Theosophical University Press Online Edition

James A. Long — 1951 Tour Reports


Meeting at Hannover

Kunstler Haus
June 8, 1951 — 4:30 p.m.
Ernst Ludwig, Chairman
Wilhelm Oehrens, Translator


Ernst Ludwig: "Love is the cement of the universe"; with these words I welcome the leader in our lodge at Hannover, Lodge No. 17 of the German Section. I thank you for this visit in the name of our lodge this afternoon. And now Mr. Servatius of the Cologne lodge wishes to speak to you.

Mr. Servatius: Dear Leader, I come here as a representative of the Cologne Lodge. Unfortunately we have not the luck to have you come to our lodge, but I have to give you the best wishes of the members and from all of us.

JAL: Dankeschoen.

Mr. Ludwig: And now I wish to ask you to speak to us and to tell us why you have made this meeting possible for us.

JAL: Dankeschoen. First of all, I want to express my deepest appreciation to all of you for coming here this afternoon. Herr Ludwig has asked me to say why I wanted to come to Hannover and have this meeting, and I don't believe that I can answer that question other than to say that it has been my wish on this whole trip to meet as many people and to see as many lodges as time permitted. Maybe after the meeting we will know more as to why we are all here.

I would like permission from the chairman and the members to allow these to be the last formal words that I speak. I would like to sit down with the rest of you, and we will just talk with each other and see what comes of it. May I?

Mr. Ludwig: Yes, we will talk now and we all will find the occasion to open our hearts.

JAL: Thank you very much. I cannot go on now with what I was about to say without thanking you for the beautiful reception and for the nice way you have this room fixed with all the flowers. It seems also as if somebody has been telling tales from Hamburg with this table arrangement! But aside from that, there is something more. When I stepped off of the train, a fine young man surprised me beyond words by walking up to me and handing me these beautiful yellow roses. That never happened to me before, and believe me, whoever thinks that I won't have a very warm spot for Hannover for the rest of my life will be very much mistaken. I will never forget that moment. I was so surprised, and I saw these yellow roses suddenly, and then I saw the young man! Well, I love children very much. I am grateful to his father and to him that he is sitting there with us this afternoon.

At last night's meeting in Hamburg, the basic thought I expressed was that until we recognize that theosophy is primarily an inner thing and work consciously with that fact in fulfilling our daily responsibilities, theosophy would not get very far in our respective communities. So I came into Hannover today, and from looking into the heart of a rose I come over here and look into the heart of Hannover Lodge. I find that Hannover has learned long ago that theosophy is an inner thing more than an outer thing, and has been consciously working on that basis. I am not trying to single Hannover out and make them better than anyone else. But when heart touches heart, as the hearts have done here this afternoon in the brief moments that I have been here, it indicates just one thing, that the Lodge force of the Great White Lodge of the Masters has been very close to us. So long as we can do that, by doing our duty as men and women in our community, the way you have done it here in Hannover, we need never worry about the results of the Theosophical Society and the Movement.

That could sound like a lot of pretty words, but I had to get them off of my heart, and let you know how I feel before I went any further with this meeting. I speak honestly when I say there have been very few places I have gone where the heart touch was so overwhelming as it is here. Numbers are not important. That law which was expressed by the Master Jesus operates and never fails: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I also" — where two or three people are gathered together in the name of the Master, thinking and feeling genuinely the spirit of theosophy in their hearts, there is the Lodge force also.

I am sorry I don't have very much time for Hannover, so I think it is better that I say nothing more. If anyone has any questions, or any aspect of any subject he would like to discuss and let me think with you about, please speak up and I will try. Just feel free to go ahead.

Mr. Servatius: I got the record of the Congress reports from Utrecht, and there found something which led to questioning in our Cologne Lodge. You mentioned the Masters there, and even today you mention the idea of the Masters. In our group this was particularly the case when new guests were introduced and met for the first time the idea of the Masters. They were inclined toward theosophy with their hearts, but then they met difficulties with the idea of Masters. Can you, dear Leader, give us a hint how one could be able to convince such people of the fact of the existence of Masters?

JAL: Thank you. I doubt very much whether our good friend and brother from Cologne, or a leader either, could convince anyone of the existence of the Masters. It would not even be wise to try. That is something of which each individual must convince himself. Master M in a letter to a member in Chicago, prior to the 1895 Convention, wrote this: "You have faithfully worked for us by aiding the Theosophical Society, and often wondering if we really exist. That we do you should know from intuition alone, as phenomena cannot prove it." Now I say that not to have our brother from Cologne tell such an inquirer, "Well, you must use your intuition" — not at all. But when that matter comes up with inquirers having doubts and wonders, we can only say in the most kindly way we know how what we believe and what we feel, and that if they cannot accept that, that is quite all right. It is not necessary that they accept it. If they see things in theosophy that interest them and want to continue to study, they are perfectly welcome. They don't have to believe in Masters. But if they are really sincere truth seekers, the time will come when they will automatically recognize that there must be beings greater than ourselves, and that those beings who are closest to humanity are still working to help the race along its long hard pathway. But we can do nothing with our words to hurry them along to that recognition. The examples of our own lives in being and living true theosophy will do far more than any words anyone can speak.

I myself never hesitate to mention the Masters in my talks. No leader ever did. They are nothing to hide from the beginner. The quicker they know about them the better. But if they accepted them right away, and there was no skepticism whatever, it would not be half so good as when they have to work through that skepticism. The very fact that they have contacted theosophy indicates there must be some karmic attraction from former times which brings them in contact again; and they have earned the right to work through that skepticism so that if and when they do come to a recognition in another incarnation they won't have that to go through again. Does that help any?

Mr. Servatius: Well, it does, but it does not solve the problem. I only wish to know what to say to a beginner in order to prevent him from leaving at once. I will give an example. In one of your talks you said Jesus was called a Master, you said the Master Jesus. I can so say to a Christian who has been brought up in the Christian religion. But one should know whether there are more examples which could be given to such a beginner. I can say to the man who doubts: Look here, there is Jesus who was a Master. Maybe there are other personalities too?

JAL: I have not meant to imply by my statements that at every meeting of the lodge one should bring up the subject of the Masters. In my meetings I have been talking to members in most cases. I am the leader, and it is impossible for me to talk to members honestly and straightforwardly without mentioning occasionally the Masters. But I never in my conduct of lodge meetings and study groups talk to a beginner about the Masters, the first or second, third, maybe even the fourth, fifth, or sixth time. In fact I never talk about them with a beginner until he raises the question. Then it is necessary for me to talk about them, because when he raises the question there is at least a small amount of indication that he is open to some facts about the matter. In each case it is different. In your case I would not try so hard and worry so much about trying to convince anyone. If an inquirer comes in, and the first time he hears that there are Masters behind the Theosophical Society that chases him away not to come back apparently, I would not worry about him because if he is sincere, he will come back. If he is not sincere, there is nothing lost anyway, because we can lead a horse to water but we cannot make him drink. But I would most certainly not try to force your opinion on anyone, any more than you would want anyone to force his opinions on you.

When an inquirer comes to a theosophic gathering, we owe it to him to speak about theosophy. If he does not like it, and it does not appeal to him, then there isn't anything we can do to make it appeal to him if he does not want it. But there are a great many people in Germany and elsewhere who are ready for theosophy, and when they finally come in contact with it, they will not be worried or upset when they hear about the Masters, because a great percentage of them are old in the work, especially the young people, and when they make the contact they will have found their home. Let us not worry about their not coming fast enough right now. They will come if we keep our hearts open, trying to make theosophy a living power in our lives. The power of that spiritual force will ultimately attract those who are seeking. After all, if we in this Society were interested in great numbers of members, we could get that very easily. But our Society is small because we are not interested in numbers. We are interested in the spiritual progress of mankind, and in developing our own characters to become more and more selfless, and therefore we appeal to the unselfish side of an inquirer rather than to the selfish side. That is why we are small in numbers.

I think the gentleman from Cologne will find the answers to his questions if he does not try too hard, and does not worry if someone leaves once in a while. We cannot deny the Masters, nor that they are behind the Movement and have initiated it with HPB in 1875, because those are the facts, and without them this Society would be nothing.

Mr. Servatius: Thank you very much.

Mr. Wehrenpfennig: Regarding this question I should like to say something more. We must be sure that interested people are doubting that there are Masters. As already said, it is an event of development, and when the time comes there will be also knowledge.

JAL: That is right. That is good, virtually the same thing I have tried to say.

Mr. Wehrenpfennig: These questions are raised often, but as regards my experience I can only say "yes" when asked in regard to this matter. It is of course difficult to make it clear to inquirers. It is as difficult as talking about all occult phenomena.

Mr. Knoblauch: Are you as Outer Head in another relationship to Masters than we are, the members?

JAL: How long has this gentleman been a member?

Mr. Knoblauch: About a year.

JAL: Well, I am glad you asked the question, in a way, and I can only answer it this way. The Theosophical Society is the only formal organization in the world through which the Masters work. I don't mean that they don't work with anyone outside of the Theosophical Society, because they do. They work with anyone who has the buddhic light burning sufficiently brightly in his heart to attract their attention. But this Theosophical Society is the only formal exoteric organization through which they work in the world, and the leader is the head of that organization, is their outer representative in this formal organization, and is responsible for becoming or being a channel for the force of their efforts in this direction, through which that force must flow to all of the members in the Society. The leader must also be a channel through which the spiritual force of the membership can flow back through Headquarters and to the Masters themselves.

If that function that the leader fulfills is any different from the function that the member fulfills, then whatever difference that is, that is it. I can only say this: there is nothing to stop any member in the Theosophical Society from making himself a better and better channel. Those members who are the most successful in the work are those who have made themselves channels for the flow of truth and the spiritual qualities that are represented by the Masters. There is nothing to stop them from becoming perfect channels. That is about the best I can do for you this afternoon. I hope it was of some help.

Mr. Struebig: I have heard at various times the expression "my unsupported word." I am not clear what this word means. I want to ask whether there is behind this expression something particular. Maybe you can say something about this.

JAL: How can I answer that in order to clarify the matter? It is just as when we may be discussing a matter, perhaps on theosophy let us say, with a friend who is interested, and he may say to you: "Well, how do you know that?" And you will answer maybe: "You will have to take my word for it." That is the same thing, only expressed differently. In other words, when a leader is confronted with a question that compels an answer such as that, a leader won't say, "You will have to take my word for it." He will try to find a more polite expression, and may say "You have only my unsupported word." That is all.

Mr. Struebig: That is the same as if you say to somebody, "It is true, you must take it." Is that it, more or less?

JAL: No, not necessarily. This may clarify it. Anything in theosophy that we present to anyone expresses our beliefs, our feelings, and our knowledge; and the hearer or friend can believe it, or not believe it. There are many things that he must take our word for if he wants to believe what we have said, because we cannot prove it. It would be silly to try to prove it. But we should not say to anyone, "You must take my word for it." That is entirely up to each individual. There is no harm in anyone saying what he thinks; you don't have to believe it.

Mrs. Sonja Wilckens: May I ask one thing respecting technical theosophy?

JAL: Of course.

Mrs. Wilckens: Where can you put the lipikas in the system of the sevenfold or tenfold or twelvefold?

JAL: The question is a little unclear. Do you mean where do they reside?

Mrs. Wilckens: When I postpone karma, I am separating from my soul, and this was in the background of my question concerning the lipikas.

JAL: I will try to think with Frau Wilckens a moment in that regard, and I won't go very far into the technicalities because there are some nonmembers here, and it involves quite an esoteric explanation to give the whole modus operandi. I will say frankly that it is hard for me sometimes to get the exact sense of the question when it has to be interpreted, because I don't have the advantage of hearing the questioner speaking directly to me. But I will try to feel what is behind the words of this question. Regarding the first part, I think you are referring to the place of the lipikas: in the real esoteric sense I consider them beyond the seven, ten, or twelvefold system. But that is only a hint, and should not be taken literally, but has a bearing on the idea that the seven, ten, and twelvefold planes all come into being through karma from an originating seed. But I cannot say any more.

Now with regard to the latter part of the question, what you call the background of the question: that to me has a very indirect relationship to the lipikas in the sense in which the first part of the question was asked. Karma is only postponed in the sense of a couple of lifetimes, maybe in rare cases for longer than that. But karma certainly will be worked out in any event within a given larger cycle, not necessarily a manvantara. I think that the background of your question is probably more easily solved by thinking of the matter in not quite such a large area of thought, which would not involve such a direct connection with the lipika teaching.

This is not a very good answer, because I would have to understand more exactly what is troubling the questioner so that I could go into details. If what I have said so far does not give any clue to what you are trying to ask, I may have a few minutes after the meeting, if at all possible before we catch the evening train, to speak more directly to you.

Mrs. Wilckens: Thank you very much.

JAL: Are there any nonmembers here who want to ask questions? You don't have to be a member to ask questions.

Questioner: How do you regard as leader those who cannot make up their mind to become members, but who nevertheless appreciate theosophy and are working and operating with it as far as the scope of their thinking allows it?

JAL: I don't know how other people feel, but I certainly hope they feel the way I do. So far as I am concerned, I would suggest to that individual, and if it happens to be you, not to become a member of the Society until something in your heart says: "I can't do anything else but join the Society and take part in the work." Until that happens, don't worry about it at all, because each one of us is different. And if you became a member just to please the lodge president or someone else, and not because of the inner urge to do so, you would be unhappy; and the real value that theosophy has been to you up to that point would lose a great deal of its power.

Questioner: Thank you very much, sir.

JAL: I will say this to all the members: I would never urge anyone to join the Theosophical Society. Let them see by our own examples and by the very truth of the teachings themselves that theosophy represents a system of character building which is unequaled anywhere in the world. When the time comes, if they want to improve their characters, consciously and by the efforts of their own self-directed evolution, they will get the urge and will join. Then they will not only receive the benefits of direct membership, but will participate in the responsibilities of direct membership. There are responsibilities, serious responsibilities, but not to any lodge or lodge president, not to the Society or to the leader, but to the person's own higher self. No matter how much we might fool ourselves, we cannot go into the Society with a belief in the truth of universal brotherhood being a fact in nature, and the determination to help the other members of the Society to bring that about, without assuming that responsibility. That responsibility is to each one of us, individually, to make of ourselves better men and better women so that we can help the Masters help humanity along the right way toward a true universal brotherhood.

Mr. Servatius: May I ask one more question? Brother Ludwig mentioned the book Theosophy and Christianity. That is a book published in America. Maybe that book can answer the question which I would like to bring forward here, but I don't know this book, and so I should like to formulate the question. Are we theosophists Christians, or are we no longer Christians? The Christian religion puts Christ in the center. We as theosophists do not put that as far as I know. Perhaps I can hear something from our leader as to whether we can regard ourselves as Christians or not?

JAL: You can regard yourself as a Christian, I can regard myself as a Buddhist, Dr. Oehrens can think of himself as a Mohammedan or a Taoist or as something else still, but that won't affect us at all so long as we are theosophists. We can be theosophists and belong to any religion we want. So long as you prefer to remain a member of any particular faith, I can assure you that you will be a better Christian or a better Buddhist or a better Mohammedan as the result of your knowledge of theosophy and the keys that it supplies to a better understanding of any religion. The truth of the matter is, in my opinion, that we as theosophists throughout the world, particularly in Western Europe and the United States, have been missing great opportunities by not understanding more about the Christian scriptures and their real meaning from a theosophic standpoint. I was raised in the Christian church, and I would be willing to wager that 90 percent of our inquirers in the West have also been raised in the Christian faith. No matter who the inquirer is, we cannot expect him to bridge the gulf or to leap the chasm from where he is to where we are. We have to lead him step by step from where he stands, slowly and gradually, to an understanding of what theosophy is, and help him to understand the Christian scriptures. You will be surprised, if we do provide him with the keys to a better understanding of his own faith, how short a time it will be before the inquirer, if he is sincere, realizes that Christianity is built upon the ancient wisdom, which we call theosophy, and was originally in fact the same thing, but lost its virgin purity of truth in the centuries that have followed its introduction.

That same thing is true of every other great religion in the world. They have all been founded on the same basis in their respective eras, for the respective peoples of the time. In the course of the ages they have all become degenerated from their original purity. Does that help?

Mr. Servatius: Yes indeed, but it does not quite solve my problem. Now I mention that a Roman Catholic is unable to be a theosophist within his community, for then he will be excommunicated.

JAL: That is absolutely right. So far as the parish and his priest are concerned, he will find it difficult to be a real theosophist and a member of the Catholic Church at the same time. That is the one exception at the present time to my statement. I was going to mention it, but I thought I had better not because I never know who is in the audience, and I don't want to create any kind of an impression of intolerance — I don't like to hurt feelings. But that is correct. We have quite a number of members who were members of the Catholic Church. Some of them have left of their own free will; in fact, most of them have. I cannot recall the exact details, but I heard of one person who was told by his priest that he would either have to give up theosophy or he would be taken off of the rolls of the Church. He chose to be taken off the rolls of the Church.

Mr. Knoblauch: I believe it was on the occasion of the Congress at Utrecht there was mentioned the question that the esoteric would become exoteric, and that does not mean that there will not be in future an Esoteric Section, but I suppose that this only refers to the great cycle?

JAL: I will have to do here what I did last night, and that is invite your attention to the fact that the Esoteric Section is closed, but that the Esoteric School is not. There is a difference — at least in degree.

At this particular point in the history of the Society, when we have passed the bottom of this century cycle from the receiving to the giving end of theosophy, it is very essential that we work with the times. For nearly ten years the esoteric has been becoming exoteric. But just because an Esoteric Section is closed, this does not mean necessarily that the membership will not receive any further teachings. There is every reason to believe that in this present cycle, and for an indefinite period, there will be no formal Esoteric Section through which those teachings are given. We are getting away from the form and more into the spirit of things. And I can assure every member of the TS, including those who were members of the Esoteric Section, that to the degree that they earn more teachings than have been given out, that need will be recognized. But they will not get them in any formal sense. They will be received as all real esoteric instructions come, in the silence. Now please don't misunderstand that. I am not talking to you in any phenomenalistic way of receiving a message from the Masters or from the leader or from anyone else. I am trying to say this: that when we by our examples have put into practice that which has been given to us, that which we need will come to us in the silence of our hearts, quietly, and without any fanfare, fuss, and feathers. It will come when it is most needed and will be best understood, and we will know when we receive it. Does that answer the question?

It looks as though I will not have much time after the meeting, and I don't like to leave any question hanging in the air. I think I should now try to comment further on the question of Frau Wilckens, and answer a little more clearly if possible without becoming too technical.

As those of you know who have studied about the lipikas, they are the recorders of karma, and it is their responsibility to see that perfect justice rules in the universe and all that is in it. So that if anyone of us, whether willfully or unwillfully, tries either to postpone or hurry up our karma — and we can do both — we can be absolutely certain that in anything that occurs, no matter what it is, perfect justice will obtain. The more we get experience in theosophy, and the longer we are in the Society, the more we learn how to meet our karmic responsibilities — burdens and pleasures, if you want to call them that — with equanimity. Sometimes it is very hard, I know. I myself have had some terrific burdens of karma to bear, and I often wondered whether I would ever be able to live through them. But it is always darkest before the dawn, and that is a very true occult saying. If the dark clouds of heavy karma weigh on our shoulders, we can feel absolutely certain that those lipikas have not missed the manner in which we have assumed that load of karma, and have recorded our every thought, and that perfect justice is working out the harmony in our lives. I could say inharmony, but I don't believe it. I believe we are working out the harmony in our lives, because there is a beautiful harmony when both the dark clouds and the sunshine are represented in the character of a true theosophist. I believe that is about all I can say for that one. Does it help?

Mrs. Wilckens: Yes, yes, thank you.

Mrs. Ludwig: I have read somewhere that Madame Blavatsky spoke of poor mankind as an orphan humanity, and we both have asked the question: why is humanity called an orphan?

Mr. Ludwig: We both in a book saw about poor mankind without parents, and we did not know why mankind should be poor and without parents, if the universe is harmony and justice as we believe it is.

JAL: In the Bhagavad-Gita Krishna says — and we have read it in our own theosophical teachings, GdeP's and others — that we were never born and will never die. That is the real we, the real you and the real I. So if we were never born and we never die, we have no parents.

Let us go from the individual to the whole of mankind. If that is true of one individual, it must be true of all individuals, and all individuals comprise mankind. Thus when this old world was born, when it came into being, it was ready to receive the human life-wave, which did not come from just nowhere. It came into this world and on to this globe to get experience here, and it has been getting its experience here, this life-wave of humanity. Because there are always forerunners of every family, every race, every subrace, every root-race, and of humanity itself, isn't it obvious that these forerunners who have given their whole being to the aiding of their fellowmen, of the human race, might think of humanity in that light or in that sense? Suffering humanity finding its way by the normal experiences of daily life up the evolutionary ladder of spiritual progress, following the long spiral pathway, going round and round the mountain, slowly and gradually up toward the peak of perfection incarnation after incarnation. While on the other hand, it is possible, once one recognizes his true divinity and wants self-consciously to hurry that evolution, to go straight up the mountainside. That way is much harder, yet that is what we as theosophists are hoping to try to do.

Why are we trying to do that? This gets back again to your question. The Masters and their superiors in this holy order that we refer to as the Great White Lodge, are individuals who are on the way to attaining that point of perfection when they are entitled to step across the threshold into what in the Eastern terminology is called nirvana, where they could reside in complete bliss and have rest for the remainder of this manvantara. Instead of that, they choose not to accept that bliss until every last member of the human race can step across that threshold with them. It is that quality of true compassion that is in the hearts of those forerunners, of the forerunners of the forerunners, which prompts them to think of suffering humanity, without a father and a mother, an orphan in the true sense of the word, on this particular globe, who needs the watchful care of the guardians of that very human race, which offers the basis for the reference to the Great White Lodge as the guardian of the human race. It is that task, that responsibility, and that compassion that we as theosophists when we are sincere aspire to attain, not that we can get into nirvana and bliss, but that we can help those guardians do the job they want to do, and become truly helpers of the helpers of mankind.

I think we had better close the meeting with this thought. I thank you very much. I would like again to thank everybody here for this opportunity to meet you all, and I hope that when I come to Europe again, hopefully next year, I may be able to see all of you again.

Mr. Ludwig: In the name of everyone who is here in this room I give you my thanks for this wonderful meeting that we had here at Hannover, and I beg you to give us a sentence for the way home, a sentence for our heart, that we may work in the future time and be a helping hand to the helping hands.

JAL: Thank you very much . . .

Mr. Wehrenpfennig: Dear Companions: On this occasion of meeting today with our new leader, Mr. Long, I wish to speak some words of gratitude. This shall come not only from our mouths, but we pledge ourselves today to be of help to Mr. Long in his great great task, to give him of our force, of our strength, for this united strength will be for the benefit of our Theosophical Society, for the benefit of our Great White Lodge, for the benefit of mankind and every being.

JAL: There are no words of mine to add. The spirit is here: we cannot fail to recognize it and feel it. Where the spirit is right, everything else will be right. You have given me much strength, more than I can say. You have truly been perfect examples of partners in the true sense that I have conceived it in this great partnership which is now coming into being. I shall keep Hannover very close to my heart, and now I would like to walk out to the door and shake hands with everyone before I catch the train.

Thank you again very much.

The meeting closed at 6:30 p.m.

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