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H P B on the NEW YEAR

Dec 31, 2001 03:54 PM
by dalval14

Monday, December 31, 2001

Dear Friends:

Tomorrow is the NEW YEAR for us who accept and use the modern

There are nations who use one that has a far older base -- 4 to
7,000 years of antiquity.

Looking over what H P B wrote we may secure some important ideas
for practical use.

Best wishes,

Best wishes to all for 2002.


Some late "News" just received from Peter Bernin at U L T in
Malmo, Sweden.

JUPITER: Tonight, New Year's Eve revelers in the northern
hemisphere might
notice a bright star overhead competing for attention with
traditional fireworks. It's the giant planet Jupiter, which
comes closer than usual to Earth on January 1, 2002. Visit for more information.

THE SUN: On Friday, Dec. 28th, space satellites recorded a
remarkable solar explosion from an active region hidden behind
the Sun's eastern limb. The source of the blast, a large and
complex sunspot group, is coming into view today.

MOON SHOTS: The Moon skirted through the outskirts of Earth's
shadow on
Sunday, Dec. 30th, and experienced a "penumbral" lunar eclipse.


About 113 years ago H P B wrote:


PEOPLE usually wish that their friends shall have a happy new
year, and sometimes "prosperous" is added to "happy." lt. is not
likely that much happiness or prosperity can come to those who
are living for the truth under such a dark number as 1888; but
still the year is heralded by the glorious star Venus-Lucifer,
shining so resplendently that it has been mistaken for that still
rarer visitor, the star of Bethlehem. This too, is at hand; and
surely something of the Christos spirit must be born upon earth
under such conditions
Even if happiness and prosperity are absent, it is possible to
find something greater than either in this coming year.

Venus-Lucifer is the sponsor of our magazine, and as we chose to
come to light under its auspices so do we desire to touch on its
nobility. This is possible for us all personally, and instead of
wishing our readers a happy or prosperous New Year, we feel more
in the vein to pray them to make it one worthy of its brilliant
herald. This can be effected by those who are courageous and
resolute. Thoreau pointed out that there are artists in life,
persons who can change the colour of a day and make it beautiful
to those with whom they come in contact.

We claim that there are adepts, masters in life who make it
divine, as in all other arts. Is it not the greatest art of all,
this which affects the very atmosphere in which we live? That it
is the most important is seen at once, when we remember that
every person who draws the breath of life affects the mental and
moral atmosphere of the world, and helps to colour the day for
those about him. Those who do not help to elevate the thoughts
and lives of others must of necessity either paralyse them by
indifference, or actively drag them down. When this point is
reached, then the art of life is converted into the science of
death; we see the black magician at work. And no one can be quite

Although many bad books and pictures are produced, still not
everyone who is incapable of writing or painting well insists on
doing so badly. Imagine the result if they were to! Yet so it is
in life. Everyone lives, and thinks, and speaks. If all our
readers who have any sympathy with LUCIFER endeavoured to learn
the art of making life not only beautiful but divine, and vowed
no longer to be hampered by disbelief in the possibility of this
miracle, but to commence the Herculean task at once, then 1888,
however unlucky a year, would have been fitly ushered in by the
gleaming star. Neither happiness nor prosperity are always the
best of bedfellows for such undeveloped mortals as most of us
are; they seldom bring with them peace, which is the only
permanent joy.

The idea of peace is usually connected with the close of life and
a religious state of mind. That kind of peace will however
generally be found to contain the element of expectation. The
pleasures of this world have been surrendered, and the soul waits
contentedly in expectation of the pleasures of the next. The
peace of the philosophic mind is very different from this and can
be attained to early in life when pleasure has scarcely been
tasted, as well as when it has been fully drunk of. The American
Transcendentalists discovered that life could be made a sublime
thing without any assistance from circumstances or outside
sources of pleasure and prosperity. Of course this had been
discovered many times before, and Emerson only took up again the
cry raised by Epictetus. But every man has to discover this fact
freshly for himself, and when once he realised it he knows that
he would be a wretch if he did not endeavour to make the
possibility a reality in his own life.

The stoic became sublime because he recognised his own absolute
responsibility and did not try to evade it; the Transcendentalist
was even more, because he had faith in the unknown and untried
possibilities which lay within himself. The occultist fully
recognises the responsibility and claims his title by having both
tried and acquired knowledge of his own possibilities.

The Theosophist who is at all in earnest, sees his responsibility
and endeavours to find knowledge, living, in the meantime, up to
the highest standard of which he is aware. To all such, Lucifer
gives greeting! Man's life is in his own hands, his fate is
ordered by himself. Why then should not 1888 be a year of greater
spiritual development than any we have lived through? It depends
on ourselves to make it so. This is an actual fact, not a
religious sentiment. In a garden of sunflowers every flower turns
towards the light. Why not so with us?

And let no one imagine that it is a mere fancy, the attaching of
importance to the birth of the year. The earth passes through its
definite phases and man with it; and as a day can be coloured so
can a year. The astral life of the earth is young and strong
between Christmas and Easter. Those who form their wishes now
will have added strength to fulfill them consistently.


LUCIFER, January, 1888


This was written 7 years before that in 1881 ( 120 years ago)


THE dial of Time marks off another of the world's Hours. . . .
And, as the Old Year passes into Eternity, like a rain-drop
falling into the ocean, its vacant place on the calendar is
occupied by a successor which--if one may credit the ancient
prophetic warnings of Mother Shipton and other seers--is to bring
woe and disaster to some portions of the world. Let it go, with
its joys and triumphs, its badness and bitterness, if it but
leave behind for our instruction the memory of our experience and
the lesson of our mistakes. Wise is he who lets "the dead Past
bury its dead," and turns with courage to meet the fresher duties
of the New Year; only the weak and foolish bemoan the

It will be well to take a brief retrospect of those incidents of
the year 1880 (A.D.) which possess an interest for members of the
Theosophical Society. The more so since, in consequence of the
absence from Bombay of the President and Corresponding Secretary,
the anniversary day of the Society was not publicly celebrated.

It will not be necessary to enter minutely into those details of
administration which, however important in themselves as links,
weak or strong, in the general chain of progress, and however
they may have taxed the patience, nerve, or other resources of
the chief officers. do not at all interest the public. It is not
so much explanation as results that are demanded, and these, in
our case, abound. Even our worst enemy would be forced to admit,
were he to look closely into our transactions, that the Society
is immeasurably stronger morally, numerically, and as regards a
capacity for future usefulness, than it was a year ago. Its name
has become most widely known; its fellowship has been enriched by
the accession of some very distinguished men; it has planted new
branch societies in India, Ceylon and elsewhere; applications are
now pending for the organization of still other branches, in New
South Wales, Sydney, California. India, Australia; its magazine
has successfully entered the second volume; its local issues with
the government of India have been finally and creditably settled;
a mischievous attempt by a handful of malcontents at Bombay to
disrupt it has miserably failed.


It has made official alliances with the Sanskrit Samaj of
Benares, that is to say, with the most distinguished body of
orthodox Sanskrit pandits in the world, with the other Sabha of
which Pandit Rama Misra Shastri is Manager, and with the Hindu
Sabha, of Cochin State; while, at the same time, strengthening
its fraternal relations with the Arya Samajas of the Punjab and
North-Western Provinces. Besides all this, we can point with joy
and pride to the results of the late mission to Ceylon, where,
within the space of fifty-seven days, seven branch societies of
Buddhist laymen, one Ecclesiastical Council of Buddhist priests,
and one scientific society were organized, and some hundreds of
new fellows were added to our list.

All this work could not be accomplished without great labour,
mental anxiety and physical discomfort. If to this be added the
burden of a correspondence with many different countries, and the
time required for making two journeys to Northern India and one
to Ceylon, our friends at a distance will see that whatever other
blame may properly attach to the Founders, who have never claimed
infallibility of any sort, that of laziness is assuredly not to
be cast in their teeth. Nor, when they learn that the work done
since leaving America, the traveling expenses and the fitting and
maintenance of the Headquarters establishment has cost some
twenty thousand rupees, while the cash receipts of the Treasurer
(exclusive of those from Ceylon, Rs. 2,440, which sum is set
aside as a special fund to be used in the interest of Buddhism)
have been only one thousand two hundred and forty rupees, all
told, including one donation of two hundred rupees from the
universally respected Maharanee Surnomoyee, and another of twenty
rupees from a well-wisher in Bengal, will those who direct the
Society's affairs be regarded by them as making money out of
their offices. And these figures, which may most readily be
verified, are our only answer to the calumnies which have been
maliciously circulated by some who did not, and others who did,
know the truth.


The trip to Ceylon occupied seventy-seven days in all, the second
one to Northern India one hundred and twenty-five days. Thus the
Founders have been absent from Bombay on duty twenty-nine weeks
out of the fifty-two; their travels extending through twenty-five
degrees of latitude, from Lahore at the extreme north of India,
to Matara, the southernmost point of ancient Lanka.

Each of the Indian Presidencies has contributed a quota of new
members; and at the former capital of the late lion-hearted
Runjeet Singh, a branch was recently organized by Sikhs and
Punjabis, under the title of the "Punjab Theosophical Society."
During the twelvemonth, President Olcott delivered seventy-nine
lectures and addresses, a majority of which were interpreted in
the Hindi, Urdu, Guzerati and Sinhalese languages.

Many misconceptions prevail as to the nature and objects of the
Theosophical Society. Some--Sir Richard Temple in the
number--fancy it is a religious sect; many believe it is composed
of atheists; a third party are convinced that its sole object is
the study of occult science and the initiation of green hands
into the Sacred Mysteries. If we have had one we certainly have
had a hundred intimations from strangers that they were ready to
join at once if they could be sure that they would shortly be
endowed with siddhis, or the power to work occult phenomena. The
beginning of a new year is a suitable time to make one more
attempt--we wish it could be the last--to set these errors right.
So then, let us say again:


(1) The Theosophical Society teaches no new religion, aims to
destroy no old one, promulgates no creed of its own, follows no
religious leader, and, distinctly and emphatically, is not a
sect, nor ever was one. It admits worthy people of any religion
to membership, on the condition of mutual tolerance and mutual
help to discover truth. The Founders have never consented to be
taken as religious leaders, they repudiate any such idea, and
they have not taken and will not take disciples.

(2) The Society is not composed of atheists, nor is it any more
conducted in the interest of atheism than in that of deism or
polytheism. It has members of almost every religion, and is on
equally fraternal terms with each and all.

(3) Not a majority, nor even a respectable minority, numerically
speaking, of its fellows are students of occult science or ever
expect to become adepts.

All who cared for the information have been told what sacrifices
are necessary in order to gain the higher knowledge, and few are
in a position to make one tenth of them. He who joins our Society
gains no siddhis by that act, nor is there any certainty that he
will even see the phenomena, let alone meet with an adept. Some
have enjoyed both these opportunities, and so the possibility of
the phenomena and the existence of "Siddhas" do not rest upon our
unverified assertions. Those who have seen things have perhaps
been allowed to do so on account of some personal merit detected
by those who showed them the siddhis, or for other reasons known
to themselves and over which we have no control.

For thousands of years these things have, whether rightly or
wrongly, been guarded as sacred mysteries, and Asiatics at least
need not be reminded that often even after months or years of the
most faithful and assiduous personal service, the disciples of a
Yogi have not been shown "miracles" or endowed with powers. What
folly, therefore, to imagine that by entering any society one
might make a short cut to adeptship! The weary traveller along a
strange road is grateful even to find a guide-post that shows him
his way to his place of destination. Our Society, if it does
naught else, performs this kindly office for the searcher after
truth. And it is much.


Before closing, one word must be said in correction of an
unfortunate impression that has got abroad. Because our pamphlet
of Rules mentions a relationship between our Society and certain
proficients in Occult Science, or "Mahatmas " many persons fancy
that these great men are personally engaged in the practical
direction of its affairs; and that, in such a case, being
primarily responsible for the several mistakes that have occurred
in the admission of unworthy members and in other matters, they
can neither be so wise, so prudent, or so far-seeing as is
claimed for them. It is also imagined that the President and
Corresponding Secretary (especially the latter) are, if not
actually Yogis and Mahatmas themselves, at least persons of
ascetic habits, who assume superior moral excellence.


Neither of these suppositions is correct, and both are positively
absurd. The administration of the Society is, unless in
exceptionally important crises, left to the recognized officials,
and they are wholly responsible for all the errors that are made.
Many may doubtless have been made, and our management may be very
faulty, but the wonder is that no more have occurred, if the
multiplicity of duties necessarily imposed upon the two chief
officers and the world-wide range of activity be taken into
account. Colonel Olcott and Madame Blavatsky do not pretend to
asceticism, nor would it be possible for them to practise it
while in the thick of the struggle to win a permanent foothold
for the Society in the face of every possible obstacle that a
selfish, sensuality-loving world puts in the way. What either of
them has heretofore been, or either or both may in the future
become, is quite a different affair.

At present they only claim to be trying honestly and earnestly,
so far as their natural infirmities of character permit, to
enforce by example and precept the ideas which are embodied in
the platform and Rules of the Theosophical Society. Once or twice
ill-wishers have publicly taunted us with not having given
practical proofs of our alleged affection for India. Our final
vindication must be left to posterity, which always renders that
justice that the present too often denies. But even now--if we
may judge by the tone of our correspondence, as well as by the
enthusiasm which has everywhere greeted us in the course of our
journeyings--a palpably good effect has been produced by our
appeals to the educated Indian public. The moral regeneration of
India and the revival of her ancient spiritual glories must
exclusively be the work of her own sons. All we can do is to
apply the match to the train, to fan the smouldering embers into
a genial warmth. And this we are trying to do. One step in the
right direction, it will doubtless be conceded, is the alliance
effected with the Benares pandits...custodians of Sanskrit
learning have promised to put in writing the precious treasures
of Aryan philosophy, and to cooperate with us to give the facts a
worldwide circulation.


The London Spiritualist remarked, the other day, that we were
doing much for Spiritualism in India. It might rather be said we
are doing much to make known the importance of mesmeric science,
for wherever we have been we have spared no pains to show the
close and intimate relationship that exists between our modern
discoveries in mesmerism, psychometry, and odic force, and the
ancient Indian science of Yoga Vidya. We look forward with
confidence to a day when the thorough demonstration of this
connection will give to both Asia and Europe the basis for a
perfect, because experimentally demonstrable, science of


January, 1881


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