Altruism and Service on the Spiritual Path

Barbara Hebert – USA


Wonderful interview Erica Georgiades did some time ago with Barbara Hebert, click om the image to watch

In Volume XII of the Collected Writings, H.P. Blavatsky talks about altruism as a key component of being a theosophist. She writes:

He who does not practice altruism; he who is not prepared to share his last morsel with a weaker or poorer than himself; he who neglects to help his brother man, of whatever race, nation, or creed, whenever and wherever he meets suffering, and who turns a deaf ear to the cry of human misery; he who hears an innocent person slandered, whether a brother Theosophist or not, and does not undertake his defense as he would undertake his own––is no Theosophist.

Read more: Altruism and Service on the Spiritual Path

Relationships – (In the Light of Theosophy)

Theosophy Relationships b

[This article appeared in the May 2023 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link:]

Relationships are necessary for our survival. We may seek loving relationships. However, when our love and care fail to be reciprocated as expected, we begin to realize that toxic relationships also have their place in our life. “Often the one you have deeply trusted will help you badly, and the one you have mostly ignored will stand up for you in your hour of need,” writes Shivi Verma. Such experiences drive people to shun human relationships and to seek peace in aloneness. However, it is futile to look for a perfectly harmonious relationship, as in every relationship there is bound to be an element of annoyance, irritation or something that creates a void in one’s heart with regard to that person. “However, the same relationships also become the barometer by which you can mark your spiritual growth.”

Read more: Relationships – (In the Light of Theosophy)

Simplicity, Patience and Compassion – Part three

Andrew Rooke – Australia

Theosophy Simplicity b Lao Tse

The Chinese Taoist sage, Lao Tze, says: "Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world."

But what exactly is Compassion?

‘Compassion’ is derived from the Latin com with + pati to bear, or suffer. Literally then, the capacity of ‘feeling with’, sympathetic understanding; the feeling of one’s unity with all that is, resulting in an “intimate magnetic sympathy with all that is.” There seem to be two aspects to compassion as stated by Lao Tzu: • Compassion towards yourself and your own failings encourages empathy, sympathy and understanding of the situation of others and a natural desire to help. • We could say compassion is feeling sympathy and empathy with the form we all share that makes us all human and also an understanding that we are all united in the higher level of our Being. The joy of Being beyond form.

Read more: Simplicity, Patience and Compassion – Part three

Men to Match the Atom!

Boris de Zirkoff

Theosophy BdZ b

[Note from the editor: de Zirkoff wrote and published this article in THEOSOPHIA, during the summer of 1957, at height of the cold war with fear for a worldwide nuclear conflict over 65 years ago now. It is evident however that many of the statements the author makes are fully applicable in 2023. Science is supposed to be our greatest ally, but what have we, human beings, used science for? Of course many significant achievements were made, but at the same time a very dark shadow is hanging over the use of science in our day and age. Its pure materialistic approach has darkened many people’s vision and clouded their understanding. Through the use of internet, computers, smartphones, social media and you name it, mankind is impressively interconnected but it is also terribly disconnected, and that is the perfect paradox, not to speak of the lurking dangers of Artificial Intelligence. De Zirkoff in 1957 clearly points out what the perils are we have to be on the lookout for. JNK]


Read more: Men to Match the Atom!

Editorial – How Do You "Do" Theosophy?

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

The Society 2 Editorial
How ….?

It is often overlooked that Theosophy is a system of thought especially designed to make us aware that the only valid reason we’re here on this blue marble called Earth, is to serve and help others. In this material jungle of ours it is all about winning, our countries first, us against them, causing an acceleration of divisive thinking. In this context, I not seldom hear that many in our circles are preoccupied about the raison d'être of the TS or Theosophy even. They claim that the TS, 120-130 years ago, had something special or ‘new’ to share with the world but now that is all different. There are so many ‘spiritual’ organizations active who have continued the spreading of that what made the TS so unique many decades ago. This stance is quite incorrect and it demonstrates that many might not have fully understood what Theosophy and their vehicles stand for in this day and age.

The state of affairs in the world around us is murky and while we are supposed to live in the shelter of each other, the obvious communion with others is hopelessly disturbed, under threat and overshadowed by ignorance and greed. Educational systems that were developed over the last 50 to 80 years are solely focused on modifying young world citizens into vicious competitors aiming for the ‘ultimate’ objectives in life: money, more money, status, and the latest smart-phone. The world, rapidly turning into a global village, is filled up with millions who are entangled in the shackles of materialism.

Truth and decency have made room for alternative facts and vulgarity, the existing systems and their tireless collaborators are out there doing their utmost to keep the train to nowhere running at high speed. Theosophists ‘in doubt’ ought to realize though, that if ever there was a moment for a Theosophical movement, or, if you wish, Theosophy, it is right now at this very moment.

Read more: Editorial – How Do You "Do" Theosophy?

Individuation and Global Responsibility: The Subtle Magic of Lincoln, Eisenhower, and Mandela — Part one

James Tepfer – USA 


James Tepfer, a deep student and gifted speaker, delivering his talk during the147th International Convention at Adyar

1. Acknowledgements:

I would like to begin by extending my gratitude to Tim Boyd our International President who works tirelessly for that noblest of all human Causes, universal brotherhood. I would also like to offer the garland of gratitude to all those luminous teachers of the past who gave us soul-saving teachings and were such resplendent examples of the spiritual life: Krishna, Buddha, Christ, Mahavira, Mohammed and a constellation of other wise and compassionate teachers. Each one promulgated some facet of Theosophia, the Wisdom-religion. And every single devotee of these pristine religions contributes, to and enriches the legacy of, humanity, as we move into the uncharted waters of the future. In this deeper sense, there is no such thing as a non-theosophist. We are all seekers of spiritual truths and we are all brothers and sisters of the human family.

Read more: Individuation and Global Responsibility: The Subtle Magic of Lincoln, Eisenhower, and Mandela —...

The Subtle and Sublime Anarchy of Universal Brotherhood

Jonathan Colbert – USA  

Theosophy JC b JON Theosophy Tribute 3 120 Jon

Jonathan on the right with his father, Jim Colbert, the nestor of organic cross pollination, "switching chairs" at home in Julian, California

[Extracts from “Alas and After… In Search of the Dynamics of Unity” by Jonathan Colbert]

Without self-awareness and vigilant mindfulness of the spiritual fact of unity, efforts towards reunification and cooperation cannot help but risk degradation into the more entropic and conservative factional motivations of self-preservation and consolidation. If theosophists, then, are to continue the noble objective of opening doors, clarification as to motives, means and methods will become increasingly crucial. A powerful lens for the individual and institutional self-examination that is needed, was given as early as 1890, in an address by Bertram Keightley in New York City to the Aryan T.S. entitled, “The Objects of the Theosophical Society.” His thesis is that critical to the theory and practice of the 1st Object, Universal Brotherhood, is the artful practice of the 2nd and 3rd Objects. Keightley writes:

...instead of our three Objects being, as often erroneously supposed, separate, distinct, disconnected, they are in truth intimately and vitally related to each other: the Second and Third Objects of the Society indicating the only lines upon which we may reasonably hope to achieve the ultimate realization of our grand ideal, the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity.                                                                                                                                         The Theosophist, September 1890

Read more: The Subtle and Sublime Anarchy of Universal Brotherhood

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


 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]


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.



The Eye Revisited


Jan Nicolas Kind – Brazil


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 


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


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

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