The Relevance of Our Work

Tim Boyd – India, USA

Theosophy TB 4 120

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

Theosophy TB 2 120

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

Theosophy What Shall We Study 2 120

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 

Theosophy DE 2 120

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

Theosophy AB 2 120

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

Theosophy JV 2 120

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

Theosophy HPB 120 b

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

Theosophy RB 2 419

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


Theosophy BdZ 2

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

Theosophy M 2


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

Theosophy DE 2 419

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

Living without Fear

Barbara Hebert – USA

Theosophy BH 2 419

Barbara during the last held TheosoFEST on the "Olcott grounds" in September 

Dealing with fear is, like most other aspects of living this physical incarnation, part of a process. Learning to live without fear doesn’t happen overnight; rather, there are steps that we take to facilitate the process. Spiritual concepts can help us learn to live without fear as well.

Before we talk about living without fear, we need to address a few questions first. What is fear? What do we fear? How does fear impact us? These questions help us understand what is happening and what we want to change. Change requires awareness, and awareness requires self-introspection and self-observation. It is at that point that we can begin to talk about specific steps that may be helpful in learning to live without fear. Finally, we can discuss spiritual concepts or guidelines that will help us in this process of learning to live without fear.

Read more: Living without Fear

To a Statue of H. P. B. Sometime to be Carved Out of a Mountain


Theosophy HPB 2 419

The wind sings round your shoulders all night long;

Your skirts are ancient forest; dragon trees,

Writhed with antiquity, o 'ershade your knees

Above the cliffs; around your forehead throng

Your old confederates in your wars with wrong, --

Capella, Betelgeuze, the Pleiades,

Arcturus and Antares, and with these

Knowledge, and peace, and the olden spirit of song.

And still your gaze is fixed beyond the wane

Of time, beyond these crumbling states and years;

Read more: To a Statue of H. P. B. Sometime to be Carved Out of a Mountain

Human Regeneration - part twenty-four

Radha Burnier – India

Theosophy HR 2 319

Radha gving a talk at Olcott in Wheaton in 2003

[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.]

Sometimes T.S. members with their own views, who do not follow the prevalent line, are regarded as not theosophical, What are the criteria in this? Can personal views, however i irritating they may be, harm the T.S.? Or can they even help to keep the T.S. alert and alive, free of dogmatism? 

EA: The T.S. is a very special institution, a strong institution. The President can close down a lodge or a section, if it does not work. It is a strong building, but has no dogma. Politicians use ideals to hold together their organization, but it is difficult to be a good theosophist if we do not have clear guidelines. We must be very alert about our aims, so that we do not become dogmatic.

Read more: Human Regeneration - part twenty-four

Is There a Call?

Boris de Zirkoff – USA

[Note from the editor: this article was first published in the spring of 1957]

A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XIII

No. 4 (70) - Spring 1957

Theosophy BdZ 2 318

[Original over photo: Picturesque Scene on the Coast of Brazil.]

A great many students of Theosophy, especially members of various Theosophical Organizations, are eagerly expecting the appearance in the world of a direct Messenger from the Brotherhood of Adepts sometime around 1975.

Their belief is based upon various pronouncements by the Founders of the modern Theosophical Movement. Such pronouncements are usually quoted out of their actual context, robbing them of one or another aspect of their true meaning. A certain statement regarding a fact in nature, or the possibility of a condition, coupled to a strong sentimental wish that it would occur, add up in the long run to a fairly strongly established dogmatic belief, that can easily become a set article of faith, particularly in matters religious.

Read more: Is There a Call?

Doing Theosophy

John Algeo – USA

JA 1

John at his very best: passionately speaking in front of students, and a (white) blackboard behind him

The term "Theosophy" is generally defined in terms of ideas. Thus Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary defines it that way, both generally and specifically:

1 : teaching about God and the world based on mystical insight

2 often capitalized: the teachings of a modern movement originating in the United States in 1875 and following chiefly Buddhist and Brahmanic theories especially of pantheistic evolution and reincarnation

So does the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary:

Any of various systems of belief which maintain that a knowledge of God may be achieved by spiritual ecstasy, direct intuition, or special individual revelations; spec. (a) such a system proposed by Jacob Boehme (1575-1624); (b) a modern system following some Hindu and Buddhist teachings, seeking universal brotherhood, and denying a personal god.

Such, however, was not the view of Madam Blavatsky, who famously wrote (in The Key to Theosophy , p. 20): "Theosophist is, who Theosophy does." A Theosophist is not someone who holds any particular ideas, but rather is someone who "does" Theosophy.

Read more: Doing Theosophy

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