Our World

Barbara Hebert – USA

When we look around our world today, we can quickly become overwhelmed with all of the problems and difficulties we see before us.  Poverty and hunger are endemic in many areas; intolerance, discrimination, and inequality continue to plague the world; violence seems to be the primary means to solve conflict.  Around the world, we face the scourge of substance abuse with its multiplicity of venal tentacles that cause untold suffering and sadness to its users and to the loved ones of those users. As we look around our world today and see the reality of suffering, it seems as if the only solution is to sadly shake our heads and whisper quietly, “Oh, this orphan humanity.” 

As Theosophists, we have been accused of “hiding” in our books, of not living in the real world.   We are accused of being “head” focused, not “heart” focused.  That is, knowing that individually we cannot even begin to make a dent in the tragedies suffered by humankind, we can return to our studies, safe in the understanding that suffering is the way of the world at this time in evolution because it is the Kali Yuga.  Correct?  Absolutely not.

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Our World

Emanation in daily life

Herman C. Vermeulen – The Netherlands

‘Emanation’ is a Latin compound meaning ‘the flowing out’ of what is within. Each embodying being emanates a characteristic ‘sphere’, a ‘force field’ to which lesser developed beings are attracted, thus forming his(its, one’s) body. In this force field, the lesser developed beings find the appropriate habitat to develop themselves. An example is the planetary being Earth, creating an appropriate environment for all the other beings of our planet, including ourselves. This concept of emanation is a very fundamental idea in The Secret Doctrine of Madame Blavatsky, and in the philosophy of Plato, the Neo-Platonist Plotinus and his teacher Ammonius Saccas. Below some practical examples of emanation are given.

There is a very interesting phenomenon in nature, which biologists call a biotope. A biotope is an area with uniform living conditions (a marsh or moorland) in which certain plants and animals can thrive, because they are in harmony with their environment. It is their natural habitat or growth environment.

If we give this some thought, the concept becomes broader and more dynamic. If we create the right circumstances, the corresponding animal or plant appears naturally. There is clearly a mutual attraction between different types of beings, creating living conditions for one another. However, there is a critical boundary. For example, if we create a square meter of biotope, we will probably not attract one single being, because the minimal condition, in this case the minimum size, is not met.

This example of mutual attraction and cooperation is an aspect or part of the concept of ‘emanation.’ The biotopes in nature clearly illustrate that beings in equal or even different phases of development not only have a stimulating influence on one another, but also create a necessary cooperation. This cooperation provides them with the mutual opportunity to gain experience and work on inner growth. This once again proves that growth or development is not possible alone: that it is an illusion to think we are separate from one another.

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Our World

Global Mental Health Concerns

Tom Davis – South Africa

There is a serious blind spot when it comes to the truth about mental health in many areas of activity in the world, probably due to the stigma attached to mental illness.

From a holistic or positive psychological viewpoint, mental health is seen as the general absence of a mental disorder, although recent evidence suggests that mental health is more than the mere absence of a mental disorder or illness. Put simply, mental health refers to the health of a person’s mind. Therefore the impact of traumas in childhood during education and in social, cultural and physical situations and the deleterious effects of aging can affect mental health. Our ability to cope with or adapt to a range of daily demands and how we react to or express ourselves emotionally, especially in stressful and traumatic circumstances, determines our level of mental health. In many spheres of human life people, including those in leadership positions and presidents of countries suffer from serious mental illnesses. This negatively affects the people around them, the organization or country. Surely then, this should be a serious area of study for Theosophists.

The World Health Organization defines mental health as "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a worthwhile contribution to his or her community".

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Our World

Religions and the Theosophical Society

Vic Hao Chin – The Philippines

When the Theosophical Society was founded, it was expected to play a major role in the minimization of the evils brought about by institutionalized religion. A significant proportion of H. P. Blavatsky’s writings addressed this matter, and the Mahatma Letters were quite scathing in pointing out the harmful side of religion. Today, however, it seems that the Theosophical Society is not playing a major role in world thought in continuing such a work. If the rise of fundamentalism is any indication, then the harmful side of religion has not abated but may have increased.

In Letter 88 of the Mahatma Letters (chronological edition), the Mahatma Koot Hoomi wrote:

I will point out the greatest, the chief cause of nearly two thirds of the evils that pursue humanity ever since that cause became a power. It is religion under whatever form and in whatsoever nation. It is the sacerdotal caste, the priesthood and the churches; it is in those illusions that man looks upon as sacred, that he has to search out the source of that multitude of evils which is the great curse of humanity and that almost overwhelms mankind. Ignorance created Gods and cunning took advantage of the opportunity. Look at India and look at Christendom and Islam, at Judaism and Fetichism. It is priestly imposture that rendered these Gods so terrible to man; it is religion that makes of him the selfish bigot, the fanatic that hates all mankind out of his own sect without rendering him any better or more moral for it. It is belief in God and Gods that makes two-thirds of humanity the slaves of a handful of those who deceive them under the false pretence of saving them. Is not man ever ready to commit any kind of evil if told that his God or Gods demand the crime—voluntary victim of an illusionary God, the abject slave of his crafty ministers? The Irish, Italian and Slavonian peasant will starve himself and see his family starving and naked to feed and clothe his padre and pope. For two thousand years India groaned under the weight of caste, Brahmins alone feeding on the fat of the land, and to-day the followers of Christ and those of Mahomet are cutting each other's throats in the names of and for the greater glory of their respective myths. Remember the sum of human misery will never be diminished unto that day when the better portion of humanity destroys in the name of Truth, morality, and universal charity, the altars of their false gods.

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Our World

Some Information and Reflection on the Lowest Form of Energy

Trân-Thi-Kim-Diêu – France

The Mother, Sri Aurobindo’s companion, was asked by Satprem, one of their closest disciples, what ruled the material world, her answer was money, sex and power. She did not say something new; many wise observers acknowledge this fact and most spiritual students know it theoretically. When one looks at the world of today one cannot deny the truth of the statement. Due to the editorial limitation, I will only concentrate on the subject of money.

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