Theosophical University Press Online Edition

James A. Long — 1951 Tour Reports


Meeting at Stuttgart

Pedagogisches Institut am Linden
Sunday, May 27, 1951 — 10 a.m.
Georg Saalfrank, General Chairman
Andreas Zebrowski, Local Chairman
Wilhelm Oehrens, Translator


Two little girls presented the leader with bouquets of white lilac and wild roses; Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, rendered by Herr Fischer.

Georg Saalfrank: Dear Companions: We have the great pleasure and honor to welcome in our midst the new leader of our Theosophical Society, Mr. James A. Long, and his close co-workers, Madame Secretary, Miss Grace Frances Knoche, and the Secretary General of our Society, Mr. Kirby Van Mater. I may mention in this respect that Miss Knoche and Mr. Van Mater are members of the Cabinet of our Theosophical Society, and were members of this Cabinet under the guidance of our late leader, Colonel A. L. Conger.

Our leader and his co-workers have come to Germany from the USA via Holland and Sweden in order to give a new impulse to our striving and a new impetus to our theosophical work in Germany. In the name of the German Section of the Theosophical Society, and in my capacity as National President of this Section, I welcome you with all my heart, with a rejoicing heart, and with an open heart.

JAL: Herr Saalfrank, Mr. Zebrowski: I want to thank you, and all of the members here, and also the little girls who gave me the flowers, for this wonderful welcome. I don't think I will try to say anything until I attempt to give expression from the bottom of my heart — not only of my feelings, but the feelings of our companions at Headquarters who have been close to the work for a number of years — give deepest expression of appreciation to our dear Brother Saalfrank, and our gratitude for his long years of difficult and most faithful work in the cause of the Masters. I need not stretch the imagination a fraction of a centimeter to say that theosophy in Germany, as it is today and as it has survived, has resulted from the heart devotion and loyalty of Herr Saalfrank. And I am grateful for the privilege of acknowledging that personally to you, Herr Saalfrank [shaking Mr. Saalfrank's hand].

I wish to thank all of you in Stuttgart and elsewhere for coming here this morning and giving me this opportunity of seeing you, of meeting you, and of talking with you. It is much more of a pleasure to me than you have any idea of. I feel at home in Germany. I feel at home in Stuttgart. My ancestors, as much as I know of them, settled from Germany in Eastern Pennsylvania where I was born and raised, and the countryside there and the countryside here, and the climate there and the climate here, are very, very similar. When we flew into Germany and drove from the airport, I was touched with a mild form of homesickness in recognition of the landscapes and the countryside that I grew up in. Thus I don't feel at all strange in Stuttgart, and it is a real pleasure, I assure you, to be with you here this morning.

Everyone here should feel as informal and as comfortable as they possibly can. I don't like formality in theosophy. I like it free and natural so that the currents of a meeting — whether there are only three or four, whether there are a thousand and three or four — can flow back and forth between the speaker and the people thinking and talking with the speaker.

I think I will begin by first talking about the leader. That may sound strange that I would talk about myself, but I am not talking about myself when I speak about the leader. But we shall talk a little bit about the leader, and then we shall talk about you.

Karma is a wonderful thing, and it so happens that the karma of the Theosophical Society and of the world has brought together the membership in the Society, as it is today, and myself. In the past during the downward arc of the century, the leadership of the Society called forth by the membership and the world had a responsibility to give to the membership and to the world teachings, instructions, examples. But at this period there has been a change called forth again by the world and by the membership. This statement does not imply that there will be no teachings, or that the leader will not try to be an example — not at all. But instead of carrying on his responsibilities as a teacher in a classroom, he must now carry on his work as a member working with the members, as one among equals rather than first among equals.

Now just what does that imply? Simply this: that my responsibility during the length of my administration, whatever it may be, will be to work with every country, every branch or lodge, and every member, as one among you who has had to face all kinds of problems in daily life, who had to go through many of the gateways of purification which all of you have gone through and will go through with me in the future. And hopefully I will be able to contribute from my experience that which will be of value to you in the problems of your own daily lives. Now this cannot be accomplished by a personal correspondence and contact with every member. But I do hope to be able, when I speak about you and the future of the work of the membership, to clarify the method in which that helpfulness may be accomplished. In other words, I hope that the membership of the Society will not consider the present leader as someone sitting up on a rostrum or on a high chair looking down and trying to direct the affairs of your lives and of the lodges and of the Society. He is not going to do that. It is his hope to work with you, helping all of you to help yourselves, rather than doing anything for you. It is a known occult fact that when we do something for someone else, we weaken him. But when we help him to help himself, then we strengthen him. If we can say it is a policy — which the leader would never state if he is wise — then we can say that that is the foundation upon which this partnership is built.

So much for the leader. Now what about you? And when I say you, I mean the membership in Stuttgart, in Germany, and all over the world — where do you fit in to this picture, and how? If there has been a change that affects the approach to the work of theosophy on the part of the leader, then naturally that change affects the work on the part of the membership. The key thought was expressed some time ago, I think in the Congress at Utrecht, that with the transition from the descending arc of the century to the ascending arc, it has become necessary for the success of the work that we turn from the receiving end to the giving end of theosophy. In many of the places where I have spoken to the membership in Holland and in Sweden, there were a few members who found it difficult to understand just what that meant. Some members felt they were called upon to do more outer work, work harder with study groups and lodges and lectures and all those things which normally we consider as more work. But that is not necessary. The true progress of the work of the Masters in the world, in so far as it concerns the Theosophical Society and its membership, is an inner thing and not merely an outer thing. Thus, with that in mind, how can we give theosophy, how can we turn from the receiving to the giving end from an inward standpoint, considering the outward activities secondary?

There is only one way that I know of, and that is by taking theosophy as we have received it, and making it in reality a part of our daily lives. Now you have all heard that and read it for years, but I am going to repeat the thought, and try to express it a little differently if I can.

To make theosophy a living power in our daily lives does not mean that we walk around the streets and contact our fellowmen at work and at home looking like a pious old bishop, saying beautiful words, acting prettily, and thinking that we are making theosophy a living power in our lives. That is not what I mean. What I do mean is this: that in the quiet moments that we spend with our souls, with that inner part which is you and which is I, we think right thoughts, we feel right attitudes, and raise our consciousness not with effort or with strain, but simply and quietly, in the hope that we might be of a little more service to Masters in the work they have to do in the world.

What I am really talking about with regard to ourselves as members and our responsibility takes place in the silence, just as all genuine growth takes place in the silence. Until we can by our thoughts and inner attitudes reach that point at which we can calm and make quiet the outer turmoil of our brain-minds, as well as the brain-minds of the people around us, we will not be able to work with the silence and ultimately hear what HPB calls the voice of the silence, which in reality is no sound and no voice.

You have all heard the phrase a number of times now, that the esoteric has become exoteric; and if we think a little about that phrase we cannot fail to recognize the fact that by implication the exoteric has become esoteric. All of these things that I have stated and indicated tie together at this particular time and signify something — namely, that when we begin to take what we have received, assimilate it in our consciousness, and begin to give it, we then, if we do our job rightly, begin to be better examples of what theosophy means in the life of each one of us. When we do that really, and in the quietness of our inner consciousness yearn to be of more help to our fellowmen, then that which is known as the buddhic light begins to shine a little more brightly in the heart of each one of us. That buddhic light cannot be seen with your eyes or with mine, but it can be felt with the heart of anyone, whether he be a member of the TS or not. And to the degree that we increase the brightness of that light which shines in the heart, to the extent that we make it brighter by our individual efforts, to that degree will we become better examples of a working theosophist. When we reach that point — and I am not talking about perfection, I am talking about just a little improvement which makes a big difference — when we reach a little more perfection, then our fellowmen will recognize it. Not by the words we speak, nor by our actions so much, but by what they feel in our hearts. And they will wonder: "What does he have that I don't have? That seems like what I have been looking for for a long time." And the result will be that a new soul has made contact and found his true home with us.

Those of you who have studied human nature just a little bit have recognized the fact that the souls coming into incarnation during the past generation or two seem to be much older souls in that they grasp the philosophy, they grasp the circumstances of life, and even in their youth see beyond that which you and I perceived when we were the same age, far beyond. Without doubt they have been in this work before and are looking for their home where they can pick up the threads of their endeavor where they left them off in a former life.

Now how are they going to find their home? They may have lived when there was no such thing as theosophy by that name. It may have been called something else. They will not recognize it alone by our words, whether they are spoken or whether they are written. These may help, but they will recognize it by your example and by my example. That is the only way we can be sure of. They will recognize it because their hearts will see the light burning in our hearts, and it will not fail to attract them. Just as the buddhic light shining brightly in a very active theosophist is recognized by the Master himself, so on the lower level, these souls coming into incarnation, when they feel that light burning in our hearts, will recognize it and know that they have found their home.

Time is moving along here, and I want to give you all a chance to ask any questions that you may have in your minds, but I will close my preliminary thoughts with what I consider to be the highlight of our responsibility as theosophists in the world today. This too is an inner thing. Just imagine what would happen if every member of the Theosophical Society, in every country in the world, were able to make of himself the type of example I have mentioned. Just think what would happen if and as that example increased in brightness: the light shining from each heart would also increase in brightness. Don't you see that that is the real genuine nucleus of universal brotherhood that the Masters are talking about, and have been talking about since 1875? That is it, and we are now faced with the time and the responsibility to make their hopes a reality.

Now, I don't mean to try to make of ourselves perfect individuals. No one is perfect; not even the Masters claim perfection. But to the degree that we are able to improve ourselves, without any goal, without any objective, to become better because it is right to become better theosophists, to that degree will the light of theosophy, the buddhic light of the Theosophical Society, shine so brightly in the world as a whole that it will not fail to influence by karma from the inner to the outer plane the affairs of the world in the direction of progress and improvement.

The important thing I would like to leave with you this morning is this: each of us in the country to which we find ourselves karmically attached, must recognize that each country has its national svabhava, its national karma, its national responsibility. I am not talking about politics, I am not talking about economics. I am talking about spiritual responsibility to the human race, and we as theosophists, wherever we are located karmically, are brothers. To the degree that we represent theosophy in the nation to which we are karmically attached, to that degree will that nation feel the inner impulse, however unconsciously, and thus attract to itself a more and more spiritual leader of its own national life — a spiritual leader who will ultimately, if we do our job in the inner sense, lead that nation forward in true progress. The outer must reflect the inner — ultimately. The inner is the cause, the outer is the effect. How can we expect a spiritual leader in any nation if the inner attitude is wrong and unspiritual? To the degree that we, individually and collectively as a group of theosophists in any nation whatsoever, and in all nations together theosophically, think rightly, feel rightly, and get that light shining from our hearts, then and then only will we as forerunners of a great race to come make an impress on this race that will move it forward for the benefit of the whole of mankind.

There will be time for a few questions now. But before calling for them, I want to say this, and maybe Andreas Zebrowski will translate it for me. I wish to congratulate Dr. Oehrens; while it has been slower, this has been in my opinion the most exact translation that has been given anywhere.

Now are there any questions? You may ask them in German, and they will be translated in English for me.

Mr. Berger: The Leader said that the esoteric things become exoteric, but I did not understand when he said that the exoteric things become esoteric. And I would be very grateful if you will be so kind as to give an explanation of this particular thing.

JAL: Dankeschoen, Herr Berger. How I wish I could speak German right now. I cannot even do it well in Pennsylvania Deutsch! I am glad you asked that question. Wherever I have stated that the esoteric becomes the exoteric, and by implication the exoteric becomes the esoteric, I have had questions. And I guess I allowed that point to pass in my preliminary remarks in too subtle a manner. First, I might say, that practically all of the esoteric teachings have now been made public, so that literally the esoteric had become exoteric during the past eight or ten years — having started even before GdeP died. Now, when we reached the bottom of this cycle and started giving theosophy, we had then to take the esotericism, that altruism or esotericism which we have received, assimilate it in our consciousness, and then begin to give it in our daily lives — not like exotericists running around trying to do, to do, to do; but we had to try to become true esotericists in living the life without saying a word about it. That is a very simple answer. But think of the Society as a whole, and you will see that it puts a tremendous burden, which is happily received, upon the shoulders of the leader. And it was that basic fact, that the exoteric now was becoming esoteric, which offered the foundation for the partnership.

Think for a moment how we started our talk this morning: with the picture of the leader and the members working together for theosophy. But how? Outwardly yes, we have got to work outwardly; but inwardly, we all together, wherever we may be, must allow the esotericism, the true occultism, the true altruism, which it has been our good karma to receive, to soak through our whole natures so that we become examples of that altruism in our daily lives. To the degree that we do that — not only in connection with our theosophic interests, but also in connection with our karmic responsibility, will we then be doing, as Colonel Conger enjoined, our one-pointed duty: to our work, to our family, to our nation, and to theosophy. Doing that, we will find ourselves in a unique fraternity which cannot be defined — that unique fraternity which represents the combination of those hearts whose light is shining, who recognize each other without passwords, without signs, and without language. They recognize each other as workers on the true path of theosophic endeavor for the Masters.

Now the most important point for the individual is saved for the last, and please translate this sentence for sentence. How will this partnership work? Naturally as stated it cannot be carried on by an individual correspondence with each member. With the esoteric become exoteric, the individual wonders how, if he has earned them, he will get the teachings and the guidance he needs. When a member does his karmic duty, to his work, to his family, to his nation, to the Society, the Master recognizes that, and the leader recognizes that. Not in an outer way, but that member then puts himself en rapport not with the Masters, not with the leader, but with himself. He opens the door to the silence, and when that opens the Master — no one need know the details of the circumstances — feels the strength of that heart. When he opens the door to the silence, then he receives the guidance from within, from the voice of the silence which does not speak.

Are there any more questions? We have time for two more.

Mr. Fischer: Might I give an example for this saying of yours, that the esoteric has become exoteric, and the exoteric has become esoteric? There is an example in nature in the growth of a plant, with the roots of a plant lying deep in the soil. These roots are ennobling everything in this part of the plant which is lying deep beneath where everything is dark. There are dark colors there, and as far as the plant is concerned, as it rises out of the soil, the colors become brighter, and they become pink, white, and yellow, as symbols of the spirit. Then everything seems to be like a cycle, and all of those things which the plant has to absorb from the soil are ennobled by this process of going from the plant, and this also is a cycle. In this there is a germ for the fact that within the cycle the exoteric becomes esoteric and vice versa. I really do not wish to ask a question at all, for that man who asks is erring, and that man who answers also errs, for the voice of the silence should speak.

JAL: But you did not ask the question in the silence! So I have to answer it out of the silence. [Laughter] This in regard to your statement that the questioner errs so does the man who answers the question!

Everywhere in nature you see the same thing happening. Herr Fischer is right. The only thing I might add is this: I consider the seed and its effort to reach the sunlight as the esoteric, and the plant above and the roots below as representing the higher and lower nature of that which the seed brought forth. I think that is about all I need to say, because we find the analogy in every human being, in every branch of the Society, in every section of the Society, and in the Society itself.

Mr. Schultz: I regard it as the most sublime thing, that there is a possibility to develop in oneself the faculty of affecting our surroundings by this inner light; that it is possible this way to spread peace and harmony around us personally. This fact is in my view the most sublime thing.

JAL: Thank you very much, Herr Schultz. I should like to say that that is the only way. Everything that has gone before has prepared us for this time so that we now are blessed with that very practical opportunity which all of our former teachers have given us, to let that spark of divinity in the heart of each one of us burst into flame that our fellowmen can be lighted on their way to a better life. I could say so much more, but there is no time. There is so much to be said.

All of us have come into the presence of individuals where we have felt something. Without many words we have been affected by the spirituality in the heart of that individual. Everything that has been said and written by me since I have become leader has been in an effort to help each member to become conscious of the fact that he has that spark, and that the more self-reliant spiritually he becomes, the more that light will shine. When we do that then we become, if I may change the analogy, a divine snowball picking up more and more of both spiritual and other light so that we aid the expression of our real svabhava and become so great that it will take in the hearts of the whole of humanity.

Mr. Ruep: How will the development of consciousness in the West be in the future? In Christianity, the chief principle is to love your neighbor as yourself, and HPB used this sentence as an essential point in theosophy. Now could you give some more regarding the development of consciousness in the West with regard to this point?

JAL: Nearly every question has the answer right in it, but I will say this: for centuries before HPB's time, ever since the time of Tsong-kha-pa there was the effort made at the last quarter of the century to carry the spiritual force of that century in a conscious manner over the next hundred year cycle. Every effort failed until HPB came, and even then the Maha-Chohan said to Masters M and KH: You may try it, but I don't think you will succeed. But she did. She succeeded in getting it to where it is today. And with the help of all of you and every member in the TS, we will get the conscious progress of spirituality over this century. The development of consciousness, as Herr Ruep implied in his question, is unimportant. That will be a result, that is an effect, that he is talking about. If we do what we have talked about this morning, that developed consciousness will be the effect of the causes that we put into play in our hearts. And when that enlarged consciousness comes, we won't have to try to understand it, because we will be it.

Miss Wolff: We do not understand what are inner and outer rounds.

JAL: I cannot take the time now to answer this satisfactorily, but I would like to say this, and please when you translate ask them not to misunderstand it. Technical theosophy has its place, but it is secondary to what we were talking about this morning. And the answer to your question also will come as we become more closely associated with the examples we are trying to set, for then the voice of the silence will quietly one time present you with the picture of what the real inner and outer rounds are. Please do not hurry. The Golden Rule of the Christian scriptures is a very true occult axiom. None of us can live that rule twenty-four hours without breaking it. And the more we can live it without breaking it, the more technical theosophy we will understand, more than we could possibly read out of a book.

Miss Wolff. Thank you very much, Mr. Long. I understand.

Karl Baer: I have two ideas. The first is that I would like to express our thankfulness that you have come to Germany, and also to express the same thankfulness to the members of the Cabinet from America, because you have given us new enthusiasm and a new impulse, which we who were isolated for the last years in Germany here have needed so particularly. Our belief in the theosophical teachings goes far beyond the duties of national obligations. But this meeting is particularly for us an inner exhortation to work for the theosophical work, which includes the whole of our work. Therefore we have to thank you for the effort and for all the troubles and fatigues which you have had in order to come to us. Everyone who loves theosophy has need to thank everybody who does something for our work.

The second idea refers to the statement that the esoteric becomes the exoteric, and the exoteric becomes the esoteric. I should like to know whether my idea of this is the right one. As far as I know, that which we have called esotericism up to now is only understandable for the single individual if his life corresponds to the teachings and corresponds to the exhortations of HPB that only he is a real theosophist who theosophy lives. If one does not live theosophy, but had the possibility to study esoteric teachings, he remains in the exoteric field, the esoteric teachings being a continuation of the exoteric teachings.

Now, when we say that esoteric becomes exoteric, it is a matter of course that the exoteric teachings become by implication esoteric because the responsibility for every single individual is increasing in that moment. If the single individual would in this moment consider that the esoteric has become exoteric, he would not be able to comprehend the exoteric teachings unless he pushed more and more in the foreground of his life the ethical teachings. Therefore altruism is the principal thing which has to be in the foreground for every theosophist in the future.

JAL: What Herr Baer says in the second point in the broad and general way is right. In the particular way, it is the type of thing that the leader should speak of only to one member, in this instance to Herr Baer himself, and not to all members. For this reason, what that process means to Herr Baer is not the same thing that it means to somebody else. There would be great danger in my answering that question specifically for Herr Baer with all of these people present, because the answer would be to Herr Baer and not apply in detail to anybody else in the room. Therefore you can see that the application to one should not be applied to the other. Now let me make it clear: the principle is correct, but the detailed application varies with the individual; just as the statement that the pathway is one, but the road leading to it must vary with the pilgrim. You can see if I said certain things that applied only to Herr Baer, and then everybody else went home and did likewise, that would not be right.

I would like to know before we close how many different localities or lodges are represented here. I would appreciate it very much if one person from each location outside of Stuttgart and vicinity stood up and told me where they were from.

Representatives from Karlsruhe, Heidelberg, Urach, Tubingen, Markdorf, Munsingen, and Munich rose.

JAL: I want to thank each one of you again, not only those from Stuttgart, for coming today, and I hope that all of you will take home with you not what I have said, that was unimportant, but the spirit of this meeting. Take it home with you and live with it and work with it. It is what you brought with you, and what you created here for me to take with me and add to that reservoir of spiritual force which has been poured into the Masters' reservoir as I have gone around the world and on this trip, which makes it possible for the Masters to help the world to the greatest degree possible. Thank you once more for the beautiful flowers.

Now if you will bear with me, I would appreciate it if Herr Fischer would play again the Beethoven Sonata. When he has completed it, I will ask Miss Knoche to recite the Gayatri in Sanskrit to close the meeting.

After the music and the Gayatri, the meeting closed at 1 p.m.

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