Dorothy Bell – Australia
What do you believe could be done in order to bring about more understanding among all the Theosophical traditions, overcoming the apparent insurmountable hindrances that have divided them for too long? How can you individually or with your group positively add to this process?
Religious or spiritual traditions are the product of their past in terms of change and continuity. Each one tends to recreate itself in successive generations over time, preserving and even solidifying the original model in its structures, beliefs and methods. Members usually have karmic connections and emotional investment in the tradition they choose or into which they are born.
Revolutionary offshoots tend to change methods or structures according to different values and perceptions. Evolutionary change within an organization becomes necessary when different cultural or changed social contexts impact on its relevance or survival. And so, one response to the guiding question is to say that while like-minded people across boundaries in spiritual organizations or churches could group together in a variety of activities for a variety of reasons, to do so is not so much to repair the past (because nothing is broken that needs fixing) - as to respond to a perception of a felt need and common cause.
The potential for change is always present. Our world is darkened by corruption, deceit, ambition, violence, hatred, greed, instability, disadvantage, fear and uncertainty– and bereft of compassion. The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions has evolved an interesting model of ‘like-minds’ working to harmonise their relationships in a context where insurmountable differences have prevailed for a long time. And the motivation is expressed in a shared vision and mission to create a better and just world. The website www.parliamentofreligions.org describes these as well as presenting information and news about structures and projects.
While the Council may be emerging as a global vehicle for the expression of practical religion, the question may be asked about the relevance and core business of Theosophy and the Society in these times of turmoil. The following extracts from H. P. Blavatsky and the Mahatma Koot Hoomi shape the direction of a possible response.
“Theosophy must not represent merely a collection of moral verities, a bundle of metaphysical ethics epitomized in theoretical dissertations. Theosophy must be made practical, and has, therefore to be disencumbered of useless discussion... it has to find objective expression in an all-embracing code of life thoroughly impregnated with its spirit – the spirit of mutual tolerance, charity and love” 1
“Theosophy is divine nature, visible and invisible, and its Society human nature trying to ascend to its divine parent....It was formed to assist in showing to men that such a thing as Theosophy exists, and to help them to ascend towards it by studying and assimilating its eternal verities.” 2
... “the essence of Theosophy is the perfect harmonizing of the divine with the human in man, the adjustment of his god-like qualities and aspirations, and their sway over the terrestrial or animal passions in him. Kindness, absence of every ill feeling or selfishness, charity, goodwill to all beings, and perfect justice to others as to oneself, are its chief features.”3
(Theosophy’s) “most holy and important mission” is “to unite firmly a body of men of all nations in brotherly love and bent on pure altruistic work, not on a labor with selfish motives 4
“The crest wave of intellectuality must be taken hold of and guided into spirituality” 5
“May Theosophy grow more and more a living power in the lives of each one of our
members ... is the wish of your humble co-worker and fellow member.”6 [H.P.B]
Theosophy - Divine Wisdom - is altruism; it is spiritual practice and the expression of our divine heritage, and our true inner and eternal nature. To be a theosophist is to become who we already are; it is to live the Life; to live the divine wisdom and loving compassion that reside in the hearts of everyone.
The journey of a Theosophist is to grow theosophy as our living truth and as a living power in our lives. It is a ‘steep and thorny road’ to remove the impediments and to nurture the divine seed to grow into a strong sapling and a great tree of knowledge, wisdom, compassion and strength. Along the way, it is our role to ‘be there’ for the vulnerable and disadvantaged who cross our paths in these darkest of times.
And surely it is the role of any vehicle of Theosophy to practically assist its members in understanding and using the tools of self-transformation. Drawn from theosophy, psychology and education they fashion the personal journey in a reality shift from a material to a spiritual worldview, from egoism to altruism and Self-Realization.
Self-transformation changes the world. Are the boundaries and territories of interpretation really relevant to the call of spirit?
1. H. P .Blavatsky, Quotation from a letter written by one of the Masters, in The Original Programme of The Theosophical Society, TPH Adyar, p. 41
2. H. P. Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy, p. 57
3. H. P. Blavatsky, Letter to the American Convention 1888 p.4
4. H. P. Blavatsky, Letter to the American Convention 1888 p.3
5. Mahatma Koot Hoomi, Last Letter to Annie Besant, Quest, Journal of the Theosophical Society in America, Summer 2011
6. H. P. Blavatsky, Letter to the American Convention 1890 p.5