Less is More

Tim Boyd – USA

Theosophy Tim Boyd 2 Less is More
Tim Boyd in action during a talk in San Rafael, Argentina

The other day while visiting with my mother in New York City I found myself following one of my habits. When traveling, if I have some spare time, I invariably end up at some comfortable coffee shop. When weather permits, I will sit outside, but if not, I sit by the window people watching. So many stories pass by written in the walk, or the set of the jaw, or the eyes of the people passing by. On most occasions, even in bustling New York, I will end up engaged in conversation with some stranger. On this particular afternoon I was noticing the flow of people walking by in gym shoes, loose fitting casual clothing, and carrying a yoga mat under their arm or slung across their backs. They were mostly women in their late twenties to mid-thirties headed for a neighborhood yoga studio. I found myself musing on the explosive growth of “yoga” in the US, and the variety of things that word has come to mean.

Read more: Less is More

John H. Drais – A Tribute

We remember John H. Drais (1940 – 2014)

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

In previous issues of Theosophy Forward we’ve honored Theosophists such as Dr. Richard Brooks, Ianthe Hoskins, Einar Adalsteinsson, Shirley Nicholson, Paul Zwollo and Dora van Gelder. In this issue we will remember John Drais.

Theosophy JD 2 Image portrait photo
John H. Drais

Goodbye to a friend (written in 2015)

Sometimes, often unexpectedly, you meet people who make a lasting impression. John Drais was such a person. I met him for the first time in Julian during the ITC (International Theosophy Conferences Inc.) in 2011 and one year later, in 2012, at Olcott – Wheaton during the annual ITC event there. In Julian when I was shooting photos for the Julian photo gallery I “caught” him in between two talks sleeping in the grass under a big tree with a huge white hat covering his head and in Wheaton we had to chance to talk.

Read more: John H. Drais – A Tribute

Mini-Interviews John Drais

1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?

John H. Drais. I am a Californian and joined the TS in 1973. I am not currently a member of any of the Theosophical Societies, but am active in Theosophical work through The Paracelsian Order, a Theosophical monastic order.

2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?

I am Abbot of The Paracelsian Order and a monk of Madre Grande Monastery. I teach all levels of Theosophy, loving-kindness and mindfulness meditation, Reiki, and Kabbalah. I also help others to adjust to communal life and work to set up Theosophical monasteries in the United States and other countries. My life revolves around making Theosophy practical so that it becomes a living power in my life and the life of those I come in contact with.

Read more: Mini-Interviews John Drais

The Paracelsian Order and Its Theosophical Work

John H. Drais – USA

Just 20 years ago I published an article in Theosophical History: A Quarterly Journal of Research on The Paracelsian Order and why we consider ourselves a theosophical organization. [1] This same article, "The Paracelsian Order is a Theosophical Organization" is available on the front page of the website of The Paracelsian Order ( ).  You are cordially invited to download, translate, and disseminate it as you will. For further information on our founding, please see “The Roots of Madre Grande”, in the Hall of Learning on the same web site. Reading all three of these articles will give a much clearer picture of our Theosophical work.

Establishing a Theosophical, religious organization is admittedly controversial, however, it is the express intent of the Mahatma KH and the Maha Chohan that their labors should result in a "…needed universal religious philosophy “[2] and be"…the cornerstone, the foundation of the future religion of humanity."[3] It was with the hope for their sanction and spiritual support that this endeavor was and is attempted. While freely admitting our own inadequacy for this task, it is by such humble beginnings that all great edifices are grown. We are but a seed that has barely begun to sprout. Nonetheless, there are signs that this seed is viable and its roots are starting to spread. We are now forming our second monastic, theosophical community in Central California.

Read more: The Paracelsian Order and Its Theosophical Work

The Principles of Man

John H. Drais – USA

Once upon a time, in the long, long ago,

Not only long by the measure of men,

But long by the races and ages of elves,

There was a planet, by name called Sin.


This planet had fled through vast spread of time

The clutches of Sol, with whom she's entwined.

There was among her lives a race of men that she loved most,

Who dared approach the being of the starry host.


As their planet faded into night,

Their collective consciousness receded out of sight,

And slipped into the shining sea,

Into supernal bliss of parasamadhi.

Read more: The Principles of Man

Yaho or Aia?

John H. Drais – USA

In 1877 HPB shocked the western world out of its dogmatic stagnation with the publication of Isis Unveiled. She presented and discussed, not only openly, but openmindedly, many subjects held sacrosanct for centuries by worldly priestcraft. Many pages were devoted to an exposé of Jehovah as one of a long succession of lunar deities. She clearly shows that this recently concocted name stems from the mystery god IOA. Jehovah* as a word-form results from improperly placing the Hebrew masoretic vowel points (themselves an invention of the era of the Masora, c. 600-1000 C.E.) of the word Adonai (Lord, Master, Sir) with the ineffable, (sic.) four-lettered name of the Creator, the tetragrammaton, YHVH.

Blavatskv's candor was not intended merely to point up this orthographic discrediting of Jehovah, but rather the importance of Jehovah as a lunar-creative deity, made necessary by the Christian insistence of attributing ubiquity to Jehovah. Thus the identity of Jehovah with IAO through its intermediate form YHVH is labored over to point up the essential distinction between the lunar and solar pitris. Part of her argument depends on the pronunciation of YHVH. Theodoret, an anti-Nicene Church Father (c. 386-385 C.E.). is paraphrased in this respect:

Theodoret savs that the Samaritans pronounced it Iabè (Yahva), and the Jews Yaho; ...” (Isis Unveiled ii, 301; original edition)

Read more: Yaho or Aia?

Things Change – An Invitation to Meditation

John H. Drais – USA

Understanding cycles and how they affect our lives will greatly enhance your meditation experience. When we take on a new practice things go smoothly at first, but then become more difficult as old habits assert their way. It is likely that most people wanting to take up a new practice, such as meditation or yoga, will give up as soon as the sailing is not smooth. Upon realizing that this is part of the process, and there are benefits for perseverance, it is easier to get through these low times as well as to keep the practice in the high times, too.

Once upon a time, when there was nothing at all, every point was exactly like every other point. Therefore, no distinctions could be made between one point and another. The nature of this state is absolute Motion, Life without any thing alive, motion with no thing to move. Then came the Big Bang! Suddenly every point within the great Ocean of Life began to oscillate between two poles, positive and negative, being and not being. With this breath existence began again.

Read more: Things Change – An Invitation to Meditation

Human Regeneration – part thirteen

Radha Burnier – India

[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.]

Theosophy HR 2 E Trumpler RB
Radha Burnier at her quarters in Adyar with Elisabeth Trumpler, who was the Head Librarian of the Henry S. Olcott Memorial Library, in Wheation

Discussion – continued

How can one simultaneously perceive oneself and forget one­self?

CB-W: Maybe when one perceives oneself one cannot forget oneself.

CB: Perhaps if we can see ourselves and the things we do as part of the play of life, as an example of how Life expresses itself, then we see that it is of no importance that we are here. What we see is something that is happening in the universe and is part of the universe.

Read more: Human Regeneration – part thirteen

The Seven Jewels of Wisdom – Hierarchies, the third Jewel

By the editors of Lucifer – the Netherlands

[This is a reprint from Lucifer – the Messenger of Light, an original publication of I.S.I.S. Foundation, i.e. International Study-centre for Independent Search for truth. The editor is grateful for the permission given to make this important paper available for all readers of Theosophy Forward.]

Theosophy Hierarchies 2

Through Theosophy I have become aware that the inhabitants of all planes in nature are part of an eternal process of evolution – with all its subsequent, increasing responsibility – in this breathtaking play of billions of solar systems, which are part of one enormous living entity in the boundless and eternal Universal Space. The vast and intertwined cooperation throughout all this Universal Space made me realize that there is no room for feelings of separation. It has transformed me to a co-worker of Nature.” These words were written by an 85-year-old man to the editors of Lucifer. It is a beautiful example of the doctrine of hierarchies, the third Jewel of Wisdom.

Read more: The Seven Jewels of Wisdom – Hierarchies, the third Jewel

The Universal Brotherhood of Humanity

Ed Abdill – USA

Theosophy Ed Abdill 2 Universal Brotherhood

In her letter to the second convention of the American section, H. P. Blavatsky wrote:

[There are those] among us who realize intuitionally that the recognition of pure Theosophy – the philosophy of the rational explanation of things and not the tenets – is of the most vital importance in the Society, inasmuch as it alone can furnish the beacon-light needed to guide humanity on its true path.
This should never be forgotten, nor should the following fact be overlooked. On the day when Theosophy will have accomplished its most holy and most important mission – namely, to unite firmly a body of men of all nations in brotherly love and bent on a pure altruistic work, not on a labor with selfish motives – on that day only will Theosophy become higher than any nominal brotherhood of man.”

In that short paragraph, H.P.B. summarized the principal objective of the Theosophical Society. Yet, the ideas contained in that paragraph need to be explored and meditated upon if we are to fully grasp what is meant by Theosophy and what the Theosophical Society was meant to do. We might begin our exploration by considering the evolution of the objectives (objects) of the Society. The objectives and their changes were formulated in the 19th century when “man” was used for the species, not the male, and brotherhood included all human beings.

Read more: The Universal Brotherhood of Humanity

Food for Thought – Miracles: Occult Powers


Theosophy Food for Thought 2

This article appeared in the October 2016 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this ink:  ]

Once upon a time the inmates of an Ashram who were devoted to spiritual practices, assembled in a place to discuss about the utility of occult powers. There was a great controversy over the topic of discussion. At the outset, there was a division amongst the spiritual practitioners. One party held that the “Ashta Siddhis”—eight occult powers—viz., becoming (1) the smallest of the small, (2) the largest of the large, (3) the heaviest of the heavy, (4) the lightest of the light, (5) attaining overlordship, (6) getting anything and everything at will, (7) bringing everything under subjugation, (8) obtaining the power to pervade, etc., are but divine expressions and as such they are not negligible things. The opposite party held that these powers do not contribute to the unfoldment of spiritual life of the owner in the least; but, on the other hand, they drift farther and farther away from the real moorings of the spiritual life and therefore they are abominable.

Read more: Food for Thought – Miracles: Occult Powers

Sources of the Gems: The list of sources of the aphorisms used in Gems from the East, by H.P. Blavatsky

Pavel Malakhov – Russia

Theosophy Gems 2

The book Gems from the East was published in 1890 in London and New York1 . Since then it has been republished many times and has been translated into many languages. The book has a subtitle “A Birthday Book of Precepts and Axioms,” or as pointed on the second subtitle, “Theosophical Birthday-Book...,” and by reading it we get proof that it is really Theosophical, for it contains the wisdom of different nations and ages.

It is interesting that Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (HPB) used the word “gem” (not “pearl” for example), because it also has another meaning of “engraved gemstone” – a peace of human artwork which saves the ideas of authors for centuries.

Read more: Sources of the Gems: The list of sources of the aphorisms used in Gems from the East, by H.P....

Karma and Dharma

B. P. Wadia – India

Theosophy Karma and Dharma 2

Even sages have been deluded as to what is action and what inaction; therefore I shall explain to thee what is action by a knowledge of which thou shalt be liberated from evil. One must learn well what is action to be performed, what is not to be, and what is inaction. The path of action is obscure. That man who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is wise among men; he is a true devotee and a perfect performer of all action.”

Bhagavad Gita IV 16-18

We need insight for the comprehension of the terms "Karma" and "Dharma." Among philosophical texts and treatises, the Bhagavad Gita offers profound thoughts, and by its light different persons form their own concepts of the two words, which are archetypal in character and enshrine a compact and consistent philosophy which affects every aspect of man's being. Naturally, therefore, each tends to emphasize his interpretation. The monotheist, the polytheist and the pantheist; the philologist, the littérateur, the philosopher and the mystic; and even the politician and the social reformer-these and all others formulate contradictory philosophies of life in the light of their own partial understanding of the grand Poem, which expresses a sublime allegory and a profound practical philosophy.

Read more: Karma and Dharma

Karma as a Habit of Nature

Boris de Zirkoff – USA

A Living Philosophy For Humanity

No. 3 (165) - Winter 1980-1981

Theosophy Karma as a Habit of Nature 2
Cover photo: Klingenstock seen from Stoos (Schwyz), Switzerland.]

Human karma is born within man himself, we are its creators and generators, and suffer from it or are clarified through it by our own previous action. But what is this habit in itself ... this inveterate primordial habit of nature which makes it react to an arousing cause? What is this habit in itself?

In all these things, the key to an understanding of the Teachings is analogy. Remember that there is throughout Nature a concatenation or chain of causes so that every plane reflects every other plane; so that the small is a part of the great, and the great manifests in essence but what the small manifests on its own plane as a replica.

Read more: Karma as a Habit of Nature

Karma as opportunity


Theosophy Karma as opportunity 2

[The magazine Vidya , edited by associates of the United Lodge of Theosophists in Santa Barbara, USA, published the following article in its Summer 2016 issue; here is a slightly revised version.]

Karma, the Sanskrit word for action, has become a familiar term. William Q. Judge defines karma as “the adjustment of effects flowing from causes.” Thereby equilibrium is restored where there has been disturbance. Karma is not a strange idea since most people have heard the phrase “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” Furthermore, our individual experience teaches that our actions bring discernible consequences. Imposing personal disciplines to avoid harmful effects and start new lines of karma are familiar to us. Less understood are the various levels of collective karma. We may discern some characteristics of family karma, however hidden. Analyzing national karma is far more elusive. The particular actions of leaders can be analyzed to see if they lead to economic prosperity. But how do we explain the seemingly random acts of mass violence? Am I, an individual citizen leading a well-ordered and kind life, responsible for one man's violence 3,000 miles away? The karma of a modern nation state is very difficult to explain. How do we know the karma of the souls who incarnate in a particular society? How do we honestly recognize our sins of omission and not just focus on the bad deeds of others? At the global level, our ignorance of the complex interdependence in the natural environment feeds a willful misuse of essential resources.

Read more: Karma as opportunity

The six directions of Personality

John Algeo – USA


The three spatial dimensions of our physical world yield six directions, since each dimension has two directions. If our spatial dimensions are height, breadth, and depth, then our six directions are up and down, right and left, and front and back. When to those six we add the center position, the “here” from

which the directions range, we have another septenary to augment the others we are familiar with from Theosophical teachings.

The existence of six spatial directions is obvious. We look above and below ourselves, to our right and left, and forward and backward. Here we are in the center with these six directions radiating out from us, like the six points of a star with living light at its core.

Read more: The six directions of Personality


Caren M. Elin (Carey Williams) – USA

In Honor of the Life and Work of Anita Atkins: A Selfless Servant of The Theosophical Movement

December 12, 1915 – June 20, 2000

Sylvia Cranston and the cover of one of her books

To the world, she was known as Sylvia Cranston and to her Theosophical friends and community worldwide she was our most humble Anita Atkins. Born on December 12, 1915, Anita spent her

early years living off the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, New York. Her parents both attended meetings at The United Lodge of Theosophists in New York City, ever since Anita was a young teenager. Anita's introduction into the philosophy of Theosophy came from her father's reports of the meetings he attended.


Why can’t we all get along?

Tim Boyd – USA

Theosophy Tim Boyd 2
Tim Boyd (middle) in Naarden the Netherlands and a delegation from Belgium, from left to right: Cristian Vandekerkhove, Helmut Vandersmissen, Lieve Opgenhaffen and Sabine van Osta

Recently I have found myself wondering. One of those “Why?” questions. The text of the question would be something like, “Why do we keep repeating these same mistakes?”, or “when will we ever learn?”, or in the famous words of the late Rodney King, “Why can't we all get along?”. The catalyst for this line of thinking is not some recent event, or some despondency over the state of the world. It is just one of those persistent questions that reemerges from time to time. Pick a day, any day, look around you and see if it isn't a question worth asking. Whether it is the world news, the office place, or the home, if we really look at it we see that there is work we need to do.

Read more: Why can’t we all get along?

Dora van Gelder Kunz – A Tribute

We remember Dora van Gelder Kunz, April 28, 1904 – August 25, 1999

Theosophy DG 0 B

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

In previous issues of Theosophy Forward we’ve honored Theosophists such as Dr. Richard Brooks, Ianthe Hoskins, Einar Adalsteinsson, Shirley Nicholson and Paul Zwollo. In this issue we will remember another truly remarkable Theosophist: Dora van Gelder Kunz. We should live most consciously in the present, but it is vital and often very inspirational to look backwards once in a while, in order to determine in which direction our future could develop, because if we know where we are from, we know where we are, and when we know where we are, we know where we’ll be going. I never had the pleasure of meeting Dora Kunz in person, heard a lot about her though, in particular from my wife Terezinha and other Brazilian Theosophists who met up with her when she toured in Brazil in the early 1990’s.

Read more: Dora van Gelder Kunz – A Tribute

On Healing – A Sensitive's Impression

Dora van Gelder – USA

Healing, often called spiritual healing, has been practiced for thousands of years in many cultures throughout the world. Spiritual healing is difficult to define, but it can be described as healing – sometimes spontaneous and sometimes by stage – where no medication of any kind has been used. It would appear that in these cases a person (or healer) or a group of people can be the medium through which this restoration of wholeness takes place in a sick person.

The techniques employed vary greatly with each individual or group. The basic explanations for the healings are not necessarily the same, as everyone seems to react from his own background and is, of course, influenced by the culture into which he has been born. But whatever the method and whatever the ex- planation-whether the healer feels the Divine Power is using him, or that the direction comes from discarnate beings, or whether he describes the situation in some other way-the vehicle of healing is still a human being who reaches out to help others.

Read more: On Healing – A Sensitive's Impression


Dora van Gelder Kunz – USA

[Note from the editor: this, historically interesting piece, was written way back in 1960, but in its core still valid.]

Theosophy is a magnificent philosophy. It explains the why and how of the universe around us, and also shows us a way of life. As members of the Society, we may realize this, but despite our convictions we have somehow lost the ability to reach others, even though many appear to be searching seriously for what we have to offer as a basic philosophy of life. This, I think, is proved by the fact that membership in the United States is not gaining. It is time therefore that we should take stock of ourselves, evaluate our procedures and try to discover the causes for our failure in reaching an even wider public.

One of the basic causes of the present situation is in large part our failure to communicate. The field of communications is a whole new science, concerned both with the technique and the content of the communication and the extent to which meaning is conveyed from one person to another through any of the media of communication. The causes for failure in communicating clearly or in understanding what is being communicated might have significance for our work in The Theo- sophical Society now and in the future. The exploration of these causes may provide some new techniques for conveying the theosophical philosophy in a fully meaningful manner.

Read more: Communication


Dora van Gelder – USA (part 1 and part 2)

Part 1

To most people fairies are only a beautiful dream. When they think of them at all it is with a wistful looking back to their childhood years when they did believe in such dreams.

But fairies are real and do live in this same world of ours. The word “fairy” denotes practically every invisible creature, but I like to use it only for those beings who live in our four great elements, and who have not as yet attained individualization. Most of these beings become angels after they have reached that point in their development. The great difference between the angelic and human kingdoms is that we evolve through suffering, whereas the angels and fairies evolve through happiness; but, their evolution is '’much slower than ours.

We can divide the fairies roughly into four great classes: those who live in the earth, sea, air and fire. They all have their specific work to do, each in his own element. The elements are not only inhabited by the fairies, but by the angels, who are in charge of the work in which the fairies take part.

Read more: Fairies

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