J. G. Crabbendam, Chairman
Wilhelm Oehrens, Translator
J. G. Crabbendam: Dear Leader, I have just welcomed the members here, and have told them I have not much to say to them. I told them it was a very special pleasure for me because I recognized faces of members whom I knew had come from very far to this meeting, and it was a special pleasure to you to see them. But that if they expected me to tell what was going to happen this afternoon, I could not, because we never do know.
JAL: Neither do I.
Mr. Crabbendam: Then I said I have the feeling the leader is inclined to say something to us, and if that was true, then I would like the opportunity of calling upon you to do that.
JAL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Companions. What Brother Crabbendam has just said is true.
In the Christian scriptures we read that the Master Jesus said: "Except ye become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." That thought comes to me as I stand here now, and I believe that this afternoon we can for a little while think together as to what that statement of the Master Jesus really means. To me, that is one of the most occult statements in the Christian scriptures. It is so simple that for years and years, not only we, but all the clergymen and preachers in the Christian domain, have not given it the attention it should have.
Who was the Master Jesus speaking to when he made that statement? Not to children; not to half grown people, or to people just come of age. He was speaking to older people, men and women who had gone a good way through life, had had many problems, both material and spiritual, and they had come to the Master Jesus for what help he might be able to give them. He also spoke the same thought with his disciples.
What was he driving at? He saw their problems, both inner and outer, and he saw how they were trying to solve them. I don't doubt one bit that he saw in their faces exactly the same thing that we see in the faces of our companions throughout the world. In times of stress and great difficulty and strain, we become so involved in the immediate situation that we lose sight of the fact that that situation is only one point in a series of situations; and because we do not recognize that fact, we cut ourselves off almost completely from the circumstances that have led up to the situation and therefore lose, not only the perspective, but also the valuable experiences we have had in the series of situations leading up to this one that are waiting there to help us solve the immediate problem. Because we have so cut ourselves off, we begin to think that we are being imposed upon by life. We could not possibly make any connection between the immediate circumstances and what we ourselves have done to bring them about. As a result of that, we begin to blame everybody but ourselves. We blame our fellow theosophists, maybe members of our family, maybe the government, anything — but ourselves. I feel reasonably certain that that is what Master Jesus saw in the faces of those people to whom he spoke those words. He could readily see, I am sure, how completely clouded was their immediate consciousness, and how many thick veils they had allowed to be built between what they were then, at the time the Master Jesus spoke to them, and what they were when they were little children.
We in theosophy, and especially those of us who have prided ourselves on being good students of the theosophical teachings, have made our lives difficult beyond any necessity, or any reasonable excuse for the complications that arise. We study theosophy and we learn about the heart doctrine and the eye doctrine. We learn about intellect and about intuition. We should have sufficient judgment to realize that the problems of life and in the work that we are interested in, are solved not by reason but by intuition. They are solved also by judgment, not sentimentality. And that is what happens when we fail to have one thread of support and strength attached to that which the Master referred to in "little children."
We have all had experience with children, I believe, and we are astounded, if we are open-minded, at the virgin intuition that is expressed and indicated through the lips and the words of children. We know also, if we watch them at play, that they have pure judgment in spite of their few years of experience, and that sentimentality does not influence them very much. "Except ye become as little children . . ."
Children ask us questions, astonishing questions sometimes. We have great difficulty in giving them an answer that will satisfy them if we appeal to their reason or their sentiments. But don't their eyes sparkle when we appeal to that innate intuition and judgment! Those of us who love children have had that experience.
So, companions, this afternoon I would like to appeal to that quality in each one of you which is like the little child. What has happened to us as we grow up? We go through school, maybe university if we are fortunate, and then we get into life and all the vicissitudes of life, and as we make that progress we begin to feel as though we were learning something. And in a certain sense we are learning a great deal. But what do we do with that learning — whether it is scholastic or theosophic, it doesn't matter. In many, many cases I am afraid we have taken what has been given us, in school and in theosophy, like so many words, either spoken or from a book, and filed them away in our minds for possible use later on. Now that process has gone on and on and on for quite a number of years in many of us; and as a result, when we are confronted with a difficult situation, we attempt to draw on our knowledge and make every effort to pull out of that file in our mind those things which will help us solve our problem, but so often the problem is not solved satisfactorily. Now why? Here again, I think, is what the Master Jesus was driving at in his statement. I wonder what would have happened if we, thinking of this same problem, instead of merely absorbing it with our brain and filing it away in our minds, had taken the teaching to ourselves and said: now what does this mean to me insofar as my immediate situation is concerned, and how can I utilize it in making myself more valuable to the world? After thinking it over and over, we may find some application by which it has value. When we do that, then we file it away in our hearts. If that process be followed, then when we become older and are faced with serious problems, the mind will not be in the way, for the heart will attract us to the answer. Then the intuition will be working, and the mind will be its servant, not its master.
On the face of these remarks, it might seem a most difficult task for those of us who are old and have made many mistakes to become in a short time like little children. But that is not the case. The Master Jesus knew that it was not difficult or he would not have admonished them to do just that. And I this afternoon want to say that I know from my own experience that it is not a difficult thing to do, especially for a theosophist who is trying to be of service to his fellowmen.
Let us go back to the little children again, and ask ourselves this simple question: what is the foundation in the child's consciousness that allows his intuition and judgment to operate so beautifully? He has recently come from another world, he is freshly arrived from another shore, and at his tender age he is unencumbered by the difficulties of his past incarnation, so that he has in reality a truly virgin consciousness with which to prepare for the incarnation ahead. He has finished his kama-loka and devachan from the last time, and his inner principles have had their period of peregrination, so that he comes into life "fresh as a new born babe." Why do you suppose we say that, and not think much about it? It is a common expression. What does he bring with him, most of all? It is that foundation of which I spoke a moment ago. It is trust, that genuine foundation upon which the spiritual work of the world must be built. What human being who has any love in his heart at all cannot recognize that implicit trust in the eyes of a child who newly looks upon a world and the people he sees, as something greater than himself, something that he hopes to become. And as he goes through life becoming older, he finds less and less and less trust in the hearts of those he must be around. As a result, he becomes confused. Then he is faced with maturity, and his problems really begin. If he has contacted the work before, he will contact it again. And when he does, then he begins to see a little light, or at least to feel a little light.
I think I can safely say that everyone of us in this room has undergone that same experience. Thus we should now begin to realize the true circumstances in which we find ourselves: that we are actually standing at a point in the history of the world and of the Society where we must put the teachings that we have been privileged to receive into an active position in our consciousness and in our daily lives, not filing them away in our minds as something precious which we ourselves have received and so think that we have more knowledge than the other fellow.
The technical teachings of theosophy have in many, many instances been completely misapplied and misused. GdeP himself, whose whole administration could be epitomized in the two words "technical theosophy," had many, many sorrowful moments when he saw his members misinterpreting completely the purpose for which he gave these technical teachings. Not only myself in the brief contact I had with GdeP, but Miss Knoche and many others who were close to him, have seen the pain in his heart and heard his words of forlornness at the misinterpretation of what he was trying to do.
In actuality, we have seen many members in Headquarters and elsewhere so attached to those technical teachings and the personality who gave them out, that they could not give a lecture on the public platform without quoting and quoting and quoting, and again quoting, and even attempting to ape GdeP's gestures on the platform. That is really heartbreaking. Can't you imagine how GdeP felt? When what he hoped they would do, instead of remembering word for word, having filed them away in their minds, was to take the teachings to their hearts and make them a part of their daily lives, and transform his technical teaching in the alchemical laboratory of their own being, and then when they got on the public platform speak to the world from their hearts. That, companions, is what we are faced with today in many places. And until we do become as little children, we shall never attain that state of consciousness where we feel the full value and helpfulness of the spiritual force of the Great White Lodge.
I said it was a simple matter to become as little children. There is one simple way of doing it. It does not appeal to us because we are human; but it has been the same thing down through the ages and ages. We all know the phrase: "Man, know thyself." The only way we can know ourselves is honestly to look ourselves in the face, and tell ourselves what is the matter with ourselves. When we see what is the matter, we will stop blaming everybody else for our circumstances; and if we are really sincere, and want to do something about it, we will say: "All right, Sir, here I stand. I am going to correct these things, and become as a little child, if I die in the attempt." That is very hard to do. But yet it is very easy to do. We have ourselves so cluttered up with that filing system of mental facts that we cannot break through the door of our hearts ourselves, where the pure intuition and help of the Masters is residing. But I can assure everyone in this room that the moment we face ourselves, and face the facts, and say, "I am not always right, I am probably wrong more than I am right" — the moment we do that honestly, the gods in their heaven know it and stoop down to help. I can assure everyone of you that is an inviolable law, and offers the foundations in fact of the common expression we all use time and again: God helps those who help themselves.
What is theosophy anyway? We have heard various attempts at definition, and it actually cannot be defined. But I like to consider theosophy as a system of character building. I have thought of it as that for a number of years. And the first time I thought of it as such was immediately after I had struggled and struggled with what I had filed in my mind to solve the problems of my life, and suddenly realized that I had to face myself and use something other than those facts that I had filed away. I did what I spoke of a few moments ago. I faced myself and assumed the full responsibility of my circumstances and made that determination — and then the gods did stoop down to help, at unexpected times, through unexpected persons, and in unexpected ways. It is a beautiful experience. It was then that I realized what theosophy was to me. It was a system of character building, with a purpose — not that I might be a better man so that I could say, I am better than this fellow or that or some other fellow, but a better man and thus better qualified to serve my fellowmen.
We in this Theosophical Society who are tempted to think from time to time that we are a little better than one of our companions should stop to ponder upon the real occult basis of this Society, as well as the world in which it exists. Every one of us is not one bit better than the worst member of this Society, nor is he any worse than the best member of this Society. Until we begin to realize that fact literally, and allow the truth of its significance to soak into our consciousness, we need not hope for much progress by the efforts we are making. That is the basis of true brotherhood. And when I announced that my life would be devoted to the furthering of that brotherhood, which is nothing more nor less than a true spiritual partnership, I took upon myself the responsibility to share in time all that I possibly can share with every member in the Society so that we might build a true spiritual vehicle in which the circulations of the Lodge force might flow freely from the membership to Headquarters, and from Headquarters back to the membership, and thus have in actual fact an example and a nucleus of such dynamic spiritual value to offer to the world that we will automatically provide the Masters with the karmic opportunity to fulfill their responsibility as the guardians of the human race. Thus we can all work together, the Masters and the members of the Society, in fulfilling and carrying out the original program laid down by them, so that that force reaching into the outer world will turn all nations ultimately in the direction of true harmony and true peace. If we, each one of us, can contribute one tiny drop of spiritual water to that reservoir of strength which the Masters have to use, then we will be fulfilling our responsibilities as members, and can truly feel that we are helpers of the Helpers of mankind.
Mr. Crabbendam announced that the leader is ready to have questions, but that it is necessary to close this meeting at 4:00, as the hall must be vacated at that hour.
Mrs. Leidig: What kind of questions would you like us to ask?
JAL: Any questions that pertain to theosophy and the good of the work, but they need not be limited to what has been said this afternoon.
Emma Fersch: Is it correspondent to fact that the Theosophical Movement is as old as the Esoteric School?
JAL: If I understand that question correctly, the answer is no; but if the questioner means, is the effort which is now expressing itself through the Theosophical Movement as we call it today as old as the Esoteric School, then the answer is yes. The Esoteric School came into being with the manvantara, and it will only cease to be active when the manvantara ends. I did not say the Esoteric Section.
Mrs. Fersch: Is it possible by an effort of the will to force contact with one's guru, as mentioned in a letter of Subba Row to Mr. Judge, and is it possible for a man to do this only by willing and willing and willing? Is this the right way, or is there another way which is perhaps better?
JAL: It is a good question, and I have got to answer it straightforwardly and honestly. In my humble opinion, any man or woman who sets himself or herself the objective of getting in touch with his or her guru will never do it. That would be an absolute reversal of the occult laws of this universe, and the quicker every one of us stops trying to get in touch with our Master, the quicker will this Theosophical Society make an impress in this world today. I am not talking to Mrs. Fersch. I am making a general statement.
The chela who becomes a chela truly of a Master, never tries to do so. When he becomes an accepted chela, he does not know it, not for incarnations, not until the Masters have turned the dugpas loose on him to test him to the very last moment. And there is not a member in this Society today who has come anywhere near the point of being tested with the dugpas by the Masters. The quicker we get those ideas out of our head, the quicker will we know what real theosophy is and become true practical occultists, and begin to learn something of what it means to be of service to our fellowmen.
Just one more thought; and again, there is no reflection on Mrs. Fersch. But the circumstances implied in the question are a perfect example of what I spoke of in my talk. We read what Subba Row and Mr. Judge say about the will, and we think we know what they are talking about. But we don't. The spiritual will is that which keeps the universe together and in its course. Do you see any force in operation? Can you see it? The spiritual will is something of the heart, and nothing of the mind. And when we use the spiritual will, we use it in the silence, and quietly, and without force and without effort. The only formula that I know that I could recommend in any conscious way to improve and strengthen the spiritual will of each one of us — and here I must use again the statement of the Master Jesus — is this: "When you pray, go into the quietness of your closet and pray to your Father in secret, and He will reward you openly." Now what does that mean, translated into theosophical terminology? It means this: that if we go into the closet of our hearts silently, quietly, appealing and asking not in words but in the feeling of our hearts, with our higher selves, that spark of divinity which is in each one of us, and which in Christian terminology resides in heaven — if we yearn for that to become more and more and more a part of our lives, silently doing that, secretly doing that, then that spark of divinity in the same silence and secrecy will bring into the open the reward of a finer character, and a more worthy instrument in the service of that divine effort of which that very spark is a part.
Hans Geer: This answer touched very much the voice of my heart. Is it a right thing that Subba Row referred to when he spoke of a human being who had honest striving in his heart and meant it honestly, who went through the period of character building, and who was in search of the ego, and who felt that he and the universe were a unity, that all in the universe would also be himself: every man, every Master, every god, everything? Is it right that on the way for self-knowledge in a quiet, natural, and unforced way, calm like the approach of evening, beautiful like a sunset, the touch with the divine part of our being takes place, and therefore with the Master? I believe that Subba Row had this in mind when he referred to this in his letter to William Quan Judge.
JAL: Thank you, Herr Geer. It gives me an excellent opportunity to point up again what I said in my talk, and also to draw attention to several other aspects of our responsibility and the problems that we face in trying to be theosophists today.
We must think of Subba Row and his efforts in the setting in which they took place, and take into consideration his background in relation to where we stand today. Subba Row was, I believe, a Brahman. He was steeped in the Brahmanic lore. He was trained in the Brahmanical school. He was Eastern in the true sense of the word. He was not of our Western occultism svabhava. And what Subba Row wrote in those early days of the Society, under the watchful eye of Master, had its value at that time — at least they hoped it would. But both the Masters and Mr. Judge through them found in no long time that it was going to be a useless thing to attempt to utilize the Eastern svabhava to bring the new pure Western occultism into being, which Western occultism is offering, and will offer, the basis of inner growth of the sixth root-race.
There is no reflection on Subba Row in what I have to say, because he said many fine things, and his work on the Bhagavad-Gita was very helpful. But he, like many others who have made contact in the Society, when he began to think Subba Row was important, the Masters dropped him like a red hot potato. But since Subba Row's name was mentioned, I should like to mention another name, and will compare the results: Subba Row worked with his intellect, as all Brahmans today and in his generation and since, and for a long time before that, worked, having lost the touch with the heart — all of which dates back to the degeneration of the true mystic East, in India and other countries. In strict opposition to that, we find the Masters working with a man by the name of Damodar. Read the few words Damodar has written; read them with your heart. Then read Subba Row, and you will have no difficulty in understanding why Damodar disappeared and is now working with Masters, and Subba Row is only a memory.
I wish I had the time and the strength and the ability to go around the world and talk to every theosophist in this Society, to help them to understand more and more of what true theosophy is. It was HPB's efforts and Judge's for theosophy that attracted many of those Hindus who are now in the United States and in other Western countries, and they have seized the opportunity to come to what they found to be a happy hunting ground, where they could promote what they had to sell. Now how do they promote it?
Take the Vedantists, which are about the best of the lot. What is the keynote of their literature? Self-realization — we have all heard the phrase. That itself cancels out the real value of any true spiritual background they may have had. They appeal to the selfish side of the West, and so do other of the pseudo-occult organizations. There is only one occult organization in the West, and that is this Theosophical Society, that is consciously appealing to the unselfish side of the inquirer. That is why we have only a handful of members; and thank the very gods we do have only a handful, because even in this handful there is a percentage great enough who are working on the selfish side of personal realization to retard the progress of the whole by more than we have any idea. And the quicker we can get out of our consciousness the same principle that is in that teaching of the Vedantists — to seek after self-realization and self-realization until we reach that point of bliss which turns the prospect into nirvana — the better will we be as theosophists. All of that sort of thing leads only to one thing: pratyeka buddhaship. We are not interested in pratyeka buddhaship. We are interested in ultimately becoming buddhas of compassion, so that by the process of character building when we find ourselves at the door of nirvana we walk away and say: "No thank you. The worst among us has not come here yet, and I will not go in until he can go with me." That is true theosophy. But the great danger that lies in front of all of us is this: that the pratyeka buddha-to-be uses the same spiritual powers and is in every sense as spiritual until he reaches the door of nirvana — the great danger being that it is difficult to discriminate in these spiritual things which all sound alike as to which has the quality of pratyekaship, and which has the true quality of Masterhood. I hope that answers Mr. Geer's question.
Herr Geer: I thank you.
Mrs. Leidig: It is not a question, it is only a desire of all of us to know and to hear further in regard to this partnership which we have to form in order to bring about the work and to help the work of the Masters.
JAL: I see a hand in the back of the room. Please ask the gentleman what he has to say first, before I answer this.
Dr. Spatz: I would thank you in the name of the Lodge of Nuremberg for the opportunity the leader has given us. We are deeply impressed by the address of yesterday evening and this afternoon, for we know these things in our hearts. We thank him once more for the great opportunity that he has given to us, and that he has given to us these things which were in our hearts.
JAL: Thank you very much, Doctor. While I appreciate in the depths of my heart everything that you have said, I deserve no credit. I can only give to the people I visit what they call forth, and they can only call forth what they have in their hearts, and with a little explanation of it, this is the answer to the lady's question.
I hope that no member in the Society will allow his thoughts with regard to this partnership to remain in the realm of the mind, because if he does, he will think he is in partnership with the leader. I am interested in a partnership of the members with the Lodge force that is flowing through the TS. I am not seeking a great number of people to work with me the way I want to work, and so forth. I am merely the servant of all of them, as well as of the Masters. If that partnership should take a turn on the personal side of things, I would be the first one to stop it. There hasn't been a leader in this Theosophical Society who has not despised in his or her heart the actions of members when they put him or her on a pedestal, and began to worship the personality of the leader, missing completely the true sense of leadership: that the force of the Lodge does not flow through the personality, which is only a poor instrument for the organ of the heart and not attached to the personality at all on any permanent basis. There is where most of the trouble has lain in the past. A leader dies, and those individual members who have become attached to that leader's personality are lost in the fog for a shorter or a longer period. Some of them never find their way out of the fog. But those members who had not attached themselves to the personality of a leader, but had built up a strong attachment to that for which he is the channel, and have worked with that which the leader represents, will provide the real heart of the partnership I am speaking of. And it is my great hope that those members who insist upon looking at the personality will one day see more clearly. The Masters have recognized and so have I, fortunately, that leader-worship must stop. Therefore my statement at the second Cabinet meeting when I announced myself as leader, that the new leader would not consider himself as first among equals, but one among equals. On that basis we can build a true spiritual partnership.
I have only one word of advice in closing: forget the past in every sense of the word, except for those qualities which remain in the heart, and rely completely and absolutely, without any reservation, on that trust that I spoke about, and make a conscious effort, each one of us, to become as little children. Then we will truly enter the "kingdom of heaven."
After the recitation of the Gayatri in Sanskrit by Miss Knoche, the meeting closed at 4 p.m.
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