THEOSOPHIA
A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XX
No. 4 (98) - Spring 1964

[Cover photo: Moti-Masjid, Agra, India. (From an old engraving.)]

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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: $2.00 a year (four issues); single copy 50 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 ...

“The Kingdom of Heaven is within us; it is not far away. Deity pervades the whole Universe: it is impersonal and unknowable, no matter how near we may draw to the light of it ... He who understands this, knows what is the dignity of Man; and that the religion which alone will fitly correspond to our innate religious nature will be a universal system of human brotherhood based on the knowledge that we are essentially divine; a system that will warm our hearts with the knowledge that there is nothing outside ourselves that can save us or damn; that it is we ourselves who alone must and can work our own salvation ...

“... fear of punishment, proceeding from the doctrine of original sin, has been all through the centuries shutting us in and holding us down; we have been torn, worn out, and driven to a corner by the psychological influence of fear; our lives and powers are dwarfed and perverted by it - fear of death, fear of public opinion, fear of an imaginary revengeful god.

“There would have been no need of a doctrine of salvation if a doctrine of damnation had never been preached to deaden our understanding of spiritual things and put a veil between us and our high possibilities; and to turn us aside from the path of investigation the Soul demands we should follow, and leave us stranded on barren beaches with doubt and despair for our companions, haunted by disappointment and beset with questions we cannot answer.

“I would have the word sinner abolished; I would take sin out of the dictionaries and out of the speech and memory of men. Whilst humanity is hypnotized by religious fear we cannot stand out in the richness of the real life. We cannot be our true selves whilst these pessimistic and ignoble ideas poison the mental atmosphere. Sons of God that we are, here to work out superb destinies for ourselves and the world we live in, to permit them to enter our minds for an instant is to blaspheme against the Eternal Law.” - Katherine Tingley, The Gods Await, pp. 15-18. [3]

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SOME HEALTHY DOUBTS
Boris de Zirkoff

An interesting psychological phenomenon is to be observed today throughout the length and breadth of the organized Theosophical Movement, as a careful perusal of various official journals and magazines would indicate.

It is a growing realization on the part of many earnest and intelligent students that somehow or other they, and many others through the years, had been “taken for a ride,” and had found themselves in a strange country eating husks instead of good grain, reading books the authenticity of which was in doubt, and believing in ideas which had no reality in fact.

It appears that this state of affairs came about as a result of “psychic visions” and “astral investigations” by self-appointed visionaries and “sensitives” whose love for the spectacular and the mysterious had beclouded their reason and substituted imagination for common sense - a most uncommon sense, by the way!

Today many of these “revelations” are being questioned; the literature that contains them is becoming suspect; and students who have been misled are groping far a way out of a very uncomfortable situation, where doubt has assailed the stronghold of their soul. Don’t worry! A little honest doubt has never hurt anyone, and has in many cases been the starting point for a more profound analysis of truth.

We feel sympathy for all those students in various countries who today are becoming so uncomfortable and disturbed; we wish them well, and hope that this feeling of doubt and uncertainty will result in a deep-seated search after reality, and will be conducive to a new viewpoint in matters Theosophical, with a far greater caution on their part, when faced with various new distortions, visions and legends, as unquestionably will arise from time to time in this world of delusion and make believe.

The essential reason for this situation, however, is only too evident, and requires no great sage or seer to diagnose. It is the fact that for over two generations, more or less, members of the organized Theosophical Movement have became progressively more and more ignorant of the basic teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy as brought forth by H. P. Blavatsky and her own Teachers. It is sufficient to take a casual trip to any part of the world, and to talk to the average member of the Theosophical Society, to realize very soon that he or she does not have any definite idea as to the philosophical bases of the system of thought known as Theosophy, and has but a scant acquaintance with the message, teachings and expositions of that system of thought as contained in the original works of the Founders.

When students are ignorant of the very basis of their own Movement, and have but the vaguest of ideas about the objectives and aims far which it was started, it is no wander to find them caught at times in the emotional whirl of spell-binders who speak and write with the greatest of ease about their own intercourse with “Devas,” “Manus,” and “Chohans,” and foist [4] upon the unsuspecting hearers new-fangled rites and ritualisms, ad capitandum vulgus.

A little bit of honest-to-goodness study of H. P. Blavatsky’s writings, a little closer attention to her warnings, and a stronger sense of ethical values, as against the marvelous and mysterious, could have avoided three-quarters of the trouble, we believe. And today - even if we have to repeat this over and over again - we urge the same thing once more: dust off H. P. B.’s fundamental works, take them from your bookshelf (if they are there!), and familiarize yourself with the basic, primary teachings and postulates of the Esoteric Philosophy, such as are outlined, for instance, in The Key to Theosophy, to mention but one of the source-books of genuine Occultism.

The result of a closer acquaintance with the works of H. P. Blavatsky and of her own Teachers may be somewhat disconcerting at first. You may find that what she taught about such matters as the after-death states, cycles, Hierarchies, planetary evolution, the inner structure of man, and the invisible kingdoms of life in nature, are vastly different from what has been taught and written on the same subjects in a large number of books officially published by Theosophical Organizations for many years past:. This may come as a shock. But shocks are not to be feared. They are salutary, in the sense that they show the presence within man of either a group of ideas or a bundle of feelings which are shocked, and can be and are, disturbed. If they can be disturbed, they can be shaken; if they can be shaken, they have no permanent root; if they are not permanently rooted, they cannot be true; hence something is wrong; it should be remedied; it can be remedied by throwing out of one’s consciousness that which does not correspond to truth. And even if some feeling of void temporarily invades the mind and soul, a deeper realization will dawn in due time, and what has been gained will be immeasurably greater than what has been lost.

No doubt, the above will be construed by same as an attempt to establish a Blavatsky cult, or a bibliolater’s worship of “holy” books, as against other books. In order to obviate this reaction, it should be stated that in the considered judgment of the present writer there certainly are other writers and students, besides H. P. Blavatsky herself, who have both spoken and written along genuine lines, with a vast knowledge of Theosophy, and all inner spiritual realization and awareness all their own; what they have to say has been and is valid, but it is so only because it does not deviate from the original message of the Founders. It stands squarely upon the basis of the traditional philosophy of the Ancient Wisdom. It leads on one astray into by-paths of psychic speculations un-supported by any extraneous, independent evidence.

Today, when a healthier spirit and a degree of sound doubt are apparent in the ranks of the Movement, we call for a large-scale weeding of Theosophical literature, and maybe even a special department in Theosophical Libraries where certain works may be placed among the “Notable Delusions of the Age.” [5]

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THE MYSTERY THAT IS MAN
L. Gordon Plummer

[Excerpts from an unpublished MSS entitled Theosophy in a Modem World.]

Come with me far a stroll into the country. Look all about you and listen with full attention to the sound of the forest. Sit under this tree; look at the sky through the branches; look all about, and see how many shades of green you can find. Think how this tree provides the home for many creatures: the grey squirrel, the blue jay, the insects of many kinds.

Listen to the wind. There is no sound, unless it be the sound of the sea or the brook, that can strike such deep chords of inner harmony as the song of the wind in the trees.

Now pluck just one leaf. Here is an open sesame to a wonderland of thought. What is a leaf? Basically it is a food factory. Its chief function is to take the simple elements from the air and the earth and combine them to form food for the tree, primarily; and, in Nature’s plan to share this food with the birds, the animals, and with man.

But let us start at the beginning. Here we are, in the forest teeming with life. The sun is shining gloriously and, in a deep blue sky, large white clouds sail by. The earth is worm and fertile. Nearby there is a life-giving stream, and the fresh air is good to breathe.

Here then, are four important factors which work together and without any one of which life would be impossible. There is the earth, the water, the air and the sunlight, and upon the play and interplay of these primary factors, all life depends.

When we wish to tabulate the changing aspects of these four primary factors, we call their combined activity Weather. Weather observations and predictions have developed into a high degree of scientific skill, yet how often do we stop to realize the intimate connection between the earth, the water, the air, and the sunlight, and ourselves. If the truth were known, we might find that we are standing on the brink of a great mystery, and that if we could grasp the real importance of the activity of the forces of Nature we should be in possession of keys that could unlock vast treasures in knowledge and power.

Now, there is a correspondence between these four primary factors and four certain basic chemical elements that are of supreme importance in the sustaining of life on this earth.

This correspondence may be set forth as follows:

Earth - Carbon

The chemical element that enters into the bodies of all living things, whether plant or animal.

Water - Hydrogen

The element that is considered to be the building block from which all the other chemical elements take their origin.

Air - Nitrogen

Four-fifths of the air we breathe is nitrogen. So far as our bodies are concerned, this gas is inert when we breathe it, and serves mainly to dilute the oxygen. [6]

Sunlight - Oxygen

Fire, which is released by solar energy, is produced by the rapid combining of carbon with oxygen.

These four elements should be memorized because of their great importance. They form the basis of our foods and yet man with all his cleverness cannot create food. Man has learned to combine these four elements, however, and has produced hundreds of new and amazing substances which enter into our daily lives. These substances range all the way from fuels, plastics, medicines and even violent poisons.

Now, Nature takes these same simple chemical elements and a marvel happens. It is all the work of the magic substance in the leaves, chlorophyl. Nobody knows just exactly how chlorophyl acts. It has never been made synthetically. And yet this most wonderful of substances takes the carbon and the oxygen from the air (animals and humans exhale carbon dioxide on which the plants depend) and, combined with hydrogen, makes the very complicated molecules of food known as the carbohydrates, or the starches and sugars. To accomplish this is beyond the capability of our most advanced scientists, yet it is one of the most common processes of life.

Nitrogen is added, chiefly from the soil, and the proteins are the result. But the story is far from told. Minerals in solution are absorbed from the soil, and these are combined with other substances, and somewhere deep within the mysterious processes of plant-life, the vitamins appear. So here we have the perfect example of the complete dependence of one kingdom of life upon another.

And what an amazing thing it is that in a vegetable garden we have beans, corn, peppers, radishes, onions, lettuce, carrots and what not, all sharing the same sunshine and sustained by the same air, and yet each able to make its own special kind of food, each with its own distinctive flavor! How is it done?

Now, just as gasoline provides the energy that runs your automobile, and just as electricity is the power that runs your motors and your radios, so it is sunlight that is tile energy that runs the chlorophyl. That is the marvel of it all, for in the last analysis, everything on this earth is in a very real sense, crystallized sunlight. The gasoline that you use in your car gives off sunlight that has been stored deep under the earth for perhaps millions of years. The very chemical elements of which our bodies are made may well have taken their origin in the heart of a sun of long ago!

And this brings us to the greatest wonder of all. To begin with, these same four elements: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen, are the very elements that combine by nuclear processes deep within the sun, and are the source of the limitless supply of energy; magnetic or electrical, or else taking the form of light and heat, and absolutely necessary to the continuance of life.

Now, the sun is a star, and a very ordinary star at that. The only difference between sunlight and the starlight that we see at night is that the sun is so close, relatively speaking, that its light is bright, and we call it Sunlight. Otherwise, there is no real difference between sunlight and the light of any or all other suns in this galaxy [7] or in any other, however far away. So, if our own sunlight has the magic in it to sustain life on this earth, who is to say that starlight anywhere cannot have the same quality of life-giving magic? Who is to say that we do not have fellow-beings anywhere in the universe? The telescope may never prove it, one way or the other, but our minds are more powerful than the largest telescope, and thank the heavens above, we are amenable to reason, and our intuitions may be awakened, so that we may perceive with our inner senses truths that we can never prove, but which exist nevertheless because they are fundamental to the orderly operations of Nature.

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The ideas that have been expressed up to this point have been directed toward an objective. This is to bring conviction to your minds of the most important concept of all. Once this concept has been grasped, all else will fall into place.

Briefly, this concept is the universality of life. From this springs a pattern of life which is discernible to a degree, undeveloped though our understanding may be at this point. Once we are prepared to accept the idea that human life has a meaning because it is an aspect of universal life, we find that this earth, and no less the universe itself, is a vast playground in which there are unnumbered hosts of living beings, and the difference between life here as we know it and life on some far-off world, is a difference of degree rather than of kind.

Consider the difference between the parts of a tree. Is it not a marvelous thing that out of the hard woody stem a soft tender leaf may sprout, and a blossom with delicate aroma? Then follows the fruit, delicious and nourishing. How did this grow from the hard wooden stem? If you were to dwell on the differences between the wood, the leaf, the flower and the fruit, you might be led away from an understanding of the one life that courses throughout the tree. This life-energy fashions the various parts of the tree, each part having its own place in the growth and well-being of the tree as a whole.

It is much the same with the universe. If we were to observe the inhabitants from some other world we might be tempted to say: “How different they are from us!” But if we are to accept the idea of one life coursing throughout the universal “tree,” we may more readily understand that there is room in the vast realms of Nature for beings of all kinds. The outward aspect does not necessarily give us a clue to the indwelling life, and we are to appraise Nature’s creatures, not by their outward forms, but by the indwelling spirit. We are humans not because we walk upright and have the type of body that we identify as human. We are human because we think as humans, reason as human, and are seeking to develop still further the qualities of the mind and the spirit that are typically human. The fact is that we are not yet fully humanized; the course of evolution has not yet brought us to the end of the road. We have yet a long way to go before we are ready to step out into new fields of experience that belong to a higher order of life. But it will come. In the meantime, we must work to develop our highest human faculties. We have had instances and [8] glorious examples throughout history, showing us what is possible for the human race to attain, in the persons of Jesus the Christ or Gautama the Buddha, to mention but two of the many spiritual Teachers that the world has known. When Christ said: “Greater things than these shall ye do,” he was calling upon the best that is in us, pointing to a time when we shall become fully developed as humans, a time when we shall become fully humanized.

Three axioms should be brought to our attention, as they set forth these ideas in the most succinct manner possible. They are:

1. As above, so below. The so-called “laws of nature” are in their aggregate that portion of Cosmic Consciousness that operates within the field of our experience. Some of the laws are wide in their application, as for instance the laws of the behavior of celestial bodies. Some operate differently and apply to the atoms and molecules. So far as we can tell, these laws are also universal, that is, they apply equally in all parts of our universe, or in the farthest galaxy, for that matter. These laws have a definite mathematical structure.

There are also the laws that apply to living beings, and these do not appear to have a mathematical structure, except in such matters as heredity, and probably in the development of mutations. There are aspects of the laws of life that cannot be predicted mathematically, as for instance, where volition and behavior enter the picture. Here, we enter an entirely different field of study, but it seems logical to hold that even as we progress along the pathway of understanding and growth, the various steps that must be taken along the way must fulfill the requirements of certain laws of nature. So the axiom, as above, so below, is, in effect, a master-key.

2. All things are composite. Nothing exists entirely unto itself. Everything contributes a part of itself to the life of something greater than itself. The most obvious example of the operation of this principle is the manner in which our bodies are constructed of billions of cells, each one of them a living thing in itself, and all of them contributing to the building and orderly maintenance of the houses of flesh that we call our bodies. As we come to understand the nature of our inner selves we shall learn that the same law applies. So we may add a corollary here: every entity is composed of hosts of lesser entities, every entity is one of a host of entities forming a greater entity.

3. All entities are now, were once, or will be in the future, in a stage of evolution comparable to our present human stage. This can have little meaning until we are willing to unlearn some aspects of the currently accepted theory of evolution. As present day science sees it, evolution in Nature is the result of several factors, such as the impact of the environment, the survival of the fittest, and the laws of heredity. Little if any account is taken of the entity itself that feels the need and urge to evolve along its own lines. The entity itself is the source of the vital drive behind the outward events of evolution. We cannot discount the factors as observed by science and say that they are wrong, but we can say that the picture is far from complete, [9] and that the most important factors have been ignored.

A clear understanding of this third axiom will give us a view of the universe as a great living organism, the ever-living garment of God, if you will. Actually it is far more than the playground of experience for hosts of living beings, as stated earlier; it is composed of living beings throughout. An understanding of this statement comes gradually. One cannot grasp it fully all at once. Little by little, the picture is put together, and we learn to view Nature as a vast evolutionary ladder, each rung of which is formed of hosts of living entities. Each entity finds itself where it is by reason of the degree to which it has grown. (To be continued)

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LIFE ... RELATIVE OR ABSOLUTE?
Montague A. Machell

“The senses, moving toward their appropriate objects, are producers of heat and cold, pleasure and pain, which come and go and are brief and changeable ... There is no existence for that which does not exist, nor is there any non-existence for what exists ... These finite bodies, which envelop the souls inhabiting them, are said to belong to Him, the eternal, the indestructible, unprovable Spirit, who is in the body ... This spirit can never be destroyed in the mortal frame which it inhabiteth.” - Bhagavad-Gita.

In this passage from “the colloquy between the holy Krishna and Arjuna,” Krishna seeks to bring two basic truths home to the dismayed warrior, Arjuna: 1. The brief and changeable experiences of the senses lack reality. In Krishna ’s words, “there is no existence” for them. 2. The Spirit of man, “who is in the body,” is immortal; “This spirit can never be destroyed in the mortal frame which it inhabiteth.”

As between these two phenomena, changeable sense experiences and the Spirit “that can never·be destroyed,” are we not logically persuaded to accord “reality” to the latter, rather than to the former? The rationality of such a conviction is strengthened by Krishna ’s affirmation that “There is no existence for that which does not exist, nor is there any non-existence for that which exists,” i.e., endures.

However, in a society deeply intrenched in a strongly materialistic sense-conscious pattern of thought and action, in which “seeing is believing” (however abnormal or impaired the vision), it has come about that the only “realities” accepted tend to be those that impinge upon the physical senses. This, of course, arises from the fact that physical man and his physical senses are all that the average person cares to take cognizance of, and to say “there is no existence” (enduring existence, that is) for them, is just plain nonsense! Wherefore our world is almost entirely one of sense impressions, and our goals are primarily sense-evident and sense-rewarding, a form of existence which we [10] define, as a matter of course, with the term “life.”

But what of THAT in us which, unlike our here-today-gone-tomorrow sense impressions, “belongs to Him, the eternal, the indestructible, unprovable, Spirit”? Has not IT a “life” more significant, rewarding, faithful and living than this merely physical man? If so, must it not follow that to him who gives primary allegiance to IT, the term “life” must always mean Eternal Life of the Spirit, and “living,” in its deepest sense, must mean unswerving identification with the Eternal Self? Such living, identified as it is with “the eternal, indestructible, unprovable Spirit,” must obviously be termed LIFE ABSOLUTE, as contrasted with Life Relative of the physical senses. Taken with a complete awareness of its profound significance, this is much more than merely a choice of “labels”! To accept LIFE ABSOLUTE in place of Life Relative is to accept a sphere of thought, of values, of philosophy that inescapably perceives Life Relative for what it is - an Illusion, in the sense that it is passing, transient, destructible. LIFE ABSOLUTE, accepted and applied to daily thinking and planning might be said to be a first step out of the blindness of materialism towards the Illumination of Spiritual Truth.

Such an acceptance is by no means an easy or simple matter. It offers a Pattern of Living the achievement of which may well demand a number of incarnations, deeply rooted as we all are in a number of comforting and attractive illusions which besides pampering the personality, obscure the vision of the Self. Moreover, he who achieves such acceptance, must remind himself again and again that he is moving in a direction opposite to that being followed by the majority of his fellows. His values are not theirs, nor is his goal their goal; hence he may expect more of ridicule and disdain than of encouragement from those about him. In himself he is pitifully helpless and ineffectual. In his uncompromising self-identification with THE ONE, in his utter loyalty to THE ONE - the Heart of the Universe is his Empire. He is one with the Lords of Life. The triumph that is Their’she shares, so far as his daring is akin to Their’s!

This is by no means a comfortable, minor campaign. It is a stint of duty in the Campaign of Eternity. It has never ceased, nor will it so long as this Age of Manifestation has failed of its due fruition. He who lives for TRUTH is signed up for ETERNITY, in a campaign carried on by the “eternal, indestructible, unprovable Spirit.”

The personal man, long accustomed to being effectively insulated against the consuming radiance of Absolute Truth by the myriad resources of Illusion, is now perennially challenged to cast off these insulations and to consciously confront and champion REALITY. He is challenged to see himself - one with all Nature - dedicated to and governed by that REALITY. Sun, moon, stars, the earth and all its myriad lives, the beauty and perfume of the flowers, the instinctively ordered life-pattern of birds and beasts, the seasons’ moods, the tides of the sea, day-break and nightfall - all these are Spiritual Reality made manifest, the earthly vision of THE ONE, whence came man and of WHICH he is [11] indissolubly a part. So far as he can be said to “live,” he experiences LIFE ABSOLUTE. So far as he seeks to evade it, he may be said to be literally dealing in Death, since Truth alone is indestructible, and the SELF alone is capable of embodying Truth.

This is a far, far cry from the “life” the great majority of mankind is living, in this age of material and technological triumphs that seem to draw man further and further away from even the higher human values. Reminders of this fact are to be found in the eminent psychologist Erich Fromm’s “Creators and Destroyers” in the Saturday Review for January 4:

“The bureaucratic - industrial civilization that has been victorious in Europe and North America has created a new type of man. He has been described as the organization man and as homo consumens. He is in addition the homo mechanicus. By this I mean a ‘gadget man,’ deeply attracted to all that is mechanical and inclined against all that is alive ... It is not even too far-fetched to assume that homo mechanicus has more pride in, and is more fascinated by, devices that can kill millions of people across a distance of several thousands of miles within minutes than he is frightened and depressed by the possibility of such mass destruction.

“Why not encourage our best brains - scientists, artists, educators - to make suggestions on how to arouse and stimulate love for life as opposed to love for gadgets? I know love for gadgets brings profits to the corporations, while love for life requires fewer things and hence is less profitable. Maybe it is too late. Maybe the neutron bomb which leaves entire cities intact but without life, is to be the symbol of our civilization. But again, those of us who love life will not cease to struggle against necrophilia.”

He who accepts man and his universe as spiritual in source and destiny will be slow to accept so tragic an end to our civilization. Yet, is this not a stern reminder of how susceptible Relative Life is to distortion born of the Illusions of the sense-guided personality? Is it not a charge brought against all society for running away from the Spiritual Reality underlying all life, until utter confusion burns the Life Wish into a Death Wish? That such a phenomenon is taking place today before our eyes, should constitute the strongest challenge to present-day society to diligently seek out and cleave to the eternal Reality of conscious spiritual living.

Yet to avoid coming to grips with this challenge all too many of our social and religious ethics have been devised, orthodox religion denying man the power to become the arbiter of his own destiny, which a fearless and consistent quest of LIFE ABSOLUTE can alone make possible. As the ancient sacred texts of the east say: “Thou hast to saturate thyself with pure Alaya, become one with Nature’s Soul-Thought. At one with it thou art invincible.” Not in the compromises and evasions of everyday social morality, not in the doctrines of vicarious atonement that seek to evade the responsibility of the sower for the seed he sows, not by the dread of some far-off Judgment Day, but by SELF-KNOWLEDGE, earned by confrontation with TRUTH ABSOLUTE can man progress toward LIFE ABSOLUTE and have done with this brooding death sentence of ever-recurring Illusion! [12]

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BASIC TEACHINGS OF THEOSOPHY
WHO ARE WE? - WHAT ARE WE? - WHAT IS OUR DESTINY?
W. Emmett Small

[Concluding talk of a Series of fifteen which presented, with an Introduction and the present Summary, the basic teachings of Theosophy; they were given by Mr. Small in San Diego, Calif., in 1963.]

Any summary demands a personal assessment. Each one of you will make his own as you look back to consider what you have learned, what you have absorbed, from our studies, and each will naturally be colored by a personal appraisal distinct and different from that of anyone else - How practical have these ideas we have been discussing been to me? How do they fit my particular problem? How have they helped me to face my immediate day so as to live it better, cleaner, mare purposefully, more consciously, more joyously?

These personal queries are quite right and normal. If they did not arise in our minds at this time, our studies to same degree could be judged a failure. Yet I am going to offer a thought in this connection that carries with it a paradox. It is this. If through our studies we find engendered a general good, impersonal application, more universal relationships, broader human perspectives in the sense of humanity’s progress rather than our own, we shall have profited personally, individually. As I look back on our studies together, the predominant appraisal I would make concerns this general good. We have sought to be specific. We have stressed where we can the technical aspects of the teachings as well as painting out the moral and ethical applications. Yet, paradoxically, in our over-all view, it is the general gain that emerges. I believe above all we have appreciated that we have been drinking from a pure source of Truth as taught by great Teachers and as enunciated by H. P. Blavatsky, and I believe we realize that from that Source there is more to be drawn. It is obviously a matter of ourselves drawing from or upon that Source and learning more, applying more of what we learn, becoming more. This, I would say, is the essential idea that grows and grows on me. It is very important because we should never slip into that unrealistic attitude where we think that Theosophy in the first place is static, and consequently that it is merely something in the nature of a textbook, a kind of formula we can memorize and use. Theosophy for the recipient is always expanding and growing. That is really putting it backward. We by our study expand and grow and thus understand and assimilate and apply Theosophy in increasing degree with growing wisdom. For Theosophy is a formulation of Truth, and Truth is co-extensive with the universe. So I say, once we have put our trust and belief in these theosophical Teachings, then, as we look back on such a study as we have been making - brief and sketchy as it has been - we realize that our summing-up must first of all take the form of appreciation of the endless depth of teaching before us. It is there; it is ready; because Nature is there and Nature is ever ready. We [13] as children toddle; but our steps become firmer as we grow. And the time will come when we shall travel the spaces of Space like the gods.

Therefore I would say to you who have been studying with us, or even to a newcomer who might be in our midst today, be not over-disturbed if you cannot methodically check off against a list of personal questions precisely what you have learned, what you have attained, the degree to which you have advanced in application and absorption of the teachings. If you have found your belief - not merely your sentiment or your feeling, but your intellectual-spiritual belief - strengthened in an over-all way, you have begun aright; for you have begun strengthening the foundations of your knowledge, and it is the foundations that must be firm and rightly laid before a superstructure can safely be erected. I wish to stress this point, even labor it if necessary, to get it home to you. How often have we seen eager beginners grasp at what they think are the deeper teachings, impatient with what they consider the abc’s. They want what they think goes with gaining unusual powers, the excitement of the new, the holding in their hands the mysterious, something that others do not have. They think that somehow or other those powers can be attained by quick and special instruction. They cannot - not yet - and they learn the hard way. Discouraged in immediate attainment, they are frustrated, lose interest, drift, and have to await the cycle when the inner impulse again rises within them to fling off despair and try again. Meanwhile time and opportunity have passed them by. They will learn eventually that there are no “deeper” teachings different in kind from those given beginners; there is only a growing degree of basic instruction, which comes from an increasing awareness of the very nature of things studied, the student’s own nature and surrounding nature - until such time, much later, when he had advanced and can rightly claim (nor shall he fail to claim) the attention of an individual Teacher.

A further thought in appraisal: if you find yourself returning in thought to the teachings in meditation momentary or for longer periods, this is an additional sign of aid received from our study, though this may be difficult to plot on a chart or to map. Let these broader, more genera1 thoughts be recognized as your invisible aids, if necessary - not worrying about details of personal successes or achievements. Let them swell the background of your increased faith and belief, increased realization of the fitness of all things where they are because they belong there now; in the cheery resolve to recognize this as a spiritual asset on which to rely in moments of discouragement, when our personal wishes and desires and hopes and dreams and aspirations temporarily cry out for attention, and we are left wondering, shaken, and forlorn. In the light of the teachings we can rise above all such discouragement, having increased faith and trust and love.

In her great book The Secret Doctrine, H. P. Blavatsky urges the student to become a co-worker with Nature, and points out that this means t become a student of ideas, in a dedicated effort to understand them and apply them. “Man ought to be [14] ever striving to help the divine evolution of Ideas,” she writes, “by becoming to the best of his ability a co-worker with nature in the cyclic task.” (Vol. I, p. 280.) This is what Theosophy helps us to do - to become an intelligent co-worker with Nature. This, of course, means knowing something of Nature, something of our Self.

Now, in our study we have become familiar with certain symbols, not necessarily art or drawing symbols such as a circle, or a circle with a dot in its center, or a circle broken by a diameter, or a triangle, or a swastika - all of which mean something to the initiated; but word-symbols, so that when we speak, for instance, of the septenary nature of man and the universe, in these few words we have a story itself; the single word reincarnation, or metempsychosis, will recall one of the fundamental postulates of the Secret Doctrine - periodicity, a law which governs all beings; when we speak of cycles and of karma we think of the third postulate, and realize that (“checked by karma”) all beings must pass through the Cycle of Necessity; the word evolution we find must be harnessed in thought to the word involution, and for us paints a marvelous picture of the co-operating spiritual and material forces and energies in nature, the descent of spirit into matter, the rising of matter into spirit self-consciously towards divinity. The word avatara holds within itself a complete philosophy; the word death is a paradox which means hidden life; the word Bodhisattva bespeaks the love and sacrifice of the Buddhas of Compassion. Each one of these words or phrases is a symbol. That means it stands for something far more than itself, or than we ourselves at present can realize it to mean. Thus we have learned even in this something new that perhaps we did not before suspect, at least to such an extent, and we realize that the meanings of those word-symbols can grow and grow and deepen and deepen. So, as a second item of our appraisal or summary we can say we have learned something of the Symbol and its Meaning.

I think we have also learned something about Impersonality. There is something intriguing in this idea. It rubs against the natural grain of our Western way of thought at first blush. Our idea is to get far oneself. To study, to apply, and, if necessary, to fight, for oneself. But I think eventually we will have to learn that to get for oneself is to lose what we thought we had gained. That is a basic Christian tenet. We could put it this way: the more impersonal we become, the more personally we have become dedicated to the idea of the individual, the other individual - not ourself. And those other individuals constitute humanity. It is an interesting paradox, the deeper meaning of which I believe will grow on us as we advance.

We have learned something of the truth that there is no such thing as hard and fast compartmentalization in nature. All things contribute to all things, as Dr. de Purucker has expressed so vividly in many of his writings. Truth is One, though there are different ways of viewing it. In the West we like to speak of Religion, Philosophy, Science, as quite separate, almost not on speaking terms with each other. This is quite the reverse of the esoteric viewpoint. Religion, Philosophy, Science are merely aspects [15] of one thing, Truth, the pinnacle to which they point, and which we may speak of quite rightly as Theosophy, the wisdom practiced by the superior spiritual intelligences, the divinities.

I could suggest another triad (following a method we have mentioned in an earlier meeting, which the Druids liked to adopt) that helps explain Nature and its mysteries - Love, Knowledge, Reverence. Love, which is Religion: Love thy neighbor as thyself; Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. Love, which is allying yourself heart and soul and mind with the heart of Nature and the heart of all beings and things. Knowledge, which is knowing a thing, which is Science. And you can only know a thing by becoming it. This is what the initiates do: they become what they study. And Reverence, which in your thought is placing a being where it belongs on the great Ladder of Life. You must know something of yourself and the universe. Reverence embraces both Love and Knowledge. It is Philosophy. And so we see that these three are only three ways of viewing or attaining TRUTH.

It is well to know there are these three ways. It is well to know they lead to the Source. It is well to know that essentially they are one and can be practiced simultaneously; that, fundamentally, they are not tightly compartmentalized - at least not in nature. (To be concluded)

*

THE POET AT NIGHT

Alone in April night the poet dreams
And pens another stanza to the pale
And purple shadows in some haunted vale,
Where horns of Elfland blow, and dancing beams
Of moonlight glisten on deserted streams,
While fairy lanterns glow on hill and dale
And lonely banshee voices sob and wail,
And all the world with eerie wonder gleams.

Along the midnight , faintly and afar,
Enchanted bells in phantom towers toll.
He hears the ghostly echoes rise and roll;
And, while a fierce and never-ceasing war
Of Light and Darkness rages in his soul,
He writes another poem to a star.

*

DREAM AND REALITY

Does everyone, like the poet, live in a garden of dreams? Sometimes we think so. The poet’s world is far removed from the material aspects of life: he worships by golden fountains where “horns of Elfland blow.” But doesn’t the man of the world also dream? Doesn’t he build his own phantom towers - his skyscrapers which, standing for a hundred years, yet endure, in the vast sweep of Eternity, for only a moment of Time? Like “insubstantial pageants faded” his structures vanish like mist; while the poet’s creations are made of the Indestructible, the Imperishable, the Never-dying Spirit of that Beauty which is Truth.

Where does reality end and dreams begin? The poet answers: it is where dreams end that the world’s reality begins. It is when man has lost his vision of the golden fountains that he builds skyscrapers. - G. Cardinal LeGros. [16]

*

THE “HODGSON REPORT” DEBUNKED!

As already reported in previous issues of our magazine, the new booklet by our friend Adlai E. Waterman entitled: Obituary: The Hodgson Report on Madame Blavatsky - 1885-1960, is a major contribution to the cause of the final vindication of H.P.B. Every serious student of Theosophy should become acquainted with the contents of this work. Its arguments are unanswerable, and its conclusions are final. The Officials of the London Society for Psychical Research which all through the years failed to withdraw Hodgson’s unjust, garbled and misleading Report, branding H.P.B. as an impostor, may now run for cover and meet their well-deserved Karma. Their methods, objectives and honesty stand revealed.

All Theosophists, irrespective of whatever pew they may be in, should feel greatly indebted to the author for what he has so ably done. The book is published by our friends at Adyar and has a Preface by N. Sri Ram. It is obtainable from Theosophia, 551 So. Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles, Calif., 90005, U.S.A., for $1.25.

In regard to this work, we wish to quote the words of Christmas Humphreys, Q.C. and President of The Buddhist Lodge in London, who writing in The Middle Way, November, 1963, had the following to say:

I for one welcome this well-documented destruction of the infamous attack made on Mme Blavatsky by M. and Mme. Coulomb, two servants in her employ, whose “confession” of alleged conspiracy with her to produce bogus phenomena was the basis of the now discredited “Hodgson Report” published by the Society for Psychical Research in 1885. Most who still today refer to H. P. Blavatsky as a fraud and charlatan are unconsciously repeating these lying charges; few trouble to find that their repetition of this slander on a great woman and a pioneer Buddhist in the West soils, like spittle spat into the sky, not the sky but themselves. In this most careful pamphlet the lies are exposed and destroyed, and it is revealed that even the S.P.R. refused to believe a large proportion of the Coulombs’ allegations.

This is a sorry story, and an ugly aspect of the human mind. Why do we resent any teaching which destroys our cherished beliefs, as Isis Unveiled exposed the pretensions of current religious and scientific belief? Why this strange exhibition of sheer pleasure in repeating vile abuse against those who teach but the noblest principles, and reveal vistas of cosmic truth at the time unknown? ... May I suggest that those who are minded to vilify their fellow Buddhist, H. P. Blavatsky, should begin by reading what she said. By that she is willing to be judged, rather than by allegations made by a couple who had been sacked from her employ on, uncontested charges of extortion, blackmail, slander and fraud.