A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume IV
No. 5 (23) - January-February 1948

[Cover photo: M 51, N.G.C. 5194-5 Canes L'enatici, Spiral Nebula, exposure 3 hours, May 15, 1926,
100-inch Hooker reflector.
(Courtesy Mount Wilson Observatory.)]


Published every Two Months. Sponsored by an International Group of Theosophists
To disseminate the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom.
To uphold and promote the Original Principles of the modern Theosophical Movement, as set forth by H. P. Blavatsky and her Teachers.
To challenge bigotry and superstition in every form.
To foster mutual understanding and co-operation among all students of Theosophy, irrespective of their affiliation.
EDITOR: Boris de Zirkoff.
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Irene Ponsonby, Dr. Sven Eek, J. Emory Clapp, William L. Biersach, Arthur L. Joquel.
ADVISORY BOARD: Col. J.M. Prentice, Jan H. Venema, Hendrik Oosterink, James L. Harris, Richard H. Cutting, T. Marriott.
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In cooperative work, as in every other problem before students of occultism, there are two extremes to be avoided and one right course to be maintained; two evils opposed to one good; a pair of opposites reconciled by a unity; and in cooperative work, as in other problems, many make the mistake of avoiding the more obviously extreme merely to fall into the other extreme which is less obviously wrong. A body of workers should neither repel one another nor lean on one another. The former maxim is so obvious that no one fails to recognize its truth and to strive to act in accordance with it; but there are many who, in doing so, rush to the opposite pole of weak reliance on others. Workers should cling to the cause, not to each other; for if they cling to each other, the failure of an individual will be disastrous for the whole; while, if each one clings to the cause, each one must be torn away separately ere the whole fabric can be destroyed. The pillars of a temple do not lean up against one another, neither do they counteract each other; each stands firmly on its own base and is independent of the support of the others, yet all unite in the common object of supporting the dome. We must be as the pillars of a temple, helping one another, yet independent and each on his own base. The destruction of one or two does not seriously impair the building, for the others still stand firm ...

Many are the paradoxes that present themselves to the student of occultism, and among them this is not the least important - to work in perfect harmony with our colleagues, and at the same time to work as if upon our own individual effort depended the whole enterprise. To realize this we must be united yet independent. - Henry Travers Edge, The Path, Vol. ix, May, 1894. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

The Age we live in is a historic Age.

From East to West, and from North to South, and all over the Globe, the dawn of a New Age is breaking, and mankind is entering into yet untrodden fields of evolution and growth.

It is t great time to be alive. A time specially welcomed by students of the Ancient Wisdom, genuine mystics, seekers after Truth ... a time of untold spiritual opportunities and grave responsibilities as well.

To be sure, it is a time of great confusion, of harassing uncertainty, and of increasing tension. But these are mere symptoms of a process of readjustment the human race is undergoing in order to meet the intellectual and psychological requirements of a new age.

The fact is that all over the world a new spiritual force has been realized by the Guides and Custodians of mankind, and the great, wide spaces are being swept clean by the "Wind of the Spirit," cleansing, purifying, invigorating. ...

And yet, some there are, here and there and everywhere, who are sitting aghast, watching the strange changes, bewildered, benumbed, thrown out of balance, weeping over their shattered illusions, crying over their ruined fairy-castles, unable to adjust themselves to the heightened tempo of the caravan, as it moves over new and unfamiliar terrain.

But Tomorrow does not wait!

Tomorrow is an age of World-Civilization, embracing mankind as a whole.

In this limited and integrated world, existing individual Cultures, both of the East and of the West, will furnish those distinctive national and ethnic achievements which are the result of their own individual evolutionary growth.

Tomorrow is an age of world-citizenship, wherein a new concept of the Citizen of the World - the man without a country - shall rise above the separative and utterly insufficient conceit of national citizenship.

Allegiance to Mankind and its higher spiritual interests will have to take the place of personal allegiances to kings, states, leaders, racial and tribal moulds, outworn traditions.

Mediaeval patterns of thought, cherished slogans, will have to be given up. Racial animosities, feudal rights of entrenched minorities, selfish sovereignties, will have to be abandoned, and replaced by universal conceptions, ties of genuine friendship between one part of the globe and another, and a feeling of unbreakable solidarity.

The brazen era of narrow boundaries, physical and mental, of caste distinctions, and of vested interests for selfish and cruel ends, has now closed.

The clarion-call for a living brotherhood of Humanity has been sounded, and its echo is reverberating in millions of human hearts.

The Book of Life is opened at a new chapter. Across the page there runs in flaming letters the heading: "Global Consciousness," and it tells of the irresistible drive of evolution towards a Living Brotherhood of the Human Race.

Tomorrow is an age of fresh loyalties - loyalty to Mankind, loyalty to Truth, loyalty to justice, loyalty to the disinherited and the oppressed of the earth, so that they may be redeemed, and raised, and uplifted, and humanly ensouled. Loyalty to the Whole, instead of to the fragments. ...

And Tomorrow does not wait!

Tomorrow is the age when the greatest danger to mankind's future will be controlled and tamed. That greatest danger is ... Science; Science in the hands of war-mongers; Science in the clutches of irresponsible, amoral, narrow-minded schemers, whose conflicting imperialisms play ducks and drakes with human minds and hearts.

In the civilization of Tomorrow, [4] Science will be in the undivided possession of the genuine scientists laboring for the sake of pure Knowledge, and its attainments and results will be held in trust by some high-minded Administrative Body formed of the noblest thinkers of mankind, who will be Trustees for the Human Race, and will have the power and the "know-how" to steer scientific achievements into channels of universal usefulness, world-wide helpfulness, and benefit for all.

Scientific inventions will be "patented" by mankind, and the "patents" will be held by responsible parties - citizens of the world at large - thereby preventing these inventions from being exploited by the envoys and the underlings from the Nether Regions, and used to kill and cripple us and reduce our homes and the fruit of our honest labor into heaps of smoldering ash. ...

And Tomorrow is right around the corner!

In this era of world-wide readjustment the Theosophical Movement - in the broadest sense of the term - plays a paramount part. It is universal, ageless, utterly impersonal, and manifests itself in Protean forms through every open channel the world over. The Teachers work through every avenue that is available. There is no monopoly on Truth.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the organized Theosophical Societies of the present day. Had they kept to the original program of the Parent Body, as launched by H.P. Blavatsky under the direct guidance of her own Teachers, they would be today a tremendous power for good.

To be sure, they are still doing a great deal of good, but the organized Theosophical bodies cannot be the great redeeming power in the midst of mankind, or offer the one paramount solution for the prevailing confusion, as long as they are engaged in back-biting, organizational disputes, professional jealousies, and ideological conflicts.

The lack of an over-all Spiritual Leadership is evident in all of them, and this precisely because they cannot get together, forget their differences and forge ahead, united, through the portals of Tomorrow, into the New Age.

And so the Theosophical Movement, as a spiritual force issuing from the fountain-head of the occult life of this Earth, must either purify these vehicles which have become clogged with human ignorance and inertia, or must find for itself new channels, new vehicles, new veins and arteries, unaffected by psycho-mental arteriosclerosis, in which to flow unimpeded and free.

For Tomorrow does not wait!

Are you afraid of Tomorrow?

If you are - you are afraid of yourself. You are then afraid of your own limitations, your own inertia, and your own fear of change. ...

For Tomorrow is in You. Tomorrow is your own ability to respond to the filter vibrations of a new era, to attune your receiving apparatus to the broadcasts from a loftier stratosphere.

But Tomorrow is no Utopia; it is not a Paradise, not a heavenly mansion. Do not mistake: Tomorrow will have its own problems to solve, but they will be grander problems, and will be solved by a nobler type of men.

With all our inherent shortcomings, as human beings and as students, we nevertheless have access to certain teachings in which resides a redeeming power for all men. It is our bounden duty to see that these teachings are passed on to those who are willing to listen and are ready to receive. In doing so, it is imperative that we pass them on impersonally, intelligently, and unadulterated by personal whims, selfish motives, or sectarian fanaticism. And above everything, that they be not soiled and distorted by fantastic imaginings arising front psychic delusions which have spread, like an epidemic, the world over.

This is a time for action. May our actions in the Cause of Truth be wise!

For Tomorrow does not wait! [5]


THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY: Its Mission and Its Future
H.P. Blavatsky
(Excerpts from an Editorial originally published in Lucifer (London), Vol. II, No. 12, August 15, 1888, pp. 421-433. It was written in the form of a running commentary on Emile Burnouf's article concerning the T.S., and embodies in the original a number of long quotations from his essay. We reprint in these pages the essential portions of H.P.B.'s comments. - Editors.)

IT has seldom been the good fortune of the Theosophical Society to meet with such courteous and even sympathetic treatment as it has received at the hands of M. Emile Burnouf, the well-known Sanskritist, in an article in the Revue des Deux Mondes (July 15, 1888) - "Le Bouddhisme en Occident."

Such an article proves that the Society has at last taken its rightful place in the thought-life of the XIXth century. It marks the dawn of a new era in its history, and, as such, deserves the most careful consideration of all those who are devoting their energies to its work. M. Burnouf's position in the world of Eastern scholarship entitles his opinions to respect; while his name, that of one of the first and most justly honoured of Sanskrit scholars (the late M. Eugene Burnouf), renders it more than probable that a man bearing such a name will make no hasty statements and draw no premature conclusions, but that his deductions will be founded on careful and accurate study ...

... The T.S. was not created to propagate any dogma of any exoteric, ritualistic church, whether Buddhist, Brahmanical, or Christian. This idea is a wide-spread and general mistake; and that of the eminent Sanskritist is due to a self-evident source which misled him. M. Burnouf has read in the Lotus, the journal of the Theosophical Society of Paris, a polemical correspondence between one of the Editors of Lucifer and the Abbé Roca. The latter persisting - very unwisely - in connecting theosophy with Papism and the Roman Catholic Church - which, of all the dogmatic world religions, is the one his correspondent loathes the most - the philosophy and ethics of Gautama Buddha, not his later church, whether northern or southern, were therein prominently brought forward. The said Editor is undeniably a Buddhist - i.e., a follower of the esoteric school of the great "Light of Asia," and so is the President of the Theosophical Society, Colonel H. S. Olcott. But this does not pin the theosophical body as a whole to ecclesiastical Buddhism. The Society was founded to become the Brotherhood of Humanity - a centre, philosophical and religious, common to all - not as a propaganda for Buddhism merely. Its first steps were directed toward the same great aim that M. Burnouf ascribes to Buddha Sakyamuni, who "opened his church to all men, without distinction of origin, caste, nation, colour, or sex" (Vide Art. I. in the Rules of the T.S.), adding "My law is a law of Grace for all." In the same way the Theosophical Society is open to all, without distinction of "origin, caste, nation, colour, or sex," and what is more - of creed. ...

Having summarized the history of the development of the T.S. and the growth of its organization, the writer asks: "What is the spirit which animates it?" To this he replies by quoting the three objects of the Society, remarking in reference to the second and third of these (the study of literatures, religions and sciences of the Aryan nations and the investigation of latent psychic faculties, etc), that, although these might seem to give the Society a sort of academic colouring, remote from the affairs of actual life, yet in reality this is not the case; and he quotes the following passage from the close of the Editorial in Lucifer for November, 1887:

"He who does not practice altruism; he who is not prepared to share his last morsel with a weaker or a poorer than himself; he who neglects to help his brother man, of whatever race, nation, or creed, whenever and wherever he meets suffering, and who turns a deaf ear to the cry of human misery; he who hears an innocent person slandered, whether a brother Theosophist or not, and does not [6] undertake his defense as he would undertake his own - is no Theosophist. - (Lucifer No. 3.) ...

... In stating that the T.S. is "Buddhist," M. Burnouf is quite right, however, from one point of view. It has a Buddhist colouring simply because that religion, or rather philosophy, approaches more nearly to the TRUTH (the secret wisdom) than does any other exoteric form of belief. Hence the close connection between the two. But on the other hand the T.S. is perfectly right in protesting against being mistaken for a merely Buddhist propaganda, for the reasons given by us at the beginning of the present article, and by our critic himself. For although in complete agreement with him as to the true nature and character of primitive Buddhism, yet the Buddhism of today is none the less a rather dogmatic religion, split into many and heterogeneous sects. We follow the Buddha alone. Therefore, once it becomes necessary to go behind the actually existing form, and who will deny this necessity in respect to Buddhism? - once this is done, is it not infinitely better to go back to the pure and unadulterated source of Buddhism itself, rather than halt at an intermediate stage? ...

... It is true that no mysteries or esotericism exists in the two chief Buddhist Churches, the Southern and the Northern. Buddhists may well be content with the dead letter of Siddhartha Buddha's teachings, as fortunately no higher or nobler ones in their effects upon the ethics of the masses exist, to this day. But herein lies the great mistake of all the Orientalists. There is an esoteric doctrine, a soul-ennobling philosophy, behind the outward body of ecclesiastical Buddhism. The latter, pure, chaste and immaculate as the virgin snow on the ice-capped crests of the Himalayan ranges, is, however, as cold and desolate as they with regard to the post-mortem condition of man. This secret system was taught to the Arhats alone, generally in the Saptaparna (Mahavansa's Sattapani) cave, known to Ta-hian as the Chetu cave near the Mount Baibhar (in Pali Webhara), in Rajagriha, the ancient capital of Maghada, by the Lord Buddha himself, between the hours of Dhyana (or mystic contemplation). It is from this cave - called in the days of Sakyamuni, Saraswati or "Bamboo-cave" - that the Arhats initiated into the Secret Wisdom carried away their learning and knowledge beyond the Himalayan range, wherein the Secret Doctrine is taught to this day. Had not the South Indian invaders of Ceylon "heaped into piles as high as the top of the cocoanut trees" the ollas of the Buddhists, and burnt them, as the Christian conquerors burnt all the secret records of the Gnostics and the Initiates, Orientalists would have the proof of it, and there would have been no need of asserting now this well-known fact. ...

... The very essence of the position taken up by the T.S. is that it asserts and maintains the truth common to all religions; the truth which is true and undefiled by the concretions of ages of human passions and needs. But though Theosophy means Divine Wisdom, it implies nothing resembling belief in a personal god. It is not "the wisdom of God," but divine wisdom. The Theosophists of the Alexandrian Neo-Platonic school believed in "gods" and "demons" and in one impersonal ABSOLUTE DEITY. To continue:

"Our contemporary habits of life,"says M. Burnouf, "are not severe; they tend year by year to grow more gentle, but also more boneless. The moral stamina of the men of today is very feeble; the ideas of good and evil are not, perhaps, obscured, but the will to act rightly lacks energy. What men seek above all is pleasure and that somnolent state of existence called comfort. ... Do we not see the doctrine of the "struggle for life" applied to every function of human life? ... If the T.S. succeeds in refuting this pretended law of the "struggle for life" and in extirpating it from men's minds, it will have done in our day a miracle greater than those of Sakyamuni and of Jesus." [7]

And this miracle the Theosophical Society will perform. It will do this, not by disproving the relative existence of the law in question, but by assigning to it its due place in the harmonious order of the universe; by unveiling its true meaning and nature and by showing that this pseudo law is a "pretended" law indeed, as far as the human family is concerned, and a fiction of the most dangerous kind. "Self-preservation," on these lines, is indeed and in truth a sure, if a slow, suicide, for it is a policy of mutual homicide, because men by descending to its practical application among themselves, merge more and more by a retrograde re-involution into the animal kingdom. This is what the "struggle of life" is in reality, even on the purely materialistic lines of political economy. Once that this axiomatic truth is proved to all men; the same instinct of self-preservation only directed into its true channel will make them turn to altruism - as their surest policy of salvation.

It is just because the real founders of the Society have ever recognized the wisdom of truth embodied in one of the concluding paragraphs of M. Burnouf's excellent article, that they have provided against that terrible emergency in their fundamental teachings. The "struggle for existence" applies only to the physical, never to the moral plane of being. Therefore when the author warns us in these awfully truthful words: "Universal charity will appear out of date; the rich will keep their wealth and will go on accumulating more; the poor will become impoverished in proportion, until the day when, propelled by hunger, they will demand bread, not of theosophy but of revolution. Theosophy shall be swept away by the hurricane ..."

The Theosophical Society replies: "It surely will, were we to follow out his well-meaning advice, yet one which is concerned but with the lower plane." It is not the policy of self-preservation, not the welfare of one or another personality in its finite and physical form that will or can ever secure the desired object and screen the Society from the effects of the social "hurricane" to come; but only the weakening of the feeling of separateness in the units which compose its chief element. And such a weakening can only be achieved by a process of inner enlightenment. It is not violence that can ever insure bread and comfort for all; nor is the kingdom of peace and love, of mutual help and charity and "food for all," to be conquered by a cold, reasoning, diplomatic policy. It is only by the close brotherly union of men's inner SELVES, of soul-solidarity, of the growth and development of that feeling which makes one suffer when one thinks of the suffering of others, that the reign of Justice and equality for all can ever be inaugurated. This is the first of the three fundamental objects for which the Theosophical Society was established, and called the "Universal Brotherhood of Man," without distinction of race, colour or creed.

When men will begin to realize that it is precisely that ferocious personal selfishness, the chief motor in the "struggle for life," that lies at the very bottom and is the one sole cause of human starvation; that it is that other - national egoism and vanity which stirs up the States and rich individuals to bury enormous capitals in the unproductive erecting of gorgeous churches and temples and the support of a swarm of social drones called Cardinals and Bishops, the true parasites on the bodies of their subordinates and their flocks--that they will try to remedy this universal evil by a healthy change of policy. And this salutary revolution can be peacefully accomplished only by the Theosophical Society and its teachings ...

At this juncture we shall take leave of our learned, and perhaps, too kind critic, to address a few words to Theosophists in general.

Has our Society, as a whole, deserved the flattering words and notice bestowed upon it by M. Burnouf? How many of its individual members, how [8] many of its branches, have carried out the precepts contained in the noble words of a Master of Wisdom, as quoted by our author from No. 3 of Lucifer? "He who does not practice" this and the other "is no Theosophist," says the quotation. Nevertheless, those who have never shared even their superfluous - let alone their last morsel - with the poor; those who continue to make a difference in their hearts between a coloured and a white brother; as all those to whom malicious remarks against their neighbours, uncharitable gossip and even slander under the slightest provocation, are like heavenly dew on their parched lips - call and regard themselves as Theosophists!

It is certainly not the fault of the minority of true Theosophists, who do try to follow the path and who make desperate efforts to reach it, if the majority of their fellow members do not. It is not to them therefore that this is addressed, but to those who, in their fierce love of Self and their vanity, instead of trying to carry out the original programme to the best of their ability, sow broadcast among the members the seeds of dissension; to those whose personal vanity, discontentment and love of power, often ending in ostentation, give the lie to the original programme and to the Society's motto.

Indeed, these original aims of the FIRST SECTION of the Theosophical Society under whose advice and guidance the second and third merged into one were first founded, can never be too often recalled to the minds of our members.* (* Vide Rules in the 1st vol. of the Theosophist, pp. 179 and 180.) The Spirit of these aims is clearly embodied in a letter from one of the Masters quoted in the "Occult World," on pages 71 and 73. Those Theosophists then, - who in the course of time and events would, or have, departed from those original aims, and instead of complying with them have suggested new policies of administration from the depths of their inner consciousness, are not true to their pledges.

"But we have always worked on the lines originally traced to us" - some of them proudly assert.

"You have not" comes the reply from those who know more of the true Founders of the T.S. behind the scenes than they do - or ever will if they go on working in this mood of Self-illusion and self-sufficiency.

What are the lines traced by the "Masters"? Listen to the authentic words written by one of them in 1880 to the author of the "Occult World":

... "To our minds these motives sincere and worthy of every serious consideration from the worldly standpoint, appear selfish. ... They are selfish, because you must be aware that the chief object of the Theosophical Society is not so much to gratify individual aspirations as to serve our fellow men ... and in our view the highest aspirations for the welfare of humanity become tainted with selfishness, if, in the mind of the philanthropist, there lurks the shadow of a desire for self-benefit, or a tendency to do injustice even there where these exist unconsciously to himself. Yet, you have ever discussed, but to put down, the idea of a Universal Brotherhood, questioned its usefulness, and advised to remodel the Theosophical Society on the principle of a college for the special study of occultism ..." ** (** This excerpt is from the second letter of Master K.H. received by A.P. Sinnett at Simla, October 19, 1880. The complete text of this particular paragraph may be found in The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, pp. 7-8; it would seem that H.P.B. italicized certain passages from the Master's Letter, as in the published version only the word selfish (preceding the first set of dots above) appears in italics. The entire Letter is of great importance and should be studied. - Editor, Theosophia.)

But another letter was written, also in 1880, which is not only a direct reproof to the Theosophists who neglect the main idea of Brotherhood, but also an anticipated answer to M. Emile Burnouf's chief argument. Here are a few extracts from it. It was addressed again to those who sought to make away with [9] the "sentimental title," and make of the Society but an arena for "cup-growing and astral bell-ringing": -

"... In view of the ever-increasing triumph and, at the same time, misuse of free thought and liberty, how is the combative natural instinct of man to be restrained from inflicting hitherto unheard-of cruelties, enormities, tyranny, injustice, if not through the soothing influence of a Brotherhood, and of the practical application of Buddha's esoteric doctrines? ... Buddhism is the surest path to lead men towards the one esoteric truth. As we find the world now, whether Christian, Mussulman, or Pagan, justice is disregarded and honour and mercy both flung to the winds. In a word, how, since that the main objects of the Theosophical Society are misinterpreted by those who are most willing to serve us personally, are we to deal with the rest of mankind, with that curse known as 'the struggle for life,' which is the real and most prolific parent of most woes and sorrows, and all crimes? Why has that struggle become the almost universal scheme of the universe? We answer: because no religion, with the exception of Buddhism, has hitherto taught a practical contempt for this earthly life, while each of them, always with that one solitary exception, has through its hells and damnations inculcated the greatest dread of death. Therefore do we find that 'struggle for life' raging most fiercely in Christian countries, most prevalent in Europe and America. It weakens in pagan lands, and is nearly unknown among Buddhist populations. ... Teach the people to see that life on this earth, even the happiest, is but a burden and an illusion, that it is but our own Karma, the cause producing the effect, that is our own judge, our saviour in future lives - and the great struggle for life will soon lose its intensity. ... The world in general and Christendom especially left for two thousand years to the regime of a personal God, as well as its political and social systems based on that idea, has now proved a failure. If Theosophists say: 'We have nothing to do with all this, the lower classes and inferior races [those of India for instance, in the conception of the British] cannot concern us and must manage as they can,' what becomes of our fine professions of benevolence, reform, etc.? Are these professions a mockery? and, if a mockery, can ours be the true path? ... Should we devote ourselves to teaching a few Europeans, fed on the fat of the land, many of them loaded with the gifts of blind fortune, the rationale of bell-ringing, cup-growing, spiritual telephone, etc., etc., and leave the teeming millions of the ignorant, of the poor and the despised, the lowly and the oppressed, to take care of themselves, and of their hereafter, the best they know how? Never! Perish rather the Theosophical Society ... than that we should permit it to become no better than an academy of magic and a hall of Occultism. That we, the devoted followers of the spirit incarnate of absolute self-sacrifice, of philanthropy and divine kindness as of all the highest virtues attainable on this earth of sorrow, the man of men, Gautama Buddha, should ever allow the Theosophical Society to represent the embodiment of selfishness, to become the refuge of the few with no thought in them for the many, is a strange idea. ... And it is we, the humble disciples of the perfect Lamas, who are expected to permit the Theosophical Society to drop its noblest title, that of the Brotherhood of Humanity, to become a simple school of Psychology. No! No! our brothers, you have been labouring under the mistake too long already. Let us understand each other. He who does not feel competent enough to grasp the noble idea sufficiently to work for it, need not undertake a task too heavy for him. ...

"To be true, religion and philosophy must offer the solution of every problem. That the world is in such a bad condition morally is a conclusive evidence that none of its religions and philosophies - those of the civilized races less than any other - have ever possessed the TRUTH. The right and logical explanations on the subject of the problems of the great dual principles, right and wrong, good [10] and evil, liberty and despotism, pain and pleasure, egotism and altruism, are as impossible to them now as they were 1880 years ago. They are as far from the solution as they ever were, but. ...

"To these there must be somewhere a consistent solution, and if our doctrines will show their competence to offer it, then the world will be the first one to confess, that ours must be the true philosophy, the true religion, the true light, which gives truth and nothing but the TRUTH. ..."

And this TRUTH is not Buddhism, but esoteric BUDHISM. "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. ..."


L. B.

Once upon a time the word "Soul" may have conveyed a definite idea of the individualized entity, but now-a-days it is little more than an abstract noun. It may be impossible to make a satisfactory definition of it, but it is possible to get a practical concept which will lead to a greater understanding of realities.

Let us ask ourselves: What is a Man? What is an animal? And let us accept no statement, however factual, without delving into its meaning and its connotations. This is a necessary step because of the generally current belief that Man has a Soul but that the animal has not.

What is an Animal? It is a unified bundle of attributes and qualities common to all Nature in varying degrees. The particular arrangement of these attributes differentiates one unitary group from another, making it an individualized entity. From Theosophical teachings and observed facts we recognize that the appearance we see as the animal is only the external manifestation, and that the animal per se is the animal-entity on a superior plane. This is evidenced by the fact that any partial destruction of the physical does not change the character or nature of the animal. Therefore, we can consider logically the synthesized entity on a superior plane to be the animal's soul.

What is a Man? Exactly the same, although he has attributes and qualities far more evolved than those of the animal. Furthermore, he exhibits some of them in an active volitional manner, which indicates that he has still greater potentialities of development in several spheres of action. The appearance we see is therefore no more the Man than the animal form is the animal itself.

But we must not make the mistake of a final analogy drawn from external appearances only, for the whole of the attributes and qualities in the Solar System, must affect every atom therein and be parts of its essential composition. Therefore, as Man is far more evolved than an animal, he has the animal-soul and his own particular grade of Man-Soul combined, and this latter exhibits some qualities which are not essentially human but are distinctly transmitted through the more refined connecting links with a superior entity.

Thus it can be inferred that the animal-soul in him is motivated by its past evolutionary development, which has caused its experiences to become instinctual and inherent in it, so that they react automatically as long as its normal life lasts. The Human aggregate, being only partially evolved, has its experiences inhering in the human soul, which can govern and does influence the animal-soul aspect of himself.

From this it follows that the human-soul is greatly influenced by the gradually evolving Spiritual-Soul, in whose texture, so to say, are attributes from above and beyond, together with those from below. These coalesce with it and form the connecting links by which the human-soul can be brought into harmonious sympathetic relationship with the Spiritual World.

The concept therefore becomes clearer, and we can say that the "Soul" is that aggregate of characteristics inhering in any entity, on any plane, by which at any moment it manifests a unitary and individualized active life. In other words, an individualized vehicle for the manifestation and evolution of its central SELF, anywhere and on any plane.

Thus Man is an animal with its central self functioning in the physical body and in relationship to the physical plane; a human-only partially evolved as yet - with the center in the Mind, and related more particularly at present to the lower desires and instincts; and a Soul, which transmits to the human-animal those higher energies which stimulate all evolution, and in which inheres every degree of experience which the human encounters.

Gradually, the Spirit-Soul will be energized by will and KNOWLEDGE, and bring forth the fully self-conscious sevenfold entity - an EARTH GOD. [11]


Emily L. Neresheimer

Ideas of life after death are usually connected with the thought of reward or punishment. No doubt all innate sense of justice not satisfied by the observation of life on earth as men see it, leads to this conclusion. Hence, men believe, a post-mortem state has to restore the disturbed balance in human affairs.

What, it may be asked, his the ancient Wisdom-Religion to say on this subject, and what is the basis of this belief? Theosophy delves deeply in solving the problem of justice, and the restoration of harmony in human and Cosmic life.

Man is an intrinsic part of the universe - spiritually, psychically, and physically.

To begin with, the atoms of which his body is compounded, and which are ever changing, are taken again and again from Nature's great store-house of substances. They are only his own for the short space of time in which they, so to say, pass through him. He attracts these by the nature of his thoughts and emotions, and they are accordingly gross or refined. They leave him to return to Mother Nature with the impress of his thought-life and emotional nature, with increased gross or refined tendencies, and become active principles within the active principles of the Universe. As a stone thrown into a pond causes rings to form and spread out to the very shore-line, so a man's thoughts either poison or vitalize the emotional and thought-atmosphere around him. For we live in an ocean of World-thought and feeling.

That man's thoughts leave their impress on his physical constitution can be easily observed. The effects of anger upon his digestive functions is unmistakable, as also the depleting effects of worry, envy, jealousy, etc. on his well-being and physical appearance. On the other hand an inner calmness and peace preserves a man's vitality which, again, is imprinted upon his whole personal appearance.

A man's thoughts and desires affect not only himself for weal or for woe, but also others with whom he comes in contact. Hence an answer to the question: "Am I my brother's keeper?"

The Theosophist believes that living in all organized Cosmos - not in Chaos - all is Subservient to the Law of Cause and Effect - the unequivocal justice of the Universe. He also believes in the perfectibility of man, not in one Earth-life alone, but in life after life of embodied existence. Greater perfection can only be achieved through the gradual awakening in man's inmost being of Self-realization, i.e., realization of his spiritual Self which is one with the SUPREME SELF of the Universe. At first, mastery over a man's thoughts and emotions is gained through experience of pleasure and pain. Gradually he will gain all inner peace, even in the midst of strife, both in this life and in the hereafter that follows so-called "death." Life never ceases, whether here on earth or in a post-mortem state. The tendencies we create remain with us at all times, and produce the happiness or suffering we ourselves call into being. Through the travail of many experiences we slowly but surely gain self-knowledge and mastery, added discrimination and understanding of the true meaning and purpose of life.

In the Book of Revelation we read:

"To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life" - the tree of Knowledge and of Wisdom. [12]


L. Kavonne

"I can't understand why it happened to me!" How many times have you said that when something had gone wrong, and things just didn't seem fair? Maybe you were disappointed by the postponement of some anticipated event, or things just didn't go right at the office, or some event happened to change the course of things in your life. Later on you look back and find there was a reason for things unfolding as they did, and often the worst ones turn out to he blessings in disguise. If we could only think of disappointments or changes in our lives as blessings in disguise, how much we could benefit by such a philosophy. I can look back now and find many past happenings that turned out to be just that; if they hadn't happened as they did, and when they did, I might still be in the same rut. Sometimes it takes a painful jolt to shake us out of our lethargy, and to make us realize our opportunities. I used to ask the powers that be for a philosophy to guide me in moments of despair, but now I have found that it is far more important to have a philosophy that will guide me in my moments of fortune, for without a guidance in such times, how would I learn to appreciate and be grateful for that in which I have found happiness?

Some ten or twelve years ago, I was introduced to Theosophy, and didn't want anything to do with it. I didn't laugh at it or think it ridiculous, but just didn't want to be bothered about it. To be truthful, I wasn't ready for it, and I suppose subconsciously knew it. I have always been in Theosophical surroundings, having parents who were very devoted to the teachings, but it wasn't until two years ago that I became curious about this matter. Now, upon retrospection, I can see where I was just beginning to prepare myself for the acceptance of it. Since that time I've become very interested, accept the teachings, and try to make them a part of my life. During the period of my early introduction to Theosophy, I rebelled at the thought of studying it, for that was an adolescent period when anything spiritual or intellectual wasn't worth the bother to me. I learned many other things during that time which had very little to do directly with Theosophy, but they made a good foundation for what was to come later.

I am glad I didn't try to accept Theosophy at that time, for I might have acquired a permanent dislike for it. I realize I made a lot of people unhappy then by acting the way I did, but it was all part of a pattern which was to come to light later on: a blessing in disguise. During the time when people were trying to introduce Theosophy to me, I had something else to learn, and for that matter, I still have and always will have, but when I was ready for Theosophy I found it.

After finding such a philosophy, I then had to adapt my life to it, until I could make it a part of living, a way of life. Whenever things went wrong, I became convinced there was a reason for it, and that perhaps things weren't so bad after all. All this wasn't easy, for the problem was to convince myself of the Karmic pattern behind events. This is hard to achieve, when the results or the effects of some cause seem unfair. Then things began to "break" for me and I realized that certain cycles of "bad luck" in my life were on the decline. After being on the sunny-side of the street for awhile, I realized an even greater need for more guidance, for in cycles of good fortune there is greater temptation to become lazy and indifferent, and to make mistakes. Now I realize I have found a philosophy which can guide me in good or bad times, and this realization comes at just the right time, when things are beginning finally to develop for the best. [13]



Questions from readers are welcome. Try to make them short and to the point. They will be answered in the light of the Ancient Wisdom, and published as space permits. - Editor.

Why are all the Masters Orientals? Are there no Masters in the Occident?

The first question is based on mere assumption. It embodies a common misconception. A Master, Mahatman or Adept is neither an Oriental nor an Occidental. The latter terms denote the geographical locality in which a physical body is born, and the Master is not a physical body. Master, Adept or Mahatman are terms descriptive of an advanced state of consciousness and knowledge, and these are universal in their essence.

So then, using correct terms for definite ideas, let us bear in mind that Masters or Initiates do not use exclusively Oriental bodies, and are not necessarily born in Eastern lands. This misconception is probably due to the fact that the modern Theosophical Movement has been closely associated with two Initiates known by the initials M. and K.H., the former a Rajput by birth, and the latter born in the Brahmana caste of India.

In the earliest period of the Theosophical Society, in the seventies of last century, the initial effort along Theosophical lines was under the tutelage of the Egyptian Section of the Occult Hierarchy, known as the Brotherhood of Luxor. In it were active among others the Adepts known as Serapis Bey, Tuitit Bey, and Hilarion Smerdis, who were Egyptian and Coptic by birth.

Other adepts have been active in the modern Theosophical Movement. One of them was a Hungarian of noble birth, another an Englishman, and still another an American Indian. One of the greatest among them was a certain individual of Slavonic birth, who stood in specially close relation to H.P. Blavatsky and her mission in the world.

There are Masters or Initiates in many lands. Their whereabouts are not known to us, but it can be said with certainty that they are not limited to Oriental countries, notably Tibet. There are occultists of the highest attainment and knowledge in more than one Occidental country, engaged in compassionate work for the good of the many, fanning the flame of spiritual aspiration among those who are seekers of Truth.

It should also be stated that Initiates move about and travel for various purposes of their own. Ample records of this are available. Wherever they may be at any given time, they know of each other's whereabouts, and are at all times in close contact with the mystic center of the Brotherhood, which for long ages has been in Central Asia. All genuine Initiates of the Right-Hand Path owe their allegiance to that fountain-head of occult inspiration - the mysterious land of Shambhala - where dwells the Hierarch or Supreme Head of the spiritual-psychological Hierarchy of Adepts on this Globe. This Individual, of supreme spiritual attainment has been referred to by Masters M. and K.H. under such terms as the Chohan, the Maha-Chohan, the Chief, which are all titles bestowed in reverence upon this Holy Presence. This Hierarch is what is technically known as a Nirmanakaya: complete human being of very lofty spiritual achievement, minus the physical body only. He can also be termed a human Bodhisattva, and is the spiritual-personal or egoic element in the constitution of Gautama the Buddha which remained here on Earth for the good of mankind, after the higher portions of Buddha's consciousness entered into their Nirvana. This Hierarch is an aspect of the Silent Watcher of this Globe. Much confusion exists on this subject among students, and we earnestly recommend a closer study of the teachings connected with it. [14]

Why is it that Theosophists do not take part in any political activity?

This question is somewhat confused. Theosophists - by which, we suppose, the questioner means members of a Theosophical Society - most certainly do take part in political activities, but they do so as individuals, as citizens or subjects of a country, not as an organization. Each one of them has some political bias or preference, although there probably are many who have no definite leaning one way or another in respect to political affairs. We must bear in mind that every time a student of Theosophy votes or takes some other part in the self -government of his country, he is politically active. Moreover, if he is a true Theosophist who is trying to live what he professes, his political activity, as an individual citizen, will be enlightened and noble-minded, and directed towards some ultimate improvement of the state of public affairs.

However, it should be born in mind, and thoroughly understood, that the Theosophical Society, from its very inception, has been strictly non-political. As an organization, it represents no special political system of thought, theory, or doctrine, just as it does not represent any special religious creed or faith. It contains within its ranks people of all political affiliations or leanings, and, as a Society, it exercises no jurisdiction over the political, religious, philosophical, or scientific beliefs of its members. It is, therefore, unsectarian in the highest and fullest sense of this term. And no temporary departures from this fundamental basis on the part of this, that, or another body of students, small or large, alters in the slightest the basic nature of this platform, although it does indicate the presence of human weaknesses and shortcomings among Theosophists, as is easily understood.

The Theosophical Society does not vote; it does not support monarchy, representative republicanism, socialism, communism, or dictatorship, and this for the simple reason that the Theosophical Society is not an individual or a person, but consists of thousands of men and women belonging to every ethnic stock and every belief of mankind. Their one binding element is a sincere recognition of the reality of Universal Brotherhood as a fact in Nature. In everything else, they differ widely from each other, and respect each other's views and convictions.

The word "politics" has been degraded by malpractice, as so many other words have. It now means a contention between mutually-opposed and antagonistic political parties, while, as a word, it is derived from the Greek politeia, which meant the relation of the citizen to the state, the condition and rights of citizenship. Other derivatives from this word meant statesmanship, the art and science of ruling others.

In The Key to Theosophy (pp. 227-237, 263-271 ), and elsewhere in her writings, H.P. Blavatsky points out in earnest and convincing language the necessity for every student of Theosophy to take intelligent part in the social, civic, and genuinely "political" duties and affairs of his country, so as to infuse through every open channel at his disposal nobler and higher ideas of justice, fair-play and improvement in the social structure of the day. Even if your own personal "statesmanship" may not go any further than your voting precinct, remember that in the case of some other student, karmically placed in that position, it may involve the destinies of millions of human beings, and make of him an enlightened statesman of the New Age.

Mutual bickerings of political parties have nothing to do whatsoever with the standards and the lives of Theosophists, but Statecraft, the well-nigh lost art of enlightened statesmanship, is a science derived from the ancient Mystery-Schools, and will in due course of time become a powerful constructive element in the self-government and the social pattern of a new World Order, in which, let us hope, students of the Ancient Wisdom will play an important part. [15]


F. Arteche

"And now thy Self is lost in SELF, thyself unto THYSELF, merged in THAT SELF from which thou first didst radiate.
" Where is thy individuality, Lanoo, where the Lanoo himself? ..."
- H.P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence, p. 20.

The injunction of the Sacred Scriptures the world over is that "all is an illusion" or MAYA, as the Hindus call it. That it is a riddle there is no question, and to the "matter of fact" individual it all may sound like pure nonsense. This Universe, this world, which we see, touch and hear, so real to our sense perceptions, is, if we are to accept these teachings, but a shadow, a Phantasmagoria, the reality of which our mortal brain is unable to fathom.

Examples such as the one about the rope which, in the gathering shadows of the evening, makes one suddenly jump aside, mistaking it for a coiled serpent, often appear in Hindu literature to illustrate in a general sense the doctrine of Maya. This and other similes will perhaps convey to the average mind little more than a lack of judgment or a defective vision, but with a little deep thinking and some reflection one may, if not solve the unsolvable riddle, at least get a vague understanding of the nature of this grandiose illusion.

Carrying the analysis of this doctrine of Maya to its ultimate conclusion through the channels of Subjectivism, one sees man, world, and things vanish away, leaving nothing but the One Eternal Omnipresent Mind, dreaming a stupendous and, to us, inconceivable dream - call it ideation or evolution - whose ramifications and complexities are by far too vast for the human brain to encompass.

To my way of understanding, Brahma is now asleep; this we call Manvantara. It is in reality, as I see it, the Night of Brahman, who dreams a colossal dream in the Eternal Now, neither conscious nor unconscious. oozing out of its own Essence, or emanating, the Rays or Regents - the Builders - which in their turn again dream out of themselves their respective domains - the Universe, the worlds, then man. The latter also dreams out of his own substance, as he awakens to self-consciousness, his own world. Slowly man develops his subject-object consciousness, and from then on, aided by his sense-perceptions, in touch with the plane of his evolution, he builds his own material world with-in the frame work of time, space, the pairs of opposites, and the other categories and concepts which of themselves have no reality. This man lives now under a double illusion. First, the belief that he himself - the phantom in the dream - is a self-contained and independent entity, the product of the media upon which he operates, or perhaps the creation of a Superior Being apart from himself. And second, the belief that his mental concepts derived from sense-perceptions and feelings are realities.

Contrary to the Universal Mind, which in manifestation seems to function through its involuntary aspect, man gradually evolves the voluntary aspect of his mind, thus expanding and finally bursting, like a chrysalis, that cage, that framework of false concepts which, however illusory and painful, serves him as a ladder to reach his goal. Through the millenniums of his evolutionary journey, as he ascends along the luminous arc, he becomes a Master of Nature, finally to merge as a fully self-conscious being into his source or origin. Brahma has then awakened.

"In Him [or It] we live and move and have our being." This and other mystical sayings such as the one in the Bhagavad Gita, where Krishna, the Logos, says: "I established this whole universe with a single portion of [16] myself, and remain separate," give the clue not only to the doctrine of Emanations but to the doctrine of Maya as well. Thus Brahma, "unconscious" during the Manvantara, dreams itself away, giving life, substance and being to its "creation" - monads, worlds, universes, then man. By reason of his awakening to full consciousness of his living origin, man could be said to represent the volitional aspect of the Will and Mind of Brahma, because the Self and the selves are but the ONE SELF. The latter, fully awakened, will try once more to unravel the mystery beyond the veil of eternal matter and consciousness, only to sink again, in the bosom of Parabrahman, into a still greater and more sublime dream of meditation. Pralaya is over, and Time once more ceases to be - the Eternal Now alone reigns supreme.


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(Partial Directory)

THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY: Intern'l Hdqrts., Adyar, Madras, India. C. Jinarajadasa, President. Off. Organ of the Pres.: The Theosophist.
United States Section: James S. Perkins, Gen. Sec'y, "Olcott," Wheaton, Ill. Off. Organ: The American Theosophist. Canadian Section: Lt.-Col. E. L. Thomson, Gen. Sec'y, 52 Isabella St., Toronto, Ontario. Off. Organ: The Canadian Theosophist (Albert E.S. Smythe, Editor).
Literature: The Theosophical Publishing House. Adyar, Madras, India, and 68 Great Russell St., London W.C. 1, England. - The Theosophical Press, '"Olcott," Wheaton, Ill. - Editions Adyar, 4 Square Rapp, Paris vii, France.

THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY: Intern'l Hdqrts., Covina, Calif., U.S.A. Arthur L. Conger, Leader. Off. Organ: The Theosophical Forum.
American-Canadian Section: Maj. Oliver J. Schoonmaker, Pres., 802 Jackson Ave., Washington 12, D.C.
Literature: Theosophical University Press, Covina, Calif. - Theosophical Book Co., 119 Stoughton Rd., Guildford, Surrey, England. - U.M., C.A.J. van Dishoek c.v., Nwe. 's-Graveland-scheweg 36, Bussum, Holland. - Box 1292 G.P.O., Sydney, Australia. - Teosofiska Bokforiaget, Tegnersgatan 29, Stockholm, Sweden.

THE UNITED LODGE OF THEOSOPHISTS: selected list of centers -
Los Angeles 7, Calif., 245 West 33rd St. Literature: Theosophy Company, publishers of the magazine Theosophy.
Bombay, India, 51 Mahatma Gandhi Rd. Literature: Theosophy Company, Ltd., Publishers of the magazine The Theosophical Movement. - International Book House, Ltd., Bombay 1. - "Aryasangha," Malabar Hill, Bombay 6, Editors of the magazine The Aryan Path.
London, England, 17 Great Cumberland Place.
Paris v, France, 14 Rue de l'Abbe de l'Epee.
Sydney, Australia, Federation House, 166 Philip St.

THE BLAVATSKY ASSOCIATION: 26 Bedford Gardens, Campden Hill, London, W.8, England.