The Culture of Music From a Theosophical Standpoint


Theosophy The 2 music head converted

The object of this article is to show what light may be thrown from a Theosophical point of view upon the nature of music, its function, and the cultivation of the art. Theosophy illuminates all subjects upon which it sheds its light, and supplies the missing links so often needed to fill the gaps in the chain of our thoughts.

The nature, function, and influence of music have always been mysterious and hard to define. Both in its ultimate source and in the quality of its appeal, it pertains to a sphere of conscious existence that is not directly related to the reasoning brain. The creation of music is inspired by a faculty beyond the ordinary course, and its influence appeals to an equally recondite power of appreciation.

Read more: The Culture of Music From a Theosophical Standpoint

What happens when we die? (In the Light of Theosophy)

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This article appeared in the March 2022 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link:

Scientific data suggests that life may actually flash before our eyes as we die. A team of doctors, based in Vancouver, Canada, were measuring the brainwaves of an 87-year-old patient who had developed epilepsy. He suffered a fatal heart attack during this neurological recording, revealing that in the thirty seconds before and after death, the brainwaves in the dying brain show the same pattern as seen when a person is dreaming or recalling memories, or concentrating. In other words, such pattern of the brainwaves was seen in the thirty seconds before the patient’s heart stopped supplying blood to the brain and continued thirty seconds after the patient’s heart stopped beating, when normally he is declared dead, says Dr. Ajmal Zemmer, who is now a neurosurgeon at the University of Louisville.

Read more: What happens when we die? (In the Light of Theosophy)

Our Work

Tim Boyd – USA, India


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Tim Boyd

Many years ago in the United States I participated in one of the very large ceremonies that the Dalai Lama does, the Kalachakra. Around 10,000 people attended. When he would perform this ceremony in Asia more than 100,000 people gathered. In talking to some of the monks who were involved, they said that although everybody would receive something of value, the entire ceremony was intended for that one person who would fully get it, for whom this moment was the moment of awakening. From the Dalai Lama’s perspective, this was the whole point of the ceremony.

Read more: Our Work

The Sacrifice We Need to Make

Ananya Sri Ram – USA

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In 2006, I started research on the history of the Theosophical Order of Service (TOS) to publish a commemorative issue for the TOS in the USA. One area that interested me was the work done during WWII. Members in England sent the names of people in Europe who were starving and had no resources to the TOS US. In turn, boxes of canned food, blankets, clothes, and other items were shipped to them. During my months of research, Joy Mills was kind enough to send me a letter that recalled her being part of this TOS project. She wrote that many never thought twice about helping out because service is one of the tenets of living a theosophical life. Letters were also written to servicemen to encourage them, give them hope, and to let them know that others were thinking about them. It amazed me that letters even made it to the men fighting the war.

Read more: The Sacrifice We Need to Make

“Blavatskianism” In And Out Of Season

William Quan Judge – USA

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[Note from the editor: William Judge was, and will always be a Young” Theosophist as he was only 26 (!!), being one of the three principle founders of the Theosophical Society. He was a personal student of H,P.B. and in his writings he always  refers to the fact how much he  admired her. In the middle of all sorts of controversies, he unfortunately passed away, far too young at the age of only 45 in 1896.]

THEOSOPHISTS! let us consult together. Let us survey the army, the field of battle, and the fighters. Let us examine our ways and our speech, so that we may know what we are doing in this great affray which may last for ages and in which every act has a future. What do we see? A Theosophical Society struggling as a whole against the world. A few devoted members struggling against the world and some opponents within its ranks. A Society grown to its eighteenth year, after the expenditure of much time and energy and fame by those who have been with it in infancy, those who have come in from time to time, those who worked and left it for this generation. It has its karma like any other body, for it is a living thing and not a mere paper organization; and with that karma is also woven the karma of the units composing it.

Read more: “Blavatskianism” In And Out Of Season

Who Am I?

Henry Travers Edge – USA 

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This is a question that none can escape; it must often suggest itself even to the most thoughtless. It cannot be indefinitely evaded, for man cannot indefinitely remain in an irresponsible state, refusing to face facts, or trying to live superficially and in the moment. Yet why should it be evaded? Man has the power to answer any question that he has the power to propound. Those who reject religion and authority, from a motive of self-reliance, should surely have self-reliance enough to tackle this question. We cannot consistently stand on a pinnacle of pride and self-sufficiency in order to proclaim therefrom our own incompetence and inability to know.

Read more: Who Am I?


Sri Raghavan Iyer – USA

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If we feel not our spiritual death, how should we dream of invoking life?

                                                                                                                                   Claude de St.-Martin

The sure test that individuals have begun to ascend to higher planes of consciousness is that they find an increasing fusion of their ideas and their sympathies. Breadth of mental vision is supported by the depth of inmost feeling. Words are inadequate to convey these modes of awareness. Mystics cannot readily communicate the ineffable union of head and heart which has sometimes been called a mystic marriage. Such veiled metaphorical language may often refer to specific centres of consciousness in the human body. If the body is the living temple of an imprisoned divine intelligence, the metaphorical language of the mystics points to a tuning and activation of interrelated centres in the body. There is a mystical heart that is different in location and function from the physical heart. There is also a seed of higher intellection, "the place between thine eyes", which is distinct from those centres of the brain that are involved in ordinary cerebration. The more a person is able to hold consciousness on a plane that is vaster in relation to time and space, subtler in relation to cause and motion, than normal sensory awareness, the more these higher centres are activated. Since this cannot take place without also arousing deeper feelings, the original meaning of the term 'philosophy' – 'love of wisdom' – is suggestive and significant. There is a level of energy released by love that is conjoined with a profound reverence for truth per Se. This energy releases a greater capacity to experience self-conscious attunement to what is behind the visible phantasmagoria of the whole of life, drawing one closer to what is gestating under the soil in the hidden roots of being, and closer to the unarticulated longings of all other human beings. Everyone senses this kinship at critical moments. Sometimes, in the context of a shared tragedy or at a time of crisis caused by a sudden catastrophe, many people experience an authentic oneness with each other despite the absence of any tokens of tangible expression.


Theosophy, Decision-making, and Ethics

Barbara Hebert – USA

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According to Heidi Zak in her article in Inc., adults make more than 35,000 decisions per day. These decisions range from deciding what to wear, what route to take when driving to work, what to eat for meals to more complex decisions that involve one’s career and family. Dr. Eva Krockow in her article in Psychology Today writes: “Assuming that most people spend around seven hours per day sleeping and thus blissfully choice-free, that makes roughly 2,000 decisions per hour or one decision every two seconds.” Dr. Krockow questions these numbers, but clearly, we are making far more decisions on a daily basis than we realize. Krockow does, however, point out that sometimes small decisions can lead to major consequences, and she encourages increased awareness of the decisions we are making.

Read more: Theosophy, Decision-making, and Ethics

Wisdom Is to the Pure

Henry Travers Edge – England and USA

glowing lotus flower on black byron varvarigos

The Mind is the great Slayer of the Real.

                                                                                                                     The Voice of the Silence

The mind of man is, in the present age, chiefly under the dominion of the senses; hence it cannot be accepted as a true guide to right conduct. If the senses rule the mind, and the mind rules the man, then the man is obviously a sensualist.

It is useless, therefore, for any man who is still a slave to his senses, to attempt to attain wisdom or arrive at truth. His mind is full of illusions, produced by those senses, and the truth will be obscured. As well might an astronomer scan the heavens with a bent reflector or a cracked lens.

So long as the mind of man is impure and the senses uncontrolled, it is impossible for him to obtain true premises from which to reason; hence his conclusions will be equally false. This is sufficient to account for the impotence of so many of our scientific theories and metaphysical systems when we seek a beacon- light by which to guide our daily steps in life.

Read more: Wisdom Is to the Pure

The Esoteric School of Theosophy

Linda Oliveira – Australia

Theosophy ES 2 Linda

Linda Oliveira

Throughout  history esoteric groups have existed within a number of spiritual traditions, each with its own emphasis in relation to deeper aspects of life, and appropriate to its time, place, and milieu. H. P. Blavatsky (HPB) observed:

Whatever differences are to be found in the various presentations of the Esoteric Doctrine, as in every age it donned a fresh garment, different both in hue and texture to that which preceded; yet in every one of them we find the fullest agreement upon one point — the road to spiritual development.(1)

Read more: The Esoteric School of Theosophy

In the Light of Theosophy

This article appeared in the December 2021 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link: 

Repressed memories?

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Can there be repressed memories? It was Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, who put forward the idea that memories can be repressed. It means that certain painful experiences and unwholesome desires or urges are locked away from the conscious mind but pushed deep down into one’s non-conscious mind, so as to be inaccessible. The idea that memories can be repressed and then suddenly re-emerge years later, was put aside as being false, in the 1990s, since this concept did not go well with all that was known about how memory works. Moreover, it was observed that it is so easy to implant false memories that it would be impossible to distinguish between recovered memory from an implanted one. But the reason for the resurfacing of this idea could be based on the belief that buried memories of trauma can explain why some people experience mental health conditions in later life. These can be treated by persuading them to recall the traumas and processing them. Lawrence Patihis, a forensic psychologist at the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom, points out that often false memories take hold of people, because certain kinds of therapy encourage people to imagine certain scenarios or ask them to elaborate on some fragments of events that they remembered.

Read more: In the Light of Theosophy

Gandhian Trusteeship in Theory and Practice

Sri Raghavan Iyer – USA

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The Art of Renunciation

The act of renunciation of everything is not a mere physical renunciation, but represents a second or new birth. It is a deliberate act, not done in ignorance. It is, therefore, a regeneration.

                                                                                                                                                                                Mahatma Gandhi1

For India, the most critical issue involves the current rethinking of Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy. Gandhi said that soon after his death India would bypass and betray his ideas, but that thirty years later India would be compelled to restore them. Events have begun to validate his prophecy, and the trend will accelerate. . .  When India fully accepts that it cannot conceivably emulate Japan without harnessing its own indigenous values and providing new motivations, and when out of necessity its leadership recognizes that it can no longer inflate the token symbols of Gandhi or the facile slogans of socialism, she will be forced to ask more fundamental questions. Only then can the real social revolution emerge, which could have a strong radical base and also borrow from ancient traditions as well as modern movements. While it would be difficult to predict the changes themselves, they will require serious reassessment of Gandhi's questions relating to the quantum of goods needed for a meaningful and fulfilling way of life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Parapolitics – Toward the City of Man

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Sri Raghavan Iyer

Mahatma Gandhi held that all human beings are implicitly responsible to God, the Family of Man and to themselves for their use and treatment of all goods, gifts and talents that fall within their domain. This is so because Nature and Man are alike upheld, suffused and regenerated by the Divine. There is a luminous spark of divine intelligence in the motion of the atom and in the eyes of every man and woman on earth. We incarnate our divinity when we deliberately and joyously nurture our abilities and assets for the sake of the larger good. In this sense, the finest exemplars of trusteeship are those who treat all possessions as though they were sacred or deeply precious beyond any worldly scale of valuation. Thus, it is only through daily moral choice and the meritorious use of resources that we sustain our inherited or acquired entitlements. For this reason, the very idea of ownership is misleading and, at root, a form of violence. It implies rights and privileges over Man and Nature that go beyond the bounds of human need–although not necessarily beyond the limits of human law and social custom. It obscures the generous bounty of Nature, which provides enough for all if each holds in trust only what he needs, without excess or exploitation.

Read more: Gandhian Trusteeship in Theory and Practice

The Three Propositions

David M. Grossman – USA

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“Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself.” 

Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi

The Three Fundamental Propositions of The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky (HPB) are a kind of metaphysical doorway through which we can look into the mysteries of life. Each of us at one time or another asks in a heartfelt way: “Who am I? Where have I come from? Where am I going?” These kinds of questions most often arise when we feel ungrounded, or have had difficult events in our lives that we cannot easily navigate through. “Why did this happen to me?” “What did I do to deserve this?”

Read more: The Three Propositions

The Hidden Meaning of Christmas

Catalina Isaza Cantor – Colombia and India

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Let us share something about the hidden, esoteric meaning of Christmas. Although this celebration has become primarily a reason for consumption and advertising, it is good to remember that its origin has to do with the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Christ. From the esoteric point of view, it goes much further than that: it constitutes a symbol of the spiritual awakening of which all of us will take part at some point in our journey towards the divine.

Christmas, within the Christian vision, is composed of three moments. The first one, Advent (arrival), marks the four week stage of preparation previous to the birth of the child Jesus. In the biblical account, this corresponds to the departure from Israel in difficult conditions. The Nativity (birth) is the moment when Jesus comes to life in a manger in Bethlehem. Finally, the Epiphany (appearance) refers to the arrival of the Three Wise Men to the manger and the presents they offer to the newborn child.

Read more: The Hidden Meaning of Christmas



Theosophy OD 2

Click on the logo above to go to Theosophy Watch

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Odin at his computer 

Earlier this year, on August 28, through a good friend of mine, I received  the sad notice that Odin Townley had passed away in New York. Odin had been struggling with health issues for quite some time, his passing though came rather unexpectedly. I never had the opportunity to really get to know him well, since I met him in person only once. It was during the ITC gathering in New York in 2013. We walked into each other at the entrance of the venue and I remember his firm handshake, wonderful  smile and sonorous voice vividly. Later we corresponded occasionally about subjects mainly dealing with the running of both our websites, respectively Theosophy Forward and Theosophy Watch,  I was and still am very fond of the way Odin set up his site and the contents he succeeded to present regularly. As an editor Odin was interested in a wide range of subjects and although the word “Watch”  in the name “Theosophy Watch” might make you think of something else, Odin demonstrated time after time not only to be creative, but also very open-minded. The site presents, as the subtitle indicates, "Ancient Thought in Modern Dress"

Theosophy Watch is an invaluable treasure and fortunately still “on the air”. I strongly recommend all sincere students to visit it and have a look around in the archives there. It is to be hoped that this phenomenal site will be  accessible  for a long time to come. By going over it, looking at all he various topics, we honor dear Odin and celebrate his life.


Read more: A TRIBUTE TO ODIN TOWNLEY (1938 – 2021)

What is Theosophy?


Theosophy 2 b Two boys

As Theosophy tightens its grip on the leading minds in Western lands, literature will become more and more tinctured with its spirit, and men’s thoughts will become leavened with it without their own knowledge. After a while we shall not see even in a comic paper such a skit as the following sent us from the Book for All: 

Read more: What is Theosophy?


Sri Raghavan Iyer  – USA

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HH the Dalai Lama with the author inside the "Emerson Room" at the institute of World Culture, shortly after speaking and answering questions at the Santa Barbara U.L.T. in 1984


"Great Sifter" is the name of the "Heart Doctrine", O Disciple. The wheel of the Good Law moves swiftly on. It grinds by night and day. The worthless husks it drives from out the golden grain, the refuse from the flour. The hand of Karma guides the wheel; the revolutions mark the beatings of the karmic heart.

The Voice of the Silence

 The 1975 cycle will continue to precipitate momentous choices for individuals and societies. What are the vital elements in this decisive choosing, and what will be the chief consequences? There is in the life of every human being a series of minor choices which add up to a crucial choice, but often it is made with incomplete knowledge of its critical nature. To grow and to age is to recognize with increasing clarity that all events in the past have had their irreversible consequences. Therefore, within any shallow philosophy centred essentially on the physical body and premised upon a single incarnation, a personal sense of futility and fatalism looms large as one comes closer to the moment of death. As with individuals, so with civilizations. Civilizations are apt to conduct the deepest reflection upon their storied past in times of depression, either out of self-indulgent nostalgia or sheer bewilderment at their bygone glory. This has shadowed every great civilization in its hour of decline, and today we are witnessing this in Western Europe and in the nostalgic mood which is intermittent in the United States. Civilizations seek to cling to something of the past, and perceptive chroniclers like Toynbee in England or Jaspers in Switzerland sense that something went wrong as early as before 1914, that the seeds of today's malaise lay far back in the past. When we look back to that past we surmise that a lot could have been avoided, that there were viable alternatives and missed opportunities. This is the sad state of societies as well as individuals who, because of narrowness of perspective and myopia in relation to the future, impose upon their lives a delusive dependence upon their own edited versions of a truncated past. But whenever human beings are willing to rethink their basic assumptions about themselves, about their shrouded past and about their cloudy future, then they do not need to edit. They do not have to limit unduly the horizon of their gaze. 


The Curse of Vision or an Ode to Sheep

Tim Wyatt – England

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Tim in beautiful surroundings

Sheep have no vision, nor dynamism. Their chief characteristic is a passive and submissive mass mind and the ability to be herded about before being slaughtered. They may provide the raw materials for wonderful warm knitwear or tasty roast dinners, but these are just about their only uses. And in truth we could probably get by without these things.

Read more: The Curse of Vision or an Ode to Sheep


Sri Raghavan Iyer – USA


The universe is even as a great temple

                                                                                                                                                                                         Claude de St. Martin

The central tenets of Theosophia are not derived from any ancient or modern sect but represent the accumulated wisdom of the ages, the unrecorded inheritance of humanity. Its vast scheme of cosmic and human evolution furnishes all true seekers with the symbolic alphabet necessary to interpret their recurrent visions as well as the universal framework and metaphysical vocabulary, drawn from many mystics and seers, which enable them to communicate their own intuitive perceptions. All authentic mystical writings are enriched by the alchemical flavour of Theosophical thought. Theosophy is an integrated system of fundamental verities taught by Initiates and Adepts across millennia. It is the Philosophia Perennis, the philosophy of human perfectibility, the science of spirituality and the religion of responsibility. It is the primeval fount of myriad religious systems as well as the hidden essence and esoteric wisdom of each. Man, an immortal monad, has been able to preserve this sacred heritage through the sacrificial efforts of enlightened and compassionate individuals, or Bodhisattvas, who constitute an ancient Brotherhood. They quietly assist in the ethical evolution and spiritual development of the whole of humanity. Theosophia is Divine Wisdom, transmitted and verified over aeons by the sages who belong to this secret Brotherhood.


William Quan Judge and The New York Times


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[Note from the editor: Portion of a letter to the editors of The New York Times, written by William Quan Judge - Published in Lucifer, Vol. X - March 1892 - pg. 82-83. (Also included in Echoes of the Orient - William Quan Judge - Pag, 24-25 - Point Loma Publications, Inc. - San Diego, California, U.S.A. 1980]


Read more: William Quan Judge and The New York Times

Religion and Religions

B.P. Wadia – India

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B. P. Wadia

In every organized religion, the most striking phenomenon is the gap in the life of its votaries, between their beliefs and their deeds. Every Christian admits Jesus to be his Savior but how many endeavor to follow the Way taught in the Sermon on the Mount? Would there be rivalry and competition if all Christians tried to overcome their covetousness for money on the economic plane, for prestige and prominence on the social, or their pride and possessiveness on the political and national? Similarly, every Hindu believes in the immanence of Deity and the solidarity of man. How many act up to the great teaching that the Mleccha has the Light of Krishna within him? Would there be the degrading practice of untouchability if all Hindus understood and applied the truth of the Upanishad that the same Self shines in all, albeit It does not shine forth equally in all? Even they in whom the shining forth is meager yet carry the Light of all lights and therefore are deserving of respect and affection.

Read more: Religion and Religions

Helping Women Discover Their Wings

Deepa Padhi – India

Theosophy 213 DP b women child Small

Discovering wings ...

Often I am asked why I bring in this “Women Empowerment” issue, which is essentially social and political, into Theo-sophy and the Theosophical Order of Service forum. What would be the theosophical perspective on women’s issues? My reply has always been that every being, whether male, female, or transgender, is first of all a human being, and therefore has a human right, which is gender equality. All acts of violence against women — domestic, public, and workplace — as well as empowerment of women are based on gender discrimination.

Read more: Helping Women Discover Their Wings

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