Ben W. Koske, Chairman
Ben W. Koske: Dear Leader, Companions: The last time we met up here we were gathered to welcome the emissary of the then leader, Colonel Conger. Today we have an even greater privilege: we welcome the leader himself.
We go through many changes in this work, and those of us who have been in it long enough to have seen many of those changes have been struck by one thing, which is always the same when we get to the heart of it — at the center, at the heart, and at the core of this work there is the changeless eternal thing. At meetings like this it manifests with power and with strength.
Now it is the leader we want to hear. In the changing course of events, the cycles open new eras for us, and in each era there is always a message that pertains particularly to the era that has either just opened or is opening. That message is the keynote to which we attune our minds, and perceive our path and work as it is likely to open up before us in the days ahead.
It is one of the gracious and infinite privileges in this work that while in the ordinary way we move about as ordinary human beings, when we gather together and associate with this work we are in conjunction with powers that rule the universe; and it is a message of such importance and such eternal significance that we receive when the leader speaks. So with that, I will sit down and ask him to take the floor.
JAL: Thank you, Ben. Those are very beautiful words and I know you meant them from your heart. But I cannot seem to convince anyone, at least very quickly, that the privilege you speak of is all mine, and is not so much on the side that you put it. I am not trying to be modest, but I do seem to have a hard time convincing the membership of this simple fact that the leader is an instrument of karma, and as such is exactly what the membership calls forth, and that the leader can be and will be only what the membership allows him to be. Further, that the leader is seeking the privilege of meeting the members and getting to know them, so that they will in reality, not make me what they want with their brain-minds but what they feel and need in their hearts.
The leader is the servant to the membership and can do nothing of any major importance in this task unless it is called forth by the Lodge or by the membership. And it was my hope on this tour on the continent, and here, that I would be able to feel the pulse of the membership generally, each in its own nation, each with its own national svabhava and characteristics, so that when I returned home I could sit down in the corner and do what I have suggested others do: think it over, meditate upon it and, as the Master Jesus suggested, go into my closet in secret and see what comes, and what I might be able to do to knit more fully, not by mere actions, but to help the membership in each country to knit together their diverse personalities and national characteristics into a unified effort for the Masters. So far the trip has been virtually a goldmine in that respect. While it was a little difficult at first for the membership to realize it, they soon grasped the idea that this period in the work of the Society is going to be a genuine working partnership. Some of course had a very limited point of view and even asked the question as to whether this partnership was just a personal gathering of members willing to follow me as leader in an exoteric sense. This made us all smile, but others had begun to sense how far-reaching this partnership went.
At this point in the history of the TS and the century, we must recognize our true responsibility as individual members of a Society that has as its first objective the forming of a nucleus of universal brotherhood. It must become our responsibility to recognize where we stand in the history of the human race, and of the time, and do something about it; recognize that we have turned the corner from the receiving to the giving end of theosophy; recognize that the esoteric has become exoteric, and that by implication the exoteric has become esoteric; recognize that the force of the Great Lodge that used to flow through the Esoteric Section of our work is now flowing very potently through the exoteric society itself; and chiefly to recognize that that which has been given us must now be put into practice, not in perfection but in motive and effort.
Thus we are really faced, all of us, you as well as myself, with a tremendous responsibility. But do not let me frighten you with that statement. We must also realize to the fullest degree possible that true theosophy is an inner force rather than an outer, and that its influence in the world up to this time has operated on that basis far more than on the outer plane. If we look for results in the form of the theosophic tag or label being put on this, that, or the other improvement, theosophy is not given credit, which is perfectly all right. True theosophy, as this Society conceives it to be, works on the inner rather than the outer planes of effort.
It is more truly significant today than ever before that the real work of the Society and its membership is accomplished when we work without thought for results. When I say our responsibility is great, I do not mean that we should run around trying to get new members in great numbers, and to establish new study groups and new lodges all overnight, and have a great many public lectures and try to pull in the public in great droves. Not at all. I am not against such efforts, particularly in certain places where it is advisable to work along those lines. In Holland and in Germany it is simple to attract very large audiences, upwards of 350 to 500.
The point I want to make is the inwardness of our efforts, for this is the most important: right thoughts, right actions, right examples of theosophy in our daily lives, doing our duty as men, one-pointedly, to our jobs, to our families, and to our nations, not neglecting any of these in our work for theosophy, for if we neglect any one of these, then our work for theosophy fails. Doing these things, living our theosophic life to the best of our ability — we cannot do it perfectly — we thereby put into operation on the true spiritual planes of our consciousness a force that is far greater than we can conceive of, so that when that united force of our efforts does break through into the outer world — we may never see its results and we don't need to — it will have its effect on humanity as a whole and will help in the progress of the race.
We have a tremendous opportunity in the Society to set examples as individuals, as groups in a branch, and as national sections, of just how we can attain and work with and exemplify the unity in diversity that exists. We are all different, but the secret of our success lies in the fact that with all of these differences, we do have, as Ben indicated, an underlying unity of conception and hopefully a unity of recognition that we must exemplify that unity in diversity and throw that example on the altar of human progress impersonally, without thought of results, without attachment. That very fact alone — that we detach ourselves completely from an occult standpoint from the fruits of our actions, as indicated in the Bhagavad-Gita — adds that much more potency and strength to the value of the thought and the action. If the members of this Society can in a reasonable amount of time become fully aware of the real value in the world today of just that sort of theosophic work, I am convinced that we will fulfill a good share of our responsibility as a true organization of the Masters in the world, a good part of our responsibility to bring a little more order out of the chaos of international life as it exists today.
Colonel Conger's statement that there is not only a relationship between the affairs of the TS and the world, but that the concerns of the TS precede that which takes place in international affairs, points up very, very sharply our responsibility as members of this TS. We have not taken it seriously enough because we think we are too unimportant, too small, too ineffective. Never think that we are just one little person, one small group of people in the Society, and therefore have no weight. That is a fallacy. What we think, what we do, and what we exemplify will affect mankind and the international relations that exist between and among nations. The Masters have indicated in their writings time and time again the potency of a truly spiritual force when it breaks through into the material plane. It is not only squared or cubed, but goes farther than that. To the degree that we take that thought to ourselves seriously and work with it — not in a spectacular way, but quietly, doing our appointed duty, giving a little more thought to others than to ourselves — we will accomplish a tremendous amount for the Masters and the Great Lodge, beyond anything else that we might conceive. The results we may not see; but then again, we may.
If I can in some simple way help the membership in England to get the picture now, as they have in Holland and in Germany and Sweden, I am satisfied that however small we may be in numbers, if the quality of our thoughts is in the right direction we might see a little turn in the picture in the international scene. But let us not do this for that purpose. Let us not be an example so that we can correct the difficulty in the international scene. Let us not have even that much attachment to right thought and right action. Let us do our duty because it is right to do it, and forget the results. You will find then an entirely different picture coming about in the events of your daily lives. I can guarantee that. I am not here to preach a sermon, and you will have to blame Ben Koske for sparking that series of thoughts. I would much prefer now to answer your questions, talking with you informally. I must say it feels good not to have to wait for the translation!
I have some other thoughts, but would rather let them come out as the afternoon wears away. I would much prefer with these few words of introduction to find out what you would like to talk about, what questions you may have. It does not matter to what they pertain. I am not all-wise, but I do like to discuss frankly and freely whatever may be on your hearts. If I don't know the answers, I will tell you pretty quickly, and maybe we shall find someone here who does.
It is a real pleasure for me to be here in Teesdale, and I don't have to say "almost Teesdale" as Mr. Crabbendam did at the Congress! I was just saying this morning that it was fortunate I cannot spend another day here because it feels very good just to sit by the fire. But now, let us talk back and forth and see what you have on your mind.
John Nellist: May we have a few words about your tour, some impressions that you got from it?
JAL: Yes, I will be glad to say a few words. Is there any particular aspect that you are interested in, or do you want just an outline of where we went and what we did? Or is there any special part of the work that interests you?
Mr. Nellist: No, just your own impression, or any personal impressions you may have received.
C. W. Fallows: I am very much interested as to the best method of propagating theosophy, and I am wondering if when you are answering Mr. Nellist's question you would state whether there is any difference in methods in different countries, and what is the best method for England?
JAL: Yes, I will try to answer the two together. There is no best method and no worst method for everybody, and that is the problem I find everywhere not only in Europe but in the United States, in the different lodges. We lose sight of the fact that everybody is different, every locality is different. And I have tried to get the lodges and the different cities and the different national sections also to view it that way, to consider the work in a given locality in its natural state. You may have in one case, in one town, an opportunity to use the press and have public meetings without any kind of psychological opposition. You have to study the local condition and fit the work to the national circumstance.
I will say this, however, that there is one best way to propagate theosophic thought, and that is through our publications. That is really the job of Headquarters, which we have worked on and are working on now and hope in the future to do a great deal more in this regard: getting our publications distributed throughout the world. But we do have a real problem in the different national sections where translations have to be made, and particularly where those books that are translated are very few in number. The English reading public is not large in Germany and Sweden, a little more so in Holland. And we have a real job ahead of us in getting adequate translations made of more of our books, and then after the translations are made, getting them printed in the respective languages.
As for England, I do feel that one of the major things your country can do to help theosophic thought become nationally known is to continue to expand the program of getting books into libraries, devoting all the funds you possibly can in that direction. I believe that that will do more in the long run for our theosophy in England than any other one thing. We do not have the personnel to give a great many lectures, and the time and expense of lecture tours here I feel would be used to far greater advantage by an equivalent amount put into books for libraries where they will be accepted. In time you will no doubt have the experience that we are having in America. It may take time, but so long as we do the right thing with the right motive, the law will take care of the results. For a number of years we have worked on that program in the United States, and it is astonishing how many inquirers who have not been contacted by any other theosophists come in as a result of reading a book out of a library. As a matter of fact, the membership in the United States consists of members-at-large in far greater numbers than are listed as lodge members, most of whom have joined the TS through seeing a book somewhere along the line. Of course we encourage them to try to form study groups where they can, but we too are limited in personnel. Nevertheless, the seeds have been sown, and the best way to sow seeds that I can think of is by placing books in libraries.
To get back to Mr. Nellist's question about the trip. It became evident that it was advisable to call a Congress, of which you have now had the report. After the Congress I had a message for the Dutch Section. In my trip around the world I made it clear to the Dutch Board, then under the direction of and working for Colonel Conger, that they, as well as other sections, would have to get their house in order for the future. As I stated to them, and I repeat it without hesitation, they had the best and the worst in Holland. They had the best type of representation in our Society, and they also had the worst in what the Colonel had referred to and which I have likewise referred to as a very unsavory fifth column working against the Colonel and against the main work of the Society. Something had to be done about it, not in the sense of using the axe or punishing anyone, because the leader has no right to punish anyone. He may, however, have to cancel a membership in order to protect an individual, but it will take time for the membership to realize this.
After the Congress I gave a message to the Dutch members while so large a group was assembled there, about 450 members I think. It was a shock to them. But I had given a lot of thought as to the best way of treating a situation of that kind, and felt it wiser to allow the individuals themselves who did not choose to work with the new cycle of work in the Society to make their own decision. So I canceled the membership of every member in Holland right there and then, and gave them the immediate opportunity to have their membership cards renewed without lapse in membership if they chose to work with this Society as it is constituted. Fortunately, though it was a shock at first, the membership as a whole saw the wisdom in that method, and we have received already to date easily 75 to 80 percent of the full active membership, their slips saying they wanted to get on board the caravan of the TS as it is moving ahead. Now Holland is in better shape than it has been in for years.
A week after the Congress we made a tour of Holland, had about 8 meetings altogether in about as many days, and covered the whole of The Netherlands with meetings. The purpose of all these meetings was to meet the members, see what their problems were, and try to help them get the feel of this partnership. All of them wanted to know how it was going to work, some expecting a set of rules and regulations. Of course I could not give any set of concrete rules, for the whole effort was to try to get each member to work naturally, wherever he was, in the circumstances in which he lived.
From Holland we flew to Sweden, and had two meetings in Stockholm, then went to Gothenburg, but before the meeting there that evening we took the train to Trollhattan to visit a member there who, if there ever was an example of real theosophy she is it, a member 89 years old, who has been holding theosophical meetings unbrokenly in her home for 60 years. At the turn of the century this member sent 500 crowns to the national president to be used for the work of the Society as the leader designated in carrying the work through the turning point of the century up toward the 1975 period. I simply could not go anywhere near Trollhattan without seeing this lady, though I had not known that she was 89 years old. We had one of the most beautiful experiences anyone could have. She had asked in a few of the members who come to her home every week. We had a grand time.
That evening in Gothenburg we had a fine meeting, and answered many questions, and the next afternoon in Halsingborg, Skane, we had an excellent meeting. We came back to Stockholm by the night train, where we had two more meetings: one with the Directors of Stockholm Lodge No. 1, and then a joint meeting with the two Stockholm lodges. Then we stopped off in Holland for a day en route to Germany.
In Germany, we had meetings in Stuttgart, Munich, Nuremberg, Berlin, Hamburg, and Hannover. In Nuremberg we arranged for two meetings, one on a Saturday evening, in which I made available Kirby and Grace, and Colonel Crabbendam from Holland, all Cabinet members, for any questioning that they wanted to give them. The next afternoon, Sunday, we had quite a turnout, and I used the subject from the Christian scriptures, "Except ye become as little children." There was a wonderful atmosphere that afternoon.
We had several more theosophical meetings in Germany, and I must say that the people there in West Germany are working for theosophy with their eyes wide open. Then we went back to Holland. I had promised to have a meeting with 50 to 60 of the branch presidents before I left for good, in order to answer their questions based on the work for the future. We had an excellent meeting for over 5 hours from 2:00 o'clock until about 7:30, in Utrecht at the Hotel Pays-Bas. Monday we had a public lecture in the Diligentsia Concert Hall at The Hague, and on Tuesday morning, the 12th, I had an appointment with Queen Juliana at her palace at Soestdijk, near Utrecht, after which interview we flew to London, and then came on here to Teesdale. So here we are again.
Mr. Nellist: Thank you very much, Sir.
JAL: That doesn't really tell you very much.
Mr. Nellist: It was your own words I wanted to hear, rather than just to read about it in print.
JAL: The meetings that we have had that will be of any general interest will be published, and will be made available. Grace has taken down everything that has transpired verbatim. Some of the transcripts have already been distributed locally, in Swedish translation and in Dutch. Some are being translated now. Those that will have interest for England will be issued, particularly the questions and answers. Where the questions were direct questions, the answers were equally so.
Has anyone anything else to ask about? Do not hesitate to speak. This is everyone's meeting.
Mr. Fallows: I have another question, if I am not monopolizing more than my share. I was interested in your remark that the esoteric was become the exoteric, and the exoteric the esoteric. I wonder if you would mind developing that?
JAL: All right. I have answered that question on two occasions, possibly three, and while the principle of the answer is the same each time, the variation fits the circumstances. For England, I will try to answer it this way: in one of the KTMG meetings in 1940 or '41, I believe, GdeP mentioned that one day these would be published. He did not know when, or by whom, but they would be published. Everything that occurred from that time on, or thereabouts, was in reality setting the stage and preparing the way for the present time and the future.
Now that matter of the esoteric becoming exoteric does not apply solely to the teachings that have been given out by the teachers and that have now been made public. Practically everything of an esoteric character that has been given out by all of the leaders and Outer Heads has now been printed, and is available to the general public. However, this matter of the esoteric becoming exoteric goes far beyond that. It ties right into what I said in the first instance, that that which has been given us must be put to work: "Of those to whom much is given, much is expected." The essence of those esoteric teachings, the ethics of them, the morals of them, should now be assimilated into our consciousness and transformed into our daily lives. If we can succeed in doing that, then we have made the esoteric exoteric.
Now we are not going to succeed 100 percent. But what in the name of heaven is all this theosophy for anyway if we are not going to live it and put it to work? We can partake of it as an intellectual pastime and luxury, and feel happy about it and say to others, I know this and I know that. But if we don't do anything about it and do not translate it into a way of life, it doesn't mean a thing. You will have to pardon my force, but theosophy is a very practical thing. It is nothing to fool around with or to participate in as a luxury or a non-essential. Whether we have been members of the Esoteric Section or not, we have been given esoteric teachings all through. And more now, since they have been made public, is it the responsibility of each member, in accordance with his ability to do so, to make those esoteric teachings a part of his conscious living. When he does that, then he has himself made the esoteric exoteric.
So far as the implication of the exoteric become esoteric, that is a little more difficult to state, yet it is easy. We are living at a time, at this swing of the century up toward the 1975 and beyond period, which corresponds in its small way with the evolutionary arc, the ascending arc of evolution on a larger scale. Most of us have read the technical teachings concerning the downward arc or the involutionary arc, and the ascending arc or the evolutionary arc. At this particular time, when there is a conjoining of certain cyclic influences of a larger and smaller degree, it has been made clear that on this evolutionary arc of the century leading up to the year 2000, the year 1975 or thereabouts is a strong focal point in this Messianic cycle.
Now if we believe what we have been taught, we have a responsibility to make that transition consciously, from the descending or involutionary aspect to the ascending or evolutionary arc of effort, which means that that which we have involved up to this point should evolve from this point on. That which we have been given we must unfold; that which we have brought with us in this incarnation we must try to make real in our lives so that the bright light of spiritual values and understanding is unfolded outward that our fellowmen can benefit, and recognizing the example will want to do likewise.
Here is where the exoteric becomes esoteric. It may be a little more difficult to conceive and consciously carry out, but I don't think so. When we make that transition, then it behooves us as consciously as possible to view the events of our individual lives, and their indication, from the esoteric standpoint. The decisions and the attitudes of those theosophists who take our times seriously will be developed with the conscious effort to utilize and bring into active play in the normal course of our daily experience the esoteric values which we have received. Thus in reality each circumstance of the problems that we are faced with, whether in our work, in the family, national or theosophic, will be considered with an esoteric eye rather than an exoteric eye. We will study them with our hearts rather than with our brain-minds alone. To do this, we will have to find the esoteric signposts that are unfolded by the natural opening of karmic circumstances from day to day.
The membership will probably get tired of this, but I must again refer to this daily karmic script. They will have to get tired, because I am not going to stop talking about it. To the degree that we are able to work self-consciously with that set of natural circumstances which I call the unfolding daily karmic script, recognizing its true purpose in our lives, that it is nothing other than a teacher, the real teacher — there is no teacher other than life itself, no initiation chamber other than life itself, the daily initiation that Mr. Judge referred to — to that degree will we recognize that our true initiation comes of our ability to understand what is taking place in our day-to-day living. When we work with that, we begin to see and read, not literally, but with our hearts and our intuition, those signposts that point the way to what decision we should make and what we should do about it. The thing that will help us read those signposts is the esoteric attitude.
Now right here I might say that those members who never knew about or belonged to an Esoteric Section may feel that they are ill equipped to carry on such an analysis of their daily lives, but that is not correct. The truth of the matter is that in many cases the FTS who have never heard of the Esoteric Section are already doing just that, and have been. Many seem to sense and understand more about it than some — not all — of those who were members of the Esoteric Section for years, who had become so engulfed in the technical teachings and in the feeling that they have been given more than the other fellow, that they failed to make the inner application of this esoteric force to their own inner attitude. Thus in many cases they found it more difficult to recognize the truth than many a plain FTS who had never heard of the Esoteric Section.
Thus you see, Charles, what I am driving at is just this: to the degree that we consciously work with that unfolding karma of our lives, at this time, since the esoteric has become exoteric, to that degree will we discover that that statement does not mean a thing until we recognize and work with the other pole of the statement, that the exoteric has become esoteric. When we understand that and attempt to put it to work, we cannot help but make our lives esoteric, which is what we must do in this cycle.
When we speak of esotericism, we must think of theosophy as altruism, pure occultism. I am not referring to the occult sciences, for we have no parts of that. But pure occultism, pure theosophy, is altruism, living the Golden Rule. As simple as that sounds, we find when we attempt actually to put it into practice it is the purest esotericism. When we begin in all seriousness, we then find our lives no longer exoteric but esoteric in the true sense of the word. And strange as it may seem, when we do that we do get not only more real teachings, but we get a wider and a fuller understanding of what we are working for as theosophists. This understanding and this teaching will come to us, perhaps not in a formal sense from teacher to pupil, but will come from the real teacher to the real pupil, will come in the silence, quietly, unspoken, but with full understanding in your heart and in your mind, and in such a manner that you will recognize them and you will know.
It amounts to just this: that when an individual consciously and deliberately faces himself and attempts to make theosophy a vital factor in his living, and does so firmly and potently, then he draws the whole force of his nature upon himself, and life says prove it. I repeat here, as I have repeated it all over Europe, the old esoteric axiom: in proportion to the aspirations of the pupil will be his difficulties. But if he stands up to himself, and really determines to make that step forward, then literally the gods stoop down to help in many and various ways, in unexpected ways. Then truly he begins to experience and to know initiation in the real sense of the word — not getting any direct help from any teacher, not making any outer contact with a Master as some people think, which is all bosh in that sense. When a member makes the real contact, it is not because he has tried to do so, nor does he talk about it. Those who try will not do so until they stop trying. That is a paradox. When an individual does become an accepted chela, he does not know it, and the Masters won't let him know it, until they have turned the dugpas loose on him for a couple of incarnations. And when he has passed all the real tests, then the Master does not have to tell him, he knows it. He is just one of the Order, and that is that.
I do hope that answers at least in degree your question, Charles, concerning the exoteric becoming the esoteric. That is the fullest answer I have yet given, but it does not really tell half the story.
Mr. Fallows: Thank you, yes indeed.
Mrs. Walton: May I ask the Leader why some members lost their membership in the Theosophical Society? It seems to me that those people who are staying at Headquarters have been living theosophy as they ought to do. It has worried me a lot that they should have been deprived of their membership.
JAL: Thank you very much for asking that question. However, if I touch upon it, I must be specific, and will answer it as fully as I know how. The manner in which you ask the question indicates that state of mind which I have found has been held by many members throughout the world: that is, that the people at Headquarters are nigh unto perfect, and that Headquarters is and has been an ideal place to live where everything is sweetness and light and perfect harmony. I do not mean that you have that idea, but I can understand . . .
Mrs. Walton: Yes, I think I have had that idea.
JAL: Well, let's disabuse our minds. Now that is not and never has been the case, and that is no reflection on Headquarters. But let us talk a little practical occultism. I am afraid this answer is going to take a long time, but you have asked this question in all sincerity, and phrased it a little differently from what it has been asked in the past, and I must answer it to meet the circumstance because I see there a wrong conception — not your fault, certainly not — of what Headquarters really is and has been.
The Headquarters of the Society, our Society, if it were a Shangri-la, all sweetness and light, would not last overnight. It would not be worthy of the name of Headquarters. That may sound strange. I will tell you why. We have studied and read our theosophy, and seemed to understand about the pairs of opposites, the positive and negative, and so forth. Headquarters, just as the constitution of a human being, must comprise both the positive and the negative, or else there would be no opportunity for growth. If everything were spiritual and everything were positive, disintegration would set in, and in a very short time there would be no Headquarters. For anyone or anything to grow and become strong spiritually, there must be opposition to that growth in order to strengthen the spiritual qualities of our nature.
Let me put it this way: if I want to develop my right arm so that I have the ability to lift a hundred-pound weight off the floor, I must train that arm to the degree that it will overcome not only the one hundred pounds of opposition, but at least one hundred and one pounds of opposition, so that it can lift the weight off the floor. Do you follow that so far?
Mrs. Walton: Yes.
JAL: Well, that same principle operates on all levels of our consciousness so that if I or you or anyone aspires to become at least 80 percent spiritually developed, how can we do that without first overcoming at least 81 percent of opposition to that development? How are we going to overcome that opposition? By life itself, by the unfolding karma we must meet in accordance with our aspirations. If we want to be 80 percent spiritually perfect, then we have got to overcome 80 percent of opposition to that perfection.
Apply that same law to Headquarters. Those whose karma it has been to come to Headquarters find there an especial opportunity to develop spiritually, because at Headquarters the currents move more rapidly and therefore the opposition is much more potent, much more difficult. And why? Because there is a force that charges both the positive and the negative to a higher degree. KT was the first to have a large headquarters, and we have found through the years that KT and GdeP and Colonel Conger invited people to come to Headquarters who they knew were going to cause merry hell, knew that they were going to stir the pot to boiling, and they did it. But the leaders knew what they were doing. If they found that the balance was being thrown out and that there was too much of the positive, they knew that growth would stop because there was not sufficient of the negative against which the positive should work. This is the basic principle of a satisfactory Headquarters. It does not matter whether the headquarters is only a handful of two dozen people, or a large one of 500 or more. The principle underlying the fact is the same, so long as the link remains unbroken with the Lodge.
That may give a hint as to just where the misconceptions have come in. Not the leaders, nor the members at Headquarters, goodness knows, at least not all of them, willingly encouraged the idea that Headquarters was a Shangri-la. But it was natural that the erroneous idea of Headquarters being a place of perfection should have grown up. I myself thought so when I first came in touch with theosophy. And we have seen the same thing happen time and time again when members from outside, deeply sincere in their aspirations, finally get the chance to come to Headquarters. What happens when the maya of their illusion is dispelled and they find this individual, that personality, and that dominating person seeming to work at the opposite end of true spiritual progress? It is a terrible experience at first, until you stop to think, to realize that everything you find in human nature in the world you find at Headquarters to a greater or less degree. The disintegrating and selfish impulses may not in fact be as openly recognizable, but just because it is the Headquarters, they are more vicious in their effects and in their reactions, so that the individual who comes there with the attitude that all is sweetness and light immediately is faced with a tremendous test. He must penetrate the maya created by himself first, and second he must penetrate the veils of illusion that he finds surrounding him and eliminate all preconceived opinions. Then and then only does he begin to understand what Headquarters really is: that underneath all the outer effects of disillusionment there is something far deeper than even he in his highest imagination had dreamed of. If he can penetrate the personalities of the membership, and see the unity of the force that has kept the Headquarters as a link, he then has passed the first initiation, the very outermost minute daily initiation. After that he sees through and above all that sort of thing, and goes to work heart and soul with and for the leader, "without orders or constant encouragement," recognizing his duty and doing it regardless of all of those things that seem contradictory on the surface. All who come do not stay. Those who turn tail and run, later cause most of the troubles that the TS has to meet. Those that remain add to the strength and validity of Masters' work.
Now please do not get the impression that everything is terrible at Headquarters. That is not true. But I will have absolutely no secrets. It is the truth that the membership is entitled to, and how in the name of heaven can any one of us ever strengthen ourselves spiritually if we do not have some difficulties to oppose us, if we do not have the chance to work against the opposition to spiritual growth? This is not a blind alley, nor is the work of this TS simply a matter of the blind leading the blind. We must have vision and insight, and consciously find out where we are going, and consciously know what we are doing.
Within the circle of Headquarters, every leader has had his particular way of conducting his work so that the training of his people there came about in a perfectly natural way. A teacher does not train a pupil, let us keep that in mind. That is a little of your exoteric become esoteric. A teacher does not train a pupil. A teacher watches over and protects his pupils. Life trains them. Life is the trainer and the teacher, life and the pupil himself. At first, the Esoteric Section was used by each leader and Outer Head — since the time of HPB in 1888 when she first formed the Esoteric Section on a formal basis, and into which were admitted those members of the Society who sought that which the ES had to offer. Now what did the Esoteric Section have to offer? Many members thought it was higher teachings so that they would know more. That was true, but that was only half the story — just one half. The other half, and the more important, was that it offered more severe tests of their sincerity and their aspirations. The Esoteric Section has never been anything but a probationary section of the Society.
Very rarely will a teacher directly lay a test before a pupil. It is done occasionally for a specific purpose insofar as that test will have significance in the future of the work itself, but not for the individual himself. Those members who may at any time be invited to higher groups find that it is because they are given the opportunity and the inner strength to withstand, if they succeed, more severe tests of their sincerity and their true aspiration. As most of you know, GdeP had his Katherine Tingley Memorial Group, whose teachings are now made public in The Dialogues. He also had a still higher group composed of individuals who had earned even more potent tests. But there too, as in each level of testing, not all succeeded. The higher you go, the harder you can fall. The higher you go, the more difficult the tests, the more subtle, and the more illusory are they. We found in that highest group of GdeP's that there were individuals who had completely misconstrued the privilege they had been given, and instead of realizing that they had been chosen to receive this training in order to prepare them for service in the cause of Masters, some of them began to think that they were better than their fellow theosophists, that they had the right to judge a leader, that they alone knew the real inner purpose of the leader and teacher even better than he.
And now I come to the point where I can begin to answer your question. Those members who failed in that way, who failed that test of the higher degrees, some at Headquarters and others in the various countries, because their influence was great on account of their long years of service, were the very ones who caused the real trouble not only for Colonel Conger but for GdeP also before his death because of their inner attitude. Those members who did not accept Colonel Conger as leader because they said GdeP had told them how to test a leader and an Outer Head, did not realize that in the greatest of all tests they themselves had failed. As a result, members outside having implicit trust in certain longstanding members at Headquarters were thrown into a terrible period of uncertainty. A most unhappy situation developed for Colonel Conger which nearly broke his heart.
The first membership that was canceled was Jan Venema's of Holland, and this was done by Colonel Conger. In November or October 1949, I think it was, Colonel Conger dictated a letter to me for Jan Venema in which he said that the Master had asked him to give the confused members — he did not say a last chance, but that was more or less implied — an opportunity during the coming sacred season to take up the work again in the right way. That was the general essence of it. Jan Venema chose not to pay any attention to that letter, that request, but continued his fifth column activity in undermining the work of others, trying to undermine the work of Colonel Conger and the work of the Society under his direction. Before my return from the world trip, Colonel Conger canceled Jan Venema's membership and canceled the charter of The Hague Lodge.
Later on, when I became leader I canceled a few memberships. But here is the real answer to your question: those memberships were not canceled as a punishment for what they had done — they would be the last to believe this statement, but they will have to believe it ultimately.
As I told some other groups, Colonel Conger hoped that those individuals would see the light and come back into the work. There were times when you might have thought Colonel had no thought whatever for the rest of the members, but only for those individuals who went off blindly in the wrong direction. He hoped and hoped and hoped, a number of times with tears in his eyes, knowing just what they had done with that statement of GdeP's. He did not care for himself. Colonel saw the real potential value of the work they had done in the past going to ruin, and their future being ruined likewise. We must keep in mind that the Masters do not fasten their attention only on one incarnation. They look to many incarnations. They are interested not in John Doe as a personality; they are interested in that permanent reincarnating element in his constitution which has been in Masters' work before and will be in it again, and that is what they are interested in saving. That is why the memberships were canceled — at least one of the reasons.
When I gave you the picture of the increased potency that occurred on the higher levels of trial, I did not mention the fact that when one errs and makes a mistake, especially consciously and deliberately, on those higher levels, the reaction is terrific. The karmic reaction is terrible, far more than we can realize. Just the same as a conscious error of an FTS has a stronger reaction than the conscious error of John Doe who does not know anything about the Theosophical Society. For as we go up the ladder of more understanding, knowing consciously when we do make a mistake, so is the reaction more severe. The only thing we could do to save these people from themselves was to stop them from operating any longer under the protective wing of the TS and the Lodge force that is flowing through, so that for the time being the reaction to their wrong efforts would not continue to be as a member, but simply as a John Doe. In this way it is a protection, particularly today, because all of the potent force of the esoteric is surging through the TS and is bound to have a strong reaction. The Esoteric Sections are closed, and may be for an indefinite period, but the force of the Lodge flowing through the TS will be available for you and for every member to receive and utilize for the upbuilding of their daily lives and their effectiveness in this work for humanity.
Cannot you see it would be a theosophic crime for a leader to allow such members to go on indefinitely, consciously and deliberately making errors that are going to heap coals of fire and of retribution on their heads, if he can do something drastic even to protect them for the future? It is the future we are interested in. We know they are temporarily lost for the present. I have a responsibility to the Masters to protect every individual for the TS, and that is what I was doing. And as I said in Halsingborg, Sweden, nothing would make me happier than to see the light coming back into the hearts of any of those who have become confused, for my heart as leader is working to do a real job in theosophy in the world, and I would be the first one to welcome all with open arms.
That is why the memberships were canceled. Of course I have no right to judge the actors — I have said this a hundred times — but I can and I must judge the actions of the individuals in order to recognize whether the action benefits or does not benefit the work. It is the work that we are here to live for. In reality, the leader links himself with the karma of every member of the TS, willingly and gladly; and no matter how much criticism he may receive, if he cannot protect a member or members when they are continuing in error, then he is not a very strong man. He must do his duty as he sees it. Does that answer your question?
Mrs. Walton: Thank you very much.
Intermission — tea and coffee
JAL: I believe there are a few here who have to go about 5:00 o'clock. I wish those who must leave early would ask their questions now, so that we do not neglect anyone. If you have anything at all that you would like to have me talk about while you are here, speak up and do not hesitate. I want you to feel free.
At Mr. Koske's request because several of the Northern members had not yet received the Congress report, the Leader told again the story about John who went to Heaven.
JAL: I told that story at the time to emphasize the importance of all of us as theosophists realizing our responsibility to that source of spiritual strength in the karma of the international situation which is utilized to bring about the alleviation of the suffering of the human race. Fortunately they do not have to depend entirely upon what we send them; the Masters have a reservoir to begin with, and will have even if the Society goes out of existence. But they initiated this Society into the world, and the least we can do is to send a few drops of absolutely selfless devotion to the world's needs. And to the degree that each national unit, despite all our diversities of svabhava, does a real inner job in that respect, doing our responsible duties in life, without attachment, to that degree will we find that in time a far greater proportion of inner power and strength will be added to that reservoir that the Masters can tap — when, where, and how they will.
Mr. Keith: Does that all mean overcoming one's svabhava, or overcoming one's karma?
JAL: If you mean by overcoming, surmounting, or rather let us say utilizing one's karma and svabhava as a stepping stone toward improving the quality of our characters, I will say yes. Theosophy in its simplest form is a system of character building. When HPB started writing The Secret Doctrine in the early 1880s, she gave to the world the esoteric fact that man is sevenfold instead of merely threefold. In so doing she opened up opportunities for a new understanding of what character building meant: a self-directed, self-conscious character building, far beyond the limits of the average exoteric conception. The threefold constitution of man was made exoteric at the time of the so-called Christian effort, when it was plainly stated by St. Paul, who really made Christianity popular. He spoke of body, soul, and spirit. But until the time of HPB, except in the Mystery-schools and in portions of the Orient, that was all that was spoken of, and even then very few people in the Occident understood what that threefold division really signified. When HPB came she was directed to go a step further, and gave the sevenfold structure, not only of our own constitution but of the constitution of the earth and the planetary and solar systems, so that we had an opportunity to analyze and study ourselves far more broadly and to exercise our free wills in a wider range of experience.
As a system of character building, we as theosophists should take our theosophic work and life seriously, should work first of all on ourselves. The ancient oracle, "Man, know thyself," is just as applicable today as it ever was, and to the degree that we come to know ourselves we will come to know, truly know, everything else. How can we do this? The best way we can come to know ourselves is through the experiences of daily life and our reactions to them.
Now our svabhava and our essential characteristics represent the sum total of experiences through many cycles, through depths and through growths, carried on as a reincarnating entity since the separation of the sexes as told in the Garden of Eden story, when we were given free will and the knowledge of what was good and what was evil. We had manas, mind, awakened, and we became self-conscious individuals, responsible entirely for our own actions. Since then we have accumulated a series of experiences during the whole big involution arc during the period of the fourth round, and after the midpoint of which we as a life-wave of humanity have started on the evolutionary arc on the large cycle, and now on the smaller scale we as theosophists have passed the midpoint of our experience and have to make the exoteric esoteric.
Humanity as a whole, and each one of us individually, have through the course of those many, many lifetimes accumulated karmic responsibility and a sum total of karmic merit and demerit. The merit we use for the benefit of our fellowmen; but that which we have not yet raised, we must gradually through time and experience transmute, transmute the lower elements of that sevenfold constitution so that ultimately the transmutation of the base metal into pure gold will be accomplished. Then one day we will be like the Masters and those beyond — in a position to be one of the guardians of the human race, or one of the helpers of the helpers of those guardians.
Now that is a long, long way off, but that is the general process that takes place. We will attain or fail according to whether or not we transmute the base metal of our character into the gold. If we are successful, then we will have so prepared ourselves to take active part, not only in the development and growth of the sixth root-race whose home and development are in seed-form in America, but also in the seventh and beyond.
It is a great vast picture, but we as theosophists are supposed to have a lot of patience. It means in simple A B C language: trying to live the Golden Rule of the Christian scriptures, and consciously self-directing our own evolution to the degree that we can transmute and improve those qualities in our nature which need improving, and utilizing those which we have attained for the benefit of our fellowmen. Does that answer your question?
Mr. Keith: Yes, thank you, very much so.
JAL: Many members of the Society, not all of course, have through the years since HPB's time somehow developed the unfortunate attitude of looking down their noses at the Christian religion, the Hebrew religion, or at any religion. That to me is a tremendous mistake. Theosophy is not intended to replace any religion in the first place. Theosophy is a consolidation of all religion, all philosophy, and all science. And for us to be narrow to the extent of looking down upon and not understanding any individual or his faith, is wrong. We in Western Europe and America have failed in very great degree as theosophists in not taking advantage of the fact that the West has an essentially Christian background, and that it behooves us, I think, even now to study and become acquainted with the Christian scriptures, both the Old and the New Testaments. We cannot know too much about them, because most if not all of our potential inquirers are either Christian or Hebrew.
To get a knowledge of the Christian scriptures I think is essential, because we have the keys to a better understanding of the Hebrew religion, a better understanding of the Christian religion. We have the keys also to a broader and richer understanding of the Eastern religions and philosophies, for at the core they are all the same; they all spring from the same source. But we in the West are particularly interested in helping those who have been born and raised in the Christian faith or in the Hebrew faith to understand their respective religions better, to know more what they mean. In the process they themselves will grasp theosophy, but they do not have to give up their religion or their faith — not at all. It may be in time that some may become active workers in theosophy, but I for one would certainly not encourage them to leave their faith. I would say, stick to it, and become a really good Christian or good Hebrew. Theosophy gives as much consideration to "the hymns on the lamb as to the slokas on the sacredness of the cow," as the Master says, for the basic principle beneath all faiths is the same. And what is it that we are all interested in? Nothing more nor less than the unfolding of the spark of the divinity that resides in each one of us.
Why then should we pick on the Christian faith? The only difficulty is with those religious institutions which do not promote individual self-reliance, spiritual or otherwise. That is the big difference. We do not recognize any authority other than the divinity that resides in the heart of each man. That cannot be unfolded by a priest or by anyone other than the individual himself. That divinity must unfold by our own individual efforts, through daily experience, through the daily initiation in our own lives. For in the final analysis, nothing outside man can initiate him, nothing or nobody outside of man can help him but himself. We know that we cannot help a man if we do his thinking for him; we only weaken him. But when we help him to strengthen himself, then we are helping him to become a strong citizen and thinker in his own right. The moment you give a man a crutch and do not help him to learn to walk without that crutch, as soon as that crutch is taken away, what happens? We all know the answer. That is pure theosophy, pure Christianity, pure altruism.
Miss Condon: Leader, will karma always find new channels to work through? I have just been thinking that it seems to me in our present stage of civilization we are on the verge of a big change, we are gradually conquering disease and old age, and scientists are uncovering man's mental nature, and we are discovering new rules about social and group life, so that it seems to me that in a comparatively short time we will all be conditioned to grow up to be useful, and I cannot conceive of karma working if it does not work through old age, disease, and death.
JAL: That is a very interesting question, but I am sorry that I do not agree with the basic premise. I wish it were that way, but I cannot see it. Karma always will have new channels to work through until the end of the manvantara, and that is a long way off. I think you will recognize just in your own experience in this generation, that while we have conquered certain diseases, new ones have sprung up instead. And undoubtedly that will be the case for a long time yet. Those diseases that we have conquered will be one thing, but the diseases that spring up will to our present consciousness become more and more subtle in their beginnings, in their isolation and in their corrective measures. For example, smallpox: taking it by and large, while it has not been conquered entirely, it has been stemmed. We do not have the smallpox epidemics that we used to have when I was a youngster. On the other hand, we have other things of a far more serious because baffling nature, in the form of mental and nervous diseases, diseases of the blood, too, that defy the best doctors all over the world.
It is true, there are organizations interested in philanthropic labors who are working vigorously in every country fighting tuberculosis, and they have conquered this dread disease to a great extent, mostly by preventive rather than by curative measures. But as I say, there are far too many diseases springing up of a subtler type, such as cerebral palsy that is cropping up here and there in far greater force than it ever was. They are starting drives to raise money in our country to investigate its cause, and to discover if possible not simply how to cure it but how to prevent it. Cerebral palsy is a form of derangement which results in the lack of control of the different organs or limbs. You have probably seen cases of it. When I was in Holland in a meeting of the Lotus Circle children at The Hague, there was a little girl there, a beautiful child of about 8 or 9 years of age, completely helpless in her arms and speech and limbs; but her eyes were sparkling with intelligence and love.
Thus you see nature moves slowly, and karma works accordingly and in its own time, but always moves strictly in accordance with the life-wave.
The other night at the public meeting in The Hague, a gentleman asked about reincarnation. He said he did not know anything about theosophy, but he understood from research and statistics and scientific investigations that today the world is more heavily populated than it was 100 years ago. If that is so, he then could not reconcile that idea with reincarnation, as he presumed there were just so many souls in the world, and that only a certain percentage of them were in incarnation at a given time. I had to answer that question by going back to the great age of 18,000,000 years, because we cannot consider this except in terms of millions of years, not in terms of hundreds or even thousands of years. Now considering the fact that the average human being is out of incarnation anywhere from 1500 to 2000 or more years, we can readily see that in the course of karmic action and reaction, taking into account the karmic cataclysms, plagues, and so forth through the centuries, the number of souls in incarnation at any one time might vary greatly within a given period. But that does not disprove the fact of reincarnation, nor does it mean that karma will not always find channels of expression.
For example, the entities of the life-wave, the human beings, reincarnating egos of the life-wave that by karma is incarnating now and will be a thousand years from now, may have to experience in the future all sorts of things that we have never experienced. But all of these things the human race as a whole is working through and out of, and in time by the end of the manvantara will have reached a higher level of karmic experience. When that great moment of choice comes, when some will be left behind and others will go forward as the Christian scriptures indicate, though this truly esoteric teaching is greatly misinterpreted, many things will have developed and the human race will as a kingdom have purified itself to the point at which it makes a step forward to a higher level, ready and prepared to enter the next cycle. All is enfolded in the great law of karma expressing itself on different levels of action and reaction.
It is that aspect of theosophy that makes it so extremely beautiful. When we realize that those guardians of humanity who have attained that point in their evolution where they could choose to enter nirvana and bliss to the end of the manvantara, refuse to do so, saying: "No, not until the least of my brothers can go with me" — that is beautiful, and that is theosophy. We are not interested in the pratyeka buddha, the one who takes the step into nirvana while his brothers are left behind in despair and sorrow. That is why we picture the Master with one hand reaching towards the chohan and his superiors, and with the other hand back toward us, to help us, refusing that bliss until all of us can take it with him. That is why in this TS we must maintain the attitude, not merely with our minds but with our hearts, that not one of us is any better than the worst. Then and then only will we ultimately fit ourselves to help the guardians.
You will find that to the degree that any individual climbs the ladder of spiritual progress, his temptations, his tests, his problems, become more and more subtle, more and more inward rather than outward, more and more difficult to recognize and tackle. But that is also his great chance for development. The higher we go, the more subtle and inward becomes the opposition to our aspiration. Likewise, returning to the matter of disease, the higher and more subtle the problems of the mind, the more subtle and difficult to eradicate will be the problems of disease, for all disease has its origin in the mind. It is the misuse of free will which originally brought disease into being. But we will find that in proportion as the purified heart takes control of the mind and makes of it a true instrument of service which it should be, so will disease in all its forms ultimately be overcome.
Mr. Koske: Thank you. Now don't you think it would be very nice also if we had a little word from Miss Knoche and Mr. Van Mater?
Kirby Van Mater: Really, I don't know just what to say at this moment. It has been a great privilege for me, and I know it has for Miss Knoche too, to meet the members here and in Europe. It is this spirit of theosophy which makes the Society live. It is the living of theosophy that gives it its strength in the world, and that makes it possible for that which the Masters wish and which our leader wishes to come about. They are pointing out the way for this. It all comes down to what our leader spoke of today: living these teachings. We have received them; now we must live them. Members all over the world taking that up in that way — the spirit of that force makes theosophy a unity, a chain of force, a chain of being through which the Masters work, and really is a spearpoint for what the world shall do and what the people of the world shall think and bring into their own lives in the future.
Mr. Koske: Thank you, and now Grace, may we hear from you?
Grace F. Knoche: I feel as Kirby did, that there are times when you don't know how to speak, to formulate what is in your heart. But I might just say that the one thing which has been more deeply impressed on me than any other is the quality of stalwart devotion found in our members of every country. It is one thing to be a member at Headquarters, and to feel that we are giving all our strength and devotion to our leaders and their work, but it is another thing to meet our members under every and all circumstances standing firm like lone sentinels at the outposts of the work. That makes us very humble indeed, and grateful beyond compare to have had the privilege of meeting and receiving this firsthand impression of the strength of the real work. I think we go home with an even more determined will to make ourselves more impersonal and more useful to those who serve the race.
Mrs. Walton: May I ask what we as theosophists have to fear from fraternization with other sects of theosophy, the Adyar Section, and not only from Adyar?
JAL: You are asking a very fine question, and I may have to go the long way around to answer that too. It is awfully hard to deal with that question officially, because I cannot do so in fact other than by a statement of principle. Every individual member of the TS is free to do as he or she pleases. I would not tell a member not to fraternize, or on the other hand to fraternize, because that is not within my province as leader. Every individual member can belong to any society, any church, or any organization he may choose. It is up to him, just as he can vote with any political party he cares to.
The reason I am so strongly opposed in principle to the idea of fraternization is because it detracts from our one-pointed duty as theosophists karmically attached to this Society. Anything that I say in answer to that question, however, must definitely not be construed as meaning that we feel we are high and mighty and better than the other fellow or, on the other hand, as being dogmatic. But it should be understood as a simple application or adaptation of practical occultism.
Now then, what is the danger in fraternization? I will be frank: because many members of the Adyar Society have made the appeal more to the personal side of human nature than to the impersonal in this matter of developing powers, etc. As a result, they have attracted a great number of members, far more than we have, far more. We, on the other hand, have to the best of our ability stuck to the original program of HPB, forgetting psychic powers and all the pseudo-avenues of development, not allowing ourselves to go off into the tangents of astrology, numerology, and all the other "ologies" that seem to fascinate the personal side of so many people. To the degree that we allow ourselves to become diffused in our efforts, to that degree will those efforts be nullified, and the one-pointed goal that we have set for the work never be achieved. Nothing would please the dark forces more than to have this Society completely neutralized or become ineffective because, even though we are small in number, the link has remained unbroken.
Now in the first place, GdeP's effort that was later called fraternization was poorly translated or interpreted. GdeP was not seeking for the members to join together but, as I understand the picture, he was making an effort for the heads of the organizations to come together and talk things over. He sent to Annie Besant an invitation, in 1930 I believe, to come to Point Loma, and he sent a similar invitation to the head of the United Lodge of Theosophists to come also. Annie Besant replied by cable saying in substance: "I shall be pleased to come to Point Loma and attend such a meeting as you propose, and I will have my brother Bishop Leadbeater at my side." GdeP was not interested in Leadbeater and what he represented.
Because of that gesture of GdeP's, some members in America and in other places thought that GdeP wanted all of the members of all Theosophical Societies to start joining each other's lodges and getting together in an organizational manner. And before you knew it, the so-called fraternization movement got started, and in America two or three conventions were held. For the third one, I believe in 1940, at Niagara Falls, Colonel Conger asked me to be present and make a report of it for him. Strangely enough, or by karma if you like, the secretary of the Convention became frightened to death and asked me to pinch-hit for her. So I was acquainted with all of the proceedings, informal and formal, and made a full written report to Colonel Conger, then President of the American Section, who immediately sent the report to GdeP. GdeP wrote back and agreed entirely with what I had reported, and with my conclusions, and made the statement that there was no doubt that the time and effort expended by our members were completely wasted in trying to follow through in those lines of activity.
Spiritual unity, as Colonel Conger repeatedly stated, is an inner thing, and no amount of organizational manipulations or changes or fraternizing, so called, will ever bring it about. The mere fact that we try to bring organizations, as such, together in order to unify anything, indicates that it is going to fail. It has failed before it has started in reality, because how can anyone bring about real unity by an outer activity? It has to be an inner thing. To work with the outer is but to work with the effects; just the same as treating a disease, to attempt to heal the symptoms instead of eradicating the cause will never cure the disease itself. You may indeed alleviate the suffering temporarily, but you haven't removed those conditions which brought the disease or disharmony in the first place. Disease is not cured until the cause is removed. Unity is not achieved until the cause of friction is removed.
Thus when the time for unity of the various theosophical societies comes, it will come naturally and automatically, and virtually unconsciously, once we are inwardly unified. Those members in the various societies who recognize the true aspect of theosophy will find it, will automatically partake of it, and assist in carrying on the work. We won't have to organize, and we won't have to advertise. We will simply recognize it. This may seem slower, but it is really faster in the end.
There is one thing, however, we should never do in my opinion and that is attempt fraternization, make contacts, or attend joint meetings with the hope that some of the members of another society will come over to us. That is wrong, it is unethical; it is simply proselytizing. It does not matter what beautiful motive we may think we have in our own minds. And many of our members in the past have been guilty of just this. There is only one way to really help bring about this inner unity I have been talking about, regardless of what society anyone may belong to, and that is to make of ourselves the real kind of example of a theosophist, so that the door of the heart of others will be wide open to whatever of a spiritual quality we may have to offer. But if we go to others with the secret desire to try to influence them to our way of thinking, the door of their hearts will close tighter than ever.
This same principle holds good in interesting people in the principles of theosophy generally. If you went to Barnard Castle, and went up to somebody in a shop or on the street and said to him: "Look, Joe, I am interested in theosophy, and I want to tell you about it. I think you should be interested in it too. It would help you" — I think that man would be the rare exception if he ever became interested! But that same person, seeing you, and admiring the selfless way you carry out your full duty and responsibilities, might later come to you himself and say: "Jim, I have noticed that you have a pretty good attitude toward life, and seem always able to bear up under stress. I have quite a problem that has been bothering me. What about letting me just talk about it, and if you have any ideas, why let's hear them." Well, don't you see, the door of his heart is wide open, and you will be able to help that man.
That principle applies all up and down the line, in smaller ways and on the larger scale. And if I do nothing else on this trip but help the members realize that the most value and the greatest work will come through the examples we set, I will feel it will be worth all the effort. That is the way the members will come in, by recognizing the example of sincerity and responsibility; and of course through our books, but very often through contact with some person who appeals to them. In this way we will make real spiritual progress.
We should do the duty that lies before us, and as the Master said, with judgment not sentimentality, intuition not reason. If we follow that path, we will not need to cater to the whims and fancies of personality and allow sentimentality to enter into the picture. Certainly we should never be unbrotherly, nor am I trying to draw too sharp a line. On the other hand, we cannot compromise with the negative forces that would destroy our value as individuals, as theosophists, and as a Society. To compromise with those forces is surrender on the installment plan. That is why when an individual really finds truth, as the Master Jesus is supposed to have said, father will turn against son, mother against daughter, brother against sister, etc. That is a hard and a dark saying. It was difficult for me to understand and I had to go through some very hard times before I grasped the inner significance of the statement. It means simply this: when truth comes into the heart of any one of us, then if we follow that truth and do not compromise, we are going to lose friends. It brings the sort of knowledge which cuts off ignorance, and whether it is a brother, a sister, a mother, or a father, unless they see some of the truth that we see, we are going to have difficulties. It is just then when we are tempted most to compromise with the truth that we have felt. If we do not compromise, but hold rigidly but kindly and compassionately to that which has been given, then truly the gods lend a helping hand to us, and strengthen us in unexpected ways to maintain that higher position, which is in reality walking more or less on the razor's edge.
Coming down to basic principles, if we follow that strong path, we will make progress. But never condemn or criticize Adyar. That is not what I mean. You have asked me a pointed question, and I have tried to answer honestly and simply. Every individual has a perfect right to do as he or she pleases. Every human being has that right. We are all agents of our own free will. But there is danger in the duty of another always; and if we meddle in the affairs of an Adyar member or branch, we are going to get our fingers burned. If they come to us, that is another matter. We have a responsibility then to help in every way we can. But each one of us should try honestly to live our life so that the buddhic light in our souls will attract those whose karma it is to be attracted. If we clutter it up with all kinds of psychic folderol we will hide that light, but if we let it shine one-pointedly so that it can be seen clearly, those entitled to see it will come not as teachers, but as partners, to help us along the way, as the Masters are trying to help us.
Mr. Koske: Thank you, Jim. This has truly been a meeting we shall long remember. And I feel that all of us have received much guidance and help in the answers you have so fully given.
JAL: Thank you, Ben, and all of you for coming down in this thunderstorm. I know it has been quite a distance for some of you to come, and I appreciate it fully. I am only sorry I won't be able to stay longer here in order to sit by this log fire!
The meeting closed at 6:30 p.m.