Do the Theosophists at the General Offices of the Theosophical Society at Point Loma find anything incongruous in the immediate proximity of the Military Reservations? What is the general attitude of Theosophists towards an armed force?
G. de P. — Emphatically, as the Theosophist's first thought, being a lover of his fellow-men, he is opposed to war, and violence of any kind, with all his heart. But we are sane people, and I do not think any sane individual today would go so far as to say that the armed forces of the United States are out for ruthless violence or for slaughter. To me they are like a national police; and they do a policeman's work in the world, something very fine indeed; and the ideal armed forces of any country stand for that same thing. If we did not have police patrolling our streets, see what would happen to us, to our lives, to those we love, and to our property!
Now if force is misused, that we condemn emphatically; but we do not condemn — as sane, honest, earnest people who love our fellows — the proper application of strength where strength only will bring about peace and order, and when used honestly for the protection of the weak and helpless. The armed forces of a country certainly can be misused and abused, and that is a crime; and it has happened again and again and again in the history of the world. But we must not condemn the armed forces of our country, of any country, which in theory, and usually in practice, stand for the preservation of order, the upholding of right and law, and the assuring of honest and peaceable men and women that their daily pursuits are safeguarded and protected.
Militarism is one thing; that is the abuse. The preservation of law and order by even armed strength if need be is not abuse. A lunatic hastening to set fire to a building, or to do some foul crime — should he be allowed to do it merely because he is human and because we love our fellow-men? What sane man would say that? He must be prevented even by strength and controlled force if it has to be called forth. But that is not ruthless use of strength; it is decent use of strength.
We Theosophists, lovers of our fellow-men, with our General Offices established here on Point Loma within a stone's throw of the military reservation bounding our grounds, and the soldiers and sailors of the U. S., live side by side in perfect understanding and courtesy. They neither offend nor trouble us, nor do we offend or trouble them; and I pray it always shall be so. A Theosophist stands for love, brotherly love; but love is sometimes strong, it is never weak and feeble. It upholds right, protects the weak, insists upon justice, will even raise its strong arm to bring these about if there be no other way. In the latter case, pitiful perhaps — but we have to face facts.
Some day the human race will outgrow the need of armed police forces for its protection, will outgrow the need of surgery, will outgrow the need of remedies for human disease and other ills. But as long as we human beings, with our millions in the prisons showing conditions as now they are, cannot control ourselves, wreaking violence upon others if we have the chance, or perhaps because we are at times too weak to hold ourselves in against temptation and evil-doing, society has to be protected, and it is proper. We grieve over it, but we are sane people and recognise facts as they are.
In Mr. Judge's Preface to The Aphorisms of Patanjali, pages xvii and xix, he states that an adept is able to read the records in the astral light. Are these records equally accessible, or is an event that happened yesterday more easy to revive than one that took place a million years ago? — H. L.
E. D. Wilcox - — One can answer this question only from hints given in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, by Mr. Judge himself in his writings, or by analogy in reference to memory-experiences on the physical plane. In the Preface mentioned, just previous to the statement from which the question arises, Mr. Judge gives these words which partly describe how the adept is able to read the pictures imprinted in the astral light, as "he becomes, through the power of concentration, completely identified with the thing considered, and so in fact experiences in himself all the phenomena exhibited by the object as well as its qualities."
In The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett we are told that the adept, in his everyday life, leads the life of the ordinary human being, and that when he wishes to use any of his trained powers, he places his consciousness by an effort of his will in harmony with or actually into the consciousness of that thing or person he seeks, and as the will is an electro-magnetic force, it attracts and draws to it that upon which his mind is concentrated.
As to whether this result is as easily accomplished for distant events as for recent ones, only an adept can tell, but we might infer, by analogy, that what is newly impressed on the astral light would be more readily visible to the seer than that which requires more concentration of mind and a placement of consciousness upon the deeper realms of the astral light.
What has Theosophy to say about divorce? Is it wrong?
L. L. W. — Theosophy is a formulation of the origin, structure, and destiny of the Universe, so that it imbodies for us the basic ethical principles of life but says nothing as to ephemeral human institutions. We must ourselves decide about these, accordingly as these institutions are founded upon those ethical principles or disregard them. The knowledge gained through Theosophy for example gives us a very clear idea what to think about capital punishment though Theosophy itself offers no definite teachings as to that particular legal solution of social crime.
Divorce is a man-made institution and as such is not a subject which of itself comes within Theosophical doctrines. But any Theosophist by applying the principles of Theosophy can decide for himself as to what his own attitude should be. In every situation involving human relationships ethical principles are bound to be involved. If these ethical principles are set aside where a divorce is granted then naturally a Theosophist would feel that the divorce was wrong. Still, no one can decide as to this but the parties involved and a true Theosophist will be careful not to judge or condemn.
It seems probable however that most Theosophists who are trying to "live the life" would make every effort to guard and preserve the sanctity of marriage. Feeling that marriage is a sacred karmic relationship, they would feel it better to solve any problem which develops — if possible to do so without sacrificing ethical principles — rather than to try to escape the problem through divorce. For a problem evaded is sure to return sometime and probably in an aggravated form. This is a general principle of life enunciated by Theosophy which can be applied to any human relationship. But, again, divorce is a problem to be solved by the individual conscience which will be greatly assisted by a knowledge of Theosophy.
When the inevitable changes peculiar to the New Cycle now dawning come upon us, will they cause chaos only to the extent that we fail to prepare ourselves for their advent, or as we oppose them? — A W. N
Alice D. Peirce — This question seems to imply that changes concomitant with the New Era upon which humanity is entering, are yet to come upon us. The fact is that very great psychic, mental, and spiritual changes are now in progress and have been increasingly evident for several decades past. Cycles do not terminate abruptly, one giving place to another at an exact point of time. Nature works less mechanically. As twilight intervenes between the darkness of night and full day, so with all cyclic processes there is a period of overlapping, and a gradual changing of the old order to give place to the new.
Times of transition are critical periods, accompanied by unrest, uncertainty, and chaos more or less pronounced. Down the centuries cyclic changes can be traced in every nation, some of minor effect restricted to a limited area, others far-reaching and of cataclysmic proportions. The distressing symptoms of our present transition-era bear out the prophetic forecast of H. P. Blavatsky that one of the major crises in human events would accompany the closing of several important cycles near the end of last century, resulting in world-wide disturbances in this century.
Assuredly, the chaos now confronting us would have been greatly mitigated had men and women been better prepared to meet the crisis understandingly. Except in the teachings of Theosophy, introduced by H. P. Blavatsky, there was little in the religious, scientific, or scholastic training of last century to provide adequate preparation for the new conditions to be met. Difficult and bewildering as a transition-period such as ours seems, encouragement lies in the fact that it offers greatly increased opportunity for growth in knowledge and understanding. To oppose the on-sweep of evolutionary progress is folly indeed. To best prepare for the new conditions of our changing world, we are taught to unfetter the imagination, to visualize a saner and more spiritual way of life, and above all, to put into practice in everyday affairs the old, familiar Golden Rule given by every World-Teacher without exception, as the essential panacea for the ills with which mankind has been afflicted in all ages in which it has been neglected — conspicuously in our own.
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