Theosophical Encyclopedia

Paul Brunton

[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.]

Paul Brunton (1898-1981) authored works on yoga and other spiritual subjects, many of his published works reflecting his early interest in Theosophy. He was a fairly regular attender at Theosophical Society meetings in London as mentioned in the biography, Paul Brunton, a Personal View, by K. T. Hurst (Burdett, N.Y.: Larson, 1889, p. 46).

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Druidism

[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.]

Druidism was the religion of the Celts of ancient Gaul and the British Isles. Description of their religion is difficult since very few authentic written records exist; those that do exist are not first-hand. According to the Stoic philosopher Poseidonius, the main tenets of the Druids were that the soul of man is immortal and that the universe is indestructible, although it was periodically consumed by fire or water.

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I. K. Taimni

[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.]

I. K. Taimni (1898-1978) was born in Lucknow, India, in a Kashmiri Brahman family. His father was Pandit Prem Kishen Taimni. Taimni’s mother died early, and he was brought up by his grandmother, who, a devotee of Lord Rama, lovingly called him “Sri Ram.” With only a younger sister and an affectionate but reserved father, his childhood was lonely.

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I.K. Taimni

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Western Philosophy

It is generally agreed that philosophy began in the Western world in Greece with Thales of Miletus (6th cent. BCE). He is credited with accurately predicting an eclipse, which suggests that he had made a careful study of astronomy. We have only fragments of his cosmological speculation, so we are not absolutely certain what some of his cryptic statements mean, but he claimed that the basic element from which all other elements are derived was water. This spurred alternative suggestions about the primary stuff of the world (air, fire, atoms, etc.) from other pre-Socratic philosophers, including PYTHAGORAS’ (ca. 582 – ca. 507) claim that it was not an element, but number or proportion. A change in emphasis came with the Greek Sophists, a group of professional teachers who trained students in various rhetorical devices to help them win court cases. Because some of these rhetorical devices were clearly fallacious, they have been immortalized in the words “sophistries” and “sophistical.” Socrates (470?-399 BCE) was distressed by this trend, shifting the topic of philosophy to ethics and politics. His principal pupil, Plato (427?-347 BCE), did the same. Plato’s most famous pupil, ARISTOTLE (384-322 BCE), broadened the scope of philosophy to cover all these subjects, and more. One of Aristotle’s most enduring contributions was a systematic development of formal logic, which was only superceded in the latter part of the 19th century.

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James Ingall Wedgwood

(1883-1951). Founder of the LIBERAL CATHOLIC CHURCH and a prominent member of the Theosophical Society – Adyar.

He was born in London, England, into well-known pottery manufacturing family. After leaving school, the young Wedgwood entered University College, Nottingham, to prepare for life as an analytical chemist, but on completing this course he transferred his energies to the learning of the church organ at York Minster. Four years later he decided to prepare for Holy Orders in this Anglo-Catholic diocese of the Anglican Church. Instead he found himself suddenly converted to Theosophy. Having once before been reluctantly impressed on hearing an address by Annie BESANT, he went to hear her when she visited York. Notwithstanding his resolve to resist, he was entirely won over, resulting in his instant dismissal from York Minster.

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James Ingall Wedgwood

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Gnosticism

theosophy gnosticism

Gnosticism was an esoteric religious movement, which flourished primarily during the second and third centuries CE, and for a time posed a major challenge to mainstream Christianity. Its adherents claimed to possess a secret knowledge of the divine realms and its inhabitants, and utilized a complex mythology to describe this system. This myth began with the One Unknowable God, then went on to tell of intermediary emanations. One of these emanations, Sophia (Wisdom), desired to know the Unknowable God, but since this desire was illegitimate, what came forth from this desire was an aborted deformity, a being that went forth and created the physical universe. This Creator (or Demiurge) in turn, used the newly created universe to enslave the divine sparks of God into human bodies, where they could only be redeemed by the grace of Gnosis.

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Fritz Kunz

(1888-1972). Prolific Theosophical writer and lecturer for the Theosophical Society (TS) in America.

fritz kunz
Fritz Kunz

Kunz was born on May 16, 1888, in Freeport, Illinois, USA. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, he was appointed Principal of Ananda College in Sri Lanka, occupying that post from 1914 to 1918. In 1918, Kunz went to Adyar and became manager of the Theosophical Publishing House.

In 1925, Kunz returned to the US and became a lecturer for the TS and other organizations. On May 16, 1927, he married Dora van Gelder. In 1940 he founded The Foundation for Integrative Education and edited its magazine Main Currents in Modern Thought which was published from 1940 to 1975. Interest in this work became widespread and conferences were organized in the US and Europe. He lectured in India under the sponsorship of the Indian Government. He was co-author of Integrative Principles of Modern Thought. Kunz died in 1972.

Publications include:

Men Beyond Mankind, Sex Concepts for the New Age, To Those Who Rejoice.

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