J. G. Crabbendam, General Chairman
H. J. Grondijs, Local Chairman
Jan Hoogervoorst, Translator
The meeting opened with an introduction by Mr. Crabbendam, in Dutch, welcoming the members.
Dr. H. J. Grondijs: And now, we extend to the Leader, Miss Knoche, Mr. Kirby Van Mater, and Mr. Crabbendam our cordial welcome among us. You have called together this meeting of the northeast of our country, and thus I will give you the opportunity to say what you have to say to us.
JAL: Thank you very much, first for this really beautiful welcome. I can appreciate now probably more than before what the folks at the Congress had to contend with in our having English as the official language, because I am at a complete loss at the moment to know what Brother Crabbendam was telling you! But I will not ask that it be translated.
I announced at the Congress that I would give all of the lodges in Holland an opportunity to get acquainted. Thus I asked for this series of meetings throughout Holland, simply to get acquainted with all of you as far as time will permit, and to "think out loud" with you. That last expression is one I used quite often in my theosophical work with Colonel Conger, and I found that it has great value. For example, in the years of my association with the Colonel, who to me was the greatest occultist we have ever had, there were times when I had personal problems or problems in my work for theosophy with which I felt I had gone as far as I knew how and still did not have the answer. So I struck upon the idea one day to ask the Colonel whether he would mind if I "thought out loud" in front of him. He said: "No, go ahead," and I did. From then on, one of three things happened every time I thought out loud before him. If I had not gone as far as he felt I could have in solving the problem, when I was all finished talking he would just smile with his eyes, and not say a word. I found out later that what he was in reality saying to me was: "Young man, you had better do a little more thinking yourself." So I went back and did some more thinking. If I had thought far enough to get a little assistance in the solution of the problem, he would then tell me a little story, some experience that he had in his earlier life or some incident in the Franco-Prussian War, or some other historic incident, in which and behind which was the key to the answer to my problem, but it was up to me to find it. That was the second thing that could happen. The third thing, if he wanted to really try out my thinking apparatus, was that he would not only tell me one story that gave one answer, but he would tell two stories, and the second story would give the opposite answer. It was up to me to find out which answer was correct. But he would never answer me directly.
When I first went to Washington in 1939, I had been doing some management work in Alexandria, Virginia, for an auto dealer who was a very rough character, yet underneath seemed to have some gold. He was considered what we call in America as crooked as a dog's hind leg. Now I in my young theosophic enthusiasm thought I would try to do something for him, but I found out quickly that there was danger in the duty of another, because while I did what I thought was right, instead of getting appreciation from this man, and understanding and the ability to introduce a little change in his attitude, I got just the opposite, and I was hurt. One night I went home to the Colonel feeling pretty blue about this because I had set my heart on being of some help to the man, and I told my story to the Colonel and, honestly I admit, I expected to get at least a word of sympathy at having tried such a good deed and failed. But instead of that the Colonel listened very patiently until I was finished. I waited for the word of sympathy, and in a few moments I got it! His eyes were throwing sparks when he looked at me and said: "Young man, you forget there is such a thing as karma." So I never went to the Colonel for sympathy again.
That is why I am here, to think out loud together with you and become acquainted. If we are going to have a real working partnership, then we have got to know each other. Now I know that the personalities of the leaders in the past have been quite different in their own way, and altogether they have been quite different from my personality. And I suppose it is your karma and the karma of the TS and my own at this time to have an individual to work with who has had somewhat different experiences in life from what some of the former leaders had. I have given this a lot of thought. All of you have read the Cabinet meetings and I would be a very foolish individual if I did not attempt to read that karmic script which I spoke about at the Congress.
Now I am not apologizing for my personality, but I am doing the only natural thing, and that is trying to see how best to fit my personality into the responsibilities that we all have in this partnership. And I want to have all of you know that I have had no special training in the sense of a special course of study, or a special course of this or that, in order to prepare me for this job. What course of preparation I got was in what I choose to term the university of life. And before I knew there was anything like a Theosophical Society, or theosophy, I think I went through some of the grades of that school a half dozen times, because I failed and had to take the grade over again, and that is what life is. I say this honestly, to let you know that I feel, as I said in that Cabinet meeting, that famous Cabinet meeting, that from here on the leader will be one among many or one among equals, and not necessarily "first among equals" I think the Latin phrase was.
The work of the Society and of the members in it from this point on is in reality going to take theosophy into the highways and byways of life. We will fail, fail completely, if we try to hold our theosophy close to us and say, "This is ours," and just work with that in mind, absorbing to the best of our ability the intellectual and the devotional and the practical aspects just for ourselves. In reality we have turned the corner from the receiving to the giving end of theosophy. And in giving it we don't give it only in words and in deeds, but we give part of ourselves to everyone we meet: not deliberately by telling Mary Smith or John Jones, "I want to give you a part of myself because I am a theosophist, and I want you to feel it" — that would be terrible — but by the very example we set and maintain in our hearts and in our consciousness will our light shine and attract the hearts and the consciousness of the minds of those whom we meet. That is what I mean by taking theosophy into the highways and byways of life.
In this getting acquainted process, I wish all of you would feel as informal as you possibly can. Don't feel as if this is a formal stiff meeting — I don't mean that you do; but feel free, and even while I am talking if a thought comes to your mind, do not hesitate to put up your hand. We are really going to talk together this afternoon for a little while. [A hand immediately was raised]
Mr. Niemeijer: After you have told us about the highways and the byways, I was thinking of your last message in Utrecht [at the Congress], when you spoke about the Masters and you said that they had their own sympathies and their own likes and dislikes. My question is this: is there not a little danger in having it?
JAL: I want to thank the gentleman for that question because it strikes at the very core of a principle which is operative at this time. To begin with, many of us have had false conceptions — perhaps not false, but not a full concept — of how the Masters operate, and have not realized that they, regardless of their high state, are simply human beings as you and I, but much more highly evolved. And this gets right at the core of the policy of being realistic, of working practically, with this theosophy of ours. Now when the Master wrote to Mr. Sinnett and said in essence that "even we prefer one personality to another," he was saying in that expression that while they can understand and appreciate and have sympathy for all, they still are attracted to this person more than that one, naturally.
There has been in our Society a concept developed through the years, and I think I know where most of it began, that we must overlook the weaknesses and the shortcomings of others. That is wrong. If we overlook the error that we recognize in others and in ourselves, there would never be any real inner progress. Never. We are cautioned never to condemn another, and we should not do it. But on the other hand, we are allowed to condemn their actions, and there is a big difference here. Thus, if we in the Theosophical Society — and I don't know the basis or the background of your question — taking our theosophy of the Masters seriously, did the same thing in this city and were to discharge all the policemen and say: "This is a brotherhood. Do not lock your doors. This is a brotherhood" — that would be ridiculous in my opinion. It would be for us as theosophists, recognizing the power of the Great White Lodge and the work of this Society, just as ridiculous therefore if we were to attempt to ignore the negative actions of even our dearest friends.
I would like to add this thought. The Master Jesus — and here is really one of the most valuable occult truths that you will find in any sacred writing — said to his disciples and to the multitudes: "I came not to bring peace but the sword," and went on to say, "father will turn against son, brother against brother, sister against sister," etc. Now let us not take that literally, but in the inner sense. It means just this: that when the power of knowledge and understanding and truth flows into the heart of man from that great reservoir of Masters' strength, the Great White Lodge, then things begin to happen. He is a changed man, and the only reason it has flowed in there is because he has attracted it by his goodness, by the quality of his real theosophic character. And when one does that, immediately life about him says prove it: you know the truth, you recognize it, now prove it — not to John Jones or to Bill Smith, nor even to the Masters, but life demands that you prove it to your own higher self, and life sets the stage to do just that. Thus, if we are strong enough, in "proving" our convictions, we won't compromise with truth.
We will lose a lot of our fairweather friends, if you wish to call them so. I say none of this unkindly, but I am trying to express a practical thought, for there are innumerable opportunities for compromise, as well as for holding strong to the true line of real theosophic effort and thought. And it is the compromise that has occurred down through the years in the hearts and minds of individual FTS that has caused the major part of the difficulty. It is perfectly simple, and I don't think there is one person in this room who has not had this experience: we know something to be true, some moral truth that we have recognized, but yet it is rather difficult to accomplish, to put into effect, in the everyday affairs of life. And especially in our early days of theosophy, we have seen the need of holding close to that truth, and yet the years of experience in the past, the long years of habit, say to us: "Well, it won't hurt just to do this, to compromise just a little bit," and then we do it, and each time it is easier to compromise still further. And the first thing you know, we are back where we started. As soon as you compromise one little bit, the negative forces opposing your positive determination take advantage, and then take advantage more and more strongly.
I have come a long way from the original question, but the sum and substance of it all is that there can be no compromise whatever in this matter of theosophy and the theosophic life, and of course likewise in the affairs of the Theosophical Society. The new cycle of the work of the Society had broken through even before Colonel Conger's passing. It is on its way and has been. This new era of the Theosophical Movement began to get underway when Colonel Conger took over the leadership, and with gradually increasing momentum until it reached the point at which the Headquarters was moved, and has now gone ahead on a large scale. If we have any faith in Masters at all, any at all, we could not have thoughts of waiting, wondering, and waiting with doubts and suspicions. We don't doubt that the sun should have come up this morning when it did to give us light for this day. And yet the movement forward of this Theosophical Society is just as solidly rooted in the karma of this civilization as that sun is rooted in the karma of this solar universe.
Now I came here to become acquainted with you and to talk to you about the work. There are several things on my mind concerning the work in Holland which I would like to express, and which I think, if it works out that way, will be of some real help. I do not have it organized in my thoughts, but I will take each thing as it comes to mind. First, I would like to see in Holland the elimination of the Associate Membership. In the United States we eliminated it as far back as 1940-1941, I believe. If your inquirers and interested people here in Holland have acquired the attitude that our folks have over there, they do not like the formal idea of being on probation, as it were, for 90 days before they can become a Full Fellow. What we would much prefer is this: when an inquirer is ready to become a member, that he be taken right in as a Full Fellow immediately; but before such inquirer is invited or asked to come in, we as members should try to give him as full an understanding as possible of what membership in the TS really means.
Now what is the real basis of membership in the Society? To me, the secondary part of membership is the ability to study and the ability to improve one's own character. The primary purpose of membership is to be of service to our fellowmen and to help along the road to progress this, as the Master calls it, orphan humanity. And when an individual FTS makes a determination in that direction, he is asked by life to prove it. If we believe what Mr. Judge and other of our teachers have said, we cannot help but recognize that the souls coming into incarnation at this time are considerably older souls than we are, or than were our parents and grandparents, with some exceptions of course. We have only to look at our children today, the youngsters of this generation, to recognize this. We cannot overlook this thought in our work and in regard to our approach towards getting new members, for a large percentage of the souls coming into incarnation at this time are old souls in the work of theosophy, who will be seeking their home where they can pick up the work where they left it off before. I do not think we have any great difficulty in recognizing those in our own ranks who have come in within a year or two or three years, and almost like a homing pigeon find the target of the real truth behind theosophy; whereas some other inquirer may have to work with it for five, six, or eight years, and then still not be able to get the real truth of it. This is no criticism of the one, or real credit to the other — not at all, because we must help those who find it difficult, for they may not have been in it before, or may have been in only for a little while.
If, as Mr. Judge says, we are the Egyptians, for example — I do not mean this literally — but if that cycle of life-waves is incarnating during this long period, then those advanced souls among them are seeking an outlet for their desire to work for humanity. This is not fantastic, though you need not take it too literally. That to me is our chief job and if we hold that in the background of our minds, we may have a little different concept about working for theosophy and attracting new members. There again our example will be the big attraction because those souls will recognize that immediately, whereas they may not recognize our words.
I would like to get not necessarily individual opinions, but a general feeling as to whether there are any serious objections to eliminating Associate Membership.
Mr. Niemeijer: Of course, there are problems. We find in daily life people who would like to become an FTS, but there are other circumstances which stop it for some time, and they are an Associate Member. But I know some persons in this status who are really hard workers already, and if they are stopped now, then they will lose connection. If they are not to be Associate, they will not be able to say I am a little part of the Theosophical Society.
JAL: Why don't they want to become —
Mr. Niemeijer: I know that there are big problems at home with his wife. She doesn't know anything about theosophical ideas, and so she doesn't like it at once. But he does very much, and she says to him: "If you join, then our marriage will be broken off"; and he says it is not his idea to do it that way.
JAL: In other words, you feel that by having Associate Membership, he can get away with it, as we say: he can do his theosophical work and his wife won't object if he is only an Associate Member? I don't think it would be wise to establish a policy or determination on the basis of one or two such cases, though I appreciate that chap's position. On the other hand, I don't see that it affects the circumstances, because there is nothing in the world, if a situation exists in a lodge in Zwolle, or anywhere, to prevent the president from saying: "All right, now we will help this person along. We will give him Associate Membership in this lodge." Let him consider this. It won't really be Associate Membership so far as the TS is concerned, but there is nothing to stop you from doing that with an individual in that case. But watch out — there is danger in the duty of another! I don't know what that man's karma is, and I don't care to know anything about the circumstances. It may be one of the greatest blessings if he did get full membership. I don't know.
This leads up to another thing: rules and regulations, by-laws and what not. I would like to see things flexible. I would like to see things, and I hope we can do it throughout the TS, on a basis of real theosophic honor — honor in an inner sense, not honor by giving lip-service — which leads into what they have done in the American Section voluntarily, and nothing would make me happier than to see it done here. They have eliminated completely all by-laws, national and lodge, and are working together as theosophists. For example, when you need to select a President, don't say: "Well, here is Mr. A, and here are Mr. B and Mr. C. We will vote and see who gets the majority vote." That is all right, but I think we in the Theosophical Society — and I am not talking about the world and other organizations — have outlived that method. I think we have no use for that way anymore. I think we can make a decision in our work for theosophy where it is a selection of a president of a lodge by sitting down together and agreeing unanimously. If you cannot agree at the first meeting, bring it up again for discussion, get together at the next meeting, and then when you are all agreed that Mr. A is the man who should be president for the lodge, then choose him. But make no major or serious decision for theosophy unless there is unanimity. You see we are all human beings, including the Masters, and we all therefore have our likes and dislikes. If the majority vote is for Mr. A, and the minority vote is for Mr. B, then you have a disgruntled and unhappy minority, and the first thing you know a little doubt and suspicion will be raised with regard to Mr. A whom the majority voted in, and then begin talk and worry, and no theosophic work gets done. In fact it gets pulled back farther than when you began.
These are my thoughts with regard to rules and regulations and by-laws in connection with the conduct of theosophic work, even to the matter of officers. I am satisfied that there is not a group of sincere theosophists anywhere who could not, with their hearts wide open, recognize within their own ranks the one individual who is a good chairman, because what is, after all, the president of a lodge? What is the leader of a Theosophical Society? If we put him up on some pedestal as dictating and telling everybody what to do, we are wrong. All the leader should be, or the chairman or the president of a lodge should be, is the impersonal agent to keep the channels open to each individual of a lodge, or in the TS, so that the theosophic force can flow through from "topside," from the Great White Lodge, to the world. In choosing a president, it is not how much he knows about rounds and races, or how much about devachan and avichi, it is living theosophy that counts. And this will count more and more. To the degree that we develop a unity in the diversity of our opinions, to the degree that we build up a natural unity there for the benefit of mankind, to that degree will we attract more and more from "topside" — and you will be surprised what comes in the silence.
Question: When Associate Membership has been eliminated, then there will be the possibility for everyone who joins the lodge to hear esoteric things; and after hearing them, they are not under pledge. How is this?
JAL: There is nothing that any lodge at the present time can study and talk about that the whole world cannot know about. All of the esoteric teachings, so called, with very, very few exceptions have been made public. There is more made public in GdeP's writings than any member could possibly absorb. There are a few esoteric writings of HPB and Mr. Judge, but the subjects are all covered by GdeP, though not in the way they did. All the esoteric teachings are in reality in public form now, and any lodge is welcome to discuss them at any lodge meeting.
Question: There is some misunderstanding in my mind as regards the relationship between Associate Membership and the Esoteric Section.
JAL: The Esoteric Section is closed all over the world and, as I have said, the esoteric teachings have all been made public. But, and this is important, the opportunity for esoteric training for every FTS is not withdrawn. That training will come in what Mr. Judge has referred to as the daily initiation. And the mark that the Masters will recognize will be one's efforts and the manner in which one lives his theosophy and works for theosophy.
From the look in the faces of the people I have found no serious objection so far. Is that right? [Nods of assent] There is always, and always should be, that flexibility within a group to meet the individual circumstances of that group. As soon as we have by-laws, national or lodge, you begin to limit, to cramp yourselves, and it is not good. I would like every group, since it has its own svabhava, to work with its own natural svabhava, and I can assure you that where two or three are gathered together in Master's name there will the Lodge force be also. If we work on that basis, no amount of rules and regulations will substitute for the good that comes from that type of work in theosophy. I don't care what you may be doing, getting ready for a Happiness Sale or a picnic or what it may be, if you sit down in the true spirit of theosophy, hoping only to get the best answer, you will get it. But stick to your own idea and discuss it, argue about it, but when you get that little bell inside that says, there is a better idea, let go of your own immediately, because it is the best idea we are looking for. And the strength and the help that comes individually and collectively through the silence is immeasurable. The force is flowing through the TS today. You have already recognized it, everyone of you.
I think all of us have experienced the real joy of an unplanned and unorganized gathering that just came about with no effort on the part of anyone, so that we have spontaneously said that we could not have planned it as well. That is the whole idea of that type of work.
The third thing that I would like to see is for every lodge in the TS to be attached directly to Headquarters, become a branch as in the days of Judge — different of course, but the same principle — to be attached directly to Headquarters, eliminating completely the Sectional barriers, the Sectional organizational framework. So far as Holland, or any country for that matter, is concerned it will not mean any difference in the carrying on of the work, except that the lodges would be directly connected with Headquarters, and the Section official — there would be only one — would be appointed by the Leader, and that would be a National Secretary. Then the National Secretary would have a working staff to help him. It would not be a formalized Dutch Board in Holland, but it would be a working committee that could be changed and adjusted to meet the varying conditions whenever it is necessary so that nothing becomes crystallized. There would of course be a Recorder, as you now have, and a Treasurer, but there would be no formal regulations to worry about. The National Secretary would be appointed by the Leader, and in consultation with him and others there would be a working committee to help him. I have some ideas in that connection, if the feeling continues, that I think all of you will like very much for the work of the future. But I don't think that they will come as much of a shock.
When I mentioned this idea to John Van Mater, President of the American Section, I was very happy that he immediately got on the job himself, and wrote to all of the lodges, and in no long time they agreed themselves to wipe out completely the American Section as such, that is, the President, the Executive Committee, with their by-laws. I then appointed John Van Mater American Secretary. There was no serious objection except from two or three lodges who thought it was not the time for it, but they represented the same type of persons who want to research the last six months to find out whether the sun should come up tomorrow morning. But we cannot wait.
Now I wanted to express to you that idea, and if there is anyone here who wants to speak or who has any serious objections to it, please do not hesitate to speak now. Because this is a partnership, and I am not of the mind to push my ideas into the minds of people who do not want them. It may have looked just the opposite of that at the Congress the other day when I decided to cancel the membership of every Dutch member. But I think all of you by now have had the chance to see that that was the only thing the Lodge could have done to preserve the work in Holland on the right basis. And for your information, the very, very overwhelming flood of those little slips that has come into the hotel almost literally is giving me writer's cramp. I am taking care of every one of those slips myself. I don't want anyone to help me, because I want to do them myself because I am proud of Holland, and as I said at the Congress, I have a very soft spot in my heart for the Dutch membership, and this is going to be hard to change.
I should like to add just one more word there that would clarify the matter. When the national sections as such were formed by GdeP and were given in the Constitution autonomy, so called, that was in reality done for a specific purpose at that time. That time has passed. The matter of autonomy has been misinterpreted on various occasions. The real value and the real purpose and the real thing to bring out in our international relationships is brotherhood; and if we do anything in a formal sense, organizationally or otherwise, that designates the Dutch Section from the English Section, or the Swedish Section from the South African Section, there is the tendency to separation instead of bringing together. To get back to the thought expressed of unity in diversity: the Dutch Section itself has its own svabhava, its own inherent national characteristic, just as I have mine and you have yours. So with Germany and Sweden, and so forth. But we are all brothers, and we have got to work like brothers. We have got to set the example in the Theosophical Society for the world, and the quicker we can break down any barriers of international separation, spiritually speaking — and that is what we now in the TS are doing — and eliminate those, the quicker will it be possible for Masters to work with the international situation in the world and help that situation along. We must set the pattern. That is the real reason why I would like to see every lodge now existent change the name from a lodge to a branch. That will take a little time. They will be branches instead of lodges and be connected directly with the heart of the movement, with Headquarters. The national officials, such as the Secretary and the Working Committee, will be helpers working in conjunction with me, not to set the Dutch Section apart, but to bring the Dutch Section closer to the main trunk of the tree of theosophy, without any barriers between the branch and the trunk.
Intermission — tea and coffee
Mr. Tholen: Lately we got some papers from some members, and I can say in some cases they are slanderous. What are we to do to protect our members? Are we to protect them by saying our opinion about it, or are we to keep silent and let them choose for themselves? And may I say in this connection, I think of the case of Madame Blavatsky when in India, when she was there in court, the members at that time in India refused to protect her, and so she had to leave Madras and she had to leave India. That is why I wanted to say this in connection with this question.
JAL: There are two questions there, and I will deal with the first one first. No, I will do it the occult way, and deal with the last one first. While the available records indicate that the membership at Madras, India, refused to protect and stand as a guardian wall around HPB, the archives indicate another angle to this. Not really different; but it is as one of the ladies during the Intermission summarized this meeting in a few words: "The spirit is coming up and the form is going down, passing out." That is correct, and not only characterizes this meeting, but it characterizes the whole of theosophy. Madame Blavatsky did not leave Madras simply on account of slander. She was ordered to leave Madras by the Master, not because there was not a guardian wall in the TS to protect her, but we must not lose sight of the fact that theosophy is a practical thing and works with the Law. To the degree that any leader, any official, any member of the TS operates or works against the Law, however unintentionally, to that degree will he find difficulty in one way or another. Thus what actually happened in the case of HPB was what has happened since, and may happen again. The inner wall of protection at Madras broke down, and while the historic records as they are known do not indicate it, Henry Olcott and others became extremely exoteric, extremely interested in buildings and forms and libraries and all kinds of things, missing completely the real substance of the Masters' work in the world. So HPB left Madras, and that was the beginning of what became the separation of the two societies, known today as Adyar and our Society. In reality the seeds were sown long before the Judge-Besant affair.
Now the slander in connection with HPB was a perfectly natural thing, and you will find it with practically every leader, or with any outstanding person in the world anywhere, in business, industry, in any field. It is one of the penalties of leadership, no matter whether it is a Theosophical Society, or whether you make the best automobile in the world or whether you make the best men's suits. The first thing that happens is competition, and if it is an individual then they dig into his past and try to mar his character, regardless of how good a character he might be. They did not miss HPB, they did not miss Judge, nor KT, and they will not miss me. It will surprise you perhaps, but Colonel Conger was not overlooked, and the same element that has attempted to tear down the work today, tear down the character of individuals, that same element broadcast the statement that Colonel Conger's physical condition [Parkinson's Disease] was the result of syphilis — broadcast it widely. Can you imagine such slanderous efforts? That is nothing new, nothing new at all. That answers I think in a way your second question.
I am sorry to be so frank. I cannot be any other way, and to the best of my ability I will try to clarify it. Having to mention that was indeed very unpleasant, but it just shows how terribly vicious the dark forces can be when they find avenues of expression. I would like to assure the members here, before I answer the other question, that the very viciousness of those attacks is a clear signpost that those of us who are working on the straight path of theosophy are on the right track. Otherwise, they would not be tempted to tear down Masters' work.
Now as to the first question: if we have a question in our minds ever about anything, if we can get quiet enough inside, and look to nature and see how it operates, we can usually find the answer. I don't mean only physical nature; I mean the other aspects of nature. Now the gentleman asks what shall he do, or what shall we do, when these letters are sent out?
There are a number of laws of occultism operating at a time like this. The mystery of leadership, the mystery of change from one leader to another, is fraught with and full of the operations of the occult laws. But each time these matters come up, there is one thing that always happens. The strong in theosophy are made stronger; and invariably with few exceptions the weak in theosophy — and when I say weak I mean those who have taken theosophy for themselves, those who have taken it as an intellectual luxury or some other pet pleasure — that type of theosophist invariably becomes weaker or ultimately cuts himself off. Now what are we to do about these latter? We cannot ignore them because then we would be the same as the Christian Scientist who says there is no matter when he gets a headache. But we have to deal with them in the only way that we have been trained to deal with them as practical theosophists.
First, when you get the letter [the "papers"], and after you read it you find you don't want any part of it, destroy it, and forget about it. Don't send harsh angry thoughts in the direction of the senders, because if you do, you make instantly a contact with that destructive force which is just as sure a contact as if an electric wire were connected between you and the ones who wrote the letter. And the more thoughts you send in that direction, the easier it is for them to throw you off balance, or to trouble you with more letters and more letters. There is only one thing to do, and that is your one-pointed duty as a man and a theosophist. Do your daily tasks that come along in a one-pointed manner, and while you are doing your work, think of your work. When it comes to the time to think of theosophy and work for theosophy, and your karma has given you the opportunity to see clearly in this instance, work for theosophy where you find yourself, and all else will be cleared up.
Now then, in addition to that, we find a member here and there, sometimes quite a number of them, who has a tendency to be hotheaded and take the bull by the horns as we say, and "do something about this thing." As a result, he will make opportunities to talk to this person and that person, and tell them what he thinks about these people who are trying to break up the real stream of theosophic effort. That is wrong, in my opinion; because there again you are meeting a negative action with a negative reaction, and a negative action is never wiped out except by a positive action.
I should like to look at it this way. If another member gets a letter of that kind, and comes to you and asks you what your opinion is, then express yourself. Karma has given you the natural opportunity to express your opinion: someone has asked you. But until someone asks you, I for one would not express an opinion. Have your own thoughts; carry them as high as you can, and if you send anything in the direction of those individuals who for the time being, and maybe for the rest of this incarnation, are going to be out of the main stream, send to the best of your ability a good thought from your higher self to their higher selves. You cannot appeal to their brain-mind; not at all. But if you send anything in their direction, send a good thought from the highest plane you can muster in your consciousness to the highest plane that can possibly be reached in theirs. Let it go at that. Let karma and the Law operate from there. That is all we can do.
That may not answer your question, but to me it is the only practical thing to do, because if we get upset and troubled when our beloved TS and the work that we have given our lives to is attacked, the very fact that we are upset and allow ourselves to get upset has a tendency to indicate a slight lack of trust, not in the leader, not in the TS, but in Masters themselves. And if you think for one moment that the Masters are not close, very close, to this whole situation, then you are mistaken; because they are. They are not missing a thing that is going on at this time, here or anywhere else in the TS. But we are all, every one of us, on our own, and have been. But thank the gods for Holland and the Dutch Section as it has been, and the loyalty and the faithfulness and the real sincere quality of devotion that I have found in Holland. Here in Zwolle this afternoon is an example, and that is why I am in Holland, because you have got here that which Masters need. I did not come just because I liked Holland, but because there is a spiritual force here so great that the enemies of mankind would tear it down. So let us not be afraid of what anyone can do to Masters' work. Let us stick to our own knitting, as the saying goes, stick to our own work in this TS, in the stream of theosophic effort that is flowing through the TS today, in the channel in which it was destined to flow, and you will never have to worry about what somebody else says, whether it is blasphemous, or whatever it is.
Mrs. Schoolderman (reading): Our national president, Mr. Lindemans, told us on March 18th here in Zwolle, when he brought us the last message of our late leader, Colonel Conger, that Katherine Tingley had said to Colonel Conger before her passing: "Master told me now to tell you that you will be my successor after my death." It seems that these words imply that Colonel Conger should have been the immediate successor after KT's passing, but it was GdeP who succeeded her. Will you kindly throw some light on this problem?
JAL: That is really a $64 question. By the way, do you know what I mean by that? [Many voices in the audience: No!] Well, in America we have a certain type of radio program which gives a graduated amount of money if you answer questions correctly. First, let us say, $2; then if you get the next question right, you get $4, and on up until if you answer correctly the last and hardest question, you will get the full amount of $64. Now you have presented me with a $64 question!
To answer you I must touch upon a little bit of the mystery of leadership and successorship. And I will have to give you maybe one, maybe two paradoxes. First, a leader never knows until the last minute, and maybe not even then, who his successor is going to be. On the other hand, his successor never knows until the last minute that he is going to be the successor. One of the mysteries in connection with that is that there is a maya, fortunately, that surrounds that aspect of the consciousness of the leader, and his successor, that forbids any conscious relationship between them as leader and successor. I don't think you need to work very hard to realize the value of that circumstance.
Now then, we know it to be a fact that no leader has ever actually named his or her successor. HPB never named Mr. Judge; Mr. Judge never named KT; KT never named GdeP; GdeP never named Colonel Conger; Colonel Conger never named me. But there are ways and ways in that mystery. And I am frank to admit that some people felt they knew that I was going to be Colonel Conger's successor before I did. That is another one of the mysteries. Also Colonel Conger stated an occult truth very plainly, after he had drawn a few red herrings regarding his successor before the faces of certain of his students one day. When I asked him afterwards: "What are you up to, trying to confuse these people? You don't expect me to believe these things you have said." He looked at me and laughed, and said: "Anyone who believes anything a leader says about his successor is a damn fool!" Those were his words.
I cannot answer questions except straightforwardly and frankly, with the cards face up on the table. So taking all of these things together, we can see that at the very last moment, before the transition takes place, if the karma of the Theosophical Society, which means the collective karma of every individual FTS, is such that at the last moment Masters see it attracts this instead of that individual, that is what the TS will get. Just as they saw and foresaw that the Society was not prepared to attract and get Colonel Conger immediately upon GdeP's death. The membership had earned the right to have a Cabinet administration, and they got it. So the Colonel smilingly referred to his assumption of office as being "elected by the very prosaic cabinet." Actually GdeP in the instant at the time of his death knew that Colonel Conger was going to be his successor; and actually in every case through the history of the Society the successor unknowing to himself has begun to take over the responsibilities of his office before his predecessor died. Unknown to himself, Judge began to take over before HPB's death. KT likewise began to take over before Judge died. GdeP began to take over before KT's death. And Colonel Conger, with whom I was associated, before GdeP died had begun inwardly to take over the reigns of the TS in spite of the Cabinet period of three years.
That may not answer your question, but when Madame Tingley was told by Master M, on the parapet of a hotel where she was staying, and the Colonel went to visit her, she believed in her heart that Colonel Conger would be her successor. And the Master let her say so. Colonel told me a little story about what happened that day that KT told him that at the hotel. They were sitting on this little porch, and it was in the summertime and there was a thunderstorm coming up. In the field across, there were some farmers taking in the hay, and hurrying and hurrying, trying to get the hay in before it rained. Colonel Conger was then Military Attache at the American Embassy at Berlin, and he had on a brand-new morning suit, Oxford grey coat, striped trousers, and was all spruced up. While the farmers were pitching away, KT suddenly said to the Colonel: "Go down and help those fellows load that hay. Don't you see it is going to rain?" Colonel Conger immediately went down, took hold of the pitchfork and began to pitch away at the hay with the farmers. As soon as the Colonel got good and wet, KT said: "All right, you can come up now." Of course, he was drenched. Colonel spoke as though he was telling me this story on KT, but in reality it was not on KT. It was the Master speaking through KT who was giving Colonel Conger a little test in his own way.
So you see there are no precedents. There are in principle, but not in details. I am afraid I will have to let that stand as the answer to your question, if it answers it at all. I think we make a great mistake in attempting to work out with our brain-minds the modus operandi, or the method in detailed activities, which goes to make up and establish the unbroken line or chain of links, from the beginning up to the present time. We have of necessity to feel with our hearts and our souls rather than think with our brains. Now many people have said to me: "Well, how do you think with your heart? You can't do that." But in two breaths they are doing it. We all do it. That is the best answer I can give you at the moment.
Several members had to leave to catch trains to Groningen and northern parts.
I think it would be better if we just closed, because the spirit that has been flowing through the meeting here should not be divided, even by our brothers from Groningen going home early. I want to thank all of you for what you have contributed to this meeting. It was you who made the meeting. Just as the Society draws to itself the leader it deserves, so does a meeting of this kind attract that which is in the hearts of each one of you; and a blind man can see, and a dumb man can feel the power, the real theosophic spirit, that is in the heart of each one of you. I want to thank you for this opportunity, and for the fine spirit and the beautiful smiles and the bright eyes and the warm hearts that I found here in Zwolle today. Thank you.
The meeting closed at 6:00 p.m.
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