Peter Flach, Chairman
Lory Holmgren, Translator
JAL: First of all I want to thank all of you for coming here this afternoon, and giving up this beautiful sunny Sunday which I know you all would have enjoyed outside. I appreciate very much having this opportunity to meet with you, and hopefully to come to know and understand you. Thank you also for the beautiful flowers.
Somehow for no apparent reason I have a rather heavy heart. I told someone in Goteborg when asked what I thought of their city, that it is not so much what I see but what I feel. What I have seen in Halsingborg is beautiful; what I feel, well — I feel sad, but I hope it will pass off very shortly and that I will be able to talk to you in a really happy vein.
I had three purposes in mind in coming to Halsingborg. The one I have already stated, which was to meet you and get acquainted. The second is to pay some words of tribute to Dr. Bogren, whom you all know was one of the finest examples of theosophy and of a theosophist in action that the Society has had. The third purpose was hopefully to get together with the former members of Lodge No. 2 and re-form that lodge in memory of and as a tribute to Dr. Bogren. But it seems that some of the eye doctrine has been at work instead of the heart doctrine, and when that takes place the heart doctrine suffers. I do not consider the matter serious, not by any means, and I am not personally disappointed that it may be impossible to fulfill the third object of my visit. But my heart is heavy for the pain that certain members are feeling in their hearts as the result of some of the things that have taken place in the past month or two, for which they themselves are really not responsible.
I have only one approach to any problem in theosophic work, the only approach that any leader can use, and that is the impersonal detached approach, trying to reach the hearts of the members from my own heart. That is the only one I know. And in attempting to carry out my responsibilities, I try to do it on a simple and frank and honest basis, with all the facts that I have and with all that anyone else may have, or think they may have, placed out on the table before our eyes where we can see everything, and then make our decisions with judgment, not sentimentality, with our own intuitions and hearts, and not with our reasoning brain-mind. If you will bear with me I will try to think out loud together with you, to think with you and talk with you, not to you, if you will help me. I certainly wish I could speak Swedish this afternoon.
I have said on several occasions that the occult force flowing through the Society today is greater than it ever has flowed through the Esoteric Section of the Society now that the Esoteric Section is closed, and will be closed for an undetermined period, depending entirely on the karma of the Society. Now I wish the members would not take that thought as just an idle phrase, because it indicates and sharpens up the key to the whole situation that exists in the Society today.
Not all of you, I suppose, have been members of that Esoteric Section, but that does not matter. Most of you who have not been members of the Esoteric Section have had in one sense a blessing. But I think all of you know the meaning of the phrase "the gateways of purification." Those gateways must be passed through by every individual member of the Theosophical Society in one form or another, depending entirely upon the genuineness and the strength of his aspirations. Most of us have seen the results of that law operating in individuals. Madame Blavatsky called it pledge fever; but I have seen many, many cases of very turbulent reaction in FTS who never knew that there was an Esoteric Section. And why did they have such turbulent cases of pledge fever? Simply because their aspirations were genuine and strong, and by that very fact they attracted the tests and trials that come automatically from daily life when one truly aspires.
If we believe the theosophy that has been taught us through the years, then we must realize that any group of members, whether in a study group, in a lodge, or in the Society as a whole, must as a unit pass through gateways of purification in proportion to the genuine aspirations in the hearts of the individuals who make up that group. Thus we find at certain cyclic periods the good law of karma operating on what we might call three different levels at one and the same time: in the individual, in the lodge of which he is a member, and in the Society of which he is a member and the lodge a part. Under normal circumstances those three activities of karma do not occur simultaneously. They may occur at one time with the individual, later on with the lodge, and then at another time with the Society. But there are certain times when the process occurs on all three levels at the same time. Not with every change of leadership does this occur at every level. But the approach to the midpoint of this century, the 75th year of the Society's existence, the new messianic cycle as well as larger cycles, converging as all these did about the beginning of Colonel Conger's administration and reaching their climax at its end and the beginning of my own, have affected in a strong and potent manner the individual, the lodge, and the TS itself.
The Masters are very practical individuals, and you in the audience who are businessmen especially will appreciate this analogy. If you owned a business, and you were told that in 1975 you had a specific goal to reach, a specific task to fulfill, and you were given this time in the interim to prepare, what would you do? What would anyone with any common sense do? You would begin to train your personnel. You would begin to get your house in order so that when 1975 came, and the job had to be done, you would have a group of individuals in your organization that could be depended upon to do the job without any question. Well, the Masters are just that practical.
The law of karma is operating, and operating potently, on those three levels at the same time, giving not only the individual, but the lodge and the Society an opportunity to meet the tests of the times, and either rise or fall by the success with which they meet those tests.
Now what were and are those tests? When we attempt to think about the answer to that question, let us try to be practical in our thoughts. Let us consider it from the individual's standpoint first. Many of the members, not only in Sweden but in other places, have been given a lot of facts that have disturbed them — a lot of false facts, some of them just plain barefaced lies. I must speak frankly. This may seem a long way from the tests I am talking about, but it isn't.
I will repeat in essence what I told the members at Goteborg last night. The Esoteric Section was a proving ground, or a probationary and testing ground for members who wanted to work just a little harder than the average FTS in improving their characters. Every leader has had his inner groups in addition to his Esoteric Section. Mr. Judge did, KT did, GdeP did, each in his own way. In addition to the Esoteric Section, GdeP had the Katherine Tingley Memorial Group, the teachings of which are now made public in The Dialogues. To the members of the KTMG who were invited to attend those meetings by GdeP he gave more because they had earned that right because of their inner aspirations. GdeP saw they were worthy of being tested a little beyond the strains and the stresses of the tests of the Esoteric Section. GdeP also had a higher group, an inner group of still fewer individuals. And in that group the members were invited also because they had earned the right for even more strenuous tests. They did not realize it, some of them. A good many of them thought they were selected because they were a little better than others, and therefore had earned the right to get more teachings. God help their souls, I say, when they began to think that. Any time a member thinks that he is selected so that he can get more teachings because he is better than another member, he is beginning to take a step downward.
Now each of us is tested in our own way; not always by a teacher, because a teacher will very rarely deliberately give an individual a test. The teacher works with karma, and allows life — the only initiation chamber we know today — and the circumstances in the daily life of the individual both as a citizen of Sweden, or of any other country, and as an FTS to do the testing job. Unfortunately, when members are given a terrific test and fail, it is like throwing a rock into a pool, and the wavelets will spread out to the shore and back and out and back; and their errors of judgment and false understanding of true practical occultism touch the minds of others. Note that I said minds, not hearts, because that sort of thing will never reach to the heart of anyone. Only the heart doctrine can do that.
Since the death of GdeP certain members of his higher group have tried to rule the Theosophical Society because they believed they were good enough to have a teacher tell them how to test a leader and an Outer Head. If it were not for the sacredness of the circumstances, one would almost have to laugh. Those little wavelets have not stopped — you have seen some examples of them here in Sweden, we have a little in America — but they have almost stopped.
When I became leader, Emmett Small made very little effort to influence the membership in America — but what did he do? He sent cablegrams to Europe, attempting to influence whom? Where did the cables go? They went to members who knew of or were associated with that higher group, attempting to influence Section Presidents, all over Europe. But the Congress at Utrecht in reality made laughing stock of the whole effort. Don't, please, misunderstand me. I am not criticizing the individuals. My heart aches for them, and you must believe that. I am, however, criticizing the actions, and attempting to indicate what form in a practical sense some of these tests take that we are faced with from time to time.
In one sense I feel badly that it has seemed necessary to talk about this sort of thing at this time. On the other hand, we have to tell the truth, and that is the only way we will ever get anywhere in theosophic work.
Now it so happened that those key individuals at Headquarters who left there, were members of that inner group. Colonel Conger never asked any of them to leave. They all left of their own free will, except Helen and Iverson Harris who were asked to go after a year because they stayed on and stayed on, and took advantage of the Colonel's good nature, all the while carrying on a fifth-column activity during their stay, without honor or respect. That is the type of test an individual gets in the so-called higher degrees, and that is the type of actions that result when they fail. It was even some members of that group who passed around, or at least allowed to let stand, the fallacious story that Dr. Edge who had served theosophy all his life practically, died on the streets away from Headquarters of starvation, because we would not feed him. It is absurd. It was a darn good Swedish nurse, Gerda Fick, who nursed him to his last breath right at Headquarters, right at Covina, with Colonel Conger doing everything he could to keep him as comfortable as possible to the very end, and who himself said of Dr. Edge these exact words: "He is more sinned against than sinning." And that was true. For Dr. Edge was used as a tool in his old age by those very members who professed to love him and considered themselves better theosophists than the average. We have got to get to the root of these difficulties with honesty and truth, so that theosophy can move on and do its bit for suffering humanity and carry out the first object in the original program of the Masters. So much for individuals.
Now what happens to lodges when they get caught in this whirl of karmic reaction which we call the gateways of purification? When a lodge member takes into his own hands the mind and consciousness of his fellow members, he begins to make double karma, treble karma, quadruple karma. The lodge president who allows himself to be caught up into the stream of actions such as I have depicted verbally, immediately has a terrific reaction. Because he has served the work well, because he is working under the protective wing of his membership, under the protective wing of the lodge presidency, under the protective currents that flow through the TS, when he starts to sow doubt and dissension the reaction is multiplied many, many times when it finally strikes the individual.
Now the Masters are not interested in any member for a single lifetime alone. They think in terms of many lifetimes. They think in terms not of the personality, because that will pass off and never return in another incarnation. They are thinking of that reincarnating element that will come back again and again. That is what they are interested in saving. That is what they want to develop so that they might have more and more useful instruments for their use in the work they are interested in — their responsibility as guardians of humanity.
When the forces of initiation are burning hot in the soul of an individual, and that individual by his actions allows himself to become involved in wrong decisions and false understandings based upon false facts and the opposite of truth, then it becomes the leader's responsibility to protect the work, and to protect the individual for the work, and if karma permit momentarily take that individual out of the white heat long enough for him to come to his senses and get back into a normal state. That protects the individual and protects the work. And where those forces of initiation and the negative reactions from wrong decisions are affecting a working group, a lodge as a unit, then a major action by the leader has a great beneficial strength in the long run in protecting the lodge and the lodge membership as a whole, by allowing the temperature to drop down a bit before he takes any further steps for the re-formation of that lodge and the re-activity that that lodge has in store in its heart to give to the world.
I thank the gods that there have been only a very few lodges affected by this whole process. But the time has come — and here is where the TS as a whole enters the picture — when Masters are no longer prepared to temporize with us as they have on the descending arc of the century. We are less than 25 years away from 1975, and they are no longer prepared to allow an individual or a group of individuals to delude themselves into believing they are saving the work of the Society, when in reality they are putting tremendous stumbling blocks in front of the work of the Masters.
Thus we find at this particular time, upon the death of Colonel Conger and the assumption of the office by myself, that a specific effort was made by the Masters through and with Colonel Conger and GdeP. It began back in 1935. Let us not lose sight of the fact that GdeP wrote that instrument which the Masters asked him to write so that there would be a three-year administration of the Cabinet, all of which was a refining process leading up to this particular point in the cycle when we must make an absolute turn and realize that we have reached that time when we have got to give of what we have received to the world, and be tested and proved so that what we do give is worth giving. And we are going to have to work in a practical theosophic manner in the next 25 years, if we want to be prepared. Thus this whole test that has come to the Society is good, very good.
From the moment when I assumed office and we immediately sent out the reports of the first Cabinet meetings which confused everybody thoroughly, from that moment until the "Proclamation" and the subsequent Resolutions of the Congress at Utrecht, each member of the TS, each lodge of the TS, and the TS itself has been faced with a test.
Now I said earlier that those members of the Society who had not become members of the Esoteric Section were in a way fortunate. I will tell you now why I said that, because it may interest you to know that wherever any doubts have existed in the minds of members regarding those famous Cabinet documents, those doubts existed in practically every instance in the minds of Esoteric Section members. Only one or two who were straight FTS had any difficulty. I am not criticizing the member of the Esoteric Section; not at all. But there again came the supreme test, the major test. It was only those members of the Esoteric Section who thought they were favored and knew more than the regular FTS and were privileged characters who had the doubts. They had been working with their minds and not with their hearts.
You can begin to see, companions, why at this point of the century it has become necessary and advisable and really very practical that the esoteric become exoteric; and by implication the exoteric has become esoteric. Today we are all subject, depending upon our aspirations, to more potent tests than ever before. Let us not run away from them. Let us not dislike them. Let us welcome them. They won't be given by me or by any lodge president. Life itself will give them. And when the fire of our aspirations begins to burn the dross from the dark corners of our natures, let us welcome it with open arms, and enjoy the battle just as Arjuna finally recognized his responsibility and drew his sword to slay the opposite of truth.
There is one more comment to make here, and then we will open the meeting to questions. My thought is this, which I should like to express so that I do not create further misunderstandings. I think you should know that I am not interested in the individuals I have mentioned from a personality standpoint. I am only interested in presenting the true picture. And I want you to know that from the very beginning of Colonel Conger's administration until the very end of it, there were times when those of us who were privileged to be close to him could almost think that he thought of nothing but those members who had betrayed, not him, but betrayed themselves. He hoped and hoped and hoped for their return to the stream of positive work. Time and again he would bring up the subject. It haunted him, because he knew that his responsibility was just as much to them as it was to those members who were not confused. And he suffered, more than once with tears in his eyes. But as he neared the end of his administration — I did not see it myself then as well as I see it now in perspective, as it is now more obvious — he knew the time had come for action. He had his instructions from what we call Topside. I was sent on the trip around the world to speak to the section officials and their staffs in order that they might get their houses in order for the long pull up to 1975, with the clear-cut message that the time was rapidly approaching and in fact had come when they could no longer temporize but would have to act; that the negative elements could no longer operate under the protective wing of Masters' work.
It became obvious before my return from my world trip as to what had happened, and what orders he had received. He struck the signal of the turning point when he canceled Jan Venema's membership in Holland. And before my return he sent two members of his staff to San Diego to close up the American Lodge No. 1, the oldest lodge in the United States. He also sent them to San Francisco and Oakland to close those two lodges. It has fallen upon my shoulders to fulfill his own words on the night before he had his heart attack to "finish the job you have started to the very end."
Now that job is not to go around with an axe and chop off heads and cancel memberships and close lodges. My job is to protect the work of the Society, and I hope I don't have to cancel any more memberships or close any more lodges. I hope not. It will be entirely up to the members and the lodges. I know now what I felt when I came into this room, and it was not your fault. But I know now why my heart ached, and I want you to know. Forget the personalities of those members whom I mentioned. They will always be welcome, and the quicker I can welcome them back into the stream of work, the happier I will be. It is those members that weigh heavily on my heart, just as they did on Colonel's. I am sure that none of us will be happy until we are all happy. We can't be, or we would not be theosophists.
Intermission for ten minutes
The Chairman announced that the leader was ready to receive questions from the members.
Thure Holmgren: I am speaking on behalf of a number of members of the former Lodge No. 2. They have asked me to put forth the question to you as to whether it would not be possible while you are down here in Halsingborg to lay the foundation-stone for a new lodge in memory of Dr. Bogren?
Mr. Christofferson: I am thinking of the tradition of the old Dr. Bogren's Lodge, and what it has meant to all the members. I just wonder what is the purpose of closing down a lodge and reopening a new one? I cannot believe that the old Bogren Lodge on inner planes can be closed. Is the closing of the lodge only the means of removing the old faithful members who were the warriors with Dr. Bogren and who had learned to love and forgive? Is that the purpose?
JAL: Thank you very much, Mr. Christofferson. [Turning to Mr. Holmgren] Will you allow me to answer that question first because both of yours really tie together? Thank you. May I assume, Mr. Christofferson — and please translate his answer right away — that what you have asked represents definitely the opinion of the former members of Lodge No. 2 who have revolted, let us say, at the idea of canceling the lodge charter?
Mr. Christofferson: I do not represent all of them because quite a number do not reflect or think for themselves, but in any case I represent quite a number of the older members.
JAL: One more question, and it is not personal. How long has Mr. Christofferson been a member of the Society?
Mr. Christofferson: About thirty years.
JAL: Thank you. Now I think I can try to answer the question. There is nothing permanent in this world, in this universe, but change. Dr. Bogren deserves the commemoration I should like to give him because he was a theosophist who recognized the need for change in nature and in theosophic life. Even though I did not know Dr. Bogren, I recognize the spirit of him and venture the opinion that Dr. Bogren would be the first to approve of the action that was taken. There can be no growth in the individual, in the lodge, or in the Society unless there is constant change: change not only outwardly, for that is secondary, but change inwardly so that our hearts keep apace with the changing circumstances that exist in the work of the Masters.
One may ask the question very logically: why out of a clear blue sky did Colonel Conger cancel the oldest lodge in America? There was a lodge that for years and years had not only the inspiration of most devoted members of the type of Dr. Bogren, but it also had the inspiration of Katherine Tingley and GdeP as well as of Colonel Conger. The lodge always supported Colonel Conger more than 100 percent. Why did he close that lodge out of a blue sky, like a bolt of lightning? They were not only a collection of members that formed that lodge; they owned property, a fine theosophical home for which they had sweat blood, and the devotion of each member of that lodge went towards the acquirement of and the payment for that home.
I have spoken this afternoon of the gateways of purification. The questioner, a member of the Society for thirty years odd, knows what that means, I am sure. I have stated that members, lodges, as well as the TS itself must go through those gateways of purification. Does the member who finds himself in the middle of a bad case of pledge fever while going through those gateways ever find anything wrong with himself? Never. I have gone through it, and I will probably go through many more experiences. But it is always the other fellow, always somebody else that has caused him his difficulties. And not until he suffers to the point that he begins to realize that the problem, the trouble, is himself, and not even then fully perhaps, will he begin to find peace. When he recognizes this, then he determines to face himself squarely, and say, "This is nobody's fault but my own; I am going to face it; I admit my error, and I am going to do the right thing from now on." When he does that honestly, then do the gods begin to stoop down and give the man the help he needs.
That same thing applies to lodges. I feel that it was most fortunate that the experience of Lodge No. 2 of Halsingborg came at a parallel time with the experience of the TS going through its gateway of purification. And if there are any members of Lodge No. 2 who think that either they or the lodge itself was too good to have the need for any further purification, then I am disappointed in the members of Lodge No. 2. There is not one of us too good for that.
This is going to be an awfully long answer, Mr. Christofferson, but I will carry through if the interpreters will bear with me. I am inclined now to share with you at this point an experience I had coming down on the train to Halsingborg. A member from Malmo who attended last night's meeting at Goteborg was on the same train. I had not known it, but he came up and said hello, and rode most of the way with us. And we talked about this and that, nothing very important really. But I know human nature a little bit, and I recognized that this member had something on his mind, and that he wanted to ask a question. Later on he did. It was this: "Mr. Long, what do you think of the Swedes, not as theosophists, but as Swedes?"
I said, "Well, I don't know just what you mean by that question. Do you mean what do I think of the Swede as a national character?"
He thought a minute, and said, "Yes, that is just what I mean." I told him that I judged the character of the citizen of any country primarily on the basis of the geologic svabhava of the country he represented, and that in the case of Sweden, the Swede represents to me the climate of Sweden: the long, long winter, with little sun, and the short warm summer, and that the Swede in his outer character had developed naturally the characteristics of the psychological elements represented by that long, long winter, which elements and characteristics went pretty deep. But, I said, the Swede also had in his heart and underneath that outer winter, the hot and brilliant summer with its wonderful sunshine, and that if we have the patience and love in our hearts to be able to penetrate that outer winter of the Swede, and with the strength of our heart touch that brilliant summer sunshine in his heart, then we would understand and love the Swede.
Now, that is how I feel about the Swedes. What has happened to my dear companions who are now confused and upset is that someone from outside did not recognize that national characteristic, and put a red hot torch in that wintertime of his disposition and swung it around and stirred it up so that the Swede forgot he had a heart, forgot there was sunshine shining in there ready to give to his fellowmen, and he got on the wrong track. When the leader recognizes that, he has got to do something about it because he loves his Swedes, every last one of them, good, bad, and indifferent. That is why Lodge No. 2 is closed, and it will be opened just as quickly as I can possibly do it; and every member of the former Lodge No. 2 has a perfect right to participate in the new lodge in a new incarnation of the Bogren Lodge, which will shine much brighter than the former. That is my answer to your question, Sir.
Mr. Chrisofferson: I regret that I cannot speak to you in your own language, that I may thank you for the answer you gave me. I hope that it will be as you have hinted and that the members will participate in this new spirit so that this new lodge will come into being. I thank you most heartily for what you have said.
JAL: Thank you, Mr. Christofferson. I am sorry to take up so much time on this subject, because we have other lodges present. I had the thought before the question and answer period that I might be able to meet a representative group of the former members of Lodge No. 2 here tonight at 7:00, or at such time as would allow us to catch the night train. But I am not certain that that is a wise thing to do because there may not have been yet sufficient time for the effect of the firebrand to pass away. I don't want to make the mistake of moving too rapidly and regretting it later. I want to reach the sunshine in the hearts of every former member of Lodge No. 2. That is what I am interested in. I don't care a damn about a charter, a lodge building, or anything else, if I may speak so plainly. No one wants more than I do to see Lodge No. 2 on its way again, and nothing would make me happier than if the former members of Lodge No. 2 could get together and send to me an application for a new charter. In my capacity as leader, I feel it a duty to let it work that way. Then we will have a Lodge No. 2 recreated of itself, by itself, not for itself, but for theosophy and the world.
I must here point to another aspect of the effect of truth when it enters our hearts. The Master Jesus said: "I came not to bring peace but the sword." He went on to say: father will turn against son, brother against sister, friend against friend, and so forth. I was a student of the Christian scriptures before I came into theosophy, and that statement always troubled me, for how could someone good like Jesus come not to bring peace, but the sword, turn father against son, daughter against mother, and so forth? It was not until I became a theosophist and had gone through plenty of the gateways of purification that I found out the true meaning of the Master Jesus' words. When truth enters the heart of any individual, the real occult or theosophic truth, the testing time begins. If the individual holds to that truth uncompromisingly, he will not agree with his father or his mother or his brother or his friend unless his brother or friend understands and feels that same flame of truth burning in his own heart. Therein we have our difficulties.
When we run into this circumstance with each other, let us just sit down and talk it over. The oldest among us has not learned everything; and the youngest among us may know more than we know. As I said last night at Goteborg, none of us is any better than the worst among the membership, and none is any worse than the best among the membership. That is a paradox, but it is a true one. We are brothers. We are building a nucleus of a universal brotherhood, and if we cannot in the goodness of our hearts sit down and talk over with each other our bad points as well as our good ones without having bad feelings and misunderstandings, then we have a long way to go to become theosophists. But I think it is in the heart and in the ability of every member of the TS to view life squarely, to view the work squarely, and to love his fellowmen and his fellow theosophists in spite of their weaknesses. And when we work together recognizing that, not being afraid to admit our own weaknesses and not being afraid to be severe with ourselves, not being afraid to be frank and honest with our brother, and at the same time kindly and helpful, then we will get somewhere. That is my job, companions, in this new cycle. That is what this partnership means, and with the help of the Masters and you we will accomplish it.
Miss Lindahl: There are some members who wondered whether you wouldn't now, when you are down here, take the opportunity to do something definite about forming anew this lodge, because quite a few members have been waiting for this for several years.
JAL: I was just going to ask Mr. Christofferson and Mr. Holmgren and the other members of Lodge No. 2 who are here whether they see any serious objections to the following idea which has just come to my mind in the past few moments as a result of your requests. To summarize my thoughts in a letter, to be sent to every member of the former Lodge No. 2, giving each the opportunity to express himself in return as to whether he wishes to participate in this new lodge. Those who decide to do so can send in the letter. Those who do not care to will be privileged on their own initiative not to do so. If they wish to wait, and make application later, that will be all right. We can enclose a card or slip that can be sent back stating something like this: Yes, I am ready to go ahead and work with the new cycle and wish to participate in the new Bogren Lodge — but with the strict understanding that those who do not want to send it in will not be frowned upon by me, and they will have ample time to make their own decisions.
Miss Lindahl: I was called some days ago down to a lodge meeting, and when I came there there were about 25 or 26 members present who all accepted Mr. Hartley, and the lodge president called me and wondered whether I would not come down on Tuesday evening, because they were going to have lodge meetings. But I said "I don't accept Mr. Hartley. If you want to, go ahead with your meetings, but I had in mind that we would be forming a lodge under Mr. Long, and not under Mr. Hartley."
Mr. Harts: Pardon me, but someone said that this lady's statement was not accurate. Perhaps you can investigate this.
JAL: I am not interested in that aspect of it, whether it is true or whether it isn't. But there is a question here which does warrant a statement by me. I think the lady has brought up a real point, regardless of the details of the circumstances. If this letter of mine is sent to the members of Lodge No. 2, then it becomes obvious that a former member of Lodge No. 2 who has sent in a statement supporting Mr. Hartley cannot also support me as leader of this Theosophical Society. Our concern is with the Theosophical Society to which we are karmically attached and for which I am responsible; and anything that I may send out at your request this afternoon will be for a lodge of the Theosophical Society of which I am the leader.
I would not accept or approve any such letter from a member who has sent one in support of Mr. Hartley unless and until that member sent a letter to Mr. Hartley canceling his interest there, in order to give it to the support of this new lodge. Anyone who has read Mr. Judge's Letters That Have Helped Me knows that there is an inviolable occult law which is dangerous to break: that is that if a student under one teacher decides to take another, he is perfectly free to do so, but he must notify his former teacher that he no longer accepts him as his teacher and that he is going to take another. Apparently some members of the former Lodge No. 2 have accepted another leader, without notifying me. That is their karma. I can do nothing about it. But I certainly would not allow them to have the double karma of breaking that occult law twice, which is bound to have its reaction. I would not allow them to come back in this new lodge and accept me as the leader without first notifying Mr. Hartley. Because they have broken the law once, why should I allow them to break it again? I would save them the double consequences from such action. We are dealing with practical occultism, and are not playing with any namby-pamby words that we read out of a book. This is theosophy that we are in, and let us understand that.
If three members of the former Lodge No. 2 want to reorganize and apply for a new charter, they have a perfect right to do so at any time. They have the constitutional right, and they have the privilege which I give them right now, and which I would not deny them if I could. So it is entirely up to you. I canceled the charter for the protection of the work, and I don't think I need to explain any further why. It is part of the fire of purification. It is my job to get the thing going again, but I certainly would not be getting it started on the right track if I allowed anything like that. If there are any objections to that idea, please express them now. Otherwise, I will prepare a summary of what has been said by me here this afternoon, and get these letters dispatched to the former members, and if there is a desire to re-form the branch it can be done. I had hoped I would be able to do it here today, but there is not enough representation whereby we could talk freely and frankly. I only wish there had been more who felt before this meeting as Mr. Christofferson did who could have come and discussed these things frankly and honestly with us. But one is enough. There is one Swedish heart in whom the sunshine broke through far enough today certainly for me to see it shine brightly.
I don't propose to let anything stand in the way of the progress of this Society. But I want it strictly understood that no member who has signed any slip in support of Mr. Hartley should send in a slip for this new lodge unless he first cancels his other allegiance. Now, please remember that I am not interested in the personality aspect of this. I am protecting the member absolutely, because the karma of that action is terrific. I have seen it too often in my experience in theosophy. But if any member wishes to come under the conditions outlined, then he will be just as welcome as anyone else, because he by so doing will have heard his own inner voice. He will have taken that step which will make him a better theosophist than he ever was before.
Mr. Christofferson: I think it will be very, very good indeed if the letter could be sent as you outlined, and I feel that there is no member who would not wholeheartedly support the idea. Further, regarding Miss Lindahl's statement, there might be some misunderstanding on her part, because being the vice-president I do not think they had a regular lodge meeting, but they had called a special meeting wherein they discussed what was to be done regarding the leadership.
JAL: I very seldom give advice, but I should like to give this advice here to the former members of Lodge No. 2. It may be a little hard to follow. Forget the past, forget it completely. Try to take home with you today the true spirit of theosophy as it has flowed through this meeting, and everything will turn out all right. Forget your personalities. Forget the past. I don't think we need to discuss the details of what has happened in the past. I don't care. None of us should care. Right now is when we turn our face to the future and toward the sun, the sun that resides in the hearts of all of us. That is the only way we will get anywhere. And while I started this meeting with a very heavy heart, you all have given me this afternoon far more than I could possibly give to anyone. And I leave Halsingborg tonight feeling a much better man because of this meeting.
Let us forget the past. You have given me the opportunity this afternoon to help you to help yourselves. That is the only way I can be of any help to anyone. It is only in emergency that a leader takes a specific action, such as has been taken by Colonel Conger and myself. But that time is already past, friends and companions. We are already started up the ascending arc of the century, and we are well on our way. And we cannot allow the past to hold us back. All of us have failed in one way or another; but I must go back to Mr. Judge's simple but true statement that to fail is nothing, but to cease trying would be awful. I don't care what the past of any of us has been. We are now facing the future; and in so far as Lodge No. 2 in Sweden is concerned, let us try to face it with that summer sunshine shining through the winter cloudiness that has confronted it. I will do my part if you will do yours.
I think we had better close. We have been going almost four hours. I am going to be here at the hotel until about 11:00, until we take the night train. I want any of you to feel free to come to see me. Perhaps we can have a little coffee together, and I will be available so that we can come to know each other a little better. Thank you all from my heart.
Peter Flach: We feel very deeply. You have been going from place to place and have been giving everything you have, for us and for the work. You have asked nothing in return. We feel at this moment that we wish to tell you that we will try, and it is our sincerest hope and wish that we will do our utmost duty, and a little more. That is our duty I think, and we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
JAL: Well, you have done a great deal, believe me. I will be available this evening for anyone who cares to see me.
The meeting closed at 5:45 p.m.
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