A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume V
No. 4 (28) - November-December 1948

[Cover photo: Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. (Courtesy Pacific Pathways, Los Angeles, Cal.)]


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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"... the greatest mark of human folly is the feeling of self-satisfaction in our own impeccable virtues, a feeling which we but increase by foolishly comparing our own virtues with the real or imaginary manifold defects and imperfections and sins and failings of others around us, who belong more or less to the same line of spiritual effort to which we have consecrated our lives. No true Theosophist, no Theosophist worthy of that sublime title, can ever find real satisfaction in condemnation of others, or in pointing out how much better others might have done, if they had but followed 'our' ways, or 'our' particularities of belief, or 'our' methods of performing duties.

"Let us conscientiously examine ourselves rather than search for the failings in the characters of others, and thus doing we shall fit ourselves to be better servants of the Great Ones whose chelas we aspire to be. The haughty isolation of the egoist in his self-pride and biased judgment is probably one of the most pathetic spectacles that human folly offers for our study. It is the worst possible psychology to lie under the delusion that we call convince others that our ways are better ways, if we choose the method of criticizing them or of throwing mud at them; for this foolishness simply alienates them from us instantly, and in addition arouses in their hearts a feeling probably of injustice, and in any case of antagonism and dislike. Sympathy, kindliness, frank confession of our own failings where such confession will lead to a better mutual understanding; purity of motive and of life, and the self-dedication of the heart without thought of reward to our blessed Cause - all without criticism of others: this I do believe is the Way which we should follow ... It is the man who really and sincerely strives to do justice unto all, and to do it in a kindly and sympathetic way, who is really successful in his purpose; and this is true because he is strong in his sense of right. He is not torn by hatred, nor is his mind distorted by crooked motives, and therefore he feels confident in his own strength and in the justice of his cause." - G. de Purucker, Messages to Conventions, pp. 244-215. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

In a few weeks, another year of our current reckoning will have come to an end.

Another three-hundred-and-sixty-five-Days of empty bickering, of arrogant deception, of ruthless coercion and world-wide deceit.

Some call it our "Christian civilization." Others term it the "age of science." Still others use less complimentary, yet perhaps, more apt terms to describe the essential character of an era which seems to have completely divorced itself from all sense of ethics, and persists in deifying the competitive, cruel, selfish, and inhuman aspect of men's hearts and minds.

We are caught in the web spun by our own individual and collective efforts. We have preferred exploitation, rapine, revenge, hatred, self-justification, brutal force, and selfish aggression, to justice, fair-play, kindliness, understanding, sympathy, and self-forgetful help.

We have sacrificed honor, honesty and the spirit of the pioneers, to the goddess of our "high standards" of living, and preferred to frighten people with nightmares of other and bigger wars, yet to come, rather than to play the role of peace-makers, whose only weapon is integrity and the silent power of an ideal.

And the "we" is applicable the world over, and should not be read as meaning any one branch or section of the world-wide family of nations which refuse to live with each other, yet cannot live apart.

But of course Theosophists are supposed to be "idealistic," and the "realism" of the world, it appears, can hardly be understood by them. Perhaps! Nevertheless, Theosophists like to conjure pictures of "what might be," and to weigh their "idealism" against the so-called realism of brutality and conceit, which is supposed to be the basis of all life from the standpoint of a certain philosophy current these days in the world.

And what a picture some of us could summon from the world of "ideals"!

A world at peace. War has been abolished. Armed conflicts, while still a possibility, are improbable, because they have been found to be too costly and too destructive. Nations have disarmed. Armies and navies have become a thing of the past. The millions of then who led totally unproductive lives in their ranks, and lived, parasite-like, on the fat of the land, for no creative purpose whatsoever, are now employed in lines of work where their effort counts for the up-building of nations. An international police force has been organized, patrolling the world, armed with the indefinable power of personal and collective integrity, and the pursuit of justice for all. The intercourse of nations has become at least as safe as the crossing of a street under the watchful eye of the cop, armed with ... a whistle!

Tariffs have been abolished. The inter-communication of all people, and their mutual trade, are a matter of course. The riches of all the lands have been pooled, and administered by the most able people, in council assembled. There are no longer countries "possessing" coal, or others "having" a great deal of iron, or others still "owning" a lot of wheat. These products of mother-nature are the combined property of mankind, and are produced and grown and distributed wherever they may he needed, and only when needed.

Hard and fast boundaries have been abolished. Class war has become a nightmare of the past. World-wide travel is the order of the day. World-wide exchange of students is the normal method of education. Old-timers speak about various oddities of the past, such as passports, forms, applications, permissions, [4] visas, and quotas, which used to plague mankind and prevent free intercourse between the nations of the world.

Medicine is for all who need it and not just for those who can afford it. We have taken care of all who are aged, and crippled, and wider-privileged. We are well on the way towards abolishing altogether those conditions which in the past gave rise to destitution and want. Charities have been dismantled also, and have been replaced by permanent reform and sympathetic laws which require no organized solicitation of help.

Science has become a servant of mankind, instead of its executioner. It has become truly free. No clique, class, or political pressure group, can enslave it any longer. Its one purpose is to bless the human race with new discoveries of nature's energies and forces. Its achievements are administered by some of the most enlightened people of the earth, serving as Trustees of the Human Race.

Mankind has ceased to build monstrous cities, wherein men and women lose touch with Nature and devote their lives to the worship of money and mutual exploitation. Garden-cities are built, wherein trees and flowers and fountains, and even the produce of mother-earth, can mingle with human habitations, and enhance the beauty of life.

We gradually begin to lose all interest in heavy industrial production, based on coal, oil, and synthetic chemicals, because slowly but surely the forces tapped within the atom are displacing all that was ugly and cumbersome and noisy in our industrial set up. It does not happen overnight, but spreads everywhere at a steady pace.

Organized religion has been disbanded. Mankind is beginning to live a simple life of brotherhood. Preachers have lost their message, and big cathedrals their financial support. We are learning the laws of nature and of life from actual experience with each other, the advances of science into new and undreamt of fields of investigation, and from the gradual awakening of those latent powers and knowledge which every man and woman possess deep within their souls.

We have re-discovered a long-forgotten science - the Science of Nature - at once religious, philosophical and scientific, which some of the ancient races possessed. The ethics of that science are taught to us from our very schooldays; and the scientific and philosophical foundations of it are being studied, to any degree desired by the student, in all the recognized institutions of learning, the world over. It is a system of thought which is akin to the Gnosis of ancient Greece, the Brahma-vidya of India, and the Mysteries of early Christianity. It requires no pulpits and no churches; no clergy and no collections; no ritualism and no processions. All that is needed to grasp it is a correct foundation of brotherly life, which is entrenched now both in school and at home.

Politics are dead as the proverbial door-nail. No more parties, factions, elections, controversies, propaganda, class rivalries, and the power of the demagogue over silly crowds. The lands are ruled by the most enlightened people within them, on a hierarchal basis of delegated authority, and under the inspiration of the ideal of mutual service.

We have ...

Oh, but wait a moment! ... Are we crazy, even to think of such "idealistic " schemes, when the realistic world surrounds us on all sides, presses upon us, forces us into a narrow groove? ...

Well, after all, is there any harm in occasional dreaming?

So, you and I, readers, have "dreamt" for a while, before returning to our pots and pans.

Here's hoping the next 365 pressing, pushing, fretful, jolting, speeding, hard, realistic days ... will find us at least one inch closer to the "dream" we have been caught indulging in ... [5]


Iverson L. Harris

"The coming of Christ," means the presence of CHRISTOS in a regenerated world, and not at all the actual coming in body of "Christ" Jesus; this Christ is to be sought neither in the wilderness nor "in the inner chambers," nor in the sanctuary of any temple or church built by man; for Christ - the true esoteric SAVIOR - is no man, but the DIVINE PRINCIPLE in every human being. He who strives to resurrect the Spirit crucified in him by his own terrestrial passions, and buried deep in the "sepulcher" of his sinful flesh; he who has the strength to roll back the stone of matter from the door of his own inner sanctuary, he has the risen Christ in him." - H. P. Blavatsky, "The Esoteric Character of the Gospels," Lucifer (London), Vol. I, November, 1887.

Sooner or later in his progress towards inner enlightenment and peace, the student of Occultism - which has been defined by H.P.B. as "the Science of Life, the Art of Living" - is forced by his very aspirations towards the light to realize that the only Savior on whom he can and must eventually depend is the Divine Principle at the core of him, his own Higher Self, the God within. The more one studies and ponders the meaning of H.P.B.'s challenging words, and checks them with his own inner experiences, the more does their inescapable truth compel recognition. In this same article she wrote:

"Christos, or the 'Christ-condition,' was ever the synonym of the 'Mahatmic condition,' i.e., the union of the man with the divine principle in him."

How may one bring about this union? How may one find the esoteric savior? Only those who have accomplished this union and have thus "worked out their own salvation with diligence" are qualified to show the way. These are the spiritual Sages and Seers, who have so far transcended the limitations of personality, that they have become Cosmic Forces for the inspiration and guidance of their struggling younger brothers trailing along behind them on the evolutionary ladder of life. Humanity has never been without its spiritual guides, its Elder Brothers, its Masters of Wisdom, who have achieved union or Yoga with the Father in Heaven, the Divine Principle which is the very root and core of their being. Nor is there any cause for doubting that the spiritual forces which brood over erring humanity and ever call to us in "the voice of the silence" to come up higher, are still active and compassionately reaching down a helping hand to us - not to save us by assuring our burdens and carrying them for us, but by showing us how we ourselves may face the trials and difficulties of life and meet them courageously and light-heartedly.

Sooner or later we must each find the esoteric savior, our own Higher Self. But the human side of us, of the average man, whose consciousness is all bound up with the physical tenement in which he lives, and perhaps still more with the army of thought "that bear him off a captive slave," is fully aware of its personal limitations and weaknesses. Hence the natural tendency of man to look for salvation - or at least for help - to those who have presumably journeyed farther along the Path than we have ourselves. Thus arose, no doubt, naturally and properly, a distinct class of men, known in different countries under different names, whom for the sake of simplicity we may call the priestly class. The fact that such a class exists among practically every people, whether "civilized" or "uncivilized," would seem to indicate that it is part of the natural order of things. That the priest's high function has often been abused cannot be denied; but this merely proves that, being human, the spiritual guides have sometimes forgotten that their high mission is to be "servants of the servants of the Divine," and helpers and shepherds of their fellowmen.

The true teacher - be he spiritual or secular - can do little more than guide our efforts and correct our mistakes. He cannot tread the path for us. [6]

Nor can he, in the truest sense, act as an intermediary for us between our merely human consciousness and the god within, the true esoteric savior. He can inspire us by his words and by his example to tread the path towards self-forgetfulness, towards self-effacement, towards at-one-ment with the Father in Heaven; but he most certainly cannot save us from carrying the burden of our own karmic responsibilities. The doctrine of vicarious atonement, as commonly understood, is distinctly pernicious, because it weakens a man's sense of personal responsibility and lulls him into spiritual somnolence. It is in very truth an opiate. Teachers and guides we must have - but intermediaries between our own aspiring minds and the god within each of us - no! As H.P.B. tells its in The Secret Doctrine (I, 280):

"The ever unknowable and incognizable Karana alone, the Causeless Cause of all causes, should have its shrine and altar on the holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart - invisible, intangible, unmentioned, save through "the still small voice" of our spiritual consciousness. Those who worship before it, ought to do so in the silence and the sanctified solitude of their Souls; making their spirit the sole mediator between them and the Universal Spirit, their good actions the only priests, and their sinful intentions the only visible and objective sacrificial victims to the Presence."

In the foregoing we have epitomized for us the whole doctrine of the esoteric savior, as well as simple directions as to how to find him. To the man who has his inner ear attuned to "the still small voice" of his spiritual consciousness, there can be little question as to what are "good actions" and what are "sinful intentions." The answer is not a matter of mere custom or convention: it derives from the Universal Spirit as reflected in our own spiritual consciousness. This spiritual consciousness far transcends mere logical thinking, however useful this is in its place, and still more does it transcend emotionalism. The spiritual consciousness in any man is only recognized when his thoughts are impersonal, when his heart is moved by compassion and his mind is untainted by self-seeking. When his soul hungers for that peace which pervades his whole being while in the pursuit of wisdom and the performance of duty. When the personal man can say in all sincerity and earnestness to his inner-god, "Not my will but thine be done" and surrender every selfish desire as a sacrifice to the Supreme Spirit, then is he on the path towards finding the esoteric savior.

One of the greatest stumbling-blocks in the path of the aspirant towards recognition of the presence of the Christ within his own soul is fear. We are fearful of what is going to happen to us personally, fearful of the loss of our own prestige, fearful of the thousand things that can befall us at any time during our earthly sojourn. The real secret of getting rid of fear is to stop thinking about ourselves. "Perfect love casteth out all fear." The man whose heart is on fire with the love for his fellowmen, with interest in some worthwhile enterprise in which he can play an honorable, even if inconspicuous, part, is not oppressed with fear. The unhappiest man on earth is he whose thoughts are entirely self-centered and in whose heart the holy flame of love for others - at least for some others or even for one other - burns low or has flickered out. The inner god cannot speak to the personal man, cannot illumine his mind with bright visions of the good, the true, and the beautiful, and make him aware of his presence as the esoteric savior, unless the usual impedimenta of selfishness and personal desires with which we burden ourselves are thrown overboard as the sacrificial victims of the "Presence."

In his Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy (p. 107), Dr. de Purucker writes:

"Let us remember that while each man has the 'Christ' within himself, and can be 'saved' only by that 'Christ,' he can be saved by that inner 'Christ' only when he chooses to save himself; the initiative must come from below, from himself."

That is the challenge to each and all not to look for salvation outside ourselves, but to work out our own [3] salvation with diligence, in accordance with the last words of the Lord Buddha to his disciples. How shall we do this?

Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow all act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character; and you reap a destiny.

Thus we see that the first step in working out our own salvation is by sowing seeds of thought. Make no mistake about it: "As a than thinketh in his heart, so is he." Words alone conceal as often as they reveal; actions in themselves may be outwardly fair even though the motive behind them may be questionable; but whatever the apparent effect of our words and deeds in the external world, the effect of our thoughts on our own characters is inescapable. Inside we are what we are, no matter what we may appear to be or what the world may think us to be. What we are inside will eventually find outward expression in our deeds. So, if we are to know the esoteric savior within, if we are to work out our own salvation with diligence, we have to guard our thoughts, and direct them towards constructive, generous, and impersonal ends.

The faculty of thinking is one of the god-like powers innate in man which transcends the merely instinctual reactions of the beast. What we make ourselves to be - our actions, our character, our destiny, are all dependent in the final analysis on the kind of thought-seeds we sow. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap," wrote Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians. This expresses a self-evident fact in Nature, a universal law of being, which every thinking man knows instinctively, intuitively, to be true. Unless his sense of the eternal fitness of things has been atrophied by neglect or by false education, every man recognizes the validity of St. Paul's warning:

"For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." -Gal., vi, 8.

"The harvest of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, good temper, kindliness, generosity, fidelity, gentleness, self-control: - there is no law against those who practice such things." - Gal. 1., 22, 23. (Moffatt)

These are spiritual and ethical truths which can be verified by any man who will conscientiously test them in his own life. Can anything be more strictly scientific than this? The empirical method of science is the best means of proving the truth of ethical and spiritual laws, quite as much as it is the best method of establishing the validity of physical laws. For this reason, an earnest Theosophical student accepts the authority of the great spiritual Sages and Seers, because he has tried to live according to their injunctions, and he has found that, to the degree that he carries out the injunctions the results achieved are exactly as promised by the Teachers.

"If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine ..." - John, VII, 17.

H.P. Blavatsky tells us in The Secret Doctrine ( I, 17):

"The pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosophy admits no privileges or special gifts in man, save those won by his own Ego through personal effort and merit throughout a long series of metempsychosis and reincarnations."

This pivotal doctrine was referred to by Katherine Tingley and Dr. de Purucker as 'Self-Directed Evolution,' which is the conscious exercise by any human being of his power of choice in determining the course of his life. No matter what the circumstances surrounding us, no matter what the difficulties confronting us, no matter what our agonies of body and mind may be, so long as the will to grow in wisdom and in capacity to serve is ours, we can go forward on the pathway of self-directed evolution; and that which was good "shall pass to better, best."

If we are not satisfied with ourselves in this life - and who is? even though we would not, because we cannot, be anyone but ourselves - we are assured by the teaching of reincarnation, that we can be more evolved, more progressed, and more worthy individuals in our next incarnation, provided we plant the seeds now whose harvest we hope to reap then. We are not the [8] slaves of some imaginary fatalism. We all have a certain relative amount of freewill and this freewill can be decreased or increased in direct ratio to the contraction or the expansion of our thoughts and interests. The man who is wrapped up in himself has a very small package. Nature herself, as well as other men, conspire to see that his exercise of freewill is more and more restricted, lest he injure others. The man who exercises his freewill contrary to the rules of a decent social order, is finally confined within prison-walls, so that he cannot even move his person from place to place. But there are few restrictions placed upon a man of goodwill beyond those which are self-imposed. The philosopher and the spiritual seer have the universe for their home.

Where between these extremes do you and I fit into the picture? This depends entirely upon each of us. We can choose to exercise our freewill in pursuing our own selfish ends until we gradually lose the love and respect of our family and of our neighbors, because there is nothing more unlovable than selfishness; or we can progressively expand our circle of affinity until we take in the whole world; and then, behold, a Christ or a Buddha walks the earth! In which direction is each of us moving today? We cannot stand still.

We students of Theosophy believe - and with many of us it is far more than mere belief - that there have been in the past, that there are now, and that there always will be highly evolved human beings who have made of themselves in varying degrees the channels for "the radiance of the spirit to come in and make its home" - as the Chinese say. Does any Christian doubt that Jesus the Christ lived and taught? Does any man of culture doubt that Gautama the Buddha, or Confucius or Plato lived and taught? What Nature has produced, Nature can produce again. Is there any reason, therefore, why similarly illuminated Sages should not be in existence on this earth today?

Theosophy teaches that there are these Great Souls or Mahatmas, Adepts, Spiritual Teachers, alive and working in the world today, doing what they can to prevent unthinking, perverse, selfish, blind man from destroying himself, and ever eager to recognize and assist any who will dedicate themselves to high thinking and noble living, to share in the treasures of wisdom and beauty and spiritual power which they have, since time immemorial, guarded in safety for the enlightenment of mankind.

In his Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy (Ch.x.), Dr. de Purucker writes:

"How does a man become a Mahatma or Great Self? Through self-directed evolution, through becoming that which he is in himself, in his inmost ... We make our own bodies, we make our own lives, we make our own destinies, and we are responsible for it all, spiritually, morally, intellectually, psychically, and even physically. It is a manly doctrine; there is no room in it for moral cowardice; no room in it for casting our responsibilities upon the shoulders of another - god, angel, man, or demon. We can become gods, because we are gods in the germ even now, inwardly."

"In almost identical language, Jesus is reported by St. John (x. 34) to have declared: "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?" And in the sermon on the Mount, Jesus the God-Man, "who taught as one having authority and not as the scribes," showed how each of us may become that which he is in his inmost - a Great Self, a Mahatman, a God-Man, or what the Chinese call 'a completeness,' 'a Compeer of Heaven,' which they say was the highest goal of the ancients. This 'highest goal of the ancients' is not achieved as a special gift or privilege; but, as H.P.B. reminded us, it must be won by a man's own Ego through personal effort and merit throughout a long series of reincarnations. Thus have the great spiritual Teachers arrived at the high status which has made them during succeeding ages the forerunners and saviors of millions of their fellowmen. But after we shall have won superior knowledge and [9] power, we must be sure that we are also strong enough to shoulder the responsibilities which are attendant upon them. "Help Nature and work on with her; and Nature will regard thee as one of her creators and make obeisance," taught H.P. Blavatsky in The Voice of the Silence.

By self-directed evolution, by deliberately cleansing one's mind of everything that would becloud vision and prevent direct perception of reality, one can know truth, understand himself and thus understand his fellow-men, so that one becomes worthy to help Nature in her creative work and is "the equal of heaven and earth." Just as the artist's mind reflects the beauties of sky and mountain, of forest and flower, so does the spiritual aspirant empty his mind of all personal impedimenta until it becomes the clear, unclouded mirror of that infinite beauty which lifts him above the conflicts of man against man, of nation against nation, of creed against creed, into the realm of pure universal thought and understanding, wherein we are all one, whether we will or whether we nil; and there he comes face to face with reality, with truth, and he knows.

But even this is not the highest goal; for in one of the most sublime mystical works, H.P. Blavatsky's The Voice of the Silence, we read:

"... Compassion speaks and saith: 'Can there be bliss when all that lives must suffer? Shalt thou be saved and hear the whole world cry?' (p. 71, orig. ed.)

"'Sweet are the fruits of Rest and Liberation for the sake of Self; but sweeter still the fruits of long and bitter duty. Aye, Renunciation for the sake of others, of suffering fellow men.' ... The Bodhisattva who has won the battle, who holds the prize within his palm, yet says in his divine compassion:

"'For others' sake this great reward I yield' - accomplishes the greater Renunciation.

"A SAVIOR OF THE WORLD is he ... (pp.43-44, orig. ed.)

At this Sacred Season, the Winter Solstice, the time of the "Second Birth," when we are more aware than usual of the Presence of the Christ within us - it is such thoughts as these that enable us to know and surrender to the greatest Reality in our lives - the Esoteric Savior.


Emily L. Neresheimer

There are times in our lives when we become aware that what seem to be self-evident facts - fundamental principles - have a deeper significance for us than we had hitherto realized. For instance, the fact of the duality in all manifested Nature as in man. We ask ourselves have we really ever come face to face with the many opposites and often destructive inconsistencies in our complex constitution? Do we realize the contradictions in our motives and our actions? These may appear to us in a very different light to the impression they make on others, and similarly in our judgment of our fellow man. Often we unwittingly clothe our motives in a fancied cloak of nobility and unselfishness which only partially exists - if at all.

We are apt to impute motives to others for what they say and do, and are ready to make snap judgments without true knowledge of what really lies behind their words and deeds. These may be actuated by selfless thought for others, either wholly or partially, or on the other hand, by a desire for adulation, praise, or other similar personal rewards. We must, however, be careful not to ascribe motives to others of which they may be completely innocent. We have been told 'Judge not that ye be not judged." Rather let us go within ourselves and, in humility, seek to find the week spots in the armor in which [10] the have encased ourselves. We all have flaws in our character, and who can tell what we and others may have to go through to enable us to open our eyes to reality - usually a painful experience that calls for courage and fortitude.

We need to have more patience not only with others, but with ourselves. We cannot expect to reach spiritual illumination in one bound from where we stand on this material plane of illusion. The ancient precept "Man know thyself" is the key that opens the door to a deeper sympathy with the trials through which others are passing, and a penetrating understanding of their problems and difficulties. We all have to win our own battles for self-control and self -knowledge, in our own way; and do so best without the interference of others. Experience is our most efficient teacher. But we must be willing to pay the price for spiritual wisdom, for there are no special privileges or favors for anyone in the just and impartial laws of Nature. As we sow, so also must we reap; until finally, with eyes unveiled, the Soul (the Christos Spirit), through unremitting aspiration and effort, can say, "I and my hither are one."



[The letter which follows was written by H.P. Blavatsky originally in Russian, and appeared in the pages of Rebus (Vol. iv, No. 37, September, 1885, pp. 335-336), a Spiritualistic journal published for a number of years in St. Petersburg, and the files of which are extremely rare outside of Russia. As far as we know, this letter has never been translated into English before, and therefore has been practically unknown to students throughout the world unfamiliar with the Russian language. It was written to Victor Pribitkov, editor of the Rebus, who was very cordially disposed to H.P.B. The letter throws additional light upon a very trying and sad episode in H.P.B.'s life. We recommend to the earnest student a careful reading of this text, and suggest the reading of the following items which have a direct bearing upon the context of the present letter: 1) H.P.B.'s Open Letter: "Why I Do Not Return To India: To My Brothers of Aryavarta," published in The Theosophist, Adyar, January, 1922, and in Theosophy, Los Angeles, May, 1947; 2) H.P. Blavatsky and The Theosophical Movement, Dr. Charles J. Ryan, Theos. Univ. Press, Point Loma, Calif., 1937: particularly pages 204-22 thereof. The original Russian text of the present letter is on file at the Editorial Offices of Theosophia. - Editor.]

Dear Sir:

In No. 30 of your interesting journal, on page 276, under "Brief Notes," I find the following, regarding my arrival in Europe: "It is known how dearly H.P. (Blavatsky) loves her native Russia and how little sympathy she has for the English order in India, on account of which she enjoys no good will on the part of the rulers of India."

Everything in these lines, from beginning to end, is sacred truth; in view of the hundreds of absurd rumors current about me, because of my return to Europe, I am expressing my warm gratitude to the one who, at least for once, has written the truth about me. But in the few succeeding lines, certain errors have crept in, which I ask you kindly to correct. It says in them, for instance: "When the Afghan problem was raised, Madame Blavatsky, as usual, did not hesitate openly to declare her sympathies and antipathies, as a result of which, as word reached her, she was threatened with arrest, and to avoid the latter, was forced to board in haste a French steamer which brought her safely to Naples."

From this, anyone might come to the following conclusion: "Blavatsky may he a warm patriot" - (in which no one will be mistaken) - "but she has an uncontrolled tongue" - (there is some truth in that too, but not in the present case). "Living in British territory" - the reader might say - "and availing herself of English hospitality, she was obliged, in view of the current events and [11] of the circumstances in which she found herself, to restrain herself and not to declare openly her antipathies. And if the Anglo-Indian authorities, frightened at the time like rabbits, had tossed her into the 'clink,' they would have been entirely right from their own viewpoint."

This is what every unprejudiced man would say after reading the last six lines in your "Brief Notes." True enough: 'When visiting another monastery, don't bring your own rules of discipline'.* (*Russian proverb - Translator.) This was especially true at a time, when 60,000 rulers of 300 million Hindu Slaves were afflicted with the dance of St. Vitus, due to fear, when they dreamt day and night about Russian spies, and imagined a Russian soldier with a bayonet in every swaying bamboo, while all over England there was a gnashing of teeth concerning Russia! Moreover, it is only where you are - in the long-suffering, infinitely magnanimous and generous Mother-Russia, disguised by idiotic Europe into the likeness of a Megaera, with Siberia in her suitcase, a scaffold under her right arm and a knout under her left one - that every foreigner, who may have come merely to exploit her, can abuse with impunity, both openly and behind her back, the country which harbors him, and its rulers. With us in British India, things are quite different. They put you in jail there on suspicion alone, if the new arrival is a Russian. They are afraid there of "Russian odor," as the devil is afraid of incense. Recently a certain collector of revenue, a patriot and a russophobe, introduced a bill to organize "a Russian quarantine" in every Indian port, in which not only Russians, but also tourists of various nations arriving from Russia, would be subjected to an obligatory preliminary "ventilation," and only after that be allowed to travel through Hindustan under escort.

In view of what precedes, I ask your permission to correct the six lines referred to by me, and to add to them the following.

1) While it is perfectly true that I dearly love my native land and everything that is Russian, and not only have no sympathy for, but simply hate Anglo-Indian terrorism, the following is nevertheless equally true: as I do not feel any right to interfere in anyone's family affairs, and even less so in political affairs, and have strictly adhered to the Rules of our Theosophical Society, in the course of my six-years' stay in India, I have not only abstained from expressing my "antipathies" before Hindus, but, as I love them and wish them well from all my heart, I have tried, to the contrary, to have them resign themselves to the inevitable, to console them by teaching patience and forgiveness, and to instill in them the feelings of loyal subjects.

2) In gratitude for this, the perspicacious Anglo-Indian government saw in me a "Russian Spy," from the very first day of my arrival in Bombay. It spared neither toil nor money, in order to find out the crafty purpose which impelled me to prefer the conquered to the "conquerors," the "creatures of the lower races," as the latter called the Hindus. It surrounded me for over two years with an honorary escort of mussulman police spies, bestowing upon me, a solitary Russian woman, the honor of being afraid of me, as if I were a whole army of Cossacks behind the Himalayas. Only at the end of two years and after having spent, on the confession of Sir Alfred Lyall, over 50,000 rupees in this useless ferreting of my political secrets - which never existed anyway - the government quieted clown. "We made fools of ourselves" - I Was told quite frankly sometime later at Simla, by a certain Anglo-Indian official, and I had politely to agree with him.

3) Upon my return to Madras from Europe, in Dec. 1884, I fell ill almost immediately. From the very day of inception of the "Afghan problem" and up to the 29th of March, 1885, when I again left, I could express neither sympathies nor antipathies, as I was on my death-bed, given up by all the physicians. [12]

This was taken advantage of by those who tried by every means at their disposal to kill me, or at least to eliminate me from India, where I stood in their way. This is known all over India. Everybody knows to what extent many people feared and hated me - almost all the Anglo-Indians; and what a vast conspiracy exists among Europeans in India, and even in America and England, against our Society. They were determined to get me one way or another. Unable to find an excuse to disrupt a useful society, in which, by the way, there are quite a number of the best-known Englishmen, our "well-wishers" took it into their heads to kill it by destroying, if not myself, then at least my reputation. It came to a point where they made an attempt to misrepresent the whole Theosophical Society organized by Col. Olcott and myself, as nothing else than a vaudeville with changing stage-settings and a screen behind which were hidden my plans and activities as a "Russian Spy." Such an opinion, by the way, was expressed publicly by a member of the London Society for Psychic Research, at a dinner at Mr. Garstin's, one of the outstanding officials of the government at Madras. This gave rise to a terrible tempest.

Those in the know then convinced my friends at Adyar (headquarters of the Theosophical Society), that my position as a Russian who enjoyed a certain influence among the Hindus, was not without danger at the present time, and that I was running the risk of being arrested, in spite of my illness.

Thus, without even explaining to me in detail what it was all about, these friends of mine, afraid on my behalf, decided - upon advice from the doctor, who told them that such an arrest would at the time mean death for me - to send me to Europe without even one day's delay. Late one evening, half-dead, I was transferred in a chair, straight from bed to a French steamer, where I was in no danger from my enemies, and was sent to Naples, in company with Dr. Hartmann, my Hindu secretary, and a young English woman devoted to me. Only after I had somewhat quieted down, past the Island of Ceylon, did I learn what it was all about. Had I not been so sick, even the danger of being arrested at the time would not have forced me to leave India.

This is a true account of the most recent event of my life, which could serve as a supplement to the article in your journal on "The Truth about H.P. Blavatsky." The readers will find many details regarding this six-year episode of my fantastic "espionage," in the First and the Second parts of my letters "From the Caves and Jungles of Hindustan," which I have now resumed writing, and which are being published in the Russkiy Vestnik.

Please accept, etc.
H. P. Blavatsky
Wurzburg, 27th of Aug., 1885.

[Although H.P.B. says she left India for good on March 29, 1885, it would appear from other records that this departure took place on March 31. She was accompanied by Dr. Franz Hartmann, a profound student and brilliant writer on occult subjects, a Hindu disciple known as "Bawajee," and Miss M. Flynn. She landed in Naples and settled for a while in Torre del Greco. After a few months, she left fur Wurzburg, Germany.
" The Truth About H.P. Blavatsky," mentioned by H.P.B., was a series of articles written in Russian by her sister, Vera Petrovna Zhelihovsky, and published in Rebus, Vol. II, 1883. Portions of this material were used by A.P. Sinnett in his Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky. These articles contain invaluable information regarding the early years of H.P.B.'s life and the gradual development of her occult powers. This series of Madame Zhelihovsky is now being translated into English, and will be published in Theosophia when completed. - Editor.]


WANTED: The following issues of "Theosophia" - Sept.-Oct., 1944; Jan.-Feb., July-Aug., Sept.-Oct., 1945; March-April, May-June, July-Aug., Sept.-Oct., Nov.-Dec., 1946; Jan.-Feb., May-June, 1947. Please send them to us, if not wanted any longer? Thanks in advance. - Editor. [13]


Oleg Kurbsky

At the beginning of January, 1798, at a time when the Empress, Marie Fyodorovna, was about to give birth to her tenth child, Emperor Paul I received in the Winter Palace, at St. Petersburg, a delegation from the sect of Old-Believers (Staro-obryadtsi), which came to express their gratitude for the protection which he had given them.

A merchant called Malov presented the Emperor with an ancient ikon of the Archangel Michael, trimmed with hammered gold decorations.

Paul received the delegation with great friendliness. The ikon was placed in his study, and a sacred vigil-lamp was lighted before it.

When twilight came, the Emperor returned to his study from another wing of the palace, after visiting his consort, whose state of health gave him cause for serious anxiety. He seated himself at his desk and became lost for a while in deep thought, his gaze directed to the ikon.

A quiet rustling behind him brought him back from his reverie, and he turned round. At the door of the study stood a very old man dressed in the cassock of a monk, with a beautiful face, deeply furrowed with wrinkles, a long, white beard and a kindly and benign countenance. How did he ever succeed in reaching the Emperor's study? The Emperor never sought an answer to that question.

"What do you wish, Sir?" - asked Paul of the stranger.

"Your wife," replied the old man, "will give you a son. Michael will be his name. By the name of the Holy Archangel you will also call the palace you are building on the spot where you were born. Remember my words: It behooves to your House to be the habitat of Divine Presence for long years to come!"

Having said these words, the mysterious visitor seemed to vanish behind the door.

On January 28th, old style, the Empress gave birth to a son, and, according to the express wish of Paul, he was given the name of Michael.* [* Michael Pavlovich - b. Jan. 28, 1798 - d. Aug. 28, 1849, o.s.]

Just as the roar of cannons proclaimed to the people of the capital, from the battlements of the fortress of Peter and Paul, the increase in the imperial household, the Emperor's favorite, Count Kutaysov, reported to him that the officer on duty with the guardsmen of the inner palace desired to communicate secretly something of importance to the Emperor.

At first, Paul I became perturbed; like most nervous people, he experienced a feeling of apprehension at any sudden news.

"Send him up!" - he said, having somewhat regained his composure.

"I have the honor to report to your Imperial Majesty," said the officer on duty, "that an extraordinary occurrence has taken place at the spot occupied by the sentry of the Nashenburg regiment."

"What sort of occurrence, Sir?" - asked the Emperor.

"The sentry, evidently in a fit of fever, reported to me a vision he had ... Some old man, wearing the cassock of a monk, approached him at the very moment when the Imperial Majesty was being delivered of a child, and said: 'Remind the Emperor to name the newly-born Michael, and to call the new palace the Mihaylovsky Palace!' "

"Will you send the sentry right up!," exclaimed the Emperor.

The sentry, trembling with fear, repeated word for word what the officer on duty had already told the Emperor. To the utter dismay of both sentry and officer, Paul said

"I know, I know ... It has already been taken care of."

The Emperor ordered a generous [14] reward for the sentry, and the bestowal of the Order of St. Anna on the officer on duty.

The very next day he called for the architect Brenno.

"On the main pediment of the new palace," ordered the Emperor, "the one facing the Italian Street, I wish this inscription to be made."

Saying this, he handed to Brenno a piece of paper on which were written in his own handwriting the following words:

"It behooves to your House to be the habitat of Divine Presence for long years to come!"

This inscription, which exists to this day on the pediment of the Mihaylovsky Palace, is composed (in Russian) of 47 letters, the number of years in the life of Emperor Paul I (17541801).


Fermin Arteche

There was more truth than fiction in the casual remark H.P. Blavatsky made at one time to the effect that her Secret Doctrine would be understood by the scientists of the 20th century. The number of books written for the general public by prominent men of science during recent years, dealing with some of the most abstruse problems heretofore tabooed by science, proves that H.P.B.'s prophesy may soon be amply fulfilled. The latest one among such books, The Searchers, is a scientific-philosophic gem from the fertile mind of a well known scientist and profound thinker, Dr. Gustaf Stromberg. The author needs no introduction to theosophical students since his name is well known from his previous work published a few years back under the title The Soul of the Universe.

Modern science is moving fast these days, and under its powerful blows the old scientific concept of an all-inclusive mechanical world of matter is gradually crumbling into a heap of impalpable dust. The frontiers of matter have burst all bounds and a new field of vision, with unlimited horizons, appears before the eyes of the modern men of science, a field of vision reaching from the world of Ideas Plato spoke of, to the illusory world of our own sense perceptions. This may sound like wishful thinking, but in the words of Dr. Stromberg: "Prominent scientists of the present time have proclaimed that the physical world is a pragmatic construct of our mind, very useful in many ways, but that it is limited to a description of structures and their relationship in space and time. Because of this critical attitude of modern science, the old idea that atoms and matter are themselves products of the type of perception, imagery and thinking characteristic of the human mind has again been given serious consideration." One may add to this that it is quite possible that the "space and time" referred to may also be a "construct" of our mind, not a reality per se, but a mental concept derived from our present state of consciousness, a very convenient one to help us navigate this world of shadows - that particular portion of the simultaneity of the here and now, we are capable of encompassing and translating into a sequential order. And that the instruments so far devised by science are little more than an extension, amplification or refinement, of our senses.

The body of the book is projected against a fictional background in which a group of individuals representing many and varied schools of thought, meet, in a friendly manner, to discuss some of the outstanding problems of [15] science and their bearing on philosophy, religion and life. Themes such as gravitation, the stature of light, mind and matter, atomic fission, memory and immortality, "autonomous fields," etc., are presented with a wealth of current scientific data, in simple language, and then argued back and forth, from the purely materialistic to the most idealistic conception of life among the members of the group. Obviously, one of the characters, the transcendental philosopher Dr. Berman, acts as the sounding board of his author-creator. Well versed in all branches of up-to-date science, impetuous and outspoken, Dr. Merman always manages to confuse his materialistic opponents, so much so that one of them candidly replies: "In the first place I want to repeat that science is a description in quantitative terms of the way nature works, and it does not pretend to explain how these effects are brought about." Fortunately there are men of science today who are searching for that explanation as well as for the why of things.

It is however in the "Epilogue" that Dr. Stromberg, devoid of the mask and gloves of fiction, approaches from a truly scientific basis the problem of "The Immortality of the Human Soul," in a way never attempted before; he reveals himself as a most profound thinker: scientist, philosopher and religionist, all in one, a rare flower in these matter of fact times. At times he shows flashes of true mystic insight as when he says: "In our mind there is a spark of divine origin which, if not quenched by our selfish desires, may burst into a flame that can illuminate our field of vision and make it possible for us to discern vistas belonging to a greater world. We realize that every man, from the humblest to the most exalted and from the most evil to the most Christlike, is a son of eternity. His real home is not on the earth, but in another world ..."

Dr. Stromberg gives the impression of knowing far more than he cares to print. However, his contribution toward the enlightenment of humanity through his books and articles, by bringing science to the layman and showing the linkage between science and true religion, is already more than praiseworthy.

A great portion of the book hinges on the so-called "autonomous fields." These, in simple language, are electric fields: the pattern or guide around which matter becomes organized. Dr. Stromberg says that a group of researchers of the Yale Medical School, working with a very sensitive micro voltmeter they devised, "found that all living matter is embedded in electrical fields, which have a complex fine-grained and well-defined structure extending beyond the animal and plants studied. During embryonic development the electric activity is most intense and extends well beyond the organism, and apparently furnishes a predetermined pattern which defines the future growth and transformations of the developing embryo. At death the 'living field' disappears. The inorganic fields inherent in all matter can then freely act according to their nature. Burr, the leader of the research group, states that 'it is hard to escape the conclusion that the treasure at least determines the morphological pattern'."

All this sounds quite familiar to the student of Theosophy, for what else would these inorganic fields inherent in all matter, and those other "living fields" or electrical patterns, be but the astral pattern whose projection appears as visible matter, and the Kamic body as the basis of the morphology and particular characteristics of all organisms? No wonder some scientists are becoming philosophers and are already invading the non-physical world, in the premises of metaphysics! Indeed, modern science has already crashed the gates of the Astral World, and right there, at that particular spot, is where the great battle of the century is going to be waged between the mechanistic biologists and the unorthodox physicists.

Yes, the old edifice of materialism is crumbling into impalpable dust, and [16] science may yet redeem itself in the in the eyes of the world by promulgating a more idealistic conception of life, as the basis for a higher standard of morality, thus averting in time the danger of the black shadow she has created, in the shape of atomic implements of destruction. H.P.B. was right, this generation of scientists will understand her Secret Doctrine.

[Dr. Gustaf Stromberg's book, The Searchers, can be obtained from the Editorial Offices of Theosophia, or from the Port Orient Book Co., P.O. Box 277, Pt. Loma Sta., San Diego 6, Calif. Price $3.00. - Editor.]



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.