Theosophy

The Great Awakening Versus the Great Re-Set -- Antidotes to Totalitarianism, Tyranny and Fear

Paul Barker – England   

Theosophy PB 2

The author

Predictions of looming global totalitarianism are glibly dismissed by many simply as ‘conspiracy theories’ (a weasel-worded phrase originally cooked up by America’s FBI). Others view this so-called Great Reset as a dystopian New World Order with a population decimated by war, disease and starvation. This, they warn, is a world of global techno-capitalism, digital IDs, a cashless society, mandatory vaccinations and a communist-style social credit system.  They claim it will mean the end of the traditional family unit with children being removed from their parents to be indoctrinated by the state. There will be no religion beyond worshipping the power of the state. Wholesome food will be replaced by the consumption of insects and genetically modified food and lab-grown synthetic products. Above all there will be control by the all-seeing eye of artificial intelligence –

George Orwell’s 1984 made real

It really does sound demonic. But is there any truth to all this? And if so, how can it be counteracted?

Read more: The Great Awakening Versus the Great Re-Set -- Antidotes to Totalitarianism, Tyranny and Fear

What Survives Death?

A. Trevor Barker – England

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Our subject is one that must be of intimate and personal concern to every one of us. Every thinking man eventually is brought up against this problem. We have to admit that the religious teaching of the West is almost entirely lacking in a satisfactory explanation of the important question. You may search the New Testament, and, although you will find ethical teaching of deep Wisdom that will satisfy you for the living of your daily life. You will find it there in all its purity if you have the eyes to read it and to understand it. The teaching about the life after death is not given there. It is one of those Teachings that Jesus kept for his disciples. He taught them in secret. To them he explained those Mysteries that Christian priests are inclined to say that:

They were never meant for you and me to understand. They are something over which Nature has drawn a veil. It is not for us to penetrate, either by the opening of the psychic senses, or by the penetration and understanding of our intellects.

Read more: What Survives Death?

Prohibit conversations about race, racism and racial inequalities? (In the Light of Theosophy)

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[This article appeared in the December 2022 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link:  https://www.ultindia.org/current_issues.html]

In the recent past a series of laws were passed in several states of the United States of America that discourages or prohibits teachers across the country from having explicit conversation about race, racism and racial inequalities. The same is with the view to avoid making any student feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of that individual’s race or sex.” However, psychologists who study how parents and teachers communicate with kids about race, are of the view that such laws are not likely to help children, because years of research has shown that from an early age children notice racial ethnic disparities, such as, in wealth, so that white families have nice cars and bigger houses, and black families possess lower-wealth items, which may result in white children preferring and choosing to play with other white children of their age than Black. Secondly, it is natural for children to seek explanation when they find differences between people or groups. According to psychological concept of “inherence bias,” when we come across someone who behaves in a distinctly different way, we assume that there is something inherently different about that person. Likewise, children are likely to attribute wealth difference between communities to their capabilities or intelligence, and may also think that the groups are biologically or innately different. Thus, differences between groups are attributed to some deep, underlying and often unknown “essence.”

Read more: Prohibit conversations about race, racism and racial inequalities? (In the Light of Theosophy)

Universal Brotherhood: The Need of the Hour

Deepa Padhi – India  

DP 

The author during a presentation for the 147th International Convention at Adyar

In the hymns of the Rigveda one finds the concept of Universal Brotherhood:

Let us move together,

Let us come to know our minds together,

Let us share like sages of the past,

That all individuals together may enjoy the Universe.

Unite our intentions,

Let our hearts be inseparable,

Our minds as one Mind,

As we truly know one another,

Become One.

Read more: Universal Brotherhood: The Need of the Hour

Our Immediate Opportunity

Boris de Zirkoff – USA

Theosophy BDZ b

[Article first published in 1945]

We are all actors in a great World-Drama the birth of a New Age.

In this universal upheaval none can stand alone.

Every one of us, great or small, young or old, has a responsibility to his fellowmen. The World of Tomorrow is being molded in the thinking of the people of Today. When we help others to raise and ennoble their thoughts, we become coworkers with Nature in building the New World. And let us bear this clearly in our minds: the shape of coming events depends to a very considerable extent upon the number of people whose minds and hearts may have been touched with the soul-healing teachings of Theosophy the Divine Wisdom of the ages.

Read more: Our Immediate Opportunity

Our Responsibility in Freedom of Thought

Ananya Sri Ram – USA

Theosophy ASR b

Ananya, concentrated lecturing at Olcott in Wheaton

As mentioned in previous articles, Theosophy cannot exist without the tenet of freedom of thought. Divine wisdom is a living wisdom that lives and moves through everything seen and unseen. It is impossible to constrict it as consciousness lies within everything we come into contact with and such consciousness holds divinity within it. When we ponder this carefully, we realize the responsibility humans have as the only species (presently known) that has the capacity and ability to understand and experience this.

Read more: Our Responsibility in Freedom of Thought

How to Study Theosophy – 4  

Kenneth Small – USA

Insights from the Teachings of G. de Purucker – View and Keynotes of Practice

Theosophy KS 2 purucker gottfried 420x420

Forgiveness: An Esoteric View, Cultivating the ‘Master’ Within; Universal Service

The conventional view of forgiveness is simply stated as: the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven. In our quest for inner awakening, however, there is a deeper ‘selfless’ view of ‘forgiveness’, that is needed to cut through to the essence of life. This ‘selflessness’ is rooted in the universal and impermanent nature of things.

Read more: How to Study Theosophy – 4  

Theosophy, Its Claims, Doctrines And Progress

William Quan Judge – USA

Theosophy WQJ AB 2

W, Q. Judge

When the Theosophical Society was started by the erstwhile famous Madam Blavatsky, in 1875, the now famous orator, Mrs. Annie Besant, was beginning to deny that there was any life beyond this one, and was entering on that part of her career in which she has made herself a much-talked-of woman in all parts of the civilized world. None of the theosophists had the slightest idea then that such an able champion for their cause was actually training herself for its service, nor did she think then of what the present years would tell of her. For the third time, now, Mrs. Besant has come to the United States to lecture on the doctrines of this new-old faith. In England large audiences always greet her, and the London papers cite the last large meeting she had there in St. James Hall as proof that her hold on the public is not weakened. Her eloquence is, in fact, described as being quite as powerful as in the past, and some writers think it has increased in effect. On this trip she will go to the Pacific coast, speaking in all its principal cities, and also in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, and others on the way out and back.

Read more: Theosophy, Its Claims, Doctrines And Progress

Learning To Know Oneself

Barbara Hebert – USA

Theosophy BH b

Barbara and Jordan, her grandsun

We, as seekers on the Path, want to transform the world. We want it to be a place of peace, acceptance, and compassion. We want to live in a world where there is no judgment based upon skin color, religious or spiritual tradition, culture, ways of self-identifying, age, ability, and so on. In other words, we want to live in a world where everyone realizes the essential unity of all life and has a reverence and respect for that life, disregarding any differences that appear to exist.

Read more: Learning To Know Oneself

Cycles and Longing

Tim Boyd – USA, India

Theosophy TB b

The author

In the first chapter (Proem) of The Secret Doctrine (SD) H. P. Blavatsky (HPB) makes a couple of important statements. One of them consists of three fundamental propositions. Her assertion is that a clear apprehension of these three fundamental ideas is a prerequisite for an understanding of the overarching occult system of thought. In brief the fundamental propositions are:

(1) The one Absolute reality, said to be unthinkable and unknowable.

(2) Periodicity, or the cyclic nature of everything.

(3) Karma and Reincarnation “the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul . . . through the Cycle of Incarnation (or ‘Necessity’) in accordance with cyclic and karmic law.”

I would like to examine the second of these Propositions, which relates to “periodicity”, more familiarly called “cycles” — in Nature, within ourselves, and cycles of consciousness. The fact that something is described as “fundamental” or as a “law” should be more of a motivation for us to ask questions than to sit back and accept.

What is it about cycles that make them so fundamental? Anyone who gives even the slightest attention to this matter will be very familiar with cycles as they impact us individually. Every day we wake up in the morning, every night we go to sleep. Sleeping and waking links with the broader cycle of the Earth’s rotation on its axis resulting in day and night. Within our own body there are circadian rhythms, our “biological clock”, that correlate with this greater cycle of day and night. From the physiology of the body’s organs right down to the individual cells, there are interlinking daily rhythms. Seasons come and go, and come again.

The idea of pointing our attention in this direction is that the process of consideration links us with the greater body of Ageless Wisdom teachings. We tend to think of these cycles as repetitive. It is the nature of cycles that they repeat. Sometimes we become fixed in our understanding such that we see day and night, or sleeping and waking, as an ongoing fixture of reality.

Read more: Cycles and Longing

How to Study Theosophy – 3

Kenneth Small – USA

Theosophy GDP 2 gdepurucker pointloma pasadena

Insights from the Teachings of Gottfried de Purucker

Some Essential Keynotes on the Path of Awakening

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Self-Knowledge, Universal Love and Altruism

“The key to understanding, knowledge, and wisdom, is self-identification with the god within. This is the path of inner evolution.”[i]

“Forget yourself! … Live to benefit others!”[ii]

An Impersonal – Transpersonal View

De Purucker[iii] speaking in the 1930’s, used the word ‘impersonal’ to describe a higher spiritual view and state beyond the mere personality or ego and superficial conventional ‘goodness’. Today, in 2022, we might use the word ‘transpersonal’ , instead of ‘impersonal’ as fulfilling the meaning better.

Read more: How to Study Theosophy – 3

The Quiet Within Which Is Compassion  

Theosophy ULT b

[This article appeared in the October 2022 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link:  https://www.ultindia.org/current_issues.html]

If it is the teaching that Kama is hard like iron it is not difficult for you to see where the hardness of the streak comes from. It is a well-known fact that feelings, i.e., Kamic expressions, are very changeable; but throughout the changes the hardness remains. It is the separative quality of Kama, the begetter and sustainer of the “I” notion or Ahankara. It is the “I” of Kama which separates—itself from others, as also one thing from another. It is the hardening quality that is separative, the maker of heavenly bodies and the rest. All feelings are separative; therefore Compassion cannot be placed in the hierarchy of Kama. If it is not a “feeling” what is it? It is a Power, a Shakti born of Buddhi, which, when active, uses Manas: it is Buddhi using Knowledge, which means understanding expressing itself as helpfulness. When a mother loves her child, or a friend his friend, often there is no true Compassion, but the instinct of Kama, very often beautiful and even noble, on the way to Compassion, but not Compassion.

Read more: The Quiet Within Which Is Compassion  

Theosophy and Its Evidences, Part II

Annie Besant

TE Besant

A contemplative Annie Besant

Taking up our investigation at the point at which we left it last month, we have to seek evidence for the statement that a body of doctrine exists, which has been secretly handed down from generation to generation, and has been the basis of the great philosophies and religions of the world.

As to the existence of such a Secret Doctrine, the ancient world no doubt felt. What were the famous "Mysteries," whether in India, Egypt, Greece, or elsewhere, but the unveiling to the selected few of the doctrines so carefully hidden from the outer world? As said Voltaire, "In the chaos of popular superstitions, there existed an institution that has ever prevented man from falling into absolute barbarity: it was that of the Mysteries." Dr. Warburton also, "The wisest and best men in the Pagan world are unanimous in this, that the Mysteries were instituted pure, and proposed the noblest ends by the worthiest means." These Mysteries, we learn from Cicero, were open only to the upright and the good, "An Initiate must practice all the virtues in his power: justice, fidelity, liberality, modesty, and temperance."

Read more: Theosophy and Its Evidences, Part II

Theosophy and Its Evidences, Part I

Annie Besant

Annie Besant LoC

Annie Besant

No more difficult work could be proposed, perhaps, to anybody of people, than the understanding of Theosophy and the effectual carrying on of its propaganda. Its philosophy is more abstruse than that of Hegel, while it is also far more subtle. Many of its evidences require so much study and self-denial ere they can be estimated that they will certainly remain hidden from the majority; not because they are in themselves incomprehensible, but because average, easy-going people have not the capacity of working them out.

The ethical teachings rest finally on the philosophy, and those who cannot, or will not, study the philosophy are reduced to accepting the ethics by themselves. These can, indeed, be shown to be useful, by that most potent of all arguments, the argument from experience; for they are most effective in promoting morality, i.e., in inducing social happiness. On this utilitarian ground, they can be taught, and can there hold their ground against any rivals in the same field. There they can use the conditional, but not the categorical, Imperative: the categorical remains veiled; the ultimate authority can be found only on the metaphysical heights, and those heights can be scaled but by the strenuous efforts of the patient and undaunted student.

Each such student can bear his testimony to what he has seen and known, but to all, save himself, his evidence remains second-hand. Personally won, it remains a personal possession, priceless to him, but of varying value to those who hear it from him.

Read more: Theosophy and Its Evidences, Part I

The Need for Healing

Tim Boyd – USA, India

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International President Tim Boyd, always profoud and on the move ... 

I would like to turn our attention to the important subject of Healing. Even though it is not greatly stressed within our Theosophical teachings, it is both a fundamental reason for the founding of the Theosophical Society (TS) and an unavoidable consequence of a serious engagement with those teachings. It is also worthwhile to note that members of the TS have been in the forefront of healing work since the Society’s beginnings.

What is healing? If we examine the actual meaning of the word, it is not about specific practices or the methods employed in different healing communities. Its root meaning is to make whole. Its focus is the restoration of wholeness from a condition of fragmentation. But what does that mean? As a human being I have hands, legs, eyes, a brain, and so on; how can I not be whole?

Read more: The Need for Healing

Experiencing the Teachings

Pablo Sender – USA

PabloSender

Photo of Pablo taken while he was working at the International Headquarters in Adyar, India

The practice of meditative study and self-exploration, as well as the application of Theosophical teachings in daily life, are of utmost importance. Only in this way can we begin to experience something of what we learn in our studies. This is vital because by intellectual study we may know and understand many relevant teachings, but without some level of personal experience these teachings will fail to produce a change in us. Then, Theosophy becomes a mere system of thought, with very little relevance in how we live. Annie Besant expressed this as follows:

Concrete thought finds its natural realization in action, and if you do not act out a thought, then by reaction you weaken the thought. Strenuous action along the line of the thinking must follow the thought, otherwise progress will be slow. (A Study in Karma)

Read more: Experiencing the Teachings

Freedom of Choice

Theosophy FOC 2 

[This article appeared in the September 2022 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link:  https://www.ultindia.org/current_issues.html]

Freedom of choice in ordinary everyday life we are obliged by the compulsion of human nature to choose between various options that open before us in everything we have to do, be it the food we eat or the clothes we wear or the articles we want to buy, and so on. The criterion for exercising choice for the most part of our lives is personal preference and satisfaction. What seems to us to fulfil our personal desire and preference is considered as good, and the contrary as bad. This is on the material plane in material concerns. Even in such solely material concerns of our lives ethical considerations do figure in the choices we have to make with varying degrees of importance. The choices we thus make in our lives, whether based on purely personal considerations or impersonal ones, are not confined to our individual lives but have a ripple effect causing far-reaching consequences by their impact on society and also on our character and destiny.

Read more: Freedom of Choice

How to study Theosophy – 2

Kenneth Small – USA

Theosophy KS 2

Insights and Cautionary Guidance from the Theosophical Teachings of Gottfried de Purucker

  1. Organic Living Theosophy versus Book Worship, Bibliolatry and Creeds

De Purucker clearly critiqued[i] a tendency among some students of theosophy[ii] who followed a literalist understanding of theosophy. He used a specific term for those students of theosophy who had become, what he termed ‘bibliolaters’ or ‘worshippers of the book’ or ‘true believers’. This tendency, rather surprisingly, fairly often occurred in some students studying the teachings and writings of Helena Blavatsky, in spite of Blavatsky’s cautions against this kind of literal surface level approach. Here, we will outline his ideas about literalism, spiritual authority and freedom of thought in theosophy. The context of Purucker’s more process oriented view of the ‘approach to truth’ in Theosophy is that all words are limited when attempting to describe metaphysical and ineffable realities. He makes clear that within each person’s spiritual journey, one needs to strive to understand these essential ideas based on their own inner experience. Purucker viewed the Masters, Blavatsky and his predecessors with great devotion and reverence, yet he simultaneously cautioned that a genuine understanding of Theosophy as an ‘inner reality’ goes beyond memorizing diagrams, quoting from a book, repeating the words of a great past Master or Teacher or mere belief in an idea, merely because of who authored it.[iii] De Purucker when understood correctly makes this pitfall on the path of inner awakening very clear and enunciates its solution. It is through awakening our inner capacity for direct intuition and cultivating wisdom and compassion that the teachings and practice of theosophy become alive. He further invites us to see the Theosophical Society (s) as living, organic, evolving entity and not a static mere organization.

Read more: How to study Theosophy – 2

Can Karma Be Eliminated?

Pablo Sender – USA

Theosophy PS 2 Karma

In the religious world, there are basically two models to explain our actions and their effects. One is that of a God who judges our deeds. Good actions are rewarded, while bad ones (sins) entail a punishment. This God that judges and administers punishments and rewards, however, can pardon sins if there is repentance in the doer or for other more inscrutable reasons.

H. P. Blavatsky (HPB), however, argued that the teaching of remission of sins takes away the idea of personal responsibility:

We believe neither in vicarious atonement, nor in the possibility of the remission of the smallest sin by any god, not even by a “personal Absolute” or “Infinite”, if such a thing could have any existence. What we believe in, is strict and impartial justice. (The Key to Theosophy, Sec. 11, “Periodical Rebirths”)

Read more: Can Karma Be Eliminated?

The Three Objects as a Guide to the Spiritual Path 

Barbara Hebert – USA

Theosophy BH 2 Three

Radha Burnier opens chapter three of her book Human Regeneration with the following statement:

Although the Theosophical Society has three objects, it surely has only a single purpose, which is to uplift humanity from the moral and spiritual point of view.

This work, the upliftment of humanity, is the spiritual path which we are hoping/working to tread. Many have written or discussed the meaning of walking the spiritual path from a theosophical perspective. Summing up many of those writings, it becomes clear that walking this path leads us to an inner awareness–not just a theory, but a real Knowing–of the Oneness of all life. This then leads us to the further realization that we must live in such a way that we are serving all Life. 

Read more: The Three Objects as a Guide to the Spiritual Path 

A Meditation on Mindfulness

David M. Grossman – USA

Theosophy DMG 2 mindfulness meditations hd

It is kind of ironic that Thomas William Rhys Davids, an English scholar of the Pāli language and founder of the Pāli Text Society, is associated with the modern “mindfulness movement” due to his translation of a particular word into English. Rupert Gethin, Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol and president of the Pāli Text Society, tells us, that in 1881 “It appears to have been T. W. Rhys Davids who first translated the Buddhist technical term sati (in its Pāli form) or smrti (in its Sanskrit form) by the English word ‘mindfulness’.”

Read more: A Meditation on Mindfulness

On the Future: A few Reflections

William Quan Judge – USA

Theosophy WQJ b map

Although I am an American citizen, the place of my birth was in Ireland, and in what I am about to say I cannot be accused of Columbiamania, for no matter how long might be my life I could never be an American. For that perhaps it is right, since it is compulsory, to wait for some distant incarnation.

Now, either H.P.B. was right or she was wrong in what she says in The Secret Doctrine about the future of America. If wrong, then all this may be dismissed as idle speculation. But, if right, then all thoughtful Theosophists must take heed, weigh well, mentally appropriate and always remember what are her words as well as the conclusions to which they lead.

Read more: On the Future: A few Reflections

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