A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume III
No. 2 (14) - July-August 1946

[Cover photo: Pacific Ocean from the shores of Point Loma, California.]


Published every Two Months. Sponsored by an International Group of Theosophists (Theosophical Society, Int'l Hdqrts., Covina, California).
Objectives: To disseminate the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom. To uphold and promote the Original Principles of the modern Theosophical Movement. To challenge bigotry and superstition in every form.
EDITOR: Boris de Zirkoff.
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Irene Ponsonby, Dr. Sven Eek, J. Emory Clapp, Maj. Hubert S. Turner.
ADVISORY BOARD: Hon. Frank G. Finlayson, Jan H. Venema, Hendrik Oosterink, Richard H. Cutting, T. Marriott.
Subscription: $1.00 a year (six issues): singe copy 20 cents. Send all subscriptions, renewals and correspondence to: Room 240 Western Bldg., 553 South Western Avenue, Los Angeles 5, California. Make checks payable to "Theosophia." The Theosophical Society as such, is not responsible for any ideas expressed in this magazine, unless contained in an official document. The Editors are responsible for unsigned articles only.



Life is starred by strange moments, which differ from all the rest of time by reason of the fact that great decisions have to be made in them, decisions which can only be dealt with by the higher self. When these moments arrive, the man is either entirely helpless before them, or else he realizes at once that now no mundane or ordinary considerations can weight the balance. The events of life, unfolding out of each other with all the silent mystery of natural growth, lead a man by imperceptible and subtle progress to one of these great moments, and he finds himself constrained to make a decision of such a character that his whole being is compelled to take part in the struggle. The man who is helpless before these trials yields to feeling and emotion, becomes a prey to fever and to madness. The disciple stands unshaken on the battlefield of his nature, in the midst of the turmoil of life, and resolutely effects the transmutation within himself. The feeling within him, the agony of emotion which an intense situation in human life has called into existence, can be changed into power, and used to a great end. The highest motive he can see or reach to must be his guide, that and one other; the most selfless action possible must be the one of his choice. If he adheres unflinchingly to this standard, suddenly he will find the fever within him abate, while those around him will be sensible of a force emanating from him, which leads them also upward, and compels them to follow the highest motives known to them. Then the despair and misery, which will be capable of producing madness in men not so led and guided, will suddenly turn to confidence in the unseen and beneficent powers, and out of a vortex of passion, or a sea of suffering, the spirits of those involved in it will arise purified. This is the task of the disciple in daily life and human intercourse, by which great effort he transforms evil into good in the lives of those around him. All life becomes thought, when dealt with in this manner, for there is no event so simple that it does not contain a lesson for the student. There is no detail in daily life too trivial to be treated in this manner; some events cannot be met in any other way. - Mabel Collins, When the sun Moves Northward, pp. 75-77. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

The primary objectives of a great Cause must be restated from time to time.

It is needful to remind ourselves of the fundamental principles of thought and the basic rules of conduct which underlie all genuine theosophical work. It is useful to reinforce, as it were, the basic colors with which is painted before our mind's eye the noble picture of our Spiritual Movement, and to revitalize our enthusiasm for the ideals which we vision upon the distant horizons of our aspirations and hopes.

It is of paramount importance, for instance, to remind ourselves more particularly of the basic fact, sometimes ignored by otherwise earnest students, that the age-old Esoteric Wisdom is primarily an Ethical doctrine, a Code of Conduct, a Way of Living. It is not solely an intellectual philosophy.

In this fact there inheres a CHALLENGE: the Challenge of living spirituality versus barren intellectualism, of a dynamic spiritual fire versus dry-as-dust technicalities. Unless it be infused with heart-life and genuine human sympathy for the souls of men, and this a living, pulsating force from one heart to another, Theosophy soon becomes the traditional "sounding- brass and tinkling cymbal" of the Scriptures. Theosophy, therefore, must be lived, and its living message must be passed on to others, a message carrying within itself, as it were, a portion of the very life-essence of the individual who imparts it.

From this initial Challenge there follows out a secondary one: will the student live and attain for himself or for others? Will his spiritual, intellectual and ethical attainments, his nobility of ideals and the practical application in daily life, be devoted to, and motivated by, the desire to achieve a status superior to other men; or will it be motivated by the desire to become an impersonal force for the liberation and upliftment of mankind? As plainly stated by Master K.H. (Mahatma Letters, p. 7): "... the chief object of the T.S. is not so much to gratify individual aspiration as to serve our fellow men." Upon this reef of spiritual selfishness has foundered many a shop proudly sailing the crested waves of spiritual oceans, only to sink in due course of time into their unfathomable deeps.

This Challenge is best met by the regenerative flower of the basic theosophical teachings, such as karman, reincarnation, the indwelling divinity of every man, the duality of man's nature, the existence of the Teachers, the Oneness of all life, cyclic becoming, the true nature of birth and death, the redeeming power of selfless thinking and of impersonality - and the many other spiritual tools which alone call creatively work in the fields of human sorrow, helping men and women to carry their self-made burden more courageously and hopefully, pointing out to them where lies the path to a greater life.

Whenever these teachings are used exclusively for self-perfection, or with an emphasis upon it, they become positively dangerous. It is then that we notice in the student, or in a group of students, the unmistakable earmarks of misapplied Theosophy. There is no room in genuine Theosophical work for either parochialism, or "clickism" or the spirit of "Closed corporations" no matter what may be the guilded decorations which enhance their entrance gates!

In the words of Master M.: "The sun of theosophy must shine for all, not for a part. There is more of this movement than you have yet had an inkling of, and the work of the T.S. is linked with similar work that is [4] secretly going on in all parts of the world." (Op. cit., p. 271.)

Anywhere, at any time, at any time, that a Society, a Lodge, a group, or an individual, engaged in the study or the promulgation of Theosophy, forgets the two paramount conditions for their existing: (1) To be open to the reception of new Truths wherever they may be coming from, and (2) To disseminate even the little they may have learned to as many hungry hearts and minds as they can reach - that group or that individual will have made a decisive step in the direction of becoming a sect, a church, or a closed corporation. Unwillingly perhaps, seeds of sectarianism, intolerance, and separateness have been sown. To that extent, it has ceased to reflect the universality of the genuine Theosophical attitude. Even a single individual bent upon intellectual study directed primarily towards his own self-advancement, can become a church unto himself alone, wherein he is a priest over the vast throng of his own spiritual emptiness.

The Challenge that comes next to mind is Simplicity. The problem is: Can we become profound and truly learned, and yet remain as simple as children at play? Unless we learn this secret, the entrance to the hearts of people is barred to us.

To speak or write to the human heart; to feel within our own breast the burning issues of other human beings; to enter into their consciousness and vibrate in unison with it; to understand, to forgive, to clasp close to oneself the sorrow of mankind, the hopelessness of frustration, the agony of minds whose night is without vision, whose pain is without surcease; to show them the Royal Road which leads out of that sorrow and pain and into the azure blue of infinite light and ineffable peace - to do this one has to remain simple, because the greatest thoughts are invariably the simplest. They are for that reason the most universal ones.

And then there is this other Challenge: whether a student, intellectually able, who has made a sincere effort to live the teachings, will feel himself desirous and eager to pass on the teachings mainly to those who are intellectually and spiritually akin to himself. This is a subtle test.

It should be distinctly borne in mind that Theosophy, in order to become a power in the world of men, must leaven the masses, must become the background of their simple thinking and their everyday feeling. While it is perfectly correct to say that we have to make special efforts to attract the greatest minds of the race, it is equally correct that where Theosophy is mostly needed today is among the underprivileged, the poor, the relatively ignorant, the oppressed - the great surging, often speechless, always long-suffering masses of people, whose aching hearts are hungry and athirst, and whose minds, deprived of true education, find it difficult to understand.

What are the needs of the people? Food, shelter, cleanliness, pure air? Yes, but they need something else besides. They need leisure, time to realize that man is a thinker as well as a laborer, a toiler with his hands and the sinews of his back. They need true education, the impelling power of great, noble, ethical ideas, to which their hearts are often much more open than those of the intellectualists. Above all else, perhaps, they need a Living religion, and no abstract metaphysics will do them the faintest modicum of good. Only a living, dynamic, pulsating spiritual fire can help lift them. Only a simple, heart-to-heart interpretation of the Ancient Wisdom can do it. No amount of subtle intellectualism will reach them. This in itself is a Challenge to every student.

And here we come to another Challenge which every earnest student faces sooner or later within himself: it is to become really, fully human. [5]

Most men and women are not yet fully human. Let us remember this! The noblest portion of the human soul has not yet blossomed forth in the average human being; it is asleep; it needs a kindling spark to arouse it into action, so that it can become the master of the situation, in command over the yet unruly passions and emotions on the level of which most people dwell. Just this fact alone is evidence that the consciousness of most people is quasi-animal and not truly human; for Man is a Thinker above everything else.

Thought, the processes of right thinking and their mastery, spiritual compassion and sympathy, kindliness to all that lives, dauntless courage, fearlessness, charity, impersonal love, justice to all - all the virtues proclaimed by the noblest Sages and Seers of mankind, are the attributes of a fully awakened human soul, illumined by the light of the Inner Self.

Some there are who have imagined that they are in the Theosophical Society in order to become divine, god-like. Let them remember that before this can ever be attempted, they will have to become fully human. And one of the greatest qualities or powers of humanhood is to learn how to think. As a matter of fact, it could be truthfully said that the main part of H.P. Blavatsky's work was centered around this one paramount effort, namely, to teach men and women how to think creatively for themselves, instead of repeating parrot-like every current nostrum, or living like parasites on other peoples' thoughts.

In the words of H.P. Blavatsky:

"The tendency of modern civilization is a reaction towards animalism, towards a development of those qualities which conduce to the success in life of man as an animal in the struggle for animal existence. Theosophy seeks to develop the human nature in man in addition to the animal, and at the sacrifice of the superfluous animality which modern life and materialistic teachings have developed to a degree which is abnormal for the human being at this stage of his progress ..."

"... the essence of Theosophy is the perfect harmonizing of the divine with the human in man, the adjustment of his god-like qualities and aspirations, and their sway over the terrestrial or animal passions in him." (Letter to the American Convention, 1888.)

The Challenge to become more and more human includes the spirit of progressiveness in everything, versus reactionarism (which idea is not limited to political affairs alone!) Any man or woman who shuts his mind or heart to the inflow of new ideas and better methods of putting them into action, is by that much a barnacle on the ship of humanity.

This calls for Youthfulness of Spirit, the urge to spiritual adventure, the readiness to live and let live.

And it also calls for Optimism. Theosophists are optimists in spite of everything; or at least they aim at that perspective. Our entire philosophy, with its emphasis on the Free Will of every human being, fashioning man's destiny according to the nobility or otherwise of his ideals; with its faith in the divine life and light hidden in the human heart, is a philosophy of Optimism. Not that fatuous optimism that proclaims that everything is good and all is well with the world, but the kind of Optimism that sees in the indomable human spirit a determination to right all wrongs and injustices in due course of time; an optimism that senses, as the moving-force behind all evolution, whether cosmic or social, an irresistible power moving for good in the vast drama of the world's life. [6]


C. Jinarajadasa
(Pertinent excerpts from the Inaugural Address of the newly-elected President of the Adyar Theosophical Society, dated February 17, 1946. Our fraternal good wishes go to our co-worker and friend in his new responsible task in the Cause of Brotherhood. - Editors.)

... To create intense happiness from within our souls, such a happiness as will compensate us for the hardships of life - that is the lesson that we Theosophists have to learn, and to teach. The magic phrase, "Open Sesame," lies in that one word. Create. Even a child knows its secret; see how busy he is with his mud or sand, or the puddle in the gutter; we say he is playing. No. he is creating; It is reaching out into the recesses of being, and rejoicing that he can do something that gives him joy. So too, we can all learn to create. Every poet creates, for the word means one who fashions; every artist is as a crucible into which is poured the mingled dross of life's transient happiness and miseries, and he melts and transmutes them in the fire of his imagination, and bodies forth a work of art that is for a while not alone his own Mukti or Salvation, but makes young men see visions and old men dream dreams of their eternal joy and salvation ...

... Wisdom is a power. It is for this reason that Theosophy is not an intellectual philosophy, but a generating station of power. Each Theosophical Lodge should become a power-plant generating ideas, especially the ideas which the world needs today to lessen the struggle for existence. Take for instance, the most powerful and dynamic idea which we Theosophists have as our "marching orders" - the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity ... My Brothers, helped by the Teachers and their teachings of the past, we must create new Wisdoms, new Theosophies, so that we are known not as the professors of a creed, not as the followers of teachers, but as men and women busy, strenuously, but also with the sense of joy, creating new ways of happiness for mankind. Then shall men little by little discover that the Kingdom of Righteousness, the Garden of Happiness, are within their own hearts and minds; then will they cease to clamber and struggle for outer delights; for how then should a man delve into the depths of the earth to find jewels, when in his own hand is the key to the Treasure House of all jewels possible?

It is in these new ways that we who are pledged to the work of the Theosophical Society must work "to lift a little of the heavy Karma of the world." Each of us bears a torch to show the path to Happiness to others.

A time twill come, though you and I will see it only in our next incarnation, when the curses called competition and the struggle for life, which dog the footsteps of mankind today, will have been as evil dreams of the night. You and I are working to create that new day's light and that happiness for all men there shall be no distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color; then men know and rejoice in the only supreme fact of their immortal life as Souls, as gravity is the supreme fact of their earthly bodies, that Happiness is within themselves, that the Way to Salvation starts from their own hearts, and that they need no temple or priest or hook to show them the road. For they will have discovered that the Way, the Truth, the Life and the Joy are inseparable from the essential nature of every man, woman and child.

My Brothers, we shall succeed in our stupendous task. We shall achieve our dream. For we work, but not alone. With us stand the great Saviors of the World who have gone before us. Their Blessing is with us; Their Strength will uphold us, as in Their name and for the love of mankind, we go forth into the world to lessen the load of human misery. (Reprinted from The Canadian Theosophist, April, 1946.) [7]


From the Writings of H.P. Blavatsky
(Excerpts from `A Year of Theosophy.' The Theosophist, Vol. ii, No. 4, January, 1884, pp. 115-116.)

Many misconceptions prevail as to the nature and objects of the Theosophical Society. Some ... fancy it is a religious sect; many believe it is composed of atheists; a third party are convinced that its sole object is the study of occult science and the initiation of green hands into the Sacred Mysteries. If we have had one we certainly have had an hundred intimations from strangers that they were ready to join at once if they could be sure that they would shortly be endowed with siddhis, or the power to work occult phenomena ... So then Let us again say: - (1) The Theosophical Society teaches no new religion, aims to destroy no old one, promulgates no creed of its own, follows no religious leader, and, distinctly and emphatically, is not a sect, nor ever was one. It admits worthy people of any religion to membership, on the condition of mutual tolerance and mutual help to discover truth. The Founders have never consented to be taken as religious leaders, they repudiate any such idea, and they have not taken and will not take disciples. (2) The Society is not composed of atheists, nor is it any more conducted in the interests of atheism than in that of deism or polytheists. It has members of almost every religion, and is on equally fraternal terms with each and all. (3) Not a majority, nor even a respectable minority, numerically speaking, of its fellows are students of occult science or ever expect to become adepts. All who cared for information leave been told what sacrifices are necessary in order to gain the higher knowledge, and few are in a position to make one tenth of them. He who joins our Society gains no siddhis by that act, nor is there any certainty that he will even see the phenomena, let alone meet with an adept. Some have enjoyed both those opportunities and so the possibility of the phenomena and the existence of "Siddhas" do not rest upon our unverified assertions. Those who have seen things have perhaps been allowed to do so on account of some personal merit detected by those who showed them the siddhis, or for other reasons known to themselves and over which we have no control.

For thousands of years these things have, whether rightly or wrongly, been guarded as sacred mysteries, and Asiatics at least need not be reminded that often even after months or years of the most faithful and assiduous personal service, the disciples of a Yogi have not been shown "miracles" or endowed with powers. What folly, therefore, to imagine that by entering any society one might make a short cut to adeptship! The weary traveler along a strange road is grateful even to find a guidepost that shows him his way to his place of destination. Our Society, if it does naught else, performs this kindly office for the searcher after Troth. And it is much.

Before closing, one word must be said in correction of an unfortunate impression that has got abroad. Because our pamphlet of Rules mentions a relationship between our Society and certain proficients in Occult Science, or "Mahatmas," many persons fancy that these great men are personally engaged in the practical direction of its affairs; and that, in such a case, being primarily responsible for the several mistakes that have occurred in the admission of unworthy members and in other matters, they can neither be so wise, so prudent, or so far-seeing as is claimed for them. It is also imagined that the President and Corresponding Secretary (especially the latter) are, if not actually Yogis and Mahatmas themselves, at least persons of ascetic habits, who assume superior moral excellence. Neither of these suppositions [8] is correct, and both are positively absurd. The administration of the Society is, unless in exceptionally important crises, left to the recognized officials, and they are wholly responsible for all the errors that are made ...

(Excerpts from 'The Shylocks of Lahore'; The Theosophist, Vol. iv, No. 8, Supplement, May, 1883, pp. 9-11.)

... our Society ... has one general, and several - if not minor at least less prominent aims. The earnest pursuit of one of the latter - occult science in this case - far from being regarded as the common duty and the work of all, is limited ... to a very small faction of the Society, its pursuit resting with the personal tastes and aspirations of the members. As to the former - the chief aim of the Theosophical Fraternity - it is hardly necessary to remind any Fellow of what it is. Our fundamental object is Universal Brotherhood, kind feelings and moral help proffered to all and every brother, whatever his creed and views. Based upon the conviction that a brotherhood of all faiths and denominations, composed of Theists and Atheists, Christians and Gentiles throughout the world, might without anyone surrendering his particular opinion be united into one strong Society or Fraternity for mutual help, and having one and same purpose in view, i.e., the relentless, though at the same time calm and judicious pursuit of Truth wherever found, especially in Religion and Science - it is the first duty of our Society as a united body to extirpate every weed that overgrows and stifles that truth which only can be one and entire. The best recognized way to make both the psychological arid physical sciences, as all sectarian and dogmatic religions, yield their respective verities, is, in construing them, to take the middle path between the extremes of opinion. The men of science - especially the extreme materialists - being often as bigoted in their denial, and as intolerant of contradiction as the theologians are in their self-assertions and assumed infallibility, there is not much choice left in the treatment of, or the attitude to be chosen toward both. Nevertheless, there being an abyss between the methods and claims of science and religion, the former being based upon close observation, experiment, and the mathematical demonstration of what it does know and the latter resting merely upon faith or anti-empirical observations and personal emotional deductions therefrom, very naturally - and though they have to be tolerated and outwardly respected on the principles of mutual indulgence for our respective shortcomings and fallibility of human opinion - the religious and various personal arid sectarian beliefs of our Fellows cannot yet be always taken into consideration or exalted above plain facts and scientific demonstrations. In other words, ready as we all may and must be to avoid hurling the religious feelings and even the prejudices of our brothers, we cannot promise to he ever foregoing what in our honest convictions is truth, lest we should inadvertently expose the error of a brother, much as it may appear to him also truth.

The greatest, as the most mischievous feature of fanaticism - the synonym in most cases of insane conceit and a selfish reverence for one's personal conclusions and self-assertions regarded as infallible - is the fanatical persecution of opinions and persons holding them whenever they clash with the preconceived views of the persecutors. And, since the latter have always proved an impediment to both progress and truth, hence - the Theosophical Society is pledged collectively to wage incessant war, combat and denounce every such outburst of bigotry and intolerance - the most fiendish, injurious and degrading of all feelings. Thus only can the jealousy, hatred and mutual persecution among sects which, to the distraction of undetermined yet serious minded people, and the scandal of those who accept only facts upon a [9] scientific basis, now so plentifully abound - be gradually destroyed and, perhaps, extinguished forever.

Has the above programme been carried out as originally intended by either our Branches or individual members? With the exception of a few self-sacrificing devoted Fellows, it certainly has not even been attempted, since our best "active" fellows while carrying out one part of the prescribed programme, on the principle of "live and let live" they yet keep silent ... before the manifestations of individual and sectarian fanaticism ... Indeed, the Biblical parable of the sower and the seeds applies perfectly in the case in hand. Sown broadcast, the seeds of membership fell in some (happily few) cases into queer places and brought forth as queer fruits. "Some seeds fell by tile wayside and the fowls (our opponents) came and devoured them up"; ... some "fell upon stony places," and having not deepness of earth, forthwith they sprung with promise and enthusiasm, and as they had no root in them, "they withered away."

Nevertheless, and we may say they are in the majority, some of the "seeds" falling into really good ground, they brought forth fruit "some thirty-fold, some sixty-fold and some hundred-fold." Such members are the pride and glory of the Society. And because they are true and honest, unflinchingly devoted and ready to die for that which they know to be truth - though as real Theosophists they neither force nor proclaim to unwilling ears their faith and knowledge, they are hated and persecuted by their own brother-members who have remained as bigoted as before they joined our Society. These are the members born from the seeds that "fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up and choked them" - THE THORNS OF BITTER SECTARIANISM AND BIGOTRY.


Arthur L. Conger
(Excerpts from an address to the Convention of the American Section, T.S., Washington, D.C., 1939.)

... If you ask, what brings people into the Theosophical Movement, the answer is they want enlightenment; they want to benefit by the study of Theosophy and increase their knowledge of Divine Wisdom.

This is a desire which is noble in the eyes of the world. It is the desire of the soul, this getting knowledge and profiting by its study. Only when they have arrived at the second stage in seeking, then let them give Theosophy to the world at large. This desire should take place in the heart of the members. As it takes place in a sincere, earnest way, it will result in three modes of action:

1. Giving of time to the spreading of Theosophy.
2. Giving of work to the spreading of Theosophy.
3. Giving of financial aid for the spreading of Theosophy.

What you cannot do yourself, you can often make the job for another to do for you and for the movement. I would like delegates on their return to home-lodges, to take this thought; carry it to all the members: "To cross the portal from the receiving end of Theosophy to the giving end of Theosophy."

Spread the Brotherhood of Man. It will gradually permeate the World. As Mr. Judge says: "A small amount of yeast will leaven many loaves of bread." In spite of small numbers and small resources we can carry on this leavening process. Carry home the thought of the greatness of the Theosophical Movement and the great results which are dependent on each one of us and each one of our comrades wherever they may be. [10]


Grace Finlayson

"Do Theosophists believe in Mental Healing?" asked a woman who was new to the teaching of the Ancient Wisdom.

"We believe that Mental Healing is possible," we replied. "There can be no doubt of that. The power of mind over matter has been known from remotest antiquity."

"But I am told," she continued, "that Theosophists do not give mental treatments. If you believe that Mental Healing is possible, why don't you practice it?"

"Because we believe in karma, the law of cause and effect, or, as the Bible states it. 'As ye sow, so shall ye reap'."

The woman interrupted, "But I don't see how that has anything to do with healing those who are ill."

"You did not let us finish," we replied. "Let its take a simple example. If you over-indulge in food, that is not good for you; you will be ill. It is Nature's way of warning you, of showing you your mistake. You will reap what you have sown."

"I wouldn't necessarily have to be ill. I could be healed."

"True. And then you would probably not learn Nature's lesson, and nine times out of ten you would keep right on injuring your body knowing that you need not suffer the consequence."

"I can see your reasoning there." she admitted. "But I refer more to serious illness. For instance, I have someone very dear to me who is suffering with a cancer. Now if I had the power to heal that person I should think it a downright sin not to stop that suffering.''

"Yes, it does seem so at first thought. It is hard to see anyone suffer, especially those near and dear to us. But let us look a little deeper into the matter. Suppose you do heal that person by mental treatments, what have you done? Only dammed back the effect of a cause, and that cause will produce its effect later on, perhaps in a more undesirable part of the body. We MUST reap what we have sown."

"You mean to say," she questioned, "that my friend did something bad which caused this suffering? She could not possibly have done so. She is a perfect saint! She would not harm a living thing!"

"Your friend is undoubtedly all that you say she is. Many of us have known extremely good and kind persons who have suffered agonies of pain. But let us show you the picture from another angle."

"Yes, please do," she agreed, "I do not want to be narrow-minded. I want to view the `picture' as you call it, from all sides."

"One does not always find such open-mindedness," we told her, "among beginners. We must remember that one does not necessarily reap the harvest from the seeds of living within a few years from the time one plants the seeds. The bad seeds may have been sown in any one of our many past lives."

"Well," she sighed, relieved, "that explains a great deal."

"You see, we have all done many things, both good and bad, in our past lives and the harvest is not reaped at one time. Men and women who are the bravest, the most courageous, like to pay all in one lifetime as much of their karmic debt as possible. Don't you think that cancer would pay off a great cleat of accumulated bad karman?"

"I certainly do" she acquiesced.

"All right," we replied, "Suppose your saint-like friend decided to get rid in this life of a great deal of bad karma, wouldn't you admire bet courage?"

`"Indeed I would. But what do you mean when you say my friend 'decided' to get rid of a great deal of bad karma? Can we ever decide what kind of life we are going to have, [11] that is, how much misfortune or how much happiness we shall have?"

"If not, who would decide it?"

"But how - how can one decide before one is born? I don't understand."

"When the reincarnating ego," we answered, "prepares to incarnate again in the body of a baby, it looks over the record of its past lives and decides what unfavorable karma is to be lived out in the new life about to be entered into. And we must not forget the good karma. The ego also decides what rewards it will meet for good deeds done."

"That is most interesting, please go on," she urged.

"Try to imagine yourself, that is your Higher Self, witnessing a motion picture of your last lives. As it unfolds before you, you say, `Ah, that was a cruel thing I did in that life! I shall wipe out that score in this new life. And that good deed I did. I shall enjoy a little reward for that.'

"Now suppose a very noble soul, like your friend for instance, has a big karmic debt. She could string along the bad karma over a period of many lives, paying off a little at a time. But you say she is extremely good, therefore she decides to lay off a big debt and get it over with in one life. Now if someone interferes and by mental treatments checks and dams back disease, making it impossible for her to get rid of that debt, she will have to go through this suffering again, if not in this life, then in some future life."

"Don't you Theosophists believe in relieving suffering?"

"Of course we do. But by Nature's way. By gently leading a disease OUT of the body, never damming its outlet, which is exactly what is done in mental healing."

"How do you mean, 'leading it out'?"

"By letting a physician, who understands the disease, lead it out of the system."

"Now wait a minute. If you do not approve of healing, why do you have a doctor?"

"There is a vast difference between mental and physical healing. Physical healing is working with Nature on the physical plane. Mental healing, when applied on the physical plane, is working against Nature. It is tampering with the laws of Nature and in a very dangerous territory. On the astral and mental planes are performed all acts of black magic. Primitive peoples knew how to contact this astral plane, and by 'wishing;' were able to bring suffering to an enemy, or to restore to health one on whom perhaps they desired to inflict suffering later. Both were forms of black magic."

"But Jesus healed the sick. He was certainly not a black magician. If Jesus healed by mental healing, I don't see why we can't."

"You can with perfect good grace IF, and it is a very large IF, if you are as wise as Jesus was and can see into the man's least lives and know if the man's karma entitles him to be healed.

"It is not at all difficult to heal another mentally. There are many persons who are able to do so. But before performing such an act let us first ask ourselves, 'Is it wise?' Let us never for a moment forget that it is an inexorable law of Nature that what you sow you MUST reap."


The mass of testimony through the ages is against healing physical ills by the use of the higher forces of nature, and the reason, once well know but later on forgotten, is ... that diseases are gross manifestations showing themselves on their way out of the nature so that one may be purified. To arrest them through thought ignorantly directed is to throw them back into their cause and replant them in the mental plane." - William Q. Judge, The Path, Vol. vii, September, 1892, p. 190. [12]


Edwina Booth

Hardly a day goes by, but that we hear at least one person say: "How horrible WAS this last World War! How wonderful it is to have Peace Now!"

This statement is a fallacy ... an untruth ... a misguided thought-process. Is the war over? Are we at peace now? The answer to both of these questions is: no. War does not always mean guns and bullets and bombers. Peace does not always mean merely the laying down of such.

There will always be a war on - and Peace a forgotten word - as long as there is intolerance and selfish strife between peoples; as long as there are individuals who think in terms of strife, and use certain words ... words like Kike, Dago, Nigger, Chink, Wop, Jap, Foreign-born, and many others. These words are as dangerous as an aimed dagger, and ignorance of their implications is poor reason for their use. They have caused hurts too deeply imbedded in the hearts of mankind ever to be healed. Even untimely death has resulted from them.

Repeat these words in your mind. Consider them from various aspects. Observe the ramifications of their meaning. Become conscious of them, but only so as to erase them from your usage and determine to banish them from the daily vocabulary.

There is a war to be fought. A holy war, if this word is to be used at all. A struggle for Peace - Peace in the very souls of men ... And this means You and Me, and everybody else. We must gain in understanding, in tolerance, in love for all mankind, not just a portion of it, regardless of race, creed or color. We must obliterate from our speech those words which hurt, which segregate, which work toward separateness among the people. We must try arid heal the wounds of past battles, and win the greater battle now in progress all around us.

I like to think that the Supreme made man of Love, not Hate; and if this is true, we have in everyone of us something of ourselves to give to others. We often spread the deadliest of all diseases - hatred, by discrimination, real-treatment, and the misuse of words. And hatred breeds wars. Only through genuine understanding can we ever achieve a state of dynamic and creative Peace.

In a book of proverbs called "Betel Nuts," occur these thoughts culled from the popular sayings of the peoples of Hindustan:

"Knowledge? - Know each other!
"Goodness? - Love thy brother!"
Good words, these. They have a meaning.

The greatest reward will be ours in the course of time, if we "fight" for Peace; and that reward will be Peace within ourselves. And though we may work and strive for no reward, it will inevitably be ours, as an integral part of the whole.


Our destiny is to continue the wide work of the past in affecting literature and thought throughout the world, while our ranks see many changing quantities but always holding those who remain true to the program and refuse to become dogmatic or to give up common-sense in theosophy. Thus will we wait for the new messenger, striving to keep the organization alive that he may use it and have the great opportunity H.P.B. outlines when she says, 'Think how much one to whom such an opportunity is given could accomplish'." - William Q. Judge, The Path, Vol. vi, March 1892, p. 396. [13]


Jan H. Venema

There is such a thing as living Theosophy in an active and in a passive way. Both are necessary, with the understanding that the word "passive" does not express anything negative. I for one prefer under all circumstances living the theosophical philosophy of life in an active way. It makes us "artists in living," interpreters of a very special "music of life," the keynote of which is divine, cosmic rhythm.

There is also such a thing as enjoying the blessings of living art in an active and in a passive way. The true musician now and then hears a heavenly music; it comes whispering like a rustling wind of the Spirit from the inner spiritual spheres, and it makes him still, passive for a while. But soon there comes the irresistible urge: he grasps his violin or some other instrument, and he must interpret. No power in the whole world can discourage or slay him! He feels the cosmic rhythm, the cosmic urge or impelling power. The true poet is also often silent, listening to some song on the inner planes, when he beholds the ever-clanging movements of life, jubilant or wailing fragments of word-music. For days it may be the background of his life. But suddenly the song finds expression in audible words; the interpretation had to come. The true painter sees in his mind's eye the most beautiful scenes, just as the sculptor in his imagination is grouping the figures in symmetrical order. Often they wonder if they will ever succeed in bringing into manifestation on the outward plane these touching blendings and gradations of colors or refined features through the medium of brush or chisel. But the day comes when they try - they must do so, even if it should cost their innermost heart-blood. They are children of this Universe and they are urged by the irresistible, cosmic, impelling force - the power of creation, or rather re-creation ... And grateful is the world!

And so it is with the true Theosophist - an artist in living. Living it passively? Yes, now and then, to be sure, but not without danger! For like some artists we can delight too long in the profundities of the wonderful teachings, the flights of human thinking, the heights of spiritual vision. Whole passages from The Secret Doctrine or from Studies in Occult Philosophy may remain lingering in our mind. In itself this is very fine indeed. But the danger lies in the "delighting" itself, sometimes inclining to a sort of self-satisfaction, perhaps even mixed with a few tiny seeds of that treacherous flower of illusion, bearing the name of "better-than thou"! It often might even lead to some good-natured criticism of a brother, who may not yet interpret with any degree of perfection the music of life in word and attitude, in accordance with the rules of the art.

Yes indeed, there are many kinds of artists; many kinds of artists in living also. But I for one still prefer the active kind, those, who like H.P. Blavatsky and other Leaders had to interpret, even at the cost of their innermost heart-blood. The true Theosophist, he who is not satisfied with merely leaving his name on the membership-roster, plays (tactfully!) on all the instruments which he has karmically developed. These instruments will become more and more perfect through usage, as those of the artist do. Just like the musician, he can listen to the heavenly music of the cosmic spheres; like the poet, he is moved by the jubilant and the wailing songs of life; like the painter and the sculptor, he has inspiring, spiritual visions. They can make him very still. But then comes the test of his worth and of his veracity. The [14] cosmic forces of love and compassion, and the consequent urge to re-create, flow irresistibly through him; the whole Universe plays in and through him. He may bewail his as yet imperfect instrument, but, Heaven knows, there are those who know nothing at all of these forces as yet; nothing at all of this art of living; and so he must, he must ... and he will ever try to create and re-create. And the world is waiting!



Theosophical work in Holland is resurgent after the many years of oppression and persecution. It shows signs of dynamic vitality, able leadership and unclouded vision. The Netherlandish Section is in charge of Jan H. Venema who is its President. The Board consists of six men among whom are our indefatigable workers Hendrik Oosterink, A. Bonset, Fred Lindemans and George Lindemans, a powerful and far-seeing team of men. By the side of the Board there is a Council formed of all the Lodge-Presidents in the country. When They all meet together, special care is taken "that the inspiring side, or if you like, the spiritual aspect, takes predominance," as is stated in one of the letters front Jan H. Venema. "If business is to be transacted, I always take care that it its done under the auspices, so to speak, of the combined spirit of our Teachers ... I never make it dry and businesslike, for even in exoteric matters I try in my way to show the background of the esoteric aspect of our movement. Without that we become an ordinary society and that shall not happen as long as I still have some vitality left."

The President and other officials are making frequent tours of the country, lecturing in the lodges and groups, transacting business with the various local boards; all this is being done against the background of professional duties and with transportation facilities still in complete ruin. The spirit in which this work is being conducted is well expressed in these words from another letter of Jan H. Venema: "If we are to lead anything well, we must, as G. de Purucker used to quote from Lao-Tse, stand behind our friends and never make our leadership felt."

Since October, 1945, nine new Lodges have been organized in Holland. Since the days of Liberation, the Hague Lodges alone have acquired 50 new members. According to the Syllabus of activities we have received from The Hague, lodge-meetings, study-classes and public gatherings held over a period of three months cover three pages of small type; practically every day of the week there is a gathering of one or another kind, and in various parts of the city, conducted by a large number of workers.

The shortage of paper has made it impossible to resume the publication of the Dutch Theosophical Forum, though it is probably that this difficulty will now soon be overcome. For the present, the Correspondence Bureau issues an 8-page Bulletin, which also contains news of the reviving activities on the european continent.

Special attention is directed towards attracting the interest of the Youth of Holland. This aspect of the Work has always been a great success with out Dutch co-workers. At present, they have developed new methods along these lines and the number of inquiring minds among the young people is far exceeding the number of available workers, so that the President has mentioned at time his wish of having some one hundred lecturers going up and down the land spreading the message of Theosophy. some of the young folks have now established an exchange of correspondence with young students of Theosophy abroad; some of them are in touch this way with young people's groups in the U.S.A. This exchange of ideas and reactions should work towards a better understanding of each other and a cementing of the Work in Bond of international fellowship.

Most of the Theosophical literature in Dutch has either been sold out in years past or destroyed by the Germans. The reprinting of it has already begun, owing to the valuable work of our Brother van Dishoeck and his large publishing house.

Theosophia wishes to express its profound admiration for our Netherlandish co-workers and friends. We wish them an ever-expanding strength and an ever-deepening wisdom and knowledge in carrying on in their devastated land this promising work for the good of mankind. We feel that the great baptism of suffering they have undergone has opened their hearts and minds to the Light which streams from the Guardians of Humanity. [15]



Wayfarers who wander by the Waysides of Life leave one thing in common. It is that they can pick up much information about the ways of the world by perusing the fragments of newspapers and magazines that those of the busy Marts of Trade scatter around so prodigally whenever they visit the haunts of Nature; which, singularly enough, they seem to do whenever they have the opportunity.

From many of such pickings the Wayfarer has become impressed by the fact that the printing presses located in the congested areas of the world, endlessly pour forth a stream of matter referring to inter-racial conditions.

Much of this matter is put out by what is currently dubbed "Minority Groups." Much of it DEMANDS this and that for one certain minority, with an apparent complete unconcern as to what happens to some other equally afflicted minority. Then there are others who try to reconcile these claims, which are often conflicting, among themselves.

Leaving aside for the moment the fact that it might look better if the demands were transmuted into requests, one is forced to consider the possibility that differences among races are actually increased by a constant accentuation of them in print and verbally.

Racial differences would probably cease to exist if we ignored them and put into PRACTICE, instead of into mere words, the one great fact in Nature; namely, that there is only ONE race of people - the Human Race.

Only in the case of Man, among all of Nature's children, is there a feeling of racial differences. All animals go their own way recognizing equal rights to all, even to those not of their kind. Even the carnivorous animals only war on other animals when in need of nourishment. It is man alone who reserves the right to take life for purposes other than the urgent call for food.

What would seem to be well worth trying would be for all to stop considering a fellow human being as belonging to any other race, to disregard any differences of coloration of skin or delineation of features, to stop writing and talking about such insignificant details - one does not take time to accentuate cut and color of clothes another may wear, unless one is a fashion expert - and above all to delete that word inter-racial from our working vocabulary.

The races of the world have been produced principally by localized conditions, in large part climatic and geographic. The nations of the world have been produced by the artificial barriers set up by than himself, in large part those of language. In the eyes of the Great Creative Spiritual Intelligences who control the Universe, all men are brothers, because all are scaling the same mountains of human evolution. What if some do cry out, "My mountain is better than yours." Such a ogre generally loses his foothold on the mountainside and crashes to the bottom, merely because he diverted his attention from his real job, that is to climb the particular mountain he finds himself on, and help all those who are ascending the same peak. When you need help on these steep mountain-sides, you do not stop to ask to what race the one belongs who extends you a helping hand; so why should you ask the race of the one whom you may try to Help?

MORAL: Inter-racial Understanding is fostered by refusing to acknowledge or accentuate racial differences.

And that's Ethnological Theosophy.

- The Wayfarer. [Hubert S. Turner] [16]


Theosophical Activities
(Partial List)

- Lodge No. 60. Sven Eek, President. Public lecture first Sunday of every month, 3:00 P.M., at 330 No. Western Ave. For information regarding classes, etc., call FE-5914.
- Lodge No. 58. Mrs. Bessie M. Dickley, President. Meeting held on Fridays, 8:00 P.M., 831 No. Mariposa Ave. Call for information OL-3063.
- Young People's Lodge No. 36. Richard H. Cutting, President. For information call NO-16429 or FI-5521.
- Theosophical Information Office. Boris de Zirkoff in charge. Room 240, Western Bldg., 553 So. Western Ave., L.A. 5, FI-5221. Books for sale; lending library. Editorial offices of "Theosophia"

- Public Lectures every Sunday, 3:00 P.M. Theosophical Center, Fourth Ave. and Olive St., Jackson 1740. Local and out-of-town speakers. For information call T. Marriott, Franklin 7663.
- Lodge No. 1. Foster L. Griffiths, President. Meetings every Friday, 8:00 P.M., at above address.
- Lodge No. 65. Men's Lodge. George L. Caffee, President. Meets every second Wednesday, 8:00 P.M. at above address. For information call Wm. N. Stevens, Sec'y, Woodcrest 3453.


Theosophical Literature

These and other books can be obtained from the Editorial Office of THEOSOPHIA, 240 Western Building, 553 South Western Avenue, Los Angeles 5, California, or by ordering direct from: Theosophical University Press, Covina, California.

- THEOSOPHY FOR BEGINNERS, C.J. Ryan & Lydia Ross ........ 8 leaflets 1c each, 100 copies $.75
- THEOSOPHY CAN EXPLAIN, L.L. Wright ....... 12 four-page leaflets 5c a set, 100 copies .75
- INTRODUCING THEOSOPHY, Alan R. Bragg. Simple yet comprehensive outline ................. .25
- THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, Its Nature and Objectives (compiled) ......... .10
- OCCULTISM AND PSYCHIC PHENOMENA, G. de Purucker. Timely warning of dangers of psychism ...... .10
- DOES CHANCE OR JUSTICE RULE OUR LIVES?, Nils A. Amneus, Outstanding in its logic and simplicity. Ideal for inquiring minds ............. .25
- THEOSOPHICAL MANUALS by various students, 15 different ones, such as: What is Theosophy?, Reincarnation, Karman, Cycles, Evolution, Psychic Powers, After Death - What?, Astral Light, Yoga and Yoga Discipline, etc. Especially good for study-classes ...... each 25c: boxed set 3.50.
- ECHOES FROM THE ORIENT, Wm. Q. Judge. Informative and lucid. ............. .50
- THE STORY OF JESUS, G. de Purucker. Of special interest to the Christian mystic .................... .25
- THE MASTERS AND THE PATH OF OCCULTISM, G. de Purucker ......... .25
- THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY, Wm. Q. Judge. A classic textbook invaluable in the outset of studies .......... 1.00


We thank all our friends and subscribers for their support and interest. In our third year of publication, we will endeavor to continue to justify their trust in us.
We also wish to remind a number of our friends that their subscription has now expired. Please renew right away, if you do not wish to lose continuity in receiving the magazine. Address: "Theosophia," Room 240, Western Bldg., Los Angeles 5, California. - Editors, "Theosophia".