23 October 2016

The Aquarian Theosophist, October 2016


The opening thought of the October edition says:      

There is no joy like the joy of having fulfilled one’s duty.

On page one, the note “A Clean Life, a Pure Heart” discusses a kind of cleanliness that is not physical.

Page two presents “The Wisdom of a Turtle”, on the importance of being “slow” in our age of anxiety; and the note “A Nameless, Timeless Soul”, on the alternation of quietness and struggle.

The Source of Serendipity” is on page three. On pages four and five, “Abandoning Voluntary Blindness: The Philosophical Value of Democracy”. 

An essential topic concerning the future of mankind - how to build a theosophical lodge - is examined in a letter written by an Eastern immortal sage whose normal consciousness is beyond the karma of our mankind. Most of the letter is published on pages six and seven.

On page eight, we have a note by Indian author N. C. Ramanujachary entitled “Serious or Curious?”.

These are other topics in the October 2016 edition of the “Aquarian”:  

* Judah Abravanel, Fragments From Neoplatonic Judaism;

* The Chain of Action and Reaction; 

* A Few Socratic Questions;

* The Ecology of the Soul, or the Birth of Devotion;

* The Occult Life of Sentences;

* Thoughts Along the Road; 

* Helena Blavatsky, on the Eiffel Tower; and

* Preventing the Insanity of Atomic War.

The 17 pp. edition includes the List of New Texts in our associated websites.


You can find the entire collection of The Aquarian”  at our associated websites.


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18 October 2016

The Emperor’s New Suit

Fairy Tale Reveals How Political
Consensus is Fabricated, Sometimes

Hans Christian Andersen


A 2016 Editorial Note:

Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1885) makes
a study in the hypocrisy of modern politics and
rules of courtesy as practiced in society and circles
of friends, in parliaments, political parties, media,
governments and pseudo-theosophical associations.
Political correctness puts good manners above
truth or sincerity; and good manners usually mean
blind obedience to power. By the end of the story,
Andersen shows that one must have the heart of a
child to speak the truth and transcend organized deceit.

(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)


Many, many years ago lived an emperor, who thought so much of new clothes that he spent all his money in order to obtain them; his only ambition was to be always well dressed. He did not care for his soldiers, and the theatre did not amuse him; the only thing, in fact, he thought anything of was to drive out and show a new suit of clothes. He had a coat for every hour of the day; and as one would say of a king “He is in his cabinet”, so one could say of him, “The emperor is in his dressing-room.” 

The great city where he resided was very gay; every day many strangers from all parts of the globe arrived. One day two swindlers came to this city; they made people believe that they were weavers, and declared they could manufacture the finest cloth to be imagined. Their colours and patterns, they said, were not only exceptionally beautiful, but the clothes made of their material possessed the wonderful quality of being invisible to any man who was unfit for his office or unpardonably stupid.

“That must be wonderful cloth”, thought the emperor. “If I were to be dressed in a suit made of this cloth I should be able to find out which men in my empire were unfit for their places, and I could distinguish the clever from the stupid. I must have this cloth woven for me without delay.” And he gave a large sum of money to the swindlers, in advance, that they should set to work without any loss of time. They set up two looms, and pretended to be very hard at work, but they did nothing whatever on the looms. They asked for the finest silk and the most precious gold-cloth; all they got they did away with, and worked at the empty looms till late at night.

“I should very much like to know how they are getting on with the cloth”, thought the emperor. But he felt rather uneasy when he remembered that he who was not fit for his office could not see it. Personally, he was of opinion that he had nothing to fear, yet he thought it advisable to send somebody else first to see how matters stood. Everybody in the town knew what a remarkable quality the stuff possessed, and all were anxious to see how bad or stupid their neighbours were.

“I shall send my honest old minister to the weavers”, thought the emperor. “He can judge best how the stuff looks, for he is intelligent, and nobody understands his office better than he.”

The good old minister went into the room where the swindlers sat before the empty looms. “Heaven preserve us!” he thought, and opened his eyes wide, “I cannot see anything at all”, but he did not say so. Both swindlers requested him to come near, and asked him if he did not admire the exquisite pattern and the beautiful colours, pointing to the empty looms. The poor old minister tried his very best, but he could see nothing, for there was nothing to be seen. “Oh dear”, he thought, “can I be so stupid? I should never have thought so, and nobody must know it! Is it possible that I am not fit for my office? No, no, I cannot say that I was unable to see the cloth.”

“Now, have you got nothing to say?” said one of the swindlers, while he pretended to be busily weaving.

“Oh, it is very pretty, exceedingly beautiful”, replied the old minister looking through his glasses. “What a beautiful pattern, what brilliant colours! I shall tell the emperor that I like the cloth very much.”

“We are pleased to hear that”, said the two weavers, and described to him the colours and explained the curious pattern. The old minister listened attentively, that he might relate to the emperor what they said; and so he did.

Now the swindlers asked for more money, silk and gold-cloth, which they required for weaving. They kept everything for themselves, and not a thread came near the loom, but they continued, as hitherto, to work at the empty looms.

Soon afterwards the emperor sent another honest courtier to the weavers to see how they were getting on, and if the cloth was nearly finished. Like the old mister, he looked and looked but could see nothing, as there was nothing to be seen.

“Is it not a beautiful piece of cloth?” asked the two swindles, showing and explaining the magnificent pattern, which, however, did not exist.

“I am not stupid”, said the man. “It is therefore my good appointment for which I am not fit. It is very strange, but I must not let anyone know it;” and he praised the cloth, which he did not see, and expressed his joy at the beautiful colours and the fine pattern. “It is very excellent”,   he said to the emperor.

Everybody in the whole town talked about the precious cloth. At last the emperor wished to see it himself, while it was still on the loom. With a number of courtiers, including the two who had already been there, he went to the two clever swindlers, who now worked as hard as they could, but without using any thread.

“Is it not magnificent?” said the two old statesmen who had been there before. “Your Majesty must admire the colours and the pattern.” And then they pointed to the empty looms, for they imagined the others could see the cloth.

“What is this?” thought the emperor, “I do not see anything at all. That is terrible! Am I stupid? Am I unfit to be emperor? That would indeed be the most dreadful thing that could happen to me.”

“Really”, he said, turning to the weavers, “your cloth has our most gracious approval”; and nodding contentedly he looked at the empty loom, for he did not like to say that he saw nothing. All his attendants, who were with him, looked and looked, and although they could not see anything more than the others, they said, like the emperor, “It is very beautiful.” And all advised him to wear the new magnificent clothes at a great procession which was soon to take place. “It is magnificent, beautiful, excellent”, one heard them say; everybody seemed to be delighted, and the emperor appointed the two swindlers “Imperial Court weavers”.

The whole night previous to the day on which the procession was to take place, the swindlers pretended to work, and burned more than sixteen candles. People should see that they were busy to finish the emperor’s new suit. They pretended to take the cloth from the loom, and worked about in the air with big scissors, and sewed with needles without thread, and said at last: “The emperor’s new suit is ready now.”

The emperor and all his barons then came to the hall; the swindlers held their arms up as if they held something in their hands and said: “These are the trousers!” “This is the coat!” and “Here is the cloak!” and so on. “They are all as light as a cobweb, and one must feel as if one had nothing at all upon the body; but that is just the beauty of them.”

“Indeed!” said all the courtiers; but they could not see anything, for there was nothing to be seen.

“Does it please your Majesty now to graciously undress”, said the swindlers, “that we may assist your Majesty in putting on the new suit before the large looking-glass?”

The emperor undressed, and the swindlers pretended to put the new suit upon him, one piece after another; and the emperor looked at himself in the glass from every side.

“How well they look! How well they fit!” said all. “What a beautiful pattern! What fine colours! That is a magnificent suit of clothes!”

The master of the ceremonies announced that the bearers of the canopy, which was to be carried in the procession, were ready.

“I am ready”, said the emperor. “Does not my suit fit me marvellously?” Then he turned once more to the looking-glass, that people should think he admired his garments.

The chamberlains, who were to carry the train, stretched their hands to the ground as if they lifted up a train, and pretended to hold something in their hands; they did not like people to know that they could not see anything.

The emperor marched in the procession under the beautiful canopy, and all who saw him in the street and out of the windows exclaimed: “Indeed, the emperor’s new suite is incomparable! What a long train he has! How well it fits him!” Nobody wished to let others know he saw nothing, for then he would have been unfit for his office or too stupid. Never emperor’s clothes were more admired.

“But he has nothing on at all”, said a little child at last. “Good heavens! listen to the voice of an innocent child”, said the father, and one whispered to the other what the child had said. “But he has nothing on at all”, cried at last the whole people. That made a deep impression upon the emperor, for it seemed to him that they were right; but he thought to himself, “Now I must bear up to the end.” And the chamberlains walked with still greater dignity, as if they carried the train which did not exist.


The above story is reproduced from the book “The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales”, edited by Lily Owens, Avenel Books, New York, 1981, 803 pages, pp. 438-441.


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11 October 2016

The Shoemaker of Seville

A Story of the Fourteenth
Century, on Justice and Equity 

Viscount de Figanière

Part of the story, as published by the “Daily Alta California”

A 2016 Editorial Note:

The Viscount de Figanière, a Portuguese author, diplomat and historian, was a personal friend and student of Helena P. Blavatsky. Born in New York in 1827, he lived and worked in Brazil, Russia, Spain, England, and France.  

Figanière is quoted in the work “The Secret Doctrine”, by Ms. Blavatsky, and has his articles published in the two magazines founded by her.  His great 1889 book “Estudos Esotéricos” (“Esoteric Studies”) remains the main classical work of theosophical literature in Portuguese language.

Short stories are not uncommon in theosophical literature. Helena Blavatsky wrote a number of them, some of which involve murder. An assassination also occurs in “The Shoemaker of Seville”. However, the story by Figanière has less blood in its paragraphs than many a scene in Shakespeare’s plays.

This is a story about justice. It describes human despair in social injustice. It offers the reader a moral portrait of Christianity in the late Middle Ages, including its clergy. While it is an illusion to think that violence can bring about justice, sometimes justice is made in ironical ways, and equity and compassion can often emerge as surprises.

“The Shoemaker of Seville” was published several years before Figanière went to Madrid in April 1867 to work for one year as a diplomatic representative of Portugal in Spain.

The story is historical: Pedro of Castile was born 30 August 1334 and died on 23 March 1369. He was the king of Castile and León from 1350 to 1369.

“The Shoemaker of Seville” is reproduced from the “Daily Alta California”, San Francisco, USA, Volume 13, Number 4,132, dated 9 June 1861.

The investigation made by Joana Maria Pinho reveals it was first published in “New York Ledger”, USA, number 8, April 27, 1861. In both occasions the story appeared with no name of author, but there is no doubt about who wrote it. The authorship is indicated in various places, including Figanière’s biography on p. 198 of the book “Portugal e os Estrangeiros”, second part, by Manuel Bernardes Branco, vol. II, Imprensa Nacional, Lisbon, Portugal, 1893, 703 pages. 

(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)

The Shoemaker of Seville

Viscount de Figanière

Chapter I

In a wretched hovel in the city of Seville, were seated a woman, whose wrinkles seemed rather the legacy of misfortune than of years, and a youth, but just emerging from boyhood, both busy at work upon a pair of shoes. The scanty furniture and ruined state of the habitation, devoid of aught in the shape of ornament, except a cross carved in black wood, and none the better for age, were tangible proofs of the utterly destitute state of the inmates.

“Gil”, said the woman.

“What is it, mother?” replied the youth.

The former wiped her eyes, suffused with tears, and proceeded in a melancholy tone:

“ ’Tis a sad anniversary this! Today three years ago our home was not so poor, nor our bread to sour; I was not a widow, nor wert thou an orphan! Alas! Today Antonio Peres sleeps in the cemetery of the poor, beside the despised Moor and Jew; we were even deprived of the luxury of giving him a decent burial.”

“And thus”, said the orphan, in a voice of stifled rage, “and thus are my father’s ashes dishonored, and we are living in want, whilst-----

“Whilst his murderer liveth in the fullness of plenty and prosperity”, added the mother, breaking in upon her son’s speech. “He is a canon of the Cathedral, and the pious people of Seville flock to hear his sermons; he enjoys the King’s favor, and the nobles kneel to him - all pay their respects to the assassin, because he took away the life neither of a noble, nor a priest - he killed a poor artisan, a nobody - thy father!”

Gill sprang up, and seizing an old rusty dagger which lay near him, he went and sat by his mother, saying:

“Mother do let me hear all the particulars of that tragic event.”

 “And what good will it do?” said the mother. “Grief is no consolation; tears cannot satisfy vengeance.”

 “True: but ’tis well to let wounds bleed, and hate fret itself!” replied the youth, with a grim smile.

The mother perceived her son’s meaning, and seizing one of his hands, gave it a tender pressure.

“Three years ago”, said she, “abundance reigned in the home of Peres, the shoemaker. We were not rich; but cravings of want and the heart-burnings of poverty were unknown to us. Thy father, skilled in his craft, worked night and day, in order to increase his earnings; and we enjoyed that simple, unaspiring state of happiness, which is neither the fruit of idleness, nor of baseness. Meanwhile, Don Pedro came to the throne, ushered in by crimes of the deepest dye. In Seville, there were two enraged factions tearing each other to pieces in the streets and public squares; but obscurity was our shield, and we were left unmolested. There was not a family more united, or more happy than that of the shoemaker, Antonio Peres.”

The widow’s countenance had become animated, as she dwelt upon the pleasing recollections; but now it relapsed into its wonted expression of melancholy, and, resting her head upon the shoulder of her attentive son, she continued:

“That period of happiness proved of short duration. The canon Don Henriquez accompanied the King, Don Pedro, to Seville; he was cemented by blood with the Albuquerques; he was a favorite of the King’s; he was the assassin of Jaques de Calatrava, and born of an illustrious family; he could therefore act with impunity. Don Henriquez led a dissipated life; but this passed unnoticed, because he had sufficient power to keep gossip within bounds, and wealth wherewith to purchase the good graces of justice; he had, however, the misfortune to be lame, and this afflicted him beyond measure. He heard of thy father as being very skillful in his trade, and, thinking that Antonio might succeed in concealing his deformity, he sent for him. Thy father did his best to please the canon; but all in vain. He would not be pleased, and such was his rage on one occasion, that he flung the shoes at thy father’s face, saying that for his want of aptitude he deserved to be sent to the gallows. Although Peres was but a shoemaker, yet possessing as much self-respect as those of a higher station, he ventured to say in reply, that nature had given a bad shape to his reverence’s foot. Stung to the quick, and giving a loose rein to his fury, Don Henriquez seized a staff which stood by, and struck thy father such a violent blow on the head, that he fell never to rise more. The consequences of this murder did not, however, cause him much disquietude, as he relied upon his influence and opulence for safety.”

The son of Peres gnashed hit teeth and the muscles of his face moved convulsively. Sobs and tears choked the utterance of his mother; but after a slight pause she proceeded with her narrative:

“How can I express the emotions that oppressed my bosom when thy father’s corpse was brought home? I had no sooner learnt the name of his murderer, than, frantic with despair, I laid hold of a dagger - this very one”, and she laid her hand on the weapon covered with rust, which her son was sharpening, as he listened to the story. “My design was to revenge the death of my husband; but I remembered that I was a mother, and thought there was a court, where justice would be done, and an executioner to carry its sentence into effect. I presented myself to the Chapter, threw myself on my knees, and with tears in my eyes laid my pitiable case before the canons: and the Lord knows what humble entreaties I addressed to the judges, with what vehemence I endeavored to move them to pity. The judges listened attentively, promised me the most ample satisfaction, and a week later Don Henriquez was condemned-------

“To be quartered alive?” asked the youth, interrupting.

“No: to be deprived from assisting in the choir with the other members of the Chapter during a whole year”, continued the widow.

Chapter II

It was Corpus Christi day; the people of Seville were collected in dense crowds in the vicinity of the cathedral, in order to view the procession. The churches were adorned with all the grandeur of Catholic pomp; the streets were strewed with flowers; in a word, the city which was so often deluged in blood by the broils of the nobles and the savage despotism of the king, had assumed an unusual appearance of gaiety and festivity. In the midst of the general stir and bustle, there was one, seated on the steps of the alcazar, who seemed to take no interest in the tumultuous joy of the crowd. He was still young, but his austere and wrinkled face showed the ravages brought on by harrowing thoughts and premature sorrow. On beholding the disheveled state of his hair, the melancholy glance of his eye, the convulsive vivacity of his gestures, the anomalous combination of feebleness and energy, of wildness and despondency, which discomposed his features, it was easy to guess that his heart was lacerated by the vehemence of his passions, and that the bloom of youth had been withered by misfortunes of no ordinary nature. He remained for several hours buried in thought, his head leaning against one of the columns of the alcazar.[1]

The glimmer of twilight had gradually increased, and the minarets and steeples, which stood in various directions near the alcazar, were now shrouded in darkness. The young man woke from his lethargy, arose, and, casting around him a searching look, murmured to himself:

“Am I again to be doomed to disappointment?”

He had hardly pronounced the words, when he perceived a priest advancing at a slow pace in the direction of the cathedral. The young man rushed upon him, like a tiger upon its prey, and while seizing him by the hand and shaking him, cried out:

“Dost thou know me, Don Henriquez?”

“No”, answered the priest, starting back, and endeavoring to free himself from the grasp of his assailant.

“I am a poor orphan, a workman, one of the people, who can be beaten, trodden upon, insulted, and killed with impunity. I am the son of Antonio Peres!”

At that name the canon turned pale and trembled.

“Dost thou not know me?” continued Gil. “Overloaded with crimes and wealth, thou hast forsooth been neglectful of thy memory! Condemned to put off the cassock for a year, in expiation of the blood shed by thy hands, thou hast not given evidence of the slightest remorse; nay, thou didst seek consolation for this ridiculous sentence in bacchanalian revels. But if God hath delayed chastisement - if the judges, bribed by thy gold, allowed my father’s murderer to go unpunished - Providence hath an avenger in store. Didst thou not remember, Don Henriquez, that thy victim had a son - that this son might grow up to manhood - and that hatred would increase with his years? Didst thou forget that the unhappy man left vengeance as my sole inheritance, or didst thou think that the son of the shoemaker would refuse the legacy?”

“Villain!” exclaimed Don Henriquez, in a faltering tone.

“Assassin!” was the retort. “Long, long have I been wishing to have thee alone in my presence, that I might tell thee thou wert the murderer of my father, that thou wert the cause that my mother died worn down by grief and affliction; thou hast poisoned my existence, and blasted in me the freshness of youth! For three years this has been my nourishment. ’Tis hate that has sustained me in my resolution, while subject to abject poverty; ’tis hate that has kept me from despair! More than twenty times has this dagger been aimed at thy heart; but as often has chance protected thee, and delayed my vengeance. But now neither soldiers nor precautions can save thee! thy calls will not be heard! darkness will conceal thy blood from view, nor could a more appropriate moment be selected for the expiation of thy crime; on this day, six years back, did my father die at thy vile hands!”

The priest had hoped that his clerical office would be a safeguard against violence; but when he heard the youth’s virulent expressions, when he saw the glistening of his eyes and his colorless lips - unmistakable symptoms of merciless wrath - he became aware that hope lay not that way, and that he now must have recourse to humility and entreaty, in order to save his life.

“Involuntary homicide is no crime”, said he. “It is true, I killed thy father; but God knows that I sought not his death. There is no error but that it may be atoned for, no crime which remorse may not purge us of. Young man, say what thou wouldst have - what can I do for thee? Speak! To whatever height thy ambition may aspire, I can satisfy it. I will redeem thee from thy present state of penury; thou shalt rise to prosperity. I will make thee powerful, respected-----

“And happy?”


“But will thy gifts restore my poor father to life?”

“If they cannot bring him back, they will at least enable thee to raise a monument to his memory, and to have masses said for the repose of his soul.”

“And dost thou dare to hope that such offers as these will move me to pardon my father’s murderer?”

“Our lord forgave those who put him to death. Forget the crime, and accept the repentance: if prayers have touched thy heart with pity, tears ------

“Never!” exclaimed Gil; “tears shall not wipe out thy crime! My father’s blood shall be no object of barter! Thy money succeeded in corrupting justice; Heaven has spared thee a while; but I will prove less venal than thy judges, for I am the instrument of Divine justice!”

As he said these last words, he sheathed his poniard in his victim’s breast; then, whilst he wiped the blood from the weapon with the folds of his cloak, he gazed unmoved upon the lifeless body.

“Thou hast paid the debt”, said he; “I am satisfied!”

Chapter III

No name in the annals of Spain can be compared with that of Don Pedro of Castile in the enormity of his crimes. The poisoning of his wife, Donna Branca, and of his brother Frederic; the murder of Albuquerque, of the Jew Levi, of Mohammed, King of Granada, and of many others; the butcheries of Toledo, the taxes under which he made the people groan, the confiscations he devised, the torments [2] he invented, and the licentiousness of his conduct have all helped to give to the name of this prince a fearful celebrity.

Yet, notwithstanding the monstrous crimes with which he tainted the throne, Don Pedro of Castile evinced, on a great many occasions, a certain regard for justice; and, although it never proved a barrier to his own passions, he seldom allowed others to follow his example. The Spaniards call him indifferently Pedro the Cruel, or Pedro the Just.

Immediately after he had killed Don Henriquez, Gil gave himself to the authorities of his own accord, confessing the deed he had committed; and, being brought to trial, was condemned. The case, however came to the ears of the king, then at Seville, who gave orders that the matter should be left in his hands, and the culprit brought before him.

“Thou art accused of having assassinated the canon Don Henriquez”, said the king to the prisoner.

“And I most assuredly did kill him”, he replied.

“For what cause?”

“To avenge Antonio Peres, who was murdered by the canon.”

“And why didst thou not apply to the judicial authorities?”

“Because at Seville the scales of justice are not equally balanced. Unable to obtain a judgment against my father’s murderer, I took upon myself the duty of both judge and executioner.”

“But wert thou not aware of the penalty of the deed?”

“Most assuredly I was; the disparity between my position and that of Henriquez was alone sufficient to dispel all doubts as to the consequences.”

The king turned round to the Corregidor, and said to him:

“What sentence was passed upon the assassin of the shoemaker, Peres?”

“He was deprived of the privilege of sitting in the choir during a whole year.”

“And to what has the murderer of the canon Don Henriquez been condemned?”

“To be quartered alive.”

Por Dios y la Virgin Santa!” exclaimed Don Pedro; “justice should eschew all distinctions of rank, nor admit any claim for privileges. We annul the sentence passed by the court, and are pleased to condemn the son of the shoemaker to the penalty of not making shoes during a whole year.”


[1] The Alcazar of Seville is a royal palace in Seville, Spain, originally developed by Moorish Muslim kings. The palace is renowned as one of the most beautiful in the country. (CCA)

[2] Forms of physical torture used to torment prisoners. (CCA)


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