1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
Divya Sornaraja, Chennai, India. Member of the TS Adyar lodge since October, 2015.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I studied Theosophy at the School of Wisdom, Adyar. I attend some of the Adyar Lodge meetings as and when I can.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
Stumbled upon Theosophy’s literature and people in an attempt to visit the Adyar Headquarters. Out of curiosity, started taking the School of Wisdom classes to understand perennial philosophies. A lot of its perspectives struck a chord in me. Understanding the world from this Philosophy’s point of view – Mind over Matter – has been most fascinating and complementary.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
Having studied the world from a materialistic scientific view, it was refreshing to see it from a non-materialistic mindset and from deep within. In a way, it feels like you have a new pair of eyes to look at the world. The world, we know, is part our subjective perceptions / interpretations and part our objective actual experience. So, Theosophy helped me realize and understand the first part better.
The best part was to understand and internalize how the mind functions, how/where one learns to maneuver the mind and how certain natural (universal) laws possibly work, etc. If to understand oneself is the beginning of wisdom, Theosophy helped me lay that foundation in understanding my own mind. It was also instrumental in helping me explore the possible concepts behind/of religions and the possible commonality midst them all.
Hence, Theosophy to me is a fascinating experimental study about one’s own self, world and an effort to re-understand the laws of nature with a new pair of eyes. To be able to have a mindset to accommodate a subjective learning about oneself, hence learn the others, seems like the beginning of a harmonious self. When science sticks to objectivism – unless-proven-does-not-exist, Philosophy & Theosophy accommodates and helps one to understand the less provable and examinable.
When the blind cannot speak of colors but can acquire a sense of the color’s context, Theosophy helps with such similar contextual understanding of systems beyond common human comprehension.
5. What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?
Life’s Deeper Aspects by N.Sriram (as taken by Prof. Tampi at the School of Wisdom);
N.Sriram’s narration and choice of words were so beautiful and soulful. The words by themselves to me gave a sense of peace that he possibly must have had at heart while he wrote the book. Further, Prof. Tampi’s admiration for N.Sriram and his description of how wise and peaceful he seemed despite chaos in the world outside built an internal inspiration about his personality.
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. For its simplicity in trying to explain the nature of the human life. Made me realize how allegories can help understand abstract concepts and universal laws better. (May be allegorical tales, historically, led to the Hinduism that is known today to the masses with so many stories and anthropomorphic divine deities.
The Way of Chuang Tzu by Thomas Merton (Thanks to Kim Dieu’s recommendation!)
For Chuang Tzu’s wit, wisdom, humor and the most pragmatic mystical paradoxes.
Beginning with the last Taoist Chuang Tzu, following through Nagarjuna’s “middle-way” helped me to learn about balancing oneself to maintain equanimity.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
From my experience at the School of Wisdom, I realize that TS needs a certain uncommon mental maturity to understand that which it tries to convey. It seems like not all understand the entirety of the subject in its authentic essence. While the fundamental of the TS is to not to fall for any dogma, it sometimes seemed like people were shifting from their previous dogmas to a newer set of dogmas disguised under the pseudonym of Theosophy. Maintaining the subject’s authentic intent yet being relevant may be its biggest challenge.
Time and time again, throughout human evolution, it seems like the purity and authenticity of an art or philosophy gets lost and then gets revived in cycles. May be the above concern isn’t as big a challenge.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
I wish for its beautiful perennial philosophy to be preserved with its authenticity for generations to come. May all the minds that walk in, understand its Beauty, Truth and the meaning of the simple Life.
Wish these minds not be distracted by nomenclatures such as clairvoyance or some rarely discussed unknown phenomena of apparitions, etc. Wish these minds not be carried away from the Self which is the necessary focus to answer larger questions.
It’s indeed a wonderful gift to be alive and live as a human. Even better, to be able to experience life and express the Self in living.
Side Note: My generation (20-30 year olds in 2016) may need newer authors on the subject citing recent relevant examples, analogies, metaphors and allegories to make these studies understandable and relatable. More recent the authorship, the better we relate. May be someone like Tim Boyd or Pablo Sender should write original books? Just a thought…
With best hopes that every human make the best contribution and experience life best.
From the editor:
Opinions and ideas expressed in the mini-interviews are exclusively of those who are being interviewed. They don’t necessarily represent the ideas and opinions of the compilers of Theosophy Forward. The responses of the interviewees are not edited for content. Some contributors give short answers to the questions while others touch upon the subject more elaborately