James Colbert - A Tribute 1

We remember James “Jim” Noel Colbert  (1933 – 2019)

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil (compiler)

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Jim Colbert, at home in his back garden in Julian, August 2011

In previous issues of Theosophy Forward we’ve honored Theosophists such as Dr. Richard Brooks, Ianthe Hoskins, Einar Adalsteinsson, Shirley Nicholson, Paul Zwollo, Dora van Gelder-Kunz, John H. Drais, Dara Eklund, Geoffrey Farthing, Sylvia Cranston, Danielle Audoin, Victor Peñaranda, Ted. G. Davy and Shri Raghavan Iyer.

"No person was ever honored for what they received. Honor has been the reward for what they gave."

Calvin Goolidge

Honor is a word that does not seem to be used very often anymore. What does honor mean? Honor means to regard with great respect. So, when you honor someone, you are showing them RESPECT.

Read more: James Colbert - A Tribute 1

James Colbert - A Tribute 2, Glimpses of a Life

Jim Colbert, Glimpses of a Life

Click on the titles in order to go directly to the articles

They were written by Jim Colbert, his wife Sally Colbert, and some they wrote together 

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The summer of 1949. Jim, on the left, was 15 years old that summer. The man in the middle is Wilson Cunningham and the young person on the right is Bhima Hoffman

Read more: James Colbert - A Tribute 2, Glimpses of a Life

There Are No Neo-Theosophists

Dallas TenBroeck – USA

Theosophy DTB 220 b Summer flowers from India

Indian Summer flowers

Consider the label "theosophist" for a moment ...

The term "neo-theosophist" is one that indicates only a time structure that is imposed on the naming of students of Theosophy. There are apparently in some minds the concept of "old student" and "new student."

None of us, or "them," can accurately fall under any labels, as we are all "old souls" and have reincarnated many times, and perhaps we have contacted Theosophy in earlier times and under different names. A such our "position" is largely unknown, even to ourselves.

Read more: There Are No Neo-Theosophists

The Duality of Matter and Energy – 2

I.K. Taimni – India

Energy as the basis of the Universe

Theosophy IKT b

We have seen in the last chapter that matter and energy constitute a duality according to Science, being interconvertible and constituting one reality underlying the physical world. Science stops at this idea, and though it has investigated the behavior of matter and energy very thoroughly and can utilize them in innumerable ways with perfect confidence, it does not go very far in understanding the essential nature of these two basic constituents of the physical world. Occultism, on the other hand, has not investigated with such precision and thoroughness the behavior of physical matter and energy, but it has investigated and knows with certainty their essential nature, not only on the physical plane but on all the planes of the manifested universe. But before we deal with this occult conception let us first summarize some simple relevant scientific facts with regard to matter and energy in their physical aspect.

Read more: The Duality of Matter and Energy – 2

The Seven Dhyanis

H.P. Blavatsky

Theosophy 120 b HPB

Q.What is the real difference between the Dhyani-Buddhas in the orthodox and the esoteric conceptions?Avery great one philosophically. They are—as higher Devas— called by the Buddhists, Bodhisattvas.

Read more: The Seven Dhyanis

The Relevance of Our Work

Tim Boyd – India, USA

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Tim Boyd conducting a meeting in the Besant Hall, at the International Theoeophical Centre in Naarden, the Netherlands

The theme for this 144th Convention is “Nurturing the Seed”. Although at this point we have heard many in-depth examinations, without over-laboring the theme I would like to add a few further thoughts.

The seed analogy requires some definition: a seed is an embryonic life enclosed in a protective shell. Our interest is not horticultural, but related to the soul — the Hidden Life within the confining shell of human personality. The eventual expression of that life depends on the dissolution of the shell in the proper way at the proper time. But how does one know that way and that time?

Read more: The Relevance of Our Work

The Process of Self-inquiry: The Process

Ananya Sri Ram Rajan – USA

Theosophy AR 2 120 Ananya

The author at the Adyar Theatre, Chennai-India 


Until there is a measure of order, harmony, and tranquility in oneself, it is not possible to live in a satisfactory or beautiful manner.

N. Sri Ram

Inevitably, at some time in a person’s life, the question of our own existence arises. The question may take many forms depending on the situation that determines it, and may come in the form of such questions as: Who am I? Why am I here? and What is my purpose in life? The human beings’ ability for self-inquiry is quite fascinating. We are the only species, so far as known, that can investigate into its own beingness. Self-awareness, in the literal sense, i.e. self-recognition, belongs not only to humans but to chimpanzees, dolphins, and other mammals. Recent scientific discoveries have shown that such mammals have been found to recognize themselves in a mirror. But with regard to pondering who one is and the meaning of one’s existence, at present, humans seem to be the only species with such a gift. (The question remains, if certain mammals can recognize themselves, what other capacities do their minds possess?)

Read more: The Process of Self-inquiry: The Process

Changing the World

Barbara Hebert – USA

Theosophy BH 120 B Change the world

Margaret Mead, an American anthropologist said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” These words are true of the members of the Theosophical Society.

The Theosophical Society is an organization, a framework, for sharing the Ageless Wisdom with the world. It is not separate from its members; it IS its members. We are the Theosophical Society; therefore, we are the “thoughtful committed citizens” of Mead’s statement. We can change the world.

Read more: Changing the World

Theosophy and the Individual

Tim Boyd – India, USA

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The Boyds, Tim, daughter Angelique and wife Lily

Rupert Sheldrake, a TS member and highly reputed biologist, has developed over his career some ideas related to science and consciousness that have extended the normal scientific view into the realm of consciousness. On one occasion he was asked a very broad, but deep question: “Why are things the way they are?” His answer was as brief and simple as the question itself: “Because they were the way they were.” His answer was brief, but worth exploring.

From the theosophical perspective karma would be one of the ideas that initially come to mind. The cycles of reincarnation might also describe why things are the way they are, and also the process of evolution. What brings us to this moment and the way we experience it is the consciousness we have brought to all previous moments.

Read more: Theosophy and the Individual

What shall we study?

Joy Mills – USA

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Joy Mills

Nowhere as we have been reminded on many occasions, is there an official definition of Theosophy. Membership in the Society is not dependent upon the acceptance of any credal Statement; that one is in sympathy with the Three Objects is the sole declaration necessary for joining the organization. Yet we are told there is a need to study; many are the admonitions to know Theosophy. If we would teach, we must first learn. But study what? What is it we must learn?

Read more: What shall we study?

The Gold of Silence

Dara Eklund - USA 

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Silence Turned Gold – Somnium - dream (2017) by Joe Ramirez

On the tree of Silence hangs the fruit of peace. The secret thou wouldst not tell thine enemy, tell it not to thy friend

An old Arab proverb

Like a cave of echoes our conversation ripples at the edge of a mighty ocean. So unworthy of our deepest dignity, it defies the imagination to remember a world once again filled with the gold of silence. The old teachings advise men to be sparing of speech and things will come right of themselves. Sensitivity to hidden laws of nature, patience to wait and watch, divide the sage from the fool. Only from the sage is speech priceless.

Read more: The Gold of Silence

Oh Hidden Life

Joy Mills – USA

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Annie Besant

Sometime in early 1923, Dr. Annie Besant, then President of the Theosophical Society, penned some lines that have since become familiar to members throughout the world, have been translated into several languages, and have, indeed, become a nearly indispensable part of every theosophist’s vocabulary. The words have been set to music. They have been chanted and sung. Few gatherings of the Society have been held since that year that have not been opened with the recitation of these words. At every International Convention, successive Presidents of the Society have inaugurated the proceedings with the antiphonal recitation of what has come to be known as the “Universal Prayer” or “Universal Invocation.” Simple in the extreme, the words possess the magical power of a mantra:

O Hidden Life, vibrant in every atom;

O Hidden Light, shining in every creature;

O Hidden Love, embracing all in Oneness;

May all who feel themselves as one with Thee,

Know they are therefore one with every other.

So familiar have these words become that it may be their significance and depth of inner meaningfulness have escaped us. When we become habituated to anything, be it a person, a situation, or an idea clothed in the fabric of language, there is always the danger that we come to take it for granted. In times of stress, we may even mouth words we learned in our childhood, as in the simple prayers of our faith. People have been known to do this automatically at times of crisis. Even avowed atheists have been heard to utter prayers they deny knowing or remembering. But words are precious and often fragile vehicles not only for thought, but for the aspirations of the heart. They can convey not only mundane meanings that get us about in the world and relate us to each other, but also the hunger of the soul and the beauty of the spirit in their reaching out to that “more-ness” which remains forever indefinable and therefore unspeakable.

Read more: Oh Hidden Life

Unity of Life

John Vorstermans – New Zealand

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The author

[Note from the editor: this article, which includes a message from the International President of the TS-Adyar, Tim Boyd, was written to reflect on the unifying aims of the TS, in the light of two consecutive terrorist shooting attacks that occurred at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, during Friday Prayer on 15 March 2019.The attacks began at the Al Noor Mosque in the suburb of Riccarton, and continued at Linwood Islamic Centre.]


The awareness of cur Unity sleeps deeply within us. We are largely unaware of real Unity as understood in the theosophical tradition, because we tend to focus on separation, which is a dominant feature of our personality consciousness — a state of conditioned reality focused through the desire mind, kama-manas, outwardly through the senses by which our perception of reality is formed.

Read more: Unity of Life

The Duality of Matter and Energy –1

I.K.Taimni – India

Theosophy IKT 2 120

Materialism Without Matter

It is the duty of all serious students of Occultism not only to disseminate the truths of the Divine Wisdom in the world as widely as possible but also to influence and guide as much as possible the development of thought in those fields which are of vital importance to humanity. These truths of the Divine Wisdom are not meant only for those who are prepared to accept them and utilize them for their inner unfoldment. They are meant for humanity as a whole. This is quite clear from the fact that the Great Ones who are the guardians of humanity attach as much, if not more importance to the work for the evolution of the humanity as a whole than to the spiritual unfoldment of individuals who are sufficiently mature for this purpose.

Read more: The Duality of Matter and Energy –1

The Lion’s Strength

H .P. Blavatsky

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Imperfect and faulty is my nature; many and glaring are my shortcomings—and for this my Karma is heavier than that of any other Theosophist. It is—and must be so—since for so many years I stand set in the pillory, a target for my enemies and some friends also. Yet I accept the trial cheerfully. Why? Because I know that I have, all my faults notwithstanding, Master's protection extended over me. And if I have it, the reason for it is simply this: for thirty-five years and more, ever since 1851 that I saw any Master bodily and personally for the first time, I have never once denied or even doubted Him, not even in thought.

Read more: The Lion’s Strength

Human Regeneration – part twenty-five

Radha Burnier – India

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A truly wonderful (from the back) shot in black and white of Radha

[Recognizing regeneration as the kernel of all Theosophical work, the International Theosophical Centre at Naarden, the Netherlands, jointly with the Federation of Theosophical Societies in Europe, organized two seminars in July 1990, with a number of office bearers, workers and members of the Society from different countries as participants. Proceedings of the seminar were published as a book under the title Human Regeneration: Lectures and Discussion (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij der Theosofische Vereniging in Nederland, 1990). This chapter (discussions) is here slightly revised.]

The Source of Spiritual Energy

Could you speak about the purpose of the Esoteric School? 

RB: It is a school started by H.P. Blavatsky in 1888. Originally it consisted of a few people who were especially in earnest to learn of her wisdom and follow instructions about the inner life. It was then called the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society. Later the name was changed to the Esoteric School of Theosophy. Since that time, the School has grown. Now there are about four thousand members all over the world. From the beginning, its purpose has been to help and encourage its members to live theosophy, live the spiritual life.

Read more: Human Regeneration – part twenty-five

The Three Fundamental Propositions

H.P. Blavatsky

Theosophy HPB 2 419 Hilma af Klint Altarpieces Group X No.3 1915

The Secret Doctrine establishes three fundamental propositions:

(a) An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception and could only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude. It is beyond the range and reach of thought—in the words of Mandukya, "unthinkable and unspeakable."

Read more: The Three Fundamental Propositions

Boris de Zirkoff’s Talk on Inner Awareness


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Boris de Zirkoff

[Edited by Hector Tate]

Those of us who were fortunate to have had the experience of knowing Boris as a friend and a teacher, will forever remember him affectionately for his friendship and legacy in making H.P.B.’s writings accessible to us. Most of us who had contact with Boris, and those students who knew him only through the Collected Writings, have only a vague awareness of the magnitude of Boris de Zirkoff’s life-long commitment. However, with the passage of time, dear fellow-students, we can take solace in the fact that the influence of his effort, caring and dedication will touch the yet unborn generations of truth-seekers.

Having known Boris for almost a third of a century as a gentle and modest soul, I can surmise he would vigorously disclaim such an accolade. He would say that the credit for his work belongs to the torch-bearers and helping hands that turned in his direction ... Boris with his subtle sense of humor would have appreciated a “roast” instead of a eulogy. We will accord him his say through excerpts of a lecture he delivered to a study-group of students some years ago. This lecture, you might say, was the summing-up of the theme underlying many study group sessions that had occurred during a period of over thirty years. Let us recreate this Saturday night lecture of yesteryear in our minds. Picture if you will that you are sitting in someone’s living room with some 25 other students and Boris is waiting to speak in his usual calm and measured fashion:

Read more: Boris de Zirkoff’s Talk on Inner Awareness

Music in our Lives

By a Student

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The unvoiced conviction that the man who had spent a lifetime in the world of music has in some fashion approached closer to absolute harmony through the mystery of death. If there is any kinship at all between this life and the domains of eternity, surely it is music that most nearly expresses that obscure bond. Of all the arts, music most baffles description in words or phrased thoughts. Music reaches most profoundly into the depths of the human heart and rises most securely above the boundaries encompassed by the human mind. It is the most mystical of all man's efforts to express the hidden things. It is difficult to believe that the end of life can also mark an end to any man's attainments in an art so little defined by physical things and so ineffably linked with eternity.

Those who love music, whatever their philosophy of life and death, can hardly escape the conviction of man's immortality ... when they think upon the call of death to a man who has given his life to music ... Surely the imperfect harmonies of life will vibrate into perfection in that wide mystery that lies beyond life.


Read more: Music in our Lives

Virtue in Action

Dara Eklund – USA

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Dara Eklund, beautifully dressed, giving a talk during a meeting of International Theosophy Conferences at Olcott in Wheaton (2012) 

Any action, the thought which ignites it and the motive which fires the thought, are bound up with the Actor. True virtue lies in transforming the inner nature and that nature is the causative factor. If a man wishes to establish true character, it is the inner nature which he must rejuvenate first. The virtues of harmlessness and contentment, for instance, are engendered spontaneously by the man of few desires. The GITA states (in chapter five):

The Lord of the world creates neither the faculty of acting, nor actions, nor the connection between action and its fruits; but nature prevaileth in these. The Lord receives no man's deeds, be they sinful or full of merit.

Read more: Virtue in Action

In the Light of Theosophy


Theosophy ITLO 2 419 you are what you eat

[This article appeared in the December 2019 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link:]

You are what you eat.

Whatever we eat directly reflects in our being. That is why the eighteenth-century French lawyer, Jean Savarin said: “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” Keeping in mind the effect of food on mind, body and soul, Pythagoras recommended a healthy vegetarian diet. He seems to suggest that by consuming meat, a person absorbs the animal inside, which then becomes an obstacle to reach the peak of consciousness. The religions in India have favored a vegetarian diet, mainly based on respect for all forms of life. Moreover, vegetarian food is light whereas non-vegetarian food is heavy. However, that does not mean that the non-vegetarians cannot meditate, it is only that they will be required to put in extra effort as compared to a vegetarian. For them it is like climbing a mountain carrying a heavy weight.

Read more: In the Light of Theosophy

At the Feet of the Master

Tim Boyd – India, USA

Theosophy TB 2 419 Students Tim

Tim Boyd poses with seventh- level students at the Olcott Memorial High School 

Over time little books like the one by J. Krishnamurti (Alcyone), At the Feet of the Master (AFM), and by H. P. Blavatsky (HPB), The Voice of the Silence, find us returning to them again and again. One of the beauties of these short texts is their richness and that although small in size they seem to be inexhaustible in their potential to convey a new sense of meaning. They give us a multilayered approach to the spiritual life.

In Tibetan Buddhism one of the foundational texts is called The Graded Path to Enlightenment, also known as the Lamrim teachings. It is quoted by HPB in The Secret Doctrine and elsewhere. The basis for the Lamrim is that there is a progressive and ever-deepening “path” to wisdom, a graded path. At its beginning we enter it with a minimally developed level of understanding and unfoldment. But as we work with it that unfoldment deepens and broadens. In the words of the Bible: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I thought as a child, I understood as a child, but when I became a man [or a woman] I put away childish things.” With the extension of awareness our understanding has a way of altering.

Read more: At the Feet of the Master

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