[Cover photo: Broad-Peak, Himalayas. (Photo by Vittorio Sella, Biella, Italy.)]
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"... it is interesting to observe how people allow their emotions to sway their judgment. People start off with a certain assumption or belief; and instead of viewing the evidence objectively, tend to twist it to fit with their preconceived belief or assumption. This is an extremely easy thing to do, especially when feelings are deeply concerned; but it is something which should be very closely watched, as otherwise it tends to warp our judgment profoundly, leading to wrong conclusions about matters of great concern ...
"We ourselves have noticed various people giving various different reasons for the same events and situations, and each 'reason' has turned out to be merely the rationalization of belief or assumption already held by the individual concerned. We thus find six individuals, shall we say, with six different reasons for the same event or events, each one fully convinced that his or her view is absolutely right, and this view is given the cachet of being the result of intuition. Therefore we come to the conclusion that this much vaunted intuition is merely rationalization of feelings based on assumption of beliefs which the individual in question wishes to secure approval of, for reasons which may not be conscious even to themselves ..." - Bulletin of the Corresponding Fellows' Lodge, No. 71, July 1951, p. 24 (published at 24 Upper Brighton Rd., Worthing, Sussex, England.).
"If an opinion contrary to your own makes you angry, that is a sign that you are subconsciously aware of having no good reason for thinking as you do." - Bertrand Russell.
"Our religion fails whenever it becomes a means of spiritual self-indulgence, making us feel good alone. It succeeds only when it drives us to an awareness of suffering, struggling humanity everywhere, so that we can no longer look upon ourselves as separate persons, but persons involved inextricably in the entire human struggle." - The Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America. 
The sacred Winter Solstice Season is once more just around the corner.
In a world of distressing emotional instability, of restlessness and uncertainty, of widespread unbrotherliness and greed, the Spirit of the Winter Solstice, with its attendant Christmas cheer, rises supreme over the troubled sea of human sorrow.
It is a realm all its own. Symbol of the regenerative powers of the Spirit, and of the innate divine potencies of every man, the Christmas Season is one of those truly universal ideas which cross every boundary created by the selfishness of man, and soar high above the limitations of our personal opinions and our vaunted self-sufficiencies. Its appeal is to the heart-life of every human being. Its clarion-call is stronger than the din of human battles or the clash of man's perverted passions on the battlefield of the lower mind.
From time immemorial and among all races of men, the sacredness and spiritual significance of the Winter Solstice have been recognized, under whatever names or terms or symbolisms. And the Christian world but adopted at a later time that which had already played such a prominent part in human thought in bygone ages. In celebrating this Season, in recognizing its sacredness, and in performing those devotional rites and ceremonies which pertain to the various schools of religio-philosophical thought to which each one of us may belong, we but follow in the lead of the ancients and attune ourselves to traditions and ideals hoary with age and universal in their application.
The mystic initiatory rites which belong to the Winter Solstice Season are not a matter of ancient history alone. They take place today. They have never ceased to be performed, and their spiritual importance and power is not dimmed by the emotional frenzies and the mental and psychological upheavals prevalent upon the outward stage of human history. Theirs is the power of the Spirit in man. Theirs is the potent alchemy of the Soul, and its inner transformation. Theirs is the mystery and the science of the living god in man, in its ultimate mastery over the man of flesh and its animal propensities.
The "miracle" of the Christ-child is no miracle at all, but a sober fact in the evolutionary history of every human being at a certain stage of his spiritual growth, when a permanent link is forged between the god-like entity within his consciousness and the raised and purified "humanhood", as a fit vehicle for the manifestation of the god within. The Winter Solstice Season, its central idea of human regeneration, its mystic symbolism, its initiatory connotations, and its sacredness, are therefore, all of them, as much integral parts of human consciousness and factors of the inner life, as they are actual cosmic events in the life and evolution of the Solar System in which we are but living cells.
There is in every human being a hidden "receiving set", which can be attuned by an adequate turning of the "dial" of his consciousness to the band of spiritual broadcasting which goes on at all times from certain mystic centers on the earth. And that consciousness of ours can be attuned at the Winter Solstice to the specially potent wavelengths emanating from those localities upon our globe where certain initiatory ceremonies are performed, whereby disciples, fit and well qualified, raise themselves to the stature of full-fledged Initiates, shedding the radiance of their spiritual glory upon all mankind. It lies in the power of every man to place himself en rapport with these mystic events, and to align his consciousness to the lines of force radiated from the centers of light in which these initiatory rites are performed. Physical distance plays no role in this, and distinctions of race, creed or color have no  effect, no more than does the mere intellectual learning of the man or his worldly position.
It is high time for the more progressive churches of Christendom to begin to interpret their scriptural allegories with the key provided by the Ancient Wisdom, and to read into them a deeper meaning lost for many centuries, or deliberately ignored for purposes of worldly power. Some churches are already doing so; more power to them; they are the forerunners of a deeper and richer interpretation of' the mystic legends, and the heralders of a new aspect of religious thought in Occidental lands. No basic change, however, can occur until we strip the Gospel stories of their artificial literal interpretation and uncover beneath their outward form the kernel of mystic truth they were intended to portray and symbolize. There is a far greater and nobler Christianity possible for the West than anything that has ever yet been attempted. And there could well arise from within the ranks of the Christian world, as it is today, a regenerative power of the spirit which would slowly but surely permeate the rank and file of the more progressive congregations and alter materially the spiritual and ethical climate of the world of today. As a matter of sober fact, it is the only way to lasting peace and good will among men of the West - a genuine, basic, dynamic and vital spiritual re-awakening, coming from within those elements of true religious life which have freed themselves from the straight-jacket of formalism and a moribund mediaeval theology, and have rededicated their hearts and minds to the surging powers of the spirit in man, the Christ-child of the mystic legends of old.
Before that power of the Spirit reborn, both Parliaments and Dictators would have either to bow or to fold their tents and slip out into the night.
What is needed in this restless and confused world of ours is indeed a return - a whole-hearted return - to a dynamic and vital recognition of the ethical values of life, and of the paramount force of Ethics in the structural harmony of the Universe. It is not that we need more science. It is not that we need more formal religion, or more ritualism or more books on this, that and the other. We have quite enough, and to spare. But what we do imperatively need, and with an urgency never before experienced, is to learn what to do with what we have, and how to live in order to use wisely what we have discovered and produced. And nothing short of an ethical re-awakening can ever fill our minds and hearts with the principles of conduct necessary for this transformation. And the transformation itself is possible only when we will have recognized, as a generation and a race, the reality of the indwelling divinity within every man, and its potential power to rise from its slumber and re-vitalize and re-invigorate the dried-up wells and channels of our minds, that seek the solution of the problem of life, the problem of human integration and solidarity. When the reality of the god in man will have become established in a large portion of mankind, even though it be but a partial recognition of its existence, we shall behold a new form of civilization rising from the fragments of the present one, a civilization based on genuine fraternal bonds all over the globe, on the dignity of every human being, and the spiritual certainty which alone can bring security of a higher order and an era of peace and good will.
Then indeed will the Spirit of Christmas be enthroned in the hearts of men, and the "dials" of our consciousness be permanently tuned to the broad wavebands of the Spirit.
When next you hear the Christmas Carols send their choral harmonies into the night, or listen to the sound of bells heralding from the towers the glad tidings of the Christmas Season, let these be to you the clarion-call of a United Mankind, free from its selfish chains, proud of its newly-won freedom, marching together from darkness into Light ... 
[It is with some uncertainty in our minds that we append the name of H.P. Blavatsky to the title of this essay. It is signed "Pilgrim", and contains some of the loftiest thoughts found in the pages of the magazine Lucifer, which H.P.B. started in London, September 1887. This essay was originally published in the December 1887, and January 1888, issues of Vol. I of Lucifer. It contains much that bears definitely the Blavatsky style, but it also contains expressions and similes reminiscent of the writings emanating from the Greek Adept known as Hillarion Smerdis who dictated Light on the Path, and wrote with H.P.B. some of her Occult Stories. Bertram Keightley, who was for a long time sub-editor of Lucifer, has stated that H.P.B. was in the habit of introducing some of her articles with a quotation or two, and that she wrote a number of essays under more than one nom de plume. This may be applicable to the present case. At least we are inclined to believe so. We commend this essay to the most careful attention of the intuitive student, and trust that its deeper implications will not escape him. Whatever its actual authorship may be, the noble ideas which it contains stem from a very high source. - Editor]
"In many mortal forms I rashly sought
"Apres l'amour eteint si je vecus encore
The loss of youth and love is the perpetual wail of the poets. A never-changing spring-time of life, where the sweet dreams of youth would be realised in the fruition of reciprocal love, such would be a heaven to them, and such is a heaven while it lasts. If we add to this the refined aesthetic taste that can delicately balance and appreciate to a nicety every joy of the senses, and the highly-developed intellect which can roam at will over the accumulated store of past ages of culture, what would there be left for poets to dream of? With heart, senses and mind worthily employed, and with the well-balanced nature that knows moderation alone can give continued bliss, could not man rest satisfied at last? What more could he desire?
It is useless to deny that life has very sweet gifts to give, though the number is limited of those who are capable of receiving them in their fulness. But even while these gifts are being enjoyed, it is felt that the horizon is bounded.
With what questioning uncertainty - albeit with fascination - does youth open its eyes upon the glamour of the dazzling world! The love of the Springtide, even in fruition, is continually building fairy bowers in the future - it never for long rests content in the present, while to the intellect the bounded scope of utmost learning is a still more definite goad towards a knowledge that shall transcend all past experience.
And even were man content to continue to drink of the one cup of bliss, he is never allowed to do so. The lessons of life, the great teacher, are continually being altered, and the tempest of the heart takes the place of the calm that was never expected to end.
If, then, we must look in vain to find permanent bliss in any of these things - if, beyond the highest intellectual culture of an intellectual age there gleams the vision of a higher knowledge - if behind the artistic refinement of this, as of all past flowers of civilization, the fount of all sweetness lies hid - if even the heart-binding communion of earthly love is but a faint reflex of the deep peace realized by him who has torn aside the veil that hides the Eternal, surely all man's energies should be devoted to the quest which will yield him such results.
The whole philosophy of life may be summed up in the Four great Truths  that Buddha taught, and no more convincing description of them can be read than that given in the lovely lines of the eighth book of the "Light of Asia". He who has once been deeply imbued with these great truths - who has realized the transitory nature of all earthly bliss, and the pains and sorrows that more than counterbalance the joys of life - will never in his truest moments desire to be again blessed, either in the present or in any future incarnation, with an uniformly happy life, for there is no such soporific for the soul as the feeling of satisfaction, as there is no such powerful goad as the feeling of dissatisfaction. He is bound to pass through periods of joy, but they will be looked forward to with fear and doubting, for then it is that the sense-world again fastens its fangs on the soul, to be followed by the pain of another struggle for freedom.
When first setting out on the great quest, it seems as if many life-times would fail to appease the dominant passion of the soul, but nature works quickly in the hottest climates, and from the very intensity of the desire may spring the strength and will to conquer it. Though it is probably the same key-note that is struck throughout, the dominant desire will appear to take a different tone through the ascending scale of life. It is a speculation, but one which would seem to receive endorsement from the analogies of nature; for as the human embryo in its antenatal development, exhibits in rapid succession, but with longer pauses as it approaches the period of birth, the characteristics of the lower races of animal life from which man has evolved, so does the human soul realize in its passage through life the dominant desires and attractions which have affected it through countless past incarnations. The lower desires which in past lives may have been more or less completely conquered, will be experienced in rapid succession and left behind without much difficulty, till the great struggle of the life is reached, from which man must come out more or less victorious if he is to continue the progress at all.
If right intention were the only thing needed, if it were a guarantee against being led astray, or if straying did not necessitate retardation on the road, there would be no such supreme necessity that belief should be in accordance with facts; but even in worldly affairs we see every day that purity of intention is no guard against the failures that come from lack of knowledge. In the great spiritual science therefore, which deals with the problem of life as a whole - not the mere fragment which this earthly existence represents - it will be seen how vitally necessary it is that facts should be conceived correctly.
To us whose eyes are blinded to the heights above, by the mists of our own desires, the only rays of light which can illumine the darkness of our journey on the great quest, are the words (whether or not in the form of recognized revelation) left by the masters who have preceded us on the road, and the counsel of our comrades who are bound for the same goal. But words are capable of many interpretations, and the opinions of our comrades are coloured by their own personality - the ultimate touch-stone of truth must therefore be looked for in the disciple's own breast.
Having stated the necessity for correct belief, let us now consider the question of the great achievement - the annihilation of Karma - the attainment of Nirvana. It must be acknowledged as a logical proposition that Karma can never annihilate Karma, i.e., that no thoughts, words, or acts of the man in his present state of consciousness, can ever free him from the circle of re-births. This view would seem to necessitate some power external to the man to free him - a power which has touch of him, and which would have to be allied to him.
Now the teachings which have been put before the world in "Light on the Path" state the other side of the question. "Each man is to himself absolutely the way, the truth, and the life." And again, "For within you is the light of the world, the only light that can be shed upon the Path. If you are unable to  perceive it within you, it is useless to look for it elsewhere." It would seem that the solution of this great paradox must be sought for in the constitution of man, as described in theosophic writings. Indeed, it is the scientific statement of deep spiritual truths which gives to the Theosophic teachings their remarkable value, and which seems likely to carry conviction of their truth to the Western peoples, who have for too long been accustomed to the mere emotional sentimentality of the orthodox religions, and to the pessimistic negation of science.
The higher principles, as they have been called, in the constitution of man, particularly the divine Atma, through which he is allied to the all-pervading Deity, must ever remain deep mysteries. But at least they are cognizable by the intellect, as providing logical stepping-stones for spanning the great gulf between Humanity and Divinity - the Power - the correct cognition of which provides the very link between both systems of thought - which is at the same time external to man, and has touch of him by its own divine light which enlightens him, and which is also the very man himself - his highest and truest Self.
For most of us it is the "God hidden in the Sanctuary," of whose very existence we are unaware, known under the name of Iswara or the Logos - the primal ray from the Great Unknown. It is the Chrestos of the Christians, but, save, perhaps, to a few mystics in the Roman or Greek churches, it has been degraded past recognition by their materialistic anthropomorphism. A help to its better understanding may be obtained by a reference to Sanscrit philosophy, which describes man's nature as consisting of the three gunas or qualities - Satwa, goodness, Rajas, passion, and Tamas, darkness, or delusion - and the nature of most men is made up almost entirely of the two last named - while the Logos is pure Satwa.
The vexed question, therefore, as to whether man is freed by his own dominant will, or by the power of the Logos, will be seen to be very much a distinction without a difference. For the attainment of final liberation the God within and the God without must co-operate.
Desire being, as Buddha taught, the great obstacle in the way, its conquest by the dominant will is the thing that has to be done, but the Divine will cannot arise in its power, till the conviction of the Supreme desirability of attaining the eternal condition is rendered permanent; and it is this that necessitates the goad which the Logos is continually applying by its light on the soul.
We are now face to face with a very difficult problem - it is, in fact the gulf which separates the Occultist from the Religionist, and it is here that it is so necessary to get hold of the correct idea.
"Strong limbs may dare the rugged road which storms,
The short cut to perfection referred to in the first two lines has been
called in Theosophic writings "the perilous ladder which leads to
the path of life." To have faced the fearful abyss of darkness of
the first trial, without starting back in terror at the apparent annihilation
which the casting aside of the sense-life implies, and out of the still
more awful silence of the second trial; to have had the strength to evoke
the greater Self - the God that has hitherto been hidden in the sanctuary
- such is the language used with reference to the very first - nay, the
preliminary - steps on this path, while the further steps are represented
by the ascending scale of the occult Hierarchy, where the neophyte or
chela, through a series of trials and initiations, may attain the highest
Adeptship, and the man may gradually leave behind him his human desires
and limitations, and realise instead the attributes of Deity. - Pilgrim.
There are many different kinds and concepts of freedom. Spiritual, psychological and material are the three kinds that would include all other forms, such as economic and political freedoms, with which we shall not be dealing in this particular article, though we do not deny their importance.
In any of its forms, freedom certainly is a relative matter. We are experiencing in our consciousness every day different degrees of freedom as well as various amounts of lack of freedom. In fact, we are learning more and more that the term 'relative' is implied in practically every statement of fact that we may make.
We might find ourselves in a state where we would have practically no physical freedom if we were crippled or seriously ill, or confined within the barriers of a jail, and yet have a relatively large scope of mental and spiritual range having to do with a high degree of freedom. Thomas Paine wrote some of his finest works while confined within a prison cell.
Or we might find ourselves confronted by a very large amount of physical or material work ahead of us, and yet have a clear and unagitated perspective whereby we would not be bound nor feel unduly restricted. Or we could find ourselves in the situation of having many problems at hand requiring a great amount of mental effort and judgment and not be upset nor tied down by an attitude of discomfort or worry.
How frequently, however, do we find ourselves complaining - vocally or in the silence of our minds - when we have too much to do, thus destroying that freedom that comes when the mental outlook is realistic and calm, and is able to deal adequately with the pressure of the problems requiring our careful and conscientious attention.
Responsibilities, duties and obligations may seriously affect or limit the freedom of one individual, whereas another may actually feel more free under these weights. If it is one's duty, obligation or responsibility to pay a debt, is it not better to do the things cheerfully that are expected of us in order that our conscience be free and clear?
Psychologically, we are bound or free according to our mental and emotional concepts. If our outlook is bright, realistic enough to deal with the facts, and if we have a normal sense of the fitness of things, our freedom is enlarged and our joy increased. But, when we insist on being pessimistic without cause, or refuse to try to fit ourselves to the Karma of our own making, we are maladjusted cases whose freedom is limited.
Spiritually, we are already free. It is the mind, the emotions and the vital-physical principles that produce our lack of freedom. The spirit flows freely and in generous abundance. All too often we prevent it from flowing through us and thus lose the inspiration, courage and perseverance, to deal with the experiences that the Soul requires in its evolution from relative imperfection and lack of freedom to relative perfection and the joy of unrestrictiveness.
On the mental plane, we can learn to become more free as we adopt a more philosophical attitude in regard to the hourly events that pass before or through our consciousness. We can be closely allied with an individual that might appear to restrict our freedom of action and thinking, instead of recognizing that the experience may be a challenge to us to learn the art of freedom within restraint.
How free are we anyway? How free do we wish to be? How much are we bound? Who binds us? Who can free us? What does freedom mean to us? Could we stand very long being wholly free from the duties that must and should be performed?
An old philosopher friend of mine once said to me, "We are only free to  fit", which he explained to mean that we do have a part to play, whoever we may be, and that to play our part with a more profound degree of inner understanding enables us to fit ourselves more completely into all circumstances, and free ourselves from the attitudes that are born of superficial conceptions. Perhaps you do not agree with him. Or do you?
The wider and deeper our sympathies are inwardly, the more freedom do we feel. We are forever free and forever bound - a paradox that points to the need for the reconciliation of the eternal pairs of opposites, which alas can never be reconciled.
It is the attitude of the mind and of the inner feeling deep within us, that we call the heart, that produces those increasing degrees of freedom that make us understand that we are bound by our Karma and bound to the Infinite Universe, because we are an integral part thereof. The Infinite is the Sea upon which we set our sail and rudder as we choose, with more or less freedom, according to our Karmic destiny and the destiny of the over-all pattern, the two working together to produce an all-inclusive freedom throughout the Infinity of Time.
You are free right now. Or are you not?
Students of the Atlantis problem are in virtually unanimous agreement that the architectural form which is known as the pyramid originated in the cultures which populated the now sunken continent. As Ignatius Donnelly says in his Atlantis, the Antediluvian World, "... in Atlantis, the habitation of the gods, we find the original model of all those pyramids which extended from India to Peru."
But when efforts are made to decipher two related questions which concern the pyramids, unity ceases and a great controversy arises. The first of the problems is, how old are the pyramids which we know today? And the second asks, what is the significance of the pyramidal structure?
That the pyramid has been known from the earliest times appears to be evident upon a study of the more liberal authorities. For instance, H.P. Blavatsky writes:
"... such 'pyramids' existed in the four corners of the world and were never the monopoly of the land of the Pharoahs ... If the true geometrically correct pyramids are no longer found in European regions, many of the supposed early Neolithic caves, of the colossal triangular, pyramidal and conical menhirs in the Morbihan ... many of the Danish tumuli and even of the 'giant tombs' of Sardinia ... are so many more or less clumsy copies of the pyramids. Many of these are the works of the first settlers on the newly-born continent and isles of Europe, the ... races that remained after the submersion of the last Atlantean continents and islands (850,000 years ago), with the exception of Plato's Atlantean island." (The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, page 352.)
That some of the older pyramids were erected before the great catastrophe which changed the Earth's polar inclination can be demonstrated by a study of their orientation. In The Last Change of the Earth's Axis, Fred G. Plummer points out that:
"... a large area in the neighborhood of the middle states is dotted with thousands of mounds, large and small, circular, square, and other figures. They are the work of a very ancient people - so ancient that we have almost no record of them excepting the mounds and their contents. We know, however, that, like other people, they liked symmetry of form, and their work shows they were mathematicians. Their squares, rectangles and circles are perfect ... 
"The sides of these mounds do not face north, east, south and west, but they did when they were built, and indicate now that the poles have changed ...
"... we can get the same testimony from such of the Egyptian pyramids as were built before the change. Regarding the pyramids in the necropolis of Sakkarah, Mariette Bey says: 'In the center, forming as it were the nucleus of this vast ensemble, rises a pyramid curiously built in six gradients ... this step-shaped pyramid dates from the first dynasty, and is consequently the most ancient known monument.'
"Now it may be a 'coincidence' that these 'most ancient' of the pyramids do not face the present cardinals, but all are several degrees out of line, although parallel with each other. There is every reason to believe that the pyramids were built square with the world. There is no conceivable reason for having them otherwise, and the fact that they are so widely separated shows, as in the case of the mounds, that the builders had a definite direction to work to, and that was the former pole ... The great pyramid was built after the change of axis ..." (Pages 17-18.)
In regard to the age of the Great Pyramid of Egypt, Manly Palmer Hall contributes the following statement in his Encyclopedic Outline of ... Symbolical Philosophy:
"In the light of the secret philosophy of the Egyptian initiates, W.W. Harmon, by a series of extremely complicated yet exact mathematical calculations, determines that the first ceremonial of the Pyramid was performed 68,890 years ago on the occasion when the star Vega for the first time sent its ray down the descending passage into the pit. The actual building of the Pyramid was accomplished in the period of from ten to fifteen years immediately preceding this date.
"While such figures doubtless will evoke the ridicule of modern Egyptologists, they are based upon an exhaustive study of the principles of sidereal mechanics as incorporated into the structure of the Pyramids by its initiated builders." (Page 42.)
If the informed opinions of these and other researchers agree regarding the age of the pyramidal type of structure, we do not need to hesitate in assigning its origin to an extremely early date. And we can then face the second problem, regarding the significance of their erection.
The first of the two ideas on this subject derives the pyramid from the "sacred hill" of Atlantis. In Plato's account of the island of Poseidon, we find the following:
"On the side (of the island) toward the sea ... there was a plain which is said to have been the fairest of all plains ... Near the plain again, and also in the centre of the island, at a distance of about fifty stadia, there was a mountain, not very high on any side ... Poseidon ... enclosed the hill ... all round, making alternate zones of sea and land, larger and smaller, encircling each other ..."
Lewis Spence, one of the foremost Atlantean authorities, adheres to this theory, stating:
"That the pyramid was evolved out of the idea of the sacred hill appears as the most probable solution of the mystery underlying its origin ... We have seen that the mountain is clearly associated with the tradition of Atlantis ... American and Egyptian pyramids have thus a common evolutionary history. Both would appear to trace their descent to the sacred hill of Atlantis mentioned by Plato ..." (Atlantis is America, pages 155-157.)
Donnelly and several other atlantologists agree with this interpretation. On the other hand, we find the "fire-form" hypothesis, which is presented by its exponents as follows:
"The figure of the pyramid and that of the obelisk, resembling the  shape of a flame, caused these monuments to be consecrated to the Sun and to Fire. And Timaeus of Locria says: 'The equilateral triangle enters into the composition of the pyramid, which has four equal faces and equal angles, and which in this is like fire, the most subtile and mobile of the elements.'" (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, pages 459-460.)
"The pyramidal or triangular form which Fire assumes in its ascent to heaven is in the monolithic typology used to signify the great generative power. We have only to look at ... the Babel-towers of Central America ... the Pyramids of Egypt ...
"... the great Pyramids are nothing but the world-enduring architectural attestation ... of the universal flame-faith ... There is little doubt that as token and emblem of fire-worship, as indicative of the adoration of the real, accepted deity, these Pyramids were raised." (Hargrave Jennings, The Rosicrucians, Their Rites and Mysteries, pages 70, 71 and 106.)
Whether either or both of these concepts is correct, it appears certain that the pyramid was a peculiarly Atlantean development. And if we look to it for evidence as to the extent of the Atlantis empire, it demonstrates that the sages of the island continent knew the size and shape of the Earth, the location of the equator and the poles, and many other geographical and topographical facts, and traveled over thousands of miles to carry out the establishment of their culture-pattern on a world-wide basis.
For on the thirtieth parallel of North latitude - or as near to it as possible - spaced equidistantly around it, were six great centers, four of which still survive, that date far back into antiquity, and are a nucleus for traditions relating to Atlantis. And at each one of these four existing points, and traditionally at a fifth, pyramids are located, some of which are the most outstanding examples of this type of architecture known today.
The hexagram, or six-pointed star, composed of two interlaced triangles, is another symbol which is quite old and widely distributed. And the Atlanteans appear to have laid out an imaginary hexagram, with its center on the polar axis of the Earth, and one point touching the city of Poseidonis about which Plato wrote, and erected their most important subsidiary religious seats at the other points. It is even more remarkable that the thirtieth parallel, near which all of these points lie, is so located that any place upon it is equally distant from the center of the Earth and the North Pole.
The information which can be derived from Plato and other sources regarding the island "before the pillars of Hercules," which was "larger than both Libya and Asia (Minor) together," and the geological and geographical evidence, would seem to place the metropolis of Poseidonis at almost exactly 30' North and 30' West, on the eastern coast of the island. Here was the original sacred hill, and the birthplace of the worship of fire as a symbol of the Sun - religious belief which was to be carried by the Atlanteans to all parts of the globe.
Sixty degrees further west, at Longitude 90', is the peninsula of Yucatan. While located somewhat south of the thirtieth parallel, the colonists very probably had no choice as to their selection of this site, since the precise location would have placed them in the swamps and lowlands at the delta of the Mississippi River, providing an unsuitable foundation for the erecting of large buildings.
In Yucatan are found some of the most outstanding examples of pyramid building known today. The entire country is dotted with them, large and small, some of what is termed the "step pyramid" style, rising in a series of levels, and others of the smooth-sided design. At Chichen-Itza, the Mayan city which once covered more than a dozen square miles, the most famous pyramid is El Castillo, which together with the temple  situated on the top platform is over one hundred feet in height.
Another extraordinary pyramid, with steeply slanting sides, is located in Uxmal, rising a hundred feet high with a ground area about 160 feet wide by 240 feet long. And at Cholula, Mexico, is what has been termed the greatest American pyramid; while only 177 feet high, it has a base of approximately 1440 feet on each side. Dr. Augustus Le Plongeon, who made extensive studies of the Maya culture, believed that they incorporated religious and cosmogonic concepts in their buildings, particularly the pyramids, and designed them in a mathematical relationship to the Earth's dimensions.
Out in the Pacific Ocean, almost exactly sixty degrees straight from Yucatan, at Longitude 150' West, lie the Hawaiian Islands. Among the traditions found here are a number, which appear to relate to the prehistoric civilization of Atlantis, including a creation legend which resembles those of the other closer Atlantean colonies. And while, due to the difficulties of erecting large structures on these islands, it was impossible to construct pyramids like those of Yucatan and Egypt, still the inhabitants produced the most reasonable facsimile they could devise with the available material.
In History of the Hawaiian or Sandwish Islands by James Jarves, published in 1843, occurs this description: "Temples or heiaus were commonly erected upon hills, or near the sea, and formed conspicuous objects in the landscapes. They were works of great labor, built of loose stones, with sufficient skill to form compact walls ... three large heiaus were erected, one of which presented a solid pyramid of stone, one hundred and twenty-six feet by seventy, and ten feet high."
Westward sixty degrees again, at Longitude 150' East, is the missing point of the sacred star in the Pacific. Very close to this spot is Ganges Island, which most maps show as "existence doubtful." But it is very probable that this area was once a larger land mass, which may have sunk beneath the ocean in comparatively recent times. The results of the joint University of California - U.S. Navy expedition, entitled "Operation Midpac," showed that a great mountain range more than a thousand miles long and at least one hundred miles wide stretches beneath the central Pacific. Most of the mountain peaks were flat on top, as if eroded in shallow water, which is exactly the circumstance which would prevail, at an "existence doubtful" island which still lay only a short distance below the surface.
Another westward jump of sixty degrees along the thirtieth parallel brings us to 90' East, almost in the heart of Tibet, where many very old writings preserve the Atlantean traditions. And a short distance away from this point, near Sian, Shensi Province, in western China, what may be the largest pyramid in the world has recently been discovered. This immense structure has not yet been approached and studied from the ground, but aerial photographs reveal it to be more than 1,500 feet wide at the base and about 1,000 feet high.
Relatively little is known archaeologically about this region. Sian was a capital of the Han Dynasty in China several centuries B.C., but the pyramid, forty miles away, appears to have been almost entirely ignored by ancient and contemporary authorities alike. A small village lies a short distance away from the great, perfectly shaped pyramid, and hundreds of burial mounds, some also of pyramidal shape, are reported nearby.
Sixty degrees further west again is Egypt - located exactly on the juncture of Latitude 30' North and Longitude 30' East. Here the building of pyramids has been carried on for thousands of years, and both the step and the flat-sided pyramid are to be found. While the structure at Giza is the largest - being 756 feet square and 481 feet high, covering an area of thirteen acres - many of the pyramids which preceded it approached these dimensions. The step construction at Sakkara is nearly 400 feet square at the base, while  the remarkable bent pyramid at Dahshur has a base 620 feet square. Since many authorities consider Egypt to have been one of the most important colonies of Atlantis, the erection of pyramids there, which continued until about 1800 B.C., can be attributed to the proximity of Egypt to Poseidonis and the easily traversed sea routes between them. For a final step of sixty degrees westward returns us to the "City of the Golden Gates," the capital of Poseidonis, from which we started.
The existence of the six points of Atlantean pyramid-building was rediscovered by the antiquarian Frank C. Higgins, and presented by him in Azoth magazine for November, 1919, in an article titled "New Light on Atlantis." Regarding this problem, he wrote:
"Can we conceive of any more stupendous project or loftier idea for the immortalization of their royal science than that conceived by the proto-Masons of ages past, who seemingly proposed to bequeath their lessons to infinite posterity in no less striking a fashion than that of constructing this famous old Masonic emblem (the hexagram) on proportions which would require no less a stage than the whole northern hemisphere of our terrestrial globe for its elaboration?
"Of the knowledge which must have been possessed by those who conceived the idea ... no one can reckon today, but ... their achievement is proven by not only imperishable architectural remains but by legends which will never die and, even more, by living evidence in the yet surviving traces of the great secret brotherhood of Masonic adepts who sought to encompass the world with a memorial of their mystic tie."
The proof of the existence of this great pattern of pyramid-building has filled another gap in our study of the lost continent - a study which is complicated by the circumstance which H.P. Blavatsky points out in The Secret Doctrine (Volume II, pages 763-4.):
"So secret was the knowledge of the last islands of Atlantis, indeed - on account of the superhuman powers possessed by its inhabitants, the last direct descendants of the gods or divine Kings, as it was thought - that to divulge its whereabouts and existence was punished by death."
Our newly organized Promotion Fund has received further donations for which the Editorial Staff of Theosophia expresses sincere thanks to one and all. As previously stated, the purpose of the Fund is:
1. To build a small reserve upon which to rely in case of need.
Anyone wishing to send a donation to this Fund should bear in mind that every dollar counts, and that we welcome any amount, however small it may be. It is the spirit that is of greater importance than the actual money, and often a small donation backed by a powerful thought of encouragement may become a magnetic center which will attract larger amounts from elsewhere.
We acknowledge herewith, with sincere gratitude, the following donations received up to December 1, 1951: G.H.H. $1.35; F.P. $2.50; G.P. $0.50; M.T. $4.00; G.C.L. $2.00; D.W.B. $5.00; B.G. & F.A.C. $29.15; E.V.D. $1.00; E.A.S. $3.00; R.V. $13.89; L.V. $0.50; F.R. $3.00; L.C. $1.00; Anon. $25.00; N.G. $4.50; F.L.L. $10.00; G.S. $5.00; G.C.L. $1.00; E.E.O. $2.00; P.L.V. $0.50; C.W. $1.75; F.L.L. $10.00; Anon. $50.00. 
Theosophia would welcome receiving from subscribers and friends any Questions they may like to ask regarding the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom and their application to daily life. Any type of Question is welcome, with the exception of subjects bordering on political or sectarian matters, or organizational and personal differences. - Editor.
What light can Theosophy throw upon psychological problems which tend to repeat themselves over and over again, with but slight variations of circumstances involved. How best to handle them and solve them?
Most of the serious problems in our lives, whether psychological or otherwise, are but the repetition of similar problems created by us in former incarnations. Whenever we face a problem which seems unsolvable and which keeps repeating itself from time to time, with a somewhat changed stage setting, we can be sure that it is one of the chief problems which we have failed to solve in a former life and which was merely postponed to a future existence. At the time in this present incarnation when we stand, as it were, upon that curve of the spiral path of growth which is directly above the corresponding curve or section of the spiral belonging to some former life or lives, and upon which is impressed the record of our former failure in any given problem, we feel impinging forces which vitalize the karmic seeds of the past and thrust forward into our everyday consciousness the same problem. There is no escape. The problem must be solved before we can advance any further. To blame other people for our own lack of understanding, is to create new problems to be added to the old ones. To imagine that the essence and cause of our problem lies in other people and their relation to us, is to indulge in the old superstition that those others are being separate and wholly distinct from us, and have the alleged power of affecting us from some kind of an "outside". As we are all indissolubly bound together, and as others are but an extension of ourselves, the entire reaction on our part shows our immaturity of understanding, and our inability to grasp the basic postulate of spiritual Oneness, and to apply it to life. The solution to most psychological problems can be found by a realistic, impersonal, non-emotional, reasonable and cool attitude, which, though difficult to attain, can nevertheless be striven for and gradually developed. It is safe to assume that the overwhelming number of our problems arise from one or another modification of our inherent selfishness, which has been for long ages the fundamental key-note of most human beings in their intellectual, psycho-mental and physical aspects. These aspects of their consciousness obscure the basic, essential selflessness and spiritual goodness of their higher nature. The latter tries at all times to penetrate through the enshrouding veils of the lower selfhood, often without much success.
Harassing psychological problems can be actually made into stepping stones for our progress along the path, if they are taken as friends in disguise, trying to teach us that particular lesson which is needed the most at the place and moment we find ourselves. How many times most of us are running away from our problems, or finding avenues of escape, imagining that we can thus avoid their goad. Whatever else we may be able to do, we can never run away from ourselves, not even through the portals of seeming death, because everywhere and at all times we take ourselves along, even into a future incarnation. The only way out is for us to tackle the problem like a man, sure in our greater consciousness that impersonality, courage, kindness, self-forgetfulness and a growing sense of universality within ourselves, will eventually overcome every obstacle. In many cases such problems and obstacles, the moment we really tackle them and challenge their illusory power disappear like mists before the rising sun. 
The origin of the caste system in India lies in the concept of Dharma, the whole right practice of life founded on the highest wisdom, a living according to that right view of self-culture. The problem of how to take the natural life of man and fit into it all the high laws and intentions of Vedic wisdom and truth was worked out along two lines, the system of the Chaturvarna or four classes and the four Asramas or four stages of the developing life. The idea of a spiritualized typal society arose from the supposition that each man has his own peculiar nature which is born and reflects one element of the divine nature. Each individual's character, ethics, training, social occupations and his spiritual possibilities must be developed within the conditions of that element and its laws. However this original theory of varna or class, like all theories put into practice, did not correspond to the practice. This theory divided man in society into the fourfold order: the spiritual and intellectual man, the dynamic man of will, the vital, pleasure-loving and economical man, and the material man.
The whole society organized in these four constituent classes represented the complete image of the creative and active cosmic Being. As set forth in the Purusha Sukta of the last book of Rig-Veda - four orders sprang from the body of God, his head, arms, thighs and feet. These were symbols of men of knowledge or Brahmanas, men of power or Kshatriyas, producers and supporters of society or Vaisyas, and servants or Sudras. The four orders ,were understood to stand for: the Divine as knowledge in man, the Divine as power, the Divine as production and enjoyment, and the Divine as service, obedience and works. Thus social orders gradually developed from this.
The psychological, ethical, economic and physical aspects were subordinated to this spiritual and religious idea at the first symbolic stage of the evolution of varna. The idea of the four Yoga branches of Jnana, Raja, Karma, and Bhakti, of Wisdom, Kingly Power, Action and Devotion, corresponding to the original divisions of the caste system, gradually receded and the social and ethical ideals developed became the basis of these orders. The honor of the Brahmana resided in purity, piety and a high reverence for things of the mind and spirit, along with a disinterested possession and pursuit of learning and knowledge; that of a Kshatriya lay in courage, chivalry, strength, self-restraint, self-mastery and nobility of character, as well as in the obligations of that nobility ; that of a Vaisya was maintained by rectitude in all his dealings, fidelity in mercantile matters, sound production, liberality and philanthropy; that of a Sudra consisted in giving himself in service with disinterested devotion.
Unfortunately these ideals gradually became noble conventions, mere traditions in the thoughts and on the lips of people, rather than living realities. Outward signs became more important than the inner value and motive, body and clothes more important than character, and the four orders became hereditary castes, exaggerating outer differences out of all proportion. Facility and capacity were no longer considered, mere birth determined the conventional training and education. Thus the outer life of the social structure fixed itself into four distinct castes in a rigid manner called Jatis or 'Births', because it was based on birth rather than the deeper qualities of character and occupation. Now priest and pandit masquerade often under the name of a Brahmana, the aristocrat and feudal landowner as a Kshatriya, the trader and money-getter as a Vaisya, and the laborer and economic serf as a Sudra. With the economic break-down of the nation this system reveals all the rottenness of its decay and is now a sham, a shell that prevails, but from which the true spirit  is gone. Thus we find that modern progressive leaders of India, both in politics and in spiritual ashrams are doing everything in their power to abolish the system. Now the new constitution of India forbids discrimination of any kind due to caste.
If the Indian idea of varna in its purity had been strictly held to, it would have been a very marked element of distinction and superiority in the social life of the people. But to order a society from this high and fine psychological basis is difficult, even for the best of people, for society being something like a machine, gravitates towards the material standards. The truth is that it is difficult for a living society to fit into a cut pattern and tradition. Thus Indian society did not escape the deficiencies of corruption, degeneration and oppression.
It is interesting to note that this division of castes did not belong to the early Vedic age, in the highest periods of spiritual culture, for it is too fixed, too conventional. It was realized that each man contains in himself the whole divine potentiality and that even the lowest type of man, the simplest laborer, can become a manifested God.
As regards the 'confusion of castes' as mentioned by Arjuna in his plea to Krishna, it is to be understood as an intellectual, social statement, not a dicta of spiritual vision, for Krishna challenges Arjuna to a still higher Dharma beyond mere outer forms.
It was in the age when philosophical and intellectual development prevailed with its fixed concepts evolved by reason, that caste and its divisions were organized and developed. The law of the highest age is the large development of the whole truth of our being in the realization of a spontaneous and self-supported spiritual harmony. But this can only be a living reality when the divine ranges of our being are awakened and developed. This caste-scheme was originally a noble one, certainly greater than many of the political and social mechanisms of later ages and of today. It was a structure that enabled man to pay his debt to society, and to fill a place in life and help in the maintenance of the life of the community or nation, and also to take from it the legitimate and desired satisfactions. But there was even a larger view, for Indian culture never forgot the individual self so full of infinite possibilities, the universal Being. Thus in each varna there existed its highest ideal of manhood, as given above, through which each could develop the inner man according to his Dharma, and in time work beyond to the universal Dharma.
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY: Intern'l Hdqrts., Adyar, Madras, India. C.
Jinarajadasa, President. Off. Organ of the Pres.: The Theosophist.
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY: Intern'l Hdqrts., Covina, Calif., U.S.A. Arthur
L. Conger, Leader. Off. Organ: The Theosophical Forum.
THE UNITED LODGE OF THEOSOPHISTS: selected list of centers -