A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XIV
No. 4 (74) - Spring 1958

[Cover photo: Moon, Eight days Old. (Photographed through the 100-inch telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory, California.)]


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.



Whatever the darkness and sorrow - trust, for the Eternal ways are sure; and though we seem engulfed in loneliness, we are in reality surrounded by that cloud of witnesses, who, one with us in heart and purpose, it matters not how humble our place, yearn over us in our struggles, guide, encourage, urge us on, with infinite love and solicitude. Let us trust them also, even though weak hearts may not discern them, for they are part of the Eternal ways.

There is something finer than the ardor of youth, and that is the endurance of experience. Ardor may turn to dust in the impact with disaster; but he who has faced the worst and lived through it, not once but many times, lived to know that he can live through it, and so meets serenely what fate may have in store, goes forward undaunted, undismayed.

Experience is our best teacher, it has been said: why then shun and evade it? Life is a serious matter, and the most serious thing in it is the doubt and indecision of our own desire. Hence the first part of the field that we must win is that horizoned by ourselves. As we sail further, the horizon widens, until we return to that from which we set forth. All nature emblazons our oneness with the Divine.

One with the Divine, what trick of fate can harm us? Surely in our thought of it alone can the evil lie, for it also is part of the Eternal ways.

What other ways are there?

Watch, with eager and steadfast eyes, for the dawn upon the hills. In good time it will come, in the best, the perfect time, adjusted to Karmic law, laden with blessing.

It will come with hush and coolness, with still and fragrant breath; with the Master's peace it will come, the peace he gives to the disciple who is as himself - a Warrior tried and true.

Not to the man who waits can it come, nor to him who avoids the conflict; not to the fretful, not to the objector, not to the fear-ridden, not to the over-sure; but to him who battles to the end - with back against the wall and broken sword, it may be.

Watch, watch, I say, for the dawn upon the hills. - Cave. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

Of recent date, a considerable portion of the world's population have suddenly become "moon struck" ... we mean, of course, that they have unexpectedly become aware of the close proximity of this celestial body, and of the existing possibility of getting there. What with "Sputniks," "Mutniks," and "Ikeniks" cruising now around the globe, and the new scientific games of spending the tax-payer's money on shooting missiles to the Moon in the very near future, this close neighbor of our Earth is receiving very special attention. It may be a good time, therefore, to review some of the ancient occult teachings concerning the Lunar orb which have come down from immemorial antiquity, and see what kind of a body it is that the scientists of our era are so fascinated about.

Let it be stated at the very outset that, according to these age-old traditions, the Moon that we see is a dying body, the left-over fragment of a world which was once upon a time a planet swarming with living beings of all kinds. Moreover, it should be looked upon as a remnant of our own former home, our own previous habitat, as the planet we live on today stands in very close occult relation to the Moon. That relation is based upon the fact of re-embodiment, which, in the case of individual human beings takes the form of re-incarnation, or repeated lives upon this globe. Planets, like everything else in the Universe, have their own repeated phases or periods of manifestation: they have an origin, a gradual evolutionary unfoldment, a maturity, and an ultimate old age and decay, as far as their outward, physico-astral encasement is concerned; from this it follows that the indwelling spiritual Being which manifests as a planetary body, will have a new embodiment, after a prolonged period of rest, just as a human entity will have another incarnation after its devachanic period of recuperation. Analogy is the basic key to the understanding of all natural processes of being.

First let us consider this idea: suppose you could discover somewhere on this earth your former physical body, the body which you had used in a previous life, whether it be as a mummy or in some other form of preservation. We do not say that this is very probable, but we bring it up as a point of analogy. The relation between you at the present time, and your former body, would be approximately the relation which exists between the present globe Earth and the Moon which we see in the sky. The spiritual Being which informed the Moon, when it was a living and dynamically evolving planet, has had its cosmic period of rest, and has built for itself a new form, a new physico-astral shape or housing, for purposes of further evolution; and this new form or body is what we call the Earth, so that the Moon that we see is a thing deserted long ago by the entity that originally built it, and is left gradually to dissolve into its component atoms as the ages roll by.

We repeat: what is said above is an approximation only; it is not [4] literally so, and we shall try to bring out the actual facts somewhat closer to truth, and amend as necessary the above statement.

We have to remember that, according to the occult teachings which have come down from the Mystery-Schools of old, every planet, as well as the Sun itself, the elder Brother of the planets, is a twelvefold entity. It consists of twelve distinct globes having their location on seven planes of the universal structure. We are not entering into any details on this very complex subject, and so will merely say that the lowest of these globes, as far as our planet is concerned, is the globe Earth we inhabit at present. This physical globe of the planet is on the lowest or physical plane of the complete structural scheme, and is for the time being our home. None of the other or superior globes of this Earth Chain of Globes can be seen with the physical eye, and this applies to all the other planets of the Solar System.

Let us see how this applies to the Moon.

The Moon was also a twelvefold planetary entity in its days of dynamic evolutionary life. It also had its own physical or lowest globe in the Chain. It is logical to assume, therefore, that what we see in the sky is either a remnant of the physical globe of the Moon, as it used to be ages ago, or is something closely related to it, being on the physical plane. Otherwise, of course, we could not see it with physical sight.

Now let us make another step in this description. Let us remember that everything in nature has its physical, astral, vital (pranic), emotional (kamic), mental (manasic), and spiritual-divine aspects, seven in all, which are, we might say, the seven frequencies on which the complete evolving entity functions while in incarnation or embodiment. This reasoning applies also, of course, to any globe of a planet, and to the planet as a whole. Now let us limit ourselves, for a moment, to the physical globe of a planet, such as the planet-Moon that was. When its physical globe went to pieces, disintegrating much as would the physical body of a man, it left in the astral surroundings its astral counterpart, whose disintegration proceeds at a much slower rate than the physical. We do not mean the lowest astral body closely knitted with the physical atoms, but rather the vital-emotional (kama-pranic) part, in other words that which has become known in Theosophical parlance as the kama-rupa or body of desires and lower mental impulses.

It is this kama-rupic aggregate or body of the physical globe of the Moon that was, that we see with our physical sight as revolving around the Earth-globe. It is not the actual physical globe of the Moon, which has already disintegrated ages ago.

How is it that we can see with physical sight that which in the case of the Moon was at one time the kamic portion of its physical globe? Why then can we not see the corresponding portion of every human being we meet? Simply because our entire Earth-planet evolutionary chapter we are in today is taking place on a subplane of the physical plane one step higher that was the case in the period of the Moon-Chain evolution. We are still on the same cosmic plane, of course, but we are one seventh of that [5] plane higher. The result is that physical sight of the Earth-globe type can perceive with no further adjustment or training a certain portion of the Moon structure that is somewhat more ethereal than what used to be physical substance on the Moon in ages gone bye.

It is a question yet whether the physical texture or density of the Moon that we see is similar to that of the Earth-globe, or whether its consistency is somewhat more plastic. Possibly we stand fairly close to the day when scientific experiments will establish this fact beyond dispute. It remains to be seen.

It would be, however, quite erroneous to imagine that the Moon, being merely a kamic fragment of the physical globe that was, is therefore totally evil in its magnetism and its influence, as would be the case with ordinary disintegrating objects. It must be remembered that everything in Nature is twofold in its effects. Everything has its spiritual side, down to the last little atom. Therefore, while much of the lunar magnetism is evil, there are nevertheless spiritual influences emanating from the Moon, and this mainly because the Moon transmits to the Earth certain occult influences from the Sun, and is not merely a body reflecting ordinary sunlight from its surface. The Moon has an enormous and world-wide influence upon all generation, all plant and animal life, all generative processes as a whole, and most of the biological and genetical cycles are lunar, i.e., they are of seven-day duration, or its multiples; and it is obvious of course that evil magnetic emanations from a disintegrating body would not be conducive to the processes of growth and development. Hence the influence of the Moon is dual.

Modern science is gradually moving away from the idea that the Moon is just a satellite of the Earth and no more. It is considered these days rather as a twin-brother. The curious idea that existed for some years that the Moon was torn away from the Earth globe in past geological eras has lost ground. The present position in some scientific circles is to the effect that the Earth and Moon form a closely related system of two bodies, neither of which originates from the other, and this is an approach to the occult tradition and might have further modifications in due time.

For the benefit of students who are interested in astrological research, let it be added that in occult astrology - regarding which there are no more than hints and allusions in most occidental astrological works - the Moon that we see stands as a symbol for an occult planet not visible with the physical eyes, and which bears a specific and very mysterious relation, not only to the Earth, but to the solar system.

Such are some of the teachings which have been transmitted to us from ages past concerning the nature of the Moon. We recommend to all students to acquaint themselves with the information available on this subject in The Secret Doctrine and elsewhere, in these days when science is becoming so greatly interested in the nature of the lunar orb. For all we know at present, its actual contact with the lunar surface may result in some unexpected shock to existing scientific theories, and confirm the occult tradition. [6]


William Quan Judge

[From the Report of the World's Parliament of Religions, Chicago, 1893.]

The claim is made that an impartial study of history, religion, and literature will show the existence from ancient times of a great body of philosophical, scientific and ethical doctrine forming the basis and origin of all similar thought in modern times.

It is at once religious and scientific, asserting that religion and science should never be separated. It puts forward sublime religious and ideal teachings, but at the same time shows that all of it can be demonstrated to reason, and that authority other than that has no place, thus preventing the hypocrisy which arises from asserting dogmas on authority which no one can show as resting on reason.

This ancient body of doctrine is known as the 'Wisdom-Religion' and was always taught by adepts or initiates therein who preserve it through all time. Hence, and from other doctrines demonstrated, it is shown that man, being spirit and immortal, is able to perpetuate his real life and consciousness, and has done so during all time in the persons of those higher flowers of the human race who are members of an ancient and higher brotherhood, who concern themselves with the soul development of man, held by them to include every process of evolution on all planes.

The initiates, being bound by the law of evolution, must work with humanity as its development permits. Therefore, from time to time, they give out again and again the same doctrine which from time to time grows obscure in various nations and places.

This is the Wisdom-Religion, and they are the keepers of it. At times they come to nations as great teachers and 'saviors,' who only re-promulgate the old truths and system of ethics. This therefore holds, that humanity is capable of infinite perfection both in time and quality, the saviors and adepts being held up as examples of that possibility.

From this living and presently acting body of perfected men H.P. Blavatsky declared she received the impulse to bring forward once more the old ideas and from them also received several keys to ancient and modern doctrines that had been lost during modern struggles toward civilization, and also that she was furnished by them with some doctrines really ancient but entirely new to the present day in any exoteric shape. These she wrote among the other keys furnished by her to her fellow members and the world at large. Added, then, to the testimony through all time found in records of all nations, we have this modern explicit assertion that the ancient learned and humanitarian body of adepts still exists on this earth and takes an interest in the development of the race.

Theosophy postulates an eternal principle called the unknown, which can never be cognized except through its manifestations. This eternal principle is in and is every thing and being; it periodically and eternally manifests itself and recedes again from manifestation. In this ebb and flow evolution proceeds and itself is the progress of [7] the manifestation. The perceived universe is the manifestation of this unknown, including spirit and matter, for Theosophy holds that those are but the two opposite poles of the one unknown principle. They co-exist, are not separate nor separable from each other, or, as the Hindu scriptures say, there is no particle of matter without spirit, and no particle of spirit without matter.

In manifesting itself the spirit-matter differentiates on seven planes, each more dense on the way down to the plane of our senses than its predecessor, the substance in all being the same, only differing in degree. Therefore from this view the whole universe is alive, not one atom of it being in any sense dead. It is also conscious and intelligent, its consciousness and intelligence being present on all planes though obscured on this one.

On this plane of ours the spirit focalizes itself in all human beings who choose to permit it to do so, and the refusal to permit it is the cause of ignorance, of sin, of all sorrow and suffering. In all ages some have come to this high state, have grown to be as gods, are partakers actively in the work of nature, and go on from century to century widening their consciousness and increasing the scope of their government in nature. This is the destiny of all beings, and hence at the outset Theosophy postulates the perfectibility of the race, removes the idea of innate unregenerable wickedness, and offers a purpose and an aim for life which is consonant with the longings of the soul and with its real nature, tending at the same time to destroy pessimism with its companion, despair.

In Theosophy the world is held to be the product of the evolution of the principle spoken of from the very lowest first forms of life, guided as it proceeded by intelligent perfected beings from other and older evolutions, and compounded also of the egos or individual spirits for and by whom it emanates. Hence man as we know him is held to be a conscious spirit, the flower of evolution, with other and lower classes of egos below him in the lower kingdoms, all, however, coming up and destined one day to be on the same human stage as we now are, we then being higher still. Man's consciousness being thus more perfect is able to pass from one to another of the planes of differentiation mentioned. If he mistakes any one of them for the reality that he is in his essence, he is deluded; the object of evolution, then, is to give him complete self-consciousness so that he may go on to higher stages in the progress of the universe. His evolution after coming on the human stage is for the getting of experience, and in order so to raise up and purify the various planes of matter with which he has to do, that the voice of the spirit may be fully heard and comprehended.

He is a religious being because he is a spirit encased in matter, which is in turn itself spiritual in essence. Being a spirit he requires vehicles with which to come in touch with all the planes of nature included in evolution, and it is these vehicles that make of him an intricate, composite being, liable to error, but at the same time able to rise above all delusions and conquer the highest place. He is in miniature the universe, for he is a spirit, manifesting himself to himself [8] by means of seven differentiations. Therefore he is known in Theosophy as a sevenfold being.

The Christian division of body, soul, and spirit is accurate so far as it goes, but it will not answer to the problems of life and nature, unless, as is not the case, those three divisions are each held to be composed of others, which would raise the possible total to seven. The spirit stands alone at the top; next comes the spiritual soul or Buddhi as it is called in Sanskrit. This partakes more of the spirit than any below it, and is connected with Manas or mind, these three being the real trinity of man, the imperishable part, the real thinking entity living on the earth in the other and denser vehicles by its evolution.

Below, in order of quality, is the plane of the desires and passions shared with the animal kingdom, unintelligent, and the producer of ignorance flowing from delusion. It is distinct from the will and judgment, and must therefore be given its own place. On this plane also is gross life, manifesting not as spirit from which it derives its essence, but as energy and motion on this plane. It being common to the whole objective plane and being everywhere, is also to be classed by itself, the portion used by man being given up at the death of the body. Then last, before the objective body, is the model or double of the outer or physical case. This double is the astral body belonging to the astral plane of matter, not so dense as physical molecules, but more tenuous and much stronger, as well as lasting. It is the original of the body, permitting the physical molecules to arrange and show themselves thereon, allowing them to go and come from day to day, as they are known to do, yet ever retaining the fixed shape and contour given by the astral double within.

These four lower principles or sheaths are the transitory perishable part of man, not himself, but in every sense the instrument he uses, given up at the hour of death like an old garment, and rebuilt out of the general reservoir at every new birth. The trinity is the real man, the thinker, the individuality that passes from house to house, gaining experience at each rebirth, while it suffers and enjoys according to its deeds - it is the one central man, the living spirit-soul.

Now this spiritual man, having always existed, being intimately concerned in evolution, dominated by the law of cause and effect, because in himself he is that very law, showing moreover on this plane varieties of force of character, capacity, and opportunity, his very presence must be explained while the differences noted have to be accounted for.

The doctrine of Reincarnation does all this. It means that man as a thinker, composed of soul, mind, and spirit, occupies body after body in life after life on the earth, which is the scene of his evolution, and where he must, under the very laws of his being, complete that evolution, once it has been begun. In any one life he is known to others as a personality, but in the whole stretch of eternity he is one individual, feeling in himself an identity - not dependent on name, form, or recollection.

This doctrine is the very base of Theosophy, for it explains life and nature. It is one aspect of evolution, for as it is re-embodiment in meaning, and [9] as evolution could not go on without re-embodiment, it is evolution itself, as applied to the human soul. But it is also a doctrine believed in at the time given to Jesus and taught in the early ages of Christianity, being now as necessary to that religion as it is to any other to explain texts, to reconcile the justice of God with the rough and merciless aspect of nature and life to most mortals, and to throw a light perceptible by reason on all the problems that vex us in our journey through this world.

The vast and, under any other doctrine, unjust difference between the savage and the civilized man as to both capacity, character, and opportunity, can be understood only through this doctrine, and coming to our own stratum the differences of the same kind may only thus be explained. It vindicates Nature and God, and removes from religion the blot thrown by men who have postulated creeds which paint the Creator as a demon.

Each man's life and character are the outcome of his previous lives and thoughts. Each is his own judge, his own executioner, for it is his own hand that forges the weapon which works for his punishment, and each by his own life reaches reward, rises to heights of knowledge and power for the good of all who may be left behind him. Nothing is left to chance, favor, or partiality, but all is under the governance of law.

Man is a thinker, and by his thoughts he makes the causes for woe or bliss; for his thoughts produce his acts. He is the center for any disturbance of the universal harmony, and, to him as the center the disturbance must return so as to bring about equilibrium, for Nature always works towards harmony. Man is always carrying on a series of thoughts, which extend back to the remote past, continually making action and reaction. He is thus responsible for all his thoughts and acts, and in that his complete responsibility is established; his own spirit is the essence of this law and provides forever compensation for every disturbance and adjustment for all effects.

This is the law of Karma or justice, sometimes called the ethical law of causation. It is not foreign to the Christian scriptures, for both Jesus and St. Paul clearly enunciated it. Jesus said we should be judged as we gave judgment and should receive the measure we meted to others. St. Paul said: "Brethren, ... be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." And that sowing and reaping can only be possible under the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation.

But what of death and after? Is heaven a place or is it not? Theosophy tenches, as may be found in all sacred books, that after death the soul reaps a rest. This is from its own nature. It is a thinker, and cannot during life fulfil and carry out all nor even a small part of the myriads of thoughts entertained. Hence, when at death it casts off the body and the astral body, and is released from the passions and desires, its natural forces have immediate sway and it thinks its thoughts out on the soul plane, clothed in a finer body suitable to that existence.

This is called Devachan. It is the very state that has brought about the descriptions of heaven common to all religions, but this doctrine is very clearly put in the Buddhist and Hindu [10] religions. It is a time of rest, because the physical body being absent the consciousness is not in the completer touch with nature which is possible on the material plane.

But it is a real existence, and no more illusionary than earth life; it is where the essence of the thoughts of life that were as high as character permitted, expands and is garnered by the soul and mind. When the force of these thoughts is fully exhausted the soul is drawn back once more to earth, to that environment which is sufficiently like unto itself to give it the proper further evolution. This alternation from state to state goes on until the being rises from repeated experiences above ignorance, and realizes in itself the actual unity of all spiritual beings. Then it passes on to higher and greater steps on the evolutionary road.

No new ethics are presented by Theosophy, as it is held that right ethics are forever the same. But in the Doctrines of Theosophy are to be found the philosophical and reasonable basis for ethics and the natural enforcement of them in practice. Universal Brotherhood is that which will result in doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, and in your loving your neighbor as yourself - declared as right by all teachers in the great religions of the world.


Mollie Griffith

Some years ago, a minister in one of our cities gave a series of sermons on the so-called "isms," the idea being first to explain them and then comment on them. Christian Science, Spiritualism and Theosophy were among these, and it was with some interest that a few of us went to his church to hear what he had to say on the subject of Theosophy.

Now it must be admitted that it was a Herculean task to explain, in about twenty minutes, to a congregation, most of whom had never heard of it, the all-embracing philosophy of the Ancient Wisdom, and not only to explain it, but to dispose of it as well. It must also be admitted that had we not known before hand what the subject was to be, and had not our minister mentioned the names of Madame Blavatsky and Mrs. Besant, we should not have had any idea that Theosophy was the subject of his sermon.

There were many statements made which we could have challenged, had it been possible, but there was one above all that has stayed in my memory, and which I should like to comment on in this article, and it ran something like this - that "Theosophy is a cold philosophy in which THERE IS NO HOPE FOR SINNERS."

Now those of us who have been brought up in the orthodox beliefs of the Western world know what he meant, for there is a vast difference between these beliefs and those of Theosophy, the former teaching as we know, that however black our sins may be, we have only to repent and subscribe to certain beliefs, accompanied in some cases by acts of penance, to have them wiped off the slate; the [11] latter teaching, that having reached the status of a responsible human being, we have to meet the effects of all causes set in motion by us.

Christianity teaches this too, in the well-known text that "God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

When we first seriously consider this law, called in Theosophy, the law of Karma, we have a tendency to think of it as something which brings us unhappiness, and when something goes wrong in our small world we say, "Well, I suppose that this is my Karma," and truly it is, but so are all the lovely and happy things that come into our lives as well.

Now, the Law of Karma cannot be thought of except in conjunction with the Law of Reincarnation, for one short span on earth will obviously not provide the opportunities to reap the effects of all the causes we have set in motion, and so we return to this school of life over and over again, learning its lessons quickly or slowly as the case may be, until, having grown to full human stature we have no further need to return except by choice, and are initiated into a higher life into which we have earned the right to enter.

This is a long way off for most of us, but is the objective towards which all humanity consciously or unconsciously is going. When we do it consciously we call it treading the Path, and it is towards this endeavor that Theosophy acts as a light and an inspiration. It is here too that we begin to have a greater understanding and appreciation of the Law of Karma, for the object of life is growth, but it is not until we reach the self-conscious stage of man that we become responsible for our own growth, and gradually through many lives become aware that there are laws governing all phases of life that must be understood and obeyed.

Now, is there any other way that we could learn what the laws of life are, and how to live in harmony with them, than by receiving from life the exact and just results of all our actions, whether these results be happy or unhappy, good or bad.

If a baby did not hurt himself falling when it first started to walk, how long would it take to learn? If we consistently ignore a pain, may we not be asking for trouble, growing worse because of our neglect, and if we could disturb the harmony of life with impunity should we ever find our way to the stairway of the Gods?

The proof that Life is our greatest and wisest teacher lies in the fact that every time we make a mistake, whether ignorantly or knowing what we are doing, we feel the effect as pain in some form or another, but so perfect is the intelligence lying behind this Law, that the consequence of the mistake is perfectly adjusted to the stage of growth of the being whose mistake it is.

We see a reflection of this Law in our human laws, where a juvenile does not receive the same penalty for the same offence as an adult, but the Law of Karma does not only respond to our deeds, but to our most secret thoughts and desires as well. We cannot, with our finite minds, understand how it works in this wonderful way, but we can study its effects and by studying them and trying to live according to the law which it reveals [12] to us, co-operate with Life in fulfilling its purpose.

In Dr. Jerome Anderson's fine book Karma he calls it "the expression of the Infinite Will," another name for which is "compassion" and sometimes he calls it "our conscious Saviour." A little thought along this line will throw light on his meaning, for without this law rooted in the depth of the Infinite, what would we have to depend on to guide us through the immense difficulties of our many lives? Being colorless in itself, it can only work on the material we present it with, and if what we offer it is the right material, the patterns it weaves will be harmonious.

Some day we may learn to trust the Law of Karma, and finally learn to act in harmony with it. At no time call we ignore it and this brings us back to the sinner for whom our minister said Theosophy offers no hope. If he has not been mentioned before it is because the Theosophical viewpoint cannot be put forward without some understanding of the Law of Karma.

Students of Theosophy do not mention the word "sinner" very often, feeling as they do, that all finite beings are imperfect, however different their degree of imperfection may be. They recognize man as a unit of consciousness, having arrived at a stage between that of the spiritual soul, and that of the animal soul. He is pulled both ways, sometimes acting under the influence of one, sometimes the other, all depending on the stage he has reached in his evolution.

This "sinner" then, according to this viewpoint, has for the moment given in to the forces of his lower nature, and done something which is wrong and inconsistent at his particular stage of evolution, thereby causing unhappiness to his fellow beings. He has acted as less than man.

Now, our minister, if this man or woman came to him for advice, would probably say that the burden of his sin had already been paid for by the sacrifice of his Saviour, and that all he had to do was to repent and he would be forgiven. He might be advised to make amends for what he had done, but if he was going to die without any such opportunity, the result he would be led to expect would be the same. The student of Theosophy, on the other hand, would regard the matter quite differently, for he sees the sinner as a human soul like himself, struggling towards the goal of human perfection.

The struggle may be conscious or unconscious but nevertheless it goes on from life to life, between what we vaguely call the higher and the lower self, first one winning the victory, then the other. In the case we are talking about, the victory has gone to the lower self, and this human soul, identifying himself with it, has allowed some act to be committed which brings pain and sorrow in its wake.

Now this man, we know, is divine at heart, and his work through the ages is to fit himself to be a channel for this divinity so that finally it will know himself as one with all life. To do this, he must learn to put himself in the place of others, feeling as they do, and how could this be done except by experiencing in himself the pain he has inflicted on them. He has reached the state of manhood, where he should expect to bear his own [13] burdens and pay his own debts, for this is expected of an honorable man, even in ordinary life. But whether he wants to pay his debts or not, Karma will insist that he do so. This is not punishment, but a means whereby we are made aware of our own mistakes, and guided back to the Path leading to unity, from which we so often stray.

Students of Theosophy, who are beginning to have some understanding of the many reasons which cause human beings to act wrongly, do not, as said before, use the word "sinner" but they hear much of one sin, and that is, the "sin of separateness." For them, the sinner and the saint are all part of the One Life, the one being the promise of the other.

So to our minister, we would say: Far from offering no hope for sinners, Theosophy teaches that all men without exception, may reach the goal of human perfection, which leads to Godhood, unless they deliberately choose to do otherwise, and the man he calls "sinner" today may in the future be one who acts as a light and a guide to his fellowmen.

Experience is the means by which we strengthen our characters and gain wisdom and compassion; the sooner we become aware of the object of our experiences and try to absorb their meaning, the sooner we shall free ourselves from our personal burdens and be able to assist the forces of light in their age-long fight against the forces of darkness.

As for the criticism that ours is a cold philosophy, this generally comes from someone who does not really understand it, for although Theosophy does not speak of a personal God on whom we can lean and to whom we can pray for the fulfillment of our personal desires, and although it tells us that we have to shoulder our own burdens, it does not therefore leave us without guidance or help. It speaks with reverence of the great Masters of Wisdom and Compassion of whom Jesus and the Buddha were outstanding examples. These great Beings, having won their own freedom, came back to this world to help us win ours. It speaks of the "imprisoned splendor" buried in every human heart, and of "love" as the cement of the Universe. It speaks not only of the brotherhood of man but of our relationship to all the other kingdoms of Nature as well, for it sees all life as one life.

Believing this then, we feel that wherever we look, at the sky above our heads or the earth below our feet, at our fellow-man or the bird flying past our window, we are looking at an expression of "That" which men call "God."

In H. P. Blavatsky's book, The Voice of the Silence, are these lines:

"Let thy Soul lend its ear to every cry of pain like as the lotus bares its heart to drink the morning sun.

"Let not the fierce Sun dry one tear of pain, before thyself hast wiped it from the sufferer's eye.

"But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain, nor ever brush it off, until the pain that caused it is removed."

Surely a philosophy which contains such ideas is not a cold philosophy! [14]


G. de Purucker

[Excerpts from a private letter written about 1938.]

No peace will ever be brought to pass, nor civilization ever endure, unless based upon ideas which originate ideals, and unless these ideals are lived. Once we have ideas and ideals, making for peace, and for a brotherhood of the peoples, leaving to each people absolute freedom and liberty to pursue its own national course as it wishes, politics, like the intermediant of human thought it naturally is, will fall into place as a natural adjunct. To attempt to change people's minds by politics, usually means going down into the arena of strife, without presenting a feasible and philosophic as well as ethical basis for the existence of peace, and is simply like trying to separate two angry and quarreling men by taking physical action against both. You convince neither, and are apt to be hurt yourself, because you descend into the same low arena of ideas based on force on which the two quarreling men live.

The point is this: Theosophists as much as any other individuals, are entitled to hold what political opinions they please, or to hold none if they so please. The Theosophical Society as an organization is absolutely non-political, traditionally so, and naturally the probability is, it has in its ranks members who hold many and different political opinions or convictions, quite possibly even greatly differing from each other. But this has nothing to do with the Theosophical Society, nor with its work in the world.

Consider, if you please, a political party with neither ideals nor ideas. How long would it exist? Anywhere from half an hour to half a year, possibly longer. The reason that political parties and politics exist, is because they are supposed to be the machinery for expressing ideas and ideals. If the ideas and ideals are high, the politics are correspondingly superior. If the former are low, the politics are correspondingly detestable. The world has been trying the ideas of force, and arrangements of international amity based on political grounds, from time immemorial, and we all know what little success has ever been had. Nothing permanent, nothing enduring, nothing that lasts. Why? Because politics have always been considered more important than ideas and ideals. These run directly counter to all human history, whether religious, philosophic, scientific, governmental, political, social, or what not. A civilization is grand or mean precisely in accordance with the ideas or ideals upon which it is builded. Theosophists have no particular objection to politics, if men want to follow the political line. But politics are always subservient to ideals, which at least they are supposed to be the machinery for carrying out, as stated above.

What the world needs today is new ideas and new ideals, not new politics nor more politics, but a good deal less politics, and a good deal more of honest-to-goodness, practical and practicable thinking in new and wholesome and progressive ideas. People need never bother about politics, and certainly never [15] lose their temper over them, if it is recognized that politics are ruled by ideas and ideals.

The point of all this is the following: Which, therefore, in view of human history and what has been said above, is more important - squabbling in politics, or persuading men's hearts and minds that thought rules the world, to wit, ideas and ideals? The question answers itself. The difference between a great man and a mean man, between a genius and an average man, is that the former in either case bases his life on ideas and ideals, and the latter does not, however much he may pretend to do so. Politics without philosophy, to wit, an ethical or idealistic philosophy, is a lot of action and noise without body and substance, and therefore is dangerous, and it is just this one point that the world needs to learn to recognise, to grow to understand.


C. J.

It is a part of the strange, deceptive quality of things, that nothing should teach us so much of life, nothing should so much open our eyes to the grandeur and limitless possibility of life, as death, which is called the cessation of life. Twice it has been my lot to verify the same truth: that the death of a friend, esteemed wise and valiant in knowledge of life, should not impoverish life but enrich it; should, indeed, add a new world to the kingdom of life, and that new world - the realm of death.

There is - in a few souls vividly manifest, in many souls dimly felt, in all souls at least suspected - a quality of high reality which, when we meet and touch it, brings with it a keen sense of eternalness, of something that really is, and therefore cannot cease to be. This profoundly real light is the best gift the highest souls have to offer us; and the moment for testing the value of the gift, is the moment of their death.

When that death has come, and we know quite certainly that we shall not by any possibility see them again in life, there comes to us - if we have fitly received their gift of light - a keen and lucid sense of the closeness to us of that eternal part in them which we had felt during life; and, with it, a knowledge that this is the reality of our friend, not the outward form, faded by the waste of mortality. And that new reality - new, because not known before in its pure and isolated nature - has won a new world for us. For what we feel, close to us, is not in this world, as men speak of this world; nor does it approach us from the side of this world, or in the manner of this world, but in a new and hitherto inexperienced way, which we know to he not of this world, but of the mysteriously shining, mysteriously hidden world of death. In that newly gained world we have now a certain possession, a possession not of the dead, but of the living. More than that, as we cannot perceive the things of the real world in any way but by becoming them, by recognizing our real oneness with them; so, in thus [16] gaining a possession in the kingdom of death, we really become, in a sense, at one with the kingdom of death, and, thus becoming death, we find that death is - life.

We are apprised of a new, hitherto hardly suspected, hardly felt realm of life; a new world, to which our dead friend has gone as ambassador, carrying with him our consciousness, and thereby giving us a sense of being, in some degree, familiar with the world of death, and at home in it.

Death is no longer a blackness stretching across the sky of life, and drawing closer and ever closer. Death has been transformed; we have become reconciled to it, found in it a new, wide world, where a real part of us already dwells. This knowledge is the last, best gift to us from our dead friends.

This strange inheritance of death is yet not more than a single piercing intuition, which we can only in part relate to the whole of our lives and wills; very much of our lives are lived as though there was no death, or as if death were immeasurably distant, or a terrible fate which it were best to keep hidden from memory and thought.

Yet that single intuition foreshadows for us the possibility of a time when we shall live with equal regard to both worlds; when we shall at will inhabit both worlds, the Beyond as familiarly as this earth. It is easy enough to figure some such possibility in fancy; it is in no wise easy to realize it, even a little, with our wills; and it is hardly conceivable that anything we could voluntarily undertake would give our wills a hold in the world of death.

For this very reason, perhaps, it is necessary that just those souls in whom we have felt most of reality, most of eternalness, should disappear from us into the darkness, in order that we may learn that not seeing but inwardly touching is the true proof that our friend is there; in order that we may learn that the vanishing and dissipation of the outward, visible part, is no impairing or detriment to the real part, which is invisible.

This knowledge, and the realizing of it in our wills, are gained with the utmost difficulty, at a cost not less than the loss of the best of our friends; yet, if the cost be great, the gain is great and beyond estimating, for it is nothing less than a first victory over the whole universe, wherein we come to know that there is that in us which can face and conquer and outlast anything in the universe, and come forth radiant and triumphant from the contest. Yet neither the universe nor death are real antagonists, for they are both only Life everywhere, and we are Life.


We take pleasure in recommending to our readers a small, 45-page pamphlet entitled The Wisdom of Confucius, from the pen of Iverson L. Harris, who has made a special study of Chinese philosophy through the years. It contains a great deal of sound philosophy and practical precepts, and the old Oriental Philosopher appears in its pages as a living reality. The pamphlet may be obtained for 25 cents direct from The Blavatsky Institute, 52 Isabella Street, Toronto 5, Ont., Canada. - Editor, Theosophia.