Theosophy

An important subject

Boris de Zirkoff – USA

Theosophy An important subject 2  Boris de Zirkoff
Volume XVI

No. 4 (82) - Spring 1960

[Original Cover photo: Dr. Henry Travers Edge, 1867-1946]

There is a subject of thought pertaining to the world of today which should be of primary importance to the student of Theosophy. It should be widely discussed in Theosophical gatherings as well as on the printed page of Theosophical journals. For some reason or other, however, it is rarely brought up, and when it is, receives but scant attention, while in some places it is obviously ignored and, if possible, hushed up.

This subject concerns the unpleasant fact that the era of fantastic scientific achievement along material lines, of enormously increased economic well-being in some nations, and of the highest known “standard of living,” to use a well-known slogan, coincides with the greatest downfall of ethical standards, the most entrenched selfishness, and the most widespread corruption from one end of the globe to another. How is this to be explained?

Read more: An important subject

In the Light of Theosophy – Tolerance and Intolerance

 

Theosophy In the Light of Theosophy 2

[This article appeared in the January 2016 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this ink: http://www.ultindia.org/previous_issues.html  ]

In the past few months, a lot has been said, written and tweeted about rising intolerance in India and the world. Inhuman, barbaric and violent incidents are on the rise. On the one hand, we see better standards of living, material comforts and technological advancement in our civilization. But on the other, we witness weakening human bonds, mistrust and intolerance escalating rapidly. Conflicts and wars, all over the world, are triggered by religious, cultural, linguistic, ideological and political divides. Why are we as humans becoming more and more intolerant? Is it wired in our psyche to hate and hurt each other because someone has different faith, color, belief system and lifestyle? Incidents of intolerance are commonplace. People seem to lose their temper and become violent for trifling reasons such as, someone bumping into their vehicle or parking in their reserved space. Incidents of aggression, such as parents threatening teachers, patients assaulting doctors, commuters beating up the staff at toll gates, etc., are becoming increasingly common. More than the legal or political intervention, what is needed is the change in the mindset of leaders and the masses, which can be brought about by educating people about co-creating a culture of respect, tolerance and peace.

Read more: In the Light of Theosophy – Tolerance and Intolerance

The Untold Story

Tim Boyd – USA

Theosophy Tim Boyd 2
The author with daughter Angelique (l) and wife Lily

I had an uncle, my favorite uncle, who died several years ago. Uncle John was a remarkable man in terms of his accomplishments in life, but more so because of his generosity of spirit and truly unconventional ways of thinking. As a student he worked long hours in very difficult circumstances to put himself through college and then medical school. In his fifties he decided that family practice was no longer satisfying, went back to school for three years and became what he had always been in his heart of hearts – a psychiatrist. He was the uncle that would take us fishing, show us how to build a bicycle, and tell us stories about his life and the things he had seen. After years of hearing his array of stories it got to the point that once a story started I knew where it was going. I had heard it all before, multiple times. What amazed me was how each time he told a familiar tale, how fresh it would be for him, as if it was the first time these words had crossed his lips. For my brothers, cousins, and me, we could almost mouth the words - “this may be your fishing line, but it's my ocean”, when recounting an angry fellow fisherman's remarks about whose fish was at the end of their tangled lines; “pumping out oil and pumping in sea water has to affect the fault”, spoken each time we passed the oil rigs near a break in the earth where the San Andreas fault surfaced on the way to Los Angeles airport.

Read more: The Untold Story

Einar Adalsteinsson – A Tribute

We remember Einar Adalsteinsson, June 19, 1941 – July 9, 1998

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

Theosophy Einar Adalsteinsson 2
Einar Adalsteinsson

In the previous two issues of Theosophy Forward we honored two outstanding Theosophists: Dr. Richard Brooks and Ianthe Hoskins. Must thank all those who wrote to me in appreciation. In this issue we will remember another fine Theosophist, Einar Adalsteinsson, who came from a unique part of the world: Iceland.

Read more: Einar Adalsteinsson – A Tribute

Loving Kindness in Practice

Einar Adalsteinsson – Iceland

There is no loving kindness implicit in reading about it; it is rather an act of communion, a mutual communication. This is why I have to ask for your help, dear reader. You may discard everything I say, but first let the words and ideas trickle through your mind like a still rain, or pass through your consciousness like a gentle breeze in a cornfield. Let the ‘stillness of nature’ reign in the inner realms, unaffected by my words and ideas. Make this a meditation.

Loving kindness is a state of mind, yet nowise permanent, invariable. It is a flowing-fresh, new powerful stream. We can feel this stream inside us when we are in the right mood, glad, pure, and when everything is well. It is therefore more like an absence of inner and outer struggle, rather than something to acquire. It is really always there.

Read more: Loving Kindness in Practice

Mystic Unification of Mind and Action

Einar Adalsteinsson – Iceland

What does unification of mind and action imply? Does it mean that we should be mindful in our actions - careful, cautious and thoughtful? Or does it imply spontaneity, action from the heart, action free from thought? Unification means that there is no distance, no separation, no afterthought, no preconception, no reaction, no resistance. How is it possible to act in such directness? It begins with insight, a moment of profound liberating understanding, bringing with it a fragrance of joyous feeling. You do not know how or whence it came. It may go, it may stay, it may melt slowly away, or it may take over your whole being in a profound state of equanimity, tranquility, harmony, silence and unity, an all-empowering oneness of All-Being.

Read more: Mystic Unification of Mind and Action

The Mystical Approach

Einar Adalsteinsson – Iceland

There is an experience which we read of in prose and religious texts of every culture and time. This is the experience of oneness, the mystical experience in its vast variety. It is a special state of consciousness, where thought has totally ended and there remains only the silence of absolute peace in the mind. People fall into this state of mind, sometimes without noticing how or why. There is suddenly an overwhelming silence and the person stands thunderstruck against this totally new experience, for it is always new and fresh, even if he or she has experienced it more than once.

Common descriptions might be something like these: I was one with everything there is. I was the world and the world became I. My separation from the world disintegrated and instead there was love and oneness, impersonal, all encompassing. Hate was unthinkable and all my problems vanished into thin air. Everything was good. Or, The world was as it had always been, nothing had changed except that the "I" had ceased to be, had blended into everything else. Such descriptions are taken from ordinary people telling how they experienced their world when this special state of mind prevailed. This has been called 1-less-ness.

It is a state that is without problems and therefore rather comforting and desirable. You feel that you are nothing but the whole of existence, regardless of whether you look to the stars or think of your neighbor. Everyone is a brother, whether he be rich or poor, good or bad, friend or enemy in ordinary terms.

Read more: The Mystical Approach

The Courage of Commitment

Joy Mills – USA

Theosophy Joy Mills 2  by Cynthia Overweg
Joy Mills

Custom and habit may lead us into patterns of thought and action which, by their very repetition, seem to be lacking in freshness and spontaneity. Precisely because the theosophical philosophy presents us with a panoramic view of life, with great ideas whose grandeur dwarfs our normal petty concerns, we may often feel inclined to retreat into the security of a philosophical cave of speculation rather than confront the actualities of existence in terms of a positive commitment to action. To what extent can we become committed? Is there a manner in which we can act so spontaneously that action, arising out of an inner commitment to principle, meets the need of the moment with a freshness appropriate to that need? These, surely, are questions which call for serious consideration by the theosophical server. As members and friends of the Theosophical Society we are challenged to engage in a dialogue with the world, but for such a dialogue to be effective we must probe the nature of our own commitment.

Read more: The Courage of Commitment

The Way Forward For Humanity

Warwick Keys – New Zealand

A Lesson on Brotherhood from Ancient Egypt

Theosophy Warwick Keys 2 From the balcony Giza WK
Author Warwick Keys(photo) looks to Ancient Egypt’s wisdom to find the source of the unifying esoteric beliefs behind a civilization.

The term “brotherhood’ is often tripped off the tongue by Theosophists. “Brotherhood” is easy to talk about but – easy to say and so very hard to put into practice. And yet the practice of brotherhood is central to our beliefs. The First Object of the Theosophical Society is “to form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour.”

Read more: The Way Forward For Humanity

The Voice of the Silence 18 (verses 281-302)

John Algeo – USA

Theosophy The Voice of the Silence 2 Verses 281-302 silence-stillness
Silence

Verses 281-302 plus commentaries

[281] Know, conqueror of sins, once that a sowani hath cross’d the seventh Path, all Nature thrills with joyous awe and feels subdued. The silver star now twinkles out the news to the night-blossoms, the streamlet to the pebbles ripples out the tale; dark ocean-waves will roar it to the rocks surf-bound, scent-laden breezes sing it to the vales, and stately pines mysteriously whisper: “A Master has arisen, a Master of the Day.” 

[282] He standeth now like a white pillar to the west, upon whose face the rising sun of thought eternal poureth forth its first most glorious waves. His mind, like a becalmed and boundless ocean, spreadeth out in shoreless space. He holdeth life and death in his strong hand. 

[283] Yea, He is mighty. The living power made free in him, that power which is Himself, can raise the tabernacle of illusion high above the gods, above great Brahm and Indra. Now he shall surely reach his great reward! 

Read more: The Voice of the Silence 18 (verses 281-302)

Human Regeneration – part nine

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 Human Regeneration 2
Radha Burnier

DICUSSIONS

From a certain point of view, it is difficult to say what the T.S. is. Theosophy is a wisdom which is not possible to define, and which is the source of inspiration. The openness of the Society is at the same time its weakness and its strength. It is remarkable that after a hundred years of existence the T.S. is still alive and functioning. Could you comment on this?

Read more: Human Regeneration – part nine

What about William Quan Judge?

Boris de Zirkoff – USA

Theosophy What about William Quan Judge 2 Theosophia 07 06
[
Original over photo: William Quan Judge, Co-founder of the Theosophical Society, April 13, 1851 - March 21, 1896, THEOSOPHIA, Volume VII

No. 6 (42) - March-April 1951]

On April 13, 1951, one hundred years will have elapsed since the birth of William Quan Judge, one of the three chief Co-Founders of the modern Theosophical Movement.

Read more: What about William Quan Judge?

Honouring the Teachers

From a student

[The magazine Vidya http://www.theosophysb.org/site/publications.html , edited by associates of the United Lodge of Theosophists in Santa Barbara, USA, published the following article in its winter/spring 2015 issue; here slightly revised version]

Theosophy Honouring the Teachers 2

Theosophists honour teachers such as H.P. Blavatsky, William Q. Judge and Robert Crosbie on the anniversary of their death more than on their birthdays. Buddhists honour the Paranirvana of the Buddha when he passed into a state of liberation from worldly life. Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of a Jew named Jesus. Why this focus? Is it a greater sacrifice to die than to live or to live rather than die? Generalizations cannot be made about the timetables of teachers, nor anyone else. A Christian view is that it was necessary for Jesus to die in order to teach in a dramatic, public way that he would voluntarily atone for the sins of others including those who precipitated the events leading to his crucifixion and thereby offer redemption to all humanity. Another perspective is that he accepted a death that he had done nothing to deserve so as to teach people about injustice and expose the priests who egged on a mass of people to kill the source of a true spiritual teaching. Thus his death becomes a moving story of self-sacrifice and helps explain how a teacher with twelve disciples gave a message that has converted millions to the Christian faith. Yes, there were stories about his miraculous birth, but such a birth was attributed to other spiritual teachers such as the Buddha. Yes, he may have been born in poverty and understood the deprivations of life experienced by so many. Yes, he persisted in speaking out with a message of spiritual salvation despite vilification, persecution and betrayal. But his calm acceptance of an unjust death and forgiveness for “those who know not what they do” demonstrated with courage the reality of transcendence and transformation through spiritual consciousness. “Christ is Risen” used frequently by followers of the Eastern Orthodox traditions is a fulfilment of a chosen material death. Extraordinary is such a choice.

Read more: Honouring the Teachers

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

[This article appeared in the October 2015 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link: http://www.ultindia.org/previous_issues.html  ]

[In this section we seek to answer frequently asked questions, at U.L.T. meetings or during private conversations and discussions with people who seek the answers in the light of Theosophy. Answers given in this section are by no means final. Only a line of thought is being offered by applying general principles of Theosophy.]

Question: To the earnest spiritual aspirant the ordinary events and duties of life become bothersome and fatiguing. Why? How could such feeling be overcome?

Answer: There are various reasons why the earnest spiritual aspirant begins to regard worldly duties and events as bothersome and harassing. It may be because genuine seeker begins to feel that fulfilling of worldly duties leads to compromise of spiritual practices, spiritual work and duties. We can see that some of the spiritual exercises such as repetition of sacred name or performance of some rituals are only preparatory and only stepping stones to a higher form of spiritual life. If there is sincerity and devotion, it is found that circumstances arrange themselves in such a way as to facilitate the performance of the spiritual practice. Often, distractions to such practices come as tests and challenges, and if met without irritation or grumbling, lead to greater progress than the practices themselves.

Read more: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

The Problem with Spirituality

Tim Boyd – USA

[This article was previously publish in Quest magazine, Viewpoint, winter 2011.]

Theosophy Tim Boyd 2

Recently a group of us at the Olcott center got together to plan an eight week program on “The Essentials of Spiritual Practice”. The idea was that during the course of those eight weeks we would address the elements of a holistic and effective practice, making the necessary links between practice and the principles that stand behind and support it. Our thinking was that regardless of whether someone had been practicing for years, or was just beginning, they would leave feeling empowered to more deeply pursue their chosen path. In the process of talking it through it became clear that some effort at defining our terms was required.

Read more: The Problem with Spirituality

Ianthe Hoskins - A Tribute

We remember Ianthe Hoskins, December 23, 1912 – September 10, 2001

 

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

 

In Theosophy Forward’s previous issue we honored Dr. Richard Brooks. Must thank all those who wrote to me, expressing gratitude for taking this initiative. If it works out well with future publications of “We remember”, this section might turn into a new series even; I’ll keep you informed.

Theosophy Ianthe Hoskins 2 b
Ianthe Hoskins

Read more: Ianthe Hoskins - A Tribute

H.P.B. Messenger of Light

Ianthe Hoskins – England

Theosophy Ianthe Hoskins 3 b hoskinsc price 99
The author and Colin Price

Little can be added to the memorial lectures, biographical accounts and literary tributes that have sought to honor the Centenary of the passing of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Co- Founder of The Theosophical Society. But if the occasion is not to pass into the stream of Theosophical history without effect in the present, we have to release from the review of the past the latent dynamism of its central theme – a life termi­nated, a work begun.

Read more: H.P.B. Messenger of Light

The Transmission of Theosophy

Ianthe Hoskins – England

[Condensed from a Convention Lecture]

Theosophy Ianthe Hoskins 4 bGEN SECS 96 copy
From left to the right: Hugh Grey, Ianthe Hoskins, Geoffrey Farthing, Lilian Storey and John Algeo in 1996

One of the recurring themes of occult literature is the obligation of those who receive light to share that light with others. We who today enjoy the light that Theosophy has brought to our lives have therefore the duty both of presenting Theosophy in the contemporary world and of ensuring its transmission to the future.

To our main question “What shall we transmit?” the answer seems simple enough, “Why, Theosophy, of course!” But is it really so simple? Let us examine question and answer from various angles.

Read more: The Transmission of Theosophy

Because It Is There

Ianthe Hoskins – England

[This article was previously published in The American Theosophist/May 1974. Here in a slightly revised version]

Theosophy Ianthe Hoskins 5 b godwin 89hq-1
The author with composer and musicologist Joscelyn Godwin

Mallory’s * answer to the journalist who asked him why he wanted to climb Everest has passed into the folklore of mountaineering. It answers equally the question with which we are now concerned: Why search for Truth? Why, because it is there!

But another answer than Mallory’s must be given when the question is posed in more general terms. He stated simply his own reason- if it may be called a reason-when the question was addressed to him personally. When from the particular it is asked of the world at large: Why do people climb mountains? The answer quite obviously is: Most of them don’t. And among the few who do, the reasons are likely to be as varied as those who are questioned. In the history of mountaineering the motives that have prompted men to climb mountains have included, for example, an inborn love of the space and solitude of high places, secret ambition, nationalistic pride and competitiveness, a thirst for the new and undiscovered, an inward need to overcome one’s weakness and fear, to prove oneself to oneself, as well as the inexplicable and irrational “must” that in some people is the only possible response to the magnetism of great mountains.

Read more: Because It Is There

Death Brings Life into Focus

Betty Bland - USA

[This article was previously published in the June 2015 issue of TheoSophia, the official magazine of the Theosophical Society in New Zealand.]

Theosophy Betty Bland 2
Betty Bland is past President of the Theosophical Society in America and currently serves on the boards of the Theosophical Order of Service and the Theosophical Book Gift Institute. An active worker for the Society since she first joined in 1970, her emphasis continues to be the practical applications of Theosophical principles.

Why are we so fascinated with near death experiences (NDEs)? Certainly they are a curiosity and something beyond normal experience, but it seems to be more than that. Out-of-body experiences, premonitions and other psychic experiences are numerous but they do not have the notoriety of the NDE. There are not so many best-selling books or lecture tours about the other types of phenomena. Death, however, does seem to get our attention since we are all headed in that direction. Moreover, although the NDE reports are so varied in detail that we cannot get a clear picture, the NDE does give important clues to the basic questions of life. Why am I here? What is my purpose? Am I condemned for past mistakes? Are my loved ones forever lost to me?

Read more: Death Brings Life into Focus

The Apostle Paul and Theosophy – Part two

Leslie Price – England

Second draft (November 5, 2012) of an October 24, 2012 talk to Camberley Theosophical Lodge.

Theosophy Apostle 4 Paul and Theosophy PART 2
The Apostle Paul painted by Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn, around 1630

In 1990, John Ashton, in his book The Religion of Paul the Apostle, made a thorough comparison of Paul’s experiences with those of shamanism. Here is an extract: “Paul’s reversal of all his values, his radical change of mind and heart, coincided with his call and conversion. It was at that very moment that he died to his old life and Christ began to live in him. What endured at that time was, though he nowhere describes it in this way, the equivalent of the shaman’s traumatic sense of being torn apart and reconstituted at the moment of his vocation. But Paul’s new spirit guide was different. Christ had attained his own new status, through an actual death and, so Paul believed, an actual rising from the dead” (p. 126).

Read more: The Apostle Paul and Theosophy – Part two

The Voice of the Silence 17 (verses 272-280)

John Algeo – USA

Theosophy The Voice 17 b
Silence

Verses 272-280

Verses 272 through 280 describe the final approach to and passage through the fifth and sixth gates. These are an interesting pair of gates — in some ways apparently contradictory, but actually they complement and supplement each other. The fifth gate is that of vīrya, meaning “strength, zeal, heroism,” an active and vigorous concept. The fifth gate corresponds with the principle of manas, the mind. The sixth gate is that of dhyāna, meaning “meditation,” a quiet and self-reflective process. The sixth gate corresponds with the principle of buddhi, the intellect or faculty that discriminates. They are respectively outgoing and inward looking: the warrior and the contemplative — one who spends life in fighting and one who spends it in prayer or meditation. Together they represent a balance, of precisely the kind one must have to pass through these two gates.

Read more: The Voice of the Silence 17 (verses 272-280)

Text Size

Paypal Donate Button Image

Subscribe to our newsletter

Email address
Confirm your email address

Who's Online

We have 528 guests and no members online

TS-Adyar website banner 150

Facebook

itc-tf-default

International Theosophy Conferences Inc.

TS Point Loma/Blavatsky House

Vidya Magazine

TheosophyWikiLogoRightPixels