Theosophy

Voice of the Silence

H. P. Blavatsky

From The Voice of the Silence, fragment 2 “The Two Paths”

109.    Saith the pupil: Teacher, what shall I do to reach to Wisdom?

110.    Wise one, what, to gain perfection?

111.    Search for the Paths. But, O Lanoo, be of clean heart before thou startest on thy journey. Before thou takest thy first step learn to discern the real from the false, the ever-fleeting from the everlasting. Learn above all to separate Head-learning from Soul-Wisdom, the "Eye" from the "Heart" doctrine.

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W.Q. Judge: A Borrowed Body

Nicholas Weeks – USA


William Q. Judge and Henry Olcott in 1891

William Quan Judge (1851-96) was a loyal disciple of HP Blavatsky and strong worker for Theosophy.  His life and work are best known in the United States, where he was responsible for giving Theosophy a firm footing.

His occult life was deep, for he rarely spoke of it. Perhaps the most amazing part of his life was his birth.  It was highly unusual. But I will let friends of his, Cyrus Willard and Claude Wright, add to Judge's own telling of the “borrowed body.”       

I can tell, now, what I know, and saw with my own eyes, about this “borrowed body” and which was also seen and verified by at least ten other persons, who openly so stated at a meeting held in the headquarters of the Boston Branch, shortly after Judge’s death in 1896. And I think Brother Smythe [editor of The Canadian Theosophist] can vouch for my reputation for veracity.  It was at the Boston convention of 1891, where I served on a committee with Annie Besant, on her first visit to America, and was predisposed in her favor by her work for the Bryant & May match-girls.  Word was sent to all members of the E.S.T. which I had joined under H.P.B. in 1889, to be present at an E.S. meeting in the large double parlors of the Parker House. When I got in, it was early and from newspaper habit I walked down to the front row of seats and sat less than 10 feet away from Judge and Annie.  As she has seen fit to publish the E.S. instructions, it will not therefore be without justification that I relate what occurred, in order to give Judge his due.

Read more: W.Q. Judge: A Borrowed Body

Quest for the Lost Language of the Initiates [part 2]

David Reigle – USA

[“Quest for the Lost Language of the Initiates,” by David Reigle, was published in the American Theosophist 69.1 (January 1981): 11-6; and reprinted in David and Nancy Reigle’s collection Blavatsky’s Secret Books: Twenty Years’ Research (San Diego, CA: Wizards Bookshelf, 1999), pp. 6-19, from which it is reproduced here, with slight modifications for our house style.]


When we went to India to obtain books and materials for the Theosophical Research Center here [now Eastern Tradition Research Institute], after a most fruitful stay at Adyar of course, we made it a point to go to Bombay, the center of Zoroastrianism today, and see what we could find of this. We first set about obtaining the five Gathas of the Yasna in the original Gathic dialect of the Avesta language, supposed to be Senzar, and also in English translation. As usual, the English translation was very inadequate from the occult point of view. We also obtained some Avestan grammars and readers for use in learning the language.

Read more: Quest for the Lost Language of the Initiates [part 2]

International Conference in Alexandria-Egypt: July 12 – 24, 2012


Alexandria

A group of six enthusiastic Theosophists is working hard preparing an important gathering in Egypt’s Alexandria, which will take place in July 2012. This is a significant initiative and it deserves our attention. Theosophy Forward spoke with Erica Georgiades, one of the organizers, in order to find out more about this event.

Read more: International Conference in Alexandria-Egypt: July 12 – 24, 2012

Quest for the Lost Language of the Initiates

David Reigle – USA

[“Quest for the Lost Language of the Initiates,” by David Reigle, was published in the American Theosophist 69.1 (January 1981): 11-6; and reprinted in David and Nancy Reigle’s collection Blavatsky’s Secret Books: Twenty Years’ Research (San Diego, CA: Wizards Bookshelf, 1999), pp. 6-19, from which it is reproduced here, with slight modifications for our house style.]

Introduction by David Reigle from Blavatsky’s Secret Books (BSB):

This article was written in 1979, after returning from India, where my wife and I had spent three months. It was written in a somewhat lighter style than my later writings, since I had tried to make it read more like a travel account. Thus it originally had no notes. The reviewers for the American Theosophist, however, felt that some of my statements should be documented, such as, “This Vedic Sanskrit, though assumed by scholars to be more primitive because older, is yet richer in grammati¬cal forms than classical Sanskrit” (BSB, 10). So I then added twenty-seven references and notes, and have now added three more on Khshnoom, or esoteric Zoroastrianism, since it is so little known. I did not, though, document my above-quoted statement, since I felt that to do so would be too out of place for a nontechnical article such as this. In any case, it is well known among linguists that finite verb forms such as aorists and perfects abound in Vedic writings, while they have been largely replaced by participles in classical Sanskrit.

Read more: Quest for the Lost Language of the Initiates

Senzar: The Mystery of the Mystery Language and the Theosophical Society Seal

John Algeo – USA

Among the items of curious lore in H. P. Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine are her references to a language called Senzar. Senzar is a mystery. According to Blavatsky, it is the original language of the stanzas of Dzyan, which are the core of her great book and also the original language of all humanity. Blavatsky calls Senzar “a tongue absent from the nomenclature of languages and dialects with which philology is acquainted” (SD 1:xxxvii), and so it is. The name of Senzar appears in none of the lists of the world’s languages that linguists have compiled, nor is it ever likely to. We know about Senzar only what HPB has told us, although in fact she has told us a good deal.

Some of what Blavatsky says about Senzar makes it seem to be an ordinary language like English, Sanskrit, or any such human tongue, but her other comments show that it cannot be an ordinary language. Some years ago, I gathered all the references I could find in Blavatsky’s writings to Senzar, in an effort to deduce from them what sort of “language” it might be. My analysis and conclusions were published in a little monograph entitled Senzar: The Mystery of the Mystery Language (London: Theosophical History Centre, 1988). I shall not summarize the analysis, which is long, complex, and rather technical. Instead, I present here just the main conclusion.

Read more: Senzar: The Mystery of the Mystery Language and the Theosophical Society Seal

Voice of the Silence

H. P. Blavatsky

From The Voice of the Silence, fragment 1


[1]    THESE instructions are for those ignorant of the dangers of the lower IDDHI¹.

[2]    He who would hear the voice of Nada², “the Soundless Sound,” and comprehend it, he has to learn the nature of Dharana³.

[3]    Having become indifferent to objects of perception, the pupil must seek out the rajah of the senses, the Thought-Producer, he who awakes illusion.

[4]    The Mind is the great Slayer of the Real.

[5]    Let the Disciple slay the Slayer.

For:— [6]    When to himself his form appears unreal, as do on waking all the forms he sees in dreams;

[7]    When he has ceased to hear the many, he may discern the ONE—the inner sound which kills the outer.

[8]    Then only, not till then, shall he forsake the region of Asat, the false, to come unto the realm of Sat, the true.


1. The Pali word Iddhi is the synonym of the Sanskrit Siddhis, or psychic faculties, the abnormal powers in man. There are two kinds of Siddhis. One group which embraces the lower, coarse, psychic and mental energies; the other is one which exacts the highest training of Spiritual powers. Says Krishna in Shrimad Bhagavat:— “He who is engaged in the performance of yoga, who has subdued his senses and who has concentrated his mind in me (Krishna), such yogis all the Siddhis stand ready to serve.”

2. The “Soundless Voice,” or the “Voice of the Silence.” Literally perhaps this would read “Voice in the Spiritual Sound,” as Nada is the equivalent word in Sanskrit, for the Sen-sar term.

3. Dharana is the intense and perfect concentration of the mind upon some one interior object, accompanied by complete abstraction from everything pertaining to the external Universe, or the world of the senses.

NEEDED: A LEAP FORWARD!

Boris de Zirkoff – USA

Universal Life, in all its multi-myriad forms and aspects, is in constant flux. Unalterable in its underlying essence, it is in perpetual outward change. As soon as any one of its temporary manifestations becomes rigid, decay sets in, which is but another aspect of life, breaking up the outworn form, in order to build a new and more adequate one.

Wherever there is flexibility, optimism, dynamic interest, vision, the search for the unknown, the urge to grow and to become, and the enthusiasm that scales new heights and attempts the seemingly impossible—there is youth and hope and the broad highway to all future yet unborn.

Wherever there is rigidity, pessimism, indifference, fear of the unknown, frustration and mental fatigue, doubt, anxiety and lack of vision, attachment to established routines and well-worn grooves of thought, crystallization of methods, and cherished traditions obscuring the distant horizons of the future—there is old age, decay, senility, and the loss of the vital fires that are essential to all becoming and all growth.

Read more: NEEDED: A LEAP FORWARD!

A Spiritual-Psychological Mystery

Gottfried de Purucker – USA

Abridged and edited from H. P. Blavatsky: the Mystery (Point Loma Publications, 1974)

H. P. Blavatsky was a great psychological mystery to the world. She was a great psychological mystery even to her followers; ay, even to those who thought that they knew her best, and who met her daily and worked with her and were taught by her. To them, at least to most of them, she was an astounding paradox of what seemed to be conflicting and confusing traits of character. The intuitions of her followers and pupils told them that they were in the presence of a World-Teacher, the Messenger of other World-Teachers even greater than she was, who had sent her forth to strike the keynotes of a new age; and yet despite all this she puzzled these followers of hers most sadly, as much by those other traits of character which astonished and perplexed them because they had not the vision to expect to find such lofty and almost incomprehensible traits in a spiritual Teacher and Leader.

Read more: A Spiritual-Psychological Mystery

Universal Brotherhood

Antonio Girardi – Italy

The careful analysis of external circumstances and difficulties that are gripping societies and countries at this moment in time, makes us understand how important it is to reaffirm the concept of the unity of life, which is at the heart of Theosophical reflection. A sense of separateness, selfish achievements—be they of a political or financial nature—refusal of philosophical and religious contact, personal achievement as the keystone of development, have shown, and are showing, that they are not capable of giving humanity a better future. Therefore even today there is the problem of knowing how to interpret the evolutionary momentum of humanity, and the conditions for its real development in an ethical and positive sense.

Theosophy can offer key interpretations of this process, thanks to its vast tradition of awareness regarding the themes of life, evolution, karma, and dharma. The Theosophical Society was charged with the task of establishing a core of unconditional universal brotherhood for humanity by its supporters and founders. This is the task that we have to develop today and to which we must devote our energies.

Read more: Universal Brotherhood

Theosophical Tidal Wave

Sabine van Osta – Belgium

While in its earlier days the Theosophical Society was only one of the very few organizations to bring Eastern thought to the West, today it is one of the many voices in a vast choir. Yet, as a Society, we have as much right to exist as any other of its kind; and it is clear that we still have a strong, uplifting, and healing message to offer to the public at large, whose need for clarity and truth is ever-increasing. Even when at this moment some of the original reasons for establishing the TS have since long been achieved, much remains to be done to help one another convert parts of the outer and inner human wastelands into flourishing heavens of peace and sustainable spiritual prosperity.

Read more: Theosophical Tidal Wave

Will and Desire

H. P. Blavatsky

From Lucifer 1.2 (October 1887): 96; Collected Writings 8:109

Will is the exclusive possession of man on this our plane of consciousness. It divides him from the brute in whom instinctive desire only is active.

Desire, in its widest application, is the one creative force in the Universe. In this sense it is indistinguishable from Will; but we men never know desire under this form while we remain only men. Therefore Will and Desire are here considered as opposed.

Thus Will is the offspring of the Divine, the God in man; Desire the motive power of the animal life.

Most of men live in and by desire, mistaking it for will. But he who would achieve must separate will from desire, and make his will the ruler; for desire is unstable and ever changing, while will is steady and constant.

Both will and desire are absolute creators, forming the man himself and his surroundings. But will creates intelligently—desire blindly and unconsciously. The man, therefore, makes himself in the image of his desires, unless he creates himself in the likeness of the Divine, through his will, the child of the light.

His task is twofold: to awaken the will, to strengthen it by use and conquest, to make it absolute ruler within his body; and, parallel with this, to purify desire.

Knowledge and will are the tools for the accomplishment of this purification.


The Theosophical Society as a Beacon of Light

Ali Ritsema – The Netherlands

The Theosophical Society has existed since 1875. We are now in the twenty-first century, 135 years later. This article is meant, not to look back to the past, but as a stepping stone to the future, to reconsider the role or the task of the Theosophical Society.

Obviously, the members of the Society determine its future, whether locally, nationally, or internationally. Consequently, when members have conflicting opinions about the Society’s role or task, the result will be confusion and chaos, and thus the Society will be weakened. This does not mean that there cannot be differences of opinion or different approaches—that is something else. But in order to build a strong future, it is important to have a clear idea about the central purpose or task of the Society. That’s why I would like to share what I have found in The Mahatma Letters about the task of the Society and to explore some aspects of it.

Read more: The Theosophical Society as a Beacon of Light

What Music Teaches Us about Presenting Theosophy

Edi Bilimoria – Australia

Music is not mere entertainment or just a pleasurable distraction when we have finished with the more serious side of life. Nor are opera, dance, and ballet just the elitist pursuit of the social dilettante. Music expresses the deepest core meaning of living and learning. For example, Handel, whose tremendous oratorio The Messiah has uplifted the consciousness of humanity for centuries, is supposed to have declared that his purpose was to make people better, not just to entertain them. As the first notes of the triumphant Hallelujah Chorus rang out at the London premier of The Messiah, King George II rose to his feet and remained standing until the end of the chorus. To this day, audiences spontaneously revere this Chorus by standing up.


Handel

Of course, music like any of the arts, may hinder the seeker. Sensual or nerve-jarring cacophony, such as that at a disco, is a hindrance and arguably even a physical and moral danger to a sensitive person. But as elevating feeling by music is a yoga path to a perfect connection between the divine and the human, music is not only a form of expression but a means of lifting thought and feeling to the higher realm of illumination.


Bach

Read more: What Music Teaches Us about Presenting Theosophy

Knowledge Comes in Visions

H. P. Blavatsky

Collected Writings 13:285 [A posthumously published fragment attributed to HPB in the Theosophist 31 (March, 1910): 685]

Knowledge comes in visions, first in dreams and then in pictures presented to the inner eye during meditation. Thus have I been taught the whole system of evolution, the laws of being and all else that I know—the mysteries of life and death, the workings of karma. Not a word was spoken to me of all this in the ordinary way, except, perhaps, by way of confirmation of what was thus given me—nothing taught me in writing. And knowledge so obtained is so clear, so convincing, so indelible in the impression it makes upon the mind, that all other sources of information, all other methods of teaching with which we are familiar dwindle into insignificance in comparison with this. One of the reasons why I hesitate to answer offhand some questions put to me is the difficulty of expressing in sufficiently accurate language things given to me in pictures, and comprehended by me by the pure Reason, as Kant would call it.

Theirs is a synthetic method of teaching: the most general outlines are given first, then an insight into the method of working, next the broad principles and notions are brought into view, and lastly begins the revelation of the minuter points.


The Essence of H.P. Blavatsky’s Message

Gottfried de Purucker – USA

We speak of rendering homage. There are various ways of so doing. There is the homage of words, and there is the homage of the heart which leads to emulation. The homage of words is good when the heart is behind it; but the homage imitating grand action is finer and higher still.

I think the best homage we can render to H. P. Blavatsky, outside of the words with which we express our deep gratitude, is by copying her, copying her life and her work for mankind: being as like unto the example she gave to us as it is possible for us to be. She indeed said the same in regard to her relation to her own teachers: they teach, I follow. My message is not my own, but of those who sent me.

In the Theosophical world since her passing there has been no small amount of talk about the successors of H.P.B.; and all this has seemed to me to be so perfectly trivial, a trifling with words and with the most sacred instincts and impulses of the human heart. For every true Theosophist is a successor of H.P.B. and should be glad of it and proud of it. We are all successors of H.P.B., every one of us without exception whatsoever. And the least is often the greatest amongst us. Here is a case where it is not conceit or arrogance but the impulse of a loving and grateful heart to come to the front and serve, and dedicate one's service to the cause which our teachers have served and which they still serve. What is grander than this? Actually it is the abdication, the rejection, of the low and the personal. It is the forgetting of the personal and the sinking of the self into the immensely greater self of the universe. When we forget ourselves, then something supremely grand is born in us; for then the spiritual, of which we humans are such feeble examples, has a chance to come forth in us, to speak and to work in and through us, because then it begins to find its channel in and through the human heart and mind.

Read more: The Essence of H.P. Blavatsky’s Message

The Path of Committed Service

Lorraine Christensen – Canada

[The following article is based on a talk by Lorraine Christensen, given during the 2007 summer meeting of the Theosophical Society in America at Wheaton, Illinois.]

The ideal of a path of committed service derives from what Theosophy teaches about the spiritual path and the place of service on that path. That teaching is set forth clearly in three well-known Theosophical classics: At the Feet of the Master, Light on the Path, and The Voice of the Silence. Each of these books describes progressively the journey of the aspirant along the far-reaching spiritual path, offering guideposts along the way.

Each of those books talks about three key aspects of the topic: the path, commitment, and service. For a Theosophist these aspects are inseparable, as we cannot have any one of them without the other two. In the lives of each of us, all three are mixed in varying degrees. So let us explore each of these aspects and consider how they fit together.

Path. In the Theosophical tradition, "the path" implies a conscious journey, returning to our ultimate spiritual source. This journey contrasts with traveling through life like a leaf in the wind, pulled and charmed every which way by a variety of outside forces and impelled from within by often unruly and conflicting impulses, desires, and instincts. The path denotes not only a journey, but also a state of being. The Voice of the Silence says: "Thou canst not travel on the path before thou hast become that path itself."

What are some of the characteristics of this spiritual path? They include the following. The path implies active movement, as opposed to remaining static. The path is often rugged, so those who walk it need sometimes to take refuge and find shelter along the way. We do not travel alone on the path. We receive from, and extend to others, helping hands. The path has purpose, which gives meaning to our lives. The path is empowering, as one's confidence grows with each step forward. The path involves being in the divine flow, which we can experience profoundly as losing ourselves in the moving energy of something greater than ourselves.

Read more: The Path of Committed Service

SELF KNOWLEDGE

The first necessity for obtaining self-knowledge is to become profoundly conscious of ignorance; to feel with every fibre of the heart that one is ceaselessly self-deceived.

The second requisite is the still deeper conviction that such knowledge—such intuitive and certain knowledge—can be obtained by effort.

The third and most important is an indomitable determination to obtain and face that knowledge.

Self-knowledge of this kind is unattainable by what men usually call "self-analysis." It is not reached by reasoning or any brain process; for it is the awakening to consciousness of the Divine nature of man.

To obtain this knowledge is a greater achievement than to command the elements or to know the future.

Collected Writings 8:108 [Lucifer, 1.2 (October, 1887): 89] [Authorship somewhat uncertain, but presumably by HPB.]


Universal Brotherhood and Spiritual Transformation

Roger Price—Belgium

 

My previous article, "The Mystic Foundation of Universal Brotherhood," showed that attaining the universal brotherhood of humanity here on Earth requires us to realize our mystic spiritual unity at the level of our higher Ego, the Manasaputra. This is one of the goals of spiritual evolution. Although physical evolution will continue according to the evolutionary blueprint, our evolution now is a spiritual transformation of consciousness. At the level of the personality this evolution requires a reorientation and transformation of psychological, social, religious, and political values and systems, based on a growing awareness of the unity of all life. Such transformation is towards universal brotherhood, without which we cannot progress in our spiritual evolution.

Read more: Universal Brotherhood and Spiritual Transformation

The Divine Plan and the T.S.

I. K. Taimni – India

[T]he Theosophical Society is not quite like the other societies scattered throughout the world, in which a group of people combine and work together to attain a definite object. Like other societies it has also a definite work to do in the world, namely the study and dissemination of truths concerning the deeper problems of life. But it has another and a far more important function, and that is to serve as a direct agency in the work of the Elder Brethren for the reclamation and regeneration of the world.

This function of the Theosophical Society is very important and should be thoroughly grasped by every member who wants to take an active part in its work. There may be some in our Society who prefer to think of it as a mere association for the study and dissemination of certain ideas, who do not subscribe to this view of its connection with the Elder Brethren, who may not even believe in the existence of such beings. Such people are entitled to have their particular views and may be very useful members of the Society. But the large majority of its members have a definite conviction based on well-authenticated facts that the Theosophical Society is not a mere academic body but a direct instrument of the Elder Brethren through which they expect to bring about definite changes in the world, with the knowledge and cooperation of its members.

Read more: The Divine Plan and the T.S.

A New Continent of Thought

Grace Knoche – USA

Everyone counts. Intuitively we know this, but do we grasp sufficiently the profound implications of this powerful truth? It is self-evident that thought and feeling move us to action, yet few of us are convinced that our private feelings and thoughts really do count in the totality of mankind. In this we err. It is no trifling matter that our merest emotion or thought affects to some degree not only our brothers of every kingdom, but also the universe. Truly, the magnetic interchange of responsibility and destiny among all living beings within the sun's domain is awesome: there is not a moment of our waking hours or during sleep (albeit in a different manner) when we do not exert some type of influence upon the auric atmosphere surrounding our globe in which the whole of humankind partakes.

Read more: A New Continent of Thought

Bridge of Understanding

James Long – USA

In the presentation of the age-old doctrines of cosmology and the laws of man, we should remember that none of the world teachers had in mind the founding of a great and powerful organization. The teachings they gave were fresh from the source, and everything that springs from this source encourages unselfish development. They did not offer a prescribed set of dogmas, but a living philosophy for the simple man, workable in the daily affairs of the round of life. It was only in the course of hundreds of years that many of the fundamental keys were hidden, if not lost. In spite of this, we can recognize if we are unbiased that the keys to these universal doctrines are there—in the Christian scriptures as well as in all sacred writings. Whereas most of the dogmas taught in the temples and churches are accepted literally by their devotees, we find many individuals seeking beneath the outer forms, seeking for the kernel of the original truth.

Read more: Bridge of Understanding

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