THEOSOPHIA
A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XXXII
No. 1 (143) - Summer 1975

[Cover photo: William Quan Judge and Col. Henry Steel Olcott.
Reproduced from The American Theosophist, Vol. XV, May, 1914.]

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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 ...

"In every organization, once the original impulse has seemed to lessen when the original founders have died and even those who knew them have likewise left the world here below, there then comes a time of greatest testing, a real choice or parting of the ways. Either there is fear of change, a tendency to create dogmas from which a creed may arise, a general stifling of individual effort, all leading to orthodoxy and a decline in usefulness and vitality. Or there can be a courageous and independent move forward to new frontiers, a breaking of new ground and the discovery of new heights and depths in the Eternal search for Truth ... The past has to be brought into the present and become the springboard from which we may dive into the challenge of the future. We must know our world and not be in doubt about the dangers with which it is threatened today. We must try to see where certain trends are leading and not butt our heads against walls of immovable opposition or old-fashioned delusions."

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"We look forward to a period, when all Over the Theosophical world, members of the larger Movement seek ways and means of holding out the hand of friendship to one another. Since freedom of thought for oneself is the hallmark of all true theosophists, we should, if we are both honest and forgiving, be able to take a long step towards the kind of 'federal' activity which has been suggested recently by more than one of our members. There could be no greater token of our sense of responsibility that we can offer to our great Founders than that for all of us brotherhood and its practice outweigh any divergences of 'doctrine' that in the past tended to divide the very people who have been called upon to set a good example to those around them. Let us in 1975 - the beginning of a new century - draw closer to fellow theosophists of all groups in friendliness and appreciation and to our fellow human beings wherever we may be." - John B. S. Coats. President, The Theosophical Society (Adyar), in The Theosophist for February and March, 1975. [3]

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WHAT OF THE FUTURE?
Boris de Zirkoff

In this year of Nineteen Hundred and Seventy-Five, The Theosophical Society marks its One Hundredth Anniversary.

Against the background of its inception and development, a few thoughts concerning its present status and viability seem to be in order.

The fragmented nature of the organized movement, though based upon reasons which to some students appear to be valid, is nevertheless a strong evidence of a lack of Universality and is contrary to that Universal Brotherhood which its first and foremost object unequivocally states.

Its second declared object is a study of comparative religions and philosophies a field of endeavor which has had in our century a world-wide development and which is pursued today by eminent scholars all over the globe. While having given a strong original impetus to this sort of study, the Theosophical Society cannot be considered as a leading exponent of it now. As to its third object, the study of the psycho-spiritual potencies and latent powers of man, the organized movement has no scientific approach or systematic investigation to offer, and has, for one reason or another, overlooked it almost entirely.

In connection with this third object, the Theosophical Society is experiencing its gravest danger, as it faces a world in which paranormal, parapsychological, psychic and mediumistic phenomena are increasing by leaps and bounds and often produce sufficient mental and emotional confusion to affect some lodges and individuals with their psychic effluvia.

In the last analysis, tile present-day Theosophical Organizations are not the unified and spiritually-oriented power which was intended by the original Founders to be an irresistible challenge to the materialism of the age.

What then of the future, and what of the second century?

A change of climate is demanded by the condition of the patient.

The principle and especially the practice of a genuine Universal Brotherhood must become a far greater force throughout the length and breadth of the organized movement than it is today. Sectarian attitudes, deep-seated prejudices and entrenched dogmatism must give way to mutual understanding and sympathy. Personal ambitions and the worship of personalities must be forgotten in the realization of our common origin and destiny, and our "togetherness" on the journey we have undertaken towards a nobler future for all mankind.

As to the dangers of rampant psychism, the only way to overcome it, or to face the effects of its lethal smog, is to become proficient in the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy, to understand what the tenets of the Ancient Wisdom actually are, and to encourage a consistent study of them. This will provide all of us with a touchstone for the appraisal of the confused ideas, visions and mediumistic lucubrations that are thrown at us these days from innumerable sources by well-meaning but often erratic people.

The future of the Theosophical Society depends primarily upon us all. [4]

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FROM MADAME H. P. BLAVATSKY TO HER CORRESPONDENTS
An Open Letter Such as Few Can Write

[Excerpts from one of the earliest articles written by H. P. Blavatsky at the beginning of her literary career. It was published in The Spiritual Scientist, Boston, Vol. III, September 23, 1875, pp. 25-27, under the above title which must have been selected by the Editor of the journal. This Editor was Elbridge Gerry Brown, a promising young man who, according to Col. H. S. Olcott, "has been taken under the favour of the powers behind H.P.B." Instructions were sent by Master Serapis Bey that Brown was to be helped both financially and by articles for his journal. The latter functioned for a while as the organ of H.P.B.'s attempt to reform American Spiritualism, by awakening it to the need of a more profound occult philosophy. Brown did not live up to expectations and the whole effort collapsed in 1878. - Editor]

... Unless one is prepared to devote to it his whole life, the superficial knowledge of Occult Science will lead him surely to become the target for millions of ignorant scoffers to aim their blunderbusses, loaded with ridicule and chaff, against. Besides this, it is in more than one way dangerous to select this science as a mere pastime. One must bear forever in mind the impressive fable of Oedipus, and beware of the same consequences. Oedipus unriddled but one-half of the enigma offered him by the Sphinx, and caused its death; the other half of the mystery avenged the death of the symbolic monster, and forced the King of Thebes to prefer blindness and exile in his despair, rather than face what he did not feel himself pure enough to encounter. He unriddled the man, the form, and had forgotten God - the idea.

If a man would follow in the steps of Hermetic philosophers, he must prepare himself beforehand for martyrdom. He must give up personal pride and all selfish purposes, and be ready for everlasting encounters with friends and foes. He must part, once for all, with every remembrance of his earlier ideas, of all and on everything. Existing religions, knowledge, science must re-become a blank book for him, as in the days of his babyhood, for if he wants to succeed he must learn a new alphabet on the lap of Mother Nature, every letter of which will afford a new insight to him, every syllable and word all unexpected revelation. The two hitherto irreconcilable foes, science. and theology - the Montecchi and Capuletti of the nineteenth century - will ally themselves with the ignorant masses, against the modern Occultist. If we have outgrown the age of stakes, we are in the heyday, per contra, of slander, the venom of the press, and all these mephitic venticelli of calumny, so vividly expressed by the immortal Don Basilio. To science, it will be the duty, and sterile as a matter of course, of the Cabalist to prove that from the beginning of time there was but one positive science - Occultism; that it was the mysterious lever of all intellectual forces, the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil of the Allegorical Paradise, from whose gigantic trunk sprang in every direction boughs, branches and twigs, the former shooting forth straight enough at first, the latter, deviating with every inch of growth, assuming more and more fantastical appearances, till at last, one after the other, lost its vital juice, got deformed, and, drying up, finally broke [5] off, scattering the ground afar with heaps of rubbish. To theology, the Occultist of the future will have to demonstrate, that the Gods of the mythologies, the Elohim of Israel as well as the religious, and theological mysteries of Christianity, to begin with the Trinity, sprang from the sanctuaries of Memphis and Thebes; that their mother Eve is but the spiritualized Psyche of old, both of them paying a like penalty for their curiosity, descending to Hades or Hell, the latter to bring back to earth the famous Pandora's box - the former, to search out and crush the head of the serpent - symbol of time and evil; the crime of both expiated by the Pagan Prometheus and the Christian Lucifer: the first, delivered by Hercules - the second conquered by the Saviour.

Furthermore, the Occultist will have to prove to the Christian theology, publicly, what many of its priesthood are well aware of in secret - namely, that their God on earth was a Cabalist, the meek representative of a tremendous Power, which if misapplied, might shake the world to its foundations; and that, of all their evangelical symbols, there is not one but can be traced up to its parent fount. For instance, their incarnated Verbum or Logos was worshiped at his birth by the three Magi, led on by the star, and received from them the gold, the frankincense and myrrh, the whole of which is simply an excerpt from the Cabala our modern theologians despise, and the representation of another and still more mysterious "Ternary"* (* The Ternarius or Ternary, the symbol of perfection in antiquity, and the Star, the Cabalistic sign of the Microcosm.) embodying allegorically in its emblems, the highest secrets of the Cabala.

A clergy, whose main object ever has been to make of their Divine Cross the gallows of Truth, and Freedom, could not do otherwise than try and bury in oblivion the origin of that same cross, which, in the most primitive symbols of the Egyptians' magic, represents the key to Heaven. Their anathemas are powerless in our days, the multitude is wiser; but the greatest danger awaits us just in the latter direction, if we do not succeed in making the masses remain at least neutral - till they come to know better - in this forthcoming conflict between Truth, Superstition and Presumption; or, to, express it in other terms, Occult Spiritualism, Theology and Science. We have to fear neither the miniature thunderbolts of the clergy, nor the unwarranted negations of Science. But Public Opinion, this invisible, intangible, omnipresent, despotic tyrant; this thousand-headed Hydra - the more dangerous for being composed of individual mediocrities - is not an enemy to be scorned by any would-be Occultist, courageous as he may be. Many of the far more innocent Spiritualists have left their sheepskins in the clutches of this ever-hungry, roaring lion - for he is the most dangerous of our three classes of enemies. What will be the fate in such a case, of an unfortunate Occultist, if he once succeeds in demonstrating the close relationship existing between the two? The masses of people, though they do not generally appreciate the science of truth, or have real knowledge, on the other hand are unerringly directed by mere instinct; they have intuitionally - if I may be allowed to express myself - the sense of what is formidable in its [6] genuine strength. People will never conspire except against real Power. In their blind ignorance, the Mysteries and the Unknown have been, and ever will be, objects of terror for them. Civilization may progress, human nature will remain the same throughout all ages. Occultists, beware!

Let it be understood, then, that I address myself but to the truly courageous and persevering. Besides the danger expressed above, the difficulties to becoming a practical Occultist in this country, are next to insurmountable. Barrier upon barrier, obstacles in every form and shape will present themselves to the student; for the Keys of the Golden Gate leading to the Infinite Truth, lie buried deep, and the gate itself is enclosed in a mist which clears up only before the ardent rays of implicit Faith. Faith alone, one grain of which as large as a mustard-seed, according to the words of Christ, can lift a mountain, is able, to find out how simple becomes the Cabala to the initiate, once he has succeeded in conquering the first abstruse difficulties. The dogma of it is logical, easy and absolute. The necessary union of ideals and signs; the trinity of words, letters, numbers and theorems; the religion of it can be compressed into a few words; "It is the Infinite condensed in the hand of an infant," says Eliphas Levi. Ten ciphers, 22 alphabetical letters, one triangle, a square and a circle. Such are the elements of the Cabala, from whose mysterious bosom sprang all the religions of the past and present; which endowed all the Free Masonic associations with their symbols and secrets, which alone can reconcile human reason with God and Faith, Power with Freedom, Science with Mystery, and which has alone the keys of the present, past and future.

The first difficulty for the aspirant lies in the utter impossibility of his comprehending, as I said before, the meaning of the best books written by Hermetic Philosophers. The latter, who mainly lived in the mediaeval ages, prompted on the one hand by their duty towards their brethren, and by their desire to impart to them and their successors only, the glorious truths, and on the other very naturally desirous to avoid the clutches of the blood-thirsty Christian Inquisition, enveloped themselves more than ever in mystery. They invented new signs and hieroglyphs, renovated the ancient symbolical language of the high priests of antiquity, who had used it as a sacred barrier between their holy rites and die ignorance of the profane, and created a veritable Cabalistic slang. This latter, which continually blinded the false neophyte, attracted towards the science only by his greediness for wealth and power which he would have surely misused were he to succeed, is a living, eloquent, clear language; but it is and can become such, only to the true disciple of Hermes.

But were it even otherwise, and could books on Occultism, written in a plain and precise language, be obtained, in order to get initiated in the Cabala, it would not be sufficient to understand and meditate on certain authors. Galatinus and Pico della Mirandola, Paracelsus and Robertus de Fluctibus do not furnish one with the key to the practical mysteries. They simply state what can be done and why it is done; but they do not tell one how to do it. More than one philosopher who has by heart the whole of the Hermetic literature, [7] and who has devoted to the study of it upwards of thirty or forty years of his life, fails when he believes he is about reaching the final great result ...

To fervent and persevering candidates for the above science, I have to offer but one word of advise, "Try and become." One single journey to the Orient, made in the proper spirit, and the possible emergencies arising from the meeting of what may seem no more than the chance acquaintances and adventures of any traveler, may quite as likely as not throw wide open to the zealous student, the heretofore closed doors of the final mysteries. I will go farther and say that such a journey, performed with the omnipresent idea of the one object, and with the help of a fervent will is sure to produce more rapid, better, and far more practical results, than the most diligent study of Occultism in books - even though one were to devote to it dozens of years. In the name of Truth, Yours,

H. P. Blavatsky

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A HUNDRED YEARS AGO

VI

Some of the events in H.P.B.'s life during the year 1875 are not as clear as we would like them to be, owing either to lack of documentary evidence or to somewhat ambiguous statements made in regard to them.

In May or June of that year, to quote the words of Col. Olcott, "a certain wonderful psycho-physiological change happened to H.P.B. that I am not at liberty to speak about, and that nobody has up to the present suspected ..." (Old Diary Leaves, I, 17.). No additional information concerning this matter has ever came to light.

From a statement in The Spiritual Scientist (June 10, 1875, p. 166.), it would appear that H.P.B.'s condition in regard to her injured leg reached a final crisis at about this time. "For several hours her attendants thought her dead, as she lay as cold, pulse less, and rigid as a corpse; her injured limb had swollen to twice the natural size, and had turned black, as though mortification had already set in. Her physician gave her up as dead; but within a few hours the swelling had subsided, the symptoms of dissolution had passed off, and she revived ..." It would be natural to suppose that her recovery was due to some specific occult help on the part of her Teacher.

Sometime in July, H.P.B. joined Col. Olcott in Boston where they were guests of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Houghton, he being a well-known lawyer in that city; hey lived for a while in the suburb of Roxbury.

It was in June of 1875 that H.P.B. wrote her powerful and important article entitled "A Few Questions to 'Hiraf"' (Spir. Scientist, July 15 and 22, 1875.), which she called "My first Occult Shot" and indicated it as being "Shot No. I - Written by H.P.B. by express orders from S* ..." (* See her Scrapbook, 1, pp. 41 and 45.). The full background of the "Hiraf" Club and of this article is outlined in her Collected Writings, Vol. I, pp. 95-119.).

Sometime in late Summer, possibly [8] in early August, H.P.B. moved to New York and took rooms at 46 Irving Place, a house which does not exist any longer. There is some indication that she may have already started writing some text for a future book - later to become Isis Unveiled - but this is somewhat uncertain.

We are now on the eve of the formation of the Theosophical Society, a climacteric moment concerning which information is not as definite as some people believe. It is thought by some that the gathering at H.P.B.'s rooms in New York, on Tuesday, September 7, 1875, was the first one.

This, however, is all error. In H.P.B.'s Scrapbook, Vol. I, pp. 54-55, there is a cutting front a weekly journal, The Liberal Christian, of Saturday, September 4th, 1875, which consists of an article entitled "Rosicrucianism in New York." It is unsigned but is known to have been written by the Rev. Dr. J. H. Wiggin, the Editor of that Journal. Starting with a superficial survey of Rosicrucian ideas, Dr. Wiggin goes on to relate the circumstances under which he had recently met H. P. Blavatsky. He says: "It was just after Col. Olcott's astounding stories in the Sun about the floral gifts received from the spirits through a Boston medium [Mrs. Thayer], that I was kindly bidden by my friend, Mr. Sotheran, of the American Bibliopolist, to meet with Madame and the Colonel the following evening in Irving Place; with permission to bring some friends ..." According to Dr. Wiggin, there were present at this gathering: Col. Olcott, Il Conte, "the secretary once of Mazzini," Charles Sotheran, Judge M. of New Jersey, his wife; Mr. M., a Boston gentleman, and H.P.B., who, he says, was "the center of the group." It is to this cutting in her Scrapbook that H.P.B. appended the following remarks in pen and ink: "Written by Rev. Dr. Wiggin. This article provoked the wrath of Rev. Dr. Bellows; hence he wrote another one, on 'Sorcery and Necromancy' and pitched into us." H.P.B. then drew a blue line from the title along the cutting to the bottom on the right edge of page 55 and added in pen and ink the following significant remarks: "On that evening the first idea of the Theos. Society was discussed."

As no mention of any such gathering occurs in The Liberal Christian of Saturday, August 28th, it is likely that it took place sometime between August 28th and September 4th. Col. Olcott mentions this earlier gathering (O.D.L., I, 114-15.), but gives no date, merely saying that it took place "during the previous week."

There seems to no reason, however, to doubt the fact that the actual formation of the Theosophical Society took place on September 7th, 1875, even though, in Col. Olcott's own words "no official memorandum exists of the persons actually present on that particular evening," and "no official record by the Secretary of the attendance at this first meeting survives " (op. cit., pp. 114, 118.).

We must bear in mind that Col. Olcott, when writing the First Series of his Old Diary Leaves, did so from memory, as his Diaries of the period 1874-78 had mysteriously disappeared. Speaking of the gathering on September 7th, he says that during the animated discussion which followed Felt's [9]

[Facsimile of handwritten document concerning first meeting of the proposed T.S., signed by William Judge as "Secretary."] [10]

lecture, ..." the idea occurred to me [Olcott] that it would be a good thing to form a society to pursue and promote such occult research, and, after turning it over in my mind, I wrote on a scrap of paper the following: 'Would it not be a good thing to form a Society for this kind of study?' - and gave it to Judge, at the moment standing between me and H.P.B., sitting opposite, to pass over to her. She read it and nodded assent (O.D.L., I, 117-18.).

[Facsimile here of note about receiving "orders" to establish a society.]

On the other hand, Annie Besant, writing in Lucifer (Vol. XII, April, 1893, p. 105.) about the formation of the T.S., said that "... she [H.P.B.] has told me herself how her Master bade her found it, and how at His bidding she wrote the suggestion of starting it on a slip of paper and gave it to W. Q. Judge to pass to Colonel Olcott; and then the Society had its first beginning ..."

Both of these accounts may be partially correct and partially somewhat confused. One thing is definite enough, namely the fact that the formation of the Society was already "in the air," so to say, a considerable time prior to the gathering at which it was first broached. This is conclusively shown by H.P.B.'s "Important Note" written in her own hand and pasted in her Scrapbook, Vol. I, pp. 20-21, which closes with this statement: "M .'. brings orders to form a Society - a secret Society like the Rosicrucian Lodge. He promises to help." (See Collected Writings, Vol. I, p. 73, and ill. facing p. 80.) It is also evident from a most important pen-and-ink notation which H.P.B. made at the bottom of a page (Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 58.), and which reads: "Orders received from India direct to establish a philosophico-religious Society and choose a name for it - also to choose Olcott. July, 1875." We reproduce a facsimile of this notation.

As regards the second organizational meeting of the newly-formed Society, held September 8th, we have Minutes thereof signed by both Col. Olcott and William Quan Judge. Our reproduction of it gives all necessary facts.

On September 8th, another meeting was held at the same address, during which the name of The Theosophical Society was agreed upon (H.S. Olcott, Historical Retrospect, p. 2.). It is not definitely known how this particular name was chosen. As a term, "Theosophical" occurs in the title of the Theosophical Transactions issued by the Philadelphian Society of London in 1697, and in the writings of Jacob Boehme. "Theosophical Seminary" is an expression which H.P.B. used in July of 1875, in her article "A Few Questions to 'Hiraf'." Even if used here and there, throughout the mystical literature prior to H.P.B.'s days, it certainly was but little known to the general public. [11]

Between September 15 and October 12, H.P.B. visited Professor and Mrs. Hiram Corson at Ithaca, N.Y., where she spent most of her time writing text for a book which was only partially outlined in her mind.

After two more meetings, held on October 16th and 30th, at the home of Mrs. Emma Harding-Britten, 206 West 38th Street, New York, at which the final draft of the Bylaws was adopted, The Theosophical Society was fully organized.

On November 17th, 1875, the newly-formed organization met at the Mott Memorial Hall, 64 Madison Avenue, New York, and Col. Henry Steel Olcott delivered his Inaugural Address as President of the Society. During that Address, H.P.B. sat among the audience on the North side of the room.

(Further details concerning the formation of the Theosophical Society and the personalities associated with it, may be found in H. P. Blavatsky's Collected Writings, Vol. I, pp. 121-125 and the Bio-Bibliographical Appendix.)

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THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT
L. Gordon Plummer

"There is a very great difference between the Theosophical Movement and any Theosophical Society. The Movement is moral, ethical, spiritual, universal, invisible save in effect, and continuous. A Society formed for theosophical work is a visible organization, an effect, a machine for conserving energy and putting it to use; it is not nor can it be universal, nor is it continuous. Organized Theosophical bodies are made by men for their better co-operation, but, being mere outer shells, they must change from time to time as human defects come out, as the times change, and as the great underlying spiritual movement compels such alterations ... One can therefore see that to worship an organization, even though it be the beloved theosophical one, is to fall down before Form, and to become the slave once more of that dogmatism which our portion of the Theosophical Movement, the Theosophical Society, was meant to overthrow ... H.P.B. herself declared that it were better to do away with the Society rather than to destroy Brotherhood ..." - William Q. Judge, The Path, Vol. V, August, 1885, pp. 137-39.

One might wonder why such forthright words from the pen of William Quan Judge should be brought out at a time when Theosophists everywhere are congratulating themselves on having safely passed the century mark. Is this not a time to forget, for awhile at least, the trials and tribulations of the individual Theosophical Societies, and, putting all differences aside, unite in a spirit of brotherly love, dedicating ourselves to a furtherance of the noble aims of the Founders?

By all means, this attitude of mind has its place, and is most worthy at this time. Nevertheless, it would appear that, if we were to think of the various Theosophical Societies and groups as pearls strung upon a golden thread, that thread must not be forgotten, for without it, the pearls would quickly become scattered to the winds.

Let us then consider whence the thread, representing the Theosophical Movement. Upon closer examination, though the pearls may be numbered, the thread has neither beginning nor end. Its origin, if indeed there was an [12] origin, is lost in antiquity, and more than that, for antiquity is measured in Time. It is lost in the vast inner reaches of Divine Consciousness, for it extends to the very Heart of the Universe. And what of the end? The thread extending far into the future? That too, is lost in the very Heart of the Universe.

And is this Heart of the Universe so very far off? What do we mean by "far off"? Nothing, really, for it is an illusion. The Heart of the Universe knows no boundaries either of place or time. We are within it, for in it we live, move and have our being.

Why should something of such cosmic dimensions result in the groupings of people scattered throughout the world? Why here and now? Is it because the turning of the cycles has brought a more propitious time for the promulgation of certain ideas which we set forth as Theosophy? If this were the case, why were there certain Teachers to which all Theosophists look as the Founders? What had prepared them to act at this particular time? Must there not have been some precedent cause for the work that has been done during this century?

It becomes evident to the thoughtful student that the more deeply he probes into the structure of Man and Nature, applying the master-key of analogy, seeing thereby Man as a Microcosm of Macrocosm, and that what is above is the Macrocosm, and that what is above is to be found below, and vice versa, he is forced to the realization that the Brotherhood of the Adepts who initiated the work in its outward form is neither more nor less than an important part of a great hierarchy that reaches into the very framework of the inner planes of consciousness. Through this Brotherhood, we are in constant touch with powerful spiritual energies, the true nature of which our somewhat limited human faculties cannot conceive.

It has been said that if life were to be discovered on other planets of our Solar System, or indeed, if intelligent life were to be contacted in outer space, our ideas on religion would have to undergo a complete change. How could we be so egotistical as to think that of all the worlds which might bear intelligent life, ours alone deserves the high privilege of the attentions of God so that He sent to this earth alone "his only begotten son" to help poor struggling humanity? What a shattering experience that would be! However, when we consider the Hierarchy of Compassion as being cosmic in its reaches, the idea is contemplated without trauma of any kind. It seems to be the most natural thing in the universe - which is exactly what it is. That portion of it which touches our earth is minute indeed, relatively speaking, but so powerful that, through its human agents, it has caused the founding of the Mystery-Schools that have been known in historic times, and far predating these, in the unrecorded past. We have been taught that such Mystery-Schools will be founded in the future. But why the gap between the past and the future? Why are there no Mystery-Schools at the present time?

Well, who says that there are none? Or that there could not be? If the Hierarchy of Compassion has been the inspiring energy that caused the formation of Mystery-Schools in the past, [13] is it any less powerful today? May we not think of it as the ever-present Mystery-School, hidden, and unknown for ages sometimes, but ever available to those who aspire to begin the work anew?

We must ask ourselves the probing question: Are any of the presently existing Theosophical Societies of such a caliber that they may be called Mystery-Schools in the true sense of the word?

This question stops us cold. Who today is brash enough to say that the Theosophical Society to which he belongs is a Mystery-School, and yet who can point the accusing finger to any other Society, and declare that it could not possibly be such a school?

What it all boils down to, as it appears to me, is that each and every one of the Theosophical Societies, and furthermore, each and every individual, whether belonging to an organized society or not, can constitute itself or himself a Mystery-School in some degree. This will be determined by his ability to enshrine in his own heart and mind, and to exemplify in his own life, the spiritual power which is the very essence of the Theosophical Movement. No one can judge another, in the final analysis, but we can set our standards in terms of the kind of work that we are doing. Have the teachings that we have supported and promulgated run true to that high motto given us by H. P. Blavatsky: "There is no religion higher than Truth"?

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ECHOES OF THE ORIENT
THE WRITINGS OF WILLIAM QUAN JUDGE

The first Volume of a series bearing this title will be published in the Fall of this year by Point Loma Publications, Inc., of San Diego.

It will consist of the Editorials, Essays, and Articles written by Mr. Judge for his magazine, The Path. It will include all of his Occult Tales, only one of which originally appeared in The Theosophist. A substantial account of Mr. Judge's Life and Work, fully documented, will be the opening Section of this Volume.

The teachings outlined by Mr. Judge are as practical today as when they were written, and present the noble ethical principles and precepts of the Ancient Wisdom in simple and appealing language, and with a minimum of technicalities.

The student will find in this initial Volume many valuable explanations about such subjects as: Concentration, Occult Powers, Cycles, Hypnotism, the Nature of Occultism, Practical Theosophy, Why Yoga Practice is Dangerous, the Mahatmas as Ideals and Facts, Metaphysical Healing, Astral Intoxication, the Synthesis of Occult Science, and others.

The Volume, containing over 600 pages, will be illustrated and fully indexed. It will be available for sale, direct from Point Loma Publications, Inc., on or about October 1st, and its price will be $7.00. [14]

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WHO ARE WE?
Vonda Urban

Shakespeare envisioned the great Mayavic illusion through which we pass in life after life, with one majestic sweep which be pronounced in his immortal lines: "All the world's a stage; and all the men and women in it merely players; they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages" ...

For thus it is that each of us appears upon the stage of every lifetime, the featured actor, living through another sequence in the never ending drama that we forever write. We move within the setting of a changing photo play, following the quest of our scenario to play the part as we have cast it, using a wide array of personalities and many special props with which to make impressions; but whatever be the mask that we may wear in any lifetime, it is a thin veneer of make-up that cannot disguise our naked character nor hide completely what is real in us from the illusionary trappings of the settings that surround us.

Our narrative unfolds within the acts and scenes that blend one day into another, revealing what we really are, shaping what we shall become; for today is but the link of continuity that merges yesterday into tomorrow; and all of this is moulded by the part we choose to play; and even more, our understanding of the other players in the cast forever passing through our script, whose stories melt into our own with overlay of play with in a play.

Each scene is set against the backdrop of a living tapestry whose gossamer threads are spun out of the longings in our soul, as, strand by strand, our motivations weave their evanescent fibers into Karma; and all the deeds that we commit, though they be base or beautiful, leave imprints of their coloring upon a mystic screen, reflecting there, in one montage, the essence of our being. This is the fabric of our character stained with selfishness, that dims our sight and dulls out senses to reality; this is the garment of our human ego, groping upward through its childish immaturity; this is the channel of our higher self, when shafts of Spiritual Light pierce through it, guiding us in noble deeds; this is the actor writing the drama of his Karma upon the stage of time, moving ever onward, throughout eternity.

When the final curtain closes the performance of each lifetime, to retire the weary actor, we lay aside this mortal personality, withdrawing from illusionary worlds of action, for a rest within our higher self and contemplation on the lessons garnered from our earthly strivings. The costumes, now discarded, will unravel and, in time, their changing shades and textures will become a new material, fashioning the garments of our human soul when it again descends into the world of causes for another lesson in humanity.

Somewhere within the deep, mysterious realms beyond our consciousness are hidden all the phantoms of each personality that we have ever been; and from the hoary vaults of time, they haunt us still; for there they hang - these records of our continuity - like garish baubles or like brilliant gems, all threaded onto our Sutratman. [15]

Their silenced voices echo still, in decibels of harmony and discord, through endless chains of actions and reactions; their vanished memories live on in fires that burn within our soul.

We have in our careers throughout innumerable lifetimes played many parts, and do so still; for we are many selves imprisoned in the flesh that binds us to terrestrial sensations; lost in the bedazzling allurement of desires and passions, in whose grip we move like puppets on a string manipulated by our Skandhas. We chase enchanted rainbows of illusion whose opulent magnificence promises fulfilment of our cherished dreams, only to watch them change into sullied mires of painful agony; for we cannot see that the iridescent sparkle that so charms our fancy is but the glistening of our tears, or the flashing colors that we fight to capture, but the bleeding of our passions, until the veils of Maya have been rent by our suffering to expose the true from the illusory, as our bubbles burst into reality.

The pain, the anguish, the shattered hopes and broken dreams are only birth pangs of maturity burning away material dross that clouds the noble vision in our soul; opening it to hear the promptings from our Higher Self, whose Spiritual Alchemy transmutes our personal selfishness into compassion as, slowly, we begin to learn our lesson in humanity; for as our consciousness becomes ensouled with radiance reflected from our Spiritual Self, and harmonizes with the Universal Oneness in reverence for all that lives, we reach out to our fellow man in brotherhood to help him upward through his careworn way.

Who are we now? How do we shape this fleeting wisp of mortal life? What purpose do we give it? Are we but drifting aimlessly upon our tide of Karmic destiny still caught in undertows of our compulsions? Or has a long career of suffering lifetimes seasoned our perception to understand, at last, that we must mould our character with goodness and choose with care the role that we will play? To write our script in Golden Precepts, intoning warm sincerity and kindness in the words we say; and so to live, that all our scenes will flow into one vast array of harmony and beauty, whose noble actions issue from the life within our soul touched with the flame of Universal Love!

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THEOSOPHICAL WORLD CONGRESS IN NEW YORK

The One Hundredth Anniversary of the founding of The Theosophical Society at New York, November 17, 1875, will be commemorated this year at a World Congress to be held at the Statler Hilton Hotel, New York, November 14-20, 1975.
Many members of various Theosophical Organizations, as well as students with no definite affiliation, are expected to attend.
There will be a comprehensive display of Theosophical literature published by the Theosophical Publishing Houses and allied bodies, in several languages. All currently published books and magazines will be available for purchase.
While most delegates will stay at the Statler Hilton, those who desire more moderately priced accommodations may secure a list by writing to the Centenary Congress Registrar, P.O. Box 270, Wheaton, Ill., 60187. Information on the program and other details may be obtained from the same source. [16]

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JUST RE PUBLISHED!
H. P. BLAVATSKY AND THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT
By Dr. Charles J. Ryan.

Long out of print, this work outlines some of the more striking landmarks in the stormy history of the modern Theosophical Movement, and the many-faced character of its chief founder, H. P. Blavatsky.
The author - a man of unique honesty, sincerity and devotion to Theosophy - covers the ground with penetrating insight and impersonality. Avoiding bias and worship of personalities, the story unfolds a fascinating panorama of Blavatsky's many-sided life and its powerful effect upon the contemporary stage-setting.
A valuable and well-documented work which every student of Theosophy should own.
Paperback. 463 pages; illustrated and indexed. Price: $7.00.
Order direct from: Point Loma Publications. Inc. P.O. Box 9966, San Diego, CA, 92109.

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NEWLY PUBLISHED!
WHEN DAYLIGHT COMES
A BIOGRAPHY or HELENA PETROVNA BLAVATSKY
By Howard Murphet.

A most readable biographical sketch of the controversial H.P.B. who even today is a ready subject for arguments and discussion pro and con. The author, a journalist by profession, has produced a story not lacking in suspense, yet adequately documented and true to facts.
Written for the general public, the book presents a fast-moving picture of the early days of the Movement and the many vicissitudes in the life of its founder and inspirer.
328 pages; illustrated and indexed. Price: $8.95 clothbound; $3.50 paperback.
Order from The Theosophical Publishing House, P.O. Box 270, Wheaton. Ill. 60187.