The Theosophical Forum – May 1948

THE PILLAR OF LIGHT — J. G. Crabbendam

Address commemorating White Lotus Day, given at Pulchri Studio, The Hague, Holland, May 8, 1947.

White Lotus-Day — this is the day which stands like a pillar of light in the days of the year. The days of the year form a liturgy; each day stands for something, each day has its deep significance in the cycle of the year. But the 8th of May, in the early part of the flowering-month, the time of flowers, the day which (in Dutch) bears the name of that significant symbol in our Theosophy, the White Lotus, is a day of special tenderness. We commemorate Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, H. P. B., because on that day she had finished her task, her mission in her visible vehicle on this earth.

To you, young members of our T. S., who have just joined our Society and for whom the memory of the day of your Initiation is still strong and vivid, I would say, you have understood the importance of Theosophy in your life, otherwise you would not have come to us. On that day you finished something in order to start something new, a new phase of life with greater vision, a wider horizon, into which you look with awe and expectation. And before you and us, older and still older members, for whom Theosophy has become a trustworthy friend and companion in life, soothing our sorrow and deepening our joy, a friend who guided and advised us and lighted the caves of Myalba; a friend wholly reliable and united with us by ties which can never be broken; indeed, before us lies this day of the first Initiation, this first entrance suffused by the tenderness and inner devotion of the past.

 If we all together bear this in mind today a stillness, a rich stillness comes over us. In our hearts a warmth wells up, which flows through us and flows out like incense round the image of the messenger, who brought back to us the wisdom of the Gods.

There is such pathos, such tragedy in the lives of the messengers! There is their greater knowledge, deeper insight and understanding of secrets which remain shrouded in mystery to us, but in that lies also their greater sorrows and pain, because of their compassion for all that happens in the world of men. They remain ordinary human beings with ordinary human vehicles. And these vehicular aspects in a way lack something of the completeness that we have. There are mysteries attached to their training! After this training somewhere on this earth, somewhere where the Masters are, something often happens with their composite nature, with their constitution, so that they can remain a channel, can be a messenger. And thus they often come back to this world of men with an incomplete constitution, an incomplete armor in contrast to ours, with which they besides have to fight a much heavier battle than we have! Oh, there are many mysteries around the messengers of the Masters, their constitution, and the great sacrifices of their lives on the altar of mankind. How shall we then judge, Brothers, we who know little or nothing about the seeming discrepancies and inconsistencies in the lives of messengers, which may sometimes surprise us in our ignorance?

There is a Light-side in Nature and also a Shadow-side. There are Brothers of Light and those of Shadow, Protectors and Guardians of mankind and the Dugpas. The latter fight their fierce, uninterrupted battle. They know something about occultism, they, masters of black magic, and they attack in secret with slyness and subtility and subtile craft. Not you and me, for what do we mean as yet in the Hierarchy of Light? But they attack the messengers in the first place. And in proportion as we make progress on the Path, the battle between the Light- and the Shadow-side in our natures makes itself felt. When we quicken our evolution on the Esoteric Path, the possibilities in us of the greater things, the spiritual aspects are activated and expressed, but also that which is hidden in our lower natures may be quickened; it is a karmic quickening-process: that which usually takes several lives to express itself, happens in a shorter period. And thus it may be that we see things performed by brothers who are further along the Path than we are, which we had not expected. And then we often know nothing better to do than condemning such a brother. Instead of trying to understand, what is going on within that brother, what he has to go through, the portals through which he has to pass, and instead of being ready to offer a helping hand, as is our duty, we attack him by adding our criticism to that of the world; such things as: "Can you understand this of him, or of her?! . . . Ah, theory and practice!!" But the only ones, who are really to blame, are we ourselves, because we ought to know better. Tout savoir, c'est tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner! Do you still remember, Brothers, Companions, that beautiful charge of G. de P. at our Initiation which charge I do heartily hope we may still keep for a long time to come! Do you still remember how Dr. de Purucker impressed upon us, that it is our duty as theosophists to live with each other with love in our hearts — and so he continues — "especially when one or more of us pass through the portals of purification — words which you may later understand better than at present."

But the messengers are the first to be attacked! And the brothers of the shadow use their most efficient weapons: insinuation, slander, ridicule! Who does not know that insinuation: it is so easy, you have nothing to prove, you place some facts in a wrong light, disconnect them and assume a significant face, a shrug of the shoulder, a motion of the hand and it is done! It always works, is easily passed on, accepted and spread! And then ridicule, deadliest of poisons, no argumentation, not even facts here! We theosophists know it from experience. "Theosophy? Oh, yes, heard of it, I daresay a group of eccentrics, but well-meaning, not dangerous!" Or: "Oh, not a bad fellow, a little idealistic; theosophist or something like that, teetotaller and vegetarian, you know. Surely, there is nothing bad in her, an eccentric, somewhat high-strung, don't take her too seriously!"

The Messengers, the chelas of the Masters. Before everything they have to follow one of the chief rules for the Chela: not to defend themselves! Do you know what this means? We also have to aspire in this direction as younger Chelas on the Path. You are attacked and accused, and rightly so, because you did something that you should not have done, but you have a great desire to defend yourself, to place in a favorable light what you have done, so that there will be a better and milder judgment. But you are not allowed to: you have to keep silence. That is difficult!

But now you are unjustly attacked and accused, slandered and your name is stained, your motives twisted and misinterpreted. And you want to justify yourself, your whole being cries: this is injustice, the grossest wrong, I shall mention my motives. I can prove them! But you are not allowed to. And your friends urge: "Speak and prove the contrary, you can do so. If you keep silent, what are people to think?" But you are not allowed to! Friends, this is awfully difficult!! These are perhaps isolated cases, just a tiny arrow that hits us sometimes. But the messenger is a target, which these arrows are aimed at by the dozens!

This is the rule: the chela is never allowed to defend himself, when he himself is attacked, but it is his duty to defend others when they are attacked, and above all his Guru! That is what they have done, all of them, who recognized H. P. B. as their Guru; her many friends during her life and after her death. That is what her successors in the Holy Work have also done: William Quan Judge, Katherine Tingley, Gottfried de Purucker. Do you know, friends, those brilliant, striking speeches of G. de P., delivered in Sweden, in Visingso in 1931 about: "The exoteric and esoteric H. P. B." published in the series Questions We All Ask? In the afternoon session of the Congress which was held on the occasion of the centenary of H. P. B., Dr. de Purucker spoke about the Esoteric H. P. B. and he showed us how she in her way was an "Avatara," how her psychological apparatus, usually called in the Occident "the human soul" could withdraw sometimes to make a channel for a human soul still higher than hers. These speeches are worth reading today. But the defenders I speak of have now gone home as has H. P. B. And the attacks continue! Can it be otherwise: H. P. B. the Light-bringer; now that the world is crying for more light, now that the hearts and minds of tormented mankind seem to be more open for the wisdom of the Gods than ever, are the servants of darkness, the brothers of the shadow going to keep silence and rest? Therefore, if they succeeded in representing H. P. B., the bringer of Theosophy, as an eccentric, an intriguer, an impostor, that would be effective — much easier than to fight against the doctrines. These are so complicated and they are being more and more confirmed by modern science, they often speak to the intuition, heart and mind. And once more, we see the old well-tried diabolical weapons appear: New articles in magazines, new books, which once more cast the poison of calumny on H. P. B.'s name.

And now what is our task? White Lotus-day is for us a day of thankfulness. Our heart is warmer than ever for all that has been given at the cost of H. P. B.'s sacrifice. We could not do without Theosophy! But this thankfulness is not sufficient, it has to be transmuted into a pledge, a deed. In her honor, in her defence! We can write and speak and it is right to do so, but will our articles be printed and read and will they listen to what we have to say? The best thing we can do is to live Theosophy and so carry it out into the world.

If we become what Theosophy should make of us, artists in living, balanced men and women, going through life cheerfully and undauntedly, who know joy but who can also bear pain, we shall be the best living defence of Theosophy and of H. P. B.

''Oh, that my last incarnation may not be in vain!" We must see this hope fulfilled. Standing firm, keeping united, we are invincible, keeping the channels open for the sublime spiritual forces, which worked behind and through H. P. B. and perhaps still do so.

Theosophical University Press Online Edition