Theosophical Encyclopedia

Confucius and Confucianism

Richard Williams Brooks – USA

[Theosophical Encyclopedia, edited by Philip S. Harris, Vicente R. Hao Chin, Jr., and Richard W. Brooks (Quezon City, Philippines: Theosophical Publishing House, 2006), pp. 163-165. Here lightly edited.]

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Confucius was one of the most important philosophers of ancient China, and one of only two whose names have been Latinized (the other being the post-Confucian philosopher Mencius or Meng K’e, later called Meng Tzu). He was born K’ung Ch’iu (Kong Chiu in the modern pinyin system of transliteration) in the state of Lu in 551 BCE during the gradual decline of the Chou (Zhou) Dynasty (1122-771 BCE). Tradition identifies his family as formerly part of the aristocracy, but by his time it had declined both in social and economic status. His father died when he was three, and he was raised by his mother. He obviously received an education in ancient literature, for he was very familiar with it and is said to have written commentaries on some of it. He married and had at least one son and one daughter.

Read more: Confucius and Confucianism

Ancient Egyptian Religion – Part two

Jeanine Miller – the UK

[The following article is from the Theosophical Encyclopedia, edited by Philip S. Harris, Vicente R. Hao Chin, Jr., and Richard W. Brooks (Quezon City, Philippines: Theosophical Publishing House, 2006), pp. 211-218. A few obvious errors have been silently corrected.]

Egyptian Religion, Ancient [Part 2, pp. 214-218]

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EGYPTIAN SYMBOLS

The religious and esoteric history of every nation was embedded in symbols. ... All the thoughts and emotions, all the learning and knowledge, revealed and acquired, of the early races, found their pictorial expression in allegory and parable” (SD I:307).

He who can penetrate into the heart of Egyptian symbolism holds the key to the ageless gnosis. A god, to the Egyptian, was a principle that could be named differently according to different spheres of influence and circumstances and could assume various appearances for his devotee.

Read more: Ancient Egyptian Religion – Part two

Native American Religions – Part one

Richard Williams Brooks – USA

[The following article is from the Theosophical Encyclopedia, edited by Philip S. Harris, Vicente R. Hao Chin, Jr., and Richard W. Brooks (Quezon City, Philippines: Theosophical Publishing House, 2006), pp. 25-32.]

American Religions, Native [Part 1, pp. 25-29]

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Read more: Native American Religions – Part one

Australian Aboriginal Spiritual Beliefs

Olga Gostin – Australia

[The following article is from the Theosophical Encyclopedia, edited by Philip S. Harris, Vicente R. Hao Chin, Jr., and Richard W. Brooks (Quezon City, Philippines: Theosophical Publishing House, 2006), pp. 70-74.]

Australian Aboriginal Spiritual Beliefs.

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While it is now taken as a matter of course that indigenous Australian spirituality has a place in any encyclopaedia of world religions, it must be remembered that this facet of indigenous Australian life was not given due recognition until fairly recently. W. H. Stanner’s seminal article The Dreaming first published in 1956 can arguably be regarded as the watershed which put the spirituality of indigenous Australians on the map. Prior to that, and as a direct outcome of the colonial mind set of the British and nineteenth century evolutionary thinking, Aboriginal spirituality and cosmology were regarded as either non-existent or at best a form of magic which reflected the so-called “primitive” lifestyle of people whose existence was then considered predominantly “nasty, brutish and short,” to quote Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan about man’s life in a state of nature, as opposed to civilization.

Read more: Australian Aboriginal Spiritual Beliefs

Ancient Egyptian Religion – Part one

Jeanine Miller – the UK

[The following article is from the Theosophical Encyclopedia, edited by Philip S. Harris, Vicente R. Hao Chin, Jr., and Richard W. Brooks (Quezon City, Philippines: Theosophical Publishing House, 2006), pp. 211-218.]

Egyptian Religion, Ancient [Part 1, pp. 211-214]

O Egypt, Egypt, the land that was the seat of divinity shall be deprived of the presence of the gods. There shall not remain more of thy religion than tales, than words inscribed on stone and telling of thy lost piety. A day will come alas when the sacred hieroglyphs will become but idols. The world will mistake the symbols of wisdom for gods and accuse great Egypt of having adored hell monsters.

Hermes Trismegistus

No prophecy has ever proved so true.

Read more: Ancient Egyptian Religion – Part one

Rudolf Steiner

[Originally printed in the Theosophical Encyclopedia, ed. Philip S. Harris, Vicente R. Hao Chin, Jr., and Richard W. Brooks (Quezon City, Philippines: Theosophical Publishing House, 2006); here slightly revised.]

Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) founded the Anthroposophical Society after serving as General Secretary of the Theosophical Society in Germany.

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Rudolf Steiner

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Radha Burnier

[The following is based on an entry by Mary Anderson in the Theosophical Encyclopedia, edited by Philip S. Harris, Vicente R. Hao Chin, Jr., and Richard W. Brooks (Quezon City, Philippines: Theosophical Publishing House, 2006), here revised for Theosophy Forward by John Algeo.]

Burnier, Radha (née Sri Ram) (1923-2013) was the seventh International President of the Theosophical Society (Adyar). Radha Sri Ram was born on November 15, 1923, on the estate of the Theosophical Society in Adyar, Madras (now called Chennai), India, where she spent her childhood. Her father, Nilakanta Sri Ram, a life-long Theosophical worker and a collaborator of Annie Besant’s, was the fifth International President of the Society. Her mother, Srimati Bhagirathi, was also an active member. The family was Brahmin, but, as Theosophists, they did not observe the rules of segregation from other castes prevalent at the time. In 1951 she married Raymond Burnier, a Swiss citizen, and thereby became a Swiss national.

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A reflective Radha Burnier

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