When X Equals Sh
In the Popol Vuh and other writings dealing with the culture of the ancient Guatemalans and Southern Mexicans we often find proper names with initial X followed by a consonant, as: Xbalanque, Xpiyacoc, Xmucane. Is there any way the proper pronunciation can be indicated by our modern English letters? — C. Q. W.
H. L. — When the Spaniards came to the New World, they found many of the native Americans, whether Aztecs or Mayas, using the sound sh, which English people transliterate as sh, and French and Portuguese as ch, and the Germans as sch, all having the sound of sh.
Now the Spaniards have no such sound in their language; so they made a curious compromise, and represented the sh sound by the letter x. This complicated things in later years, because Spaniards often represent their ch sound, as the German ch of machen, by the x. Thus the Spanish even today writes Mexico with an x, or sometimes with a j, because in Spanish both x and j, in such a connexion, have this ch sound like the German ch.
However, custom brought it about that the sh sound in these native American tongues in Spanish writings, became represented by the x. Thus: the xb or xy, when taken from Spanish books, renders the early American sound shba or shy. Xr would be shr, if indeed it is used, etc.
Mental Healing and Mental Freedom
What are the reasons why Theosophists do not endorse the healing methods of Christian Science?
H. T. E. — First let me say that I take exception to the form of this question, as it seems to commit me to a kind of sectarian dissension which is repugnant. I do not wish to pose as a member of one faith sitting in judgment upon the members of another faith, and setting a value upon my "endorsement" of their beliefs and practices. Moreover, the terms used are general and vague, lumping together all Theosophists on the one hand, and all Christian Scientists on the other. Any individual condemned just because he styles himself a Christian Scientist, and without reference to his personal qualities, has a right to feel aggrieved; nor have I, on my side, the right or the wish to borrow undeserved plumes from a title. But I am perfectly willing to give the reasons why I, being a Theosophist, have my doubts concerning the advisability and efficacy of certain methods of mental healing.
I believe that the practitioners of certain methods of mental healing are heedlessly experimenting with dangerous latent forces in the human constitution. The idea that what is not material must be spiritual is wrong; there are in man's constitution many powerful psychic forces, normally latent, which may be used for good or for ill, or may be dangerous for the same reason as a powerful electric generator is dangerous in the hands of an ignorant person. Anyone who, rashly and without knowledge, arouses these forces, upsets the delicate balance of his nature and thereby exposes himself to dangers great in proportion to any good that may ensue. If he tries the methods on other people, then he is interfering with their mental freedom, just as a hypnotist does.
It is of course admitted that cures are often wrought by these methods; but such cures are like those produced by powerful drugs which suppress the symptoms without healing the disease, and which merely give temporary relief at the price of greater suffering later on. It is true that the mind heals the body; but this should ensue by nature's healthy, gradual, and normal processes, not by violent interference. The spiritual will should be used to heal the mind; the body should be cured by medicine and proper regimen. Direct attempt to cure a disease by these psychic and mental methods is a violent and ignorant interference with natural processes; and results in driving back an evil which is trying to work its way out through the physical. There is so much that is good in the beliefs of these healers that it is a pity that they should have got hold of things by the wrong handle. What is required is a much more thorough study of the complexities of the human constitution, physical, astral, psychic, mental, and spiritual. The word "Science" would then be much more appropriate. For further information, see the pamphlet, Some of the Errors of Christian Science, by H. P. Blavatsky and W. Q. Judge; and the latter part of Dr. G. de Purucker's Theosophy and Modern Science.
Nature and Her Immutable Laws
In The Voice of the Silence it is said, "Help Nature and work on with her." How is it possible to help Nature who works through Immutable Laws? I have personified Nature as H. P. B. did as "Isis Unveiled'? — W. L. C.
J. N. Shore — If, as we have been taught, Nature is a mighty mother, the answer to the question "how is it possible to help Nature who works through Immutable laws?" is easy to conceive. A wise parent teaches and trains the offspring, insisting on adherence to rules, the following of certain patterns of action and conduct. The work of the hierarch of the family requires co-operation from all members of the hierarchy. Part of his duty lies beyond the level of accomplishment of his offspring while part of it consists of training his children in the actual technique of learning, living, and doing. The child in a well regulated home learns to work with his parent, carrying out suggestions, correcting errors, sharing responsibility, feeling himself a true helper in the work of the household and its organization. A good parent recognises meritorious effort and does not hesitate to give compensation in a wise way. In this manner, the parent makes obeisance to his child.
Just so does he copy the mighty mother who has and follows her own immutable laws. These laws are a part of her and she a part of them; for she herself has evolved them. Her children, young offspring of herself, and yet not separate from her, must learn these laws and make them part of their self-conscious selves. Then they begin to "work with Nature"; and in proportion to the success of learning and working through these laws, does Nature reward her children with the power of discrimination and wisdom and the blessed talent of helpfulness. Thus does the mighty mother make obeisance to her offspring.
But she requires that her laws be thoroughly learned and observed. She brooks no disobedience of them. They, we have been told, are her habits and through these she expresses herself and teaches the less evolved entities for whom she is responsible. Thus she works through the law of re-imbodiment, through the law of cause and effect, through the law of periodicity. Thus she trains her offspring who are blood of her blood, bone of her bone, flesh of her flesh; part and parcel of her; individual and yet inseparable from her. Compassion, co-operation, and harmony are her life essence and she keeps her blood stream pure by strict, impartial, unvarying discipline. That is her duty — self-imposed and unending — carried out through her immutable laws, her self-evolved habits of action. Let one of her progeny go against the stream, refuse self-discipline, forget or ignore any of the rules of harmony, brotherhood, and compassion, and Nature (the culprit's own nature which is inseparable from the mighty mother) rebels and imposes on him the discipline that he has refused to exercise for himself. On the other hand, let him "work with Nature," remembering kindliness, brotherly love, and foregiveness perhaps most of all, and he will discover the meaning of Nature's Immutable Laws. Eventually Nature will make obeisance to him as One Illumined and from Whom she has no secrets.
Avoid the Over-anxious Attitude
Some members of the Theosophical Society have much anxiety about those near and dear to them who seem to be quite unable to perceive the truth of Theosophical teachings, or who, if they do acknowledge the truth of them, still do not see any necessity for guiding their lives by them. What is the best attitude to take towards near and dear ones like this?
H. P. Leonard — If a person is unable to receive the truths of Theosophy there is a strong presumption that he has not yet evolved to that point where he would be ready to assimilate them. Why be anxious? It only tends to erect a barrier that will estrange you from the object of your loving care. Trust in the Law which is slowly working towards the very end you have in view.
Apply Theosophy in your own life more completely, and your dear ones will be won over by the fresh outpouring of warmth and sweetness that they see in you. Theosophy applied in all its fulness is an attractive thing, and it may be that you have repelled your relatives by an over-anxious solicitude for their "conversion'.
When the sun rises, some of the daisies in the meadow open their petals because they are ready: others less advanced remain closed — they are biding their time.
If other relatives accept Theosophy, but fail to apply it in daily life, they are piling up obligations which they will have to meet later on; but having sown the seed, your responsibility is at an end. Pass on. It is your duty to sow in every kind of soil, and you have no right to narrow your sphere of activity to those who are personally interesting to you. Humanity is your family, and by benefiting the whole, your influence will, by repercussion, finally be of benefit to your predilected group.