Theosophy

Universal Brotherhood in Practice

Luke Michael Ironside – The Philippines

Theosophy U B P 2

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.” As the first objective upon which our Society was founded, we must consider this as the core work of our organisation in its relation to society and the issues of such – indeed, it is this object of Universal Brotherhood that is the foundation pillar of Theosophy in practice, as distinguished from mere metaphysics and theory.

What, though, is Universal Brotherhood, and how may we, as Theosophists, traverse beyond the realms of mere ideality to carry forth the flame of altruistic service to those of our brothers and sisters in society who are most in need? Simply stated, Universal Brotherhood refers to our spiritual interconnectedness. It is the principal focus of Theosophy for the reason that we are all related at a fundamental level. When we speak of the One Life, this is not merely a poetic phrase or symbol. It refers to the fact that we are all essentially that one same Life, as expressed in the diversity of form that constitutes our being. When this idea is properly understood, the relevance of Karma to our day-to-day lives becomes increasingly clearer. Because of our interconnectedness, every action (or lack thereof) has an effect on every other aspect of nature. Like a pebble, thrown into a body of water, our actions ripple out, beyond the spheres of our immediate influence. When considered at a deeper level, Universal Brotherhood may be understood as being at the heart of the Theosophical worldview, because of how practical it is to us in all aspects of our lives, not only as individuals, but also collectively, as humankind.

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Toward a Psychology of the Gunas

James Colbert – USA

Theosophy Three Gunas JC 2

The Mahabharata, considered to be over 5,000 years old, is an epic poem. Its expansive panorama, reportedly composed of over 100,000 verses, symbolizes the journey of the soul, as indeed do other great epics such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, the Gnostic Pistis Sophia, and the great Mesopotamian story of Gilgamesh, considered by some to be the world’s oldest epic.

Within the Mahabharata is the Bhagavadgitâ. The Gitâ is a book not only cherished by adherents of all of the major philosophical schools of India, but is widely popular and can be found in many of the hotel rooms in India, just as the Holy Bible is found in the hotels of the West. There are now at least 300 translations of the Gitâ from the ancient Sanskrit into English, starting with the first such translation by Sir Charles Wilkins in 1785. The Bhagavadgitâ is a dialogue between Krishna, the teacher, and Arjuna, the pupil. It symbolizes the dialogue within each of us. The word “Arjuna” means “one who makes sincere efforts”, and the word “Krishna” means “the center of consciousness”. (1)

The conflict starts with Arjuna laying down his weapons, as he does not want to kill those close to him. Arjuna’s emotional reaction to the dilemma opens the dialogue to psychological interpretation, with Arjuna being the client and Krishna the therapist. Within the Gitâ are descriptions of the gunas, which according to ancient Indian philosophy, are the qualities of the material of the universe. In other words, all matter and all existence is composed of three forms of energy at all levels – universal and psychological. They are named in Sanskrit: sattva (harmony); rajas (desire); tamas (stagnation).

Read more: Toward a Psychology of the Gunas

The Seven Jewels of Wisdom in the world religions

By the editors of Lucifer – the Netherlands

Theosophy The Seven 2 Jewels

[This is a reprint from Lucifer – the Messenger of Light, an original publication of I.S.I.S. Foundation, i.e. International Study-centre for Independent Search for truth. The editor is grateful for the permission given to make this important paper available for all readers of Theosophy Forward.]

Two paths (Amrita Yâna and Pratyeka Yâna)

The first five Jewels answer the question about the meaning of life. You have to get the most out of it. You need to develop all the aspects that have been involuted, in order that you return as a self-conscious man to the purity of the spiritual-divine world. Those first five Jewels are however inconclusive about the

motive. Why would you do this? Well, there are two possibilities. You’re either doing it to experience the bliss of the retreat into the spirit, or you are doing it to encourage others to progress on this Path.

In other words, you’re performing it for yourself or for all that lives. This is the background of the difficult verses from the final, the eighteenth, chapter of the Bhagavad-Gîtâ.

There a distinction is made between Sannyâsa and Tyâga. It is very difficult to translate this Sanskrit-words. Sannyasa you could translate as ‘renunciation’, in the sense that someone detaches himself from all worldly chains. Such a person just focuses himself on his spiritual nature. Tyaga means self-denial or renunciation. That might seem at first sight the same as Sannyasa, but there is a subtle distinction.

Read more: The Seven Jewels of Wisdom in the world religions

In the Light of Theosophy

 

Theosophy In the Light of Theosophy 2

[This article appeared in the October 2018 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link: http://www.ultindia.org/previous_issues.html ]

When you look at your reflection in the mirror, you are aware, who it is that is looking back at you. The sense of self is unmistakable. Self-awareness is one of the biggest mysteries of the mind. How did it arise, and what is it for? Besides human beings, there are a few animals, which recognize themselves in the mirror. Self-awareness may have evolved in the brightest animals with the biggest brains. If so, then it represents peak of mental complexity – the highest form of consciousness. However, though the ability to recognize oneself in a mirror is generally taken to be an indicator of self-awareness, that idea is being challenged. For instance, developmental psychologists argue that it does not necessarily reveal an awareness of self that extends beyond the here and now.

“Many psychologists and anthropologists hold that there is a hierarchy of consciousness that corresponds with increasing brain complexity.” Animals with simple nervous system and involved in raw sensory experiences, are considered to be at the base of the hierarchy. Few minds are sophisticated enough to experience the world differently – through an introspective lens, and even these may have a limited sense of self. “Only at the peak of mental complexity do we find minds able to construct a lifelong narrative of experiences centred around an abstract concept of ‘self’ – these are the elite. This difference in the size and complexity of the brains must have been based on the differing evolutionary demands that the animal has to meet in order to survive….There is one particular demand that seems to have led to the evolution of complex brains and could also have created the conditions for a sense of self to arise. That challenge is dealing with minds of others – be they prey, competitors or other members of your social group.” To achieve this, the brain needed to evolve from being simply a thing that experiences sensation to becoming their observer.

Self-awareness may be an apparently complex phenomenon that emerges from the brain. Mind can glean the echo of billions of neurons responding to each other with electrical signals. The signals flow along different set of connections, but some paths are well trodden. In humans, the predominant connections seem to be those used to contemplate the minds of others – the same connections used to contemplate ourselves. What emerges from this is a pattern that seems constant. To you, that is your sense of self. Thus, our brain conjures up the sense of self. Self-awareness is not the pinnacle of consciousness, it is just an accidental by-product of evolution, and a figment of our minds, writes Sofia Deleniv, a doctoral student at the University of Oxford. (New Scientist, September 8, 2018)

Read more: In the Light of Theosophy

Human Regeneration – part twenty-one

Radha Burnier – India

Theosophy HR 2 Radha Paris dans les annes 80 1 1

[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.] 

DISCUSSIONS

How do we view the literature of Besant and Leadbeater in the light of this modem and direct approach?

RB: The question should be: how do we view any literature in the light of regeneration? Why question only the literature of Besant and Leadbeater? If we simply accept what is in any literature, conform mentally, or repudiate immediately, it does not help. Either we become believers or, because we are believers in something else, we reject this particular literature. This approach might be wrong. If our concern is with truth, we should examine any of the literature with an open mind. Even if we understand something, we should not come to the conclusion that we have understood everything.

The Buddha said: Don't accept anything because it is tradition, it is in the scriptures, it is accepted in the society in which you live, don't accept even what I say. Enquire into it! He was pointing to something of extraordinary value from the point of view of that renewal or transformation we are talking about. Should that not be our attitude? In the little booklet on regeneration, that everybody has received, there is a beautiful quotation from Krishnamurti: ‘The beggar may be saying something which you miss, because you will not listen to him. And the guru may be saying something which is faulty.’ Because there may be gurus who are wise but who are not infallible, we miss what is good and we accept what may be fallacious.

The motto of the T.S. 'There is no Religion higher than Truth' is of primary importance in approaching any literature, teaching, or idea. Everything should be considered on its merits. We must not reject something out of prejudice, criticize as a matter of habit, condemn a person for ever because he made some mistakes, or put somebody else on a pedestal because we like to depend on an authority. That would not be wisdom on our part. When we do not understand, in regard to matters which we cannot decide, let us keep our judgement in suspense. Later on, we may know.

Read more: Human Regeneration – part twenty-one

A Legacy of Wisdom

Joy Mills – USA

THEOSOPHIA
A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XXV
No. 4 (118) - Spring 1969

Theosophy BdZ 2 Cover

[Original Cover photo: William Quan Judge, April 13, 1851 - March 21, 1896]

This lesser known article by Joy Mills appeared in Theosophia in the spring of 1969. Boris de Zirkoff was the initiator and editor-in-chief of this periodical.

Those whose lives have been touched in whatever manner by the theosophical philosophy have become heirs of a great tradition of an immortal wisdom. Knowledge of that tradition can be gained by study, by contemplation, even by discussion of the principles of the wisdom with others. But wisdom itself derives from a total knowing in which understanding is constantly expressed in all the modes of living. The legacy of wisdom to which we are heirs today is of such a nature that unless we are transformed by its vital quality, it can remain a sterile possession, locked in books and inaccessible to experience. A fundamental premise, presented in The Secret Doctrine, suggests the existence of an accumulated wisdom of the ages, today verifiable by experience and, capable of being tested by scientific premises. This knowledge, attested to by generations of seers and sages, can be said to constitute a pentagram of law, which finds its ultimate summation in man.

In the hands of its Guardians, who are the Adepts of the Wisdom, this knowledge is much more than a mere collection of doctrines; it is an evolving, living whole, as alive as the universe which is its visible expression. To assemble facts is not to encounter wisdom; to lay on a table all the component parts of a clock is not to experience the action of a watch nor is it to understand time. The legacy of wisdom to which we today are heirs is a total wisdom, each principle of which is but an aspect of the whole, and the whole is the expression of the all-embracing Consciousness that is the universe. As transmitted to us by that remarkable messenger, H. P. Blavatsky, the wisdom unfolds in a natural sequence of understanding, forming, as has just been suggested, a pentagram of law.

Primary among the principles is the fundamental premise that there is a Universal Reality, in which all is grounded, whose essence is Absolute Unconditioned Consciousness. The real is wholly non-material, as science today is discovering and demonstrating; Reality is, no matter what happens in the universal force field of infinite potentiality. We are embedded in that one Reality, and all transient “realities” obey the laws of the universal, impartible Reality. Its primal quality is awareness, consciousness (Chit), and so the universe is through and through conscious and alive; in and of itself, that Reality is timeless being (Sat), and its essential nature is harmonic in quality (Ananda), permitting by its very nature the beauty and bliss of order to arise in natural sequence.

Read more: A Legacy of Wisdom

Adepts in America

William Quan Judge -- USA 

Theosophy Adepts in America 2

William Q. Judge, one of the three principal founders of the TS

The great Theosophical Adepts in looking around the world for a mind through which they could produce in America the reaction which was then needed, found in England, Thomas Paine. In 1774 they influenced him, through the help of that worthy Brother Benjamin Franklin, to come to America. He came here and was the main instigator of the separation of the Colonies from the British Crown. At the suggestion of Washington, Franklin, Jefferson and other Freemasons, whose minds through the teachings of the symbolic degrees of masonry were fitted to reason correctly, and to reject theological conservation, he wrote “Common Sense,” which was the torch to the pile whose blaze burned away the bonds between England and America. For “Common Sense” he was often publicly thanked. George Washington wrote September 10th, 1783, to Paine: “I shall be exceedingly happy to see you. Your presence may remind Congress of your past services to this country, and if it is in my power to impress them, command my best exertions with freedom, as they will be rendered cheerfully by one who entertains a lively sense of the importance of your works.” And again in June 1784, in a letter to Madison, Washington says: “Can nothing be done in our assembly for poor Paine? Must the merits and services of "Common Sense" continue to glide down the stream of time unrewarded by this country? His writings certainly have had a powerful effect upon the public mind. Ought they not then to meet an adequate return?”

In the “Age of Reason” which he wrote in Paris several years after, Paine says: “I saw, or at least I thought I saw, a vast scene opening itself to the world in the affairs of America; and it appeared to me that unless the Americans changed the plan they were then pursuing and declared themselves independent, they would not only involve themselves in a multiplicity of new difficulties, but shut out the prospect that was then offering itself to mankind through their means.” Further on he says: “There are two distinct classes of thoughts; those produced by reflection, and those that bolt into the mind of their own accord. I have always made it a rule to treat these voluntary visitors with civility, and it is from them I have acquired all the knowledge that I have.”

Read more: Adepts in America

Address to new members

Tim Boyd – USA

Theosophy Tim Boyd 2

Tim Boyd speaking during the last held World Congress in Singapore

Photo © Richard Dvořák

I would like to welcome our new members and say that it is a pleasure to see young friends joining our Theosophical Society (TS). Those of you who associate themselves with it have their own thoughts about what it is that seems to resonate with you sufficiently for you to say: “This is something that I want to be a part of.” These are the things that you should not forget as you grow in your time and membership, study, and experience. At this beginning point everything is fresh and new, the motivating force is alive and you feel it. Like anything else, with time, sometimes you start to forget, and some of the aliveness of this moment car drop away.

The main thing that the theosophical effort relates to is a very deep quality of memory. If there is something that has moved inside of you which has brought you in this direction, it is some deeper power that you have gotten in touch with. Within each of us there is a life that is hidden. Because we have so many activities and so many demands it just gets covered over. At some point during our life we say: “Yes, I will yield to this thing that, like ‘The Hound of Heaven’ seems to always be pursuing me.”

What the TS offers, which is very different from other movements that I am aware of, is a complete view – the most grand context of who we are, what the nature of this Universe in which we reside is, and what the basic values for right behavior are. It also offers something that you will not find anywhere else, which is the freedom for you to arrive at your own conclusions and your own experiences.

There are certain things that are said and taught, but the most important among all of them is that we are participants in the One Life. If nothing else, focus on that. Where you see signals of unity, oneness, brotherhood, and cooperation in your own world, focus on it.

Read more: Address to new members

Service to Humanity

Barbara Hebert – USA

Theosophy BH 2

The author passionetaly lecturing at Olcott, Wheaton

All over the world, we continue to face serious issues socially, economically, ecologically, and spiritually, just to name a few. As students of the Ageless Wisdom, this should not surprise us. If we look at core Theosophical literature, we learn that our successive incarnations focus on spiritual evolution until the time arrives when we are self-consciously aware of the unity of all life. In order to spiritually evolve, we must experience periods of difficulty. Rarely, if ever, do human beings seem to learn from happy things that occur. Generally, we learn through adversity and difficulty. If we consider the Sanskrit scriptures of the Hindus, we read about the Kali Yuga, the period of time in which we are currently residing, that is typically referred to as the Dark Age. It is generally perceived as a time filled with strife, conflict, and war; a time when materialism is rampant and humanity as far from the spiritual as possible. Regardless of whether we adhere to the concept of the Kali Yuga, all we have to do is look at the world in which we live, and we recognize the struggles that abound.

While it is possible to go into great detail about the many serious issues faced by humanity--overpopulation, global water crisis, food insecurity, poverty, war, racism, global ecological crisis--and so on, we could quickly become caught up in the constant swirl of the tremendous adversities faced by so many. We know, from our studies of the Ageless Wisdom, that thoughts are energy. When we think a certain way, we send out that type of energy. Focusing on the many horrific things that are happening across the world seemingly sends negative energy into the world, thus allowing the negative to strengthen. Not focusing on the negative leaves us in a bit of a bind, however. If we are not aware of the inequities in our world, then we cannot work to make change. The question quickly becomes: How can I be part of the solution without focusing all of my energy on the problem? Focusing on understanding the source of the issues, rather than simply becoming frustrated by the symptoms of them, would perhaps be most helpful. For instance, if we concentrate on understanding the source or fundamental cause of food insecurity rather than becoming frustrated because we cannot find a way to feed the world, we may be able to address the root cause of food insecurity and thus impact and hopefully alleviate hunger in the world. In this way, we become a part of the solution.

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“O Weaver of Thy Freedom … “

Ali Ritsema – the Netherlands

Theosophy Ali 2

The Voice of the Silence (VofS), as passed on by H. P. Blavatsky (HPB), contains chosen fragments from The Book of the Golden Precepts and is intended for the daily use of lanoos (disciples). This Book of the Golden Precepts forms part of the same series as that from which the “Stanzas” of the Book of Dzyan were taken, on which The Secret Doctrine is based. VofS is “Dedicated to the Few”, according to HPB, originally meant for the few real mystics in the Theosophical Society.

Instructions are given in three Fragments: “The Voice of the Silence”, “The Two Paths” and “The Seven Portals”. The title of this article is quoted from the third Fragment, “The Seven Portals”, and has reference to the previous Fragment where the voice of the candidate is asking: “Shalt not thou, Master, of thine own Mercy, reveal the Doctrine of the Heart? Shalt thou refuse to lead thy servants unto the Path of Liberation?” (102)

And then the pupil is informed by the Teacher about the two Paths to Nirvâna.*

Read more: “O Weaver of Thy Freedom … “

The Seven Jewels of Wisdom in the world religions

By the editors of Lucifer – the Netherlands

Theosophy A 2

[This is a reprint from Lucifer – the Messenger of Light, an original publication of I.S.I.S. Foundation, i.e. International Study-centre for Independent Search for truth. The editor is grateful for the permission given to make this important paper available for all readers of Theosophy Forward.]

Evolution (Pravritti and Nivritti)

The fifth Jewel of Wisdom consists in Sanskrit of two words: pravritti and nivritti. Pravritti means ’to turn

around’, ‘to roll’ also ‘to unfurl’ or ‘to unfold’. Nivritti means the opposite, i.e.: to roll-back, ‘wrapping’ or ‘to involute. So, the concept of evolution is linked to involution. Hence, the unfolding and the wrapping take place simultaneously.

The idea is that life first descends into matter. It wraps itself in, in a manner of speaking. It involutes. At the deepest point of this ‘wrapping in’, which is the peak of the physical development, the process turns around and matter enwraps itself and life unfolds itself.

As a vision you can imagine: a being is located at the top of the hierarchy and descends, through various in-between phases, down into matter in order to gather experience and then it returns back to the spiritual level, enriched with the experience gained in the manifestation.

This grand process is the background of the huge Indian epic the Mahâbhârata, where the Bhagavad-Gîtâ takes a central place. In this epic the ups and downs of a royal family come to life. Initially one branch of the family rises to power. The blind King Dhritarashtra sits on the throne, but hands over the scepter to his son. The more noble branch of the family, the Pandavas, is exiled.

For one who actually understands the symbolism, it is clear what is described here. It is the wrapping of the spirit, which goes hand in hand with the development of the material side. Dhritarashtra is not depicted as being blind by coincidence. He represents matter or the physical body and his son, Duryodhana, and their family, the Kauravas, represent the materially oriented aspects of consciousness.

Half way through the Mahâbhârata, however, the Pandavas decide to claim their rightful place in the Kingdom. At this place in the great epic the Bhagavad-Gîtâ is situated. Arjuna, one of the Pandavas, receives tuition from Krishna, his teacher and symbol of the inner god.

Read more: The Seven Jewels of Wisdom in the world religions

What Are You Doing For Theosophy?

William Quan Judge – USA

THEOSOPHIA
A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XI
No. 4 (62) - Spring 1955

Theosophy BdZ 2 WQJ

[Original Cover photo: William Quan Judge, April 13, 1851 - March 21, 1896]

WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR THEOSOPHY? Exeter

[This is another article from the pen of William Quan Judge, written under a pseudonym, and originally published in The Path, New York, August, 1889.]

The field of Theosophic work is varied and extensive. How many members of the Society have given the subject of practical work in any department of theosophy their close attention? How many are sitting with their hands folded, reading theosophic publications, and wondering what is going to turn up next in the affairs of the Society, - how many are doing just this thing? What percentage of the members of the Society are making Universal Brotherhood a factor in their lives? There may be some who, because of surroundings and force of circumstances, are uncertain at which end of the road to alight from the train of interested passiveness. They keep moving along, and, while admiring the scenery from the car window, do not realize that a fine view may be had from the platform and a still more extensive from the hilltop over yonder.

Theosophists, or rather some members of the Theosophical Society, frequently bewail their lack of advancement in theosophic knowledge and say: "There is little I can do for myself; I make no progress; where is the help I expected? I do not receive that enlightenment in respect of spiritual things I so much desire and look for." The desire for enlightenment and progress is admirable in itself. But have you ever looked at the back of the picture, my fellow member of the Theosophical Society? So? You see nothing? Has it ever occurred to you that it is possible to paint a picture on both sides of the canvas? As fair a picture can be made on the rough back as is outlined on the other side. Do you see the application?

Read more: What Are You Doing For Theosophy?

In the Light of Theosophy

[This article appeared in the June 2018 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 b the Light of Theoeophy

The ancient Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi teaches us not to look for perfection in anything on a daily basis but learn to embrace life’s imperfections and its transient nature. This concept is an exact anti-thesis of the Western notion of beauty as something perfect, enduring and monumental. It seems people today are increasingly turning to wabi-sabi way of life, because set notions of perfection have mostly led them to psychic disorders. Life coach Farzana Suri says, “No one and nothing is perfect, and the faster we leave the notion of perfection behind, the lighter our minds and hearts would be. Instead embrace your flaws – be it broken tea-cup or cracked friendship.” There are those who believe that seeking perfection in everything limits our brain’s capacity to expand its horizon because perfection simply does not exist. Your definition of perfection may be different from another person’s understanding of it. Also, the problem with chasing perfection is that it leads to a permanent feeling of inadequacy.

In today’s world everything is made to appear perfect through technology. For instance, a perfect dress on the computer turns out in reality to be less than ordinary. People keep saying, “we are fine,” and project themselves as being perfectly happy, when things are actually falling apart. In today’s fast-paced, mass-produced, neon lighted world, wabi-sabi reminds us to slow down and take comfort in the simple natural beauty around us. “Imperfect is the perfect way to be,” says Nona Walia. (Times Life, Sunday Times of India, May 27, 2018)

Read more: In the Light of Theosophy

Human Regeneration – part twenty

Radha Burnier – India

Theosophy RB 2 Human Regeneration

[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.] 

DISCUSSIONS

In the way in which we approach theosophy now, it seems there is no more need for the study of classic theosophical works such as The Secret Doctrine, or the Letters of the Masters or for the use of Sanskrit words. Is this correct?

CB: We definitely need the early literature of the T.S. like The Secret Doctrine and The Mahatma Letters. The question is how t approach these books. There is one point to which attention was drawn by Blava6ky as recorded in the Bowen notes. She said that you do not come to The Secret Doctrine to get a complete picture of the universe. Then you will only become confused. The Secret Doctrine can only lead towards the truth. it does not provide a picture of the universe through the mind or intellect; it awakens something that is deep within us, a seed that grows and which we begin to feel from within when we look at life, our own life, life around us, the universe. That quality in the literature is very precious and we must not lose it.

GW: Each kind of literature has its place in one's development. And everyone cannot start with The Secret Doctrine. At first a person reads a lot, or he may start reading about spiritualism, and just get used to the idea that there is something more than the physical earth. Afterwards, the books of Leadbeater are very attractive because he describes the laws of nature in an easy way. When you have accepted that these laws work, you fry to investigate them. Then you may end up with Taimni who points out the path which leads to self-realization. In his Talks on At the Feet of the Master Leadbeater explains the same thing as Taimni does in Self-Culture. Then we are at the point of fundamental change. Although we may read a lot of literature, to have this fundamental change take place inside us is really difficult. This fundamental change is of a different quality at each level of development and for each person. A change like getting rid of your cigarettes is fundamental for a certain period, but five years later you may have other priorities. So it is a difficult way, and each time you are in a certain phase, you take a different kind of literature to motivate your own development.

Read more: Human Regeneration – part twenty

Methods Of Theosophical Work

William Q. Judge – USA

Theosophy Methods 2

The author

In my experience with the Theosophical Society I have noticed a disposition on the part of some members to often object to the methods of others or to their plans on the ground that they are unwise, or not suitable, or what not. These objections are not put in a spirit of discord, but more often arise merely from a want of knowledge of the working of the laws which govern our efforts.

H.P.B. always said following the rules laid down by high teachers – that no proposal for theosophical work should be rejected or opposed provided the proposer has the sincere motive of doing good to the movement and to his fellows. Of course that does not mean that distinctly bad or pernicious purposes are to be forwarded. Seldom, however, does a sincere theosophist propose such bad acts. But they often desire to begin some small work for the Society and are frequently opposed by those who think the juncture unfavorable or the thing itself unwise. These objections always have at bottom the assumption that there is only one certain method to be followed. One-man objects to the fact that a Branch holds open public meetings, another that it does not. Others think the Branch should be distinctly metaphysical, still more that it should be entirely ethical. Sometimes when a member who has not much capacity proposes an insignificant work in his own way, his fellows think it ought not to be done. But the true way is to bid good-speed to every sincere attempt to spread theosophy, even if you cannot agree with the method. As it is not your proposal, you are not concerned at all in the matter. You praise the desire to benefit; nature takes care of results.

Read more: Methods Of Theosophical Work

Sound and Tone

William Quan Judge – USA

Theosophy Sound and Tone 2

The word “tone” is derived from the Latin and Greek words meaning sound and tone. In the Greek the word ”tonos” means a “stretching” or “straining.” As to the character of the sound, the word “tone” is used to express all varieties, such as high, low, grave, acute, sweet, and harsh sounds. In music it gives the peculiar quality of the sound produced, and also distinguishes one instrument from another; as rich tone, reedy tone, and so on. In medicine, it designates the state of the body, but is there used more in the signification of strength and refers to strength or tension. It is not difficult to connect the use of the word in medicine with the divine resonance of which we spoke, because we may consider tension to be the vibration, or quantity of vibration, by which sound is apprehended by the ear; and if the whole system gradually goes down so that its tone is lowered without stoppage, the result will at last be dissolution for that collection of molecules.

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The Divine Seed

Tim Boyd USA & India

Theosophy TB 2

The author

Photo: © Richard Dvořák

I would like to consider some questions about the spiritual life, and life in general. One of the things that characterizes the life and direction of anyone who takes on a genuine spiritual practice, is that it necessarily puts one in touch with big questions. The smaller things never do go away, but somehow it seems that the larger ones include the smaller details of life. The kind of big issues that we keep coming back to again and again, are those such as the injunction of the Oracle at Delphi: “Know Thyself.”

In our theosophical approach we think in terms of self-knowledge, self-transformation, or self-awareness, but in some sense it all comes back to the seminal question of “Who am I?” In part, the reintroduction of Theosophy was to provide deeper avenues to explore these kinds of questions.

In The Maha Chohan's Letter we find that the two debilitating states of mind that had come to characterize human consciousness were aptly described. In one case, it was “brutal materialism”, and the force that was in the vanguard of rooting that approach in the minds of humanity was science, or more correctly, scientism. The other condition of human thinking that Theosophy was intended to address was what was described as “degrading superstition”, or the rein over the minds of humanity of a dead-letter religiosity. These are the two trends that Theosophy has had to address.

Read more: The Divine Seed

Regeneration: Personal and Spiritual

Barbara Hebert – USA

Theosophy BH 2

Many different flowers at the Keukenhof, Lisse, the Netherlands *

Have you ever wondered why the perennial wisdom has been shared with us so publicly? For eons, this information has been shared with only a few individuals in a very private manner. Breaking with this ages-old tradition, a portion of this life-changing teaching has been shared publicly with the Theosophical Society as its emissary. One of the primary reasons is so that humanity, as a whole, may learn, grow, and transform. Transformation or Regeneration is the primary work of the Theosophical Society and therefore of us as Theosophists. But, it is essential that we consider what this really means...regeneration, transformation, the re-creation of ourselves and therefore of humanity.

Sri Ram, former international president of the Theosophical Society writes “The Masters of the Wisdom, who aid evolution, although They are interested in all changes that make for human progress, are especially concerned with the spiritual regeneration of mankind, which is of fundamental importance. Because, when that takes place, all else follows….What the Masters want...is this regeneration, beginning with ourselves.”  Some years later, Radha Burnier, also a former international president of the Theosophical Society says, I cannot sum up the purpose of the Society better than by using the words: “Human Regeneration,” the inner revolution which cleanses the mind….” “The subject of human regeneration is very important because a truly momentous change in the history of humanity will occur only when there is a revolutionary change in the human being. Probably a sufficient number of human beings must change to bring about a radical change in the course of human history. Therefore, it is important to explore this question.”  

My guess is that all of us would agree that humanity’s path, as it looks today, requires a radical change.  Krishnamurti writes, “To transform the world, we must begin with ourselves; and what is important in beginning with ourselves is the intention. The intention must be to understand ourselves and not to leave it to others to transform themselves or to bring about a modified change through revolution, either of the left or of the right. It is important to understand that this is our responsibility, yours and mine...”

Read more: Regeneration: Personal and Spiritual

In the Light of Theosophy

[This article appeared in the April 2018 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 2 the Light of Theosophy

Looking into the Future?

What if the future was revealed? “If we knew what the future holds, we would either take steps to fight against it, or become lax and give up all effort,” writes Vinita Nangia, and goes on to cite several examples. Often marriages break over extra-marital affairs, and then it is too late when the guilty party, husband or wife, knows what they stand to lose as a result, and feel that had they known the consequences, perhaps they would never have entered into the affair. Can we change the future by taking action to counter it in the present? Is there an advantage in knowing what the future holds?

If we know what lies ahead, we are forced to acknowledge and take action. Unaware of the future, we are absolved of the consequences too. Those who believe in it find succor in blaming destiny for problems in their lives. If we knew in advance how things are going to end up, could we change the destiny? For instance, a person who knows that he or she will be killed in a car accident on a particular day may decide not to step out that day. A couple who knows that their marriage will end in two years may not tie the knot at all. Life would be one long preparation and we humans would never let the future play out as it is meant to. On the other hand, those who expect a happy future may become lax. Then, again, when a man and a woman in an affair know that they will not get caught, might be encouraged to take greater risks. Since they have changed the variables, or the parameters of the situation, would they get caught, or not?

Read more: In the Light of Theosophy

Human Regeneration – part nineteen

Radha Burnier – India

Theosophy HR RB 2 Human Regeneraton Brazil1974

From the private collection of Ananya Sri Ram Rajan. Radha Burnier in Brazil, 1974

[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.] 

Our Approach to Theosophy - What is Theosophy?

GW: It is the art of living.

RB: That is a very good and brief description. The word ‘art’ conveys the idea of beauty harmony, sense of proportion – many things.

HG: In my lodge the consensus was that it is a belief in the oneness of all life.

LR: Perhaps it is divine and human cooperation, or spiritual and human cooperation.

Read more: Human Regeneration – part nineteen

THEOSOPHIA A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Boris de Zirkoff’s talk on Inner Awareness, edited by Hector Tate

THEOSOPHIA
A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Tribute Issue - Summer 1981

Theosophy BdZ 2

Original Cover of Theosophia

[This unique piece appeared in the Tribute issue of Theosophia, after Boris had passed away on March 4, 1981]

Those of us who were fortunate to have had the experience of knowing Boris as a friend and a teacher, will forever remember him affectionately for his friendship and legacy in making H.P.B.’s writings accessible to us. Most of us who had contact with Boris, and those students who knew him only through the Collected Writings, have only a vague awareness of the magnitude of Boris de Zirkoff’s life-long commitment. However with the passage of time, dear fellow-students, we can take solace in the fact that the influence of his effort, caring and dedication will touch the yet unborn generations of truth-seekers.

Read more: THEOSOPHIA A Living Philosophy For Humanity

The Greatest of all Wars

B.P, Wadia – India

Theosophy B. P

The author

All family feuds, all class struggles, all national wars, all religious crusades are but reflected ramifications of the eternal strife between the higher and the lower selves of man. For the student of Occultism, one of the earliest lessons to be acquired is a realization of the fact that battles in the outside world are but shadowy replicas of those which are fought within ourselves. The meaning and import of wars, small and great, will ever be missed as long as this great truth is not perceived. International wars would not precipitate themselves if class struggles, creed hatreds, caste prejudices, did not exist in nations; competition between youth and age, man and woman, would not take place in a society if family relations of the right order and kind subsisted; and thus, we reach the individual who is at war with his neighbors and next of kin because his hands war against his head, or his mind against his heart, or his pride against his principles.

A struggle between our material and spiritual selves is constantly going on. Students of Theosophy learn of the nature of this struggle, and the thoughtful among them acquire the knowledge of the relative strength of the combatants and their respective sources of recruitment and recuperation while the battle lasts. We all know that the triumph of Spirit over Matter, of Wisdom over Nescience, of Love over Hate must ultimately be ; but this theoretical understanding is of little avail while hatred is consuming love, is fanning the fire of lust in our own nature.

Not only is there a constant struggle going on within us, but we are recommended to maintain it till victory is won, till Wisdom-Light streams forth from our hearts, dispelling the darkness of ignorance, till Love radiates its justice and bliss from our minds, revealing the order in the midst of chaos. An enlightened heart, a compassionate head are the marks of the Spirit-Man, higher, greater and nobler than the good man of intelligent mind and sympathetic heart. It is necessary to make this distinction between the good man and the spiritual man. As earnest appliers of Theosophic teachings we have left the life of actual vice behind us and we distinguish between it and the higher life. We are, however, apt to mistake the life of negative goodness for the life of the spirit. "It is not enough that you should set the example of a pure, virtuous life and a tolerant spirit; this is but negative goodness and for chelaship will never do," wrote a Master once. Other and higher than negative goodness is positive spirituality.

Read more: The Greatest of all Wars

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