Contrasts to Christian Churches at Christmas - the Original Programe?
Dec 25, 2011 02:44 AM
by M. Sufilight
My views are:
The following might be interesting to know about to some readers...
The article was mentioned briefly in 1997 here at Theos-talk. The dream-tale seems to be interesting, because not much has changed - psychologically - since the article was published.
CHRISTMAS THEN AND CHRISTMAS NOW
"Though now universally observed by Christian nations as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, the 25th of December was not originally so accepted. The most movable of the Christian feast days, during the early centuries, Christmas was often confounded with the Epiphany, and celebrated in the months of April and May. As there never was any authentic record, or proof of its identification, whether in secular or ecclesiastical history, the selection of that day long remained optional; and it was only during the fourth century that, urged by Cyril of Jerusalem, the Pope (Julius I) ordered the bishops to make an investigation and come finally to some agreement as to the presumable date of the nativity of Christ. Their choice fell upon the 25th day of December?and a most unfortunate choice it has since proved! It was Dupuis, followed by Volney, who aimed the first shots at this natal anniversary. They proved that for incalculable periods before our era, upon very clear astronomical data, nearly all the ancient peoples had celebrated the births of their sun-gods on that very day. ".......
"In our modern times, the bishops and the clergy join no more with the populace in open carolling and dancing; and feasts of ?fools and asses? are enacted more in sacred privacy than under the eyes of the dangerous, argus-eyed reporter. Yet the eating and drinking festivities are preserved throughout the Christian world; and, more sudden deaths are doubtless caused by gluttony and intemperance during the Christmas and Easter holidays, than at any other time of the year. Yet, Christian worship becomes every year more and more a false pretence. The heartlessness of this lip-service has been denounced innumerable times, but never, we think, with a more affecting touch of realism than in a charming dream-tale, which appeared in the New York Herald about last Christmas. An aged man, presiding at a public meeting, said he would avail himself of the opportunity to relate a vision he had witnessed on the previous night.
. . . He thought he was standing in the pulpit of the most gorgeous and magnificent cathedral he had ever seen. Before him was the priest or pastor of the church, and beside him stood an angel with a tablet and pencil in hand, whose mission it was to make record of every act of worship or prayer that transpired in his presence and ascended as an acceptable offering to the throne of God. Every pew was filled with richly-attired worshippers of either sex. The most sublime music that ever fell on his enraptured ear filled the air with melody. All the beautiful ritualistic Church services, including a surpassingly eloquent sermon from the gifted minister, had in turn transpired, and yet the recording angel made no entry in his tablet! The congregation were at length dismissed by the pastor with a lengthy and beautifully-worded prayer, followed by a benediction, and yet the angel made no sign!
. . . Attended still by the angel, the speaker left the door of the church in rear of the richly-attired congregation. A poor, tattered castaway stood in the gutter beside the curbstone, with her pale, famished hand extended, silently pleading for alms. As the richly-attired worshippers from the church passed by, they shrank from the poor Magdalen, the ladies withdrawing aside their silken, jewel-bedecked robes, lest they should be polluted by her touch.
. . . Just then an intoxicated sailor came reeling down the side-walk on the other side. When he got opposite the poor forsaken girl, he staggered across the street to where she stood, and, taking a few pennies from his pocket, he thrust them into her hand, accompanied with the adjuration, ?Here, your poor forsaken cuss, take this!? A celestial radiance now lighted up the face of the recording angel, who instantly entered the sailor?s act of sympathy and charity in his tablet, and departed with it as a sweat sacrifice to God.
A concretion, one might say, of the Biblical story of the judgment upon the woman taken in adultery. Be it so; yet it portrays with a master hand the state of our Christian society."
"[?ORIGINAL PROGRAMME? MANUSCRIPT]
[Words within square brackets, as well as the italicizing of certain words and sentences, in passages quoted from the Chatterji-Gebhard Statement, are H.P.B.?s own, as careful comparison with the text of the Statement will show. Throughout H.P.B.?s Pronouncement, both in the main text of it, and in some of the footnotes, the occurrence of several dots indicates no elision of words, and is apparently meant to point to the beginning of a new thought which is particularly emphasized.
In order to leave no room for equivocation, the members of the T.S. have to be reminded of the origin of the Society in 1875. Sent to the U.S. of America in 1873 for the purpose of organizing a group of workers on a psychic plane, two years later the writer received orders from her Master and Teacher to form the nucleus of a regular Society whose objects were broadly stated as follows:
1. Universal Brotherhood;
2. No distinction to be made by the member between races, creeds, or social positions, but every member had to be judged and dealt by on his personal merits;
3. To study the philosophies of the East?those of India chiefly, presenting them gradually to the public in various works that would interpret exoteric religions in the light of esoteric teachings;
4. To oppose materialism and theological dogmatism in every possible way, by demonstrating the existence of occult forces unknown to science, in nature, and the presence of psychic and spiritual powers in man; trying, at the same time to enlarge the views of the Spiritualists by showing them that there are other, many other agencies at work in the production of phenomena besides the ?Spirits? of the dead. Superstition had to be exposed and avoided; and occult forces, beneficent and maleficent??ever surrounding us and manifesting their presence in various ways?demonstrated to the best of our ability.
Such was the programme in its broad features. The two chief Founders were not told what they had to do, how they had to bring about and quicken the growth of the Society and results desired; nor had they any definite ideas given them concerning its outward organization?all this being left entirely with themselves. Thus, as the undersigned had no capacity for such work as the mechanical formation and administration of a Society, the management of the latter was left in the hands of Col. H. S. Olcott, then and there elected by the primitive founders and members?President for life. But if the two Founders were not told what they had to do, they were distinctly instructed about what they should never do, what they had to avoid, and what the Society should never become. Church organizations, Christian and Spiritual sects were shown as the future contrasts to our Society."
With other words I conclude:
And of course showing contrast between the Theosophical Society and "Church organizations, Christian and Spiritual sects" etc., etc. do - certainly not - imply building a Liberal Catholic Church on the Theosophical Society compound in Adyar.
But then again others - seem to disagree upon this. Yet, I will, in all friendliness and compassion have to disagree with them for some time it seems.
So lack of contrast to Christian Churches at Christmas - is a new Original Programe or a new Area?
And as we approach the year 2012 in the more or less Gregorian Calendar; (a calendar created by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. The same Pope who played a Te Deum, when the Bartholomew's Day massacre took place in 1572. And who had a Red Dragon as his heraldic shield, still on display at the Vatican); I can only have the wish that all readers always may have a beautiful day.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application