Theosophy

A Glance at the Original Programme

Danielle Audoin – France

Theosophy TRIBUTE B 2

In 1886, in reply to a criticism of the Theosophical Society and its President, Colonel Olcott, Madame Blavatsky drew up a kind of charter which was later entitled The Original Programme of the Theosophical Society, in which she recalled the origin of the Society, its objects, the role played by the founders and the attitude expected of members.

It may be interesting to recall some of the points considered by HPB in this manifesto. We shall not go into the history of the first ten years of the Society’s existence and the difficulties encountered, but only the wording of the objects of the Society at the time, in 1886. (It was only ten years later that they were formulated as we know them.) Madame Blavatsky mentions four. The first object is simply: Universal Brotherhood.

Read more: A Glance at the Original Programme

Between Heaven and Earth: Man

Danielle Audoin – France

Theosophy TRIBUTE B 4

In these troubled times when we may have doubts about humanity’s ‘progress’, we have reason to enquire, in the light of theosophical teachings, about man’s place in the universe. The Buddha, Shankaracharya, Madame Blavatsky and other teachers have said that birth in a human body is a very precious opportunity –‘the greatest to which a sentient being can fall heir’. For man is the only sentient being conscious of himself, gifted with that consciousness which enables him to ask himself questions. Man alone can enquire about the significance of life. He alone can understand the process of evolution and cooperate with it. He alone can follow the path of self-transformation. Between Heaven and Earth, between the heights and depths of manifestation – in him alone there can be the full flowering of consciousness.

Animals and even plants are gifted with a certain consciousness, but not with self-consciousness. It is in man that self-consciousness awakens. It manifests first as respect mingled with fear when he is confronted with the forces of Nature. Simple, primitive man is conscious of his situation between heaven and earth. He fears heaven and respects earth. He has the sense of mystery and is capable of wonder. Such was humanity before the development of mind. This applies also to certain peoples spared by civilization.

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Ethics in the Modern World

Danielle Audoin – France

Theosophy TRIBUTE B 6

Although nowadays there seems to be a hesitant tendency to return to the notion of good citizenship, the majority of people still consider any talk of ethics and morals to be old-fashioned.

PROBLEMS OLD AND NEW. Regarding the problems which confront humanity, spiritual teachers have, throughout the centuries, ceaselessly stressed the need for a fundamental transformation in the individual by means of ethics, asserting that otherwise, no political or social reform can be anything but a failure.

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Freeing Oneself from Illusion

Danielle Audoin – France

Theosophy TRIBUTE B 8

Freedom is like the open, unclouded sky through which pours the light that illumines all things in existence so that everything is seen as it really is.” (1)

When our knowledge of Theosophical teachings does not effect a deep transformation within us, we must question why we have failed to assimilate them. Every search begins with dissatisfaction, a confused feeling of limitation. Here lies the seed of the desire for liberation. Liberation implies a state of being imprisoned. But are we really conscious of what imprisons us? We do not wonder who built it or how. We think we are imprisoned by circumstances, other people, our bad karma and so on.

According to liberated beings, we are only caught in the trap of illusion and our fancied prison is not as solid as we imagine. It is only we who can make it collapse like a sandcastle or melt away like the early morning mist. From Sankara to Plotinus, from HPB to Krishnamurti, teachers in all ages have spoken of the spiritual search as a journey from appearance to Reality. The Upanishadic prayer, ‘From the unreal lead me to the Real’, forms an apt introduction to the little book At the Feet of the Master and indicates in a few striking words the direction of true progress, from illusion to liberation.

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From Knowledge to Wisdom

Danielle Audoin – France

Theosophy TRIBUTE B 10

Observing the state of the world in which we live, we may wonder whether increasing our knowledge does not hinder the awakening of Wisdom. There has been enormous progress in the fields of science and human knowledge in general. But the world has not improved. Humanity’s suffering and misery have not decreased. Never have we been confronted with so much bad news. Insecurity has grown. Conflicts are on the increase. Crime is growing ceaselessly. It even seems as if it is the most advanced societies which cause the most serious problems.

Computer science and its advanced technologies, the progress of which is among the most spectacular achievements of the century, are bringing about a veritable mutation in working life. The purpose of the machine is no longer simply to help man. It is replacing him. The introduction of robots, by freeing man from repetitive, exacting and irksome tasks, might have allowed him more time for leisure, reflection and a certain amount of introspection. It could have reduced stress. Instead, it seems only to have increased his dissatisfaction and fanned his greed for material gain and objects supposed to ensure his comfort. Selfishness has apparently become more widespread; thus work sharing is refused, the gulf is beginning to widen between rich and poor, and self-interest is increasing at the expense of the general good.

Read more: From Knowledge to Wisdom

The Seven Jewels of Wisdom – Knowledge of the Self, the seventh 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.]

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The seventh Jewel of Wisdom is the essence of all the ones preceding. In a way it summarizes and unifies them all and adds a new dimension to them.

This Jewel you could describe as knowing the Core of Life. In Sanskrit it is called Âtma-Vidyâ, which means Self-knowledge. The capital S is absolutely not without meaning. We are talking about the self, Atman, our link with the Boundless. When you focus on it, and yes, identify yourself with it, you perceive the Unity of Life, perceive that the life that flows in you is not essentially different from the life that flows in another man, in an ant, a plant, a star or whatsoever. You experience the Unity of Life.

Read more: The Seven Jewels of Wisdom – Knowledge of the Self, the seventh Jewel

Healing – Begins with ME

Maryanne Zarycka – USA

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The author

When you think about healing, what comes to your mind? Healing the body? Healing the mind? Healing the Spirit? The list can go on and on; healing our emotional self, our mental self, our past, our present… our family, our neighbors, our nation, our planet? There is no end to the amount of healing which can and must occur in ourselves and in today’s world. Healing is such a wide and diverse term and it can have so many meanings, so where do we start? As I tried to wrap my mind around this topic of healing and prepared to write this article, I contemplated several approaches to discuss healing. Then I had a ‘week from hell’ and decided that this would be a wonderful way to begin my thoughts and experiences regarding healing. There’s nothing like a good dose of earthly reality to provide me with a healthy ‘wake-up’ call, and an opportunity to share from the heart.

I am blessed with a very spiritual and loving way of life. I pray and meditate every morning for guidance throughout the day, and I end each day with a gratitude prayer and contemplation on how I spent my day. I look for areas in my day where I could have done better, or maybe could have handled a situation in a more loving and effective manner. I avoid ‘beating myself up’ over any mistakes I’ve made, and I remind myself that all my experiences are lessons. As wonderful and utopic as this type of life might sound, it most definitely comes with no guarantees. At times it seems the laws of karma and the laws of nature have other plans.

Occasionally, something will appear to trigger a chain reaction which rocks my world for a period of time and it seems like everything is off track. It may start with a minor disturbance like stubbing my toe, or dropping my cup of coffee, or disgruntled encounter with another person, and then escalate to an earth-shattering week full of what feels like attacks from every direction. That was my week. No matter how hard I tried to stay positive and loving, alert and fully conscious, it seemed like everything and everyone was ganging up on me. From the truck driver with an attitude, to the unhappy customer, to the unexpected changes in my schedule, to the engine light coming on in my car, to the tearful departure of a long time client, and the list went on…day after day for the entire week. Have you ever had a week like that? Exhausting!

Read more: Healing – Begins with ME

Living in Truth – Where HPB and Krishnamurti meet

AI Ritsema – the Netherlands

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This article is based on my contribution to a study day in May 2015, organized at Naarden by the International Theosophical Centre and the Krishnamurti Information Centre on “Living in Truth”. This topic, with these two organizations together, is not surprising since Truth is as much a central theme in Theosophy as in the teachings of J. Krishnamurti although the approaches are rather different.

We often get stuck in our preferred approach and don’t quite get the value in other approaches. My intention was to highlight the close similarities between Theosophy and Krishnamurti in relationship to the search for and living in Truth. Both approaches, like many other approaches, can help us to come to an understanding from within, which is, after all, the aim of our studies.

In 1889 H. P. Blavatsky (HPB) wrote an article, called “The New Cycle”, Collected Writings (CW) XI, p. 133. In this article she states that a note has just been struck which has never been heard by the humankind of this era; and that a New Idea is revealed, ripened by the forces of evolution. This Idea, she says, differs from everything that has been produced in the nineteenth century; it is identical, however, with the thought that has been the dominant tone and the keynote of every century, especially the last –  absolute freedom of thought for humanity. HPB also states, in a different context, that the mental constitution of humanity will embark on a great change and that in the near future psychologists will have some extra work to do. (CW VIII, p. 174 fn).

In 1929 – only 30 years after HPB’s article – Krishnamurti starts his specific work and his emphasis is also on freedom of thought and the coming to a different quality of the mind. For he is a master in unravelling the complicated web of the mind.

Read more: Living in Truth – Where HPB and Krishnamurti meet

In the Light of Theosophy - phantom phenomena

[This article appeared in the October 2017 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link: [http://www.ultindia.org/previous_issues.html ]

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One of the most well-researched, controversial and yet little understood area in medicine is the “phantom phenomena” which occurs when a part of the human body, like an arm or a leg, has been amputated for some reason. In 90 per cent of such cases, the patient, after amputation of the limb, soon begins to feel a nonexistent “phantom” limb, where actually none exists any longer. The person also feels sensations like itching, tingling and pain. This experience is so vivid that the one with amputated limb reaches out to scratch or rub a part of themselves which is not there. In 1797, Horatio Nelson, who was wounded during a battle and had most of his right hand amputated experienced so persistently the presence of phantom arm that he believed it to be “the direct evidence for the existence of the soul.”

Read more: In the Light of Theosophy - phantom phenomena

Human Regeneration – part seventeen

Radha Burnier – India

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Radha in Canberra, Australia (1985)

[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.]

Is the T.S. the only way to come to “Theosophia”, or is it also the basis for other schools? Is the T.S. the only right channel for “Theosophia”, are all other lines of spirituality not the right ones?

RH: Various groups and individuals in the world may possess real wisdom and we can recognize that they have theosophia. They may even have a great deal of the real wisdom which we do not. As the T.S. has been founded by great Adepts who had a wide view of the divine wisdom and wished to bring it to the world through this movement, it is probable that they have given to the T.S. as much as it was possible to give to the world at that time. But there are also many societies, groups and organizations, which have spurious teaching and knowledge, which are narrow-minded or dogmatic in different ways, and of course we cannot say that all these other spiritual movements have the right to claim wisdom to the same degree as the T.S.

Read more: Human Regeneration – part seventeen

H.P.B. and Social Responsibility

Wesley Amerman – USA

Theosophy HPB and Social Responsibilty 2
Wesley Amerman speaks

[The magazine Vidya http://www.theosophysb.org/site/publications.html , edited by associates of the United Lodge of Theosophists in Santa Barbara, USA, published the following article in its Summer 2017 issue; here is a slightly revised version.]

In Plato’s dialogue, The Banquet, he says, “Love is that place between the human and the gods. It is reachable for us through philosophy.” Theosophia, the knowledge of the gods, is approached through philosophia, a love of that wisdom. Compassion is that link between human beings and true knowledge. H.P.B. indicates quite clearly in her article, “What is Truth,” that all we have to work with, in our lives and in the world, are relative truths. Everything in the philosophy, everything we understand, may indeed be true, but it can only be relatively true. An understanding of social responsibility is one such subject.

Read more: H.P.B. and Social Responsibility

Altruism

Gottfried de Purucker – USA

Theosophy GdP 2 Altruism

Human nature is so prone, when hearing about Altruism or reading about it, to imagine that it is something foreign to us, lugged into human life as a most desirable thing to follow, but after all highly impractical and therefore impracticable – that it is not inherent in the characteristics of human beings to be altruistic naturally. In other words, they are all fascinated with the idea of isolated self-interest. Is not this virtually universal supposition of men utterly unfounded in Nature herself?

Wherever we look, whatever we consider or study, we find that the individual working alone for itself is helpless; wherever we look in all the great kingdoms of the Universe, it is union of effort, cooperation in living combines – to use the slang of the street – which is not only what Nature herself is working to bring about and therefore which we find everywhere; but that anything that runs counter and contrary to this fundamental law of the Universe, which is unity in action, produces disharmony, strife, and what in our own bodies we call disease. Health is that condition of bodily structure where all parts work to a common end in what we may call friendship, in what we may call union.

Read more: Altruism

United in Objective

Boris de Zirkoff – USA

THEOSOPHIA
A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XXIII
No. 4 (110) - Spring 1967

Theosophy BdZ 2 United in Objective
Original cover photo: Kandarya Mahadeo, Shivaite Temple, Khajraho, India.

As we approach closer and closer to the last quarter of the century, the unification of the Theosophical Movement becomes progressively more and more desirable, and a serious reassessment of our ideals, objectives and dedications becomes imperative.

It should be made clear, however, that no organizational unification is meant. The outward forms are of minor significance, and the various psychological differences that have grown up in the organized Movement would not disappear or even become less sharp as a result of artificial “mergers.”

Unification therefore is to be sought in an overall unity of ideals, long range plans, worldwide objectives, and concerted efforts for the dissemination of the fundamental principles of the Movement as a whole, and of the basic teachings of an age-old Wisdom which transcends individual civilizations, separative schools of thought, or particular disciplines of spiritual unfoldment.

Read more: United in Objective

A Freethinker’s Way to the Galaxy

Tim Wyatt – England

Theosophy A Freethinkers Guide to the Galaxy 2
The author at home, working

Freedom of thought is embedded into the DNA of Theosophy. As Theosophists we possibly pride ourselves on having open minds and the ability to think for ourselves. In some cases that’s more aspirational than actual. We have as many closed minded people as any other organisation – and according to some, even more.

Free-thinking is not only absolutely central to our own personal psycho-spiritual evolution but that of this very planet and the cosmos itself. And we have to resist those forces which oppose freedom of thought because constricting thought is anti-evolutionary.

Down the ages free-thinking has been very much a minority pursuit. Why? Because the risks were enormous, the immediate rewards minimal and very often it could get you killed. It still can if you happen to belong to some of the more poisonous sects of the world’s religions. We are living in dangerous times and we have to resist those forces which want to homogenise ideas and control us. It’s vital to oppose mental totalitarianism wherever we encounter it.

Read more: A Freethinker’s Way to the Galaxy

What is Theosophy - A Brief Outline

Jim Colbert – USA

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Most of us have a friend, relative, or an associate that at one time or another asks, “What is Theosophy?” They want to know what you are into or, even better, they may want to know if this is something they would like to know about.

If you assemble the articles and statements addressing the question “What Is Theosophy?” from just about all traditions, you may be left with the following. A dictionary definition is given, a history of the term going back to the third Century or beyond is given, impressive scholarship, with very few Theosophical ideas. The rationale, most likely, is that  we do not want Theosophy to become a dogma or a religion trying to take its place among so many others. Listing out Theosophical ideas could lend itself to this.

While the above is true, it is suggested here that we can go too far with omitting Theosophical ideas. That is, even with the outstanding scholarship and extensive statements, if some of the Theosophical ideas are not presented we may be confusing those who ask the question.

This student wrote what is meant to be a one page statement entitled a Brief Outline of Theosophy. It is mostly composed of the 3 fundamentals of The Secret Doctrine and the seven principles. The only “unique” addition was to state in the first line that Theosophy is the philosophy of transformation. If you let your mind review the Theosophical writings (e.g. reincarnation, evolution and involution, etc.) you can have the thought that we are all on a journey to the Higher Self.  In the third fundamental of The Secret Doctrine, this is called the “obligatory pilgrimage” hence the first line in our Brief Outline, Theosophy is the philosophy of transformation. In our Bhagavad Gita class we have in San Diego, California, students often ask, “Does Arjuna have to be on a journey to regain his kingdom?”  We sometimes answer “No” but it is our duty for each of us and for all of life.

Read more: What is Theosophy - A Brief Outline

Thinking about Adyar

Tim Boyd – USA, India

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Tim Boyd

I would like to share some thoughts about Adyar for those readers who may not already know. The Theosophical Society (T S) was founded in New York City, but it moved to India, and in 1882 its Inter- national Headquarters was established where it is now, in Adyar. Although it was founded in the US, the fact of history is that it actually began to thrive and come to life in Adyar, and then the Theosophical movement spread throughout India, and around the world.

As a place, the little patch of land on our gigantic globe that we point to as “Adyar”, and as our International Headquarters, has a presence and quite a history. Just in terms of the Theosophical movement, it is the place that H. P. Blavatsky (H.P.B.) designated as the center for this movement to take its roots and go out into the world. She lived there, Col Olcott lived there, Annie Besant, J. Krishnamurti, Damodar Mavalankar, and all types of people have lived, grown, and given their impetus to this movement, drawing on something that they found peculiar to this particular place we call “Adyar.”

At Adyar my office is the space where H.P.B. used to live. It is all one big room now, but previously it was two: where she slept, and where she entertained company. My desk is ten feet from the Shrine where the letters from the Mahatmas were received. Every day I come in to the office, turn on my computer, and check my emails. Throughout most of the day I am forgetful about the nature and history of the place where I sit, but from time to time I remind myself. This place has a certain magnetism, and those who have been there are aware of it. Adyar is still the center for the theosophical movement in the world, the place from which it spread into the world, and toward which many look as an important part of this overall movement.

No matter what it is in life, the center is something of great importance, whether an atom or a galaxy, a planet or a human being. It is the center from which life is drawn and which determines the organism's activities in the world. We have such a center in Adyar. I am fortunate to connect with members around the world, and one thing I observe is that the members within the TS who have actually had the opportunity to set foot in Adyar, to take in some of the experience of the place, are some of our most active members in Sections worldwide. They have linked themselves in an intimate way with the expression and meaning of this work. Somehow the experience of this place feeds something within us.

Read more: Thinking about Adyar

Thought Power and Gratitude

Barbara Hebert – USA

Theosophy Barbara 2 Hebert
The author is National President of the TSA

Have you ever considered what it would be like to live in a state of contentment and gratitude? Most of us have definitely thought about this at times, especially in times of chaos and difficulty. As students of the Ancient Wisdom, we are encouraged to be self-observant: observant of our motivations, thoughts, feelings, and actions. These aspects of ourselves shape our perspective of the world in which we live.

Through study, we quickly become aware that our thoughts impact us as well as others. Thoughts are the glasses through which we create our world. Our thoughts manifest as vibrations of mental matter and, if definite enough, can create a form consisting of energy from the emotional and mental fields. The Mahatma KH wrote to AP Sinnett, “Thoughts are things – have tenacity, coherence, and life, – that they are real entities.” (1) In another letter to AO Hume, the Mahatma writes:

Every thought of [an individual] upon being evolved passes into the inner world and becomes an active entity by associating itself – coalescing, we might term it – with an elemental; that is to say with one of the semi-intelligent forces of the kingdoms. It survives as an active intelligence, a creature of the mind's begetting, for a longer or shorter period proportionate with the original intensity of the cerebral action which generated it. Thus, a good thought is perpetuated as an active beneficent power; an evil one as a maleficent demon. And so [an individual] is continually peopling his current in space with a world of his own, crowded with the offsprings of his fancies, desires, impulses, and passions….” (2)

These statements by the Mahatma must give us pause and compel us to “meta-think” – to think about the thoughts we think!

Read more: Thought Power and Gratitude

Sylvia Cranston – A Tribute

We remember Sylvia Cranston, AKA Anita Atkins (December 12, 1915 – June 20, 2000)

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, Paul Zwollo, Dora van Gelder-Kunz, John H. Drais, Dara Eklund and Geoffrey Farthing. In this issue we will remember Sylvia Cranston, nom de plume for ANITA ATKINS.

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Anita Atkins in England, the summer of 1978 while attending Sir George Trevelyan’s three-day Wrekin Trust Conference on Reincarnation. Here she delivered the opening lecture entitled,
The ModernReincarnation Renaissance. The photograph was taken while en route to a BBC interview

Why do we honor people? What is it that moves us to give credit and show admiration for those who are no longer on our plane? Each one of us might have a particular reason to do so, or not, but it is axiomatic that if we want to know who and where we are, we need to know where we’re from. Only thus will it be clear to us which direction our future lies. Those who left us their legacies such as their thoughts, music, paintings, sculptures or any other art form, like poetry and literature, help remind us who we are. With that awareness we are able to move forward. It is not so much the honor those who passed away took with them, but it is about the heritage they left behind. It is our privilege to benefit and be inspired by valuing that heritage.

In the land of Theosophists, we do not honor others so often since, and in my opinion erroneously, it is associated with the personal. We are told that this is what we should disengage from. However, remembering or honoring someone actually reveals much about who we are, recognizing our own here and now. Honoring past achievement, whether by someone who is with us or who is no longer with us on this plane, inspires while fulfilling our present dreams and ideals. Anita Atkins left us a phenomenal legacy, not only through what she offered to us as an author of a number of very significant books, but also through what she demonstrated as a woman and an unselfish human being who dedicated her entire life to the Cause. From what I now understand, she was hard working, modest, sincere and even a little shy, not really desiring to stand in the limelight.

A fact that is overlooked by many is that through her writings Anita Atkins actually built bridges connecting the various Theosophical streams. Although ULT based, her works were, and still are appreciated by all who are assembled in the Theosophical movement, irrespective of background or tradition. In this respect she fulfilled pioneer’s work, perhaps even without realizing that herself. As I suggested in my write up for a previous tribute, the one we paid to Geoffrey Farthing, I would argue that Anita as well would have been very pleased to see that nowadays, the various Theosophical traditions are regularly coming together on the platform of International Theosophical Conferences (ITC), sharing and studying the core of Theosophy through what H.P.B. passed on to us.

Read more: Sylvia Cranston – A Tribute

Facts you definitely need to know about Anita Atkins, the Mother of Timeless Books

Your editor writes in the TRIBUTE: “ Through the research I did for this tribute it became evident that Carey Williams (Caren Elin) not only functioned as an excellent editor and research assistant, but she was also Anita’s friend through thick and thin, until the very end of Anita’s long and productive life.”

Betty Bland, former National President of the Theosophical Society in America writes in the same TRIBUTE: ” I, personally, am forever indebted to the author and her most capable research assistant Carey Williams (AKA Caren Elin) for this entire document, footnotes, endnotes, references, and all.”

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Caren (left) and Anita, 1986, Bar Harbor Maine

Dara Eklund writes in the TRIBUTE: “During these busy years of re-issues, Caren arranged to have Anita transferred to a very lovely nursing home in Santa Barbara, where she could help see to her proper care.”

Read more: Facts you definitely need to know about Anita Atkins, the Mother of Timeless Books

The Birth of the Theosophical Movement

Sylvia Cranston – USA

Theosophy B Tribute SC 3 B 

[Condensed from HPB: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of H. P. Blavatsky, pp. 143-48, Path Publishing House, Third and Revised Edition. This excerpt is reproduced on Theosophy Forward in a slightly revised format to fit the magazine’s template. Permission is granted to reprint one time this article written and published by Anita Atkins (aka-Sylvia Cranston) to Jan Nicolaas Kind, publisher of Theosophy Forward. Copyright Owner: Dr. Caren  M. Elin, September 5, 2017].

In paging through H. P. Blavatsky’s scrapbook, the following entry is found in her handwriting under date of July 1875:

Orders received from India direct to establish a philosophic-religious Society & choose a name for it – also to choose Olcott.”

On September 7, 1875, sixteen or seventeen persons joined HPB in her rooms at 46 Irving Place to hear a lecture by George H. Felt, an engineer and architect, on “The Lost Canon of Proportion of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.” The talk was enthusiastically received, and Olcott wrote on a slip of paper: “Would it not be a good thing to form a society for this kind of study?” He handed it to William Q. Judge to pass to HPB, who nodded assent. Judge moved that Olcott be elected chairman, and he, in turn, moved that Judge be appointed secretary. The meeting was then adjourned until the following evening.

Read more: The Birth of the Theosophical Movement

A Blind Slave becomes a Famous Musician

Sylvia Cranston and Carey Williams – USA

Theosophy B Tribute SC 4 B

[Condensed from Reincarnation:A New Horizon in Science, Religion, and Society,  pp. 152-55, Theosophical University Press, 1999 edition. This excerpt is reproduced on Theosophy Forward in a slightly revised format to fit the magazine’s template. Permission is granted to reprint one time this article written and published by Anita Atkins (aka-Sylvia Cranston) and Carey Williams to Jan Nicolaas Kind, publisher of Theosophy Forward. Copyright Owner: Dr. Caren  M. Elin, September 5, 2017].

To be born blind and in slavery in Georgia in the year 1849 was hardly a propitious entry into this world. In a magazine article, “Blind Tom: Mystery of Music,” Webb Garrison related that for business reasons, “most Georgia farmers of a century ago were very particular about their annual crop of slaves, and Perry H. Oliver, of Muscogee County, was no exception.” So, when the baby of one of his slaves was born stone blind, he was keenly disappointed. “Later, Oliver sold the mother at a slave, auction to General James Bethune of Columbus, Georgia. Then he pulled the blind youngster from hiding. ‘Here,’ he chuckled, ‘I forgot to tell you she has a boy. I’m throwing him in free’” (Coronet, July 1952). And so the poor mother with her one- year-old child was torn from her home and friends, to live among strangers. General Bethune named the boy Thomas Greene Bethune, but the world was to know him as “Blind Tom.” In her novel My Antonia, Willa Cather told a fictionalized version of his story, and called him Blind d’Arnault.

Read more: A Blind Slave becomes a Famous Musician

The Book of the Golden Precepts

Sylvia Cranston – USA

Theosophy B Tribute SC 5 B

[Condensed from Reincarnation, The Phoenix Fire Mystery, pp. 102-03, Theosophical University Press, 1998 edition.. This excerpt is reproduced on Theosophy Forward in a slightly revised format to fit the magazine’s template. Permission is granted to reprint one time this article written and published by Anita Atkins (aka-Sylvia Cranston) to Jan Nicolaas Kind, publisher of Theosophy Forward. Copyright Owner: Dr. Caren  M. Elin, September 5, 2017].

Writing of mysticism in The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James quotes several passages from H. P. Blavatsky’s The Voice of the Silence, a translation of a portion of “The Book of the Golden Precepts.” Commenting, James says: “There is a verge of the mind which these things haunt; and whispers therefrom mingle with the operations of our understanding, even as the waters of the infinite ocean send their waves to break among the pebbles that lie upon our shores.” [New York: Longmans, Green, 1925, p.421].

Of the same work D. T. Suzuki remarked: “I saw The Voice of the Silence for the first time when at Oxford. I got a copy and sent it to Mrs. Suzuki (then Miss Beatrice Lane) at Columbia University, writing to her: ‘Here is the real Mahayana Buddhism.’ ” [The Middle Way, August 1965, p. 90], Later reviewing William Kingsland’s biography, The Real H. P. Blavatsky [London: John Watkins, 1922], Dr. Suzuki again called The Voice of the Silence “true Mahayana doctrine,” and added:

Undoubtedly Madame Blavatsky had in some way been initiated into the deeper side of Mahayana teaching and then gave out what she deemed wise to the Western world as Theosophy ... There is no doubt whatever that the Theosophical Movement made known to the general world the main doctrines of Mahayana Buddhism, and the interest now being taken in Mahayana in the Western world has most certainly been helped forward by the knowledge of Theosophy ... As Mr. Kingsland says, ‘She did more than any other single individual to bring to the West a knowledge of Eastern religious philosophy.’ ” (The Eastern Buddhist (old series), editor, D. T. Suzuki, Vol. 5, p.572.)

Read more: The Book of the Golden Precepts

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