Notable Books

Notable Books 37

Something New

Evolution of the Higher Consciousness: An In-depth Study into H. P. Blavatsky's Teachings, Pablo Sender, Fohat Productions, P.O. Box 1043, Ojai, CA 93024, 201 pages, $24.95

This is the book that Theosophist have been asking for. A book that brings the teachings of HPB into the present and with great clarity. In fact, if I needed to give a ‘one word’ review of this book it would be CLARITY. It has obviously been classroom tested because of the organization, anticipation of questions, and use of words. I thought the Preface was exceptional. It sets the stage for the double evolution of BOTH spirit and matter.

The opening chapter gives the Theosophical view on evolution and is very clear and concise. I would like to see some workshop-talks doing this summary as well as Dr. Sender presents it here. Also, it is a very nice touch to have the references at the end of each chapter which gives value added to the whole book.

The following chapters follow with the usual topics: Atman, Monad, Manas, Kama, and ending with the evolution of the higher ego. These are all treated as before with great clarity and once again, shows sign of being classroom tested. The Glossary at the end is worthy of the salient point for Theosophists.

The second half of the book is what Dr. Sender calls: Practice. I would call it: Homework. Anyone using this book for a study group will find a large number of items to work with.

I close this review on a personal note. When Dora Kunz was National President of the TSA at Olcott (Headquarters in America), the educational committee gave serious thought to writing an up-to-date book trying to bring HPB's thoughts into the present. We found out very quickly, this would be a major project. One of the committee members, Shirley Nicholson, eventually, used and expanded her material to write the excellent TPH book: Ancient Wisdom Modern Insight. My contribution eventually was included in a Quest (TPH) book on HPB, edited by Virginia Hanson. I’m sure other members of the committee made similar contributions.

However, Dr. Sender did what we intended. He wrote this wonderful book, and I can give it a very high recommendation. It belongs on your Theosophical bookshelf.

Something Old

In Search of P.D. Ouspensky: The Genius in the Shadow of Gurdjieff, Gary Lachman, Quest Books (TPH), 2004, pages 329, $24.95

Back some years ago, I made a valent attempt to learn about Gurdjieff. Several speakers in the society, I noticed, were quite knowledgeable about him. These were people I respected and wanted to fill in what I ‘didn't know’. However, when I started reading Gurdjieff, I simply became more confused. Fortunately, a class on Gurdjieff was being given at Olcott, and I took it.

In spite of my best effort, it was only when I started reading the material on Ouspensky, that the comparison of Gurdjieff and HPB began to come together. I’m sure part of the reason for this is that Ouspensky commenced his spiritual evolution at a Theosophist. Later, he felt this was not his path and began searching for a ‘live’ teacher (probably along the style of HPB).

Today, my thinking on this has solidified, and I think if I had to do it all over again, I would start with this book by Lachman. Gary has a way with telling a story that hits all of the high points.

This book tells a good story, is an easy read, and you'll learn some interesting history along the way. He has a good book on Jung as well.

Notable Books is a series compiled by Dr. Ralph Hannon

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