THEOSOPHIA
A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XXXVI
No. 3 (161) - Winter 1979-1980

[Cover photo: One of the Temples at Kanchipuram, near Madras, India.]

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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: $3.00 a year (four issues), single copy 75 cents. Send all subscriptions, renewals and correspondence to: 634 South Gramercy Place, #301, Los Angeles, California 90005. 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 QUEST

A man will know when he's chosen
By the Gods for a life of quest
For the restless urge within him
Is an eagle in his breast.
An eagle with frantic pinions
That cannot be caged or tamed
With eyes on the far horizon
And beckoning stars unnamed.
The goal may be veiled in mystery,
The seeker may have no chart,
But let him turn from his seeking
And the eagle will eat his heart.
After the quest is over,
After the finding is there rest?
There is no rest for the seeker
With an eagle in his breast.
- Author Unknown. [3]

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1980 - ON WITH THE WORK! ...
Boris de Zirkoff

As a new decade of our century is about to open, we renew our intention to continue quietly to spread the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom far and wide. Unshaken by the rising tide of world unrest, and the inhumanity of man to man manifest in so many ways in this world of illusions, we are determined to hold high the banner of Theosophy and to plant it on new ramparts for all men to see.

The clarion call of Universal Brotherhood can be heard all over the world, above the din and clatter of selfish voices and the rattle of weapons of destruction with which one party threatens another in the darkness of material ignorance and the despair of vested interests. Slowly but surely large segments of the human race are beginning to realize that nothing short of worldwide brotherhood and interrelations can ever be the remedy for all our ills, both material and spiritual. Through pain and sorrow, through suffering and remorse, the people of this age are slowly moving into a recognition of that simple fact that the human race is one and what hurts a portion of it hurts the whole of humanity.

It is mainly the noise of those who are afraid of losing their personal battles that is preventing many of us from realizing that a vast amount of constructive work is going on in today's world, efforts here and there and everywhere to unite the people, to lift them from despair into hope, to shed among them the light of a new philosophy, new but very old, which would stand as a bulwark against the onslaught of human passions and the self-centered interests of minorities. If we give close attention to various newly formed movements and groups, we cannot ignore or deny the fact that millions of people in various countries are preaching a gospel of good neighborliness, of mutual helpfulness and of a recognition of the fact that Nature must be served and used, but never abused and polluted. We believe that, slowly but surely, men are winning that battle and that years to come will see a great regeneration among us and a deeper feeling for spiritual realities.

The human race has never been without guidance, a guidance provided by those superior men and women who have from time immemorial been the spiritual leaders of the human race, whether recognized as such or ignored and often persecuted. They stood and stand today ever ready to help, to inspire and to uphold our efforts along the ancient path, as we climb step by step from darkness into light, from the sombre valley towards the sunlit peaks of true knowledge and understanding. It is for us to call upon their guidance and help, while making daily and hourly efforts to rise, to purify ourselves and to lift others towards the light. No effort initiated by ourselves can ever remain without recognition by those who watch over the progress of mankind as a whole, and our own personal growth spiritually and intellectually, if that growth is intended to make us more capable to help others.

In the light of Theosophy, a Happy New Decade to you all! [4]

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A CASE OF OBSESSION
H.P. Blavatsky

[The Theosophist, Vol. I, No. 8, May, 1880, pp. 207-208.]

THE particulars of the case of "obsession," alluded to in the April number of this magazine, are given in the following letter from a respectable English medical man who is in attendance upon the victim: -

"I take the liberty of addressing you in the cause of humanity, with the intention of exciting your sympathies and obtaining all the aid in your power to afford, in a case of 'control.' You will understand that the gentleman is being made a medium against his wish, through having attended a few seances for the purpose of witnessing 'materialization.'

"Ever since, he has been more or less subject to a series of persecutions by the 'controlling' spirit and, in spite of every effort of his to throw off the influence, he has been made to suffer most shamefully and painfully in very many ways and under most trying and aggravating circumstances, especially by his thoughts being forced into forbidden channels without external causes being present - the bodily functions overruled, even being caused to bite his tongue and cheeks severely whilst eating, &c., and subjected to every species of petty annoyances which will serve as a means for the 'control' (unknown) to sustain and establish the connection. The details are in their most painful features not such as I can write to you; but if there be any means known to you whereby the influence can be diverted, and it is thought necessary to be more particular in my description of this case, I will send you all the information I possess."

So little is known in India of the latest and most startling phase of Western mediumistic phenomena - "materialization," - that a few words of explanation are needed to make this case understood. Briefly, then, for several years, in the presence of certain mediums in America and Europe, there have been seen, often under good test conditions, apparitions of the dead, which in every respect seem like living human beings. They walk about, write messages to present and absent friends, speak audibly in the languages familiar to them in life, even though the medium may be unacquainted with them, and are dressed in the garb they wore when alive. Many cases of fraudulent personation of the dead have been detected, pretended mediums have sometimes gone on for years deceiving the credulous, and real ones, whose psychical powers have been apparently proved beyond doubt, have been caught playing tricks in some evil hour when they have yielded to either the love of money or notoriety. Still, making every allowance for all these, there is a residuum of veritable cases of the materialization, or the making visible, tangible and audible of portrait figures of dead people. These wonderful phenomena have been variously regarded by investigators. Most Spiritualists have looked upon them as the most precious proofs of the soul-survival; while Theosophists, acquainted with the views of the ancient Theurgists, and the still more ancient Aryan philosophers, have viewed them as at best misleading deceptions of the senses, fraught with danger to the physical and moral natures of both medium and spectator - if the latter chances to be susceptible to certain psychical influences. These students of Occultism have noticed that the mediums for materializations have too often been ruined in health by the drain upon their systems, and wrecked in morals. They have over and again warned the Spiritualistic public that mediumship was a most dangerous gift, one only to be tolerated under great precautions. And for this they [5] have received much abuse and few thanks. Still one's duty must be done at every cost, and the case now before us affords a valuable text for one more bit of friendly counsel.

We need not stop to discuss the question whether the so-called materialized forms above described are or are not those of the deceased they look like. That may be held in reserve until the bottom facts of Oriental psychical science are better understood. Nor need we argue as to whether there has ever been an authentic materialization. The London experiences of Mr. William Crookes, F.R.S., and the American ones of Colonel Olcott, both so widely known and of so convincing a character, give us a sufficient basis of fact to argue upon. We assume the reality of materializations, and shall take the instance cited by the English physician as a subject for diagnosis.

The patient then is described as having been "controlled" since attending "circles" where there were materializations, and as having become the bond-slave of some evil powers which force him to say and do painful and even disgusting things, despite his resistance. Why is this? How can a man be compelled to so act against his will? What is Obsession? Three brief questions these are, but most difficult to explain to an uninitiated public. The laws of Obsession can only be well understood by him who has sounded the depths of Indian philosophy. The only clue to the secret, which the West possesses, is contained in that most beneficent science, Magnetism or Mesmerism. That does teach the existence of a vital fluid within and about the human being; the fact of different human polarities; and the possibility of one person projecting this fluid or force at will, to and upon another person differently polarized. Baron Reichenbach's theory of Odyle or Odic force shows us the existence of this same fluid in the mineral and vegetable as well as the animal kingdoms. To complete the chain of evidence, Buchanan's discovery of the psychometrical faculty in man enables us to prove, by the help of this faculty, that a subtle influence is exerted by people upon the houses and even the localities they live in, the paper they write upon, the clothing they wear, the portion of the Universal Ether (the Aryan Akasa) they exist in - and that this is a permanent influence, perceptible even at the most distant epochs from the time when the individual lived and exerted this influence. In one word, we may say that the discoveries of Western science corroborate most fully the hints thrown out by Greek sages and the more defined theories of certain Indian philosophers.

Indians and Buddhists believe alike that thought and deed are both material, that they survive, that the evil desires and the good ones of a man environ him in a world of his own making, that these desires and thoughts take on shapes that become real to him after death, and that Moksha. in the one case, and Nirvana, in the other, cannot be attained until the disembodied soul has passed quite through this shadow-world of the haunting thoughts, and become divested of the last spot of its earthly taint. The progress of Western discovery in this direction has been and must ever be very gradual. From the phenomena of gross to those of more sublimated matter, and thence on towards [6] the mysteries of spirit is the hard road made necessary by the precepts of Aristotle. Western Science first ascertained that our out coming breath is charged with carbonic acid and, in excess, becomes fatal to human life; then, that certain dangerous diseases are passed from person to person in the sporules thrown off into the air from the sick body; then, that man projects upon every body and every thing he encounters a magnetic aura, peculiar to himself; and, finally, the physical disturbance set up in the Ether in the process of thought-evolution is now postulated. Another step in advance will be to realize the magical creative power of the human mind, and the fact that moral taint is just as transmissible as physical. The "influence" of bad companions will then be understood to imply a degrading personal magnetism, more subtle than the impressions conveyed to the eye or the ear by the sights and sounds of a vicious company. The latter may be repelled by resolutely avoiding to see or hear what is bad; but the former enwraps the sensitive and penetrates his very being if he but stop where the moral poison is floating in the air. Gregory's Animal Magnetism, Reichenbach's Researches, and Denton's The Soul of Things will make much of this plain to the Western inquirer, though neither of those authors traces the connection of his favorite branch of science with the parent-stock - Indian Psychology.

Keeping the present case in view, we see a man highly susceptible to magnetic impressions, ignorant of the nature of the "materializations" and, therefore, unable to protect himself against bad influences, brought in contact with promiscuous circles where the impressionable medium has long been the unwitting nucleus of evil magnetisms, his system saturated with the emanations of the surviving thoughts and desires of those who are living and those who are dead. The reader is referred to an interesting paper by Judge Gadgil of Baroda (see our December number), on "Hindu Ideas about Communion with the Dead," for a plain exposition of this question of earth-tied souls, or Pisachas. "It is considered," says that writer, "that in this state, the soul, being deprived of the means of enjoyment of sensual pleasures through its own physical body, is perpetually tormented by hunger, appetite and other bodily desires, and can have only vicarious enjoyment by entering into the living physical bodies of others, or by absorbing the subtlest essences of libations and oblations offered for their own sake." What is there to surprise us in the fact that a negatively polarized man, a man of a susceptible temperament, being suddenly brought into a current of foul emanations from some vicious person, perhaps still living or perhaps dead, absorbs the insidious poison as rapidly as quicklime does moisture, until he is saturated with it? Thus, a susceptible body will absorb the virus of small-pox, or cholera, or typhus, and we need only recall this to draw the analogy which Occult Science affirms to be warranted.

Near the Earth's surface there hangs over us - to use a convenient simile - a steamy moral fog, composed of the undispersed exhalations of human vice and passion. This fog penetrates the sensitive to the very soul's core; his psychic self absorbs it as the sponge does water, or as fresh milk effluvia. It [7] benumbs his moral sense, spurs his baser instincts into activity, overpowers his good resolutions. As the fumes of a wine-vault make the brain reel or as the choke-damp stifles one's breath in a mine, so this heavy cloud of immoral influences carries away the sensitive beyond the limits of self-control, and he becomes "obsessed," like our English patient.

What remedy is there to suggest? Does not our very diagnosis indicate that? The sensitive must have his sensitiveness destroyed; the negative polarity must be changed to a positive; he must become active instead of passive. He can be helped by a magnetiser who understands the nature of obsession, and who is morally pure and physically healthy; it must be a powerful magnetiser, a man of commanding will-force. But the fight for freedom will, after all, have to be fought by the patient himself. His will-power must be aroused. He must expel the poison from his system. Inch by inch he must win back the lost ground. He must realize that it is a question of life or death, salvation or ruin, and strive for victory, like one who makes a last and heroic effort to save his life. His diet must be of the simplest, he must neither eat animal food, nor touch any stimulant, nor put himself in any company where there is the smallest chance for unclean thoughts to be provoked. He should be alone as little as possible, but his companions should be carefully chosen. He should take exercise and be much in the open air; use wood-fire, instead of coals. Every indication that the bad influence was still working within him should be taken as a challenge to control his thoughts and compel them to dwell upon pure, elevating, spiritual things, at every hazard and with a determination to suffer anything rather than give way. If this man can have such a spirit infused into him, and his physician can secure the benevolent help of a strong, healthy magnetiser, of pure character, he may be saved. A case almost exactly like this one, except that the patient was a lady, came under our notice in America; the same advice as the above was given and followed, and the obsessing "devil" was driven out and has been kept out ever since.

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THE "E.S." - WHAT IT WAS, WHAT IT IS
W. Emmett Small

[Reprinted from The Eclectic Theosophist, September 15, 1979.]

Students of theosophical history will know the facts concerning the formation of the E.S., the Esoteric Section. There was no secrecy about it; it was reported in the early theosophical magazines of 1888 and 1889, and students today can review all this in later reprints such as contained in volumes of Blavatsky, Collected Writings.

First let us ask ourselves what is an "E.S."? - we use the indefinite article purposely. Why its existence? It is simply when a Teacher esoterically qualified and trained teaches a select [8] group of students. This happens only when such a Teacher living in this outer world is a direct agent and representative of still greater ones of an inner world "behind the scenes". In 1875 the Agent sent by the Brotherhood to perform a certain mission was H.P. Blavatsky (H.P.B.). She was "the best available" for several centuries. Her work, well known now by many hundred thousands, was to shock, to waken, the western world to Reality, to the real purpose in life, to bring a cosmic picture of endless possibilities for growth for the human soul, and to show that the first steps along the path of attainment can be taken Now.

For some few who were "ready" she gave more specific, what came to be known as esoteric, teaching. But first must come the "Call." Again, students of history will know that in her last years in London H.P.B. was surrounded and supported by a group of devoted friends and close associates, her disciples. They questioned her about the deeper reaches of the philosophy and she answered them. What she told them was "esoteric", and they were pledged by oath - a basic esoteric rule - not to reveal what was taught. She called these few her "Inner Group". It is the natural way for a Teacher to work. It was the same with W. Q. Judge, who, by the way, assisted H.P.B. in the formulation of, and wrote a first draft of the preliminary rules for, the E.S. which H.P.B. approved and added to, and who was the "antaskarana" or bridge for E.S. instruction for students in America. It was the same - and here I may be permitted to speak from and perforce must limit myself to, personal knowledge - with Katherine Tingley and G. de Purucker, under whose tutelage the Esoteric Section, along the original lines, flourished. From what they taught, from the example of their lives, their method of instruction, we have the evidence that they all belonged to and were sent by that Association of advanced beings who were the real Founders of the Theosophical Society.

We are now informed by Boris de Zirkoff, editor of the Blavatsky Collected Writings, that the next volume, XII, to be published in 1980, will contain H.P.B.'s E.S. Instructions I, II, and III.

Esoteric instructions given by Dr. G. Purucker in the Temple at Point Loma, under the auspices of Katherine Tingley, were published as far back as 1932 by Rider & Co., of London, under the title Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy; those given out in the decade of the 1930's by G. de P. now are in print under the titles Fountain-Source of Occultism, Dialogues of G. de Purucker, and The Four Sacred Seasons.

And certainly we must include here the various Letters from the Masters, one time held secret but now available, such as The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, compiled by A. Trevor Barker and published in London in 1923, and the Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, first and second series, transcribed and annotated by C. Jinarajadasa, in 1923 and 1926.

Whether Judge's E.S. studies, "Suggestions and Aids" will be published in the series Echoes of the Orient is yet to be ascertained from its compiler and editor Dara Eklund.

Much, then we see, if not all, that [9] was once considered "esoteric" is now public. Whether we approve or disapprove is beyond the point here. The historic facts are before our eyes. We live in a different era from fifty and one hundred years ago when H.P.B. lived and those we recognize as esoterically following her in serial line. But one fact remains unchanging: to have an active "E.S." there must be a Head, a Teacher, one qualified by life and training to teach, and all that signifies along traditional lines. When under certain karmic pressures, which we may only surmise but not fully understand (perhaps for our own protection), a Teacher leaves and there is no visible immediate trained successor, the "E.S." naturally closes.

And then other natural adjustments follow, for then it would seem wise, indeed necessary, to let go any outward administrative structure which before may have been necessary. To cling to such is often to encourage entrance of attitudes entirely contrary to what should exist in all our theosophical work where it is the spirit, not the outward form masking the spirit, that is essential. Sometimes even by the well-meaning but more often by the unscrupulously ambitious, "esotericism" is used as a political weapon, a holier-than-thou tool. Whisperings that this student is not an esotericist while another is and therefore is superior, are not only mischievous and divisive; they carry within them the seed of their own destruction, for they go contrary to the very heart of all true esoteric behavior. Let us rise above such miasma. Our business is to encourage the study of Truth for all. What else was past esoteric training for?

And how can this be done? The E.S. spirit need not be lost. That same inner force can be directed into practical channels of usefulness and no secrecy made of it. From the public platform at Lodge meetings or public meetings, in journals or news notices, announcement can be made of opportunity for study for al - first basic steps for the beginning student (perhaps most important of all); more advanced study for the intermediate student; while for those who wish to go further, still deeper study is available. Depending on the demand and inquiry responsive arrangements can be made.

Today is the ever-present opportunity to live what before was precept, to meet and face life's problems with the added wisdom gained from study. That much we should try to do. That much are we not pledged to do? Deeper issues will be taken care of by Those whose duties they are. In the mean-time, as H.P.B. and her own Teachers have reminded us: the highest Teacher is one's own Higher Self, the golden thread linking one to THAT for which there is no name.

[Students with available sources may wish to study Blavatsky, Collected Writings, X, 134-35, "An Explanation Important to All Theosophists"; BCW, X 194-95; official notice of formation of the E.S. in Lucifer, Oct. 1888, also in BCW, X, 154; Letter to the American Convention of April 7, 1889, BCW, XI, 167-68, also 271 and Index; William Quan Judge, Theosophical Pioneer by Sven Eek and Boris de Zirkoff; Practical Occultism (letters of W.Q.J.), pp. 85-6.] [10]

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A VISIT TO KANCHIPURAM AND THE SHANKARACHARYA
Shelly von Strunckel

As we were getting closer to the town of Kanchipuram more and more towers became visible on the horizon. Some were taller than others; all of them were reflected in the water of the rice paddies which surround this approach to the town. The towers all have the trapezoidal shape which marks the South Indian style of temple architecture. The paddies have a brilliant green color which would seem tawdry outside the tropics.

The first stop in Kanchipuram is a huge temple complex. The entire area would cover several city blocks. We all take off our shoes and leave them with the driver of the car, a procedure that will be repeated with each temple we visit. The tower, called a gopuram, looms overhead. It looks to be the equivalent in height of a five story Building. Now that we are close enough to see the gopuram closely, we can see that its surface is completely covered with life size figures! Each temple is devoted to one god, one aspect of Brahma, and these figures detail that god's exploits. The temple has a long arcade which we enter. Off in one direction is the temple tank, an enormous pool of water, surrounded by another arcade, where the worshiper perform their ritual ablutions. Straight ahead is the temple itself. But first we must be blessed by the temple elephant! We each get out a coin, and the elephant's trainer has his beautifully painted friend reach out her trunk to gather op the money. Offerings delivered, the elephant delicately lowers her trunk to cap the heads of each of us faithfuls.

Thus blessed, we turn to go into the temple. Along the length of the arcade are salesmen, hawking various religious statues and picture books. There is a cloth covered with little plaster-painted figures and framed pictures, and the proprietor strongly suggests that we wouldn't want to go away without one of his wares. Regretfully we move on.

There are virtually no flat surfaces in the temple. Everything is decorated with carving or paint. Some of these decorations are then decorated with flowers. On we go into the temple, moving clockwise around its rectangular center. At the midpoint of our promenade there is a entrance to the center area where there are several priests and a sacred mango tree. We circumambulate the mango tree and get one of the many applications we will be receiving of sacred ashes for our foreheads. After numerous other stops at shrines along the temple's circumference, we emerge from the long dark corridors to the tropical Indian sunlight, go to the car and collect our shoes.

Kanchipuram has a reputed thousand temples and we can't possibly see them all, but there is another attraction that we can't miss. In India, Kanchipuram is more famous for its silks than for its temples. There are probably just as many stores selling saris as there are temples. In every store we enter, the sales staff immediately begins pulling sari after sari off the shelf, one more dazzling, more laden with gold, more brilliantly colored than the next. It seems unlikely that colors like this [11] exist in the West! The prices are equally impressive, the fabrics being of silk which is hand-spun and then hand-woven, a process taking as much as a year. No event can take place in the south of India without every lady having her own Kanchipuram sari to wear, so that each of these hundreds of saris we see will soon have a new home.

There is one other thing we have in mind to do while we are here. Across town, on the other side of a small river, in an unadorned whitewashed shack lives Shankaracharya. Before our visit we have been told that this is the most holy, most revered person in all of India, a country of holy men. It has been said that merely to be in his presence confers blessings. So we all pile into the tiny Indian car and turn away from the town of temples to visit another kind of shrine.

As we leave town, the road immediately becomes narrow and rutted, and actually disappears at the river, which our mighty little car fords. Ahead is the residence of the holiest man in India, the very small house in which he lives, some surrounding buildings, and a tank for ablutions.

Outside his door there is an enclosed porch with an awning, and there is a tiered cement platform, where those who have found their way here can stand to see. The doors and windows are open and though the room is dark, we can see in the shadows a figure sleeping under what appears to be a woven palm leaf cover. This is what my Indian friends call the "old" Shankaracharya, differentiating him from the newly selected "young" Shankaracharya who is currently off on what is the initiation for each of this line of successorship. He is touring India, and, over a period of years, is to visit every temple in the country. This is done in many trips, and the entire pilgrimage will take some ten years. By this time the "old" Shankaracharya is likely to have passed on, and the new one will assume the full role of leader of all of India's Hindus.

The rumor is that the sleeping Shankaracharya will wake shortly for his evening prayers and bath. The people gathered outside his door stir, staring into the darkness, looking for movement. The men are all on the left side and women on the right, all standing with their hands held palms together in the traditional Indian namaste.

Finally he does rise and comes out to his little veranda. He too stands with his hands in namaste. He is indeed very old. He wears the common garb of south Indian men, the skirt-like dhoti, and nothing else except a pair of very thick eyeglasses.

After a day of monumental temples and luxuriant silks, we see before us a very simple man. There is absolutely nothing here that could create this sense of reverence that we feel. He stands, silent, while an aide tells him of the petitions brought by the people there. My friend translates: the man speaking has bought a new car to come here to see Shankaracharya, so would Shankaracharya please bless this vehicle ... We are rather shocked and amused, but Shankaracharya seems not to notice. In fact, he seems to be present in the physical sense, but creates an impression of having a spiritual self hovering over the physical. He seems to be on both planes at once. Even the chatter of those who see a [12] visit to Shankaracharya as an opportunity to have their cars blessed doesn't destroy the sense of this being a place of spiritual presence. There is no need here for display of inspiring art to create an atmosphere of holiness, Shankaracharya himself does that.

Here in India, the land of hyperbolas, we find that a simple man, wearing a plain cotton dhoti and living in an unadorned hut, has told us more about the true essence of life than all of our philosophical questioning. He has shown us that divinity lies simply in Being. This has been the greatest memory of our trip to Kanchipuram.

[It is likely that the Samkaracharya mentioned above is the present representative of the successorship of teachers by the same name dating from the days of the original Samkaracharya, the Founder of the Vedanta School, who, according to Indian and Tibetan Initiates, was born in 510 B.C. Seeking for unimpeachable information regarding a point of doctrine, H.P.B. contacted in 1883 the teacher by the same name who at the time was at Mysore. She speaks of him as the "Pope of India, a hierarchy which spiritually reigns by succession from the first Samkaracharya of the Vedanta." She says that we should remember that he is "an initiated adept, the only man in India who now possesses the key to all the Brahmanical mysteries and has spiritual authority from Cape Comorin to the Himalayas and whose library is the accumulation of long centuries" (Collected Writings, Vol. V, p. 62.). Eventually, H.P.B. received his reply through T. Subba Row.

Kanchipura, corrupted into Conjeeveram, was erected under the original Samkaracharya and is considered as one of the most ancient towns in Southern India. T. Subba Row states that "it may be possible to ascertain the time of its construction if proper enquiries are made" (op. cit., p. 197.). - Editor, Theosophia.]

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WIZARDS BOOKSHELF 1972-1980
Richard I. Robb

As a specialized publisher in hermetic philosophy concentrating on out of print titles, it has been asked of me what can possibly be the raison d'etre behind so peculiar an enterprise. Surely the market for such books as those carried is infinitesimal. Moreover the readership is by necessity extraordinarily diverse, and difficult to contact through the usual means afforded by advertising. The subjects treated being beyond the pale of the average bibliophile attached to newspapers or magazines, by what means can it be expected that any of the titles could, or even would find their way to those interested? After seven years, it is possible to answer some of these questions, although not always directly. Many factors must be considered, and some are better left unsaid. However, the following thoughts are offered for those interested.

The original impulse for the inception of the enterprise resulted from a conviction based upon years of travel, and the recognition of a series of conditions that would appear in the future. [13]

Those years included a search for truth ... for an all encompassing philosophy that would answer the questions that stir the recesses of man's inner being, while offering absolute justice to the apparent inequities of the physical world. Such was the volume The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett. This led to The Secret Doctrine, and True Theosophy. But the content of The Secret Doctrine required a background that catches the average westerner completely off guard. His background is of parroting back so called "facts" as a basis for education, leaving the majority of his faculties dormant, while stultifying inquiry, concentrating on physical technology, leaving philosophy to rot. Helped by a spiritually bankrupt church that decries all that preceded it as "heathen," the western inquirer is cast into a black hole of preconceived ignorance, from which he must extricate himself. He must, in his desperation, throw off the bonds of superstition, and be consciously seeking the light of truth. In this frame of mind, he is capable of unlearning the lifetime of lies thrust upon him since childhood. He can, if persistent and dedicated, learn a new way of thinking, that opens huge vistas undreamt of previously. But to do this requires a background in basic understanding of ancient philosophies and civilizations, i.e., "what motivated them to express themselves thus?"

So, it was the desperation of unanswered questions that led to a search, which resulted in the discovery of divine wisdom, or that system called theosophy, with its implication of service and altruism as a polarizing mode to parallel mental effort. With this realization, the awareness of the cyclical impulse of philosophical inquiry to reemerge in the last quarter of the century, the conviction of the truth inherent in the prognostication that - "men will begin to discuss the secret doctrine in the last part of the 20th century" - and the need for background in S.D. studies, all prompted the origin of Wizards Bookshelf. There is more. Most of the works were not to be found in modern institutional libraries, despite the common impression that nearly everything worth knowing was held in those repositories. In fact, however, the more one observes, the more compelling becomes the idea that an entire arena of knowledge has been intentionally ignored by the moderns. This too is part of the purpose in reprinting these obscure works - to rectify the deplorable state of obscurity in which the ancient wisdom resides. Each title tends to add weight to some part of the thesis. A cohesive hidden truth permeates the whole. Together, they act as an advertisement for the most valuable work in the English language. Individually they provide for the student a firmer footing for understanding the S.D., and a tool for their particular subject area based on their own merits.

The first of these, J. Ralston Skinners' Source of Measures was published in July of 1972. Europe's most knowledgeable hermetic book dealer, W. N. Schors, gravely asserted that printing more than 300 copies was inadvisable, "as that is the sum total of those capable of reading it." To date, with absolutely no advertising per se, 1,350 copies were sold, and interest is increasing. For a hard cover book of this content, the future is encouraging, and [14] bodes well for the other 20 titles also.* (* [Later sales show the following: 2,100 copies sold of Divine Pymander, 1,700 cop. of Esoteric Budhism; 7,000 cop. of Book of Enoch; 2,500 cop. of Sacred Mysteries; 1,000 cop. of Gnostics, etc.; 800 cop. of the Zohar. - Editor, Theosophia.])

Some have been critical of the policy of publishing in hard cover with its attendant higher costs, rather than doing cheaper paperbacks, thus placing a barrier before those with limited funds. Yes, we could sell paperbacks faster, but to whom? The very nature of the subject matter eliminates the casual reader. This is serious business. We are thinking in terms of centuries, not years. Who can ever remember seeing a one hundred year old paperback? If the Zohar has been with us since the 14th century, how much longer the infinitely more detailed Secret Doctrine, with its reference works? The preservation of the latter through quality reprints helps to guarantee future generations' access to titles that seem easy for us to obtain only 100 years after 1888. Again, a quality book maintains its value over the years, and acts as an investment. When a hard cover edition is completely sold out, then a rerun in paperback can be considered.

In this century we have not only the last quarter impulse, but that of a whole new breed of young people, perhaps the forerunners of an entire sub-race, whose inclinations are unlike those of their progenitors. They are driven by a deeper motive to search. They instinctively feel their identity with unseen nature, and they have little inclination to emulate the errors of the past. They want theosophy, not platitudes; knowledge, not faith. For this reason we find Masons, Rosicrucians, Mormons, Astrologers, Kabbalists, and others, introduced to the existence of The Secret Doctrine through their exposure to one or more of a Wizards titles.

Of course such endeavors can, by their very nature, apply only to a segment of the population. But, hopefully, and again by intrinsic nature, they who struggle with the S.D. will be the leaders of the future, and their thinking will affect many. Lesser teachings, watered down to accommodate the masses, will dissolve into the sands of time, carried by the churlish fancies of a fickle public. "Never doubt that what we do has value. Though no one may know us, they shall know our works. The man is nothing, it is what he does in the flicker called a lifetime that counts."

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THE SECRET DOCTRINE REFERENCE SERIES

The Divine Pymander of Hermes Trismegistus. Translated from ancient Arabic MS. by John Everard (1650). 140 pp. $7.95.
The Virgin of the World. Translated and with Notes by Dr. Anna Bonus Kingsford and E. Maitland (1884). 200 pp. $8.95.
Esoteric Budhism, by Alfred Percy Sinnett. 5th annotated edition, with notes and index. 240 pp. paper $4.95. [15]
The Book of Enoch the Prophet. Translated by Richard Laurence from ancient Ethiopian MS. in the Bodleian Library (1883). New Index. 200 pp. $8.95.
Chaldean Account of Genesis, by George Smith (1876). Translated from the cuneiform Tablets, ca. 3000 B.C. Unearthed at Nineveh. 340 pp. $11.95.
Sacred Mysteries Among the Mayas and Quiches, by Dr. Augustus Le Plongeon. New bibliography, index. 200 pp.
The Origin and Significance of the Great Pyramid, by C, Staniland Wake (1882). Additional Notes, ill. 140 pp. paper $4.95.
The Desatir. Translated by Mulla Firuz Bin Kaus (1818) using the only copy extant (now lost) from a language of which no other vestiges exist. 200 pp. (English only). paper $6.95.
Pythagorean Triangle, by George Oliver (1875). Very rare work by a famous Freemason. New Notes and Bibliography. 260 pp. $9.95.
The Gnostics and their Remains, by Charles William King (enlarged, 1887 ed.). Bibliography, Appendix. 500 pp.
Mythological Astronomy of the Ancients Demonstrated, by Samson Arnold Mackey (1822), bound with the Key to Urania (1823). On the spiral precession of the Equinoxes, Hindu cycles, etc. 384 pp. $15.00.
Surya-Siddhanta. Translated by E. Burgess & W. D. Whitney from Sanskrit. Oldest astronomical treatise known. Index, Glossary, 368 pp. $17.50.
Key to the Hebrew-Egyptian Mystery in the Source of Measures, by J. Ralston Skinner (1875). With Supplement, new Index and Bibliography. 412 pp. $18.50.
Ancient Fragments, by Isaac Preston Cory. Reprint of the unedited edition of 1832. Collected from some 65 ancient authors whose writings have been largely lost. 360 pp. $18.50.
The Zohar (Bereshith or Genesis). Expository translation from Hebrew by Nurho de Manhar, with some 300 paragraphs from The Secret Doctrine appended as footnotes and marginal notes. Bibliography. 432 pp. $18.50.
Theon of Smyrna: Mathematics Useful for Understanding Plato, Pythagorean Arithmetic, Music, Astronomy, Music of the Spheres. First English translation by R. & D. Lawlor. Glossary, Index, 200 pp. $11.95.
New Platonism and Alchemy, by Dr. Alexander Wilder (1869). Biography and Bibliography. 30 pp. $2.50.
Plato: Cratylus, Phaedo, Parmenides, Timaeus, and Critias. Transl. by Thomas Taylor (1793), with his comments not included in later editions. Some 14 pages of comments from The Secret Doctrine, descriptive bibliogr. of Taylor's works, Taylor's portrait. Ltd. to 500 numbered copies. 500 pp. $30.00. [16]
The Theosophist: Volume I, October, 1879 - September, 1880. Centennial Reprint of the first journal of the Theosophical Society ever published. Large format 81/2 x 11. Hindu philosophy, translations, explorations, occult philosophy, mathematics. 320 pp. $9.95.
ORDER DIRECT FROM: WIZARDS BOOKSHELF, P.O. Box 6600, SAN DIEGO, CALIF., 92106, U.S.A.

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OFF THE PRESS EARLY 1980!
THE SECRET DOCTRINE
H.P. BLAVATSKY

A definitive edition of H. P. Blavatsky's magnum opus as an integral part of her Collected Writings.
The two original Volumes, as published in 1888, plus a separate Volume containing an entirely new Index and the first complete Bibliography ever published, both covering some 500 pages.
About 95% of all quotations and references have been most carefully checked, and corrected whenever required.
A few additional footnote references have been added in square brackets.
Notes and Comments by the Editor have been included at the end of each Volume, with information helpful to the serious student, amplifying in many cases H.P.B.'s references and facts concerning unusual subjects.
A 78-page historical introduction by the Editor outlines the way The Secret Doctrine was written, and the circumstances prevailing at the time it was produced.
Over 70 photographs present the portraits of many people H.P.B. mentions or quotes from, and various space-probe pictures obtained from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory which support or exemplify her statements along astronomical lines.

The Secret Doctrine is the source book of the modern Theosophical Movement. There is no comparable work in the entire field of Occultism for comprehensive sweep and grandeur of vision.
Over 2,000 pages - 6 ½ x 9 ½ - 3 Vols. in slip case - $40.00.
Order direct from: The Theosophical Publishing House. P.O. Box 270, Wheaton, Ill. 60187, U.S.A.