Methods Of Theosophical Work

William Q. Judge – USA

Theosophy Methods 2

The author

In my experience with the Theosophical Society I have noticed a disposition on the part of some members to often object to the methods of others or to their plans on the ground that they are unwise, or not suitable, or what not. These objections are not put in a spirit of discord, but more often arise merely from a want of knowledge of the working of the laws which govern our efforts.

H.P.B. always said following the rules laid down by high teachers – that no proposal for theosophical work should be rejected or opposed provided the proposer has the sincere motive of doing good to the movement and to his fellows. Of course that does not mean that distinctly bad or pernicious purposes are to be forwarded. Seldom, however, does a sincere theosophist propose such bad acts. But they often desire to begin some small work for the Society and are frequently opposed by those who think the juncture unfavorable or the thing itself unwise. These objections always have at bottom the assumption that there is only one certain method to be followed. One-man objects to the fact that a Branch holds open public meetings, another that it does not. Others think the Branch should be distinctly metaphysical, still more that it should be entirely ethical. Sometimes when a member who has not much capacity proposes an insignificant work in his own way, his fellows think it ought not to be done. But the true way is to bid good-speed to every sincere attempt to spread theosophy, even if you cannot agree with the method. As it is not your proposal, you are not concerned at all in the matter. You praise the desire to benefit; nature takes care of results.

Read more: Methods Of Theosophical Work

Sound and Tone

William Quan Judge – USA

Theosophy Sound and Tone 2

The word “tone” is derived from the Latin and Greek words meaning sound and tone. In the Greek the word ”tonos” means a “stretching” or “straining.” As to the character of the sound, the word “tone” is used to express all varieties, such as high, low, grave, acute, sweet, and harsh sounds. In music it gives the peculiar quality of the sound produced, and also distinguishes one instrument from another; as rich tone, reedy tone, and so on. In medicine, it designates the state of the body, but is there used more in the signification of strength and refers to strength or tension. It is not difficult to connect the use of the word in medicine with the divine resonance of which we spoke, because we may consider tension to be the vibration, or quantity of vibration, by which sound is apprehended by the ear; and if the whole system gradually goes down so that its tone is lowered without stoppage, the result will at last be dissolution for that collection of molecules.

Read more: Sound and Tone

The Divine Seed

Tim Boyd USA & India

Theosophy TB 2

The author

Photo: © Richard Dvořák

I would like to consider some questions about the spiritual life, and life in general. One of the things that characterizes the life and direction of anyone who takes on a genuine spiritual practice, is that it necessarily puts one in touch with big questions. The smaller things never do go away, but somehow it seems that the larger ones include the smaller details of life. The kind of big issues that we keep coming back to again and again, are those such as the injunction of the Oracle at Delphi: “Know Thyself.”

In our theosophical approach we think in terms of self-knowledge, self-transformation, or self-awareness, but in some sense it all comes back to the seminal question of “Who am I?” In part, the reintroduction of Theosophy was to provide deeper avenues to explore these kinds of questions.

In The Maha Chohan's Letter we find that the two debilitating states of mind that had come to characterize human consciousness were aptly described. In one case, it was “brutal materialism”, and the force that was in the vanguard of rooting that approach in the minds of humanity was science, or more correctly, scientism. The other condition of human thinking that Theosophy was intended to address was what was described as “degrading superstition”, or the rein over the minds of humanity of a dead-letter religiosity. These are the two trends that Theosophy has had to address.

Read more: The Divine Seed

Regeneration: Personal and Spiritual

Barbara Hebert – USA

Theosophy BH 2

Many different flowers at the Keukenhof, Lisse, the Netherlands *

Have you ever wondered why the perennial wisdom has been shared with us so publicly? For eons, this information has been shared with only a few individuals in a very private manner. Breaking with this ages-old tradition, a portion of this life-changing teaching has been shared publicly with the Theosophical Society as its emissary. One of the primary reasons is so that humanity, as a whole, may learn, grow, and transform. Transformation or Regeneration is the primary work of the Theosophical Society and therefore of us as Theosophists. But, it is essential that we consider what this really means...regeneration, transformation, the re-creation of ourselves and therefore of humanity.

Sri Ram, former international president of the Theosophical Society writes “The Masters of the Wisdom, who aid evolution, although They are interested in all changes that make for human progress, are especially concerned with the spiritual regeneration of mankind, which is of fundamental importance. Because, when that takes place, all else follows….What the Masters this regeneration, beginning with ourselves.”  Some years later, Radha Burnier, also a former international president of the Theosophical Society says, I cannot sum up the purpose of the Society better than by using the words: “Human Regeneration,” the inner revolution which cleanses the mind….” “The subject of human regeneration is very important because a truly momentous change in the history of humanity will occur only when there is a revolutionary change in the human being. Probably a sufficient number of human beings must change to bring about a radical change in the course of human history. Therefore, it is important to explore this question.”  

My guess is that all of us would agree that humanity’s path, as it looks today, requires a radical change.  Krishnamurti writes, “To transform the world, we must begin with ourselves; and what is important in beginning with ourselves is the intention. The intention must be to understand ourselves and not to leave it to others to transform themselves or to bring about a modified change through revolution, either of the left or of the right. It is important to understand that this is our responsibility, yours and mine...”

Read more: Regeneration: Personal and Spiritual

In the Light of Theosophy

[This article appeared in the April 2018 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link: ]

Theosophy In 2 the Light of Theosophy

Looking into the Future?

What if the future was revealed? “If we knew what the future holds, we would either take steps to fight against it, or become lax and give up all effort,” writes Vinita Nangia, and goes on to cite several examples. Often marriages break over extra-marital affairs, and then it is too late when the guilty party, husband or wife, knows what they stand to lose as a result, and feel that had they known the consequences, perhaps they would never have entered into the affair. Can we change the future by taking action to counter it in the present? Is there an advantage in knowing what the future holds?

If we know what lies ahead, we are forced to acknowledge and take action. Unaware of the future, we are absolved of the consequences too. Those who believe in it find succor in blaming destiny for problems in their lives. If we knew in advance how things are going to end up, could we change the destiny? For instance, a person who knows that he or she will be killed in a car accident on a particular day may decide not to step out that day. A couple who knows that their marriage will end in two years may not tie the knot at all. Life would be one long preparation and we humans would never let the future play out as it is meant to. On the other hand, those who expect a happy future may become lax. Then, again, when a man and a woman in an affair know that they will not get caught, might be encouraged to take greater risks. Since they have changed the variables, or the parameters of the situation, would they get caught, or not?

Read more: In the Light of Theosophy

Human Regeneration – part nineteen

Radha Burnier – India

Theosophy HR RB 2 Human Regeneraton Brazil1974

From the private collection of Ananya Sri Ram Rajan. Radha Burnier in Brazil, 1974

[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.] 

Our Approach to Theosophy - What is Theosophy?

GW: It is the art of living.

RB: That is a very good and brief description. The word ‘art’ conveys the idea of beauty harmony, sense of proportion – many things.

HG: In my lodge the consensus was that it is a belief in the oneness of all life.

LR: Perhaps it is divine and human cooperation, or spiritual and human cooperation.

Read more: Human Regeneration – part nineteen

THEOSOPHIA A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Boris de Zirkoff’s talk on Inner Awareness, edited by Hector Tate

A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Tribute Issue - Summer 1981

Theosophy BdZ 2

Original Cover of Theosophia

[This unique piece appeared in the Tribute issue of Theosophia, after Boris had passed away on March 4, 1981]

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.

Read more: THEOSOPHIA A Living Philosophy For Humanity

The Greatest of all Wars

B.P, Wadia – India

Theosophy B. P

The author

All family feuds, all class struggles, all national wars, all religious crusades are but reflected ramifications of the eternal strife between the higher and the lower selves of man. For the student of Occultism, one of the earliest lessons to be acquired is a realization of the fact that battles in the outside world are but shadowy replicas of those which are fought within ourselves. The meaning and import of wars, small and great, will ever be missed as long as this great truth is not perceived. International wars would not precipitate themselves if class struggles, creed hatreds, caste prejudices, did not exist in nations; competition between youth and age, man and woman, would not take place in a society if family relations of the right order and kind subsisted; and thus, we reach the individual who is at war with his neighbors and next of kin because his hands war against his head, or his mind against his heart, or his pride against his principles.

A struggle between our material and spiritual selves is constantly going on. Students of Theosophy learn of the nature of this struggle, and the thoughtful among them acquire the knowledge of the relative strength of the combatants and their respective sources of recruitment and recuperation while the battle lasts. We all know that the triumph of Spirit over Matter, of Wisdom over Nescience, of Love over Hate must ultimately be ; but this theoretical understanding is of little avail while hatred is consuming love, is fanning the fire of lust in our own nature.

Not only is there a constant struggle going on within us, but we are recommended to maintain it till victory is won, till Wisdom-Light streams forth from our hearts, dispelling the darkness of ignorance, till Love radiates its justice and bliss from our minds, revealing the order in the midst of chaos. An enlightened heart, a compassionate head are the marks of the Spirit-Man, higher, greater and nobler than the good man of intelligent mind and sympathetic heart. It is necessary to make this distinction between the good man and the spiritual man. As earnest appliers of Theosophic teachings we have left the life of actual vice behind us and we distinguish between it and the higher life. We are, however, apt to mistake the life of negative goodness for the life of the spirit. "It is not enough that you should set the example of a pure, virtuous life and a tolerant spirit; this is but negative goodness and for chelaship will never do," wrote a Master once. Other and higher than negative goodness is positive spirituality.

Read more: The Greatest of all Wars

The Seven Jewels of Wisdom in the world religions

By the editors of Lucifer – the Netherlands

Theosophy The Seven 2 Jewels of Wisom world religions ad

[This is a reprint from Lucifer – the Messenger of Light, an original publication of I.S.I.S. Foundation, i.e. International Study-centre for Independent Search for truth. The editor is grateful for the permission given to make this important paper available for all readers of Theosophy Forward.]

Hierarchies (Lokas and Talas)

The word ‘hierarchy’ has a rather negative connotation, because it is connected to a system in which managers, without listening to their subordinates, pass on certain instructions or orders, which their subordinates have to follow without protest. However, the third Jewel – which is called the hierarchical structure of the Universehas nothing to do with that, which appears very clearly from the Sanskrit words Loka and Tala

Loka means place or world literally, while tala means something like inferior world. However, the teaching is that each Loka is indissolubly connected with a Tala. They cannot exist outside one another, just like the two poles of an electric current cannot exist separate. The Loka side stands for the spiritual side, while the Tala represents the more material side. 

The third Jewel is designated as Lokas and Talas (plural form). In Hindu literature like the Vishnu Purâna seven Lokas-Talas are distinguished.(13) However, these seven worlds are not separate from one another. On the contrary, they arise from one another, penetrate one another, pass into one another and constitute a firm unity, whereby each Loka-Tala world is a reflection of the others. The more noble, spiritual Loka-Tala causes the origination from itself of a somewhat more material Loka-Tala, and at the same time remains connected with it as a kind of breeding atmosphere, from where the lower world gets its inspiration.

Read more: The Seven Jewels of Wisdom in the world religions

Theosophy and Freemasonry

Tom Davis – South Africa

Although Co-Freemasonic organisations have secrets, it is founded on the principals of brotherhood, freedom of faith, justice and equality. It Inculcates wisdom, inner strength, and inner beauty and is probably the most democratic of all organisations, at the same time, promoting self-discipline and self-empowerment. Freemasonry is well known around the world for its charitable work without fanfare. Thousands of non-masons have benefitted from Freemasonic generosity. Strong self-discipline promotes freedom for oneself and others belonging to the same closed organisation. Harmony among its members is stressed as a principle above all other disciplines.

Early Founders of the Theosophical Society

The first Co-Freemasonic Order Le Droit Humain (LDH) was formed in the late1890s in Paris. There have been several Co-Freemasonic and Female only Masonic Orders formed since then.

The 1848 French revolution slogans were liberty, fraternity and equality so it was natural for prominent French women politicians to stress the question of equality. This brought about the initiation of Marie Desraismes into a male craft Lodge in 1893 and then a male craft mason George Martin joined with her and others in forming the first Co-Freemasonic Lodge later in 1893 and eventually a Supreme Council of the International order of Co-freemasonry Le Droit Humain.

Theosophy TM 2

Annie Besant

LDH Co Masonry has had a close link to Theosophy from the early 1900s.The wife of G. S. Arundale, Francesca Arundale, was the first Englishwomen to be initiated into this order and accompanied Dr. Annie Besant to her initiation in Paris around 1901. Another 6 were initiated in Paris in 1902. Later that year, Annie Besant created the first British Lodge Human Duty No 6 in Piccadilly. Several Lodges were started in England and later in January 1904, she laid the foundation stone for the Benares Lodge and installed a Lodge in Lahore, India. In May 1904 she was raised to the 33⁰ in Paris and made the Supreme Council’s Representative for Britain and India. Dr Besant created new English Masonic rituals based upon the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite and continued to introduce Co-Freemasonry into countries of the British Empire and English-speaking Lodges in USA. She became the second international President of the Theosophical Society in 1907 and continued for several years to be the MPGC for several British territories. On her Death in 1933 it was decided to form separate Co-Masonic Federations: The LDH British Federation which included Britain, Ireland, Canada and South Africa and the LDH Eastern Federation which included India, Australia, New Zealand, Burma and Ceylon. The third International President of the TS, George Arundale, became the Head of the LDH Eastern Co- Freemasonic Order, N. Sri Ram was also head of the LDH Eastern Federation of International Co- Freemasonry.

Read more: Theosophy and Freemasonry

Seasons of the Mind

 Tim Boyd – USA


Theosophy TB 2

The International President of the TS Adyar, Tim Boyd

 In H. P. Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine, before she introduces the actual work itself, she takes some time to point our attention in a specific direction. She states that everything that is to follow must be built upon a basic understanding: the writing of The Secret Doctrine was based on the Stanzas of Dzyan, and for the reader to have some appreciation of the consideration of the Stanzas, there are some basic ideas which she listed as the Three Fundamental Propositions. 

The first Fundamental Proposition presents “an Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE on which all speculation is impossible”, described as “unthinkable and unspeakable”. The second Proposition speaks about periodicity, and that is the one I wish to discuss. The third Proposition relates to “the obligatory pilgrimage” of every soul. This strikes much closer to our experience and to the level of our present understanding. 

In the second Fundamental Proposition HPB states that there is a certain observation that has been made in every department of Nature, a fact that is undeniable and universal, the Law of Periodicity. She gives some of the many examples such as the alternation between day and night, life and death, sleeping and waking, and so on. These periodic occurrences are so universal that she describes periodicity as “an absolute Law of the Universe.”

Read more: Seasons of the Mind

Thoughts on the First Object

Barbara Hebert – USA


Theosophy The First 2 BH

Barbara speaks in Adyar 

One thing which all members of the Theosophical Society have in common is a feeling of sympathy and agreement with the three objects. Arguably, the most important of those objects is the first one which is well known to all of us. I repeat it here as a reminder: To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color. In other words, we are to come together in unity. 

Much has changed in our world since this object was formalized in 1896, including a recognition of gender bias (use of the word “brotherhood” rather than a term that includes all life), as well as an understanding that there are more ways to disenfranchise a group of people than those listed (including classism, sexual identification as well as sexual preference, income level, educational level, political leanings, etc.). We could certainly spend a great deal of time discussing the changes that have occurred since 1896 and the ways in which the first object might be re-worded; however, if we look at the meaning of the object rather than the specific language used, we may gain valuable insight.

Read more: Thoughts on the First Object

Victor Peñaranda – A Tribute

We remember Victor Peñaranda (1953 – 2017) 

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil 

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 and Danielle Audoin. 

In this issue we will remember the Filipino Theosophist Victor Peñaranda.

TRIBUTE A 2 a Victor

Victor at home on the sofa, relaxed plus cat

Sometimes we meet persons, not really, or in the flesh so to speak, but through email correspondences, and as from the first exchanges we do feel good with them. My wife Terezinha actually met Victor and his lovely wife Josephine during a School of the Wisdom session in Adyar, but I never did. We corresponded for some time however, and he contributed with a mini-interview and several valuable articles to Theosophy Forward. I felt good with him from the very first email, there was this connection one cannot explain, but it was certainly there. Most probably it was a Piscean link, since both of us were born in the first week of March.

Read more: Victor Peñaranda – A Tribute

Viewing Conflict in Emptiness

Victor Peñaranda – The Philippines


TRIBUTE VP 1 b jasmine

Listen! Listen to your children when they try to catch your attention. As much as possible do not delay or suspend your concern for them because what they have to say is important. Do not tell them that you are too busy; do not dismiss them. Do not get irritated when they become persistent. All they want you to do is listen. 

And if you come to think about it, what is more important than listening to your own children or, for that matter, your very close friend for a moment. Are you going to lose time or miss a dead line? Ask yourself seriously, what shall I lose if I do not listen to my eager child? Probably, trust, and later on, the affection of the child. The child will most likely feel ins e cure – that his or her concerns are not as important as the concerns of the parents. And if this kind of situ at ion continues, the communication and interaction bet ween child and parent will suffer. Both child and parent become insecure.

Read more: Viewing Conflict in Emptiness

 Preparing for Perfection

Victor Peñaranda – The Philippines



It is said that perfection is the goal of hu man evolution. Since it is our des tiny to be perfect, it is only reasonable that we become familiar, as we aspire, with aspects of this ultimate condition. We need to have a glimpse of what is in store for us in the future or succeeding life times and know what it means to embark on such a journey. 

Let us recall Christ – Christ as a state of being rather than a person. The ideal in the early Christian tradition is to reach a state of One ness with the di vine spirit inherent in each one: 

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).” 

Having attained this conscious ness, one loses the grand illusion of self-centered ness, and perceives the essence of the truth of having been always with the great All, the absolutely Infinite. Christhood or adept- ship brings full and conscious one ness with the Christ-nature (Atma –Buddhi / Spirit-Soul) in every human being. We actualize our divinity. This interior unification allows the Ascended or Perfected One to share with every hu man being his or her spiritual gifts, as an act of love and out of renewed duty.

Read more:  Preparing for Perfection

Understanding Nature

Victor Peñaranda – The Philippines




Act of Naming 

The melodious singing of a bird woke me up one morning. I quickly got up to survey the garden hoping to spot the singer. It was a Pied Fantail (Maria Kapra) perched on top of the tall trunk of a dying Ilang-ilang tree that was hit by lightning several months ago. 

I proceeded to take a morning walk around the neighborhood and noticed that the Bee-eaters have returned. A small flock of Chestnut Munia (Mayang Pula) was feeding on grass seeds. Egrets and Terns were probing the freshly-plowed fields. Two farmers were reinforcing with mud the elevated pathways in between paddies. With rain showers pouring almost regularly in the afternoon, the farmers might start planting the rice seedlings in a week or so. 

I grew up in places where I learned to name birds, trees, rivers and streams. It was an unspoken tradition among the farming and fishing families to name the life forms in their natural environment. I lived near the neighborhood of these families in my childhood. During one dry season, my childhood friends and I strolled along the banks of a stream near our home. We went exploring and, like most children, searching for the unexpected. Someone in the group said that the stream had no name. Another companion remarked, “It’s but right that we give it a name.” We finally agreed to call it “Sapang Bayawak” since it was here we once saw a large monitor lizard sunning on a boulder near the waters. 

Naming is an act of recognition. I consider it important and respectful to know the names of particular trees, flowers, birds, mountains or streams, especially when you live among them. Knowing their names establishes their identity. It means taking time to learn more about the surrounding natural environment. I would search from google or pore over reference books. In the process, a closer relationship emerges between me and the source of interest. When I address a Champaca flower, fragrance accompanies its name. A sense of familiarity is kindled as I quietly approach Mount Malindang. It looms like legend to my eyes while crossing Panguil Bay in a ferry. 

Once the relationship is established -- my attention awakens. I become aware of it. And with frequent encounters with the subject of attention, awareness grows. You don’t only see white Jasmine blooming, you can easily tell its distinct scent. You know the presence of the bright-yellow Oriole simply by hearing its distinctive call at particular times of the day; the Banaba tree with its bright, purple flowers in the heat of dry season. With each living encounter with nature, my affinity with it is like friendship made memorable.

Read more: Understanding Nature

Keepers and Sharers of the Ageless Wisdom

Victor Peñaranda – The Philippines

TRIBUTE VP 4 b Magnolia champaca main

Theosophy embodies both ancient and modern expressions of the Ageless Wisdom and it has been entrusted to Theosophists as a heritage for preservation and dissemination. This body of knowledge can be archived in virtual reality and human memory; it can be accessed for interpretation; and it could serve as an agenda of action. By participating in this function, Theosophists have become “Keepers of the Ageless Wisdom” in whatever social context or in whatever political conditions they may be. 

A potent strategy in preserving this Wisdom is to offer it to a wider audience so the sacred teachings, which have remained hidden from public attention for a long time, are enriched by contemporary experience and become relevant to the lives of entire communities as modern Theosophy. By going public there is greater chance of reaching people who are determined Seekers eager in unveiling mysteries and with creating meaning in life. 

Every Theosophist and spiritual pilgrim begins as a Seeker, someone who decides to follow an inner impulse to quest, to experience the fullness of being alive. The Theosophist as pilgrim, hopeful and bold, embarks on a journey hoping to find answers along the way. Many of us are already part of this great adventure. This quest for the hidden truth in the enigma of existence is encoded in the Ageless Wisdom, and a crucial part of it is known to many Keepers as “mysticism.”

Read more: Keepers and Sharers of the Ageless Wisdom

The Mysticism and Persistence of the Druze

Victor Peñaranda – The Philippines



The religion of the Druze is based on the unity of life and belongs to an esoteric tradition often misunderstood in a volatile region where the major religions have been invoked to wage wars. In their spiritual practice, the Druze do not have personal deity, but they believe that the divine incarnates itself in the human individual. The name by which the Druze like to be known is Muwahhidun (sing. Muwahhid) which reflects their central belief in a mystical union (tawhid) with the One. 

Like several religious minorities in the Middle East (e.g. Yazedi and Mandaean), the Druze have been provoked to take political sides in historical conflicts that involve a complex cast of nations and factions with diverse motivations. 

The Institute of Druze Studies once estimated that about 40-50% of Druze lived in Syria, 30-40% in Lebanon, 6-7% in Israel and Jordan. But due to the prolonged violence that has devastated Syria since 2011, a significant number of Druze have emigrated to North America, Europe and Australia. 

There are about one million Druze in the world today.

Read more: The Mysticism and Persistence of the Druze

The Ideal of Service

Luke Michael Ironside – The Philippines


Theosophy The Ideal of Service 2

 One need not look far to perceive the dilemmas that affront our world today. It is, in fact, impossible to walk down the street without observing suffering of some kind; and though we may at times close our eyes and ears to the facts, the problems of life will always again rear their ugly heads. We are each of us entangled in society’s web of issues and are thus each responsible for our responses to these; our actions or lack thereof. Simply stated, society is the outward expression of our collective karma: we are its cause, and its issues, the effect. 

Theosophy has at times been accused of attracting dreamers to its cause, and here a misconception arises that Theosophy seeks to escape from the world and in so doing retreat from the great issues of the time; a misconception that Theosophists are rather too metaphysical for the practicalities of societal life. Too often do we hear this reproach that Theosophists are somehow divorced from the great battle of the day, from that which touches humanity at its deepest point. And yet this is far from the truth of what it means to be a Theosophist. 

It should be clear to the shrewd student of these teachings that Theosophy was never intended as a merely philosophical pursuit. Indeed, it is the duty of every Theosophist to set right the misconception that his is an idle life; and this is to be achieved not by argument but by action. There is a profound truth to the proverbial assertion that actions speak louder than words. We may here appropriately quote Dr Annie Besant in her statement that it is better to “remain silent, better not even think, if you are not prepared to act.” The role of the Theosophist in relation to the affairs of society is not, then, one of blissful escape in the utopian clouds of renunciative indifference, but rather that of a collaborator and activist, ever willing to lend the helping hand by the means of true Theosophical service. Such a one is a builder and co-worker in the establishment of the ethical and righteous foundations of society; his mission is to set firmly the cornerstone of universal brotherhood over which the bricks of social order will be gradually laid.

Read more: The Ideal of Service

The Gift of the Gods

Ali Ritsema – the Netherlands


Theosophy Ali 2 The Gift of the God

Another gift: flowers in Adyar - photo © JNK

The “gift of the gods” is a beautiful expression used by Koot Hoomi Lal Singh (KH) in The Mahatma Letters (ML) 11/28, 3rd chron. rev. ed., adding that this gift is the most precious relic of all. KH is talking about “the new civilization”, stating that it will be the child of the old one, and that the eternal law will take its own course. We have the weakness, he says, to believe in ever recurrent cycles and hope to quicken the resurrection of what is past and gone. The revival of our ancient arts and high civilization are sure to come back in their time and in a higher form. We could not impede it even if we would, yet we are anxious to hasten the welcome event. Fear not; our knowledge will not pass away from the sight of man. It is the “gift of the gods” and the most precious relic of all. 

This expression in the ML really appeals to me, especially so because the world is in need and, in my view, can only be properly helped when we do everything we can to get it into a better state. This is only possible when humanity in general will grow towards a more spiritual level of consciousness. Maybe the time for a revival of the ancient arts and high civilization in a higher form has come. 

In the same letter KH also states: “We will always find volunteers to replace the tired sentries, and the world, bad as it is in its present state of transitory period, can yet furnish us with a few men now and then.” Therefore, let us try to find out what we, students of Theosophy, can do to hasten such a possible and most welcome event and, even better, become volunteers for their work.

Read more: The Gift of the Gods

Singing in a Choir

[The magazine Vidya , edited by associates of the United Lodge of Theosophists in Santa Barbara, USA, published the following article in its Autumn 2017 issue; here is a slightly revised version.]

 Theosophy Vidya 2

When singing in a choir, one of the qualities that you quickly discover you need is that you must listen. There is an acute balance needed between you and the other singers because if you are too loud you are overpowering somebody else so that they can't be heard. If you are too meek and don't play your role sufficiently, then the full sound of all of the singers has been lost. There is a degradation of the power of the whole. Finding that critical balance requires the capacity to listen. The peculiar thing is that you have to be actively projecting your voice – and simultaneously, you have to hear your choirmates. You have to discern exactly what they are doing. If they get a little bit too loud, you have got to rise up with them. If they get too soft, you have to drop down. So it seems that in the process of developing and working with a nucleus of Theosophical co-workers, there must be a listening equivalent. How, then, do you find a balance between individual initiative and cooperative listening to others?

Read more: Singing in a Choir

DUTY from a Standpoint of an Occultist

Note from the editor: This is written some 110 years ago by the Swedish-American publicist Jacob Bonggren. (see photo) Discovered this text coincidentally while working in the Adyar archives and although style and phrasing are typically related to the early 20th century, its content is spot on.

Theosophy From 2 Jacob Bonggren

The author

First published in The Theosophic Messenger of January, 1908 volume 9 issue 4 page 65

 Theosophy From 3


  • Duty is not what others ought to do; it is what I myself ought to do. 
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