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Jul 02, 1998 03:21 PM
by Dr. A.M.Bain

Dear all,

Way back in 1957-9 I began a small group (about 30 people max) with
a view to studying, investigating, and practicing the occult virtues, mainly
by way of Kabbalah, or Qabalah as we called it then, this being by that
time my specialist area (which it still is).  We called it simply, "The
Group."  I am sure some of you have been there :-)

Students had two mandatory books to *purchase* and *study*.  This
was to ensure that only serious students came in, as no fees were
charged.  The two books were, "The Mystical Qabalah" by Dion
Fortune, and "First Princiles of Theosophy" by C. Jinarajadasa.  They
all dreaded the latter owing to its complexity (!) but did as they were
asked.  The reason was simply that without an understanding of the
standard theosophical ideas of the time, students would never properly
grasp the later intricacies of Kabbalah, nor would they be able to use it
to the full, especially in its ability to act as a means of comparing
different "occult" systems.  Comparitive theosophy if you like.

Above all things, however, we held what theosophy calls the first object
as the most important.  Having a Christian bias at that time, this was
expressed as "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" - also, of
course, an antecedent law of Judaism.  On the practical level of group
working, we all tried to apply this to the best of our ability in our daily
lives, for without doing this, the entire study was pointless.

One day one of the group members discharged herself from hospital
very shortly after having given birth to her second child - she still had
stitches in.  Her husband had been arrested and charged with
defrauding the Post Office (which he had done and went to jail for).
She wanted to do her utmost to help him by rasing bail from her family
(which she did, but he didn't accept).

We would often congregate in an inexpensive London restaurant, and
so this was her first port of call.  One member was in there, a young
man - we were all so young! - and she, having nowhere to stay for the
night, and no money to speak of, asked him for help.  Without
hesitation, having heard her tale, he have her the key to his one-room
apartment and six shillings for a taxi and food.

Unbeknown to her, it was his last six shillings, and he had nowhere else
to stay for the night.  Later, some of the other members found him sitting
in the restaurant, and made sure he had enough to eat, and money to
keep himself going.  Sadly, no one available at the time was in a position
to put him up, and he slept on the streets for three nights, by which time
the young woman in question had been able to make arrangements.

As he saw it, her needs were greater than his, so he applied the rule,
and those who found him later did the same.

Now, in 1998, she is dead, but her two daughters are still alive with
children of their own, and I speak to them often.  Sometimes they come
to stay, and there is a great bond between us.

That, theosophists of all colors, is what we called "brotherhood" and still
do.  Quite a few of the members of that long-ago group are now either
dead, or have moved on without trace.  The few of us that are still in
touch would, if called, respond at the drop of a hat, as they say, and
over the years, this has happened more than once.

Just for the record.

Alan Bain

Brought to you from
 West Cornwall, UK

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