A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume V
No. 3 (27) - September-October 1948

[Cover photo: Bright Diffuse Nebula, Known as Trifid Nebula (M 20, N.G.C. 6514), In Sagittarius Exposure 2 hrs. 30 min., June 30, 1921, Mount Wilson 100-inch 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, J. Emory Clapp, Mary K. Neff, Arthur L. Joquel, Robert F. Kerr, Katherine Heck, Polly Carr, Nancy Browning.
COMMITTEE OF SPONSORS: T. Marriot, G. C. LeGros, Jan H. Venema, Col. J.M. Prentice, Dudley W. Barr, Dr. Sven Eek, William L. Biersach.
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Send all subscriptions, renewals and correspondence to: Room 240, Western Bldg., 553 South Western Avenue, Los Angeles 5, California. Make checks payable to "Theosophia."
None of the organized Theosophical Societies, as such, are responsible for any ideas expressed in this magazine, unless contained in an official document. The Editors are responsible for unsigned articles only.



We must remember that no nucleus of a genuine Theosophical Brotherhood will be fit to endure and to perform its proper work in the world unless it is based on those spiritual qualities which the Masters have pointed out to us as the sine qua non of a successful Theosophical organization; and first among these qualities, and in the front rank, the present writer would place the two grand virtues of Universal Charity and perfect Fidelity: Charity not only to those of our own Family - our own T.S. - but Charity to all and to everyone without exception: as much to those who differ from us and who may even go so far as to attempt to injure us, as we are charitable or try to be so to those with whom we feel most spiritual and intellectual sympathy, they of our own Household, of our own Family. Let our record in this respect be so clean, on so high and truly spiritual a plane, that the mere thought of losing it or abandoning it would cause us greater and more poignant grief than any other loss we could possibly incur. ...

It is futile and entirely beside the mark to say, as some may perhaps say, that in pointing out the desperate wickedness of other Theosophists we are doing our Masters' work, in exposing wrong and fraud to the world. In no case would we be manifesting the true spirit of Charity and Fidelity to our Masters' admonitions were we to call a Brother-Theosophist by names suggesting ignominy, such as 'traitor,' 'impostor,' 'insincere,' etc., etc. Outside of anything else, all this is very bad psychology, if not worse; and it certainly is not the way by which to reform any abuses that may have crept into the Theosophical Movement. Arrogance in criticizing others shows clearly self-righteousness in the notion that the critic's views are the only 'holy ones,' and that all who differ from him are on the 'wrong path,' or on the 'downward path.' ...

A Theosophist may know The Secret Doctrine of H.P.B. from cover-page to cover-page; he may be able to rattle off at will incidents innumerable in the history of her life; he may be able to cite volume and page and word of the thoughts of our great H.P.B.; but if he have not her spirit of Charity living in his heart and enlightening his mind, he does not understand the Fidelity which was so eminently hers, and therefore himself is not faithful either to the Message which she brought, or to the Masters whom she pointed to as our noblest exemplars in life. - G. de Purucker, Messages to Conventions, pp. 241-242. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

"Now, I beseech, you, brethren ... that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no division among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

"For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, ... that there are contentions among you.
" Now this I say, that everyone of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
" Is Christ divided? ..." - I Corinthians, I, 10-12

The imperative need in the present Theosophical Movement is for a broad, all-encompassing, genuine and sincere spirit of universality.

Upon this corner-stone of good-will and brotherliness should be erected a structure of enduring worth, in which a free give-and-take of ideas and plans, of ideals and methods would bind all parts of the now disunited Movement into one network of correlated endeavor and mutual helpfulness.

Wherever a spirit of narrow sectarianism predominates, the Movement ceases to he Theosophical, whatever else it may be. Wherever aloofness, suspicion, intolerance, and arrogant self-righteousness prevail, then and there the spirit of the Masters and of H.P. Blavatsky is replaced - probably in ignorance or in foolishness - by a "theosophical" modification of churchism, wherein the exclusiveness of a small coterie parades under the peacock-feathers of a vaunted superiority over others.

This trend is definitely out of season and out of line in a world which, even apart from the Theosophical Movement, is attempting to build a global civilization to replace the smouldering wrecks of nationalistic nightmares.

The sooner the artificial barriers between individual Theosophical Organizations are torn down, the sooner will unity be realized in a Movement which proclaims the ideal of Brotherhood, but nevertheless "exemplifies" it by upholding faction and partisanships, with impassable walls.

The sooner we are able to establish a free and unimpeded exchange of ideas between all students of the Ancient Wisdom the world over, and to do so with sincerity and enthusiasm, the sooner will we banish into the limbo of forgotten delusions those cherished mental moulds, and emotional incrustations, on which certain portions of the Theosophical Movement seem to pride themselves.

This can become a reality and a living power only when Theosophy itself - the Esoteric Tradition of the ages - becomes paramount in the minds of students, and is placed before Societies; when Truth is considered higher than individuals, and when the Cause of Mankind counts for more than any Leader, however grand.

Exclusiveness, clannishness and spiritual pride have ruined many other movements, spiritual and lofty in their beginning. The same qualities have wrecked parts of the modern Theosophical Movement as well. They have been at all times the fruitful seeds of clericalism, parochialism, and obscurantism. From out of these seeds grew wealthy and proud institutions, talking glibly about Truth and Freedom, yet supporting, behind the scenes, all the reactionary currents in history, and fomenting dissensions and class-warfare among the nations of mankind. It was to displace from their high seats of power some of these institutions that the modern Theosophical Movement was started, and every time seeds of the old, evil weed sprout within the movement itself, some portion of it falls from its high estate and compromises with the retrograde currents of human thought which it was called upon to challenge and overcome.

It is the bounden duty of every true student of Theosophy - if he desires to be a genuine follower of the Masters' message and of H.P.B.'s mission among [4] men - to expose these crystallizations, to raise his voice for unity of purpose and union of ideals, and to uproot by word and action the weeds of self-righteousness and superiority with which certain portions of the Movement have become infested.

Let no carping critic imagine that what is being said herein is a stone cast against one or another Theosophical Organization. This is most certainly not so. Every Theosophical Society, without exception, harbors within its ranks individuals and groups addicted to the spirit of exclusiveness, devoted rather to personalities and moulds of mind, than to the broad spirit of free interchange of ideas, upon whose foundation alone a unified Movement can ever be erected.

This spirit of group-superiority and mutual suspicion is not countenanced, to be sure, by official documents, or policy-declarations, but it creeps in where least expected, and worms its way into the activities of the various Societies, ruining the attempts of many officials and members, some of them in high places, to build bridges of understanding between all Theosophists, to forget the past, and to march ahead into the future.

We hope the day is not too far distant when membership in one of the Theosophical Societies will be universally recognized as membership in all: when a member in good standing of any one Theosophical Organization will be equally welcomed by others and looked upon as a constructive and desired element in their work for the world at large.

In this connection, it should be borne in mind that distinctions based upon mere belief have no validity whatsoever in a Movement which from its very inception refused to judge any man on matters of belief. It follows from this simple Premise that no matter how much the belief of another student may differ from ours, he must be recognized as a fellow-student and brother and be appraised (not judged) by his record and conduct.

Theosophy is not a set doctrine, the creedal structure of which has now been fully defined, and departure from which throws an opprobrium on the one thus misled. Theosophy has no creeds or dogma. It represents a system of thought wherein broad, universal principles project a general delineament of a philosophy, the details of which are far from being known to most students. In the light of these broad principles of thought, it is not as difficult as might seem to the outsider, to appraise with considerable accuracy the validity and occult worth of many ideas and conceptions which are definitely "off the track," yet entertained by many students in various parts of the Movement. To diagnose their occult understanding and their knowledge of the Ancient Wisdom is one thing. To feel towards them antagonism, suspicion, or dislike, is quite another. The former is the exercise of creative thinking and spiritual discrimination - such as might exist at the time in the student himself. The latter is a return to dogmatism, intolerance, and sectarianism, all of which being primarily based on differences of belief, are definitely and irrevocably opposed to the principles of the Theosophical Movement, and can never become harmoniously coordinated with the purposes and objectives thereof.

Let us differ in our views, our opinions, our beliefs, even in the interpretation we may give of this, that, or another teaching. But let us banish from the Movement, as a whole, narrow moulds of self-righteousness, shallow grooves of imagined superiority and the spirit of clannishness and sectarianism.

In the spirit of universality and good-will, let us forge ahead united in purpose and objectives, building a network of mutual understanding which must of necessity become one of the corner-stones of global consciousness and world-civilization.

As true Theosophists we could do much more, but we should do no less. [5]


Ernest Wood

In the Mahatma Letters (LIX) Master K.H. makes the important statement that a man may be a very Aristotle or Bacon of intellect, and not interest the Masters in the least - for, he says, such manas, however strong, does not count for spirituality. I have elsewhere (Canadian Theosophist, April, 1948) written an article attempting to define the relation of the Masters' world to ours, and therein explained that Masters do not make it their business to soften the impact of our karmas (since we need those for our education), nor do they innoculate us with some of their strength in order to enable us to face our karma better (since our circumstances provide the proper opportunity for each of us to develop his own capacities). Masters and spiritual teachers in general perform the function of reminding mankind of its spiritual origin, nature and destiny. The essentials of all world scriptures are within this function.

In the letter above cited the Master indicates that Buddhi and Atma constitute the spiritual Monad of man. Let us, then, try to obtain clear conceptions of what these two principles of man are, and how their working is to be seen in our daily lives.

Master says that Manas is of the earth, earthly (LIX). Manas is man's combinative reasoning. In certain Hindu literature the uncombinative reasoning is called chitti. A fox wakes up in its den in the evening, finds itself hungry, and pictures hens in its imagination, because within its experience and memory hens are associated with the satisfaction of its hunger. On the way to the hen-coop the fox meets with various objects, which he has learnt to know. There is perhaps, a fence with a hole in it, which he his found before by trial; he now remembers this, and also where it is, that is, its relation to other objects which he knows and remembers. In this case, knowing is recognition of objects and their specific qualities and actions. Such is the mind that is developed in the animal kingdom, in which the living being moves about among many things and is not rooted to one spot like a plant.

Man also has this chitti. Each one of us has a big mindful of facts and knowledge. By this we are related to the world, which for us is full of recognizable objects. But man has Manas also, which conceives classes of things, names them, and can also plan to alter and combine them because he has the capacity for knowledge of class, which gives him understanding and creativeness. Thus, he can think "fenceness" and "henness," and by this he gets a grasp of a number of things at once and can work mentally upon their functions, and then put them together into other classes such as "houseness" and "machineness." He thus acts to produce new combinations in Nature, such as houses and, say, printing machines. A printing machine is a particular expression of a class idea.

I have deliberately avoided the term abstract idea in this connection. A materialist would say that "houseness" is merely an abstract idea, resulting from our perception of a number of houses. But the occult point of view is that "houseness" is a reality actually existing and a house is something we limit it to in relation to a given set of circumstances.

Even so, Manas is concerned with the world of actions or karmas. It enables the man to recognize and deal with objects, but only when he goes further than creativeness and sees (1) the value of the objects for life, and (2) the life in the objects, will he begin to enter upon a life of spirituality.

Buddhi is often translated by wisdom, sometimes as pure reason. The latter does not help much as it is confusing to try to think of reasoning and pure reasoning as the functions of two different principles of our make-up. The word wisdom is very [6] helpful, for it indicates essentially not merely a large amount of mentally stored experience, as is popularly held, but a knowledge of life and of things in relation to life. For a teacher to treat a child as a gardener does his plants is wisdom. He knows and feels with the life in the child; he regards that as something growing ( as a bit of Brahman; from the verbal root, brih, to grow) according to an inward urge of its own, and so himself merely provides what it needs for that purpose, just as a gardener gives water and soil to his plants and protects them from other coarser growths which would encroach upon them and spoil their living. A teacher of children who took upon himself the role of a sculptor, to chip away what he did not want and leave what he did, or the role of a builder who collects bricks and planks and fixes them together, and thus tries to carve or to build the child would be just plain unwise.

Ordinarily, when dealing with other people, we often forget their inner life, and fail to pause and reflect upon what they are thinking, hoping and suffering. Sometimes we startle ourselves with the thought, "Why, there is a man, or a woman behind that face." It is wisdom, when dealing with people, to know and remember that they are people like ourselves and that their bodies are only subsidiary to that inward life, that, in fact, we are dealing with lives which are incidentally using bodies. It is something more than mere knowledge of things that is then operating; it is Buddhi, which is awareness of life.

That is why unselfishness plays such a large part in occult life and progress. Things belong to the world of separateness (the very nature of material objects), but here is the recognition of reality (the lives) which can flow together without loss of individual distinctness. As soon as I see life in my neighbor I become interested in it, and find that its pleasures and sorrows and interests are also mine. But the selfish person sees only an animated body and thinks only of its effects upon his own separate life.

The lesson of Buddhi is very well taught in the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. Shri Krishna, the Teacher, first tells his despondent pupil that the death of the body is in itself no cause for grief, since the soul survives and returns afterwards to another body. He calls this knowledge a matter of science (sankhya), and then goes on (II, 39) to tell his pupil that he will now explain living according to Buddhi-yoga, in which you cannot go astray from the true path in life. You can use Manas for good or ill, but not Buddhi. There is only good possible, because it is the knowledge of life.

The height of spirituality is reached when Buddhi joins with Atma. When Atma - the inward intuition or awareness of the unitary centre of our own being which is at the root of our will - is joined only with Manas, a great sense of self-importance is aroused. "I" and "it" are conjoined, and the picture of myself as someone definite (a bundle of bodily qualities, customs, habits, fixed ideas and feelings) is formed. Sometimes the polishing, refining, developing, and general glorifying of this "person" wrongly becomes men's idea of spiritual progress, and their thoughts then run mostly on greatness.

But when Buddhi receives Atma there is a joyful and natural union, a veritable beatitude. Then we can look at our own personal figure, our myself, as at the self of others - it becomes only one of the many "yous" that are circling on the dance-floor of personal life. The indeed dawns something of the realization of a pure "I" which is a spark of the Divine Flame (no terms describing either things or "yous" can function here), and the Looker-on begins to be aware of the true self "kept for him who false puts by." [7]


Science Approaches Theosophy
Nancy Browning

From time immemorial man has pondered the gigantic problem of creation. The creation of man himself, the creation of this world, the solar system and the Universe. Man today is no exception and many scientists earnestly spend a lifetime searching for a key to the answer. Up to the present time there have been only been two "generally" accepted theories of cosmic creation, and both of these have been proven defective: the theory of Laplace, in 1796, and the Tidal Theory of about 1919.

A few months ago a scientist, Dr. Fred Whipple, of the Harvard Observatory, came up with what is considered an entirely new theory of cosmic origin. New to some, yes, but very old to the students of the Ancient Wisdom.

Generally speaking the theory is as follows:

Cosmic dust is the raw material from which our universe was made. It floats like huge puffs of smoke through interstellar space, at first aimlessly and without any center of gravity. This enormous cloud is probably some five trillion miles in diameter at first, but almost appallingly light in density, having about one small particle of frozen matter to every five cubic yards of space. This dust at first was surrounded on all sides by stars, in the early stages, but the light from the stars pushed inwardly on the cloud and caused it to collect more dust particles and to contract. As the cloud contracted, its density was increased enough to establish its own center of gravity. Thus the dust particles were drawn inwardly toward the center of the cloud. The result was that streams of dust collided and swirled around and masses of matter were built up by these collisions and began to spin towards the center of the cloud; embryo planets thus formed in the main dust current. Finally one stream of dust started to dominate, while the cloud was constantly contracting, and the motion became so rapid that shock waves were established. The cloud suddenly collapsed and the dust particles rushed inward and gathered around the cloud's nucleus; the result of this was the Sun. The smaller, planet-like masses kept on spiraling and the friction of matter passing over the surfaces heated them to fiery incandescence. In this stage the solar system took on an approximation of its present form. This, in brief, is a very sketchy picture of Dr. Whipple's new and rather startling theory.* (*Two types of nebulae are found in our galactic system: diffuse nebulae which are of irregular form, and planetary nebulae, usually of elliptical shape, and with stars at their centers. The majority of diffuse nebulae are dark; they obscure the view in various directions. The great rift in the Milky Way from Cygnus southward is a well-known example. The bright diffuse nebulae shine on account of the presence of stars either neighboring on there or actually involved in them. The Trifid Nebula, pictured on our front-page, is one of them. The great nebula in Orion is another - Editor.)

There are to be found many parallels to his ideas in H. P. Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine. She lays claim to no new scientific theory on the formation of the solar system but refers us to the ancient Greeks and to the still more ancient Hindu mystics and the Book of Dzyan, to which she had access.

Quoting from that Book, she writes:

"The Central Sun causes Fohat to collect primordial dust in the form of balls, to impel them to move in converging lines and finally to approach each other and aggregate." (Book of Dzyan)

"Being scattered in Space, without order or system, the world-germs come into frequent collision until their final aggregation, after which they become wanderers (Comets). Then the battles and struggles begin. The older (bodies) attract the younger, while others repel them. Many perish, devoured by their stronger companions. Those that escape become worlds." ( Vol. I, p. 201)

How much more scientific can one become? [8] It is curious that H.P.B. adds to the above quotation from the Book of Dzyan the following footnote which carries almost a prophetic meaning: "When carefully analyzed and reflected upon, this will be found as scientific as Science could make it, even at our late period."

What else were the ancients writing about when they told of the fierce battles in the skies, if not of the formation of the solar system? Delve into the Egyptian legend of the battle between Osiris and Typhon, the Scandinavian legends, the Northern mythology, and so on, and you will find in all of them echoes of the same inner knowledge.

The new theory fits into the general theory of evolution, even if we limit it to its physical aspect alone and consider it in the light of Darwin's Origin of Species and his Descent of man. If the "survival of the fittest" has any meaning at all, and applies to the evolution of animal and human forms, then it must have its counterpart in the evolutionary history of the solar system itself.

As above, so below. That is to say that if man exists and has his being for a while in embodied existence and eventually dies, and if all that we observe around us on this earth moves in a cycle from birth to death, then our entire solar system must follow the same immutable pattern. Death, of course, is not final, far from it; but to us it seems so because of the quasi-eternity of time between eventual death - or rather physical disintegration - and a new rebirth. Therefore, we call safely add to Dr. Whipple's theory on how the world began that this evolutionary pattern will also have an end - a relative one, before beginning again.

To quote again from H.P. Blavatsky's writings:

"The appearance and disappearance of the Universe are pictured as an out-breathing and in-breathing of 'The Great Breath,' which is eternal, and which, being Motion, is one of the three aspects of the Absolute - Abstract Space and Duration being the other two. When the 'Great Breath' is projected, it is called tile Divine Breath, and is regarded as the breathing of the Unknowable Deity - the One Existence - which breathes out a thought, as it were, which becomes the Kosmos. ... So also is it when the Divine Breath is inspired again, the Universe disappears into the bosom of 'the Great Mother,' who then sleeps 'wrapped in her invisible robes'." (Op. cit., Vol. I, p. 43)

But there does runt seem to be any "first cause" in Dr. Whipple's theory. Why did the puffs condense to form anything so orderly as a solar system? What propelled them? Why was the formation of a solar system necessary? Was it an "accident?"

Other modern theories have been defective for similar reasons. Some of the "missing links" in this chain of causation are doubtless supplied by the following remarkable statement taken from H.P. Blavatsky's Isis Unveiled:

"The esoteric doctrine then teaches ... that the one infinite and unknown Essence exists from all eternity, and in regular and harmonious successions is either passive or active. In the poetical phraseology of Manu these conditions are called the 'Days' and the `Nights' of Brahma. ... Upon inaugurating an active period, says the Secret Doctrine, an expansion of this Divine essence from within outwardly, occurs in obedience to eternal and immutable law, and the phenomenal or visible universe is the ultimate result of the long chain of cosmical forces thus progressively set in motion. In like manner, when the passive condition is resumed, a contraction of the Divine essence takes place, and the previous work of creation is gradually and progressively undone. The visible universe becomes disintegrated, its material dispersed; and 'darkness' solitary and alone, broods once more over the face of the 'deep.' To use a Metaphor which will convey the idea still more clearly, an out-breathing of the 'unknown essence' produces the world; and an inhalation causes it to disappear. This process has but going on from all eternity, and our present Universe is but one of an infinite series, which had no beginning and will have no end." ( Vol. II, pp. 264-265.)

Another prominent scientist, Dr. Lyman Spitzer, Jr., Associate Professor of Astro-Physics at Yale University, accepts the new theory of Dr. Whipple. He says he believes all stars, as we call them, are formed by the [9] condensation from the cosmic clouds of dust and atoms. As remarked by Dr. C.F. Ryan in one of his illuminating articles:

"Throughout this seeming infinity of apace astronomers have demonstrated the existence of immense numbers of galaxies sometimes called 'Island Universes' because of the apparently empty spaces between them. Each galaxy is an aggregation of billions of stars in an orderly arrangement, more usually taking the shape of a gigantic spiral revolving around a central core of stars and containing masses of dark cosmic material not yet, as it is now believed, condensed into suns and solar systems." ("The Problem of the Super-Giant Stars,' The Theosophical Forum, September, 1947, p. 535)

Dr. Whipple's theory of tile origin of the solar system is a marked approach to the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy. It is a step in the right direction, and a further vindication of the ideas contained in the monumental works of H.P. Blavatsky. In this our twentieth century, men are coming closer to the truth daily. There is less materialism, more faith, and a great deal of humility among our greatest and most enlightened minds. Men like George Gamov, Gustaf Stromberg, Lecomte du Nouy, Fred Whipple, R.B. Rhine, Sir Richard Tute, and many others, are coming into the limelight and saying things which Theosophy has always taught, and always will proclaim. They help a cause of which they know little or perhaps nothing, and for their help we humbly thank them. Let us hope and pray that this be the beginning of an era of true enlightenment. Let us trust that this is the dawn of more than hope and faith, rather an actual manifestation of our dearest dreams - an era, nay an aeon, of great scientific achievement in all fields of endeavor, based upon more enduring and spiritually-ethical values.


Helen R. Schmidt

When the pilgrim begins the journey through the valley of the shadow he is confronted by a combination of reactions which form the pattern of his lower nature.

He must slay this monster which he has created by his negative thoughts and acts of lust. No physical torture can be compared to this time of testing and indecision. There are no words to describe it. The experience is unique.

The valley is surrounded by mountains of doubt. At the gate sits the adversary. Far atop the highest mountain peak is a light almost indiscernible. The Watcher waits in silent longing. This is the beginning of a journey from which there is no return.

Time cannot be said to exist here. It may take one fleeting instant or an aeon of time for the traveler to make his decision.

When the battle of decision is won the dragon no longer holds shut the gate to his inner consciousness. Now every thought, every feeling resulting from a thought is challenged before it enters the gate. Who is the Challenger? It is the guardian angel who, with a two-edged sword, stands at the gate of Eden. It is the tyler. Some call it their higher Self. The name matters not.

The first trembling steps of the pilgrim are agony. Indecision pursues him. Discrimination, he has not. Terror of the unknown clutches at him. Along the roadside is a tangled growth of fear which he himself planted.

The monster, left for dead, pursues him into the narrowest and darkest place where the fiercest of battles takes place, if the monster wins, then the journey trust be begun all over again another time.

When the traveler finally overcomes, [10] he finds a bottomless chasm before him. He must build a bridge in order to pass over. This bridge is Antahkarana. It is the connecting link between his lower mind and the Higher Self. As the monster is necessarily different for each one and yet the same for all, so are the tools different and yet the same.

The bridge of self-mastery is short and long, stout and weak, depending on the inner strength and lack thereof in the builder. A seeming paradox that if in weakness is strength, so in strength can ever he found weakness.

While he labors the Guardian keeps watch at the gate. It never sleeps, but the laborer, if he isn't vigilant, may place a barrier between himself and the gate. At the beginning of his labors he is prone to seek and give advice. The inner consciousness is not weak, but he is. Great harm can come to him unless he is watchful and works from within. He must remember that each goes his way alone and advice may weaken instead of strengthen him.

If he is already sensitive to the forces surrounding him and knows the weakness of his own mental and emotional nature, no amount of talking will do any good. He can talk until the lines in the pattern run together and find himself in a worse state than before.

Others may listen; some will understand, but they cannot help him beyond the point of encouragement, and this point instead of coming closer gets farther away. Continually to seek advice and talk of his problems to all who will listen is nothing but justifying his own shortcoming. Much talk clogs the channel of intuition and creates thought-forms which impede his labors.

The journey is scarcely begun. All the while he labors, the chasm yawns ever wider and darker, seemingly. But ahead is a place of respite. The joy in a closeness to his Source, plus an inner divining knowledge, make him accessible to those in need.

Here he must be cautious indeed. To listen and give comfort to those who have not yet passed through the gate is all he can do. But to those others this is of immeasurable value. If he tells another the road he took, that one may become lost for a time. If he lends material from his own labor, it won't fit the other bridge.

He will find himself judged by the standards of those around him and, for a time, be afflicted by discouragement and loneliness. He will then remember his judgment of others according to his own ideals. So will he cease to judge and thereby make his judgment from the outer world less.

He will know that whatever is, is best. That he has built his Karma, measuring each telling moment as beads threaded on a string. The measurement of the Law is exact and his use of such knowledge determines the rhythm.

Then he will know there are limitations in all states of being short of the Absolute; that these very limitations carry their own compensations. That nothing is permanent but change, and change in itself is conditioned by the direction of the pilgrim himself.



Occultism is not magic, though magic is one of its tools.
Occultism is not the acquirement of powers, whether psychic or intellectual, though both are its servants. Neither is occultism the pursuit of happiness, as men understand the word; for the first step is sacrifice, the second renunciation.
Life is built up by the sacrifice of the individual to the whole. Each cell in the living body must sacrifice itself to the perfection of the whole; when it is otherwise, disease and death enforce the lesson.
Occultism is the science of life, the art of living. - Lucifer, London, Vol. I, September, 1887. [11]


Mary K. Neff
(Concluded from the July-August issue.)

Writing to her relatives in Russia about the Eddy seances, Madam Blavatsky says:

"I saw and followed the process, I knew Will Eddy was a genuine medium, and the phenomenon real as it could be, and, therefore, when days of trouble came for him, I defended him in the papers. In short, for all the years of experience in America, I never succeeded in identifying, in one single instance, those I wanted to see. It is only in my dreams and personal visions that I was brought in direct contact with my own blood relatives and friends, those between whom and myself there had been a strong mutual spiritual love.

"For certain psycho-magnetic reasons, too long to be explained here, the shells of those spirits who loved us best will not, with a very few exceptions, approach us. They have no need of it since, unless they are irretrievably wicked, they have us with them in Devachan, that state of bliss in which the monads are surrounded with all those, and that, which they loved - objects of spiritual aspirations as well as human entities. 'Shells' once separated from their higher principles have naught in common with the latter. They are not drawn to their relatives and friends, but rather to those with whom their terrestrial, sensuous affinities are the strongest. Thus the shell of a drunkard will be drawn to one who is either a drunkard already or has a germ of this passion in him, in which case they will develop it by using his organs to satisfy their craving. One who died full of sexual passion for a still living partner will have its shell drawn to him or her, etc. We Theosophists, and especially occultists, must never lose sight of the profound axiom of the Esoteric Doctrine which teaches us that it is we, the living, who are drawn toward the spirits - but that the latter can never, even though they would, descend to us, or rather into our sphere." (A. P. Sinnett, Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky, orig. edit., 1886, pp. 131-133.)

In another letter to her family, which was translated from the Russian by her niece, Mrs. Vera Vladimirovna Johnston, the daughter of her sister Vera Petrovna, Madam Blavatsky writes:

"It stands to reason that this mere earthly refuse, irresistibly drawn to earth, cannot follow the soul and spirit - these highest principles of man's being. With horror and disgust I often observed how a reanimated shadow of this kind separated itself from the inside of the medium; how, separating itself from his astral body and clad in someone else's venture, it pretended to be someone's relation, causing the person to go into ecstasies and making people open wide their hearts and their embraces to these shadows whom they sincerely believed to be their dead fathers and brothers, resuscitated to convince them of life eternal as well as to see them ... Oh if they only knew the truth, if they only believed! If they saw as I have often seen a monstrous bodiless creature seizing hold of someone present at these Spiritualistic sorceries. It wraps a man as if with a black shroud and slowly disappears in him as if drawn into his body by each of his living pores." (The Path, New York, Vol. ix, February, 1895, pp. 380-81.)

A similar passage occurs in Sinnett's Incidents (pp. 178-79), wherein the explanation is given by H.P.B. to the effect that:

"... these simulacra of men and women are made up wholly of the terrestrial passions, vices, and worldly thoughts, of the residuum [12] of the personality that was; for these are only such dregs that could not follow the liberated soul and spirit, and are left for a second death in the terrestrial atmosphere, that can be seen by the average medium and the public ..."

After Madam Blavatsky's arrival at the Eddy homestead, new and strange materializations occurred at the seances -people of various races and distant countries; whereas previously only Red Indians and relatives of visiting Americans had manifested. There was novelty and excitement in listening to "spirits" sing in Georgian and Russian, play the national Circassian dance, the Lezginka, and in seeing the picturesque costumes of Kurdish spearmen, African tribesmen, Tiflis merchants, Georgian servants, and even a Russian gentleman. Having thus created a stir in Spiritualistic circles - for all these things were reported in the Daily Graphic by Col. Olcott - Madam Blavatsky returned to New York after a fortnight, but henceforth carried on a correspondence with the Colonel.

It happened that she had reached "Spirit Vale" and the Eddy's homestead the very day after a certain Dr. Beard had left. He was not convinced of the phenomena he witnessed, and wrote to the Daily Graphic in a skeptical strain, even offering "when your correspondent returns to New York, to teach him on any convenient evening to do all that the Eddys do." Now, Madam Blavatsky has told us that she "was sent from Paris on purpose to America, to prove the phenomena and their reality." She, therefore, took up the gauntlet thrown down by Dr. Beard, and entered the arena of the New York press world with an article entitled "Marvelous Spirit Manifestations, a Reply to Dr. Beard." (Daily Graphic, New York, Vol. v, October 30, 1874, p. 873; also The Complete Works of H. P. Blavatsky, Vo. i, pp. 13-16 ). Therein she writes:

"I do not know Dr. Beard personally, nor do I care to know how far he is entitled to wear the laurels of his profession as an M.D..; but what I do know is that he may never hope to equal, mach less surpass, such men and savants as Crookes, Wallace, or even Flammarion, the French astronomer, all of whom have devoted years to the investigation of Spiritualism. All of them came to the conclusion that, supposing even the well-known phenomenon of materialization of spirits did not prove the identity of the persons whom they purported to represent, it was not, at all events, the work of mortal hands; still less was it a fraud ...

"... Pray why should a Daily Graphic reporter be the only one selected by G. M. Beard, M.D., for initiation into the knowledge of so clever a 'trick'? In such a case why not publicly denounce this universal trickery, and so benefit the whole world? But Dr. Beard seems to be as partial in his selections as he is clever in detecting said tricks. Didn't the learned doctor say to Colonel Olcott while at the Eddys' home that three dollars' worth of second-hand drapery would he enough for him to show how to materialize all the spirits that visit the Eddy homestead?

"To this I reply, backed as I am by the testimony of hundreds of reliable witnesses, that all the wardrobe of Niblo's Theatre would not suffice to attire the numbers of spirits that emerge night after night from the empty little closet.

"Let Dr. Beard rise and explain the following fact if he can: I remained fourteen days at the Eddys'. In that short period of time I saw and recognized fully out of 119 apparitions seven spirits. I admit that I was the only one to recognize them, the rest of the audience not having been with me in my numerous travels throughout the East, but their various dresses and costumes were plainly seen and closely examined by all."

After enumerating and describing the seven apparitions, Madam Blavatsky closes her letter with the following challenge: [13]

"... I am more skeptical in receiving evidence from paid mediums than many unbelievers. But when I receive such evidences as I received at the Eddy's I feel bound on my honour, and under the penalty of confessing myself a moral coward, to defend the mediums, as well as the thousands of my brother and sister Spiritualists against the conceit and slander of one man who has nothing and no one to back him in his assertions. I now hereby finally and publicly challenge Dr. Beard to the amount of $500 to produce before a public audience and under the same conditions the manifestations herein attested, or failing this, to bear the ignominious consequences of his proposed expose."

In her Scrapbook I, above the pasted clipping of this article, her first one in the American press, H.P.B. has written: "Flashes of the storm raised by Dr. G. Beard's lies (H.P.B.'s 1st letter)." She has added the following comment as a footnote to the list of the seven "spirits" seen by her: "They may be the portraits of the dead people they represent (they certainly are not spirits or souls), yet a real phenomenon produced by the Elementaries. H.P.B."

This truly Russian bomb, exploded with such suddenness, reverberated throughout the American Spiritualistic world and even abroad. Dr. Beard did not accept the challenge, but replied in nine columns of the Daily Graphic of November 9th. Once more, H.P.B. took up the cudgels for the Eddys in particular, and Spiritualism in general, carrying out her orders to "prove the phenomena." Her second letter was called "Dr. Beard Criticized," and appeared in the Daily Graphic of November 13, 1874 ( Vol. v, pp. 90-91 ; also Complete Works, Vol. i, pp. 16-24). It is similar in context to her first letter and shows the utter fallacy of Dr. Beard's position. At the end of the clipping, as pasted in her Scrapbook 1, p.2, H.P.B. has written: "So much in defense of phenomena. As to whether these spirits are ghosts is another question. H.P.B."

Of course, these two startling articles in the New York Press established her as a champion of Spiritualism. She became a figure of international note in the spiritualistic world. The Spiritualist of London published January 1st, 1875, an article by Benjamin Coleman of "Materialized Spirit Forms," in which the writer said, among other things: "The Countess' presence at several of the Eddy seances led to most surprising manifestations, including the appearance of several spirits of persons known to her in foreign countries." On this H.P.B. comments in her Scrapbook 1, p.7: "Yes, for I have called them out myself."

Colemen closes by saying: "These American facts, coupled with our own, should have an important bearing in correcting the errors of both science and theology." To this H.P.B. adds a pen and ink annotation: "And - Spiritualism, please add. Belief in the agency of 'spirits,' or disembodied souls, in these phenomena is as foolish and irrational as belief in the agency of the Holy Ghost in the fabrication of Jesus - if the latter ever lived. H.P. Blavatsky."

Her own occult interpretation of the phenomena, and the laws governing them, stands out from every one of these cursory continents and annotations and should be carefully borne in mind.

Before closing the door on the Beard incident, it will be of interest to know what conclusions Madam Blavatsky drew from this, her first public experience with the Spiritualists of America. She wrote a letter about the whole affair, which was published in full in the London Spiritualist of December 13, 1874, under the title of "Lack of Unity Among Spiritualists." She submitted it also to the American Spiritualistic journals, and one of them, the Boston Spiritual Scientist, edited by Elbridge Gerry Brown, printed extracts [14] from it in its December 3rd issue, under the caption "Mme. Blavatsky: Her Experience - Her Opinion of American Spiritualism and American Society." (Complete Works, Vol. i, pp. 24-26.)

In this important article, H.P.B., taught by bitter experience, writes as follows:

"As it is, I have only done my duty: first towards Spiritualism, that I have defended as well as I could from the attacks of imposture under its too transparent mask of science; then, towards two helpless, slandered 'mediums' - the last word becoming fast in our days the synonym of 'martyr'; secondly, I have contributed my mite in opening the eyes of an indifferent public to the real, intrinsic value of such it man as Dr. Beard. But I am obliged to confess that I really do not believe in having done any good - at least, any practical good - to Spiritualism itself; and I never hope to perform such a feat as that were I to keep on bombarding for all eternity all the newspapers of America with my challenges and refutations of the lies told by the so-called 'scientific exposers.'

"It is with a profound sadness in my heart that I acknowledge this fact, for I begin to think there is no help for it. For over fifteen years I have fought my battle for the blessed truth; I have traveled and preached it - though I never was born a lecturer - from the snow-covered tops of the Caucasian Mountains, as well as from the sandy valleys of the Nile. I have proved the truth of it practically and by persuasion. For the sake of Spiritualism I left my home, an easy life amongst a civilized society, and have become a wanderer upon the face of this earth. I had already seen my hopes realized, beyond the most sanguinary expectations, when, in my restless desire for more knowledge, my unlucky star brought me to America.

"Knowing this country to be the cradle of modern Spiritualism, I came over here from France with feelings not unlike those of a Mohammedan approaching tile birthplace of his prophet. I had forgotten that 'no prophet is without honor save in his own country.' In the less than fourteen months that I am here, sad experience has but too well sustained the never-dying evidence of this immortal truth.

"What little I have done towards defending my belief, I am ever ready to do over and over again, as long as I have a breath of life left in me. But what good will it ever do? We have a popular and ever wise Russian saying that 'one Cossack on the battlefield is no warrior.' Such is my case, together with many other poor, struggling wretches, every one of whom, like a solitary watch, sent far ahead in advance of the army, has to fight his own battle, and defend the entrusted post, unaided by no one but himself. There is no union between Spiritualists, no 'entente cordiale,' as the French say ... Year after year the American Spiritualists have allowed themselves to be ridiculed and slighted by everyone who had a mind to do so, protesting so feebly as to give their opponents the most erroneous idea of their weakness. Am I wrong, then, in saying that our Spiritualists are more to he blamed than Dr. Beard himself in all this ridiculous polemics? Moral cowardice breeds more contempt than the 'familiarity' of the old motto. How can we expect such a scientific sleight-of-hand as he is to respect a body that does not respect itself? ..."

In the seventies of last century very little was known in the Occident regarding genuine yoga or magic. The task entrusted to H.P.B. by her own teacher during this preliminary period, was to shift the attention of the Spiritualists away from the phenomenalism to a very much higher aspect of spiritual truth. [15]

She hoped that the Spiritualists would accept the larger knowledge which explained the rationale of their phenomena. Her public work with them consisted in defending the honesty of some mediums, and exposing notorious frauds. The Spiritualists looked to her at first as to a valuable ally. But when she was ordered to explain some of the truths underlying the phenomenal aspect of Spiritualism, many repudiated her and her teachings, and turned against her. The philosophy of the phenomena was not then to be found anywhere in Spiritualism; phenomena alone held the field in 1871.

After a period of considerable newspaper polemics, H.P.B. began to give more and more of the real interpretation of the phenomenal side of Spiritualism. In her Scrapbook I, p.21, her pen and ink comment contains the following words

"... Ordered to begin telling the public the truth about the phenomena and their mediums. And now my martyrdom will begin! I will have all the Spiritualists against me in addition to the Christians and the Skeptics. Thy Will, oh, M ... be done! H.P. B."

This was in May, 1875. In the same Scrapbook I, p. 53, there is to be found a further notation which reads thus:

"Orders received from India direct to establish a philosophico-religious Society and choose a name for it - also to choose Olcott. July 1875."

The most telling statement of the real situation in her own words, is contained in the "Important Note," written in her own handwriting, in two columns, on a separate sheet of paper, and appended as a fly-leaf to her Scrapbook I, at the place where she pasted a clipping of her important article "The Philadelphia Fiasco, or Who is Who?" (Banner of Light, Boston, January 30, 1875.) The actual date when this flyleaf was added is not known, but it is obvious from its contents that it was but a short time before the formation of the Theosophical Society as such. She says therein:

Important Note:

"Yes, I am sorry to say that I had to identify myself during that shameful exposure of the mediums Holmes with the Spiritualists. I had to save the situation, for I was sent from Paris on purpose to America to prove the phenomena and their reality and show the fallacy of the Spiritualistic theories of 'Spirits.' But how could I do it best? I did not want people at large to know that O could produce the same thing at will. I had received ORDERS to the contrary, and yet, I had to keep alive the reality, the genuineness and possibility of such phenomena in the hearts of those who from Materialists had turned Spiritualists and now, owing to the exposure of several mediums fell back, again, returned to their skepticism. This is why, selecting a few of the faithful, I went to the Holmses and helped by M., and his power, brought out the face of John King and Katie King in the astral light, produced the phenomena of materialization and - allowed the Spiritualists at large to believe it was come thro' the mediumship of Mrs. Holmes. She was terribly frightened herself, for she knew that this once the apparition was real. Did I do wrong? The world is not prepared yet to understand the philosophy of Occult Sciences - let them assure themselves first of all that there are beings in an invisible world, whether `Spirits' of the dead or Elementals; and that there are hidden powers in man, which are capable of making a God of him on earth.

"When I am dead and gone people will, perhaps, appreciate my disinterested motive. I have pledged my word to help people on to Truth while living and - will keep my word. Let [16] them abuse and revile me. Let them call the a MEDIUM and a Spiritualist, and others an impostor. The day will come when posterity will learn to know me better.

"Oh poor, foolish, credulous, wicked world!
"M ... brings orders to form a Society - a secret Society like the Rosicrucian Lodge. He promises to help. - H.P.B."

Such, in brief outline, was the preliminary background of the Theosophical Society.


The Editorial Offices of Theosophia will be glad to receive from readers and inquirers questions regarding the teachings of Theosophy, or anything connected with the Theosophical Movement. We welcome especially questions from young people who have just discovered the existence of the Ancient
Wisdom, and desire guidance in their reading and studies. The questions will be answered to the best of our abilities and will be either printed or sent out in mimeographed form. We wish all subscribers and readers to feel that they can contribute materially to the value of this magazine by bringing up subjects for discussion. - Editor.


(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.