A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume VI
No. 3 (33) - September-October 1949

[Cover photo: The Chandelier Tree, Mendocina County, California. (Courtesy Pacific Pathways, Los Angeles, Calif.)]


A Living Philosophy for Humanity.
Published every Two Months. Sponsored by an International Group of Theosophists.
Objectives: 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 R. Ponsonby, J. Emory Clapp, Mary K. Neff (in memoriam), Arthur I. Joquel, Robert F. Kerr, Katherine Heck, Polly Warfield, Nancy Browning.
Committee of Sponsors: T. Marriot, G. Cardinal Legros, Jan H. Venema, Col. J. M. Prentice, Dudley W. Barr, Dr. Sven Eck, William L. Biersach.
Business Manager: Norine G. Chadil.

Subscription: $1.50 a year (six issues); single copy 25 cents. Send all subscriptions, renewals and correspondence to: Room 240, Western Building, 553 South Western Avenu, 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.



"I sometimes wonder if we can have a government on a world scale until our present lesser governments have so progressed that they are in all respects honourable. I wonder, too, if a government can ever be better than the people who elect it. For I sense that people call forth their leaders, and in the wisdom and justice of natural law are given exactly the government they deserve. I am convinced that integrity in government cannot co-exist with dishonesty through the fabric of a nation.

"A corrupt people will have corrupt leaders; if there were no personal crime there would be no national crime. We, individuals, create our nations and make our governments according to our own standards. To the extent that we fail personally to live according to great principles and high ideals, so do our nations suffer at our hands. Our governments reflect ourselves. ...

"... we cannot hold back our best living, our highest ideals and honour, if we would build a nation competent to participate and to contribute its great gifts in a world government. Great things begin in the hearts and lives of individuals. No one can shirk his part without betraying his fellows. On the other hand each individual possessed of an ideal moves the nation and the world onward to that grand consummation when nations both founded and built on integrity and honour see their boundaries pale (though they may not disappear) as they grow towards the One World idea, and unity becomes a truth in practice.

"Each man thinking beyond himself learns to yield some element of his personal sovereignty, to give up something of himself for the common welfare. It is in this sacrifice of the individual that the yielding of an element of national sovereignty can alone find its origin. The nation can act with broadened and enlightened vision only if its citizens are of similar calibre, for it cannot be different from its components.

"Again and again we are driven back to the individual as the unit within whose heart and understanding the great work of regenerating the world must he done. ..." - Sidney A. Cook, Vice-President, The Theosophical Society (Adyar), The Theosophist, June, 1949, pp. 164-173. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

It should be constantly borne in mind, when discussing ideas and events pertaining to the Theosophical Movement, that Theosophy is primarily and essentially a way of life.

It is not merely a system of technical teachings or a body of doctrines intended for the intellectual gratification of voracious minds who delight in filling the spiritually barren chambers of their intellect with high-sounding terms.

It can never be too often repeated that Theosophy is above everything else an ethical doctrine, a pattern of ethical behavior, and a manner of ethical conduct. These Ethics are based on sublime teachings embodying the facts of Nature's structure and operation. But these teachings alone, unrelated to the way of life, and considered as a mere intellectual system of thought, are not only sterile, but positively mischievous and productive of a subtle brand of selfishness and moral stagnation.

Therein lies the danger of an intellectual approach to the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom. This danger can be avoided only by a sincere and constant effort on the part of the student to put into practice the precepts he has intellectually learned, and to apply in daily life those basic thoughts which he has understood to be the foundation-stones of spiritual life.

In this way he will avoid the danger of severing his mind and heart from the collective mind and heart of mankind, or the community of which he is an integral part. There are students who have achieved a very profound understanding of the purely intellectual aspect of the theosophical teachings, but who remain nevertheless ethically sterile members of their community. They are aloof in their attitude to life, and bear no vital relation to the human sorrows and problems surrounding them. They live in self-made ivory towers, unconcerned in what is going on around them, usually unperceived by others, and probably largely undisturbed.

There are others who may or may not have achieved a thorough grasp of the intellectual intricacies of the Ancient Wisdom, but whose minds and hearts are attuned to the wide-spread suffering of men and women, in their blind search for release. They keep their contact with mankind, they share the collective sorrow and joy which are part of the web of life, and they carry their growing understanding of Nature's truths into the midst of the teeming millions, where the need for Light is the greatest.

It is essential for the student of the age-old wisdom to keep at all times his link with mankind alive and strong. It is his only way of ultimately understanding the cause of human misery and pain, as well as of human pleasure and joy - and this not by immersing himself in them, but by attuning his heart and mind to their vibratory rate and gathering intuitively, intellectually, and psychically, an awareness of the states of consciousness which these various conditions offer for the growth of the soul.

It is of great importance that the student of Theosophy become a constructive part of the community in which he lives, a center of light and knowledge, emanating warmth of soul and strength of character, for others to observe and partake. He should be - in some unobtrusive manner - a source of information regarding the laws of life and of new courage and hope to those who are in trouble; and he should in due course of time become recognized as a fountain-head of ideas and plans which, if listened to and carried out, would improve the ethical climate of the community and raise its moral and intellectual standard above the average. Such things have taken place more than once, and they can be repeated in a thousand other instances, if only the majority of students were to "descend" [4] from their lofty tower of mere intellectual thinking, and forge the necessary links of human compassion and interest which are so essential to this purpose.

It is supposed by some people, that our individual efforts can at best be but very small and their influence negligible. This is the type of shallow thinking which does not take into consideration some of the main factors contained in this equation. It should be distinctly remembered that spiritual thought is a great deal more powerful than mere mentation, and the latter more powerful than mere wishful thinking. The range of creative spiritual thought has not yet been determined, and the manner in which it brings about its effects is largely unknown, except to trained and advanced occultists who deal with these matters experimentally.

Every thought directed towards true spirituality - which is invariably one with selflessness, impersonality and sympathy for others - has an enormous range, potency, momentum and intensity, as compared with mere intellectual thinking or perchance mere mental and emotional "wishing." It strikes like lightning upon responsive minds and hearts, and contains within itself alchemical powers of self-perpetuation and re-creation unknown on any of the lower planes of human action. It is also in league with the rest of the spiritual agencies at work continuously in the world. The result is that a definite spiritual effort on the part of one student, in a given direction, may very well give rise to a chain-reaction of effects the range of which would seem to be quite inexplicable on purely mechanistic grounds. Spiritual thought has its own repercussions on other planes. The laws of "thought-resonance" and of "thought-overtones and -undertones" are practically unknown to modern science, and constitute a higher type of science which is known in its fullness but to high initiates, though each one of us can learn at least its ABC.

The carrying out of true, social reforms directed to the amelioration of the conditions under which most of humanity lives today, is not a matter of money, political power, personal fame, or worldly influence. It is primarily a matter of spiritual creative thinking, mostly on the part of a few. One thought given birth to at the cyclically right time, and directed into the first open channel that may present itself, can impregnate a large number of human minds and hearts, each one of which becomes a center of outgoing spiritual force directed towards the same objective. The cumulative result of this chain-reaction has at times produced some very startling results, responsible for some of the most important events in social reform and the development of modern scientific thought. Among these results could be mentioned such widely separate movements and events as the Keltic Literary Revival, the National Independence of India, the Abolition of Slavery in the U.S.A., the Discovery of the Electron, the Therapeutic Usage of Music, the abrogation of a number of restrictive covenants based on racial discrimination, and a number of other marked changes which have taken place in recent times upon the stage of human history, both in the Orient and the Occident.

Lest we be misunderstood, it should be stated here unequivocally that the Theosophical Movement is strictly and traditionally non-political and un-sectarian, paying no attention to, and engaging in none of the political controversies of the day, which are here today and gone tomorrow, to be probably superseded by other controversies and arguments. But while it is non-political as a Movement, it not only recognizes the right of every student of Theosophy to take part, if he pleases, in whatever may be constructive and useful in the political set up of his respective land, but actually urges him to partake, as an individual, as a citizen or subject, and as a professed humanitarian, in the process of just, enlightened and [5] progressive social reforms whose aim is, as expressed by one of the Masters, "the amelioration of the condition of the poor." And not only is he urged to participate in this process, but expected to take individual initiative to originate new movements and moves aimed at the eradication of corruption and evil in the social structure of the day, by means of humanitarian, social measures and reforms, free of party politics and devoted to the welfare of all mankind, irrespective of race, creed, color, political affiliations or religious background.

Universality is the key-note of a true Theosophist. Wherever sectarianism and parochialism show their ugly faces, Theosophy can exist only in name. When manifesting in universality of views and the highest embodiment of Ethics, it becomes a living power in the hearts of men.


H.P. Blavatsky
[Originally published in Lucifer, London, Vol. VI, No. 34, June, 1890, pp. 333-335.]

Ever since the publication of The Secret Doctrine students of Theosophy (outside the inner ring of Occult Sciences) have complained that the teachings contained in the work do not satisfy them. One, mentioning the lengthy and rabid abuse of it by an old, though really insignificant, if brutal, enemy, takes me to task for leaving a door open to such criticism by taking too little into account modern science and modern thought (!); another complains that my explanations are not complete; thus, he says:

"For the last ten years, I have been a close reader of theosophical literature. I have read and re-read The Secret Doctrine and collated passages, and nothing is more disheartening than to find some of the best explanations on Occult points, just as they begin to grow a little lucid, marred by a reference to some exoteric philosophy or religion, which breaks up the train of reasoning and leaves the explanation unfinished. ... We can understand parts, but we cannot get a succinct idea, particularly of the teachings as to Parabrahm (the Absolute) the 1st and 2nd Logos, Spirit, Matter, Fohat, etc., etc."

This is the direct and natural result of the very mistaken notion that the work I have called the "Secret Doctrine" had ever been intended by me to dovetail with modern Science, or to explain "occult points." I was and still am more concerned with facts than with scientific hypotheses. My chief and only object was to bring into prominence that the basic and fundamental principles of every exoteric religion and philosophy, old or new, were from first to last but the echoes of the primeval "Wisdom Religion." I sought to show that the TREE OF KNOWLEDGE, like Truth itself, was One; and that, however differing in form and color, the foliage of the twigs, the trunk and its main branches, were still those of the same old Tree, in the shadow of which had developed and grown the (now) esoteric religious philosophy of the races that preceded our present mankind on earth.

This object, I believe I have carried out as far as it could be carried, in the first two volumes of The Secret Doctrine. It was not the occult philosophy of the esoteric teachings that I undertook to explain to the world at large, for then the qualification of "Secret" would have become like the secret of "Polichinelle" shouted in the manner of a stage a parte; but simply to give that which could be given out, and to parallel it with the beliefs and dogmas of the past and present nations, thus showing the original source of the latter and how disfigured they had become. If my work is, at this day of materialistic assumptions and universal iconoclasm, too premature for the masses of the profane - so much the worse for those masses. But it was not too [6] premature for the earnest students of theosophy - except those, perhaps, who had hoped that a treatise on such intricate correspondences as exist between the religions and philosophies of the almost forgotten Past, and those of the modern day, could be as simple as a shilling "shocker" from a railway stall. Even one system of philosophy at a time, whether that of Kant or of Herbert Spencer, of Spinoza or of Hartmann, requires more than a study of several years. Does it not therefore, stand to reason that a work which compares several dozens of philosophies and over half-a-dozen of world-religions, a work which has to unveil the roots with the greatest precautions, as it can only hint at the secret blossoms here and there - cannot be comprehended at a first reading, nor even after several, unless the reader elaborates for himself a system for it? That this can be done and is done is shown by the "Two Students of the E. S." They are now synthesizing the "Secret Doctrine," and they do it in the most lucid and comprehensive way, in this magazine. No more than any one else have they understood that work immediately after reading it. But they went to work in dead earnest. They indexed it for themselves, classifying the contents in two portions - the exoteric and the esoteric; and having achieved this preliminary labor, they now present the former portion to the readers at large, while storing the latter for their own practical instruction and benefit. Why should not every earnest theosophist do the same?

There are several ways of acquiring knowledge: (a) by accepting blindly the dicta of the church or modern science; (b) by rejecting both and starting to find the truth for oneself. The first method is easy and leads to social respectability and the praise of men; the other is difficult and requires more than ordinary devotion to truth, a disregard for direct personal benefits and an unwavering perseverance. Thus it was in the days of old and so it is now, except perhaps, that such devotion to truth has been more rare in our own day than it was of yore. Indeed, the modern Eastern student's unwillingness to think for himself is now as great as Western exertions and criticism of other people's thoughts.

He demands and expects that his "Path" shall be engineered with all the selfish craft of modern comfort, macadamized, laid out with swift railways and telegraphs, and even telescopes, through which he may, while sitting at his ease, survey the works of other people; and while criticising them, look out for the easiest, in order to play at the Occultist and Amateur Student of Theosophy. The real "Path" to esoteric knowledge is very different. Its entrance is overgrown with the brambles of neglect, the travesties of truth during long ages block the way, and it is obscured by the proud contempt of self-sufficiency and with every verity distorted out of all focus. To push over the threshold alone, demands an incessant, often unrequited labor of years, and once on the other side of the entrance, the weary pilgrim has to toil up on foot, for the narrow way leads to forbidding mountain heights, unmeasured and unknown, save to those who have reached the cloud-capped summit before. Thus must he mount, step by step, having to conquer every inch of ground before him by his own exertions; moving onward, guided by strange landmarks the nature of which he can ascertain only by deciphering the weather-beaten, half-defaced inscriptions as he treads along, for woe to him, if, instead of studying them, he sits by coolly pronouncing them "indecipherable." The "Doctrine of the Eye" is maya; that of the "Heart" alone, can make of him an elect.

Is it to be wondered that so few reach the goal, that so many are called, but so few are chosen? Is not the reason for this explained in three lines on page 27 of The Voice of the Silence? These say that while "The first repeat in pride 'Behold, I know,' the last, they who in humbleness have garnered, low confess, 'thus have I heard'"; and hence, become the only "chosen." [7]


Iverson L. Harris

Let us start this study by defining our terms. What is Theosophy and what is education?

Theosophy means literally 'Divine Wisdom,' 'The Wisdom of the Gods.' It is such wisdom as is possessed by men who have become at one with their own Inner God, and who are therefore able to have direct perception of Truth. It is such wisdom as the great prophets and religious teachers and spiritual philosophers have revealed to men, it being the result of having raised themselves above the limitations of personality, so that their consciousness and therefore their vision of Truth has become clear and universal. In other words Theosophy is that knowledge which the superior man has, by virtue of having made himself a fit channel for spiritual light to pour through his mind and reflect therein as in a mirror, the clear image of reality.

Education in the Theosophical sense is that training of the mind and of the personality that has for its aim the leading forth from within into manifestation of all the innate faculties and powers that rightly belong to thinking human beings. One of the best means of doing this is to study the teachings and revelations of the great and wise men of the past. These teachings have survived the winnowing process of time, and live today in the hearts of millions of aspiring people by virtue of the undying Truth that is in them. Such a study lifts our own thoughts into the currents of spiritual reality in which these great spiritual Sages and Seers lived and still live; and as we succeed in moving into these currents, so do we come nearer and nearer to opening up our own minds as channels for some of the light which illumines theirs.

Robert Browning sang in his Paracelsus:

Truth is within ourselves, it takes no rise
From outward things, whate'er you may believe.
There is an inmost center in us all,
Where Truth abides in fullness; and around,
Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in,
This perfect, clear perception - which is Truth.
A baffling and perverting carnal mesh
Binds it, and makes all error; and, to know
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendor may escape,
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without.

The foregoing is a bit of Theosophic education that I received as a young man while attending rehearsals of The Aroma of Athens as presented by Katherine Tingley in the Greek Theatre at Point Loma some thirty-eight years ago.

Perhaps the most permanently satisfying feature of a Theosophical education is that it evokes from students that intangible yet invaluable quality - good taste. Theosophical education arouses in those profiting by it a vital interest in all things worthy of the human spirit and a decided distaste for anything unworthy of thinking human beings.

The great Scriptures of the world are guide-books and manuals pointing out to every aspiring soul the way, the truth, and the life that it is necessary to follow if we would be truly educated; i.e., if we would succeed in opening out a way whence the imprisoned splendor locked up within us may escape, heal the world of its sorrows and bring men back to peace and sanity - to that 'love which moves the sun and all the other stars,' about which Dante sang in the closing lines of his Divine Comedy.

There is verily, no greater educator than love in our hearts for all men; there is nothing that will bring us closer to the heart of Theosophia, or Divine Wisdom, than an all-consuming love for our fellowmen. It was divine [8] love or compassion that transfigured the lives of the Buddha and the Christ. It is love that holds millions of suffering human beings in reverence and gratitude to them today and gives these anguished millions something of inner peace and power to bear their burdens. I verily believe that it was the love which he showed for his fellowmen, even more than his masterly expositions of metaphysical doctrine, that captured the hearts of us who were fortunate enough to know G. de Purucker during the years of his incarnate existence among us. Listen to his own words:

"But is there something deeper in Nature than what men call intelligence, something which appeals still more to the heart of man? Yes; and that is that wondrous mystery which I have called the cement of the universe, which holds things together, which keeps tile stars in their paths, which keeps human hearts beating in aspiration and hope, which shows us the sunny splendors on the other side of death. Do you know what it is? Very great men have called it Love. LOVE - a holy, beautiful name; and I think that only human beings degrade it." - Questions We All Ask, First Series, No. 7, p. 112

Love is the missing factor in modern education. We have forgotten how to love one another. We have relegated love for our fellowmen to second place and have enthroned efficiency as the end and goal of most of our educational systems. Efficiency is, of course a sine qua non for the smooth running of the

business of life, which many of us have come to mistake for life itself. Of course, no one wants education to leave our children unprepared to meet the harsh realities of existence. But unless we are lovers of our fellowmen first and last and all the time, we can become most efficient haters and exploiters and destroyers of our fellowmen. Could the world possibly have become the shambles that it so recently was and that it threatens to become again, if the Wisdom of the Gods, Theosophy, as taught by the greatest spiritual Sages and Seers and illuminated Teachers of all the ages, had been universally known, understood and practised?

Turn to the Sermon on the Mount, turn to the Gospel of the Buddha, turn to the Ancient Wisdom-Religion of China as embodied in the teachings of Lao-Tze and Confucius, turn even to the ennobling message of the Prophet of Arabia with an open mind: in all these you will find Theosophy, and education which really educates; i.e., leads forth that which is noblest and best within the human soul. Let me be more specific.

In the Bhagavad-Gita, or 'Beautiful Song,' Krishna, speaking as a personification of the Supreme Spirit, says to his disciple, Arjuna:

"I produce myself among creatures, O son of Bharata, whenever there is a decline of virtue and an insurrection of vice and injustice in the world; and thus I incarnate from age to age for the preservation of the just, the destruction of the wicked, and the establishment of righteousness." - Chapter IV.

We in the West have received enlightenment, inspiration, and guidance from Jesus called the Christ. His life and teachings have fostered gentleness, kindness, resignation, and purity in the lives of millions of good people who have looked and still look upon him as their Savior.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. - Matthew, 5:7-9, 43-44

Theosophy enables the rational man to understand and accept Christ's teachings without affronting his intelligence with an appeal to emotionalism or irrational faith. The Wisdom of the Gods helps us to disencumber the message of Christ from the superstitions and [9] dogmas with which human ignorance and folly have through the ages obscured the radiance of the spiritual light which he brought - as superstitions and dogmas, also, have obscured in greater or less degree the radiance of the light brought by other great spiritual luminaries before and since Christ - not excluding the light brought by the Messianic Messenger of the Nineteenth Century, H.P. Blavatsky.

A Theosophical education opens our eyes to the light from the East, for so long hidden from the West but rapidly gaining greater and wider recognition in our day through the awakening to political self-determination of the Far Eastern people themselves. We learn that the Lord Buddha, Six hundred years before the Christian Era, taught the same universal ethics in India that are found in the Sermon on the Mount. "Hatred ceaseth never by hatred; hatred ceaseth only by love." Moreover, the Buddha enlightened men's minds with understanding; he taught them quite definitely and clearly the doctrines of karma and reincarnation, the inescapable results of wrong and right action:

Such is the law which moves to righteousness,
Which none at last can turn aside or stay;
The heart of it is Love, the end of it
Is Peace and Consummation sweet. Obey!
- Sir Edwin Arnold, The Light of Asia.

A Theosophical education will teach us also to study the wisdom of the Chinese Sages. We shall learn to love the Old Philosopher, Lao-Tze, quietly hidden in the shadows of the royal library at Loyang (Honan-Fu) teaching the virtues of the Tao and the non-assertion of self, urging all men to requite injury with kindness and to fit themselves for higher duties by yielding place to others.

"To the good I would be good; to the not-good I would also be good, in order to make them good.
"With the faithful I would keep faith; with the unfaithful I would also keep faith, in order that they may become faithful. ..."
"Gentleness brings victory to him who attacks, and safety, to him who defends. Those whom Heaven would save, it fences round with gentleness."
- Lionel Giles: The Sayings of Lao-Tzu.

No wonder that Will Durant says: "Perhaps we shall burn every book but one behind us, and find a summary of wisdom in the Tao-Te-Ching."

By familiarizing ourselves with the basic doctrines of the world's great religious Scriptures, we come to appreciate the fact that they all sprang from a common source, the Esoteric Wisdom or Secret Doctrine revealed to mankind by its spiritual progenitors, the forerunners of our present humanity, who were the gods and heroes referred to in the mythologies of every race. Tradition, said H.P.B., is racial memory. Finding the same universal truths in all the great Scriptures, one cannot be dogmatic about the particular religious doctrines on which he himself has been nurtured. With proper education and as our knowledge increases, the 'holier-than-thou' attitude disappears. Intolerance yields to tolerance; and tolerance in time is replaced by love and respect.

Love for one's family is decidedly better than love for oneself alone. Love for one's community is a natural expansion of love of family. Love of one's country transcends mere parochial loyalties. In each step there is a sloughing off of egoism, which is obvious and offensive in the self-centered miser or the ambitious politician, less obvious and therefore more subtle and insidious in the chauvinist, whose patriotism is often an expression of national and racial pride and expanded egoism rather than of consecrated service to the country of one's birth. The earnest Student of Theosophy finds it impossible to share in international and interracial prejudices and hatreds. He agrees with Tom Paine in saying: "The world is my country; to do good my religion." The Theosophist concurs also with the fine pronouncement of Edmund Burke in his speech on Conciliation with America. "I know not the method of drawing up an indictment against a whole people." [10]

The Chinese Master, Confucius, taught: "When you see a good man, think of emulating him; when you see a bad man, examine your own heart." This injunction lends itself readily to an expanded application: when we see a nation misled into committing injustices, let us see to it that we are not also misled into committing injustices; but when we see a people acting nobly, let us emulate their example.

Master K'ung lectured to his disciples, we read, mainly on history and poetry, deducing his lessons in life from these. "The odes are three hundred in number," he said. "But their purport may be summed up in the words: Have no depraved thoughts." And again, "Study without thought is vain; thought without study is perilous."

Mencius, the greatest expounder of Confucianism, taught that the whole of education consists in recapturing intuitive faculties that in the stress of life have been allowed to go astray. And Chwang-Tze, the brilliant interpreter of Taoism, wrote: "To a mind that is still the whole Universe surrenders."

I have referred briefly to the Theosophy and the education given us by some of the greatest spiritual Teachers of recorded history. It would be not only untheosophical but also uneducated if I did not refer also to another great Teacher, whose message has bettered and ennobled the lives of millions of our fellowmen from the Straits of Gibraltar to the mouths of the Ganges and beyond. I refer, of course, to the Prophet of Arabia, the Camel-Driver of Mecca, Mohammed al-Amin, Mohammed the Faithful. As part of my Theosophical education I learned from Kenneth Morris, Welsh bard and Professor of History and Literature for so many years at Point Loma, to know and love this illiterate son of the desert, who proved his spiritual heredity by imbuing Islam with the idea of religious tolerance and the love of secular learning. "Therefore is it meet that I speak also of him in even a brief discussion of Theosophy and Education.

Among the Moslems of Mohammed's day there were only seventeen who could read and write. The Prophet was not one of these. Yet he laid down the law for Islam in this wise:

"The ink of the doctors is holier than the martyr's blood. ... Acquire knowledge: whoso acquires it, performs an act of piety; who speaks of it, praises the Lord; who seeks it, adores God; who dispenses instruction in it, bestows alms; who imparts it to its fitting objects, performs an act of devotion to God. A mind without culture is like a body without a soul. Glory does not consist in riches, but in knowledge. ... To listen to the instruction of science and learning for one hour is more meritorious than attending the funerals of a thousand martyrs, or than standing up in prayer for a thousand nights. - Kenneth Morris: Golden Threads in the Tapestry of History, Part Ill, Chapter 3: "The Road of Learning."

Thus did Mohammed set the feet of his Moslems on the road of learning and father the spirit of scientific investigation, perhaps the most significant characteristic of modern education. So let us never deny to the Prophet of Arabia gratitude for his contribution to the Theosophical Movement in the field of education.

Because of inadequate education concerning human history and owing to the erstwhile cocksureness of scientific materialism, people have taken it for granted that the mechanical age in which we live represents the peak of all civilization and that we of today in the West are the highest expressions of evolution that the world has ever known. Perhaps our faith in our own high status began to weaken a bit under the impact of the second World War within the memory of millions of people living today and the devastating horror of the atomic bomb. "Thoughtful people are beginning to ask if education does not consist in learning something deeper and of more lasting value than efficiency in mutual slaughter and in making and accumulating mechanical appliances and gadgets, however useful these may be in themselves when not prostituted to the purposes of destruction. Perhaps it takes world-wide suffering and the horrors of global warfare to awaken mankind as a whole to [11] the importance or teaching our children and our youth the eternal verities proclaimed by the great spiritual Seers of all times. This is part of the mission of the Theosophical Movement.

Numerically we are still a small handful of earnest people; but we are on the side of the gods; and someone has rightly stated that one man and God are a majority. For nigh three-quarters of a century Theosophists have been teaching, preaching and in some measure practising the noble tenets of the Ancient Wisdom-Religion. The outward results have not equaled our vaulting hopes. But the seeds of Theosophic thought have found lodgement in receptive minds here and there, and have sprouted, grown, and borne good fruit. The grand universal ethics of Theosophy have touched the hearts and comforted the souls of thousands of people whose education had shattered their belief in the dogmas held and promulgated by their fathers. Theosophy has enabled them to settle the conflict between reason and faith to the lasting benefit of both.

The Theosophical Movement has enriched and is still enriching the world with books of permanent worth and periodicals filled with timely spiritual and intellectual culture. Various branches of the Movement are doing excellent work each in its own field in educating man to keep alive in his breast his spiritual intuitions. The priceless books left us by our Teachers, as well as the valuable interpretations and applications of their teachings by trained disciples, are a gold-mine of inspiration and information for serious readers and earnest students. It is part of our mission as Theosophists to see that the beacon-lights of Theosophic truth are not dimmed by failure on our part as individuals or as groups, but that they are kept bursting brightly during the night-time of the present dark cycle, so that they may serve all mankind in bringing their life-ships safely into havens of peace and lasting progress. If we can succeed in doing this - and most assuredly we will succeed - we can make day by day our individual contribution to the fulfilling of the prophecy with which H.P.B. closes The Key to Theosophy:

"... tell me whether I am too sanguine when I say that if the Theosophical Society survives and lives true to its mission, to its original impulses through the next hundred years - tell me, I say, if I go too far in asserting that earth will be a heaven in the twenty-first century in comparison with what it is now!"


Audree Benner

Everyone of us has a debt to pay, not a financial debt, but a great debt to humanity. We have all been given an opportunity to live and learn, and we chose the basic pattern of our present life long before we were born. We chose this particular pattern for some very definite reason, conditioned by the karma of our past lives. In taking stock of our faults, we can often see why we selected our present way of life, and what we must overcome.

This opportunity to live and to learn is priceless to us, and we are most fortunate to be living in a time when the world is teeming with wars, race prejudice, and greed. We are fortunate because of the great opportunity offered to us to conquer these universal karmic conditions. The present world chaos is the karmic effect of some past cause, and our reaction to this effect will determine a future cause. The seeds of that future cause are now being sown by us. Some people may think that it would be easier to let other generations or civilizations shoulder the burden of establishing a peaceful way of life, but if we do not face our responsibilities now, we will have to face them again and again until we can conquer and rise above them. Who are we to assume that we are the chosen few to be excused from our karmic duties? We [12] who have encountered Theosophy know that none are excused. We are members of a cast in a great tragedy, each with a part to play, and there are no understudies.

We can sit in a restaurant, on a bus, or stand on a street corner and hear people discuss the present world chaos. They read in the newspapers articles on hunger, race riots, financial greed, and the threat of war; then shake their heads sadly, sigh, and go off on a shopping spree or in search of entertainment. They erase the unpleasant thoughts from their minds. They do not realize that they have a part to play in the twisted and confused state of affairs, or possibly if they do, they prefer to forget it. Our thoughts, our actions, our pattern of self-improvement, experiences, and mistakes, all go to make up living conditions the world over - past, present, and future.

Many people, believing in the law of cause and effect, understand that their past actions have produced their present circumstances, but their reasoning comes to a dead-end there. They look backwards, frequently brooding over what they should have done. There is no time for morbid regret, there is much to be done, and we have the opportunity to do it.

What can we do? We can meditate on constructive ideas towards world peace and understanding, race tolerance, equal educational advantages for all, freedom of speech, and the right to choose our faith and religion. We can observe the struggle of humanity to rise above its present turmoil, and find where our efforts and experiences are needed, and generously give them. We can observe the customs, and learn the history and languages of these different nations and races, expanding our capacity of understanding. We can present Theosophy to the world, not by spreading propaganda or obtaining converts, but by becoming living examples of a great teaching. We owe this debt to humanity; the time to pay it is now.


Dudley W. Barr
[Reprinted from The Canadian Theosophist, Toronto, Vol. XXIX, February 15, 1949.]

"The T.S. and its members are slowly manufacturing a creed. Says a Tibetan proverb, 'Credulity breeds credulity and ends in hypocrisy.' How few are they who can know anything about us. Are we to be propitiated and made idols of. ... The cant about 'Masters' must be silently but firmly put down. Let the devotion and service be to that Supreme Spirit alone of which each one is a part. Namelessly and silently we work and the repetition of our names raises up a confused aura that hinders our work. ..." - (Quoted from a letter from K.H. to Annie Besant, described in Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, First Series, as "The last letter, written in 1900, received nine years after the death of H.P. Blavatsky." )

A correspondent has been reading some old Theosophical magazines published in the early part of this century, and disregarding, as so many of us are prone to do, Mrs. Malaprop's sage remark 'All comparisons are odorous' has been comparing the earlier writings with the productions of today; the early articles, our correspondent finds, were alive, ardent, concentrated - the current literature lacks vividness, depth and is stylized, abounding in pretty phrases. Puzzled and disturbed at the change, our correspondent asks "What has happened?"

A very potent question; but before touching upon the particular problem may I suggest that possibly the comparison has not been full enough. There are several excellent Theosophical magazines today which preserve the higher standards of former times - some like good wines have become better as they grow older. I suggest a wider reading and the inclusion therein of the [13] magazines of other Theosophical Societies, for example, Theosophy of the United Lodge of Theosophists, The Theosophical Forum of the Theosophical Society (Covina), The Path of the Independent Theosophical Society (Australia), Theosophia, an independent magazine published in Los Angeles, and other magazines which present the Theosophical attitude but are not linked with any particular society.

(May I digress for a moment to say that I can never write 'other Theosophical Societies' without feeling how incongruous it is to have more than one 'Theosophical Society' - to have 'the wisdom of the god' relating as it does to the Universal Brotherhood of Man, parceled out by different organizations, none of which will have anything to do with the firm next door.)

To return to the question which concerns what has happened in our literature during the past forty years.

During that period the Society has attracted fewer and fewer thinkers and more and more 'feelers.' The literature of the Society, its books, magazines and pamphlets, has, consciously or unconsciously, been designed to attract persons whose approach is through the psychic and the sensational rather than through the mind. We have not in the Society today - or if we have they are not writing for our official magazines - thinkers and scholars of the same class as for example, G.R.S. Mead and W. Kingsland. We cannot interest philosophically-minded persons in the 'milk for babes' which is being distributed through many of our journals. If they are persuaded to attempt it, they refuse to read further after coming upon a sentence which reveals the innate naivete of the mind that phrased it. Many of these persons would accept Nietzche's dictum 'It is better to do evil than to think prettily.' The karma of an evil act would doubtless be cleaned up more quickly and easily than the karma of responsibility arising from 'pretty thinking's impertinent offense against Mind, its covert attack upon man's hard-won citadel of Reason.

A two-fold classification of 'thinkers' and 'feelers' is perhaps an oversimplification - persons do not divide so cleanly. Intellectual persons often have strong emotional sides to their natures and may have extra-normal psychic faculties; persons who are basically emotional in type are often interested quite seriously in intellectual pursuits. Rarely does one find a 'pure' specimen, and complex admixtures seem to be the rule among human beings.

However, it may not be an oversimplification to use another two-fold division when speaking of the members of the Theosophical Society. Its members constitute a very small proportion of the earth's inhabitants (something less than .000015%) and the interests which draw them to the Society have much in common. They have in common a recognition of the unity of all life, of a process of reincarnation, of a law of compensatory action and reaction, and a belief that there is a Way by which man may mount to a fuller realization of his innate divinity. They believe in the Universal Brotherhood of humanity, and within the limitations of their characters, the peculiar 'screen' or 'mesh' through which they look out upon the world, they try to be tolerant, broad-minded and unbiased - their widened concept of 'the amplitude of time' helps them to be patient and to work for their ideals heedless of immediate results.

Within this small group there is one class whose basic tendency is to look inward for Truth, to seek 'the Causeless Cause which 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.' Some may become over-introspective in this but the majority do not; they have outer interests, some in science, others in philosophy, psychology, the drama, music and other arts, mathematics, social and economic problems, international problems, labor and management problems - and they use their Theosophy as a key to the deeper understanding of these problems [14] and to a wider human application of their interests.

They accept the hypothesis that as the personal wrappings which obscure the hidden splendour of the soul are worn away, a deeper and richer Self is revealed. They accept as highly probable the teaching that eventually as this process continues a human being may become a 'Master.' They respect the heart and mind which is disclosed in the teachings of those who are reputed to have reached this stage, but they do not worship them, they do not seek to attract them. They assume that 'Masters' have their own work to do and that when any individual comes to the point where his inner divine powers are becoming manifest, he will come in touch with others of equal or superior status and will be able to share in their work.

This is the way that mutual attractions grow up between men in their ordinary outer lives; the inner responsibility, and not the outer proximity, is the deciding factor. A servant in a savants club might grow old in service and never know what his employers were talking about in their earnest discussions, while a newcomer, a young man of unusual talent might be admitted to the club and immediately establish a position of equality with many of the older members. 'We are men like yourselves' wrote K.H., and the philosophically-minded members of the Society do not assume that the Masters desire to be regarded as anything less than men. Manliness is a quality which is recognized wherever men come together and the higher the type of man, the higher its standard of manliness. If a man measures up to it, he is 'in'; if he fails to do so, he is 'out' and the charmed circle is closed to him.

That there are men who become Masters is not in question - but the way to these men is by the path that made them Masters. It is a hard road but it is better to face this fact at the beginning, rather than to spend lives fondly hoping to find some easier way to attract their attention. The Gita assures us, "There is no purifier in the world to be compared to spiritual knowledge; and he who is perfected in devotion findeth spiritual knowledge springing up spontaneously in himself in the progress of time."

There is another group within the Society whose tendency it is to look outward for guidance and help, and who consequently externalize all the teachings. This tendency takes them ever farther and farther away from the Self within and from "Theos Sophia," the wisdom of the inner god. The external never completely satisfies and there is an unceasing search for newer and fresher forms, newer and more powerful 'Masters,' more distant 'planes,' longer and longer lists of 'lives,' more and more phenomena, more Angels, Devas, Elementals, Nature Spirits, rites, ceremonies, initiations. This group cannot hear or read the word 'initiation' without visualizing some external event, the nature of which depends upon their psychological makeup. For some it may be a terrible trial with 'Dark Forces,' from which they emerge triumphant; for others the externalization might take the form of a chancel of a lofty hall in which wait stately, white-clad figures from whom emanate radiations of love and power and waves of lovely, ever-changing colours. They see the 'candidate' approaching the sacred fane, they hear the mystic words of acceptance. Such self-projected visions gladden them - but take them another step farther from the goal.

For them the 'Master' we should seek is not the "Initiator of the Initiates, the personal God ... within, nowhere outside, the worshiper." (S.D. III. 62.) The 'Master' is an external being, tall, bearded, robed, almost omniscient, possessed of marvelous psychic powers, and endowed with infinite compassion for the little 'me' whose egotistical imagination created that 'Master' form.

This externalizing tendency can, if continued, lead to madness. The disease may not develop to its extreme [15] of permanent schizophrenia - the disintegration or division of consciousness into other 'selves' - and the subjects may lead quiet, comparatively harmless lives immersed in a dream-world of their own making, which, although quite divorced from reality, is satisfying to them. They have a lovely time in a colourful realm peopled by the projections of their own imaginations and added to by their identifications with the more vivid imaginative projections of others. They must ultimately face up to the whispered question of the inner Self, 'It's pretty, but is it real?' This is the opening line in the great drama, of the 'war longer and greater than any.' If alarmed and dismayed they flee from the question, denying the inner Self and seeking refuge again in their familiar dream world, the problem has been only postponed, not settled, and the ensuing conflict within the psyche may destroy them.

"Let the devotion and service be to that Supreme Spirit alone of which each one is a part" said K.H. "I am the Lord seated deep in the heart of all creatures," said Krishna. The Masters of the Way unite in agreeing that there is but one "Way" for mankind to overcome the misery, ignorance, the partitions, divisions, the self-izing of human existence; that there is but one Way by which man may realize his hope of Brotherhood and that is by finding integration with the divine Self within. The fruits of this are peace, harmony, wisdom, love and compassion for all beings; these qualities are normal to the integrated man. The opposite course of finding assurances in externals, whether these be money, power or fame, or the more subtle externals of astralism and psychism will lead only to further disintegration, disharmony, fiercer and more bitter divisions, no matter how desirable and pleasing to the sensations the immediate results may seem.

If we in the Theosophical Society faced up to this fundamental and devoted the next quarter of a century to propagating straight Theosophy, the Theosophy of the Secret Doctrine and the Mahatma Letters, the way might be opened for a re-uniting of all Theosophical organizations in co-operative work for humanity. We might lose a few thousand or so of our present thirty thousand members, but on the other hand we might not, - the response to the sane, balanced outlook of the original movement might be astonishing. In the past we have lost thousands of members whose interest in externals waned and died; some of these might again be attracted if they were assured that all externalizations would be put aside. It would take courage and wisdom to do it; it would mean getting rid of rites and ceremonies designed to attract and exploit astral entities; withdrawing the literature which is in direct conflict with Theosophy; forgetting the astralism and spookism which has carried the Society far away from its original ideals. It would mean discouraging the believers and sensationalists whose 'credulity breeds credulity and ends in hypocrisy.' If the Society is to be a centre for attracting the finest types of mind, it must encourage men and women who are active and independent in their thinking and spiritual in their outlook.

There is an unquenchable, irresistible power in Theosophy which if rightly used could re-establish the Society in a position of dignity and widespread influence and make of it a recognized centre for men and women who through their own integration with their Divine Selves, could be beacons of light in mankind's spiritual darkness. It could attract not thirty thousand merely, but hundreds of thousands of men and women who are sincerely looking for a Way, a Way of fulfillment for the needs of heart and mind alike, a real Way to the thing they seek and have not found, Self-Integration, Wisdom concerning the god, the true Self, the Master within their own hearts. Let us teach the doctrine of that God, and let the half-gods die - and with them all the pretense, hypocrisy, cant and credulity which the demigods first accept, then invite, and then demand. [16]



Curious results can sometimes be achieved with numbers.

Take for instance the number 142857. When multiplied by any of the first six digits, the product is expressed, in each case, by the same figures, and in the same general order as the multiplicand.

142857 x 1 = 142857
" x 2 = 285714
" x 3 = 428571
" x 4 = 571428
" x 5 = 714285
" x 6 = 857142

When multiplied by 7, a curious change occurs:

142857 x 7 = 999999

When multiplied by 2, another change takes place:

142857 x 8 = 1/14285/6

In this case, by adding the end figures, one gets the missing number 7. When multiplied by 14, a multiple of 7, one gets:

142857 x 14 = 1/99999/8. The end figures 8 and 1 give the missing 9.

If a circle be divided by three diameters 60 degrees of arc apart, and the numbers be placed in their original order at the ends of diameters, the sum of each pair will be 9.

The sum of the digits in the above number is 27. 2 and 7 give 9 also.


(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 (Dudley W. Barr, Acting Editor).
Canadian Federation: Elsie F. Griffiths, Gen. Sec'y, 671 Richard St., Vancouver, B.C. Off. Organ: The Federation Quarterly
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 Book Association for the Blind, Inc. (Flavia B. Snyder, Pres), "Krotona," Ojai, Calif.

THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY: Intern'l Hdqrts., Covina, Calif., U.S.A. Arthur L. Conger, Leader. Off. Organ: The Theosophical Forum.
American-Canadian Section: John P. van Mater, Pres., Theosophical Headquarters, Covina, Calif. Off. Organ Lucifer
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 2135 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.
Bombay 19, India, Ananda Nivas, Bhau Daji Road, Matunga.
London, England, 17 Great Cumberland Place.
Paris v, France, 14 Rue de l'Abbe de l'Epee.
Sydney, Australia, Federation House, 166 Philip St.