Theosophy

A Blavatskyan Theology?

Pedro Oliveira – Australia

Theosophy PO 2 121

The author with on his right Patrizia Calvi from Italy and on his left Linda Oliveira, his wife. Photo taken at the Adyar Theatre

Shortly after the death of Madame Blavatsky, in 1891, her group of students in London naturally dispersed, as she had not appointed a successor to continue her work as a teacher of Esoteric Philosophy. Several of them continued to work for the Theosophical Society with headquarters at Adyar, India, while others decided to follow William Q. Judge, after the secession of the then American Section from the Parent Society in 1895.

It is only natural and human that those who had the great privilege of studying and working with a person like HPB developed not only a great affection for her but also a deep sense of loyalty to her and to her work. After all, she was the embodiment of living Theosophy, that spirit of utter self-sacrifice in the service of humanity as well as of profound wisdom and insight, while at the same time she was vitally human, as her short temper and emotional reactions fully demonstrated.

Read more: A Blavatskyan Theology?

Radha Burnier about Annie Besant

          

Theosophy RB 121 b

Radha Burnier (née Radha Sri Ram) (November 15, 1923 – October 31, 2013) 

This wonderful photo was taken on January 22, 2013 © Richard Dvořák   

India remembers Annie Besant as the fiery Englishwoman, orator par excellence, Theosophist and advocate of Home Rule, who settled in India in 1893 until her death in 1933. Not many in India know of the pre-India period of Annie Besant's life, of her long association with and espousal of socialism, atheism, and workers' and women's rights; her courage and intellectual fortitude in the face of opposition by Victorian society; and the leadership qualities she displayed in what was very much a man's world.

Theosophy RB 121 c

Annie Besant

Radha Burnier was the seventh International President of the Theosophical Society in Adyar, Chennai. Her parents were active in the Theosophical Society and she developed an early interest in Theosophy, which according to her "is a universal view, not conditioned by race or ethnic origin which in general advocates a very considerate and compassionate view of all kinds of life, plant or animal..."

She took her university degree in Sanskrit literature, English literature and Indian history from the Banaras Hindu University. She was Director of the Adyar Library and Research Centre and General Secretary of the Indian section of the Theosophical Society for a number of years.

Read more: Radha Burnier about Annie Besant

The Golden Hour: A Turning of the Cycle

Tim Boyd – USA, India

Theosophy TB 121 b

Tim Boyd, while delivering the talk on which this article is based, during the 145th International Convention. At the end of this article a YouTube link is provided for those who would like to watch this talk

I would like to consider something related to the theme of our International Convention, “Cycles of Awareness”, particularly how cycles affect us and how we can interact with them in a proactive and productive way.

Cycles affect us at every level. They are so omnipresent at the personal level that they often go unexamined. In her introduction to The Secret Doctrine, H. P. Blavatsky (HPB) discusses Three Fundamental Propositions. Cycles is the second of them. She points to specific cycles such as day and night, life and death, sleeping and waking, the seasons, as being such a common part of our everyday experience that they indicate to us the presence of a fundamental Law of the universe.

Read more: The Golden Hour: A Turning of the Cycle

Imagining Theosophy for the Future

Catalina Isaza Cantor-Agnihotri – Colombia, India

Theosophy CA 2

The author on the far left, accompanied by daughter Yuna and husband Shikhar

When I first saw the theme, “Imagining Theosophy for the Future”, two things came to mind: the power of the word “imagine” and the meaning of “Theosophy”. Imagining is the act of mentally creating or reproducing using the power of the mind; imagination is one of the most advanced human faculties. So what we are doing here is making a collective effort to create mentally, using the power of thought, an image or picture of the future of Theosophy. This leads me to the second point, the meaning of Theosophy. It actually means divine wisdom (brahmavidya). Therefore, it has an immutable nature, it does not change, but the ways of getting closer to it, of spreading it, can and should change.

Read more: Imagining Theosophy for the Future

Theosophy and Belief

Wesley Amerman—USA

Theosophy 121 WA b thinking

Many Theosophists consider themselves above the blind acceptance of ideas and think that while others may adhere to a belief system, they themselves accept ideas solely on their intrinsic merits. I used to think this about myself, and thought that I was the most objective, open-minded and clear-thinking person I knew. Most definitely I am none of these things -- sad experience has taught me better. While I still see this arrogance implied in the speech and writings of fellow Theosophists, I have come to realize how much of my own world-view is part of an "inherited" package of sorts -- those ideas and ideals that have come to me as part of my theosophical upbringing and education. My conclusion is that many Theosophists' beliefs are as dogmatic as those of any religious fanatic.

Read more: Theosophy and Belief

Life Visible and Invisible

H. P. Blavatsky

Theosophy 121 HPB 6

Every organized thing in this world, visible as well as invisible, has an element appropriate to itself. The fish lives and breathes in the water; the plant consumes carbonic acid, which for animals and men produces death; some beings are fitted for rarefied strata of air, others exist only in the densest.

Read more: Life Visible and Invisible

Everything Is Life

H. P. Blavatsky

Theosophy 121 HPB 4

In stones ...

Everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is CONSCIOUS: i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and  on its  own  plane of  perception.  We men  must remember that because we do not perceive any signs – which we can recognize – of  consciousness, say, in  stones,  we have no right to say that no consciousness exists there.

Read more: Everything Is Life

Civilization’s Invasion of Nature

H. P. Blavatsky

Theosophy 121 HPB 2

Owing to the triumphant march and the invasion of civilization, Nature, as well as man and ethics, is sacrificed, and is fast becoming artificial. Climates are changing, and the face of the whole world will soon be altered. Under the murderous hand of the pioneers of civilization, the destruction of whole primeval forests is leading to the drying  up of rivers,  and  the  opening  of the Canal of Suez has changed the  climate of Egypt as  that of Panama will divert the course of the Gulf Stream.

Read more: Civilization’s Invasion of Nature

In the Light of Theosophy

Theosophy 121 b Ruskin 613512380 crop 588294ac3df78c2ccd36fe4a

Writer and philosopher John Ruskin

[This article appeared in the December 2020 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link: http://www.ultindia.org/previous_issues.html]

The Coronavirus pandemic has shown that our consumerist oriented society has been extremely damaging to Nature, forcing us to consider if there are other ways to live life. The economic activities of buying, selling, making money etc. underwent a radical change with the appearance of the book, The Creation of Wealth, by Scottish thinker, Adam Smith, in eighteenth century, as then, the economists regulated the economic activity, leading to disastrous results. However, in his book, Unto This Last, John Ruskin criticized The Creation of Wealth, saying that the book is based on the assumption that man does not have a soul and that greed and self-interest are his only guiding factors. While it may not be of much consequence, whether human body has a skeleton or not, but from the spiritual point of view it is of paramount importance to understand that human beings are souls having a human experience, and not bodies having a soul.

Read more: In the Light of Theosophy

On Getting Rich

B.P. Wadia

Theosophy 121 b On getting rich

Photo: © Richard Dvořák  

Ambition to amass wealth is universal. The base on which our civilization rests is finance. The citizen's power, even in a democratic state, lies in his moneybags. All great sages, on the other hand, have referred to poverty as a virtue necessary for the higher life. A new slant on the practice of poverty emerges from a contemplation of the ideal of the Rajarshis. The example of Janaka and others indicates that the Trusteeship idea stressed by the ideal Brahmana of the twentieth century, Gandhiji, is not a new one. His favorite Ishopanishad verse, as explained by him, brings out the fact that a yogi and a Rishi may dexterously allow the coins of gold and silver to roll for the good of the whole and all.

Read more: On Getting Rich

The hidden meaning of Christmas

Catalina Isaza Cantor Agnihotri – Colombia and Adyar

Theosophy CAT 420 b

The author

Introduction

Special greetings to all, dear friends. We are on the verge of a new year, after a 2020 full of challenges and learning. Before closing this year and, on the occasion of the upcoming Christmas festivities, we want to share with you something about the hidden, esoteric meaning of Christmas. Although this celebration has become primarily a reason for consumption and advertising, it is good to remember that its origin has to do with the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Christ. From the esoteric point of view, it goes much further than that: it constitutes a symbol of the spiritual awakening of which all of us will take part at some point in our journey towards the divine.

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Christmas, within the Christian vision, is composed of three moments. The first one, Advent (arrival), marks the previous four-week stage of preparation to receive the birth of the child. In the biblical account, this corresponds to the departure of Israel in difficult conditions. The Nativity (birth) is the moment when Jesus comes to life in a manger in Bethlehem. Finally, the Epiphany (appearance) refers to the arrival of the three Wise Men to the manger and the presents that they offer to the child who has just been born.

Read more: The hidden meaning of Christmas

The Yoga of Theosophy

Pablo Sender – USA

Theosophy 420 a PS 2

Pablo speaks .... 

The word “Theosophy” derives from the Greek theosophia, which is a combination of the terms theos (gods, or God) and sophia (wisdom). This term can be translated as “wisdom of the gods” (or God), “wisdom in things divine”, or “divine wisdom”, the latter being the preferred translation in the modern theosophical movement. A true theosophist, therefore, is a person endowed with wisdom. This wisdom, however, is not “human”, that is, it is not the result of experience, study, and memory. It is an inherent faculty of the divine aspect of human nature, which at this point in evolution is latent in most people.

Read more: The Yoga of Theosophy

The Moral Order of the Universe

B.P. Wadia

Theosophy 420 BPW 2

It is an ancient teaching that mental laziness provides a fertile soil for the germination and growth of many vices, among them vanity, jealousy, avarice. It is not only that Satan proverbially finds mischief for idle hands to do. To produce idle hands, that constant enemy of man on earth must instill indolence into the mind of man. If the mind moves aright, it creates virtues and establishes itself on moral principles. This the minds of men are not doing.

There is prodigious mental activity in the civilization of today. That activity in action spells restlessness and discontent; it deludes men and women into fancying that they are busy. People are busy whirling like mad dervishes, hoping for ecstasy! Ratiocination is mistaken for meditation and restlessness for activity. The myriad motions of passions, prejudices, and prides obscure mental laziness. When inordinate likes and dislikes move men, the men mistakenly assume that they are mentally active, whereas their minds are more or less inert.

Read more: The Moral Order of the Universe

Transforming the World

Barbara Hebert – USA

Theosophy 420 BH b

Barbara Hebert, National President of the Theosophical Society in America

We, as a group, 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, belief system, way of self-identifying, 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.

Read more: Transforming the World

Lawfulness

Ali Ritsema – the Netherlands

Theosophy 420 Lawfulness AR 2

Ali Ritsema in 2014, smiling during a talk she gave on Karma in Adyar

photo: © Richard Dvořák   

Why this title for an article on 'The Three Objects of the TS and their Enduring Relevance? My thesis is that everything universal or eternal is of enduring relevance. Are the three Objects universal or eternal? If they are founded on universal law or laws, they will be universal and eternal and therefore of enduring relevance.

HPB indicates in the three fundamental propositions:

  • that there is 'an Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless and Immutable Principle...one absolute Reality which antecedes all manifested, conditioned being';
  • the absolute universality of the law of periodicity which physical science has observed;
  • 'the fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul...and the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul...through the Cycle of Incarnation...in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic Law'.

Read more: Lawfulness

The Path of Goodness

Erica Georgiades – Greece

Theosophy 420 EG b The Path

 A few days ago I arrived from Greece (…in India), where there was much tension. We lived through many days of savage vandalism in Athens, where hundreds of shops, cars, and properties were burned and destroyed. India, which is mourning the victims of the terrorist attack in Mumbai, is filled with tension from trying to find ways to prevent future terrorist attacks. These situations show the chaos that grows all over the world, and remind me of the prophecy in the Vishnu Purana about the Kalki Avatar that among other things says:

There will be rulers reigning over the Earth who will think of themselves as modern and superior; they shall rule through leaders of nations, and these leaders shall be men of vulgar, corrupt disposition, having a violent temper, and ever addicted to falsehood and evil. They will inflict death on women, children, and animals ... The people of various countries, influenced by propaganda of their leaders, will follow the example of their leaders, and the Barbarians of materialism. In all nations, wealth and spirituality will decrease day by day until the entire world will be corrupt, crooked, and depraved.

Read more: The Path of Goodness

The Relevance of Krishnaji´s Teachings

Clemice Petter – India, Brazil

Theosophy CP 2

Clemice Petter, the author, lives and assists at the International Headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Adyar

To talk about the relevance of J. Krishnamurti´s teachings is almost an impossible task because he gave us a precious jewel which it may not be accurate to simply call teachings. I would say that Krishnaji gave to humanity the key to solve all problems created by a selfish mind; it is the answer to the tears of a world that has suffered for countless centuries waiting for the fresh waters of wisdom to descent once more upon the world of ignorance and darkness.

When the Theosophical Society (TS) was formed in the 19th Century, Madame Blavatsky made it clear that the purpose of such a society was to bring back, especially to the Western world, the possibility for the spiritual life, which also meant the possibility for wisdom to be available to humanity. The task before the then new attempt is to help humanity, which means each one of us, to go beyond the materialistic approach of life and fulfill our destiny as pure human beings.

Read more: The Relevance of Krishnaji´s Teachings

A sublime Foreword

Introduction – Jan Nicolaas Kind

It is heartening to see that recently some of the works of one of the three main founders of the Theosophical Society, William Quan Judge, have been translated into Portuguese. Marcos de Resende who heads the Brazilian Theosophical Publishing House, and Fernando Antônio Mansur Barbosa, a TS-Adyar member who publishes Theosophical books translated into Portuguese privately, assisted by dedicated Brazilian translators have made this possible. For now, The Ocean of Theosophy is already available and Letters That Have Helped Me will be released early next year. for the benefit of Brazilian and other Portuguese speaking students. It is hoped that in the future more titles will follow. Your editor obtained his very first Judge book, entitled Vernal Blooms, from the Adyar book-shop in India, during an International Convention in the late nineties. Judge’s complete and formidable oeuvre is widely available in many libraries of the TS-Adyar in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Wheaton and Krotona in the USA and Sydney, Australia, just to mention a few.

Theosophy JC 420 b

Jonathan Colbert speaks during the International Convention in Adyar-India, January 2018

Jonathan Colbert from California, the USA, a lifelong student of Theosophy, was more than willing to write the Foreword for Letters That Have Helped Me. This piece turned out simply “sublime”, so it was decided to publish it here in full, in English.  As soon as the Portuguese version is completed it will also be published on Theosophy Forward.

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Read more: A sublime Foreword

The Teacher (the Golden Stairs)

Ananya Sri Ram Rajan – USA

 

Theosophy ASR 420 b Commentaries to the Golden Stairs com mold

 

I listened hard but could not see
Life tempo change out and inside me
. . .”

--From the Preacher, the Teacher, by Yes


Among the many thought-provoking lines in the Golden Stairs, is “a loyal sense of duty to the teacher.” So easily we, in our repetition of this recitation, may pass over this phrase as well as the others, not aware of the essence of each one. For anyone who has used the Golden Stairs as a guideline for one’s spiritual journey, the multilayered meaning of each principle can provide a student with a lifetime of meditation.

Viewing “a loyal sense of duty to the teacher” from a very superficial perspective, we may think of those in a position of authority as our teachers and through our loyalty feel a sense of duty to them. But when viewed from at deeper level, this line can give us a solid understanding as to how we can completely change our lives. One may ask the question who is the teacher? And what duty it is one should have to that teacher?

Read more: The Teacher (the Golden Stairs)

Theosophical Dont's

William Q. Judge – USA  (written in 1894)

Theosophy WQJ 420 2 william quan judge theosophy

The following suggestions arise from experience and are due to facts in the Theosophical world.

Don't speak or write as if morality and ethics were unknown before HPB wrote The Voice of the Silence. Some of our devoted band have been heard to speak in such a way that hearers thought the speaker meant to convey the idea that only in The Voice or other similar books of ours could be found the high and correct ethics by which one ought to guide his life. Buddhism, Christianity, and all the other religions teach the same morals, and literature is full of it.

Read more: Theosophical Dont's

In the Light of Theosophy - Forgiveness

Theosophy ILOT b

Forgiveness

[This article appeared in the October 2020 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link: http://www.ultindia.org/previous_issues.html]

It appears that forgiveness helps us to be free. Forgiveness therapy can help a person to gain perspective and move on, instead of being stuck, writes Nathaniel Wade, a professor of psychology at Iowa State University, who is interested in the psychology of forgiveness and religion, more in the context of counselling and therapy. Being in relationships often means being offended, hurt or betrayed, and one of the ways that we have developed to deal with such pain is through forgiveness. But what is forgiveness and how does it work? Firstly, we must distinguish between forgiveness and condoning, i.e., excusing or overlooking an offence. Forgiveness does not necessarily include reconciliation which involves re-establishing a trusting relationship with the person who has hurt. It is an internal process which helps to overcome feelings of bitterness and hurt, and instead engender the feeling of empathy and love for the offender.

Read more: In the Light of Theosophy - Forgiveness

The Paradox of Self-Transformation

Tim Boyd – India, USA

TB

The author

In Tibetan Buddhist practice there are numerous ceremonies held specifically for a long life. From our personal perspective living a long life has many good features. From the spiritual point of view the emphasis on long life goes beyond mere personal preference. Because the scope of Wisdom is infinite and our moment of incarnation is so brief, in order for us to actually cultivate the experience of wisdom, we ask to be blessed with long life, presence of mind, and health.

Read more: The Paradox of Self-Transformation

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