Theosophy

My Talk with the Dalai Lama

Raghavan Iyer – USA

[Printed in the pamphlet: LONDON, EAST AND WEST LTD., lecture given in London, 1961.]

I must warn you at the very outset that I propose to speak to you this afternoon not as former President of the Oxford Union, nor as an Oxford don. I want to abdicate this role and speak to you as a seeker and a pilgrim, because that was the way in which I went to the Dalai Lama. That is the only justification for my trying to tell you what he said to me during that memorable and moving interview which he graciously granted me last March, exactly a year after his exile from Tibet into India. I feel that I must share with you my recollections of what he said to me, particularly in view of his own feeling about this country. He regarded England as a force for good in the world of today, as playing a most unique role in the West. He said that London was the spiritual and ethical centre of Europe and when I asked him whether this meant that many wise souls had begun to take incarnation in this country, he assented. He also stated that even the Government in this country was more aware of the position of Tibet than perhaps in any other country of the West. I feel, therefore, that I ought to tell a sympathetic audience of this sort, as faithfully as I can recall it, what the Dalai Lama said to me in answer to a number of questions that I put to him.

Read more: My Talk with the Dalai Lama

Universality and Sectarianism

Raghavan Iyer – USA

[October 8, 1971, Presidential Address - North American Theosophical Convention, Toronto. Published in Hermes, June 1976.]

Adepts, Mahatmas, and Universal Beings are not here to consolidate anyone's pet ideas, pet likes and dislikes, but watch over those who can appreciate and enjoy what is involved in the gait of a noble elephant, who will accept it like children, who will cling to nothing. Yet many people, because of fears that are understandable enough, want to save something and therefore there is sectarianism. Coleridge put the problem very well in regard to Christianity, but it is true equally in regard to Theosophy. He who loves Christianity more than every other religion will love his own sect more than every other sect, and in the end love himself best of all. There is a logical and psychological connection between egocentricity and claims on behalf of the uniqueness of institutions or of formulations. This much is by now clear in relation to each other's orthodoxies and isms, and every man is desperately wanting to get out of the problem within himself in some way. But there is no technique. Authentic solutions involve a redefinition of self, a breakthrough – from the realm of kama manas, the psychic self, with its elaborate and boring history of likes and dislikes, fears and personal memories – to the sphere of the noetic with its golden moments of freedom of awareness, which every human soul has and which may be threaded together on a single strand.

Read more: Universality and Sectarianism

The Politics of the Future

Raghavan Iyer – USA

[From Parapolitics].

Who cares for the fraternity of mankind? If some enlightened beings had not cared for the extension of freedom and had not shown the spirit of fraternity, there would have been no extension of liberty since the eighteenth century. All such extensions of political liberty re-enact parapolitical teachings and movements toward mental, psychological, and spiritual freedom. If some men had not been willing to meet the costs of commitment to extending opportunities to others, the process of equalization would never have begun.

Those few who had enough did much for many who had little. A few men worked for the freedom of women; a few who belonged to the ruling nations worked for the freedom of the ruled; a few members of the upper classes, aristocrats or anarchists, worked for the freedom of the very poor. Those who so labored were truly aristocratic in spirit, full of an inner confidence beyond the meanness and narrowness of the bourgeoisie. They appreciated the absurdity of external tokens. The wisest always recognized that Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité were sacred, but also saw that while their politicization and secularization in the realm of human limitations was necessary, it was liable to be costly and that many would come to be enormously disappointed with the resulting political infrastructure. That is exactly the point we have reached. We must recover the elements of transcendence in every notion so that we can see beyond “isms,” institutions, rules and roles, and especially see beyond the passing panorama of shifting shadows on the wall of the Cave.

Read more: The Politics of the Future

Self-Redemption

Raghavan Iyer – USA

[From The Jewel in the Lotus, edited by Raghavan Iyer].

Spiritual Teachers always point upwards for each and every man and woman alive, not for just a few. They work not only in the visible realm for those immediately before them, but, as John reminds us, they come from above and work for all. They continually think of and love every being that lives and breathes, mirroring "the One that breathes breathless" in ceaseless contemplation, overbrooding the Golden Egg of the universe, the Hiranyagarbha. Such beautiful ideas enshrined in magnificent myths are provocative to the ratiocinative mind and suggestive to the latent divine discernment of Buddhic intuition. The only way anyone can come closer to the Father in Heaven let alone come closer to Him on earth Who is as He is in Heaven – is by that light to which John refers in the first chapter of the Gospel.

Read more: Self-Redemption

Gleanings from the Aquarian Articles in Hermes

Raghavan Iyer – USA

Commencing on June 19, 1902, and having completed its first degree, the Aquarian Age has already brought about an unprecedented heightening of self-consciousness, and it holds a tremendous potential for the future. Something of the fundamental significance of the Aquarian Age can be glimpsed by recollecting that the year 1902 was not unconnected with the increasing concern to fly in the air.

“The Aquarian Elixir” Hermes, September 1982

When probing the meaning and significance of the Aquarian Age or any of the major and minor cycles of human evolution, it is helpful to retain a sense of mystery as well as an undaunted resolve to sift essential insights gleaned through an alert Manasic intelligence, whilst shedding vested illusions. The potential mystery pervading the present epoch is archetypally represented by soma, and the formative forces of the emerging cosmopolis may be glimpsed through contemplating the zodiacal transition from the Piscean to the Aquarian Age. Soma is the arcane symbol of initiation. The zodiacal ages indicate the alchemical transmutation of the meta-psychological elements underlying formative change. If initiation is to be understood as individuation through the universalization of consciousness, it must also be retained intact with increasing continuity of consciousness through the etherialization and specialization of the vestures needed for effective incarnation.

“The Aquarian Elixir” Hermes, September 1982

Harmony is the central idea in Aquarian thought. Compassionate sacrifice and intelligent suffering are the necessary means to an understanding of harmony; their eventual fruition is noetic self-knowledge. Spiritual growth is epitomized by the image of the silent, ceaseless construction of the Temple of Truth, precipitated in its crystalline splendour by meditative action out of the Akashic waters of life. True spiritual will, the conscious direction of energy by intelligent ideation and self-conscious volition, is the supreme criterion and sovereign talisman of Aquarian humanity. Opposed to this vision are the irrational and involuntary forces of blind desire, the persistent and obscuring veil cast over human perception and action through lives of thoughtless involvement with the grosser fields of material nature. Aquarians can readily grasp this problem, but they are few and far between. The therapeutic Aquarian standpoint depends upon a fundamental appreciation, through meditation, of the metaphysical structure of all reality and Nature, of God and Man.

“Aquarian Harmony” Hermes, October 1983

Read more: Gleanings from the Aquarian Articles in Hermes

Human Regeneration – part twenty-two

Radha Burnier – India


Rare photo of Radha (in the snow) in Christchurch, New Zealand June 1979

[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.]

INDIVIDIAL AND GROUP WORK FOR REGENERATION

Can a lodge regenerate as a group?

RB: No group can become regenerated as a group because transformation has to take place within each individual, in its own way, at its own pace. But lodge activities can help individuals who come to it to realize the necessity for regeneration, clarify what it means, and what way of life should be adopted. These are questions which can be discussed by members in the lodge.

Read more: Human Regeneration – part twenty-two

In the Light of Theosophy

Minimalism

[This article appeared in the February 2019 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link: http://www.ultindia.org/previous_issues.html ]

There are multiple aspects to the concept of Minimalism. Traditionally, we resort to periodical cleaning and decluttering of our houses of unwanted objects, and such a practice does help to clear up our minds also, to a certain extent. But then we clutter our minds by collecting ideas, by borrowing concepts from the books we read, and by seeking new experiences by travelling, and so on. We are “bound” when we seek objects or experiences, and of late our focus has shifted from seeking objects to seeking experiences. Also, such pursuits fail to produce a sense of fulfilment. We may come to a stage where we stop seeking objects and start seeking knowledge. Then we may buy a lot of books and clutter our minds with borrowed ideas and concepts. Our entire life would not be sufficient to even turn the pages of the books available these days. We have to learn to rely on our own experiential insight.

Read more: In the Light of Theosophy

Voice of the Heart

Damodar Mavalankar – India


Damodar Mavalankar

Last night just as I was about to go to rest, the voice of Kunala called me from outside and there I went at once. Looking steadily at me he said: “we want to see you,” and as he spoke he gradually changed, or disappeared, or was absorbed, into the form of another man with awe-inspiring face and eyes, whose form apparently rose up from the material of Kunala's body. At the same moment two others stood there also, dressed in the Tibetan costume; and one of them went into my room from which I had emerged. After saluting them reverently, and not knowing their object, I said to the greatest, “Have you any orders to give?”

“If there are any they will be told to you without being asked,” he replied, “stand still where you are.”

Read more: Voice of the Heart

The Imperative Need of Ethics

Boris de Zirkoff – USA

[Editor’s note: written in 1950]

THEOSOPHIA
A Living Philosophy For Humanity
Volume VII
No. 1 (37) - May-June 1950


[Original cover photo: Valley of the Indus River, Below Tarkati, in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir State, India. (Photo by Vittorio Sella, Biella, Italy.)]

As we pass the seventy-fifth milestone of the modern Theosophical Movement, many thoughts come up for consideration, and many ideas suggest themselves.

We see today an entirely different world from the one which was familiar at the time when H.P.B. laid down the age-old principles of the Ancient Wisdom in terms adequate to the present age.

Read more: The Imperative Need of Ethics

Seven Jewels in Plato and Taoism

By the editors of Lucifer – the Netherlands



[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.]

One does not only find the seven Jewels of Wisdom in the four religions that were discussed here:Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, but in all great philosophical and religious systems. Here follow some indications in relation to Plato and Taoism for the student who wants to do further research.

Read more: Seven Jewels in Plato and Taoism

The Clarity of Coincidence

Tim Boyd – India, USA

Theosophy TB 2

The author

One of the consistent experiences of people who have had a near death experience (NDE) is the life review where in one form or another the important actions and pattern of a lifetime are made clear. During the review it is often the case that what in one's ordinary life had appeared meaningless or insignificant, is shown to be vitally important. Frequently this review of the events of an entire lifetime takes place in a few seconds of “real time”. The immediate aftereffect of this experience is commonly a sense of purpose and direction. This extraordinary capacity for a vision which sees the whole and unerringly illumines with the light of a wholistic understanding is one expression of the spiritual intuition – in theosophical terminology, Buddhi. While this expansive and illuminating intuition is an ever present potential for us, in our normal lives it seems inaccessible, or at best, sporadic.

Certainly the drama and intense clarity of the NDE review will not be the norm for many of us, but our access to intuitive insight is perhaps more common than we acknowledge. It has a way of appearing in unsought moments and subtle ways. Probably the usual way people access this part of themselves is in those moments of gratitude, absorption, or admiration - of the colors of Fall, a sunset, watching a baby take its first steps - or in moments of crisis, or even despair, those times when we momentarily stop recycling our list of worries, wants, and frustrations, allowing the blinding constraints of self-centeredness to briefly slip away. In those moments what is unveiled is a very pure vision – a dimension of the illumined mind (manas taijasi) – an inherent quality of the mind that knows without knowing why, unobstructed by the noise and activity of our usual personal emotion and thought.

When we look closely we can sometimes become aware of a mysterious pattern in our lives. Intuitions, synchronicities, promptings – the many forms for the whisperings of the inner self – seem to mark our lives, revealing a web of connection with a greater life. In recent days I have found myself thinking about a time when the workings of this unconscious knowledge subtly, but profoundly affected my own life.

Read more: The Clarity of Coincidence

Death and Lessons to Learn

 Barbara Hebert - USA

 

Theosophy BH 2

What does death mean to us as Seekers for the Ageless Wisdom? It can mean many things, but it impacts each and every one of us. We will all die. The physical body deteriorates and eventually quits working. Many of us believe that when the physical body dies, consciousness continues in some way.

The continuation of consciousness is found in almost all of the theosophical literature, but science has yet to prove that consciousness survives after the death of the physical body. While many scientists and researchers continue to explore the idea of consciousness beyond the physical body, there is one hypothesis that is particularly interesting. It is that of Dr. Jim Tucker who took over the work of Dr. Ian Stevenson upon his retirement in 2002. Dr. Tucker is a board certified child psychiatrist and is the Bonner-Lowry Profession of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia. He is the Director of the UVA Division of Perceptual Studies. Dr. Tucker works with children who report memories of past lives as did Dr. Stevenson.

Dr. Tucker’s hypothesis focuses on a rationale explaining how reincarnation can be possible, that inevitably includes a discussion regarding the endurance of consciousness beyond physical death. He bases his hypothesis on quantum mechanics. According to some quantum theorists, events involving the smallest particles in the universe (protons and electrons) only occur when they are being observed. This suggests the possibility that the material world does not create consciousness, but rather that consciousness creates the material world. This was the belief of Max Planck, known as the father of quantum mechanics. It makes sense then, that if consciousness creates the material world, it does not need the material world in order to exist; that is, consciousness exists outside of this material realm of existence. Hence, consciousness does not require a physical brain in order to exist. Dr. Tucker’s hypothesis explains that if consciousness does not require a physical brain, then it can continue after the brain stops working (http://uvamagazine.org/articles/the_science_of_reincarnation).

Read more: Death and Lessons to Learn

Ted G. Davy – A Tribute

We remember Ted G. Davy (1926 – 2017)

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil (compiler)

In previous issues of Theosophy Forward we’ve honored Theosophists such as Dr. Richard Brooks, Ianthe Hoskins, Einar Adalsteinsson, Shirley Nicholson, Paul Zwollo, Dora van Gelder-Kunz, John H. Drais, Dara Eklund, Geoffrey Farthing, Sylvia Cranston, Danielle Audoin and Victor Peñaranda.

In this issue we will remember Ted G. Davy from Canada. I never met Ted, and had only occasionally heard of him. Compiling a TRIBUTE is always a challenge and rewarding, so also this particular edition. It is truly amazing to discover how many fine and dedicated folks were active in the Theosophical movement and to learn about the invaluable legacy they left us. Ted G. Davy must have been a remarkably gifted man, a sincere seeker and profound student. Let’s proceed and find out more about him, celebrating his life.

Tribute B Ted G Davy

Ted G. Davy

Ted Davy was General Secretary of The Theosophical Society in Canada from 1968-1986 and, together with his wife Doris, co-edited The Canadian Theosophist from 1961 to 1992.

Mr. Davy was born in England on September 6, 1926. He was a young evacuee who was brought to Canada in September 1940 under the threats that the Germans would bomb and invade England during World War II. In Canada, while living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Ted joined the Norwegian Merchant Navy when he was sixteen, and later the British Merchant Navy. He spent his early years as a sailor after the war. His experience on ships taught him a disciplined way of life

Read more: Ted G. Davy – A Tribute

Birth of the Theosophical Society in Canada

 Ted G. Davy – Canada

Tribute I

Lavender, Ted’s favorite flower

The following is adapted from a chapter of a forthcoming history of the Theosophical Society in Canada) In 1906 a Toronto T.S. member, Nathaniel W.J. Haydon, wrote to the Editor of the Occult Review (a magazine published in London, England, covering a wide spectrum of “occult” interests:

“I should be much obliged if you would acquaint your numerous readers with the fact that the members of the Theosophical Society who reside in Canada hope to celebrate Mrs. Besant’s visit to the Dominion in 1907 by the inauguration of a Canadian Section. At present they are represented by branches at Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria, and by centres at Hamilton and Winnipeg; there are also a few members at large.” (1)

Mrs. Besant’s 1907 visit came and went but another twelve years passed before Haydon’s dream became a reality. If not the first, however, his must have been one of the earliest expressions of interest in forming a Canadian Theosophical Society separate from that in the U.S.A. At the time, and indeed from the 1880s, Canadians wishing to join the Theosophical Society (Adyar) did so as members of the American Section. During this period Canadian and American T.S. branches alike were administered from the American headquarters, which in 1912 were moved from Chicago, Illinois to Hollywood, California. There, the T.S. estate was named Krotona, and soon the headquarters were known by that name alone.

Although Canadian Theosophists have long stressed the importance of autonomy, there was never what could be remotely described as a “struggle for independence.” In 1920, the first Canadian T.S. General Secretary, Albert E.S. Smythe, recalled:

“On many occasions in the past twenty years the formation of a Canadian Section of the Theosophical Society has been discussed. Several times when it was brought before the Toronto Theosophical Society the proposal was negatived on the ground that the distances were too great to hold conventions and the forces available too slender to surmount the obstacles.” (2)

Read more: Birth of the Theosophical Society in Canada

Occult Astronomy

 Ted G. Davy – Canada

Tribute K

Roses, Ted’s wife Doris loves them

New data supports a Blavatsky assertion over a century old.

Modem science is our best ally,” wrote Mahatma K.H. in 1882. But he was quick to add, “Yet it is generally that same science which is made the weapon to break our heads with.” – (The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, p. 63.)

Friend or foe? Or friend and foe ? The anomaly remains to this day. Science knows little of Theosophy, and on principle would not recognize it as an acceptable source of knowledge. On the other hand, Theosophical study includes science as one of its main components. The index to The Secret Doctrine confirms this, if confirmation is called for; and of course the Theosophical Society’s second object explicitly encourages the study of science.

Surveying the past hundred years, a case could be made that these two schools of thought are closer now than ever before, closer, yes, but not that close. There is still a wide gap between the two, and there is a fundamental reason why.

In general, it has to be acknowledged that the majority of the differences between Theosophy and Science will never be resolved while their objects and methods are so basically different. Science depends exclusively on the inductive course of reasoning, i.e., proceeding from particulars to universals. Theosophy also employs this system, but complements it with the deductive mode, siding with Plato in his insistence on proceeding from universals to particulars. Then again, Science limits its field of observation to the physical plane only; Theosophy takes in all planes from matter to spirit. Until Science is liberalized, the two will remain distant from each other.

Read more: Occult Astronomy

Secret Teachings

 Ted G. Davy – Canada

Tribute M

Lavender, Ted’s favorite ... the flower stands for purity, serenity and caution …

"Since you asked that I send you a secret book which was revealed to me and Peter by the Lord, I could not turn you away or gainsay you. . . take care not to rehearse this text to many – this that the Savior did not wish to tell to all of us, his twelves disciples. . . ‘ (1)

Thus, James the Just, the brother of Jesus. Those early Christians who had importuned him to include them in the distribution of secret teachings were characteristic of a host of aspirants before and after them, in many cultures and traditions.

A delusion common to many seekers after truth when they start on their quest is the conviction, or at least a strong hope, that somewhere there exists a book which will reveal all they want to know. (No doubt many copies of The Secret Doctrine have been bought on the strength of its title!) Some expect to be able to advance swiftly along the path if only they can get their hands on writings which contain ‘exclusive’ teachings of spiritual (so-called) matters, and especially the ones which promise ‘powers’. Determined to find short cuts, though looking for them takes longer than the regular uphill climb, even the very intelligent are not immune. The fact that this very attitude retards progress is blithely ignored. But sooner or later must surely come the realization that it is wishful thinking, a waste of precious time and energy.

Read more: Secret Teachings

The Descent into Hades

 Ted G. Davy – Canada

Tribute O Black Rose

Ted’s wife, Doris loves Roses. While the black rose is associated with death and mourning, it also symbolizes rebirth and rejuvenation

The Blavatsky Lecture
delivered at the Annual Convention
of The Theosophical Society in England
11 June 1983

When Christians recite the Apostles’ Creed, they affirm their belief that Jesus descended into hell. It is probably no exaggeration to say that most of them have little more than a vague idea of what this phrase implies. At the beginning of the current era, however, and for centuries earlier, such a statement would have been meaningful to followers of many a religion which flourished in the classical world and beyond.

In one of her later articles, H. P. Blavatsky asserted that

“To speak ... of anyone as having descended into Hades, was equivalent in antiquity to calling him a full initiate.” (1)

The initiate who descended into Hades thereupon became one of a distinguished company who had completed the same journey. As well as Jesus these included, in various traditions, Attis, Dionysus, Enoch, Herakles, Ishtar, Krishna, Orpheus and Persephone.

Read more: The Descent into Hades

Annie Besant in Toronto

 Ted G. Davy – Canada

Tribute Q Lavender

Lavender, Ted G Davy’s first choice. The message behind this flower is the one of refinement and royalty. Lavender decorated homes of kings and queens

Annie Besant (1847-1933) made three visits to Toronto, the first and last being separated by thirty-three years. The primary purpose of each visit was to give public lectures. Internationally renowned, she was recognized as one of the leading orators in the English speaking world. In the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th her audiences were often reckoned in thousands; and she enjoyed international celebrity status for most of her long life. After she joined the Theosophical Society in 1889, Branches clamored for her to visit them. Toronto was no exception.

Read more: Annie Besant in Toronto

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.

Read more: Universal Brotherhood in Practice

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

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