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teachings has been augmented. Exceptionally large audiences have listened to her exposition of the theories and practical applications of Theosophy in some of the towns.

Many inconveniences attended the administration of the New Zealand Branches, from a distance which, reckoned by time, is almost as great as that separating London from New York, and the step contemplated will probably meet with unqualified approval in all directionsat any rate, throughout Australasia. It is thought that the arrangements may be so far hastened that the Melbourne Convention may have an opportunity of congratulating the new Section on its formation, and of wishing it an honourable and successful career.

Of business to be brought before the Convention, that relating to thie “ Report of the Committee of Revision of the Constitution of the Theosophical Society" ranks first. Without venturing to forecast the result of the deliberations of the delegates, it may be remarked that there is a feeling, in some quarters, against any alteration in the wording of the Objects of the Society.

The General Secretary has returned to Headquarters, after a month's visit to Melbourne. On Sunday, March 16th, in spite of a heavy thunderstorm and an oppressive damp heat, a large audience of menibers and strangers attended and accorded him a hearty welcome. His add ress was listened to with close attention, and evidently created a deep impression. In Melbourne Mr. Staples delivered a number of addresses, the most successful series being, perhaps, that given on four successive Saturday evenings at Mrs. Parker's drawing-room in South Yarra.

The Northern Branches, with the exception of Brisbane, which is flourishing, are a little languid, probably in consequence of the summer heats. The General Secretary proposes to visit them, and also, if possible, some new districts as soon as the cooler season sets in. In South Australia the work goes on steadily. At Adelaide, the place of Mrs. Pickett, the late secretary, has been supplied by Miss K. Castle, who has long been a member taking active and practical interest in the movement.

In Sydney we are looking for the return of Mr. H. A. Wilson, who has been accompanying the Countess in her New Zealand tour, during which he has made many firm friends and done much excellent service. His aid at Headquarters will set the General Secretary free for new and wider work among the Branches and Centres.

On the whole the prospects of the movement in these colonies has never looked brighter or more promising.

S.

REVIEWS.

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PSYCHIC PHILOSOPHY.
By V. C. Desertis. [London: George Redway. 1896. 55.]

This is an interesting and well written book, worthy of a better title.

The author has, with one or two exceptions, collected his facts carefully and marshalled them in good order, drawing his conclusions in a cautious manner.

Dr. A. R. Wallace contributes a short introductory note, approving the purpose and general tone of the work, but avoiding the danger of dealing with anything in particular. The writer states in his preface that, not finding in ordinary religion complete satisfaction, he turned his attention to psychic phenomena and found that they threw much light on his difficulties. “ The need of the day," he says, “is a belief that shall rest neither on dogma nor on instinct, but on insight which justifies religion in history, and so far from leading us to condemn the old forms or abjure any creed, leaves us in harmony with the past stages of evolution, gives a logical standing ground for morality in the present, and some clue to both the practical problems and the intellectual needs of modern life.”

The first two chapters deal with the phenomena of spiritualism, the hysical or objective and the inner or subjective. Nothing very fresh is introduced, the author writing from a spiritualistic standpoint, but without prejudice.

After reviewing the evidence in this direction, the scientific side is discussed in a chapter entitled “ Matter and Ether.” This is also carefully dealt with, but a scientific man might take exception to two or three points, such as the statement that the section of a light ray is like a cross, the vibrations being in two directions, at right angles to each other, instead of, as in the ordinary view, consisting of transverse vibrations in all directions. The statement as to the different kinds of energy due to etheric waves is also misleading. It is claimed that the admission of ether by scientists as the origin of matter, is an admission of the soul of matter—a somewhat erratic idea.

In the same chapter the phenomena of hypnotism are examined, and are attributed to the action of the ether, the man being compared to a magnet in the old familiar fashion. The evidence of “the spirits ” as to the nature of their bodies is given-going, according to the author, to uphold the view that they live in the ether as we do in the world of “matter."

Elaborating his theory as he proceeds, the writer discusses the nature of man, and arrives at the division into body, soul and spirit. The following titles of chapters summarize his views : “ Body, the Means of Action ;” “ Soul—the forming Power ;” “Spirit—the directing Will.” The soul is the force which organizes the body; to the spirit are due all morality and ethics. The book concludes with a a chapter on social questions, which seems a little out of place.

Though some of the views may not be particularly fresh, and others not very correct, the book is well worth reading, and the style of writing is very much superior to that found in most books of like nature.

A. M. G.

RECENT BUDDHISM. The last number of The Journal of the Buddhist Text Society of India contains little of real interest. We notice, however, that the education of the second son of the Mahârâjah of Sikkim has been entrusted to Mr. Sharat Chandra Dâs, the learned secretary of the Society. This is the first Tibetan prince to learn English and Hindustani, and perchance the innovation augurs a breaking down of barriers. The secretary, in exhibiting a picture of the planes of existence according to Tibetan Buddhism, described the presiding Lord in words which strikingly remind us of the “Silent Watcher” referred to in perhaps the most beautiful passage in H. P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine. Mr. Sharat Chandra Dâs says:

“At the top of the ring stands the great Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, also called Mahâ Kârunika, the merciful—one who, having acquired all kinds of moral perfection, can enter into the supreme state of beatitude, i.e., of Nirvâņa, at any time he likes; but out of pity for the misery of all living beings in this world, he has taken the solemn vow of not entering into Nirvâņa till he has safely conducted the last unhappy being to it.

“He holds in his right hand the pot of nectar symbolical of a blessed immortal life, and in his left hand the forbidden fruit' typifying celestial enjoyment."

A Jataka tale is given from one of the books of the Kahgyur, which starts soberly enough but ends in hopeless bathos or worse. The question is what distinct causes lead to the distinct karma of creatures ; why is one poor, another rich; one handsome, another ugly; one strong, another weak, etc. The fifty-three answers are for the most part manifestly absurd and throw in occasionally such insanities as: “Those who cut the bristles of hogs in the previous birth have got yellow hair in this.” The whole thing is the invention of monkish ignorance and superstition, its main characteristic being that of silliniess. The Buddhism of Tibet is very mixed indeed, and among the materials we so far possess, it takes long searching before anything of value can be discovered.

In the last number of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Professor Rhys Davids, working at the other pole of the subject, remarks (p. 378): “The expression, 'entering into Nirvâņa' is only a very old Anglo-Indian blunder, dating from the time when the first writers on Buddhism, saturated with modern Western ideas, took for granted that Nirvâņa must be some state beyond the grave. But universal Indian usage of the tinie, whether in Pâli books by Buddhist authors or in Sanskrit books by both Buddhists and Hindus, confines the connotation of the word exclusively to the state of mind of a living Jîvanmukta or Arahat.” Quite so; but what is a “state of mind”? Phrase for phrase ; we are no better off than before. For we can “enter into” a state of mind ; and not only enter into but come out of it. Further, if the state of Nirvâịa is attainable while still in body, it cannot be annihilation. And lastly, if Nirvana is a state of mind, the presence or absence of the physical body, that is to say “life” or “death” as ordinarily understood, can make no difference to the obtainer of that state, and it is, therefore, as much beyond the grave as on this side of it, unless, of course, we are to believe that the learned Professor holds the view that the Nirvâņi’s “mind” on the dissolution of the physical body, goes also into the void, so that the whole of Buddhism is a liuge joke and only philologically serious.

G. R. S. M.

THE SYSTEM TO WHICH WE BELONG.

By A. P. Sinnett. Transactions of the London Lodge T. S., No. 30. Theosophical Publishing Society, 7, Duke Street, W.C. 1S.]

is] This study of our solar system as a whole in the light of Theosophy forms Mr. Sinnett's latest contribution to our store of knowledge. Hitherto, while we have had much definite information with regard to the planetary chain to which our earth belongs, we have had nothing more than a few rather indefinite hints as to its relation to the solar system as a whole, and even less in regard to the way in which that system itself is constituted. The present essay fills this gap in a fairly complete and very satisfactory manner, and contains a quite unusual wealth of entirely new information, which will be full of the deepest interest for all close students of Theosophy. The reader must be referred to the pamphlet itself for details ; but I cannot resist calling special attention to the very suggestive light thrown upon the problem of the inter-relation of the numbers seven and ten in our system by the facts here made public for the first time; and also to the magnificent description with which the essay closes, depicting the final consummation, the ultimate outcome of this tremendous undertaking.

B. K.

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