Theosophy

Biography of Nandini Iyer

Carolyn Dorrance – USA  

Theosophy NI 2 photo

Nandini Iyer

The author of the article, “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” is Professor Nandini Iyer. This scholarly essay was written in 2005 in tribute to her colleague and friend Professor Gerald Larson. It is representative of the many talks that she shared with a variety of educational and community groups in Europe and across the world. After graduation from Oxford University with a First Class degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, she taught at the ancient university and, after moving to the U.S., taught classes in philosophy and comparative religions at the University of California in Santa Barbara. Those who listened to her teaching found much inspiration for contemplation and guidance in practical ethics.

Read more: Biography of Nandini Iyer

“IT AIN’T NECESSARILY SO”[1]

 Nandini Iyer -- USA 

Theosophy NI 4 Nandini 4

Nandini Iyer

[Note from the editor: It is with great pleasure and gratitude that I can present a sublime academic essay entitled  “It Ain’t Necessarily So”, to all the readers of Theosophy Forward, worldwide. The author, Nandini Iyer, was not only a remarkable woman, but also an outstanding teacher and theosophist. Although the essay is  rather long, I felt that it deserved to be released in Theosophy Forward  the e-Magazine, as one complete publication only, in order to maintain clarity and compactness. I must thank Kim Miller, Carolyn Dorrance, Tanja Cowell, John Powers, Jonathan Colbert and Pico Iyer for their enthusiastic support. Without them this publication would not have been possible. JNK]

 Abstract

This article argues that the opposition between Samkhya-Yoga and Vedanta is not an irrevocable either/or dichotomy. The claim that it is necessary to choose one and only one system need not be accepted, and this is so also with regard to their apparently irreconcilable metaphysical and ontological truth-claims. Both Samkhya-Yoga and Vedanta have their theoretical strengths and weaknesses. Each has its advantages and provides useful starting points in, and connecting links with, the everyday world of the ordinary person. Each offers a relatively coherent and insightful view or explanatory system dealing with matters of ultimate concern, and each attempts to answer the questions that inevitably arise for any individual engaged in a spiritual quest. The article concludes that in the final analysis, we cannot expect any conceptual metaphysical system to be able to express the Absolute Truth or reveal to us the infinite mysteries of the ineffable, indescribable Ultimate Reality.

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Read more: “IT AIN’T NECESSARILY SO”[1]

The Eye Revisited

Introduction:

Jan Nicolas Kind – Brazil

EYE PHOTO

Photo © David M. Grossman          

I have been going through some issues with both my eyes, seriously affecting my vision.  For a student of Theosophy who loves to read, as an editor, occasional writer and as a human being, these “eye-things” as I call them, are causing much discomfort, unpleasantness but also unexpected complications, to say the very least. I sometimes joke by saying that my third eye just doesn’t want to open up, well, that’s life, it is what it is.

Read more: The Eye Revisited

What is ORGANIC CROSS POLLINATION? – A brief contemplation

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

Theosophy OC 2 CROSS 1

Organic cross polimation

Our actions are guaranteed to affect others. Because we are not alone in this world, much of our learning about ourselves comes from our interaction with others. Our relationships are our teachers. We learn from each other.  

                                                                                                                        A Tae Yun Kim

Recently readers approached me wondering what I meant by using the expression ORGANIC CROSS POLLINATION.

Read more: What is ORGANIC CROSS POLLINATION? – A brief contemplation

Death and Immortality

Radha Burnier –  India

 Theosophy RB 2 RBS 2

Radha Burnier (© Richard Dvořák)  

There is no creature, no little worm or plant, no human being who does not want to live, unless the body has become too painful. Every creature, every person likes life, but is that all? I wonder, because to live is to be aware. How many of us would like to live if we could not be aware? If the body lies as if dead, we cannot sense life around us. If we cannot know something more than we already do, which is all awareness, if we cannot learn through experience, would we care to live?

Life means also to proceed in whatever way is possible to allow what is potential within our own consciousness and being to express itself, to grow and expand through expression of the seed of perfection which is within every individual. Is life, or the desire to live, merely an unconscious participation in a bitter struggle to live, to fight with each other as many creatures claim territory or supremacy and lose one’s life or get hurt? Certainly not!

Read more: Death and Immortality

Simplicity, Patience and Compassion – Part two

Andrew Rooke – Australia

Theosophy Andrew b

Lao Tze

The Taoist master, Lao Tze, said that the second of the three ‘treasures’ he had come to teach was to develop Patience. As he put it:

Patient with both friends and enemies,

you accord with the way things are.

How strange of him to say that ‘you accord with the way things are’ because patience is so rare to find in this modern world. Perhaps he was referring to the natural order of the universe which seeks to establish harmony and the ‘flow of grace’ from the higher aspects of ourselves and the Spiritual Hierarchy of Light into our personalities and the chaos of a world dominated by the Lower Self. As the Gods reach down to help us, we must reach up to them with the best of ourselves to establish a state of higher vibration here in the world of everyday life. In order for this to be achieved we must have loads of patience as that day is far off and we will be sorely tested in all sorts of ways in the days between. How can we learn patience of this high order? 

Read more: Simplicity, Patience and Compassion – Part two

Transforming Ourselves, Transforming the World

Barbara Hebert – USA 

Transforming

We, as a group, want to transform the world. We want it to be a place of peace, acceptance, and compassion. We want to live in a world where there is no judgment based upon skin color, religious or spiritual tradition, way of self-identifying, and so on. In other words, we want to live in a world where everyone realizes the essential unity of all life and has a reverence and respect for that life. As members of the Theosophical Society, we are committed to bringing about this world.

Read more: Transforming Ourselves, Transforming the World

A Reflection on the Yamas and Niyamas of the Eight Limbs of Yoga and Viveka.  

Esther Pockrandt – Australia

Theosophy YN Esther b

What is a tree without strong, deep roots? Just imagine! When storms rage, will the tree be able to weather them or be uprooted?  What too is a tree without strong roots to support its limbs to grow and bear viable fruit? Without strong, vital and deep interconnected roots, limbs will be frail, brittle and vulnerable to any adversity, and without the flexibility to bend and sway with the wind, the limbs will just break. Nature is such an extraordinary teacher, is it not?

Many of the readership here will be Yoga practitioners, maybe even teachers. We may have studied the Yoga Sutras. The Yoga Sutras were compiled by Patanjali, as we know, and they contain the core knowledge of Yoga and are considered guidelines to living a meaningful life.

Read more: A Reflection on the Yamas and Niyamas of the Eight Limbs of Yoga and Viveka.  

The Light of Wisdom

Hugh I'Anson Fausset – England

Theosophy The Light of Wisom 2 210

The author 

The submission of the soul to the Light of its being is imaged in Hindu mythology in the figure of Radha as she awaits the coming of her lover, Krishna, even as Mary received the angel of the Annunciation. For the Light loves the soul that is open to it, and our human love, even for the Master most dear to us, is partial and possessive until it is wholly infused with this Light of Wisdom.

Read more: The Light of Wisdom

How to Study Theosophy – 5

Kenneth Small – USA

From the Esoteric Teachings of G. de Purucker – Altruistic Motivation, Compassion and Humor on the Path of Awakening

Theosophy KEN 2 gdpdesk

The following extracts are from the talks and lectures given at the Lomaland Theosophical community by G. de Purucker[i], (PHOTO ABOVE) where he gives some guidance on the innate principle within humanity of altruistic motivation and the Bodhisattva path of compassion. Additionally, he links altruism with ethics and universality, beyond mere opportunistic materialism and finally the essential nature of humor within the very nature of the Divine with the need to maintain an openness of our spirit and mind to its softening and opening influence.  - KS

Read more: How to Study Theosophy – 5

Contemplating The Wisdom Tradition

 

David M. Grossman – USA

Theosophy DG b

There is that known as the Wisdom Tradition. It is to be found in every civilization, usually imbedded in the major religions that are rooted there. But it is also to be discerned in the belief systems of indigenous peoples spread throughout the earth, often the remnants of ancient peoples and civilizations long forgotten and faded out from the general memory. Throughout the world the God or Source idea has shown up, often expressed as a kind of “Animism” or awareness that “all is life” and as H.P. Blavatsky (HPB) so eloquently puts it in the summing up section of The Secret Doctrine,

Everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is conscious: i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception. We men must remember that because we do not perceive any signs — which we can recognize — of consciousness, say, in stones, we have no right to say that no consciousness exists there. There is no such thing as either “dead” or “blind” matter, as there is no “Blind” or “Unconscious” Law. These find no place among the conceptions of Occult philosophy.         

                                                                                                                                                                                          (SD, bk. I, pg. 274) 

Read more: Contemplating The Wisdom Tradition

Simplicity, Patience and Compassion – Part one

Andrew Rooke – Australia

Theosophy Andrew 2

Lao Tze

One of the most famous Chinese spiritual teachers, the founder of Taoism, Lao Tze, (571- 531BC) said it is in the simple things that we can find spiritual principles worth following. In his ‘Tao Te Ching’ (The Book of the Way) he says that he came to teach only three simple truths:

Some say that my teaching is nonsense.

Others call it lofty but impractical.

But to those who have looked inside themselves,

this nonsense makes perfect sense.

And to those who put it into practice,

this loftiness has roots that go deep.

I have just three things to teach:

Simplicity, Patience, Compassion.

These three are your greatest treasures.

Simple in actions and in thoughts,

you return to the source of being.

Patient with both friends and enemies,

you accord with the way things are.

Compassionate toward yourself,

you reconcile all beings in the world.

- Tao Te Ching. Book 67

Read more: Simplicity, Patience and Compassion – Part one

2025

Tim Wyatt – England

Theosophy TW 2

Whatever your politics, religion or spiritual persuasion, whatever your age, ethnicity or social status or wherever you live, almost everyone alive today feels a creeping sense of malaise and foreboding. Military conflict, social turmoil and eco-doom have become humanity’s default setting.

Read more: 2025

The Spirit in the Body

Robert Crosbie – USA

iTheosophy RC 2

From the article:  … that All may Live, following the footsteps of those Great Ones who have trodden the Path before us.

Doubt nothing, fear nothing, chafe at nothing”— we often have to say to ourselves, when conditions seem to hedge us in and prevent the carrying out of some good work. These conditions are not only our Karma but that of those we have in mind to help. Yet we must strive for them, the best we can, to lift their Karma and ours. Sometimes it may seem as if everything conspired to laugh at us and deride our best efforts; but we know all that is but the dead weight of the world’s conditions which the Masters, and those who have volunteered, are working continuously to lift; and we feel the assurance which comes from understanding that none of this struggle is in vain. Masters do all that is possible for Them to do; we strive to follow Their example in doing Their work in this world of conditioned existence, each in his place; the knowledge that it is Their work, and what should be done, sustains us. What matters it, then, what kind of conditions confront us? Nothing has yet stopped us, although at times it has seemed that we could go no further; and we are constrained to see that nothing can stop us — not life nor death nor any other thing. So we cheerfully go on to the end of ends, with our lives and all that they contain — that All may Live, following the footsteps of those Great Ones who have trodden the Path before us.

Read more: The Spirit in the Body

A Commentary on the Gayatri

William Quan Judge – USA

Theosophy WQJ 2

Unveil, O Thou who givest sustenance to the Universe, from whom all proceed, to whom all must return, that face of the True Sun now hidden by a vase of golden light, that we may see the truth and do our whole duty on our journey to thy sacred seat.

                                                                                                                                                      The Gayatri

I have adopted a translation as above, which is excellent in its giving of the meaning of this verse. What is the Gayatri? It is the sacred verse of the Hindus and begins with Om, their sacred word and letter. Its first words are: Om, Bhur, Bhurvah!

Read more: A Commentary on the Gayatri

The Great Awakening Versus the Great Re-Set -- Antidotes to Totalitarianism, Tyranny and Fear

Paul Barker – England   

Theosophy PB 2

The author

Predictions of looming global totalitarianism are glibly dismissed by many simply as ‘conspiracy theories’ (a weasel-worded phrase originally cooked up by America’s FBI). Others view this so-called Great Reset as a dystopian New World Order with a population decimated by war, disease and starvation. This, they warn, is a world of global techno-capitalism, digital IDs, a cashless society, mandatory vaccinations and a communist-style social credit system.  They claim it will mean the end of the traditional family unit with children being removed from their parents to be indoctrinated by the state. There will be no religion beyond worshipping the power of the state. Wholesome food will be replaced by the consumption of insects and genetically modified food and lab-grown synthetic products. Above all there will be control by the all-seeing eye of artificial intelligence –

George Orwell’s 1984 made real

It really does sound demonic. But is there any truth to all this? And if so, how can it be counteracted?

Read more: The Great Awakening Versus the Great Re-Set -- Antidotes to Totalitarianism, Tyranny and Fear

What Survives Death?

A. Trevor Barker – England

Theosophy ATB 2 IONS What Survives Death 800x800 1 800x800

Our subject is one that must be of intimate and personal concern to every one of us. Every thinking man eventually is brought up against this problem. We have to admit that the religious teaching of the West is almost entirely lacking in a satisfactory explanation of the important question. You may search the New Testament, and, although you will find ethical teaching of deep Wisdom that will satisfy you for the living of your daily life. You will find it there in all its purity if you have the eyes to read it and to understand it. The teaching about the life after death is not given there. It is one of those Teachings that Jesus kept for his disciples. He taught them in secret. To them he explained those Mysteries that Christian priests are inclined to say that:

They were never meant for you and me to understand. They are something over which Nature has drawn a veil. It is not for us to penetrate, either by the opening of the psychic senses, or by the penetration and understanding of our intellects.

Read more: What Survives Death?

Prohibit conversations about race, racism and racial inequalities? (In the Light of Theosophy)

Theosophy ILO 2

[This article appeared in the December 2022 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link:  https://www.ultindia.org/current_issues.html]

In the recent past a series of laws were passed in several states of the United States of America that discourages or prohibits teachers across the country from having explicit conversation about race, racism and racial inequalities. The same is with the view to avoid making any student feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of that individual’s race or sex.” However, psychologists who study how parents and teachers communicate with kids about race, are of the view that such laws are not likely to help children, because years of research has shown that from an early age children notice racial ethnic disparities, such as, in wealth, so that white families have nice cars and bigger houses, and black families possess lower-wealth items, which may result in white children preferring and choosing to play with other white children of their age than Black. Secondly, it is natural for children to seek explanation when they find differences between people or groups. According to psychological concept of “inherence bias,” when we come across someone who behaves in a distinctly different way, we assume that there is something inherently different about that person. Likewise, children are likely to attribute wealth difference between communities to their capabilities or intelligence, and may also think that the groups are biologically or innately different. Thus, differences between groups are attributed to some deep, underlying and often unknown “essence.”

Read more: Prohibit conversations about race, racism and racial inequalities? (In the Light of Theosophy)

Universal Brotherhood: The Need of the Hour

Deepa Padhi – India  

DP 

The author during a presentation for the 147th International Convention at Adyar

In the hymns of the Rigveda one finds the concept of Universal Brotherhood:

Let us move together,

Let us come to know our minds together,

Let us share like sages of the past,

That all individuals together may enjoy the Universe.

Unite our intentions,

Let our hearts be inseparable,

Our minds as one Mind,

As we truly know one another,

Become One.

Read more: Universal Brotherhood: The Need of the Hour

Our Immediate Opportunity

Boris de Zirkoff – USA

Theosophy BDZ b

[Article first published in 1945]

We are all actors in a great World-Drama the birth of a New Age.

In this universal upheaval none can stand alone.

Every one of us, great or small, young or old, has a responsibility to his fellowmen. The World of Tomorrow is being molded in the thinking of the people of Today. When we help others to raise and ennoble their thoughts, we become coworkers with Nature in building the New World. And let us bear this clearly in our minds: the shape of coming events depends to a very considerable extent upon the number of people whose minds and hearts may have been touched with the soul-healing teachings of Theosophy the Divine Wisdom of the ages.

Read more: Our Immediate Opportunity

Our Responsibility in Freedom of Thought

Ananya Sri Ram – USA

Theosophy ASR b

Ananya, concentrated lecturing at Olcott in Wheaton

As mentioned in previous articles, Theosophy cannot exist without the tenet of freedom of thought. Divine wisdom is a living wisdom that lives and moves through everything seen and unseen. It is impossible to constrict it as consciousness lies within everything we come into contact with and such consciousness holds divinity within it. When we ponder this carefully, we realize the responsibility humans have as the only species (presently known) that has the capacity and ability to understand and experience this.

Read more: Our Responsibility in Freedom of Thought

How to Study Theosophy – 4  

Kenneth Small – USA

Insights from the Teachings of G. de Purucker – View and Keynotes of Practice

Theosophy KS 2 purucker gottfried 420x420

Forgiveness: An Esoteric View, Cultivating the ‘Master’ Within; Universal Service

The conventional view of forgiveness is simply stated as: the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven. In our quest for inner awakening, however, there is a deeper ‘selfless’ view of ‘forgiveness’, that is needed to cut through to the essence of life. This ‘selflessness’ is rooted in the universal and impermanent nature of things.

Read more: How to Study Theosophy – 4  

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