The Theosophical Forum – March 1937

THE RISING TIDE OF THEOSOPHY — C. J. Ryan

THE RISING ORIENT

The December, 1936, number of Asia is wholly made up of articles by Asiatic writers, and at least two of them contain information which certainly suggests that the tide is indeed rising in parts of the Orient in the direction of basic Theosophical principles. Professor Hsu Ti-Shan, head of the department of Chinese literature at the University of Hong Kong, describes the remarkable development of Tao sects in recent years. While several of these organizations or societies preserve some of the superstitious accretions which have disgraced the name of Tao for a long time, and in a few cases a belief in the acquisition of 'supernatural' powers through sorcery still prevails, on the whole there has been progress, and at least two of the great Taoist Societies are working on truly progressive lines. The Tao Yuan (College of Tao), established in 1911 by Wu Fu-ying and now having more than three hundred branches, has combined the teachings of Tao, Confucius, Buddha, Christ, and Mohammed, claiming that they are all equally divinely inspired, and that all have the same origin! Professor Hsu says that in spite of some rather fantastic aspects of its methods, its sincere attempt to combine the rival religions of China into one universal faith based on the principle that "the final realities of the universe are Tao and Teh, or morality and virtue," is making an ever-widening appeal to intelligent Chinese, and is a proof that the Chinese can break through the wall of localism or extreme nationalism which is in danger of overwhelming the twentieth-century world.

The second organization, an outgrowth of the Tao Yuan, started as a relief work, a kind of 'Red Cross,' is called the World Red Swastika Society, but it has nothing to do with politics. The four points of the swastika symbolize the Taoist idea of unity, and the entire symbol signifies the endless responsibility every individual has toward his fellows. It has already — since 1932—done an enormous work in relief of all kinds, not only in emergency cases but in such things as the maintenance of hospitals, asylums for the aged, workshops for the poor, and other constructive activities. It has a large membership and hundreds of branches. The regular members pay a large subscription and are liable to be called upon for heavy donations in emergencies. Outside of its relief work, its objects are stated to observe the doctrines of the eclectic Tao Yuan and to promote peace and understanding among nations. Professor Hsu concludes his article by saying:

No one can view the spectacular emergence of this organization without realizing that something has happened m China contrary to popular conception of Chinese individualism The way in which the Chinese everywhere are responding to the ideals of an organization like the Red Swastika or its parent, the Tao Yuan, indicates most forcefully the appearance of a new spirit in the modern socially conscious Chinese mind China's ancient Tao — the Way — may yet be her way out.

The second article in the December Asia to which attention is drawn is by Ivan Norodny, a Russian writer who has given much attention to Oriental mysticism as well as to the arts. He takes us to the weird Gobi Desert, once, as H. P. Blavatsky knew and declared long before modern research discovered it, the seat of a magnificent civilization, and still holding subterranean relics of great richness and beauty. In Isis Unveiled she gives some important statements about the Gobi, and prophesies discoveries which have since been made. We have only room for one or two sentences, but the reader will find pages 598 to 606, Volume I, well worth comparing with the article in Asia. She says:

Occasionally some of the hidden treasures are uncovered but not a native dare touch them, for the whole district is under the ban of a mighty spell. Death would be the penalty . . . . According to local tradition, the tomb of Ghengiz Khan still exists near Lake Tabasun [Tashun] Nor . . . Within lies the Mongolian Alexander, as though asleep. After three more centuries he will awake and lead his people to new victories and another harvest of glory. Though this prophetic tradition may be received with ever so many grains of salt, we can affirm as a fact that the tomb itself is no fiction, nor has its amazing richness been exaggerated. . . . The time will come, sooner or later, when the dreadful sand of the desert will yield up its long-buried secrets, and then there will indeed be unlooked-for mortifications of our modern vanity. (S98-9)

She also mentions that Marco Polo — recently rehabilitated as a truthful reporter after centuries of vilification — "mentions more than once in his curious book of Travels, these tricky spirits of the deserts," and discusses the appearance of apparitions with whom conversation can be held in the Gobi Desert, not only in Marco Polo's day but in modern times. She quotes him as saying "even in the daytime one hears these spirits talking. And sometimes you shall hear the sound of a variety of musical instruments. . . ."

According to H P Blavatsky, the desert of Gobi, or Shamo, was not only the seat of a high civilization long perished, but, when a large part of it that is now perfectly dry was covered with water, twelve islands, symbolizing the Zodiacal signs, were "the abodes of twelve Hierophants and masters of wisdom." (The Secret Doctrine, II, 502.) Ten or twelve thousand years ago, she says, the whole of the low-lying land was transformed into a sea "for the last time."

Then came another change, the inland sea was drained away, and a rich and fertile land was ready for habitation The astonishing discoveries of Professor P. K. Kosloff, the famous Russian geographer, which were published in 1932, have proved that the brilliant civilization which arose in the vast area now covered with shifting sands possessed great cities, magnificent roads, temples, a highly developed cultural life, including the use of metals, advanced arts and sciences. About a thousand miles south of the city of Urga (now Ulan Bator) in Outer Mongolia, Professor Kosloff was permitted to excavate. Deep beneath the site of the far more modern city of Khara Khoto he found the tombs of some of the kings of the Uighurs, as this prehistoric white race is called. He calculated from what he believes reliable data, that the latest burial took place between 8,000 and 6,000 years before the Christian Era. He was allowed to copy everything he wished, but not to remove the smallest particle, and the vaulted tomb-chamber, whose ceiling was fifty feet below the ground, had to be left as he found it, covered to that depth with sand with its contents inviolate.

Dr. Lao Chin, the archaeologist who worked with Professor Kosloff, believes that the Uighur Empire was a center of intellectual light from which expeditions were sent to China, India, Egypt, and even Europe, to establish civilization among the barbarians. There is much to say for this, and H. P. Blavatsky makes several statements that are perfectly in harmony with such a theory, even to the approximate dates just mentioned.

In 1927 General Kosloff reported the finding of the tomb of Jenghiz Khan in the same neighborhood, near the ruins of the dead Jenghiz Khan's city of Khara Khoto, deep under which Kosloff had previously discovered the immensely older Uighur relics. H. P. Blavatsky was right in believing that Jenghiz Khan's tomb would be found in the Gobi region near Lake Tashun, and also in speaking of its magnificence, for Kosloff reported that it vied with Tutankhamen's tomb in splendor.

In Questions We All Ask, Series I, No. 25, Dr. de Purucker speaks of the reawakening of the Orient, and says:

the Orient is beginning to stir uneasily from its long sleep .. . Men and women living today will see marvels come to pass before they die.

China, hoary with age and experience, has but begun to awaken from an age of rest, and I tell you, Heaven help the pink-skinned man, who calls himself the white man, when once the Orient is on its feet, if we Occidentals at present having the responsibility in our hands, do not change the course of our action The time has now come for us to instil into the Orient the light that once we took therefrom — lessons of self-forgetfulness, of forgiveness, of love, of peace, of justice, or, having sown the wind, we shall reap the whirlwind

H. P. Blavatsky issued the same warning nearly fifty years ago, but in stronger language. She spoke of a prophecy well known in the Orient which threatened the invasion of decaying Europe by Chinese and Mongolians in revenge for the exploitation of the East. Professor Ossendowsky in his Beasts, Men, and Gods tells of meeting the same prophecy everywhere he went in Mongolia. Nicholas Roerich does the same, and Madame David-Neel, in her The Superhuman Life of Gesar of Ling, repeats the tale still more emphatically. To thousands, the almost mythical, but actually living King Gesar is the hero who will "exterminate all those who oppose the reign of justice."

Mr. Ivan Narodny's article in Asia deals with this matter, but he puts an entirely different aspect on it. Instead of being a conquest of blood and iron, however well-intentioned, it is to be a peaceful one. Gaimar, a famous oracle from Urga (now Ulan Bator) declares that a new creed of peace and brotherhood is to be declared to the world from the Gobi Desert, where great preparations are already being made He says that the buried 'Golden Horde' is rising but not with carnal weapons; it will be a legion bearing the banners of universal brotherhood and goodwill. The difficulty in finding a successor to the recently deceased Dalai Lama of Tibet has given a strong impetus to this remarkable movement. Mr. Narodny says that seven hundred boy babies have been examined without success, and Gaimar's prediction that Lhasa will no longer be the home of the spiritual leader of the future is being taken very seriously. Gaimar mentions the strange phenomena that are alleged to have recently taken place in the Gobi as evidence that Nature is working with man in this new effort. Mr. Narodny says that fertility is beginning to return to the desert; lakes and rivers are filling with water from the increasing rains — indeed an unexpected phenomenon. Strange 'mirages,' such as were described by Marco Polo, are appearing, not mirages of the ordinary kind, but scenes from the past, accompanied by voices and other sounds! Dr. Lao Chin describes one he saw and heard in the desert, consisting of a procession of pilgrims following a group of Nestorian Christian monks whose chanting was very clear. The figures disappeared at a place where he found the buried ruins of a Nestorian cathedral of the time of Kublai Khan, with many valuable relics. He says that such phenomena are now frequent, and "even such academic observers as Sven Hedin and Roy Chapman Andrews speak of them as inexplicable experiences."

Mr. Narodny discusses the astonishing discoveries made in recent years by Professor Kosloff, Dr. Sven Hedin, Dr. Lao Chin, and Dr. G. Franck, especially mentioning those of the magnificent tomb of Jenghiz Khan, the love-letters of Alexander the Great, and the marvelous relics of the mysterious Uighur Empire These revelations of the greatness of antiquity have, it seems, profoundly affected the imagination of the nomads of the Gobi, who have also been speculating about the meaning of the increasing humidity in the Gobi and the inexplicable 'mirages.' Already, an imposing temple is being started in the wilds about three hundred miles south of Ulan Bator (Urga). The builder, "Lama Donaldo," said to be an American, who has discovered a deposit of gold rich enough to finance the undertaking, knows little about the use to which the temple will be put, but he believes that the prophet will arrive as soon as the building is completed. Faith can move mountains!

Among a group of others in the nomadic East who are working for a new religion of Brotherhood, Mr. Narodny mentions the Princess Tani Hanum of Dzungaria who is superseding the outworn methods of the lamas in her principality by an appeal to the aesthetic side of human nature. She believes that the arts, including music, drama, poetry, the dance, and even the films, should be used to develop a consciousness of universal brotherhood which must be the aim of the new religion. She says: "A new spiritual light is necessary, which is neither in our lamaistic nor in the Christian teachings; so I am doing my small share here in the desert in creating what I feel will be the spiritual light of the future world."

Another energetic member of the 'Golden Horde' who has adopted peaceful means of conquering the world is an ex-lama, nearly one hundred years old, who was recently restored to the vigor of a strong man of middle age by the hermits of a so-called legendary Himalayan group. He has inspired many with the belief that with a new gospel the wilderness can be transformed, but he proclaims that if only material prosperity is aimed for, it will be a curse. "The materialistic West has machines and money, but it does not find them to be blessings. . . . Let us work for a new code of guidance, a new spiritual side of our aspirations."

Surely all this — and much more not mentioned — shows the progress the Theosophical Movement is making in the world, even in apparently unlikely places. We must remember that although, as the Mahatma K. H. said in 1880 when the T. S. was very small, the Masters have weightier matters than small societies to think about, yet in 1882 he wrote to Mr. Sinnett, "There is more in this movement than you have yet had an inkling of, and the work of the T. S. is linked in with similar work that is secretly going on in all parts of the world." (The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, p. 271.) The rising of the 'Golden Horde' of peace and brotherhood in the wild desert is a strong contrast to the former vision of world conquest and the establishment of a Utopia by blood and iron which has been so widely promulgated in Asia. Can it be that the Orient will set the West the example of putting into practice the Golden Rules which all its World-Teachers have given as the Way of Life? "Hatred ceaseth not by hatred"; "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

LUNAR INFLUENCES

To the Theosophical student the question of the influence of the Moon upon terrestrial concerns is important, because it opens an immense field of thought which when logically followed up is of use in breaking down the purely mechanistic concept of the causes behind the superficial aspect of natural phenomena. It leads to the region of subtil causes in which the consciousness element is more evident. For instance, if we look on the Moon as nothing more than a mass of dead, inert rock, possessing no energies but gravitation and magnetism and the like, the mechanistic view will perhaps be satisfactory enough; and to suggest that the Moon may have other and (to present-day scientists) 'occult' properties and influences on terrestrial life would be out of place. However, 'nature will out,' and more and more evidence is appearing from biological science in favor of lunar influence in reproduction of plants and animals. This has been considered one of the grossest superstitions of the antique mind, yet it was firmly believed in all parts of the world, and is still considered factual by millions. Once re-established, it may prove the door to an entirely unsuspected concept of the activities of the planets and their satellites, and indeed of the Sun, the ruler of the solar system. The latest information on the influence of the Moon upon ocean life (with which the Moon is seemingly especially associated, as it should be according to the Oriental teaching of the Tattvas) comes from Professor W. D. Hoyt, of Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, and Washington. We are indebted to the Pathfinder, January 2, 1937, for this report. Professor Hoyt says that "In the coastal waters of North Carolina, just below low tide, there grows a brown, flat ribbon-like seaweed called Dictyota. . . . The moon controls its sex life." He gives the results of sixteen years' painstaking experiment, which show that the 'fruits,' as they may be called, both male and female, ripen only when the Moon is full, most of them within a single hour of a single day, when action somewhat resembling pollination in higher plants takes place. Professor Hoyt further declares that his discoveries indicate that the Moon may have a general effect on fertility, and he mentions the known lunar influence on the reproduction of other marine life, including one species of fish, a mollusk, eight kinds of worms, and two starfish groups. Presumably he includes the well-known Palolo worm and the giant Sea-Urchin of the Gulf of Suez. Among the fish should be included the California smelt and the English herring, the date of the lunar period of the latter being always officially announced for the benefit of the fishermen, who prepare for larger harvests at that time. In his opinion, a study of the relation of lunar phases to the periodic production of reproductive cells may eventually reveal facts about fertility "which are now scarcely suspected." We might say 'totally unsuspected,' and not be exaggerating.

The English scientific journal, Nature, publishes a report from the Marine Biological Association Laboratory, at Plymouth, England, announcing that the flickering light which Columbus saw the night before he saw land, and which has caused much discussion, almost certainly was not a torch, but probably the phosphorescent illumination from a sea-worm floating on the water, one of the Syllids. This light has been noticed in October at the third quarter of the moon, the date when Columbus was cheered by the flickering light. The third quarter of the Moon in October is also the exact date when the Palolo worm appears at the surface of the ocean for spawning purposes, one of the most striking examples of lunar influence.


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