A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume VII
No. 5 (41) - January-February 1951

[Cover photo: On the shores of the Pacific Ocean.]


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, Arthur I. Joquel, Nancy Browning.
Committee of Sponsors: T. Marriot, G. Cardinal Legros, Jan H. Venema, Col. J. M. Prentice, Dudley W. Barr, Dr. Sven Eck.
Business Manager: Norine G. Chadil.

Subscription: $1.50 a year (six issues); single copy 25 cents. Send all subscriptions, renewals and correspondence to: Room 201, 636 South Serrano Avenue, Los Angeles 5, California. Make checks payable to "Theosophia."

None of the organized Theosophical Societies, as such, are responsible for any ideas expressed in this magazine, unless contained in an official document. The Editors are responsible for unsigned articles only.



Will is the exclusive possession of man on this our plane of consciousness. It divides him from the brute in whom instinctive desire only is active.

Desire, in its widest application, is the one creative force in the Universe. In this sense it is indistinguishable from Will; but we men never know desire under this form while we remain only men. Therefore Will and Desire are here considered as opposed.

Thus Will is the offspring of the Divine, the God in man; Desire the motive power of the animal life.

Most men live in and by desire, mistaking it for will. But he who would achieve must separate will from desire, and make his will the ruler; for desire is unstable and ever changing, while will is steady and constant.

Both will and desire are absolute creators, forming the man himself and his surroundings. But will creates intelligently - desire blindly and unconsciously. The man, therefore, makes himself in the image of his desires, unless he creates himself in the likeness of the Divine, through his will, the child of the light.

His task is twofold: to awaken the will, to strengthen it by use and conquest, to make it absolute ruler within his body; and, parallel with this, to purify desire. Knowledge and will are the tools for the accomplishment of this purification. - Unsigned in Lucifer, London, Vol. I, October, 1887, p. 96.

... man's free will or free choice is not "limited" or restricted by the surrounding Universe, but is great or small, more evolved or less evolved, strictly in ratio with the evolutionary status that the man himself has attained. - G. de Purucker, in The Esoteric Tradition, p. 695. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

The year opens on a familiar note. The tune is old, habitual, well-worn and found wanting; yet still attractive to many millions and hard to change for a brighter one.

Invasion, war, revenge, rapine, destruction, hunger, cruelty, injustice, broken pledges, dishonesty and cowardice.

Were the destinies of mankind decided on the battle field, the picture would indeed be sombre, and hope would wane in the human heart.

But the historical evolution of the human race depends upon the timely introduction into the sphere of human thought of dynamic ideas which illumine the psychological and intellectual landscape of the historic era during which they appear, and leaven receptive minds across man-made frontiers and the separative dogma of unyielding moulds and outward forms.

Against these dynamic ideas there is ultimately no defence; far from invading human consciousness and forcing themselves violently upon human thinking, they merely project in high-relief the wickedness and narrowness of lesser modes of thought, and make apparent, by their mere presence, the emotional and mental immaturity of former patterns, and their inadequacy to serve as vehicles for the broadening consciousness of humanity.

As voiced by the great Victor Hugo on his death-bed: "There is but one thing that is more powerful than any invading army. It is the power of an Idea when its time has come!"

Today, in the background of human conflicts, above the din of selfish and stupid battles, beyond the narrow creeds of religious fanatics and the absurd ideologies of political demagogues, sometimes in the very midst of human misery, confusion and pain, there is heard the clarion-call of Universal Brotherhood, and the thought of a united mankind is permeating all strata of human consciousness, even those which present the greatest opposition to its reception.

The historical era of empire-building is coming to a close, but not without an eventful struggle, and the deafening roar of conflicting loyalties. We are entering into a new historic era, wherein universal solidarity - however frail and experimental in its first stages - will be the keynote of the day. The blind nationalisms with their military ventures of subjugation, coercion and violence, the self-righteous theological and scientific dogmas obscuring the noble traditions of mankind, and the gross materialism of our social order, are being dynamited from within their own battlements by the rapid spread, from one receptive mind to another, of Ideas and Ideals which have no other loyalties but Mankind and no other objectives but the service of the race as a whole.

As a matter of fact, the entire struggle taking place before our very eyes, and the moral and mental degradation which we can witness daily on the stage of human behavior, with the attendant sloth, cowardice, brutality and decay, are but the scum of the lower animalistic emotions (slightly humanized!) thrown up to the surface by the dynamic and impelling force of great spiritual ideas, floating in the very ambient of the Earth and leavening the mass of human thinking with their potent regenerative energy. The climacteric conflict in our contemporary history is proof positive that there exists on the level of human thinking, in the very collective consciousness of the race, a new spiritual light which can no longer be ignored and whose increasing radiance penetrates into every dark corner of the earth.

It is imperative that the student of ancient wisdom refrain from identifying himself with any of the existing ideologies of the day, and try to observe the [4] current events with an objective vision, projecting them against the background of history. Much is lost by emotional reactions motivated by national pride, false patriotism, inbred psychological tendencies, the opinions of others, and the misinformation derived from accepted textbooks wherein most of history has been twisted to serve personal and vested interests.

It is important to appraise the changing stage-setting of the day in the light of the age-old teachings of karma and reincarnation, and to try and trace the golden thread of historic events from one part of mankind to another, and from one continent to another, as that thread winds and weaves itself in and out under the impelling force of karmic destiny.

Against this more spiritual background of thought, many of our national, personal, regional and selfish allegiances will be seen to merge sooner or later into allegiances more universal and enduring, and the emotional reactions of our lower mentalities will experience a becalming influence emanating from our greater vision and wider horizon of thought.

The rise and fall of empires, the hegemony of one race over another, of one civilization over another, are but the natural ebb and flow of human evolutionary progress. The waves of human consciousness wash many a shore, and recede again, to rise on other shores. Beyond this periodic interplay of conscious and semi-conscious forces, motivated by Intelligences at work, there is a supreme and harmonious pattern which emerges but partially, and presents itself but in fragments, to view. But our best and noblest motives, and the intuitive realization of our hearts, tell us beyond any possible doubt, that history moves progressively forward, rising from one level to the next, scaling one crag after another, with occasional and temporary pitfalls, and that ahead of us all, in the distant future, lie spiritual heights and vistas greater and nobler than anything we dare even conceive today.

Assured of a master-plan behind the scene of the visible, firm in our spiritual objectives, with compassion and impersonal love for all that lives, let us therefore face the unfolding year of 1951 with courage and fortitude, with controlled enthusiasm and self-dedication to the cause of spiritual enlightenment and inner freedom.


"Few people, if any, even pretend to feel cheerful about the world situation as this new year begins. Nevertheless, the first thing that needs to be said as we try to orient ourselves is that most of us are not aware of the depth and urgency of the crisis in which we live ... Because we do not understand and accept the full depth of the crisis, we also fail to realize how simple and yet profound and revolutionary the solution is ... Nothing short of a rediscovery of Christ, a total acceptance of him, a Pentecost that will cause power to flow through us into the stream of history, will suffice now. Unless something happens on the deep spiritual level, nothing but disaster can take place on the political level. What is politically feasible or practical - things being as they are and we being what we are - is death.

"It was an atomic event that occurred in 1945 in the physical realm. An atomic event must now occur in the political and spiritual realm, and it must take place first of all within us. It is probably true that we both long for and dread this incursion of God. When Augustine experienced a conversion, he 'trembled exceedingly,' according to his own report. It would appear that the sense of God working out a purpose in his life was accompanied, as one commentator puts it, 'by the premonition that some awful renunciation would still be demanded of him.' - A.J. Muste, in F.O.R. Fellowship, Jan., 1951, p. 2. [5]


H.P. Blavatsky
[Originally published in Lucifer, London, Vol. VI, No. 35, July 15th, 1890, pp. 379-383, wherein the article was signed by the pseudonym "Spectator". It is as timely today as it was on the day of its first appearance. We commend it to the careful attention of our many readers. - Editor]

There has probably never been a period within our recollection more given to the production of "great missions" and missionaries than the present. The movement began, apparently, about a hundred years ago. Before that, it would have been unsafe to make such claims as are common in the present day. But the revelators of that earlier time were few and far between compared to those who are to be found now, for they are legion. The influence of one or two was powerful; of others, whose beliefs were dangerously akin to a common form of lunacy - next to nothing. All will recognize a wide difference between Anne Lee, whose followers flourish at the present time, and Joanna Southcote, whose hallucination long ago, and in her own day, excited smiles from rational people. The venerable Shaker lady, the "Woman" of Revelation XII, taught some truths amid confused ideas as to their practical working. At least, in a rather loose age, she held up an ideal of pure living which must always appeal to the spiritual nature and aspirations of man.

Then followed a period of moral decadence in the messianic perceptions and works. The polygamy taught and practiced by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young has been one of the strangest features of any modern revelation or so-called religion. Zeal and martyrdom were both illustrated in these leaders of the blind - the one without knowledge, and the other worse than useless. It was a prophecy of more lawless prophets, and more disastrous followings.

With the spread of the spiritualistic cult, the Messiah craze has vastly increased, and men and women alike have been involved in its whirlpools. Given, a strong desire to reform somehow the religious or social aspect of the world, a personal hatred of certain of its aspects, and a belief in visions and messages, and the result was sure; the "Messiah" arose with a universal panacea for the ills of mankind. If he (very often she) did not make the claim, it was made for him. Carried away by the magnetic force, the eloquence, the courage, the single idea of the apostle pro tem, numbers, for very varied reasons, accepted him or her as the revelator of the hour and of all time.

With burning indignation at the enthralment of womanhood in marriage, Victoria Woodhull arose to proclaim freedom. The concentrated forces within and around her withstood insult, calumny, and threats. What her exact utterances were, or what she meant herself, it is not easy now to discover. If she indeed preached free love, she only preached woman's damnation. If she merely tore down social veils, and rifled whited sepulchers, she did the human race a service. Man has fallen to so material a level that it is impossible to suppress sexual passion - but its exaltation is manifestly his ruin. Some saw in her teachings a way of liberty dear to their own sympathies and desires, and their weaknesses and follies have for ever dealt a death-blow to any real or imagined doctrine of free love, upheld no matter by whom. Victoria Woodhull grew silent, and the latest interpretations of the Garden of Eden and the fall of man, with which she has broken the silence, do not approach anywhere near in truth and lucidity to Laurence Oliphant's inspirational catches at the meaning of some of those ancient allegories in the book of Genesis. Blind as he was to the key of human life in the philosophy of reincarnation, with its impregnable logic, he gave some vivid side-glimpses of truth in his Scientific Religion. [6]

Yet Victoria Woodhull should have her due. She was a power in the land, and after her appearance, which stirred up thought in the sluggish, it became more possible to speak and write on the social question, and its vast issues. So much plain-spoken and acted folly created a hearing for a little wisdom.

After this, in the spiritualistic field, many lesser lights stood forth. Some openly advocated sexual freedom, and were surrounded by influences of the most dangerous order. The peace and happiness of many a home have been wrecked by these teachings, never more to return. They wrecked the weak and unwary, who reaped hours of agony, and whom the world falsely regarded as wicked. The crusade at last against these more open dangers of spiritualism became fierce, but although publicly denounced - an Oneida Creek never could become popular! - the disguised poison creeps about in underhand channels, and is one of the first snares the mediumistic inquirer into Spiritualism has to beware of. "Affinities" were to redeem the world; meanwhile they have become a by-word. There is an unwritten history in Spiritualism which, none of its clever advocates will ever record. Some of its latest Messiahs and their claims are ignored, and their names hardly mentioned, but we hear nothing of the hot-house process by which their abnormal condition was produced. Certain of these have been, verily, the victims of their belief - persons whose courage and faith in a more righteous cause would have won them lasting victory. And certain of these are mad vortices in which the inexperienced are at last engulfed. The apotheosis of passion, from the bitter fruit of which, man has everlasting need to be redeemed, is the surest sign of moral degradation. Liberty to love according to the impulse of the senses, is the most profound slavery. From the beginning nature has hedged that pathway with disease and death. Wretched as are countless marriages, vile as are man-made laws which place marriage on the lowest plane, the salvation of free-love is the whisper of the snake anew in the ear of the modern Eve.

No one denies that there are aspects of Spiritualism which have been useful in some ways. With this, however, we have nothing to do. We are pointing now to the way in which it has accentuated a common illusion.

The claims to final appropriation of the prophesied year 1881, the two witnesses, and the woman clothed with the sun, are so varied and diverse that there is safety in numbers. A true understanding of Kabbalistic allegory, and the symbolic galleries and chambers of the Great Pyramid, would at once disperse these ideas, and enlighten these illuminations. To distinguish the white rays of truth from influx from the astral sphere, requires a training which ordinary sensitives, whether avowed spiritualists or not, do not possess. Ignorance emboldens, and the weak will always worship the bold.

Some of these apostles denounce alike Spiritualism and Theosophy; some accept the latter, but weave it anew into a version of their own; and some have apparently arisen, independently of any other cult, through the force of their own or somebody else's conviction.

No one can doubt the poetical nature of the inspiration of Thomas Lake Harris. He had an intellectual head and a heart for poetry. Had he kept clear of great claims, he would have ranked at least as a man of literary ability, and a reformer with whom other reformers would wish to shake hands. His poem on Womanhood must echo in every thoughtful heart. But the assumption of personal privilege and authority over others, and "affinity" theories, have stranded him on a barren shore.

There is an avowed re-incarnation of Buddha in the United States, and an avowed re-incarnation of Christ. Both have followers; both have been interviewed and said their best. They and others like unto them have had signs, illuminations, [7] knowledge not common to men, and events pointing in a marked way to this their final destiny. There has even been a whisper here and there of supernatural births. But they lacked the clear-seeing eye which could reduce these facts to their right order, and interpret them aright. Kings and potentates appear, and dreamers of dreams, but there is never a prophet or Daniel in their midst. And the result is sorry to behold, for each seems to be putting the crown upon his own head.

If Theosophy had done nothing else, it would have made a demand on human gratitude in placing the truth and falsehood of these psychic experiences, unfoldments, or delusions as the case might be, plainly before the people, and explaining their rationale. It showed a plane of manhood, and proved it unassailably to a number of persons, which transcends any powers or capacities of the inspirational psychic who may imagine himself or herself to be a messenger to the world at large. It placed personal purity on a level which barred out nine-tenths of these claimants from all thought of their presumed inheritance, and showed that such a condition of purity, far transcending any popular ideal of such virtue, was the absolute and all-essential basis of spiritual insight and attainment. It swept the ground from under the feet of those poor men and women who had been listening to the so-called messages from the angels, that they were the chosen of heaven, and were to accomplish world-wide missions. The Joan of Arcs, the Christs, the Buddhas, the Michaels, were fain to see truths they had not dreamed of, and gifts they had never possessed, exercised in silence and with potent force by men whose names were unknown even to history, and recognized only by hidden disciples, or their peers. Something higher was placed before the sight of these eager reformers than fame: it was truth. Something higher than the most purified union between even one man and one woman in the most spiritual of sympathies, was shown; it was the immortal union of the soul of man with God. Wherever Theosophy spreads, there it is impossible for the deluded to mislead, or the deluded to follow. It opens a new path, a forgotten philosophy which has lived through the ages, a knowledge of the psychic nature of man, which reveals alike the true status of the Catholic saint, and the spiritualistic medium the Church condemns. It gathers reformers together, throws light on their way, and teaches them how to work towards a desirable end with most effect, but forbids any to assume a crown or sceptre, and no less delivers from a futile crown of thorns. Mesmerisms and astral influences fall back, and the sky grows clear enough for higher light. It hushes the "Lo here! and lo there!" and declares the Christ, like the kingdom of heaven, to be within. It guards and applies every aspiration and capacity to serve humanity in any man, and shows him how. It overthrows the giddy pedestal, and safely cares for the human being on solid ground. Hence, in this way, and in all other ways, it is the truest deliverer and saviour of our time.

To enumerate the various "Messiahs" and their beliefs and works would fill volumes. It is needless. When claims conflict, all, on the face of it, cannot be true. Some have taught less error than others. It is almost the only distinction. And some have had fine powers imperilled and paralyzed by leadings they did not understand.

Of one thing, rationally-minded people, apart from Theosophists, may be sure. And that is, service for humanity is its all-sufficient reward: and that empty jars are the most resonant of sound. To know a very little of the philosophy of life, of man's power to redeem wrongs and to teach others, to perceive how to thread the tangled maze of existence on this globe, and to accomplish aught of lasting and spiritual benefit, is to annihilate all desire or thought of posing as a heaven-sent saviour of the people. For a very little self-knowledge is a leveler indeed, and more democratic than the most ultra-radical can desire. The best practical reformers of the outside abuses we have known, such as slavery, deprivation of the rights of woman, legal tyrannies, oppressions of the poor, have never dreamed of [8] posing as Messiahs. Honor, worthless as it is, followed them unsought, for a tree is known by its fruits and to this day "their works do follow them". To the soul spending itself for others those grand words of the poet may be addressed evermore:

"Take comfort - thou hast left behind
Powers that will work for thee; air, earth, and skies;
There's not a breathing of the common wind
That will forget thee - thou has great allies;
Thy friends are exaltations, agonies,
And love, and man's unconquerable mind!"

With the advent of Theosophy, the Messiah-craze surely has had its day, and sees its doom. For if it teaches, or has taught, one thing more plainly than another, it is that the "first shall be last, and the last first". And in the face of genuine spiritual growth, and true illumination, the Theosophist grows in power to most truly befriend and help his fellows, while he becomes the most humble, the most silent, the most guarded of men.

Saviours to their race, in a sense, have lived and will live. Rarely has one been known. Rare has been the occasion when thus to be known has been either expedient or possible. Therefore, fools alone will rush in "where angels fear to tread". - Spectator.


"If atomic weapons, or others of parallel destruction, were used against the United States or our allies, we would be justified in using them ourselves, said fourteen members of a commission of sixteen appointed by the Federal Council of the Churches to consider The Christian Conscience and Weapons of Mass Destruction. 'We believe that American military strength, which must include atomic weapons as long as any other nation may possess them, is an essential factor in the possibility of preventing world war and tyranny ... If atomic weapons or other weapons of parallel destruction are used against us or our friends in Europe or Asia, we believe that it could be justifiable for our government to use them in retaliation with all possible restraint.' While endorsing other parts of the report, Dr. Robert L. Calhoun of Yale and Dr. Georgia Harkness of Garrett Biblical Institute, both F.O.R. members, dissented from the above expression of opinion. 'The ruling assumption throughout,' said Dr. Calhoun in his statement, 'is that if we are attacked, we must do whatever is needed to win. This perspective may be defended on political and cultural grounds. It can scarcely be regarded as distinctive Christian. Still less is it ecumenical.' " (F.O.R. Fellowship, Jan., 1951, p. 24.)

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
"But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also ...
"Ye have heard that it bath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, 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 ...
"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." (St. Matthew 5:38-39; 43-44; 7:12.)

Verily, Christianity and Churchianity are for ever irreconcilable! [9]


I. H.

At three o'clock on the morning of November 25, 1950, I awoke from a vivid dream. Upon arising later and recounting the dream to my wife, she urged me to write it down, for sometimes we glimpse reality and come closest to truth when the mind is free from self-consciousness and can range untrammeled the dream-world. So here is the dream:

I was addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations, representing no country, no ideology, no special interest. I was quite unknown and unheralded. It was not even revealed to me in the dream how I happened to be there. But the Assembly was listening. This seemed quite natural, for I was uttering universal truths that appeal to the spirit of men - of all men, by virtue of their very humanhood.

I asked them to forget their differences, however real these might seem in their lower separative aspects, and to rise in thought to the level of their spiritual unity, where, as thinking, aspiring human beings, we are all one. Whatever their human failings and failures, whether as individuals or as national units, the fact that they were members of the United Nations' General Assembly suggested that they all aspire to improve the condition of their fellowmen and to bring about peace and make it last.

The words I used were clearly in mind when I awoke:

"Every responsible human being, as well as every national group, respects high and humanitarian purposes, because every thinking man realizes instinctively, intuitively, that idealism and high purposes are the inalienable heritage of every human being. Idealism and high purposes are likewise the most enduring foundation on which to erect a successful world-order. Let this spirit embody or re-embody itself in the deliberations of the United Nations, and ways and means of formulating it into effective procedure and functioning can be arrived at to the satisfaction of all. Dr. Ralph Bunche has recently demonstrated this to the world.

"Unless such a spirit of idealists and high purposes is invoked and reinvoked in the councils of the United Nations, the aggregate of Mr. Hydes into which normal Dr. Jekylls can so easily degenerate may cause the United Nations to founder on the rocks of utter cynicism and, thus deprive mankind of its greatest present hope.

"Delegates who represent millions of Christians might reread with profit the Master's words in the Sermon on the Mount. Those who have drawn inspiration from the Light of Asia will recall the teaching of the Lord Buddha: 'Hatred ceaseth never by hatred; hatred ceaseth only by love.' Let the people of China, where the flower of civilization bloomed so many centuries ago, hearken once again to their Old Philosopher, Lao-Tze, who is reputed to have lived and taught the Way even before Confucius: 'The greatest conquerors are those who overcome their enemies without strife ... This is being the compeer of Heaven. It was the highest goal of the ancients.' To Hindu, Mohammedan, Jew, Parsee, and what not, I would say: 'Look each to your own sacred scriptures. Therein you will find one doctrine common to them all - the Golden Rule, expressed in different words, but identical in spirit with that found in the Christian Gospels.

"The spirit in man which has time and time again evoked national heroes to rise and overthrow systems and rulers who have oppressed and exploited instead of serving their people - this immortal spirit in man will eventually rise again wherever the need is greatest and reassert its right to freedom of thought and freedom from idolatry of persons and power.

"Does this mean that delegates to the United Nations should have their heads so much in the clouds of lofty idealism that they fail to keep their feet on the solid earth of realism? By no means. [10] Even a Gandhi must have realized that, though might never makes right, might most assuredly can often prevent a wrong. Such might the United Nations must have. I am convinced that all the delegates present will be willing to give the United Nations that power, once they recognize the soundness of the principles I am trying to set forth. Where there is the will to understanding and peace, conflicting interests can always be reconciled.

"As my professor of literature once remarked, 'In the card-game of the universe, love is the ace of trumps.' The greatest minds of recorded history, the noblest spiritual teachers, have concurred. They have captured the hearts of generations after generations in all lands, and helped to make and preserve what is most humanly worthwhile in civilization. Why not play this ace of trumps in the greatest stake offered us today: the rebirth of civilization and brotherhood and sanity in a distraught world?"


H. P. BLAVATSKY Collected Writings
For the Year 1883.
Published by the PHILOSOPHICAL RESEARCH SOCIETY, INC. Los Angeles, California.

Initial volume of a uniform American Edition of H.P. Blavatsky's entire literary work, to consist of a considerable number of volumes. Highly important and profound teachings from the store-house of the Trans-Himalayan Esoteric Knowledge, some of them written down by H.P. Blavatsky from the direct dictation of her own Teacher, and other Adepts of the Occult Brotherhood.

This Edition is a LIMITED one. A large part of it has already been sold by means of advance orders. An early order is advisable, to insure securing a copy before the edition is exhausted.
448 pages. Illustrations. Bibliography. Copious Index.
PRICE: $6.00.
(Add 15 cents for postage. Californians add 3% sales tax) Order from:
136 North Catalina Street, Los Angeles 4, California.
(Make checks or money-orders payable to "Theosophia".) [11]


Ruth Pratt

It may be that there are gods who walk upon the earth, who wear a fleshly habit and who mingle in and influence the affairs of men. But it is to be doubted that any of them sit upon thrones or exalted seats. More likely, these servants of the divine would be discovered working next to a ditch digger, or being companions to a worker in the fields, in obscurity lifting the hearts and aspirations of those who are oppressed, who are friendless or lack courage to look higher.

The dais is reserved for the man who is too great to be a god! The first gift that must be accepted to gain the first degree of individual exaltation, the first right to serve God and the divine dominions, is humility. Humility is not cowardice or lack of self-confidence. On the contrary, humility is a high and acute awareness of order and self-purpose. It is to know that the most highly developed and co-ordinated abilities of an individual are adequate to assist the progression of only an infinitesimal part of the divine plan. The humble man sees "through" his eyes not "with" them!

Higher sensitivity, more daring imagination, keener observation and the ability to translate the invisible into form are not "special" gifts bestowed upon the favorites of heaven. They are abilities slowly earned that individuals may more easily study and more accurately learn the divine rhetoric.

Neither the artist nor the scientist is dedicated to the discovery of the errors of creation. Taking the Divine to task, whether it be the Divine in space or the Divine in man, is a thankless and unrewarding work.

Neither the artist nor the scientist criticizes creation. They are grateful for the privilege of discovery. Their gratitude speaks through their works and says, "all things are true, though faintly understood."

The individual who, through the use of logic, attempts to convince humanity that the universe is an enemy and that individual preservation lies solely in the development of all faculties for self-power, is deluding himself. He may succeed in convincing a few followers who, like himself, are seriously lacking in self-confidence. The followers of this type of leader give him the needed support for his cowering ego. Their faith in him gives him the confidence which his own lack of faith has denied him.

True leaders seldom display power. They are rarely accompanied by visible bodyguards and are never surrounded with pomp.

No person, however influential, is to be condemned for lack of awareness of Divine purpose. All wrong or selfish concepts will eventually be outgrown. But those individuals seeking help and direction, who are attracted to such a leader, may be seriously misled and delayed in their progression.

They who seek to understand the divine truths and beauties should hearken to the artists and scientists. The true artist is attuned to divine teaching and transmits much that is disclosed to him into his art forms. The true and dedicated scientist is lovingly intent upon the discovery of nature's mathematics and the fundamental patterns of creation. His records of discoveries will show an emphasis upon the rightness and regularity of nature.

Humanity ever walks the path of progression, and Divinity ever beckons. Some will permit the stumbling-block of arrogance and vanity to delay them, while others will walk the peaceful path of humility with growing awareness and more Divinely-given trust as their praise.

There are no thrones in heaven! [12]


A Theosophical discussion
[In the following transcript of a discussion-group for young people, the colloquial style has been preserved without undue editorial changes.]

W.H.J.: Is not the ethical aspect of Theosophy much more important than the intellectual? Could you enlarge on what has already been said on this subject?

B. de Z.: It is imperative to recognize that the Ancient Wisdom is primarily an ethical system. It is above everything else a system of cause and effect, of mutual interrelation of everything there is in the Universe, on an ethical basis. I mean the word "ethics" not as synonymous with morals. That is a man-made word which varies with the centuries and the races. But there are primary ethical values in the Universe which do not vary.

From all the study of Theosophy it appears to what an enormous extent that system is one based on primary essential ethical values.

There is a thing that happens to practically every one who engages rather seriously in the study of Theosophy. It may not happen to a beginner, but it happens to one who is trying to study it in a serious manner. He is driven sooner or later to self-exploration. He begins to face himself. He begins to undertake almost unaware, and almost against his judgment, above and beyond mere reason, a trip of self-exploration. It is remarkable how many things we can find about ourselves, against the background of these teachings, of which we have never been conscious at all.

The peculiar moods, the opposite forces at work within ourselves, the conflict of our own views and opinions, the conflict in our motives, the strange discontinuity of one part of us from another part. The moment you begin to be interested along spiritual lines - genuine spiritual lines - you become more and more aware of the fact that you, the human being, are not a unitary thing, but several things together. While one entity or creature or being thinks one way, and feels one way, another one within yourself, practically at the same time, thinks and feels differently. There may be a third, and fourth, and fifth, whose tendencies are different from the others. In the midst of these variations, these varied tendencies, attractions and repulsions, there is sitting something that you can call "you," or "I," appraising the situation. Not constantly so, but once in a while. You often wonder which one of these tendencies is the right and which one is the wrong one. One of the basic teachings of Theosophy is the teaching of the composite nature of man.

Man is a composite entity, and we cannot repeat it too often. Man is a name for an aggregate, a composite pattern, a whole hierarchy of conscious and semi-conscious levels, actual entities working together or at cross-purposes with each other, within a composite structure which we call a human being, Man with a capital "M."

One of the first lessons which comes to students of the ancient wisdom is the lesson of human duality. Two aspects, to put it simply. You become aware sooner or later that there is inside of you a tempter and an inspirer. A tempting element and an inspiring element. Something that pulls you down from your standards, and something that pulls you up to your higher standards. If you follow the one, you fall below what you think to be your standard; if you follow the other, you go above what you thought was possible. And you feel proud and contented that you registered a step ahead.

And this lesson is very important to learn; very important indeed. As long as human consciousness identifies itself with the lower desires, the lower material life, it does not recognize that duality. But when you can step aside and behold the conflict, you do not identify [13] yourself too closely with either side, and behold what is taking place within you. Self-study is the key to the greater understanding of oneself, and of course the understanding of everything else that is. It is impossible to understand anything unless you have understood yourself. When you have understood the interplay of the various forces within you, you have understood the play of the same forces throughout the Universe.

L.S.: The study of the Ancient Wisdom often seems to intensify the inner conflict.

B. de Z.: There is dawning a realization upon us as students, when we have understood that existing duality in man, that we are almost continuously in a conflict, during which we do a great many things that our reason tells us not to do, or would tell us not to do, if we were to listen to it. On the other hand, we feel a great many urges for beautiful and fine things which we never do. We do a great many things which we know ahead of time are not ethically correct, and we abstain from doing a great many things which we know to be the very ones which would make us respected and loved and looked up to. And we are tossed amidst a multiplicity of desires towards the accomplishment of which we are driven by this, that, and the other temptation. These vary according to the nature of our character. Some things are no temptation to me at all, but are to you. Some things are no temptation to you, but they are to me. They vary according to our character.

And then there are some other things which happen gradually, as we study these teachings, they open before our mind's eye new opportunities of growth and widen our consciousness. They broaden our understanding, because we begin to correlate what we have already known, to other things which we are just about to learn. We are expanding the sphere and conditions of thought and higher emotions. All this brings into play a great many latent seeds from former lives; they sprout, as it were, under the challenge that we have made within ourselves; the student begins to run into strange and interesting circumstances of a new kind in his life, of which he had not dreamt before, and which are sometimes quite perplexing. Serious study and desire to understand, and to change and improve oneself spiritually - these things bring about strange circumstances in your life which work as tests. Don't imagine that there is somebody somewhere testing you. That is not the idea. You test yourself. You throw out from your inner nature latent seeds from other lives. These are the tests wherein your will, your understanding, and your ethical values of character are tested and tried by yourself. The inner man testing the lower man.

H.T.: Could you mention an example or two of such circumstances?

B. de Z.: I know for instance circumstances whereby students have registered within themselves a very strong desire to exemplify in their life honesty. May be in business matters. They have been almost immediately confronted with circumstances where they had every opportunity given them either to steal or "pull a fast deal," or to be sharp in some business, or to hide away the real state of affairs in a business wherein they were responsible to someone else, which is simply the natural result of the challenge they had made. Maybe in some other set of circumstances you had decided that you were going to watch your words - watch the working of various quirks of your brain-mind, in the way it loves to swerve or twist things. This was followed by a strong desire, and plenty of opportunity seemingly coming from outside people, to tell a lie and to twist the truth for reasons that appeared very good indeed. There are many circumstances of the same kind involving ethics on any plane, from sex to the more subtle personality neuroses or complexes. Dissolve those knots of personality which we have tied [13] in former lives, and in this one; a knot of dishonesty; a knot of selfish pride, or of this, that, and another tendency. They are like knots that have to be either untied or cut through, to achieve liberation. And we all have these qualities. There is not a human being who does not have these things, short of highly spiritual people, who have not become what they are in one life alone, and who are the product of long lives of self-directed evolution. They have worked on themselves so that today they are free from these knots.

Another thing that is going to happen to a serious student is that he is going to run every now and then into a set of circumstances which are very unpleasant and which will try and test his fibre. Particularly in the case of a student who is desirous of learning self-consciously what he is actually made of, and to grow, not in an unconscious way, but in a scientific way, spiritually - not floating about, but moving ahead knowingly. If you carefully analyze this situation, you will find that the key to an enlargement of consciousness lies usually in the direction of control of desires. Now thereby hangs a long, long tale. Some people desire one type of things, and others desire something entirely different. Some have desires along low and gross emotional lines. Other people's desires are selfish intellectual desires. Others have psychic desires. And other people again have desires for selfish spiritual growth for themselves alone. There is a whole gamut. By desire I do not mean necessarily anything low. I mean a self-centered wish or longing to have or hold or to become something for yourself alone, to the exclusion of others. And I might add that a student can outgrow a great many objects of desire, and not outgrow desire itself. That is one of the most subtle stages - although a more advanced one - wherein the student feels an intense desire, but he does not know for what. It is an exceedingly dangerous stage. Desire usually has a purpose of acquiring this, that and the other. When that stage has been outgrown, there still remains the stage of desire, with no particular purpose. It is just as consuming as any other, even more so. It is like having a fever without any particular disease. If any one of us wants to know how far he has progressed along the line of evolution, let him look at his desires: how easy or difficult is it for us to meet any given temptation. You might almost define purity - inner purity of heart - as "the power to look with unmoved heart upon temptation." The mistake is commonly made of thinking that temptations arise from outside, that it is something coming at you, and that you have to face it. That is a sheer illusion. Anything that comes at you is simply a reflection of what you have within yourself at any time. Temptations arise from unsatisfied desires within our own heart - whether we know them consciously or not. Sometimes outer conditions bring us face to face with ourselves so that we know what unsatisfied desires we have. Temptations are rooted in the unsatisfied desires of the lower human element. I do not mean that all desires are evil. They are not. I have spoken primarily of desires with selfish tendencies. Owing to the poverty of the English language, one has to apply the same term "desire" when speaking of many different types of desire. They should be called by some other word, but we do not have any adequate word for this.


Heaven consists in desiring from the heart the good of others more than one's own, and in serving others with a view to their happiness; not with recompense as an end, but from love. The God in you is greater than all your difficulties. - Swedenborg. [15]


E. Hoffman Price

Upon joining the Theosophical Society, I put my membership in with that lodge, 2400 miles away, through which I first made contact. Circumstances meanwhile have kept me from taking the 30 mile drive to the San Francisco lodge. So, I have developed Theosophy on the Hoof.

A pair of teenagers heard me put the words karma and reincarnation into play. Betty was going to Mills College. Harvey, to San Jose State. They had minds I envied. And also, regretted for the time! Every lapse into lodge jargon, the kind that lodge goers use so casually, was followed by the demand that I define my terms. They were intensely interested - so much so that they wanted to make sure they knew what I was talking about. Well, now, I sweated my way through one of the most brutal three hours I can remember. My task was being sure that I knew what I was talking about! I had to cut loose from background jargon and build a clear picture of each concept. Try that some time.

Betty wrote a theme on "Karma" for Freshman English, and got an "A". Her great reward was that the instructor's comment on the margin displayed shocking ignorance of what was now to Betty a most elementary subject. The two youngsters have been married now for a couple of years, and we have gone a long way from basic definitions. Both, just for the record, are Roman Catholic. At our last session, my ordeal was to give the Theosophical-esoteric interpretation of half a dozen of the basic R.C. dogmas.

Then there was the Diesel mechanic I coached in trigonometry. Astrology fascinates virtually everyone, even the sceptics. So, after the sines and cosines had been disciplined, I would chat with him and his wife, discussing his horoscope and the fine potentialities he had. Karma and reincarnation, again: the "why" of astrology makes these crop up. He had skimped his way through high school, and belatedly, was rounding out his education. So, simple language was in order. Theosophy in truck drivers' and mechanics' language appealed to him - and, to her.

A year later, my phone rang at 5:00 A.M. His wife was calling, to tell me she had been a widow for a few hours, since his death on a construction job, 200 miles from home. En route to make funeral arrangements, she asked me those questions which I believe every newly made widow has asked since the very first of all widows wondered why it had to happen to her. Theosophy on the Hoof paid dividends, that dreadful day. The event was easier to face. And without resentment. And without despair.

"Think never there was a time when you, and I, and all these kings of men were not ..." The quote was mangled then as now, but Sri Krishna's words had meaning that day: because the preparation had been non-academic, non-dogmatic, un-technical, so that the two listened with eager interest.

My astrological clients - much or most of my practice is on a non-profit basis - are rebellious, self-sympathetic, frustrated, or else grimly groping in circles, futilely self-reliant. I skip fohat, prana, rounds and root races, and give them Theosophy for Truck Drivers. The other night, I was the speaker at a Tri-Hi-Y Club, a group of high school girls. My "act" is to delineate two horoscopes of members whose identities are unknown to any but the committee, and to describe them until their fellow members recognize them. After the business meeting, half a dozen crowded around for more. One persistent young lady wangled herself an impromptu horoscope, calculated then and there. She also got a dissertation, in terms of her own problems, on the "vehicles": you are not your body, you are not your emotions, you are not your mind. The old, old simple stuff, in homely terms.

Inevitably, the lodge-going Theosophist is somewhat like those aristocrats of Boston, of whom it has been said, [16] "The Lowells speak but to the Cabots, and the Cabots speak only to God." Not from snobbishness, I am sure, but simply because others could not understand.

True, I miss all the fine benefits of lodge association. I have become so illiterate, Theosophically, that when the president mails me a lesson sheet, I have a skull cracking time with it. But I have had a lot of fun with Theosophy on the Hoof. There are hundreds of "untagged Theosophists" - Theosophists at heart, yet not academically minded, and, not joiners. Not that it makes any difference, but at times I fancy that when three or four of such gather, though in entire ignorance of the Masters, there is nonetheless a center of force set up. A very feeble little center - but nothing is ever wasted.

Lodge association is grand, because one meets people who "speak one's own language." Yet meeting people who do NOT speak one's language can be exceedingly rich. You, isolated ones, try it consciously, persistently, studiedly! You won't be jeered at as a crackpot. You will be welcomed as a pleasant variant from standard conversationalists.


(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.