The Theosophical Forum – September 1936

THE RISING TIDE OF THEOSOPHY — C. J. Ryan

YEHUDI MENUHIN AND HIS VIEW OF REINCARNATION

Yehudi Menuhin, the California "wonder boy violinist," who is now almost of age, has recently given an interview which contains some remarkable evidence that he is not only a great musician, a supreme interpreter of the message of the great musical composers, but that although so young, he has a profound sympathy with the suffering of mankind and a burning desire to find the solution of our problems — perchance by turning the key of Reincarnation! The following quotations from the Sun News-Pictorial, Melbourne, Australia, will give an idea of the quality of his thought:

Now that I am on the verge of my manhood, the need for answers to life's problems is becoming more insistent. Sometimes I think I have found a philosophy that satisfies all my needs, but then I discover an incompleteness, and the whole building of my mind falls down. Not that the mere "I" matters much in this mutable world, nor in the deathless world of music. . . . I see everywhere about me vibration, vibration, vibration. . . . Sometimes I come near a person whose face I cannot see, but whose personality I can feel intensely vibrating in tune with me. Others who are often pleasant to look at and in manner are charming, make me feel that I want to run from them. . . . I speak of beauty, but the thought of beauty has lately made me more sad than happy. Wherever we travel about the world we see so much misery and utter despair. . . . Why, I ask again. I cannot find the true answer to this question. I have discussed it with men who make sociology their life work. They sometimes have wonderful and sincere theories, but which of them has worked out in practice? There seems no true sense of ethical conduct in the leaders of the community. . . . The common denominator of humanity seems to be gain rather than giving. There is no pleasure in the world like giving, nor can anybody do his best work unless he gives. . . .

You ask me if I believe in reincarnation. Many have put that question to me. . . . I was sitting with my father looking over the blue water. I felt I knew it all long ago. I said to him: "Father, I sometimes dream of things that have happened long ago in some past age. I know so many things I have never heard of, or seen, or experienced. Knowledge of them seems to have been born in me. . . ." When I was eight my teacher Enesco told me there was so much more that I could teach him that I must not call him master. How could I know more than he, who was a man and a great master? There seems no other conclusion than that this may be what you call the reincarnation of other lives, other vibrations before me that have been growing more and more complete until I have become the medium through which they all sing their song of life. Could I be other than humble? . . . And there is always tomorrow coming over the hill, and a better song to sing than yesterday's.

Surely that is good Theosophy and the clue to the problems of this great musical genius.

THE KEYSTONE OF THE ARCH IN ANCIENT AMERICA: IMPORTANT DISCOVERY

The news has just been widely reported that a keystone of an arch has just been found at Monte Alban, Oaxaca, Mexico, and that this has aroused great interest among archeologists. This discovery is of interest to students of Theosophy also, and no doubt to Masons. There are two kinds of arches, quite different in principle. The most primitive in construction is called the corbeled, or cantilever, or "false" arch. When side walls reach the proper height the mason begins to build inwards, each course of horizontal stones slightly overlapping the one below until they meet. The arched space looks like a hole cut into a wall, which it practically is. The "false" arch cannot stand alone; it is not self-supporting, but requires the weight of the side and upper layers of stone to prevent it falling inward. The "true" arch is composed of wedge-shaped voussoirs, with the keystone at the top locking the whole structure so that it can stand alone. The true arch has many advantages. Although the false arch is found in the Old World in a few places, it seems to be preceded by the far superior, scientific one, for true pointed arches like those of the medieval Gothic are found in Mesopotamia, dating back several thousand years before our era!

Until now, no trace of a true arch with keystone has been found in America, North or South, and this has been held by archaeologists as a sign of lack of intelligence on the part of the ancient Americans. The Mayans may not have had it, but this discovery of a keystone at Monte Alban in Southern Mexico, not far from Maya regions, shows that the pre-Columbians, in some parts of America at least, were not ignorant, rule-of-thumb builders. Monte Alban, unexplored till recently, is the acropolis of the ancient city of the Zapotec-Mixtecs, and was once one of the most magnificent and imposing sights in the world. It was there that Professor Alfonso Caso, the famous Mexican archaeologist, found the magnificent tombs of the Caciques in 1932. One tomb alone contained gold worth more than a million dollars!

But the special interest to us is contained in H. P. Blavatsky's reference to the absence of the true arch in America, which she gives in Isis Unveiled I, 571-2, where she tells us that it was used "only in certain portions of the temples devoted to special purposes," and that the avoidance of the scientific keystoned arch in other places was not from ignorance but from intention. Evidently, then, explorers have failed to find the true arch because of its rarity, and not because it did not exist. The student should read the pages mentioned above with care, and maybe something significant will suggest itself, at least to the intuitive.

Some archaeologists believe that the use of the flat lintel (made of wood) was confined to secular buildings among the Mayas, and that all buildings with the corbeled or "false" arch are religious. This is in harmony with Madame Blavatsky's information, and adds to its value. We may yet hear of the finding of the true arch in some hidden Maya temple.

NEWS FROM EASTER ISLAND: CEMETERY DISCOVERED

Apparently the trans-Pacific bridge of islands across which pilgrims could travel comparatively recently — geologically speaking, of course — is not out of fashion, in spite of its alleged "impossibility," according to a few geologists. The Chilean naval tanker "Maipo" called at Los Angeles in March and brought some important information about Easter Island. We quote a few points of special interest from the Los Angeles Times, March 11, 1936:

The Maipo made a six-day stop at Easter Island . . . and by a rare stroke of fortune a group of her officers found, they believe, what archaeologists have been searching for for the past century — graves and remains of the ancient race that dwelt there long before the dawn of the present civilization. . . . Both Lieut. E. Rodriguez, an expert on Easter Island lore, and the ship's surgeon, Dr. Hugo Vicuna, declare the skulls found in the graves are those of a race entirely removed from the 382 Polynesians now living on the island.

The recent French expedition found inscriptions with ideographs almost identical with certain writings lately discovered in Asia.

The French scientists failed to locate the long-sought burial grounds, explained Rodriguez, who believes the two finds will serve to link definitely the civilization of the ancient Incas of the Andes with a contemporary Indo-Iranian culture, via a trans-Pacific bridge of islands — or possibly the fabled continent of which Easter is the sole remaining speck.

Not quite "the sole remaining speck" — there are many other relics, including parts of Southern California.

THE RISING TIDE OF THEOSOPHY IN INDIA?

We quote this for what it is worth, and should be glad to hear more detailed information if any reader can supply it. It has appeared in many newspapers. We clip this from the Pasadena Star-News, California, of June 2nd.

BOMBAY, India, June 2. (U.P.) — Ten thousand of India's millions of "untouchables" — inaugurated the first big scale effort today to break away from the religious bonds which for centuries have caused them to be regarded as pariahs.

At an intensely emotional meeting, they resolved in the future not to worship at the Hindu temples, not to observe Hindu festivals and not to visit holy places.

Their leaders announced they had chosen another religion than Hinduism. They did not disclose what it was but invited their followers to adopt a religion of their own, whether Mohammedanism, theosophy or Christianity — provided only that it granted them the equality of status which is denied them under the ancient Hindu caste system from birth to death.

Theosophy is not "a religion" nor is the Theosophical Society a religious sect, but H. P. Blavatsky plainly says that Theosophy is at the root of all the great world faiths, and that future religions will rise from it.

MORE FIRE-WALKING REPORTS

The Wide World Magazine (London) for May publishes an interesting account of Fire-walking in Raiatea, a small island in the Leeward Group of the Society Islands. The author, Mr. Wilmon Menard, took part in the fire-walk and was not injured in the least, though the heat was so great as to blister the face of anyone who approached the thirty-foot-long pit of incandescent stones before the ceremony. The natives walked three times across the fire without haste, and the chief "crawled across the oven on all fours"! to the astonishment of even the native onlookers.

Mr. Menard says that the only sensation he experienced was that of minute electric shocks passing through the soles of his feet. This is specially interesting because others have described the same effect. Professor E. S. Stephenson of the Imperial Naval College, Tokio, later of Theosophical University, Point Loma, walked ninety feet over burning charcoal in Japan, and reported the same feeling of slight electric shocks, but no trace of heat. Mr. Menard mentions a daring French spectator who stepped on the hot stones without permission, and was instantly so badly burned that it took two months" hospital treatment to save his roasted extremities! Mr. Menard's feet were not prepared in any way, nor did he undergo any ceremonial forms. The chief and his tahuas (priests) conducted public and private chanting and other ceremonies before the fire-walk began. The chief remarked that many learned white people talked loudly about the "scientific explanations" before they saw the fire-walk, but afterwards they were silent! Mr. Menard says he followed their example. He claims that he was in no way "suggested" into insensibility to the pain of burning, but that he greatly dreaded the ordeal. Even if no pain had been felt, why was there "no mark of fire" on the feet? A handkerchief dropped on the heated stones was reduced to ashes in an instant.

The Observer (London) for June 7th reports a Christian fire-walking ceremony in Bulgaria, conducted by old women! This takes place on June 4th on St. Konstantine's Day, at Vulgari, a village near Maiko Tirnovo, in the Stranja Mountains, and in several other neighboring villages. The old women proceed through the streets, dancing to a strange rhythmic melody played on bagpipes, and ultimately fall into a trance with trembling limbs. A great bonfire is lighted in the village square and finally the women dance for several minutes on the burning embers, keeping the 7-16 rhythmic beat. The report concludes: "Although the embers are red-hot and the nestinarki [the devout Christian women] fall down exhausted from the heat, their feet show not the slightest trace of burning."

For how many thousand years before Christianity may this extraordinary survival of ancient Atlantean magic have been celebrated? If control over the physical effects of ordinary fire may be obtained by unknown means, may not this fact be a clue to the possibility that intense heat-effects may be produced without ordinary heated conditions existing in the producer? It seems possible that the demonstration of fire-walking effects may lead scientists to realize what the Masters and H. P. Blavatsky mean in saying that the sun has no heat in it, as we understand it, though the appearance of heat is there.


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