A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume VIII
No. 5 (47) - January-February 1952

[Cover photo: Winter in the Alps near Garmisch, Germany. (Photo by Eugen Dod.)]


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.

Subscription: $1.50 a year (six issues); single copy 25 cents. Send all subscriptions, renewals and correspondence to: 136 North Catalina Street, Los Angeles 4, 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.



"... The time has come when the veil of illusion is to be pulled aside entirely, not merely playfully, as hitherto done. For if mere members of the theosophical body have nothing to risk, except, perhaps, an occasional friendly stare and laugh at those who, without any special necessity, as believed, pollute the immaculate whiteness of their respectable society skirts by joining an unpopular movement, real theosophists ought to look truth and fact right in the face. To become a true theosophist - i.e., one thoroughly imbued with altruistic feelings, with a willingness to forget self, and readiness to help his neighbour to carry the burden of life - is to become instantaneously transformed into a public target. It is to make oneself a ready thing for heavy 'Mrs. Grundy' to sit upon: to become the object of ridicule, slander, and vilification, which will not stop even before an occasional criminal charge. For some theosophists, every move in the true theosophical direction, is a forlorn-hope enterprise. All this notwithstanding, the ranks of the 'unpopular' society are steadily, if slowly increasing.

"For what does slander and ridicule really matter? When have fools ever been slandered, or rich and influential men and women ostracised, however black and soiled in their hearts, or in their secret lives? Who ever heard of a Reformer's or an orator's course of life running smooth? Who of them escaped from being pelted with dirt by his enemies?" - H.P. Blavatsky, Lucifer, Vol. I, Sept., 1887, pp. 71-72.


"As mankind multiplies, and with it suffering - which is the natural result of an increasing number of units that generate it - sorrow and pain are intensified. We live in an atmosphere of gloom and despair, but this is because our eyes are downcast and riveted to the earth, with all its physical and grossly material manifestations. If, instead of that, man proceeding on his life-journey looked - not heavenward, which is but a figure of speech - but within himself and centered his point of observation on the inner man, he would soon escape from the coils of the great serpent of illusion. From the cradle to the grave, his life would then become supportable and worth living, even in its worst phases." - H.P. Blavatsky, Lucifer, Vol. 1, Oct., 1887, p. 113. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

As the murky clouds of selfish materialism and psychic intoxication thicken over the face of the earth, in this our twentieth century of vaunted civilization, one paramount question is being raised in thoughtful minds: What is the way out of the present moral stagnation and bewildering confusion of ideas?

Some resort to scientific progress and greater discoveries. Others find seeming solutions in new political theories. Still others assert that only by means of economic re-adjustments can lasting improvement come to this suffering world. Pure theorists as well as so-called "practical" men, each imbued with his own idea, hustle around, pushing for all it is worth this, that, or another little scheme, all of which are usually unrelated to the schemes and ideas of others.

The one fundamental solution is overlooked. Few voice it, and fewer yet attempt to put it into operation.

That fundamental solution consists in a basic change of mind and heart. A revolution indeed, but one wholly within the realm of human consciousness and not to be appraised in terms of external violence or bloodshed.

The imperative need of the day resides in a change of human values, and an equally fundamental change of man's relation to life. The mad hunt for possessions, money, honor, comfort, power and security must be sooner or later understood for what it actually is - a hunt for psychological illusions and evanescent shadows upon a distant screen, without any lasting reality.

The bane of our century is the exaggerated significance which we have allowed ourselves to attach to things of matter, and the ease with which we have permitted ourselves to ignore or even deny the intrinsic worth of things pertaining to consciousness - ethical integrity, honesty, justice, fair-play, fearlessness, emotional stability, mental creativeness, and spiritual stamina. Without these, life has no meaning. Without these, civilization is but an empty shell, a whited sepulcher hiding in its recesses the bones of our corruption, and the decrepitude of our wasted lives.

Many are the noble characters on the world's stage, some of them in high and trusted positions in the Halls of the People, who are trying their level best to infuse at least some degree of coherence and order into human relations, nationally and internationally; but their efforts are limited, in most cases, to the outward affairs of men, to the form-aspect of human social structures and the outer moulds in which human consciousness - the key to the situation - functions and manifests. They cannot change the workings of human consciousness, short of sponsoring and promoting ideas and ideals - aye, even structural forms and vehicles - directly connected and concerned with a change in direction of human minds and hearts. The very dead weight of the institutional forms through and by means of which they work, prevent them from ever striking the basic chord of ethical and moral rejuvenation.

The harassing problems of the nations, the seemingly impassable barriers arising between them, the endless streams of vehement talk, and the emotional outbursts of hatred or fear - all of these can be solved by a sincere application of spiritual and ethical formulae embodied in precepts of conduct known for ages past, and as valid and workable today as they ever were.

It is most probable, however, that before this change can take place, we will have to witness a wide-spread movement among the people, directed towards a rebirth of a genuinely religious attitude to life. Such a movement may already be in the making, for all that some people may think. In some parts of the world, it may be already acquiring a certain momentum, but largely unexpressed and restricted as [4] yet to the undercurrents of the human soul - those un-assailable and for ever mysterious depths of human consciousness which remain outside the jurisdiction of Parliaments, Dictators, or detention-camps alike.

We have said "genuinely religious." We do not have in mind anything even remotely akin to organized religion which has been for centuries past the opiate of the people, and the one basic worldly power which has prevented them from arising in their spiritual strength.

We mean the re-birth of the spiritual powers within the human breast. The voice of the devotional, aspiring, meditative and intuitional aspect of human consciousness, when heard in the halls and corridors of the human mind and heart, above the din of the emotional struggles and the uproar of our mental contortions and perplexities.

The student of the Ancient Wisdom is looking forward to a re-birth of the innate Ethical sense of men, a return to the simple formulae of decent and upstanding living. The precepts of the Sermon on the Mount are not dead, nor are they out-dated. They are simply ignored, which does not take away one iota from their intrinsic worth.

If it were possible to introduce into the United Nations Councils, and other Parliamentary bodies, representatives, statesmen or plenipotentiaries whose sole and unique business would be to sponsor the suggestions, precepts and injunctions of their own Government - the Spiritual Government of the World of Ideas - and to represent exclusively and whole-heartedly the will of their constituents - the aspiring, seeking, spiritually-motivated souls of men, and if it became possible for their voices to be heard, listened to, and considered on the agenda of the sessions, the overwhelming majority of seemingly unsolvable problems would vanish into thin air, under the impact of a few simple truths. There exists no psychological or intellectual or even physical problem in the world but cannot be solved in an atmosphere of cordial mutual sympathy, or a desire to under stand each other, and to sacrifice small whims in order to achieve greater ends of mutual benefit.

Short of this spiritual-ethical change of human minds and hearts, our heated deliberations will at best remain fruitless, and at worst provoke further bloody conflicts and mental despair.

The chief obstacle to our mutual understanding and fraternal good-will lies in our worldly possessions, in the power we enjoy over others, and in the power which we hope to achieve by the accumulation of greater wealth and larger possessions.

There is coming a time in the affairs of men when it will be realized that no lasting peace can ever be attained among the peoples of the earth on the shifting foundation of raw materials, exports and imports, war potentials, industrial ability, racial discriminations, balance of power or natural resources.

When this realization dawns upon both great and small, and when the limited viewpoint gives way to the greater viewpoint of spiritual and ethical values, we will have hurdled the chief obstacle to lasting peace. We will have to learn that possessions are of no avail unless used for lofty and generous ends. We will have to learn that power is a self-defeating element unless used to defend right and subdue evil-doing. We will have to learn that material possessions, no matter which nation may be thought of, are like nothing when compared with ethical valor, justice, honor, equity, moral stamina and intellectual strength, aimed at achieving lofty objectives by means wholly honest and true. We will have to come to the realization that no nation in the world is greater or smaller than any other, and that no human being, as a unit, is of greater or lesser intrinsic worth than any other unit, differing though they may be in the status of their individual evolutionary development. We will have to come to a burning conviction within the forum of our own conscience that no international or national or individual relations, whether on the stage [5] of the world or on your neighboring street, is worth a "hoot" unless based on willing mutual sacrifice, collaboration, sympathetic understanding of the needs of others, and a thorough-going recognition of the fundamental oneness of all men.

May the year 1952 bring us closer to this inevitable realization, and may we approach the precincts of this clearer knowledge by roads of peaceful striving, reasonable discussion, self-control and mutual good-will.


H.P. Blavatsky
(Concluded from last issue.)

[Readers are referred to the previous issue of Theosophia, November-December, 1951, for our Editorial Note appended to the first installment of the present essay, wherein certain doubts were expressed as to the authorship of it. This essay originally appeared in Lucifer, London, Vol. I, December, 1887, and January, 1888. It was signed "Pilgrim." - Editor]

The Religionist, of course, denies that man can become a god or ever realize in himself the attributes of Deity. He may recognize the necessity of reincarnation for ordinary worldly men, and even for those who are not constant in their detachment and devotion, but he denies the necessity for that series of trials and initiations which must cover, at all events, more than one life-time - probably many. It would appear as if the theory of evolution might be called in, to aid this latter view. If it is acknowledged that we, as individuals, have been for ever whirling on the wheel of conditioned existence; if at the beginning of each manwantara the divine monad which through the beginningless past has inhabited in succession the vegetable, animal, and human forms, takes to itself a house of flesh in exact accordance with previous Karma, it will be seen that (while inhabiting a human body) during no moment in the past eternity have we been nearer the attainment of Nirvana than at any other. If then there is no thinkable connection between evolution and Nirvana, to imagine that evolution, through stages of Adeptship, conducts to Nirvana, is a delusion. "It is purely a question of divine grace" - says the Religionist. If in answer to this view, it is contended that the light of the Logos is bound, eventually, to reach and enlighten every individual, and that the steady progress to perfection through Chelaship and Adeptship would, therefore, be a logical conclusion, it is objected that to assert that the light of the Logos must eventually reach and enlighten all, would involve the ultimate extinction of the objective Universe, which is admitted to be without beginning or end, although it passes through alternate periods of manifestation and non-manifestation. If to escape from this untenable position we postulate fresh emanations of Deity into the lowest organisms at the beginning of each manwantara, to take the place of those who pass away into Nirvana, we are met by other difficulties. Firstly, putting out of consideration the fact that such a supposition is expressly denied by what is acknowledged as revelation, the projection into the evolutionary process of a monad free from all Karma, makes the law of Karma inoperative, for the monad's first association with Karma remains unexplained; and also it becomes impossible to say what the monad was, and what was the mode of its being prior to the projection into evolution. It must be noted that although the law of Karma does not explain why we are, yet it satisfactorily shows how we are what we are; and this is the raison d'etre of the law. But the above theory takes away its occupation. It makes Karma and the monad independent realities, joined together by the creative energy of the Deity, while Karma ought to be regarded as a mode of existence of the monad - which mode ceases to be when another mode, called liberation, takes its place. Secondly, if the monad in attaining liberation only attains to what it was before its [6] association with Karma, a quoi bon the whole process; while, if it is stated that the monad was altogether non-existent before its projection, the Deity becomes responsible for all our sufferings and sins, and we fall into either the Calvinist doctrine of predestination as popularly conceived, or into the still more blasphemous doctrine of the worshipers of Ahriman, besides incurring many logical difficulties. The teaching of our eastern philosophers is that the real interior nature of the monad is the same as the real interior essence of the Godhead, but from beginningless past time it has a transitory nature, considered illusive, and the mode in which this illusion works is known by the name of Karma.

But were we not led astray in the first instance? Ought we not have acquiesced in the first above given definition of the theory of evolution? The premise was satisfactory enough - the mistake was in allowing the religionist's deduction as a logical necessity. When the religionist states that there is no thinkable connection between evolution and Nirvana, he merely postulates for the word evolution a more limited scope than that which the Occultist attaches to it, viz., the development of soul as well as that of mere form. He is indeed right in stating that the natural man, while he remains such, will never attain the ultimate goal of Being. True it is, for the Occultist as for the religionist, that, to free himself from the fatal circle of rebirths, he must "burst the shell which holds him in darkness - tear the veil that hides him from the eternal." The religionist may call this the act of divine grace; but it may be quite as correctly described as the "awakening of the slumbering God within." But the error of the religionist is surely in mistaking the first glimmer of the divine consciousness for a guarantee of final emancipation, at, say, the next death of the body, instead of merely the first step of a probationary stage in the long vista of work for Humanity on the higher planes of Being!

To provide ourselves with an analogy from the very theory of Evolution which we have been discussing, is it not more logical to imagine that, in the same way in which we see stretched at our feet the infinite gradations of existence, through the lower animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms - between which indeed, thanks to the recent investigations of scientific men - there is no longer recognized to be any distinct line of demarcation - so the heights (necessarily hidden from our view) which still remain to be scaled by us in our upward progress to Divinity, should be similarly filled with the gradations of the unseen hierarchy of Being? And that, as we have evolved during millions of centuries of earth-life through these lower forms up to the position we now occupy, so may we, if we choose, start on a new and better road of progress, apart from the ordinary evolution of Humanity, but in which there must also be innumerable grades?

That there will be progress for Humanity as a whole, in the direction of greater spirituality, there is no doubt, but that progress will be partaken of by continually decreasing numbers. Whether the weeding out takes place at the middle of the "great fifth round," or whether it be continually taking place during the evolutionary process, a ray of light is here thrown on the statement met with in all the Bibles of Humanity as to the great difficulty of the attainment. "For straight is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth unto destruction, and many there be that go in thereat." This and parallel passages doubtless refer to the weeding out of those who are unfit to continue the progress, on which the more spiritualized Humanity will then have entered. The most vivid picture of the comparative handful of elect souls, who are fit to achieve the great quest, will be obtained by contemplating the fact already stated, that the objective universe, with its myriads of inhabitants, will never, in the vast abysses of the future, cease to be; and that the great majority of humanity - [7] the millions of millions - will thus for ever whirl on the wheel of birth and death.

But though Nature may give us an almost infinite number of chances to attempt the great quest, it were madness to put by the chance offered now, and allow the old sense-attractions to regain their dominance, for it must be remembered that the barbarism and anarchy which every civilization must eventually lapse into, are periods of spiritual deadness, and that it is when "the flower of civilization has blown to its full, and when its petals are but slackly held together," that the goad within men causes them to lift their eyes to the sunlit mountains, and "to recognize in the bewildering glitter the outlines of the Gates of Gold." There are no doubt realms in the Devaloka where the bliss of heaven may be realised by those who aspire to the selfish rewards of personal satisfaction, but these cease to exist with the end of the manwantara, and with the beginning of the next the devotee will again have to endure incarceration in flesh. The eighth chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita does indeed state that there is a path to Nirvana through the Devaloka, and amongst the countless possibilities of the Infinite who shall assert that this is not so? But the context surely implies such a detachment and devotion through life as is difficult for us even to contemplate, much less to realize.

However distant, therefore, may appear to us the achievement of the great quest, when we consider how much more closely we are allied to the animal than to the God, it must necessarily seem an infinitely far-off goal, but though we may have to pass through many life-times before we reach it, our most earnest prayer should be, that we may never lose sight of the celestial goal, for surely it is the one thing worthy of achievement!

To many the foregoing may appear as mere speculations, and the firmest faith indeed can scarcely call itself knowledge, but, however necessary the complete knowledge may be, we may at least hope that its partial possession is adequate to the requirements of the occasion. To us whose feet tread, often wearily, towards the path of the great quest, and whose eyes strain blindly through the mists that wrap us round, steady perseverance and omnipotent hope must be the watchwords - perseverance to struggle on, though the fiends of the lower self may make every step a battle, and hope that at any moment the entrance to the path may be found.

As an example of these two qualities, and also because all words that strike a high key are bound to awaken responsive echoes in noble hearts, let us conclude with the following extract from the Ramayana:

"Thus spoke Rama. Virtue is a service man owes himself, and though there were no heaven nor any God to rule the world, it were not less the binding law of life. It is man's privilege to know the right and follow it. Betray and persecute me brother men! Pour out your rage on me O malignant devils! Smile, or watch my agony in cold disdain ye blissful Gods! Earth, hell, heaven combine your might to crush me - I will still hold fast by this inheritance! My strength is nothing - time can shake and cripple it; my youth is transient - already grief has withered up my days; my heart - alas? It is well-nigh broken now. Anguish may crush it utterly, and life may fail; but even so my soul that has not tripped shall triumph, and dying, give the lie to soulless destiny that dares to boast itself man's master." - Pilgrim.


"I am a confirmed believer in blessings in disguise. I prefer them undisguised when I happen to be the person blessed. But the theory that blessings in disguise are constantly happening to other people I find consoling. It enables me to bear their troubles without feeling too miserable." - Robert Lynd, Essays on Life and Literature (Dutton-Dent). [8]


Beth McGuire

A man does not have one heart, but several. There is a heart of sentiment that an orator may tap when he wishes to move his audience to his way of thinking. With this heart we are not concerned. There are enough already forcing entrance into a man's integrity through this door without adding ourselves to the company. The heart we want to reach is that inner heart, where a man ponders - often unconsciously to himself - the ultimate questions of his existence and the meaning of his and all others' lives.

This is not the mind, but perhaps the higher faculties of the mind are a part of it. The intuitions are a part of it, and the aspirations to which all men are heir.

How can we reach to this? Certainly, the only way must be through consciously "reaching" a realization of our own true hearts. The persuasive tongue of the orator and the blacker arts of the hypnotist may cause men to follow where they lead, but instead of reaching the real man within, they simply paralyze the connecting link, and thus, in effect, cut off the inner self. Once a man has attuned his mind and personal nature to the behests of his inner heart, which we may call Buddhi-Manas, he will have attained a universal view. Personal ambitions and attractions will have lost their power to command his will, and all his force and energy will be expended in the great context of humanity. Only then will he be able to reach the heart of all he meets.

This sounds, perhaps, utopian, but it may not be. For do we not, imperfect as we now are, succeed in reaching what we think is the real in at least one other human being? It follows that if we can now do it with a few, we may - by larger development of our nature - gradually increase that number to infinity. What is it that enables us to feel so completely "at home" with certain individuals, to feel a closeness transcending all personal characteristics? Is it not that we meet them freely and without fear, with a harmlessness born of our own selfless regard for their welfare? This is what gives power to a mother's love for her child. The sense of kinship extinguishes to some extent, at least, concern with self. Self-interest is the fence over which we are accustomed to peer at our fellow men. The sage has removed this fence, and feels the same kinship with all men that we do with our closest friends.

As we stand now, a certain harmony of personality is usually required. We cannot as yet leap the hurdle of clashing temperaments to reach the real man who is always behind them. It is as if a raging ocean barred our way to the other shore. Remember the legend of the wise and pure man who calmed the waters and walked across them to the far side? Many would like to see proof that such a miraculous happening could take place, but have we not seen an analogous occurrence when a calm and disinterested person is able to penetrate another 's angry temper and reach his heart, bestowing on him the quieting gift of understanding?

What greater miracle could there be than a man's ability to contact another's heart across the barrier of a tempestuous mood? And yet it is not a miracle. It is only that the wise man does not feed that mood by his attention - whether outwardly or inwardly. His attention is focused (we may say, inevitably) on the real man. While noting appearances and surface storms, he attends to that which remains unmoved behind them, and to that he speaks, knowing it is akin to himself, since all men and creatures are but pulse beats of the one great universal Heart of Being. [9]


Harold W. Dempster

Man is in a state of ever becoming; therefore, his degree and quality of integration will be forever a relative thing.

A Standard Dictionary defines 'integrate' as follows: "To make into a whole," and "To become whole or complete."

A similar word that obviously comes from the same root is "integrity," which Confucius stressed so much as an essential and primary basis of being, as far as character is concerned. It is the word that we usually think of as meaning honesty. The same dictionary defines integrity as "the state of being entire; unimpaired; completeness; soundness", and morally it is said to be "uprightness of character and soundness of moral principle."

We see at once, that 'integrated' and 'integrity' are two dynamic words that have much to do with the type of civilization in which we may find ourselves incarnated. They are important words relating to the character of each individual as a person or the character of a family, an association of individuals, or a whole Nation.

Today, for example, by means of only a casual glance, we observe through the lack of honesty and the relative incompleteness of the world as a unit, a growing need for a greater degree of integration between Nations, organized and unorganized groups, and between one individual and another. This improvement can come about as the individual and the groups of individuals do something about trying to become more complete in thought, word and deed.

Now what is involved in this idea of trying to become integrated? How does one begin?

Step No. 1. Desire to become more complete in everything you undertake, no matter how menial or trivial the task may be. This also includes the attitude of your mind, the manner whereby you express yourself in words and action, as well as in the work or play you may be engaged in. The one who is interested in his work is usually a well integrated individual, and the enjoyment he derives from his work makes it a play, and he is therefore happy in the doing of it.

Step No. 2. The force of will must be brought into play and directed as the power that should be used ethically, to provide the energy needed to do the things your own common sense will point out to you as that which should be done.

Step No. 3. Develop an ever increasing degree of awareness of a spiritual character, a keen and penetrating observation, to see beneath the surface of things, an alertness to ideas and suggestions obtainable from others, especially from true Spiritual Teachers, and listen to or feel that inner knowing that can and should be drawn upon as needed.

Step No. 4. Cultivate an interest in noble, humanitarian causes, and show a sympathy for the individuals whose Karmic burdens are heavy. When the right opportunity presents itself, or is created by yourself, do something for them which you feel to be the help they need. To render service is one of the keys that opens the door to spiritual knowledge. Accept your responsibilities cheerfully! Do your duty with willingness. Be generous. Be kind, patient and understanding. Have a heart. Be humorous. Be human.

Step. No. 5 Learn and understand thoroughly that the Universe and Man are made up of seven basic principles, as follows:

1. The Divine
2. The Intuitive
3. The Mind - higher and lower
4. The Desires and Emotions
5. The Vitality
6. The Astral or Model
7. The Physical

To know these upside down and backwards, and to be able to correlate them, is to be possessed of the essential requirements that will open wide many [10] gateways to the development of a more integrated being.

Step No. 6. Be active, busy. Be keenly interested in life, beauty, cultural things, truth, and the fine art of turning Knowledge into Wisdom. Read, write and speak, develop latent talents and capabilities. Apply yourself. Be practical. Be idealistic. Dare to be different. Know how to keep silent. Smile; laugh more. Use balance, proportion. Have, and live by, a purpose; never give up trying; accept the difficult as an opportunity - a challenge that keeps life from becoming a monotonous humdrum existence. Be yourself. Study yourself. Think.

Step No. 7. That which runs through all the other steps, ties them together, as it were, and integrates them is: ethics. This is the earmark of an integrated being; his ethical characteristics. Without a sound philosophy of life, which comes from a study and application of the laws of the universe, no great degree of wholeness is likely to exist. Observe the world and man today. With the potential and actual connection that man has by reason of his present state of evolution, moral and mental, he now has the opportunity of ever becoming more whole, more integrated, as he grows and lives by what he knows to be good and wise for himself and for the Race as a whole.

The above points should not be looked upon as dogmatic assertions, because you yourself may have found many other points, that were just as effective in helping to bring about a greater degree of completeness in your life. Each one of us is different. Questions are frequently asked about rules, steps or points having to do with the "how" of things, and so it appears useful to offer a few suggestions and let the reader do what he likes for the development of his own degree of completeness or integration.


A. Herbert Peron

The recent discoveries of ancient human skeletons in Iran may establish them as, perhaps, the earliest and most complete remains of "modern" man.

They may also have interesting implications for students of the ancient lore. The brains of these fossils are described as massive and they are definitely not of the Neanderthal type. The age is estimated, widely, as from 15,000 to 75,000 years. These fossils have not yet been subjected to the new radiocarbon method of measuring age, which however, works only for material under 25,000 years old.

Science News Letter, in its issue of November 24, 1951, comments as follows:

"The new finds stress the fact that the evolution of modern man did not proceed at an even rate and order in all parts of the world and that there was a mixture of races even in the earliest days of Homo Sapiens' existence."

That the evolution of man did not proceed at an even rate is well known to Theosophists. One of the main reasons, probably, was "interference." There was, evidently, a long and careful "cultivation" of the human species which is responsible for the existence of the three distinct (root) races that inhabit the earth today.

In addition, there appears to have been a regular and constant egress of sub-races from the main body of the root-races, that tended to give the landscape of civilization an undulating, hilly appearance, with few large plateaus.

This unevennes is highlighted by the rise and fall of civilizations - a fact that does not mystify historians and sociologists as much as it should. H.G. Wells suggested that "something went out of the life of a civilization that caused its downfall." He was right. That "something" was the virile vanguard stream of the Human Life Force. When it "left" a civilization, it was replaced by [11] a less powerful human "life wave" which was unable to maintain its princely past, culturally or militarily.

We need not weep for the great civilizations of the past. They have not gone - they have only shifted. This constant shifting appears to be the purpose of Nature. Archaeologists are helping to establish this fact. So are the social anthropologists. Ruth Benedict in her Patterns of Culture gets close to the Theosophical concept with the statement: "There is no doubt about the cultural continuity of the civilization, no matter who its carriers were at the moment".


Jasper Niemand
[Originally published in Theosophy, Vol. XI, No. 6, September, 1896.]

It is inevitable that in Nature, which is the veil cast by Spirit over itself, there should be many illusions. Just as in outer Nature the sun is the mist dispeller, so when the spiritual Sun pours its radiance upon the Soul of man, out of that soul-substance, primeval and multiform, germ after germ of ancient thought, deeply hidden under the action of the centuries, is evoked, under the eye of the Soul, a processional of dreams. Now a hope, now a dread; now a memory serene and now a doubt infernal; now a resplendent promise has fulfillment, and now a tireless torment fastens its fangs in the heart. The Soul of man, observant of that nature which has been created only for its purposes, stands like a witness receiving testimony, or like the spectator of a drama framed for its edification. This Nature, which is its material vehicle, its instrument for use in material life, it must know to the very depth and breadth thereof; it must probe, comprehend and take control of it all, before it can know itself.

This gradual conquest of matter, or Nature, by the Soul, might be a process as calm as science, as continuous as fate. The sun, its shining unimpeded, would dispel these miasmic forms and the still deeps of space would lie reflecting that Sun. Nature conquered, the Soul in that purified garment, robed whitely in the "blood" sacrifice of Life, rounds her cyclic period and hies her back to Spirit. This purifying "blood," of which the Scriptures tell us, is that red desire which fills full the heart of man, engorging its free and spiritual action, clogging its ethereal arteries with germs of desire; desire, whose heat inflames, whose astringent self-hood contracts, whose accumulations fester and destroy. As the human blood has its marvelous play, its swift alterations of forms under the microscopic lens, so to the eye of the seer this force of desire blossoms out upon the surface of the mind in form after form, ever changeable, ever varying and elusive, though their stable root is desire. Yet were the witness uninfluenced, the spectator not identified with the spectacle, the lesson were soon learned, the kingdom swift of conquest, the goal secure.

At this point, however, we meet that chief of illusions, that veil of Maya nearest Maya's self. For there exists in Nature that element of egotism, Ahankara, or self identification, and Nature, casting up this element, identifies herself with the drama and gives a bias for or against the spectacle. The image thus put forward confuses the too attentive Soul. It is as if the moon, reflected upon the waters, were to see that reflection claim to be herself, and were to lend herself to the cheat. The Soul is bewildered by this action of the element of Ahankara in Nature, and accepts this reflected image as the true and only Self.

It may be asked, Why is the Soul thus bewildered? Why does not the Soul remain unconcerned? Perhaps the nearest approach to an answer that can be given is this: That by virtue of the attractive power of Nature, the Soul is drawn down along the lines of force to that form of her own projection and transfers her energies to that seductive [12] image instead of lifting Nature to herself. It is the old tale of Narcissus the beautiful, who fell in love with his own face mirrored in the waters of the world, and lay pining with desire by all the streams, neglecting the missions of the gods. So the Soul plunges more and more of herself into Nature under its attraction and impulsion and suffers her own detention there. She sees the action and reaction of her energies on the material plane and amid their convolutions enjoys the fantastic illusion and dreams. The rightful part of the Soul is to raise matter to its own substance and likeness, and this is done when, feeling the spiritual influx, the Soul guided by that power only, descends into matter as uplifter and redeemer, and not as accomplice. The root of the Soul is Freedom. That Freedom confers a power of choice.

Now the Soul, by virtue of this Freedom, has an instrument which nothing but itself can bend or break. That instrument is the will. Each Soul can defy the attractive power of Nature and all her illusions; the mirage can be dispelled by the will's strong radiance and can defeat the self-identifying element by a constant and unremitting presentation to the mind of the mental image of the one, true Self. The mind resists this; it does not "feel" the truth of this ideal and it rebels. Then those who put their trust in feelings, fail to rise; their self-imposed shackles weigh them down. But those who hold fast to the higher conception regardless of the sense of dullness, the want of feeling, the blank and the silence, or the turmoil of the senses, those come in time to find that the mind has at last turned to a new basis of action whence is liberated a fountain of fresh energy.

A true mental image, endowed with spiritual energy, is a living thing and operates of itself upon submissive and reflective matter. No longer upon the troubled mental waves does the Soul behold a waving image with a transient life of its own, but in the depths of Nature calmed and stilled she sees her own clear light with the life of the Spirit moving through it, and knowing herself below as above, knowing Nature now as her vehicle and not as her enticer, she evolves that Nature to her own high purposes and to its own highest destiny. And though that Nature falls from her as she re-enters the portals of the Eternal, yet she finds it awaiting her as she re-emerges, her servitor through the evolving ages.

These images before spoken of are veils of Maya. And there is one, more deadly than any other. I would fain speak of it in accents of the heart which might penetrate to the core of every comrade heart that feels the beat of mine. That veil is Doubt. It is the darkest thing that ever crawled forth from matter to spread its slime upon the image of the Soul. It paralyzes the will. It destroys the spontaneity of the heart. It raises a wall between us and Masters.

What is this Doubt? At its root it is Vanity, Maya's self. The very presence of a doubt shows plainly that I am thinking of myself in a purely personal light. It is a perversion of normal Vanity, by which, after thinking of myself as something fine or great, I fall into self-lamentation and tremble before myself when I find that I am small.

Small, weak, a poor failure in his personal nature every man is when he relies on that alone, and he oscillates between vanity and self-doubt like a pendulum wound up by Time. Self-doubt is the subtlest form of vanity because it is the most deceptive. We say that we are free from vanity at least, because we are so humble, so modest, and we fail to see that self-doubt is but another mode of being occupied with one's self, and a mode in which the vainest man does not outdo us. Dwelling in thought upon the true Self is the only corrective and helper.

Doubt of another is the same thing. It also is doubt of the true Self being all. To think of another as being mere lower human nature and no more; to think that here in my fellow being is no saving soul power which might in [13] an instant descend and snatch him away to a spiritual glory before our dazzled eyes; to refuse to recognize in any man or woman that soundless AUM which abides in every atom and is above and around all, this is to cast a poisoned net upon our fellow combatants struggling in the arena of Life, and drag them to the Earth.

Oh, Arjuna! Thou art immortal. Arise! Take the sword of the will in hand, call up thy fellows on the field of battle and fight on, through Nature to over-Nature; through matter, the hydra-headed, to Spirit the one. Why doubtest thou the soul of thy fellowman? Yet to doubt thine own is no less sin. Both mental acts deny the Self. Thou art That.

Every hour that strikes upon the fact of Time is the outcome of thy Soul's own law. Why, then, doubt any of these hours? Why not accept them all? Call them good or call them evil, they are the Soul's messengers. They bring new gifts; they take back gifts outworn, gifts no longer pertinent to the purposes of thy Soul. Let them come! Let them go! Release, too, that strong desire-grip of thine own sentient life - and, having relaxed that grip, let thyself go also; move freely up and down the whole of Life, accepting it all as thine own will and law. Then seeing but thyself everywhere, thyself and mind shall merge into that higher Self and doubt shall be no more. "He who sees Ishwara everywhere equally dwelling, he seeth."

In every event of Life there is a moment, brief perhaps as an eyewink, in which the voice of the Soul is heard. It should be listened for. We hear it speak oftener than we think. When heard we do not always hold fast to it. We suffer mind to arise like a specious pleader presenting its own bias and calling that "the facts of the case." These facts are argued before us, and when we do not accept the bias, as often as not we reach no conclusion and drift upon the current of circumstance, or else the evidence of our senses decides, and we act upon what we call the sound basis of fact and reason, and go sadly hand-in-hand with Nature on the rounds and tasks of slaves. Cast material facts away and bow thyself when the true judge speaks.

Who art thou, oh Mind, that thou shouldst decide, when thine office is only to report what thou hast seen in matter under the guidance of thy Soul? Unguided thou hast seen, and given in a false, an incomplete report! the faithless servant, the perjured one is handed to the executioner, cast into the prison of doubt, harried in a mental hell. Why not ask counsel from the deep inner heart in each event? Why not follow that counsel through every surge of doubt and beat of pain? Only by holding fast to this light can we increase its action. Only by going slow when we do not sense it can we assist the re-emergence of that calm monitor. Is it not heard? Then turn to Duty. Plain, simple Duty is an unerring guide. Is thy word pledged? Redeem it at every cost. Has Life placed thee where thou art? Pay the full debt; thou canst never stand upright until it is discharged.

Just so surely as we accustom ourselves to listen to the debate of the mind, that debate will increase. It is based upon false premises, for the vital question is, not what a man shall do, but how shall he do it; his mental attitude is all. Secure an attitude of trust in the Self, and every act alike is offered upon the altar. One of the finest mental acts I ever witnessed was that of a man of business training, a shrewd, keen observer, whose powerful place in life depended upon his ability to grasp and weigh facts. In a moment when spiritual trust was required, that man was found to cast aside his whole mental equipment and to act from a basis of purest faith.

Such strong Souls are to be saluted of all; they are the vitalizing centres of all great movements; they rally their fellows to them from the ends of the world, for when Soul thus calls to Soul the earth is shaken and gives up her living dead; the skies are riven and the gods come down to dwell with men and teach them. [14]



Theosophia would welcome receiving from subscribers and friends any Questions they may like to ask regarding the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom and their application to daily life. Any type of Question is welcome, with the exception of subjects bordering on political or sectarian matters, or organizational and personal differences. - Editor.

Is it not possible that the schisms in the Theosophical Movement, far from being a mere lapse front fraternal solidarity, are the direct and inevitable result of unregenerate human nature attempting to uphold Spiritual values and a Spiritual philosophy?

It may be so to some extent. But we must remember that it is very easy to find excuses and plausible explanations for many human traits and actions which in reality stem from our innate cussedness and stupidity, two very prominent characteristics of our uncontrolled animal nature. It is, of course, true that certain differences in the Movement have been the result of a conflict between those students who attempted to uphold what they understood to be spiritual values, and those who held to a different set of values. Such differences, however, have been allowed to become paramount in the psychological outlook of some people, while they should have remained only unimportant factors in the overall network of fraternal solidarity. It has often been the case that people have raised their own set of spiritual values to the level of an unchangable dogmatic creed, excluding from their hearts all those other students whose values differed from theirs. This, in a Movement based on Brotherhood and Universality, cannot be indulged in without producing a fundamental rift. It is hard to understand why students who would have true spiritual values in mind, could not develop within themselves the spiritual value of toleration and sympathy as well, thereby getting along on fraternal and peaceable ground with all other students who believe otherwise. But the frailties of our human natures are such that we rarely acknowledge to others the same freedom of conscience which we vehemently claim for ourselves.

Is it not likely that the only Brotherhood (Unity) in the Theosophical Movement worth a "hoot" is that which arises Phoenix-like from the fire of conflict?

If this proposition were true, it would follow that, because conflict is present practically all the time either in one or another portion of the Theosophical Movement, the latter is a mighty exponent of genuine Brotherhood. Facts do not uphold this theory. Various portions and groups within the overall Movement have fought each other openly for years; other portions and groups have had the dubious distinction of having originated in our century the principle of "cold war", long before it was heard of elsewhere; still other fragments of the original Society, feeling perhaps too dignified to engage in open controversy, preferred to wrap themselves in the folds of mistaken anonymity and to imply by their attitude that they were altogether too holy ever to descend to the arena where other benighted students of Theosophy gave each other a thorough licking. The fires of conflict have raged and are raging today unabated, but Brotherhood or Unity or Solidarity is just as far away as it ever was, maybe farther. Maybe, of course, we have not fought enough. Perhaps we have not yet consumed the body of the Phoenix, so that it could arise out of its own ashes, a brand-new bird! Time may show.

Is the getting-together of separated groups of any value unless an attempt is being made to face and dissolve the egotistical causes of separation?

We feel it is of no value whatsoever, and agree with the questioner entirely. We must define the causes of separation and define them realistically and with an open mind and heart. Some of these causes have been stated and [15] restated; others have hardly ever been mentioned at all. To imagine that these various causes or reasons for differences of views can be wiped away and completely disregarded, is foolish in the extreme. But the paramount point is that these differences of views, even on fundamental subjects, can co-exist in an united Movement whose platform is as broad as the Theosophical platform was intended to be. It does not call for fragmentation every time another difference or divergent view arises. That fragmentation does occur is a sign of mental and emotional limitation and of personal and therefore restricted views.

Are all psychic phenomena and tendencies necessarily evil? Should they be killed out in our nature?

Nothing in Nature should be called evil, for the simple reason that Nature does not recognize our human ignorant and limited distinctions between so-called good and so-called evil. Everything in Nature has its appropriate place, and its definite stage of evolution or grade of development. What is to be achieved by ascribing to natural phenomena characteristics which have no meaning outside our own opinion about them?

The psychic or psychological portion of the human complex constitution is a most important aspect of man as a whole. This aspect of his inner structure should be under constant control of his higher intellectual and spiritual consciousness, and never allowed to run him, or to grow out of proportion to the other facets of his being. Psychic tendencies, as this term is understood today in Western countries, simply shows the gradual awakening into action of hitherto dormant or latent energies in man. If these energies are used for personal, selfish purposes, they become "evil", in the usual human meaning of this term. If used wholly for the good of others, and in the Spirit of self-forgetfulness, the same energies and powers, and the phenomena which they give rise to, become an important weapon for constructive work, provided they are backed by an ever-growing intuition, a strengthening intellect, and a broadening of ethical consciousness. These tendencies should most certainly not be "killed" out. As a matter of fact, nothing can be "killed" out in our constitution; it can only be repressed, which is very unwise.

Psychic tendencies as well as certain psychic phenomena which go with them, at times, can never become a useful weapon for good, until and unless our will can stop them at any time, or bring them into action. Unless this is the case, these tendencies are running us, and we are not in control of them. The so-called "psychics" of today are mostly people who have either been mediums in past lives, or are developing into mediums at present, whether they know it or not. They are in most cases completely "at sea" in regard to the tendencies and powers which they manifest. What would you think of an individual who could exercise no control over the bodily functions of his physical organism? Such a man would have to be hospitalized and taken care of. There are thousands of well-meaning and good people, with no evil intentions of any kind, who are utterly unable to exercise any control over the functions of their psychic nature and they should also be "hospitalized". Unfortunately, the Occident has no such institutions, and practically no "healers" who would know how to treat them and how to help them to bring these psychic functions under at least some degree of control.

One of the best healing powers in such cases resides in a sound, spiritual, intellectual and ethical philosophy of life, such as is furnished by the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom. If you can attract the attention of these people to these teachings, you will sooner or later de-tract their attention from the illusory fascination of psychic forces, and you will have placed them on the road to spiritual recovery and inner growth. [16]



The Promotion Fund is working. We have made a good start. A reserve is gradually being built up, and we feel more secure. We have a long way to go yet, and we trust that our friends will keep this Fund in mind, particularly those who have not yet been heard from. The donations that have come in have made it unnecessary for the present to raise the subscription price to $2.00 per annum, which seemed to be unavoidable a while ago. Our sincere thanks go out to all who have helped us. We welcome not only their donations - however small they may be - but also their suggestions and recommendations concerning the magazine. We acknowledge below the following contributions, received up to February 1st, 1952: B.P. $0.50; M.T.P. $3.50; H.H.J. $4.00; H.R. $0.50; M.F. $3.75; J.H.O. $0.50; J.H. $0.50; P.V.C. $3.50; G.C.L. $1.00; G.H. $1.00; W.Y.E.W. $8.50; N.M.S. $5.50; C.C.K. $0.50; A.J.T. $2.00; H.C. $2.00; A.B.D. $1.00; M.C.C. $7.00; D.H. $1.50; E.A.C. $0.50.


(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.