[Cover photo: Lake Geneva, Switzerland.]
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"If Theosophy had done nothing else, it would have made a demand on human gratitude in placing the truth and falsehood of ... 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 ... 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. Mesmerism and astral influences fall back, and the sky grows clear enough for higher light. It hushes the 'Lo here! and to 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 savior of our time." - H.P. Blavatsky, Lucifer, Vol. VI, July, 1890, pp. 381-82. 
"... Pantes de allelois ten tapeinophrosinen egkombosasthe, oti Theos uperephanois antitassetai tapeinois de didosin harin."
"... and all of you be mutually at one with each other, and be clothed with humility. For the Divine repels those of arrogant mind, and bestows its riches upon those of humble heart." - I Peter, v, 5.
The potency of the Future lies hidden in the dynamic actuality of die Present.
The Challenge of the present moment, and our response to it, determine the course of forthcoming events, as they unroll from seed to fruitage, from cause to ineluctable effect.
The mid-point of any periodic cycle, whether on the scale of a lifespan, of a century, or of a cosmic age, is the time when the seeding takes place for the succeeding cycle, and when the foundation-stones are laid for future structures which will be reared in due course of time.
And the Challenge of the present moment is very great. It is a time to be welcomed by all students of mystic lore; an era eagerly awaited by those whose hearts and minds are dedicated to the spiritual service of the race, and whose personal and temporal interests have become subservient to the nobler objectives of Universality and the Oneness of all Life. To those whose hearts beat in unison with the greater heart of Mankind, this is an age of untold opportunities; to those whose horizon has expanded to embrace centuries of human striving and growth, this is an era in which more can be done within one yearly cycle than in a hundred years of another cycle of less dynamic nature and slower gradient.
The world-wide unrest and mounting confusion are but outward symptoms of the growing dissatisfaction over existing forms of life. It is a rebellion of the human nature against the crystallizations built in former years by a policy of exploitation and crass indifference to the needs of man. And this state of muffled or open struggle is not to be measured by mere outbreaks of violence in this, that or another part of the world, or the vociferous pronouncements of demagogues. The "warfare" is of the Mind, and the struggle is a struggle of ideas upon the inner battlefield of the soul of man wherein are decided at all times the greatest and most vital issues of both mind and heart.
The sympathies of the student of Theosophy are with all the people, everywhere upon this Earth of ours. He makes no distinction of nationalities, customs, historical background, ethnic grouping or avocation, though he recognizes these as contributing factors of human complexity and behavior. To him mankind is one great family, and the continents and nations but individual and closely interconnected portions of One World. To him the struggle which is taking place in our era is a fundamental conflict  which must be recognized in its true light, namely, as a symptom of growing consciousness and of widening sympathies. The student of the Ancient Wisdom may, and definitely does, condemn many of the unwise and partially selfish manifestations assumed outwardly by this inner struggle in various portions of the Earth; but this does not militate against the basic idea that the causes behind the struggle are fundamentally sound and reflect the greater consciousness of man in its often faltering attempts to assert itself in the outer scheme of being. We must never forget that there exists a wide divergence between basic causes and motivating impulses on the one hand, and their temporary and outward form built by the yet unevolved and relatively weak personality of man. It is paramount, therefore, that we try and understand these basic causes and the ideas back of them, and overlook, if at all possible, the often ugly symptoms and by-products of this deep-seated condition, which is a condition of growth and awakenment.
Before our world-wide unrest settles even relatively into a new and nobler way of life, it will have to become organized and coherent around some great, basic, inspiring and regenerative principle of ethics, without which no enduring change for good can ever take place. We will have to renounce our ways of doing things, no matter what may be the motive, and espouse other ways more conducive to human understanding and co-operation. We will have to give up the preposterous idea that other people on whatever side of the imaginary fence we may be are all wrong or all stupid, and that our ways of doing things are the only ways which can possibly be sound. This philosophy of separation in a cause which aims, paradoxically enough, at building a greater civilization for all to live in, defeats its own purpose and nullifies our best plans for the future. We are all guilty of this, every nation without exception; we have all been bitten by this bug, and the poison of it runs high in our veins. The challenge of the era imperatively demands of us that we relinquish this method of procedure; that we renounce once and for all our self-opinionated attitude, our self-righteousness and our ugly pride, individually and collectively.
Ordinary common sense (one of the most uncommon of senses in people!), everyday logic, and plain, garden-variety intelligence (not intellectuality!) is sufficient to show that we cannot achieve peace, good will and mutual understanding by stock-piling atom bombs on either side of the fence, manufacturing war implements for future carnage, or growing fat and rich by means of building up a complex of mutual fears, and systematically organizing outbreaks of  a few, to the moral degradation of the many. This is the surest road to national and international suicide, and an excellent prelude to the lunatic asylum.
And let no one imagine that he is wholly excluded from this diagnosis. The overwhelming majority of the human race, irrespective of categories or sides, is infected with this virus, which must be driven out by means of mental and emotional cathartics appropriate to the condition at hand.
And the greatest of these cathartics is a sense of humility and reverence for all life. Yes, humility and reverence! The growing sense of the awesome mystery of being, of the unfathomable depths of the human heart, of the immensity of potential knowledge, of the insignificance of one single human life compared with the unplumbed depths of the Universe and the vastness of Nature. And the awakening within the human breast of a deepening realization of the nobility of that greater Life, the inherent justice of Universal Law, and the undreamt of potentialities within each human being, whose personal insignificance before the unknown is matched only by his paramount spiritual significance as an atom of the cosmic structure, at home everywhere.
In the midst of the prevailing mental and emotional instability, facing a world of material insecurity and confusion, the Theosophist has a noble and lofty duty to perform, a mighty example to show, an example which few of us, if any, will be able to live up to. But we must try! It is to carry with us wherever we may be an atmosphere of calm detachment, deep spiritual serenity, and warm sympathy for the souls of men; a pacifying influence which soothes ruffled feelings, quiets emotional outbursts, widens the consciousness of those we meet, and brings into their life new ideas of solidarity and good will towards others. We are challenged, and we are called upon, to bring unity where discord has its roots, to point out the fundamental oneness of all men where the impassioned diatribes of demagogues have sown separation and mutual distrust, and to contact all life with those deeper heart-feelings whose roots lie hidden in the Eternal, whose strands are woven with the mystic tapestry of the Universe.
Only when true humility and deep reverence awaken within the collective breast of a distraught mankind, only then can we hope to discern the growth of that mutual understanding, from nation to nation, and from people to people, above all existing barriers, frontiers and barbed wires, which will give rise to the new Continent of Thought upon which will be reared the coming Civilization of the One World.
May we not respond whole-heartedly to the Clarion Call of the day! 
The outward form of idolatry is but a veil, concealing the one Truth, like the veil of the Saitic Goddess. Only that truth, being for the few, escapes the majority. To the pious profane, the veil recovers a celestial locality thickly peopled with divine beings, dwarfs and giants, good and wicked powers, all of whom are no better than human caricatures. Yet, while for the great majority the space behind the veil is really impenetrable - if it would but confess the real state of its mind - those, endowed with the "third eye" (the eye of Shiva), discern in the Cimmerian darkness and chaos a light in whose intense radiance all shape born of human conception disappears, leaving the all-informing divine PRESENCE, to be felt - not seen; sensed - never expressed.
A charming allegory translated from an old Sanskrit manuscript illustrates this idea admirably:
Toward the close of the Pralaya (the intermediate period between two "creations" or evolutions of our phenomenal universe), the great IT, the One that rests in infinity and ever is, dropped its reflection, which expanded in limitless Space, and felt a desire to make itself cognizable by the creatures evolved from its shadow. The reflection assumed the shape of a Maharaja (great King). Devising means for mankind to learn of his existence, the Maharaja built out of the qualities inherent in him a palace, in which he concealed himself, satisfied that people should perceive the outward form of his dwelling. But when they looked up to the place where stood the palace, whose one corner stretched into the right, and the other into the left infinitude the little men saw nothing; the palace was mistaken by them for empty space, and being so vast remained invisible to their eyes. Then the Maharaja resorted to another expedient. He determined to manifest himself to the little creatures whom he pitied - not as a whole but only in his parts. He destroyed the palace built by him from his manifesting qualities, brick by brick, and began throwing the bricks down upon the earth one after the other. Each brick was transformed into an idol, the red ones becoming Gods and the grey ones Goddesses; into these the Devatas and Devatis - the qualities and the attributes of the Unseen - entered and animated them.
This allegory shows polytheism in its true light and that it rests on the One Unity, as does all the rest. Between the Dii majores and the Dii minores there is really no difference. The former are the direct, the latter the broken or refracted, rays of one and the same Luminary. What are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, but the triple Ray that emanates directly from the Light of the World? The three Gods with their Goddesses are the three dual representations of Purusha the Spirit, and Prakriti - matter; the six are synthesized by Svayambhuva the self-existent, unmanifested Deity. They are only the symbols personifying the Unseen Presence in every phenomenon of nature. 
"The seven [regions]* (* In every ancient cosmography the universe and the earth are divided into seven parts or regions.) of Bhumi, hang by golden threads [beams or rays] from the Spiritual central Sun [or 'God']. Higher than all, a Watcher for each [region]. The Suras come down this [beam]. They cross the six and reach the Seventh [our earth]. They are our mother earth's [Bhumi] supporters [or guardians]. The eighth watches over the [seven] watchers." Suras are in the Vedas deities, or beings, connected with the Sun; in their occult meaning they are the seven chief watchers or guardians of our planetary system. They are positively identical with the "Seven Spirits of the Stars." The Suras are connected in practical Occultism with the Seven Yogic powers. One of these, Laghima(n) or "the faculty of assuming levity," is illustrated in a Purana as rising and descending along a sunbeam to the solar orb with its mysteries; e.g., Khatvanga, in Vishnu-Purana (Book 1V.). "It must be equally easy to the Adept to travel a ray downwards," remarks Fitzedward Hall (p. 311). And why not, if the action is understood in its right and correct sense?
Eight great Gods are often reckoned, as there are eight points of the compass, four cardinal and four intermediate points over which preside also inferior Lokapalas or the "doubles" of the greater Gods. Yet, in many instances where the number eight is given it is only a kind of exoteric shell. Every globe, however, is divided into seven regions, as 7 x 7 = 49 is the mystic number par excellence.
To make it clearer: in each of the seven Root-Races, and in every one of the seven regions into which the Occult Doctrine divides our globe, there appears from the dawn of Humanity the "Watcher" assigned to it in the eternity of the AEon. He comes first in his own "form," then each time as an Avatara.
In a secret work upon the Mysteries and the rites of Initiation, in which very rough but correct prints are given of the sacramental postures, and of the trials to which the postulant was subjected, the following details are found:
(1) The neophyte - representing the Sun, as "Sahasrakirana" "he of the thousand rays" - is shown kneeling before the "Hierophant." The latter is in the act of cutting off seven locks of the neophyte's long hair,** (** See Judges xvi, again, where Samson, the symbolic personification of the Sun, the Jewish Hercules, speaks of his seven locks which, when cut off, will deprive him of his (physical) strength, i.e., kill the material man, leaving only the spiritual. But the Bible fails to explain, or rather, conceals purposely, the esoteric truth, that the seven locks symbolize the septenary physical or terrestrial man, thus cut off and separated from the spiritual. To this day the High Lamas cut off during public consecrations a lock of the hair of the candidates for the religious life, repeating a formula to the effect that the six others will follow, when the "upasaka" is READY. The lock of hair or tonsure of the Roman Catholic priests is a relic of the same mystery-idea.) and in the following - (2) - illustration, the postulant's bright crown of golden beams is thrown off, and replaced by a wreath of sharp ligneous spines, symbolizing  the loss.* (* No need of explaining that Sanjna - pure spiritual conscience - is the inner perception of the neophyte (or chela) and Initiate; the scorching of it by the too ardent beams of the Sun being symbolical of the terrestrial passions. Hence the seven locks are symbolical of the seven cardinal sins, and as to the seven cardinal virtues - to be gained by the Sakridagamin (the candidate "for new birth") they could be attained by him only through severe trial and suffering.) This was enacted in India. In trans-himalayan regions it was the same.
In order to become a "Perfect One," the Sakridagamin ("he who will receive new birth," lit.) had, among other trials, to descend into Patala, the "nether world," after which process only he could hope to become an "Anagamin" - "one who will be reborn no more." The full Initiate had the option of either entering this second Path by appearing at will in the world of men under a human form, or he could choose to first rest in the world of Gods (the Devachan of the Initiates), and then only be reborn on this our earth. Thus, the next stage shows the postulant preparing for this journey.
(3) Every kind of temptation - we have no right to enumerate these or speak of them - was being placed on his way. If he came out victorious over these, then the further Initiation was proceeded with; if he fell - it was delayed, often entirely lost for him.
These rites lasted seven days.
ON CYCLES AND MODERN FALLACIES
The Hermetic axiom has been made good by astronomy and geology. Science has become convinced now that the milliards of the heavenly hosts - suns, stars, planets, the systems in and beyond the Milky Way - have all had a common origin, our earth included. Nevertheless that a regular evolution, incessant and daily, is still going on. That "cosmic life-times have began at different epochs and proceed at different rates of change. Some began so far back in eternity or have proceeded at so rapid a rate, that their careers are -brought to a conclusion in the passing age. Some are even now awaking into existence; and it is probable that worlds are beginning and ending continually. Hence cosmic existence, like the kingdoms of organic life, presents a simultaneous panorama of a completed cycle of being. A taxonomic arrangement of the various grades of animal existence presents a succession of forms which we find repeated in the embryonic history of a single individual, and again in the succession of geological types; so the taxonomy of the heavens is both a cosmic embryology and a cosmic paleontology." (World Life, p. 539.)
So much for cycles again in modern orthodox science. It was the knowledge of all these truths - scientifically demonstrated and made public now, but in those days of antiquity occult and known to Initiates alone - that led to the formation of various cycles into a regular system. The grand Manvantaric system was divided into other great cycles; and these in their turn into smaller cycles, regular wheels of time, in Eternity. Yet no one outside of the sacred precincts ever had the key to the correct reading and interpretation of cyclic notation, and therefore even the ancient classics disagreed on many points. Thus, Orpheus is said to have ascribed to the "Great" Cycle 120,000 years' duration, and Cassandrus 136,000, according to Censorinus (De Die Natali,  Chron, and Aston. Fragments.). Analogy is the law, and is the surest guide in occult sciences, as it ought to be in the natural philosophy made public. It is perhaps mere vanity that prevents modern science from accepting the enormous periods of time insisted upon by the ancients, as elapsed since the first civilizations. The miserable little fragment torn out from the Book of the Universal History of Mankind, now called so proudly "Our History," forces historians to dwarf every period in order to wedge it in within the narrow limits primarily constructed by theology. Hence the most liberal among them hesitate to accept the figures given by ancient historians. Bunsen, the eminent Egyptologist, rejects the period of 48,863 years before Alexander, to which Diogenes Laertius carries back the records of the priests, but he is evidently more embarrassed with the ten thousand of astronomical observations, and remarks that "if they were actual observations, they must have extended over 10,000 years" (p. 14). "We learn, however," he adds, "from one of their own old chronological works ... that the genuine Egyptian traditions concerning the mythological period, treated of myriads of years." (Egypte, I, p. 15.)
We must notice and try to explain some of these great and smaller cycles and their symbols. Let us begin with the cycle of Mahayuga, personified by Shesha - the great serpent called "the couch of Vishnu," because that God is Time and Duration personified in the most philosophical and often poetical way.
It is said that Vishnu appeared on it at the beginning of every Manvantara as "the Lord of Creation." Shesha is the great Serpent-Cycle, represented as swallowing its own tail - thence the emblem of Time within Eternity. Time, says Locke (On the Human Understanding) - Time is "duration set forth by measures," and Shesha sets forth evolution by symbolizing its periodical stages. On him Vishnu sleeps during the intervals of rest (pralayas) between "creations"; the blue God - blue because he is space and the depth of infinity - awakens only when Shesha bends his thousand heads, preparing to again bear up the Universe which is supported on them. The Vishnu-Purana describes him thus: "Below the seven Patalas is the form of Vishnu, proceeding from the quality of darkness, which is Shesha, the excellences of which neither Daityas nor Danavas can fully enumerate. This being is called Ananta [the infinite] by the spirits of Siddha (Yoga Wisdom, sons of Dharma, or true religion), and is worshiped by sages and by gods. He has a thousand heads, which are embellished with the pure and visible mystic sign [Svastika]; and the thousand jewels in his crests (phana) gives light to all the regions. ... In one hand he holds a plough* (* An emblem referring to the "ploughing" and sowing the renewed earth (in its new Round) with fresh seeds of life.) and in the other a pestle. ... From his mouths, at the end of the Kalpa, proceeds the venomed fire that, impersonated as Rudra [Shiva, the 'destroyer'] ... devours the three worlds" (ii. 211).
Thence Shesha is the cycle of the great Manvantara, and also the spirit of vitality as of destruction, since Vishnu, as the preserving or conservative force, and Shiva as the destroying potency, are both aspects of Brahma.  Shesha is said to have taught the sage Garga - one of the oldest astronomers in India, whom, nevertheless, Bentley places only 548 B.C. - the secret sciences, the mysteries of the heavenly bodies, of astrology, astronomy and various omens. Shesha is so great and mighty, that it is more than likely he will some day, in far off future ages, render the same service to our modern astronomers. Nothing like "Time" and cyclic changes to cure sceptics of their blindness.
But Occult truths have to contend with a far more blind foe than science can ever be to them, namely, the Christian theologians and bigots. These claim unblushingly the number of years lived by their Patriarchs some four thousand years ago, and pretend to prove that they have interpreted "the symbolic predictions of scripture" and have "traced the historic fulfilment of two of the most important of them" - handling Biblical chronology as reverently as though it had never been a rehash of Chaldaean records and cyclic figures, to hide the true meaning under exoteric fables! They speak of "that history that unrolls before our eyes a record extending over six thousand years" from the moment of creation; and maintain that there are "very few of the prophetic periods whose fulfilment cannot be traced in some parts of the scrolls." (The Approaching End of the Age)
Moreover they have two methods and two chronologies to show those events verified - the Roman Catholic and the Protestant. The first relies on the calculations of Kepler and Dr. Sepp; the latter on Clinton, who gives the year of the Nativity as A.M. 4138; the former holds to the old calculation of 4320 by lunar, and 4004 by solar years.
H.P.B. has stated that one should have a "brotherliness for one's co-disciple." The chief object of the Masters in establishing a formal Society for the promulgation of the doctrines of the Ancient Wisdom was to create the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood among men.
It is difficult to understand why students of the same Teachers and the identical basic ideas have wandered so far away from these two very important points.
Perhaps, each individual or group feels that he is right; that it is a matter of 'principle'; that we have the Truth, the real Truth and the others do not; that the Masters are working through us but not through others of equal sincerity, devotion and intuitive perception.
Whatever we may think, or think that we know, the fact remains that an attitude of friendliness and brotherliness should exist between students of the same Wisdom.
But, perhaps our concepts of the same Wisdom differ widely on some points. Even if this be true, it should not be a valid reason for building up enmity between those who differ.
No one has the power, not even the Masters themselves, nor Super Beings beyond them, of divorcing anyone from that Truth-Movement of the Ages that ever exists as a natural part of the Universal structure.
Societies and individuals come and  go, but Truth remains forever. It is true that concepts of Truth change, according to an individual's understanding and degree of growth, and that is natural and good. It does not mean that such an individual's concept is correct in relation to the Truth itself; but it is True to that individual at the time and therefore is very real to him, even to the point of cutting off his relationships and associations with others who may differ sharply with him on certain points.
While it is natural for differing points of view to exist between us, I have often wondered why we can not be big enough and broad enough to allow each one to see the matter as it appears to him, without becoming enemies.
Where is the consistency of subscribing to the central idea of 'Brotherhood,' while at the same time stirring up animosity toward our fellow-seeker after the same Truth? Whether we like it or not we are all brothers constituting the human race; and our actions will speak louder than words on the subject.
All Nature is One, with a natural diversity of its respective parts. But, all of the parts belong to and constitute the whole Unit. There is an interplay of action and reaction between all the parts. This is the Karma of the Universe. To have an inner feeling that we are related to everything else and everything is related to us, produces an inspiration that lifts us out of the realm of pettiness and sweeps us forward with the harmonious currents of the Universe. We feel at one with all, at least to some degree, and recognize our inter-relatedness to and with each other. This is Brotherhood.
Master K.H. declared that, "The Chiefs want a 'Brotherhood of Humanity', a real Universal Fraternity started; an institution which would make itself known throughout the world and arrest the attention of the highest minds." (Mahatma Letters, p. 24.) Wise leadership inspires confidence, amalgamates, unifies, brings diverse units closer together without interfering with the freedom of action of each. A spirit of real fraternity is the natural outgrowth, and the cause of Brotherhood is enhanced accordingly. The world is in great need of this type of leadership.
There are some interesting passages in The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett that are worth quoting here:
"The term 'Universal Brotherhood' is no idle phrase." "Strong will creates and sympathy attracts." (M.L., pp. 17, 20.)
"If you are willing I will send you an Essay showing why in Europe more than anywhere else a Universal Brotherhood, i.e., an association of 'affinities' of strong magnetic yet dissimilar forces and polarities centred around one dominant idea, is necessary for successful achievements in occult sciences. What one will fail to do - the combined many will achieve." (M.L., p. 20.)
"A genuine, practical Brotherhood of Humanity where all will become co-workers of nature, will work for the good of mankind with and through the higher planetary Spirits ..." (M.L., pp. 23-24.)
Words might be helpful to make clear what we mean by our concepts  of Brotherhood, but they are at best very inadequate. Brotherhood is a feeling ... an inner heart-touch with the Oneness of all life, reflecting itself from the Heart of Nature into our hearts ... emanating compassion to all others ...
If you think that we have not reached the point where we are qualified and ready to "work for the good of mankind with and through the higher planetary Spirits", then let us strive each day to experience in some degree the realization of the ONENESS of all which we live, then the Solar System, and from there on into the Super-Galaxies of ALL SPACE.
But, perhaps you will think this is too abstract. All right. Use whatever method seems best for you. Some find it in the hearts of their fellows, some in the flowers, others in art, music or literature, or even in the little insignificant events of the day. The important thing is that you find it, for then Universal Brotherhood will become real to you.
Many people on the threshold of death often appear strangely different to their families. It is not merely a question of decline in physical strength, or a loss of memory, due to an enfeebled mind; there is something else. A peculiar change is taking place; the once charitable eyes no longer sparkle with the wit of olden days, nor do the forbearance and genteel manners seem the same; even harsh and irritable words are sometimes spoken. There must be a deeper reason for this, as it has plagued so many families and caused so much unhappiness to people who have not understood the mysteries of death.
Death is a complete breaking up as far as the physical body is concerned, but it is only sleep for the higher ego which now enters upon a new plane of life. The old body was no longer a fit temple for it to dwell in, so it gradually withdrew, long before the last breath was actually taken. The body became more and more of an automaton, continuing its life by force of habit, but the beloved friend was already gone, eagerly waiting for the new adventures which lay in store for him.
The various world religions which came on the scene of human existence, ushered in by one of the great teachers such as Krishna, Zoroaster, Orpheus, Moses, Gautama the Buddha and the Christ, were interpreted by their followers according to their cultural and intellectual development and ability to grasp transcendental truths. Man is a composite being. Fundamentally he is a divine spirit, immortal and part of the Soul of the Universe, but he is also a human soul struggling to bridge the gap between itself and its highest principles. This is a process which requires a long series of re-births on this globe, until the soul has acquired the knowledge and the strength to merge with its higher self, enriched by the experiences of its many incarnations. Lower down the scale we have the  astral and semi-physical elements which in the history of many lands have appeared as doppelgangers, wraiths and 'dear departed ones' so often seen by friends and relatives shortly after the passing of the physical body. The Catholic Church has retained the teaching of a purgatory which it has inherited from the ancient mystery-teachings. The meaning of this is the freeing, the sloughing off, of the more material elements of the composite being after death, to enable the soul to wing its way into the cosmic spheres which are its real home. The passions, lusts and desires are earthbound and can, no more than the purely physical life-atoms, rise to the portals of the sun.
When the earthbound parts of the entity have been cast off, it becomes one with all that is spiritual throughout the universe; it finds its loved ones and soars into a state of bliss which is beyond our power of expression or understanding. The joy is so supreme that were we fully to realize it, we would never sorrow for those who have passed beyond the limitations of life here on earth. We would rejoice in their glory and wait with confidence for the time when we shall be able to rejoin our loved ones in their unalloyed bliss which one day will be ours as well.
The ancient Egyptians as well as the Peruvians used to embalm and mummify their dead, in the belief that when the soul is ready to reenter the body it would find the old vehicle waiting for it, unsullied by the use of other beings. It is this mistaken teaching which the Catholic Church, without perhaps realizing it, has retained in its prohibition against cremation.
The bonds between members of the same family and between true friends are strong, just as strong as are the bonds forged by hatred and envy. We have the power to decide now whether we shall have friends or enemies in the future. Make good friends now and you will have them not merely for this life but in lives to come. The phycho-spiritual attraction between human beings will outlast time and space. For love is eternal.
Sincere thanks to all those who have remembered of late our Promotion Fund. This Fund is of great help to us in meeting current expenses. We gratefully acknowledge below the following contributions, received from June 1st to August 1st, 1952: F.L. $0.50; F.V. $3.50; P.W.D. $5.00; R.P.H. $8.50; E.S.W. $1.50; J.J.L. $22.00; A.B.D. $1.00; V.M. $0.50; P.W. $0.50; L.C. $0.50; E.H. $0.50; E.L.N. $2.50; W.H.L. $0.50; N.B. $3.50; B.H. $3.50.
INCREASING THE CIRCULATION OF "THEOSOPHIA"
The Editorial Offices would welcome receiving from our subscribers and friends lists of names and addresses of people in their respective towns, or elsewhere, who may have "leanings" in the direction of Theosophy. We would send them sample copies of the magazine with a subscription-blank attached. Considering the many cities in the country our newspaper goes to, we should be able to get several hundred new names, if our friends help as by sending them in. This would be a real help! 
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.
I have met some Theosophists who were using liquor almost daily. Is this not against their own teachings?
We have met some also. As long as they were trying to outgrow this lethal habit, and were making strides in this effort, they deserved encouragement and sympathy. In those few cases where no effort was being made, ignorance of facts involved was probably the main cause of this condition. We all have many shortcomings and limitations, but if we are willing to consider dispassionately the facts of nature, we will acquire the necessary tools with which to rise above these limitations and to overcome them.
There are in nature substances of various kinds which have the peculiarity of absorbing the lower and more material magnetic and psychic fluids of those people who handle them. Alcohol is one of such substances, and it is easily saturated by the evil magnetism of the people who prepared it for usage. This in itself is a very regrettable thing. Alcohol also has a peculiar affinity with certain portions of the brain substance and the nerve-fluid, a fact not yet recognized by official science. The usage of alcohol results in the progressive degeneration of some of our brain tissues and nerve-cells. This differs, of course, from one person to another, but no one can escape the deleterious effect of alcohol, provided it has been imbibed over a period of time. The effects are gradual but cumulative, and the physical body becomes greedy for it, establishing a habit difficult to break.
What has been termed above "evil magnetism" is not a mere abstraction. In the light of the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy, this means certain types of elementals, and this again means certain living, conscious entities of the astral world. They are closely associated with this, that, or another of the grosser and more animalistic tendencies in human psychology. They animate many of the lower thought-forms of man. [It should also be borne in mind that there are many elementals of the most elevating type, conducive to high and noble thoughts and feelings.] By using alcohol, a man surrounds himself with these astral entities. As a matter of fact, he does more than that.
Those unfortunate human beings who have either died from drink, or become totally insane, have populated the lower sub-planes of the astral world with a great many semi-conscious astral forms and moulds which are of the same nature as themselves. These entities are attracted to those who are affected by the desire for drink, and hover around them; they even penetrate into their own astral constitution, whenever an opening presents itself. The full truth about this condition has never been told. Suffice it to say that it is possible for depraved astral entities, human and sub-human, to partially satisfy their own lust for alcohol by vicariously  possessing living human beings addicted to the vice, and by hovering around places where there is traffic in alcohol.
The student of Theosophy is trying to purify his organism, and to become more sensitive to higher and more elevating influences; he is hopeful of attaining in due course of time to a condition when some of the now dormant or latent portions of his brain structure will begin to respond to influences from above, or from within. This can never be achieved, or even approached, as long as there exists even the slightest presence of alcoholic fumes, and their concomitant elemental energies, in the aura of the student, let alone the actual organs of his physical make up. And these influences continue to exist for a while, even after the complete cessation in the actual usage of alcohol. Purification is not a matter of a day or a week, but takes time.
It should be distinctly borne in mind that the amount of alcohol used by any student is not an important factor in this equation. The far more important factor is the degree of his psycho-magnetic sensitivity. As he progresses forward along various other lines of growth, he becomes more and more sensitized. A markedly reduced amount of alcohol may have on him then an effect more deleterious and destructive than a far larger amount at an earlier stage. The only true course of action is to quit using it altogether, once and for all, if true spiritual growth is desired, and an inner strength without weak spots.
Quite apart from the above occult facts, there is involved in this entire subject the question of ethics. Alcohol is not only a debilitating drug. It is also "big business," a business in which many Governments the world over are engaged on a tremendous scale. Income is derived, both by the salesman and by his Government, from an occupation resulting in the gradual moral decay of millions of people, and the existing scheme of taxation (with slight modifications from one country to another) makes this traffic in human degeneracy appear lucrative in the extreme and well worth pursuing. As pointed out by H.P. Blavatsky (Lucifer, Vol. V, Nov., 1889, p. 195.): "... it is not so much the Karma of the nation, as that of their respective governments, whose Karmic burden is growing heavier and more terrible with every year. This curse and universal incubus, drink, is the direct and legitimate progeny of the Rulers; it is begotten by their greed for money, and FORCED by them on the unfortunate masses ..."
Like so many other dire social evils of this age, the misuse and abuse of alcohol is deeply rooted in economics. Take away the profit that is in it, and the power vested in monopolies controlling it, and you will have won more than half of the battle!
"'I understand that The Theosophical Society is absolutely non-political. But if it teaches spiritual and ethical doctrines, do you not think it your duty to take an interest in politics in order to raise the general ethical standpoint?'
"I don't think that this is quite a fair question; for, as individuals, we do take a normal human interest in politics - except myself. I don't like politics at all! I don't like to waste  my time. But let me ask you a question: Would you involve yourself in something which is outside your line of activity, merely in order to show somebody that you are doing what you are actually doing? In other words, should we Theosophists abandon our Theosophical work in order to go and tell the politicians what we think they ought to do, meddling in their business and forgetting our own, abandoning our own line of activity? No!
"We Theosophists go into the homes through our teaching; we go by our teachings into the hearts of the politicians - if we can - and we shall reach their hearts some day; and our regenerating work is done there, in men's hearts, therefore from within and not from the outside. There is your answer. Change the men; change the hearts of men, and you won't need to talk about refashioning your politics, or about elevating your politics. That is what we Theosophists are doing, or trying to do." - G. de Purucker, in Questions We All Ask, First Series, No. 17, January 21, 1930, pp. 257-58.
The Chinese are noted for their wisdom. One Chinese visiting the U.S.A. for the first time, was taken to the racetrack by a friend. After a few races had been run, he got up to leave. His American companion protested: "Where are you going? It isn't finished yet!" to which the Chinese replied: "In our country we proved twenty centuries ago that one horse can run faster than another."
Many students of the Ancient Wisdom in European countries, and elsewhere, are eager to establish a correspondence contact with students in the U.S.A. This is particularly true of Young Theosophists who welcome new ideas and would like to exchange letters (both in English and in other languages, if desirable) with similarly inclined young people in various parts of the world. This is a wonderful opportunity for establishing new links of friendship and theosophical comradeship.
Take for instance, Young Theosophists in present-day Germany, where the entire stock of Theosophical literature was destroyed some years ago. They are doing courageous work in rebuilding their devastated country, and in sowing the seeds of spirituality wherever possible. Their Director is Michail Alexander (Jungfernstieg 10, Rendsburg, Germany), a most energetic young man, who would welcome both correspondence from abroad and any Theosophical literature, for translation and distribution. Among other Young Theosophists, we will mention: Miss Edith Lauppert, Kaiserfeldgasse 19-I, Graz, Austria; Miss Pirkko Hynynen, Maneesik, 2 A, C 34, Helsinki, Finland; Mr. Phan-chon-Ton, 4, Square Rapp, Paris 7e, France. The Federation of Young Theosophists in Europe publish a magazine called Enthousiasme, with English-French-German text.
How about starting corresponding with some of these fine people?