Living Theosophy - How can we make Theosophy a living force in our world?

Ali Ritsema – former General Secretary of the Dutch Section

It is often said that the best way to promote Theosophy is ‘to live Theosophy’. But do we know what it means ‘to live Theosophy’, and is it possible to do so? This short article is an enquiry into this subject.

Before we can ‘live Theosophy’, we need to understand what Theosophy is. In The Key to Theosophy (p.1), H. P. Blavatsky explains that the real meaning of the word Theosophy is ‘Wisdom such as that possessed by the gods’. It seems to me that when the ‘gods possess wisdom’, they obviously know how to live their wisdom. Who then are the ‘gods’ that possess wisdom?

The Secret Doctrine (2:255 fn) sheds light on this question when it explains that at a certain period in the evolutionary process of humans their material development and spiritual development met. That is the period when the physical frame was ready to receive the divine Pilgrim. Only from then on were humans complete. It was at this point that humans were endowed with Manas. ‘They are made “gods” for good and evil, and responsible.'

However, there is no good and evil per se, existing independently in nature. Therefore, no one is absolutely ‘good’ and no one is absolutely ‘evil’. It is through the contrast that we humans can learn to discriminate between ‘good’ and ‘evil' or between our higher and lower natures. Here lies our choice, our learning process, and our responsibility.

'[E]very man has a god within . . . his "god" within, not outside, of himself' (Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, p. 52). However, this does not mean that humans are already ‘gods’ in the high spiritual sense one attributes to the term, as we can witness every day.

It is Manas, ‘the mind’, the mental faculty, which makes of humans intelligent and moral beings and thus distinguishes them from animals. It is the mind that makes people responsible. Manas is triple, says The Secret Doctrine (2:254 fn): ‘as a principle per se, which gravitates, in its higher aspect, to Atma-Buddhi [our higher nature], and follows, in its lower nature, Kama, the seat of terrestrial and animal desires and passions.' This explains the good and evil.

Manas pure, or as a principle per se, is an emanation of Mahat, the Universal Mind, also referred to as Prajna, Universal Wisdom. Prajna is the key which makes a human into a god, creating a Bôdhisattva according to The Voice of the Silence. Such a person is one whose essence (sattva) has become intelligence (bodhi).

Being endowed with Manas as a principle per se, we are a ray of Mahat. Thus in our very essence, in our true nature, we are a god and we possess the wisdom of the gods. However, most people are busy, busy, busy, running around like mad to keep up with the expectations of our worldly nature. By doing that, we forget our true nature, trample it under foot, not even aware of the fact that we are truly a god. So, what should we do?

Everything that keeps us away from expressing our true nature, the nature of the god within, should be done away with. We should let tranquillity come back into our life. We should observe our lower self in the light of our higher self. We should study, we should ponder and assimilate the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom, taking its guidelines for right living to heart. We should learn to see without eyes, to hear without ears, to sense without organs.

We should become intelligent and let the inner god shine forth from within in order to live Theosophy.


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