A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume X
No. 4 (58) - Spring 1954

[Cover photo: California Redwoods.]


A Living Philosophy for Humanity

Published every Three Months. Sponsored by an International Group of Theosophists.
Objectives: To uphold and promote the Original Principles of the modern Theosophical Movement, and to disseminate the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy as set forth by H.P. Blavatsky and her Teachers.
Editor: Boris de Zirkoff.
Subscriptions: $1.50 a year (four issues); single copy 40 cents. Send all subscriptions, renewals and correspondence to: 615 South Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles 5, California. Make checks and money orders payable to "Theosophia."

None of the organized Theosophical Societies, as such, are responsible for any ideas expressed in this magazine, unless contained in an official document. The Editor is responsible for unsigned articles only.



"... The time has come when the veil of illusion is to be pulled aside entirely, not merely playfully, as hitherto done. For if mere members of the theosophical body have nothing to risk, except, perhaps, an occasional friendly stare and laugh at those who, without any special necessity, as believed, pollute the immaculate whiteness of their respectable society skirts by joining an unpopular movement, real theosophists ought to look truth and fact right in the face. To become a true theosophist - i.e., one thoroughly imbued with altruistic feelings, with a willingness to forget self, and readiness to help his neighbor to carry the burden of life - is to become instantaneously transformed into a public target. It is to make oneself a ready thing for heavy 'Mrs. Grundy' to sit upon: to become the object of ridicule, slander, and vilification, which will not stop even before an occasional criminal charge. For some theosophists, every move in the true theosophical direction, is a forlorn-hope enterprise. All this notwithstanding, the ranks of the 'unpopular' society are steadily, if slowly increasing.

"For what does slander and ridicule really matter? When have fools ever been slandered, or rich and influential men and women ostracised, however black and soiled in their hearts, or in their secret lives? Who ever heard of a Reformer's or an orator's course of life running smoothly? Who of them escaped from being pelted with dirt by his enemies?

"Gautama Buddha, the great Hindu Reformer, was charged by the Brahmins with being a demon, whose form was taken by Vishnu, to encourage men to despise the Vedas, deny the gods, and thus effect their own destruction." - H.P. Blavatsky, Lucifer, Vol. I, pp. 71-72.

"There is one notable difference ... between the Christian Churches and our Society, and it is this: Whereas every baptised child or adult is called a Christian, we have always drawn a clear and broad line between a Theosophist and a simple member of the T.S. A Theosophist, with us, is one who makes Theosophy a living power is his life." - H.P. Blavatsky, Lucifer, Vol. V, p. 252. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

It can never be too often repeated, nor too strongly emphasized, that the pivotal point of the modern Theosophical Movement is the formation of a nucleus of Universal Brotherhood.

This nucleus of human solidarity is to be formed irrespective of, and completely above, all the irrelevant distinctions and the temporary differences which exist in the purely personal make up of human beings. Above these distinctions and beyond these differences, there exists a spiritual unity of being which is the root from which all of us have sprung. Upon the basis, of this spiritual oneness can be erected a solid structure if the common origin of all men is never lost sight of.

Needless to say, Universal Brotherhood, as envisioned by Theosophists, has no relation whatsoever to sectarian or political schemes using sometimes the same expression to achieve temporary worldly advantages at the expense of human credulity or passivity. As students of the Ancient Wisdom cannot hold any monopoly on Universal Brotherhood, as an expression or term, the misuse of it in our present-day world of confused thinking is almost to be expected, and the true nature of this idea must be constantly re-explained and clarified.

Universal Brotherhood is not to be imagined as being an attempt to resolve all human beings the world over into some sort of indistinguishable and homogeneous mass of humanity, wherein everyone is supposed to be practically identical with everybody else, along spiritual lines, even though differing widely in their outward aspect. To say that all human beings are one, spiritually speaking, is by no means synonymous with saying that they have no marked spiritual and intellectual differences which distinguish them, sometimes very sharply, one from the other. The spiritual Oneness Theosophists speak of has to do with the fact that all human beings, as well as other kingdoms of evolving life, ultimately come from the same source and can trace their origin to higher worlds of being where their Selfhood has its native home.

The student of the Ancient Wisdom, while acting towards all men as if they were his brothers, and rising in his relations to others above the separative distinctions of creed, sex, color or ethnic grouping, does not fail to recognize the obvious fact that humanity is divided, as a result of ages of complex evolution, into certain types, groupings, natural divisions or classifications, usually somewhat overlapping, in which certain distinct forms or aspects of consciousness predominate one over the other, without in the least denying the fact of the common spiritual origin of all men.

A student who, on the ground of his Universal Brotherhood conception, would disregard the intrinsic differences of consciousness, and the mental and emotional biases, such as exist between, let us say, the Negroes, the Mongolians, and the so-called Whites, [4] would run the risk of becoming willfully blind to certain very definite facts of Nature, which owe their origin to a varied evolutionary past. But the man who, on the other hand, would psychologize his mind with these varied facets of consciousness, and forget the greater fact that they represent merely different modifications of one underlying stream of Spiritual Consciousness, would never be able to understand the Idea which Theosophist, of all ages have termed Universal Brotherhood.

Might we put it in a rather quaint form? The many kinds of dogs are all united in their common "Doghood." The thousands of different grasses are all one in their common "Grasshood." The many different types of men and women are equally one in their common "Humanhood." And let us not forget the paramount fact that the dogs, and the grasses, and the men and women, as well as the stones, and the atoms, and the planets and the stars, are all intimately united in their common spiritual "Selfhood," above and beyond the almost bewildering divergencies and categories by means of which they manifest for purposes of evolutionary growth.

No lasting social order can ever be built in this world until and unless men and women everywhere realize, with sufficient inner strength of realization, that the only way to "get together" and to "stay together" is by recognizing our common kinship, our points of similarity, our mutual inter-relatedness, and the many ties which bind us together as human beings. As long as we allow our leaders, representatives, spokesmen, and the like, to dwell upon our mutual differences, our conflicting interests, our divergent goals, our unequal advantages and opportunities, and to flood the world's airlanes with the pompous verbiage of the conference room, our mutual relations will retain their strained character. As long as we, as people and nations, insist upon the validity of our mutual suspicions, our deeply-rooted hatreds, and our self-righteous conceit, we will continue to have wars of all kinds, and exploitation and moral disgrace.

There are a number of distinguished visitors which must be admitted to our World Conferences, and be seated at the round table of our momentous discussions, and they are, among others, mutual sympathy for the souls of men, self-sacrifice, magnanimity of action, forgiveness of past wrongs, charity, humility before the greatness of Life as such and the majesty of Cosmic Law, a sense of human dignity, integrity of purpose, the strength and power of a keen sense of ethics, the recognition of our common rights to justice and fair-play, and of our duty to help and serve others, and a genuine love for one's brothers, however deluded, confused, and ignorant they may be. Until these missing guests of honor are admitted, with full rights, duties and privileges of partnership, into the Halls of the People, where the affairs of the nations are being discussed, and their future planned and blue-printed, we shall have but a sickening "smog" of emotional confusion, a pall of frustration, and the never-ending stream of verbose nonsense from which all noble Ideals have taken flight as the swallows of last spring. [5]


(Being Extracts from a private letter to Damodar K. Mavalankar, Joint-Recording Secretary of the Theosophical Society. - Originally published by permission in The Theosophist, Vol. IV, No. 3, December, 1882, pp. 67-69.)

... When we met last at Bombay I told you what had happened to me at Tinnevelly. My health having been disturbed by official work and worry, I applied for leave on medical certificate and it was duly granted. One day in September last, while I was reading in my room, I was ordered by the audible voice of my blessed Guru, M ---- Maharsi, to leave all and proceed immediately to Bombay, whence I had to go in search of Madame Blavatsky wherever I could find her and follow her wherever she went. Without losing a moment I closed up all my affairs and left the station. For the tones of that voice are to me the divinest sound in nature; its commands imperative. I traveled in my ascetic robes. Arrived at Bombay, I found Madame Blavatsky gone, and learned through you that she had left a few days before; that she was very ill; and that, beyond the fact that she had left the place very suddenly with a Chela, you knew nothing of her whereabouts. And now, I must tell you what happened to me after I had left you.

Really not knowing whither I had best go, I took a through ticket to Calcutta; but, on reaching Allahabad I heard the same well-known voice directing me to go to Berhampore. At Azimgunge, in the train, I met, most providentially I may say, with some Babus (I did not know they were also Theosophists since I had never seen any of them), who were also in search of Madame Blavatsky. Some had traced her to Dinapore, but lost her track and went back to Berhampore. They knew, they said, she was going to Tibet and wanted to throw themselves at the feet of the Mahatmas to permit them to accompany her. At last, as I was told, they received from her a note, informing them to come if they so desired it, but that she herself was prohibited from going to Tibet just now. She was to remain, she said, in the vicinity of Darjeeling and would see the BROTHERS on the Sikkhim Territory, where they would not be allowed to follow her. ... Brother Nobin, the President of the Adhi Bhoutic Bhratru Theosophical Society, would not tell me where Madame Blavatsky was, or perhaps did not then know it himself. Yet he and others had risked all in the hope of seeing the Mahatmas. On the 23rd at last, I was brought by Nobin Babu from Calcutta to Chandernagore where I found Madame Blavatsky, ready to start, five minutes after, with the train. A tall, dark-looking hairy Chela (not Chunder Cusho), but a Tibetan I suppose by his dress, whom l met after I had crossed the river with her in a boat, told me that I had come too late, that Madame Blavatsky had already seen the Mahatmas and that he had brought her back. He would not listen to my supplications to take me with him, saying he had no other orders than what he had already executed, namely - to take her [6] about 25 miles, beyond a certain place he named to me and that he was now going to see her safe to the station, and return. The Bengalee brother-Theosophists had also traced and followed her, arriving at the station half an hour later. They crossed the river from Chandernagore to a small railway station on the opposite side. When the train arrived, she got into the carriage, upon entering which I found the Chela! And, before even her own things could be placed in the van, the train, against all regulations and before the bell was rung - started off, leaving Nobin Babu, the Bengalees and her servant, behind. Only one Babu and the wife and daughter of another - all Theosophists and candidates for Chelaship - had time to get in. I myself had barely the time to jump in, into the last carriage. All her things - with the exception of her box containing the Theosophical correspondence - were left behind together with her servant. Yet, even the persons that went by the same train with her, did not reach Darjeeling. Babu Nobin Banerjee, with the servant, arrived five days later; and they who had time to take their seats, were left five or six stations behind, owing to another unforeseen accident (?) at another further place, reaching Darjeeling also a few days later! It requires no great stretch of imagination to know that Madame Blavatsky had been or was, perhaps, being taken to the BROTHERS, who, for some good reasons best known to them, did not want us to be following and watching her. Two of the Mahatmas, I had learned for a certainty, were in the neighborhood of British territory; and one of them was seen and recognised - by a person I need not name here - as a high Chutuktu of Tibet.

The first days of her arrival Madame Blavatsky was living at the house of a Bengalee gentleman, a Theosophist; was refusing to see any one; and preparing, as I thought, to go again somewhere on the borders of Tibet. To all our importunities we could get only this answer from her: that we had no business to stick to and follow her, that she did not want us, and that she had no right to disturb the Mahatmas, with all sorts of questions that concerned only the questioners, for they knew their own business best. In despair, I determined, come what might,* (* I call the especial attention of certain of my anxious correspondents to this expression, and in fact to Mr. Ramaswamier's whole adventure. It will show the many grumblers and sceptics who have been complaining to me so bitterly that the Brothers have given them no sign of their existence, what sort of spirit it is which draws the Adepts to an aspirant. The too common notions, that the mere joining of our Society gives any right to occult instruction, and that an inert sentimental desire for light should he rewarded, arise from the lamentable ignorance which now prevails with respect to the laws of mystical training. Gurus there are now, as there have always been in the past; and now as heretofore, the true Chela can find among them one who will take him under his care, if like our Tinnevelly Brother he has determined "to find the Mahatmas or - die!" - D.K. Mavalankar.) to cross the frontier which is about a dozen miles from here, and find the Mahatmas, or - DIE. I never stopped to think that what I was going to undertake would be regarded as a rash act of a lunatic. I neither spoke nor did I understand one word of either Bengalee, Urdu, or Nepaulese, [7] nor of the Bhootan, or Tibetan languages. I had no permission, no "pass" from the Sikkhim Rajah, and yet was decided to penetrate into the heart of an independent State where, if anything happened, the Anglo-Indian officials would not - if even they could - protect me, since I would have crossed over without their permission. But I never even gave that a thought, but was bent upon one engrossing idea - to find and see my Guru. Without breathing a word of my intentions to any one, one morning, namely, October 5, I set out in search of the Mahatma. I had an umbrella, and a pilgrim's staff for sole weapons, with a few rupees in my purse. I wore the yellow garb and cap. Whenever I was tired on the road, my costume easily procured for me for a small sum a pony to ride. The same afternoon I reached the banks of the Rungit River, which forms the boundary between the British arid Sikkhim territories. I tried to cross it by the aerial suspension bridge constructed of canes, but it swayed to and fro to such an extent that I, who have never known in my life, what hardship was could not stand it. I crossed the river by the ferry-boat and this even not without much danger and difficulty. That whole afternoon I traveled on foot, penetrating further and further into the heart of the Sikkhim territory, along a narrow footpath. I cannot now say how many miles I traveled before dusk, but I am sure it was not less than twenty or twenty-five miles. Throughout, I saw nothing but impenetrable jungles and forests on all sides of me, relieved at very long intervals by solitary huts belonging to the mountain population. At dusk I began to search around me for a place to rest in at night. I met on the road, in the afternoon, a leopard and a wild cat: and I am astonished now to think how I should have felt no fear then nor tried to run away. Throughout, some secret influence supported me. Fear or anxiety never once entered my mind. Perhaps in my heart there was room for no other feeling but an intense anxiety to find my Guru. When it was just getting dark, I espied a solitary but a few yards from the roadside. To it I directed my steps in the hope of finding a lodging. The rude door was locked. The cabin was untenanted at the time. I examined it on all sides and found an aperture on the western side. It was small indeed, but sufficient for me to jump through. It had a small shutter and a wooden bolt. By a strange coincidence of circumstances the hillman had forgotten to fasten it on the inside when he locked the door! Of course, after what has subsequently transpired I now, through the eye of faith, see the protecting-hand of my Guru everywhere around me. Upon getting inside I found the room communicated, by a small doorway, with another apartment, the two occupying the whole space of this sylvan mansion. I lay down, concentrating my every thought upon my Guru as usual, and soon fell into a profound sleep. Before I went to rest, I had secured the door of the other room and the single window. It may have been between ten and eleven, or perhaps a little later, that I awoke and heard sounds of footsteps in the adjoining room. I could plainly distinguish two or three people talking together in a dialect that to me was no better than gibberish. Now, I cannot recall the same without a shudder. At any moment they might have entered from the other room and murdered me for my money. Had they mistaken me for a burglar the same fate awaited [8] me. These and similar thoughts crowded into my brain in an inconceivably short period. But my heart did not palpitate with fear, nor did I for one moment think of the possibly tragical chances of the thing! I know not what secret influence held me fast, but nothing could put me out or make me fear; I was perfectly calm. Although I lay awake and staring into darkness for upwards of two hours, and even paced the room softly and slowly, without making any noise, to see if I could make my escape, in case of need, back to the forest, by the same way I had effected my entrance into the hut - no fear, I repeat, or any such feeling ever entered my heart. I recomposed myself to rest. After a sound sleep, undisturbed by any dream, I woke and found it was just dawning. Then I hastily put on my boots, and cautiously got out of the hut through the same window. I could hear the snoring of the owners of the hut in the other room. But I lost no time and gained the path to Sikkhim (the city) and held on my way with unflagged zeal. From the inmost recesses of my heart I thanked my revered Guru for the protection he had vouchsafed me during the night. What prevented the owners of the hut from penetrating to the second room? What kept me in the same serene and calm spirit, as if I were in a room of my own house? What could possibly make me sleep so soundly under such circumstances, - enormous dark forests on all sides abounding in wild beasts, and a party of cut-throats - as most of the Sikkhimese are said to be - in the next room with an easy and rude door between them and me?

When it became quite light, I wended my way on through hills and dales. Riding or walking, the paths I followed are not a pleasant journey for any man, unless he be, I suppose, as deeply engrossed in thought as I was then myself, and quite oblivious to anything affecting the body. I have cultivated the power of mental concentration to such a degree of late that, on many an occasion, I have been able to make myself quite oblivious of anything around me when my mind was wholly bent upon the one object of my life, as several of my friends will testify; but never to such an extent as in this instance.

It was, I think, between eight and nine A.M. and I was following the road to the town of Sikkhim whence, I was assured by the people I met on the road, I could cross over to Tibet easily in my pilgrim's garb, when I suddenly saw a solitary horseman galloping towards me from the opposite direction. From his tall stature and the expert way he managed the animal, I thought he was some military officer of the Sikkhim Rajah. Now, I thought, am I caught! He will ask me for my pass and what business I have on the independent territory of Sikkhim, and, perhaps, have me arrested and - sent back, if not worse. But - as he approached me, he reined the steed. I looked at and recognised him instantly ... I was in the awful presence of him, of the same Mahatma, my own revered Guru whom I had seen before in his astral body, on the balcony of the Theosophical Headquarters!* (* I refer the reader to Mr. Ramaswamier's letter in Hints on Esoteric Theosophy, pp. 72 and 73, for a clearer comprehension of the highly important circumstance he refers to. - D.K.M.) It was he, the "Himalayan BROTHER" [9] of the ever memorable night of December last, who had so kindly dropped a letter in answer to one I had given in a sealed envelope to Madame Blavatsky - whom I had never for one moment during the interval lost sight of - but an hour or so before! The very same instant saw me prostrated on the ground at his feet. I arose at his command and, leisurely looking into his face, I forgot myself entirely in the contemplation of the image I knew so well, having seen his portrait (the one in Colonel Olcott's possession) a number of times. I knew not what to say: joy and reverence tied my tongue. The majesty of his countenance, which seemed to me to be the impersonation of power and thought, held me rapt in awe. I was at last face to face with "the Mahatma of the Himavat" and he was no myth, no "creation of the imagination of a medium," as some sceptics suggested. It was no night dream; it is between nine and ten o'clock of the forenoon. There is the sun shining and silently witnessing the scene from above. I see HIM before me in flesh and blood; and he speaks to me in accents of kindness and gentleness. What more do I want? My excess of happiness made me dumb. Nor was it until a few moments later that I was drawn to utter a few words, encouraged by his gentle tone and speech. His complexion is not as fair as that of Mahatma Koot Hoomi; but never have I seen a countenance so handsome, a stature so tall and so majestic. As in his portrait, he wears a short black beard, and long black hair hanging down to his breast; only his dress was different. Instead of a white, loose robe he wore a yellow mantle lined with fur, and, on his head, instead of a pagri, a yellow Tibetan cap, as I have seen some Bhootanese wear in this country. When the first moments of rapture and surprise were over and I calmly comprehended the situation, I had a long talk with him. He told me to go no further, for l would come to grief. He said I should wait patiently if I wanted to become an accepted Chela; that many were those who offered themselves as candidates, but that only a very few were found worthy; none were rejected - but all of them tried, and most found to fail signally, especially - and - Some, instead of being accepted and pledged this year, were now thrown off for a year. ... The Mahatma, I found, speaks very little English - or at least it so seemed to me - and spoke to me in my mother-tongue - Tamil. He told me that if the Chohan permitted Mdme. B. to go to Pari-jong next year, then I could come with her. ... The Bengalee Theosophists who followed the "Upasika" (Madame Blavatsky) would see that she was right in trying to dissuade them from following her now. I asked the blessed Mahatma whether I could tell what I saw and heard to others. He replied in the affirmative, and that moreover I would do well to write to you and describe all ...

I must impress upon your mind the whole situation and ask you to keep well in view that what I saw was not the mere "appearance" only, the astral body of the Mahatma, as we saw him at Bombay, but the living man, in his own physical body. He was pleased to say when I offered my farewell nama-skarams (prostration) that he approached the British Territory to see the Upasika. ... Before he left me, two more men came on horseback, his attendants [10] I suppose, probably Chelas, for they were dressed like lama-gylongs, and both, like himself, with long hair streaming down their backs. They followed the Mahatma, as he left, at a gentle trot. For over an hour I stood gazing at the place that he had just quitted, and then, I slowly retraced my steps. Now it was that I found for the first time that my long boots had pinched me in my leg in several places, that I had eaten nothing since the day before, and that I was too weak to walk further. My whole body was aching in every limb. At a little distance I saw petty traders with country ponies, taking burden. I hired one of these animals. In the afternoon I came to the Rungit River and crossed it. A bath in its cool waters renovated me. I purchased some fruits in the only bazar there and ate them heartily. I took another horse immediately and reached Darjeeling late in the evening. I could neither eat, nor sit, nor stand. Every part of my body was aching. My absence had seemingly alarmed Madame Blavatsky. She scolded me for my rash and mad attempt to try to go to Tibet after this fashion. When I entered the house I found Madame Blavatsky, Babu Parbati Churn Roy, Deputy Collector of Settlements, and Superintendent of Dearah Survey, and his Assistant, Babu Kanty Bhushan Sen, both members of our Society. At their prayer and Madame Blavatsky's command, I recounted all that had happened to me, reserving of course my private conversation with the Mahatma. ... They were all, to say the least, astonished!. ... After all, she will not go this year to Tibet; for which I am sure she does not care, since she saw our Masters, thus effecting her only object. But we, unfortunate people! We lose our only chance of going and offering our worship to the "Himalayan Brothers" who - I know - will not soon cross over to British Territory, if ever again.

I write to you this letter, my dearest Brother, in order to show how right we were in protesting against "H. X's" letter in the THEOSOPHIST. The ways of the Mahatmas may appear, to our limited vision, strange and unjust, even cruel - as in the case of our Brothers here, the Bengalee Babus, some of whom are laid up with cold and fever and perhaps murmuring against the BROTHERS, forgetting that they never asked or personally permitted them to come, but that they had themselves acted very rashly. ...

And now that I have seen the Mahatma in the flesh, and heard his living voice, let no one dare say to me that the BROTHERS do not exist. Come now whatever will, death has no fear for me, nor the vengeance of enemies; for what I know, I KNOW!

You will please show this to Colonel Olcott who first opened my eyes to the Jnana Marga, and who will be happy to hear of the success (more than I deserve) that has attended me. I shall give him details in person.

- S. Ramaswamier, F.T.S.
Darjeeling, October 7, 1882. [11]

[Drawing: Mahatma "----" (Morya) From a drawing presented to my father. The original bears the following: - "To Rama B. Yogi, my faithful - [word undecipherable] in commemoration of the event of 5th, 6th, and 7th October, 1882, in the jungles of Sikkim."]


S. Ramaswamier was a Brahmana of high caste whose real name or sarman was Ramabathra. At the time he joined the Theosophical Society, in September 1881, he was District Registrar of Assurances at Tinnevelly, Southern India. He soon became a Probationary Chela of the Masters and received about a dozen brief letters and notes from them, mainly from Master M. He died in 1893, devoted as ever to the Cause. In December 1894, K.R. Sitaraman, who was his son, published these letters in a pamphlet entitled Isis FURTHER Unveiled and containing an attack on the integrity of H.P.B. and the genuineness of the letters received by his father, whom he considered to have fallen victim to a "hoax." It is not known what became of the original letters, which may have been destroyed by Ramaswamier's son. The same pamphlet contained a sketch of Master M. with a few lines of text under it, both of which are reproduced herewith. Sitaraman's pamphlet is very scarce nowadays, and the sketch, to our best knowledge, has never been reproduced anywhere since its original publication. The letters which Ramaswamier received have been republished by C. Jinarajadasa in Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, Second Series, Adyar, 1925. [12]


Arthur Louis Joquel II
(Concluded from previous issue.)

Traditions relating to the practice of magic in Atlantis may be found among the Kabyles of North Africa, who assert that it was because of a war between rival factions of Poseidonis that the forces were released which caused the sinking of the island. The Navajo Indians of the South-western United States, as well, present remarkable evidences of abilities to control the workings of nature, which were in all probability originally derived from the teachings of the Atlantean ages.

However, the most likely identification of the branch of theurgy practices by the progenitors of the Todas - the four anchorite companions of Bivhishana - seems to be with that found in the British Isles under the old Celtic tradition. This connection of the Todas with the magicians of Atlantis who settled in Britain is emphasized by several unique correspondences between these groups which existed separated by almost half a world.

The first resemblance is in their buildings which are set apart for purposes now unknown. William E. Marshall, in his book A Phrenologist Among the Todas (which unfortunately contains many misrepresentations and errors, as Madame Blavatsky has pointed out) describes these structures as follows:

"The appearance of the building ... a conical thatched roof on a circular wall of very stout planking. The whole edifice some fourteen or fifteen cubits [slightly over twenty feet] tall and six cubits [almost nine feet] in diameter ... The apex of the cone is crowned with a large stone ... 'the door of the temple faces almost due south ..." (pp. 164-65.)

This may be compared with the information presented in The Celtic Druids by Godfrey Higgins:

"Throughout Scotland and Ireland there are scattered great numbers of Round Towers which have hitherto puzzled all antiquarians ... [The tower at Brechin, in Scotland] consists of sixty regular courses of hewn stone ... It is 85 feet high to the cornice, whence rises a low spiral-pointed roof of stone ... The height of these towers varies in different places. Many in Ireland vary from 35 to 100 feet high."

The Round Towers of Ireland, by Henry O'Brien, also describes these edifices:

"These venerable piles vary in their elevation from fifty to one hundred and fifty feet. At some distance from the summit there springs out a sort of covering which ... terminates above in a sort of sugar-loaf crown, concave on the inside and convex on the outside." (p. 511.)

It hardly seems possible to doubt that these constructions are the descendants in style and in use from the wizard's towers of antiquity, where the sages performed their rites, consulted the stars, and gave instructions to their neophytes. In countries where pyramids were common, these structures were used for such purposes. But O'Brien notes that the round towers are called clogad, which, he says, "literally signifies a pyramid."

In Ireland and Scotland, the round towers have not been used for their original purposes for such a long time that researchers have engaged in serious dispute as to the reasons for which they were built. But in India, [13] the Todas apparently still carry on the rituals in which their ancestors were so proficient. Madame Blavatsky writes, concerning the major building - called a tiriri - in a group constructed by these people:

"This room must be the temple of the Todas, their Sanctum Sanctorum - where the mysterious ceremonies take place, known to no one... No woman or married Todd is allowed to enter there ... Only the 'Terallis,' the officiating priests, have free access to the interior tiriri. " (The People of the Blue Mountains, p. 133.)

Another important factor which connects the Todas, most particularly with the old Celtic sorcerers, but also with members of this fraternity the world over, is in their use of the magical staff. The eminent folklorist and Atlantologist, Lewis Spence, says in his work The Magic Arts in Celtic Britain:

"The magic wand wielded by the Druid magicians is a constant factor in Celtic tale ... Dr. MacBain, writing on the subject of the magic wand of the Celts, remarks: 'The Druidic wand plays as important part, a blow from it causing transformation and spells ...' There is an allusion to a magic wand in Welsh tradition." (p. 27.)

Madame Blavatsky refers to the use of the rod by the Todas in several places:

"In their hand they carry a stick with fantastic ornaments ... When I became aware of the mystic significance and the faith in magic power of those who possess it, this little bamboo cane two and a half feet long worried me more than once ..." (The People of the Blue Mountains, pp. 78-79; quoting Colonel Khermessy.)

"The Todas use no weapons; they only carry a little bamboo cane which never leaves their right hand." (Ibid, p. 89; quoting The States of India.)

"Whatever a Kouroumb is doing - and he is rarely occupied in doing good things - when he sees a Todd approaching, the latter does not even have to touch him but simply to direct toward him his bamboo cane, and the Moulou-Kouroumb flees as fast as he can. But he sometimes falls down like dead and remains in a kind of dead trance until the Todd has gone ..." (Ibid, p. 190; quoting Reminiscences of life Among the Todas, by Mertz.)

From what has been said of it, the staff of the Todas would appear to be a most potent example of the magical wand - even more so than another instrument which is still in use at the present day, the deadly "pointing-stick" of the Australian Aborigines, which must be specially prepared on each occasion of its use.

Because of an inability to satisfactorily classify the Todas, or to elicit from them more conventional explanations of their origin, technologists and scientists in related fields relegate the accounts given by the Badagues as to the prehistory of themselves, the Todas, and the Kouroumbs, into the class of creative imaginings. But it would seem that they have a vital bearing on the question of Atlantis, its civilization and its colonies. Madame Blavatsky says:

"When I think of the Ramayana, I confess that I have never understood the motive constraining the historians to place on such different levels this work and the poems of Homer. For, according to me, their character is almost identical ... But our scientists who accept, almost without hesitation, as historical personages, all such characters as Achilles, Hector, Ulysses, Helen and Paris - why do they relegate to the rank of empty 'myths' the figures of Rama, of Lakchmana, of Sita, of Ravana, of Hanuman, and even of the King of Oudh? ... Schlieman has found, in the Troiade [14] obvious proofs of the existence of Troy and of its characters. The antique Lanka (Ceylon) and other places mentioned in the Ramayana could be found in the same way if the trouble were taken to look for them..." (The People of the Blue Mountains, p. 165.)

Since these words were written, some steps have been taken in this direction. One of the most recent and authoritative works on the early history of India admits that the story of Rama, divested of what the authors consider to be its romantic and unbelievable incrustations, actually refers to a real personage who was instrumental in spreading Iran-aryan culture over a large territory.

The time has not yet arrived when scientists and scholars are willing to admit that the story of Atlantis, as depicted in legends, myths, and ancient chronicles, and corroborated by new discoveries in many fields of research, is as real as the more thoroughly documented events of more recent times. But it is from such sources as the Todas, who have preserved almost intact the accounts of the deeds of their ancestors long removed in those wars of ancient time, that it may some day be possible to recreate many vital phases of this fascinating and significant period in the evolution of mankind.


L. B.

This is not an easy question to answer for several reasons, chief of which is that there is but a vague general concept of what is meant by "Soul," and what is its relation, form and function as the intermediary between Body and Spirit; the same difficulty applies also to the spheres between the physical and those greatly superior to it.

Perhaps a clarified understanding of the complex nature of any answer may be arrived at by the following: there must be a center in which Consciousness inheres; Consciousness for humans implies thought and relative understanding of the subject of thought; Thought may be connected with external matters and low feelings, sensations and desires; it may be of a higher type related to welfare and constructive action; still higher, it may be of an idealistic and aspirational nature. If it is the same "soul" which experiences all these instances there must be many differences in the quality of energies which activate or produce results on the various strata in which they vibrate, including the physical.

Where, then, is the Soul in the gamut of these vibrations? Undoubtedly it is in what we term the Astral plane; but the Astral plane itself must have divisions corresponding to the major rates of vibration. This suggests that the "soul" is both an experiencer and also a transformer of energy, stimulated and enlightened from a higher source, and working out its evolution and destiny in the so-called Astral which is the medium by and through which all contacts are made, lower and higher, objective and subjective.

This concept tends to explain both [15] the position of the evolving entity with regard to its functions and its complexity, its degrees and centers of consciousness. Consciousness and individual self-consciousness have the same basis. The first is universal and shows itself in all reactions - it is automatic; while self-consciousness is an awareness of the center with regard to its relationships on the particular planes, and to the particular degrees of development and evolution to which the center has arrived through recognition - which implies the use of Mind and Thought.

All these activities in and through a specific center imply that it is not a permanent form but rather a point of high dynamic vitality. Whatever current of energy makes an impact upon it, it does not come within the self-conscious awareness of the range of vibrations which denote the human stage except in a very limited degree. Yet these cohere by their attractions, in the sense that they occupy a definite field in the range of Astral conditions between the gross physical and the formless subjective. This suggests that the "soul" center of vitality has its limitations in the kind and quality of its dominant being - the result of its experiences in thought, ideation, and action while alive on earth. In other words, it is in itself a field of the vibrating rates within the human gamut, which are positive when the entity is awake and alive, and negative when the entity is asleep or disembodied.

It must necessarily be "in the bosom of the Spirit - or the MONAD" because it functions by reflex action and lower rates of vibration; but there is a distinction and a great difference between the permanent human gamut and that of the reincarnating portion of the HUMAN MONAD, which is the energizing and building factor by means of which the Human Monad absorbs the essences of earth-experience; it is also the source of all vital impulses.

The "Soul", therefore, may be considered as the storehouse and expression of Life during a minor phase or series of incarnations, while the HUMAN SOUL, centered in the HUMAN MONAD is the permanent gamut and field of vibration belonging to the whole Cycle of Necessity during this planetary Life-period.



Arrangements are now under way to proceed shortly with the publication of another Volume of the "Collected Writings of H.P. Blavatsky." This Volume will cover the period of 1884, and 1885, and will be in direct continuation of the Volume published in 1950, which contained her writings for 1883. The new Volume - the Vlth in the entire chronological Series of H.P.B.'s "Collected Writings" - will be published in a Limited Edition. As soon as arrangements are completed, our subscribers and friends will receive detailed information concerning this Volume, its Contents, price, etc. - Editor, "Theosophia". [16]



Nothing is easy! Anything worthwhile requires a seed of thought, a plan, hard work to progress, and finally we reap our rewards. This is true throughout nature - it is a law of nature. We make mistakes so that we may learn from them. Obstacles are thrown into our paths and we receive knowledge in overcoming them. The knowledge is our reward. To have something worthwhile we must work for it.

Today we live in a world of speed - everything is automatic, and unfortunately we are forgetting the actual joy of working and enjoying whatever work we do. Many people think an automatic world is a great advantage - and these people are not to be censored for such thought; some of the products of this machine age are great achievements. The great fault in a world of speed and automatic living is the laziness it has created in our minds and bodies. It is so much easier to let a piece of machinery do our work or to find another person to do our thinking, than to put forth the effort ourselves.

When our great American West was being settled, we didn't have the modern conveniences we now have, and yet we achieved great progress against terrific odds. The pioneers tapped the resources inside of themselves - their physical and spiritual strength, combined with initiative, carried them on to their goal. We of the Theosophical Societies are pioneers in a wilderness of thought confusion, but there are a great number of us who do not have the spirit of these early Americans. Many of us are not willing to work. If a few would blaze the trail spiritually and physically, the rest would follow willingly, but there are not too many fired with initiative. We should feel fortunate to be pioneers in a spiritual wilderness - we have a great opportunity to bring truth into virgin territory and this cannot be done by sitting back and pushing buttons. We must work together.

Our modern world of speed has cluttered our minds. We think we do not have time for many worthwhile things because we are too busy keeping up with our radio serials, television programs, neighborhood gossip, or running around like madmen spending our hard-to-get money on unnecessary trifles. Such activities are enslaving our minds and creating a mental and physical lethargy. There are great important spiritual strides to be made, and we can accomplish them, not only as Theosophists, but as world citizens. We can begin by cleansing ourselves from mental clutter.

Do you need a mental detergent?


Be what you love. Strive after what you find beautiful and high, and let the rest go. Harmony, Sacrifice, Devotion: take these for key-notes; express them everywhere and in the highest possible way. - William Q. Judge.