The Voice of the Silence 2 (Verses 6-32)

John Algeo – USA

Verses 6 to 12 of The Voice of the Silence concern the experience we have when we begin to control our minds: “[6] For: When to himself his form appears unreal, as do on waking all the forms he sees in dreams; [7] When he has ceased to hear the many, he may discern the ONE―the inner sound which kills the outer. [8] Then only, not till then, shall he forsake the region of asat, the false, to come unto the realm of Sat, the true. [9] Before the soul can see, the harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion. [10] Before the soul can hear, the image (man) has to become as deaf to roarings as to whispers, to cries of bellowing elephants as to the silvery buzzing of the golden firefly. [11] Before the soul can comprehend and may remember, she must unto the Silent Speaker be united, just as the form to which the clay is modeled is first united with the potter’s mind. [12] For then the soul will hear, and will remember.”

One of the first experiences we have is distinguishing between the real and the unreal (in Sanskrit sat and asat). This is what At the Feet of the Master calls the first qualification: discrimination—distinguishing between, as that book says, the real and the unreal, the right and the wrong, the important and the unimportant, the useful and the useless, the true and the false, and the selfish and the unselfish. Sat, usually translated as “real” or “true,” is actually the present participle of the Sanskrit verb for “to be.” It thus means literally “being.” The real is what is, what has actual being. Asat, the “unreal,” is that same word with the negative or privative prefix a- meaning “not” or “without.” (We have that prefix in its Greek form in words like atypical “not typical” or asexual “without sexual characteristics.”) So the real is what has being; and the unreal is what has no being.

Read more: The Voice of the Silence 2 (Verses 6-32)

The Heart Doctrine - How to escape from Plato’s Cave – part one

Erwin Bomas – The Netherlands

Preceding his presentation on Friday August 12, 2011 in Julian-California, lecturer Erwin Bomas, a project manager for the Kennisnet Foundation and member of the Theosophical Society,  Point Loma – The Hague, stated the following:

In this lecture we will apply the conference theme “The Heart of Wisdom, A Concurrence of Science and Spirituality...from the Theosophical Perspective” to education. What is a Theosophical education? How to present Theosophy this day and age? How to reach the Western minds, still very much attuned to pure scientific and mostly materialistic thinking?

Theosophy, as the synthesis of Science, Philosophy and Religion, throws new light on Modern Science. In Theosophy we find the Doctrine of the Heart, revealing the “spirit”, stimulating the highest of our aspects. It presents the entrance to the world of noumena.

Read more: The Heart Doctrine - How to escape from Plato’s Cave – part one

The Seven Portals

H. P. Blavatsky

[The opening verses of Fragment 3 of The Voice of the Silence.]

196. “Upadhyaya,1 the choice is made, I thirst for Wisdom. Now hast thou rent the veil before the Secret Path and taught the greater Yana2. Thy servant here is ready for thy guidance.”

197. ’Tis well, Shravaka.3 Prepare thyself, for thou wilt have to travel on alone. The Teacher can but point the way. The Path is one for all, the means to reach the goal must vary with the pilgrims.

198. Which wilt thou choose, O thou of dauntless heart? The samtan4 of Eye Doctrine, fourfold Dhyana, or thread thy way through Paramitas5, six in number, noble gates of virtue leading to Bodhi and to Prajna, seventh step of Wisdom?

199. The rugged Path of fourfold Dhyana winds on uphill. Thrice great is he who climbs the lofty top.

Read more: The Seven Portals

William Quan Judge and the Theosophical Society – part one

Dara Eklund – USA

[Based on a talk given by Dara Eklund at Krotona Institute of Theosophy in April 2010.]

Annie Besant wrote the following in the October, 1922 [p. 351], issue of the Theosophist: “William Quan Judge [was] a much loved friend and pupil of H.P.B.’s, and the channel of life to the American Branch of the T.S. A highly evolved man, with a profound realization of the deeper truths of life, he built up the Society in America from small and discouraging beginnings. No difficulties daunted him, and no apparent failures quenched his fiery devotion. . . . He was beside H.P.B. through those early days, saw the exercise of her wonderful powers, and shared in the founding of the Theosophical Society. And throughout the remainder of her life on earth, the friendship remained unbroken, and during the later years she regarded him as her one hope in America, declaring that, if the American members rejected him, she would break off all relations with them, and know them no more. . . .His real work, the spread of Theosophy in America, was splendidly performed, and his memory remains a lasting inspiration. . . . William Quan Judge must ever have his place among Theosophical Worthies.”

William Quan Judge

William Quan Judge, son of Frederick H. Judge and Alice Mary Quan, was born in Dublin, Ireland, on April 13, 1851. His mother died in giving birth to a seventh child. At the age of thirteen, Judge emigrated with his bereaved father and family to New York City, arriving via the City of Limerick steamship on July 14, 1864. Very little is known of William’s early years prior to coming to America. At age seven he survived a major illness, ordinarily fatal, which changed him entirely. Boris de Zirkoff’s biography states that the doctor pronounced him dead. Under her pen name Jasper Niemand, Julia Keightley wrote: “During convalescence the boy evinced aptitude and knowledge which he had never before displayed, exciting wonder as to when and how he had learned these things, these rudiments of art and of literature . . . and from his recovery in his eighth year we find him interested in religion, magic, Rosicrucianism, and deeply absorbed in the Book of Revelations of the Christian Bible, trying to settle its meaning. He also devoured the contents of all the books he could lay hold of relating to mesmerism, character-reading, phrenology and so on, while no one knew when he had so much as acquired the art of reading at all. The emigration to America . . . broadened his thought and experience as the era of definite work and training came on” (Irish Theosophist 4.5 [February 15, 1896]: 91). Julia Keightley also relates an incident of the boy’s will power, in spite of his frail health, when some playmates jeered at Judge because he could not swim across a stream to an island. He determined to walk across the river’s bed; when out of his depth, periodically rising for breath, he was finally drawn out half-conscious by his astonished playfellows.

Read more: William Quan Judge and the Theosophical Society – part one

Truth: The Limitless Horizon – part one

John Algeo – USA

[This article is a revision of two earlier publications: “Truth: The Limitless Horizon,” American Theosophist 72.11 (December 1984): 413-25; and “Theosophical Truth Is a Many-Splendoured Thing,” Theosophist 127.5 (February 2006): 167-74.]


The motto of the Theosophical Society should be well known to all its members. It is “There is no religion higher than Truth,” from the Sanskrit "Satyan nasti paro dharmah." The word “dharma” in that motto has as one of its several meanings “religion.” But the word “dharma” is what linguists call “polysemous,” that is, “having many meanings.” Semantically speaking, “dharma” is a complex, if not limitless, thing.

According to John Grimes’s Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy, “dharma” literally means “what holds together.” So, in a sense, the Theosophical motto might be paraphrased as saying that the things which hold us together—including our ideas about what is real and important—are not more important than Truth. Truth in Sanskrit is “satya,” meaning “that which is.” And it is not possible for anything to be higher or more important than what is. If “dharma” is a semantically complex word, Truth is an even more complex reality.

A recent book, Just Trust Me: Finding the Truth in a World of Spin, by G. Randy Kasten (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 2011) distinguishes various kinds of truth: relative, probable, potential, consensus, temporary, contextual, and implied. Without going into that much detail, we might recognize just three kinds: factual (based on documentary evidence), personal (based on an individual’s belief system), and absolute (which is the ultimate reality of the cosmos, or of things as they are, and which is only approximated by human understanding).

Read more: Truth: The Limitless Horizon – part one

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