Theosophy

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)

Human Regeneration – part eight

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 part 8 RB 2
Radha Burnier in a typical pose talking to members in India

T.S. Work and the Fundamental Change in Man and Society

DISCUSSIONS

RB: The purpose of organizing these two seminars here is a practical one; we hope that as a result of the discussions we will all have a clearer idea about the work of the Society. There are representatives here from many countries in Europe and also from other continents. In many parts of the world there are sections, lodges and groups of the T.S.; some of them lack clarity about the aims of the Society and the universal brotherhood without distinctions which is our aim. Many here hold responsible offices in the sections and we must be clear about the thrust the T.S. should give to human thinking, understanding, and perspectives. If we are, it may dynamize the Society. That is what we hope. If we are not, vague activities may go on in the different branches without really promoting the work of the Society.

But the central purpose of the Society must be fulfilled by all the different units of the Society. So we hope that these discussions will bring about a clear understanding of the subjects chosen for the different days, and that we can take back to our countries and areas a new comprehension of what needs to be done.

Read more: Human Regeneration – part eight

Why the “Vahan”?

H. P. Blavatsky

[The Vahan 1.1 (December 1, 1890): 1-3; here from CollectedWritings 12 (1890): 417-419]

Vahana (Sanskrit: Vāhana, literally “that which carries, that which pulls”) denotes the being, typically an animal or mythical entity, a particular Hindu deity is said to use as a vehicle. In this capacity, the vahana is often called the deity’s “mount.”

Theosophy Why 2

Because the word means a Vehicle. In Theo- sophical metaphysics, this term denotes a basis, something as a bearer, more substantial than that which it bears; e.g., Buddhi, the spiritual Soul, is the Vahan of Atma—the purely immaterial “principle.” Or again, as in physiology, our brain is the supposed physical vehicle or Vahan of super-physical thought.

Read more: Why the “Vahan”?

The Sun a Beating Heart

Boris de Zirkoff – USA

Theosophy Boris de Zirkoff 2 Theosophia 37 02
[Original cover photo of Theosophia, California Redwoods]

The Sun is the vital focus of the Solar System. From it issue all the streams of energy and power which keep its entire kingdom alive and provide the forces necessary for its evolution.

In the present year, we are experiencing a maximum of the 11-12-year-cycle of sun-spot activity and some of the ancient occult teachings connected with the nature of the Sun suggest themselves for careful consideration. Astronomers of today have discovered much that was mere speculation a few years ago, but are still unable to throw aside limited materialistic ideas involved in their studies and enter boldly into the sphere of occult thought.

Read more: The Sun a Beating Heart

Learning from within

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 Learning from within 2

Abraham Lincoln said that education is the most important subject we as a people can be engaged in. ”Education” is related to the root educare, which means “to lead or draw forth”, or “to develop from a latent condition.” “Theosophy” comes from Theosophia (theos – god, Sophos – “wise”) and may be understood as “Divine Wisdom” or “Wisdom Religion.” What kind of education would be Theosophical? What is true learning?

Read more: Learning from within

In The Light Of Theosophy - Alcohol

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

Theosophy In the Light of Theosophy 2

What is it about alcohol which makes people reach out to it and over-indulge so as to lose any kind of logic or sanity? Liquor played a primary role in two tragedies that occurred recently – one being the case of drunken driving, and the other involved death of 102 people belonging to poor families in a slum area after consuming illicit liquor. Alcohol plays insidious tricks on human brain chemistry. Alcohol has paradoxical effects on the brain, as it works as both depressant and stimulant of the central nervous system. Drinking alcohol is considered a “pick-me-up” experience, as when alcohol is consumed in even small quantities it affects the areas involved in inhibiting behaviors, which can cause an increase in animation, in talkativeness, and greater sociability. Alcohol directly affects brain chemistry by altering levels of neurotransmitters emitted by brain. Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers that transmit the signals throughout the body, which control thought processes, behavior and emotion. For instance, alcohol suppresses the release of glutamate, an “excitatory” neurotransmitter, slowing down brain activity and energy levels. On the other hand, alcohol increases the “inhibitory” neurotransmitter GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid), which reduces energy and slows down your thought, speech and movement. Factors like how much and how fast a person drinks, and whether drugs such as marijuana have been taken will determine exactly how much brain activity slows down.

Read more: In The Light Of Theosophy - Alcohol

Impressions ITC 2015 Alice Bouwland

Title:

Impressions ITC 2015

Alice Bouwland – the Netherlands

See you next year in Santa Barbara!

Theosophy ITC 2 Alice Bouwland
Alice Bouwland is the lady with the wonderful smile on the right (front)

Dear reader: sit down in an easy chair, relax for a while, take a few deep breaths and then imagine.

It is summertime; the sun is shining while a gentle breeze is cooling the Dutch summer heat cheerfully. You arrive by train in a city called The Hague. You start walking and looking around. Within a mile or so you pass by highly interesting examples of modern architecture, houses of parliament, the future palace of the king, three or four museums with pictures of the Golden Age of the country, the famous Peace Palace and last but not least many cozy streets packed with cafes and terraces, restaurants, bookshops and especially art-shops. Imagine … this is real!

Read more: Impressions ITC 2015 Alice Bouwland

Impressions ITC 2015 Jim Colbert

Jim Colbert – USA

Report from a participant in the 2015 August Conference of ITC

Theosophy ITC 4 Jim Colbert
Jim Colbert (r) attentively listening to Joop Smits

It’s fun to watch the Dutch on their bicycles. They go very fast. Everybody, young, old, look like they know where they are going, and the best way to get there. I suppose this is true throughout Europe, but I was in the Netherlands for the International Theosophy Conference.

The setting was a hotel – the Carlton Ambassador Hotel, with meals, rooms, and meeting facilities. It was pleasant, efficient, and well organized. Although important for comfort, it was not the setting that made the trip. It was the incredible warmth, graciousness, and love coming from the Theosophists attending.

Read more: Impressions ITC 2015 Jim Colbert

Impressions ITC 2015 Carolyn Dorrance

Carolyn Dorrance – USA

Perspectives and Memories of the ITC Conference, 2015

Theosophy ITC 6 Carolyn Dorrance
Carolyn Dorrance, closely involved in organising ITC 2016 in Santa Barbara-California

If sitting quietly while listening to clear explanations of Theosophical teachings is a valued priority, then attending an ITC conference is a welcome experience. Such was the opportunity offered at this year’s ITC conference held in The Hague. Well organized and clearly focused on the theme of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky: ThroughDifferent Eyes with One Heart, the conference provided an authentic learning experience for students of Theosophy. Remarkable were the excellent synthetic talks that combined metaphysical foundations with practical obligations. Inspirational were the affirmations of the universality and boundless duration of the Theosophical movement. Inviting were the explorations of the occult dimensions of Theosophy. Hopeful were the talks on a vision of Theosophical ideas offering guidance for centuries to come. While unity was one important purpose of the conference, diversity was recognized. Representatives from the different “branches” of the mighty tree of the Theosophical teaching asked and responded to questions about how to study and teach Theosophy effectively now and into the future. One learned that unity among Theosophists was more obvious than diversity. The understanding of the mission of H.P.B. and what she taught was indeed shared.

Read more: Impressions ITC 2015 Carolyn Dorrance

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