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CHAPTER IV - Part 1

[133]

CHAPTER IV

Walter Evans had left me when I was thirty-five.  Much observation had indicated to me that thirty-five is frequently a turning point in many lives.  If a person is ever to find their life work, if they are ever in any particular life to attain a measure of surety and usefulness, it will be at that age.  Numerologists would affirm that the reason is that 7 x 5 = 35; seven indicating a finished cycle, a completeness, and the opening of a door into a fresh experience; whilst five is the number of the mind and of that intelligent creature we call man.  I would not know.  I am sure there is something to numerology, for God, we  are told, works through numbers and form, but I have never been impressed by numerological deductions.

The fact remains, however, that 1915 saw me entering into an entirely new cycle, and, for the first time, discovering that I had a mind which I began to use, to discover its flexibility and potency, and employ as a "searchlight" into my own affairs and ideas, into the world of surrounding affairs, and into a realm of discovery that we might call spiritual—the world which the ancient Hindu teacher, Patanjali, calls "the rain-cloud of knowable things."

It was whilst I was passing through the difficult time in which I worked as a factory hand that I contacted Theosophy.  I do not like the word in spite of its beautiful connotation and meaning.  It stands in the public mind for so much which it essentially is not.  I hope to show, if I can, what it really is.  This marked the opening of a new spiritual era in my life.

There were two English women living in Pacific Grove at that time who were of the same social background in [134] Great Britain as myself.  I had never met them but had wanted to, largely because I was lonely.  I would have enjoyed meeting someone from the old country and I had seen them about the streets of the little town.  Rumour reached me that they were having a drawing-room meeting on some peculiar subject and a mutual friend managed to get me an invitation.  My motives in going, therefore, were not of the highest.  I did not go to hear something new or interesting, or to get help.  I went because I wanted to meet these two women.

I found the lecture very dull and the lecturer very poor.  I can imagine no worse lecturer anywhere.  He began his talk with the flat statement "Nineteen million years ago the Lords of the Flame came from Venus and planted the seed of mind in man."  Except for the Theosophists present I do not think anyone in the room knew what he was talking about.  Nothing that he said made any sense to me.  One reason was that in those days I took my date of the evolutionary cycle from the Bible and the Bible places the date of creation as having happened in the year 4004 B.C.  I had been too busy living and being a mother to have had time to read the current books on evolution.  I am not sure I believed in evolution and remember reading Darwin and Herbert Spencer with a feeling of guilt and of disloyalty to God.  The idea of the world being nineteen million years old was just sheer blasphemy.

The lecturer wandered all over the world of thought.  He told the audience that each of them had a causal body and that apparently that causal body was inhabited by an Agnishvatta.  It sounded to me like complete nonsense and I doubt if that kind of lecture ever helps anybody.  I registered a resolve at that time that if I ever found myself lecturing I would endeavour to be everything that this Theosophical lecturer was not.  But I had gained one thing [135] —the friendship of these two women.  They took me immediately in hand and gave me books to read and I was in and out of their home, talking and asking questions, a great deal.

My days then became very long.  I would get up in the morning at four o'clock.  I would clean the house, prepare the lunch for the three children and at 6 o'clock give them their breakfast, after washing and dressing them.  Then, at 6:30 I would take them over to the woman next door and then go down to the factory where I packed those darned sardines.  At noon I would be eating my lunch when the day was fine on a strip of beach.  Usually by 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon I would be back home.  If it was winter time, I would play with the children indoors or read to them.  If it was summer time, I would take them down to the beach.  By 7 o'clock we would be home for supper and then they all three would be tucked into bed.  After putting the clothes to soak or the bread to rise, I would crawl into bed and read quite steadily until midnight.

I have always been one of those people who temperamentally require very little sleep.  When I was quite a young girl a doctor told me (and he knew me very well) that I never needed more than four hours sleep a night and he was entirely right.  To this day I am usually up at 4:30 a.m. and (after getting my breakfast) I write and work until 7.  That has been my life rhythm and perhaps is one of the reasons why I have been able to accomplish so much.

Another reason that has helped me to work hard was the extremely ordered discipline of my life when a girl.  This developed in me an inability to be idle.  I was never permitted to be idle, so I never am.  A third reason is one which I think could be very helpful to many people.  There was so much I wanted to know and I had to find the time [136] for all these things and yet not neglect my children.  I never neglected the children, but it took some planning, some scheming and some disciplining.  I learnt to iron with a book in front of me and to this day I can read and iron simultaneously without scorching the clothes.  I learnt to peel potatoes whilst reading without cutting my fingers, and I can shell peas and string beans with a book in front of me.  I always read when sewing and mending.  This is just because I wanted to and many women could learn to do the same if they cared enough for knowledge.  The trouble is many of us don't care enough.  I also read with great rapidity, grasping whole paragraphs and pages as quickly as other people read a sentence.  I forget what is the technical name for this visual capacity.  Lots of people do it and more could if they tried.

I came to an arrangement with my own conscience regarding my duty as a mother and as a housekeeper. I had watched a woman of my acquaintance who had five children.  She apparently had a call from the Lord to go and teach and she went and taught—at the expense of the children whom she left at home in the care of the eldest girl, just fifteen years old.  The child did her best but caring for four other children is no joke.  We all had to help feed them and bathe them and, when necessary, discipline them.  It was a lesson to me and a horrible example of what not to do.  So I decided that until the girls were in their 'teens I would give them and the house all my time.  When they got into their 'teens and were able themselves to be useful, I put the whole thing on a fifty-fifty basis.

Around 1930, when they were all practically grown up, I told them that I was there as consultant and as mother, but that having given them practically twenty complete years, I was from that time on going to put my public work first and them last.  I asked them to remember I was [137] always there, and I think they have remembered, or they will after I am gone.

So I read and studied and thought.  My mind woke up as I struggled with the presented ideas and sought to fit my own beliefs and the new concepts together.  Then I met two very old ladies who lived side by side in two cottages—indispensable to each other and quarreling all the time.  They were both of them personal pupils of H. P. Blavatsky.  They had trained with her and studied with her.

I had just made the acquaintance of her great book "The Secret Doctrine."  I was intrigued by it but completely bewildered.  I couldn't make head or tail of it.  It is a difficult book for beginners for it is badly put together and lacks continuity.  H. P. B. starts with one subject, wanders off to another, takes up a third at length and—if you search—you will find her returning to her original theme sixty or seventy pages further on.

Claude Falls Wright, who was H. P. Blavatsky's secretary, told me himself that in writing this monumental work (for that is what it is) H. P. B. would write page after page, never numbering the pages, and simply throw them on the floor beside her as she finished them.  When she was through writing for the day Mr. Wright and her other helpers would collect the sheets and endeavour to get them into some kind of order and, as he said, the wonder was that the book is as clear as it is.  Its publication, however, was a great world event and the teaching it contains has revolutionised human thought, little as people may realise it.

I regard the hours of study that I expended over it as some of the most valuable hours of my life and the background and knowledge it gave me has made all the best of my work along occult lines possible.  I sat up in bed reading "The Secret Doctrine" at night and began to [138] neglect reading my Bible, which I had been in the habit of doing.  I liked the book and, at the same time, I disliked it cordially.  I thought it was very badly written, incorrect and incoherent but I could not get away from it.

Then these two old ladies took me in hand.  Day after day, for weeks, they taught me.  I moved over into a little cottage so as to be near them.  It was safe ground for the children, trees to climb, gardening to do and no care to make me anxious.  So, whilst they played, I would sit on the porch in one or other of the cottages and talk and listen.  Many of H.P.B.'s personal pupils have helped me and have personally taken the trouble to see that I understood what it was that was happening to human thought through the publication of "The Secret Doctrine."  I have often been amused by the orthodox Theosophists who have disapproved of my presentation of theosophical truth.  Few of them, if any, who have thus disapproved ever had the privilege of being taught by personal pupils of H.P.B. for weeks and months on end, and I'm pretty sure that, thanks to these old students, I have a clearer perception of what "The Secret Doctrine" was intended to convey than most of them.  Why should I not?  I was well taught and I am grateful.

I had joined the Theosophical Lodge in Pacific Grove and was beginning to teach and hold classes.  I remember the first book which I started to expound.  It was that great book by Mrs. Besant, "A Study in Consciousness."  I knew nothing about consciousness and I could not possibly define it but I kept six pages ahead of the class and somehow managed to get away with it.  They never discovered how little I knew.  I know that no matter what the class learned I learned a great deal.

What was it that I learned that was beginning to satisfy my questioning mind and my disturbed heart?  I had been [139] left adrift on a pinnacle of dissatisfaction.  I was sure at that time of only two things; the fact of Christ and certain inner contacts which I could not possibly deny and not be untrue to myself, though I could not explain them.  Now, to my amazement, light was beginning to dawn.  I discovered three new (to me) basic ideas and eventually they all fitted into the general programme of my spiritual life and gave me a clue to world affairs.  Do not forget that the first phase of the world war (1914-1918) had opened; I am writing this at the close of the second phase (1939-1945).

I discovered, first of all, that there is a great and divine Plan.  I found that this universe of ours is not a "fortuitous concurrence of atoms" but that it is the working out of a great design or pattern which will be all to the glory of God.  I found that race after race of human beings had appeared and disappeared upon our planet and that each civilisation and culture had seen humanity step forward a little further upon the path of return to God.  I discovered, for the second thing, that there are Those Who are responsible for the working out of that Plan and Who, step by step and stage by stage, have led mankind on down the centuries.  I made the amazing discovery, amazing to me because I knew so little, that the teaching about this Path or this Plan was uniform, whether it was presented in the Occident or in the Orient, or whether it had emerged prior to the coming of Christ or afterwards.  I found that the Head of this Hierarchy of spiritual Leaders was the Christ and when this dawned on me, I felt that He had been given back to me in a nearer and more intimate way.  I found that He was "the Master of all the Masters and the Teacher alike of angels and of men."  I found that the Masters of the Wisdom were His pupils and disciples, just as people like myself were pupils of some Master.  I learnt that when I, in my orthodox days, talked about Christ [140] and His Church I was really speaking of Christ and the planetary Hierarchy.  I found that the esoteric presentation of truth in no way belittled Christ.  He was, indeed, the Son of God, the First Born in a great family of brothers, as St. Paul has told us, and a guarantee to us of our own divinity.

The third teaching which I came across and which pulled me up short for a long time was the dual belief in the law of re-birth and the law of cause and effect, called Karma and Reincarnation by Theosophists who, so often, like to sound learned.  Personally, I believe that all this most necessary teaching would have made far more rapid progress if Theosophists had not been so overcome and glamored by the Sanskrit terms.  If they had taught about the law of re-birth instead of the doctrine of reincarnation and if they had presented the Law of Cause and Effect instead of the Law of Karma, we might have had a more general recognition of the truth.  I say this in no critical spirit, because I succumbed to the same glamour.  Looking back now to my early classes and lectures, I laugh with amusement at my ponderous use of technical phrases of Sanskrit words and of the detailed significances of the Ageless Wisdom.  I find that I get simpler as I get older and may be a little wiser.

With the discovery that there was a law of re-birth I found many of my problems, personal and individual, were capable of solution.  Many who come to a study of the Ageless Wisdom find it difficult at first to accept the fact of the Law of Re-birth.  It seems so revolutionary; it is apt to evoke a spirit of weariness and of spiritual fatigue.  One life seems hard enough without contemplating many lives, both behind us and before us.  Yet, if one studies the alternatives to the theory, it seems possibly the best and the most tenable.  There are only two other theories which [141] really warrant attention.  One is the "mechanical" alternative, which considers man is purely material, soulless and ephemeral so that (when he dies) he dissolves again into the dust from which he came; thought, under this theory, is simply a secretion of the brain and its activity, just as other organs produce their peculiar phenomenal secretion and there is, therefore, no purpose or reason for man's existence at all.  This I could not accept, nor is it widely accepted anywhere.

Then there is the "one creation" theory of the orthodox Christian, which I had held without any speculation as to its truth.  This posits an inscrutable God Who sends human souls into incarnation for one life and, according to their actions and their thinking in that one life so will be their eternal future.  It endows man with no past, only an important present and an endless future—a future dependent upon the decisions of one life.  What governs God's decisions as to a man's place and background and equipment remains unknown.  There seems no reason for what He does under this "one creation" plan.  I had worried so over the apparent unfairness of God.  Why should I have been born in such good circumstances with money, good looks, opportunity, and all the many interesting experiences which life had brought me?  Why should there have been people like that wretched little soldier from whom Miss Sandes had rescued me, who was born with no equipment, with obviously no background, with no money and with no capacity in this life for success of any kind?  I knew now why I could leave him to God; that both he and I in our separate places would go on climbing the ladder of evolution, life after life, until some day for each of us it would be equally true, "As He is, so are we in this world."

It seemed reasonable to me that, "As a man soweth so shall he also reap," and it was a joy to me to discover [142] that I could call in St. Paul and Christ, Himself, to substantiate these teachings.  Clear light was being thrown on the old theology.  I was discovering that the only thing that was wrong was man-made interpretations of the truth and it dawned on me how silly it was just because some learned preacher or scholar said that God meant this or that that we should accept it.  He might be right and if so, intuitively one would know it; but the intuition does not work unless the mind is developed and that has been a lot of the trouble.  The mass of the people do not think and the orthodox theologian, no matter what he says, can always get a following.  With the best intentions in the world he exploits the unthinking.  It dawned on me, too, that there was really no reason because a priest or teacher six hundred years ago interpreted the Bible in one way (probably suitable for his time and age) that it should be acceptable now in a different time and age, under a different civilisation and with widely different problems.  If God's truth is truth then it will be expansive and inclusive, and not reactionary and exclusive.  If God is God, then His divinity will adapt itself to the emerging divinity of the sons of God, and a son of God today may be a very different expression of divinity from a son of God five thousand years ago.

You will see, therefore, how my whole spiritual horizon was opening up.  There was light in the heavens and I was no longer an isolated, deserted, struggling disciple, sure of nothing and with nothing to do as far as I could see.  It was slowly dawning on me that I was one of a great company of brothers.  It was becoming clear to me that I could co-operate with the Plan if I wanted to, find those who in other lives had worked with me, see to it that what I sowed was good and find my place in Christ's work.  I could endeavour to approach a little closer to that spiritual Hierarchy [143] which I had always subconsciously known existed, and which seemed to need workers.

These were the things that were being gradually unfolded in my consciousness in 1916 and 1917.  They did not emerge as clear-cut, formulated ideas but as truths which I was slowly recognising, to which I was making gradual adjustments and for which I had to find application.  I watched my own life.  I studied the three girls in this connection and I found it most illuminating.  I found that my karma with my youngest daughter, Ellison, is largely physical.  I had saved her life with the most assiduous care year after year.  For eight years she slept with me, by the doctor's orders, so she could absorb my vitality.  Day after day by careful watching, by never permitting her to take violent exercise, or climb a hill, or walk up stairs I conquered the heart trouble until today she is the strongest member of the family.  Ellison shows no sign of needing me now.  She is happily married, lives in India and has two children.  I am sure she is proud of me, but our relationship lies in the past.  The link between my eldest daughter and me is exceedingly close, which is probably why we have such God-awful rows.  There is a very strong inner attachment and though I see little of her now I am sure of her and she is sure of me.  My second daughter, Mildred, has a very close karma with me.  We are peculiarly attached and yet I know she feels entirely free.  Even though she has been twice married, we have always been together under the most peculiar circumstances and I have been grateful for her love and above all for her friendship.  It would be so good if mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, valued friendship in their relations more than they do.  I am confident that if I could look back into our past relationships under the Law of Re-birth, the present really happy situation between my three girls and myself would be clearly [144] explained.  Do not infer from this that we always get on.  There have been stormy scenes and misunderstandings.  They have not always understood me, and I have often agonised over them, and wanted to change things, and hoped they would act differently, etc., etc.

It was towards the close of 1917 that Walter Evans went out with the Y.M.C.A., to France and my friend, the Bishop, arranged that I should have an allotment of one hundred dollars a month from his salary.  This was sent direct to me by the Y.M.C.A., until his work with them ceased.  This, with my own small income (which was beginning to dribble through more regularly) enabled me to drop my work as a sardine packer and make other plans.  My work with the Theosophical Lodge in Pacific Grove was having results and I was beginning to get a little bit known as a student.

It was suggested to me that in view of the fact that my finances were somewhat stabilised I go down to Hollywood where the headquarters of the Theosophical Society, at Krotona, were to be found.  I decided to make the move and towards the end of 1917 we went down.  I found a small house, close to the T.S. headquarters, and I settled there with the children, in a cottage on Beechwood Drive.

Hollywood was relatively unspoiled in those days.  The movie industry was, of course, the major industry, but the town remained at that time quite simple.  The main streets were all lined with pepper trees and there was not the breathlessness, the mad rush, the brittle brilliancy and the glare of modern Hollywood today.  It was then a gentler and sweeter place.  I would like to go on record of the lasting impression which I carried away when I left the town, of the soundness, the kindness, the expansiveness and the understanding of the leading movie people.  I have met many of the movie people and they are grand and [145] human folk.  Of course there is a bad element but I would like to know in what section of human society you will not find a bad element?  There are evil people in all groups and communities and sets and organisations.  There are outstandingly good people also and people of a dead level mediocrity who have not enough development to be either very good or very bad.

I was driving down Fifth Avenue a few years ago and the taxi driver turned to me and said, "Say, Madam, have you ever known a nice Jew?"  I replied that I surely had and that some of my closest friends were Jews.  He then inquired if I had ever known a bad Jew and I replied that I had known lots of them.  He then proceeded to ask if I had ever known a nice Gentile and I naturally replied, "Of course.  In fact, I think I am one myself."  He next asked me if I had known some bad Gentiles and I made the same reply.  "Well, then you see, Madam, what's left!  Just human beings."  And that has been my experience everywhere.  No matter what the race or nation, basically we are all alike.  We have the same faults and failings, the same urges and aspirations, the same goals and desires and I believe that we need to realise this more keenly and practically.

We need, also, to free ourselves from the impression which history and its crystallising nationalisms have laid upon us.  The past history of every nation is a sorry story but it conditions our thinking.  Great national thought-forms rule the activities of every nation and it is from these that we need liberation.  This can be easily seen if we look at some of the leading nations and their characteristics.  Take the United States.  The Pilgrim Fathers have set their seal or stamp upon this country, but I am inclined to agree with a friend of mine who remarked that the real founders of America were the brave Pilgrim mothers because they managed [146] to live with the Pilgrim fathers, for the United States is a feminine civilisation.  The Pilgrim Fathers must have been a very narrow, hardboiled, superior set of men and most difficult to get on with, for they were always right.

The cautiousness, reticence and sense of superiority of the British is something from which they must release themselves, and the certainty of the French that the glory which is France and which made her a leader in the middle ages must again be restored for the good of Europe, has to be overcome.  Every nation has its outstanding faults and of these the other nations are more conscious than of the virtues.  The livingness of America is forgotten in the irritation evoked by our bombastic boasting.  The inherent justice of the British is overlooked when the Britisher is seen refusing to explain himself.  The brilliance of the French intellect is not emphasised by those who are aware of France's complete lack of any international consciousness.  And today the U.S.A. with its youthful exuberance, its promising surety, and its juvenile ability to settle all problems, their own and the rest of the world, is working out that inheritance towards a future of wonder and usefulness and beauty unparalleled.

The same criticisms and the same recognitions of virtue could be posited for all and every nation and it is the same with people.  We all have outstanding faults which shriek so loud to the world that our equally outstanding virtues are forgotten.  One of the things that troubled me when I started to write this autobiography was the fear that perhaps, unconsciously and without deliberate intent, I would make out a good case for myself.  I have good points; I cannot be turned from my purpose; I really love people; I'm not a bit proud.  I have a reputation of pride but I think it is largely due to posture.  I walk very straight and hold my head high but so would you if (as a girl in [147] the school-room) you'd had to do your lessons whilst holding three books on the top of your head and having a sprig of holly under your chin.  I do not think I am a selfish person and I'm not greatly given to thinking of my health and I think I can truthfully say I'm not full of self pity.  I am normally conservative and used to be very critical but I am not really critical any more because I have a knack of seeing why people are what they are; no matter what their faults it doesn't alter my attitude to them.  I do not harbour resentments, perhaps largely because I'm too busy to be bothered, and because I do not like a festering point of poison in my mind.  I'm sure I am irritable and I know I am difficult to live with because I drive myself and I drive everybody associated with me, but my outstanding fault and the one which has given me the most trouble throughout my life is fear.

I mention this most deliberately because I have discovered that when my friends and students find out that I've been the victim of fear all my life they are greatly relieved and helped.  I have been afraid of failure, afraid of having faults, afraid of what people think of me, and afraid of the dark, and afraid of being looked up to by other people.  I have never found it anything but a detriment to be put upon a pedestal and looked up to.  I agree with the Chinese proverb which says that, "He who stands upon a pedestal has nowhere to step but off."  I find the attitude of the average head of a group or occult teacher and many of the priests and clergy most irritating.  They pose as if they were really the anointed of the Lord; as if they were different from other people and not just human beings trying, with simplicity, to help their fellow-men.  As the result of my background and training I used to be very much afraid of what people said.  I don't care now because I find that, right or wrong, you are always wrong with certain sections [148] of the public.  Most of my fears are for other people—my husband and my children—but I have one personal fear to which I never give way but which is always with me, I am afraid of the dark at night if I'm alone in the house or apartment.  I never knew what this fear was until I was working in the Quetta Soldiers Home.  I have brought up my three girls not to be afraid of the dark, but I had an experience then which did something to me and, although I have never permitted it to affect my actions, I have had to fight it ever since.

My fellow worker had been very ill of typhoid.  I had nursed her through the crisis and then she had been moved to a hospital, so that I was left alone in the enormous Soldiers Home and, being very young and very proper, I would not permit the two English managers of the home (ex-soldiers) to sleep in the building with me because I thought it might occasion talk and gossip.  So each night when the soldiers had left, one of them would take me to my room, around 11:30 p.m., look in my bathroom and cupboards, peek under the bed and then lock all the doors into my bedroom.  I could then hear him going through the rest of the rooms.  There were four doors in my room, one on to the verandah, another into the sitting-room and still another into my fellow-worker's bed-room and then my bathroom door.  I was never the least nervous and the search of my quarters was a precaution on the man's part and the bed stood in the exact centre of the room with its legs in deep saucers because of insects.  At that time in India, we always slept with a lamp alight in the room.

I awoke around two o'clock in the morning to hear a noise in the sitting-room and to see the handle of the door being turned and twisted.  It was fortunately locked.  I knew it could not be one of the managers and I could not hear or see the watchman, so I guessed it was some hill [149] man or thief trying to get into the safe in the sitting-room.  Many hundreds of rupees were deposited in that safe each night.  It was the time of the year in which members of the hill tribes were allowed down into the cantonment.  All guards were doubled and every care taken to keep them under surveillance, for those were stormy days on the frontier.  I knew that if they succeeded in getting into my room it would be the end of me because it was a great virtue to kill a white woman.  It would mean a knife in my heart.  For forty-five minutes I sat on my bed watching them trying to break down those very strong doors.  They did not dare go to the verandah door for fear of being seen and to get to me via my bathroom or the other bedroom meant breaking down two doors in each case and the risk of noise was too great.  I discovered then that there comes a point in fear when you are so desperate that you will take any chance.  I walked across my room and opened the door only to find the two managers on the other side, wondering whether I was alive or dead and consulting with each other whether they should knock on the door and awaken me.  They had been sleeping in the garden in tents and had caught the two hill men but most stupidly had not had the sense to hammer loudly on my door and call out, in which case I would not have been frightened.  For the time being, after that, my bearer, old Bugaloo, slept outside on the verandah and I could easily call him.

Two or three months after that I went back to the old country and spent some weeks stopping in an old Scotch house where I had stopped year after year as a child.  There was a large house-party, about eighteen people, stopping in the house at the time and by mistake (as his room was next to mine) the very nicest man in the house walked into my room one night.  He had been reading late, down stairs, and the wind had blown out his candle as he came up and [150] at the same time had blown open my door.  He hoped to find his door easily by passing his hand along the wall as his door was next to mine. Finding an open door he naturally thought it was his dressing room.  In the meantime, the wind had awakened me and I jumped out of bed to shut the window and bumped into him.  This, coming on top of my experience a few months earlier, did not help and laid the foundation for a state of fear which I have never succeeded in overcoming.

I have had two other very bad frights in my life when alone in a house and cannot claim to have any courage, except that I have not permitted it to condition my actions and I stay alone when I have to.  I'm terrified of things happening to the girls and as my imagination always works overtime I know that I have spent a great deal of my life worrying over things that never happened.

Fear is a basic characteristic of humanity.  Everybody is afraid and everybody has his pet fear.  If people tell me that they are never afraid, I know that they are liars.  They have some fear somewhere of some thing.  Fear is nothing to be ashamed of and very frequently the more highly developed you are and the more sensitive you are, the more fears to which you may react.  Apart from one's pet phobias and fears, sensitive people are prone to tune in on the fears of other people, on their depressions and on their terrors.  They are, therefore, assimilating fears which do not belong to them but which they are unable to distinguish from their own innate fears.  This is very terribly true today.  Fear and horror rule the world and it is easy for people to be overcome with fear.  War breeds fear and Germany, with her terror tactics traded on that and did everything possible to enhance world terror.  It will take us a long time to eradicate fear, but we are making one step towards it when we talk or work for security.

[151] There are schools of thought which teach that fear, if indulged in, will materialise that which you fear.  Personally, I do not believe a word of it because I have spent my life fearing all kinds of things which have never happened and as I am a rather powerful thinker I surely could have materialised something if it had been possible.  The question might be asked how can one combat fear?  Well!  I can only tell what I myself have found successful.  I never attempt to combat fear.  I take the positive position that I will live with my fears if necessary and I just pay no attention to them.  I don't fight them; I don't argue with myself; I simply recognise my fears for what they are and pass on.  I think people have to learn a much more patient acceptance of what is, and not spend so much time wrestling with themselves over their individual problems.  Other people's problems are more profitable from the angle of general helpfulness.  Concentration on service can and does lead to self-forgetfulness.

Also, I have asked myself, why should I not be afraid!  All the world is afraid and who am I that I should be exempt from the common lot.  And this same argument applies to many things.  Those schools of thought which tell the public that because they are divine they should be exempt from sorrow, ill health and poverty, are misleading the public.  They are in the majority, of course, quite sincere but their emphasis is wrong.  They lead the public to think that material wellbeing and prosperity is a thing of paramount importance and that they are entitled to it and will get it if they affirm their divinity—a divinity which is there but which they are not evolved enough as yet to express.  Why should I be exempt from these things when all humanity is suffering from them?  Who am I that I should be rich, for neither poverty nor riches really matter?  Who am I that I should have perfect health when the fate of humanity [152] at this time seems to indicate something different?  I believe firmly that when I can, through the process of evolution, fully express the divinity that is in me I shall have perfect health.  I shall not care whether I am rich or poor, and having a popularity with other personalities will not matter to me at all.

I am bringing this up most definitely because these misleading doctrines are sweeping the public consciousness and lead eventually to disillusionment.  The time will come when we shall be liberated from all the ills of the flesh, but when it does come we shall have learned a different sense of values and will not be using our divine powers to get material good for ourselves.  All good things come to those who live harmlessly, who are kind and considerate as well.  But harmlessness is the key and I leave you to find out for yourselves how difficult it is to be harmless in word and deed and thought.

Life in Hollywood was now easier for me.  The children were old enough to go to school and kindergarten.  I had many friends and the grounds at Krotona, the Theosophical Headquarters, were delightful.  Krotona was a community of about five hundred people, some living on the grounds and some elsewhere in Hollywood or Los Angeles.  There were lecture halls, class rooms, a shrine room where members of the Esoteric Section met and a cafeteria which fed the people.  The place was beautifully run and, when I got there at first, it seemed to me to be a paradise on earth.  Everybody there appeared to me to be deeply spiritual.  I thought the leaders and teachers were at least initiates of high degree.  I attended meetings and classes and learnt a great deal for which I am very grateful.

After I had been there a short time I was asked to run the cafeteria and—ignorance being bliss—I joyously accepted the responsibility.  It was, of course, strictly vegetarian, [153] and I had been a vegetarian ever since coming across the Theosophical teaching.  My children had never tasted meat or chicken or fish and I suffered from the normal superiority complex which is often an outstanding characteristic of a vegetarian.

I am convinced that there comes a phase in the life of all disciples when they must be vegetarians.  In the same way, there must come a life in which a man or woman should be a celibate.  This they must be in order to demonstrate that they have learned control of the physical nature.  Once they have learned that control and once they can no longer be swayed by the appetites of the flesh, they can be married or not married, they can eat meat or not eat meat as seems best to them and as their karma may indicate or their circumstances dictate.  Once that has been proven, the situation is altered.  The physical disciplines are a phase of training and when the lesson is learnt they are no longer needed.

The argument for vegetarianism, based on the cruelty of animal eating, may not be as sound as it appears to the emotional and sentimental types.  I worried about this a great deal, because I love animals.  I would like here to make two suggestions which I have found helpful.  There is a law of sacrifice governing all the evolutionary process.  The vegetable kingdom draws its sustenance out of the mineral kingdom, for its roots are in the mineral kingdom.  The animal kingdom, on a very large scale, draws its sustenance out of the vegetable kingdom and it lives by the life of that kingdom.  Some of the higher animals are carnivorous and, under the law of evolution, prey upon each other, but they are not incited thereto by man's thought, as some fanatics claim.  Sequentially, then, the human kingdom might well be regarded as drawing its sustenance out of the animal kingdom and, because man is the macrocosm for all the three lower kingdoms, he might be supposed, [154] normally, to draw his life from all the three, and he does.  In the ancient scriptures of the East, it is pointed out that the human kingdom is "the food of the gods" and in that statement the great "chain of sacrifice" is complete.  My second point has reference to the law of cause and effect, or of Karma, as the Theosophists call it.  In the early days of primitive man, men were the victims of the animal kingdom and they were quite defenseless.  The wild animals of the past preyed upon human beings.  In all kingdoms the Law of Retribution works.  It is possible that it is this law which is one of the factors inclining humanity towards meat eating.  I worked this out in my own consciousness in due course of time but not rapidly.

I ran the cafeteria and learnt to be a good vegetarian cook.  My first chore at Krotona was emptying the garbage pails, so I began at the very bottom, and I watched the people—most of them unknown to me—with great interest.  I liked so many of them so very much.  I cordially disliked a few.  I came to two conclusions, that in spite of all the talk about a balanced diet, they were not a particularly healthy lot, and I found, also, that the more rigid and sectarian the approach to vegetarianism, the more critical and superior the person appeared to be.  There were vegetarians at Krotona who would eat neither cheese, nor milk, nor eggs because they were animal products and they felt that they were very, very good and well on the way to spiritual enlightenment.  But no one's reputation was safe in their hands.  I have wondered about this and I have definitely come to the conclusion that it is better to eat beefsteak and have a kind tongue than to be a strict vegetarian and, from a pedestal of superiority, look down upon this world.  Again, I would point out that generalisations are inexact.  I have known many vegetarians who were lovely and sweet and kind and good.

[155] It was during this year, 1918, that I discovered for the first time who it was that had come to see me in Scotland when I was a girl of fifteen.  I had been admitted into the Esoteric Section (E.S.) of the Theosophical Society and was attending their meetings.  The first time that I went into the Shrine Room I saw the customary pictures of the Christ and the Masters of the Wisdom, as the Theosophists call Them.  To my surprise there, looking straight at me, was a picture of my visitor.  There was no mistake.  This was the man who had walked into my aunt's drawing room, and it was not the Master Jesus.  I was inexperienced then and rushed to one of the senior people at Krotona and asked for the name of this Master.  They told me that it was the Master K. H. and then I made a basic mistake for which I have since paid the price.  Believing that they would be pleased and not intending in the very least to be boastful I said, in all innocence, "Oh, then, He must be my Master, for I've talked with Him and been under His guidance ever since."  This person looked at me and said, with rather a withering inflection, "Am I to understand that you believe yourself to be a disciple?"  For the first time in my life I was up against the competitive technique of the Theosophical Society.  It was, however, a wholesome lesson for me and I profited thereby.  Learning to hold one's tongue is essential in group work, and one of the first lessons which any one affiliated with the Hierarchy has to learn.

During all this time the children were growing and learning and were increasingly a delight to me.  There was nothing in Walter Evans' very brief occasional letters to indicate a change of heart and I began again to consider the necessity of getting a divorce.  As the end of the war approached, I consulted a lawyer and was advised that I would have no difficulty.

In January, 1919, I met Foster Bailey and later, after [156] I had been granted my divorce, we became engaged to be married.  Divorce proceedings had been instituted before I met him.  I had dreaded and feared the divorce trial but nothing could have been simpler.  The evidence was too good and the witnesses too reputable.  An old friend of mine of long standing, Mrs. John Weatherhead, went with me to the trial.  I was sworn in; the judge asked me one or two questions as to residence and age of the children and then said, "I have read the depositions of your witnesses, Mrs. Evans, take your decree and the custody of the children.  Good morning—next case."  So that cycle ended.  I was free and I knew that I had done the best thing for the children.  California is one of the most difficult states in which to get a divorce and the rapidity of my divorce trial testifies to the rightness of my case and the correctness of my evidence.  Walter Evans did not contest it.

During 1919 Foster Bailey and I grew more and more active in Theosophical work and associated very closely with us was Dr. Woodruff Shepherd.  I was then living on Beechwood Drive with the three children and Foster Bailey was living in a tent at Krotona.  He had been demobilised after the Armistice but had been on sick leave for months as he had crashed whilst piloting a plane, training army observers.  I had been introduced to him, after a lecture I had given at Krotona, by Dot Weatherhead, who not only introduced him to me but was also instrumental in introducing me to occult truth and to Krotona.  Foster's recollection of that introduction is summed up in the words:  "All I saw was a hank of hair and a bony female!"  I have always had lots of hair.  It is a family inheritance and my three girls have masses of lovely hair.  I shall never forget a remark of my eldest daughter, Dorothy (who is famous for her remarks with a double meaning).  I had washed [157] my hair one day in England and was sitting out in the garden at Ospringe Place, Faversham, drying it.  Dorothy looked out of the window and called out, "Oh!  Mother, if you would only keep your back to people and they saw only your lovely hair, they would never guess how old you are!"

Towards the end of 1919 Mr. Bailey was made National Secretary of the Theosophical Society.  Dr. Shepherd was made Publicity Director and I became editor of the sectional magazine, The Messenger, and chairman of the committee which was running Krotona.  All phases of the work and all the different policies and principles governing the administration were, therefore, open to us.  The General Secretary, Mr. A. P. Warrington, was a close friend, and all the senior workers were friends and there seemed to be great harmony and a truly cooperative spirit.  Little by little, however, we discovered how superficial this harmony was.  Little by little we entered upon a most difficult and distressing time.  Our affection and personal loyalties were with our friends and co-executives, but our sense of justice and our adherence to the governing principles were constantly being outraged.  The truth of the matter was that the management of the Theosophical Society in the United States, and still more so in Adyar (the international centre), was at that time reactionary and old-fashioned whereas the new approach to life and truth, freedom of interpretation and impersonality were the characteristics which should have governed policies and methods but did not.

The society was founded for the establishing of universal brotherhood but it was degenerating into a sectarian group more interested in founding and sustaining lodges and increasing the membership than in reaching the general public with the truths of the Ageless Wisdom.  Their policy of admitting nobody into the E.S. for spiritual teaching [158] unless they had been for two years a member of the T.S. is proof of this.  Why should spiritual teaching be withheld until a person had demonstrated for two years their loyalty to an organisation?  Why should people be required to sever their connection with other groups and organisations and pledge their loyalty to what is called the "Outer Head" of the E.S. when the only loyalties which should be required are those dedicated to the service of one's fellowmen, the spiritual Hierarchy and, above all, one's own soul?  No personality has the right to ask spiritual pledges from other personalities.  The only pledge that any human being should give is, first of all, to his own inner divinity, the Soul, and later, to the Master under Whose guidance he can more efficiently serve his fellow-men.

I remember at one of the first E.S. meetings I attended Miss Poutz, who was the secretary of the E.S. at that time, made the astounding statement that no one in the world could be a disciple of the Masters of the Wisdom unless they had been so notified by Mrs. Besant.  That remark broke a glamour in me, although I did not speak of it at that time except to Foster Bailey.  I knew I was a disciple of the Master K. H. and had been as long as I could remember.  Mrs. Besant had evidently overlooked me.  I could not understand why the Masters, Who were supposed to have a universal consciousness, would only look for Their disciples in the ranks of the T.S.  I knew it could not be so.  I knew They could not be so limited in consciousness and later I met many people who were disciples of the Masters and who had never been in touch with the T.S. and had never even heard of it.  Just as I thought I had found a centre of spiritual light and understanding, I discovered I had wandered into another sect.

We discovered then that the E.S. completely dominated the T.S.  Members were good members if, and only if, they [159] accepted the authority of the E.S.  If they agreed with all the pronouncements of the Outer Head and if they gave their loyalty to the people that the heads of the E.S. in every country endorsed.  Some of their pronouncements seemed ridiculous.  Many of the people endorsed were mediocre to the nth degree.  A number who were looked up to as initiates were not particularly intelligent or loving, and love and intelligence, in full measure, are the hall-mark of the initiate.  Amongst the advanced membership there was competition and claim making and, therefore, constant fighting between personalities—fighting that was not confined just to oral battles but which found its expression in magazine articles.  I shall never forget my horror one day when a man in Los Angeles said to me, "If you want to know what brotherhood is not, go and live at Krotona."  He did not know I lived there.

The whole situation was so serious and the split in the section so great between those who stood for brotherhood, for impersonality, for non claim-making and for dedication to the service of humanity that Foster cabled Mrs. Besant to the effect that if the E.S. did not cease dominating the T.S. the E.S. would soon be under very serious attack.  About that time Mrs. Besant sent B. P. Wadia over to the States to investigate and find out what was going on, and official meetings were held with Wadia arbitrating.  Foster, Dr. Shepherd and myself, along with many others, represented the democratic side:  Mr. Warrington, Miss Poutz and those ranged with them represented the side of authority and the domination of the E.S.  I had never before in my life been mixed up in an organisational row and I did not enjoy this period at all.  I loved some of the people on the other side very much and it distressed me exceedingly.  The trouble in time spread to the whole Section and members kept resigning.