Theosophy

NAGARJUNA'S PHILOSOPHY as presented in THE MAHA-PRAJNAPARAMITA-SASTRA

Although the fragments underneath would fit very well into our category QUOTATIONS, I thought that they would also go very well into the category THEOSOPHY since they transmit ideas which are so typically linked with Theosophical thought. 

Jan Nicolaas Kind – editor

[Small fragments, sent by Ali Ritsema, from Nagarjuna’s Philosophy as Presented in the Maha-prajnaparamita-sastra (a commentary on the Prajnaparamita-sutras* traditionally attributed to Nagarjuna†), by K. Venkata Ramanan (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited, 1998; originally published Rutland, Vermont & Tokyo, Japan: Charles E. Tuttle, 1966), from chapter 5, “Knowledge as the Principle of Comprehension,” section 1, “The Middle Way: The Non-exclusive Way,” p. 129:]

From clinging to things there arise disputes; but if there is no clinging, what dispute will there be? He who understands that all dristis, clinging or non-clinging, are in truth of the same nature, has already become free from all these. (61a)

The wayfarer that can understand this does not seize, does not cling to anything, does not imagine that this alone is true (and not that). He does not quarrel with anyone. He can thus enjoy the flavour of the nectar of the Buddha’s doctrine. Those teachings are wrong which are not of this nature (i.e., non-contentious and accommodative). If one does not accommodate other doctrines, does not know them, does not accept them, he indeed is ignorant. Thus, then, all those who quarrel and contend are really devoid of wisdom. Why? Because every one of them refuses to accommodate the views of others. That is to say, there are those who say that what they themselves speak is the highest, the real, the pure truth; that the doctrines of others are words, false and impure. (61a)

Thus every one of these contending teachers clings to his own standpoint and does not accommodate the view of others. “This alone is right all else is wrong”, he says. If one accepts one’s own doctrines, honours and cultivates one’s own doctrines and does not accommodate and honour others’ doctrines, and just picks up faults in them, and if this kind of conduct is the pure conduct, fetching the highest good, then there is none whose conduct is impure.” Why? Because everyone accepts his own doctrine. (61b)

p. 131:

In the dharma of the Buddha one abandons all passions, all wrong views, all pride of self; one puts an end to all (these) and does not cling (to anything). (63c)

Referring to the Sutra on the Raft, the Sastra says that the Buddha has taught there that one has to abandon one’s clinging even to good things, how much more to bad ones! He does not encourage any fond notion even in regard to the prajnaparamita or any learning on it or clinging to it. How much less should one cling to other things!  

The Sastra proceeds:

The intention of the Buddha is this: My disciples (must be) free from passion for Dharma, free from attachment to dharma, free from partisanship. What they seek is only the freedom from (passion and) suffering; they do not quarrel about the (diverse) natures of things. (63c)

In the Arthavargiya Sutra Makandika puts a difficulty before the Buddha:

(It may be that) in the case of rigidly fixing (and holding on to) things, there directly arise all sorts of (wrong) notions. But if all is abandoned, the internal as well as the external, how can enlightenment (Bodhi) be realized at all? (63c)

The questioner commits the mistake of imagining that the determinate in itself leads to clinging, and that the indeterminate nature (sunyata) of things means a literal abandoning of them. These are only different phases of the error of clinging, the error of imputing the limitations in our approach to the nature of things themselves. If the determinate in itself leads one to clinging, then, certainly, there is no way of realizing the bodhi; then, it would follow that to abandon clinging would be to abandon the determinate itself, and the ‘indeterminate’ would mean a total denial of the determinate. These are the wrong notions that arise from the initial mistake of imagining that the determinate is in its very nature such as to lead one to clinging. But this is a view which leads one to self-contradiction at every step. For how can one speak and convey his meaning through specific concepts and yet say that the determinate leads one by its very nature to clinging? The Buddha’s answer amounts to saying that what is to be abandoned is not the determinate itself, but one’s clinging to it. One can realize freedom by abandoning the false sense of self, which is the root of all clinging:

Bodhi is not realized by seeing or hearing or understanding, nor is it realized by the (mere) observance of morals; nor is it realized by abandoning hearing and seeing and it is (definitely) not realized by giving up morals.

Thus what one should abandon is disputation as well as the (false) notion of “I” and “mine”; one should not cling to the diverse natures of things. It is in this way that bodhi can be realized. (63c)

*Prajnaparamita is the “Perfection of Wisdom."

†Nagarjuna (ca. 150–250 CE) was an important Buddhist teacher and philosopher. Along with his disciple Aryadeva, he is credited with founding the Madhyamaka school of Mahayana Buddhism. Nagarjuna is credited with developing the philosophy of the Prajnaparamita Sutras — even, in some sources, with having (re)revealed these scriptures in the world, having recovered them from the realm of the nagas (snake/dragon spirits) — and is also sometimes associated with the Buddhist university of Nalanda.

 

 

Marijuana, the Obligatory Pilgrimage, and the Woodstock Generation

Sally and James Colbert –USA


Woodstock ’69

A Theosophical Perspective

As this article was being prepared, so much is going on in the world related to marijuana we felt compelled to take note. The Attorney General of the United States is being held in contempt of Congress related to guns shipped to Mexico in the Marijuana War with the Cartels. Recently there was a $41 million dollar marijuana drug bust in a field 10 miles from the writers’ home. Mexico now has a new President who states his government is now going to deemphasize drug and arms sales as this is something where the United States is the responsible party. The killings involving the marijuana plant are now coming into San Diego.

Read more: Marijuana, the Obligatory Pilgrimage, and the Woodstock Generation

Emanation and Fohat as the basis for the Electric Universe – Part two

Joop Smits – The Netherlands

[Joop Smits (1955) graduated in Mechanical Engineering at the Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands) in 1978. From an early age he had the inner conviction that science, philosophy and religion can be brought in harmony with each other. He became a student of Theosophy in 1985. During the last 15 years he has given lectures on Theosophy. At present he is Chairman of the Science Committee of International Theosophy Conferences. On August 13th Joop gave a presentation on the concurrence of science and spirituality at the 2011 International Theosophy Conference at Julian, California. You can find the contents of this presentation in the following article].

The first part of this article was published in the previous issue of Theosophy Forward. In this first part the Theosophical concept of Emanation and Fohat and the scientific concept of the “Electric Universe” were explained.

Read more: Emanation and Fohat as the basis for the Electric Universe – Part two

The Anxieties of a Seeker

[This article appeared in the June 2012 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this magazine follow this link:
http://www.ultindia.org/previous_issues.html]

WHO is a seeker? What does he seek? Why does he seek? These are three inter-related questions. There are seekers and seekers. Not all are seeking knowledge; not all are seeking God; not all are seeking lasting happiness. It all depends upon “why” or what it is that sets them searching. A person suffering from a fatal disease or a huge financial loss, or strained relationship is seeking relief from pain. In case the one suffering from an incurable disease finds the cure or relief in one of the alternative therapies, he may seek to learn and use the same for others. Such a person, while he/she was in the
process of finding the solution, briefly turns to books, institutions, teachers and different philosophies.

Such a person may be temporarily interested in Karma and Rebirth, in God and prayer, but once the disease is cured, the interest may fizzle out, and the search may come to an end. The same holds true of others who are afflicted. Their concern is narrow and so the search is temporary. After a while, such a “seeker” begins to drift away from the system which provided the solution, or he might maintain a superficial connection—just in case, there might be need in the future! But sometimes pain and suffering may give birth to a “seeker” whose search goes beyond the immediate concern of relieving the pain. He wants to learn the cause and cure of sorrow. But, even then he may not be interested in going too far in his search. He asks questions, and studies in some depth the doctrines of Karma and Rebirth, seeks to learn meditation technique, such that suffering could be kept at bay. Then there are seekers who never cease seeking,because they never commit themselves to a single system of thought.

Read more: The Anxieties of a Seeker

Life after Life

Marie Harkness – Northern Ireland

“Be brave for Truth and Brotherhood, and We shall be with you throughout the ages”
(Jubilee)

Today many people believe they live only once on this earth and that when they die, a tally is taken of their good and bad deeds meriting reward or punishment. All who think deeply about life, who have seen for themselves numerous examples of exceptional childhood talent, must wonder why life bestows gifts on one person and not on another. Why some people have an aptitude for certain subjects, have a certain type of brain, can take life and whatever life throws at them in their stride and others cannot. Why some are born perfect, others with terrible afflictions. After some serious thinking, we `come to realise that the only answer to this is…. that existence is a long, long journey to perfection, encompassing many lives. We realise that the gifts and skills that some people possess have been acquired by hard graft in former existences. Those possessing a certain detachment, wisdom and compassion have not suddenly acquired these virtues, but have through experience in past lives, evolved to their present state, an on-going process. We realise that in each lifetime we accumulate greater mental power, discrimination and coping skills and in time true spirituality.  The Master M. has written:

“The pathway through earth-life leads through many conflicts and trials, but he who does naught to conquer them can expect no triumph’.”

Read more: Life after Life

A Few Queries

H. P. Blavatsky

[from a letter to Lucifer 4.22 (June 1889): 347-8, with notes by HPB; reprinted in Collected Writings 11:300-1]


H. P. Blavatsky

As you kindly invite questions relating to Theosophy, I make free to put forward some doubts, which I should feel very thankful if you would solve.

How are the nine actually known planets to be reconciled with the seven of Theosophy?*

How may it be possible for anyone who has no independent means to subsist upon to enter upon Chelaship? It seems as if the very first indispensable rule laid down in the April number of Lucifer, would render it absolutely impossible for any person, who has to earn his bread in any way, save perhaps that of writing books, to mount even the first steps of the ladder. Or does it mean, perchance, that some other human being should always sacrifice himself, should toil and labour many years of his life in order to facilitate the sublime aspirings to Adeptship—of another? One would think, in that case, that the humbler brother or sister (humanly, not kindredly speaking) was on the righter track to perfection according to the precepts of Theosophy.

Read more: A Few Queries

Theosophical Ecology

Boris de Zirkoff – USA

The basic propositions and principles of the Esoteric Philosophy are outlined without ambiguity in the writings of H.P. Blavatsky, her own Superiors in the occult hierarchy, and a few of their early disciples. It is to the dissemination of these basic thoughts and teachings that the life and work of the Founders was primarily devoted. Organizational details were merely the unavoidable framework required for the harmonious and efficient task of making the teachings known to an ever-increasing number of people throughout the world.

Careful examination of the present day Theosophical climate and the publications issued by existing Theosophical Organizations, disclose, even to a casual observer who examines the situation without prejudice or vested interests to defend, that a great variety of extraneous ideas and totally unrelated subjects have infiltrated the Theosophical philosophy during the twentieth century, with dire effects and regrettable results.

Read more: Theosophical Ecology

The Voice of the Silence 4 (Verses 51-79)

John Algeo – USA

Following the ten verses on the ladder of the mystic sounds, the next verses take up the theme of dying, being slain, or being cleansed and merging. It is important to keep in mind that the language is metaphorical and to look for the meaning beneath the symbol: “[51] Before that path is entered, thou must destroy thy lunar body,29 cleanse thy mind-body30 and make clean thy heart. [52] Eternal life’s pure waters, clear and crystal, with the monsoon tempest’s muddy torrents cannot mingle. [53] Heaven’s dew-drop glittering in the morn’s first sunbeam within the bosom of the lotus, when dropped on earth, becomes a piece of clay; behold, the pearl is now a speck of mire. [54] Strive with thy thoughts unclean before they overpower thee. Use them as they will thee, for if thou sparest them and they take root and grow, know well, these thoughts will overpower and kill thee. Beware, disciple, suffer not, e’en though it be their shadow, to approach. For it will grow, increase in size and power, and then this thing of darkness will absorb thy being before thou hast well realized the black foul monster’s presence.”

The “lunar body” of verse 51 is reminiscent of the silver cymbal of verse 43, which also had lunar associations, both representing one of the seven human principles. Note 29 to this verse introduces an interesting link between principles, involving some terminological confusion between early and later Theosophical literature: “The astral form produced by the Kamic principle, the kama-rupa or body of desire.” Blavatsky generally used “astral” to refer to the linga sharira or what was later called the “etheric double.” However, she also used the term more generally and indefinitely to refer to ethereal or less dense vehicles of consciousness. Here she uses it specifically for the emotional body, a usage adopted by second generation and later Theosophists. There is also, however, a link between all the lower principles, from the physical body through the “lower” mind, which collectively form the personality. As a whole they contrast with the “higher” mind or buddhi-manas, in this verse called “mind-body” and also called the “causal body,” which is the individual reincarnating entity: Note 30: “Manasa-rupa. The first [lunar body] refers to the astral or personal self; the second [mind-body] to the individuality or the reincarnating Ego whose consciousness on our plane or the lower manas has to be paralyzed.”

Read more: The Voice of the Silence 4 (Verses 51-79)

The Theosophical Labyrinth

John Algeo – USA

The Ancient Wisdom comes to us by many channels: religious scripture, philosophical dissertations, scientific experiments, fairy tales, music, painting, dance, mandalas, poetry, and labyrinths. A labyrinth is a winding path in a complex pattern. The word “labyrinth” comes from Greek, but is probably based on a non-Greek word, perhaps the term labrys from the Lydian language of Asia Minor, a term for a double-headed ax. The latter was a symbol of royalty and of divinity in the ancient Near East, and is symbolically appropriate because the labyrinth has two aspects. It cuts, as it were, two ways, being a road both inward and outward. In English labyrinths have also been called by such curious names as “Troy Town,” the “Walls of Troy,” “Fair Rosamund’s Bower,” “St. Julian’s Bower,” and “Jerusalem” from their use or from legends associated with them.

Labyrinths are of two main types. One consists of a single pathway that winds about, leading in and out from the circumference toward the center and back again until it finally arrives at its end, the center of the labyrinth. The technical term for such a pattern is “unicursal labyrinth” or, as a popular name, a “meander.” The word “meander” is also from Greek, originally the name for a river in Asia Minor whose bed wound back and forth across the land until it came to the sea. From the pattern of that river bed, the term “meander” was applied to any pattern of movement in a winding and intricate way. Since, in walking a unicursal labyrinth, one is in fact meandering through it, the term is appropriate.

Read more: The Theosophical Labyrinth

Fate and Free Will: A Theosophical Speculation

John Algeo – USA

An article on “Neurons v Free Will” in the Economist magazine (402, no. 8772  [Feb. 18-24, 2012]: 6-7) considers how the opposition of fate and free will has been treated over many centuries right up to present-day scientific studies of the working of the brain. The ancient Greeks talked about “Ananke, the primeval force of necessity, and her children, the Fates, who steered human lives.” Medieval Christian theologians worried about the inconsistency of human freedom with the omniscience of God, whose knowledge of what is and is to be allows no room for optional changes by limited human beings. The scientific revolution of the seventeenth century held that the natural law of cause-and-effect could brook no exceptions and thus excluded the possibility of unpredictable changes exercised by human free will. Even the Theosophical view of karma (not mentioned in the article) may seem to create a conflict with the individual’s free will: if each of our actions has a karmic cause in the past and a future karmic consequence, where is free will in that chain of karmic necessity?

Read more: Fate and Free Will: A Theosophical Speculation

The Supreme Self of the Bhagavad Gita

Dara Eklund – USA

It is gratifying to find, even in recent translations of the Gita a comprehension of the multifaceted Self of Chapter Six and elsewhere. A worthy exemplar of this is Graham M. Schweig's edition [Harper One, 2007]. In his sparse word by word translation he explains a dual usage of the term “self” in footnotes, showing that the “higher self” can mean the Supreme Self, as the divinity dwelling within the individual self, just as our early Theosophical interpreters of the Gita understood this.

Read more: The Supreme Self of the Bhagavad Gita

Suicides and Compassion

Sally and James Colbert – USA

Herbert Hinden, M.D. reported on interviews with four suicidal persons who jumped off six story buildings. By chance these four had lived.  Two of the four stated they had changed their minds on the way down. One wonders of the thousands that have jumped off San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, how many of these changed their mind on the way down?

It is estimated that a million people each year worldwide commit suicide. Every culture, every country and every one of us has most probably encountered some experience with this act. There is a report that with each suicide there are at least six other persons directly affected. It is rare that a suicidal act only involves the person doing it.  

It is said we cannot understand the awful terrifying loss to our being unless we have experienced it ourselves. One of the authors has had to go through these effects almost too personal to share. The other author most likely lived through some of this when starting his private practice as a clinical psychologist. When first opening his office, he received the first call for an appointment. It was a family who stated they wanted to meet with a psychologist in order to help their communication. We met for an hour and we seemed to make some progress.  It ended with an agreement to meet the following week. Eight hours later a call was made from this same family saying their oldest son had hung himself to death. Not knowing really what to do, we immediately traveled to their home and we all held each other for a time. Later at the Catholic funeral we sat with the family.The people filed past the open casket to pay their respects.  Again, we held each other with very few words. The impotence, helplessness, guilt and a kind of absurd futility of this senseless act swept through every part of our being.

Read more: Suicides and Compassion

Emanation and Fohat as the basis for the Electric Universe – Part one

Joop Smits – The Netherlands

[Joop Smits (1955) graduated in Mechanical Engineering at the Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands) in 1978. From an early age he had the inner conviction that science, philosophy and religion can be brought in harmony with each other. He became a student of Theosophy in 1985. During the last 15 years he has given lectures on Theosophy. At present he is Chairman of the Science Committee of International Theosophy Conferences. On August 13th Joop gave a presentation on the concurrence of science and spirituality at the 2011 International Theosophy Conference at Julian, California. You can find the contents of this presentation in the following article].

1. Introduction
The subject of this article is: Emanation and Fohat as the basis for the Electric Universe.
In order to identify the concurrence of science and spirituality, the subject will be approached by:
- first discussing the Theosophical teachings on Emanation and Fohat;
- and subsequently concepts in modern science will be discussed which are in line with those Theosophical teachings.
Why talk about Emanation and Fohat? Because the archaic doctrine of Emanation provides a universal key for understanding the process of re-embodiment at cosmic, terrestrial and human level and for understanding how every living being exists within the sphere of a higher being. E.g. how man lives in the sphere of the Earth or Sun and how the cells of our body live in the human sphere. This is, of course, based on the Theosophical standpoint of the Living Universe or Cosmos:
- the universe considered as embodied consciousness and
- ordered as a Hierarchy of different levels of consciousness, in line with the original Greek meaning of the word “Cosmos,” as “order or arrangement.”

Read more: Emanation and Fohat as the basis for the Electric Universe – Part one

Where is Theosophy?

Dan Noga – Norway


Norwegian Fjord

In Theosophical circles, whether in group discussions, in literature, or on the internet, the question comes up again and again: What is Theosophy? There are endless different ways of answering the question, which is as it should be for something, which by its very nature, is immense, tending to blur more lines and erode more boundaries than it creates. After all, theos sophia synthesizes, integrates and harmonizes all of the various fields of inquiry that humanity embarks upon. We should have a hard time pinning it down succinctly, because once something is pinned down, it can't move; it becomes static and loses its essential vibrance. We should struggle to define it neatly—and no matter how many times we may reach the conclusion that this task is ultimately an impossible one, nonetheless, we should keep trying it, because the very attempt to do so forces us to expand our own horizons. The more we learn about Theosophy, the more there is to learn, and this only means that we learn more about ourselves and the universe every day. The exercise of defining Theosophy is an effective practice both mentally and spiritually, so long as we resist the urge to declare it complete. It seems that the Perennial Wisdom is forever accompanied by this "Perennial Question," which is fitting since Theosophy responds to so many of our vexing questions.

Read more: Where is Theosophy?

The Seven Portals

H. P. Blavatsky


H.P. Blavatsky

[From The Voice of the Silence, fragment 3 “The Seven Portals”]

216.    For, O disciple! Before thou wert made fit to meet thy Teacher face to face, thy Master light to light, what wert thou told?
217.    Before thou canst approach the foremost gate thou hast to learn to part the body from thy mind, to dissipate the shadow, and to live in the eternal. For this, thou hast to live and breathe in all, as all that thou perceivest breathes in thee; to feel thyself abiding in all things, all things in Self.
218.    Thou shalt not let thy senses make a playground of thy mind.
219.    Thou shalt not separate thy being from Being, and the rest, but merge the ocean in the drop, the drop within the ocean.
220.    So shalt thou be in full accord with all that lives; bear love to men as though they were thy brother-pupils, disciples of one Teacher, the sons of one sweet mother.
221.    Of teachers there are many; the MASTER-SOUL is one,8 Alaya, the Universal Soul. Live in that MASTER as ITS ray in thee. Live in thy fellows as they live in IT.
222.    Before thou standest on the threshold of the Path; before thou crossest the foremost gate, thou hast to merge the two into the One and sacrifice the personal to Self impersonal, and thus destroy the "path" between the two —  antahkarana.9
223.    Thou hast to be prepared to answer Dharma, the stern law, whose voice will ask thee at thy first, at thy initial step:
224.    "Hast thou complied with all the rules, O thou of lofty hopes?"
225.    "Hast thou attuned thy heart and mind to the great mind and heart of all mankind? For as the sacred river's roaring voice whereby all Nature-sounds are echoed back,10 so must the heart of him 'who in the stream would enter,' thrill in response to every sigh and thought of all that lives and breathes."
226.    Disciples may be likened to the strings of the soul-echoing vina; mankind, unto its sounding board; the hand that sweeps it to the tuneful breath of the great WORLD-SOUL. The string that fails to answer ’neath the Master's touch in dulcet harmony with all the others, breaks —  and is cast away. So the collective minds of lanoo-shravakas. They have to be attuned to the Upadhyaya's mind — one with the Over-Soul — or break away.
227.    Thus do the "Brothers of the Shadow" — the murderers of their souls, the dread Dad-Dugpa clan.11
228.    Hast thou attuned thy being to humanity's great pain, O candidate for light?

Read more: The Seven Portals

Theosophy, Alcoholics Anonymous, and God

Sally and James Colbert -- USA   

NOTE: This is the first in a series of articles intended to help Theosophical students or their families deal with some of the major traumas visiting so many of us.  Included will be alcoholism, marijuana addiction, Alzheimer’s, mental illness, suicide, abortion, physical disability, and effects of psychic practices. Some of the common treatment options are  seen as at odds with Theosophical ideas and teachings. It has been asked how Theosophy can offer direction for encountering these circumstances. The series of articles will give direct focus to these areas while drawing from the teachings and placing them in a modern context for practical use. The writers have been contacted by Theosophists over a number of years regarding these concerns related to their connection to the teachings and their background in clinical psychology.

Aside from the suspected psychic, emotional and astral effects with alcohol addiction, the assault on the body would seem enough to stay clear of the liquor store. “Long-term use of alcohol in excessive quantities is capable of damaging nearly every organ and system in the body” www.en.wikipedia.org.

Within this article, Theosophical references will be found along with comments on accepted treatment approaches. One of these is Alcoholics Anonymous which has been seen, by some, to be in direct conflict with Theosophical principles. The approach is being used world over as well as  for other “addictions”, e.g., NA or Narcotics Anonymous, Over Eaters Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, etc. all developed from the AA base.  “By some estimates, as many as one in ten Americans, including two-thirds of those ever treated for alcoholism, have attended at least one A.A. meeting.” (How Alcoholics Anonymous Works, Michael Craig Miller, M.D. – Harvard Medical School).

Read more: Theosophy, Alcoholics Anonymous, and God

The Voice of the Silence 3 (Verses 33-50)

John Algeo – USA

The next four verses (33-36) of The Voice of the Silence continue to develop the theme of the three Halls, but introduce new metaphors for them: darkness, deceptive light, true light, and the stormy sea of life: “[33] That which is uncreate abides in thee, disciple, as it abides in that Hall [of Wisdom]. If thou wouldst reach it and blend the two [the create and uncreate], thou must divest thyself of thy dark garments of illusion. Stifle the voice of flesh, allow no image of the senses to get between its light and thine that thus the twain may blend in one. And having learnt thine own ajnana, 21 flee from the Hall of Learning. This Hall is dangerous in its perfidious beauty, is needed but for thy probation. Beware, lanoo, lest dazzled by illusive radiance thy soul should linger and be caught in its deceptive light. [34] This light shines from the jewel of the great ensnarer (Mara). 22 The senses it bewitches, blinds the mind, and leaves the unwary an abandoned wreck. [35] The moth attracted to the dazzling flame of thy night-lamp is doomed to perish in the viscid oil. The unwary soul that fails to grapple with the mocking demon of illusion will return to earth the slave of Mara. [36] Behold the hosts of souls. Watch how they hover o’er the stormy sea of human life, and how, exhausted, bleeding, broken-winged, they drop one after other on the swelling waves. Tossed by the fierce winds, chased by the gale, they drift into the eddies and disappear within the first great vortex.”

Note 21:Ajnana is ignorance or non-wisdom, the opposite of ‘knowledge’ or jnana.” Jnana, from the root jna (cognate with English know), denotes “irrefutable intuition,” a knowledge based on direct experience and thus beyond question for the one who experiences it. The Hall of Learning offers the possibility of passing from ignorance to wisdom. But it also has all the dangers associated with learning. As the eighteenth-century poet Alexander Pope wrote, “A little learning is a dangerous thing.” The most important thing to learn in the middle hall is that we are ignorant of who we are. An awareness of our own ignorance is the beginning of wisdom. We cannot learn until we realize that we do not know.

Read more: The Voice of the Silence 3 (Verses 33-50)

William Quan Judge and The Theosophical Society – part two


Dara Eklund – USA

[Based on a talk given by Dara Eklund at Krotona Institute of Theosophy in April 2010.]

Julia Keightley (Irish Theosophist, IV: 115) wrote of that early period: “It was a position in which the young lawyer seemed quite overweighted, but he did all that he could . . . [as] a neophyte, one of a band who have taken the vow of interior poverty, and whose unseen and unrecorded work is regarded as being of far more importance than exterior, visible work.


Julia Keightley

The main current of such lives runs underground. Already H. P. Blavatsky had written and said that he had been a part of herself and of the Great Lodge ‘for æons past,’ . . . and that he was one of those tried Egos who have reincarnated several times immediately after death; assisted to do so, and without devachanic rest, in order to continue his Lodge work. It is a matter of record that, when the seven years’ probation of this life were over, the Master best known in connection with the T.S. sent to Mr. Judge, through H.P.B., His photograph, inscribed upon the back ‘to my colleague,’ with a cryptogram and signature; and, a little later, a letter of thanks and advice, delivered to Mr. Judge in Paris by H.P.B. A message sent to him through H.P.B. in writing from the Lodge at about this time ends by saying: ‘Those who do all that they can and the best they know how do enough for us’.” Judge wished to do more, despairing in his first letter to Julia of the heavy karma man has accumulated. He wrote: “That deep sigh pierces through my heart. How can the load be lifted? Am I to stand for myself, while the few strong hands of Blessed Masters and Their friends hold back the awful cloud? Such a vow I registered ages ago to help them, and I must. Would to great Karma I could do more!” Letters That  Have Helped Me, letter 1: ULT ed., 1946, p. 2; http://theosophytrust.org/Online_Books/Letters_V1.2.pdf, p. 7).

Read more: William Quan Judge and The Theosophical Society – part two

Schizophrenia and the Search for the Soul - A Theosophical Perspective

Sally and James Colbert – USA 

BACKGROUND OF THE AUTHORS

It might be asked as to the qualifications of the authors to write the article. One of the authors, a clinical psychologist, brought forth two schizophrenic daughters through a former marriage. One is still living and the other died from breast cancer. The other author’s mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and she died a number of years ago – most probably due to suicide. Together we have participated in multiple forms of family support, had care giver support, explored a wide range of psychiatrists and other treatment options, provided the day-to-day care, went through multiple psychiatric hospital experiences with family members – both voluntary and involuntary, and experienced the treatment in both private and public facilities. In addition, one of the authors provided professional treatment for schizophrenic patients in hospital settings as well as in private practice. All family members have Theosophical backgrounds. Both daughters with schizophrenic diagnoses thought of themselves as Theosophists. We feel it is important to relate this background as it is important to know of this disease from the standpoint of the patient, family member, and the professional. And, to find in the Theosophical teachings concepts that may help in understanding.

WHAT IS SCHIZOPHRENIA?

Schizophrenia is a brain disease (E. Fuller Torrey, M.D.). Schizophrenia is due to genetic transmission (National Institute of Mental Health). Schizophrenia is due to nutritional deficiency (Orthomolecular psychiatry). Schizophrenia is due to early childhood trauma (Clancy D. McKenzie, M.D.). Schizophrenia comes from a psych spiritual crisis (C.G. Jung, M.D.).

Read more: Schizophrenia and the Search for the Soul - A Theosophical Perspective

Our Work

Rafael Arévalo, Teotle Lodge, San Salvador – El Salvador

El Salvador, a small country in Central America, was at first affiliated Theosophically with Cuba. In those days, an Irish citizen named Patrick Brannon came to El Salvador; he had been hired by the company constructing the first railroad for the western part of the country. After the railroad enterprise concluded, Brannon stayed and married Carmen Vega, a Salvadorian who became the mother of Carmen Brannon, a poet and Theosophist with the pen name Claudia Lars.

In December 1878, Brannon went to New York because he wanted to consult HPB about a supernatural experience he had had. After first visiting some relatives who lived in NY, on December 16th he attempted to meet Madame Blavatsky, but was unable to do so because, unfortunately for him, she and H. S. Olcott were preparing to depart on December 17th for London, en route to India.

Read more: Our Work

Truth: The Limitless Horizon – part two

John Algeo – USA

[This article is a revision of two earlier publications: “Truth: The Limitless Horizon,” American Theosophist 72.11 (December 1984): 413-25; and “Theosophical Truth Is a Many-Splendoured Thing,” Theosophist 127.5 (February 2006): 167-74.]

HOW THEOSOPHICAL TRUTHS RELATE TO ABSOLUTE TRUTH

Yet, if it is the case that Theosophical truths can free us from the illusions of ordinary assumptions, how do we know that our Theosophical truths are True? Is it possible that they too—although far better than our ordinary assumptions about life—are only partial and distorted? The Mahachohan has said that the teaching the Masters proclaim is “the only true one” and that “Theos-Sophia, Divine Wisdom, . . . is a synonym of truth.” But is the Theos-Sophia of the Mahachohan the same as the Theosophy we understand and proclaim? Is it possible that our understanding of the Divine Wisdom may not be quite the same as that of the Mahachohan, not quite on the same level as his?

Truth is like light. The cosmos is pervaded by electromagnetic radiation. Our eyes can perceive only a tiny portion of the full spectrum of the radiation, and we call that tiny portion “light.” The cosmos is full of an enormous range of electromagnetic radiation that we cannot see—a practically limitless display of energies, of which we are completely in the dark. And even the tiny portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that we can see, we do not see directly. Light is invisible until it is reflected by some object.

Read more: Truth: The Limitless Horizon – part two

The Heart Doctrine - How to escape from Plato’s Cave – part two

Erwin Bomas – The Netherlands


The Escape

Transmitter and receiver - The Heart Doctrine

We can compare our faculty of thinking to both a transmitter and a receiver. Actually our thinking functions as a transmitter and at the same time as a receiver. And just like a receiver can be tuned to certain wavelengths, likewise our thinking can be tuned. According to the wavelengths we have tuned into before and are tuning into now, we lock ourselves to a set of frequencies. And depending on how we have understood received thoughts we will likewise transmit them.

The more conscious we become of the possibility we have to tune our thinking, the more capable we become in selecting frequencies to tune into and receive. And the better we are tuned, the better we can receive and transmit thoughts harmoniously and the less philosophical distortion (noise) we will produce in our transmission. [2]

Read more: The Heart Doctrine - How to escape from Plato’s Cave – part two

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