Theosophical University Press Online Edition

James A. Long — 1951 Tour Reports


Meeting at Haarlem

April 23, 1951 — 7:30 p.m.
J. G. Crabbendam, General Chairman
H. J. Grondijs, Local Chairman
Jan Hoogervoorst, Translator


J. G. Crabbendam [after an introduction in Dutch, addressed JAL]: I just told the members here that this meeting and the other meetings are called by you as the leader of the Theosophical Society, and that you had invited me to take the general chairmanship, but on the other hand you would include the local lodge president, so that I will give my chairmanship in a few seconds to the president of the Haarlem Lodge, Jan Hoogervoorst. I told them what your objects were in connection with these meetings: first, that you wanted to make the acquaintance of as many members as possible, and to do that in the most informal way that could possibly be done; and that you would what you call "think out loudly" with them, that you had some plans which you would like to talk over with us, and discuss thoughts and plans in their minds. And the second object, to keep your promise which you gave at the Congress in Utrecht to give everyone the opportunity to ask questions of the leader regarding theosophy and the theosophical work. Then I made them welcome in your name.

JAL [to the audience]: Did he translate that all right? [Laughter] Thank you very much.

Jan Hoogervoorst: Where the leader is, also must be Headquarters; and this will be tonight especially underlined by the fact that you bring with you two of your devoted helpers in the persons of Miss Grace F. Knoche and Mr. Kirby Van Mater. But the members did not show up here in order to listen to me chatting, so as soon as possible I invite you to say whatever may be in your mind.

JAL: Thanks very much, Jan. First of all, since these meetings are taking place at my invitation, I want to thank all of you for coming. We cannot have a meeting unless someone comes, and I do want to get acquainted. I want to discuss with you any questions you have in your mind, and discuss also some thoughts I have in my mind. And the fact that you have come to discuss them makes me very happy.

Jan says where the leader is there is Headquarters — and only too well do we know it. At the hotel we have a lot of headquarters work which we like to do, but there is so much to do that we are really living in Pasadena and in Holland at the same time.

A few minutes before the meeting, while turning over in my mind what introductory comments I might make, I decided not to make very many, but rather get down to the business of the evening and let any comments that I might have made as an introduction come out in the discussion period.

We left early today, stopping in Delft first, then drove up the outer route to Haarlem between the dunes and the regular highway, and passed through the bulb fields. The bulbs are now beginning to bloom, and I thought as I drove by them how representative that scene was of what is happening to theosophy in Holland. The bulbs that have been planted have come up, and are beginning to bloom. They were planted long ago. In fact, the real bulbs were put in the ground last September by the Colonel. And the battle that the bulb has to break through into the sunlight first, and then to develop its blossom, has taken place; the same thing is true in the Society. Nothing blooms but something else dies. The whole scene is very symbolic of what is taking place with theosophy and the Theosophical Society in Holland. There has been a new birth throughout the whole TS, but the breaking forth of the real fire and strength of the new cycle has taken place here in Holland with the Congress and the subsequent events. It was because of that that I wanted to get acquainted to the best of my ability with as many members as possible, so that we can really work together at this focal point and get started the new partnership, the new era, the new order of the ages as Colonel referred to it over a year ago. At that time Colonel referred to a new Noah's ark. We all know the story of Noah and his ark when the great flood came. Colonel wrote to a member in Australia when they were having difficulty there — and this person was not an official there, but had written a very appealing letter, one of those letters that came from the heart and touched the Colonel's heart. Colonel wrote and said: "Why don't you launch a new Noah's ark and begin a new order of the ages?" Well, the members in Australia had quite a time trying to figure out what the Colonel meant. But they all know now, and we all know now. You folks here have already gone up the gangplank on to the new Noah's ark. Not everybody has gone on to the ark that is going to sail full steam ahead, but it is already launched and, as I said yesterday in Zwolle, the replies and the slips have been coming in in tremendous numbers. Today's mail and last night's mail brought a great many more.

Now, I should like for you to be as informal as possible, talk with me, think with me, ask your questions. I will start the ball rolling by stating the three things that are on my mind, which I stated in Zwolle yesterday.

The first thing I want to share with you is the matter of Associate Membership. Holland is the only country today still using Associate Membership. I understand that one or two members in Zwolle yesterday misunderstood what I was referring to, and thought I meant membership-at-large. I am speaking of Associate Membership, that which really in the first place was probationary membership until the lodge or the section officials felt that a particular applicant was ready for full fellowship. In the early days of the Society I can see how that was of some help, because the members were all new and rather inexperienced in their relations with the public, and did not have the background and experience and the basis then for being frank with a prospective member, did not have the experience in a practical sense in dealing with theosophical matters. But life teaches us a lot of lessons.

Today I think all of us are sufficiently well grounded in our understanding of theosophy and its working in our daily lives, so that if we have an inquirer who really should not join for a while, we can talk to him like a brother and explain to him why. I see no reason why one cannot speak to an inquirer, if perchance he has an inclination toward the psychic aspect of things, and help him to understand thoroughly what our system of training and study is.

We cannot ever refuse membership in a sense, but we don't have to accept an application immediately. Give every individual an opportunity to understand what the responsibility is to become a member of the Theosophical Society. It is not a light one, but a responsibility which, it must be made clear, is not to the Society, or to the lodge president, or to the leader, but to the individual himself. Whether he is a pledged member or not, if he has a sincere aspiration in his heart, he is bound to run into difficulty as soon as he consciously goes to work on improving his character. That should be made clear to him, not as a frightening thing, not to scare him to death, but to let him understand what this system of character building amounts to. He will appreciate it more. It will give him more of an opportunity to see what theosophy really is. It will give each of you who talk to that type of an inquirer a deeper understanding of human relations, and of what theosophy really means to you in such circumstances. When an applicant is ready to join, then take him right in as a brother theosophist, keeping in mind that in reality the responsibility is far greater on us when a new member comes in than it is on the new member, until he is fully oriented, fully understands where he is going, what path he is taking. Then we should more or less leave him on his own. We cannot baby him and make a leaner out of him.

If there are any thoughts that you have in mind, either in opposition or otherwise, or any further questions with regard to it, I would like to discuss them with you. That is one point.

Question: Is there any age connected with letting a member enter the TS?

JAL: The age has always been 18, and there has been no change, although there have been exceptions, I understand, with KT, and one or two other Leaders who have taken in a younger person occasionally.

Question: Will there be any course connected with new membership so they can start right away, without knowing anything of theosophy?

JAL: I don't think membership in the Society should be based upon any head-learning at all. I think the sole requisite for membership should be a heart recognition of the principle of brotherhood. However, I don't think that it is wise to do as many have done in the past, and say: "Oh, it is easy to become a member of the Theosophical Society. All you have to do is believe in the principle of universal brotherhood. There are no fixed dues in most places, and that is all there is to it." That is wrong in my opinion because it is not a simple thing to become a theosophist. Nor do I for one think we should make it hard for an inquirer to become a member, not at all. But we don't want to make it seem too easy. The important thing is that we help him to understand just what it means to become a member, not a pledged member or suddenly able to be a perfect individual. Theosophy is not for saints, it is for sinners. And just because a man has made mistakes, and is trying to find the right way — he might have beaten his wife long ago and repented, and wants to be a good man — he should not be refused. That is what the Society is for. It is for sinners. We know what theosophy is. It is a very practical thing. It not only tells us what we shall do, but it tells us how to become better men and better women. It gives us in its teachings the method of how to become better in living.

What we do in the American Section is a good idea I think, at least in principle. On my return I hope to go over it with John Van Mater, Kirby's brother, to see if it might be improved. When we receive a request for an application for membership we first send the inquirer a printed "Application for Information" form. We send him also a copy of the Constitution of the TS, and formerly we sent the By-laws of the American Section, with a pamphlet entitled "The Theosophical Society: its Nature and Objectives," with a few leaflets giving the background on some of the teachings, such as reincarnation and karma. After he looks them over and realizes what the organization is and a little of what his responsibility will be if he joins, he can then fill out the application blank for full fellowship if he feels he wants to join the Society.

I would like to see these forms standardized. You all do have the one important question: "Do you belong to any other theosophical or occult organization?" We have a few other questions on our application forms, in order to get a little background on the individual: what is his hobby, his profession, if he has any free time he would like to devote to theosophical work, etc. Just a few simple questions, so that the applicant feels we have some interest in his interest. With this we have the basis, particularly helpful if he is joining a lodge, of beginning to get better acquainted with the new member in order to help him understand more what working for theosophy is. I think that probably answers the lady's question.

Mr. Arink: Will there be no danger in letting new members enter the TS too easily, of getting too many members too soon, just as The Hague did?

JAL: I don't like to speak too plainly and boldly, but a piece of paper will never do it. You members will have to do it in the kind, understanding way. We will never be able to create a piece of paper that will do the job for us. We have got to do it. There isn't a lodge which has been in existence for two or three years that hasn't had the opportunity to recognize the difference in an inquirer between a momentary enthusiasm and a deep-rooted desire to serve his fellowmen. Now I don't mean that a man must have that deep-rooted desire in him, and have it recognizable, before he is taken in as a member. But it is not the prime object of our work to increase our membership to a great number. That must come about naturally, without any effort on our part, and will come about only to the degree that we make ourselves satisfactory examples of working theosophists, as individuals, as groups, and as sections. And the true light, the true inner light that we thereby kindle in our hearts, in our daily contacts, will attract other individuals whom we meet and make them wonder what it is that makes Mr. Arink, for instance, "think this way about this problem. It is different from anything I have run into so far. I wonder what it is?" Ultimately he will ask you. That is the way to "get" a member — by example.

I don't think that any regulation of that nature will do the job that needs to be done today. It is you and I working understandingly in this partnership in the TS that will do the job. I will keep in touch with you. I don't mean I will be coming over here every other week. But I have started a series of letters to all members. There will be some letters to Dutch members only. There will be letters to the Swedish members only; letters to the German members — which leads me to my next point.

The second point ties in to the first, and that is I would like to see in Holland and in every other national section the lodges attached directly to Headquarters, and the Dutch Section as a formalized national section eliminated, just as the American Section as such is eliminated. Change the lodges to branches, and have them attached directly to Headquarters, and have the branches organized on a natural basis, without by-laws or regulations, and eliminate the by-laws in the national section too.

The third point is to eliminate the section president, the Dutch Board, and all the old officials, as such — do away with the whole business and start afresh. Instead of having a president, you will have a national secretary appointed by the leader. You will have a working committee to help the national secretary. You will have a treasurer who might just as well be Brother Arink who knows how to handle these matters, and you will have a recorder who might just as well be Ab Bonset. In a sense, nothing changes, yet everything changes. What I would like to do is to get away from the separative idea: here is the Swedish Section, the Dutch Section, each with a separate autonomy; there is the German Section, and the American Section, and the Australian Section, each with its own separate autonomy. That was all right for a specific time and a specific period when GdeP tried to make some order out of chaos after KT had shut everything down. He had to create a national consciousness for theosophy. But there again, a piece of paper, the Constitution, was completely misinterpreted, and that autonomy was interpreted almost as nationalism in a theosophic sense. That is not theosophy. We are interested in brotherhood and in helping our fellowmen. Therefore, to me it seems entirely unnatural to have a separate section here, and a separate section there, each having its specific type of autonomy.

However, I'm not trying to sell you a bill of goods, as we say in America. I want your thoughts if you disagree. But I would like to see these branches that are now lodges attached to the main trunk of theosophic force that is represented by Headquarters with its roots buried deep into the White Lodge, without anything between the branches and the trunk.

I am not trying to discount the fact that each nation, the Dutch nation, the German nation, the Swedish nation, does have its own svabhava. That is pure theosophy. Each nation does. But there is no reason why one nation's svabhava cannot work with another nation's svabhava as long as it gets its strength from the main trunk of the tree. There are no two branches of a tree that are alike. Thus I feel that for this new cycle, if we can get off to a start, organized or re-organized if you want to call it that, on a purely natural basis, I think that all of our problems will be much lighter and we will be able to go much farther and much faster. Not that we want to hurry, because it always pays to make haste slowly in this work.

That is the thought I had with regard to the lodges, and with regard to the national sections. If you have any objections or any questions, I would like to discuss them.

By the way, at Zwolle yesterday the question came up as to whether the lodges, since I canceled so unceremoniously all of the memberships in Holland, were to continue to function. Of course they are. That cancellation of the membership will be interpreted by certain minds as the act of a dictator. That is all right. I am not; you know it. And as we go along together you will find I am not going to dictate anything, but that you are going to work with me, and I am going to work with you, yet the Masters will give every student in occultism an opportunity to make his own choice. All of you here know how worried some people were as to what in the name of heaven can we do with those people who are not cooperating and not seeing the light. How can we take care of it? Well, the Masters are not asleep at the switch. Not at all. There was one way of doing it simply, without taking any action against any dissenting group, and that was to allow them to do it themselves, which meant cancel everybody's membership, and all those who wanted to work for theosophy in the new cycle could come and get on the ark, and get it ready for sailing, and off we would go. Those who did not want to work with the new cycle would be eliminating themselves.

So, let the lodges continue, except The Hague Lodge, which charter was canceled by Colonel Conger. But there have been no other charters withdrawn in Holland. And when we get to The Hague that situation will solve itself if we have that implicit trust in Masters who are not missing anything that is going on in this Society of ours, here or at Headquarters, or in any national section.

A. Kooistra: Shouldn't there be the necessity of continuing a national president and his helpers, because there will always be the necessity of having contact via these persons with Headquarters. So I do not see why this change is taking place.

JAL: It won't change very much in reality, but it will let the lifestream of theosophic force circulate more freely to the heart, to have it become refreshed — not by me, but by the force that is there — and get it back to each individual member.

Now, let me explain a little bit. The way I visualize the new cycle operating in Holland is this, and I think it will come about very naturally: the appointment of the national secretary will be made by myself, which is really no different from what it was before. The General Council elected their section president, subject to the approval of the leader, so that they could not elect anyone the leader did not approve of anyway. It amounts practically to the same thing. Instead of the lodge presidents and the board being an administrative and legislative body from the standpoint of legislation, rules, and regulations, it will be a working body for theosophy, without red tape, working with a national secretary and his committee in getting theosophy to the public and to our fellowmen, working for theosophy in Holland through those channels.

Now I spoke yesterday about this matter of operating on the new basis. Formerly, with by-laws or regulations, in most cases a lodge president was elected by a majority vote. Human nature being what it is, it is very easy for a group who did not get their man to become president to be disgruntled and unhappy. I hope this has never happened in Holland, but I do know that it has happened in the United States more than once. And the ridiculousness of having a lodge composed of about five members requiring a set of by-laws in order to elect a president and a secretary and a treasurer is apparent. I think we are old enough and experienced enough now in the Society and in Holland so that when we want to do something, or make a decision in connection with the work, we can do it unanimously and not have to depend upon the majority opinion. I think that if it is something really worth while we can all get together in a lodge, and all the lodge or branch presidents in a section, and express our views frankly and get a unanimous support of whatever the decision is, or a unanimous decision. Argue and fuss, talk and discuss all you want. That is wonderful; that will bring out all of the ideas, and don't discount anybody's ideas. But take them all, and get them all into a melting pot, with the sole objective of reaching the best idea, finding the best solution for the work. Then when that is found, everybody will naturally agree, and nothing in the world can stop that group from making progress. But if we have to rely upon the majority to do this and that and the other, the minority will always be a little bit unhappy. If we really work together we are going to get much further than otherwise. In a lodge, the president selected on that basis will have behind him a real spiritual force of understanding and brotherly cooperation that will be very hard to beat. When you have all the lodge presidents in Holland selected on that basis, with that spirit behind them, and under the helping hand of a national secretary who will be the direct contact with Headquarters for all affairs, you will have a real force generated.

Now this does not mean that a lodge or lodge president or individual member cannot write to Headquarters; not at all. That was the trouble before. The national presidents are human beings too, but they have been given this sacred trust as presidents of the section. We can all work together in trust. I am not going to be a dictator — I could not possibly do any regimentation. I want all to work together. If I were the national secretary in Holland or in any other country, I would periodically, when there was a problem, call all the presidents together, just the same as I am trying to do with you here. Talk it over and see what you all want to do about it. Out of that experience, out of the spirit behind those lodge presidents, and the spirit behind the national secretary and his working committee, there is no problem that will come up in Holland that you cannot whip without any difficulty at all. That is my thought, Mr. Kooistra.

Mr. Kooistra then made a quick comment in Dutch which Mr. Crabbendam repeated to the leader.

Yesterday in Zwolle, a lady came up to me during the intermission and said: "Mr. Long, I am troubled about something. In the Cabinet meeting report and letter, you said you were 'one among equals.' I don't believe that. I cannot believe that. I don't understand it. I wish you would explain it to me. I think it must be 'first among equals.' " I think you all know to what I am referring. Mr. Kooistra, I understand from Mr. Crabbendam, is raising the same point about the lodge presidents, if I understand his statement correctly. Now if we are going to work with nature and with karma and with svabhavas, individual and collective, and we are going to attempt to get unity in diversity — unity in spite of the diversity of our personalities and individualities — then all we need is to have that implicit trust in the law of karma and the Masters, and in that one upon whom they have placed the mantle. And I don't mean me as a personal individual. I don't mean myself as James Long. I mean the leader and the one that he appoints as national secretary. And if we have the trust in that law of karma which has never failed us yet, then we will find that there is nothing to fear. If the natural selection of a lodge president occurs, the leader or the Master could not appoint a better one. If the selection occurs unnaturally, the Master will know it, the national secretary will know it, and the leader will know it — without a doubt.

Thus to get back to the lady's question. The Master Jesus was expounding at all times great occult truths: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I also." You have never been present in a meeting of two or three or more theosophists who were there in the spirit of true theosophy that the Lodge force was not there also. When the Lodge force is there, when we attract it — not by studying and looking at the tip of our nose, but by being genuinely sincere in our desire to be selfless and be a help to our brothers and our fellowmen — then nothing can stop that force from flowing through the meeting and lighting the hearts and the minds of all individuals there. That is practical theosophy. It really works that way. We have got to be practical occultists, and the lodge president himself will be one among equals insofar as the theosophical work in that group is concerned. A real lodge president, a real leader, a real Master, will never take charge of a situation where real theosophy is concerned, and say: you do this, you do that, and you do the other thing. He must work with karma. And the lodge presidents whom I have seen work the most successfully were those who stayed in the background and who gave everybody an opportunity before themselves. Yet his very selection indicates that he was one among equals, one in the sense of having an understanding of each one, more of an understanding of each one than each one had of all the rest perhaps. Because of that he becomes automatically selected. And the real individual, the real lodge president, who is selected on that basis, however much others may say that he is there to run the show, will be the last one to say that he is the best, or that he is the head of the group. He will be — he may not look like it, but he will be — and he will get results. I don't know if I am making myself clear, but there is a subtle difference between my concept of first among equals and one among equals.

We have reached this point in the history of the movement and the Society at which leadership must be taken down off of the pedestal in the minds and hearts of every FTS. That may have been all right in the past until the time Colonel Conger took office, because we were on the downward arc of the cycle when we had admittedly to have someone to teach us through words, written and spoken, and that will continue. But not as a teacher, as GdeP once said, up in the steeple where he can be close to God! You may all have heard the story GdeP told of how a certain minister prayed from his church steeple and called to God: "Where art thou, God?" And finally after much pleading he heard a big voice down below saying: "Down here among my people." GdeP told that story because he saw what was happening in the hearts and minds of the membership. They were putting him up on a pedestal, and he tried and tried and tried to break that feeling down, and stand on a level with the membership. At one time I know he jokingly said to a group of Section officials who were seated on the platform: "I think I will let the gods from Olympus have the platform. I will come down and talk with you." He saw the danger.

Let us not criticize anyone for respecting the person or individual who has had the karma to be selected as leader of the Theosophical Society. But let us not let that stand in the way of our being real practical theosophists. I for one am responsible, and I will have to assume that responsibility, and I intend to, but I want to share it with all of you. I need everybody's help, for it is a real spiritual partnership. But don't put me on a pedestal. I am only a human being. The Masters too are human beings. I have a long way to go, but I have had a little experience, and I believe I can do a lot of good in the Theosophical Society, and I intend to do it even if I die in the attempt.

I received a cable from an old member, a little lady in England, shortly after it was announced that I had become leader, which moved me very deeply. It was sent with just a few words of support and loyalty to "Leader Jim." That tells the whole story. Now I know that I have to take many things into consideration, and that I cannot be the old Jim Long I used to be. I have got to be that plus; but I don't intend to sit on a pedestal, and I hope no one tries to put me there, because I will be able to do more if all of you consider me as one among equals.

I think what I have just said has raised some questions in a few minds here this evening. If I guess correctly, there are at least six or seven people who have said to themselves: Well, that may be all right. But then they begin to think about the Esoteric Section and the esoteric teachings. Where does that put "Leader Jim" and all that? I can hardly blame them, and I would like to say this: I have made the statement several times that the esoteric has become exoteric, and that the Lodge force that was flowing through the Esoteric Section is now flowing through the Theosophical Society. I also said that the Esoteric School was in existence long before the Theosophical Society was founded. The Esoteric School has not closed down; the Esoteric Section has closed down, and that force is now flowing through the TS.

Because these questions are in your minds, I am going to tell a true story, if I may, Crab? It involves you. When Mr. Crabbendam visited California, and the Colonel, Mr. Crabbendam, Mr. Koske, and I drove back to Washington, DC, we were not back in Washington very long before Mr. Crabbendam was ready to leave. He had attended one of the sacred season meetings at Covina, and had found that the passwords had been changed in the American Esoteric Section, and he asked the Colonel whether he could take back those new passwords to the Dutch Esoteric Section and use them in their esoteric meetings. After a few moments' thought, this was the Colonel's reply: "I am looking forward to the day when the member from South America meets a member from Holland or Germany or any place else, and recognizes him without the need of signs or passwords." Mr. Crabbendam himself can tell you whether he brought the passwords back with him!

Now I hope you get the significance of all of this. We don't have to think very hard to visualize what the Master Jesus 2,000 years ago, or his prototype, was faced with in introducing at that time the esotericism as well as the exotericism of primitive Christianity, which was nothing more nor less than pure theosophy, pure practical occultism, brought to the world in that period known as the Piscean Age — I am not talking about astrology. We don't have to think hard to realize that HPB inaugurated the same sort of thing. And if we know our Christian scriptures, even a little, we know how the Master Jesus was supposed to have worked. He said to his disciples: to the multitudes I feed milk, but to you I give the Mysteries. But the Master Jesus even, according to the story, lost his disciples one by one, one way or another, and only one or two or three were faithful. With whom did the Master Jesus do his greatest work? Whether the whole story of Jesus is symbolic or not, the occult facts are there. He did his greatest work with the man in the street, and the man in the street understood his occultism. What did he say to the man who was born blind, when he healed him, and they asked him, "Who did sin, this man or his father?" His answer was: that the law of karma would have its work, that the law of karma would be fulfilled.

The Esoteric School was operative during the time of Jesus. It has always been in operation since humanity began to think for itself, and even before. It will never cease to operate, and it will never cease to have its representatives in the world. So long as the Theosophical Society maintains the spiritual heart that it has maintained, and is today, it will have a representative of that school who will not fail Them. The real way the Lodge works, and their representatives in the world, and there are many of them, is quietly, in a manner unpretentious, unrecognized, in the background, unthanked, criticized, and as a rule never known. I would like to tell another little story in that connection. One day in the Union Railway Station in Washington, DC, I was waiting to meet a member coming, I think, from New York. The train was late, so I went into the coffee shop to get a cup of coffee. There was only one vacant chair at the counter, which I took. To my right was what seemed to be an elderly gentleman with a long beard, unpretentious except for the beard. I don't know why I felt different, yet I did a little, but did not pay any attention to it. I ordered my coffee, and this gentleman on my right soon walked out. After a few seconds I noticed that he had left his briefcase. I picked it up and immediately went after him, tapped him on the shoulder, and said: "You forgot this, Sir." The thank you and the brief momentary look he gave me went through me like a shock of electricity. I still did not understand. It was very early in my active work for theosophy, but I went home and I said to Colonel Conger that evening: "Colonel, I had an experience today," and I told him what had happened. "Am I correct in assuming that the Lodge has a few such men around?" He looked at me and smiled a beautiful boyish smile, "Yes, the woods are full of them — both black and white!"

That being the case, and we know it is true, it is my hope, my fervent hope, that this partnership which we have inaugurated will culminate in that unique fraternity referred to by Colonel Conger in the December 1950 Forum, that unique fraternity which shall result from our doing our one-pointed duty as men and theosophists. I can promise nothing. I can only give what you call forth. But I can assure you that there is no limit to what you can call forth if you do your one-pointed duty as men in the ordinary everyday walks of life and as theosophists. I know you all are going to succeed. You have made a wonderful start. The background that you have and the strength of character that exists in this small nation is what has brought forth a General Congress here, has brought forth a great deal more, and I am sure that it is going to bring forth much, much more than that.

Thank you very much. I again want to thank everyone for coming. I just cannot say any more except thank you, and I will do all I can for everybody. I should like to shake hands with all before you leave.


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The Theosophical Forum, December 1950

1950 - - - ?

By Arthur L. Conger

The Lodge is as close to the Movement as in the days of H.P.B., and its efforts are directed just as strongly today toward keeping the work in the world running along the original occult path. The chief dangers are still to be avoided: The building up of a papacy directed by one or another group of theosophists, when the work descends to a formalism which results in the blind leading the blind to perdition. Allowing the Society to degenerate into a mere organizational frame­work, operated by layers of officials duly elected, following the letter of constitutions and by-laws, and missing the spirit, heart and soul of the work that keep it alive. Accepting that which has been given out by Them as an intellectual luxury rather than transforming it into spiritual efforts for the benefit of others. We have traveled a long way in the Movement, and gone through manifold changes, some requiring drastic courses of decision. These experiences no one ought to discount, but endeavor to acquire the realization that the loyalty and devotion of a few have made it simple and easy for the members to receive a further stimulus. The T.S., by its natural karma, is today pervaded by a strong occult current. Hence membership, and the resolve to live for others, cannot be taken as a meaningless gesture. It carries with it a great trust and a great responsibility. There is an immutable law in the domain of the occult which compels each aspirant, once he is pledged, to stand or fall by the strength of his purpose. If his purpose be not personal, he will soon learn that his one-pointed effort to do his full duty as man and theosophist has brought him into a unique fraternity. It should be obvious that the work cannot move forward, with expansion, by the strength of momentum alone. But the members, upon the new feeling I get from them, recognize the need for a new firmness and a sterner attitude for the policy which may develop communications from the headquarters. We all, I think, can look forward to a new and greater effort of the work with this shift that is the result of the vigorous impulse along inner lines. As soon as this change in the stiffening becomes effective, this will gradually overspread the entire work of the Movement so that the Master will know that this is his Movement and nobody else's.