April 2016 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the April 2016 Newsletter to members. Non-members may or may not be able to relate to the contents.
The Masters and Human Cruelty
By Geoffrey Hodson
Reprinted from The Theosophist, Vol. 68, May 1947
The appalling acts of cruelty revealed during the Second World War have given rise to such questions as: Why do not the Masters protect human beings from such extreme ill-treatment? Why do they not effectively prevent the grosser forms of cruelty and evil? Why did not one of Them appear to the persecutors at Belsen, Dachau, Buchenwald, as Christ appeared to St Paul? Why do They not intervene to protect and bring relief to animals in their acutest, long continued agony in the vivisectors’ clamps and troughs?
One reason — perhaps the chief — why the Masters do not intervene phenomenally to prevent human cruelty and wickedness presumably is that man may not be forcibly influenced, even in his grossest errors and misdoings. The Adepts may not interfere with man’s free will. His development must be the result of his own efforts and achievements, his own experiences and his own mistakes. For each mistake can be a step to mistakelessness.
Tragic and even unjust though the suffering caused by error may appear to be, man is a free being in the cosmos apart from the operation of natural laws, free he must remain. The Adepts have given evidence of Their respect for this freedom even when They see it being misused to produce disaster. The Adept knows that His own Adeptship could not have been otherwise attained. He also knows that compensatory ministration to the recipients of cruelty will restore the balance of justice to its equipoise, however deeply it is for a time depressed on one side. This principle of respect for freedom apparently rules in all relationships between Adepts and men and is applied equally to beneficent as to maleficent conduct. Evidently man must above all things be free.
The Masters do not, however, leave humanity to descend into a maelstrom of error-born agony unaided and alone. Quite the contrary. They make every possible contribution within Their power to the reduction of suffering on this planet. The work of the Adept Brotherhood never ceases or diminishes from age to age. Moved as its members are by divinest compassion, all Their labours contribute towards the diminution and eventual elimination of the cruelty so continually inflicted by man upon fellow man and upon animals. But that elimination may not be enforced. It must be as natural as possible. Tenderness incarnate as They are, the Masters accentuate the opposites to all the cruel and evil impulses to which man is prone. They teach continually of the Law of Cause and Effect. They flood the souls of men with spiritual power, love and light. They direct spiritualising influences into the world mind. They guide and inspire receptive individuals and groups. But with freedom of physical action, apparently, They may only very rarely interfere.
Bodhisattvas appear amongst men as spiritual Teachers from age to age. With one voice They teach the unity of life and the Law of Cause and Effect, and extol compassionate love as the greatest human virtue. Adepts, initiates, disciples, saints, seers and philosophers, by precept and example, unceasingly teach these doctrines. Individuals do respond and change, but the majority of mankind pay little or no heed. Nevertheless, force may not be used. Human liberty, even if misused, is sacred. That, it would appear, is a principle which governs the labours of the Adept Brotherhood on this planet.
There is however evidence that phenomenal powers have been used in some extreme circumstances. Such intervention, though it might stop one cruel act and soften one cruel heart, cannot eliminate or very much diminish planetary cruelty. Even if one man or group were forcefully stopped, others would continue. If one vivisector, butcher or sportsman had St Hubert’s vision or St Paul’s ecstasy, others would continue to torture, kill and persecute. Since, also, the evil of cruelty is world wide, far more Adepts than are available would be needed to stop all cruelty on earth. Perhaps even the limitation of the activity of the whole Brotherhood to one function would be demanded.
So it is to be presumed that the Masters concentrate upon awakening the higher consciousness and instincts in mankind, by example and precept and by the provision of all possible instruction concerning and inducement to humaneness. The world’s humanitarians may be assured that individuals and groups who enrol themselves on the side of humaneness are welcomed as collaborators, and at once receive all the permissible assistance from which they and their cause can benefit.
In addition to the general Adept activity on behalf of all mankind, which has continued without intermission through millennia of centuries, specialised training is given to those human Egos and personalities who voluntarily place themselves under the jurisdiction and tutorship of the Masters.
The work of training disciples and of leading men and women along the Path to Adeptship has as its purpose and result the diminution of evil and suffering in the world.
Far more intervention doubtless occurs than is ever revealed for such spiritual and occult experiences are generally concealed from shame, from fear of ridicule, or because they are sacred. Direct action by the Masters must be largely limited to individuals. Mass phenomenal interference with man’s freedom of action, as in the sinkings of Atlantis, and possibly the two Armada storms, the Dunkirk calm, Hitlerian errors and defeat, and perhaps the discovery of atomic energy, are but rarely ordained. In a phrase: ‘Man has to grow by natural processes’. Although the Masters do Their best to quicken, They may not force that growth.
In view of the profoundly shocking revelations of cruelty during the recent war and of the dimensions of the cruelty continually practised in abattoirs, vivisectors’ laboratories, fur, whaling and serum-producing industries, and for sport, the call to individual humaneness and for a crusade for humaneness is almost irresistible.
The terrible effects of cruelty already experienced in the form of perpetual wars, the ever mounting toll of disease and disasters add both poignancy and power to that call. There seems to be only one method of breaking the karmic cycle. It is not intervention by Adepts, but action by man. The adoption and ratification in conduct by mankind of Ahimsa or harmlessness, alone, can stop the generation of adversity by eliminating cruelty from the earth. Man must outlaw cruelty as he is now seeking to outlaw war.
It is not sufficient to dismiss this great human problem with the affirmation that man will cease to be cruel when he develops the Christ (Buddhic) consciousness. The problem is immediate, and that development lies tens of thousands of years in the future for the mass of mankind.
The elimination of cruelty from individual lives and a world wide crusade for humaneness are urgent necessities. Those who lead and participate in such a cause would be certain to receive the fullest possible permissible Adept assistance. When man moves, the Masters can help. A world Ahimsa movement, I submit, is the way to sorrow’s ceasing. Who will join?
The Long Winding Road
How steep is the Path? The history of failures speaks for itself. A Master of the Wisdom once said “Out of 5 lay chelas chosen by the Society and accepted under protest by us, 3 have become criminals and 2 are insane.” Surely, we will not end up like them, will we? While HPB is no longer around to usher probationers to the Masters, we may still reach up to them by our aspiration. However, history never fails to repeat itself, and if aspirants do not wish to come to harm they must first assess both themselves and the precipitous heights before attempting the ascent. We shall examine some relevant letters from the Masters of the Wisdom to guide us on our way.
Come on Saturday, 2 April 2016, at 5 p.m. and listen to Bro Brandon Goh’s talk on the Path of Occultism and the subject of chelaship. However, please take note that this talk is restricted strictly to members only.
Modern Insights into Reincarnation
Reincarnation—fact or fallacy? This is a question asked by many. Members of the Theosophical Society may or may not realize that the doctrine of reincarnation was effectively introduced by the Theosophical Society to the West in the 19th century. Indeed, it is a fundamental tenet of theosophy. Some religions today have rejected reincarnation as a possibility, rather regarding it as a heresy. Nevertheless, more and more people are beginning to see the rationale and reasonableness of the doctrine and how it fits in with the overall scheme of things. Further, reincarnation is no longer confined to religious and philosophical domains. Science, in particular medical science, has made significant inroads into the study of reincarnation and its possibility through extensive investigations of cases of individuals with the memory of previous lives. The work of Dr. Ian Stevenson of the University of Virginia is notable in this area.
Lily Chong has prepared a compelling presentation on this important subject. She will cover both the theosophical teachings as well as scientific evidence supportive of the doctrine of reincarnation. Most people associate the doctrine of reincarnation with Hinduism and Buddhism. But what about Christianity and Islam? The speaker will provide evidence that the doctrine of reincarnation was also taught in both the Christian and Islam religions. What about reincarnation into animals as some religionists believe? Is it at all possible that man could actually reincarnate into an animal? This question will also be addressed by the speaker. Do we remember our past lives? If so, how? Can there be conscious recovery of the memory of past lives? What are the mechanics of reincarnation? All these questions will be addressed by the speaker. Don’t miss this interesting talk on Saturday, 30 April 2016 at 5 p.m. Enrollees for the 41st edition of A Course in Theosophy are welcome to attend this lecture which is relevant to the course.
41st Edition of A Course in Theosophy & Meditation
As part of our continuing effort to achieve our twin-object of popularizing a knowledge of theosophy and induction of new members, we will be starting our 41st edition of A Course in Theosophy on Thursday, 5 May 2016.
Theosophy encompasses the science of life and the philosophy of living and has helped many people in the world. All members can help in the mission of popularizing a knowledge of theosophy. You will be doing humanity a great service by reaching out and bringing newcomers to the Society, to expose them to the theosophical teachings. As the Master has said, “Spheres of usefulness can be found everywhere. The first object of the Society is philanthropy. The true Theosophist is a philanthropist who—‘not for himself but for the world he lives’…” “This, and philosophy—the right comprehension of life and its mysteries—will give the ‘necessary basis’ and show the right pathway to pursue. Yet the best ‘sphere of usefulness’ for the applicant is now in his own land.”
You would have received our email appeal to publicize this course by appending the following course information to the end of all your out-going emails between now and the commencement of the course on 5th May 2016. That way we can collectively reach out to as many people as possible.
The schedule of the next course is posted on our website at singaporelodge.org/btc_dates.htm.
Do them a service, get your relatives and friends to enroll online for A Course in Theosophy.