Theosophical University Press Online Edition

James A. Long — 1951 Tour Reports


Meeting at Munich

Deutsches Museum
May 30, 1951 — 7:15 p.m.
Karl Baer, Chairman
J. Hofmeister, Chairman Emeritus
Wilhelm Oehrens, Translator


Karl Baer: Ladies and Gentlemen, dear Friends and Companions: I open this meeting, which should have been a study evening, but we abstain with joy from our studies in order to see here our leader of the Theosophical Society, Mr. James A. Long, Miss Grace Frances Knoche, and Mr. Kirby Van Mater, Secretary General of our Society. We greet also Mr. Hofmeister, our Honorary President of the Munich Lodge, and also Dr. Wilhelm Oehrens from Hamburg who will translate for us. We greet likewise the companions who have come from a distance.

JAL: I have been sitting here these few minutes wondering what I might have to say to our Munich members. When I walked into this room and sat down, it was as though I walked into an entirely different world from that in which I waited outside. It brought very sharply to my mind my recent trip around the world for Colonel Conger. On that trip I left California without any specific instructions. The only words the Colonel gave me were these: "Bring the expedition to a successful conclusion." But when I reached England and got the feel of Europe and England, it was not long until I began to get instructions, not in any fantastic or unnatural way, but by a letter now and then, and also by the very clear indications of what I have so often referred to as the daily karmic script. I found too that apparently something had gone before — when I say something, I again don't mean anything fantastic. But as I went from one point to another, attempting to fulfill my mission, I found that the key officials and members whom I was supposed to contact had been prepared, not only in their minds but in their hearts. It was just as in the fairy stories we used to read, as if some fairy had touched these people with her magic wand. As a result I had only to recognize that and use what judgment I had to put all the pieces together in the various countries in the proper pattern.

On this trip, which is an entirely different type of a mission, the same or similar circumstances or conditions have been found by me in every place that I have gone. But on this trip that preparation was not a preparation of key officials or key members. It was a preparation also by what we might call a beautiful white magic wand, a preparation of the hearts of every member who loves theosophy. It has reached a point here in Munich where I cannot help but recognize the wise hand of a beautiful karma that has called forth this spiritual partnership.

When I sat down here at the table this evening, I really did not know if I could take it, to use our American slang. With every meeting that I have had on this trip, there has been an increasing degree of spiritual force accumulating in the hearts and minds of the membership. I do not take credit for that. I say that because what I felt when I walked into this room is exactly the same thing that I have felt at other meetings when I entered, which was there before I arrived. And it has been working like money in the bank at compound interest. In other words, after the first meeting in Holland, with a group of members I experienced this very thing; the next meeting I found the same thing plus interest. In the meeting after that, it was the same plus interest plus interest. When I walked into this room tonight, I don't know how much interest on interest was here, but I certainly want to express my deepest appreciation to every member in this audience for what they each brought to this meeting tonight.

If ever I was grateful for anything, I am grateful for that good karma that brought this partnership into being. I only wish I could share with the companions here tonight some of my experience in that connection on this trip. But just as with all truly spiritual things, when you try to define them or explain them, they disappear. So I am going to rely upon the hearts of our members here to understand what I meant in my opening comments.

I believe the members in Munich might be interested in thinking together with me this evening about the future of theosophy and the work in Munich and in Germany and in the world. You should be proud of this lodge in Munich. I should like to ask the audience if I am free to be frank and informal and talk with them realistically.

Several voices: It is quite all right. Certainly. Yes.

JAL: Dankeschoen. There is no use in any one of us attempting to kid ourselves, as we say, at this point in the history not only of Germany and the world, but of civilization itself, and of every other country in it. We by karma find ourselves living at a time, at a point in a cycle, when the conflict between the light and the dark forces is, in the minds of many people, inevitable. I for one do not agree that such a conflict is inevitable. On the other hand, I don't want to give this audience the impression that there is no danger of a major conflict. But what I would like to think with you about tonight is our theosophic approach to doing the right thing to avoid that conflict.

Every conflict, whether it be between two nations, a dozen nations, or between two individuals, is an effect. And until we as theosophists, especially, recognize the fact that those conflicts are only effects and treat them as such, we will not be able to do the right thing to get the proper causes into motion.

What is it that we can do? It sounds very, very simple — in fact, it may sound too simple — but we know that what happens in our Theosophical Society happens in the world, especially that which happens in an inner sense in our Society. That is the real clue to what you and I can do to get the proper causes into operation.

Frankly, I attach very great significance to this meeting here tonight. Munich is an historic point, both theosophically and from the Deutschland as well as from the world standpoint. This is a period in our experience when the action of karma is working rapidly, and you must understand me thoroughly that I am speaking from my heart, and in principle, not in details and not with any attachment or personal contact, but strictly impersonally, from the individual as well as the national standpoint. Not many years ago, a significant meeting took place in Munich that represented, on the one hand, Arjuna faced with a terrific decision. On the other hand, it represented a few human beings with the future fate of many nations resting in their hands and attempting to barter with the forces of nature which are not creative. We as theosophists know and understand fully that we dare not compromise with the forces of evil. If we do, it represents surrender. And theosophists and the Theosophical Society can never surrender to the forces of evil.

Now what is it that we can do? With the strong occult and spiritual force flowing through the Society today, there is more opportunity than ever for each member to take advantage of that situation and allow it to help him to strengthen the spiritual power in his own heart. The Masters have made it plain, and every teacher has made it plain to us, that the power of a genuine spiritual force put into motion on its own plane has almost incalculable strength when it breaks through into the outer plane. The trouble with us for many years has been that we have not recognized the truth of that statement, but have felt time and again that we have been doing so little for the world and for our fellowmen and for the Society. We have ample proof that that idea is wrong. It was that very truth that has kept our Theosophical Society what it is, the way it is, and as strong as it is today, from a spiritual standpoint.

When I first realized the truth of that statement to the degree that I feel I do now, it filled me through and through with a great warmth to know that the little things that you and I do in our daily lives have such a great effect upon our fellowmen. I hope you will not take this lightly, because it will mean great courage and great hope to each one of you to realize that a good deed done — not to please yourself or to please me or to please someone else, but done because it is right to do it and with no thought for the results — will do far more than we can possibly realize to help prevent any major conflict in the future. I don't mean just one member in Munich or in Germany or in the world doing right. I mean a great number of members, as many as possible in Munich, in Germany, and in the rest of the Society. If only three have the proper attitude and live the theosophic life properly, they will accomplish a tremendous amount of good in the world. Hasn't that been proven by the Master's own words when he said: "So long as there are three truly devoted members of the Society, it shall not fail"? Thus, if all of our members throughout the world consciously tried to follow that pathway, don't you see what a strong nucleus of true spiritual force the Masters would have to use to avoid such a major conflict that many are fearing? The interest and compound interest is like a drop of water in both the Rhine and the Danube compared to the interest and compound interest that accrues from the type of attitude and living I have just mentioned.

You members in Munich are favored by karma to be placed at a point geographically in Germany to do an excellent job for theosophy in your country and in the world. I don't mean that you must run around trying to get this member and that member. That is part of the work, but that isn't the really important thing. Live the life, and allow the results to accrue with interest, which interest will be paid by karma itself.

Every city, every country, has a nature of its own. Munich is Munich, Stuttgart is Stuttgart, and I guess Nuremberg will be Nuremberg. Every unit of civilization where a number of people are gathered together, whether in a study group in the Theosophical Society, a lodge, a city, a country, has a svabhava of its own. What I felt coming into this room tonight told me more in the brief seconds it took me to walk from that door to my seat than ten volumes in as many libraries could tell me, or as many words from a thousand people. I cannot tell you how wonderful I felt to recognize that there was already prepared and operating here in this strategic point, Munich, a spiritual force so potent that I felt a relief in my heart to know that that which many think is inevitable has already been pushed back a considerable time — when I say considerable, I mean a good many weeks, and months, and I hope years — by the very simple and unconscious efforts of the membership here in Munich.

I am not complimenting you, I am recognizing a simple fact. I feel certain that if the members in Munich and the surrounding country continue, not only what they have been doing unconsciously up to this point, but will continue consciously to carry on the way they have been, with the full recognition that to the degree that they can impersonally work as men and women in Munich to add to that effort just a little more of the impersonal spiritual attitude, to that degree will they consciously move back even farther that which has been considered inevitable.

The members in Munich have been doing a grand job, and I want to thank all of you for it, and Karl Baer. I did not expect to meet Karl Baer on my trip around the world, but when I arrived in Berlin there he was. I had not planned to go to Munich. I would have liked to, but I had to give it up because of the time element. But when I found Karl Baer in Berlin on business at the same time that I was there, and met him at Herr Bergmann's home, I knew immediately that that meeting meant something for the future. I did not know then in detail, but I am beginning to find out now.

Now I do not mean that Karl Baer is so important. But I do mean that our meeting in Berlin was not for nothing, and our meeting now is not for nothing. I don't like to talk about persons, but this will make a point in connection with what I was saying: the one thing that I recognized in Karl Baer was that he was working for theosophy impersonally. He was not trying to sell anybody his ideas. He was not telling Section Headquarters in Germany, nor was he telling Headquarters at Pasadena, how to run the Theosophical Society. He was interested in doing the best he knew how for theosophy in Munich, and for Germany of course. And I can assure Mr. Baer and every member here that so long as he continues to work impersonally, and members work likewise with him, true theosophy, true spiritual progress, will be attained in Munich, and thus strengthen the power of theosophy in Germany. The minute either Karl Baer or anyone works for an objective of his own, with an attachment to that objective, theosophy will not only suffer in Munich, but will also suffer in Germany and in the world.

I am using Karl Baer as an example only of what all of us should do. This room would not have had in it tonight what I found if there had been a lot of personal ambition in the hearts of the members here.

The spiritual beauty that shines from the hearts of members who have sacrificed and given to Masters' work, as the members in Germany and in Munich have, that spiritual beauty and that bright buddhic light will never fail to keep alight the temple of our sacred work. There is really a very great force in here tonight; and what we as members of the Society can do in the simple impersonal way that you have done here in Munich will lay the solid foundation that the Masters need to carry this glorious work of ours on through 1975 and over into the next century.

Thank you all once again for what you brought in here tonight. After a short question and answer period I would like to shake hands with each of you and thank you personally.

Mr. Baer then announced that the leader would be available at 3 p.m. the next day at his hotel for any members who might care to see him.

Mr. Gentner: What is your conception, your idea, concerning the matter of how theosophy was grasped before the war in Germany and in the United States? Is there a difference now after the war as to how the people both in Germany and in the United States understand theosophy?

JAL: Dankeschoen. The war did make a big difference, both in Germany and in America; much more in Germany, however, than in the United States, and the reason is plain. You people suffered. We did not. I might as well tell you the truth, and speak of one of the problems you are faced with today. We at Headquarters were tremendously pleased and affected by the great influx of applicants for membership that came in from Germany after the war. And while it indicated a perfectly natural and good reaction to the suffering that war brings on, for war always brings about in the hearts of men a yearning to seek after spiritual surcease, spiritual help, nevertheless a great danger lay also just in that. We began to notice that many of the members who came in — not the majority, but many — were coming in to get something to satisfy their personal natures instead of their spiritual natures. As a result we found members branching off after a while into psychism, trying to get in touch with loved ones, or trying to get other things that would satisfy their selfish nature. We found still others getting into various yogas, as well as other pseudo-theosophic interests, for the purpose of solving their personal exoteric problems. In other words, they felt that that was the way to get more food to eat, more clothing to wear, more jobs to work at. I don't criticize them, nor do I blame them. The gods only know what I would have done in the same position. But I must present the other side of the picture. There were other members who came into the Society seeking help from the spiritual angle, the inner angle, something that would satisfy their hearts. Strangely enough, we found those individuals who put their personal comfort second to that inner spiritual comfort they were seeking were getting the clothing they needed, the food they needed, and the jobs they needed.

Now why was that? I am not giving you my words as evidence of how the great Law works, I am giving you the actual experience of German members. It is just another proof of what I tried to express earlier, that if we work impersonally, thinking more of the other fellow's welfare than of our own, keeping the light of theosophy burning in our hearts, thinking right, doing right, holding right attitudes, without thought of results, thinking only of the spiritual aspect of our surroundings and responsibilities, then all our needs will be met. Notice that I did not say all our desires, but our needs will be met. That is an inviolable occult law.

As for the American side of this picture — the reaction after the war on membership in America was not nearly so marked as in Germany, and I refer here both to the right reactions and the wrong reactions. And the simple answer to that was that we did not suffer as much. I wonder if that answers the gentleman's question?

Mr. Gentner: Yes, thank you; I understand.

Question: You spoke of the dark danger which might be impending in the future for the whole world, and I would ask whether it would be advisable to concentrate within the Theosophical Society throughout the world during one certain hour upon a certain key thought given out at Headquarters in order to destroy this danger? Do you understand?

JAL: I do indeed. That is a very important question, and I am awfully glad you asked it. But my answer is going to surprise you. That would be the most dangerous thing we could possibly do, and I will tell you why. This is an occult institution. By that word I mean not the occult sciences, but occultism, altruism in its highest sense, spirituality, the heart doctrine. If every blade of grass must grow in its own way, how much more different then are you and I? What would happen if every blade of grass grew in exactly the same way at a given hour, at a certain time? What would happen if anything in nature worked that way? Part of nature would get too much of something, another part would get too little, and so forth. We, you and I, have not the ability to read the larger karma of the world, and thus are in no position to know, nor is the leader in any position to know, either as leader or Outer Head, what the Maha-Chohan is planning to do. It is he who supervises the Great White Lodge of Compassion in fulfilling their responsibility as the Guardian Wall of the human race.

Thus if we in the Theosophical Society picked a certain day, a certain hour, when all of us together would hold a key thought, or concentrated in our given way, that this or that or the other thing might not happen, we cannot realize how much more difficult that would make the Masters' job. I would much rather recommend this, that when those thoughts come that we want to contribute from our hearts, however little or however much, to the welfare of humanity, that we do as the Master Jesus suggested: go into the secrecy of our hearts. As he put it: "When you pray go into your closet and pray to your Father in secret, and the Father will reward you openly." Translate that into our theosophic terminology, and it will mean that every time we in the quietness, in the secrecy, of our own consciousness pray for or think of or feel for the welfare of humanity, then we send the force to Masters. Thus they will have something to use, when the time comes to use it, where they should use it, and how they should use it.

Now that may sound a little abstract, but the more really esoteric we become in this work, the more simple it becomes also. We just can't possibly know how much a simple little good deed gives in spiritual force to the Masters. Again the Master Jesus pointed out how much more value the widow's mite was from a spiritual standpoint than that which many others were giving. Thus I will close my answer to that question with this statement: if we as members of the Society, any time of the day or night, anywhere, will drop a spiritual penny in the form of a right thought into the spiritual savings bank of the Masters, we will find we are doing far more than many of the organizations that are working today with effects only, for they are working out of the stream of Lodge force when dealing with effects rather than with the true causes. Does that answer your question?

Questioner: Yes, thank you.

Questioner: Every reasonable human being thinks that peace is the most essential thing in the world. I would think that we must find the means to bring about peace.

JAL: Yes, you have a thought there. Again I would like to draw a distinction, for we as theosophists must draw this distinction or we will never be able to understand the karma of a nation or of ourselves. Peace is not the important thing in the world. Harmony is the important thing. When we get harmony, we will have peace. That is what I am talking about when I say we must deal with causes, not with effects. Peace is an effect of harmony. War is an effect of inharmony. Thus as theosophists interested in causes we must go right into our hearts and make harmony there, and throughout our Society, and with our fellowmen, then nothing but peace can come from that — in time. It is very easy for an individual with strength of character and strength of purpose to stir up people to the point and pitch of war, where they are willing to go to war; but it is a much more difficult thing with human nature at the stage of evolution it is today for a simple man like Abraham Lincoln, and others whom we know of in this and other countries, to stir up a people to fight with their hearts for peace, through harmony.

Mr. Schultz: How are things going on in Theosophical University?

JAL: Theosophical University, just as with everything else, is affected by cycles. KT did a job of sowing seeds. The seeds she sowed during her administration have borne fruit in many, many places in the world. We are often prone to look for outer results too soon. When the University was at its peak of activity, the degrees issued were not scholastically recognized by more than two or three other schools in the United States. And you in Europe who appreciate what a degree means, will understand our position. GdeP did not like it, Colonel Conger did not like it either. So much for Theosophical University — in the past.

I think we should have a Theosophical University at Headquarters, but I don't think it should be one that when a student is finished he gets a piece of paper as a degree. I am looking forward to the day when we have a school that will have an unspoken and unwritten degree embellished on the hearts of its graduates which will make them true theosophists. I could say a great deal more on that, but we don't have the time. There is only one thought I want to express as a corrective thought. I don't want what I have said to reflect on the quality of real education with which those students who graduated in the past left our school. They actually left the school with a better education, inner and outer, than practically any average university could provide, even though their credits were not honored by those same universities.

I would like to close the meeting now with one brief word in tribute and appreciation for a theosophist in Germany and in Munich who has written on the scroll of time his true mark for theosophy and the Masters. It is not strange that in every country I have been, in every important theosophic center, there has always been one such loyal, devoted member who has carried the torch for years, and handed it over to someone else when the time came, giving that other person all the support, inner and outer, and watched his beloved theosophy flow on to the generation of the future. Thank the gods we have many, many staunch, solid soldiers in the ranks of the Masters. Among those warriors who have given so much, asking for nothing in return, is one to whom I wish to pay tribute tonight: Herr Hofmeister. You are a grand old gentleman.

Mr. Hofmeister, sitting on the right of the leader, deeply moved, rises and shakes hands with the leader. The entire audience bursts into enthusiastic applause.

Herr Hofmeister: Thank you, from my heart, and in my quality as oldest member of the Munich Branch, and as its co-founder, I beg to address these words to you and to your companions. I feel happy to be allowed to make your personal acquaintance, and I only want to say that my heart too feels wholly and completely the full confidence expressed to you and your fellow-workers on the occasion of the General Congress in Holland.

You have surely to fulfill a very difficult duty, and we are glad to contribute with all our strength to be your assistants in this sacred cause. I know that our Masters will be with us, provided we earnestly endeavor to make theosophy a living force in our daily life.

I want to express to you, dear Leader, and to all companions, the best wishes for your future work. I wish to express these good wishes with all my heart. Be assured of our fidelity towards theosophy.

JAL: Thank you very much, Herr Hofmeister. And thank you all. I think we had better close now. I have enjoyed this evening very much indeed. I have received much tonight, just as I always do, but tonight I take with me for the rest of my tour through Germany and for the future of the work an exceptionally fine and large dividend far beyond that which I might have expected.

The meeting closed at 10 p.m.

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