The Theosophical Forum, February 1948, pp. 68-74
Authorized to publish broadcast the private record of the Katherine Tingley Memorial Group, an esoteric body formed by G. de Purucker shortly after he assumed the headship of the Theosophical Society in 1929, Arthur L. Conger, editor, has performed, in the opinion of this reviewer, a signal service not alone to the Theosophical Movement throughout its various branches, but to the world at large. Under the title The Dialogues of G. de Purucker* volume one of which lies before us just off the press, the first ten reports of private meetings with valuable supplementary material added, stand as a commanding witness of the spiritual impetus given the Society by G. de P. through the medium of esoteric teaching.
*The Dialogues of G. de Purucker: Report of Sessions, Katherine Tingley Memorial Group. Edited by Arthur L. Conger, Theosophical University Press, 1948, 416 pages, price per volume, $7.50. The entire K.T.M.G. record of 36 Papers with supplements, will be completed in Volumes Two and Three, with index in the Third Volume. Publication date of these last to be announced later.
Since the fourteenth century when Tsong-ka-pa, the great Tibetan sage, initiated the successive sending into the world of a particular Mahatmic force during the last quarter of each century, the central Brotherhood has taken the Western world in especial under its wing. Sometimes these efforts were infertile, due to the barrenness of the field; at other times a marked upheaval took place, bringing enlightenment and a revolution of the spirit.
It was not until the major effort of 1875, which marked the birth of the modern Theosophical Society, that the field was fertile enough to fructify the seed thus sown and carry its fruitage into the succeeding century. Today as we approach the pit of our present century we note the forces of darkness lined up in battle array against the powers of Light. The cyclic question arises: Is the Theosophical Movement, as represented by its various Theosophical Societies, and more particularly by a small but vital band of self-dedicated volunteers, sufficiently alerted to meet the challenge of the succeeding half-century? Or, will the harvesting of the karmic fruit of 75 years of theosophic labor so consume the thought of present-day Theosophists that they miss their greater task: that of preparing the soil for the new cycle of Mahatmic force to come for the 1975 effort?
The natural tendency of all organizations, regardless of their origin, is crystallization and — the T.S. is no exception. To protect its interests, as Judge eloquently reminds us in his Letters That Have Helped Me, the Guardians have repeatedly administered "shocks." One need have but a nodding acquaintance with theosophic history to realize at a glance that the T.S. never could have survived these numerous "shocks" had they not been fostered by the Lodge. Time and again has dynamite of the spirit been used to shatter the hardpan of complacency that the seed of genuine occultism, now growing to a lusty tree, might live.
Today, 1948, two years prior to the midpoint of our century, A. L. Conger, chief of the Theosophical Society, both inner and outer, administers the latest of these "beneficent shocks" — through the publication broadcast of that which for eighteen years has been "kept secret from the foundation of the world." That a cry of dismay and surprise will be forthcoming from a few crystallized spirits is to be expected, but no amount of prejudice can detract from the power to heal and bless that this publication will bring. Because there have been those whose desire for self-advancement through special privilege has dulled the compassion of their hearts, is no reason that the world in general should suffer. For the race, humbled, searching, despair-ridden from the onslaughts of recent years, is waiting for the living spiritual message from the heart of a Teacher. Here in these Dialogues between Teacher and pupil, as the Editor states in his preface, "the earnest student whose resolve equals his aspiration will find . . . that path leading him to the 'Terrace of Enlightenment' " (p. vi).
That no pledged student of the K.T.M.G. could have unsealed his lips to share this wisdom is tacitly understood. That a Teacher alone could have been authorized to broadcast this record is equally implicit. The present publication has the insignia of such authority — and fulfills at this karmic turning-point in world history Dr. de Purucker's prophecy uttered a few months before his passing:
I can see very clearly that the time will probably come when what we now call esoteric we shall publish broadcast, because the time will have come to do so. But that does not mean, if you please, Companions, that any one of you is entitled to break his oath of secrecy. It is not for me to say when. It is for Those who know more than any one of us here. But I can feel that it is coming. — Meeting of May 26, 1942, pp. 177-8.
Take a look at the esoteric history of the world. Note that time and again that which was esoteric, hidden, occult at one period, becomes common knowledge in future ages. What of the Mysteries at Eleusis and Samothrace, of Ecbatana and Thebes? What of the secret instruction given in the Temples of Isis during the Roman days, when initiates would seek training and interior discipline and then return among the populace to teach?
The T.S. has faithfully followed the archaic rule. Judge, for example, in his "Order No. II of 1894," issued on December 3rd at New York, announced to his esoteric membership that H.P.B.'s E.S.
Instructions I, II and III of this School [E.S.] are no longer secret, with the following exceptions:
(a) The A. E. [Auric Egg] (b) The plain and colored Diagrams and Plates and their explanations. (c) The Correspondences. (d) The Word and sacred formula.
Thirty years later G. de P. enters the theosophic field. And what happens? Again the Esoteric becomes Exoteric, and not only does he teach openly of the Auric Egg, the correspondences with elaborate diagrams, etc., but broadcasts in public print as Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy the private record of the "Lodge of Light," which comprised esoteric lectures given by him from 1924-1927 under Katherine Tingley's direction.
But now the question comes: if all that was esoteric is published, what then will the E.S. consist of? What is there left for those students whose hearts yearn for more than the exoteric works provide?
Does anyone imagine that the E.S., and more so its higher degrees, consists merely in intellectual training, in the revelation of greater and deeper teaching? If so, then he had better take stock of his aspirations. If all the hidden lore of Shambhala were divulged, it would still be esoteric, for the printed word is both a veil and a revealer.
The generation of students today who receive "awakening" from the present Theosophic chief will recognize that the K.T.M.G. record is a charge placed in their care as the fathers and mothers of the generation which will have to assume the theosophical responsibilities of the 1975-2000 cycle. Is it so strange that the Brotherhood should favor this further drawing aside of the veil of Truth? Is it so remarkable that They should sponsor this particular revitalization of the theosophic tree now, at the half-century mark, itself the initial seeding period for the 21st century? Is it so incredible that the world at large, which has been deluged with so-called 'occult,' 'esoteric,' and pseudo-mystic messages from self-styled teachers, should be given a further chance to recognize and follow that which springs directly from Their one organized channel of Esoteric force? For true as it is that the Masters work through every possible avenue in the exoteric world, still there is but one "formally organized" esoteric school. And its chief objective? Primarily, as has been stated repeatedly since the formal establishment of the E.S. in 1888 by H.P.B., to strengthen the fabric of the T.S., or, more fully expressed by G. de P. in the K.T.M.G. Papers:
The whole purpose of the E.S. is to form a group or body of devoted students whose first thought is the T.S. The E.S. was founded, not solely for the . . . development of individuals, or for their gaining of curious and recondite teaching. Not at all. But to gather together a band of absolutely loyal and devoted Theosophists who would give all they could of strength, time, and money, to keep the Masters' work in the world going, in other words the T.S. — pp 133-4
With the E.S. well established, why the need then for another or higher group of similar aim? Since the E.S. is the heart of the T.S., so the K.T.M.G. may be said to have been, while its founder was alive, the heart of the E.S. One might well go further and say: what the K.T.M.G. was to the E.S., so there may have been a still more secret group of individuals offered an opportunity to strengthen and inspirit the K.T.M.G.
But — and this is the important point: all such groups informally established by any teacher as specific training grounds necessarily die as groups with the death of their Founder because no longer can the Lodge utilize them as groups per se for the transmission of Their force. This should be self-evident, for it is the Teacher or Messenger who is the link — not the body of students, nor indeed any book, or books. Nevertheless the impress, occult and powerful, made on the individual students under training in any particular group, will have its effect through undying ages, and will act, in proportion to the intensity of the aspiration and the fidelity to the charge, as a strong karmic guide into the new esoteric channel opened by the succeeding Teacher.
Do we not see that this very shifting of the scene from Teacher to Teacher provides a perfect setting for the supreme test of the pupil? Has he dedicated his love and devotion to Masters' Work to satisfy merely his own deep-rooted aspiration; or has he impersonally, humbly, unstintingly laid all on the Altar that he may be used in Their service? To keep the health of an esoteric movement, a constant sifting process is demanded. The esoteric force moves on, but the individual may or may not continue in the stream — dependent entirely upon the karmic record judged by none but his Higher Self.
G. de P. but followed the pattern of his predecessors. H.P.B. not only had her "Inner Group" of specially chosen students to whom she taught the deeper teachings and exacted from them a sterner discipline, but she likewise was the instrument through which a particular esoteric current flowed. This is amply suggested not only by exoteric documents [see "H.P.B. and the Esoteric Section," The Theosophical Forum, December, 1947], but also by her private correspondence. Judge himself, besides a formal "Second Degree" within the already established E.S., had his own private disciples for occult training. Again, Katherine Tingley was no exception. Within the E.S., called by her at one period the "L. of L." or "Lodge of Light," she instituted a series of absolutely secret circles or groups which she would abandon the moment their form no longer served the occult purpose. Yet throughout her entire headship the esoteric force continued in unbroken succession.
Was it so peculiar then that G. de P. should have established inner groups of varying degree in order more fully to train his membership?
Moreover, it is not "by chance" that no one of our leaders, as far as knowledge of the reviewer goes, were ever formal members of these "special" or "inner" groups of their predecessors. Judge, for example, was not a member of H.P.B.'s "Inner Group" — until after her death in 1891, when he was given a formal membership therein, but this obviously was of no occult consequence then as he had already assumed the duties of joint Outer Head. Katherine Tingley had become an E.S. member under Judge in October, 1894, just in time to lend her intuitive support in his supreme hour of need. But that was all as far as records go. As for G. de P. — the secret circles that K.T. would establish and then abandon, re-establish and again abandon, sometimes included him, sometimes not. As regards our present chief, it is well recognized that he did not become a formal member of the K.T.M.G. when invited by G. de P., for reasons which were perfectly understood between them and their Superiors.
What does all this reveal? First, that close as is the hidden bond between a teacher and his successor, the teacher himself may or may not be fully aware who is to succeed him. Second, that significantly enough, no one of our teachers has ever formally appointed his successor. If we believe, as we verbally proclaim, that the T.S. is under the protective care of Masters, isn't it obvious then that They alone exercise the right of appointment? Isn't it equally plain that each one of the successors-to-be must de facto have been under the direct training of a Master?
If the above be facts — and an impartial study leads solely to these conclusions — what need then for any one of our teachers to have undertaken, unless so directed, the lesser training of merely formal groups of esoteric students?
Meetings, gatherings, formal degrees, however beautiful and necessary they are to the spiritual nature of lay-disciples, are but child's play to "accepted chelas," for their training is given directly by the Brotherhood through life itself. To quote again from The Dialogues:
The higher you progress in esoteric studies, the farther you progress along the path of chelaship, the more informal do things become. So much so that in the higher degrees there is no formality whatever. The Teacher may be in one part of the world, say in Egypt, in some European country or in America, or China, or Java, or anywhere else, and the chela may be anywhere else likewise. The latter may receive a call, or what H.P.B. used to call the 'astral bell.' The chela may be at work in a field; he may be driving an automobile; he may be sitting at a meal, in his arm-chair, lying in his bed; but instantly when the call comes, he is alert, and he receives the message or communication in the silence, thus not given even by word of mouth.
The reason for this is that in the lower degrees a certain amount of ceremonial and ritual helps those who have not developed the spiritual ability to concentrate their thoughts on higher planes; but in the higher degrees, when this concentration of thought and attitude of mind, when this elevation of thought, becomes instinctive, ritualistic observances and ceremonials of any kind actually become an obstacle or bar. They become a hindrance because they distract the attention to outward things. — K.T.M.G. Paper No. 11, Meeting of April 23, 1930, to be included in Volume Two [p. 1]
To return more directly to the volume before us. Here we find portrayed after the pattern of Socrates the sublime attempt on the part of the Teacher, G. de P., to awaken the sleeping seeds of chelaship in the heart of his pupils. Not that any of the group thus inaugurated when he became leader necessarily were "accepted chelas," or even material which could be quickened into chelaship in this life. To put your trust in a Teacher, to work closely with him in his labor for the world, is to enter a forcing-school where not only the "germs of adeptship" are stimulated, but likewise seeds of evil spring lustily to the fore. Beneficent indeed is the karman of him who can bring these latter into full activity and — kill them.
Nevertheless the occult rule holds: a Teacher is in duty bound to accelerate if possible soul growth, and by so much advance the spiritualization of the race. The progress of civilization demands an ever fuller unveiling of Truth. As the minds of men become more receptive, the Brotherhood empowers its Messengers to teach — some by word of mouth, others in the silence.
What then does the real E.S. consist of? One has only to come within the aura of a true Teacher to experience that intangible quickening of the soul that leads the disciple once again to take up his ancient vows.
Theosophical Forum Articles by Grace F. Knoche
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