[Cover photo: St. Moritz, Upper-Engadine Valley, Switzerland (Altitude 6,000).]
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"The Christmas tree, dotted with lights and bright with tinsel that reflects those lights and multiplies them manifold, is an old pre-Christian symbol used by the peoples of Northern Europe at the time of the Winter Solstice; and here is the inner significance of it:
"Have you never heard of the World-Tree with its roots in the realms of Spirit and whose branches are the great suns and systems of suns? This World-Tree began in the beginning of this Cosmic Age to bring forth all the stellar hosts. Now the Winter Solstice is the beginning of the cosmic New Year, and so these northern peoples knowing some of the ancient truths, celebrated this cosmic event with the Christmas tree. It symbolizes the World-Tree, and the lights are the suns that bestrew the deeps of Space, hinting to us the message from the divinities who constantly give us the light of love, the light of mind, the light of hope eternal. But so far have we fallen from the wisdom of our forefathers that now the Christmas tree has become merely a sign of festivity, except for the few who preserve its significance in their hearts.
"The giving of gifts on the Christmas tree was emblematic of the self-dedication of the gods so that the worlds might come into being. "Here is my gift. It is born from myself'." - G. de Purucker, Wind of the Spirit, p. 241.
In the final analysis there is but one road to peace and that is the road of fellow-feeling and inflexible determination to achieve peaceful relations among men ... I am optimistic enough about my fellow-beings to believe that it is human attitudes, not human nature that must be changed ... Every individual today has it in his power in his daily living, in his attitudes and practices - to contribute greatly to the realization of that ideal." - Ralph Bunche, quoted in the New Outlook, November 1952. 
Another twelve-months have ticked away on the cosmic dial of Father Time, and the sacred Winter Solstice Season is just around the corner.
With the unbreakable regularity of world-rhythms, and with the unshakable trustworthiness of Nature's processes, the seasons have rolled around and brought us once again to the mystic point in this yearly cycle when deep spiritual currents rise temporarily to the surface of human life.
We knew we could count on it in advance. We could be sure of it. We were not too sure of anything else. We did not know whether the scientists of our era might not reduce us to a mere cloud of electrons by atom-bombing us some bright morning. We were none too sure whether some gang of political demagogues might not suddenly unleash upon us another world-shaking conflagration. We had no certainty whatsoever whether our assets and material possessions might not with equal suddenness be reduced to a heap of worthless junk ... But somehow or other we could be absolutely sure, right deep within our very heart-of-hearts, that the Winter Solstice Season would come again, in the regular sequence of cosmic cycles; and that neither politician nor demagogue, neither scientist nor dictator, will have any appreciable effect upon the majestic sweep of Cosmic Law. What a marvelous surety to be "sure" of!
We were right. The Winter Solstice is here again, and the unseen tap which somehow or other turns on the stream of spiritual thoughts has been opened. Soon we will feel the full force of its current, and partake once more of its inspiration.
The sacredness of this season is linked with the very structure and constitution of man himself. We are an integral and inseparable portion of the Cosmic Stream and live our relatively short lives within the overall current of the River of Life, as droplets of the stream, floating onward upon the swirling current of Time. The ebb and flow of Cosmic Life rise and fall in rhythm with the symphonic poem of the Master Musician who is back of the shining and glittering, ever-changing stage-setting, directing the wondrous play, infusing Itself into its very fiber and being.
As the Sun moves northward, after the Winter Solstice, bringing new life to Nature and new strength to every living thing, so does the Spiritual Sun within each human being if the latter is attuned to the cosmic rhythm of life. We have within ourselves the rhythms of the whole of Nature, and its processes are reflected in the seemingly small scale of human life.
The Winter Solstice Season has ever been the Season of Initiations, wherein the neophyte comes face to face with his own indwelling Divinity, forging a permanent link between himself, as man, and this cosmic center of divine life within his higher being. To do so successfully, the neophyte must of necessity be in perfect harmony with the outer and inner processes of Nature, and his own internal economy, as it were, must be in complete alignment with the currents pulsating through Mother Nature. His success depends not only upon what he is himself, as far as consciousness, mind and soul are concerned, but also upon the degree of correlation that exists between himself and the spiritual mechanics of Nature, wherein the position of the Suit and certain planets plays a paramount role. Hence, the Winter Solstice time is intimately connected with the spiritual awakening of the neophyte, and his ultimate achievement of permanent illumination.
We are all Seekers. May this Winter Solstice Season find us closer to the object of our spiritual search! 
"The veil which covers the face of futurity is woven by the hand of Mercy." - Bulwer Lytton
A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! This seems easy enough to say, and everyone expects some such greeting. Yet, whether the wish, though it may proceed from a sincere heart, is likely to be realized even in the case of the few - is more difficult to decide. According to our theosophical tenets, every man or woman is endowed, more or less, with a magnetic potentiality, which when helped by a sincere, and especially by an intense and indomitable will - is the most effective of magic levers placed by Nature in human hands - for woe as for weal. Let us then, Theosophists, use that will to send a sincere greeting and a wish of good luck for the New Year to every living creature under the sun - enemies and relentless traducers included. Let us try and feel especially kindly and forgiving to our foes and persecutors, honest or dishonest, lest some of us should send unconsciously an "evil eye" greeting instead of a blessing ...
... The future lies in the present and both include the Past. With a rare occult insight Rohel made quite an esoterically true remark, in saying that "the future does not come from before to meet us, but comes streaming up from behind over our heads." For the Occultist and average Theosophist the Future and the Past are both included in each moment of their lives, hence in the eternal PRESENT. The Past is a torrent madly rushing by, that we face incessantly, without one second of interval; every wave of it, and every drop in it, being an event, whether great or small. Yet, no sooner have we faced it, and whether it brings joy or sorrow, whether it elevates us or knocks us off our feet, than it is carried away and disappears behind us, to be lost sooner or later in the great Sea of Oblivion. It depends on us to make every such event non-existent to ourselves by obliterating it from our memory; or else to create of our past sorrows Promethean Vultures - those "dark-winged birds, the embodied memories of the Past," which, in Sala's graphic fancy "wheel and shriek over the Lethean lake." In the first case, we are real philosophers; in the second - but timid and even cowardly soldiers of the army called mankind, and commanded in the great battle of Life by "King Karma." Happy those of its warriors by whom Death is regarded as a tender and merciful mother. She rocks her sick children into sweet sleep on her cold, soft bosom but to awake them a moment after, healed of all ailing, happy, and with a tenfold reward for every bitter sigh or tear. Postmortem oblivion of every evil - to the smallest - is the most blissful characteristic of the "paradise" we believe in. Yes: oblivion of pain and sorrow and the vivid recollection only, nay once more the living over of every happy moment of our terrestrial drama; and, if no such movement ever occurred in one's sad life, then the glorious  realization of every legitimate, well-earned, yet unsatisfied desire we ever had, as true as life itself and intensified seventy seven times sevenfold ...
Christians - the Continental especially - celebrate their New Year days with special pomp. That day is the Devachan of children and servants, and every one is supposed to be happy, from Kings and Queens down to the porters and kitchen-malkins. The festival is, of course, purely pagan, as with very few exceptions are all our holy days. The dear old pagan customs have not died out, not even in Protestant England, though here the New Year is no longer a sacred day - more's the pity. The presents, which used to be called in old Rome strenae (now, the French eirennes), are still mutually exchanged. People greet each other with the words: - Annum novum faustum felicemque tibi, as of yore; the magistrates, it is true, sacrifice no longer a white swan to Jupiter, nor priests a white steer to Janus. But magistrates, priests and all devour still in commemoration of swan and steer, big fat oxen and turkeys at their Christmas and New Year's dinners. The gilt dates, the dried and gilt plums and figs have now passed from the hands of the tribunes on their way to the Capitol on to the Christmas trees for children. Yet, if the modern Caligula receives no longer piles of copper coins with the head of Janus on one side of them, it is because his own effigy replaces that of the god on every coin, and that coppers are no longer touched by royal hands. Nor has the custom of presenting one's Sovereigns with strenae been abolished in England so very long. D'Israeli tells us in his Curiosities of Literature of 3,000 gowns found in Queen Bess's wardrobe after her death, the fruit of her New Year's tax on her faithful subjects, from Dukes down to dustmen. As the success of any affair on that day was considered a good omen for the whole year in ancient Rome, so the belief exists to this day in many a Christian country, in Russia pre-eminently so. Is it because instead of the New Year, the mistletoe and the holly are now used on Christmas day, that the symbol has become Christian? The cutting of the mistletoe off the sacred oak on New Year's day is a relic of the old Druids of pagan Britain. Christian Britain is as pagan in her ways as she ever was ...
... Only we theosophists, so kindly nicknamed the "sevening lunatics," would prefer another day for our New Year. Like the apostate Emperor, many of us have still a strong lingering love for the poetical, bright gods of Olympus and would willingly repudiate the double-faced Thessalonian. The first of Januarius was ever more sacred to Janus than Juno; and janua, meaning "the gate that openeth the year," holds as good for any day in January. January 3, for instance, was consecrated to Minerva-Athene the goddess of wisdom and to Isis, "she who generates life," the ancient lady patroness of the good city of Lutetia. Since then, mother Isis has fallen a victim to the faith of Rome and civilization and Lutetia along with her. Both were converted in the Julian calendar (the heirloom of pagan Julius Caesar used by Christendom till the XIIIth century). Isis was baptized Genevieve, became a beatified saint and martyr, and Lutetia was called Paris for a change, preserving the  same old patroness but with the addition of a false nose.* (* This festival remains thus unchanged as that of the lady Patroness of Lutetia - Paris, and to this day Isis is offered religious honours in every Parisian and Latin church.) Life itself is a gloomy masquerade wherein the ghastly danse Macabre is every instant performed; why should not calendars and even religion in such case be allowed to partake in the travesty?
To be brief, it is January the 9th which ought to be selected by the Theosophists - the Esotericists especially - as their New Year. January is under the sign of Capricornus, the mysterious Makara of the Hindu mystics the "Kumaras," it being stated, having incarnated in mankind under the 10th sign of the Zodiac. For ages the 4th of January has been sacred to Mercury-Budha,** (** The 4th of January being sacred to Mercury, of whom the Greeks made Hermes, the R. Catholics have included St. Hermes in their Calendar. Just in the same way, the 9th of that month having been always celebrated by the pagans as the day of the "conquering sun" the R. Catholics have transformed the noun into a proper name, making of it St. Nicanor (from the Greek nikao, to conquer), whom they honour on the 10th of January.) or Thoth-Hermes. Thus everything combines to make of it a festival to be held by those who study ancient Wisdom. Whether called Budha or Budhi by its Aryan name, Mercurios, the son of Coelus and Hecate truly, or of the divine (white) and infernal (black) magic by its Hellenic, or again Hermes or Thoth its Greco-Egyptian name, the day seems in every way more appropriate for us than January 1, the day of Janus, the double-faced "god of the time"-servers. Yet it is well named, and as well chosen to be celebrated by all the political Opportunists the world over ...
The small village of Christmas Town nestled in a valley surrounded by high mountains. It had acquired the name through a yearly ceremony with which all the villagers greeted the beginning of the Christmas season. On a certain evening the whole village would gather in front of the mayor's house, and as a bright star rose over the peak of the highest mountain, they would repeat in unison an ancient vow to banish all feelings of selfishness and unbrotherliness for the next thirty days. It was imperative that the whole village participate, in order that the vow should be heard by the gods.
Peter was the village shepherd-boy. Orphaned at an early age, he had been assigned this duty so that he might help earn his way. Because of the lonely life he was forced to live, wandering in the mountain meadows with the sheep, he always looked forward to the ceremony with great eagerness.
During a particularly dry Spring he was forced to wander far beyond his usual pastures to find the needed grass. It was then he discovered that the Star - the one visible to the village only at the Christmas season - was always in the sky, though hidden from the valley by the mountain. On the evening this great discovery was made, it seemed only natural that he should think of the vow. Standing among his sleeping sheep, he repeated the ancient pledge, with only  the quiet mountain and unwinking Star to register it.
It was after that that the villagers began to remark upon Peter's unusually sweet disposition, his willingness to help wherever he was able, and his unfailing good nature. The people of Christmas Town, alas, were not too different from the people in any other town. They seemed to save the larger part of their feeling of Brotherhood for those solemn thirty days that followed the ceremony.
Peter told no one of what he had seen. Even if he had had any close friends, he would not have thought of confiding his secret, but always in his heart was the vision of the Christmas Star, shining just beyond the mountain. As long as he knew that the Star was shining he had to keep his promise.
Finally, the Christmas season began to approach. Great preparations were begun and the exact night for the solemn gathering was announced. Although the snows had driven Peter and the sheep from the mountains, his work was harder than ever. Some of his charges were restless and he feared that illness might strike a few of the weaker ones. All day Peter had watched and worked with them until, as evening approached, they all quieted down, and Peter dozed.
He awoke to find the Mayor shining a lantern in his face, and an array of the village elders frowning disapprovingly behind him.
"Peter," said the Mayor, "apparently this night does not mean much to you, but it stands for something extremely important to everyone else in this village. Those who took the pledge tonight are bound closer together throughout the rest of the year. Your failure has separated you from us.
"It has been a long time since anyone failed to greet the Star. The penalty for such a crime is Banishment, as you well know, since even one unhallowed member would endanger the future prosperity of the whole village.
"Why have you done this?"
Peter was frightened for a moment, but as had so often been the case during the year when things went wrong, a calm strength returned with the thought of the Star. Raising his head, he quietly faced the Mayor.
"But I did take the vow," he replied. "It was last Spring. One evening I found the Star shining, there, beyond the mountain, and right then I repeated my vow, and have tried to keep it ever since."
The barn was very quiet. Even the sheep, who had been aroused by the voices, seemed to know that something was happening. The elders looked puzzled. As they thought about what Peter's words implied, they felt ashamed. The Mayor hesitated, recalling stories of Peter's kindness during the past year.
Then, approaching the boy, the Mayor placed a friendly arm across Peter's shoulders, and together they walked to the door of the barn. This time, as the Mayor looked up at the Star, he spoke with a new humility:
"Up there," he said, "there is no night. The living sun never stops shining. It is only here that the shadow of our earth seems to bring the evening darkness. But it has taken a child to remind us: there is no season for the heart." 
"... The refusal to admit in the whole Solar system of any other reasonable and intellectual beings on the human plane, than ourselves, is the greatest conceit of our age. All that science has a right to affirm, is that there are no invisible Intelligences living under the same conditions as we do. It cannot deny point-blank the possibility of there being worlds within worlds, under totally different conditions to those that constitute the nature of our world; nor can it deny that there may be a certain limited communication between some of those worlds and our own. To the highest, we are taught, belong the seven orders of the purely divine Spirits; to the six lower ones belong hierarchies that can occasionally be seen and heard by men, and who do communicate with their progeny of the Earth; which progeny is indissolubly linked with them, each principle in man having its direct source in the nature of those great Beings, who furnish us with the respective invisible elements in us ..." - H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, I, 133.
Most students of metaphysical and occult subjects have heard of a volume whose title is The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett. Originally published in December 1923, it has been republished a great many times and remains in considerable demand in various parts of the world.
This work consists of Letters addressed to Alfred Percy Sinnett, then Editor of the Government newspaper, The Pioneer, in Allahabad, India, by two of the Adept-Brothers responsible for the founding of the modern Theosophical Movement, and who have become rather widely known by their initials K.H. and M. The latter of the two was the direct Teacher of both H.P. Blavatsky and Col. Henry S. Olcott. These letters were received between Fall of 1880 and Fall of 1885, and they number about 150.
The intrinsic importance of these Letters for the serious student of occult thought cannot be over-estimated. Their spiritual depth, their often prophetic character, and their bearing upon the development of modern science, are sufficient factors to commend them to the careful attention of earnest seekers. But there is another point of importance which emerges from the careful consideration of the manner in which these Letters were received.
These Letters were not "written," at least not in the way in which most people understand this word. The thoughts contained in them were precipitated, by means of a thorough knowledge of occult dynamics, upon material which, together with the "writing substance," was equally precipitated from the surrounding astral "storehouse." The process, moreover, was accomplished at varying distances of hundreds or thousands of miles, with or without the intermediary of a regular postoffice at the point of destination. The envelopes were produced in the same manner.
It is to be fully expected that the above account may be considered by some readers as verging on the fantastic, and that some of them may very easily relegate the whole statement to the realm of sheer imagination or mere "blind faith" on the part of some crazy devotees.
But the sober fact nevertheless remains that the originals of these Letters have been deposited in the British  Museum, one of the most scholarly, dignified and honoured Institutions of the world, known for its unimpeachable integrity and good faith. These originals can be consulted upon proper application to the authorities in charge. There is not the slightest possibility of a "hoax" perpetrated by the British Museum upon credulous people, nor can there be any doubt of the further fact that the Museum must recognize these Letters as being genuine communications.
In the light of the above facts, a question or two suggest themselves. If it is possible for living men, of a very advanced knowledge of Nature's laws, to send to any distance whatsoever matter or substance in a state of sublimation yet unknown to modern science, and to re-integrate it at the point of destination in any desirable form, with words impressed upon it, expressive of certain thoughts - would it not be equally possible for beings far in advance of terrestrial mankind to project earthward substances which would temporarily appear to our senses as "flying saucers" or other objects unfamiliar to us? Would it not be possible for such beings to withdraw these temporarily and only partially materialized objects or forms, and to gather from their substance, or from the field of their magnetic energies, whatever information may be required by them regarding this terrestrial sphere of life and its inhabitants?
It should be carefully borne in mind that the majority of "saucers" and other similar objects sighted in various parts of the world have had a tendency to disappear with great suddenness, a suddenness which may have been interpreted by by observers as a sudden acceleration of speed. This fact appears to us as being of primary importance, and might well be directly connected with the actual "dematerialization" of the object at one or another point in space.
It is a well known fact of occult dynamics that unless a materialized object is properly "fixed," it will not remain substantial and tangible for any length of time. If "fixed," however, it remains permanently as objective and material as any other.
On the basis of existing facts, such as those connected with the Letters from the Adept-Brothers, it becomes quite plausible to speculate on the possibility of "flying" saucers being objectivized currents of some extraterrestrial substance, projected and guided by highly intelligent beings for purposes best known to themselves. These currents of substance, however, do not have to come necessarily from the well known physical planets officially studied by astronomy. Such a view would limit Nature and its storehouse of possibilities. There may be scores of planetary bodies in surrounding space whose substance cannot be perceived by our physical senses, or even our psychospiritual senses, unless trained to do so by severe spiritual disciplines over long periods of time. That such invisible bodies actually exist in space - and maybe far nearer to us than imagined - is fully authenticated today by the research of that new science which is gradually developing under the name of Radio-Astronomy. Scientists engaged in it testify that many centers in space have been localized from which definite  sound-patterns issue, although nothing can be seen there by means of telescopes. It is suspected that bodies of one or another kind are located in those regions, whose vibratory rate makes it impossible for our sense of sight to perceive them.
It is highly significant to find that on page 170 of the book we have been discussing, The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, the statement is made to the effect that "Science will hear sounds from certain planets before she sees them. This is a prophecy ..." The statement was made by Mahatma K.H. and the Letter was received at Simla in October, 1882.
After all, may be the "saucers" aren't exactly "flying"!
"Unto thee who findeth no fault I now make known this most mysterious knowledge." Was this meant for the "expounders of the letter of the law," or for those who refuse to take without question the persons and circumstances they meet in life? Fortunately, the critics have told us that criticism can concern values as well as faults. We also know that we could not know good without evil, optimism without pessimism, and ideals without failures to test their value. Then should we ignore the existence of evil and become critics of critics?
Patience with life is a wonderful thing. It very often keeps us from complete discouragement with things as they are, and reminds us of what they might be. It helps us to face others as they really are, and yet find no fault with the fact they are here with us to be understood.
Couldn't we say that complaint is the only harmful aspect of criticism, something "out of harmony with the scheme of Nature" - due to wrong thinking, as W.Q. Judge reminds us. But then it isn't the recognizing of "wrong thinking" that is bad, but the failure to do anything about it! Have you ever known one of those rare individuals who can complain constantly of society and life in general and still do something quite effective in another direction toward his ideal? Sometimes such men are recognized years later - writers whose private letters or diaries show more daily hope for humanity than their works reveal, or poets whose last line brings a word of encouragement.
One of the fundamental ideas of Theosophy is that "The Self is within all things, yet is without them all." We learn to understand that the soul knows its own, and that at each step in evolution we come to realize that what we once were aware of as reality cannot comprehend what we now think we have reached. If knowing Truth means seeing both good and evil as aspects of the One reality, perhaps discrimination without "finding fault" is the key to criticism. 
If we would have great actions, said Emerson, let us make our own so. This is an open challenge, and all must meet it sooner or later, if we would not be driven like cattle or follow like sheep. And the sooner we prepare to meet it the better. It is essential that we prepare to meet a challenge that involves the raising of action to the level of greatness. The preparation involves neither more nor less than obtaining an understanding of what great action really is, or if you prefer, what it is not.
Many of us entertain very erroneous ideas about great action. We imagine that it is reserved for those who are in high stations, for instance, the President and members of Congress who make the laws for the country, or for the Governor and members of State Legislature who make the state laws. We have but to call history into the witness box to show the absurdity of such an idea. Socrates, who walked the streets of Athens barefooted, seeking whom he might converse with on matters pertaining to Philosophy, Truth, and Justice, and for the express purpose of drawing attention to those matters in which his own attention was completely absorbed, performed greater actions than were done by the men who held the reins of the Government of Athens in their hands. Shakespeare, who was almost unknown in his day, did more for England than did the members of the Royal Family, or of the House of Parliament. And America's debt to Emerson, a man who renounced the Ministry so as to be free to live according to the dictates of his conscience, is incalculable. He is a source of inspiration for thousands, which is as much as can be said of any of those who make the country's laws.
Another misleading idea that is entertained by many in regard to great action, is that which limits it to big business, such as the building of a bridge, a subway, or anything that appears big to the naked eye. We heartily approve of the building of bridges and subways that can be seen by the physical eye. They are useful in their way. But far more useful, because far more necessary, are the invisible bridges that we may build with our thoughts to help us pass over the darkness of sectarian religions, into the light of truth. But be that as it may, any action that is sanctioned by necessity, when rightly performed, is a great action.
Socrates, Shakespeare, and Emerson had clear ideas in regard to great action. They regarded the whole world as their country and they acted accordingly. They were not ambitious, but worked as those do who are ambitious. They coveted that power which made them seem as nothing in the eyes of men, but which enabled them to make their work a labor of love, which is the acme of great action.
The superior man is the providence of the inferior. He is eyes for the blind, strength for the weak, and a shield for the defenseless. He stands erect by bending over the fallen. He rises by lifting others. - Robert G. Ingersoll. 
The other day a new friend of mine almost carelessly tossed these words to me, as she left my house to return to the everyday duties of life. It did not startle me, as I have indeed heard that aspiration made vocal many times before, but the history of the young lady had those curious karmic threads interwoven in it which defy the claim of coincidence.
A couple of years ago I met her professionally and was interested in her snatching at any life buoy on the sea of spiritual living. It was this and that and another thing, but beneath it all one sensed the earnestness of a genuine searcher after truth. "Knock and it shall be opened unto you," and her knock was sincere. She had decided to join a friend in New York, but during the middle of her journey she met someone who evidently was able to open the door through which she intuitively felt that she should go.
The theory behind the doctrine of the twice-born Brahmans is of course based on the material and the spiritual birth of a human being. Sometimes we have to wait for the moment of physical death ere the spiritual is strong enough to leave its womb. Death-bed conversions to the several faiths all over the world are evidence of this failure of the spiritual to assert itself during the lifetime of the human pilgrim. Fortunate, indeed, is the man who is able to find himself physically, mentally and spiritually while young enough to make life complete. Mens sana in corpore sano (a sound mind in a sound body) gave ancient Rome the mastery of the world. So it would today also. If our existence is solely concerned with the solution of financial and emotional problems, then the day will come when an all-pervading sense of emptiness will leave us utterly bereft of hope with no understanding of life and its purpose of schooling the student and the aspirant to become that for which he has been destined.
We must reevaluate our assets in terms of eternity. If our minds and souls are indeed hitched to a star, we shall not have to worry about the horse falling down dead in its tracks. Friendships are assets, they are not temporary attachments, but capital invested over a span of many lives; the latter can be said of enmities as well. Friends and enemies of the future are made today and sorrows of our tomorrows are created during every passing moment of the day. The story is told of a very wise Hindu woman who was able to see fifty of her past lives, and she could not understand why she had been made to suffer so cruelly during her present existence. Her six sons had died under very bitter circumstances and she had lost all her earthly belongings; her friends had deserted her in her hour of need. She went to a wise man to ask for his advice and spiritual aid. She repeated the story of her ability to see the events of her past fifty lives. The guru said: "but had you been able to see back for fifty-one lives, then you would have understood why you have had to suffer so much in this one."
We cannot put off becoming an  aspirant it our hearts and minds have become awakened; neither can we force a development for which we are not karmically fitted. Let us be each other's teachers and each other's pupils, and we shall then learn the inevitable lessons faster and better. When the day of Initiation comes around we shall have to walk the pathway alone.
Is Christianity dying? Almost daily articles appear in newspapers telling of the destruction of foreign missions, Christian idols, and the arrest of persons affiliated with Christian institutions. Some of the difficulties various Christian churches have had to cope with have not been on foreign soil, but right within their own congregations and parishes. Lately there appears to be more opposition to so-called Christian teachings and institutions than in previous years.
Why is this? Some will say it's political intervention, others will contend that the potentates of the churches do not exercise sufficient power to hold the people in the grasp of the church, and a few may think and even possibly voice their opinion that the present form of Christian teaching is not acceptable as Truth. Out of curiosity several people were asked for their opinions of the Bible and the Christian churches, and their answers were most interesting. One woman replied she believed in a supreme being, but could not accept the teaching of most churches because she thought they were money-minded, and would condone any wrong activities on the part of their members, if the members offered money to have their sins forgiven. This woman wanted a more logical and sincere teaching than most churches could offer. Another woman, queried about her church and beliefs, was so completely propagandized by her religion's doctrines that she had never contested anything she was told by the officials of her church; to her the teachings of her church represented the only "true" religion. A man who once belonged to the same church as this woman replied that he did not have any respect for the teachings of this church because, in his opinion, it had lost all contact with the true meaning of religion and had become full of pageantry and politics. After talking to these people and others, and also noticing consistently pertinent news items in the papers, magazines, newscasts, etc., one begins to wonder if Christian believers are challenging their own teachings, if the mass-conversion to Christianity is on the decline, and if people are really beginning to think for themselves. Some devoutly religious persons will worry over this increasing lack of interest in conventional religious thought, but in reality it is not a disturbing influence, if its possible outcome is considered.
First, the real teachings of Christ have become horribly conflicting and confused, causing many divisions resulting in thousands of sects, each claiming to uphold the "only true  teachings of Christ." Such a welter of religious institutions and claims only makes the present day concept of Christianity appear ridiculous and defeats the purpose of every church. With so many varied offers of the "only true teachings" people will become skeptical, and begin to indulge in serious thinking for themselves regarding spiritual teachings. Only then can any real spiritual and religious progress be made. There is a universal movement of serious spiritual thinking going on today.
Second, in most churches Christ has been upheld as the supreme teacher - more often the only teacher. This creates an erroneous idea that civilizations prior to his time were unworthy of receiving any spiritual instruction and teaching. According to the Bible, such an idea is contrary to Jesus' own words. There were many great men contributing to the spiritual guidance of humanity, not just one, yet Christianity and its present churches largely ignore the teachings of other great souls, or if they choose to recognize them at all, they refer to them as heretical. The great ancient spiritual doctrines have been obscured to the majority for many centuries, having been overshadowed by a fictitious form of religion; now, with the slow but steady decline of religious fairy-tales, these ancient truths are being uncovered.
Third, for centuries so-called Christian religions and politics have been controlling factors in the destiny of nations. A religion or spiritual philosophy should be regarded as a sacred spiritual path, so far above political matters that no comparison between them is possible. Yet today the potentates of Christian churches, and of other churches also, put their hope for the survival of their church in political organizations. Such acts only prove the spiritual incapability of present day Christianity.
This change from fairy-tale religion to truth will not be revolutionary but evolutionary. It will be slow but constant. If we observe what is taking place in our lifetime, it will become obvious that Christianity, as it has been "preached" and "enforced" in the past, is slowly decaying. Out of this fermentation arises a new desire for Truth.
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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.
Is there any explanation in the Esoteric Philosophy concerning the kind of communication, if any, between the planets of the solar system, the suns of a galaxy or between one galaxy and another? Also between plant and plant, or mineral and mineral. Do they really "talk" in their own way to each other?
The Esoteric Philosophy teaches that everything throughout Nature is indissolubly bound together and related to each other, and that these bonds or ties exist on all the planes of the cosmic structure, visible and invisible. So that everything is, we might say, in constant communication with everything else, in close touch with all that is, and partakes in this way of everything that lives.
Very little specific information has been given out concerning the kind of communication that exists between the various portions of the solar system or between the various systems of a galaxy. This subject is an aspect of the more general teaching concerning the Circulations of the Universe, under which heading are to be understood the various tenets regarding the peregrinations of the Monads through the outer and inner spheres of the solar system.
There is a constant flow of entities of various kinds between all the planes and spheres which make up the structure of the Universe, or of any specific portion of it. The cosmic structure, on any of its planes, has its own vascular system and network of inter-communicating channels, just as the human body has. Life-energies of a cosmic nature flow through them, as does the blood-stream in our own bodies.
The Law of Analogy would suggest that there must exist close contact of an intellectual-spiritual kind between the cosmic entities or beings who preside over, and actually are the informing Consciousnesses of, the various solar, planetary, and even galactic systems.
The same would apply to plants and minerals and the greater part of the animal kingdom. Recent research on "inaudible sounds" has shown that we are surrounded all the time by a whole ocean of sounds which our ears cannot perceive. It is most likely that further research will show the existence of "colors" which our eyes cannot cognize. It is by means of these sounds and colors that the various lower kingdoms communicate with each other. But it should be distinctly borne in mind that we would be wrong in ascribing to the lower kingdoms consciousness of the human type, the latter being consciousness which recognizes itself and which we term self-consciousness. The lower kingdoms are conscious on their own planes, and with a consciousness specific to their own scale of evolution. Their means of inter-communication  are in harmony with, and appropriate to, their states of consciousness.
This applies to the human race also. Inter-communication between men depends upon their state of consciousness and the condition of their various evolving organs of sense. The First Root-Race of this our Fourth Round - called the ethereal or astral Sons of Yoga or "Self-born" - was speechless, because it had no mind on our plane. The Second Root-Race possessed a sort of sound-language, made up of chant-like sounds composed of vowels alone. The vowels therefore are the most ancient structural elements of "speech", and in them inhere certain occult powers which the magician knows how to use. The Third Root-Race continued the evolution of "speech" by means of improvements upon earlier stages, copying some of the animal sounds in surrounding Nature. The rudiments of actual speech began to develop in the second half of the Third Root-Race, when the still mindless race began to divide into the two opposite sexes.
It should be remembered that the development of language goes on parallel lines with the development of reasoning faculties. First came monosyllabic speech of the closing periods of the Third Root-Race, after the separation of the sexes and the awakening of mind; then came the agglutinative languages of the main portion of the Fourth Root-Race, the Atlanteans; these, in their turn evolved into the inflectional language which the most highly developed sub-races of the Fourth Root-Race passed on to the nascent Fifth Root-Race.
Analogy would suggest again that speech, as we know it today, will become recessive, as evolution proceeds, so that the higher Root-Races of future ages will communicate with each others rather by thought-transference (of which we know today but the earlier stages) than by means of speech made up of words. This stage would include "sounds", analogous to the First Root-Race stage, but of course it will then be a fully conscious knowledge of the power of sound and of its higher co-relations, used by human beings of a highly spiritual state.
Intuitive students should be able to find their own analogies between what has been said regarding the evolution of language in the human race, and the gradual development of speech in our own childhood. The stages through which the race, as a whole, has passed, are reflected and repeated, on smaller scales, and gone through in one form or another in the early years of our individual incarnated lives. As above, so below.
[For more detailed information concerning speech, consult The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, pp. 198-201, orig. edition.]