Theosophy

On with the Work

Boris de Zirkoff – USA

Boris de Zirkoff wrote this inspirational and still relevant piece in 1979. As a relative of H. P. Blavatsky, he deserves a unique place in the esteem of Theosophists. It was appropriate that he should, in the karmic course of events, become the compiler-editor of Blavatsky’s Collected Writings.

As a new decade of our century is about to open, we renew our intention to continue quietly to spread the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom far and wide. Unshaken by the rising tide of world unrest and the inhumanity of man to man manifest in so many ways in this world of illusions, we are determined to hold high the banner of Theosophy and to plant it on new ramparts for all men to see.

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Why Not Laugh At Yourself?

Gottfried de Purucker – USA

Many people talk about the heroism of self-conquest - something with which we all agree; but do you know, I sometimes wonder if our ideas of heroic battling with ourselves are not just a wee bit hysteriac, even foolish! I do not mean the heroism part of it, but this lower self of us, poor little thing! It plays havoc with us all the time, simply because we identify ourselves with it and always try to fight it and make it as big as we are. Is it heroic to fight a ghost of our own making?

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A Remarkable Man, Tribute to Henk Spierenburg

Katinka Hesselink — Holland

Introduction: Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil (photo = Henk Spierenburg)

I remember Henk Spierenburg very well. It must have been around November 1996 when I last met him. As sound technician and floor manager I had been occupied recording the morning session in the Besant Hall, during an activity at the International Theosophical Centre in Naarden, Holland.  Henk, who was the main speaker that morning, gave a most unusual but very interesting talk about H.P. Blavatsky and her passion for opera.  After his talk, while most participants rushed off for a coffee break, Henk came up to me with a big grin on his face and asked: “Did you write that article about Karma Yoga for Theosofia?”  (Official magazine of the TS in Holland) When I confirmed he said: “Not bad, not bad at all . . . but next time you must do your homework a little better”. I don’t recall the exact details, but apparently I had made an error somewhere, making a reference to something another author had said on the subject. This approach was typical for Henk; he would not spare you, and go straight to the point, but always respectfully and with the objective to help, to find your way.

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Truth—The Highest Religion

Radha Burnier – India

Throughout the ages, man has struggled to understand natural phenomena around him and also the truth about his own being and position in the universe. The desire to know has expressed itself in very simple ways, such as wanting to understand what is behind a stormy night with thunder and lightning (resulting in myths and legends about the great God Thor or Indra, king of the gods, releasing cows held captive in the clouds by anti-gods); or in more fundamental questions about what is real and lasting, and why there is suffering. Without these probings and reflections, human beings would not be human, but would become like creatures engaged only in physical survival and making the best of the doleful conditions in a world they are unable to understand.

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The Importance Of Questioning

Joy Mills – USA
It has been asked how “repentance of sin” is related to human transformation. In several places in the New Testament the word translated as “sin” carries the meaning of failure to hit the mark or the target. When we miss the target, there follows an effort to train our eye.  And we question ourselves: What are we to concentrate on? Are we to concentrate on the drawing of the bow? On the arrow? Or must we fix our sight on the bull’s-eye itself? If we miss the target, do we say, “Oh dear, I shall never be an archer; I shall never be able to shoot straight”? We can give up in defeat and say, “This is not for me; I can never do it” Or do we say, “Obviously, I was not giving it my full attention. I shall try again.”It seems to me that if we can see “sin” in this manner, “repen¬tance” will be to simply try again. “Re-pent” is to “think again.” It is to act in a new way, with clarity of vision. And this is part of the process of human transformation. Failure in itself is not so very bad; it can, in fact, be good for us. It is better to be a glorious failure than a mediocre success because anybody can be successful at some¬thing he already knows how to do, but we are called upon to move beyond ourselves. As Browning put it, “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”The process of transformation begins with the consciousness that awakening or enlightenment is possible. This is not to be achieved at our first attempt. The Buddha, being a human being like the rest of us, did not achieve Buddhahood at the moment of his awareness of its possibility. The process “takes time.” Time was once seen simply as linear, but today we recognize other modes of time such as biological and psychological time. We know, too, that there is mythic time-the “once upon a time” with which every good fairy story begins. It is not a historical date but a time-ness that is ever present.

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