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THEOSOPHY WORLD -------------------------------------- June, 2003
An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World
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(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are
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be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)
"War and Love," by B.P. Wadia
"Common Sense About Karma," by Henry T. Edge
"The Growing Influence of H.P. Blavatsky," by W. Emmett Small
"The Work Behind the Scenes," by L. Gordon Plummer
"Portraits of Theosophists," Part IV, by John M. Prentice
"Hope of the World," by Louis F. Callaway
"The Power and Purpose of a Lodge," by Anita Henkel Wild
"Have Imaginations Body?" by George William Russell
"Apollonius of Tyanna, Part X, by Phillip A Malpas
"Moving Forward on the Path," by James Sterling
"Humanity in Evolution," by Richard Hiltner, MD
> Each person has in the karmic stream a vast mass of unexhasuted
> Karma which by slow degrees, in the ordinary course, comes out
> as one is born in a suitable body and position. But when the
> pledge is taken that act removes a barrier holding back old
> Karma; for the Higher Self has been invoked, and at once some of
> the barrier is removed, so that the force of Karma becomes
> stronger. Now the force of this depends very much on the
> intensity of the desire for truth the person has in himself ...
> -- W.Q. Judge, "One Result of Taking the Pledge," a circular
> issued in 1890
WAR AND LOVE
by B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 292-95.]
> The root of the matter is a simple, old-fashioned thing, so
> simple that I am almost ashamed to mention it, for fear of the
> derisive smile with which wise cynics will greet my words. The
> thing I mean -- please forgive me for mentioning it -- is love,
> Christian love, or compassion. If you feel this, you have a
> motive for existence, a guide in action, a reason for courage, an
> imperative necessity for intellectual honesty. If you feel this,
> you have all that anybody should need in the way of religion.
These are the words of Bertrand Russell, a confirmed materialist,
a thoroughgoing rationalist, a disbeliever in the psychic and the
occult. They are from his latest publication, THE IMPACT OF
SCIENCE ON SOCIETY, issued on his eightieth birthday a month and
a half ago. He pleads for the removal of distrust between East
and West. He finds the ways and means that are being used or
recommended "silly." He looks to time to bring wisdom.
Meanwhile, he offers his own remedy, quoted above, which is a
teaching of the many saints and of all sages of all times.
It is the ancient teaching repeated by Jesus, coming after the
Buddha, as it was by Lao Tzu of China, Buddha's contemporary.
There are others. In our own days, Gandhiji demonstrated the
profound significance of that verity which is the center of the
true Religion of Life, whatever the name. By it not only
individuals but nations also can live in peace and progress in
harmony. That ancient teaching which the Tathagata Himself
repeated is, "Hatred ceaseth not by hatred but by love -- this is
the Eternal Law." Bertrand Russell repeats this. The teaching is
scientifically sound, psychologically accurate, and morally true.
Almost at the same time, India's great Prime Minister expressed
his conviction justifying his foreign policy. His words give
support to the sage advice of Bertrand Russell and show how deep
an impress Gandhiji's influence has made on the heart of
> Let us understand the historic currents in the present phase of
> human history, when we stand on a verge that may lead to grave
> disaster or to a new world. The way of war, including what is
> called COLD WAR, is not the way we or any country should pursue.
> It coarsens and degrades people because we tend gradually to live
> a life surrounded by hatred and anger and violence. It passes my
> comprehension how, after a terrific war, you can rapidly build up
> any social or economic order that you may aim at, because it will
> take generations just to get rid of the ravages of war. It also
> passes my comprehension how some people who dislike communism and
> make it an enemy, think they are going to put an end to communism
> by war.
This moral, religious, and spiritual teaching is influencing an
increasing number of people. Sword cannot kill Satan. Wars
cannot destroy War. Violence cannot overcome violence. These
are trite axioms for the religiously minded and principles for
practice for the spiritual aspirant. Yet within them lies the
seed idea from which the true ideology will grow. Therefore, we
must welcome such words as these of the famous Pastor Niemoller.
Recognizing that Stalinist Communism is not acceptable to the
West and referring to the view that "the one alternative to stop
it naturally seems to be war," he said:
> Nobody believes that war really will be an effective means
> because of its results. As far as I know, nobody really wants to
> have a war. In Russia, I have told my story, which I have told
> many times and in many places of the world, that personally I do
> not believe that there is a single millionaire in the United
> States of America today who would not gladly give up all his
> millions and starve and go as a beggar, if only he could prevent
> the third world war by this way. So I found that in Russia, as
> well as in my own country, really nobody believes in war as a
> means; nobody wants to have a war. It is just the lack of
> confidence that the other one will not make war, so people are
> afraid of each other, and that brings us into all our
This lack of confidence in others, this fear that they will
attack us, is a major force that corrodes peoples' hearts. As
long ago as 1888, H.P. Blavatsky wrote these pregnant words:
> With right knowledge, or at any rate with a confident conviction
> that our neighbors will no more work to hurt us than we would
> think of harming them, the two-thirds of the World's evil would
> vanish. Were no man to hurt his brother, Karma-Nemesis would
> have neither cause to work for, nor weapons to act through. It
> is the constant presence in our midst of every element of strife
> and opposition, and the division of races, nations, tribes,
> societies, and individuals into Cains and Abels, wolves and
> lambs, that is the chief cause of the "ways of Providence." We
> cut these numerous windings in our destinies daily with our own
> hands, while we imagine that we are pursuing a track on the royal
> high road of respectability and duty, and then complain of those
> ways being so intricate and so dark. We stand bewildered before
> the mystery of our own making and the riddles of life that WE
> WILL NOT solve, and then accuse the great Sphinx of devouring us.
Such statements as those quoted above are bound to open the
spiritual intuitions of an increasing number of men and women.
Unity through such ideas is bound to produce united action. Let
those who believe in the Law of Compassion become active in
heart, mind, and speech and unite to affirm the truth, to
understand it better, and to popularize it widely. What truth?
> Compassion is no attribute. It is the Law of Laws -- eternal
> Harmony, Alaya's SELF; a shoreless universal essence, the light
> of everlasting right, and fitness of all things, the law of Love
COMMON SENSE ABOUT KARMA
By Henry T. Edge
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, October 1945, pages 439-43.]
This word has now crept so much into public use that it does not
need much definition. Broadly stated, it is the doctrine that
our acts determine our experiences and that the law of cause and
effect prevails in the moral world, just as it does in the
physical world studied by science. If this is not so, then what
theory must we accept in its place? We must either say that our
fortune is determined by the will and wisdom of Deity, or else
that it is the result of mere chance. But chance is a word used
to cover ignorance, and if we use it we are simply side-stepping
the question. No thinking person can believe that the universe
and the lives of men are without law, order, and purpose.
One wonders why people have given so little attention to studying
the laws of cause and effect in the moral world, when science has
worked out these laws so successfully in the physical world. It
is partly due to the influence of long-held religious teachings,
which often encourage a man to look upon himself as a helpless
being, dependent on divine intercession; instead of realizing the
teachings of Jesus and Paul, that man is made in the divine
likeness and has within him spiritual resources which he can
summon to his aid. Then again, science has concentrated
attention too much on the surface of things, and has even gone so
far as to represent man as merely an improved animal. It has
sought to explain everything by the laws of mechanics and
chemistry. But we live much more in our minds and emotions than
we do in our senses, so that science has left out the most
important part of human life.
Again, to understand the law of Karma properly, we must accept
the doctrine of Reincarnation. It is obvious that we enter this
life with a ready-formed character; children of the same parents
differ greatly, and the innate character of each child soon
asserts itself. This character is what we have brought over from
previous lives on earth; and it is the fruit of our own actions.
In short, we make our own destiny; we have made ourselves what we
are, and can make our future by our own present thoughts and
Still we can learn very much about Karma without considering
Reincarnation. For, once you get the idea into your head, you
acquire a new sense of observation and begin to study the
connection between your thoughts, emotions, actions, and your
experiences; so that the truth of the law begins to prove itself.
There is apt to be a tendency to regard Karma as a kind of
supernatural agency, interfering with the course of Nature by
poking in an arbitrary finger. This is an idea we have inherited
from theology, and it may linger in our minds after we think we
have discarded it. It is quite wrong. Karma is simply the
working of Nature; effect follows cause as truly in the moral
world as in the physical world. We sometimes hear people ask,
"Was this event due to natural causes or to the operation of
Karma?" This is an absurd question; EVERY event is under the
operation of Karma, and at the same time every event is due to
natural causes. Theosophists do not believe in supernaturalism.
If an experience seems the result of chance, that only means that
we have been unable to trace the connections; when we CAN see the
connections we call it LAW; when we cannot we call it chance. Is
The real teachings of Jesus tell us that every man has within
himself, by virtue of his divine birth, the power to achieve his
own salvation; for Jesus assures his disciples that, if they will
but follow his behest, they can have the same powers as himself.
Paul also in his Epistles insists constantly on the same theme;
for him, the Christ is the immortal part of man, incarnate or
"crucified" in an earthly body, but capable of being invoked so
that a "new birth" takes place and the old Adam is mastered by
the new. Theosophy, so far from being hostile to the teachings
of Christ, champions them; and in so doing, Theosophy merely
follows in the footsteps of many divines and Christian laymen who
now take much broader views as to the meaning of the Christian
Gospel. Many of these Christians are close to Theosophy in their
beliefs, the main point of difference being that Theosophy
recognizes also the same truths as found in other religions.
As to science, it is surprising to see what great steps are now
being taken by its leading minds towards a more logical view of
Nature. This new view has been forced upon them by the recent
discoveries, which cannot be explained on the old principles of
physics. It is seen to be necessary to postulate a causal Nature
behind the external physical Nature; and that the real secrets of
natural law are hidden beyond the veil of the bodily senses, and
must therefore be correlated with finer senses that men in
general have not yet learned to use. We can trace the action of
light-waves up to the retina, and beyond to certain chambers in
the back of the brain; or we can trace sound waves to the
tympanum and beyond; but after that, all is mystery. How these
mechanical actions become translated into vision and hearing, we
cannot tell. Yet so all-important a part of experience can
hardly be left unexplored by a science that pretends to explain
How does Karma operate from one life to another across the gap of
death and of rebirth in another body? The details of such a
process we can hardly expect to know in the present limited state
of our knowledge; but they are not unknowable. It is all a
question of patient study in regions to which we have not so far
given our attention. If we are willing to concede the existence
of forms of matter other than the physical, the question becomes
easier; and science has to admit such a possibility, for it is
familiar with some ultra-physical form of matter that can
transmit ether waves all over the earth and beyond. If it is
said, therefore, that our actions, thoughts, and feelings are
somehow stored up in one of Nature's repositories -- the Astral
Light, let us say -- it does not seem so marvelous after all. We
cannot enter more fully into this question here, but any earnest
student will find much in the Theosophical books that will
convince him, if he enjoys an open and unprejudiced mind.
It is often thought that the law of Karma implies fatalism and
that it rules out freewill, but this objection is due merely to
confusion of thought. Karma determines our experiences, but does
not dictate how we shall react to them. As sung in THE LIGHT OF
> If ye lay bound upon the wheel of change,
> And no way were of breaking front the chain,
> The Heart of boundless Being is a curse,
> The Soul of Things fell pain.
> Ye are not bound! The Soul of Things is sweet,
> The Heart of Being is celestial rest;
> Stronger than woe is Will: that which was Good
> Doth pass to better -- Best.
The delusion is based on a wrong idea of what is meant by cause
and effect, based on notions derived from physics. In the first
place, we have no right to apply the principles of mechanics to a
domain of conscious living beings. The links in the chain of
causation are no longer masses of inert physical matter, but
minds; and minds are endowed with choice and volition of their
own, so that the chain of cause and effect cannot be rigid. But
prominent men of science themselves are questioning the validity
of cause and effect as a rigid process -- "determinism," as they
call it. In fact, it is seen that the law of cause and effect
does not deny the action of freewill. Eddington says:
> The relation of cause and effect involves a flow of power from
> the cause to the effect, and therefore a certain freedom on the
> part of the cause. But if every event is completely and
> necessarily determined, then how can any event be regarded as a
> cause, since it is absolutely determined from the start by prior
> events? It is not in that case the cause, but the cause is
> shifted back, and there is an infinite regress.
Christopher Caudwell says:
> Into every effect all the previous events of the universe flow as
> a cause, and, lacking any one of them, the effect would be in
> some measures slightly different.
In fact, the law of cause and effect not only does not deny
freewill but also positively necessitates it. The idea that
there is any such opposition is due to confusion of thought, and
has no support from either science or logic.
As to human nature, its essence is the Divine Monad, a spark of
Cosmic Light; and this manifests itself through a series of
vehicles, so that its presence and influence are always active in
greater or less degree. Man's real will (and destiny, which
amounts to the same thing) is to fulfill the laws of Universal
Harmony, and he achieves the highest freedom by
self-identification with the SELF. Every moment is a beginning.
Let us throw off this nightmare of determinism; let us ACT.
There is no such thing as dead matter anywhere: the universe is
composed exclusively of living beings. It is common enough to
say that plants are alive; but minerals are alive also, though
not in the same degree as the kingdoms above them. In fact, the
very atoms and electrons are instinct with life and movement, so
that they also are living beings. In every living being, there
is some degree of intelligence and freewill, however small.
Thus, we find freewill at every point in the universe. All these
countless wills and intelligences act in accordance with the
eternal laws of the universe, just as our own wills must also
act. Thus, we find order in diversity.
Karma is the preserver of equilibrium, the restorer of disturbed
balance. The ancient Greeks spoke of Nemesis as a deity who
punishes excess in any individual or community. But he is not a
punisher -- merely an adjuster, calling to order whoever has
wandered too far off the path of justice. Thus, we bring penalty
upon ourselves by over-indulgence, physical or mental, in
pleasure; for a power wiser than our personal will guides our
life; our own Higher Self guides it, and this will bring us back
into order again for our own good.
We should avoid the tendency of always looking at the painful
side of Karma, and remember that our good acts and thoughts bring
their consequences, just as do our bad ones. The good seed that
we sow may counteract the bad seed. What seems punitive
experience we may change into remedial action, if we assume the
right attitude of mind towards it. Our judgments as to what is
good for us are shortsighted and erring; there is a wiser law
shaping our life; let us seek to cooperate and accept its
decrees. Man has a spiritual will as well as a personal will.
Is there anything in the doctrine of Karma that stands in the way
of our helping our neighbor in distress? Perish the delusion! It
is our duty, our privilege, to help him; and all decent people,
obeying the great law of Compassion, would act at once in a deed
of mercy, without stopping to think about Karma. Besides, it may
be part of his Karma that he should be helped. In refraining
from helping him, we wrong both him and ourselves. We must obey
the law of Compassion, without fear that we shall thereby
interfere with Nature's laws.
THE GROWING INFLUENCE OF H.P. BLAVATSKY
By W. Emmett Small
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, August 1945, pages 337-42, therein
based on the White Lotus Day address given at the Theosophical
Headquarters, Covina, California, May 6, 1945.]
HPB brought IDEAS to the West. When ideas are based on
fundamental truths, they live -- at least for their karmic cycle,
as the ripple in a pool caused by a stone moves on influencing
its world of water until its power wanes. Thus, though the Idea
Bringer may retire for a while from the visible stage, the
effects caused by his actions live on in those who inhabit the
world he has quitted.
Thus, HPB plunged, literally, into the Nineteenth Century and
caused a tidal wave in thought, the effects of which have by no
In Science, HPB's insistence was that the world is not ruled by
mere mechanical forces; that there is design and purpose in the
evolutionary scheme. She replaced the blind inertia of physical
science by the INTELLIGENT, ACTIVE Powers behind the veil of
In Religion, HPB's hammered declaration -- as revolutionary in
1875 as was gunpowder in 1356 -- was that there is a supernal
Source of Truth. All religions derive from that Source, but as
they wandered from the Font, they became encrusted with men's
say-so that we call dogma. The result has been the blood and the
misery as well as the strength of orthodox religions.
In Occultism, HPB pointed to the Way, the Path, the very
existence of which had been forgotten. She rediscovered it for
herself with the guidance of her Teachers. She heralded the
rediscovery to the West, again echoing the words of an earlier
Teacher, "You yourselves are the Path. Become it!"
Today we find modern science abandoning its prejudices gradually
and clearing the way for the acceptance of HPB's message. I
refer particularly to a series of articles published in our FORUM
in 1939 by the distinguished Dutch scientist Dr. H. Groot. By
drawing a comparison between the trend of modern thinking with
the writings of HPB and THE MAHATMA LETTERS, he establishes the
fact that "science is steadily growing distinctly metaphysical
and mystical and is approaching daily to those teachings of the
Old Wisdom of which she still denies the existence."
This is particularly noteworthy in the case of Fournier d'Albe,
Bohr, de Broglie, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Dirac, Eddington, and
Jeans. In physics, astronomy, geology, biology, psychic
research, archaeology, and psychology, most of the old arguments
have been abandoned or greatly modified. HPB's attack on the
crude materialism and pride of knowledge of last century dealt a
mortal blow. It will never recover. Witness the tone and
substance of this statement from Dr. Jeans written in the
> Thus, although we are still far from any positive knowledge,
> there may be some factor, for which we have so far found no
> better name than fate, operating in nature to neutralize the
> cast-iron inevitability of the old law of causation. The future
> may not be as unalterably determined by the past as we used to
> think; in part at least it may rest on the knees of whatever gods
> there be. That could not have emanated from respectable
> scientific circles fifty years ago.
Throughout the world of Religion today stirs the sober
realization that tolerance, if not philanthropic love, must
dominate all actions, must impose its firm yet gentle and
rational counsels on the minds of those who would lead the world.
We find the outstanding exponents of the great religions
exhorting their followers to view the faiths of others as rays of
light and truth from the One Sun.
Coincident with this effort of brotherly recognition is an actual
revival of various religious faiths, particularly Christianity in
this country and in England, a seeking to understand, explain,
and live the original teachings of Jesus; also, a quite
outstanding and definitely growing interest in Buddhism and in
This general tendency to view the religions of all mankind as a
family unit, not placing one religion superior to others, is
particularly noted in the spiritual works of Radhakrishna, the
first Hindu to occupy the chair of Oriental Philosophy at Oxford.
The days of totalitarianism in religion are over. To be worthy
as instructor, priest, preacher, teacher, in any faith or
religion barriers must be flung down, knowledge must be had of,
and a certain sympathy evidenced for other great religions. The
impetus for this significant change from dogmatic sectarianism
may quite fairly be attributed to the enormous labors in this
direction by H.P. Blavatsky, especially by the appearance of her
monumental works ISIS UNVEILED and THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
It may be true today, as a friend tells me, that the name of H.P.
Blavatsky is known in every little town in our mid-western states
where he recently traveled. Fifty years have put HPB on the map.
Geographically, let us say, she is known, as when we know that
Nigeria is in Africa or Yucatan in Central America.
Not only must she be known, she must be understood, and the way
to do that is to study her teachings. A definite aid to this,
and reflecting the practical recognition of HPB's influence as a
live factor in the world today, is the publication, still in
process though delayed by the war, of THE COMPLETE WORKS OF H.P.
BLAVATSKY by Rider and Company of London, begun in 1931. Writes
one reviewer on the appearance of the second volume:
> [The publication of HPB's COMPLETE WORKS] erects a monument to
> her achievements more enduring than brass; for it is a monument
> of pure gold; as it is likely that the Sun will outlast her
> daughter planets.
The work of the Blavatsky Association of London in producing THE
BLAVATSKY BIBLIOGRAPHY likewise furthers this effort. This is "a
reference book of works, letters, articles, etc., by and
referring to Madame H.P. Blavatsky," which first appeared in
1933. Through these books, and through the outpouring of
articles in our own THEOSOPHICAL FORUM and in excellent magazines
issued by other branches of the Theosophical Movement, HPB is
becoming more and more widely known, and her contribution to
world thought becoming definitely recognized as worthy of deep
Recent and contemporary outstanding writers who have derived
inspiration from her must number well in the hundreds, perhaps in
the thousands: William Kingsland, A.E. Waite, W.B. Yeats,
Middleton Murry, Geoffrey West, G.B. Shaw, A.E., Aldous Huxley,
E. Graham Howe, J.B. Priestley, Eileen Garrett, Ella Young,
Alvin Boyd Kuhn, Beatrice Hastings, Claude Bragdon, Stanley Jast,
C.E.M. Joad -- selecting only a few.
Not all of these point to her as the luminary from whence they
have in degree received the light, but all, I venture to say, and
again in degree, have had their lives and their writing
brightened by association with the power and the radiance which
burned so preeminently in that Sun. Some were outspoken in their
appraisal, such as Victor B. Neuberg, writing in THE SUNDAY
REFEREE of January 7, 1934, whose estimate of HPB was that of "an
over-whelming and essentially noble personality."
> This appreciation [he continues] may seem exaggerated, emanating
> from one who is not and has never been connected with the
> Theosophical Society. It is now due to suggest that possibly,
> when the true history of the period she covered comes to be
> recorded, with all its effects and ramifications, HPB may be
> hailed as the greatest figure of her age.
Her voice will ever be coupled with that of occultism, not the
fake, pseudo sort, but the genuine. In one of those deeply
discerning and revelatory philosophical passages scattered
through her works that impress the reader so profoundly, she
> Occultism teaches us that ideas based upon fundamental truths
> move in the eternity in a circle, revolving around and filling
> the space within the circuit of the limits allotted to our globe
> and the planetary or solar system. ... They pervade the
> sensible world, permeating the world of thought. ... They are
> attracted to and assimilated by homogeneous universals in certain
> brains. ... Whenever a strong impulse is imparted on some given
> point of the globe to one of such fundamental truths, and a
> communion between kindred eternal essences is strongly
> established between a philosopher's interior world of reflection
> and the exterior plane of ideas, then, cognate brains are
> affected on several other points, and identical ideas will be
> generated and expression given to them often in almost identical
Each humble worker who contemplates the lofty mystery of the
Unknown and will dare to think and brush away the superstitions
in his own nature and grasp at Universals is in a position to
draw from that ideative plane of which HPB speaks. From there
are generated and propelled into being those "fundamental truths"
that are the real stuff of being. To become enlightened, forever
so brief a moment, by the flash of understanding that comes thus
from perception of Truth, is to partake of real occultism.
In Religion, Science, Philosophy, and yes, Occultism and
Theosophy, we need a new perspective. HPB gives that vision.
That is why she lives on. In her philosophy, she gives us the
time in which to grow -- millions and millions of years to pass
from brute to ensouled thinking man.
With most, the child still has his way. Before him, the future
stretches where in due time he will attain a maturity fitting him
for deeds of heroic intellectual strength and great moral
capacity. Inevitably, he will stride over our low hills into the
lofty mountain-heights. From Himalayan peaks, he will first
glimpse and later consciously share in the actions of the gods.
Right now, our devotions and our loyalties lie here, right before
us in life.
Though our eyes may be on the heights, we know the steps that
take us there. They are our faithful doing of the duties we have
assumed. The virtues that make safe the first steps for the
child are the same that crown with success the performance of
Now that HPB has come, we can end our imprisonment. The Truth
beckons us on. Therein we find hope for the future. HPB gave it
to us in the Esoteric Tradition. We need it in the darkness of
these middle decades of this century. The gift is hope, based
not on sentiment and mere good feeling, but on a vision of the
facts of Universal Being. As long as there are some glimpsing
the light and feeling strength and joy in sharing that vision
with others, HPB's message lives on.
THE WORK BEHIND THE SCENES
By L. Gordon Plummer
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, November 1944, pages 481-84.]
Whoever joins the Theosophical Society finds an opportunity to
learn something of the inner work being done for the spiritual
welfare of humanity. Assuming that he is sincere in his desire
for more light, the quickened tempo of his intuitions has led him
to that body of men and women that has dedicated itself to
practical Brotherhood, and for a time at least, he may become
aware of the realities that work in and through the Theosophical
In certain respects, there seems to be a difference between our
outlook and that held by some of the members in the earliest days
of the Society. While the privilege of working with H.P.
Blavatsky is one that we can never know, yet we hear that many
joined because they wanted to be put into communication with the
Masters, or wanted to learn practical occultism, and have special
privileges conferred upon them. In part, this was due to the
necessity at that time of putting the Adepts before the public
more largely than is done now, and to the need of demonstrating
and explaining psychic phenomena. Thus, the cry was for more
Adepts and bigger and better phenomena. A number of members at
that time were fortunate enough to hear directly or indirectly
from the Adepts themselves.
Since those days, the Masters have apparently withdrawn, and
phenomena have definitely subsided. One result is that in some
ways we have grown more pragmatic in our approach to the
Theosophical Society. Yet, it can be said confidently that we
also approach it with greater understanding of the worth of
Theosophy and a greater willingness to work for it. Take this as
an indication of genuine growth on the part of the Theosophical
Society as a whole, not in respect to numbers of members so much
as in a maturity of outlook. When a child no longer cries for
the moon, he is old enough to understand something about what the
moon really is.
The Theosophical Society devotes its full attention to the work
of spreading the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom. It directs its
energies to the sole end that Universal Brotherhood may become a
way of life. This has made it no longer needful for the Adepts
to pamper it along, and they are free to do the inner work that
is the real force sustaining the Theosophical Movement. This
does not imply that they have become detached from the Society
that they inaugurated. This would be far from the truth. Events
have shown that when our attention has been on the work to be
done, there has been a guiding hand directing the outcome of the
various problems that we have had to face. This will continue as
long as we do our part. Thus any member anywhere can become
temporarily at least, a channel through which the Masters can
work. It is of secondary importance whether or not that member
suspects that aid has been given. It is written in the Karmic
records that the work has been accomplished, and that is enough.
All this points to the inner work of the Theosophical Society.
Through adherence to the principles laid down by HPB and
reiterated by subsequent Leaders, something is being kept alive.
Without this, the Theosophical Society would be nothing. It is
difficult to give it a name. We have learned to call it the
Lodge Force. Think of it as living, vitalizing energy permeating
the Headquarters, every National Section, every Lodge, and
finally the heart of every individual member in the Theosophical
Society. It is what makes the Theosophical work "the most
serious movement of the ages." It is also what makes it an ever
increasing joy and a privilege to be a part of that Work.
No promise is made to a newcomer except the promise of greater
responsibilities, and of greater opportunities for work. He is
not told that in a few short years he will become an Adept. Nor
is he led to believe that because he joins the Society he will
become endowed with unusual psychical or spiritual powers. He is
told that we are striving for the spiritual regeneration of
mankind. We are becoming "fishers for the souls of men," seeking
out those who are spiritually awakened so that they too may come
into the work. Taking the broadest possible view, he learns that
there will come a period in human evolution when a great choice
must be made, a choice either to advance or to lag behind. Those
who lag will have to go through the trials of earth life for ages
to come, while those who advance will become the Guides and
Helpers of races to follow.
Theosophy gives definite teachings about the evolution of the
human race, because eventually humanity must be spiritually
aroused to action. For although the great choice is not at hand,
nor will it come for millions of years, yet when it does come, it
will be too momentous to be made in a brief moment of time. So
far as any individual is concerned, it will be the result of ages
of growth or lack of growth. In other words then, every moment
of the day is a moment of choice, preparing us for future great
events in the history of the Earth. Who will be the forerunners
in those stirring times?
So while it is true that no promises are made, it is equally true
that no barriers are ever put in the way of any individual who
has the will to advance. There is unlimited opportunity for
anyone who is willing to take the time and trouble. Thus,
spiritual growth is something of which one can say, "That is so
far beyond me that it will take lives before I can know anything
about it. All I can do is to study and concentrate on my job."
That is a negation of a fact of growth. How does one reach
discipleship except by study and concentration of the work in
hand? I have heard it said -- and I believe it to be true -- that
the Theosophical Society as a whole may be thought of as a
disciple or Chela of the Adepts. It is under their direct
guidance, and because this is so of the group collectively, it
brings every member under their influence, and each member is
aware of it to the degree that he applies himself to the living
of the life and the study of the teachings.
By putting it in this way, we ward against a tendency of the
personality to regard whatever illumination one may have as a
sign of special favors. Too often, we see the tendency to turn
these things to ourselves. Rather let us feel that we are all
open to inspiration and illumination, and that whoever is
experiencing it at any time is but taking part in the real work
that is behind the outer activity of the Theosophical Society.
Thus the advancement of any member or a group of members aids the
Theosophical Society because it raises the average standing of
the group as a whole.
Thus, we see the importance of the work behind the scenes. The
Masters do their real work on inner planes. The life of the
Theosophical Society is the Lodge Force, intangible but
nonetheless real. The inner life of the student is the thing
that welds him to the core of the Work. The Theosophical Society
is influencing the inner life of the world. The thoughts of men
reflect the sublime ideas of the Ancient Wisdom, as witness the
writings of our leading thinkers. Thus, the accomplishment of
the real work of the Theosophical Society is not to be judged so
much by outward growth as by the degree to which the ideas are
permeating the thought life of the world, which means the degree
to which man is becoming spiritually awakened.
PORTRAITS OF THEOSOPHISTS, Part IV
By John M. Prentice
[This is a true sketch of a Theosophist written by the President
of the Australian Section of the Theosophical Society (Pasadena),
from THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, April 1945, pages 180-82.]
Her honey-colored hair survived the passage of the years. Age
could offer no opposition to the delicate tinting of her cheeks,
as in the use of makeup she was undoubtedly an artist. Her
clothes were always in the mode of the moment and worn with an
air, yet none could say she was not a lady. There was something
birdlike in the way in which she fluttered to her seat in Lodge
meetings. Her entrances and exits were always spectacular. She
knew everybody, having an amazing memory for small details of
family life. No duty was too menial for her to undertake, while
she did everything gracefully as well as efficiently.
She was a good businesswoman. Her flair was to purchase a
decayed or derelict guesthouse, build it up into a reputable
residential, and dispose of it at a handsome profit. She did
this with the application of a paintbrush, efficiently wielded by
her more often than not. She also added interior decoration
whereby the dinginess fled.
She named each successive house "Ebenezer" until the new owner
could substitute something more conventional. Her culinary
ability served to keep her tenants well and happily catered. She
bought in the market and supervised the kitchen herself.
Each time she carried out such a deal successfully, she made a
trip abroad on her profits. When her capital was down to but
that sufficient to restart, she would return and repeat her small
cycle of history.
Her ability as a student was undoubted. She knew the Doctrine.
From time to time, she lectured on Theosophy. Her small birdlike
voice took on a ring of sincerity. She wrote in her spare
moments. Her manuscript was the despair of many a Theosophical
editor, for there was no punctuation marks, not a comma nor full
stop on any page. Her script ran on and on, yet when reduced to
order, there was great knowledge as well as original ideas. Only
the editors knew what a task it was to bring order out of her
literary chaos. In print, her material always looked as well as
her refurbished houses.
She did splendid service as an organizer in the First World War.
Fluttering through hospitals, she saw what people wanted and then
stormed the citadels of the wealthy until there were funds to
cater for every need. Many of the wounded watched for the yellow
hair and the delicate peach bloom complexion, blessing her as she
The Second World War found her in the South of France, where she
enjoyed a well-earned holiday on the profits of an unusually
successful deal. Then she returned to England, getting a
position in a great public hospital. In the Battle for Britain,
she was part of a mobile motor unit that transported the wounded.
One heard of her from hither and yon, as she went about doing
good deeds. Bombed out of three successive flats, she wrote
about her experience with humor and courage. She was clearly
expressed when one had punctuated the material written in the
jolting ambulance in which she worked.
People suggested to her that her age gave her an excuse for
seeking a rest. She must have been approaching the Psalmist's
limit. She laughed the idea to scorn, getting herself attached
to another service. Now she engaged in picking up neglected
children and transporting them to sanatoria to nurse them back to
health, giving them a new slant on life. Her own daughter was a
famous musician busy on war work. Her daughter tried to compel
her to rest too, but to no avail. With bright and prominent
makeup and hair, she darted about the country. Only the state of
the cosmetic market ever caused her a moment's concern.
The beauty of it all is that she is still busy on works of mercy.
Her funds must be low by now, but this is of no immediate
concern. When the war is over, she will be ready to return to
her sunny homeland. Heaven alone knows how many houses await her
magic touch, if she does not remain to remodel half the damaged
houses in Great Britain!
Every time tidings arrive concerning her, her old friends
rejoice. They all know the value of her heart of gold. They
know she was not a Theosophist in name only, but lived the life
while taking a modicum of profit from every deal. We have said
nothing so far of her charity, either of action or of thought.
She never condemned anyone nor did she refuse help when it could
reasonably assist someone less well off. Yet many times, we
might hear her saying under her breath, "The Lord is my
Her secret was that she was a practical Mystic. None
accomplished so much with so little effort. None sought less
public recognition. The treasure she accumulated in Heaven will
not only yield rich dividends for her, but will be available to
succor the world.
If anyone should visit the city where I paint this portrait in
loving words and see a guesthouse called Ebenezer, it can be
certain that one of her efforts has defied the defiling hand of a
purchaser. This name is the Anglicized form of a Hebrew name
meaning, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."
HOPE OF THE WORLD
By Louis F. Callaway
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, March 1947, pages 149-52.]
Education today means simply what the old Latin word educere
implies: to lead out. We lead out of ourselves the inherent
intelligence that will instantaneously beget ideas that complete
ideals in expression and in action.
Scientific study, research, and progressive education are the
hope of the world. We have only to look about us to see that
ignorance is the root of evil. Much of the ignorance and
superstition of today stalks like a ghost within the confines of
some of our structural palisades erected to God in the name of
goodness. As a result, some men have become more taboo-ridden
than Andaman Islanders.
Many scientists and philosophers of the past have been
realizationists. They have the conviction that science is the
great master key to the hope of the world. The illustrious
Euclid inscribed above the entrance of his domicile, "He who hath
not knowledge of geometry shall not enter my sacred portals." The
great Descartes said, "Mathematics alone will avoid sophisms, and
by it, all problems of life can be solved, if proper principles
be applied." The intellectual Socrates wrote, "Man, know
Think of social science too. Extend the search into economics
(the striving for subsistence), sociology (cooperation for higher
hopes through social attitudes and ideals), and psychology and
metaphysics (mind or soul science offering hope of fuller life or
even immortality). Add mathematics (the science of numbers),
"The measured order of his plan." This includes proportion,
symmetry, balance, truth, and beauty manifesting throughout the
universe. Add biology and evolution (the laws of life) and
anthropology to open man's vision to the beauties of the kinship
of man with all life. Then we see why we call Science the hope
of the world.
If interested in social and economic conditions, philosophies,
and sentiments of a particular period, go to the literature of
that time. Notwithstanding its artificiality, literature is most
revealing. It mirrors life. Go back in English literature to
the Elizabethan period and point our pedagogical finger at
Christopher Marlowe. In one of his plays, he portrays a Dr.
Faustus as the leading man. Because Dr. Faustus is a scientist,
Marlowe depicts him as having sold his soul to the Devil for a
mess of pottage. History and literature reek of similar beliefs.
People say much about God and religion, but offer little for a
thinking mind into which to sink its intellectual teeth. The
idea that the good alone have found a solution to the riddle of
the universe is mistaken. Blown to bits since the Victorian
period, the idea could be no farther from the truth. Its fallacy
is plain to scientists and men of letters who have spent years
working with scholars in pure theology for the improvement of
spiritual ideas and ideals on an intellectual rather than on an
Truth seekers are not concerned with Paul's journeys through
Rome. They are not concerned with the crucifixion (crime at the
cross), tombs (morbidity), heaven (the happy hunting ground), nor
hell (fear, the most destructive psychology to man). They worry
about neither the Devil (another mythical, fictitious character
like the boogieman) nor mortification of the flesh. They are not
concerned with medieval orthodoxy, dogmatic and empty theories,
but rather with the fundamental spiritual principles by which man
betters his life by attuning with the great Kingdom within, and
with the vibrating, pulsating laws of Life.
Priests have hammered teachings relating to an anthropomorphic
God into the minds of men since the Dark Ages. The unwary come
to believe that scientific theories like evolution are
pseudo-science, residing on the lunatic fringe of science. They
have also come to believe science to be of the Devil, believe
psychology and metaphysics the practices of witchcraft, and
believe education and scientific studies to have made atheists of
the young. They call it devilish to delve into the mysteries of
the universe. If these beliefs prevailed, they would be
destructive to our entire system. They say, "Down with the
colleges and universities!"
In touch with Life, the true scientist has breathed deeply and
lived fully. He is not a materialist, but rather is one of the
Illuminati. He sees the beauty of the divine Law of the Universe
and observes its activities under the microscope daily. He feels
the presence of Universal Mind, Infinite Intelligence, in his
avid quest of the unknown. In Nature's living substance, he sees
that Energy and feels the great Principle in manifestation. He
attunes with Life. Life gives meaning to life.
No true scientist could be atheist. Never more spiritual men
lived than Darwin and Ingersoll, yet the rabble have conferred
upon them diplomas of atheism. The mob has charged other great
scientists and philosophers of the past with heresy and
immorality, persecuting and even putting some to death. If we do
not encourage the creative minds and the geniuses, whither are we
Outside science, many of our teachings fail to give basic
principles with which to interpret modern life. Until medieval
orthodoxy extends the right-hand of fellowship to science and
progressive education, it will continue to be shallow and
stagnant. Meanwhile, the world continues gradually to slip
gradually into social-economic decadence, moving backwards
intellectually and spiritually.
Even the most illiterate can lead a RELIGIOUS life. Even so,
without intellectuality, self-cultivation, and self-realization,
no man is prepared to begin to live the SPIRITUAL life. Is
consciousness, intelligence, or awareness a mundane luxury, a
psychological accident, or a will-o'-the-wisp figment of the
imagination induced by indifferent law? Could it be a consoling
depth of feeling, a controlling grace, and a wealth of perception
that human choices have some bearing upon an infinite order of
being? To possess faith in consciousness and realize that it
represents universal oneness makes a great difference in the
lives of men and nations.
Can a good scientist believe in God? The Church has its answer.
The question should if a true scientist can believe in a Supreme
Being. There are too many connotations to the word "God." The
medieval, orthodox connotation implies materiality, fixity,
absoluteness, and conclusiveness. "Man proposes, but God
disposes." When men conclude, they cease to think.
In an endeavor to throw off the shackles that have kept it down
to earth, Mankind stands at the portal of Wisdom. It petitions
high Heaven for new hope. It needs a founded, glowing, enlivened
spiritual movement to unify it, reestablishing the great
Brotherhood of Man.
Spiritual men feel deeply with Einstein when he said,
> Certain it is that a conviction, akin to religious feeling, of
> the rationality or intelligibility of the world lies behind all
> scientific work of a higher order. This firm belief, a belief
> bound up with deep feeling, in a Superior Mind that reveals
> itself in the world of experience, represents my conception of
"On earth, peace, to men, good will."
THE POWER AND PURPOSE OF A LODGE
By Anita Henkel Wild
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, May 1945, pages 205-7, reprinted
there from THE AMERICAL THEOSOPHIST, Wheaton, Illinois, December
In all the confusion, uncertainty, and fear that are abroad in
the world at this major turning point in evolutionary growth,
there is need for those quiet areas wherein spiritual power may
be generated and from which it may be drawn for the helping of
mankind. There is need for such areas where each individual may
himself grow strong and calm, thus adding his own power to help
lessen the confusion. For as the individual must turn inwards in
time of distress in order to find his spiritual strength, so must
the world turn inwards to find its own soul.
Where should we find those areas of power and understanding if
not in the lodges of The Theosophical Society, for here are those
who understand that there is a plan, a plan that is unfolding
before our eyes today as we see the world being put to the test.
Our lodges can, if they will, be such centers. They can become
quiet, determined, active centers for generating a power that can
be felt throughout their own communities.
Each lodge can be to its own city what the calm, collected, and
intelligent individual is to the scene of an accident, at once
giving confidence and security to those who are excited and
confused. This is a spiritual emergency that confronts the world
as well as a physical plane emergency. An emergency when all
those who have any degree of understanding of the principles of
life should be as surely mobilized for the defense of the nations
of the world as those who have physical strength and endurance
are so mobilized.
Is it too much to say that it is for this crisis that we, who
claim to have had the Ancient Wisdom for many lives, have come
into incarnation? What are we doing to justify that claim? That
is the question each individual must ponder, determining what he
can do to fulfill his destined part. No one can do much alone,
perhaps. Each can do a little. Each can leave his imprint on
those around him.
> Remember, words are not needed. In the silence these things are
> done. Those in whose midst you may live, quiet and unknown, will
> have a radiance cast upon them merely by your presence. It is
> not what you say or do, but what you ARE that tells, and that
> will leave its ineffaceable mark upon each character you meet, as
> upon all time. The soul desires to express itself in its
> reflection -- your life. Live that it may do so. Think and act,
> that you may become a channel for higher things to descend to
> lower planes. The beauty of a life like that, the power of it,
> who can measure and set bounds to?
Our everyday world is filled with criticism and strife, with
recriminations and blame. The many are swayed by these
criticisms. Only the few remain calm, take the larger view, and
see every incident and every happening in the light of its
contribution to the next step in the great Plan of Evolution.
Few there are who refuse to be bound by prejudice, to be
influenced by propaganda, few who are less insistent upon their
own good and who seek the good of the whole of mankind. Few
there are who seek no praise, who feel no envy, who can be happy
in all circumstances, and who are free from personal pride.
Among these few should we find the true Theosophist, growing
steadily in understanding, in wisdom, growing beyond all his
littleness, striving always for that larger vision. He who
aspires to help the world must be steadfast in that aspiration
and must have a quiet steadiness on the way. He must be willing
to bear blame, deserved or undeserved, and without rancor. He
must be willing to act, profiting from all mistakes that may
result from that action.
With such members in a lodge, members who are big in all their
reactions to life as it impinges upon them in the form of persons
and happenings, that lodge will grow in its power to help the
world. It will be more than a club meeting where members meet in
friendship and good cheer. It will be more than a study class.
It becomes a center of peace and power serving the whole world.
It becomes a place giving contentment and peace to the worried
and unhappy. It allows those of great capacity to find their
gift directed into higher channels. Such a lodge can be a haven
to many, and an inspiration to all.
What is it in lodge life and activity that makes such strength
and power? First, it is the members. Members who are striving to
fulfill their destiny as individuals, who are more than their
lower natures. Members who feel that beauty in every thought,
every act, is the ideal. If these members can gather in a lodge
room that is beautiful both in atmosphere and in physical things,
an added power is given both to them and to the group. For
beauty is a power beyond all reckoning. It inspires, it
delights, it warms, and it expands the sensitive human being.
Books, cared for, reverenced, read, books that reflect the
freshest as well as the oldest thought, and that stimulate the
mind to its own thought, these are as essential to the power of
the lodge as are its members. From these books and from the
lives of vital and dynamic members will be produced programs of
study and discussion that will touch life at all its points,
throwing the light of the Ancient Wisdom into all its dark
crevices. Members thus serving the lodge through its programs
will develop ability to think originally and to present what they
think, thereby growing daily in capacity, in expression, and in
depth of being.
Such a lodge as this will be able to blend the membership into a
unity, creating a center of dynamic harmony. That harmony is
pulsing with life, color, and enthusiasm. This is because it is
a harmony created out of differences, not a harmony of
indifferences. This is done under the leadership of officers
with a vision of its ideal function. They create the ideal in
the group, inspiring and drawing out each member's hidden
capacities, encouraging questions, and kindly considering all
Let every Theosophist today, then, take his Theosophy seriously,
let him make his daily work serve Theosophy, and make Theosophy
serve his daily work. Let him be clear as to how he wants his
life to reflect the grandeur of Theosophy, and set about to
achieve that reflection. A true Theosophist is never mediocre,
though he may be unassuming and simple. The true Theosophist is
vivid with a quiet radiance, is deep in understanding, and is big
in reactions. The world needs such people, and it needs groups
of such people working together with a conscious purpose, with an
enthusiasm for the changing life about them, with an
understanding of the principle and the purpose in the background
of these changes.
HAVE IMAGINATIONS BODY?
By George William Russell
[From THE CANDLE OF VISION, pages 102-111]
In the literature of science, I read of marvelously delicate
instruments devised to make clear to the intellect the mode of
operation of forces invisible to the eye, like how Alpha rays,
Gamma rays, or the vibrations in metal or plant are measured.
I sigh for some device to aid the intellect in solving difficult
problems of psychology likewise. I ask myself how I may
ascertain with a precision of knowledge that would convince
others whether the figures of vision, imagination, or dream are
two- or three-dimensional.
The figures cast on the screen in a theater are flat, but have
all the illusion of motion, distance, shadow, light, and form. I
am content to accept the figures of human memory as being in two
dimensions. They are imprinted by waves of light on the retina,
and cast upon some screen in the brain.
I am forced by my own experience and that of others to believe
that nature has a memory and that it is accessible to us. But
this memory cannot be recorded as ours through bodily organs of
sight or hearing, nor can imagination make clear to me how any
medium could exist in nature that would reflect upon itself as a
mirror reflects, or as human vision reflects, an impression
intelligible to us of what is passing.
If there were such a medium acting as a mirror to nature or life
and retaining the impression, it must be universal as the
supposed ether of the scientist. How could impressions on this
medium intelligible to us be focused as the vibrations of light
are through the needlepoint of the eye to record a single
In our visions of the memory of nature, we see undistorted
figures. If we could imagine the whole body sensitive to light,
as is that single point in the brain on which the optic nerves
converge, what kind of vision would we have? The earth under foot
and objects right, left, above, and below would all clamor in
various monstrous shapes for attention. The feet would see from
one angle, the hands from another, and back and front would
confuse us. I cannot imagine the recording power in nature as
reflecting like a mirror, retaining and recording the
We have another mode of memory in ourselves which might suggest
the mode of memory in nature. It is that by which our subjective
life is recorded. Mood, thought, passion, and ecstasy all are
preserved for us and can be summoned up and recreated.
How is this memory maintained? Are we continuously casting off by
way of emanation an image of ourselves instant by instant,
infinitesimally delicate but yet complete? Is every motion of
mind and body preserved so that a complete facsimile, an effigy
in three dimensions, exists of every moment in our being? Is the
memory of nature like that? Is it by a continuous emanation of
itself it preserves for itself its own history? Does this
hypothesis place too heavy a burden on the substance of the
universe as we know it?
I do not like to use arguments the validity of which I am not
able to establish myself. But I might recall that an eminent
thinker in science, Balfour Stewart, supposed of the ether that
there was a continual transference of energy to it from the
visible universe, and that this stored-up energy might form the
basis of an immortal memory for man and nature.
The conception did not lay too heavy a burden on matter as he
imagined it. But what is matter? Is it not pregnant every atom
of it with the infinite? Even in visible nature does not every
minutest point of space reflect as a microcosm the macrocosm of
earth and heaven?
As I stand on the mountain, this minute point of space occupied
by my eye has poured into it endless vistas of manifold
mountains, vales, woods, cities, glittering seas, clouds, and an
infinite blueness. Wherever I move, whether by rays or waves of
light, from the farthest star to the nearest leaf with its
complexity of vein and tint, there comes to that pinpoint of
space, the eye with multitudinous vision. If every pinpoint of
external space is dense yet not blind with immensity, what more
miracle of subtlety, of ethereal delicacy, could be affirmed of
matter and be denied because it strains belief?
In that acorn which lies at my feet, there is a tiny cell which
has in it a memory of the oak from the beginning of earth. There
is a power coiled in it which can beget from itself the full
majestic being of the oak. From that tiny fountain by some
miracle can spring another cell. Cell after cell will be born,
will go on dividing, begetting, building up from each other
unnumbered myriads of cells, all controlled by some mysterious
power latent in the first. In an hundred years, they will,
obeying the plan of the tiny architect, have built up "the
green-robed senators of mighty woods." There is nothing
incredible in the assumption that every cell in the body is
wrapped about with myriad memories.
He who attributes the least mystery to matter is furthest from
truth. He is nearest the truth who conjectures the Absolute to
be present in fullness of being in the atom. If I am reproached
for the supposition that the soul of earth preserves memory of
itself by casting off instant by instant enduring images of its
multitudinous life, I am only saying of nature in its fullness
what visible nature is doing in its own fashion without
cessation. What problem of mind, vision, imagination, or dream
do I solve by this hypothesis? I have been perplexed as an artist
by the obedience of the figures of imagination to suggestion from
Let me illustrate my perplexity. I imagine a group of
white-robed Arabs standing on a sandy hillock. They seem of such
a noble dignity that I desire to paint them. With restlessness
akin to that which makes a portrait-painter arrange and rearrange
his sitter, until he gets the pose which satisfies him, I say to
myself, "I wish they would raise their arms above their heads."
At the suggestion, all the figures in my vision raise their hands
as if in salutation of the dawn.
I see other figures in imagination which attract me as
compositions. There may be a figure sitting down and I think it
would compose better if it was turned in another direction. That
figure will obey my suggestion, not always, but at times it will.
Again and again when I who paint almost entirely from what is
called imagination, and who never use models, watch a figure in
my vision, it will change its motions as I will it.
Now this is to me amazing. The invention and actual drawing of
the intricate pattern of light and shade involved by the lifting
of the hands of my imaginary Arabs would be considerable. My
brain does not by any swift action foresee in detail the
pictorial consequences involved by the lifting of arms, but yet
by a single wish, a simple mental suggestion, the intricate
changes are made in the figures of imagination as they would be
if real Arabs stood before me and raised their hands at my call.
If I ask a crowd of people to whom I speak to change their
position so that they may the better hear me I am not astonished
at the infinite complexity of the change I bring about. I
realize that the will in each one has mastery over the form by
some miracle and the message runs along nerve and muscle. The
simple wish brings about the complex change.
How do I take hold of the figures in dream or imagination? By
what miracle does the simple wish bring about the complex
changes? It may now be seen why I asked for some means by which I
might ascertain whether the forms in dream or imagination are
two- or three-dimensional. If they are flat, if they are human
memories merely, vibrations of stored-up sunlight fixed in some
way in the brain as a photograph is fixed, their alteration by a
simple wish involves the incredible.
I find Freud, referring to a dream he had, saying carelessly that
it was made up by a combination of memories, but yet the
architecture of the dream seemed to be coherent and not a
patchwork. It had motion of its own. Wonderful, indeed, that
the wonder of what was written about so easily was not seen!
How could we imagine even the mightiest conscious artistic
intelligence with seership into all the memories of a life,
taking the vibrations that constituted this hand, and adjusting
them to the vibrations which made that other arm, or even taking
the vibrations which registered a complete figure and amending
these so that the figure moved with different gestures from the
first gestures recorded as memory?
If such a picture was made up even from life-size images, it
would be a patchwork. The patches would show everywhere. But
the dream figure or the figure of imagination walks with
authentic motions and undistorted anatomies. Does not the effort
to imagine such combinations even by the mightiest conscious
intellect involve the incredible? At least it is so with the
artist who watches form with a critical eye.
How much greater the incredibility if we suppose there was no
conscious artist, but that all this authentic imagery of
imagination or dream came together without an intelligence to
How do we better matters if we assume that the figures in dream
or imagination are three dimensional, and that they have actual
body and organization however ethereal, delicate, or subtle? If
they are shadows or effigies emanated from living organisms and
are complete in their phantasmal nature within and without, it is
possible to imagine life laying hold of them.
It is conceivable that the will may direct their motions even as
at a word of command soldiers will turn and march. That is why I
suggest that the memory of nature may be by way of emanation or
shadow of life and form. It is why when we see such images, they
are not the monstrous complexities they would be if they were
reflections on some universal ether spread everywhere taking
color from everything at every possible angle and remaining two
The hypothesis that everything in nature, every living being, is
a continuous fountain of phantasmal effigies of itself would
explain the way in which ruins build up their antique life to the
eye of the seer, so that he sees the people of a thousand years
ago in their cities which are now desolate, and the dark-skinned
merchants unrolling their bales in the market.
This is why they appear as someone has said, "Thinking the
thought and performing the deed." If we have access to such
memories, and if they have organism within as well as without,
can we not imagine will or desire of ours constraining them? Can
we not imagine such forms swept into the vortex of a dreaming
soul swayed by the sea of passion in which they exist, acting
according to suggestion?
If we suppose that a deeper being of ours has wider vision than
the waking consciousness, and can use the memories, not only of
this plane of being, but of the forms peculiar to mid-world and
heaven-world, this might help to solve some of the perplexities
aroused in those who are intent and vigilant observers of their
own dreams and imaginations.
Continually in my analysis of the figures, I see I am forced to
follow them beyond the transitory life I know and to speculate
upon the being of the Ever-Living. I think there is no halfway
house between the spiritual and the material where the intellect
can dwell. If we find we have our being in a universal life, we
must alter our values, changing all our ideas until they depend
upon and are in harmony with that sole cause of all that is.
APOLLONIUS OF TYANNA, Part X
By Phillip A Malpas
[The following comes from a series that appeared in THE
THEOSOPHICAL PATH, under Katherine Tingley as Editor and
published at the Point Loma Theosophical Community. It later
appeared in book form under the title TRUE MESSIAH: THE STORY AND
WISDOM OF APOLLONIUS OF TYANA 3 B.C. -- 96 A.D., published by
Point Loma Publications.]
Traveling to Troy, Apollonius visited the temple of Esculapius at
Pergamus, and was much delighted with it. Here he instructed the
worshipers of the god how they might obtain favorable dreams, and
he cured many of their diseases.
At Troy he visited the tombs of the Achaians and made many
sacrifices, but without shedding a drop of blood. Determining to
spend the night at the tomb of Achilles, he sent his followers
back to the ship and turned off their efforts to dissuade him
from communicating with the terrible Achilles, by good-natured
banter and wise jestings. He had nothing to do with the Trojans
and therefore had no fear of Achilles.
The next morning he sent for one of his followers, giving the
name of Antisthenes the Parian, who admitted the name and his
descent from Priam. Then Apollonius said Achilles had bidden him
not to make the Parian acquainted with his wisdom, because of the
blood of Priam in his veins and the praises of Hector that were
ever on his lips.
Antisthenes reluctantly departed when he heard this.
The season was autumn, when the sea is not to be trusted. But
the people had such faith in the powers of Apollonius over the
elements that they flocked into the little vessel in which he
embarked. The ship was overloaded and would have been in peril,
but Apollonius spied another near the tomb of Ajax, into which he
went with his immediate followers.
"Let us embark in that vessel," he said. "It is a glorious thing
to be saved, with the multitude."
The shade of Achilles had told him that Palamedes was buried at
Methymna, and there he bade the pilot take the ship. The statue
was a small one and represented a man much older than Palamedes.
But Apollonius found the tomb, and near it he discovered a buried
statue of Palamedes, presumably another and more faithful one,
for on it was the inscription, "To the divine Palamedes."
Apollonius set up the statue he had found and built around it a
little chapel. His praise of Palamedes was unbounded. He called
him "this great man from who comes all knowledge." He did all in
his power to appease this great soldier and man of learning, who
was said to have added the four letters which complete the
alphabet of Cadmus during the Trojan War.
In parenthesis we may note that Apollonius had known Palamedes as
a youth among the philosophers around Iarchas in India. Those
unacquainted with the philosophy of the school of Iarchas will
probably ask, "How comes it that the Cappadocian philosopher can
talk as though Palamedes were still in the tomb?" Probably the
young man who had been Palamedes in a former birth was impeded in
his progress by the remnants of the unfulfilled or uncompensated
acts and deeds of his former life, and Apollonius in appeasing
him in this way might well be freeing the man from such clinging
and clogging portions of his former makeup, which really did not
belong to the man himself, but only to his earthly forms.
If this is not correct, there may be somewhere among the records
of the Indian school a tale of the sudden conversion of the
splendid youth who had such a distaste for philosophy in his
resentment against the Greeks, Ulysses, and Homer. The narrative
may be an actual record of what Apollonius did, and at the same
time a philosophical lesson for Damis and others, for this method
of a doctrine within a history is much used by the school of
Iarchas. Rather than a parable of fancy, it is a parable of
Apollonius pleaded at the dedication of his temple. "O
Palamedes! Forget your anger you had for the Greeks. Grant them
to multiply in numbers and wisdom. Grant this, Palamedes, for
from you comes knowledge, and by you the muses and I live!"
While passing through the Euboean Sea, the passengers talked, as
passengers will. The weather was exceptionally mild for the
autumn and they talked of that and of the famous islands as they
passed them (as who would not, in that island-studded sea whose
dim distances are filled with the deeds of gods and heroes, men,
and sages). They talked of the build of the ship, for had not
Homer said what a dangerous sea it is and to be feared, and might
not the weather change before the voyage was done? They talked of
the handling of the ship in case it were necessary to avoid the
dangers of the land; they spoke of the skill of the sailors, and
as lands men do, they talked knowingly in sailor-slang with
strange ship-talk and sea-similes. Damis would have none of it.
He fretted and fumed and interrupted and finally bade them cease
their chatter. The sea was smooth, and the breeze favorable, and
there was no excuse of seasickness for his disagreeable manner,
as Apollonius pointed out to him, asking what it was he wanted.
"It is because we are wasting time on threadbare themes of no
consequence, when there are others of much greater consequence to
our hand," said Damis.
"What subject is it, then, that you think best to talk about,"
asked his Teacher.
"Subject enough," said Damis, "in conversation with Achilles.
You have seen his form and countenance and have doubtless learned
much from him that you could tell to us, instead of all this
chatter of ship-building and passing islands."
Evidently Damis was learning much since he had been in Babylonia.
He was not always so anxious then for the least crumb of
philosophical instruction. Now the disciples around were much as
he had once been, some were later to drift away in time from even
the little interest they now showed, but others doubtless, like
Damis, to grow to hunger and thirst after the truth and after
"Very well, if you so desire, I will tell you everything; only
you must not accuse me later of vanity or ostentation in
repeating such matters."
For who of the School of Iarchas will ever tell of such things
without a purpose? His first words show that Apollonius had ever
in mind the instruction of such as were capable of taking it
among his disciples. Does not the word "disciple" mean "one who
"I obtained the honor of conversing with Achilles," he said, "not
after the manner of Ulysses, by digging a trench or evoking his
manes with the blood of lambs, but by the use of such prayers as
are prescribed by the Indians in their religious ritual for the
evocation of heroes."
At first Achilles appeared five cubits in height, but afterwards
grew to twelve cubits. He appeared grave, but also affable, not
at all full of pride and haughtiness as he is so often described
by some of the Greeks. He was of extraordinary beauty. His hair
was uncut, as though in honor of his father's vow to devote it to
the river Sperchius if he returned safe from the Trojan War.
Achilles complained that the Thessalians were neglecting their
offerings to his tomb. He expressed no anger, for he said that
if he did, their destruction would be certain. "I advise them
not to offer any insult to ceremonies established by law," he
said. Even the Trojans, whose perjuries he would never forgive
and on account of which he would never let Troy regain its
ancient splendor, like other fallen cities, never cease their
offerings to him in public, seeking a reconciliation.
Apollonius agreed to go as an ambassador to the common council of
the Thessalians from Achilles as to this matter, because he
realized that by so doing he would prevent their destruction. It
was his duty in life to regulate the worship of the gods for the
benefit of mankind and the purity of the temples, and none could
do this work better than he, we must suppose.
Achilles saw that Apollonius would seek information about the
true history of the Trojan War, and gave him the privilege of
five questions, "such as he wished and the fates allow." In this
way Apollonius learnt that Polyxena was not slain by the Greeks
on his tomb, but she sacrificed herself in honor and respect of
their mutual love, falling on a drawn sword by voluntary action.
Also as to Helen, the Greeks were long in ignorance of her
whereabouts, sending ambassadors to Troy and fighting battles for
her sake. But the truth was that she was in Egypt, where Paris
had taken her to the house of Proteus. After the Greeks had
found this out, they continued fighting to take Troy and for
military honor, regardless of her. Another question was as to
the number of great men Greece was able to produce at one time
when so many of them fought at Troy. Achilles replied that it
was the same with the barbarians, so greatly did the earth then
flourish with valiant men.
The final question of Apollonius was as to Palamedes, who was
sacrificed to the hatred of Ulysses, and left unsung by Homer out
of fear to reproach the character of that crafty son of Laertes.
The recollection of Palamedes brought tears to the eyes of
Achilles who lamented him as a man distinguished for beauty and
valor, though young, as one who excelled most other men in
modesty and love of learning.
"Take care of his sepulcher, Apollonius, for you know a necessary
bond of amity always subsists among the wise. Restore his
statue, which lies prostrate on the ground in Aeolis, over
against Methymna in Lesbos."
The cock crowed and Achilles vanished.
MOVING FORWARD ON THE PATH
By James Sterling
From the bottom of this jagged mountain,
I wait, wonder, and watch as the smooth
Fog surrounds me like a squeezing serpent,
Leaving me gasping, groping, and afraid.
The visionless grey invades silent thoughts
Of gentle solitude as the path below me is
Swallowed up and nature's doors close softly
I cast my gaze above into this stubborn fog,
Leaving me to wait and wait and wait until
I'm allowed to move forward again.
Sweet slumber creeps over me and I can't
Fight the overwhelming feeling of sleep
As the fog curls around me a child's blanket.
When I awake the boldness of the brilliant sky
Stuns me; I look beyond and gasp in silent
Worship at this unforgiving mountain standing
Naked and cold.
Standing on one small plateau of triumph
Is like a mystical revelation; but it never
Stays the same. For the determined disciple
There is never any time for rest, only restless
Sleep; there is only time to move and then wait,
Move and wait.
The path is relentless. It lashes out like a
Dragon offering wisdom, chiding one's fault's
And correcting flaws. Devotion to the path
Means perfect knowledge, pure and simple as
Opposed to toil and sweat.
The disciple bleeds; devotion means the difference
Between Nirvana or having to wait in limbo until
Next time. Moving ahead, falling back, the disciple
Clings in harmony that perfection is just beyond
The next peak.
HUMANITY IN EVOLUTION
By Richard Hiltner, MD
[This paper comes from a talk given February 5, 1999 at the
Library of the Theosophical Society at Altadena, California.]
Few subjects stimulate the fires of controversy as that of
evolution. Will Thakara gave the best set of lectures I have
heard on evolution and creation here in 1994-96. Today I deal
with human evolution, but cannot avoid the companion concept of
creation. Before further concentrating on Human evolution, I
will summarize Thakara's talks.
He stated that both creation and evolution are appropriate in the
proper context. What is creation? It is when more evolved,
intelligent beings design the manifested
consciousness-life-substances from earlier seeds of these beings.
This is not creating "some-thing" from "no-thing." In speaking of
creation, we can also use the singular term, COLLECTIVE
Demiurges, Third Logos, or "God."
Thakara described problems with the Darwinian Theory of
evolution. The various organic substances are composed of
combinations of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. One
difficulty with evolution is how a simple cell forms from them.
The formation of Deoxyribonucleic Acid [DNA] is necessary for the
replication of cells. Scientists have not been able to create
conditions where it would spontaneously form in the laboratory.
According to Robert Shapiro (Professor of Chemistry at New York
University and author of ORIGINS, A SKEPTIC'S GUIDE TO THE
CREATION OF LIFE ON EARTH, DNA is unlikely to have arisen from
the "rich pre-biotic soup" of early ages.
Michael Denton, MD, a researcher in biology and author of
EVOLUTION: A THEORY IN CRISIS, states that the chance of a
hundred functional proteins occurring spontaneously in one place
to form a viable cell is about 10 to the -2000 power, which is
essentially impossible. This does not even consider the need of
nucleic acids, lipids, and polysaccharides.
Over the past hundred years, no one has demonstrated any finely
graded fossils or so-called missing links between major Stocks or
Phyla of animals, such as between reptiles and birds or between
whales and land mammals. Why the lack of documented evidence to
fill the fissures between various Classes and Orders? The theory
of Punctuated Equilibrium by Stephen J. Gould and Eldridge
proposes the missing links flourished in undiscovered lands.
This is but one of many theories attempting to explain the
yet-undiscovered missing links.
Thakara read an extremely important quote from the late Pierre
Paul Grassier, a zoologist and former President of the French
Academy of Science. In his 1973 book EVOLUTION OF LIVING
ORGANISMS, Grassier made a distinction between "to vary" and "to
evolve." Evolution and mutagenesis are independent phenomena.
Mutation falls short of the evolutionary variations that give
rise to Phyla, Classes, and Orders.
Thakara mentioned similar thoughts by Paul Davies. An
astrophysicist and author of the book COSMIC BLUEPRINT, Davies
says that the impression of design in the universe is
overwhelming. Scientists are inching closer to the concept that
the universe is pulsating with meaning and intention.
Goswani, Professor of Physics at the University of Oregon,
proposes Non-Locality, similar in thought to Quantum theory in
which a super-physical intelligence affects the atomic level.
There is more to the excellent lectures by Thakara than I have
time to cover. Anyone not having heard them should obtain tapes
or transcripts from the Altadena Theosophical Library.
Now we come to Human evolution. We will concentrate on explicit
anatomical structures that suggest humans are more primitive than
other mammals or primates.
> A Class of Vertebrate animals of more than 4,000 living species,
> including humans, distinguished by self-regulating body
> temperature, hair, and in females, mammas.
> -- WEBSTER'S NEW COLLEGE DICTIONARY
> An Order of eutherian mammals including man, apes, monkeys,
> lemurs, and living and extinct related forms that are all thought
> to be derived from generalized arboreal ancestors descended in
> turn from shrew-like precursors during the Paleocene and that are
> in general characterized by increasing perfection of binocular
> vision, specialization of the appendages for grasping, and
> enlargement and differentiation of the brain.
> -- WEBSTER'S THIRD INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY
We now consider MAN IN EVOLUTION by Gottfried de Purucker.
(Purucker was President of the Theosophical Society from 1929-42.
He resided at its International Headquarters in Point Loma,
A key premise is that human evolution emphasizes mental
development, reflected in the Central Nervous System (the brain
and spinal cord). Other anatomical structures appear primitive
(derived from "primus," meaning "first" in Latin). They are key
areas in which man is earlier in anatomical development than
so-called earlier mammals and primates.
Purucker delineates twelve areas of interest. Most came from THE
PROBLEM OF MAN'S ANCESTRY by Frederic Wood-Jones, Professor of
Anatomy at the University of London.
Purucker stressed that close examination of embryology could
enlighten us on human evolution. (The Embryonic period is the
first eight weeks after conception. The major external and
internal structures begin during this period, especially during
weeks three through eight.)
There is the famous aphorism touted by a major proponent of
"Darwinian Evolution," Earns Hackle . "Ontogeny
recapitulates Phylogeny." Ontogeny is the biological development
of an INDIVIDUAL organism. Phylogeny is the evolution of a race
or genetically related GROUP of organisms. This asserts that one
may determine early or primitive forms of a Phyla or general
group by studying the development of an embryo, the earliest
beginnings of an individual animal or human.
> Phyla [Phylum singular]:
> A major taxonomic unit comprising organisms sharing a fundamental
> pattern of organization and presumably a common descent.
> -- WEBSTER'S THIRD INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY
Carolus Linnaenus developed a system of classification and
nomenclature in 1758 in his book SYSTEMA NATURA that is still in
use. Consider the example of a rhesus monkey, Maraca mulatta.
Going from the general to the specific, the following shows the
basic sequence of seven levels.
> Kingdom: Animal
> Phylum: Chordata
> Class: Mammalia
> Order: Primates
> Family: Cercopithecidae
> Genus: Macaca
> Species: Mulatta
This implies that the earlier a structure occurs in embryological
formation the older or more primitive it is in evolution.
Consider the premaxilla, a bone in the face above the upper lip.
Wood-Jones remarks that is not present in a human. It is present
in other mammals and primates, even in extinct fossil fishes
dating 200 to 300 million years ago. (See VERTEBRATE
PALEONTOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, page 95, by Robert L. Carroll.
Carroll is a Professor of Biology at McGill University and
describes a fossil fish, Palaeoniscoid.)
Examine a typical book on human embryo, like COLOR ATLAS OF
CLINICAL EMBRYOLOGY, by Keith L Moore, et al. You will find that
the authors do not mention a premaxilla. Daris R. Swindler,
Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of
Washington, does declare that the premaxilla exists "initially in
the human embryo, but that it disappears early in embryological
development." (INTRODUCTION TO THE PRIMATES, page 85.) Even if
correct, this still shows the premaxilla occurring early in human
Swindler emphasizes the significance of this simple anatomical
> If humans lacked the premaxillary element, it meant that they
> differed radically from other primates and this feature could be
> used to separate Homo sapiens from all other species.
> -- INTRODUCTION TO THE PRIMATES, page 85
Wood-Jones considered our foot uniquely human. Look closely.
The large toe is usually longest. In some, the second toe is
somewhat longer. Rarely if ever is the third longest, unlike
other primates where it is longest.
Note two observations. (1) The feet of other primates look more
like hands. Observe the human hand. Its third finger is
longest. (2) The first digit or large toe of primate feet is
like a thumb. This is especially true of the anthropoid (those
having a more-human appearance). It can move at a right angle to
the adjacent second toe. We could not do this with our large
With these noted, we agree with Johann Blumenbach. In 1791, he
stated that only man should be called two-handed (bimanus) while
lemurs, monkeys, and apes should be termed four-handed
(quadrumana). Since his time, it has become common to say that
man is the only primate with two feet (bipedal) and other
primates are with four feet (quadrupedal).
How unique is the human foot? Return to the embryonic period. By
the eighth week, the foot has formed. Its extremely early
appearance shows its primitive development. During embryonic
development, the human foot never appears like a hand.
Another significant anatomical feature that only occurs in humans
is the leg and foot muscle Peroneus tertius. (See THE PROBLEM OF
MAN'S ANCESTRY, page 38.) It originates at the distal one-fourth
of the leg bone (fibula) and inserts at the lateral or outside
aspect of the foot (the base of the fifth metatarsal). We need
it to stand upright. Woods-Jones tells us that "this human
muscle has the same astonishing history as the human foot in its
early development." (ANCESTRY, page 38)
Woods-Jones cites another example of the primitiveness of humans.
It is the great Aorta artery and its arch exiting the heart. We
see the specific branch arteries originating from the human
Aortic arch in the most primitive mammal, the Duck-billed
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus, from the lowest Order of Mammals,
Monotremata). No Primate has this characteristic Arch. Alvin
Davison confirms this in his book, MAMMALIAN ANATOMY (page 180),
illustrating five different types of mammalian aortic arches.
Purucker stresses that human evolution primarily deals with the
mind. Consider the size of the human brain. As a group,
primates have the largest brains of the mammals. H. Stephan
states, "Only man has encephalization, which exceeds that of all
animals. He is the only Primate with an outstanding brain size."
(THE FUNCTIONAL AND EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY OF PRIMATES, pages
L. Radinsky supports this claim, telling us that the human brain
is 3 to 3.5 times larger than expected for a higher primate with
human body weight. ("Primate Brain Evolution," AMERICAN SCIENCE
63, pages 656-63.)
Observe that 25 to 30 percent of a four-to-six week embryo
consists of the Central Nervous System (the brain and spinal
cord). This illustrates the early development of mind. (See
COLOR ATLAS OF CLINICAL EMBRYOLOGY, page 213.)
Swindler tells us that the average human brain is 1,430 cc
whereas the average gorilla's is 535 cc. This is about a third
the size, although the gorilla has the largest brain capacity of
the apes. (See INTRODUCTION TO PRIMATES, page 130.)
The human hand and forearm display evidence of their
primitiveness by their similarity to those of extinct reptiles.
We find many common features on skeletons of Saurosternon and
Palaeagama from the Permian and lower Triassic Periods (180
million years ago [MYA]).
Purucker points out that "Transformists" say the human stock ran
from quadrupedal mammals through monkeys then through apes. If
so, there should be evidence of the upper extremity used as feet.
No anatomist would say that we ever used our upper extremity as a
Note that we divide apes into (1) the gibbons or lesser apes and
(2) the great apes, including chimpanzees, gorillas, and
orangutans. Unlike most prosimiams ("before apes," lemurs,
tarsiers, and lorises) and all but two species of monkeys, the
apes lack tails. (See INTRODUCTION TO PRIMATES, Swindler.)
> It is enough to study the hand and forearm of man to note the
> astonishingly primitive arrangement of bones, muscles, and
> joints, to compare them with those of a primitive type of
> reptile, and to contrast them with those of a quadrupedal mammal,
> to be certain that at no period has man or his ancestors
> supported the body weight upon the forelimb, resting upon the
> surface of the earth.
> -- THE PROBLEM OF MAN'S ANCESTRY, page 24
The human thumb has a fine prehensile or opposability. (This is
the ability to pass the thumb across the palm while rotating it
around its longitudinal axis.) Its position and grasping quality
is considerably better than that of a gorilla or anthropoid ape.
It is quite difficult, for instance, for a gorilla to pick up a
Wood-Jones states that the human appendix is very similar to
> Marsupialia: an Order of mammals ranking just above the lowest
> order of Monotremata [Duck-billed Platypus], containing
> kangaroos, opossums, and other related animals that with few
> exceptions have no placenta, have a pouch on the abdomen of the
> female, containing the teats and serving to carry the young.
> -- WEBSTER'S THIRD INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY
In AN ATLAS OF PRIMATE GROSS ANATOMY: A COMPARATIVE ANATOMY OF
THE BABOON, CHIMPANZEE, AND MAN, Darius Swindler informs us that
the appendix is present only in the lemur, the four anthropoid
apes, and man. The chimpanzee's appendix is much longer than it
is in man and presents several coils.
-- AN ATLAS OF PRIMATE GROSS ANATOMY, page 220
This is another bit of evidence revealing the extremely early
development of humanity.
Wood-Jones continues with another case of the primitive quality
of humans. The muscle Pectoralis minor originates on the
anterior aspect of the third, fourth, and fifth ribs and inserts
on the coracoid process of the scapula. In the anthropoid apes,
it attaches in part to the process, and in part to a ligament
that passes downwards to the upper arm (humerus). In the
monkeys, it is still further down the ligament of the humerus.
In many quadrupedal mammals, it attaches to the humerus solely.
He says that the coracoid process is the primitive attachment of
this muscle, and says man and some exceedingly primitive animals
retain this type of insertion.
The tongue is another example of the early human beginning. It
is similar to a chimpanzee's, but no monkey can show as primitive
a mammalian tongue.
The human kidney differs in internal structure from that of
typical Old World monkeys and anthropoid apes, but it is matched
by those of some the lower New World monkeys. (See THE PROBLEM
OF MAN'S ANCESTRY, page 33.)
Wood-Jones says one main way a human differs from Old and New
World monkeys and anthropoid apes is the lack of simian
specialization (several pithecoid features). One is the Simian
sulcus, Lunate sulcus, or groove in the brain associated with the
visual cortex of the occipital lobe. This is distinctive of Old
World monkeys and apes but is absent in humans. Swindler feels,
though, that the parietal lobe has displaced the sulcus
posteriorly so the sulcus is not always observable on the lateral
surface. (See INTRODUCTION TO PRIMATES, page 125.)
> Many simian types of muscle, artery, etc. are absent in man, and
> we need not discuss such features as the loss of the thumb, the
> development of cheek pouches and laryngeal sacs, the presence of
> ischial callosities, and those many other features which are so
> highly characteristic of certain groups of monkeys.
> -- INTRODUCTION TO PRIMATES, PAGES 30-31
Regarding retention of remarkable primitive features:
> The human skull shows a great number of features in which a
> condition of basal mammalian primitiveness is retained, and which
> offer a marked contrast to the same parts in all monkeys and
> apes. In the base of the human skull, and upon the sides of the
> brain case, the bones articulate in an order which is that
> characteristic of the primitive mammal. In these regions the
> human skull shows a condition exactly like that of the lemurs.
> But all the monkeys and anthropoid apes [with one exception] have
> lost this primitive arrangement and follow an utterly different
> plan. No monkey or anthropoid ape approaches near to man in the
> primitive simplicity of the nasal bones. The structure of the
> back wall of the orbit, the "metopic" suture, the form of the
> jugal bone, the condition of the internal pterygoid plate, the
> teeth, etc. all tell the same story -- that the human skull is
> built upon remarkably primitive mammalian lines, which have been
> departed from in some degree by all monkeys and apes. The human
> skeleton, especially in its variations, shows exactly the same
> condition. As for muscles, man is wonderfully distinguished by
> retention of primitive features lost in the rest of the primates.
> -- THE PROBLEM OF MAN'S ANCESTRY, page 31
Swindler confirms that the skeleton of mammals has specialized.
Contemporary primates, though, remain a rather conservative in
their specialization of the skeleton.
Consider an embryo's development and its relationship to the
evolution of humans through the lower animals. It appears that
the embryo from 19 to 24 days has a strong resemblance to
primitive extinct vertebrate fish dating 300+ MYA.
At 26 days, the embryo displays an obvious tail and gills
(bronchial arches). The upper and lower limb buds start to
mature. By the end of the embryonic period (56 days), the tail
gradually diminishes and finally disappears. At this tail stage,
there is close similarity of the embryo to the ancient
amphibians. By the end of the 56th day, the tail is gone. This
is very early in evolution.
The external genitalia start to develop at seven weeks but do not
fully form until twelve weeks. That is one month after the
embryonic period. What correspondence could one draw from this
to the early separation of the sexes? Might we infer something
regarding the timing of the Root Races?
The periods given by H.P. Blavatsky differ from conventional
thought. Her times are usually shorter. Science dates the
fossil remnants of monkeys and apes at a time that closely
approximates her estimates. According to Swindler, the earliest
monkeys (anthropoid primates) were in the late Oligocene epoch
(35 to 24 MYA). Most were later, in the Miocene (24 to 25 MYA).
Blavatsky says the monkeys originated approximately 18+ MYA.
Considering the approximate nature of the time estimates, this is
in the ballpark with Swindler's figures.
> The evolution of the living lesser apes and great apes remains a
> mystery ... A late Miocene form, Laccopithecus robustus, from
> Lufeng, China, is now acknowledged as a true gibbon [Pan Yuerong
> 1988]. The divergence of gibbons from the hominoid line has been
> variously estimated between 17 to 20 MYA or to 12 MYA by DNA and
> immunological studies. The Lufeng site has been dated at 8 to 7
> MYA, which suggests that the gibbons separated from the hominoid
> line somewhat later than suggested by the DNA studies ...
> Note that he estimates the Pliocene Epoch to be 5 to 1.8 MYA and
> the Pleistocene about 1.8 to 1 MYA.
> The Asian orangutan is considered by most primatologists as being
> the descendant of the late Miocene genus sivapithecus of Pakistan
> [Kelley and Pilbeam 1986 and Kelly 1994]. There are also fossil
> orangutan teeth from the karst caves of south China and Java
> dating to the Pleistocene [Hooijer 1948 and Ho et al. 1995].
> Fossils of the African great apes are unknown. The living
> chimpanzees and gorillas are not related to any of the known
> lineages of Miocene apes, but it should only be a matter of time
> before an ancestor is found in a late African Miocene or Pliocene
> site. The molecular evidence suggests between 6 to 10 MYA for
> the separation of the African great apes from the hominoid stem.
> -- INTRODUCTION TO THE PRIMATES, PAGES 242-43
Consider DNA studies done especially on primates. Swindler says:
> Such studies have provided information on the degree of genetic
> relationships among primates and have demonstrated that the DNA
> of chimpanzees, gorillas, and humans differs only about 2%. This
> means that when strands of DNA from any two of these animals are
> combined about 98% of the bases match. Humans differ from
> orangutans by about 4% and from baboons by about 8%.
> -- INTRODUCTION TO PRIMATES, page 72
In conclusion, considerable evidence shows similarities between
anthropoid apes and us. Which came first? A number of
significant points demonstrate our primitive characteristics,
ones that monkeys and apes have lost. We lack certain features,
the pithecoid or simian specialization. We have distinctive
specializations, some dependent upon our upright posture and
others distinctly independent of it.
Although there is evidence that we existed before the primates,
is there fossil remains to back up our theory? To date, the
earliest human fossils date from 2.5 to perhaps 3 or 4 MYA. We
need further discoveries in this area to give broader support to
our theosophical theory.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application