium in America, thirty years ago: she was in appearance a refined, fair-faced woman, and in her ordinary state her conversation was blameless. But "under the influence" of her "guides," that is, the supposed spirits which got possession of her - she was transformed into a foul-mouthed drab, horribly profane and revoltingly indecent in behavior. How many such martyrs to a sensitive organism there have been in all countries and ages, it is impossible for any man to compute. The lesson for us to take to heart is that the perfect shield and safeguard against every such danger is to eschew evil thoughts and desires, to cleanse the heart, and to get virtue as a positive not a negative quality in oneself. "Etain Buddhanam Sassanain - such is the doctrine of all the Buddhas." And it is the eternal law of nature.

*

We are almost down to our last copy of Theosophia, Winter 1959-60, issue, which is whole number 81. Is there anyone among our readers and friends who could spare a copy of this issue and send it to us? Please do not break your own set, if you intend keeping a complete file. Thanks in advance! - Ed., Theosophia. [7]

*

AN IMPORTANT ASPECT OF OUR MOVEMENT
Laura Gaunt, B.A.

Anyone who has served on the numerous committees of a Theosophical organization knows that sooner or later the lines will be sharply drawn between those who wish to promote the Movement publicly and those who wish to make it strong through esoteric instruction for the few. Which is, in truth, the more important aspect of the Theosophical effort?

Of course the answer is "Neither!" for both attempts put the cart before the horse. The most important aspect of the Movement is the endeavour to recreate the men and women who hope, aspire, and work everywhere in the world as well as within the Society. These men and women constitute the raison d'etre of the Movement. They it is who are to be helped. It was for them that the teachings of H.P. Blavatsky were given and it is for them that the Movement exists. As the avant garde, Theosophists must learn to aid each person of good will as he develops his seven vehicles, each according to its nature. All else is secondary, is a means to an end, the grand end of enabling humanity to realize its divinity.

This, of course, is a radical divergence from the thought of past ages. Through all of recorded history the "cause," the "movement," the "empire" have been paramount and the individual has been willingly, conscientiously sacrificed to them.

Now with the new age has come the desire to dignify the individual and, if possible, to understand him. Universal suffrage and psychoanalysis are but two aspects of the same impulse. Unfortunately, they are both aspects on the more material planes since, at the present time, civilized man has not the ability to connect the more material planes with the more spiritual. This is undoubtedly due to a bad combination of karmic conditions. The licence and self-indulgence of the Roman world necessarily gave place to the medieval contempt for the body - a contempt so strong that it is having to be painfully eradicated by whole nations of sunbathers and vitamin-swallowers.

Repression is the first step in reformation, but we, as Theosophists, should remember that it is only the first step. Now that a numerous body of persons has learnt self-control in the cloister, or by other means, the time has come to take the next step forward. Instead of being victimized by either the indulgence of the body or its repression the time has come to learn to use all seven vehicles creatively within their spheres, or rather, since this is rather a large order, to think of using them. For master them we must or perish from this plane of existence.

It is only when the lower quaternary WILLINGLY lends its aid to the upper triad that man can perform the work he ought to. As Vishnu-Purana narrates, Soma, the moon, the sovereign of the vegetable world, and deity of lower manas, had to make alliance with the adepts of the Right hand Path to whom he offered Marisha, "the offspring of the trees."* (* H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, pp. 495-96, orig. ed.)

Our animal nature must be understood, trained, and cared for just as surely as a sheep dog must be by the [8] shepherd if he is to retain his irreplaceable companion.

The current state of civilization cares for the body and, because of a lower manasic intricacy, trains it along certain mechanical lines. What it does not do is relate the natural drives of the animal man to his spiritual capacities, nor does it guide him in the exercise of his powers. At the present time the Catholic Church is the only exoteric organization working along these lines and we are painfully aware of the materialism and limitations of its effort. The natural love for the mother is directed toward an anthropomorphized Virgin and the need for discipline is made the excuse for Jesuitical regimentation whose effects endure for many lives.

The secret doctrine of the ancients, however, gives us the key to turn the locks binding our natures. It shows us how to put ourselves en rapport with the great creative powers of the universe by attuning ourselves to them: "We produce CAUSES, and these awaken the corresponding powers in the sidereal world; which powers are magnetically and irresistibly attracted to - and react upon - those who produced these causes ..."* (* Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 124.) Who among us has not attempted, by employing his manasic powers, to become a CAUSE for some good thing, only to see the work drag on incomplete, lacking vitality. And who among us has not been startled by having some subconscious wish spring into life like the dragon's teeth? This occurs because on the plane of materialization desire, or Eros,** (** Ibid., Vol. 11, p. 234.) is the most potent force. Not by accident is our karma worked out within the coils of desire. Only when we have tamed that snake, as did the infant Hercules, changed its name to "devotion," and attuned it to the Buddhic principle can we arise and, as the Christians phrase it, do our Father's work.

There is, nonetheless, an inherent danger in the word "devotion." It has come to be wedded in our minds to the word "impersonal." Now impersonality can be a very bad thing as well as a very good one. It can be the cause of heartlessness, indifference, spiritual pride, and a host of disagreeable psychological states. Rather, let us be sure and connote "selflessness" when we speak of "devotion." For selflessness is the master of desire. Selflessness enables us to use desire as it ought to be used, as the strong spear in the hand of the enlightened warrior. Every relationship of life which touches us deeply may lead us outside our own interests and wishes and enable us to feel for someone else, feel as someone else is feeling. As Sir Edwin Arnold put it: "I Buddh, who wept with all my brother's tears." By escaping from ourselves we develop the Buddhistic "right feeling" and "right action" which are, nonetheless, still feeling and still action.

Only by this path can we become the men and women whom we ought to be. Then can we originate the CAUSES which will build that better world whose building is the immediate task before humanity. Only when we understand human nature in its totality will the work of the Theosophical Movement leave been accomplished, and whether the organized Movement survives is of little importance, if only that be done. [9]

*

HUMAN KINGDOM RESPONSIBILITY
T. Marriott

The processes of what we term "Nature" are so evidently according to Law and Order throughout, that the Master-key of Analogy can be relied upon to indicate the working details so long as it is correctly applied. We do this to a great extent and get satisfactory results, but in nearly every case it is studied entirely from the human point of view as the recipient and not the giver or responsible element in its particular sphere, as one of the many parts of a whole.

Yet the saying, "As above, so below," implies the reverse or there would be no similarity or identity of process or Being; so that on looking deeper into the subject, the place of Humanity or its individual members, it should logically follow that the human kingdom is but one organ in a greater BEING, and that the individual is a cell, an atom, or an electron in that organ.

This is so little recognized that its bearing on Earth Life in all phases is completely overlooked, although occasionally a verbal half-hearted admission may be formulated, but with the implication that the HUMAN is the center of the cosmos. While it is a philosophical fact that every unit is a center, it must likewise be granted that the CENTER is NOWHERE, but that every unit is integrated with others to make groups and so be an essential and everlasting part of the whole Cosmos, no matter what temporary function it may fill.

When this fact is recognized by the human mind, it lends dignity to his state and position in the Universe, and also brings responsibility for the fulfilment of his obligations. These obligations are not, or should not be onerous, for they are natural in the sense of being an integrated portion of LIFE itself. Life manifests in innumerable ways, and every unit undergoes modification and changes in its combinations, in itself as well as with others, and this applies to the human unit with his sense of self-consciousness, as well as other units which have not that particular attribute in activity.

As an illustration of the Principles connected with a manifestation, suppose we consider a cell in the liver of a man. It is a unit with a particular set of characteristics which select energies and substances in conformity with its special functions. It depends for its life upon the life of the man it inhabits, and so long as it is healthy it is an extremely valuable unit in his body. What happens if its polarity is reversed? It becomes more or less independent and sets up other conditions which affect other working parts of the human frame: maybe it starts a cirrhosis - a thickening, a hardening. Who or What is responsible? Is it its swabhava - its characteristic nature? Circumstances? The man? All these are connected and cannot be entirely separated, yet there is a relative and proportional responsibility on the part of each. But, if the cell should dominate, then the bodily life of the man would be more or less adversely affected.

This example is very incomplete, but it does suggest that the cell has a measure of responsibility, and also that the BEINGS superior to Man are hindered in their work by the inharmoniousness of [10] the units in the human kingdom. As in all else, there is a double effect set up: the cell itself becomes a danger to the free circulation of the body, both of nerve currents and the purity of the fluids; and at the same time the Man as an entity manifesting on the physical plane of the Earth cannot radiate health in mind or body, and therefore the orderly connected impulses upon which other of Nature's Lives are built and sustained, suffer proportionately.

Carry these facts as applying through out the Cosmos, and it becomes evident that no plan is absolutely perfect because of the numerous factors which are parts of it, and which are continually changing through the circulations from within and without which make them function. The Cosmic and lesser gods are just as much affected by, and dependent upon, the nature and condition of their environment as we are, and their environment is partly made up by and from our human superior emanations, which to our minds or perceptions take the form of aspiration, clear and pure thought, and radiating impersonal beneficence.

Action and reaction being equal and opposite, the gods themselves react to what impinges on them from ourselves, if of their own nature; and it is only at cyclic times that other outpourings of energies and forces can be sent out when "the turn of the wheel" brings "morning" after a "night."

The recognition of human responsibility to the gods for their life and welfare is a new thought to many, but its active practice adds dignity to the human, and also shows the need and value of ETHICS as a human effort to conform to methods of UNIVERSAL WELL-BEING.

*

PREPARATION FOR THE HARVEST
Henrietta de Hoog

In the middle of the Autumn have been celebrated, in the long-ago and NOW, the festivals of HARVEST.

We are accustomed to regard the New Year as the important time to sit down and think of what lies behind and what is to be faced ahead, and completely forget the importance of the stop-and-think place of the Autumnal Equinox. Yes, we are sure of a harvest, but ... what kind of a harvest, we cannot always tell beforehand.

True, in winter we have time enough to think of the success or failure of our "crops." Hindsight is, as they say, much easier than foresight. But we have need for foresight, so we may learn to prepare for the harvest that will feed the hungry, and not look back with tears at the blighted harvest, which it was in our power to prevent.

How did we prepare the ground in spring? What were the seeds we sowed? What was the quality of the seeds?

The wind, the rain ... or drought? Is the responsibility taken out of our hands, entirely, by this mighty trio? Have we fulfilled the conditions that would make the onslaught of either [11] one, or all three, weak and ineffective? Have we protected our fields or have we, through greed and selfishness and desire for gain, used up every available space, giving no thought to "outside" forces: outside forces which, we have not yet learned, find their field for growth WITHIN?

At harvest-time we face disaster, injustice, disappointment, frustration; we are bowed down in grief and rise up in accusation of everything and everyone ... except ourselves!

In our care-free inattention we are often unaware of having gathered and sown our seeds of inferior quality and, expecting a beautiful harvest, are so cast down at the shriveled and worthless harvest, that we fail to look for the source of the failure and cast about for an explanation at the harvesting-field only.

Throughout all ages we have been taught, over and over and over again:

"That which ye sow ye reap. See yonder fields!
The sesamum was sesamum, the corn
Was corn. The Silence and the Darkness knew!
So is a man's fate born."
- Sir Edwin Arnold, The Light of Asia, Bk. VIII.

We know that we cannot disobey the Law of Great Nature, and gladly plant corn to reap corn; beans to reap a bean crop. But we still expect a fair and nourishing harvest from seeds of unkind deeds and words, and bitter thoughts, which we have sown in a field of selfishness and ill-will, or ... ignorance! We KNOW better, but over long ages have covered up our knowledge by trying every means to find a loophole in the LAW of LIFE which will bring us a rewarding harvest without having sown superior seeds.

After this long "prologue" let our attention be drawn to this Harvest-Time! Some may already be aware that the harvest will be a sorry one; others may know that it could have been a better one; few, very few will feel it to be a harvest that will leave nothing to wish for. But, whatever the reaping, let us go to the Harvest Festival; not to make a great deal of noise, mistaken for joy; or in a surfeit of food because we have to face a lean time; but let it be a Feast of Understanding: As it is in the kingdom of the Vegetable World, so is it in the World of Thought and Deed. To sow nobly and honestly, knowing that within ourselves we carry the germ of the ALL, and learn to look at life around us from the High Terrace of the DIVINE SELF, of which our "house of life" is but the temporary "dwelling-place."

From this season's harvest, even a blighted one, may be picked the seeds of a future harvest, that will bring understanding and blessing to many who will share at the next Autumnal Festival.

*

To be noble, one must be truly noble in everything one does. To be truly kind is pure selflessness. To love one's fellowman is to know the meaning of compassion. We are ever the mirror that reflects our own image. To live truly in one's Higher Self requires a constant meditative viewpoint, an unprejudiced mind, and a deep search beyond the intellect. In this earnest approach, with no thought of personal gain, life reveals itself in purity. [12]

*

REINCARNATION AND CHRISTIANITY
Harold Dempster

Many students of Spiritual Philosophy and free thinkers throughout the world, as well as those who have delved deeply into the origin and history of Primitive Christianity, are familiar with the fact that a form of Reincarnation was taught by some of the early Christian Fathers, especially Clement of Alexandria and Origen, who lived in the second and third centuries A.D.

The purpose of this article is to acquaint with this those who are not aware of it, and to submit some evidence and reference material which can be looked into more fully by those who are interested.

It will be helpful to the one learning about this for the first time, to obtain some knowledge of the general background of the religious thinking of those early times in order to be able to recognize that Christianity was not something suddenly born with the advent of Jesus Christ, entirely independent of, and free from, the influence of prior and contemporary religious and philosophical systems already in existence it the Mediterranean Sea area.

The two most important of these were: Mithraisin, originating in Persia, which taught the age-old teachings of the Mystery-Schools, and the Egyptian Religion, which centered its attention around tile worship of the Goddess Isis, the Divine Mother, the Immaculate Virgin, giving birth to the God-child and World Savior, Horus; a religion of Mystery-School origin also, that spread over the whole Roman Empire and had become quite popular at about the time of the beginning of the Christian era. It was from these two major Religions that the larger part of Christian liturgical rites and ceremonies were derived.

In addition to this, the Spiritual Philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato, each one of whom was an Initiate of the Mystery-Schools, and of their disciples, exerted a paramount influence upon the more scholarly and educated people. Nor can the ideas of India and the Orient be ruled out, since migrating Buddhist monks were known to have been in contact with the Essenes, whose Dead Sea Scrolls, recently discovered, refer to an outstanding spiritual personage as a "Man of Righteousness," who could have been Jesus the Avatara (The student is hereby referred to the material contained in that scholarly work, The Esoteric Tradition, by Dr. G. de Purucker, whose father was a Christian clergyman, for more detailed description of the facts pertaining to Avataras, Early Christianity and the Mystery-Schools.)

It is interesting to note that while reincarnation is not taught in the modern Christian Church, Catholic or Protestant, it is taught or believed in by members of various New-Thought groups, such as the Rosicrucians, Universalists, Unitarians (to some extent), Unity School students and others, all offshoots of modern Christianity. Even in some orthodox churches one will find here and there individuals who are favorably considering the idea that we have lived before, as the only logical explanation of the many enigmas in human life, especially child prodigies and apparent unmerited suffering, physical, emotional and mental. [13]

What is the value of dealing with a subject of this kind by merely endeavoring to show that Christianity embraced the idea of reincarnation in a general sense during the first five or six centuries and ruled it out in 553 A.D. at the Council of Constantinople? The principle value is to educate the reader to some little known facts and to encourage him to make his own further investigation in order that he may draw his own conclusions. If it was once taught, why was it eliminated? There were various reasons. First, it was the beginning of a dark cycle, from the 6th century on, for a period of at least a thousand years, when great ignorance and credulity prevailed. It was withdrawn because it was considered to be a pagan idea and therefore did not belong in Christian doctrine. It conflicted with the "new" teachings, many of which were fabricated and were not the teachings of Jesus; such as that man could have his sins wiped away and have everlasting life merely upon his believing in Jesus. The intention was to destroy the idea that man could have another chance in future lives to improve himself, and to replace it with the teaching that man had better "be good" now or else he would burn forever in hell fire; "confess your sins, believe in Him and be saved!"

With the birth of this new orthodoxy it had to be the policy of the Church to destroy many writings dealing with this and other important material. Murders were committed in the name of the new religion and a new fanaticism was born.

But it is not possible to destroy natures's truths either by the burning of documents, or by burning martyrs at the stake, and so reincarnation has persisted in the memory and inner convictions of enough people, and in sufficient literature, of many differing cultures, actually to be coming back into general public knowledge and acceptance. There has never been any important culture anywhere in the world that did not embrace it, and about three-fourths of the world believe it even today in some form or other. Can Christianity continue to deny it? Why does it not consider teaching it again? Could it do so without damage to itself?

How can the modern orthodox Church explain the enigma of one of their most outstanding Church Fathers, Origen, teaching this doctrine, and then waiting for 300 years after his death before officially declaring it heretical?

Origen did not use the term Reincarnation, but taught the doctrine under the Greek word Metempsychosis, meaning changing Soul after Soul. (See The Occult Glossary by G. de Purucker for a fuller explanation.) The Catholic Encyclopedia (1909) contains so much interesting material pertaining to this subject that extensive quoting seems desirable, as the reader may not have easy access to it.

"St. Jerome tells us that metempsychosis was a secret doctrine of certain sectaries of his day, but it was too evidently opposed to the Catholic doctrine of Redemption ever to obtain a settled footing. It was held, however, in a Platonic form by the Gnostics, and was so taught by Origen in his great work The First Principles.

"Origen by his writings, teaching and intercourse exercised a very great influence.

"Origen's name was so highly esteemed that when there was a [14] question of putting an end to a schism or rooting out a heresy, appeal was made to him.

"Origen, most modest of writers ... hardly ever alludes to himself ... Very few authors were as fertile ... he left about 6000 writings." [What happened to them?]

He was born at Alexandria 185 A.D. and "was barely 17 when a bloody persecution of the Church of Alexandria broke out. When his father was jailed he worked to support his mother and 6 younger brothers. He wrote, sold his manuscripts and taught. He was also aided by a certain rich lady. He assumed, of his own accord, direction of the catechetical school, on the withdrawal of Clement, and in the following year was confirmed in this office."
(To be concluded.)

*

THE LESSON OF LONELINESS
Charles Johnston

We shall learn many good things that we have long forgotten, as we find our way back again to real life; among them one that we have much need of the art of being rightly alone.

There is too much noise and hurry in our life; things done too quickly and with too great pains; for the most part, petty things, that might very well not be done at all. It is a game of personalities, not of our real selves. It has been well said that we think too much of each other; not that we praise and respect each other too highly - though we err in that way too - but that we are too much subject to the faces and fancies of our friends, too sensible of their praise or blame. Good people may imagine an ideal society, in which perfect complacency would reign, by virtue of each one thinking supremely well of himself, and seeing his contentment mirrored in mild, kind faces round him. Such a paradise would be more hopeless than sin.

But without going to such a length, it is easy to be too fretfully anxious as to other people's good opinions; too apprehensive as to their liking this or another thing we may do; too heated and uneasy, like the youth whose fixed

delusion is that his necktie is awry. For all this fret and restlessness there is no cure like solitude. To go away into the night, where mountains and stars initiate us into some of their dignity and reticence, and, more than all, their self-forgetfulness. Even then, for a while we carry with us our bundle cf apprehensions, and the fancied faces of our critics, with their blame and praise that have taken away all our simplicity; so completely have we lost the art of loneliness.

But, after a while, our little storm subsides, and quietness begins to come upon us, ready to take us into the confidence of the gods, if we only consent to remain restful-minded long enough. We learn a curious and yet stately lesson which much of our life only served to hide; the lesson that our chief concern is not with personalities at all, whether our own admirable persons, or the good folk of daily life; that our chief concern is with the old impersonal spirit who only draws near us when we leave ourselves behind. In that great lonely One there is much that awes us for a while, yet much that is infinitely consoling, and, at the last, full of rejoicing and joy. This is the quiet power [15] that, without haste or heat, yet quite easily, wove innumerable worlds; wove old Time and Space to put them in, breathing into the least of them the spirit of life; the power with heart of mirth that looks out to us beautiful, through the grass and flowers, the colored clouds, and the blue that enwraps all things. And into our souls, when the little, noisy crowd of personal things has withdrawn a while, that same power comes, awful and full of great quietness, taking us up into itself, and making us older than time, greater than boundless worlds. Here at last is a life we could live to eternity, and feel no weariness.

This inspiration of real life is for itself alone, without ulterior ends; it by no means reveals itself to us that, when we return among our personalities, we should be able to say fine things about it, to draw others into the right way. The Eternal does not come to our hearts to make us sanctimonious preachers, but rather to win us away altogether from the fret and heat of unreality to the quiet benediction of real life. After that initiation into silence, we shall find another meaning in ourselves and in our friends. Our friends will not be critics whose praise or blame are our clouds and sunshine; we shall learn to meet them with a better wisdom, for we shall see that same August spirit looking at us out of their eyes; we shall know that nothing in them, nothing in us, is real but that. All life will become to us the presence of that One, the all in all things.

That is the true loneliness, where nothing but the spirit is, and the spirit is all things; the spirit that we must know and enter into first in the inmost place of our own souls. It is the true and lasting cure for sorrow, to forget ourselves into that August companion, who has ordained all things wisely through endless years. It is as the cool breath of night after a long day of fever, the fever that we have called our life. And yet no night, but a new dawn rather, the first dawn of the real day.

Pain and sorrow are woven into the texture of our personal life in order that, growing weary of it the sooner, we may get ready for the truer life that is impersonal, where the incessant battles of I and thee are hushed into peace.

This is the spirit that will redeem humanity, the spirit that comes to fill our hearts when our fancied selves have been put aside and forgotten; redeemed humanity will be this - all men, beholding the same spirit in each other's eyes, and beholding it with joy and gladness. Then, after redeemed humanity, will come restored divinity, spirit as itself alone.

The path is not that I or you of anyone should gain new powers and larger sight; but each of us putting aside the I and you, that the free spirit should live its own life and perform its perfect work, the spirit that we truly are, behind the masks of I and you. There is no entering on the path until the masks of I and you are put away.

Our small selves cannot bear the burden of the universe; if they sincerely try, they will quickly come to long for utter forgetfulness, surcease and darkness. But their way of liberation is close to them, a liberation into the boundless One, whose heart is gladness, whose ways are peace, whose light and mirthful works are unnumbered worlds, brimful of alert and exultant life. [16]

*

JUST OFF THE PRESS!
H.P. BLAVATSKY Collected Writings Volume VIII.

September through December, 1887. Large Octavo; xxviii, 507 pages; illustrated and with copious index. Bound in cloth. Published by The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras 20, India

This Volume contains H.P.B.'s dynamic Editorials in the newly-founded monthly journal Lucifer, together with some of her most scholarly essays. This is the H.P.B. of The Secret Doctrine at her very best as she writes about "The History of a Planet," "Misconceptions," "Modern Idealism, Worse than Materialism," "The Origin of Evil," "Tetragrammaton," "The Science of Life," "Lucifer to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Greeting!", "The Substantial Nature of Magnetism."

In addition to these, the student will find in the pages of this Volume the epoch-making Series on "The Esoteric Character of the Gospels" and the initial installment of H.P.B.'s spirited controversy with the Abbe Roca on "The Esotericism of the Christian Dogma."

Among the illustrations are portraits of Francesca Arundale, John Worrell Keely, Dr. Franz Harman, Mabel Collins, Gerald Massey, and others, as well as reproductions of the rare Birth Scenes from the Temple of Luxor. As in previous Volumes of this Series, there are a complete Bibliography, numerous Biographical sketches, and Notes and Comments by the Compiler.

Price: $7.00. Order from: "Theosophia," 551 South Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles 5, California, U.S.A. (Make check or money-order payable to "Theosophia".)