Theosophy

Aphorisms On Karma

 W. Q. Judge – USA

Theosophy WQJ 213 c 

William Quan Judge as a young man

An introduction by David M. Grossman:

[With the depth and breadth of the theosophical literature available since the initial impulse of the modern THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT marked by the formation of the Theosophical Society on November 17th 1875 in New York City with H.S. Olcott presiding and delivering its inaugural address and with H.P. Blavatsky, Wm Q. Judge among others in attendance, one cannot expect to have read all the theosophical books and articles in existence.  

One such article many might have missed, and a seminal one at that, is “Aphorisms On Karma”, by Judge.  Each of these aphorisms when reflected on cannot help but broaden our understanding of this fundamental law of life and can possibly help us as conscious karmic agents in our own right.]

Read more: Aphorisms On Karma

Three Thoughts

Tim Boyd – USA, India

Theosophy 213 TB b

The author speaking in Adyar

Recently, during the course of a week, I had the opportunity to be exposed to three stimulating streams of thought: two from conversations, and one from a written article. Each was framed according to its own particular sphere, but, at least for me, there seemed to be a uniting thread of relevance to living a spiritual life.

(1) The first was a conversation that took place among three people: two Tibetan Buddhist Rinpoches and a political figure and philosopher in the Indian social and political realm. The conversation was supposed to cover the theme of “Ethics, Meditation, and Wisdom in a Turbulent World”. In actual fact, the conversation stopped at ethics. Ethics (sila), meditation (dhyâna), and wisdom (prajñâ) are the final three perfections (pâramitâs) as listed in Buddhism and in The Voice of the Silence by H. P. Blavatsky (HPB).

Read more: Three Thoughts

Lucifer Resurrected

Tim Wyatt – England

Theosophy 213 LUC b LUCIFER

September 1887. China’s Yellow River floods killing up to two million people in one of the world’s worst natural disasters. In England almost two hundred people perish in a blaze at Exeter’s Theatre Royal. And Emile Berliner patents the Gramophone. Unknown to most people at the time, alongside these newsworthy events another significant development unfolds which will leave its permanent imprint on the world.

Inexplicably to some, controversially to many, the co-founder of the Theosophical Society and esotericist-in-chief H. P. Blavatsky chooses the name Lucifer for her new magazine designed to open the doors of occult knowledge to a wider audience. This name is almost universally perceived as a Satanic character, but Blavatsky passionately explains in her opening editorial that this is a wholly mistaken and deeply distorted interpretation of this key figure. Far from being the devil incarnate, Lucifer is no less than the light-bringer destined to bring truth to the world and illuminate ‘the hidden things of darkness’. The magazine’s chief mission, she asserts, is to ‘fight prejudice, hypocrisy and shams in every nation, in every class of Society, as in every department of life.’

Read more: Lucifer Resurrected

Are we responsible?

By a student

Theoosophy 213 LOT b

[This article appeared in the August 2021 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link: http://www.ultindia.org/previous_issues.html]

We are all too aware of our rights, but seldom ask, do we also have our responsibilities? If yes, then what are they? Are we, for instance, responsible for our thoughts, for our desires, for our actions, for our nation, for the world we live in, for the sins of our ancestors and for our happiness? Every scripture of the world shows that from time to time, great teachers come to guide humanity and leave behind them the teachings which when studied and applied, would enable us to be self-reliant and responsible human beings. Are we living responsible lives? We live for ourselves, without consideration for others. We live a materialistic life, running after name, fame, power, position and possessions. We live, think and act irresponsibly. That is because we are unable to differentiate between real and unreal; permanent and impermanent. Our perceptions are colored by our conceptions about God, Man and Nature. We cannot say that we possess the right concepts. Otherwise, would there be so much dishonesty, hatred, violence and greed? Would we witness man’s inhumanity to man, and cruelty to animals, if we understood the law of interdependence? The philosophy of Theosophy enables in awakening man’s intuition and making him aware of his responsibilities to himself, to his fellow beings and to the whole of Nature.

Read more: Are we responsible?

Mastering the Cyclic Nature of Existence – 2

Elena Dovalsantos – USA

Theosophy 213 ED b

Elena's (the author) favorite flower - to read part 1 click HERE

Part I of this talk presented a theosophical perspective of the unity of all life. This view is based on the Ageless Wisdom teachings that (1) the same divine essence and consciousness pervades all things; and (2) that we are all evolving towards greater and greater realization and expression of our shared divinity.

Cycles at all levels allow for endless opportunities for this evolutionary development. In particular, reincarnation and the universal law of karma provide the necessary lessons to awaken us from our tendencies towards identification with worldly life, separateness, and craving for fleeting pleasures. These are what inevitably bring pain and suffering to ourselves and others.

As humans, we can decide to take matters into our own hands and hasten our awakening. We can stop being hapless victims of circumstance, trapped in the wheel of karma and rebirth, and instead be masters of our destinies. But how do we achieve this liberation when existence seems to entail endless creation of karma?

Read more: Mastering the Cyclic Nature of Existence – 2

Our Challenge Today

Barbara Hebert – USA

Theosophy 213 BH 2 The World is on Fire

“The world is on fire. What are you doing?” 

This challenge came from Andrew Harvey, one of the speakers at the Summer National Convention of the Theosophical Society in America. The question is not only pertinent; it is a challenge to each and every one of us. 

Not only is humanity faced with the age-old problems of war, injustice, hunger, and homelessness (just to name a few), but it is currently also facing a global pandemic and climate change that threaten the entire globe. According to statistics 9% of the world population (approximately 697 people) are severely food insexure, and one quarter of people globally (1.9 billion) are moderately or severely food insecure (Roser & Ritchie, 2019), meaning that these individuals do not have reliable access to enough nutritious food. The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for water supply, sanitation, and hygiene tells us that in 2020, one quarter of the world’s population did not have safely managed drinking water. UNICEF tells us that “over 400 million children live in countries affected by violent conflict; many are forcibly displaced, sometimes orphaned and unaccompanied, in search of safety”. Daily, we hear about the millions of people globally who have died from Covid 19. In addition to all of this, in early August 2021 we were met with headlines that read: “U.N. climate change report sounds ‘code red for humanity’”. And finally, mental health issues abound and societal conflict is increasing in many parts of the world.

Read more: Our Challenge Today

Sources of The Secret Doctrine

Joy Mills – USA

Theosophy JM b

Joy, lecturing at Olcott,in Wheaton

The intent of THE SECRET DOCTRINE -- as indeed the intent of all esoteric writings -- is to transform the mind. It is to bring about a profound change in consciousness, and it is from that point of view that we should approach the work of H.P.B. At the same time we may recognize that she had to use the language that was available to her. She clothed the ideas she was presenting in the only language that was available; also, we must recognize that she was putting it in a western language. Specifically of course, it was written in English. But English is a very poor language, very poor from the point of view of philosophy. However, it is a very good language from other points of view; for example, it has spread all over the world. From a very tiny island the language has moved out almost everywhere. From that small island, England, there was a movement in trade and commerce all over the world. But to use such a language -- or indeed to use any western language -- to convey deeply philosophical concepts is to ask of those languages quite an impossible task. And consequently, we must look always behind the words to their deeper meaning, to what is meant by the external word. We must all the time seek the depth of meaning. We must seek that which is hidden by the word. And only by a change in consciousness, that is, a change so that the mind is no longer analyzing, but now moves to a new perception, can we come to understand the doctrine. It Is all too easy to be caught up in the externals, to be concerned with rounds and races and globes. What planetary chain is this? Do Mars and Mercury belong to this chain or do they not? To become concerned with what I call "the technologies of the lower mind." And then we miss the essence of what is presented, so I should like to use H.P.B.'s own statements to examine what is THE SECRET DOCTRINE and what are its sources.

Read more: Sources of The Secret Doctrine

Mastering the Cyclic Nature of Existence — I

Elena Dovalsantos – USA

Elena Dovalsantos

Elena Dovalsantos

In periods of difficulty or amidst catastrophic, life-changing events such as the current pandemic, many ask the most basic questions about life, such as: Why is this happening? Did we do anything to deserve this? What is this pandemic telling us? Are there lessons we are being made to learn? How do we navigate through a great crisis as this and come out the better for it?

Read more: Mastering the Cyclic Nature of Existence — I

The Sphinx of Theosophy, Part I

Annie Besant

Theosophy 212 b AB

The year 1917:  Annie Besant,  B. P Wadia and George Arundale were interned in Gulistan, Ootacamund. The photo was taken on the day of their internment . Dr Besant  is seen with New India which she published weekly

The Egyptian Sphinx will be familiar to every one of you, either by its pictured semblance, or possibly by the vision of its actual form. To me, and I dare say to many of you, there has always been a certain fascination in that mighty Sphinx, so serene in its composure, so absolutely still, so impressive in that stillness, with, as it were, the wisdom of ages sculptured on its impassive face. Few I think can have looked at it without feeling the fascination of the mystery of its wise eyes and fast-locked lips; few can have seen it without dreaming fantastically whether questions addressed to it might not possibly win answer to many problems of the world.

I have thought sometimes about that creed, so strange to many. Although it came from the East, it is of the thought of all climes and ages. That thought of the world that we speak of now as Theosophy, has in itself much likeness to that sculptured Sphinx, so much promise of answer to mystery and so much silence in face of the questionings of the world -- silence that has been profound for centuries, but silence that more recently has been broken. Tonight I am to try if it were possible to sketch for you something of what that Sphinx has to say of the world-questionings, to strive to give you in some fashion a rough answer, as it comes to some of us from the lips of the thinkers of the East.

Read more: The Sphinx of Theosophy, Part I

The Sphinx of Theosophy, Part 2

Annie Besant

Theosophy 212 d AB Besant Olcott und Judge in London

Annie Besant, Olcott and Judge in London, May 1891

Remember what I said to you about the seven planes of existence. Go to the fifth plane where the mind is working. Pass from the third, which is matter as you know it, to the fifth where the mind is in its own environment and living in its own life. There what to you is immaterial becomes material to it, for matter there is not identical with matter here, and that is visible and audible to the mind that is invisible and inaudible to the coarser senses of the body.

We learn from this dry science of the lecture hall, from our Western thought. We learn from this how the Occult Thought is justified by modern science, how that which has been taught for centuries in the Eastern schools is now becoming a matter of experience in the Western hospitals. If from that and from many another scientific proof of this real existence of thought and of mind, an existence other than we have known on our own earth, and within our own normal and daily life, if we once realize what that means, we learn that Man's destiny will indeed unfold itself before us as something loftier than poets have chanted, something mightier than ever prophets have dreamed.

Read more: The Sphinx of Theosophy, Part 2

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky on the Authority of The Secret Doctrine -2

hpb3

But our explanations are by no means complete, nor do they pretend to give out the full text, or to have been read by the help of more than three or four keys out of the sevenfold bunch of esoteric interpretation, and even this has only been partially accomplished. The work is too gigantic for any one person to undertake, far more to accomplish.

Read more: Helena Petrovna Blavatsky on the Authority of The Secret Doctrine -2

WHAT DID HELENA BLAVATSKY AND MASTER K.H. SAY ON “FREEDOM OF THOUGHT”?

hpb fb

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

“We may not be in sympathy with materialism, and may even abhor it; yet the Theosophical Society ought never to forget that which it owes to Freethinkers. It is to the unceasing efforts of a long series of adherents to Freethought— almost every one of whom has been made a martyr to his convictions at the hands of bigotry—that we, in the present century owe the very possibility of our existence as an organized body.” Lucifer, 1889, volume 5, n. 25, page 76. Suppressio Veri Suggestio Falsi, by the Adversay (HPB).

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“LUCIFER—the spirit of Intellectual Enlightenment and Freedom of Thought—is metaphorically the guiding beacon, which helps man to find his way through the rocks and sandbanks of Life, for Lucifer is the LOGOS in his highest, and the “Adversary” in his lowest aspect—both of which are reflected in our Ego”  The Secret Doctrine, Volume II, Stanza VII The Semi-Divine Down to the First Humanity page 162.

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“The “lofty platform” is very flattering, though our modesty urges us to regard it as a mirage developed within the limitless area of our kind “friends and admirers’ “fancy. But, supposing it had any independent existence of its own, we would far rather descend from and abandon it forever, than accept the passive role of a dumb old idol, alike indifferent to the happiness as to the misery and woes of the surrounding world. We decline the exalted position if we have to secure it at the price of our freedom of thought and speech. Collected Writings volume 4 “The Chosen “Vessels of Election” Blavatsky

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Read more: WHAT DID HELENA BLAVATSKY AND MASTER K.H. SAY ON “FREEDOM OF THOUGHT”?

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky on the Authority of The Secret Doctrine-1

Theosophy HPB 212 2

“And here, we must be allowed a last remark. No true theosophist, from the most ignorant up to the most learned, ought to claim infallibility for anything he may say or write upon occult matters. . ..  Thus, mistakes have been made in Isis Unveiled, in Esoteric Buddhism, in Man, in Magic: White and Black, etc., etc.; and more than one mistake is likely to be found in the present work.

Read more: Helena Petrovna Blavatsky on the Authority of The Secret Doctrine-1

Prometheus — Reclaiming the Fire

David Grossman – USA

Theosophy DG 212 b

How ironic that in New York City, arguably the capital of modern culture and sophistication, in the middle of the Rockefeller Center, prime symbol of material power and wealth, stands a shining golden sculpture of a mythic figure, actually a god carrying a flame, a burst of fire, in his right hand. He is surrounded by the heavens, a ring representing the astrological constellations.

Read more: Prometheus — Reclaiming the Fire

What Is Truth?

Margaret Bove Sturman – Italy

Theosophy What is Truth 212 b

VERY simple! Truth is when we find our inner self, our golden core, our open heart of compassion, our deep silence, our serenity of days and nights, our wonder of wonders, the root without roots, our joy and bliss, all that is good, true, and beautiful.

We are Truth, being facsimiles of the Divine. So banish fear, be calm, eliminate worry and smile. The soldiers during the First World War, when confronting danger and possible death, sang a song together: “Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile. . . . What is the use of worrying?” So why worry about the coronavirus or any other virus. We are immortal divine beings and cannot go into oblivion. The so-called “death” does not exist. It is only a change of consciousness.

Read more: What Is Truth?

Listening to the March of the Future

Shikar Agnihotri – India

Theosophy SA 2 212

The author

Let us consider the very existence of the Theosophical Society (TS), in a changing world. Everything is changing within and without. So, one has to constantly listen to the march of the future, and remain relevant to the contemporary needs and requirements, yet not at the cost of diluting the teachings, but, instead, making them more appealing to the prevailing times, with the help of intuition, as for as possible.

We cannot listen to the future without giving due attention to the past because the past is the basis of the present, and the present is the seed for the future. Looking at the past, I would like to emphasize the aim with which the TS was founded, not in terms of its Objects but rather the approach that was to be taken. A very good expression of this is found in the foreword to the small but valuable booklet, Five Messages to American Theosophists, from H. P. Blavatsky. It says:

Theosophy commands us to work for humanity; that service is of a particular character; its nature is spiritual; the method whereof is twofold:

  • to watch the steps of erring humanity and erect signposts against certain pitfalls;
  • to hold aloft the beacon light of instruction which cheers the weary pilgrim and inspires him to make his very own the Power which is Peace, and the Service which is Joy.

Read more: Listening to the March of the Future

The Future of the Theosophical Society

Annie Besant

Theosophy AB 2 212

Annie Besant, photo taken in January 1930

FRIENDS:

We have met here this morning as members of a world-wide society, the Theosophical Society. I have often wished that we had translated that name into English, and we should then have had as our name the “Society of the Divine Wisdom”, we should thus have avoided a danger. For when a Society has existed for many years, there is always a certain peril that it will become crystallized in its thought and in its methods of activity. If that danger should overbear freedom of thought and of discussion, then the Society will become a danger to the progress of the world, instead of being an inspiration. We cannot avoid facing that danger, as we go on year after year: but, to recognize it is really half the victory.

We must everywhere, in our influence upon the world and our influence over our young members, remember that the life of the Society depends on its  remaining a Society in which thought is entirely free, and frank discussion is encouraged. Anyone who has — as he or she may believe — an idea, a truth, to give to the world, should be encouraged in its delivery, so that every member may exercise his own free judgment as to the truth or error which that idea conveys. The intellect of man is, or should be, the great motive power in the world of thought; and that intellect, if it is to act usefully upon the world, must make the common good, the common welfare of the world at large, its inspiration to activity.

Read more: The Future of the Theosophical Society

Freedom of Thought

David P. Bruce – USA

Theosophy FOD 212 b DavidBruce

The author

A fine line is crossed when we begin by trying to help someone and end up trying to control them. What starts as an act of kindness ends up as an imposition of will. Since this is not an uncommon human failing, members of the Theosophical Society are reminded that we should respect a person’s freedom to think and make their own choices.

Read more: Freedom of Thought

In the Light of Theosophy - DREAMS

Theosophy 212 2 Octopus

Sleeping (and dreaming) Octopus next to a Starfish

[This article appeared in the May 2021 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link: http://www.ultindia.org/previous_issues.html]

Researchers at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Natal, Brazil, have found that octopuses change color when they sleep, and that might be because they are dreaming. In fact, octopuses have been observed to pass through two distinct stages of sleep, active and passive. These conclusions are based on rigorous observations, through day and night periods, covering 180 hours.

Read more: In the Light of Theosophy - DREAMS

The Elemental Nature of Chitta

James LeFevour – USA

Theosophy JLF b Chitta

Rudolph Steiner is known in Theosophical circles as a student of Madame Blavatsky's work who broke off to form Anthroposophy, a German-based school for esoteric knowledge. What we can learn from his organization is that there are many writers who use the concept of the elements as a tool to describe the nature of the mind.

Read more: The Elemental Nature of Chitta

Our Special Task

Barbara Hebert – USA

Theosophy 212 BH b

The author

Several years ago, I was talking with a friend who is an avid worker for Theosophy and the Theosophical Society. Before working for the Society, he had a prestigious and important career in a field that he loved. I asked him why he had decided to leave his job to work for the Theosophical Society. He very wisely said something along these lines: I realized that anyone could do the work that I was doing, but very few people can work to share the Ageless Wisdom. I was stunned by his response, realizing the truth in his simple statement. It has frequently been a topic of contemplation for me in the years since our conversation.

Read more: Our Special Task

Dogmatism in Theosophy

William Quan Judge - USA 

Theosophy 212 WQJ b

The Theosophical Society was founded to destroy dogmatism. This is one of the meanings of its first object - Universal Brotherhood. And Col. H. S. Olcott in his inaugural address in 1875, at Mott Memorial Hall, New York, said that such was the object in view, citing the bad effect that intolerance had had in the past. That address was read by Mme. H. P. Blavatsky before its delivery, or its contents were communicated to her, so that it had her assent, for she was present when it was delivered.

In The Key to Theosophy, in the "Conclusion," H.P.B. again refers to this subject and expresses the hope that the Society might not, after her death, become dogmatic or crystallize on some phase of thought or philosophy, but that it might remain free and open, with its members wise and unselfish. And in all her writings and remarks, privately or publicly, she constantly reiterated this idea. Of this the writer has direct evidence as to her statements in private.

Read more: Dogmatism in Theosophy

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