A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XXIV
No. 4 (114) - Spring 1968

[Cover photo: William Quan Judge - April 13, 1851 - March 21, 1896.
One of three principal Founders of The Theosophical Society.]


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: $2.00 a year (four issues); single copy 50 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.




Hear me, O gods, who roam the azure heights!
Were you as I - a beggar at the gate,
Lonely and lost through endless days and nights,
Crushed in the chains of pride and lust and hate?
And did you ask your soul: “Is it too late
To flee the horror of these sounds and sights?”
Were you as I - the creature of a Fate
Forged in the demon-fire of hell’s delights?

Hear me, O gods, though he who speaks your name
Walks in a night of terror and of shame,
Yet knows within his heart the leaching true:
In ages long ago you were as he;
And when he learns to love, forgive, and be
The god within, he will ascend to you.
- George Cardinal LeGros. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

One of the main obstacles in the way of spiritual growth is emotional involvement in the ever-changing scenes and events of human life.

Students of the Ancient Wisdom, who are making a sincere attempt to become Theosophists some day, should bear in mind that the outer phantasmagoria of the collective life of humanity is but a temporary stage-setting behind which are hidden the real issues of life.

Considered as means and tools of experience, the outer events have no reality whatsoever; they are here today and gone tomorrow. Viewed as symptoms and channels of an ever-present consciousness, the same events acquire their only modicum of reality. The question therefore arises: to what extent and in what degree will these outer events lead to a change of consciousness in the direction of inner growth, the growth of the soul?

A certain degree of identification of man with the passing events on the outer scene of life is, no doubt, required in the case of millions of people who have not yet discovered the existence of an inner life, and whose viewpoint is limited by the one-life theory and the paramount importance of material concerns.

In the case of a student of the Esoteric Philosophy, however, the same type or degree of identification is conducive to confusion, frustration and spiritual debility. If he desires to grow and to become, he is required by the very laws of growth to remain aloof from emotional entanglements so as to be at least relatively free from emotional and lower-mind bias and acquire the qualities of an outside observer of what is going on around him.

It is therefore of great importance that he be unaffected by the swirls of human emotions, calm in the midst of excitement, clear-minded in the midst of confusion, and quiet whenever he may have to face some wild frenzies on the part of mass-psychology.

The attempt on his part to achieve this condition will be interpreted even by his friends as lack of fellow feeling on his part or as an attempt to impress others with his own spiritual superiority, or, mayhap, as an unwillingness to be “polluted” by other human beings, while striving to remain within the shell of his own imagined righteousness.

This in itself should give the student an added opportunity to exercise self-control and sympathy, inner stability and balance, and should be taken for granted.

It is mainly on account of what has been said above that such stress has always been laid on the strictly non-political nature of a true occult movements, including the present-day Theosophical Movement. Politics of any type and brand are divisive and encourage separateness and combativeness, as well as a number of other unfortunate traits in human nature. They bring about contention, virulence, enmity and confusion, and are therefore diametrically opposed to the ideals and objectives of all spiritual efforts, the latter being at all times directed [4] towards unification, oneness, solidarity and good will.

Political issues on the scene of present-day human life are of no more importance than those which prevailed a few hundred or a few thousand years ago. The tendency on the part of some people to identify their emotions and their lower thinking with issues which divide people today is a sheer waste of time, energy and effort, as all of these issues will very soon become dead issues, and will preserve only that modicum of interest which is given by historians of later generations to the stupidities, passions and aberrations of former eras. What about the issues involved in the War of the Roses? What about the passions which fired and motivated the Crusades? What of the political contentions of the Roman Senate, the objectives of Alexander of Macedonia, or the emotional whirls of the Seven-Year War? It is a sobering thought to reflect upon the obvious fact that our present-day issues will fairly soon become as dead as these, and will retire into the limbo of a distant past where all our shams and follies are hidden by the gathering mists of oblivion.

The only way in which a student of the Ancient Wisdom can ever acquire a dispassionate view, an unbiased perspective of world events, or even of the pattern of his own life, is by refusing to become involved in emotional whirls, in swirling eddies of kama-manasic currents, and by remaining as an observer at some distance from the scene of conflict This is helped by a growing realization that every conflict is but a means to an end, a symptom of an inner disharmony, of a fundamental lack of vision, or of a contest between opposing elements which are deceptive in their appearances and illusory in nature.

Truth resides at the center of the whirlwind. It is in the “eye” of the storm that calm and quietude prevail. That center is within ourselves. It is our refuge from the contending forces within our own lower natures. When enough people in the world will have realized the existence of that simple fact of being, outer conflicts will be materially reduced, without in the least affecting the powerful urge from within to become engaged in dynamic enterprises for the good and welfare of all.

It is of great importance to bear in mind that the Theosophical philosophy does not enjoin our physical withdrawal from the scene of action, or our removal to places of solitude untouched by human conflicts. The withdrawal that is to be achieved is an inner attitude of the heart and mind. It is a participation in human affairs, with noble motive, right action and deep sympathy for men, but a participation devoid of emotional involvement in feelings and ideas which have no enduring value and which will in time vanish into thin air, under the healing warmth of the Sun. [5]


William Guan Judge

[The following Question and Answer were originally published in The Theosophical Forum, New York , No. 31, January, 1892. They have not lost their value with the passage of years, and will repay close study.]

Has a mother a right to use her will-power in throwing off disease and the painful result of accidents from herself and children? Please draw the line clearly between white and black magic in such work, occult work.

W. Q. J. - It is not clear from the question whether the querent means to ask about the use of the will pure and simple or about the practice of mind-cure, as it is called, or spiritual healing. In respect to the use of the will considered alone, the editor of Forum has replied sufficiently, I think, especially pointing out that the use of that power is not well understood; and it would seem that the questioner does not understand it.

There is a remarkable absence of treatment of the question of the will in such books as the Yoga Aphorisms and the like, the very books where one would expect to see something about it if it is a thing that can be treated of separately. But we may see the reason for this when we remember the old saying of the Kabalists, that “behind will stands desire.” And by considering men as we see them, this saying appears to be a true one, for in everyday life and in every act we perceive that the prime mover is desire, and that the question of weak will or strong will depends on that in nearly every case. The wicked are of strong will because they have strong desires, and the weak person will be found to act with the most powerful will when the desire is strong. Their appearance of being weak arises from the fact that they are pulled about every moment by contrary wishes, not being concentrated enough to have definite wishes of their own. And it is here that the distinction between White and Black Magic can be easily found, for if the desired object be a selfish one or against the general good, then the act performed will be of the nature of Black Magic. The will is only used as an agent to carry out the desire. So in the case of an actual adept of either school, will is at his disposition no matter what be his object.

Now if the question put is in view of the practices of the so-called metaphysical healing schools, then a very different set of questions arises of mixed nature, some including moral aspects and some not, but everyone raising a doubt about the claims made of curative power, as also about the way in which any cures that do take place have been accomplished.

The editor has pointed out that a well balanced and centered mind will conduce to health, as has been held for ages; even savages know this and act accordingly. And if one finds from actual experience that the fact of his or her being of a cheerful, happy, contented, charitable, loving, faithful, sunny disposition will always have the effect of giving health to those about in the [6] family or elsewhere, then there can surely be nothing wrong or inexpedient in such a state. And that, in my opinion, is the right limit for the practice of metaphysical healing. For if one goes beyond that, and, following the rules of these schools, proceeds to send his thoughts out to another with the object of taking hold of that other’s mind, then there is the greatest danger and also Black Magic. For no one has the right to take the mind of another, for any purpose, into his possession. If such be done, then the other ceases to be a free agent. And this is true as much in the case of one’s child as in that of any other person. Moral wrong attaches here because one is acting on another. But in the event of acting on oneself there can only be a question of expediency, and that is a very wide and important one, since momentous consequences may flow to us and to others from the tendencies we set up in ourselves.

Bodily ailments may be roughly divided for the purposes of the present into two classes, one being those that are acute or due to the imagination or the reaction of the imagination on the processes in the bodily economy; the other being those due to strong physical karma showing out in diseases in the mortal envelope, and being entirely beyond the reach of the imagination and not due to reactions from the mind of the sufferer. These last are of the greater number; we see them in small children as well as in adults, and also in savages and the semi-savages of our own civilization who compose what some people call a lower element in the social body.

In the first class the physical troubles from reaction will of course disappear so soon as the person trains himself to look at life cheerfully and to grow into a more independent frame of mind. The cures are not due to the causes assumed in the schools we refer to. They come about as a natural result of the new state of mind withdrawing from the nerves and fluids of the body the old strain and oppression. When those are removed the actual state of health at the bottom comes to the surface. And the result would be the same in the instance of the most degraded savage who might be induced by accident or by the words of his medicine man to fix his mind in another direction. Obviously there it would not be due to a system of philosophy. And additional proof of this is to be had in the very schools we speak of. In those we see widely different systems; one requires faith in the Bible and in Jesus, and the other does not, and yet each makes equal claim to success. H. P. Blavatsky says: “This is all the secret. Half, if not two-thirds of all our ailings and diseases are the fruit of our imagination and fears. Destroy the latter and give another bent to the former, and nature will do the rest.”* (* “Hypnotism, and its Relations to Other Modes of Fascination,” Lucifer, Vol. VII, December, 1890, p. 301.)

In the second class of diseases it is quite true, as has been often·said by the metaphysical healer, that the disease comes from thought, but the error is in supposing it to be present thought had in this body. The thoughts are those of a past life, and have passed altogether from the mind plane into [7] the realm of causes for dynamic disturbance, or of tendency, that are quite beyond the reach of the present imagining power, but sure to result in the course of time in visible difficulty suddenly appearing, or resulting from our going into situations that bring to us the germs of disease. For Karma acts on us not only in inherited troubles but also in accord with the tendencies we have set up in ourselves in a previous life. Those latter impel us to go to places or to mix with such people as that the inevitable result will be to cause effects on our mind or body that otherwise would not be felt. As in the case of one who set up in a previous life a tendency to consort with good and cultured people; this will come out and lead to a similar line of action with very different results from the case of one whose tendencies were in the opposite direction.

These causes for disease then being in the mind plane from the last life, and having become mechanical causes in this, are now on their way out of the system in the proper channel, and that channel is a physical, mechanical one. They are leaving us by the way of the body, are on the way down, and should not be stopped and sent back to the mind plane again. They should be treated by the ordinary methods of hygiene, of medicine, of surgery, of food. Hygiene and food furnish the right conditions for adjustment, and make no new present cause for trouble; medicine helps nature in her mechanical acts of purging and alteration; and surgery replaces dislocations, removes dead tissues, or puts bones that are broken into position for proper joining. No one would be so foolish as to say that thinking will remove from the brain the pressure of a fractured bone that is making the patient mad, or that imagination will set a dislocated shoulder. And if rotting food in the stomach is affecting the head and the whole system, it is certainly wiser to get rid of the offending substance as quickly as possible, supplying the body with good food in its place, than to let the evil stay to be absorbed as evil into the tissues while one busies himself by calling on the higher power of mind to make him think he is not disturbed while nature is going on with her cure. In many cases this latter is all that happens, for any strong-minded person can resolve to endure great pain during the process of rectification of internal trouble by ordinary change of tissue and of fluids. So a disciple of the schools in question may be so full of the notion that mind, or God, or Christ is curing him that he endures until the vis medicatrix naturae has done its work.

Granting that these causes are on their way down and out, the effect of calling with a powerful will on the same plane of power is that the cause may be sent back to the inner mind and disappear from the body. But this is no cure: it is something like one’s cutting off his hair because the flies walk in it, it is planting once more in our deathless body disease that will surely come out again in another life as disease, or as madness in that one or presently in this. And in the life of many a practitioner nowadays this has happened. For wherever one is very sensitive the practices enjoined create abnormal states that have resulted in dementia. [8]

But a still more pressing danger lies in the half-truth of the practices. They are, divested of all pretention to systematic and right philosophy, partially correct yoga practices.

As soon as they are begun they set up in the astral currents in the practitioner definite changes that at once begin to react on the humors and fluids in the body and are strong enough to bring about definite alteration in the physical envelope. This has been known for ages and has been treated of by the older Hindus. But they have always been careful to say that they ought not to be gone on with in the absence of a guide who is competent to know every symptom, to note every effect, and to give the right corrective.

These correctives were not purely mental either, for many of them have to be physical, since the rapidity of the changes and the effects of the practices far outrun any application of mental correction in many instances. And this knowledge did not mean a mere following of a definite rule, but included an ability to see the peculiarities of each person as he proceeded. For as each is under a different set of laws peculiar to himself, the strict following of a general rule would lead to the greatest danger.

But what do the “metaphysical healers” know of this?

Nothing but the vague rule of the doctors that one must watch the patient and know, if possible, something of his medical record. Outside of that they are at sea with no pilot. They are inviting the explosion of forces they know nothing about, and when the difficulty arises they are powerless. From actual experiment I know the facts to be as stated. The pulse may be lowered or increased, or the first symptoms of paralysis produced, or fainting brought on, singing in the ears and mist before the eyes made to show themselves; but where is the corrective? Unknown, for the simple reason that when we are dealing with such forces as these we are out of the realm of general rules for correction and must be able to at once see the exact inner state of the person and to select unerringly out of the vast range of possible cures the right one so that it shall work without any mistake.

What, then, shall the querent do for herself and her children, as she asks? Use her best judgment, follow the best rules for the cure of diseases, train her children to be self-reliant and careful so that they shall have few accidents, teach them to avoid evil and danger and keep their minds and bodies in right condition, and karma will take care of the rest. And if they are hurt or really sick, then send for a good physician.


“Find the key of right living within yourself! Trust yourself more! Believe in yourself in the higher sense! Find the strength of your own character! Learn to love all that is true and beautiful! Cherish high ideals! Live for something greater than you ever lived for before! Remember that every moment of human life is sacred! Begin before it is too late, lest you lose your chances in this life of finding the key to that knowledge which brings permanent happiness.” - Katherine Tingley, The Wine of Life, p. 105. [9]


Montague A. Machell

“Where a man’s treasure is, there will his heart be also.”

In a social pattern based on competition man is set against man, his measure of success being his capacity to exceed his fellowman in accumulating life’s goods and luxuries. It is a somewhat bootless competition since any individual is only capable of effectively utilizing a certain share of these luxuries. Their endurance, moreover can never be enjoyed for more than a brief lifetime of seventy or eighty years, in which time they suffice merely to satisfy bodily, mental and emotional requirements.

If man were merely a body, mind, emotions, and nothing more, then, possibly, providing adequately for their needs might represent the sum of human responsibility. But in every heart spring hopes and hungers that the complete fulfillment of physical needs will not satisfy. When death comes, the consciousness of a well-fed body, a cultivated mind and gratified emotions proves inadequate. A suspicion lingers in many a heart that this vast universe and all its wonders must constitute the setting for a drama more majestic than this; that eighty years of living should have left with man discoveries more profoundly significant than mere physical and sensual satisfaction. Yet, in a milieu in which desire impels ever keener competition, rest and relaxation are hard to come by, so that a man finds himself a helpless victim of competition’s ever mounting momentum.

Religion would seem to be the first reply to man’s need for a richer life. Yet, upon examination of prevailing doubt, dissatisfaction and despair, one can hardly escape a discovery of certain inadequacies in current religions. These seem incapable of answering this deeper need, wherefore many are forced to fall back upon business for a life-long interest. But for many this is to fall under a constant fear of failure, a fear which can undermine body, mind and senses. The victims of these well-grounded fears come to see, as the years roll by, that business can never give them the serenity of ultimate fulfillment.

Happy indeed is he who can devise a program of living which leaves room for other considerations. Such a boon is this that it can only be paid for with a constant and fearless contemplation of life as a quest for a more lasting and less inconstant goal.

That goal must obviously represent values that remain unchanged during life, but demand an ever deeper understanding and dedication because rooted in the life pattern of man and his universe.

Theosophy defines this goal in terms of Universal Spiritual Unfoldment which must become the key pattern of life on this earth. This is a shared goal, inviting no competition on any plan or in any aspect. It means, in brief, living naturally, with due reverence for the laws of Nature and the harmonious proportions of spiritual living. The pedal tone of a work of art such as this is Inner Growth, whose [10] progress is measured not by change for its own sake, but by an unchanging constancy to ideals that bring about a harmonious adjustment to life, which invites the blooming of the flower SERENITY.

There are innumerable evidences in to day’s society in terms of the breakdown of body, and nervous system, that life under our present competitive system makes demands upon man more lethal than its fruits justify. Mankind, it would almost seem, is fast destroying itself in its frantic pursuit of life! Yet, actually, life sanely lived, begets life. It is not, and must not be, a program of destruction; only man’s mad insistence upon purely physical and material returns, in competition with his fellowman, disfigures earthly living and hastens death. And even death’s finality, on the one-life theory, robs it of mean­ing and opportunity. Man has seen to it that he shall learn little from life, and nothing from death, so long as he resolutely rejects the idea of many lives on earth. Without the sanity of Reincarnation, where can he look for SERENITY?

Dedication to time and materiality is a prolific parent of the things of time and materiality. What is hard for most of us to believe is that the real, enduring fruits of daily living are those of a timeless, un-material Reality that is the unseen, indefinable, deathless SELF of man and his universe. To this SELF, those highly-prized “symbols of progress,” unduly magnified, can become limitations in Reality’s manifestation. Theosophy sees the innermost nature of man as a miracle of beauty, whose unfoldment is slow and gradual. To begin to grasp its nature one must have recourse to the wisdom of that ancient Celt who declared: “I know the imagination of the oak tree.” Life, in its ultimate dimensions, is a slowly unfolding mystery in relation to which subjection to time is little better than a barbarism of an untutored society. We have yet to learn the mystery of the Tempo of Spirit, whose nature is a Divine Serenity - “Nothing too much” - and a reverence for this passing moment as the mirror of All Time. Adequately understood, this attitude engenders more than a smile of complaisant satisfaction; it is the wellspring of a fortifying radiance of awareness that the Pattern of Life is beneficent and harmonious, SERENITY’S smile, the seal of attunement to that Pattern.

Whether in the tree or in the body of man, healthy growth is never frenetic. He who accepts the Theosophical teaching of Reincarnation knows that “time,” in relation to the soul of man, is but an illusory irrelevance. The Infinite, which is·man’s essence, is beyond measurement in finite terms, as is that essence. Wherefore, to grow, in this time-and-place-hampered world, is to approach the Serenity of the Infinite. The Pattern of Fulfillment is assured. Only the doubts and desires of physical man can disturb the still waters of inner contemplation. Man, as a spiritual entity, grows in depth, not in bulk. Not “what happens,” but what is “perceived” is the measure of his “progress.” Feverish noise and bustle can too often mask a dearth of significant accomplishment.

To avoid this, man must take his stand in the Sphere of Silence, wherein [11] complete surrender to an unseen Reality may still the futile turmoil of make believe progress. The Serenity of deep spiritual conviction is doubt’s requiem, the requiescat in pace of this tormenting personality.

And let us remind ourselves that that personality undergoes its own hell on earth, born of everlasting doubt as to what is real and what is not. So far as man is solidly rooted in his own Spiritual Reality and that of his universe, he is in a position to inject a degree of security in his personal life, by offering the undisciplined personality a well-defined program of service, out of which an enduring significance may emerge.

The pedal tone referred to above is the positive understanding and acceptance of an unchanging Spiritual Pattern to life, that is evidence of its own reality, not the will of some “Heavenly Father.” For effective “growth,” man must, at all times, be the creator of his own destiny. This means transcendence of matter in man and his universe to the end that Spiritual Immortality shall shape and guide all earthly living. Theosophy views this not as a desirable consummation, merely, but as the end and aim of Life.

To realize this to the point that it supplies the single meaning of life is to achieve Serenity born of purpose replacing chance, fulfillment replacing despair. This knowledge, casting out all doubt, leaves the disciple at peace with life. This program offers a goal that magnifies man, a goal more heroically dependable than any humanly-conceived “Heaven.” It challenges growth! If there is any sphere wherein “Heaven is taken by violence,” it is upon this earth. After the darkness, the dawn; after the violence, the SERENITY of conscious Spiritual Dominion.

He who has attuned his life to the sublime destiny of his universe, has opened a treasure chest of Universal Potencies. No longer a penitent hostage, he slowly discovers his identity as a Lord of Life, in whom utter dedication to its purpose unlocks its undreamed potential in his individual life. His is a secret departure from the behavior pattern of the crowd; consciously and deliberately he closes his ears to earth’s slogans that he may hearken to the counsels of his Inmost Self, one with the Self of All - of suns, of stars, of worlds and universes, all mirroring this pattern of Fulfillment. On that plane of thought and action SERENITY of place and purpose is alone assured. He is living with LIFE not battling against it.

Between him and that SERENITY stands only personality - personal vanity, regarding which St. John of the Cross has remarked:

“ Desquietude is always vanity, because it serves no good. Yes, even if the whole world were thrown into confusion and all things in it, desquietude on that account would be vanity.”

And these are the words Krishna addressed to Arjuna in the sacred colloquy of the Bhagavad-Gita:

“Thus have I made known unto thee this knowledge which is a mystery more secret than secrecy itself; ponder it fully in thy mind, act as seemeth best unto thee.” [12]


L. Gordon Plummer

Whenever a musical tone is sounded, there are certain tones of other frequencies which ride on the note being struck. Although inaudible as separate sounds, they bear a definite relationship to the fundamental tone, giving to it the peculiar sound which identifies it as belonging to a violin, flute, oboe, or any other musical instrument. These overtones or harmonics are exceedingly important, for if a pure tone is sounded without any harmonics, we have a completely colorless and uninteresting sound.

We may detect some of the harmonies present in musical tones by the following simple experiment. Gently depress the E, G and C notes on the piano, so that the strings are free to vibrate. If done carefully, the hammers will not strike the strings. Now, firmly sound the note C two octaves below middle C, and hold the key down so that this string continues to vibrate. If you listen carefully, you can hear the three higher notes, because the strings left free to vibrate are set in motion by the vibrations of the low C. This is because the notes E, G and the high C are three of the many harmonics that are present in the piano sound of the lower C string. In other words, the three strings vibrate in harmony with the lower C. Many other strings would not vibrate because they are not harmonically related to this fundamental note.

There are many ways in which this lesson may be applied to·human life. All of us share certain things in common for the simple reason that we are all members of the human race.

Nevertheless, we show marked differences one from another. Can this not be due to the presence of overtones of character that we have built for ourselves as we weave our own thoughts, habits, characters and destinies?

Students who study comparative religion might also look for a lesson from the law of harmonics. It might well be that while all of the great religions of the world teach the same basic truths about man’s nature, his place in the universe, and his destiny, the differences that seem to exist between them are not fundamental; they are in reality evidences of the presence of overtones or harmonies, these being in the nature of the racial characteristics of the people to whom these religions were brought. It is no doubt a broadening experience to try to grasp the meaning and atmosphere of religions other than our own, through an effort to understand, if not to experience, temporarily at least, the patterns of thought and feeling that are a part of the psychology of other peoples.

Only a step farther in this study brings us to the teachings of Theosophy, wherein one of the loftiest aspects of the Ancient Wisdom is that which deals with the appearance from time to time of spiritual leaders of the human race. What is their real work? Does it necessarily lie in the spoken or the written word? Or must we look deeper still? A worthwhile thought to pursue would be that just as the strings of the piano are caused to vibrate by the sounding of a [13] fundamental tone, so when the human heart is free, then, if it is harmonically tuned, it may vibrate of its own accord to the messages brought to us by the Teachers of mankind. It is possible that, just as there was no mechanical connection between the strings of the piano as used in our illustration, so we may find that sympathetically tuned hearts and minds may be induced to vibrate in harmony with the great spiritual keynotes, even though the persons so responding may be unaware of the presence among us of anyone of a marked degree of spiritual stature. This may be one key to the spreading of H. P. Blavatsky’s message, wherein we see evidences of intuitive thought in so many books and articles published in our own times.

And so we are tempted to ask: Is the world fit and ready to receive a Teacher of the caliber of H. P. B.? What value would there be in a work such as hers being done openly? Would such a one be recognized in a world torn by one crisis after another? We have no ready answer for these questions, but there is one factor in human life that we may take into account, and we may be encouraged by it. And this is the receptiveness to which we have referred.

Leaving then the final answers as to the modus operandi in the hands of those who know better than we do, we may nevertheless be assured that whatever the manner of work in the future, there will always be the sounding of the fundamental tones, and since this is done on the inner planes of thought and intuition, the outer aspects of the work are of secondary importance. It is along the lines of inner communication that hearts and minds sympathetic to the universal truths will be activated, and will give utterance to lofty ideas. Thus they will be aided in the work that they undertake according to their own abilities and skills.

It would appear then that a good start can be made in studying the vast material that is already at hand, to wit, the writings of H. P. B., and one of the ablest of her students, a Teacher in his own right, G. de Purucker. His challenge rings true: Sursum corda! Up, hearts!


“From America, Adyar lies half a world away. The journey is across seas and plains and mountains, across lands of varying climates, countries populated by races and cultures differing from our own. But the longer journey may be the trek inward to the Immortal Man, and the longest journey of all may be from one human heart to another. But this is the journey that must be taken, if brotherhood is to be realized in our time and peace achieved. There must be a willingness to cross the seas of misunderstanding between ourselves and other peoples, to travel over the plains of indifference, to climb the mountains of prejudice and separateness, to forget the climates of hot passions and frigid resentments, to unite finally in one harmonious whole the races and cultures of humanity. Such is the aim of The Theosophical Society, such the goal toward which we work, such the journey we may determine to make. For this is to travel on that journey which is, essentially, no journey at all; it is to walk that distance which cannot be measured and which is, therefore, no distance - the distance between ourselves and our brother man.” - Joy Mills, National President, The Theosophical Society of America , in The American Theosophist, February 1968. [14]


Dara Eklund

… “We cannot afford to fritter away our solitude where lies the throne of the infinite. We cannot truly live for one another, if we never claim the freedom to live alone, if our social duties consist in helping one another to forget that we have souls. To exhaust ourselves completely in mere efforts to give company to each other, is to cheat the world of our best, the best which is the product of the amplitude of our inner atmosphere of leisure. Society poisons the air it breathes, where it hems in the individual with·a revolving crowd of distractions.” - Thought Relics, by R. Tagore.

It is rare to find amidst studies of the art of reading a book so refreshing as Holbrook Jackson’s The Reading of Books. A book which stirs thought, it can yet be placed in the classless “class” of recreational reading. Evoking a capacity to select, it carries the reader beyond the printed words into himself.

Certain passages are written with such lucidity and choice phrasing that they become as poetic in imagery as Emily Dickinson’s verse. Like the New England poetess, who, as a posthumously published recluse was innocent of the absurd analysis which later followed her strange but enticing world of delightful escapes, Mr. Jackson draws the reader to a true meaning of escapism. The desire to escape is not always morbid, nor necessarily related to misfortune. Often literature is impelled by the desire for escape and many writers have openly admitted it. Interestingly enough Mr. Jackson couples this form of escape with Self-realization. “Becomingness” should be a part of reading, a liberation into something better for the individual, an “impulsion toward change of condition.” Dr. Malcolm Dana, a noted teacher and psychologist, affirmed that a man should distinguish between “escaping into books” and escaping from society. Every tremor in the walls of our consciousness is a sign of progress - of breaking through old mental molds and increasing the circumference of consciousness. In regard to this experience, Jackson shows that we may gain value even from books which disturb us. Noting this, a librarian or teacher would benefit more from a knowledge of people and what they may be inwardly seeking, than from the books she passes across her desk, although she should never assume unwarranted authority or invade the privacy of another.

Holbrook Jackson refers to another form of escapism which, to quote Macaulay, is the “releasing of mind from obtrusive companionship.” Everyone desires some time for such privacy, and the need for a meditative moment in which to meet oneself through books. In most libraries one feels and respects this atmosphere of solitary enlargement. Nor do I think, as Jackson implies, that the ancients were unaware of this type of escapism. The literature of the East contains many studies on the art of meditation as applied through life. The period of “escape” is for Self-understanding, not liberation from the trials [15] of the mundane world or one’s fellowmen. It should mean a larger identification with the whole of life. Jackson himself states that escapism need not be a sign of defeat. Defeat for the narrow and limited, the personal perhaps. Not the deathless, the useful, the Universal.

The fact that rest, escape and re-creation may all be present in the motivation of a reader should be of interest to a librarian. He has a responsibility even to a so-called “passive reader,” as what he gathers from the material may be just as meaningful as a studied dissertation may be to an avid self-conscious reader. Later in life some idea dimly gleaned at the time crops up from the hidden currents of our life. Were we then a “passive” reader, or simply “unaware”? Could we venture to develop a technique of self-study which revolves around all our days’ experience, reading would no longer be a separate isolated task. It would no longer be hungered for, a substitute for a gnawing emptiness in our lives.

Unfolding from within we are not the victim of our development. We can surround ourselves with conditions favorable to growth. But until our reading becomes part of ourselves, it is that only - a condition, a possibility for growth. Until we draw from our reading that which has power to change daily thought and action, it is useless, raw and unassimilated. Drift-wood spawned from an unthinking social machine, now foisting books on the public by the thousands weekly.

In view of the author’s thoughts on the reader being the artist and the books the media, a librarian might consider himself as one of those Medieval paint-boys who prepared colors for the master artist. It is the artist who has full choice of how to use them. In reading, the direct discovery of the individual is inviolate even by the so-called authorities and critics of books. Know yourself through your surroundings, the reader through his books!

The enthusiasm with which Mr. Jackson feels books can help us restore from our inner lives qualities and thoughts which might otherwise go unheeded is truly striking. Perhaps if librarians and teachers were able to help people become aware of the creative process they engage in as readers, they would be doing a service in developing more masters in the art of reading.


There is but one way that a man shall live, and it is this: to face the circumstances of his life, whatever they may mean of sorrow, pain, or renunciation, and in the midst of them courageously and cheerfully to fulfill his duty and carve out his destiny. Upon the footsteps of such a man the angels wait, and all the divine powers of the universe acknowledge his commands. When a man has been able to master his own heart, and at the behest of duty has put aside that which is dearest, that man has conquered the world.” - Cave. [16]



This is a unique approach to the Ancient Wisdom, and should be in the possession of all serious students.
There are only a few copies left, and since no new edition is contemplated at this time, the book is becoming a collector’s item.
Copies may be ordered through “Theosophia” or directly from: L. GORDON PLUMMER, 5933 Gullstrand St., San Diego, Calif. 92122.
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VOLUME TWO 1879·1880

Contains, among other writings, H.P.B.’s forthright articles in American newspapers of 1879, just prior to her departure for India; her epoch-making pronouncements on Theosophy and the Theosophists in the opening pages of her first Theosophical Journal, The Theosophist, launched at Bombay in October, 1879; her fascinating and informative essay on the prehistoric civilizations of Central and South America, entitled “A Land of Mystery,” giving valuable hints on the lost treasures of the Incas; important essays on cycles and the occult significance of numbers; invaluable comments on Yoga practices and phenomena, on Mesmerism and Hypnotism, on adeptship and the inner constitution of man; and two of her gripping stories, full of wonder and suspense.
There is also a copious Appendix, prepared by the Compiler, with biographical sketches of individuals in touch with the Founders in the early days of the Movement, and people from whom H.P.B. quotes or to whom she refers.

635 pages; rare portraits, copious index; cloth bound.
PRICE: $7.00.

Other volumes of H.P.B.’s Collected Writings now available, $7.00 each:
Vol. I (1874-78) 570 pages.
Vol. V (1883) 416 pages
Vol. VI (1883·85) 481 pages
Vol. VII (1886-87) 433 pages
Vol. VIII (1887) 507 pages
Vol. IX (1888) 487 pages
Vol. X (1888-89) 461 pages

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