A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume II
No. 1 (7) - May-June 1945

[Cover photo: Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Aug. 11, 1831 - May 8, 1891.]

Occultism is not the acquirement of powers, whether psychic or intellectual, though both are its servants. Neither is Occultism the pursuit of happiness as men understand the word, for the first step is sacrifice, the second, renunciation. - Lucifer, vol. i, p. 7. [2]


A Living Philosophy For Humanity
Published every two months under the auspices of Lodge No. 60, American-Canadian Section, Theosophical Society
(International Headquarters, Covina, California)
Devoted to the Dissemination of the Ancient Wisdom
CoEditors: Irene Ponsonby, Boris de Zirkoff
Business Manager: Norine G. Chadil
Subscription $1.00 a year (six issues); single copy 20 cents.
Send subscriptions and renewals to: Room 240, Western Bldg., 553 So. Western Avenue, Los Angeles 5, California Lodge No. 60, Theosophical Society 256 So. Western Ave., Los Angeles 4, Calif. Phone: FItzroy 5521 or FEderal 5914.

Officers for 1945:
Sven Eek ..................... President
Nancy Browning ......... 1st Vice-President
Albert Charles Lee ..... 2nd Vice-President
Bertha Blanchard ....... Treasurer
Eloise Reiniger ........... Secretary
Julie Gagne ................ Assistant Secretary
Alice Eek .................... Librarian
Alice Copeland .......... Assistant Librarian

Lodge Meetings and Public Lectures
All regular meetings of the Lodge and public lectures will be held at our new quarters: Knights of Pythias Hall, 265 So. Western Ave., Los Angeles 4. Easily accessible by Western Avenue Bus, and Car Lines R and S.

The following meetings are scheduled:
Lodge Meetings and Public Lectures
All regular meetings of the Lodge and public lectures will be held at our new quarters: Knights of Pythias Hall, 265 So. Western Ave., Los Angeles 4. Easily accessible by Western Venue Bus, and Car Lines R and S.
Friday, May 4th, 8:00 P.M. Elementary Theosophical Lecture-Class. Conducted by eloise Reiniger. Subject: "What Happens in Sleep and Death?"
Friday, May 18th, 7:30 P.M. Madame Stantonnes's Famous Kiddies Orchestra in a Special Feature Concert; followed by Lecture of Boris de Zirkoff on "Bereavement in the Light of Theosophy."
Friday, June 1st, 8:00 P.M. Elementary Theosophical Lecture-Class. Conducted by Eloise Reiniger. Subject: "Must We Answer for Our Actions?"
Friday, June 15th, 8:00 P.M. Dr. Sven Eek will speak on "Occult Healing."

Other Study Classes
Mens' Class, Textbook: Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, Second and fourth Monday of every month, at 8:00 P.M. Meets at the home of Hon. Frank G. Finlayson, 500 So. Gramercy Place. FItsroy 3020.
Class for more advanced studies; textbook: The Esoteric Tradition. For information call EXposition 5520 or FItzroy 5521.

Other Lodges in the Los Angeles Area
Lodge No. 5, 1595 Crossroads of the World, Hollywood, Culbreth Sudler, President. Public Lectures every Sunday at 3:00 P.M. Reading Room open daily from 12:00 to 4:00. Phone MO11652.
Lodge No. 30, 1240 North Wilson Avenue, Pasadena. Mary L. Connor, President. Phone SYcamore 46440.
Lodge No. 58, 831 North Mariposa Avenue, Los Angeles. Mrs. R.H. Austin, Secretary, Phone OL3063.
Lodge No. 63, 1595 Crossroads of the World, Hollywood. Dr. John Croiset Van Uchelen, President. Phone HI0019.
Los Angeles Public Relations Committee, Arthur W. Beach, Chairman, 1043 North Sierra Bonita Avenue, Hollywood 46. [3]


H.P. Blavatsky
(Excerpts from an article originally published in Lucifer, Vol. vi, August 1890.)

WE, of the century claiming itself as the XIXth of our era, are very proud of our Progress and Civilization - Church and Churchmen attributing both to the advent of Christianity - "Blot Christianity out of the pages of man's history," they say, "and what would his laws have been? - what his civilization?" Aye; "not a law which does not owe its truth and gentleness to Christianity, not a custom which cannot be traced in all its holy and healthful parts to the Gospel."

What an absurd boast, and how easily refuted!

To discredit such statements one has but to remember that our laws are based on those of Moses - life for life and tooth for tooth; to recall the laws of the holy Inquisition, i.e., the burning of heretics and witches by the hecatomb, on the slightest provocation; the alleged right of the wealthiest and the strongest to sell their servants and fellow men into slavery, not to carry into effect the curse bestowed on Ham, but simply "to purchase the luxuries of Asia by supplying the slave market of the Saracens;" and finally the Christian laws upheld to this day in England, and called women's disabilities, social and political. Moreover, as in the blessed days of our forefathers' ignorance, we meet now with such choice bits of unblushing plague as this, "We speak of our civilization, our arts, our freedom, our laws, and forget entirely how large a share of all is due to Christianity" (Rose).

Just so! "our laws and our arts," but neither "our civilization" nor "our freedom." No one could contradict the statement that these were won in spite of the most terrible opposition by the Church during long centuries, and in the face of her repeated and loud anathemas against civilization and freedom and the defenders of both. And yet, notwithstanding fact and truth, it is being constantly urged that even the elevated position (?!) of the Christian woman as compared with her "heathen" sister, is entirely the work of Christianity! Were it true, this would at best be but a poor compliment to pay to a religion which claims to supersede all others. As it is not true, however - Lecky, among many other serious and trustworthy writers, having shown that "in the whole feudal legislation (of Christendom) women were placed in a much lower legal position than in the Pagan Empire" - the sooner and the oftener this fact is mentioned the better it will be for plain truth. Besides this, our ecclesiastical laws are honeycombed as has been said, with the Mosaic element. It is Leviticus not the Roman code, which is the creator and inspirer of legislation in Protestant countries, at any rate.

Progress, says Carlyle, is "living movement." This is true; but it is so only on the condition that no dead weight, no corpse shall impede the freedom of that "living movement." Now in its uncompromising conservatism and unspirituality the Church is no better than a dead body. Therefore it did and still does impede true progress. Indeed, so long as the Church - the deadliest enemy of the ethics of Christ - was in power, there was hardly any progress at all. It was only after the French Revolution that real culture and civilization had a fair start ...

But what are really culture and civilization? Dickens' idea that our hearts have benefited as much by macadam as our boots, is more original from a literary, than an aphoristical, standpoint. It is not true in principle, and it is disproved in nature by the very fact that there are far more good-hearted and noble-minded men and women in muddy country villages than there are in macadamised Paris or London. Real culture is spiritual. It proceeds from [4] within outwards, and unless a person is naturally noble-minded and strives to progress on the spiritual before he does so on the physical or outward plane, such culture and civilization will be no better than whitened sepulchers full of dead men's bones and decay. And how can there be any true spiritual and intellectual culture when dogmatic creeds are the State religion and enforced under the penalty of the opprobrium of large communities of "believers." No dogmatic creed can be progressive. Unless a dogma is the expression of a universal and proven fact in nature, it is no better than mental and intellectual slavery. One who accepts dogmas easily ends by becoming a dogmatist himself ...

And what, after all, does our civilization amount to in the face of the grandiose civilizations of the Past, now so remote and so forgotten, as to furnish our modern conceit with the comforting idea that there never were any true civilizations at all before the advent of Christianity? ...

Whither then shall we turn to find a corroboration of the mendacious claim, that we owe our civilization and culture, our arts, sciences, and all, to the elevating and benign influence of Christianity? We owe to it nothing - nothing at all, neither physically nor morally. The progress we have achieved, so far, relates in every case to purely physical appliances, to objects and things, not to the inner man. We have now every convenience and comfort of life, everything that panders to our senses and vanity, but not one atom of moral improvement do we find in Christendom since the establishment of the religion of Christ. As the cowl does not make the monk, so the renunciation of the old Gods has not made men any better than they were before, but only, perhaps, worse. At any rate, it has created a new form of hypocrisy cant; nor has civilization spread as much as is claimed for it ...


Excerpts from The Key to Theosophy by H.P. Blavatsky.

Do you mean to suggest that neither the teachings of Buddha nor those of Christ have been heretofore truly understood?

What I mean is just as you say. Both Gospels, the Buddhist and the Christian, were preached with the same object in view. Both reformers were ardent philanthropists and practical altruists preaching most unmistakably Socialism of the noblest and highest type, self-sacrifice to the bitter end. "Let the sins of the whole world fall upon me that I may relieve man's misery and suffering!" cries Buddha; ... "I would not let one cry whom I could save!" exclaims the Prince-beggar, clad in the refuse rags of the burial-grounds."Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavily laden and I will give you rest," is the appeal to the poor and the disinherited made try the "Man of Sorrows," who hath not where to lay his head. The teachings of both are boundless love for humanity, charity, forgiveness of injury, forgetfulness of self, and pity for the deluded masses; both show the same contempt for riches, and make no difference between meum and tuum. Their desire was, without revealing to all the sacred mysteries of initiation, to give the ignorant and the misled, whose burden in life was too heavy for them, hope enough and an inkling into the truth sufficient to support them in their heaviest hours. But the object of both Reformers was frustrated, owing to excess of zeal of their later followers. The words of the Masters having been misunderstood and misinterpreted, behold the consequences! [5]


Boris de Zirkoff

With the present issue Theosophia begins its second yearly cycle.

Against many odds and uncertainties, it has survived its first twelvemonth. Its ups and downs have been many. An experimental venture from the outset, it has nevertheless secured for itself a foothold. Its present circumstances are shaky. Its future tale unknown. But the printing of this seventh issue is tangible evidence that it intends to live, and no one of tire prophet-alarmists have bet been invited to attend the untimely funeral of the young prodigy.

We thank all those who gave it their support in subscriptions, donations and articles. Some have promised to help and have done so; others have spoken volumes about it but have failed to give any tangible evidence of what their voices spoke. Others yet have neither uttered any audible sound nor given any help. We thank them all: the first ones for hard, cold actualities; the second ones for kind thoughts on our behalf; the others for letting us still imagine through their silence that they might yet become vocal or even send us a subscription unawares.

Our objectives remain the same to disseminate Theosophy in a world of confusion; to broadcast anywhere seeds of redeeming thought, amidst the piled heaps of intellectual and spiritual ruins. Some there are indeed whose hearts are in search of Truth; some there are whose minds anguished and torn, intuitively feel the nearness of a Sacred Soil a Continent of Spiritual Thought, whose exact whereabouts have been lost in the general confusion. We are in search of these lonely Seekers. Will anyone help us to find more of them?

While our objectives have not altered, the world has. "Oh, but it really hasn't," we hear somebody say. Let us understand each other. We do not mean that it has changed its motives, its values, its methods, nor its deep-rooted character. We rather mean that the kaleidoscopic panorama of a world in ruthless upheaval against itself has brought into a still more tangible relief the cleavage between the ruined and receding past, and the mounting tide of the immediate future. Yes, and it has changed in one other respect. The need has become much greater; the need for light, for decency, for justice, for solidarity, for understanding, the crying, awful, inarticulate need for new and lasting Ideals; Ideals that will not only help in the fury of the lashing storm, but will be strong and universal enough to prevent any like storm of human passions from ever breaking again. Where except in the Ageless Wisdom of Mankind can these Ideals ever be found? Where tell us?

Confused by the din arid clatter of empty slogans, rudderless on a sea of contending ideas, thousands of men and women are losing grip on themselves, too ignorant of the laws of life to attribute their sorry plight to their own direct and cumulative actions. Their prevailing philosophy of life is not worth the name; we all know it.

Behold the spectacle! It is a race for money and more money; for power and more power; for position, wealth, possessions, honor, pride, success, glamour, irrespective of how many human corpses or ruined lives it takes to reach them. Patriotism made to subserve ignoble purposes of political and economic chicanery. Heroic courage in the Cause of human destruction. Vices and crimes of one group or nation elevated into virtues when indulged in by another. Millions of "innocent" people bombed out of existence, some at their factory benches, "innocently" stuffing explosives into bombs, others at their horses, "innocently" enjoying the fruits of the earth and the achievements [6] of modern science, bought with blood-money. Science, the handmaiden of truth, devoting brain and skill to the cause of human slaughter.

Ah, but this is the sordid side of life, we are told. After all, there is another side: there is religion, there are the Churches; the spiritual message of the shepherds of Christ's own flock. We turn to them in heart-anguish. How strange are the sounds that reach our bewildered ears. Ministers of the Gospel executing double somersaults in midair to prove that all is well with our soldiers; they fight a just and honorable cause all of them mind you, on both sides of the contending hordes. This is God's own war, it appears. The Cause of civilization versus chaos, the Cause of Christianity versus a resurgent paganism. Soldiers be not disturbed in your hearts! No need of worrying, or even giving it a second thought. It is all Gods will on earth. Were Christ with us now, He surely would amend the text of the Sermon on the mount: but as He is not here just now, and has not been beard of for quite some time, we, His vicars and pastors, are doing it for Him.

And the old and ugly story goes on! The blood of Brothers is spilled the world over. The thoughts of millions are poisoned with distorted ideas. The sacred feelings of men and women are violated; their noblest intuitions are trampled into the mire by those who pretend to lead them to the Light.

The true Theosophist's sympathies are universal. He tries to take no sides. He is deeply sorry for men and women whose actions are directed against the simplest Laws of Life. He condemns unequivocally these actions. He does not condemn the actors themselves, for theirs is a state of ignorance, of spiritual paucity, of intellectual blindness and conceit, from which there is no cure but Knowledge. Spiritual Knowledge; and this is no gift from on high; it has to he earned through suffering and acquired through inner growth.

One thing above all else stands out in this chaotic world: it is Cant under all and every form; hypocrisy running rampant; planned and organized confusion of the minds of men, so that some might achieve thereby power over others, and fame and wealth. It is the road which leads to the abyss. It is the beast in Man degraded and made strong by dragging down to its own low plane the Sacred Fires of the Spiritual Self.

Tie Temple of Humanity is desecrated. Its altar fires burn low. The sunlight filters in furtive gleams through clouds of human passions. Methinks there stands a figure grave, austere and silent, of flaming gaze. The hour of soul-communion is at hand. The text is chosen:

"My dwelling-place shall be known as the Abode of Meditation; but ye have made of it a den of thieves!"



We draw the attention of our readers to the splendid work of our good friend and fellow-worker, Dr. Sheldon Shepard (2431 No. Gower St., Hollywood 28, Calif. GRanite 7694), through what he calls the "Four-way Inter-Religions Society for Tolerance;' including Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and other people. Dr. Shepard is engaged building for mutual understanding and goodwill among religionists of various faiths. He is courageously fighting prejudice, suspicions and hatreds, seeds of which may be discerned everywhere. Only through the eradication of these can we hope for a New World. The field of our differing and yet deeply correlated religious views is a fruitful one to bring men and women closer together.

Listen to Dr. Shepard on the Radio. KFAC (1310 kc), every Thursday, at 1 P.M. An eloquent and convincing speaker, of wide sympathies and universal outlook, Dr. Shepard has been for many years in the field of true human service. He has many friends in the Theosophical Society and his objectives and ideas are part of the movement. [7]


Theodore Heline

It is now about three-quarters of a century ago since Mme. Blavatsky was at work reintroducing to the Western world the doctrines of the Ancient Wisdom. Only a few were ready for her message then. But the time was ripe to lay the foundation for this day when the multitude can be reached. And seldom, if ever, in the whole course of man's search for the Light has a comparable opportunity come to the revealers of the Arcane Doctrines to proclaim their truths to the world.

There is a receptivity today that did not exist when Mme. Blavatsky commenced her work. Theosophy is less dogmatic and science less materialistic. A planetary infiltration of fresh energies has caused former rigidities of thought arid outlook to give way to more elastic and expansive viewpoints. Human consciousness is keyed to a higher octave of reality and the soul is emerging into a new cycle of expression.

That the twentieth century was to witness such changed conditions was foreseen by Mme. Blavatsky when there was nothing to indicate it to the academically learned of her day. She made a statement to that effect its 1888 when declaring that our present century would see the great principles laid down by her in The Secret Doctrine commonly accepted as the foundation of scientific fact. This has come to pass to a far greater degree than is realized by the average individual. As the late Dr. G. de Purucker observed, the approach of academic science is "in certain circumstances so close and so perfect in general postulates that it amounts almost to identity. If these great scientific thinkers" he adds, "continue as they have begun, occult and academic science will blend into one system and in more than one direction."

The Wisdom-Religion builds on the motto: There is no religion higher than Truth. To that truth, the truth that shall make us free, religion and science are equally dedicated. And yet how divided the two have been, how fierce at times the antagonism, how bitter the conflicts!

The very fact that this has been so indicates how greatly both have suffered from a lack of the inner guiding light. When the Mysteries were still openly present among men as they were in the clays of Ancient Greece, no such difference between science and religion existed. They mere recognized as being but two different aspects of Truth which, together with art, made up the major modes of Reality's triune manifestation. Today a restoration of that lost unity is under way and it is the revived Wisdom Teaching that will bestow the knowledge, the understanding and the vision necessary to effect the perfect reconciliation.

In this process of rapprochement, it is important to note that the Wisdom Religion draws physical science to its level before it wins over organized religion. At first sight this seems scarcely credible, considering the fact that whereas the province of the former is mere matter, the latter is centered in the concerns of the spirit. Furthermore, physical science became for a time so skeptical and materialistic as to virtually "bow God out of existence." Late nineteenth century science was avowedly agnostic, if not actually atheistic. And yet today it outruns doctrinal religion in its apprehension of Reality and is undoubtedly doing more than any other single factor toward establishing a new philosophy of living and being. In the words of General J.C. Smuts in a presidential address delivered before the British Association for the Advancement of Science a few years ago, "It may fairly be said that science is perhaps the clearest revelation of God to our age." To which [8] he added: "'The world consists not only of electrons and radiations, but also souls and aspirations. Beauty and holiness are as much aspects of nature as energy and entropy."

For long centuries the Church was the prime revelator. Throughout the Ages she reigned supreme. Art and science were her handmaidens. All men looked to her for the highest word that could be spoken on life, its problems, its mysteries, its destiny. But from the time that the priesthood ceased to be recruited from the initiated, the inner light grew slimmer even though the outward forms grew greater. Authority passed from that "inmost center where truth abides in fullness" to externals. To Catholicism that authority centered in the Church; to Protestantism in the Bible. And in this externalization its vitality declined and its leadership waned. It became a state institution and labored under the assumption that it was in possession of the whole and final truth with regard to God, man and the universe. Traditions and dogma held it in narrow bounds and its appeal was not to reason, but to blind faith. It ceased to be either free or creative.

But the spirit of man is both. It is divinely charged with an urge to know and to do. Consequently when the Church discouraged and virtually forbade inquiry independent of its jurisdiction and approval and, moreover, imposed penalties even up to death itself for a violation of such restrictions, it was inevitable that there would be rebels, and presently in sufficient number to wrest from the Church the supremacy which she had so long maintained over the whole of life. Being denied the fellowship of the "faithful," these free souls were quite content to be counted among the "faithless." As John Tyndall observed in an address which he made in 1874, as president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, quoting Epicurus: "Not he is godless who rejects the gods of the crowd but rather he who accepts them."

Since the Church had lost so much of the true light, it followed that the civilization which it sponsored was correspondingly unenlightened. Earnest truth seekers recognized this fact and set out to increase the light. They believed ignorance to be the great sin, and, in the words of Shakespeare, "knowledge the wings wherewith we fly to heaven." They therefore cultivated reason and logic; they embarked upon methodical observation and experimentation. And so modern science carne into being, not with the help of organized religion, but in spite of its bitter opposition. Nothing could defer the scientific explorers in their new pursuits of knowledge, not even martyrdom itself. For truth is no less prized by the scientist than the religionist. As a matter of fact, it is perhaps not going too far to agree with a contemporary, quoted by Einstein in au article by him on Religion and Science, that "the only deeply religious people of our largely materialistic age are the earnest men of research."

And so even though science lead to agnosticism, it has culminated in the most impressive affirmation of our time. As Francis Bacon, "apostle of the scientific method" observed: "A little or superficial test of philosophy may perchance incline the mind of man to atheism; but a full draught thereof brings the mind back again to religion. For in the entrance of philosophy when the second causes, which are next unto the senses, do offer themselves to the mind of man, and the mind itself cleaves unto them that dwells there, an oblivion of the Highest Cause may creep in; but when a man passeth on farther and beholds the dependency, continuation and confederacy of causes, and the works of Providence, then, according to the allegory of the poets, he will easily believe him the highest link of Nature's chains needs be tied to the foot of Jupiter's chair." [9] From the nineteenth to the twentieth century science has negotiated this passage. In the last century we had fearless questioner's and grave doubters, Darwin, Huxley, Spencer, Haeckel and Tyndall. But as it is the questioners who became the knowers, we have in this century great believers such as Einstein, Millikan, Jeans, Eddington, Pupin and Lodge. What these men of pure science have taught about the nature and origin of matter, the atom, space and so on, is virtually at one with the Secret Doctrine.

The leaders of the New Science have spoken. Theirs is the Everlasting Yea. They have opened wide the door that leads from physical to spiritual realities, It is now for the Wisdom-Religion to take over. It is the hour for which Theosophy has long struggled and prepared. It now becomes its golden opportunity to interpret to a multitude of hungering souls the meaning of the new revelation which is upon us. This it can do because it ministers at once to head and heart. It can satisfy the aspiration of the soul and the questioning of the mind. It hotels the keys to the spiritual significance of that which physical science has so brilliantly revealed, and thus advances the day that is now fast approaching when the Mysteries that have so long been in hiding can once more reappear in the open to hold the Torch of Truth aloft for all to see and follow.

We wish to express our fellow-feeling and appreciation in regard to the New Age Interpreter, a monthly magazine edited by Dr. Theodore Heline, author of the remarkable article printed in the foregoing pages. This publication is "devoted to studies designed to aid the modern seeker to a spiritual reorientation in the light of the Ageless Wisdom." Its many essays on historical and scientific subjects present the often ignored occult backdrop of well-known events in recent and ancient history. Able articles from the pen of Mrs. Corinne Heline on such subjects as the mystic interpretation and healing power of Music and Color are different enough from the accepted views to be especially interesting. We draw special attention to the January, 1945 issue, with its timely study of Arthur Eddington's work in an article entitled 'The Voice of the New Science.' We deeply appreciate Dr. Heline's help and message appearing in our own pages, and greet him and his scholarly wife as coworkers and fellow-travelers on the ageless highway which leads from ignorance to Knowledge, and from darkness into Light, for all men. (New Age Press, Box 6133 Metropolitan Station, Los Angeles 14, Calif.) Ed. Theos.


Reine Roos

And just what is PERSONALITY? Webster defines it as "That which constitutes a person." Some psychologists say personality is the outpicturing of what we really feel and think and are deep down inside it is that which others see in us. In brief, what we are is the result of what we think. It is therefore up to each of us to create his or her own personality.

If our thoughts take the right channels, we attain poise, and poise is perhaps the must necessary ingredient in a charming personality. Poise, concisely, is personal harmony and a "complete inner assurance" (which does not mean conceit it is something quite different). Without poise there can be no charm, and if we do not have charm, all our other qualities, however excellent, are "as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal."

In addition to poise, a pleasing personality calls for a good appearance and a natural friendliness, and the acquisition of that ability, so rare, to work in complete harmony with those about us.

The creation of personality, like charity, "begins at home," in our own thoughts, in that innermost place of our being where all desires are formed. And a desire, if intense enough and deep enough, can produce anything, can outpicture any kind of personality we wish to express. Although we cannot draw a picture of personality, nor photograph it even with the finest lens, it is that thing about us which makes for success or failure in our daily lives. (From the Los Angeles Banker, March, 1943.) [10]


Dick Cutting

Do you remember the family sponge? Do you still have one? Fine! Go get it immediately and then come on out here and make yourself comfortable in this armchair. By the way, bring along a pan of water. We'll he very careful not to spill a drop on your 9x12 Axminster. All set? It is an Axminster, isn't it? Well, it doesn't matter.

Take the sponge and place it in the pan. See what happens? Of course you do; it has the same characteristic activity associated with all good sponges. It absorbs the water.

Now the reason I invited you out here in your charming and well-appointed front-room, was to use this sponge as an illustration. It may be too obvious an illustration, but the results therefrom are invaluable.

Isn't it remarkable in a way how many of us are like a sponge partially so? I say "partially" for a reason which I'll tell you about in a moment. We absorb the Theosophical Water of Knowledge and keep it in our mental sponge, with a few drops splashing back into the pan of life only occasionally. We rarely wring out the sponge or put pressure on it to give hack some of its contents. We remain bloated in our intellectual knowledge without having absorbed the teachings in our Spiritual Consciousness.

For if we did if we had this sponge would be under a constant pressure, with a steady stream being poured back. We would be actively engaged in pouring words of Theosophical Knowledge out of our hearts and minds and spirits into the ears of those who might gather to listen or on pages for those who might care to read.

Mankind needs that "pressure" to release the Knowledge of the higher into the lower. So do Theosophists. Aren't the times of our years a cause for the "exertion of that pressure"? Don't you feel humanity is being squeezed as never before into the business of learning and developing? Forcibly and violently twisted into growing? The pan of life is nearly dry from the waste of improper thinking, of dismal action. Never before has the world needed your Theosophical Knowledge more than RIGHT NOW.

Why don't you go into action immediately and start compressing that mental sponge of yours? Start in RIGHT NOW and see if you can't devise some means of taking what you know of Theosophy and pouring it back into a channel of broad understanding that will irrigate the minds of men; those minds hot and dull and dry with the desolation of unwise thoughts, unwise actions!

You can help men to think better thoughts; thoughts of intellectual vigor and goodness and kindness. Weren't you given a tremendous growth after reading your first Theosophical Manual or whatever it was you read? And didn't you feel inspired and probably troubled in your heart of hearts after listening to the eager voice and looking into the shining eyes of your Theosophical friend or acquaintance? Didn't you feel perhaps you should look into this thing called Theosophy more deeply and do something about spreading the Truths of Nature?

Weren't the choking weeds of dogma and self-satisfaction disturbed to their grasping roots when your mind received the sparkling elixir of Universal Truth? If not, at least your friend's "mental sponge" provided the first drop that eventually eroded your own self-created shell of spiritual limitations. That was worth something, wasn't it? I'll bet you're glad about it now, aren't you?

You recall I mentioned that the were "partially" like sponges? Here's what I mean; it's true that we too [11] can submerge our mental sponges back into the clear water of Truth and Cosmic Knowledge by reading and listening to those who know more than we do. But this sponge that we're using for our illustration must be dipped back into the water if it's to be used again; when the water evaporates eventually, there's no more to be used in this pan without replenishing the supply.

But you are not like that.

That's why I said we're "partially" like a sponge. Because when you give out a Theosophical Truth, you don't go dry. You can release that Truth many times over; you can exert the pressure again and again and the Supply (Truth) will never be exhausted. Instead, its implications will grow as your mind and consciousness become a fitting repository to receive its ramifications. Isn't that encouraging?

Well, here's your pan of water and here's the sponge. We didn't spill a drop did we? But one thing we'd better do is to start pouring the Ancient Wisdom out into the human wastes of the world as quickly, as consistently, as intelligently and diplomatically as possible, hadn't we? How about you? How active a part are you going to take in putting on the pressure? The Pressure that squeezes the sponge that never runs dry? That's fine! DO IT NOW! ! Don't neglect a single opportunity to talk, write, think and DO Theosophy for the benefit of your fellowmen; that Brotherhood of Man of which you are a part. Take a more active role. Get busy!

Don't worry or be afraid to talk in public. Instead, do something about it and remember this: one of the greatest problems facing Theosophists is better to understand the great Teachings which the Theosophical member claims to support. Because a true and deep understanding of the Ancient Wisdom will make it possible to counter many of the arguments of the skeptic.

Every skeptic is a potential Theosophist. His reluctance to acknowledge or give in to your premises, is your challenge to a more complete self-improvement course in terms of daily Theosophical meditation, thinking and living. How can you help him, if you can't help yourself?

And speaking of spreading these Truths, what about the statement of Master K.H. in the Mahatma Letters (p. 399):

"The only object to be striven for is the amelioration of the condition of MAN by the spread of truth suited to the various stages of his development and that of the country he inhabits and belongs to."

What are we doing about it?



It is Lodge No. 65 of San Diego, Calif. This is a most interesting and worthwhile group of business men who organized themselves a couple of years ago into a regular Lodge of the Theosophical Society. Their seeming "exclusiveness'" should not be interpreted us a reflection upon the "fair sex." Far from being "women-haters," they are in many cases splendid fathers and husbands, and all around constructive elements in the community. They meet every two weeks, on Wednesday evenings. Harvey D. Benner has been giving for some months past comprehensive and deeply-thought-out outlines of the main theosophical teachings, with their application to everyday problems. Well worth attending. You will meet a "bunch" of unusually fine men and may be surprised to find that they are right-down-to-earth people (with no whiskers), some of whom are well-known in the city. Several of them are Masons. Why not call the Secretary-Treasurer, Wm. W. Stevens (3421 Goldfinch St., San Diego, Calif.) at Woodcrest 3453, and ask for information about meetings! If you are a Thinker, you owe it to yourself to meet other Thinkers! [12]


Character, heredity and environment
Transcribed Radio Broadcast of January 23, 1944 over Station KMPC, Beverly Hills, California.

Announcer: "Theosophy Speaks!" ... "Light for the Mind - Love for the Heart - Understanding for the Intellect."

Last Sunday in our fourth and final broadcast on the subject of REINCARNATION, "Theosophy Speaks brought out that all growth and improvement is slow anti gradual, and includes Spiritual, Moral and Intellectual progress, as well as Physical. Therefore, we must have a long-range view of the evolution of Man ... The human race is millions of years old. Civilizations have come and gone there have been Golden Ages and Dark Ages. And all of us lived in them and contributed to them, for better or for worse. We said that in our long evolutionary journey, we live many time. In those many lives we make mistakes through greed, injustice, ignoring duty or obligation, hurting others through gossip, inflicting our will upon others to make them do wrong, and through selfishness and indifference. And since Nature is builded upon harmony and balance, when we distort the balance, make discord of the harmony, they must be set right by the one responsible: this often results in grief, pain and trouble. This is due to the Universal law of ACTION and REACTION, or CAUSE and EFFECT. Theosophists call it KARMA.

TODAY, our scene is a lecture hall. The speaker, in introducing his subject, has just told his audience that since our CHARACTERS have been conditioned and molded by the endless chain of CAUSE and EFFECT, his talk today will he primarily an explanation of CHARACTER, HEREDITY and ENVIRONMENT. As we become part of his audience, he is saying ...

LECTURER: ... And this friend said to me: "Which is the most important factor in human evolution: Heredity, character or environment?"

You know, friends, this question could be superficially answered correctly by saying that any one of these three points was the most important factor in human evolution, depending upon one's viewpoint and depth of understanding. For example, some one might say that HERIDITY was the most important element. And they would be correct IF by heredity they meant that continuity of conscious ness that each one of us inherits from ourselves that is, from what we were in past incarnations.

In other words, and to put it very briefly: each individual is his own ancestor. You see, family and parents are the channels through which the stream of our evolution courses and the family affords expression for individual heredity, rather than family heredity. The heredity of an entity is determined by WHAT IT ITSELF IS. This is why members of one family differ so widely, although all are born under similar circumstances and from the same so-called hereditary strain.

But the general view regarding heredity would differ very widely from this viewpoint. Most people think of heredity as only referring to the physical, brain-mind, or emotional traits that are passed on from parent to child, and so forth. And it must be admitted there are often very striking examples of similarities of appearance and personality among those having direct or close blood relationships. But there are MORE cases where no resemblance of any kind whatsoever exists between the parents and their offspring. Indeed, many of them feel like strangers to each other.

But what about the many cases where the children greatly excel their parents in accomplishment or in moral development? And isn't the reverse also true, where the children fail to measure up to the ability and moral standing of their parents?

And haven't you known of cases where a person's Physical body is greatly afflicted through illness or injury, and yet, that same individual had clear even keen mental activity and strong spiritual discrimination that completely overshadowed the physical handicaps? [13]

History reveals cases of men and women thrown into jail because of liberal or humane thinking, and such individuals have, in spite of the physical restrictions of the prison cell, written great masterpieces seeking to uplift the hearts and free the minds of all men from intolerance and injustice.

Were such souls as these merely the result of the union of certain germ cells or chromosomes? Did they inherit these trails from their ancestors? Think a moment. Do heroes come from a long line of heroes? Do murderers come from families of murderers? We know this isn't so ... And how about people like you and me? Do our parents, brothers, sisters, uncles and so on each and all possess the talents, traits or characters we have? Or what is more important, the same soul qualities?

Do we inherit self-sacrifice, compassion, intuition or creativeness? And what is it that shines forth from within some people arid serves as a great inspiration to others? Are these things inherited? Isn't there a missing link here? Inspiration and the other soul qualities just mentioned belong to individual heredity not group heredity and a man inherits them from one source HIMSELF.

Now, what makes a novel, a motion picture or a great humanitarian work LIVE in the hearts and minds of people? Is it the physical characteristics of the leading characters, their ancestry and the environment in which they are portrayed, that makes them live long in our memory? To a certain extent it is. And right here I want to say that heredity, character and environment each play a part TO A CERTAIN EXTENT, in the evolution of human beings.

Let us consider, then, what part environment plays. First of all, what is meant by environment? Usually that it is physical and external conditions, including the political and

economic aspects. And this is quite true as far us it goes. But does environment really stop there? What about the stars, and the influences of the people we know and meet and their philosophies of life good, bad and indifferent? Isn't this our environment also? In fact, it is difficult to say where physical environment slops and where emotional, mental and spiritual environment begin for they are all interlocked and related one to another, aren't they? Environment, therefore, is a factor in human evolution. BUT, what produces or creates environment? That is the crux of the matter.

Each human soul finds itself in an environment that it has earned, otherwise it would not be there. This may sound strange at first, but we should not think of a child as merely a physical body, nor as a newly created soul al physical birth, nor as being totally unrelated to its new environment. Every child is the result of evolution. In each life it has certain lessons to learn, certain debts and duties to pay, certain rewards to reap. With love, hate, desire for expression, and Karman impelling him, he CHOOSES parents and environment.

Let us say that the child chooses to return into earth-life through A and B as parents. In selecting suitable entry into this world, it is magnetically attracted to those individuals and environments that correspond to its own nature, developed in the past and that also permit it best to work out its destiny.

This Ego, coming into flesh again for more experience in the school of life, would have certain tendencies in common, as well us differences, with its chosen family, due to magnetic attraction.

It is these points IN COMMON that cause people to think that the child inherited these characteristics. But the fact is, that every cause produces a corresponding effect. Therefore, we must be the result of what we have [14] made of OURSELVES. The real directing power is within ourselves and can withstand any environment. That's the real meaning of the term: "Self-made man."

It is not denied, therefore, that external conditions have a tremendous influence upon us. Witness the conditions in the world today. But, we belong here NOW by reason of our own self-made destiny; otherwise we'd be somewhere else. Every person is involved in the conditions that he has earned or made by his own past actions, or by his FAILURE TO ACT when and where he should have acted.

Hence, we see that while environment is very important, still it is man himself who creates such conditions and influences. But the inspiring thing is, that he has the power, and free will, to change these conditions for the better if he isn't satisfied. And who is satisfied with himself, or with world conditions today? If you aren't, it's up to you to change yourself and help change world conditions so that the environment of your next life will be better! It really is strictly up to us, as individuals and as members of the human race.

Now, what about character as an element in human evolution? Is it the most important factor? Yes, I think it is. Why? Because it is character which establishes and gives meaning to heredity and environment. Let's analyze this viewpoint.

In the first place, what is character? Isn't it the expression of a man's inner being: his soul? And it can be good or bad, too, can't it? Let's see what H.P. Blavatsky said about it in The Key to Theosophy:

"All good and evil things in humanity have their roots in human character and this character is, and has been, conditioned by the endless chain of cause and effect. But this conditioning applies to the future as well as to the present and the past ..."

Usually, we think of the soul of man as good, even if it periodically manifests in what we call an evil manner. I suppose this is so because we instinctively feel that the soul possesses much potential or latent goodness or nobility. And this is so because the soul of man is connected to the Spiritual Self within, which is the source of all true inspiration and intuitive knowledge or Wisdom.

Now, where does character begin? At physical birth? Well ... if character is the expression of the Soul, and I believe it is, and the Soul goes on forever, then character too must be just as deathless. Why? Because it is impossible to have a Future unless there is also a Present and a Past. And if the soul perpetuates itself into the future, forever, then the character must also.

In the last analysis, the character of a man is molded and remolded by his own thoughts, feelings and actions. Let's get that point straight. A man acts in direct accordance with his character. And as stated before, his character is a true expression of the development of his soul.

A man gets rid of his worn-out physical body and brain at death but his character stays with him, because it is connected to the deathless, spiritual part of his Being.

There is something within man that is deeper than heredity, environment or character. And that is: Your Higher, or Spiritual Self the Inner Christ, or the Buddhic Splendor it is known by many names. But what we call it is not terribly important. The real point to bear in mind is, that this Spiritual You is the origin of your Conscience, your sense of right and of duty. It is the storehouse of understanding, discrimination and unselfish love. We all have it. We can all give tolerance, harmony, compassion, to our brother-men. Let's unlock our storehouse for the betterment and the upliftment of ourselves and of the world! [15]



Spread over the front pages of most of our larger newspapers, quite recently, was a news report covering the suicide of a very prominent banker. The article covered the subject matter of some notes that this internationally known man had left behind him, when he decided to try and improve his condition, by committing the error of destroying his body, the only thing which would allow him to improve his condition.

The following are a few extracts from these notes: "I have no troubles of any kind, nor am I in bad physical health but for a long, long time I have preen depressed MENTALLY, and suffered from melancholia that steadily gets worse. Except for this MENTAL depression, I have everything to live for: good friends, lovely business associates, and a good future in this world, with financial ease. But I am unhappy MENTALLY."

The presidency of the bank he headed paid him $72,000 per year, so financial worries were not even a contributory cause to his problem. He owned a beautiful country estate, so an unpleasant environment could not have helped bring on his depression. The loss of his wife, two years ago, is the only thing that can be found in the record, that might account for the despondency noted.

It is an interesting case, especially when so many people are assured that HAPPINESS always follows in the train of wealth and the possession of many THINGS. This man had all that, yet he reiterates he was MENTALLY unhappy. Searching for a key to the problem, we find it in his own repeated words "Mentally Unhappy." It is quite a common error to consider Happiness or Unhappiness as a MENTAL function. In reality these two Intangibles of Life are functions of the HEART and not the mind. The error comes from confusing the meaning of the words HAPPINESS and PLEASURE. The latter is something that tickles and appeals to the Mind, which is why Pleasure can be found in a Night Club, but never happiness. Happiness comes from a heart throbbing and invariably involves someone or something outside of the Happiness Feeler, which acts as recipient of the Feeler's Bounty. This is why Happiness is felt in the presence of a Loved One, the latter being the center or focus of that which is poured out. Pleasure is felt in the presence of something, which appeals only to the MIND and which operates from outside, poured out towards the individual who "Feels Pleasure."

From this we can see that this victim of his own folly could not find happiness, merely because he looked for it on the Mental Plane of Life, instead of looking for it on the Spiritual Plane, where it belongs. The heart responds to influences of a Spiritual Nature only. It is the attachment to things and the conviction that all else is confined to the mind, that is the cause of all the Unhappiness in the world. The heart is simply starved, contact with anything Spiritual stops and the mind and body left alone with themselves, find the tie unendurable, so the MIND causes the body to destroy itself.

And that causes us to consider that perhaps that very same thing is what is happening to the entire world. The World Soul has shriveled up or atrophied from disuse. The World Mind and Body are simply appalled at having to get along together alone, so the World Mind devises frightful Engines of Destruction to destroy the World Body; in order that World Mind may live alone with itself.

MORAL: If you are Unhappy, unlock your heart and get interested in something outside of yourself, and HAPPINESS will always follow.

And that's Heart Doctrine Theosophy![16]


Theosophical Center, Fourth Ave. and Olive St., San Diego 3, Calif., Jackson 1740.
Public Meetings Sunday Afternoons 3:00 o'Clock.
Chairman Mrs. Constance Hostler.
May 6th, White Lotus Day, Selected Readings and Special Music.
May 13th, "The Unifying Influence of Theosophy", Mrs. Lolita Hart (Covina).
May 20th, Round Table: "Unity and Diversity", Mrs. Agnes Sosna, Ray Bennett, Mrs. Bradley.
May 27th, Discussion: "Religious Unity", Guest Speaker: Rev. Joseph Fox and Foster Griffiths, F.T.S.
Chairman Mrs. Dorothy Friend
June 3rd, "How Sane Are We?", Arthur W. Collins.
June 10th, "East and West, the Twain Shall Meet", Miss Katherine Heck (Covina).
June 17th, Dramatic Symposium of the Sacred Season, Miss Rose Schneider, Miss Nadine Nicholson.
June 24th, "Is There a Purpose to Life?". Guest Speaker: Rev. Peter Samsom and Harold W. Dempster, F.T.S.
Lotus Circle for Children (Theosophical Sunday School), directed by Miss Edith Brittain, assisted by Miss Rose Schneider, every Sunday, at 10:30 A.M.
For information on all Theosophical activities in San Diego, consult Harold W. Dempster, Regional Vice-President, 3131 McCall St., San Diego 6, Calif., Bayview 6839 (or Franklin 3131 daytime).


We thank all our friends and fellow-workers for their help and support in the year just ended. We hope they will find it worth their while to give us further support whenever possible, as well as to help us find new subscribers over an ever widening area. It has been our desire from the very outset to reach a point when the magazine may become self-supporting and rely on subscribers alone. It may take us some time yet before we reach this degree of success. Every new subscriber brings us a little closer to the goal contemplated.

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Editors, "Theosophia".