Theosophy

A Few Theosophical Threads From HPB

David M. Grossman – USA

HPB

 It was the work of H.P. Blavatsky, central messenger of the modern Theosophical movement, through her writings and tireless efforts, to paint a living picture of who we are, where we have come from and where we are going, placing us within the historical map that she draws of cyclic evolution as well as to cultivate and spread the vision of Universal Brotherhood in the world.

Read more: A Few Theosophical Threads From HPB

On using words with Care

 Autumn Leaf Light Shadows resize

William Quan Judge, one of the three principle founders of the Theosophical Society,  advised us to use words with care, and this advice is very necessary if we would leave no room for “avoidable” misconceptions. The unavoidable misconceptions are due to the limitations of the readers or of the listeners, their preconceived notions and experience. Three words, especially, need to be used with great care; Ego, conscience, Tradition.

Read more: On using words with Care

The Fourth Pillar of Practice

Tim Boyd – India, USA

Theosophy TB b

The author, profound, observant, creative and all-embracing

One of the somewhat paradoxical goals of spiritual practice is to become less self-centered. The results of practice might be described as becoming “unselfed”. Expressed in simple terms spiritual practice focuses on diminishing the limiting influence of the personal self by shifting the center of awareness to a Greater, or Universal Self. It is paradoxical because in order for this shift to take place there has to be an initial commitment of the unrefined personality to the process — a commitment to a future exaltation that to the personal self looks a lot like extinction.

Read more: The Fourth Pillar of Practice

For the Love of Humanity

Cary Gardner – USA  

Theosophy GARD 2 global peace 1

What do we really know about the human family and the pilgrimage of mankind? The Voice of the Silence makes this firm statement.   “To live to benefit mankind is the first step.” How do we benefit mankind?  What do we really know about mankind as a whole?   Our personal life, our family and community provide us with our initial clues.   As we grow older we might have travel experiences, reading and media influences that might reveal more about our fellow man, but our knowledge is fragmentary at best, no matter how well traveled one might be.  How grand is this family of which we are members? Where did we come from and where are we going?

Read more: For the Love of Humanity

Our responsibilities to the Animals

Andrew Rooke – Australia

Dogs in water

When the American Plains Indians rode forth to hunt bison 200 years ago, they first said a prayer of apology to their ‘younger brothers’ the animals which they were about to kill only to feed their  families. Such attitudes of humility and identity with the kingdom of life below us humans has, in the past, been little in evidence in our ‘civilized’ society. We often preach peace and brotherhood from the pulpit, but how often do we pause to think that Universal Brotherhood includes all of Nature’s kingdoms and not just our fellow humans?

Read more: Our responsibilities to the Animals

Animals, our Younger Brothers

Andrew Rooke – Australia

Theosophy AR 2

What a beauty ..  (Lemur, native to Madagascar)

If you have ever had a beloved pet in your household, you would certainly have wondered, how is it that animals can have such a major impact on us humans by just ‘being there’? Who are the beings we call the ‘Animals’ and how do they relate to the human kingdom?

Read more: Animals, our Younger Brothers

Scientific Research on Children’s Reincarnation Memories

 

Antti Savinainen – Finland

Theosophy Ant 2reincarnation blog

Children’s Reincarnation Memories

Reincarnation is among the most central teachings of Theosophy and Anthroposophy, which portray it as an opportunity to evolve as a human being from one life to the next. Our understanding of reincarnation has been shaped by the teachings of Eastern religions and spiritual teachers, which are thought to be based on experiential spiritual knowledge. Understandably, this is not convincing to a person outside spiritual movements.

Even so, there is empirical evidence for reincarnation independent of Eastern religions and spiritual movements. It has been suggested, for example, that past-life memories can be activated by hypnosis. But the results obtained with hypnosis seem very unreliable from the point of view of both scientific and spiritual research, so I will not investigate them further. Here I will focus on scientific research on children’s reincarnation memories and its criticisms. Finally, I will evaluate the results from the perspective of Theosophy.

Read more: Scientific Research on Children’s Reincarnation Memories

The Dark Side of Light

John Algeo – USA

Theosophy JA 2

John Algeo at his best: lecturing at Olcott in Wheaton

An old kabbalistic motto holds that Demon est Deus inversus, "The devil is God upside down," or "The devil is God's complement." The Irish poet William Butler Yeats took, as his mystical name in the kabbalistic Order of the Golden Dawn, the initials of that Latin motto, D.E.D.I. Those letters, however, also spell the Latin verb dedi, which means "I have given" and thus punningly suggests that the diabolic is a divine gift.

Read more: The Dark Side of Light

The Three Pillars of Practice

Tim Boyd – USA, India

Theosophy TB Tim in Naarden

Tim Boyd at the beautiful International Theosophical Centre in Naarden, the Netherlanda

IN all traditions that aim at self-transformation, or human regeneration, there is a necessary emphasis on the need for practice. Some people might resist the discipline and time required to develop and persist in a practice, thinking of it as just another process of conditioning, which it is, but it is paradoxical. Spiritual practice is a process of conditioning that leads to the possibility of freedom from conditioning. The preoccupation with practice in spiritual and religious circles is based on a couple of observations. The first is that whether we recognize it or not, we are continually practicing something.

Read more: The Three Pillars of Practice

Service as a Universal Path

 Douglas Keene – USA  

Douglas    

  Douglas Keene, National President of the Theosophical Society in America

Service comes in many descriptions and circumstances. This can be as simple as a smile, lending a caring ear, or treating others with respect. Fulfilling our family obligations, work duties, and community responsibilities can all be seen as service and perhaps is needed before we extend our efforts beyond our individual commitments.

Read more: Service as a Universal Path

Why? 

Barbara Hebert – USA

Theosophy BH 2 Why

Toddlers and young children frequently ask “why?”:  Why is the sky blue?  Why does it rain? Why is grass green? and so on. They are trying to learn about the world in which they find themselves. As seekers for truth, we also frequently ask the question “why?” We want to understand ourselves, the world into which we were born, and the cosmos in which we exist. While these are all valuable questions and help us as we seek, there is an important question that we don’t often consider. It is: Why were we born at this particular time in history?

Read more: Why? 

Gandhiji’s fasting – (In the Light of Theosophy)

Theosopy GF b

In the article, “My Fasts” Gandhiji says that his religion has taught him to fast and pray whenever there is distress which one is unable to remove. “What the eyes are for the outer world, fasts are for the inner.” Curiously, he mentions that these fasts undertaken by him are not undertaken for amusement or fame, but because “they are imposed upon me by a higher Power and the capacity to bear the pain also comes from that Power.” The fasts [unto death] undertaken by him are not to be undertaken lightly. “I, must, therefore undertake the fast only when the still small voice within me calls for it….A genuine fast cleanses the body, mind and soul. It crucifies the flesh and to that extent, sets the soul free….Purity thus gained, when it is utilised for a noble purpose, becomes a prayer.” He seems to suggest that fasting and prayer go hand in hand. When one abstains from food and water, it marks the beginning of the surrender to God.

Read more: Gandhiji’s fasting – (In the Light of Theosophy)

Boris de Zirkoff’s  talk on  INNER AWARENESS

Edited by Hector Tate

Theosophy BDZ b Last

[From the last issue of Theosophia a magazine that was published every three months, from May 1944 till June 1981.  It's objectives were: to uphold and promote the Original Principles of the modern Theosophical Movement, and to disseminate the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy as set forth by H.P. Blavatsky and her Teachers. It's Editor was Boris de Zirkoff.]

Read more: Boris de Zirkoff’s  talk on  INNER AWARENESS

Rudolf Steiner's Teachings in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds

Antti  Savinainen – Finland

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Rudolf Steiner

Introduction

Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) published a series of articles titled How to Know Higher Worlds? (in German Wie erlangt man Erkenntnisse der höheren Welten?) in the journal Lucifer-Gnosis between 1904 and 1905. These articles were published as a book in 1909. Steiner reworked his text extensively several times. The book's title has also changed with the translations: the English translation with all Steiner’s changes appeared with the title Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment. Steiner intended to create such a precise description of spiritual practices and the way to proceed that the presence of a teacher or guru, as required by the old spiritual tradition, would become superfluous.

Read more: Rudolf Steiner's Teachings in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds

Understanding Universal Intelligence

Deepa Padhi – India

DT

Deepa Padhi, International Vice President and Tim Boyd, International President of the TS-Adyar

The very concept of universal intelligence suggests that the universe is created by intelligent design. There is an intelligent principle working behind the universe and it exists for a purpose. The creation is teleological, not mechanical or coincidental.

Read more: Understanding Universal Intelligence

Universal Intelligence and the Human Condition

Tim Boyd – USA, India

Tim and Michiel

Photo taken in Adyar a few years ago, MICHIEL HAAS and TIM BOYD 

One of the wonders of the theosophical endeavor is that people find their way to it, their meaning in it, then expand on that according to their own understanding and needs. There are people for whom the Theosophical Society (TS) and its work are related to history, the work of tracing the thread of wisdom that runs through the complex tapestry of humanity’s unfoldment — identifying it as it appears and expresses in different times and cultures, and through different people.

Read more: Universal Intelligence and the Human Condition

Theosophical Meditation: A question from Dewald Bester for the Theosophical Society

nadayoga 3

Nada Yoga

With reactions-contemplations from David M. Grossman, Esther Pockrandt, Pablo Sender and Juliana Cesano

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Dewald 2

Dewald Bester, Cape Town – South Africa

I am late to this topic, but I will, at least to my satisfaction, solve this problem. That, or some more drastic action will have to be taken - one that so many before me have taken.

Here is a quote from the Inner Group Teachings, an answer to a question - we trust it is a faithful recollection,

H.P.B. said she had seen the chelas, mounting the seven steps of the spine, close the ears, nostrils, eyes, and lastly the mouth, holding the breath for a short time.(1995, 17).

Read more: Theosophical Meditation: A question from Dewald Bester for the Theosophical Society

The Nature of Theosophical Meditation

Pablo Sender – USA

Theosophy PS 2

Pablo Sender

The Theosophical Society (TS) played a pioneering role in introducing meditation to the Western world. During the early 1880s, the TS started presenting the idea of meditation through publications in theosophical journals. Meanwhile, H. P. Blavatsky (HPB) privately trained a small group of individuals in meditation, particularly her pupils in the Inner Group. This was decades before Hindu swamis and Buddhist monks began to talk about meditation in the West. In the second generation of theosophists, individuals such as Annie Besant, C. W. Leadbeater, and others began to present this subject more systematically and extensively in their talks and books.

Read more: The Nature of Theosophical Meditation

The Power of One:  Collective Consciousness and Individuality

Esther Pockrandt – Australia

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[Part 2: Individuality; for Part 1 click HERE] 

The Theosophical emblem is surrounded by the translation of the Sanskrit words, “Satyāt nāsti paro dharmah”, ‘There is no Religion (or path) Higher than Truth’.

ANNIE Besant

Annie Besant

In the Ageless Wisdom texts, we are constantly reminded that we are ONE and that that which separates or divides is not the Truth. We know this intellectually and repeat it in our spiritual circles. We recite The Universal Prayer by Annie Besant:

Oh hidden life vibrant in every atom,

Oh hidden light shining in every creature,

Oh hidden love uniting all in Oneness,

May all who feel themselves as one with Thee,

Know they are therefore one with every other.

Read more: The Power of One:  Collective Consciousness and Individuality

Each Member A Centre

William Quan Judge –  USA

william quan judge theosophy theosophical

William Quan Judge

Some years ago one of those Masters in whom so many of our members believe directed H.P.B. to write a letter for him to a certain body of Theosophists. In this he said that each member could become, in his own town or city, if earnest, sincere and unselfish, an active centre from which would radiate unseen powerful forces able to influence men and women in the vicinity for good; and that soon enquirers would appear, a Branch in time be organized and thus the whole neighbourhood would receive benefit. This seems just and reasonable in addition to its being stated by such high authority. Members ought to consider and think over it so that action may follow.

Read more: Each Member A Centre

The Science of Spiritual Practices

Antti Savinainen – Finland

Theosophy A 2 antti

The author

This essay is largely based on the book Science and Spiritual Practices (2018) by biologist Rupert Sheldrake (b. 1942). Sheldrake is an independent and courageous thinker and seeker with a PhD from the prestigious University of Cambridge. He has published research on plant physiology and parapsychology and developed the idea of the morphic field (more on this later in the article).

In his youth, Sheldrake was an atheist because he felt it was part of the scientific worldview. While studying biology, he found that its methods distanced him from plants and animals because the organisms he was studying had to be killed first. However, the holistic approach of the German philosopher and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe showed that there was another way to study nature. Sheldrake later explored meditation and the spirituality of different religions. He is now an open-minded Christian.

Read more: The Science of Spiritual Practices

Our Universal Objectives

Boris de Zirkoff – USA

Theosophy Boris 2

[Original cover-photo]

It is imperative for us at all times to make a clear distinction between the Theosophical Society as an organized body, and the Theosophical Movement as a world-wide trend towards universality of outlook and a more spiritual, therefore unified, view of life.

Read more: Our Universal Objectives

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