Human Regeneration – part twenty-six (end)
Radha Burnier – India
Radha Burnier, former International President of the Theosophical Society, Adyar
[Recognizing regeneration as the kernel of all Theosophical work, the International Theosophical Centre at Naarden, the Netherlands, jointly with the Federation of Theosophical Societies in Europe, organized two seminars in July 1990, with a number of office bearers, workers and members of the Society from different countries as participants. Proceedings of the seminar were published as a book under the title Human Regeneration: Lectures and Discussion (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij der Theosofische Vereniging in Nederland, 1990). This chapter (discussions) is here slightly revised.]
The Source of Spiritual Energy
Life is a process. So is there a fundamental change at all?
RB: There are of course changes in life all the time; many of them are imperceptible. Every one of us undergoes change during different incarnations. If there were no changes, there would be no evolutionary process. The process implies not only change, but in the long run, perfection. The perfection of physical organisms comes about through a slow process of change and improvement, until the stage of the complex human body, with an incredibly complex brain, much of it still unused. Complexity implies increasing sensitivity, etc. From the theosophical viewpoint, through biological evolution, there is the unfoldment of consciousness. The ability to perceive more and respond more is developed, through long periods of time. So should we do anything at all, or should we leave it to the evolutionary process to thrust us into perfection and relieve us of our problems?
Apparently, it does not work like that HPB states in The Secret Doctrine: 'Man is the only free agent in Nature.' In Sri Shankaracharya's Viveka Chudamani (The Crest-Jewel of Wisdom) and in the Dhammapada, said to contain the Buddha's words, there are statements pointing to a special position for the human being. The human stage is special. Perhaps even the prevalent homocentric point of view is a misinterpretation of the Bible, and a distortion of the truth that there is something special in human life. The human consciousness is capable of awareness of its own position in relation to everything else. It can question the rights and wrongs of things. It wants to know the why of things and seeks to act according to its own perceptions, impulses and concepts. These may be in contradiction to the forward movement for the time being, because of lack of sufficient understanding. But the beauty is that man is capable of understanding and he has to exert himself to understand. He can and must know what the Divine Plan is, and participate in great movement towards perfection, in full awareness and freedom. The other kingdoms act from the unconscious intelligence provided them by Nature, their rightness simply being part of Nature. But the human being cannot do that.
HPB also remarks that every creature or being is incipient man or has already been man. Each must pass through this stage of conscious cooperation with the divine will. So for the human being it may not be possible to say that all life is a process, and the question of fundamental change or conscious change does not arise. We all strive consciously for change; that is ambition, desire. If there were no conscious desire for change, we would not have hopes or disappointments. Obviously, we want change, but we do not fry to understand whether it is in accordance with the laws of Nature, and whether it will bring true progress. We want change that will immediately satisfy. But fundamental change means growing in awareness and intelligence, realizing the beauty of the whole divine process, and cooperating with it freely because it is so wonderful to do so. Fundamental change or change in the right direction must be understood by every human being sooner or later and he must accomplish it himself.
RH: What Radha has said is beautiful and requires no comment. There is the possibility in the normal process of evolution of sudden, fundamental change, or rather of fundamental changes which have to be actualized at some points in evolution. The concrete mind has been fully developed; the abstract mind is well on the way to development and expression; and intuition, the feeling of oneness and direct perception of truth, has developed in many souls. The time has come to provide a higher aspect of consciousness with the possibility of expression and consciously to further such expression. To be conscious of this, and give all opportunity to it to awaken, would be quite a fundamental change a normal process of slow evolution. Then the moment comes for the flower to open, and the opening can sometimes be aided by allowing more sunshine in at the right moment.
What is your view of the International Theosophical Centre at Naarden? What is its task for the T.S. and for Europe? What is its relation with the Liberal Catholic Church? Should the Centre expand its facilities?
RB: This Centre has the possibility of becoming a real centre for theosophical work. The very name of the Centre suggests that its work is theosophical. People who are interested in the work of the T.S. and in finding the wisdom that is theosophy can meet here, and have discussions and different kinds of programs to stimulate enquiry. It can even be an administrative centre for the theosophical work in Europe.
Every spiritual centre should be a place not only for meeting, discussing, talking, organizing activities, but also a place where it is possible to be quiet, to go inward, to spend time in meditation. If this is such a centre, it will help both the T.S. and Europe and perhaps the whole world, because what we put into the atmosphere spreads. Just as steam is less easily contained than solid objects, in the subtler worlds things are restricted less easily than in the grosser worlds. What is put into the psychic atmosphere spreads, and if we send out right thoughts, if we have the aspiration to find wisdom and aid humanity, the earnestness in our hearts, the purity of our motives, the meditative forces of a centre like this, will help the whole world, not only Europe. Every spiritual centre has that possibility.
Our Elders have said that in places where nature is not spoilt, invisible entities, angels and nature spirits of various kinds, gather. Anyone who is sensitive can feel that the atmosphere of places of natural beauty is different from that of human habitations and crowded cities, not only because there are beautiful trees, but because there are presences. Such presences do not like to gather where discordant thoughts and emotions, passions and rivalries, cloud the atmosphere as they do in urban areas. But in a centre such as this, where people meet in a joint spiritual quest, their motive being the welfare of all creatures, the quality of the thoughts can be such that it attracts not only other human beings but also fine invisible influences. Together we can create a wonderful channel. The more we succeed in creating such a centre and as people from different areas, even if they are physically far away, link themselves in sympathy with this endeavor, the more is added to the strength of the Centre.
An international spiritual centre has a large and lofty purpose, and we must try to see it fulfilled. Facilities are obviously somewhat inadequate at present and should be expanded. This should be done without marring the atmosphere, or the beauty of nature. That is what we have attempted to do in Adyar. We have been planting more trees, linking ourselves more closely with the other kingdoms of nature.
What is the relationship of this centre to the Liberal Catholic Church? I don't think it can or should be an L.C.C. centre, although it may have the name of St. Michael. St. Michael stands for a certain type of intelligence or a power, and the Centre is named after that. Certain activities inspire people into a greater sense of dedication to human regeneration. These can have a place here in the Center, the Round Table, the L.C.C. and similar activities. But I think the Centre should not be identified with the L.C.C., because the L.C.C. strikes the Christian note, and the Centre must transcend any particular denomination or image. It must be truly international and universal.
It is very fortunate that we have begun with the subject of human regeneration. There will be in the future many activities, and gatherings of this kind, I hope, with discussion, thinking and meditation about questions of a serious nature, matters of importance for the spiritual progress of the human family.
NOTE from the EDITOR: For a unique and historical series of photos of Radha Burnier click HERE