The Universal Brotherhood of Humanity

Ed Abdill – USA

Theosophy Ed Abdill 2 Universal Brotherhood

In her letter to the second convention of the American section, H. P. Blavatsky wrote:

[There are those] among us who realize intuitionally that the recognition of pure Theosophy – the philosophy of the rational explanation of things and not the tenets – is of the most vital importance in the Society, inasmuch as it alone can furnish the beacon-light needed to guide humanity on its true path.
This should never be forgotten, nor should the following fact be overlooked. On the day when Theosophy will have accomplished its most holy and most important mission – namely, to unite firmly a body of men of all nations in brotherly love and bent on a pure altruistic work, not on a labor with selfish motives – on that day only will Theosophy become higher than any nominal brotherhood of man.”

In that short paragraph, H.P.B. summarized the principal objective of the Theosophical Society. Yet, the ideas contained in that paragraph need to be explored and meditated upon if we are to fully grasp what is meant by Theosophy and what the Theosophical Society was meant to do. We might begin our exploration by considering the evolution of the objectives (objects) of the Society. The objectives and their changes were formulated in the 19th century when “man” was used for the species, not the male, and brotherhood included all human beings.

Read more: The Universal Brotherhood of Humanity

Food for Thought – Miracles: Occult Powers


Theosophy Food for Thought 2

This article appeared in the October 2016 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this ink:  ]

Once upon a time the inmates of an Ashram who were devoted to spiritual practices, assembled in a place to discuss about the utility of occult powers. There was a great controversy over the topic of discussion. At the outset, there was a division amongst the spiritual practitioners. One party held that the “Ashta Siddhis”—eight occult powers—viz., becoming (1) the smallest of the small, (2) the largest of the large, (3) the heaviest of the heavy, (4) the lightest of the light, (5) attaining overlordship, (6) getting anything and everything at will, (7) bringing everything under subjugation, (8) obtaining the power to pervade, etc., are but divine expressions and as such they are not negligible things. The opposite party held that these powers do not contribute to the unfoldment of spiritual life of the owner in the least; but, on the other hand, they drift farther and farther away from the real moorings of the spiritual life and therefore they are abominable.

Read more: Food for Thought – Miracles: Occult Powers

Sources of the Gems: The list of sources of the aphorisms used in Gems from the East, by H.P. Blavatsky

Pavel Malakhov – Russia

Theosophy Gems 2

The book Gems from the East was published in 1890 in London and New York1 . Since then it has been republished many times and has been translated into many languages. The book has a subtitle “A Birthday Book of Precepts and Axioms,” or as pointed on the second subtitle, “Theosophical Birthday-Book...,” and by reading it we get proof that it is really Theosophical, for it contains the wisdom of different nations and ages.

It is interesting that Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (HPB) used the word “gem” (not “pearl” for example), because it also has another meaning of “engraved gemstone” – a peace of human artwork which saves the ideas of authors for centuries.

Read more: Sources of the Gems: The list of sources of the aphorisms used in Gems from the East, by H.P....

Karma and Dharma

B. P. Wadia – India

Theosophy Karma and Dharma 2

Even sages have been deluded as to what is action and what inaction; therefore I shall explain to thee what is action by a knowledge of which thou shalt be liberated from evil. One must learn well what is action to be performed, what is not to be, and what is inaction. The path of action is obscure. That man who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is wise among men; he is a true devotee and a perfect performer of all action.”

Bhagavad Gita IV 16-18

We need insight for the comprehension of the terms "Karma" and "Dharma." Among philosophical texts and treatises, the Bhagavad Gita offers profound thoughts, and by its light different persons form their own concepts of the two words, which are archetypal in character and enshrine a compact and consistent philosophy which affects every aspect of man's being. Naturally, therefore, each tends to emphasize his interpretation. The monotheist, the polytheist and the pantheist; the philologist, the littérateur, the philosopher and the mystic; and even the politician and the social reformer-these and all others formulate contradictory philosophies of life in the light of their own partial understanding of the grand Poem, which expresses a sublime allegory and a profound practical philosophy.

Read more: Karma and Dharma

Karma as a Habit of Nature

Boris de Zirkoff – USA

A Living Philosophy For Humanity

No. 3 (165) - Winter 1980-1981

Theosophy Karma as a Habit of Nature 2
Cover photo: Klingenstock seen from Stoos (Schwyz), Switzerland.]

Human karma is born within man himself, we are its creators and generators, and suffer from it or are clarified through it by our own previous action. But what is this habit in itself ... this inveterate primordial habit of nature which makes it react to an arousing cause? What is this habit in itself?

In all these things, the key to an understanding of the Teachings is analogy. Remember that there is throughout Nature a concatenation or chain of causes so that every plane reflects every other plane; so that the small is a part of the great, and the great manifests in essence but what the small manifests on its own plane as a replica.

Read more: Karma as a Habit of Nature

Karma as opportunity


Theosophy Karma as opportunity 2

[The magazine Vidya , edited by associates of the United Lodge of Theosophists in Santa Barbara, USA, published the following article in its Summer 2016 issue; here is a slightly revised version.]

Karma, the Sanskrit word for action, has become a familiar term. William Q. Judge defines karma as “the adjustment of effects flowing from causes.” Thereby equilibrium is restored where there has been disturbance. Karma is not a strange idea since most people have heard the phrase “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” Furthermore, our individual experience teaches that our actions bring discernible consequences. Imposing personal disciplines to avoid harmful effects and start new lines of karma are familiar to us. Less understood are the various levels of collective karma. We may discern some characteristics of family karma, however hidden. Analyzing national karma is far more elusive. The particular actions of leaders can be analyzed to see if they lead to economic prosperity. But how do we explain the seemingly random acts of mass violence? Am I, an individual citizen leading a well-ordered and kind life, responsible for one man's violence 3,000 miles away? The karma of a modern nation state is very difficult to explain. How do we know the karma of the souls who incarnate in a particular society? How do we honestly recognize our sins of omission and not just focus on the bad deeds of others? At the global level, our ignorance of the complex interdependence in the natural environment feeds a willful misuse of essential resources.

Read more: Karma as opportunity

The six directions of Personality

John Algeo – USA


The three spatial dimensions of our physical world yield six directions, since each dimension has two directions. If our spatial dimensions are height, breadth, and depth, then our six directions are up and down, right and left, and front and back. When to those six we add the center position, the “here” from

which the directions range, we have another septenary to augment the others we are familiar with from Theosophical teachings.

The existence of six spatial directions is obvious. We look above and below ourselves, to our right and left, and forward and backward. Here we are in the center with these six directions radiating out from us, like the six points of a star with living light at its core.

Read more: The six directions of Personality


Caren M. Elin (Carey Williams) – USA

In Honor of the Life and Work of Anita Atkins: A Selfless Servant of The Theosophical Movement

December 12, 1915 – June 20, 2000

Sylvia Cranston and the cover of one of her books

To the world, she was known as Sylvia Cranston and to her Theosophical friends and community worldwide she was our most humble Anita Atkins. Born on December 12, 1915, Anita spent her

early years living off the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, New York. Her parents both attended meetings at The United Lodge of Theosophists in New York City, ever since Anita was a young teenager. Anita's introduction into the philosophy of Theosophy came from her father's reports of the meetings he attended.


Why can’t we all get along?

Tim Boyd – USA

Theosophy Tim Boyd 2
Tim Boyd (middle) in Naarden the Netherlands and a delegation from Belgium, from left to right: Cristian Vandekerkhove, Helmut Vandersmissen, Lieve Opgenhaffen and Sabine van Osta

Recently I have found myself wondering. One of those “Why?” questions. The text of the question would be something like, “Why do we keep repeating these same mistakes?”, or “when will we ever learn?”, or in the famous words of the late Rodney King, “Why can't we all get along?”. The catalyst for this line of thinking is not some recent event, or some despondency over the state of the world. It is just one of those persistent questions that reemerges from time to time. Pick a day, any day, look around you and see if it isn't a question worth asking. Whether it is the world news, the office place, or the home, if we really look at it we see that there is work we need to do.

Read more: Why can’t we all get along?

Dora van Gelder Kunz – A Tribute

We remember Dora van Gelder Kunz, April 28, 1904 – August 25, 1999

Theosophy DG 0 B

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

In previous issues of Theosophy Forward we’ve honored Theosophists such as Dr. Richard Brooks, Ianthe Hoskins, Einar Adalsteinsson, Shirley Nicholson and Paul Zwollo. In this issue we will remember another truly remarkable Theosophist: Dora van Gelder Kunz. We should live most consciously in the present, but it is vital and often very inspirational to look backwards once in a while, in order to determine in which direction our future could develop, because if we know where we are from, we know where we are, and when we know where we are, we know where we’ll be going. I never had the pleasure of meeting Dora Kunz in person, heard a lot about her though, in particular from my wife Terezinha and other Brazilian Theosophists who met up with her when she toured in Brazil in the early 1990’s.

Read more: Dora van Gelder Kunz – A Tribute

On Healing – A Sensitive's Impression

Dora van Gelder – USA

Healing, often called spiritual healing, has been practiced for thousands of years in many cultures throughout the world. Spiritual healing is difficult to define, but it can be described as healing – sometimes spontaneous and sometimes by stage – where no medication of any kind has been used. It would appear that in these cases a person (or healer) or a group of people can be the medium through which this restoration of wholeness takes place in a sick person.

The techniques employed vary greatly with each individual or group. The basic explanations for the healings are not necessarily the same, as everyone seems to react from his own background and is, of course, influenced by the culture into which he has been born. But whatever the method and whatever the ex- planation-whether the healer feels the Divine Power is using him, or that the direction comes from discarnate beings, or whether he describes the situation in some other way-the vehicle of healing is still a human being who reaches out to help others.

Read more: On Healing – A Sensitive's Impression


Dora van Gelder Kunz – USA

[Note from the editor: this, historically interesting piece, was written way back in 1960, but in its core still valid.]

Theosophy is a magnificent philosophy. It explains the why and how of the universe around us, and also shows us a way of life. As members of the Society, we may realize this, but despite our convictions we have somehow lost the ability to reach others, even though many appear to be searching seriously for what we have to offer as a basic philosophy of life. This, I think, is proved by the fact that membership in the United States is not gaining. It is time therefore that we should take stock of ourselves, evaluate our procedures and try to discover the causes for our failure in reaching an even wider public.

One of the basic causes of the present situation is in large part our failure to communicate. The field of communications is a whole new science, concerned both with the technique and the content of the communication and the extent to which meaning is conveyed from one person to another through any of the media of communication. The causes for failure in communicating clearly or in understanding what is being communicated might have significance for our work in The Theo- sophical Society now and in the future. The exploration of these causes may provide some new techniques for conveying the theosophical philosophy in a fully meaningful manner.

Read more: Communication


Dora van Gelder – USA (part 1 and part 2)

Part 1

To most people fairies are only a beautiful dream. When they think of them at all it is with a wistful looking back to their childhood years when they did believe in such dreams.

But fairies are real and do live in this same world of ours. The word “fairy” denotes practically every invisible creature, but I like to use it only for those beings who live in our four great elements, and who have not as yet attained individualization. Most of these beings become angels after they have reached that point in their development. The great difference between the angelic and human kingdoms is that we evolve through suffering, whereas the angels and fairies evolve through happiness; but, their evolution is '’much slower than ours.

We can divide the fairies roughly into four great classes: those who live in the earth, sea, air and fire. They all have their specific work to do, each in his own element. The elements are not only inhabited by the fairies, but by the angels, who are in charge of the work in which the fairies take part.

Read more: Fairies

Ideals of Youth

Dora van Gelder Kunz – USA

One of the remarkable changes which the War [note from the editor: the author refers here to the First World War; 1914-1918] has brought about is the awakening of Youth. All over the world the young people are becoming vigorously active in affairs of importance. It is most interesting to read how many organisations have actually been formed and to learn how great a number of young people-have joined them. The dominant note in these movements is peace. It is their aim to try to establish peace in the world by breaking down the barriers of national prejudice – in other words, the realization of a brotherhood of mankind. Out of the experience of the War, Youth has gained the inevitable conviction that a new way of life must be found – a way of life in harmony with the realities of today. This is characteristic of the Youth of today, a desire to do away with the old methods as far as possible, and to try to reconstruct our world on a new basis. It is trying to put the test of modern realities' to our inherited conventions.

Read more: Ideals of Youth

Human Regeneration – part twelve

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
A shining Radha Burnier (middle) at the opening of the centennial exhibition of the Dutch Section in Amsterdam, in 1997. On the left and rather young your editor, and on the right the former General Secretary of the Dutch section, Ali Ritsema

Discussion – continued

EA: I think regeneration is an ongoing thing. It is not only a new birth. Re-generation is constantly going on.

WV: Regeneration cannot be put into words although it is spoken of in all religions. Real regeneration, real transcendence, or birth to something perfectly new, may become clearer to the Christians among us if we follow the important events in the life of Christ. Then we see what a moment of supreme experience we have to go through before we can talk of regeneration

There is a satori-experience in Zen Buddhism related as follows: “Before I got satori, a tree was a tree, a river was a river and a house was a house. Now, a tree is a tree, a river is a river and a house is a house. And yet, everything is new.” Regeneration points to an experience with a real spiritual meaning, which is difficult to understand and explain in words. This experience has to be lived, which implies total change from the old level to a new level of being, of consciousness. In any case it implies much suffering.

Read more: Human Regeneration – part twelve

The seven Jewels of Wisdom – Karma the second Jewel

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.]

Theosophy 7 Jewels 2 tralen-zwart-wit karma

Karma, the law of cause and effect, is usually associated with the doctrine of reincarnation. This makes sense because karma, the second Jewel of Wisdom, opens our eyes to the logic of ‘getting another chance’ to set things right. Coupled with the doctrine of reincarnation, the boundaries of having to do it all in one lifetime are removed. The effect always follows the cause: sometimes not even a second passes before we see the consequences of an action and sometimes an incredibly long period passes, sometimes as long as several lives.

The law of karma is technically the law of recovering harmony. All actions influence Nature, and

Nature responds in kind. The chain of cause and consequence in human life may be further explored as the concatenation of thoughts and actions leading to consequences which lead to effects with similar characteristics. Because we think and act life after life, we build on our character continuously. An ancient and very useful way to look at this is: sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character.

Read more: The seven Jewels of Wisdom – Karma the second Jewel

A Union of Those Who Love in the Service of All That Suffers

Nancy Secrest

Theosophy Nancy Secrest 2
Compassion – There is no ‘other’ in this world; we are all one

I was talking with Joy Mills a few years ago, and she said that the focus of our existence as human beings is self-realization – learning who we are, who we really are. That is what we are supposed to be doing here. This, she said, is the central point of The Mahatma Letters.

As we progress along the path of self-realization, we eventually awaken, or become aware of, our buddhic nature. With this awakening or awareness, compassion based on a sense of responsibility for all beings becomes a driving force in our lives, and we act as a bodhisattva acts, for the good of all. ‘In Theosophy the term “bodhisattva” is used to denote an individual who has reached enlightenment and may pass beyond the “wheel of re-birth”, but elects to reincarnate for the good of all.’ (Theosophical Encyclopedia, p. 110, TPH, the Philippines, 2006). In other words, a bodhisattva sacrifices his or her reward of transition into nirvana to help other sentient beings until all reach enlightenment.

Read more: A Union of Those Who Love in the Service of All That Suffers

An Undying Message

Boris de Zirkoff – USA


A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XV + XVI

Double Issue

No. 4 (78) - Winter 1958-59 + Vol. XVI, No. 1 (79) Spring 1959

Theosophy BdZ 2 Theosophia 15 04
[Original Cover photo of this issue]

Every year, on May 8th, students of Theosophy commemorate the passing of H.P. Blavatsky from the scenes of this outer world. Every year the date comes around, but at times it seems to have a greater impact, an added significance and a deeper meaning.

What counts is not the personality of H. P. Blavatsky, however startling and spectacular it may have been at times. All outer forms of manifestation have their day for a while and then vanish away. They stand as symbols of invisible realities, as witnesses of things unseen, as focal points for the interplay of inner forces, and no more. What actually counts is the message delivered, the work accomplished, the spiritual and intellectual heritage left behind, the impact of the thought upon other minds, the vortex of energy set in motion, and the flame kindled upon the enduring altar of Truth. These do not pass away when the vehicle of personality is left untenanted, and the familiar form is reduced to ashes. And as the years go by, dropping one by one into the ocean of oblivion, the message alone remains echoing from every nook and corner through the winding corridors of time.

Read more: An Undying Message

In the Light of Theosophy

[This article appeared in the July 2016 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this ink: ]

Theosophy In the Light of Theosophy 2

It seems the whole world is waging war on unintelligent people. In earlier days intelligence or unintelligence of the person was not as important as it is today. Instead, emphasis was laid on factors like integrity, good work ethic, and the ability to get along with others. A college degree – especially in the Western world – was not necessary even as late as the 1960s. Today, both in India and in the West, we find that a college degree is a prerequisite for most jobs. According to jobs web site,, “smartness” takes precedence over factors like “hard working” or “ambitious,” mentioned in job descriptions.

David Freeman at The Atlantic writes, “Those who consider themselves bright, openly mock others for being less so. Even in this age of rampant concern over micro-aggressions and victimization, we maintain open season on the non-smart. People who would swerve off a cliff rather than use a pejorative for race, religion, physical appearance, or disability are all too happy to drop the s-bomb: Indeed, degrading others for being ‘stupid’ has become nearly automatic in all forms of disagreement.” The Harvard Business School professor argued that smart people can make the worst employees because they are not used to dealing with failure and criticism.

Read more: In the Light of Theosophy

The Four Golden Links

H. P. Blavatsky

Theosophy The Four Golden Links 2
A young Helena

ENQUIRER. How, then, should Theosophical principles be applied so that social co-operation may be promoted and true efforts for social amelioration be carried on?

THEOSOPHIST. Let me brief1y remind you what these principles are-universal Unity and Causation; Human Solidarity; the Law of Karma; Re-incarnation. These are the four links of the golden chain which should bind humanity into one family, one universal Brotherhood.

Read more: The Four Golden Links

The Public Work of the Theosophical Society (Part two)

Pablo Sender – USA

Theosophy Pablo Sender 2
Nature at Adyar

In an article by Cristian Conen, published in The Theosophist in December 2014, he began to examine the work of the Theosophical Society (TS) based on ideas expressed by the late International President, Radha Burnier. Continuing this inquiry, particularly in connection with work in the field of spiritual education, we may ask: what kind of public programmes should TS offer in order to help the spiritual growth of humanity?

To evaluate what programmes the Theosophical Society should promote so that our work for humanity remains relevant, we could ask the following question: If the TS were to disappear, what would be missing? Would the Buddhist, Hindu, or any other religion suffer a loss? Would the field of science and spirituality be affected? The same question may be asked about other traditions and fields, and the answer will probably be that none of these areas would notice the lack.

So, what would suffer if the TS were to go away? The first and most obvious answer is – the Theosophical teachings. If our organisation did not spread Theosophy, who would? Would the followers of any religion teach Theosophy? Would those in the field of Gestalt psychology or the Mindfulness Movement? Who else would? To be sure, the books could still be available on the internet, but without an organisation promoting these teachings and helping people to understand them, they would soon fall into oblivion. Co-founder of the TS, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, said that the Society was “formed to assist in showing to men that such a thing as Theosophy exists, and to help them to ascend towards it by studying and assimilating its eternal verities.”2

Read more: The Public Work of the Theosophical Society (Part two)

Keepers and Sharers of the Ageless Wisdom

Victor Peñaranda – the Philippines

Theosophy Keepers 2 and Sharers

Theosophy embodies both ancient and modern expressions of the Ageless Wisdom and it has been entrusted to Theosophists as a heritage for preservation and dissemination. This body of knowledge can be archived in virtual reality and human memory; it can be accessed for interpretation; and it could serve as an agenda of action. By participating in this function, Theosophists have become “Keepers of the Ageless Wisdom” in whatever social context or in whatever political conditions they may be.

A potent strategy in preserving this Wisdom is to offer it to a wider audience so the sacred teachings, which have remained hidden from public attention for a long time, are enriched by contemporary experience and become relevant to the lives of entire communities as modern Theosophy. By going public there is greater chance of reaching people who are determined Seekers eager in unveiling mysteries and with creating meaning in life.

Read more: Keepers and Sharers of the Ageless Wisdom

Text Size

Paypal Donate Button Image

Subscribe to our newsletter

Email address
Confirm your email address

Who's Online

We have 148 guests and no members online

TS-Adyar website banner 150




Vidya Magazine