FOR THE CHILDREN
WHO ASK WHY
FOR THE CHILDREN WHO ASK WHY ——1
MODES OF CoNsciousNEss —————11
How WORLDS BEGAN ——————— 34
THE MASTERS——————————— 41
FORMER CONTINENTS———————— 48
GHOSTS—SEVENFOLD NATURE OF MAN—64
DEVACHAN AND BIRTH ———————76
SOME PROBLEMS ——————————90
SOME MORE PROBLEMS ———————98
THINGS WORTH KNOWING——————113
MORE THINGS WORTH KNOWING———125
WHAT MIGHT BE ——————————142
THIS third edition of “Because—” For the Children Who Ask Why is again put forth in response to the steady and insistent demand for it ever since the first edition, in 1916, appeared as a pioneer in books dealing specifically with pure Theosophy for children. The second and much larger edition has proved even more attractive than the first, and that text is now unchanged. Whereas the book was originally intended to be a guide to parents in imparting Theosophical ideas to children, it has been found to appeal directly to the children themselves: they read and love the book, and so it is published particularly for them. Meantime, the parents and teachers are being served by The Teacher’s Manual and Guide to The Eternal Verities, in which the, history of the work of Theosophy School for children is given, methods discussed, and supplementary reading suggested. The Eternal Verities also, in its present form of Lessons, Songs and Stories, all developed in consonance with the Three Fundamental
Propositions of H. P. Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine, is for the direct use
of children, and therefore a companion volume to “Because.”
These books are important for children, since the cycle of the Theosophical Movement has now something less than thirty-three years to complete before the new centenary impulsion will come. Those now children will be, it is hoped, Companions to the Teacher, and to all the great Souls embodied in that cycle. What, then, could be of more moment than that they know the fundamentals of Their philosophy; that in their hearts they hold the noble example and practise the precepts of Those who worked in the nineteenth century effort?
This book is intended to honor Her who brought the Message of Theosophy from the Great Teachers and Friends of Humanity—Madame H. P. Blavatsky; to give grateful recognition to her colleague and faithful friend, who demonstrated the application of the Message—W. Q. Judge; and to acknowledge the debt to Robert Crosbie, who, ever pointing to the Predecessors, taught among many others, the student now “passing on” what is contained in this simple book.
FOR THE CHILDREN WHO ASK WHY
DOROTHY and Milton Stewart were two very forlorn and miserable little people, as they sat with their father, riding on the train to Aunt Eleanor’s house. Things had been all so strange and wrong since their mother went to bed. They could not see her, and someone was always saying, “Hush !” if they spoke much above a whisper. Even when they tried to be quiet, looking at their books, one was sure to fall most unexpectedly, so that they jumped and made more noise than ever. And now, after all their trying, Mother had gone away without kissing them good-bye—gone on a long, long journey, their father had said, to get rested and well.
Father always was quiet and grave when Mother wasn’t home, but now—seemed as if he just completely forgot that they were with him at all. Freddy Baker’s mother had come down to the train to see them off, and she cried and hugged them up and called them “Poor little dears !” which was just the way they felt. Someway, a lump seemed to be right where they swallowed, all the time, and it didn’t go away even when they saw out of the car window the cutest little
red colts kick up their heels and run away from the train back into the pasture.
Finally, Milton dropped off to sleep, and knew no more till he opened his eyes looking into Aunt Eleanor’s rosy face. Then he knew he felt better, and smiled up at her. Aunt Eleanor kept him under one mothering arm, and Dorothy under the other, all the way to her house, in the carriage—and it felt so good. And when Father said they were going to stay with Aunt Eleanor now, while Mother was away, they knew they would choose to be with her before anybody else but their own sweet mother. Father would come and stay with them, too, after a while, he promised, but for now they were content just to look at Aunt Eleanor’s bright face and to feel that she loved them.
Such good friends and chums they got to be with Aunt Eleanor, as the days went by! Some-way, she never was impatient when they asked her why—and there were so many whys! That is the reason some of their talks together are written down here. Every little boy and girl has many whys, and perhaps Dorothy and Milton have found the answers for those very whys. Who knows?
ONE Sunday morning Milton ran in to Aunt Eleanor from the yard where he and
Dorothy had been playing “catch.” Chester, the boy next door, had called out to
them, “You’d better stop playing ball on Sunday. God doesn’t want you to. It’s
bad—and he’ll punish you, if you do.”
Milton had replied—”Well, who’s God? Is he a policeman?”
“Bigger’n that,” said Chester. “And he made the whole world and everything.”
“H’m—well, who made God?” was Milton’s question.
Chester said—”I’ve got to go now.” As he turned toward the house, Milton whispered to Dorothy: “I just think I’ll go ask Aunt Eleanor about this God man of Chester’s.”
Dorothy said: “I guess there must be some God, anyway. I heard Papa and Mamma talking about God one day, and they said they didn’t want to tell us about the kind of a God they had had taught to them, and we’d better find out about such things for ourselves.”
“Well, I guess it must be time to find out now, sister. Do you believe it’s wrong to play ‘catch’
Sunday because somebody says so? Aunt Eleanor will know, if anybody does.”
Aunt Eleanor was reading when he came in, but she put her book down when she saw Milton’s face all one eager question mark.
“What is it now, Son?” she smiled at him.
“Why, Aunt Eleanor, Chester says God will punish us if we play ball on Sunday. Please, is it wrong to play ball on Sunday—and who is God, anyway ?“
“One at a time,” laughed Aunt Eleanor. “Especially as your last question might be answered forever and not be done. But now, let’s see—before we answer your first question, can’t we find out what is doing right—and what is doing wrong?
“That is really a big question in itself, Milton. It is easy to say—what is true—that what harms no one in the world can not be wrong; and to say, what helps and serves all others, oneself included, must be right. But, in the end, everyone has to decide for himself what his own actions must be, and, often what would be quite wrong for one person in his place would be quite right for another in his. So, it can’t be the matter of a day, Sunday or any other day, that makes right or wrong, can it?”
“No, I see that, Auntie. But, why does Chester pick out Sunday to be so ‘specially good in?”
“Well, it is supposed by most so-called ‘Christian’ people that there was a great Being who made the world in six days, and rested on the seventh. And so they, too, spent the seventh day in rest, or rather in worshipping this Being whom they called God. Believing this, the wickedest people have been known to cease from their particular sins at twelve o’clock Saturday night, and return to them again promptly twenty-four hours after, because of their fear of punishment by ‘God,’ if they practised this sin on the Sabbath!
“But, as a matter of fact, no one
Being created our wonderful earth, out of nothing, as some people think.
The earth is made up of myriads of beings of many kinds and degrees; besides,
there are the human beings who people it. And it took all these beings together
millions and billions of years to make the earth as we see it; or, we might say,
for the earth to become—to grow as it is. In all these many years of
becoming, there were times, like ours of day and night—now, when there was much
action going on, as by day, and, following it, a time of equal length,
like our night, when no action went on. Sabbath means, really, a period of rest
equal to the day of action before it. So, if we were doing strictly as the Bible
indicates, we should work seven days and rest another seven! The people who
worshipped this ‘God,’ such as Chester’s is, simply misunderstood the Bible
story, and felt they were doing after God’s
example to take the seventh day for rest and worship. Some day, I must surely
tell you more of how worlds are made, for it is a wonderful story.
“The one day taken for rest Out of all the seven, however, is a great help to all of us. Thousands of people do nothing but drudge except for that one day. And it is wise to do then things not done the rest of the week. So, we get a change, and freshened up for the ordinary daily round of duties. But, any act, done any day, for the good of all others, is right; while doing it on Sunday makes it neither more right nor more wrong. Only, see, when we come back to Chester! If Chester played ball on Sunday, when he thinks it is wrong, when it would be a cause of disturbance to his parents who also think it wrong—why, of course, he would be doing wrong to play. The same act would not be wrong for you in your place, because you know it does not annoy those who are taking care of you, and who even prefer that you should take that exercise.”
“Then God doesn’t have the say of what’s right or wrong, Auntie ?“
“Well, now, you see, we have to know what God is. I said each one must decide for himself what is right or wrong. Each one must think for himself. Each one really is a Thinker—a Perceiver—looking on all things, yet himself the same Perceiver, the same one who thinks. That is the only God we can ever know, who can ever punish
us. It’s not a God outside. We ourselves—those Perceivers—are really God. We punish ourselves—we reward ourselves—whether we realize it or not—and we cannot escape either the reward or the punishment. Especially must we never forget that it’s the same God in every person we know or meet or hear of.”
“But is it always there, Aunt Eleanor? Did I have it when I was a baby, and will I have it next year just the same as now
“It is always and always, dear. You don’t have it, because it’s really what you are. Aren’t you Milton, just the same now that you were when you were a baby? And next year, you won’t be anyone else but Milton, will you? You’ll know more then than you do now, of course, but the Milton who knows the more is just the same Milton who can know ten times as much and still be the same Milton.”
“But I’ll be taller then, Aunt Eleanor, and stronger?”
“Your body will, dear child. But I’m trying to tell you you are not that body. Don’t you see, you can’t be, because if you were, you would be somebody else when you got into long trousers? And in fact, there won’t be a bit of your body as it is now in the body you will have when that time comes.”
“But why does my body change so?”
“Well, dear, do you know there
is nothing under the sun that does not change excepting that one thing which you
are—that one thing Dorothy is—the one thing I am—and everyone else is. I say, it
is the Perceiver. And there is another name others call it—Consciousness—God,
indeed; only you see, it is not at all the large-sized man-God that Chester
thinks. It is really this God—this Consciousness—this Perceiver—this Inner part
of ours that makes the changes in our bodies. We do not realize it—but it is
That which causes everything to be done.”
“Does That tell us what is the right thing to eat? Is it—when we want something so awfully our mouths water—That tells us?”
“Exactly. If our tastes are not dulled by artificial foods. And our bodies are made from the food we eat. It is really a wonderful story— how the little thinkers all through our bodies set about their work and do it for us. People call them cells, and membranes, and tissues, and many other things, but they, too, are Thinkers in their way.”
“Oh, Auntie, do you mean everything is a Thinker ?“
“Everything, dear, in the wide, wide world. Only there are different kinds of thinking. The stone doesn’t think as much as the plant, you see. The plant doesn’t think as much as the animal ‘thinks,’ and not even the most intelligent
animal thinks as you do, dear, because it doesn’t know it is thinking. It
doesn’t know, for instance, even that it is an animal and that you are a
“But won’t he sometime ever know ?“
“Not ‘ he,’ for, you see, there isn’t any ‘ he’ there! A ‘he’ could say, ‘I am’; and if it could say, ‘I am an animal,’ it wouldn’t be an animal!”
“Oh, my, then, Aunt Eleanor, what is an animal, anyway ?“
“That is a deeper question than many people suppose, Milton. But let us take it this way: we all live in a universe of Life, and there is, indeed, no better word for ‘God’ than Life. In this universe of Life are many grades, just as in a school, and calling the mineral kingdom the first grade, there are even forms of life not yet able to enter that grade; calling human beings the last grade, there are beings who have gone even beyond that! In between the first and last grades comes the animal grade, that is, there is Life moving and acting in animal forms. And, sometime, the Life in the animal forms will enter the human grade; though the animal grade will be there just the same, into which the Life may advance from the vegetable grade. So, when we say animal, I think we mean a form of life, with all the intelligence of the lower grades, and the additional power of being able to move where it wants to. The stone doesn’t move of itself, you know, and the plant must stay
its root, but the animal is not confined in its motion.”
“Why, their bodies can move around just as our bodies do, can’t they?”
“Yes, but their ‘minds’ can’t move about as our minds can. They can’t think, for instance, of doing something next week, or of what they did last month.”
“Then it’s the mind-motion that makes us different from animals? Then the ‘God’ in us is just the same God or Life as in the animals, only in us It knows it knows?”
“Yes, that is the whole story of Life, dear— the ever growing, the ever becoming something bigger and better and wiser. But enough ‘mind- motion’ on such deep things for this time, son. Now, run and play. Boys and girls need to keep their ‘animal’ motion going, too, if they would be happy and healthy and wise.”
MODES OF CONSCIOUSNESS.
and Milton were not beyond the joy
of mud pies, and only the next day after their
learning from Aunt Eleanor that everything in its way is a Thinker, as their practised fingers moulded the most luscious pumpkin pies, Dorothy burst out:
“Why, Milton, do you suppose even these wee bits of grains of sand think? How can they?”
“Well, if everything thinks, they must some-way Oh, Aunt Eleanor,” he called, as he spied her turning in at the gate.
“Yes, indeed, dear,” she answered, slipping into the garden chair near by. “Of course, the grain of sand thinks in a very small kind of way, and gets so very little experience and knowledge, as compared with a human being’s ! It’s really just this rubbing up against other grains of sand that is its knowing—its living. And take a rock— made up of many such tiny particles that to us seem so solid and quiet, men of science have found that all these particles are in constant rapid motion about some central point. Every point is a thinker; every particle has its own consciousness. And in that very rock beautiful crystals form. This amethyst Stone in my ring is a higher kind
thinking in some stone. Out of rocks grow lichens—the first of the
vegetable world. Growing toward the sun and light is the way vegetables think.
It isn’t so hard to see how animals think, of course, because we see how they
are wise against danger to themselves, and how they take care of their young.”
“But Aunt Eleanor, if a little baby lamb got lost, and suddenly saw a wolf that it had never seen before—would it know the wolf was dangerous ?“ questioned Dorothy.
“Yes, indeed. I think, were you near by to watch, you would see it tremble a great deal, and try to run on its wobbly legs. Something inside— what we call instinct—would tell it the danger. Because other sheep and lambs before it had suffered from the cruelty of wolves, that knowledge became a part of the knowledge, or nature, of all lambs. When you are older, I can explain to you just why, but now it is enough to see that in the little lamb, the instinct is much the same thing as in you, that which knows right from wrong, without someone else first telling you; That’s your Thinker, isn’t it? Some call it Conscience—as well as intuition.”
“Oh, Aunt Eleanor, was that it when I didn’t go to ride with that man who offered me all that nice candy? I wanted the candy, and I wanted to go to ride, and you weren’t here to ask, and he said he wouldn’t be gone long—but I just felt Un-
comfortable to do it. So I ran quick as ever I could into the house and told
Norah to lock the door.”
“Surely something inside told you, Dorothy girl, just as it did the lamb when the wolf appeared—that there was danger. It may well be that you know a great deal inside that you will gradually rediscover as time goes on. Many times you have had new bodies on this earth—bodies that grew up, grew old and died—while you went on with what you had learned, to take other bodies for learning more.”
“But Auntie, were we once somebody else?” asked Dorothy, perplexedly.
“No, never anyone but yourself—nor ever will be—though you have had different names and different kinds of bodies. Always the ‘I’, the Thinker, the Perceiver is the same forever and ever. The ‘I’ simply uses that body as an instrument for learning, just as we use a telescope to see the stars with. So it is the ‘I’ that really has the knowledge and experience of all the bodies it ever had. It is the knowledge of the ‘I’ that is intuition—a memory of past lives, whether or not we can remember them in our brains. We don’t remember in our brains even all that happened a week ago—perhaps, not all that happened yesterday. Just try it out tonight when you go to bed, younkits, and see if you can remember everything that happened and that you thought of
today! How could we expect to remember in a brain we never had before this life,
then, all that happened in a past life?
“But, you will find that what we do remember of any day is what we felt strongly—what we loved, and what we hated, what was joy and what was pain—what we were really conscious of; because, no matter what goes on around us, if we don’t see it or know it, it is not a part of our experience. Those experiences that make us think and feel are what make up the knowledge of the ‘I’, that goes on from life to life.”
“Oh, but I wish you could tell us about some other of the bodies we have had. Won’t you, Auntie, some day?”
“That, dears, I cannot do—but I will gladly tell you many things that explain why you have just these bodies as they are now. Why, it is getting late !“ she stopped in surprise. “We must hurry to get those muddy little hands washed in time for tea.”
FOR two days it rained fast and hard every minute, so that Dorothy and Milton had to stay in the house, quite as much prisoners as was Robinson Crusoe on his desert isle. Surely Crusoe could not have rejoiced more to see the sail than the children did, when on the third day the clouds broke, and a fresh wind scudded them out of the way to let the sun through. Not many minutes passed in getting on coats and caps and rubbers ready to go with Aunt Eleanor to see the swollen river in the arroyo. All three of them fairly bounded along in their joy to be out again in the fresh sweet air. The birds, too, were glad, and singing away on the telephone wires and fences. And, oh, how fine the river was when they reached it at last after a scramble down the banks all soft and slidey from the rain! To be sure, the water was noisy and muddy, and carried with it all sorts of debris—but to watch it all and hear it was enough entertainment to make up for the long indoor exile. On the way home, too, they discovered several little ponds made by the rain— quiet and clear enough to reflect the clouds sailing by.
“Throw in a stone, Milton,” said
Aunt Eleanor, “and let’s watch what happens. There—see how the circles spread
out wider and wider from where the stone dropped in. Now they have reached the
shore. Wait—see them go back again—back—ever smaller—to where the stone first
dropped! Do you know, that is always just what happens when any stone is thrown
by anyone into any pond? The stone makes a point of disturbance—from which
ripples go forth and return again to it. The falling of the stone is the cause
of the ripples—the ripples are the effect of that cause. If you will remember
just how and why it happened this time, you will have learned the most important
law anyone can ever know—no matter how wise or powerful he may be. When you are
older, indeed, you will learn to say it like this: ‘Action and reaction are
equal and in opposite directions.’ Out to the shore was action of the water,
back again to the same place from which it started was reaction. But the most
interesting thing about this law is that it acts not only where we can see it,
but it acts everywhere and all the time, and more where we don’t see it than
where we see plainly. It works inside us just the same as everywhere else
outside. It is this law that we name Karma.”
“Tell us how it works inside, Auntie,” asked Dorothy, as they then walked on.
“Well, let us suppose that some
little girl became angry at her brother and pushed him off the step—that he
stumbled and fell and received an injury to his back which made him lame all his
life. It would seem as if the little girl got no bad reaction to herself from
her anger; but, of course, she did, for she never could escape from the sorrow
of having so harmed her brother.”
“If her brother had been teasing her though, and pulling her hair, maybe, wouldn’t she be right in getting angry?”
“No. A wise man once said: ‘There is no such thing as righteous indignation.’ Nothing that anyone does or says should stir us to anger. If we see to it that we do the right and kind thing by others, and remember it is only our own conduct we need to criticize, I someway think that other people would soon find little charm in trying to annoy us. If they find we cannot be annoyed, they’ll stop trying that kind of fun.”
“But the little boy, Auntie how did he deserve so much punishment for just teasing his sister?”
“That is one of those ways for reaction harder to see, isn’t it? Well,—he did deserve it some way—no doubt of that. You see law would not be law if it would work in some places and not in others. There is no happening—no accident— really. Nothing merely happens—but it comes about under law. It may be that this little boy was born with a tendency to annoy others. It
may be that in some other body he had lived in before, he had cruelly teased
some unfortunate person so that it resulted in a lasting harm. If that were so,
you can see he deserved similar suffering, can’t you ?“
“Oh, but so long ago, Auntie, seems as if he might be excused, mightn’t he?”
“And who would excuse him, dear? No one but himself can excuse him. But even if some other could and did, do you suppose he would have learned his lesson as well as he has to when he himself meets the consequences of what he sees to be wrong acts? The law often seems to us cruel, but it is only just and merciful, you can see, if you remember we are in life and in bodies to learn—to become wise—and then to teach others who know less than we do and who make more mistakes. There are the same lessons for us all to learn, but some learn more quickly than others.”
“Oh, yes, Auntie. Why, you know Willie Robbins at school seems never to get his lesson in Geography, even when Miss Dole gives him an extra half hour just for that! Why is he so slow, Auntie?”
“Dear me, younkits—here we are at home,” laughed Aunt Eleanor. “We’ll have to postpone the case of Willie Robbins, won’t we ?“
and Milton had started a real
vegetable garden in Aunt Eleanor’s back yard. Dorothy was raising radishes and
cucumbers, and Milton was growing onions and string beans. Aunt Eleanor had been
a faithful ally and adviser, and the children spent many a busy hour digging and
weeding and watering and cultivating. They remembered seeing Mother and Father
tending flower beds, but they themselves had never grown things before.
“Aunt Eleanor,” exclaimed Dorothy one day, busy with her trowel, “do you remember that big flower bed Mamma had once, all clear white petunias in the middle, with a border of red petunias? Milton and I loved to watch that bed. Such tiny mites of seed Mamma sprinkled on the soft soil, and so many tiny plants came up ! They grew so fast that almost before we knew it, the buds had come, and there were lovely, sweet, white blossoms, and the richest red ones. But when fall came, Jack Frost killed the plants and they were all carried away and burned. Next spring Mamma didn’t make a garden, but the petunias came up just the same as if they had been planted.”
“Were they just the same, Dorothy ?“ queried Aunt Eleanor. “Were they just as large as they were the years before, and were all the blossoms in the middle pure white, and all pure red on the border?”
“No, Auntie, I know they were smaller because they had no care, but I wanted to ask you why were some of the blossoms in the middle of the bed next time pink, and some with little red spots?”
“Well, Dorothy,” said Aunt Eleanor, “do you know the answer to that question will help us with the one you asked yesterday about Willie Robbins? For just fancy that you and I and all of us are seeds, like the petunia seeds—we, the Thinkers, I mean. We come into the world in babies’ forms—tiny plants—that grow up and blossom into manhood and womanhood, that grow old, and wither and die—and like the dead petunia plants, become ashes again. But we, the seeds, still live; and when the soil and season are right, we enter other tiny baby forms, grow up, and bloom with a little different color, or fragrance, because beside us, there were other plants, or persons, who influenced us for better or for worse— just as the white petunias were tinged with the color of the red ones growing beside them. In their petunia way, they gained knowledge of their neighbor’s ways and it must be, too, that some of the red ones gained knowledge of their white
neighbors, and when their seed sent up fresh plants, these still kept the
knowledge that the past petunia life had gained.
“When I was a little girl, I remember reading with delight the story of a drop of water. It was drawn by the sun’s rays out of the ocean, carried in a cloud over the spreading country to a mountain top, there fell on loose earth, trickled down a ledge to a tiny brook, with that traveled through meadow and forest to a river, and then by towns and cities back again to the ocean. Again it was drawn up by the sun into clouds, and this time fell down in a city street, found a stream in the gutter where merry boys were sailing boats, finally found itself in a long, dark pipe, and again when day came, it was once more at home in the ocean.
“Even a drop of water is a Thinker in its way, has its own knowledge and experience. But it doesn’t know it is a drop of water; it doesn’t know it does service when it frees some insect from a perilous position, or refreshes a forget-me-not. Men and women—all human beings—know that they are human beings, know when they are doing service, and only in that are they different from all the other beings and lives in the world. The same laws govern us that govern the plant and the drop of water. We take the same kind of a life journey to learn about men and things and ourselves, and to help others like us and all
below us—and we come again and again until we have learned all that this earth
can teach us— until we have given all the service that it needs.
“Now sometimes we neglect our duties. For that we have to pay. In school, if you do not study, you do not learn. In life, it is the same, and if we do not learn the lesson in one life, we have to take up the same lesson in another body. Some people are born with brighter minds than others; they have earned promotion to that sort of mind they have. And then some Thinkers have lived in more bodies than have others, and so some people seem wiser than others; just as children in the eighth grade seem wiser than children in the second.
“Well, then, may we not imagine that Willie Robbins has had less opportunity to gain experience in previous lives, or that sometime he neglected his opportunities to learn, so that now his task is more difficult? Anyway, he has just the kind of a mind he has earned, and he can train it, and earn a better mind both in this life, and in other lives he has to live. But those who now have brighter minds are not excused from helping him the more; he gives us in turn our opportunity to be of service. We can most help those who know less than we know, and if we refuse that help, or ridicule a stupid person, we may quite likely earn a less active mind ourselves in some other life.
“I think there is nothing we should all hold in our minds more carefully than this: We are to learn our lessons well, not in order to surpass someone else, to gain some prize, but that we may be the better able to help and teach others; learn well, because everything we have to do, we do in reality for all—for all men and creatures everywhere. They and we are all a part of the great whole, and if we learn well, we help all others to learn well, just by our own learning. That is why doing a wrong and unkind thing brings so much trouble and sorrow; whether we mean to or not, we cause disturbance to every being in the universe. If everyone really did think and act for every other one, wouldn’t it be the happy, happy world? Let’s try it, anyway—shall we?”
not until late in the
summer that Dorothy’s and Milton’s father came to see them. And before he came,
they learned why he had seemed so silent and so sad those last days at home.
They knew it was Father’s writing when they brought the letter in to Aunt
Eleanor one morning, and asked her eagerly as she opened it, “is
he coming, dear Aunt Eleanor?” Strangely enough, Aunt Eleanor seemed sad, too,
as she read, and there were tears in her eyes when she drew them to her and
said, “Yes, dears, your father will be here in just one week. Run now and play
on the joy of that.”
So they played and planned, with Father’s coming uppermost in their minds, yet wondering, too, why Aunt Eleanor was sad about it. At night, in their cosy hour before the snapping fire on the hearth, they found out.
“Father wants me to tell you, dears,” began Aunt Eleanor, softly, “that your sweet mother, as you remember her, can never come back to you from her long journey. Like the petunia plants we were talking of yesterday, her worn-out body has died and gone, and she is free from all its sufferings. It was the journey of death she took when you, dears, came to me.
“Father could not bear the pain of telling you then, nor even now.
But I think Mother’s girl and boy are wise enough and brave enough now to know,
and they love her enough to feel that they are always close to her, though they
cannot see her face. Her love for you and Father did not die with her body;
always that love of you is a part of her soul, and even now she is happy in that
love. So, too, your love for her is a part of your soul. Your love for her
doesn’t die, because her body is dead—and you can be happy in the remembrance of
the expressions of her love, and happy in the love for her you still have. Yes,
and you must try, dears, to be glad for Mother that kind Death came to her tired
body. She herself lives just as truly and even more happily.
“If you were to leave me. now and go across the hall, drawing the curtains, together so that I could no longer see you, you would not love me less, dears? I should miss you from my side, but still you would love me, and I you. So it is with Mother. Your bodies form a curtain through which she cannot look, because she has not your sort of a body to see through any longer—but she loves you just the same, for love doesn’t need to have eyes—it only feels—and is of our very self that never dies.”
Dorothy and Milton held their heads buried deep in Aunt Eleanor’s shoulder, as she talked gently on.
“And now, you’ll soon be going to bed and to sleep. Yet you never
knew that you slept, did you, dears? You knew you were getting sleepy, but the
next thing you knew, you were, awake again. You’ve seen other people sleeping,
but you yourselves don’t know what sleeping is. It is just in the same way
Mother went to sleep in death, but she never knew death. She did
not die. She merely waked up again, without the pain and tiredness, as you might
wake up in the sweetest dream you ever had.
“When you are asleep, you don’t know anything about what is going on in the street, or downstairs, or in the very room. Your body is quiet and motionless—quite dead, really—except that when you waken, you can set it going again, like a clock that has run down and needs only winding. In sleep, we all of us for a time leave our bodies behind us, and live in other bodies of our souls. In them, we are free to do whatever we please, and we seek out our heart’s desires. Untouched by sorrow, we know and live with those we love, whether they have bodies they can waken again, or not. Each night in sleep, then, I doubt not you see and love both your father and your mother; I doubt not they both love you and delight in you and teach you to be strong and brave and true.”
“Oh, but Auntie,” sobbed Dorothy, “if in the morning we could only remember !”
“Yes, but sometimes we do. Sometimes we waken remembering a dream touch, or kiss, or. word, so real we wanted not to wake. It is the realness—the feeling of nearness—that is truly remembering, and oh, it is very sweet and precious !“
They sat then a few minutes before the fire, comforted and quiet.
Only when Aunt Eleanor tucked them in did Dorothy cry out:
“Oh, but Mamma will never tuck us in again!”
“Try not to cry, Dorothy dear. Just think that now you will lay your body down to rest, while you yourself go where Mother is. Be with her by night, even though you miss her by day. You, and not Mother, know Death, because you miss her bodily presence. Then, think, that sometime again, when you, too, have put off these bodies, like clothes that have grown ragged and old; when you, too, have had a peaceful, happy rest away from the world where everyone is doing battle to learn,—in newer, better bodies, you will have your mother again, in her newer, better body—you will know again that happiness with her, now passed away for a time. Good night, dear ones,” Aunt Eleanor murmured low, for already the tired eyes had closed, and Dorothy and Milton were far on the way to Dreamland.
WAS a red-letter day,
when at last toward its close, Dorothy’s and Milton’s father came. For a special
treat they sat curled up beside him in front of the fire, a whole hour beyond
bedtime, and then he went upstairs with them, and tucked each one into bed.
Dorothy whispered to him as he kissed her:
“It is so good to hug my dear father again.” And Milton called after him sleepily:
“Show you my new little cucumbers in the morning, Daddy.”
Had they but known it, Father joined Aunt Eleanor with more happiness in his heart than he had felt for many a day. There was a glint of amusement in his eye, when he said to her:
“I notice the kiddies didn’t have any ‘Now I lay me’ to say, Eleanor. I supposed all respectable children said their prayers.”
“Then I’m afraid your children are very disrespectable, Richard,” Aunt Eleanor answered, “because I’ve been teaching them what makes such a prayer as ‘Now I lay me,’ seem absurd. The picture of a Lord sitting on a high throne, with his hands full of children’s souls (evidently of some easily handled material of convenient size)
for which he finds a capacious pocket, in case the child doesn’t waken
again—seems to me an insult to any child’s intelligence. For the child is
a soul—a Perceiver—himself the Lord, one with the pervasive, sustaining
principle of all life and being—and the only God he can ever know, or pray to.
True prayer is really the command of that high God within to the lower nature to
become one with it. The usual prayer is a petition for something not earned nor
deserved. As if the law of our own being could be suspended at our
“By the way, I tried to transpose those little verses one day, so as to suggest the right thought on going to sleep. I didn’t have very good luck, for it needs a poet, but I’ll repeat them to you, and maybe you can catch the idea.
lay my body down to sleep,
The while my soul doth vigil keep.
My body lies all still the night,
My soul goes free in lands of light.
“O, what I learn, may I bring back
To guide upon this daily track
Of love and duty, joy and pain—
And so God’s service I maintain.
“You see, Richard, that makes clear our continuous existence—that we are not our bodies, and that while our bodies sleep, our souls have a life
of their own, in which they may receive, or give, help and instruction. I don’t know how many souls would have the courage to go on, were it not for this life of the soul in sleep, which sustains them in the trials in the body. Even criminals have respite from wickedness in sleep, and therein is always a seed for their reformation.”
“Very interesting, Eleanor. But did you make away with the Lord’s
Prayer so easily?”
“Richard, do you realize that is the one prayer that Jesus gave, and that his command was to pray ‘in secret’? If you wish, I will explain that to you, too, as I did to the children. For, in spite of the injunction of Jesus, it is the custom in the churches, as you know, and in the school which the children attend, to repeat it in unison at the opening of the session. I felt that if they had to conform to the rules of the school in that respect, they should, at least, know what they were doing. I told them that while many people say it, few understand what it means—that when they repeated it with others, I hoped they would remember its true meaning. ‘Our Father which art in Heaven’ means that God within, which we are. (‘The Kingdom of Heaven is within’ was the teaching.) ‘Hallowed be thy Name,’ is rightly translated ‘Intoned be thy Name’—such a sounding having the tendency to rouse the higher nature, and call the lower to attention. ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in
Heaven,’ means, may the will of the indwelling spirit be done in the body. For
our bodies are our earths. We couldn’t know a single thing about earth, if we
didn’t have bodies to learn through. ‘Give us this day our daily bread,’ means,
may we receive spiritual food from our higher aspirations. ‘Forgive us our
debts, as we forgive our debtors,’ means—realizing that all men are the same in
kind, let us not judge or condemn any other. ‘Thine be the glory’ is again a
harking back to the one Reality—the real part of us-from the basis of which, and
for which, every action should proceed. The ‘Amen’ is really that sounded ‘Word’
again, which you often see written in Eastern writings—and occurs in ‘The Light
of Asia’ as Om—the Sanscrit word, standing for that God within, the Self of all
things and creatures. It is really the mechanical repetition of
such prayers that makes people forget That in themselves which is deeper and
holier than any words or prayers.”
“H’m—well, it’s reasonable, anyway. So go ahead as far as you like with the kiddies. Maybe they’ll be teaching me some day. Who knows ?“
“Well, man begins to be the God he is, in reality, when he sees that his good actions are the only ‘priests’ he needs, and that only his sinful, selfish thoughts and desires are the sacrifices called for by that Presence within himself.”
“Yes, I’m pretty sure, if I’d known these
things at their age, I shouldn’t have been the poor, scared little rabbit that I
was then. Why, do you know, Eleanor, that idea of a God watching me every
minute, ready to pounce on me with a big stick, if I didn’t do the right thing,
made me a little cringing coward !
“They couldn’t tell me God was ‘good,’ if he was a-nagging like that with his eyes all the time. And the very thought that God took care of me while I slept made me feel there was something awful to be afraid of, if he had to be so careful as all that. Of course, as I grew older, I saw that such a God was no friend to any man, but I did know that I suffered if I did wrong, and concluded that if I did the best I could, it was all the wisest being could expect of me. At least, I can say, I haven’t been a coward since I gave up the idea of God as an extra-sized, powerful man- being.”
“You are fortunate, Richard, for it seems to me there are a great many grown-up cowards in the world, because they still believe in that bogey man-God. They are afraid to die, and afraid to live, afraid of their fellow-men, afraid all the time of what may happen to their precious bodies
—which are in reality not themselves at all. Of course, fear always comes from ignorance, and it is the most pitiable ignorance not to know that all beings are in essence that one Supreme Reality— a great chain of Brotherhood down to the small-
est atom; that only the law of our own deathless, eternal being metes out
justice,—reward, or punishment; that the purpose of life is to learn, it matters
not under what conditions. Indeed, the only thing we have to fear is doing wrong
“But you must be” tired, Richard, after your journey. I mustn’t talk you from your rest.”
“No, really, Eleanor,” he answered, as he went upstairs, “I’m rested already, as if I’d been breathing fresh air. Good night.”
HOW WORLDS BEGAN
Father’s coming, the days were much
happier for Dorothy and Milton. Every morning they walked with him to the Bank
where he was busy all day, and it was not long after four o’clock, when he was
ready to go home with them. Then they all worked in the garden together, or as
the short colder days came on, read, and talked, and played games indoors with
him and Aunt Eleanor. Sometimes they hurried Father home very fast, as on the
night when Aunt Eleanor was to tell them before dinner how worlds were made.
Milton had been eagerly thinking about it for some time, and so he said to his
father as he skipped along:
“Daddy, this town wasn’t always here, was it?”
“Nor this state, nor this America?”
“Then, there must have been a time when there wasn’t any world, either ?“
“Well, Daddy, where were we when there wasn’t an earth to live on?”
“We always were, Daddy, so we must have been somewhere,” broke in
“How do you know that we always were, little girl?” asked her father.
“Well, you see, Daddy, we can’t think ourselves as nothing’. We can think that the whole world and everybody in it is burned and there is nothing to see but just darkness. Only who is looking at the darkness? We are, aren’t we? We just are, that’s all.”
“You’re quite right, daughter,” Father answered, as they went into the house, “and I fancy that Aunt Eleanor will answer Milton’s question in her story, tonight.”
“Yes,” Aunt Eleanor began, “we ourselves, the Perceivers,—we, only—never had a beginning. Every town, or city, or country, or continent, or world had its beginning, and will have its ending. And there have been many worlds before this we now live in that began, and grew, decayed, and perished—to be born again as other worlds.
“Our Moon that we see in the sky is just an old dead world, where we once lived, but came away from because there was no more for us to learn there. The life that was on the Moon has now another body in this Earth. The learned men whom we call astronomers say that there is no atmosphere on the Moon—that is, no air like ours in which beings such as we are could live.
But, at the same time, it is a kind of pull from the Moon on our Earth that makes the tides of the ocean! So, while there is life of a kind on the Moon, it is like the life of a slowly decaying dead body: the breath of life has left it, and its particles are leaving it all the time. By the time we get ready to leave our Earth, the Moon will have entirely gone to dust, while our Earth, or planet, will be a Moon to the next new Earth we shall build.
“We have our days and nights; planets have their days and nights. When we die, we have a longer night time; planets have their longer night times; even the whole Universe itself has a day and a night. Let us suppose that we are in the night time of the Universe.”
“Oh, yes, Auntie,
where would we be?” asked Milton, eagerly.
“Where are we when we are asleep? We are not using these outer bodies that we see, though we do use other finer bodies, and awaken to use these outer bodies again next day. So in the night of the Universe, we are not using any of the bodies we had use of in its daytime. In that one state, we share the knowledge all other beings have brought into it. We are not separate from each other any more—the finest bodies we ever had are blended in one substance—we are all Perceivers, with nothing outside our own inner na-
ture to perceive, resting in the Great Darkness, until the Great Day.
“So, Milton, you see, there isn’t any ‘where’ at all—we aren’t in any place—we just are! And when the Great Day comes, we each come out again, clothed in new bodies, and separately take up our tasks again in a different world. Long, long thoughts, aren’t they, dears? And many wiser than you would not say they comprehend them clearly.
“Well, let us just fancy that we are looking on at this Great Darkness. Somewhere in it all, by and by, we should see a point of light appear. ing, then other points, which soon would begin to collect other drops of light, as a snowball gathers snow, then to whirl around in a fiery misty cloud that yet is cold. This misty cloud is what is called in these days, nebulous matter. In Latin, the word ‘nebula’ means cloud. You can see it any bright night in the sky in what I have pointed out to you as ‘The Milky Way.’ And you can just think of what you are looking at, that it, too, maybe, is getting ready to make a new world in the great Universe.
“As this cloudy, misty cold fire whirls round and round, it grows thicker and brighter with the motion—for at first it was thinner even than air— and it becomes thick as water. Then, when the outside of the ball cools off, and hardens, we have earth, though inside it is so very hot that it actual-
boils over, and makes mountains and valleys on that cooling earth crust—as you
see them on your relief maps at school.”
“And then, right off, Auntie, were there trees and flowers just as there are now?” asked Dorothy.
“Oh, no,” Aunt Eleanor went on. “When this globe of ours was very new, it was covered with water—quite warm water, too, and the plants and animals growing in it were tremendous, larger than anything you can imagine. And the men were like giants—not like people, as they look now—but globular in shape—without bones—and almost transparent, like jelly. Man began to have bones eighteen million years ago.
“It’s hard to imagine such a long time, isn’t it, even if one should be a hundred years old? And wouldn’t it seem foolish if we could live only those few years on an earth so very, very old? But we have lived on it thousands of lives, you see, in other bodies we have had.
“Well, it took many millions of years for the earth to get cool and hard and small as it is now, with men and animals all smaller to fit it. In all that time, you must remember, the globe has gone through many changes. We belong to the Fifth Great Race of people who have lived on it, and after we have learned all we can from it as it is, there will come floods, and earthquakes, that will send mountains down into the sea and bring up
land that once belonged to a continent now buried there, and there will be a new
continent. Something of the sort is going on by degrees all the time. You
remember that there have been terrible floods and earthquakes all over the
world. And especially in Japan, since January, 1914. Since that time the
depression in the ocean floor near Japan which formerly could be reached by
sounding has been found to be apparently bottomless. Possibly that fact is not
unconnected with another one; about a mile from the coast of California a
mountain range is coming slowly to the surface of the ocean. It has risen more
than 2000 feet in the last few years. Where once its tops could not be reached
at 1200 fathoms, now they are sounded at 300 fathoms. The land ‘growing’ around
Hawaii, too, may be a part of that same continent to be.
“The really great change will not come, however, till the axis of the earth tips so that it will make summer where now is winter, and winter where summer is now. All that is so far away in the vast future that it does not profit us to think of it—only it explains why bones of tropical animals and tropical plants are found up in Greenland.
“But before that new great continent comes up out of the ocean for the great Sixth Race to dwell upon, there are two divisions, called subraces, of the Fifth Great Race yet to come. The
sixth sub-race is even now beginning to form here in America, though it will be
16,000 years before it has fully arrived. Then, too, there will be many changes
in lands and waters. That race in another 25,000 years will be preparing for the
next sub-race, the seventh and last of the Fifth Great Race. Then when the
seventh sub-race is through, Nature will begin her spring housecleaning and get
ready for the company of the Sixth Great Race. She’ll take ample time to do it,
too, I assure you. Nature is never in a hurry. Even now on the earth the
majority of mankind belongs to the seventh sub-race of the Fourth Great Race.
(Chinamen are some of these.) There are some remnants, indeed, of the seventh
sub-race of the Third Great Race—as the Tasmanians, and Veddahs of Ceylon.
“I think, someway, if we are always mindful of how big life is—how long our world has existed—in how many bodies and races we ourselves have lived before—how everything in the vast world is ever changing, and only we ourselves—the Perceivers—remain unchanged to see all the changes—it will be easier for us to be unselfish—to act so that we may be helpful in all the works and changes of Nature—and helpful of all our brothers who live and learn through them all.”
And then Norah called them to dinner, so that the questions must wait for the morrow.
began Milton at the breakfast table next morning, “I don’t see how anyone can
know about the world as it was millions of years ago, when it has been destroyed
so many times. Please, where did you find out about it, and how do you know that
it’s all true?”
“Well, dear, you learn from me, don’t you, because I know more than you do? Just so, I have learned from those older and wiser than I. There is always someone to learn from, and always someone to teach.”
“Oh, Auntie,” broke in Dorothy, “I was thinking about that—and who was there to teach when this world began? Weren’t all the people new like the earth ?“
“They all had new bodies on the new earth, Dorothy. But, you see, they had all had other bodies on other earths. So the first Teachers on this earth were those who when the Moon was an earth like this, had grown to be the wisest of men, and were able to choose to come to the new earth to help and teach those who already had been their younger brothers.”
“Are those Teachers still on earth, Auntie?” asked Milton.
“Some are, surely. They are wherever they can best help. Some again may
have been needed on other earths than this, and have passed over the work of
this earth to other Teachers, whose wisdom is also great. Wherever they may be,
they are where they are most needed—because they are wise. And we must always
remember that just as these Masters of ‘Wisdom are wiser than we, so we are
wiser than the savages of Africa; just as those Masters of Wisdom help us,
although we do not see them, so we, by unselfish thoughts and deeds help them.
In helping them we help as well the African savage, the animal in the forest,
and the very grain of sand upon the shore. We are all climbing up the great
stair. way of Life, and the higher each one goes, the higher rung he leaves for
those below him to climb upon.”
“Then, Auntie, seems as if it doesn’t matter if we are rich and famous, but only if we know how to help others. Is that it?”
“Surely, Milton. All the riches and fame in the world are useless, if they are not used to help others. Riches and fame are not wrong in themselves, but wrong in that they have been gained selfishly—in that they are used selfishly. If we are trying to serve, instead of to be served, we may not be very famous, and we may not be very rich, but we’ll know what riches cannot buy. Such knowledge these Elder Brothers have.
“You asked me, Milton, how anyone can know about earth as it was
millions of years ago. Those wise Elder Brothers have kept the records of those
times, and of all the races that have perished or still exist on the earth.”
“Why, did they have books then, Auntie, just like those we have now ?“ asked Dorothy.
“Their books did not look like ours, you must understand. Sometimes the records were written on metal discs, on waxen tablets, on palm leaves, on stone. You could not read them, no matter if you can read in the Fourth Reader, for they are written in the signs of a language no longer used, which great scholars can read only after many years of labor and study. Usually these records have been preserved in caves under the ground—cut in the rock—even under vast stretches of desert sand, that have piled over buried cities. For while many cities and many races have perished—there have always been some left as witness, some to guard the ancient records until the time comes for men to use them wisely. Then the Elder Brothers send a Teacher into the world to teach a suitable portion of what these records hold—and more, to those who are ready—or worthy.
“As you grow older, you will find the names of these Teachers with every race in history. It is only about fifty years ago since They sent the last Teacher. She was known in the world as
Madame Blavatsky, and Mr. Judge helped her with her work. And, by the way,” Aunt
Eleanor paused, “all the boys and girls who knew Mr. Judge voted him their best
friend and playmate.
“Madame Blavatsky learned these ancient teachings and put them into our language for us— and she gave her whole life to make the truth plain to us. So, when you ask me, how do I know these far-away things are true, I’ll have to tell you that to me they seem to be true because they agree with many records, and all the facts I see and know. Madame Blavatsky shows me plainly how reasonable the whole universe is, and because I have found to be true many things which she said we can prove for ourselves, I trust her also to know those things that I have not yet proved for myself.”
“Madame must be the wisest one you ever knew, then, Auntie ?“ Dorothy questioned.
“Yes, dear. I couldn’t begin to make you understand how wise she was. But, anyway, the wisest men of Europe sat and listened to her— and however differently they believed, they could not contradict her.”
“But you said the Elder Brothers sent her. Why didn’t they come themselves, Auntie?”
“Well, you see, if they had come, so beautiful and perfect as they are, people would have fallen down and worshipped them, instead of seeking out the truth, and thinking for themselves. And
then the people wouldn’t have been any wiser than before, would they? They sent
one with a body such as we all have, that we should pay attention not to that
body or person, but to the lessons taught. And now, of course, after all these
years, we realize that only a Great Being could have been trusted to do that
“Where do these Elder Brothers live, Auntie ?“ asked Milton.
“Why, they live in all parts of the world, though few know just where they are. Those who taught Madame Blavatsky live beyond the high Himalayan Mountains. But it is more important that we should be learning what they gave us to learn, than to think about where they live or what they are doing. Not being very wise ourselves, we could not understand the life of such Wise Ones.”
Then Father broke in—”Should you say, Eleanor, that Jesus was one of those Elder Brothers ?“
“Surely. But isn’t it strange that when these Messengers come, there are so few to realize their greatness or to recognize them as Elder Brothers? Not even after hundreds of years do people see in the Galilean carpenter, great Teacher, of the same order as Buddha and Confucius.”
“Is there any evidence of this ?“
“All these great Teachers say the same great things to men. They all know each other; They
know the same things to be true; They come from the same place, on the same mission—to tell men those things that are true and that will lead them on to wisdom.
“People are often vain of their learning and proud, and they do not like ideas that would show their own to be wrong. Those that come to bring true ideas are not vain and proud, and because they do not sound their own trumpets, as common men do, are despised, except by a few. Then as the years go on, little by little, their ideas take hold—the old ideas are proved to be false by fresh discoveries—and men finally see that a Messenger has been among them, eager only to give true ideas, and they have not recognized him or been grateful.”
“Oh, Auntie,” Dorothy questioned, breathlessly, “supposing such a Wise Person could live with us every day, how would we know he was wise ?“
“Well, dear—not because someone else told you he was wise. You would know it by what he said. If he himself said he was wise, you would know it could not be so. All down the ages the Great Teachers never told men to look at them, but only to look at the truth they brought. Then you would study their words to see if they explained all else you already knew. For if they
were true, they would explain all things everywhere—and leave nothing out.”
Then Father jumped up and kissed them all good-bye, saying:
“I’ll have to run to the Bank to get there in time this morning. Be sure to meet me, tonight, kiddies !”
know, Auntie,” began Dorothy one
morning at breakfast, “I like my geography lessons ever so much better since you
told us how worlds began and how they change and grow. And I can see on the map
just the very places where once the land must have been that connected these
great continents and then broke off from the mainland, and I can almost imagine
the shape of the lands that used to be. Do you suppose, if I brought my
geography home, tonight, you could show us just where those continents are
buried under the sea? And tell us their names?”
“Well, dear,” answered Aunt Eleanor, “that would be fun for us all, I’m sure. Only about the names, of course, you will have to remember that we are using the language of this continent and this great race now. While there are Wise Men who know those ancient names, they know them in such different forms from any language we speak, it is useless for us to be told them. So we give these buried continents names in our language. Nor can I give you an exact map of these old continents—but just a general idea as to where land once was, and where later it was not. But it will be interesting to go over it together, after
dinner. So bring your geographies home, and I’ll hunt up a globe I have upstairs
that will help, too.”
This is the way Aunt Eleanor described those buried lands that evening, as a soft gentle rain fell outside, and made home seem a cosy nest for a bird’s-eye view of the ages.
The first land crowned the North Pole like a skull-cap, and is called “The Imperishable Sacred Land.” But Wise Men say this land is still there where it first began, and will always be there till this earth has passed away. The real North Pole of which Madame Blavatsky speaks has never yet been found,—not by Capt. Peary, not by Dr. Cooke, not by Amundsen. They have reached points in the Arctic circle, undoubtedly, but the North Pole is beyond an inland sea, far, far beyond the frozen fields of ice which they explored. Some Arctic travelers have seen that sea, but they thought it was an unreachable mirage. The ancients speak of the “Fortunate Isles” wherein is the “fountain of life,” as being in the midst of a gloomy glacial sea. Maybe, it was such old traditions that led Macmillan on his aeroplane expedition to search for a land of mild climate and great natural riches beyond an open Arctic sea. But, if the north and south poles are receptacles and liberators, as well as storehouses of the very life-blood of the Earth—its electricity
—and if, without those poles as safety valves, the surplus electricity
would have rent our Earth to pieces long ago, as H. P. B. says, it hardly seems
likely that any one of these explorers will ever reach the North Pole. What goes
on there we may only guess by the great electric Northern Lights which we call
the “Aurora Borealis.”
‘Well, then, just let us imagine that “skull-cap” as the head of the world, and that inland sea as her neck. Now we shall find the Second Continent—the “Hyperborean,” stretching out her shoulders southward and westward from the neck, and comprising the whole of what is now known as Northern Asia. You will read of this land when you come to study Ancient Greece, though the books will make you think it was only a strange fairy-tale of the Greeks. So you see, Northern Asia is the oldest land we know of in these days—and has been peopled in turn by the Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth races.
You can get a better idea of this continent from the globe here. It began on a line above the most northern part of Spitzbergen, and on the side of the Western hemisphere included lands now occupied by Baffin’s Bay, with neighboring islands and promontories. On the Eastern hemisphere it reached as far as Kamschatka. The continent was in the shape of a horseshoe, you see, —the inner edge connecting the northern part of now Greenland with the northern part of Kam-
schatka by the coasts of Eastern and Western Siberia; the lower curve of the horseshoe probably took in the southern end of Greenland and the southern part of Kamschatka. All around this horseshoe, of course, you must picture an immense ocean—from which yet other lands are to emerge, for the use of the Third Race. Their continent we will call Lemuria.
We must not suppose, though, that an old continent went down all at once, and a new one came up in the same way to take its place. The Third Continent contained some of the Second Continent mainland, and again Second Continent land became islands with bays or straits between. Then land kept emerging to the south of where you pictured the Second Continent as the shoulders of the earth; now it seems to be forming a tremendous body. Just fancy a continent big enough to include the Indian, the Atlantic, and the Pacific Oceans! See, I’ll draw lines over your map to show you its general shape. Here again we have rather of a horseshoe, the inland sea, that makes its center, covering most of Africa and Europe and the country north of the Himalayas in Asia; while there is left us most of the Second Continent land, and you see the British Isles have come out of the sea. The Australia of the present time is a remnant of that gigantic continent, which reached over to America—including part of California, Lower California and Central America.
Then, too, Alaska was not disconnected by Behring’s Strait.
Next the continent of Atlantis rises from the ocean floor, or grew, we might say, from the Atlantic portion of Lemuria, while the Pacific and Indian portions were falling to pieces. Atlantis covered the whole of the North and South Atlantic regions, portions of the North and South Pacific, and had islands even in the Indian Ocean. In fact, you see, if someone had seven-league boots, he could have walked right over from India to the Americas without wetting his feet. That is how it happens that we now have the same trees and flowers here as in the other continent—because they were once connected.
There is so much to tell about Atlantis. Many scientists have written about it, and when you are older, you will be interested to read Donnelly’s “Atlantis” which tells about the people, their arts and sciences, and monuments. For they were very wise, those Atlanteans! They had a language, an alphabet, books. And they knew many things we are now trying to find out. They had better air-craft then than we have now, as well as telephones, and far wiser physicians. Almost every day there are fresh discoveries that point to these ancient peoples. Even the ancient Egyptians were not so wise, though from the Atlanteans their knowledge came.
Isn’t it interesting that the name Atlantis really was a name used on this old continent? It isn’t a Greek word, as we might imagine. A city named “Atlan” existed in Darien when Columbus made his discovery, and there are several words in the Toltec language that belong with it. Then, too, America is a native word. In Central America is a mountain range called “Americ,” and it is far more likely America was really named from that, than for Americo Vespuccio. (Anyway, his name was Alberico, not Americo.)
This continent of Atlantis was distinguished by its high
mountains—just as was Lemuria by its great rivers. (The Wealden in England is
the bed of one of these great prehistoric rivers.) The Rockies and the Andes
were then up, and the Himalayas, and the Azores and Teneriffe Peak were part of
another mountain chain. Down in the ocean now is to be found a ridge 9000 feet
high that stretches 2000 or 3000 miles south from the British Isles to Tristan
d’Acunha, with connections on the coast of Northwestern Africa and of South
America, near the mouth of the Amazon. These ridges must have been tremendously
high mountains in those days. Only the Northwestern part of Africa was out of
the water then, but it was joined on to Spain, and the solid land connected
Spain and the British Isles.
Well, Atlantis began to break up several millions of years ago. It divided into seven great
islands, the largest of which disappeared 850,000 years ago. A small remnant of
one of them, the last of Atlantis, called Poseidonis by the Greeks, sank 11,000
But meantime, the Fifth great continent was forming. Africa came first out of the ocean mud, long before France and the British Isles emerged. (Just think of it1 those islands have gone down and come up again, four times!) Now the Sahara Desert was a great sea. But later, Africa separated from Spain, when the ocean rolled in to make the Mediterranean Sea, and then the Sahara became an arid waste of sand. In our America, I fancy, all our Middle Western states were covered with water in early Atlantean days, but were dried off and drained by the Mississippi and Great Lakes to suit the purposes of the Fifth Continent. South America has been lifting itself more and more from the sea. Europe has done likewise. Now, we shall have to watch the changes in the future. For there will be another continent, and still another. Parts of old Atlantis may come up again to belong to these; certainly many lands we know now will go down into the sea.
“But 16,000 years is a long time to wait for that, isn’t it? We’ll just watch—not wait—and learn from watching—won’t we, boys and girls? No, not a single question tonight. Let’s sleep on this!” Aunt Eleanor smiled as she kissed Dorothy and Milton, and sent them to bed.
IT WAS a gala day for Dorothy and Milton when Father drove up the graveled driveway to the house in a shiny new automobile—just big enough to carry all the family, Father said, and small enough so they could keep it shining and in good running order, all themselves. The car meant many gala days to follow—every Saturday and holiday being the occasion for a trip into the country with lunch-baskets and Thermos bottles, and oftentimes fishing-rods. There was always room, too, for some friend of Aunt Eleanor’s or a joyful little companion of Dorothy’s or Milton’s, whose appreciation of the treat gave almost as much pleasure to the family as the trip itself. It was on one of these holiday excursions into a lovely canyon that the children learned much of fairies which they had not known before. It came about in this way.
Spinning merrily over the shining boulevard, they came under a long
green archway of pepper and locust trees—the blossoms of the locust gleaming
like great pearls against the green—with pepper berries here and there glowing
as rubies might
“Oh, oh,” exclaimed Dorothy, “wouldn’t you
think this might be the very avenue Cinderella came down to meet her fairy
“Why, Dorothy !“ serious-eyed Louise Tabor answered. “Didn’t you know that that is just a fairy story? There aren’t really any fairies. It’s just like Santa Claus—you see—only ‘magination!”
Dorothy’s face clouded with perplexity, and she turned to Aunt Eleanor with the question in her eyes which she felt sure would be answered somehow to make things straight.
“Well, Louise,” Aunt Eleanor began slowly, “I know many people think as you do in regard to fairies—but there are so many more people who do believe in them, so many people in the past who have written of them, perhaps we’d better look more thoroughly into the matter.
“Now, as we ride, just look ahead into the air toward the sun, very intently. Do you not see movements there—vapory, wavery forms, whirling and darting?”
“Yes, yes,” the children answered after a moment. “What are they?”
“They are tiny lives in the atmosphere—the stuff we might say that air fairies are made of— those we call sprites and sylphs. For there are many kinds of fairies. Those that dwell in the fire element are called salamanders; those of the water are nymphs and undines: while those of the earth are gnomes and elves. It may be hard to
see how these vague air-shapes make forms of miniature human beings so that
anyone might notice them, but in reality it is the thoughts of real human beings
that give them shape.
“You see, each thought we think goes out into space on the wings, we might say, of these little elemental lives, is borne along by them till the force of the thought is spent. That is why it is so necessary to think right true thoughts. Thoughts are really alive; they have their bodies; they are things. So they can help or harm whomever they touch.
“Well, then, don’t you see how there really is a Santa Claus where the people believe in him and think of him and picture him as a being? Can you not see how there are fairies, good and bad? More fairies, of course, dwell in countries such as England and Ireland, because the land is old and the peoples’ thoughts for centuries have given fairies an abiding-place there. I know of several English people who have come unseen upon a little water-nymph beside a quiet pool, or seen a tiny elf perched upon a swaying flower. And one Welsh gentleman, whom you both know, to this day remembers the sight of those fairies his old nurse showed him on their rambles in the forest.”
“Then do you think, Miss Eleanor,” asked Louise, “the story of Cinderella is true ?“
“I should hardly like to say it could not be true anyway, Louise, in Fairy World. For like
you, I have never seen such fairies as are described in the tale, and I do not
know their language. But I suspect all fairies speak and act much as the people
think who see them. You know, all of the books we love best are not about actual
people, but about people pictured so vividly in the writer’s mind that to us
also they speak and do just what they would actually have to speak and do under
the conditions. In our hearts and sympathies we feel them true and real—of ten
more real and true than many people we see and talk with every day. So many of
the tales about the little sub-humans we call fairies might be true in a way
similar to that, don’t you see?
“Of course, these old tales told by Grimm are the old, old folk-lore of the Germans. There is a meaning in many of them deeper than most people suspect. You wouldn’t suppose, Dorothy, that the real meaning has anything to do with former continents? But it has. A continent is swept away when the people in it have grown wicked and selfish, and some of these tales handed down by word of mouth for ages are about wicked ones who were able to be more wicked because of all that they knew. Both ‘witches’ and ‘wizards’ are of this kind—people who ‘know,’ for evil purposes.
“There is so much going on about us all the time that we don’t notice. You wouldn’t think, would you, that it’s fairies who set those little
whirlwinds stirring in quiet fields? And, don’t you remember, Dorothy, the other
day when we were sewing together, I laid down my needle and thimble and went out
of the room for a moment? When I came back, there was no needle nor thimble in
sight, and I asked you if you had been using them. You said, ‘No Auntie,’ and
helped me in the search. After we had looked everywhere in the room, I came back
to my chair, and there beside it on the table in plain view was the missing
needle and thimble! You didn’t suspect fairies of that, did you, dear? But it
was some mischievous little elementals that did that to us. Of course, the
needle and thimble were there all the time—only the elernentals covered them up
from our view. But remember, children,” warned Aunt Eleanor with a smile, “you
mustn’t after that blame elementals for your not being able to find things!
Anyway, it happens almost exclusively in the case of metal objects. Those same
little busybodies couldn’t so well manage a book, or cap, or gloves, or lunch
“Well, we mustn’t get into the habit of thinking that men and animals and birds and fishes and insects are the only live things in the world. There are lives whose actions we do not ordinarily see, just as there are colors seen by some people which others cannot see; sounds high and low, heard by some, which others cannot hear. May-
I can tell you more of the fairies after we get up in the canyon.”
It was such a beautiful canyon—with rocks and trees overhanging the clear running water, blue in the swirling pools, and foaming white over the rocks! Above on either side rose high mountain walls, and birds called gaily to their neighbors in the tree-tops. After lunch, Father and Milton went off on an exploring “hike,” while the girls and Aunt Eleanor, drowsy from the drive and satisfied sharpened appetites, curled up on the ground beside the brook to rest. But it was not long before Dorothy called out:
“Aunt Eleanor, where is the music ?“
“What does it sound like, Dorothy?”
“Why, it’s a band—not very far away. Don’t you hear it, Louise?”
“Yes, Dorothy,” said Louise, “I was listening to it when you spoke, but I don’t hear it any more now.
Aunt Eleanor laughed merrily. “There isn’t any band of music inside of fifty miles, girls. You didn’t know, did you, that you were listening to the fairies?”
“Oh, but Miss Eleanor,” said Louise, “it was so real and loud! And how could fairies play comets ?“
“Certainly, child, they don’t play comets— but the music you heard like that of the cornet is made by the fairies—or elementals—this time,
the water elementals. The water you might think of as something like a phonographic record kept and played by the elementals. But I have heard them at this sort of thing much nearer home, and when I tell you about it, maybe you can see more clearly how the music came about.
“You remember you were very quiet when you heard the music—almost ready to drop off to sleep? It was then you heard from an inner ear—not listening, really, nor paying particular attention to outside things. So, one night not so very long ago, during a heavy rain-storm, I found myself wishing that the people passing by on the sidewalk would be more considerate of those who wished to sleep at eleven o’clock at night. They were laughing and talking very noisily, and I recognized Mrs. Harter’s voice especially. I thought she must have been having a party and her guests were leaving. Imagine my perplexity when I remembered she had been away for three days and would not be home for another week! 1 listened more intently, and heard Chester’s voice teasing, and his mother talking to him, sharply scolding. I even heard your father’s voice calling to you! And then it dawned upon me. Not far from my chamber window is the storm-drain between our house and Chester’s. Down it the water was pouring noisily —and all those voices were in the water! The water was playing the records made by the ele-
mentals of the words and laughter of people living in the vicinity. The records were made in the air and the water furnished the power to make them audible!
“As soon as I realized the meaning of it, I turned over on the other side, contented, and went to sleep.
“So this band music you have heard today may have been impressed on
the atmosphere a hundred miles away, and the air-fairies brought it to this
lovely canyon, for the water-fairies to play the record.”
“Now, Aunt Eleanor,” Dorothy said, “you’ve told us something of the fairies of earth, air, and water. Could you tell us something, too, of the fire-fairies ?“
“Very little other than, you have seen for yourselves. Sometimes it seems a very mysterious thing that several fires will occur in the same vicinity, at about the same time, for which no apparent reason can be found, so that each fire is declared to be caused by spontaneous combustion. That really is the work of naughty fire elementals. Don’t you remember, both of you, when Mr. Flower’s house burned down, how angrily the flames seemed to resist the water and fairly to eat up the timbers? We all felt as if some ruthless monster were at work! And there was good reason to feel so, as you now know.
“Well, such are certainly destructive elementals, but there are
those that even build cities! They hold pictures of cities in the air, just as
we imagined them holding records of the music, and somehow men see with
an inner eye, and are impelled to begin the building. Very few people know why
there are so many cities unearthed, one on top of the other—like Troy, and
Babylon, and Delhi. Very few people know why cities grow in one direction
first—rather than in another which should have been thought more favorable. It
is the elementals (the thoughts of ancient peoples still alive in the
atmosphere) that draw newcomers to the spot—just as a magnet draws steel
filings—and urge them on in directions that have been taken before.”
“Oh, thank you, Miss Eleanor,” said Louise. “It is lovely to know such things. And to think there is a real reason for fairies I”
Just then Father and Milton rounded the turn in the road to tell them of a bank all sweet with maiden-hair ferns and columbine. They did not say fairies were growing there, too, but if Dorothy and Louise half expected to spy a little elf swinging on a columbine, you don’t wonder, do you, that they jumped right up to look?
GHOSTS—SEVENFOLD NATURE OF MAN
ONLY a few days after this excursion into the canyon, Dorothy came running home from school to find Aunt Eleanor, with another question :
“Auntie, there really are ghosts, too, aren’t there, Just like
“Yes, dear—there are. But what makes you think so?”
“Well, you see, we were reading the ‘Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ this afternoon in school, and it says there that ghosts flourish in that vicinity because people believe in them. And that’s just what you said about fairies. Why is it that in stories people never seem afraid of fairies, yet are just scared to death about ghosts? What is the difference, Auntie ?“
“For one reason, I suppose, that fairies are diminutive, tiny beings, and ghosts are ‘life-size.’ Ghosts are commonly supposed to be dead men coming back to this world of living men. But in reality, of course, a man is always alive—and it is only his body that goes to pieces. Once a man leaves the earth, he waits to come back again in an infant’s body. I have told you before that we have also inner bodies besides this of flesh and blood and bone and muscle. The physical body
is changing all the time in its molecules and atoms, and we would not look like the same person, if there were not a pattern, or inner model body, for the new molecules and atoms to grow into. This model body is usually called the ‘astral body.’ (‘Astra’ means stars—and so ‘astral’ would mean made of starry matter; but in this case merely made of a finer kind of matter than the physical body.)
“When, then, a man ‘dies,’ as we say, he simply slips out of his physical and astral body, and goes on living in other still finer bodies. But meantime on earth his physical body is decaying, and just so in the astral world, his astral body is also going to pieces—even more slowly than the physical body, however. It is like a photograph of the man who once lived in it, and is so strongly impressed with the thoughts and desires of its former owner, that the elementals, pushed on by the thoughts of living people, can stimulate this photographic man into apparently real action and speech. That is all a ‘ghost’ amounts to, generally speaking, for it is another thing when at death, or shortly after, the going one appears to those most beloved, in astral form; and again, ‘ghosts’ are credited for doing wonderful things, which in reality have quite other causes.
“As for ghosts, well, you know how it is when Father is driving the automobile on a level road. Suppose he shuts the power off—the machine goes
on for several yards by its own momentum, as we say. The more power he has previously applied, the farther the car goes. So the astral bodies of men who have thought most about eating and drinking and other selfish pleasures—with very little thought about the fine, beautiful things of Iife—live longer in the astral world. And that is why ghosts, or so-called ‘spirits,’ never say anything wise. The real man isn’t there to speak— it’s only an echo of the old earthy thoughts that the elementals have set to sounding. To suppose ghosts are real men is as foolish as to suppose, Mr. Judge said, ‘that a lot of educated parrots left in a deserted house were the souls of the persons who had once lived there and owned the birds, . . . a good parrot behind a screen could make you think that an intelligent man was hidden from view but speaking in a voice you hear and words you understand.’
“So there is certainly nothing to fear from ghosts—and there is certainly nothing to gain from thinking about them. The fear comes from not knowing what they are. We are wise to put our thought and attention on the duties and services of our every-day life in the world where we are living. There is plenty of wisdom to guide us here; and there are plenty of souls in bodies to help, without seeking the companionship of bodies without souls. In fact, there is grave danger in that sort of seeking. And there are so many
mysteries under our noses right in the sunlight for us to explore and learn by!”
“But I wish you would tell us more about those other bodies we have, Aunt Eleanor,” said Milton wistfully. “How many are there, and why do we need more bodies than this one?”
“One question at a time, son, please,” replied Aunt Eleanor. “And that one I will answer by reminding you of how many number sevens we have in Nature. There are seven colors in the rainbow—violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red. There are seven notes in the scale.. The body is completely changed in its atoms every seven years. There are seven openings in the head—eyes, nostrils, ears, mouth—and when later you study Physiology, you will find little groups of sevens all over the body. Our seven days of the week follow out this natural order of Nature.
“Now our bodies are just copied from Nature. Just as our earth has
seven bodies, so have we. We couldn’t live on this solid earth, if we didn’t
have a body belonging to it. The air sprites couldn’t make their journeys in the
air, if their ‘bodies’ weren’t made of air—and so, if the life of our earth has
seven bodies belonging to it, we just have other bodies similar to earth’s
bodies, in which to learn what there is to know anywhere.
“You remember how we spoke of worlds being made—first issuing as a fiery cloud from the
Great Darkness. We were there, and so have bodies of that cold fire-matter. Some call that the etheric body. But before this body, even, was one of finer thought-force—which in its turn was like a shadow thrown from the finest spirit-matter, which makes the basis of all bodies—and contains them all.
“Then came a more gaseous state of matter, and we had bodies made of
that. Then air was our habitation, and next we came into the astral state—with,
finally, earth, the most solid of our bodies. Now you mustn’t think of these
various bodies as separate. They are not even so separate as the rounds of skin
on an onion! I told you the astral body is what makes us keep the same
likeness—but you can see that the physical body is so blended in with it, very
few people suspect the existence of the astral body. They don’t suspect they
hear only with an inner ear, see with an inner sight, that all our senses and
nerves belong to the astral body. Take the matter of Father’s pipe smoke, for
instance. You see it is in the air—and yet you know it is pipe smoke,
different from the air which surrounds it and holds it up. So our various bodies
are as distinctly bodies—yet they interblend and interpenetrate each other.
“All these bodies are in use by us—whether we are conscious of it or not. We use chiefly the astral and physical bodies while we are awake,
but when we sleep, we spend our time in finer bodies. We are never idle,
you see. Life— (which is We) goes on always some way, somewhere. And what
we learn in those finer bodies, sometime we may be able to know while we are
awake. That would mean we were really and truly awake. So the great Masters of
Wisdom are always awake in their earth bodies. They are able to use their finer
bodies as they will—and remember.”
“Why, Auntie I” exclaimed Dorothy, wondering, “do you mean such Wise Ones never have dreams ?“
“Yes, indeed, that is just what I mean. Suppose we talk about dreams tomorrow. Would you like that, dears?” asked Aunt Eleanor.
“Oh, yes, Auntie,” both agreed. And Milton added to Dorothy in a whisper:
“Let’s dream something extra-special tonight to find out about, sister!”
morning, as Milton came down to the
breakfast-table with rosy cheeks and shining eyes, Aunt Eleanor smiled
“No dreams for this boy last night, I can see that! Anyway, you can’t remember any, can you, Milton ?“
“No, Aunt Eleanor, I don’t remember any. But didn’t you say once that everyone dreams every night ?“
“Yes, everyone goes into the land of dreams every night on his way to Deep Sleep, and comes back from there to waking through the land of dreams. But each one has his own dream land, just as he has his own thoughts when wide awake. No two people ever dream the same dream. But there are various kinds of dreams. One kind Milton knew a great deal about, before he realized he must eat just his bread and milk at night. For his body was too tired to take care of a hearty dinner, and so was uncomfortable enough to keep telegraphing news of disquiet to the brain. Then the Perceiver kept watching the movements of the poor tired little brain, instead of going free into the state of deep sleep. Such horrid dreams those
were, weren’t they, Milton? ‘Nightmares,’ everyone calls them.
“You see, it’s just as if the brain were a hallway leading from waking to Deep Sleep. On its walls the Perceiver has been hanging all kinds of pictures during the day, and these the Perceiver sees all in a tangle, if his body is not comfortable when he tries to go through the hall. But if the body is comfortable, then the Perceiver just glances at them in their order as he passes through, and forgets them till he comes back through the hall to waking again. But what he has seen in Deep Sleep, he connects when he is awake with the pictures in the hallway, so that he cannot be sure of just what did happen in that world on the other side of the hall.”
“Did you have any dreams, sister?” queried Milton.
“Yes,” answered Dorothy. “But, Aunt Eleanor, if you please, I’d rather not tell it just now.,,
“Certainly, dear, don’t tell it unless you care to. Sometimes, people
lose the sense of the rarest dreams by repeating them idly. Anyway, it’s nearly
time to be starting for school.”
That evening, however, when they were all sitting quietly in the fire-light, Dorothy spoke up:
Aunt Eleanor, I think I’d like to have you know about my dream now. It was a dream about my Mother. We seemed to be walking in the
twilight together through a lovely garden. It was too dark to see Mother
clearly, but the flowers seemed to be shining like stars. I could smell the
violets, and the lilies were so bright in their white and gold I just held my
breath to look at them. All the while my hand was in Mother’s but we were not
speaking, till at last we came to a dark wall and Mother put her arms about me,
“Now, run along, Little Daughter.’
“That was all of the dream, but when I woke up, it seemed as if Mother were standing there beside my bed. I lay very still and quiet and just felt her there, until I had to look to see. And then I knew that she was gone.”
Everyone was quiet for a few moments.
“That was a real dream, dear,” Aunt Eleanor said. “Your feeling, when you woke, was the memory of what happened while you were away in that far Land of Deep Sleep. You surely were with your Mother there. On coming back through the hallway of the brain, you saw such pictures of radiant beauty, because what took place in reality called up in your brain the most beautiful pictures ever hung there.”
Then Father questioned:
“Why is it, Eleanor, that often people dream of accidents or deaths, that some time after really come to pass ?“
“That is another kind of dream, Richard—
the dream of premonition. But you must understand that it would not be possible
to dream such events, if the causes for them were not already set in motion. The
Perceiver, seeing the cause in his inner vision of Deep Sleep, would just
naturally follow it out to its effect in this outer world. The effect is always
wrapped up in the cause, just as a blossom is wrapped up in a tiny seed. Or, you
might look at the law of cause and effect as a coin with two faces. You can’t
say either side of the coin is the coin (or law), yet both sides belong
to it. Now a matter of terrible catastrophe or death seen in Deep Sleep probably
shocks the physical brain into remembering—just as the meanest of men sometimes
becomes a great hero, when a terrible catastrophe in waking life shocks him into
a sudden swift remembering from his inmost soul, —and he acts as that soul,
“One day, children, you asked me to tell you about other bodies you had when you lived before this time. I said I could not do that. But it is quite possible, as the years go on that you may catch glimpses of some of them in dreams. You may even know the names that you were called when living in those bodies. The record of them all is in that Land of Deep Sleep.”
“But, Auntie,” asked Dorothy, “how could we tell it was a dream of a past life, or just a mixing up of the pictures of this one?”
“Yes, Auntie,” added Milton, “or something
we remembered out of a book or what someone else had told us
“Yes, in many cases, that would be the fact. It would certainly be wise to examine the dream for any apparent cause first, and if you found one, let it go at that. But if you can find, for all your thinking, no cause at all, quite likely it is a memory of other lives. I have known of people dreaming scenes they had never read of, heard of, nor fancied—of implements they likewise never heard of—of costumes and strange peoples—yet having in the dream no sense of strangeness, themselves being a part of the scene, and clothed like the other actors. Their sense of ‘I am I’ simply belonged there, So, as it is that ‘I am I’ which is ourselves, and which we can never think out of existence, it seems quite likely, doesn’t it, that the ‘I’ can make a connection with its other lives in Deep Sleep? Anyway such is the fact, which some day you may prove for yourselves.”
“Ah, I seem to see, Eleanor,” said Father, with some eagerness, “it is that feeling of I am I’ that shows the difference between the dream of a past life, and a dream of this present one. Is it not true that we dream dreams of mere fancy? The Perceiver catches hold of some picture in the brain, and builds and builds upon it a real tower of meaningless actions and events? But in that case the ‘I am I’ belongs to the circumstances and
body of this present lifetime, and we know it. Is that right?”
“Yes,” nodded Aunt Eleanor.
“Auntie,” said Dorothy, “some of the girls at school have dream-books that, they say, tell the meaning of dreams. Do they?”
“No, dear, I’m sure they don’t. Every dreamer dreams differently, and only the dreamer can get the meaning of what he dreams.
“Well, there are other kinds of dreams than those we have spoken of. There is very much more known about all kinds than we have said. But after all, the important thing is to keep our thoughts unselfish, true, and cIean during our day-times; then our voyages into the Land of Deep Sleep are bound to be fair ones that bring us back to waking time refreshed, and eager for our daily task. So, sweet dreams to you, boys and girls,” smiled Aunt Eleanor, as she led the way upstairs for Dorothy and Milton, while Father called after them:
“I’ll be up as soon as you’re ready, youngsters.”
DEVACHAN AND BIRTH
and Milton had some very
companionable playmates. One of these was Eloise Moore, who lived about two
blocks away, the happy possessor of a tennis-court, where they spent many gay
hours. It was there one day they met Helen Brown, a small, bright-eyed girl, who
seemed to have an endless variety of questions at the end of her tongue, when
they stopped playing between sets. Dorothy and Milton had often seen her in the
neighborhood and at school, but had never spoken with her before.
“You live with your Aunt, don’t you, Milton ?“ Milton nodded.
“Did your mother die and go to heaven?”
“No,” answered Dorothy, as Milton hesitated. “My dear Mother still lives, but we see her only in the Land of Deep Sleep.”
“That’s queer,” said Helen. “My mother said she was in heaven with the angels.”
Though the children then went to playing, you may be sure they did not forget Helen’s remark, and Aunt Eleanor that evening must needs explain to them “heaven” and “the angels.”
“There are just as many ‘heavens,’ dears,” said she, “as there are dreamers and dreams.
‘Heaven’ by many people is thought of as a place where souls go when they leave their bodies, and where they live forever, as angels, dressed in shining white robes, and singing songs in praise of the Being they call God (such a God as, you remember, Chester spoke of long ago). So the people who think that way will really have that kind of a ‘heaven,’ after they leave their bodies, and it will be thousands of years, probably, be. fore they come back again to earth in infants’ bodies.
“There are people who think there is no life but this present
earthly one. They, on dying, would have very little ‘heaven’ but come back
quickly to earth, little wiser for the life lately lived.
“Then there are others, who have lived pure, unselfish lives, who think of ‘heaven’ as some place of rest, about which they can know nothing until they reach it. Their ‘heaven’ would be a state of complete happiness. Surrounded by all their dear ones, they engage in the pursuit of every high ideal, which, in a physical body, they may have been denied. But no ‘heaven’ is a place, any more than the Land of Deep Sleep is a place.
“You remember our talk about our sevenfold bodies? Well, ‘heaven,’ then, we might say, is simply the element of one of our very finest inner bodies—just as we know the water is the element of the fish, and the air, of the bird. Within our
true bodies are all elements, you see. To be living in one element doesn’t mean
that the other elements are thousands of miles away. Just a thought takes us
from one to the other. A beautiful, unselfish thought puts us in ‘heaven,’ a bad
thought keeps us away from it,—chains us to unhappiness, discomfort, and
“The same people, by the way, who think of ‘heaven’ as a place, also think there is a place of evil, which they call ‘hell.’ But neither is ‘hell’ a place. We don’t need to be dead to be in ‘hell.’ It is simply the suffering for evil thoughts which we feel in our physical bodies, or after we have left them.
“I like the Theosophical name of ‘Devachan,’ —meaning ‘the place of the gods’—for expressing the condition of souls who have finished one life in the body and are getting ready for another,—because that word has never been taken to mean a place, like a fine city.”
“Then, Auntie,” queried Dorothy, breathlessly, “Devachan must be like the real dreams that we bring back sometimes from Deep Sleep ?“
“Yes, dear, there is no better way to describe it.”
“Auntie, what sort of a Devachan do you think Mother is having?”
“Well, in the first place, I am sure she would have her boy and girl, and their father there. I fancy she would be sharing her delights with
them—whatever those may be. You remember, don’t you, how dearly she loved her
music? Quite likely in Devachan she is working out in music all the beautiful
things she longed to create, while she was on earth, but which were never
possible—chiefly because of her devoted care of her two babies.”
Then Father put his head in at the door with:
“Well, son, are you going to help me clean the car now?”
“Yes, Dad, I’ll get on my overalls in a jiffy. Please excuse me, Auntie.”
Aunt Eleanor and Dorothy went on with their talk alone.
“The best part of her lovely dream of Devachan, you see, Dorothy, is that when Mother comes back, she may bring with her some of the music she created there. Maybe some day on earth she will compose the sweetest lullabies ever written,—some songs that will reach the heart of all the world.”
“But, Aunt Eleanor, how will she ever get back to life on earth? I just can’t understand how it will happen.”
“It is a mystery to every one, Dorothy dear, but the most beautiful mystery there is—so sacred that we never speak of it except with those who are our nearest and dearest and who understand us best. You can appreciate that from the way you felt about your dream of Mother. That was
sacred, but this mystery of birth is even far more sacred.
“First, let us remember that when Mother’s body grew tired and died here, she was born into Devachan. Before she left her body, however, she saw in lightning-flash a sort of moving picture of all her lifetime, and knew the meaning of it all. So in Devachan, even, she will at last wear out her body there, and long to come back to earth again. Her Devachanic body will cease to be, and when that comes about, another lightning-flash will show her what her next life on earth will be. As your Mother, she has died to Devachan, but she will be ready to come back again to earth to a new mother of her own.”
“How will she be able to find her father and mother, Aunt Eleanor? And will she next time be a little girl?”
“Your last question first, Dorothy. She may be a little girl, and she may need a boy’s body next time. Whichever the soul needs, that it finds. But there won’t be any searching for her parents. It will be just as if a hole in the sky opened for her—for her alone—and only through that can she go.”
“Would her parents be looking for her, Aunt Eleanor ?“
“Yes, I think they would. They might not know it to speak of it, but deep within, and in the Land of Deep Sleep, they would know. The love
between father and mother is a part of the great mystery, too, you see, and it acts like a magnet to that soul waiting to come back. The soul knows its mother where it finds her, and waits the opportunity to build its own house with her help.”
“Why, then, Aunt Eleanor, the stork doesn’t bring babies? They just come themselves ?“
“No, we couldn’t say they come by themselves, either, dear, although, of course, the stork story is just a symbol, like Santa Claus, used by those parents who know so little of the mystery that they do not care to undertake a true explanation to their children. No one ever came into the world without the help of others. A soul might be near the mother it was due to come to, but the parents refuse it entrance into life. This means we must study the body for a moment and understand what a wonderful and precious thing it is.
“All Nature is made up of the pairs of opposites. You know there is heat and cold; we wouldn’t know we were happy, if we were not sometimes unhappy; we wouldn’t know light, without dark. So the body of a man is a necessary opposite to the body of a woman, and together they furnish proper material for the body of a new life. There are especial organs for this most wonderful process, and you can easily understand it is those organs we instinctively do not speak of
that are the instruments used in such a precious way.
“All our organs seem to have two different uses. All of them are
means of taking care of waste-matter, but their other use is higher and very
much more important. How little good would our eyes be to us, though, if there
were not other pairs of eyes to look back at us! And of what use would the ears
be, if there were no one to speak what could be heard? We never could learn
anything, nor do anything, if it were not for other selves, who have in their
turn organs by which they receive knowledge from us. So those secret organs,
too, are used. The father gives of his sacred store of precious fluid. The
mother receives it in the place consecrated to that use. But it is not the
father alone, nor the mother alone who can do it: it is love that works the
miracle needed for the coming soul.
“You know Father has explained to you about the making of water from two gases. Two parts of hydrogen and one part of oxygen in the same glass jar remain the separate gases, until an electric spark is thrown into the jar. Then the two gases become transformed into water. So love is the electric current which unites the precious life fluids of both within the mother, and the spark kindled is the center of a new baby body. For it fuses to the mother’s body the design body
the waiting soul, and on this the new body of flesh begins to grow.
“That is miracle enough, isn’t it dear? But all that follows is just as marvelous. Ten times the moon is young and old before the little body is ready to come out of its warm nest into our world. All that time, the mother has been furnishing material for it out of the food she eats. Those are wise fairies, indeed, aren’t they, who carry that material and lay it in place in the dark, without the sound of a hammer or a saw? All silently the work is done, and oh, so perfectly!”
“But how then does the baby get out from that dark place, Aunt Eleanor?”
“Why when the baby is ready, the doors of the temple just open up. That is all. And when the little one comes forth, it cries—because, ancient peoples used to say, it knows the time has come to begin school again in earnest. They also said that when we die is time for smiling, since school is ‘out’ for a while.”
“Well, Aunt Eleanor, dear, it is a beautiful story. I’m always going to remember it. And I think I’m going to take kinder care of my body, now I know how wonderfully it is made.”
“Yes, and how wonderfully it is all the time being made. Your own small body will grow with the years, and will sometime become a temple of these holy mysteries.
“There is another thing, too, to remember, dear. What I have told you
of the process of birth of the human being is the same process for the world
itself, in which we live. It is just so that the great forces of Nature brought
our earth, and our whole solar system into being!”
“Oh, Aunt Eleanor, just isn’t the world interesting!” exclaimed Dorothy, as they started hand in hand for the dining-room, where Father and Milton were already waiting for them.
MRS. MOORE was calling on Aunt Eleanor one day while the children were at school.
“I’ve really come on a particular errand, Miss Broughton,” Mrs. Moore began. “I am daily more surprised at the way Eloise is beginning to think. For instance, just yesterday she found a little dead linnet under the orange tree. She crooned to it, ‘Poor little brother!’ and then smiled up at me, ‘But some day soon, he’ll have a new little body, Mother.’
“Last week she was telling me of one of her schoolmates, whose father had warned him not to jump on street-cars while they were in motion. The boy was just bright and merry and quick, but thoughtless, and so in the habit of jumping on successfully, that he forgot the warning. The poor little lad failed for once, however, and it is likely that now he will always be lame. We were all expressing our regret at the accident, when Eloise remarked, ‘My, that was quick Karma, wasn’t it, Mother?’
“Not only does she think, but she has taken to her piano practice much more assiduously than ever before, and is exact as to her hour, for, she
says, Dorothy tells her that by keeping the regular ‘cycle’ she will accomplish
more with the time I “Now, Miss Broughton, what magic is this that you use with
the children ?“
Aunt Eleanor smiled as she answered: “Why, it’s only the magic of the truth. Do you know I think most parents greatly underrate a child’s
intelligence? I don’t believe in ‘talking down’ to children, myself. I had a lesson in that once from a friend of mine.
“Her baby girl was very fond of singing, and before being put to bed was quieted down by her favorite songs. Whenever a new song was brought out, the baby would say, ‘What is dat song, Mamma?’ Sometimes Mother’s repertory would run low, and she would improvise. The baby noticed the difference at once, and asked the usual question. Mother answered, ‘Why that’s improvised.’ Baby seemed quite content with the answer, but her mother told me she had not heard the word three times, when I chanced there one day.
“Baby was eighteen months old at the time, and carried airs
perfectly, herself. She sat on the floor playing with blocks, and singing her
own compositions so lustily that her mother and I were quite drowned out by the
din. Thinking to divert the stream of melody, her Mother asked:
“What is that song, little girl?’
“The mite answered: ‘Dat’s improbised !’
“I fairly gasped. It
was evident that she knew the exact meaning of the word.
“Most people, you see, Mrs. Moore, think a soul comes brand new to the earth; that this is the first time it has ever had experience here. In my opinion, we should have, very wonderful children, if we realized that they are old souls in new bodies. Dorothy and Milton are gradually coming to realize that in sleep they are really ‘grownups,’ and that they know, within. So some of the knowledge really does come through.”
“Why, that is wonderful, Miss Broughton, for I never saw more genuine child-children than they are! They do have the best times. Their fertile imaginations keep the other children all aglow. They have a new game for every day—and somehow, there never seems to be any quarreling among them.”
“They have a wider field of true adventure than the others, I think, Mrs. Moore. And certainly they should not be prigs because they have a clearer understanding of life than others.”
“But where do you yourself find the answer to all their questions?”
“It is in Theosophy, Mrs. Moore.”
“I’ve thought I should like to study that sometime, but I had no idea it would be a really useful study.”
“On the contrary, I’m inclined to think it is the most useful study there is. It includes all de-
partments of nature, and leaves nothing out. It is a statement of Law—and the
real value of it consists in using it.”
“Miss Broughton, I am sure there are other mothers than myself who would be glad to take up the study for their children’s sake. Would it be asking too much for you to have a class for us?”
“There is nothing I would do more gladly, Mrs. Moore. The world is in sore need of the teaching, and if we can start the children right, we shall be doing the world a great service—as well as saving the children from a store of false ideas, which would prove the greatest obstacles in their lives.”
“How would you recommend us to begin?”
“First, of course, the mothers must know the philosophy. Then we can study the applications together. We might read and study ‘The Ocean of Theosophy,’ by William Q. Judge, and ‘The Bhagavad-Gita,’ which he has rendered into English.”
“Why, may I ask, do you use the Hindu Bible rather than our own?”
“For the same reason that I might recommend our Bible to the Hindu. It is easier to get rid of our wrong ideas, I think, by taking a different presentation from the one we are accustomed to. After you have the ideas from a different angle, however, you will be surprised at the illumination our Bible will receive from it. For children especially it enforces the idea that true religion is not confined to one book, nor to one people; and also that the true things were as true thousands of years ago, as they are now, and will forever be. We read a little aloud from It every day now and the interest and memory of the children are an amazement even to me. Moreover, I have a shrewd suspicion that the Gita is cultivating in them a true literary appreciation.
“Well, it isn’t so important to read many books as it is to understand what we do read. We can find the whole philosophy in just those two. The first thing to do is to start, of course, and good methods of study will soon suggest themselves.”
“I can see that, Miss Broughton. I think we shall all profit by the study, more than we now realize. So, I’ll talk with other mothers, and come soon to see you to make further arrangements. But do you know,” said Mrs. Moore, as she rose to go, “I’m not sure that we aren’t quite as little children as our babies—in that we have so much to learn.”
“Perhaps that is the first step, though. Did not Jesus tell us we must become as little children, before we could enter the kingdom of heaven?”
Milton and Dorothy came romping up the walk as good-bys were said, and Aunt Eleanor standing at the door whispered softly to herself:
“My dear little sowers of seeds !“
ALL these things Dorothy and Milton learned from Aunt Eleanor in the first year they were with her. But you must not suppose their questions stopped then. Just as you learn addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, to use all your life long in whatever mathematical problems you may study, so Dorothy and Milton had these facts as a guide in answering their own questions.
We never grow so old, nor so advanced in school, that there are no
more questions to ask of those who know more than we. The wiser we grow, the
wiser our questions are. Always life is changing for us; the people in our lives
are changing; always the problems are changing. We only have to remember that
We, the Perceivers, do not change, but look at the changes; the Law does not
change; only, we see it working in different combinations; and always our
problem is to act in our daily lives according to the Law, to benefit all our
brothers—near to us, or far away
—those in human bodies, or those still imprisoned in mineral or vegetable or animal bodies.
Here then, are just a few more of the ques-
tions Dorothy and Milton asked. See if you can answer them, too!
“Aunt Eleanor, it’s not so hard to choose between doing what is right
and what is wrong, seems to me. But sometimes you have to choose between two
things that seem good. Does it make any difference which way you choose
“Yes, wherever you have to choose, one way of the two is the better, whether you can see it or not. We build our characters out of these small choices. But a little thought ought to show you which is the better way. Suppose you ask yourself these questions:
‘Which would I rather do? Why? Is it easier for me? Would the other way make it easier and happier for others? Which way will bring most happiness to others, and least inconvenience and discomfort to others?’
“It is the same way of choosing, you see, as between right and wrong. Sometimes, of course, you will make mistakes, because you did not see clearly, far enough ahead, but next time, you will have the lesson of that mistake to help you. Keep right on choosing the more unselfish way always, and the time will come when you won’t be puzzled any more, for you can’t do anything else but choose aright.”
“Why is it, Aunt Eleanor, that when we don’t deserve cross words, they make us feel so bad?”
“‘A harsh word uttered in past lives ever comes again.’ The cross words are some of your own, coming back to you out of the long ago. Isn’t that a good reason for trying to be gentle and patient, now, in this life ?“
“Aunt Eleanor, some of the new boys at school are picking on me and
trying to make me fight them. I don’t know what to do. I’ve told them I don’t
want to fight, and have laughed at them when they called me names, but every day
they are nagging me more and more, and call me coward.”
“Well, Milton, suppose they were treating some other boy that way? How would you feel?”
“Why, Auntie, I’d think I ought to stop it!”
“Yes, I think so, too. Especially if he were not able to take care of himself. Well, then, in this case, the boys are bullies, and their example is bad for other boys. Tomorrow, when they begin their taunts, if I were you, I should, fight any boy who wants to fight. Quite likely your e’ercise with Father and the boxing-gloves will stand you in good stead, and you will not have any provocation to fight after this affair is over. The bullies may seek another kind of fun hereafter.
“In this, as in everything else, it is your motive that counts. Don’t fight in anger, but simply with the hope of curing a quarrelsome disposition
in those boys, and showing them that a boy who doesn’t himself want to fight can not be safely treated as a coward.”
“In war, Aunt Eleanor, if a man dies killing another, would he in a future life suffer as a murderer would suffer?”
“Again, the motive counts. A soldier, believing it his duty as a patriot to kill, would die for his principle—not to defend himself as a person. He suffers with his nation in a future life, and has his share in the punishment due his nation for that killing. As a person, he would not have the punishment of a murderer, unless his heart were filled with feelings of hatred and revenge such as a murderer’s would hold.”
“Minnie Lake came to me at recess today, Aunt Eleanor, and said she
was so sorry for me, because I was a Theosophist! I asked her why she thought
that was bad, and she said that meant that I was a ‘heathen’ and didn’t believe
in God. I told her that even ‘heathen’ believe in God, if that was what troubled
her, but anyway, I was very happy to be a Theosophist.”
“Well, Dorothy, you see there are people who think that only their idea of God is the right one. They would have everyone accept their idea— without themselves looking at the truth in other people’s ideas. You can only convince Minnie
that Theosophy is good by being a good Theosophist. To be kind and true and patient and gentle and honest, not speaking of the faults of others, and considerate of others rather than of yourself, will teach her that Theosophy is good, far more than any words you can ever say.”
“Aunt Eleanor, I’m so afraid I haven’t passed my test in Arithmetic !
I just got fussed up over the first problem, and then my head ached, and I
didn’t get all the problems done.”
“Well, the question is, have you been doing your best every day in your Arithmetic? If so, you did your best with the test. If you did your best, that is all anyone could ever ask of you. You are in school to learn, not to get higher marks than someone else, nor to envy those who have higher marks than yours. But it may be, the test showed up a weak place in your Arithmetic. So it is important to make that weak place strong, and see that there are no other weak places when the next test comes. If you have failed, then learn from your failure.
“But why get fussed up over any problem? If one seems harder than the others, do the simpler ones first, and then go to the hard problem. You will then have the benefit of the exercise on the others. But remember the best you can do is all that is expected. It is to do your best, even if it’s only tying your shoe-lace ! And doing your
best means that whatever you are doing, you are doing for the good of the Great Self of all creatures, as you are part of that Self.”
“Is it ever right to tell a lie?”
“Motive again, boys and girls. Suppose by saying ‘Yes’ when ‘No’ were
the truth, you would save the life of a good man unjustly attacked by an angry
mob? Wouldn’t you be rendering a service by that lie to the angry mob as well as
to the good man? In smaller matters, I know, it is harder to see, and lies,
perhaps, are easier to tell. If Emma says, ‘Isn’t my dress pretty?’ and you
think it very ugly, of course, it will hurt Emma’s feelings to say that. Then
don’t say it, but think what best you can say, as for instance, “Well, I rather
think I like you better in your blue dress.’ Or, just exclaim, ‘My, a new
dress!’ Trying to make her feel comfortable will tell you what to say, I think.
“Generally speaking, a lie is an abomination, and, told to protect one’s self or for one’s gain, it is the beginning of a downward path that is far from the places of peace. When one’s sense of honesty is lost, he himself is lost indeed, for he soon cannot be honest with himself.”
“There’s one queer kind of lie we don’t understand, Aunt Eleanor. Bessie Jones came to school the other day with her eyes all swollen up, nose
running, and a terrible cough. Somebody said to her, ‘What an awful cold you
have!’ And she answered, ‘Oh, no, I’m a Christian Scientist; I haven’t any
cold!’ What kind of a lie is that?”
“We can’t deny that such a statement is a lie, naturally. But it is not told to be a lie nor does it deceive anyone but the one who tells it. The idea of Christian Scientists is that by denying sickness, they put it out of existence. But this is as foolish as to think that sunshine consists in saying there is no such thing as darkness. People like to believe that way because their main desire is to be well and comfortable; they believe such thinking cures their bodies. You see, after all, such a lie comes from ignorance rather than intention. If they realized that their ills are the working. out of Karma, they would not try to dodge them. If they realized that their present bodies will be followed by others in other lives, and that the Real is not those bodies, but the Thinker who inhabits them, they would make their thoughts straight, nor would they be so anxious to put all their thought-energy into protecting a body, so soon to be given up. All their wrong thinking comes from a wrong and selfish understanding of the Great Self—the Self that is the real part of us all. Itself does not change but sees the changes. The changes are facts which the Self observes.”
“Is it wrong to eat meat?”
“It is wrong for some people to eat meat, because it does not suit
their stomachs. It is right for some people to eat it, because it does suit
their stomachs, and they grow strong and healthy from eating it. It is right to
eat whatever keeps the body in its best condition.
“Some people think that by eating certain foods they will become holy. But true holiness does not come from eating or drinking, but forever from thinking, from the attitude of mind, to act for and as The Self of All.
“‘Whatever thou doest, whatever thou eatest, whatever thou givest—commit each unto Me.’”
“Is there such a thing as righteous war, Aunt Eleanor ?“
“There is only one righteous war: that is the war each one is daily waging in himself—against selfishness of every kind. All physical wars are selfish and wrong, because they have come about through selfishness. There would never be war between nations, if all the individuals in them were nobly fighting the selfishness in themselves.”
“Perhaps people don’t know when they are selfish ?“
“Quite true. Well, that is why Theosophy exists in the world—to show us that all the war lies in ourselves—and if we will but make our minds and bodies to accord with the Eternal Laws of our Real Selves, we shall find that the ‘Battle of Life’ has become a ‘Contest of Smiles.’
SOME MORE PROBLEMS
AUNT ELEANOR,” began Milton, “you know you were saying the other day that
Theosophy is a guide-book for us, and there isn’t any difficulty that it
wouldn’t help us to straighten out. But, supposing you were lost in a deep
forest, and hadn’t even a compass, how could Theosophy help you then?”
“Well, Milton, you have heard of people getting lost like that, and how in trying to find their way without a compass, they traveled around in a circle. Theosophy would help me not to do that, at least. I would know that I was the one who lost the way; that the Law was just, and either there was a way out, or there wasn’t. So far I have found there always is some way out. I would hope, because of having learned that. But knowing the Law, and that whatever came to my body, I would still be, I would be calm and undisturbed by the situation, and therefore better able to study it. All the things I had ever read about being lost in a forest would come to my mind to warn me what not to do, and my eyes would be open—if I wasn’t crying over my plight—for signs on trees or in the sun. And if the day were without sun, I could wait for the
night and the stars to guide me. Were there no stars, I could even picture the very worst that might happen and still be calm, for, even were it death, that, too, would be under Law. Yet I would be the more watchful and alert to find my way, knowing how precious is the opportunity of everyone in life to learn, and how wonderful an instrument the body is for the learning and the helping of others. Yes, Milton, it seems to me that it is only when we are in the very worst difficulties that we begin to appreciate what a real guide-book Theosophy is.
“Then, there is another side to the question. Do you know, once we get an idea of the meaning of life, and the need of watching every thought and word and deed to see how it serves all the rest, we don’t get into such terrible predicaments? If we are helping all our brothers, they, too, help us; there is a protection over us, which yet is in us; as you may understand, when you know that in India, good men, or Yogis, as they are called, walk unharmed among deadly serpents and fierce animals, because they have no harm in themselves and the animals know it. As a little friend of mine once said of Daniel in the lions’ den, ‘They didn’t see Daniel as food, did they? Perhaps he looked to them like a fine mist.’ If all men lived doing service to the whole of creation, no longer would there be any harm-
ful animals. It is the selfish and cruel thoughts of men that keep such creatures in existence.”
“Coming home from school today, Aunt Eleanor, we passed the new store
which is just building. A man was going up a ladder with a hodful of bricks,
when one of the bricks fell out and hit a man walking below. It hurt him badly.
Anyway, it hit his nose and made it bleed. Now, how could that be the Karma of
the man who let the brick fall, when he didn’t even know it had fallen ?“
“But it was his Karma just the same, Aunt Eleanor, wasn’t it?” Dorothy put in.
“Yes, indeed. Somewhere, sometime, there was a cause set up between those two men which was then balanced. Not only that, but even the very lives in the brick must have formerly been impressed by both men to make it this particular instrument of Karma. We often forget that we are impressing all the time the lives of the universe for good or for ill. And we have to pay our debts to invisible lives—to molecules and to atoms
—as we do to friend and foe in human guise. When we say that all is Life, and all creatures, great and small, are our brothers, we also mean that the Law works through us to them and through them to us. All beings are weaving all the time a great living web of Karma. Though
the threads are invisible to our eyes, they are strong and will hold, down ages of time.”
“Well, boys and girls,” Aunt Eleanor said, the noon of the day they
had had a substitute teacher at school, “how does this day go ?“
“Why, it has been a queer day so far, Aunt Eleanor,” Dorothy answered. “Miss Owen is ill, and we have a strange teacher in her place. Everything seems all upset.”
“Oh, aren’t you having the usual lessons?” asked Aunt Eleanor.
“Yes,” replied Milton, “but the new teacher doesn’t seem to know anything, and so the boys just play and have fun with her.”
“And what do they think is ‘fun,’ Milton?”
“Talking out loud, throwing things when her back is turned, and scuffling under the desks, all together—things like that.”
“All that does not help you to learn any faster, does it?”
“Of course not, Aunt Eleanor.”
“And it doesn’t help the teacher to do the best she can, surely?”
“No, but what can a fellow do, Aunt Eleanor, when everybody is doing like that ?“
“Well, the question is—what did you do, Milton ?“
“Somehow, I had to laugh, Aunt Eleanor, when they did funny things. I was trying to be
decent, too, but I didn’t know any way to stop them.”
“And you, too, Dorothy?”
“Yes, Aunt Eleanor. I felt sorry for the teacher, but just the same I couldn’t help seeing the funny side of it.”
“Yet I believe if you had really wanted to help that teacher, even one of you would have been able to do it. How? I can’t say, for it wasn’t my duty; only I have never failed to find a way myself, when I have truly wanted to help another. At least, I would have tried to think it out—to understand what it all might mean to both the teacher and to the boys and girls. If I had been trying even that much, I doubt very much if I would have had to laugh at the antics performed. There is little sweet in the fun had at the expense of someone’s pain. And if two in the room had not laughed, the teacher would have known she had some help, and the children might have thought their antics not so funny, after all.”
Then Aunt Eleanor went on, as if talking to her folded hands. “Thinking it over, perhaps I would have seen that the reason I am in school today is the same reason why I was in school yesterday—I came to learn. And whoever might be there as my teacher must certainly know very much more than I do, because she has been through all the grades,—and even if she didn’t
seem to be so wise as the teacher I knew so well, still it doesn’t take a
great deal of knowledge to teach me more than I know. I’d know that the very
wisest teacher can not make me learn; that I must do my part, at least, by
trying, by being attentive; and, that if others could not see the way I see, I
could, at least, take care of my own part. My responsibility is just the
same, whether others behave, or not.
“Yes, maybe, when recess came, I might take a few of my friends aside and tell them a little of how it looked to me: that there can be knights and chivalry now as well as in the days of King Arthur. If it’s not rescuing fair damsels from death, it can be seeing justice and fair play done those who are trying to help us in life. We should do justice even to our enemies. Why”— and Aunt Eleanor sat up straight now—”I’m not so sure but that if the teacher had a chance, you might all find your lessons more interesting than usual, because you would be seeing familiar things through a different pair of eyes. The sight of every creature is needed for the Great Self of all.
“You may like to know that in all the Eastern lands boys and girls respect their teachers next to their parents, and in ancient days, to be disrespectful—even in thought—was considered a great sin. Even if the teacher did not teach aright, their own right attitude would work out that
Karma, and they would learn aright. Ever and always, there should be respect for
those who try to light the fire of knowledge within us, for they are part of the
One Life, and their minds part of the great Universal Mind. The more they help
us share this light, the better able we become to reach Those who can lighten us
still more. And so the Ladder of Learning grows from the humblest to the
Dorothy and Milton walked off to school that afternoon more sober than usual, thinking of what they had just heard. Who doubts that the afternoon session was a happier one for the new teacher?
“Something so strange has happened, Aunt Eleanor,” Dorothy burst out, as she dropped on the little footstool by her aunt. “Just now the doctor came out of Chester’s house, and I asked him—you know it was Dr. Trask—who was sick. (Was that being inquisitive, I wonder? I guess you wouldn’t have asked, would you, Auntie?) Well, anyway, the doctor said that Chester is sick, because some boy gave him money to buy a lot of ice cream and candy. And who do you suppose that boy was? Why, Milton! Only, he thought he was being generous to give Chester so much of his money, when Chester’s mother wouldn’t give him any. He felt sorry for Chester. Why should it turn out so badly, when Milton was so kind ?“
“So, then, you thought Milton did a really kind thing?” questioned
“Well—” hesitated Dorothy. “I wasn’t so very sure, I guess. Because something inside did remind me that Chester’s mother had refused it to him.”
“Then, you reminded Milton, of course?”
“No, Auntie, I didn’t. It just seemed mean and stingy to. And Milton seemed so happy to be sharing his money—I—well, I just couldn’t bear to hurt his feelings.”
“It is certain that no matter how kind the intentions were, everything turned out badly. Isn’t that so? How are we going to find out what the trouble was, now? Well, Dorothy, in the first place, let us forget that the three children concerned are Chester, Milton, and Dorothy. They are three children we never saw or heard of before. The little boy is busily engaged in getting dimes out of his bank for a neighbor boy who is crying because his mother never gives him even a dime to spend, and he wants some candy ‘so bad!’ while the little girl hears something say inside her: ‘His mother wouldn’t give it to him. Brother better not do that.’ She knew that mothers always know what’s best for boys and girls, even though boys and girls don’t always see it that way. But she couldn’t bear to spoil her brother’s pleasure by reminding him of that—he might call her ‘stingy,’ if she did. And so, the
brother did what he wanted to do; the neighbor boy had what he wanted to have;
and everything should have been ‘happy ever after,’ if doing just what we
want to do, makes us happy. But does it, Dorothy?”
“Oh, now I see, Aunt Eleanor. Not a single one of them was acting for and as the Self. They, each one, thought just of myself. That girl wasn’t thinking of what was best for either little boy, but only how she would not be liked, if she reminded them. So she made an excuse to herself, and said, ‘He wouldn’t stop, if I did tell him, either.’ But he might have stopped, Auntie, and then,—well, anyway, Chester wouldn’t have been sick.”
“That’s it, exactly,” replied Aunt Eleanor.
“And, besides, if she had tried to do what she really knew was right, and it didn’t stop it, her part in the disaster would have stopped right there. When we do all we can to prevent some wrong thing, that is all we can do, for no one can really keep another from doing what he wants to do. But the rest is his affair.”
“Why, Auntie,” said Dorothy, with a very pink face. “I believe that little girl was really the most to blame of all, because she knew better than the boys did. And it’s always those who know more that have to help those who know less, isn’t it?”
“‘Well, dear, if she could only see as clearly
we do, by just standing off and looking at her actions as if they were done by
another, she might discover for herself what would keep her from many another
future blunder. Too many people in their fear to offend others, because dislike
for themselves might follow, fail to do the right they see. The ancient books
say this is the worst of all sins. They call it the ‘sin of omission.’ We can
see how bad that really is, because people aren’t aware of how they have
failed to act their highest and best. But when they have done wrong actively,
they see and know by the results. Karma takes care of the sin of omission,
however, just the same, although very silently and secretly.”
“Aunt Eleanor,” said Dorothy softly, “I have learned something. And, isn’t it strange that Milton’s part is so different in just the same happening?”
“Yes, but that again is another story, isn’t it? That is Milton’s story, and his, another lesson.”
“You wanted to know, Dorothy, if I would have asked Dr. Trask, when
he came away from Chester’s house, who was ill. You thought I would not have
asked, you say?” began Aunt Eleanor, suddenly remembering a “tag end” of their
little talk together.
“Well, Aunt Eleanor, you always have said not to ‘peer about’ into other people’s affairs, and
just as I said it, it came into my mind that I had been inquisitive.”
“The question is always, little girl, why we do anything. Did you ask out of idle curiosity, or, did you think, ‘Why, maybe I can help, if there is sickness there’? When you found out, did you go to ask Chester’s mother if there were something you could do for her? If not, then perhaps it might be you were merely inquisitive.
“But you were right in thinking that I would most likely have not asked the question of Dr. Trask. Because, you see, the sickness was Dr. Trask’s business, and it is a part of the physician’s business not to tell it. He would have told me, without my asking, had he thought it necessary for me to have the information from him. What I would have done, though, on seeing him leave, was to go directly to the house and ask if I could be of help with whomsoever’s illness it was. That much would be my own affair—to offer help where there might be the need of it.
“I am glad, though, Dorothy girl, that you remembered when you caught sight of a little inquisitive imp appearing. For he is first cousin to curiosity, tale-bearing, and gossip, and they are the greatest mischief-makers in the world. But they can all be rendered quite harmless by a magic phrase repeated inside to oneself, ‘Mind your own business.’”
Later, on the same day, Milton came to Aunt Eleanor, saying: “I got
into trouble, yesterday, Auntie. And I thought I was being kind and generous.
Chester came over, crying, and said he wanted some ice cream—he was so warm—and
his mother wouldn’t give him any money to buy it. So I went and got my bank and
gave him some dimes and nickels. But today Chester is sick in bed, because he
ate so much ice cream and candy, and his mother scolded me dreadfully, because I
gave him the money.”
“Well, Milton, have you found out what the trouble was with that ‘kindness’ of yours ?“
“No, Aunt Eleanor. I just don’t see why I was wrong. But I must have been just the same, to get all this bad Karma out of it.”
“I see. But, suppose we look at it this way. Chester is a very small boy, who isn’t himself yet wise enough to know what is best for him to eat at all times. It is while we are at that age that our parents and guardians protect us from making foolish mistakes and getting into all kinds of difficulties, because they know more. So, it is their duty to tell us what to do and what not to do. Chester’s mother knew what would happen, if Chester had the sweets that the little ‘animal’ Chester wanted; while you, not knowing all that, interfered with her duty. The ancient book says, you know, that ‘the duty of another is full of danger.’ Had you been mindful of your own
duty, you would have, in the first place asked permission of me to give the
money to Chester. Then, all this trouble would have been spared us.
“It isn’t enough for us to be kind and generous just on our side, you see, Milton. Our kindness must look on all sides and include our duty to everyone. You wouldn’t think of giving money to a drunkard, knowing he would immediately spend it for liquor, would you? Yet that would be the same sort of an unwise generous act, so far as you were concerned. It is often far more kind to appear to others to be ungenerous. Only a few have courage enough for that, though it is just the courage of doing what is right, rather than what others want us to do,”
“Why, Milton Stewart!” exclaimed Dorothy, as she came on him busily engaged in dismembering the kitchen alarm-clock. “How will you ever get that together again ?“
“Well, I don’t happen to have to, Sister,” he replied. “It has given out, and Aunt Eleanor let me have it to do as I pleased with.”
“But why did you take it all to pieces?”
“I wanted to find out what makes it go.”
“Hm—I should say that was just curiosity!” said Dorothy, with a faintly self-righteous sniff.
Fortunately, Aunt Eleanor passed by just then and smiled as she took in the situation at a glance.
“Yes, so it is curiosity, Dorothy girl. But, it’s the same kind of
curiosity that made the discovery of America possible to Columbus, and that made
possible the telegraph, the telephone, the air-machines, all our electrical
devices, and now, our wireless telegraphs and telephones.”
Dorothy looked crestfallen. “Oh, dear, Auntie. One time curiosity is bad, and another time it is good !“
“Why not?” smiled Aunt Eleanor. “Everywhere we look, we see opposite faces to the same thing. Physicians prescribe a certain drug called poisonous—strychnine—to relieve heart trouble; but, taken in another quantity, it will kill the person using it. So, you see, strychnine is good one time, and bad another. Or, we would better say, strychnine itself is neither good, nor bad. But according as it is used, it will produce good or bad effects. How, then, would you say, we could determine whether curiosity has good or bad effects, Milton ?“
“Seems to me, Aunt Eleanor’, it would be according to what we are
intending. If we just want to know something for ourselves—what someone else
doesn’t want us to know and what is really none of our business, that would be
thought- meddling; but if we want to know just to understand, that would
be all right.”
“Yes, I think you have it, Milton. Because
we are here in the world to learn, to understand whatever comes before us. And the more we understand, the better able we become to help others to learn. All of our great inventions have come because of men’s trying to understand Nature.”
THINGS WORTH KNOWING
Milton questioned eagerly, “did
they really have aeroplanes and ‘movies’ and wireless on that old continent of
“Well, I don’t know about the ‘movies,’” Aunt Eleanor replied. “But, if not, they had other things as wonderful, which have not yet been discovered again. They weren’t so dependent on machinery and apparatus in those days; their instruments were not so complicated as ours, because they had power within themselves, and they dealt directly with the elements which we have to harness by apparatus.”
“How wise and good they must have been I” exclaimed Dorothy.
“Yes, so they were—some of them. But again, we have our ‘pairs of opposites.’ There were good and wise and powerful Atlanteans, but there were also bad, ‘wise’ and powerful Atlanteans. All had power and knowledge, but those who used that power and knowledge for themselves instead of for the good of all, were able to be far more wicked than the most wicked men of our day, who are more ignorant. It doesn’t follow that all these great inventions make
a nation wise and generous and just. The more possessions some people have, the more selfish they become, forgetting the needs of their fellow- men, and taking advantage of them to increase their own riches and power. All our great achievements mean truly nothing to the progress of a nation unless they are used by their possessors to benefit all members of the human family. And we must not forget that each one of us makes up the nation. So the thoughts and acts of each one are important to build it true, or to destroy it.”
“You remember Betty Weston, Aunt Eleanor?” said Dorothy. “Well, she
is at the head of the class in everything. She works so hard! But she is afraid
all the time that Lloyd Udell will get ahead of her. He’s the next best, you
know. She asked me this morning why I don’t work harder to get ahead, and said I
wasn’t ambitious. I told her I was as glad as I could be to have her ahead, if
she wanted to be so much, and she looked so surprised! I guess I haven’t
much ambition. Ought I to have, Aunt Eleanor?”
“Well, dear, the Wise Ones have never been ambitious save to help their fellow-men. Perhaps, in some other life of yours you learned something of their teaching and know inside that ambition is vain and foolish which is for one’s own glory at the expense of others. Yet, each drop in the
ocean raises the ocean level correspondingly, and so each effort made sincerely for the good of all radiates as a power for good in every direction. It is acting for and as the Self to try our very hardest with whatever task comes our way; that helps to raise the effort level of the whole. And even if we are not anxious to win honors for ourselves, we ought to ‘work as those work who are ambitious.’ We might need to watch out for some lurking selfishness in us, if, because we are not seeking for honors, we yet do less than our best, don’t you think, Dorothy? As Theosophists, we could prove that Theosophy helps us to perform all our tasks, in school and out, better and with greater facility. Just by not having, as poor little Betty has, something to fear, we would be able to do so much the better. For, you know, don’t you, how in a nightmare you are so afraid that you can’t run, nor scream, nor even speak? Just so, when we are wide awake, being afraid of anything holds us with clutching fingers from doing our very best.”
Bill and Milton were holding an animated conversation in the corner of
the big living room.
“How do you know it’s true, Milt? My Dad says nobody knows whether we come back again in new bodies, or not, because nobody ever came back to tell us so.”
“Well,” Milton answered, “Aunt Eleanor
says it wouldn’t do any good to take somebody else’s word for it, anyway. Lots
of people say they used to be some king or queen or prince in some other life,
but that doesn’t make them nor you nor me any the wiser. I guess your Dad would
have hard work to prove to somebody else that he had a dream last night,
wouldn’t he? Even if he couldn’t prove it, it would be no sign he didn’t dream,
“I know, Milt. But I thought you told me people had come back to tell about reincarnation. What was her name—Madam—?”
“Yes, Madam Blavatsky. But, you see, she didn’t ask anybody to believe it just because she said so. She showed how there is reincarnation everywhere in the world—it’s just Law—and people can’t get away from reincarnating any more than can the plant, or the grub that turns to butterfly. She says that all people really know that it is true inside, just as they know they dream, inside, and they can know the truth of reincarnation for themselves, just the way they know the multiplication table. ‘We just have to learn that for ourselves, or we never know it, do we, Bill? And she says that the Wise Ones for thousands of years have taught reincarnation, too. There must be something in it worth trying to find out, don’t you s’pose?”
Aunt Eleanor was just passing by and said: “Really, there’s nothing we can’t know, if we set
out for the knowledge in earnest, Bill. We need to forget a certain little helpless word—’can’t’— when we start, though. Each one is the Knower, and there is no end to the knowledge which we may have. It is that little word ‘can’t’ which marks a very decided ring around our knowing, and beyond it, we will not go. Some weeks ago, I was visiting where a little boy of three was learning the seven colors of the spectrum. He set up his painted blocks in a row to show me how well he knew the colors, but when he came to violet, he paused, and his mother said, ‘He can’t tell violet, yet.’ Yesterday, I was there again, and he went through his little performance again for me, but, do you know, when he came to violet, he said, ‘I can’t tell violet yet.’ Perhaps, one reason why we do not know more about other bodies we have had before us is that we have thought, ‘I can’t know.’”
“Aunt Eleanor,” said Milton one evening, “I just like Arithmetic. It seems to me sometimes that the figures aren’t just figures—and that they mean a whole lot more than I see in them.”.
“Dear lad, yes. The wise men of old wrote the whole history of the universe in the numbers from one to ten. The figures we use are indeed true symbols, for they tell the same story to all men. Whatever the language they may speak, or in whatever land they live, the figure 4, for
instance, is a symbol for just the same quantity. And to say ‘third’ in China is
to mean the same order as when ‘third’ is said in Mexico.
“Let us look at this telephone-book together, Milton. Do you see all these thousands of numbers which are all different? And yet, they are all made up of the very same figures—all from the numbers 1 to 10. And you could make infinitely more combinations of numbers, too. See, what a difference it makes, whether you place a 7 before a 1 or after it! And think how you could count and count and count endlessly and still go on counting.”
“Why, Aunt Eleanor! Numbers are like Space, then, aren’t they?”
‘Not exactly, Milton. Because, you see, when the Great Night of the universe came, there would still be Space, but you would stop counting then, as there would be nothing and no need to count. The numbers would go back into No-Number, just as all things would return into Space. So Space would be No-Number rather than Numbers.”
“Then all numbers must come out, of No- Number?”
“Surely. Don’t you see our nought (0, because it is no number) is a symbol for Space? The true symbol of boundless Space would be a circle with its center everywhere and its circumference nowhere. Now, do you remember how we talked
of worlds coming out of Space (though still in it) beginning with just a point of light in the Great Darkness? From that One point, the light would shine in all directions, making a circle of light in the Darkness. We could call that circle of light the Universe, but the boundless Dark Circle is, whether there are universes or none.
“When you come to study Algebra, Milton, you will find that behind the figure nought are the same figures and combinations of figures minus, that we have beginning with one—as if 0 were a division line between darkness and light. That is the way a diameter divides a circle into two equal parts. But that diameter was made by the point growing, growing, growing from the center both to right and left into a line. That same point can grow again in exactly the opposite direction to this line and make another division of the circle into four; but that is not all: it can grow infinitely into lines in all directions. Just try with your pencil and see how many lines can be drawn through the center of the circle from circumference to circumference. You would find that what we call the circumference would be simply the points made by the lines coming from that one center.
“So, all the numbers come from the one number, the number 1. The 2 has in it two ones. The 3 has in it 2 and 1. The 4 has the 3 and the 1 in it. The 5 has the 3 and the 2 in it, but in both
those numbers are the ones. The 6 has in it the 3 and the 2 and the 1—and so on we can go, till we find ourselves back at 1 again, with 1+2+3+ 4=10. Not one of the numbers could be without the one to start with, and 10 but starts with one again in a new order and relation. Something as one person does, we can see, when he becomes a parent, for instance. He is himself one person; then he becomes a father, though he is the same One, he has another relation.
“All of us as people, and all beings everywhere, are like the numbers proceeding from the One Life, or like the lines proceeding from the One Point of Light in the circle. We are all together acting and moving in different combinations of numbers and colors, so that we must be ever making pictures in the universe, such as those we see in the kinetoscope. And it wouldn’t be strange to think of the ‘I’ as the center or point within each one of us from which we make all kinds of combinations of thinking and feeling. Perhaps, we might each one of us also look like the pictures of a kinetoscope, if one were able to see us as we look beyond the mere flesh of our bodies. Like the numbers in the telephone-book, we all look different, yet we are in reality all from the One Source, and as expressions of the One Life we are only different combinations of the numbers which proceed from It.”
“I must think about all this some more, Aunt Eleanor.”
“Yes, for what we have said is only ‘a starter,’ Milton. The subject of numbers is big enough and deep enough to keep us thinking the rest of our lives.”
Dorothy came in very flushed and excited, it must be confessed.
“Oh, so you didn’t go to the match, after all ?“ asked Aunt Eleanor in surprise.
“Auntie,” Dorothy answered very fast, “I’m never going anywhere with Alice Lee again. Why, you know we made this engagement Wednesday, and I called for her at half-past two, just as we had agreed—and—what do you think, she’d forgotten all about it, and said she guessed she didn’t care anything about going anyway. I don’t believe she ever intended to go in the first place!”
“Well, dear, it isn’t the nicest thing in the world not to keep engagements. Alas, many people are very careless in breaking them, while others make them idly, not intending to keep them. It is only wisdom not to make engagements with people like that. But, then again, some of us would keep a special engagement like this one of yours today very dutifully, while, when we know that breakfast is at eight—which is a sort of engagement—we frequently appear at half past
eight; or, we say we will complete a certain task one day, and we find ourselves
a week late on that agreement. Perhaps, my girl needs to think whether she
is always as punctual as she ought to be, and if this disappointment were
not her own come back to her from other kinds of failures to keep engagements.
“There are promises we make others which we keep, but there are promises we make ourselves, which we break. We should keep both with equal care, not making either, unless we see our way to carrying them out. To be known as ‘a man of his word’ was never a small honor. The keeping of one’s word, in however slight a matter, is a part of the soul’s honesty and sense of justice to his fellows and to himself. So, for this disappointment, Dorothy, let us promise ourselves the harder to keep our own promises.”
As Eddie Morse tramped along up through the canyon with Milton and
his father, he slashed away with the stout stick he was carrying at the plants
and bushes which bordered the trail.
“I wouldn’t do that, Eddie,” said Mr. Stewart, kindly. But Eddie, after stopping for a few strides, began again to slash vigorously at the bushes.
Suddenly the trail became narrower. The bushes seemed to draw in towards the “hikers” and some of the branches overhung the path.
Mr. Stewart, walking in advance, pushed them aside with his hands, but Eddie, coming just behind—and very busy with his stick—did not notice. The result was that a stiff, leafless twig rebounding struck Eddie sharply across the cheek; and as he drew back with an exclamation of pain, another twig caught him just as sharply on the other check.
Eddie was crying when they stopped in an open space just beyond.
There were two deep red welts on his face, and Mr. Stewart did not seem
especially sympathetic. Suddenly, Eddie threw the stick far into the bushes.
“There, lad, you’ll feel better in a minute,” said Mr. Stewart kindly. “Let’s sit down here in the shade for a few minutes and talk things over,” he added, beckoning to Milton. “You see, boys, these plants and bushes are all living things—a class of beings. You move along heedlessly striking at them with your stick, and pretty soon, they strike back, and you get the pain of those welts on your face. The bushes and plants don’t know what they are doing, but the Law works through them just the same. The same bushes you struck didn’t strike you back, but they were brothers to those that did; you got your just dues from the same family or class of beings.”
“Was that why you wanted me to drop thee stick, Mr. Stewart?” asked Eddie, who by this time was feeling better.
“Well, son,” was the answer, “for one thing, it isn’t good woodcraft to
walk noisily through the woods. Doing so, one misses half of what the woods can
tell him. That is what I had in mind when I first spoke, but there proved to be
far more in it than I then saw. Why, boys, suppose a man were far up in some
dangerous place in this canyon, trying to get back to a safe place on the trail;
and suppose his only method of getting by a risky place was by holding on to
some bushes where the footing was insecure. If the bushes held firm, he would
get by safely; if they gave way, he would fall down into the bottom of the
canyon and probably be dashed to death. Don’t you suppose he would stand a
better chance if he had been careful not to abuse the plant kingdom of Nature,
than he would be if he had heedlessly abused it, as you were doing with your
stick a few minutes ago? It is no ‘accident’ that one man gets through a
dangerous place and another falls to his death at the very same spot.”
“That’s what Aunt Eleanor was saying last night, don’t you remember, Father? ‘My own shall come back to me.’ That’s the way Karma works. You just can’t fool Karma.” And Milton ended the discussion by heading up the trail again.
MORE THINGS WORTH KNOWING
was reading an item here and there
from the current number of “The Literary Digest,” when the fancy of both Dorothy
and Milton was caught by something taken from the London Daily Express.
It read: “The sport of beaver-hunting has become a national pastime in England.
The ‘beavers’ in question are men who wear beards, and the new sport is making
life miserable for them. The beaver can be found in its natural haunts, and
these are the streets of every town. The beaver-hunter can lie in wait at any
street corner, and raise the hue-and-cry when the beaver comes in sight. A
little more enterprise and activity are required to find a red-bearded king
beaver but this adds to the excitement of the game. Elderly persons of both
sexes are to be seen playing the game in tubes and omnibuses, openly and
unashamedly.” The game was further described, showing the zest of the children
playing it and the discomfiture of their prey.
“What’s the matter with that game, do you think, Milton ?“ asked Father, his eyes twinkling.
“Well, Dad,” answered Milton, “it’s funny, of course, but I don’t see much real sport about it. It’s only teasing, isn’t it?”
“Looks like that to me, son. But isn’t teasing fun ?“
“It may be for the fellow who does the teasing. But, I notice, not many like to be teased. Honest, I hate it, Dad.”
Then Dorothy spoke up. “Why, Father, yesterday I saw Ray Nason tease his brother Frank so hard that Frank just went wild. He’s a dandy good sport with the rest of us, but when Ray teased him, he stood it as long as he could and then he burst out crying so that he couldn’t stop for an hour. It was terrible.”
“We are so anxious that we shan’t have animal vivisection, Richard, aren’t we?” asked Aunt Eleanor. “Yet the teasing of people, whether children or adults, seems suspiciously like that.”
“True, Eleanor. It has always seemed to me a strange quirk in human nature that finds its pleasure in the needless misery of others.”
“Yes. The basis for the teasing is always personal—bodily—and so the misery suffered by the person is keen. Could one remember what he really :s all the time, which is not the person, of course, no teasing could touch him. But that does not excuse the one who teases, who always assumes a position of superiority for his own notions, however unconsciously unkind he may be. Now, take the case cited by the London paper:
whose business is if it some men prefer to wear a beard? Why should it be ridiculed any more
than the clean-shaven face? In fact, in ancient days, the clean-shaven face was
the mark of effeminacy, and were we more observant of nature’s laws than our own
notions and artificial customs, the odds would be by far in favor of beards.
But, as a matter of fact, to take sides either way is a mistake, whether in fun
or seriously in such a personal matter.”
“I can see that, Eleanor. What we need is not to take sides either way, but to do justice by both, and be disturbed by neither. Every man is free to do as he chooses, and no one has a right to constrain him, unless his ideas and actions are harmful to others. The teasing and ridicule are a way of constraining others to accept our notions.”
“But, truly, Aunt Eleanor, some boys and girls like to be teased—a little, anyway.”
“Well, how shall we determine the right kind of teasing?”
“It ought to be good-natured”—began Milton.
“And it ought to stop before it has gone too far,” added Dorothy.
“Yes, and what would be the real safeguard in it all?”
“My turn, Eleanor?” smiled Father. “To be thinking of the other fellow, seems to me, and not just of our own ‘fun.’ Perhaps, too, I’d better add, to have no ‘rights’ of our own, but to respect the rights of others.”
“Aunt Eleanor, sometimes people think so opposite of the way you do
yourself, you just can’t answer them. Today, I had been talking about Karma with
Susie Barnes, and I felt more like crying than saying anything when she said,
‘Well, then, I don’t see why we should ever feel sorry for anyone. Now, why
should I feel sorry that Jennie can’t have a new dress for graduation, because
if she had deserved it, she would have it?’ “
“Surely, Susie’s idea called for quick thinking, didn’t it? She did not understand you any better than you did her. It must have been you had not already made clear to her how all of us are like drops in the Great Ocean of Life, and that the disturbance of even one small drop makes disturbance to all the rest. If we are true brothers to all that live, the sorrows of others will mean more to us than our own.”
“Well, I suppose, Aunt Eleanor, that things like dresses ought not to make anybody unhappy, should they?”
“No, dear. And yet it is only our part in an orderly universe to have suitable clothing, if possible. That is quite another thing from wishing to be grand in order to outshine others.”
“Jennie told me she was sorry not to have a new dress, because it would sort of spoil the look of things for her to be the only one in blue, though for herself she didn’t care a bit.”
“Well, Dorothy, that is the way of thinking that brings ‘miracles’
to pass,” said Aunt Eleanor, musingly.
The next day, Dorothy came home with beaming face. “Oh, what do you think, Aunt Eleanor? Jennie is having a new dress for her graduation after all. She has been darning her big brother’s socks so nicely all the year that he wanted to do something nice for her in return. So he has been saving up for a long time on purpose to buy her the dress. And her mother tried it on last night for a surprise! Just isn’t that good Karma? And—Susie—who thought she was going to look the nicest because her dress is silk has the measles—MEASLES ! She won’t even be there, and will miss the picnic, too, and all the rest of the fun!”
“Well, dear, we’ll hope you’ll have some sympathy for the little vain Susie, too. It’s not only the wise and the good that are our brothers, but the foolish and the unkind, too. And sometimes we ourselves are unkind and foolish, perhaps more often than we are kind and wise.”
“Oh, Auntie, I never thought of that! Susie will be a whole lot unhappier not to wear her pretty dress than Jennie ever could be in an old one. Maybe we girls can find some way to help make it easier for her,” said Dorothy, her eyes already on the vision of a “surprise” box to be opened on graduation night.
“What is the matter with you, Sis?” inquired Milton
concernedly one morning at the breakfast table. “You haven’t said a word except
‘Good morning’ since you came downstairs, and your face is a mile long.”
“Nothing—oh, nothing,” answered Dorothy with a flush. And then Aunt Eleanor began to ask Milton about his new wireless outfit, so that Dorothy once more went back into her somber silence.
“Strange, isn’t it, Milton, that this wireless operating with the help of man-made machines is just an imitation of Nature’s wireless—and all our bodies are nothing more than machines for receiving and despatching wireless messages. We say we knew beforehand just what our friend was going to say; or even when he doesn’t say so, we feel whether our friend is happy or sad. Laughter is ‘catching,’ you know, just the same way measles is!”
“Well, then, Eleanor,” Father said, taking up the thread, “according to that, it wouldn’t make any difference how we thought or felt, others will get it, whether we speak of it or not. Somehow, I always thought that if one were feeling at odds with the world, he could at least be decent enough to keep still about it, and so no one else would get the bad effect.”
“You are right about that, Richard. If we must sigh and cry, it is certainly better to do the
sighing and crying to ourselves, within. The putting of it into words simply sets the added force of sound to work to make the sighing and crying continue to live, and to more strongly affect others. But, just the same, when we came down to breakfast this morning, the sweet-peas didn’t need to say in words, ‘We are here.’ We felt them—that is, we smelt them. Their perfume told us, and it told us many happy secrets of Nature at the same time—the gladness and joy of Life itself.”
“Why, Aunt Eleanor,” spoke Milton, round- eyed, “you don’t mean
that every person has a perfume, too?”
“Yes, I believe it, Milton. And that when we are happy, we give perfume like the rose, and when we think about ourselves, the perfume is lacking. So when we think about our own troubles, our ‘wireless’ is in tune with others who are thinking about their troubles; but when we are happy, we get the perfume of the happiness of all others.”
And then a little chuckle came from Dorothy’s place. “Aunt Eleanor, you are a rascal, and I know it. It is only just this minute I smelled those lovely sweet-peas !”
Dorothy held Aunt Eleanor back a moment, as they all moved toward the living room.
“You see, Aunt Eleanor, Betty wouldn’t speak to me all day yesterday, and wouldn’t tell me why. I’ve thought over everything, and I haven’t
the slightest idea what is the trouble. So it worries me.”
“Well, dear, the worrying won’t help either you or Betty. If you have honestly tried to find out what is wrong and can’t, then wait, without feeling any resentment toward Betty. It would be very foolish to walk in a thick fog in a strange country, not seeing where we are going; but while we sit down and wait for the fog to lift, it would be pleasanter to whistle, than to cry about it, wouldn’t it? And then, when it came time to move on, we wouldn’t be weakened by the tears, at least, and we could go on more briskly and blithely No matter how bad things ever were, crying and worrying never made them better. Now while you worry over what you don’t know how to help, and give gloom to others instead of cheer, you are forgetting others whom you can help. In thinking of others there is always happiness, dear—a happiness that shines of its own shining—and you will likely find that Betty cannot resist the sunshine in you, and herself begin to shine again.”
Dorothy went to school that morning her sunny self again. But it was two days later before Betty’s thunder-cloud collapsed in laughter, when, both girls as they walked, watching the evolutions of an airplane, collided with such force that down they sat—one no more astonished than the other—their books and papers flying in all directions. Dorothy never asked what had been
the trouble, but one day Betty told her shyly, “I don’t care if your report cards are better than mine, Dorothy. I guess somebody has to be at the head of the class, and I think I’d rather it would be you than anyone else.”
“Honestly, now, Aunt Eleanor, you don’t mean that everything
in the universe has a purpose?” queried Milton. “How about flies and mosquitoes
and all kinds of little bugs that bite and are a nuisance.?”
“Is there anything in the universe which isn’t under Law, do you think? If there is not, even those insects you speak of must be alive under Law. Law wouldn’t be Law if it acted in only some beings and places and not in others. Those little beings must certainly be alive for a reason, since the Law is the law of Cause and Effect. Of course, naturalists might tell us that all these forms of life furnish food for still other forms of life; but it may not be so very difficult to show that they have their ‘purpose’ even so far as man is concerned.”
“Flies and mosquitoes carry disease to people, I know that,” said
Milton, “but that isn’t a real ‘purpose,’ seems to me.”
“No? Well, let us see. Supposing all the thoughts of men are clothed with tiny lives, as we learned when we talked about fairies; what kind of lives would the evil, selfish thoughts of men
clothed in? Harmful lives of course. So, all through nature, we find the harmful
and the harmless, the good and the evil. There are gases that heal and gases
that destroy; there are precious stones which they say bring ill fortune to
their wearer, and others which bring good fortune and health; there are some
plants which are healing, others which are poisonous; there are snakes which
help, and others that are deadly; there are animals which are of service to man
as well as those which would destroy him. Now, so long as men think evil,
harmful thoughts, there will be need of forms to embody that kind of thinking.
Therefore, the mosquito and the fly will continue to carry disease to men until
men have learned to serve their fellow-men, and all the rest of their brother
beings. We need not think that the disease brought by the mosquito was contrary
to the Law. Somewhere, sometime, the being who suffers it had done some wrong to
lower forms of life than his own, and thus the wrong done has the balance struck
through the channel of other lower forms.”
“Perhaps even sickness isn’t ‘bad’ Karma, is it, Aunt Eleanor?”
“Certainly not. The way to health is often through sickness. And besides, the one sick may learn much from the sickness. The only ‘bad’ Karma is that from which we learn nothing.”
“Well, what could he learn ?“
“He could learn what were the causes of his sickness, how he had been acting contrary to the laws of nature and determine never to make such mistakes again. From the kindnesses shown him while himself helpless he could understand better the law of brotherhood in his own heart, and nourish gratitude there. To be grateful for help given is needful before one can give real help to others.”
“Auntie, I should think that earthquakes and tidal waves and tornadoes must be like a sickness of the earth.”
“Why not? That is exactly what they are, in fact. We are apt to think, for instance, that a tidal wave is contrary to law, but it is not; in it we see the working of the same law which is seen in the usual ebb and flow of the tide, only in a larger circle, or cycle, of ebb and flow. You see that while the earth turns completely around of itself in 24 hours, it takes 365 days for it to journey completely around the sun. Those complete journeyings around we call cycles, one being a much smaller turning than the other, yet both are under Law. So, the causes of the tidal wave which brings so much disaster to men have been long at work, and finally, just as in sickness, there comes a pressure that the body can not resist; then, we say, there is a tidal wave, or an earthquake, or the eruption of a volcano. The lives of the earth
that have been impressed by the harmful thoughts—the selfish thoughts—of
millions of men have reached a point of explosion, which comes about just as
naturally in its own order and cycle, as day follows night. Those men who suffer
most from such events have earned the suffering, but there are others who are
every day making for themselves similar days of reckoning in the future. Man
is a part of Nature, and if he makes Nature suffer, he will suffer through
“But didn’t you tell us one day that when there are earthquakes, it means that some souls of use have come into the world somewhere ?“
“Yes. The doctor doesn’t go to make his calls where there are no sick people, does he? Great Souls go where there is need for them. I hardly think that would mean a soul of use would be born on the actual scene of the earthquake, however. Not necessarily so, at any rate. But the same conditions that brought such a calamity to one part of the world must be affecting all parts of the world, also, since all mankind are brothers. What affects one must affect all. So, all men everywhere need help.”
“Oh, then, it isn’t just because. there is an earthquake that they come, but the earthquake is the sign that they are needed?”
“Yes, and maybe, too, the actual disturbance in the earth permits their entrance here, just as disturbance in the upper air permits the down-
fall of rain. Everything in Nature must tend toward that event of birth for all
of us, though it is only of great beings that marvels of many kinds are
recorded, as of Jesus and of Buddha. It would not even be strange if such a
being coming to birth would be the immediate cause of an earthquake, I
would think. Have you never noticed how the coming of any little baby upsets the
household where it comes? Old habits have to be given up by all the members of
the family for the little one’s welfare; new habits have to be formed; in fact,
that baby makes a new world for the family as well as for itself, when it takes
the road of birth !“
“Why were the youngsters so subdued tonight, Eleanor?” Father questioned of her, after Dorothy and Milton had gone upstairs.
“They had a severe shock this morning, Richard. A letter from Louise Tabor tells of the accidental death of her cousin Marion, who used to visit at her house so much, and of whom Dorothy and Milton were very fond. A little child just learning to swim had been swept out beyond the heavy breakers and could not get back. Marion knew she herself could not get back without help either, but anyway swam to the rescue. At once a power boat went to help them both. The small girl was pulled safely on board, but during the process the boat was swung around by
the slap of the water, and Marion violently struck, so that she sank at once.
“I’m glad to see the children quiet and thoughtful about it. When they have adjusted themselves to the shock, I can fancy they will have aroused many a ‘why’ in their consciousness.”
“Yes, Eleanor, sudden death to the young is a shock for us all. But, if it is certain that death must come to all of us, just as surely as by birth we are presently here, children, as well as grownups ought to be able to understand it, whether it be natural or accidental.”
“Quite true. Although every one, sooner or later, must experience it, yet death is a Mystery, in which as in that of birth, the deepest knowledge lies. Have you ever thought how, without Death in this world, many would never think at all of the great meaning of existence? Without it, the wells of sympathy for humankind would be shallow indeed. But every funeral we pass in the Street is sign of sorrowing hearts to whom our sympathy goes out. The feeling of joy over births, too, which bring happiness to strangers as well as to our friends is a sympathy ever making for the real brotherhood of all beings. Death and Birth are the great lessons of Life. Happiness should teach, as well as pain and sorrow.”
Dorothy, several days later, brought up the first question on that
“Aunt Eleanor, how could Marion meet such a death when she was acting with so little thought of herself? I thought that unselfish thinking and acting could bring only good Karma.”
“That is to ask the same question, dear, which others have asked about Jesus: Why was He crucified? And which others have asked about
H. P. B.: Why, with so much knowledge, did she have such a suffering body; why did she have so many enemies?
“Were suffering and crucifixion their Karma? No, I think not, from one way of looking at it. They knew beforehand, and chose it out of their boundless Compassion. So with Marion. Before she swam out to the little girl, she knew that death for herself was probable, but in spite of that, the heroism of her soul risked her own life for the other’s. ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.’ That was the kind of love Marion’s was. The little girl was even a perfect stranger to her, so her act was an act of compassion, in its degree, like that of Jesus on the cross. To my own mind, such an act in one life would bring the Soul back into incarnation again where it would come in contact with Beings whose whole life was Compassion, and then it would struggle diligently to become throughout the nature like them. If that were so,
then, it was only the Karma of Marion’s body that was ‘bad,’ wasn’t it?
How many of all those H. P. B. taught, I wonder, had rendered her service in
some other life?”
“Oh, then that little girl, too, might have been Marion’s friend in another life? But, sometimes, several people die together in an accident—”
“Yes, quite other causes there. Usually such accidents are brought about through carelessness, aren’t they? But, in any case, they are balancing old debts on the ledger of life. Marion’s death is really an inspiration to us all. Too few there are in this world ready to defend what they know to be true; fewer still to die for it. She died for the Truth, the Christ, in her. Ought not all of us to live better, to stand more boldly for Truth and Truth-Bringers because she was true? Doesn’t it show us better what sort of beings were H. P. B. and Mr. Judge, who lived their lives for others, sacrificing their health and strength for others in order to serve the utmost? They could have had perfect bodies, had they sacrificed what they had to do for perfect bodies; but they did in spite of their over-worked bodies what no other perfectly healthy person of their, or any time, was able to do!”
“Thank you, Aunt Eleanor. I feel better now. You make things seem always so large and
right, as if the horizon had lifted itself, and other worlds are seen in the
distance! And you make me want to be—a hero, too!”
“Every Theosophist has to be a hero, I think, Dorothy.”
WHAT MIGHT BE
years went by with Dorothy and
Milton, as years do with boys and girls, bringing all the problems, the joys,
the disappointments that are ever the lot of those who work and play with
others. But they learned the joy of work as well as the work of play, and had
never-failing enthusiasm for both. They learned how to be generous winners as
well as good-natured losers at their games; they took up music and dancing with
minds alert to beauty; they found abounding and abiding delights in the Great
Outdoors; they learned how to appreciate the harmony of line and the feeling in
pictures and in statues, as well as the ordered lines of house and garden.
Little need had they for “Moving Pictures” when with their friends they could
make plays for themselves and act them. Little need had they for further
“excitement” on days indoors when they could find the company of the great of
old times, ever young, in a book by the chimney-corner. They learned how to take
their share of responsibility in the household and to care for themselves,
whether they should find themselves among all comforts or on a desert isle.
Once, Milton had run the household for three days while Aunt
Eleanor and Dorothy were gone on a wonderful automobile trip! Of course, we know
he could not supply the mother-presence of Aunt Eleanor, but he won his spurs
for household efficiency as honorably as he won them on the athletic field, or
in his High School classes.
Tonight, the Family sat by the early autumn fire on the hearth, thoughtful, or perhaps it was dreaming—for on the morrow Dorothy, now sixteen, was leaving for her first year at college. The trunks were strapped and waiting, and as Dorothy a n d Milton looked ahead—Milton would be going, too, next year—Father and Aunt Eleanor looked back to their days in the same little college community where the happiest youthful days of their lives had been spent—living and learning together in a friendly atmosphere many great things of the mind, and forming those associations which were henceforth to remain pleasurable and valuable.
It was Dorothy who broke the companionable silence. “Aunt Eleanor, there has kept coming into my mind all day something you told me long ago—that ‘every Theosophist has to be a hero.’ And I have been wondering what my ‘encounters’ are to be in college.”
“Well, Dorothy, I think they will come right speedily. The letter Father wrote asking that you be excused from ‘Chapel’ exercises, for instance, will, I think, call for your appearance be-
fore the Dean, who will want to know from yourself the reason for the request.”
“Oh, it won’t trouble me at all, Aunt Eleanor, to tell him that in decency I would prefer to stay away, as I can’t join in the services in sympathy.”
“But, suppose he says that is not a sufficient reason for your being excused?”
“How could he say that? It wouldn’t be according to the constitution of the United States, it seems to me, to compel me to attend! Why, I might have to tell him that not only am I not in sympathy, but I loathe the God they pray to!”
“What if you found the Dean to be a saintly sweet old man to whom that God represented the very highest and best and noblest in life ?“
“Why, of course, Aunt Eleanor. One can’t tell beforehand, can he, just what he will say, because the conditions are probably never as he pictures beforehand they will be. In such a case, I certainly would try to make my position clear without hurting the Dean’s feelings. And, by the way, won’t I have to talk with him, too, about trying to get a course in Biology without the laboratory work ?“
“Yes, and there again, you see, you will put yourself on record as a Theosophist. If you cannot learn about life without dissection and vivisection, you can let the course go by, but you will have made your protest against such methods. When the time comes, you will find Physics and
Chemistry supplying all your needs along those lines, anyway.”
“Surely I learned one thing in High School:
I won’t take any course in the mental and emotional vivisection they call Psychology! The Gita is all the psychology anyone can need, I believe, Aunt Eleanor.”
“True, indeed. But you will find that at college it is looked on as a mere literary ‘relic!’
“That is one value your college experience will be to you, daughter,” said Father, “to get new view-points, however opposed they may be to your own. They will cause you to look even deeper than you now do for the reasons of the faith that is in you.”
“They’ll think you are ‘queer,’ Sis, if I’m a good guesser,” Milton blurted out.
“Yes,” continued Father. “Anyone with convictions is considered ‘queer.’ But, take this question of vivisection, for instance. You will find professors of the mildest, most benevolent aspect practising it ‘for the good of humanity!’ They will tell you how much good it has done and is doing in the world toward combatting disease, and, should you cite statistics to prove otherwise, they will say that your statistics are not correct, but theirs are. They will say that no cruelty is practised on the little living creatures, and, if there were, it is but inferior life yielding to a grander human purpose. Their convictions
are just as strong as yours, and their motives pure, as they see them.”
“Oh, Father, people just can’t see without Theosophy, can they? They just don’t realize the brotherhood of all life, and that each atom or blade of grass or beast or insect has its place and part and ‘right to be’ as much as man!”
“Now, Dorothy,” Aunt Eleanor gave answer, “you have said what is the greatest trouble with all the world, whether it be vivisectionists or psychologists or religionists or educators. How to make a brotherhood among them all? Only by the truths of Theosophy applied by them and all of us everywhere—only by the realization of the Eternal One Life in all things—the base of universal brotherhood and compassion; only by realization of the chain of relationship stretching from the Most Wise—the Elder Brothers of Humanity—down to the most insignificant being.”
“Don’t think, daughter,” once more Father took up the word, “that you can turn the college into a school of Theosophy! But, somewhere among the hundreds there, you may find one, or even two, or three, who are inwardly looking, searching for the friends of long ago, and the bond of Theosophy that has before united them. Together, as you see how better things might be in the world, you can think and work and plan and learn toward that great end. Do you realize, or have I ever spoken to you before, of the great
University the Teachers of Theosophy have foretold for 1975? When Adepts will be
there to teach and demonstrate the truths of Theosophy
—indeed, indeed, without vivisection !”
“Yes, Aunt Eleanor told us of that, one time, I remember well. And she said, too, that then there would be nobler music, more beautiful art, and greater literature than we now have. Just to think of having even a greater Shakespeare !”
“Why not, too, a better basis of government then,” Father added, “and a basis of patriotism better than Stephen Decatur’s ‘My country right or wrong.’ It should be a government fraternal to all governments, able to help them, because of its sounder basis than theirs; because its basis is the brotherhood of humanity; because its greater riches and powers are regarded as a sacred trust for the protection of poorer and weaker brothers.”
“Father, how can anyone think Theosophy is ‘queer’ ?“ Milton interjected with a little catch in his voice.
“Well, Milton, there is another thing Dorothy may have to meet at college. There are many ‘queer’ Theosophists, so-called, because they do not know what real Theosophy is. One subject, for example, that has held Theosophy up to ridicule in the past ten years is the announcement of the near coming—any day, now !—of the Lord Maitreya, a great Avatar, in the body of a Hindu
youth. Now, the Masters themselves have said that that Being can not come for thousands of years, and that He will not come indeed until the Work on this Earth has been all but completed—when there will be a Race of great and glorious Adepts.”
“And besides, Milton,” added Aunt Eleanor, “great and an entirely
false prominence has been given by them to the discussion of psychic and astral
matters, at the expense of the rational explanation of things as they are, and
of ideals of right conduct. Some people have pretended to know the past
incarnations of hundreds of people—have even put such things in print, and have
claimed to know how the ‘inhabitants’ of Mercury and Sirius look? It is
something to know that all this is not Theosophy, but those who do know, as well
as Theosophy itself, suffer from the stigma of fantastic ideas that have been
connected with the name by the ignorant.”
“Well, I see,” said Dorothy, nodding her head thoughtfully, “I shall need to be careful not to ‘fight’ too hard—so that I won’t make people afraid of Theosophy, while I am trying to defend it.”
“Yes,” Aunt Eleanor smiled, as she switched on the lights. “Theosophy is for those who want it and none others. If they want it, there is always common ground. These great and true
ideas are in every human heart, and somehow can be reached, if we but
have the key—the key of Karma, the key of good-will to all that lives.
“So, it’s good-night now before a morrow of high adventure ! Good-night, all my dear Family,” she called, as they turned to look back at her from the landing.