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the more he takes and the more he dreams, until he feels sick and lost, unable to help himself, unable to help others.
Every situation on the path, however bad and however complicated it may be, has always a solution in obedience; find this and we find the help.
Only they who make opposition are suffering and need help.
The daily duty our lives brings us to fulfill is the voice we have to follow; it is the fresh breath of our lost divine laws which is pushing us forward, homeward.
The duty is twofold and we have to pay our tax to both sides, to the emperor and to the gods. The tax to the emperor is repeated to us every day and presses us until it is paid. The tax to the gods presses us just as hard, but it is harder to grasp, and we neglect to pay it. We neglect our natural way of life and we suffer.
It is this duty we have to teach: "Commence to create."
To create is to make and to give. To help-is to give. To love—is to give. To live—is to give. Only from the fruit that is produced by our tree of life can we find what help we can give. A dry branch without fruit, without originality, can never help.
He who is able to find the way and travel it is the real helper of others, because he gives from his whole system help and peace to the whole creation. He gives himself for a sample, and that is the least we can do. “Go ahead and let the followers look for footprints," said the old Farao.
ANSWER.—Shankaracharya has a quaint aphorism: “I can ask you to dinner, but you must eat for yourself!” So we can only help people to help themselves. Individuality, individual freedom is sacred, and must never be invaded, for otherwise we shall have, at best, a race of lopsided archangels. We can help people to recognize their own divine powers, and that is the only help they either need or can receive. Our help must come to them through their own individuality, through the spirit in themselves. It may lawfully so come, since the Spirit is one, indivisible.
C. J. ANSWER.What is the best way of really helping others? To help another in the best and only real sense is to show him the possibilities of his own being, and this is best done by endeavoring to live in the highest possibilities of our own nature, by having faith in the essential divinity of things, and by expressing that faith always, not in words only, but in life.
Example is the best help a man can give to his fellows. It was the method (if such a term may be used) of Buddha, Jesus, Lao-tze and all the great teachers of mankind. What they believed, they were; and the very fact of their existence has helped and still helps mankind. When we live in our best and highest, we attract, by sympathy, the best and highest in others. No rules of help are necessary (history is full of the disastrous consequences following the enforcement of another's standard of right and wrong); but if the human heart be given up as a vehicle for the expression of the Divine will, help cannot fail to radiate from it. It is a blessed truth that man in striving upward cannot walk alone, but draws his fellows with him.
NORA KENNEDY. ANSWER.—The true way to help others seems to me to be in certain fundamental principles of thought and conduct.
(i) Let us forget ourselves, and above all, our preconceived notions about others.
(2) Let us study attentively, intelligently, and sympathetically the real needs of those we seek to aid.
(3) Having discovered these, as we always can if we conduct our search in this manner, let us then determine to awaken these others to a sense of those needs, and inspire them with the understanding of them, which we ourselves have acquired. remembering that what we wish to do is not to give of our Light to another, but to illumine his own. We are not to serve as props for others to lean upon, but we must point out and make clear the path they themselves should tread. We should be the ladders by which others climb, the scaffolding by which others build; but we may not lose sight for one moment of the fact, our vanity would delude us into ignoring, that the important matters are that our brothers should climb; that the building should be erected. Only as we look always towards our brothers, and always away from ourselves, does this become possible: “The power which the disciple shall covet is that which shall make him appear as nothing." Few helpers are willing to occupy this humble place, and thus often half their labor is fruitless in any true sense, or even distinctly harmful, because of the taint of a personal grasping for power, for influence or for appreciation. If we believe that the Light of the World lies hidden in every human breast, our work is plainly to discover and make clear that Light, that the whole world, now in so much darkness, may be illumined by it. Finally we must remember that the power to see, the power to hear, the power to understand, and the power to speak, being divine powers, can only be acquired by self-conquest. So tha we must live ourselves the life we would show to others; be those things to which we would inspire them. Then we can cause the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk, and cast out devils, even raise the dead to life. We help others, therefore, each time we resist a temptation or conquer an evil inclination, the level of humanity is raised just so much; it will be just that much easier for anyone coming after us to do the same; it will give us the power directly to aid another to overcome in like manner. We shall realize as we pursue this course, how closely we are bound together, that where we faltered, others falter also; where we conquered, they, too, can achieve victory. From this will grow a sense of what is meant by a "united spirit of life.” Any method of assistance planned on these lines cannot fail
, I believe, in effectiveness. Temperament, circumstances, opportunities, must determine such details.
the underlying principles of procedure are clear and are courageously and vigorously attempted, success is assured, since we are working in accordance with Divine Law, and have all the powers and might of that Law behind us.
QUESTION 74.—Is it true that all things are absolutely for the best?
ANSWER.-Certainly; otherwise they would be different. I cannot understand the mind that asks such a question. It is fundamentally illogical. If we believe that the universe is a mechanical contrivance, formed out of dust in accordance with a lot of laws, some of which we understand something about and most of which we do not even pretend to know, we must still believe that things as they are are for the best, and the best they can be, for are they not in accordance with the laws of the universe? How much more must we think so, therefore, if we believe that the universe is the manifestation of Divinity, the expression of God's will. And the more Deistic we are by belief, the closer and more personal is our conception of God, the firmer must we hold to this belief in the eternal excellence of things as they are. To believe in any otherwise would be to stultify ourselves and to limit our conception of God.
One of the great Teachers of Humanity told us that the very hairs of our head were numbered, and that our Father in Heaven knew the separate blades of grass. He also told us that this same Father which was in Heaven knew our wants and needs and would provide us with what it was good for us to have. How, then, can we doubt that all things are absolutely for the best?
The crux of the matter is this. From our personal material point of view, in other words, from the usual point of view, is everything for the best? To this the materialist has a different answer from the religious man. The materialist says,
By no means. The world is obviously full of trouble and pain and suffering, and if all things were for the best, these defects in our system would be eliminated.” A by no means uncommon view. A view, too, which is actually held by many whose religious opinions are directly contrary to it
. The religious man, however, says, "Of course, but it is not easy for us to see it. We must put away the worldly point of view and look at the eternal verities. If we do this, then there is no doubt as to our answer. If the world was designed to give a man a field for his seventy years of life, then it is full of defects. From this aspect we can even understand the strictures of the atheist. But the world was not designed for any such temporary and evanescent object. We are here, not to enjoy ourselves, but to learn how to reach full self-conscious union with Divinity. And God, to bring about this end, may be depended upon to arrange circumstances down to the minutest detail to bring this about in the easiest and quickest manner. Hence all things must be absolutely for the best, and it does not take very much faith nor very much experience on the journey towards this reunion for us to be able to appreciate this, even when undergoing the greatest torments to which our poor human nature can be put.
G. HIJO. ANSWER.-Can any man believe in the immanence of God and doubt that everything is for the best? Or can he believe in Divine Law and doubt it? Let us realize our personal limitations somewhat better, and what these imply of blindness, ignorance, and, above all, lack of perspective. For are we not like the man in the story, who, holding his hand in front of his eyes, thought that the sun had disappeared ? If he could see the entire plan of the universe as God must see it, he should be able to understand. But how tiny a portion have we even cognizance of, and of that portion how slight our knowledge! Little by little, slowly and painfully, we are learning, however. Let us have faith and patience, then, that what is obscure will in time be made plain, and trust in the Love, and Order, and Wisdom that, unseen (but not unfelt), directs us all. How could I trust an immortal soul through all Eternity to a Wisdom I, as I am, could comprehend! Therefore, I, being what I am, am thankful that I do not comprehend, but I look forward and strive forward to the day when I shall.
CAVÉ. ANSWER.-In the long run, yes; though in the wider sense there is no "best" or "worst”—all things simply are, and the attempt to class some as good and others as bad implies that we are limiting our range of vision to standards adapted to the plane of the lower nature only, and to the affairs of our mundane existence.
Upon the assumption that the Universe exists for the benefit of the Soul, it is hard to see how any of the happenings in the universe can be other than finally beneficial to the permanent entity, however inconvenient some of these might appear to the lower self. Then, too, we are apt to approach this question merely from the viewpoint of mankind, forgetting that it is yet to be shown that man is the ultimate factor to be considered. Mankind may be and probably is but a feeder to some higher kind of being.
ALEXIS ANSWER. I sincerely hope the editor of the QUARTERLY has put his question to someone whose views on the subject are more firmly established than mine.
When I look at the dark side of earth-life and see one portion of humanity struggling to keep want from the door, failing, for the most part, and falling into misery and degradation; when I know that little innocent children are dying hourly for lack of a few pennies worth of nourishment, while another portion of humanity is spending its time devising ways and means of squandering its ill-gotten wealth, I feel that there is something rotten in the State of Denmark and that all things are not absolutely for the best. Then here are hints of more profound things: that we are, through somebody's fault, thousands of years behind in our evolution; that the great Kumaras refused to create when bidden, thereby precipitating a curse. And are we not called the “Sorrowful Star?” Looking at this side of the picture, I am disturbed, grieved, full of regret, even fear, so I turn me, for relief, to where another nature revels in bounteous harvest fields; to the woods full of the song of birds; to peaceful homes, where happy children play and good men and women are. Here the heaviness falls from the heart and the mist clears from the eyes, and I am able to discern somewhat of the meaning of the "pairs of opposites." I see that there could not be high noon without its midnight counterpart; no cheering blossom of summer that has not lain earth-entombed through the winter; no spiritual outpouring from the gods without awakening the corresponding force of darkness; and I begin to wonder if, after all, a "Sorrowful Star" is not more desirable than a colorless, insipid earth. Also the winding in and out of the spiral through the dark and light spaces takes on a meaning ; nothing less than the gaining of knowledge and strength-the building of the individual, whether or not it is true that all things are absolutely for the best, he possesses greatest measure of calmness and strength who sees Ishvara everywhere equally dwelling. J. C. M.
THIRTEENTH ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE THEOSOPHICAL
SOCIETY IN AMERICA.
was held on April 27, 1907, at the Brevoort Hotel, New York City, in
February 13, 1907. Fellow MEMBER : The Convention of the Theosophical Society in America will be held this year at the Brevoort Hotel, Fifth Avenue and Eighth Street, New York, on Saturday, April 27th, at 10.30 A. M.
Since the last Convention, we have added to our ranks a large number of members in England; the “Theosophical Society in Germany" has appointed a committee to take steps toward amalgamation with our Society, and the work of this committee is already far advanced; and we have also members in Canada and South America.
It is evident that we have entered on a new and very promising epoch in the life of our Society, which once more possesses an international character.
It is, therefore, anomalous to call the Society "The Theosophical Society in America."
In view of these facts, the following Resolution, which has been approved by a majority of the Executive Committee, will be offered at the forthcoming Convention:
Be it resolved that, in Article I, Sec. 1, of the Constitution, the words "in America,” after “The Theosophical Society," be dropped from the name of the Society.
Fraternally yours, (Signed)
ADA GREGG, Secretary T. S. in A.
The Chairman of the Executive Committee, Mr. Charles Johnston, acted as Temporary Chairman, called the Convention to order at 11 A. M., and welcomed the delegates, saying:
ADDRESS OF Welcome. "Fellow-members, it is always a pleasure to come together for our annual Conventions, and this year I feel that we have quite exceptional cause for happiness and thankfulness. Many things are happening to make this so.
"To begin with, we have a new wave of energy within the Society, with the enlistment of new members, the formation of new Branches, and, most important, the much more complete extension of our organization to other lands. Since we met in Convention a year ago, a large number of members have been added to our ranks in England, and a considerable number have more recently joined us in Germany. In these two countries we have now vigorous and harmonious Branches, and we can see that a complete international status, the natural one for a society designed to bring together those of differing nations, has once more been resumed. In this we have great cause for thankfulness and for hope.
"The Society has grown here in America also. And this is in a considerable measure due to the condition of things restored by the last Convention, a condition under which the Society is once more, what it was for many years, “a federation of autonomous Branches.". Within the Branch each individual member is wholly independent, and has the fullest liberty to hold and profess any belief or unbelief. The Branch is made up of individuals, enjoying the fullest religious liberty. In the same way, the Society is made up of Branches, each one enjoying the fullest local autonomy in organization and work alike; provided only that the individual Branch member shall show to all others the toleration he expects for himself; and that the Branch shall adhere to the principles expressed in the Constitution: the principles of brotherly love and tolerance for all differences of opinion and belief.
"Certain members were apprehensive, a year ago, that the representation of Branches at the Convention might disfranchise members who did not then belong to Branches. It was pointed out, in reply to this, that all members were in a position to become Branch members, whether local or corresponding, so that every member who wished could thus secure voting power. And during the year since the last Convention every member not in a Branch has been invited to join a Branch, and a great many have complied. This invitation involved an immense amount of writing, of a very laborious kind. The burden of this work was willingly undertaken and cheerfully and effectively performed by two of our Louisville members, Mr. F. H. Sharp and Mr. J. G. Sewell, to whom the Society is indebted for most effectual aid. As a result, two new Branches have already been chartered, and two or three more will, in all likelihood, be chartered in the next few weeks. Our new Branches in America are in Boston and Detroit, and we hope that both will bring valuable contributions to our common life.
“The stress thus laid on Branch life was the result of a conviction that, as universal brotherhood is our basic principle, so Branch life is the field where that principle can best be brought into operation; the mutual tolerance, the cordial cooperation, the adherence to the open platform, the mutual help and brotherly love which are the heart of Branch life being, in fact, the first-fruits of universal brotherhood. But this stress on Branch life, and the representation of Branches at our Conventions, has had another result, which was not foreseen, and is, therefore, all the more reassuring. In the days of individual voting it was always extremely difficult to get a wide expression of opinion from our members. Only a small percentage ever voted or sent proxies to be cast for them. At the present Convention, however, we are much more largely represented: about twice as many members will cast votes this year as a result of Branch representation and voting. This, as I said, was not anticipated, and it is a strong additional argument in favor of representation by Branches.
“There is another matter, which has caused me personally, as it has caused others, great happiness. This is the coming of young members and young students to our movement. During the last dozen years we attracted almost no young people. The stress of weather kept them away. But now, it would seem, the springtime is returning, and with it we have the joy of seeing young people once more drawn toward our work, and impelled to join with us in carrying it on. For us, who are growing old in harness, who have been working for twenty years and more for Theosophy and Theosophical principles, this accession of new recruits brings joy and reassurance. In the nature of things, we shall not go on forever; and it is fine and encouraging to see young people joining us, who will, in due time, take our places in the ranks.
"Cheered and encouraged, therefore, by these happy auguries concerning past, present and future alike, it is with special thankfulness and happiness that I declare this Convention open.”
TEMPORARY ORGANIZATION. Upon motion, Mr. A. B. Russ, of Washington, was elected Temporary Secretary of the Convention.
Upon motion, the Chair appointed a Committee on Credentials, consisting of Mrs. Ada Gregg, of Brooklyn (the retiring Secretary); Mr. H. B. Mitchell, of New York (the retiring Treasurer); Mr. H. Garst, of Dayton.
Upon motion, an adjournment was taken to enable this Committee to examine the proxies and credentials submitted.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON CREDENTIALS.
Votes Delegates or Proxies Aurora Oakland, Cal.
3 Baltimore Baltimore, Md.