A child is like a plant which, having proper nurture, grows and matures into all virtue; but, if planted in an alien soil, becomes the most noxious of all weeds, unless saved by some divine help. ... Assuredly our children, if wisely educated, will dwell in a land of health -- a land of noble sights and sounds; and beauty, the aroma of fair works, will meet the senses like a breeze and imperceptibly draw the soul, even in childhood, into harmony with true knowledge.
By G. de Purucker
[Taken from THE ESOTERIC PATH: ITS NATURE AND ITS TESTS, 65.]
... The Chela is not only called to face all the latent evil propensities of his nature, but, in addition, the whole volume of maleficent power accumulated by the community and nation to which he belongs. For he is an integral part of those aggregates, and what affects either the individual man, or the group (town or nation) reacts upon the other. And in this instance his struggle for goodness jars upon the whole body of badness in his environment, and draws its fury upon him. If he is content to go along with his neighbors and be almost as they are -- perhaps a little better or somewhat worse than the average -- no one may give him a thought. But let it be known that he has been able to detect the hollow mockery of social life, its hypocrisy, selfishness, sensuality, cupidity and other bad features, and has determined to lift himself up to a higher level, at once he is hated, and every bad, or bigoted, or malicious nature sends at him a current of opposing will power ...
A specialized search engine has been added to the Blavatsky Net site in the "resource section" of the home page. The search engine searches over the full text of the articles of Blavatsky that are currently online -- 119 articles at this moment. Another 49 have been proofread, and will soon be placed online. This will complete the first three volumes of HPB articles (as published by ULT) getting online.
The search engine allows elementary combinations of "AND" or "OR" and a choice of case sensitive or insensitive.
This is the first time that a significant amount of Blavatsky's text has been online and searchable with boolean logic.
This is a step toward providing the tools to make Blavatsky's work more accessible.
As another kind of step toward making Blavatsky's work accessible is a project of Blavatsky Net to create a movie of Blavatsky's life.
Blavatsky Research Inc. -- the non-profit corporation producing Blavatsky Net -- is seeking initial development funding to support preparations that are underway to produce a feature length theatrical motion picture based on the life work and adventures of Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.
An experienced screenwriter, grounded in Blavatsky's teachings, has been conducting extensive research drawing upon a broad range of biographical sources, as well as HPB's own writings. The official biography and credits for the screenwriter will soon appear on the web page.
The purpose of the initial development funding for this film project is to finance the following writing and consulting services:
Interested participants should email email@example.com or contact Reed Carson; Blavatsky Research Inc.; 1204 Third Ave. #122; New York N.Y. 10021; (212) 535-6256
It should be noted that Blavatsky Net is not an "ULT" site. For example, the articles online do not refer to the pagination of Theosophy Company's books. Rather, the site focuses on what the Movement has in common.
Blavatsky Net would like to extend an offer through THEOSOPHY WORLD to others who might want to offer to place some text at its site to also be searched by the search engine.
On the home page there would be "thanks" and "copyright" hotlinks to their own pages. Blavatsky Net would be glad to include on those pages whatever statements the donor of the text might require.
In this way, the searching capacity could be extended to larger amounts of material and everyone could get pointers to their own sites and receive due credit.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org about what materials you might want included, and it will be reviewed for suitability and possible inclusion.
By Dick Slusser
Known as "the Old Man" to the few who were his students in the "Inner City" of Chicago's South Side, Bill Lawrence was mentor and spiritual teacher.
The real identity of Bill Lawrence remains a mystery along with the mysteries of Gottfried de Purucker and William Q. Judge.
My one glimpse of him was during an evening program I attended as part of the 1986 Convention of the Theosophical Society in America at Wheaton Illinois.
Bill was Black and brought with him an Afro-American group of singers who sang a song "Come on children let's sing about Theosophy" in joyous rousing gospel style.
Some years later, as secretary of the High Country Study Center, I had the occasion to meet Tim Boyd and soon counted him as a personal friend. As a visiting lecturer of the Wheaton T.S., Tim related how he had been introduced to the theosophical life by Bill Lawrence.
Here, in Tim's words, is some of the story of Bill Lawrence:
By Tim Boyd
[letter provided by the HIGH COUNTRY THEOSOPHIST]
During the course of our lives we are occasionally blessed by encounters with extraordinary men and women. If we are lucky and the timing is right, these meetings can have a life changing effect on us. At the very least we part knowing that in some way we have been enriched; at some deep level of our being a seed has been planted which will grow and blossom in its own time.
Many of us feel that we have had the good fortune to have met such a man in this life., Bill Lawrence, "the Old Man", influenced the lives of a great number of us for the better. Depending on what point in his own life's unfoldment you met him, his focus and his impact would be different, but always he made an impression.
To those of us who encountered him after he had connected with Theosophy and the Theosophical Society he is remembered chiefly as a spiritual friend and teacher, but also as a master story teller, a clear eyed seer and visionary, a man painfully wise in the ways of the world, a music lover who musicians loved to play for, and an artist whose medium was the canvas of unfolding lives.
It has been 10 years now since his passing. On January 22, 1987 when the Old Man died it was the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. The group of us who heard and took his message to heart have spread out into the world and now find ourselves deeply involved in a variety of responsibilities; so much so that for many there seems to be no time to stop and reflect, to "check in" and reconnect with that "still small voice" inside.
It is with this in mind that we send out this letter on this the 10th anniversary of his passing. Not to reminisce or to recall "the good old days", nor even to merely remind ourselves of the life of a great man, but to help us to remember the simple, powerful truths that he called out from each one of us; that each of us is a "spark from that Eternal Flame", that all of the answers are within us, that we all have a direct and unbreakable connection to the Divine if we would just get out of our own way, that the work before us is to live these truths so that our passing through this world will make it a better place.
The main way the Old Man "taught" was in his moment to moment living. Lectures or formal talks and writings were rare. There was no way of telling at what moment the inspiration would flow. As a result there are few recordings of his voice.
With the hope that your New Year is bright and filled with the blessings of health and ever expanding service.
By Thoa Tran
[based upon a May 15, 1997 posting to email@example.com]
It is more effective to get to the Why through the How.
The younger generation is usually physically strong and vigorous, mentally curious, and emotionally intense. Thus, the younger generation would be more attracted to experience that will touch on all of those aspects. That is the natural process of development.
The T.S. is not very attractive to the younger generation. The focusing on the Why leads the T.S. to focus mostly on publication, lectures, and study groups ... ZZZZZ ... and one wonders why people are apathetic. It is easier to read books and log on the Internet, and then go out and have a roaring good time! Why join the T.S.?
Using more of the How does not necessarily have to lead the student astray. As an example, I enjoy how Yosemite National Park have made their most difficult mountain climbs accessible to regular folks, and yet have stayed close to the experience of mountain climbing and nature.
Basically, nature is there, it has been made accessible and yet still dangerous, and use your common sense when dealing with nature. There is not a deluge of warning signs for the hikers. Perhaps elder theosophists, if they are highly aware of the Whys and the How's, can be the leading mountaineers that paved the paths of Hows for the novice.
Organizations that are active and full of experiential How's are more attractive than organizations that just offer Whys. Would I rather commit myself to an active organization that has clear steps toward a particular cause, that spurs camaraderie among people joyfully uniting for a purpose, and that helps me develop intense experience through my participation -- or -- would I rather commit to an organization that just tells me what I should be without any guidance as to how to go about the goal. I think I would be more attracted to the first organization.
The lack of openness for whatever reason only causes more apathy. Maybe for my own good, I'm not supposed to know certain things. Or, it could be that for my own good, I'm supposed to figure it out on my own. Chances are, if I do not receive any feedback, I'm not going to care. Period.
Another way of being humble is being open. That is, a person is humble enough to reveal all that s/he knows. Revealing all leaves one open for contrary opinions. It also reveals one's ignorance. To me, a person taking such a chance is more humble than one who is reticent in order to keep his/her honor.
Being proud of one's accomplishment and talking about it does not necessarily mean bragging. It is a way of saying that one has made the effort, and that effort has resulted in success. Thus, this is an inspirational way of focusing on "effort."
By Daniel H. Caldwell
Some theosophical students have written that TRUE Theosophy does NOT have core teachings. These students have characterized those who believe Theosophy has definite teachings as "Core Theosophists" and labeled them as "dogmatists", "fundamentalists", and with other negative terms.
In response, I've appended excerpts from an 1975 article by Boris de Zirkoff, the editor of HPB's COLLECTED WRITINGS. I believe Mr. de Zirkoff's word reflect common sense and a practical approach to the study of Theosophy. I've also appended a number of excerpts from HPB's first great work, ISIS UNVEILED, which, in my opinion, confirm much of what Mr. de Zirkoff has written.
First, Boris de Zirkoff:
For some years past, a tendency has existed among some [theosophical] students ... to consider theosophy as some sort of GENERALIZED APPROACH to truth, a tradition, often somewhat uncertain, concerning various aspects of the Universe and man, a system of ideas and concepts which can hardly be defined with any degree of exactness or clarity. It is most likely that this tendency owes its origin to a desire to avoid any dogmatic attitude or the creation of any kind of creed. The motive may have been laudable, but the methods employed have been rather dubious.
We should never lose sight of the fact that the Esoteric Philosophy is a very definite doctrine, a system of thought based on specific postulates, on well-defined propositions ... Even a cursory glance at the pages of THE SECRET DOCTRINE would confirm this fact. That work contains innumerable instances where HPB (and the Adept-Brothers speaking through her) uses such expressions as: "the Secret Doctrine teaches," "secret records declare," "The Esoteric Philosophy states that ...," "it is the teaching of the ancient occult doctrine," and others. If the student cared to underline these passages and then read them consecutively, or place them in juxtaposition, he would see at a glance that the "Secret Doctrine," as a system of thought, is about as definite as any science or philosophy is ever apt to be, and stands in direct opposition to a large number of other ideas which have become current in the world under the name of one or another religion or philosophy.
It is perfectly true that the objects of the organized body known as The Theosophical Society have never contained any definition of what Theosophy is or is not; but it is equally true that the teachings promulgated by the Founders and their Superiors are defined in no uncertain language throughout the length and breadth of the original theosophical literature, leaving no room whatsoever for doubt as to what the system of thought known as theosophy is all about, what it teaches and what it does not.
If this state of affairs is at any time considered to be credal in nature, and therefore dogmatic, then we will have to assume that the statement of 'two and two making four' is also a creed, or that the laws governing gravitational and magnetic energies are dogmatic.
The propositions of the Esoteric Philosophy may SEEM to be dogmatic or may be interpreted as a creed by those of us -- probably the overwhelming majority of us -- -who are yet unable to prove them to ourselves experimentally. This situation is not much different from the fact that a beginner in chemistry can hardly prove to himself the ALLEGED fact that water is H2O, until he has grasped the methods necessary to verify it experimentally.
If we are prepared to comply with the conditions necessary for a personal investigation of the facts of nature defined by the Occult Doctrine, we shall be in a position to prove to ourselves experimentally the validity of its propositions. How many of us are ready to do so?
In the meantime -- and far from any acceptance of ideas on merely a blind belief -- we can investigate the coherence of that system of thought, its logical interrelatedness, its appeal to both reason and intuition, its application in both great and small ways, and its practical value in relation to others. Thereby we may become gradually convinced of the truth of the propositions and postulates of the Esoteric Philosophy, long before the time when it will have become possible for us to undertake a 'clinical' investigation of the laws involved therein and to manipulate the forces and energies of the occult aspects of Nature.
And from ISIS UNVEILED:
The work now submitted to public judgment is the fruit of a somewhat intimate acquaintance with Eastern Adepts and study of their science ... we came into contact with certain men, endowed with such mysterious powers and such profound knowledge that we may truly designate them as the sages of the Orient. To their instructions we lent a ready ear ...
-- I, v, vi
... from the first ages of man, the fundamental truths of all that we are permitted to know on earth was in the safe keeping of the adepts of the sanctuary ... those guardians of the primitive divine revelation, who had solved every problem that is within the grasp of human intellect, were bound together by a universal freemasonry of science and philosophy, which formed one unbroken chain around the globe.
-- I, 37-38
There are, scattered throughout the world, a handful of thoughtful and solitary students, who pass their lives in obscurity, far from the rumors of the world, studying the great problems of the physical and spiritual universes. They have their secret records in which are preserved the fruits of the scholastic labors of the long line of recluses whose successors they are ...
-- I, 557
The esoteric doctrine ... teaches ... that the one infinite and unknown Essence exists from all eternity, and in regular and harmonious successions is either passive or active. In the poetical phraseology of Manu these conditions are called the 'day' and the 'night' of Brahma. The latter is either 'awake' or 'asleep.' ... Upon inaugurating an active period, says THE SECRET DOCTRINE, an expansion of this Divine essence, FROM WITHIN OUTWARDLY, occurs in obedience to eternal and immutable law, and the phenomenal or visible universe is the ultimate result of the long chain of cosmical forces thus progressively set in motion. In like manner, when the passive condition is resumed, a contraction of the Divine essence takes place, and the previous work of creation is gradually and progressively undone. The visible universe becomes disintegrated, its material dispersed; and 'darkness,' solitary and alone, broods once more over the face of the 'deep.' To use a metaphor which will convey the idea still more clearly, an out breathing of the 'unknown essence' produces the world; and an inhalation causes it to disappear. THIS PROCESS HAS BEEN GOING ON FROM ALL ETERNITY, AND OUR PRESENT UNIVERSE IS BUT ONE OF AN INFINITE SERIES WHICH HAD NO BEGINNING AND WILL HAVE NO END.
-- II, 264-265
Gautama, no less than all other great reformers, had a doctrine for his 'elect' and another for the outside masses ... Gautama left the esoteric and most dangerous portion of the 'secret knowledge' untouched ...
-- II, 319
... THE SECRET DOCTRINE IS THE TRUTH ...
-- II, 292
... many are those who ... will remain in doubt and mortal agony as to whether, when man dies, he will live again, although the question has been solved by long bygone generations of sages ... except the initiates, no one has understood the mystic writing. The key was in the keeping of those who knew how to commune with the invisible Presence, and who had received, from the lips of mother Nature herself, her grand truths ...
-- I, 573
... This 'secret doctrine' contains the alpha and omega of universal science; therein lies the corner and the keystone of all the ancient and modern knowledge; and alone in this ... doctrine remains buried the ABSOLUTE in the philosophy of the dark problems of life and death ...
-- I, 511
Thus is it that all the religious monuments of old, in whatever land or under whatever climate, are the expression of the same identical thoughts, the key to which is in the esoteric doctrine ... And the clergy of every nation, though practicing rites and ceremonies which may have differed externally, had evidently been initiated into the same traditional mysteries which were taught all over the world ...
-- I, 561
... the Northern seer, Swedenborg, advises people to search for the LOST WORD among the hierophants of Tartary, China and Thibet; for it is there, and only there now ...
... the four VEDAS; the BOOKS OF HERMES; the Chaldean BOOK OF NUMBERS; the NAZARENE CODEX; the KABALA ... ; the SEPHER JEZIRA; the BOOK OF WISDOM ... ; the BRAHMANAS; the STAN-GYOUR, of the Thibetans; all these volumes have the same ground-work. Varying but in allegories they teach the same secret doctrine which ... will prove to be the Ultima Thule of true philosophy, and disclose what is this LOST WORD.
-- I, 580
... the 'secret doctrine' or wisdom was identical in every country ...
-- I, 444
... What we desire to prove is, that underlying every ancient popular religion was the same ancient wisdom- doctrine, one and identical, professed and practiced by the initiates of every country, who alone were aware of its existence and importance ... A single glance ... is enough to assure one that it could not have attained the marvelous perfection in which we find it pictured to us in the relics of the various esoteric systems, except after a succession of ages. A philosophy so profound, a moral code so ennobling, and practical results so conclusive and so uniformly demonstrable is not the growth of a generation, or even a single epoch. Fact must have been piled upon fact, deduction upon deduction, science have begotten science, and myriads of the brightest human intellects have reflected upon the laws of nature, before this ancient doctrine had taken concrete shape. The proofs of this identity of fundamental doctrine in the old religions are found in the prevalence of a system of initiation; in the secret sacerdotal castes who had the guardianship of mystical words of power, and a public display of a phenomenal control over natural forces, indicating association with preterhuman beings ...
As we proceed, we will point out the evidences of this identity of vows, formulas, rites, and doctrines, between the ancient faiths. We will also show that not only their memory is still preserved in India, but also that the Secret Association is still alive and as active as ever ... the chief pontiff and hierophant, the BRAHMATMA, is still accessible to those 'who know,' though perhaps recognized by another name; and that the ramifications of his influence extend throughout the world ...
-- II, 99-100
Our examination of the multitudinous religious faiths that mankind, early and late, have professed, most assuredly indicates that they have all been derived from one primitive source. It would seem as if they were all but different modes of expressing the yearning of the imprisoned human soul for intercourse with supernal spheres. As the while ray of light is decomposed by the prism into the various colors of the solar spectrum, so the beam of divine truth, in passing through the THREE-SIDED prism of man's nature, has been broken up into vari-colored fragments called RELIGIONS. And, as the rays of the spectrum, by imperceptible shadings, merge into each other, so the great theologies that have appeared at different degrees of divergence from the original source, have been connected by minor schisms, schools, and off-shoots from the one side or the other. Combined, their aggregate represents one eternal truth; separate, they are but shades of human error and the signs of imperfection ... " "What has been contemptuously termed Paganism, was ancient wisdom replete with Deity; and Judaism and its offspring, Christianity and Islamism, derived whatever of inspiration they contained from this ethic parent. Pre-Vedic Brahmanism and Buddhism are the double source from which all religions sprung; Nirvana is the ocean to which all tend.
-- II, 639
By Thoa Tran
[On the Internet, friends will often get, modify, and pass on jokes and funny materials. The original author and wording of the story is lost, and the materials get passed on countless times along a "joke chain". Following is one such piece, given a theosophical twist by Thoa.]
Due to decreasing participation of the younger generation, the Theosophical Society have decided to devote its energy to running a school for children. One of the young chela, a ten year old boy, was finding fifth grade math to be the challenge of his life. Theosophy? A piece of cake. Science? No big deal. Psychology? Ha! Give me a break ...but MATH? It was devastating! To not only him, but to his two mentors, too! And not that they weren't doing everything and anything to help him ...Private tutors, peer assistance, CD-Roms, Textbooks, even HYPNOSIS! Nothing worked.
Finally, at the insistence of a visiting theosophist, they decided to enroll their student in another school. Not just ANY school, but a Catholic school. Nuns. Weekly mass. The whole shootin' match.
Well, the first day of school finally arrived, and dressed in his salt-and-pepper cords and white wool dress shirt and blue cardigan sweater, the youngster ventured out into the great unknown. His elder theosophists were convinced they were doing the right thing.
They were there waiting for their student when he returned to the TS school. And when he walked in with a stern, focused and very determined expression on his face, they hoped they had made the right choice. He walked right past them and went straight to his dorm -- and quietly closed the door.
For nearly two hours he toiled away in his room -- with math books strewn about his desk and the surrounding floor. He only emerged long enough to eat, and after quickly cleaning his plate, he went straight back to his room, closed the door, and worked feverishly at his studies until bedtime. This pattern continued ceaselessly until it was time for the first quarter report card.
After school, the chela walked into the mentors' dining room with his report card, unopened, in his hand. Without a word, he dropped the envelope on the dinner table and went straight to his room. His mentors were petrified. What lay inside the envelope? Success? Failure? DOOM?!?
Patiently, cautiously one mentor opened the letter, and to her amazement, she saw a bright red "A" under the subject, MATH. Overjoyed, she and her fellow theosophist rushed into their student's room, thrilled at his remarkable progress!
"Was it the nuns that did it?", one asked. The boy only shook his head and said, "No."
"Was it the one-on-one tutoring? The peer-mentoring?", asked the other. Again, the boy shrugged, "No."
"The textbooks? The teacher? The curriculum?", asked the first one.
"Nope," said the chela. "It was all very clear to me from the very first day of Catholic school."
"How so?", asked the second one.
"When I walked into the lobby, and I saw that guy they'd nailed to the plus sign, I knew they meant business!"
By E. J. Fleming
[Based on a March 8, 1997 posting to firstname.lastname@example.org]
Peter Gold has written a beautiful and scholarly book called "Navajo & Tibetan Sacred Wisdom: The Circle of the Spirit."
Gold was fascinated with the idea of comparing two cultures that live at the opposite ends of the earth while sharing my similar insights. Both societies live on the world's highest inhabited plateaus and share deeply spiritual ways of life filled with wisdom, rituals, and art that produce observable results in the lives of the people.
Tibetan and Navajo life is a process of constant re-balancing and perfecting of one's actions expressions, and thoughts into an ideal state as befits each culture's ultimate role models ... Both groups see the process of living as a spiritual journey, an individual and communal effort to develop each person into the best version of him or herself, in the company of like-minded people dedicated to the integration of matter and spirit.
Gold observes that both cultures lack our word "religion," which literally means to bind back, to link back. In the Tibetan and Navajo cultures, spirituality is a way of life, and there is no sense of linking back to anything. This sense of full and present participation in a spiritual way of living contrasts sharply with Western culture where religion is often seen as a counter-force to everyday life, where being spiritual means being different and having to swim against the current.
Both the Tibetans and the Navajos perceive life as a journey toward the unity of matter and spirit, real and ideal. The Tibetans use two words to express this ideal state of being: "tashi," a harmonious relationship with the universe, and "sangye se," Buddha nature or enlightenment. The Navajos, on the other hand, use the word "hozho" or "beauty" to describe an "empowered state of the deities, immune from physical and mental suffering."
We too have terms for this most essential goal of living. The mystics call this state of mind illumination, and its state of being, holiness. The etymology of our word 'holiness,' which derives from the same old Anglo-Saxon root as do 'heal' and 'whole,' also reveals the universality operating at the heart of the Navajo and Tibetan spiritual paths. In their perennial philosophies, matter and spirit, body and mind, self and cosmos, I and thou are inseparable. As such, to attend to one means to involve the other.
Gold's thesis is that there are four universal principles underlying spiritual paths around the world and that these principles are plainly evident in the vital spiritual traditions of the Tibetan and the Navajos. Gold calls these four principles the Circle of the Spirit. Here are the four underlying principles:
1) "Awakening and Connecting to the Nature of Things"
This awakening refers to the first awareness of the unity of all things, of the one creative life force that flows through all living things.
2) "Balancing and Unifying Earth with Sky"
Earth and sky are used symbolically to represent the universal, polar energies of mother and father, female and male, matter and spirit, time and eternity.
Tibetan and Navajo spiritual teachings place major emphasis on the unity of the two, with the spiritual path wending its way in between.
3) "Centering in the Mandala of Self and Cosmos"
This principle involves balancing and unifying earth and sky--the paradoxical and seemingly conflicting forces of our beings--by centering in the mandala of self and cosmos. Both the Navajos and the Tibetans create mandalas that symbolically reveal how to balance and unify the imperfect outer world and a sacred and ideal inner world.
4) "Becoming: Sacred Rites of Transformation"
Gold observes that understanding these principles will never create a vital spiritual experience or a transforming way of life. Something more is needed to bring an individual
onto a specific daily spiritual path, one formulated to bolster the body/mind's inner strengths and defeat its self-destructive weaknesses.
Both the Tibetans and the Navajos have developed vast traditions of knowledge and sacred rites of transformation. Gold writes,
But most of their spiritual lineages, called 'haatal,' or 'chantway,' by the Navajo and 'gyud' or 'tantra' by the Tibetans, are geared to orchestrating a transformative spiritual journey into the ideal world with a return into the maelstrom of the real world as an empowered (healed, whole, and holy) person.
Gold refers to these four principles as the Circle of the Spirit for the following reason. Both cultures depict concentric circles, a small, inner circle connected to an outer, larger one by means of four lines, creating four quadrants. Gold writes,
The smaller circle is the microcosm, the finite body/mind or self, yet it is also the source of all awareness and life. The larger circle is the macrocosm, the infinite body/mind of the universe and, simultaneously, the fully expanded individual on the spiritual path.
What then are the results of this spiritual path in the lives of the Tibetans and the Navajos? What benefits would entice us to step onto the path of spiritual transformation? Gold offers the following quotes from objective observers:
The anthropologist Gary Witherspoon observed of the Navajo that which is also true of the Tibetan:
If a Navajo is to be truly healthy and happy, beauty must dominate his thought and speech, and harmony must permeate his environment. Beauty flows from the mind or inner form of a person. Navajos have radiant personalities and the beauty they have within themselves seems to radiate from the inner core of their being. This can be readily seen in firsthand observation or even in photographs.
Consider the following comment by Thubten Jigme Norbu (Tagtser Rinpoche):
I think of Tibet as a beautiful country, and so it is, but the greatest beauty to me is that the people live a life dedicated to religion. You know it when you meet them, without being told. There is a warmth that touches you, a power that fills you with new strength, a peace that is gentle. I remember such people, and I feel sad that now it is so seldom one meets their like.
I will bring this lengthy book report to a close with three quotes.
If we want to help the world we have to make a personal journey. It is up to each of us individually to find the meaning of enlightened society and how it can be realized.
-- Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
There is no alternative [to ultimate happiness] other than the spiritual way. We must make a strong determination to practice.
-- The XIV Dalai Lama
The following is a Navajo prayer used at the end of many ceremonies and tribal council gatherings:
In beauty may we dwell. In beauty may we walk. In beauty may our male kindred dwell. In beauty may our female kindred dwell. In beauty may it rain on our young men. In beauty may it rain on our young women. In beauty may it rain on our chiefs. In beauty may it rain on us. In beauty may our corn grow. In the trail of pollen may it rain. In beauty all around us may it rain. In beauty may we walk. The beauty is restored. The beauty is restored. The beauty is restored. The beauty is restored.
[News announcement reprinted from May 11, 1997 email@example.com]
At the Annual General Meeting of the TS in Iceland, held on may 10 1997, Mr. Einar Adalsteinsson stepped down as National President (General Secretary) after eight years in office, and in his place Mr. Jon Arnalds was elected as the National President.
Besides Mr. Arnalds the new national board consists of four members: Johann Sigurbergsson, Karl Sigurdsson, Gisli Jonsson and Einar Adalsteinsson
Mr. Arnalds was National President for two years in 1987 to '89, and has been a board member for more than a decade. He is a former professor at the University of Iceland and former Judge at the Reykjavik City Court. He now runs a private attorney business of his own.
Mr. Arnalds has been an active member of the TS in Iceland for many years, and has delivered talks and conducted discussion and study groups on a regular basis.
I look forward to working with the new National President in the theosophical work ahead and wish him good luck in his new position.
There are new files at the "Jack of the Box Library".
http://www.topaz.kiev.ua/users/kirill ftp://www.topaz.kiev.ua/pub/doc/jack_lib http://126.96.36.199/~alex/lib/ ftp://188.8.131.52/pub/mirror/lib/
All files here are in Russian, expect those which are especially marked. On FIDONET they are passed through file-echo XDOCASTRO.
By Sarah Belle Dougherty
The Theosophical University Press Online site at
has recently added the full text of FOUNTAIN-SOURCE OF OCCULTISM by G. de Purucker to its electronic publications.
Subtitled "A modern presentation of the ancient universal wisdom based on THE SECRET DOCTRINE by H. P. Blavatsky," this book derives from twelve booklets of instruction compiled under Purucker's supervision from stenographic reports of esoteric meetings held by him from 1929 to 1933, combined with much original material he added.
It covers such subjects as the spiritual path and chelaship, space, maya, cosmic evolution, hierarchies and emanation, invisible worlds, gods, monads and atoms, correlations of cosmic and human constitutions, the hierarchy of compassion, and death and the circulations of the cosmos.
In the course of this large book -- 700 pages in print version -- Purucker gives a coherent picture of the inner workings and development of the universe and of the individual human being, who is presented as an integral part of the cosmos. The author also defines and explains many theosophical and non-English philosophical and religious term.
Throughout, the book stresses compassion and spiritual growth through self-forgetfulness. FOUNTAIN-SOURCE OF OCCULTISM was edited by Grace F. Knoche.
Two small works were added to the Theosophical University Press Online site (www.theosociety.org/pasadena) at the end of April.
GEMS FROM THE EAST is a birthday book compiled from sayings -- mostly oriental -- selected by Blavatsky. The distinctive line illustrations of the print version are unfortunately not available online, but the sayings for each month and day are given in full.
The second book is THE YOGA APHORISMS OF PATANJALI, interpreted by W. Q. Judge, first published in 1889.
Judge said of his edition:
Instead of this being a translation, it is offered as an interpretation, as the thought of Patanjali clothed in our language. No liberties have been taken with the system of the great Sage, but the endeavor has been faithfully to interpret it to Western minds unfamiliar with the Hindu modes of expression, and equally unaccustomed to their philosophy and logic.
It includes an introduction giving background on Patanjali and his ideas.
Theosophical University Press has also added the full text of Charles J. Ryan's H.P. BLAVATSKY AND THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT to its web site. This well-researched portrayal of Blavatsky's life and work was written in 1937 and revised in 1975. The book also covers the years following her death and looks briefly at the efforts of theosophists to carry on the movement in the twentieth century. This second and revised edition includes the author's emendations, a chronology of major events in HPB's life, a useful bibliography, and several illustrations.
By M.K. Ramadoss
[based upon a May 12, 1997 posting to firstname.lastname@example.org]
In looking at how the Theosophical Society can be of practical value in the world, I believe there are a couple of points that need to be considered.
The needs of the members who join and continue in TS vary considerably.
When the Theosophical Society was started, while much of the philosophy was being written up, we see that not much emphasis was placed on such practices as meditation, concentration etc. On the other hand we see both H.P. Blavatsky and H.S. Olcott getting involved in some practical social issues which affect men and women. The first Sanskrit schools in Madras and also the school for Panchama (depressed classes) School was started. In addition, work was done in reviving Buddhism.
Though the Esoteric School of Theosophy was later started due to requests from selected individuals for practical instructions for self-improvement, and interest grew up later, during the time of Annie Besant, she was intensely involved in the various movements in India which affected the masses. They are Indian Independence, national system of schools, and various other endeavors.
Even during later years, Rukmini Devi Arundale was actively involved in animal welfare in India.
If we look at the Theosophical Society, the members have to be self-starters so that they can embark on a plan which is practical application of the three objects of T.S.
The elitist and ivory tower attitude generally comes from certain inferiority complex in the minds of some who may be thinking that they have evolved further than the rest.
What I have seen is that some of the very experienced members who are humble and realize that whatever they may know is so insignificant compared to those who have first hand knowledge, do act in a non elitist/ivory manner.
Also some times when anyone gets elected or appointed to an organizational position, that gets to their head and you may see some demonstration of the elitist attitude -- which is just normal human reaction, because everyone wants to feel important and associated with something important or big.
Generally what I find is that anyone who is service oriented will find the Theosophical Society's environment a comfortable one in spite of all the short comings. After all, as the Real Founders wanted to help Humanity and all the rest were secondary.
If someone is interested practical instructions in such practical matters as astral projection, astral, mental, etc travel etc. etc. they may have to look elsewhere for instruction.
I just visited with the Maha-Chohan letter which is considered by every TS leader from HPB onwards was the most important letter ever received from the Adept Teachers as it is a communication from the Maha-Chohan ("to whose insight the future lies like an open page -- K.H.)
It was a response to the two Englishmen -- AO Hume and AP Sinnett who did not clearly understand the goal of Theosophical Society. The Adepts told them that the true significance of Their attempt to influence the world through TS was to mold the world towards a larger and truer sense of Brotherhood than the religions had so far accomplished. (Jinarajadasa's comment in Letters from the MW - I Series).
The letter goes on to say:
Colonel HSO, who works but to revive Buddhism, may be regarded as one who labors in the true path of theosophy, far more than any other man who chooses as his goal the gratification of his own ardent aspirations for occult knowledge.
It is not the individual and determined purpose of attaining oneself Nirvana (the culmination of all knowledge and absolute wisdom) which is after all only an exalted and glorious SELFISHNESS -- but the self-sacrificing pursuit of the best means to lead on the right path our neighbor, to cause as many of our fellow-creatures as we possibly can to benefit by it, which constitutes the true Theosophist.
Rather perish the TS with both its hapless founders than that we should permit it to become no better than an academy of magic, a hall of occultism.
And it is we, the humble disciples of these perfect Lamas, who are expected to allow the TS to drop its noble title, that of Brotherhood of Humanity, to become a simple school of psychology. No, no, good brothers, you have been laboring under the mistake too long already.
From a reading of the above, it is very clear if some one joins the TS with the expectation of PRACTICAL lessons on topics such as concentration, meditation, and other psychic and psychological exercises, I am sure there will be a great disappointment.
I also personally believe that greater interest and activity by individual members in practical application of Brotherhood in any way we can, is but sure to make us very sensitive and perceptive as we go along so that we will be able to detect great opportunities for service and also potential opportunities to help the needy and down-trodden.
By Geoffrey A. Farthing
[from the May, 1997 HIGH COUNTRY THEOSOPHIST]
Towards the end of the 19th century, even though their colleagues in the 'Brotherhood' did not feel that the time was opportune, i.e. that humanity generally had not progressed spiritually enough even though a few may have done so, two Masters of the Wisdom were allowed to make the attempt to make available to mankind in general some of their occult knowledge concerning the nature of existence and man's being. Up till then this had been kept secret.
The Theosophical Society, founded in New York in 1875, was formed originally as an association of people interested in spiritualism and psychic phenomena. Its early objects reflected this but they were soon to become, after a few changes, as they are now, with an emphasis on brotherhood.
The Headquarters of the Society was removed to Bombay in 1880 and then to Adyar in 1883. Although the Masters were emphatic that the Society was not to be a school of Occultism or Magic and that their sole purpose was to benefit mankind at large, they nevertheless in various ways let it be known not only that they were possessed of occult knowledge and power but that they were able and willing to make some of it available to suitable candidates.
This was to be done principally in the writings of H.P. Blavatsky, but some information was given directly by the two Masters concerned in their letters to A.P. Sinnett.
Some of this knowledge was distinct from that contained in any extant literature at the time, with the exception of some older and/or obscure 'occult' writings. These were mostly unintelligible without the necessary 'keys'.
It was claimed, however, that the knowledge contained in the new outpouring was the source and origin of all philosophical and religious knowledge, in its pure form. The old scriptures and philosophical writings had been 'contaminated' by human interpretation, additions and alterations. They had to a large extent departed from the pure original and had distorted their meanings.
The first major attempt at elucidation of this ancient knowledge was the writing of ISIS UNVEILED by HPB published in 1877, a work of enormous erudition in which 1,330 other works. some of great rarity and antiquity were quoted from. It is known that several Masters had a hand in it, providing HPB with much of the information it contains.
This Ancient Wisdom was later more fully and specifically described in THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT, from which he wrote two books: THE OCCULT WORLD and later ESOTERIC BUDDHISM.
This latter, although by no means complete or wholly accurate, is important as being the first systematic formulation, in outline, of what was later to become known as Theosophy. The books were published in 1884 and 1885. From 1875 onwards HPB's almost continuous output of articles and letters contained aspects of the teachings. These writings are now collected together and edited in fourteen volumes of Collected Writings.
HPB was with the Theosophical Society in India for about two years during which time her phenomena and contacts with the Masters were amply demonstrated. A number of people, however, even at Headquarters did not accept these manifestations as genuine. Furthermore, the phenomena were completely beyond the credence of the local church missionaries.
Some letters purporting to come from HPB addressed to members of the staff at Adyar clearly gave the impression that HPB's phenomena were based on deception. After a lengthy enquiry by an investigator from the Society for Psychical Research who relied much on adverse witnesses and a hand-writing expert he declared HPB to be a fraud.
This was in a document adopted by the SPR which later became known as the Hodgson Report. It has been repudiated since by a number of investigators, latterly even by the SPR. One tragic outcome of the report was that HPB, who in any case at the time was in poor health, was advised to leave Adyar.
After leaving India HPB traveled to England via Germany and Belgium. During this time she was occupied as and when health and other circumstances permitted, in writing THE SECRET DOCTRINE which was published in 1888 in London.
This was her most important theosophical work. It is an exposition of all of the Ancient Wisdom that the Masters were then prepared to make public. It is an enormous work in which 1,100 other works are referred to and in which ancient (and modern) religions and philosophies are explained and form a background to an immense system of knowledge of the whole universal scene and man in it.
HPB was miraculously kept alive by her Master on two or three occasions of dire illness, to complete the work which was followed two years later by THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY.
On a number of occasions it was stressed that HPB was the Masters' sole agent. With her departure from Adyar their influence there ceased. One consequence of this was that most of their Chelas 'disappeared' (including Damodar who never returned to the Society from Tibet).
We also have her positive statement that, should she for any reason cease to act as the Masters' agent, there would be no more contact with them (see M.L.136, 2nd and 3rd editions).
All this seems to have been forgotten or ignored later. A number of people both within the Society and without, e.g. Alice Bailey, later claimed to have contact with the Masters and to have received communications from them.
These communications, some of them very copious and impressive, were, however, received psychically or 'channeled': very importantly they were all uncorroborated.
Communications through psychic mediums was not the method used by the Masters. These facts, the nature of the message and the special position of HPB, are of prime importance in the consideration of what followed in the early 20th century, of the present state of the Society and its successful launch into the 21st century.
In the latter years of HPB's life a significant event was that Annie Besant was welcomed with open arms into the Theosophical Society by HPB who saw in her an exceptional and able helper. She was later admitted to HPB's Inner Group of twelve.
A reference to Annie Besant in THE MAHATMA LETTERS indicates that she was known to the Masters; however, there is no reference to her ever becoming a chela, although she did receive in 1900 what seems to be an authentic letter from the Masters. There is no other evidence, apart from her own inferences, that she had any contact with them.
Had Annie Besant been a chela her 'magnetization' by Chakravati, ostensibly to 'align her principles', described in an eye witness statement (1895) by Dr Archibald Keightly, would have severed any relations she may have had with her Master.
After HPB's death Annie Besant let it be inferred, in assuming the "Outer Headship" of the E.S., that she was in touch with the Masters.
She also introduced Co-Masonry into England and associated it with the Theosophical Society, which, however, had been founded quite independently of any other organization. All international Presidents since have, however, held high office as Co-Masons.
HPB expressly stated that 'we do not meddle in politics ...' yet Annie Besant's prime interest in India was political.
This is not in any way to say that she did not do an immense amount of good in establishing schools and colleges and altering social practices, but these activities are not specifically theosophical.
Politics aims to change systems for the benefit of people; Theosophy aims to change people themselves for the long-term benefit of humanity itself.
It is undeniable that in the early years of her membership of the Society,' Annie Besant was a powerful voice in the cause of Theosophy and its dissemination. This seems to have been foreseen by HPB
However, from the time of her 'magnetization' by Chakravati, it appears that, possibly still under his influence, she to a large extent espoused Hinduism. This is evident in her later writings to such a point that a major reference to Theosophy in the Encyclopedia Britannica is under the heading of Hinduism.
Apart from Chakravati there is not much doubt that Annie Besant was later also much influenced by C.W. Leadbeater. He obviously prevailed upon her in the matter of the Liberal Catholic Church and in the Krishnamurti incident.
CWL joined the Society in 1883. He did not, unlike Annie Besant receive a welcome from HPB, nor was he admitted to her Inner Group.
He was given some instruction by a regular chela at Adyar for a period and developed his clairvoyance but there is no reference that this relationship continued.
He did receive a reply to his early communication with the Masters but there is no corroborative evidence that he ever had any more contact with them after these introductory letters.
It also came to light that his veracity is much in question: his statements, for example, about his age, his family in South America, and his implying that he had been to Oxford as an undergraduate were discovered later to be false.
In the light of what the Master K.H. said about God, religion and the priestly caste in Mahatma Letter X, had Leadbeater been a chela he could never have allied himself with the Liberal Catholic Church and certainly he could never have allowed himself to be made a Bishop and thereafter always dress as such. The Masters had said "Our chief aim is to deliver humanity of this nightmare ... etc. " (A personal God of Theology) (M.L.X, 2nd and 3rd editions).
This is important in the light of CWL's later claims of an intimate and continued relationship with not only one but a number of Masters, even up to the highest in the Hierarchy from whom he claimed periodically to have received instruction in such matters as the upbringing of Krishnamurti.
In the light of some of these supposed contacts e.g. Comte St Germain, Jesus, etc. the association of the Liberal Catholic Church with the Society was justified.
However, both the Church and the CoMasons were representative of past dispensations. They both had their roots in ceremonial magic, the practice of which HPB did not endorse on account of the possible dangers involved. In a letter which Damodar wrote to Sinnett, Masonry and Rosicrucianism were specifically forbidden (M.L. Old Edition No. 142A, Chronological No. 14A).
During the founding of the Society it had been proposed that the Society might become Masonic. This was specifically decided against. Other behavior of the then leaders is also questionable.
In view of HPB's sundry comments about Masonry (into which she was admitted on account of her knowledge of it, but never formally 'initiated'), having lost its secrets, how came it that the Leaders of the Society not only espoused Co-Masonry but the Egyptian Rite which CWL together with a colleague in Australia had devised and which is still widely practiced by some members in the E.S.?
Krishnamurti was 'discovered' by CWL in 1909. After many difficulties, including law suits, he and his brother were brought up by the Society.
He was hailed as the future mouthpiece of the Lord Maitreya He was even seen as a second coming of the Lord. He was unusually gifted but it was CWL's 'insights' that initially established him in his role. The Lord Maitreya himself is supposed to have instructed CWL in his upbringing and training. He was brought up and groomed in the fashion of an English gentleman, a far cry from a Hindu 'Avatar'.
Those who had his upbringing and education in hand, notably CWL and Dick Balfour-Clark, were very much second generation theosophists. Krishnaji therefore probably never knew anything of the HPB/Masters teachings.
It is also very doubtful whether Krishnaji himself ever had a first-hand 'Master' experience although he did describe once having seen three Masters in a vision. Had he had a real experience, however, he could neither have forgotten it nor thereafter have doubted their existence and later have repudiated them.
Furthermore, as Krishnaji's teachings of freedom, self-reliance, non-dependence on authority and institutions and so on, are all virtually in proper accord with the 'Master' Theosophy, there would not have been any reason for him to repudiate it, nor his connection with the Society.
His loss was that he never became acquainted with the sea of theosophical knowledge which would to a large extent not only have justified his views but provided him with relevant data for use in his teaching, e.g. the difference between the personality and the individuality, the essential idea of Unity, and had he been interested, the proper nature of the Self, the total cosmic structure and processes.
His 'launching' was a reversion again, as in the case of the Liberal Catholic Church and the Co-Masons, to the traditional old dispensation of an authoritarian regime.
The second coming of the Christ was at that time (1920's) being regarded as imminent whereas, according to the Masters and theosophical teaching, such a 'second coming', i.e. the advent of an Avatar, was not expected for millennia. In any case the severance of the Society from the Masters made such a 'coming' into it extraordinarily unlikely.
The arrogance of those who professed to be able to elect Krishnaji's twelve disciples was an example of the distorted view of themselves that those leaders had. Surely an 'Avatar' would have been quite capable of electing his own disciples.
In any case in the nature of Karma his upbringing and earthly surroundings would have all been in proper accord without the interference of CWL. Many things are puzzling about Krishnaji's upbringing: one was that from reports kitchen staff at Adyar were changed because they were of the wrong caste. In a Society which specifically allows no such distinctions this is hard to understand.
The recognition of Krishnaji's spiritual development from a clairvoyant examination of his aura when he was so young undoubtedly demonstrated CWL's possession of that faculty but this does not corroborate his claim to have received messages from the 'King of the World'.
The 'finding' of Krishnaji, his upbringing and then adoption as a vehicle for the Lord-Maitreya was virtually the culmination of the 'split' from Master Theosophy.
Krishnaji's repudiation of this position was a serious blow to Annie Besant who obviously believed absolutely sincerely in her announcement of the New Coming. CWL's reaction to this repudiation seems to have been more limited and far less painful than Annie Besant's although he suffered a loss of stature that he would otherwise have had as the finder, sponsor and educator of this new divine vehicle.
After Krishnaji's withdrawal from the Society, Annie Besant also suffered a gradual diminution in stature and thereafter her health failed progressively.
SECOND GENERATION THEOSOPHY
The fact that neither Annie Besant nor CWL, after maybe one or two initial incidents, was actually in touch with any Master although they may have genuinely believed they were has serious implications when considering what they said and did when they assumed positions of authority.
The whole tenor of the Society thereafter was one of make-believe! It became a pantomime, largely devised and orchestrated by CWL: a fairy story, but with a thread of truth running through it.
Except for passing references to HPB as 'our revered teacher', her literature as such was seldom referred to or studied. There was, however, a flood of literature purporting to be 'theosophical' from both Annie Besant and CWL, and later from others.
CWL's writings were largely colored by his own real or imaginary clairvoyant insights and his interpretations of them.
It is noteworthy here that, in the HPB/ Masters literature there is very little reference to, and no diagrams of, the Chakras so much featured by later writers. What little there is is in the papers to the Inner Group (incorporated by Annie Besant into her Vol III of the S.D. )
Whereas the Annie Besant and CWL literature can be criticized from a purely theosophical point of view, much of what Annie Besant wrote was significant spiritual instruction. It was, however, of the conventional, classical religious type, derived largely from the Indian scriptures but with a Christian and a 'theosophical' flavor.
She had reviewed THE SECRET DOCTRINE at the time of its publication; this must have made a lasting impression on her but apart from acknowledging her debt to HPB, she seldom, if ever, specifically referred back to its teaching, or to that in THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY.
CWL seems never to have read either of these books. He puts himself in a very false position as an 'occult' author in the Introduction to his book THE ASTRAL PLANE where he says that his manuscript was considered so excellent as an exposition that the Masters wanted it for their archives.
It is difficult to see why this should be; much of the information given us in the book is at variance with their teaching and furthermore it is not clear, for example, which 'astral' plane he is describing, the HPB or the A.B./ CWL one, the former being the 2nd plane of Nature and the latter being the 4th.
There is also no mention of the 'etheric double' in the HPB/Masters classification of the human principles. It is to this double that CWL ascribes many of the qualities that HPB attributes to her astral body.
The changes of numbering of the principles where Kama (emotion, desire) was put 2nd instead of 4th is important. An aid to the understanding of THE SECRET DOCTRINE is analogy and correspondences.
In the Masters' literature Kama as the 4th principle is emphasized in the evolutionary stages of development in the 4th Round, the 4th Race, the 4th Substance, not the 2nd.
One example of the extent to which the members of the Theosophical Society, from senior members to the newest, were 'infected' by CWL is exemplified by Jinarajadasa's acceptance of the fact that CWL's Astral Plane manuscript had in fact been transmitted magically to the Masters.
Obviously also Jinarajadasa's statement that he, in common with others, had had several initiations about which he knew nothing except what CWL told him, again raises the question of CWL's veracity.
As the years progressed the divergence between the HPB/Masters teachings and the second generation Theosophy widened; even basic information was changed, e.g. the introduction of the 'etheric double' (with four 'etheric' states of physical matter), the alterations to the classification of principles and planes, and the CWL account of the after-death states which is quite different from that of the Masters, etc.
The divergence of the two systems became clearly apparent with the publication of the Mahatma Letters in 1924/5. It was unfortunate that, for a number of reasons, their publication had been delayed till then.
Apart from 'occult' material in them, these letters set a background of specific purpose to the founding of the Society. This was closely related to the Masters being regarded as one tier of membership in the Society, with their accepted Chelas as a second and the ordinary members a third.
To begin with this was the case but it obviously ceased to be so on HPB's death (if not before). An attempt to reintroduce it by edict later was obviously spurious.
The Letters also describe in some detail the conditions that were essential for a relationship between the Masters and their Chelas. These conditions were very stringent, particularly aregarding honesty and straightforwardness.
In the period after HPB's death and with the withdrawal of the Masters once again into obscurity, instead of direct guidance from or association with the Master, even if it were visiting him in the Astral, the practice grew up of this being done indirectly.
For example, people were taken to the Masters in their astral bodies for initiations etc., but about which next day they knew nothing apart from what they were told. In one or two places the Masters do say that this can happen in the matter of training but not by proxy. Further, initiations are matters of enhancement of waking consciousness and this can occur only when certain conditions created necessarily by the pupil, not someone on his behalf, have been met.
Regardless of the state of the Society, thanks to the Masters' insistence and help, and the sacrifices of HPB, the world and particularly the Society have a voluminous and authentic Initiate-Master-inspired literature.
The Society itself is now a world-wide organization of an idealistic and benevolent nature, inspired by the idea of universal brotherhood, but the second and third objects are interpreted very loosely and widely to include anything from UFO's to what is generally extra- ordinary and sensational.
All this, however, against a background of what might be termed 'religion' or spirituality, mostly by way of, for example, the Eastern exoteric scriptures and various ideas on Theosophy, methods of yoga and meditation. There is also in some places a strong adherence to the Liberal Catholic Church and Co-Masonry as if they were indeed part of the theosophical movement.
In some places, notably Africa, the Theosophical Society is identified with the Theosophical Order of Service. Charity is impressed on every member through the brotherhood idea; there are however hundreds of charitable organizations to work for and there can be nothing special about the 'theosophical' one to warrant its association with the Society.
Similarly the Round Table is an admirable organization but again nothing in it is specifically theosophical.
Theosophical Science groups while keeping interested members informed of current scientific matters have seldom if ever related science to anything specifically associated therewith in the classical theosophical literature. Because some scientific members have found faults and inconsistencies in 'scientific' statements in the literature they have abandoned the whole grand theosophical system, demonstrating at least a lack of a sense of proportion.
Where older Lodges have survived, and in Section central libraries, books on Theosophy on display or listed in catalogues, are mostly those of the second generation writers. Their contents on the whole are taken to be Theosophy without question.
A few individuals try to correct this situation but their influence generally is very small. Only a scattered and desultory interest is paid to the classical 'theosophical literature of the HPB/ Masters era. The idea is widespread that the jealously guarded freedom of thought of members can mean that anyone's views or opinions about 'theosophy' can be put out as such.
This was certainly the case in the early days of the 20th century. It was almost vehemently stressed then that there was no such thing as a definite 'theosophical' system of thought, knowledge or teaching. The great fear was of 'dogmatism'.
This word, however, was, and still is in places, wrongly applied. A dogma means an obligatory belief and no such thing is imposed on Theosophical Society members. This does not mean that there are not authoritative statements of fact such as those given us by the Masters, who claim to know what they speak or write about, i.e. they are not speculating, voicing opinions or advancing theories.
All beliefs concerning Theosophy and the Theosophical Society ought seriously to be questioned against what can easily be discovered of the original teachings and intentions for the Society. A serious perusal of THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY will do this.
What is said above about 'make-believe' in the Society also applies to the E.S. The implied connection of it with the Masters through the Outer Head is an example. There is in fact no such connection.
Furthermore, the implication by secrecy, or even privacy, that it possesses some esoteric knowledge which it can impart to members is also 'make-believe'. It makes an appeal to would-be aspirants to chelaship and imposes some preliminary disciplines but omits the necessity for hard work in studying and assimilating the eternal verities of Theosophy as given by the Masters.
First the Adyar Society must take an honest look, fearlessly, at the present position against the background outlined above.
Loyalties to past leaders, to their personal influence and their teachings, must become secondary issues. This means an acknowledgment that all that happened to the Society as a result of C.W. Leadbeater's influence on it, directly or indirectly, his influence on Annie Besant and his enduring influence by way of his writings, is suspect. It must be recognized that these writings are 'theosophically' defective and misleading.
Annie Besant's influence, by reason of her long term as President, must also be very objectively assessed. Whatever her personal integrity she was obviously misled and mistaken, witness the Krishnamurti fiasco, her espousal of Co-Masonry as part of the Theosophical Society and her handling of the Judge 'case' with its disastrous results.
For most members a change of mind or basic beliefs will at best be painful and at worst difficult if not impossible. This means that only a section of the existing membership can, in the first instance at any rate, be expected to make any radical change, and this section will necessarily include E.S. members who will obviously have their loyalties but they will also presumably have acquired some self-reliance and have learned to think independently.
Some members already have or will have difficulty with the question of their membership of the Liberal Catholic Church and CoMasonry in the light of their longstanding association with the Society. Many of these institutions have in fact been regarded as 'theosophical', even theosophy itself.
However, it is necessary that the Society should formally declare that henceforth neither of them is really any part of, or has any special association with, the Theosophical Society.
This does not mean that members are not free to join the Liberal Catholic or any other Church, or become Masons or members of any other institution they wish, provided that they are not inimical or antithetical to Theosophy, and still be members of the Society.
The Society has its own special message to promulgate. This message only exists in the writings of HPB and in the Mahatma Letters. This message in its completeness (as far as it was given out) is unique.
The future direction of the Society must therefore include:
1) The eradication of the 'make-believe' Leadbeater influence - in all departments including literature, and severance from the Society of all other organizations, i.e. the Liberal Catholic Church and Co-Masonry.
2) A thorough examination of all literature purporting to be 'theosophical', and a brave declaration, and no further promotion, of any which is not wholly consonant with the original teachings. This is no proscription but all books purporting to be theosophical which strictly are not should be clearly labeled or marked that they are the author's views on the subject and not necessarily authentic. Members are, of course, free to read what they like but they can be warned, if not guided. The section in any Theosophical Society library purporting to be theosophical literature should be segregated from other material offered, be clearly marked and the books given prominence on book lists, catalogues, etc.
3) The retention and promotion of the three objects of the Society plus an active promotion of Theosophy as given by the Masters
4) At all Theosophical Society Centers, Headquarters, etc., there should be someone qualified to discuss Theosophy, say what it is, and recommend books to enquirers. This service should as far as possible be available at all times or a notice displayed as to where it can be obtained.
5) Commercialism in any form, i.e. book selling or publication as such, without specific reference to the promotion of a knowledge of Theosophy, is not part of the legitimate activities of the Society. 'Fringe' literature can be obtained in ordinary bookshops or from other organizations, e.g. the Arcane School, the Anthroposophical Society, etc. This recommendation is made with our second object specifically in mind. Study of comparative religion is encouraged by the Society but it does not have to publish or supply the books.
6) Professionalism in the society should be examined. Whereas 'goods and services' must obviously be paid for, Theosophy as such cannot be sold. Should exponents be paid? If so, to what extent?
7) Serious study of the 'prime' literature, whatever else is done in Lodges, at Centers, etc., should be encouraged and all facilities provided. Facilities should be provided for meditation -- quiet and solitude if possible. Meditation should, however, be 'theosophical', i.e. classical (Patanjali), HPB Diagram, or just silence, not according to local gurus and amateurs with 'special' methods, and NEVER for money.
8) The Society will obviously need a group of students dedicated to the study of the literature and to the dissemination of what they discover both in the writings, and in themselves, as they progress. This can be supplied by some of the existing members of the E.S. At present there are no 'esoteric' leaders or teachers in the Society; it will therefore in this respect have to 'lift itself up by its own boot-laces' as the expression has it.
There is no justification for secrecy within the E.S. or the Society but on occasion private members meetings could be efficacious for discussion, exchange of information, mutual encouragement, etc. There is obviously now no corporate connection with the Masters so that that 'make-believe' can be dispensed with. The E.S. study should be confined to the Master or HPB writings. The Society has no other Initiate-inspired literature.
Where the E.S. members feel they need inspirational literature apart from books like THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, LIGHT ON THE PATH and some of the classical mystical works like THE BHAGAVAD GITA, as this is a personal matter they should be free to discover their own. Discrimination as to what is consonant with theosophical teachings will grow. Let students beware of self-styled teachers and of themselves posing as such. They will know when they really are qualified -- they will have been 'authorized'. Let none pretend.
9) The Society's relation to 'computerization', the Internet, etc., needs serious examination and Sections given guidelines.
HPB used the words Occultism, Esotericism, Esoteric Science, etc., as synonymous with Theosophy. In THE SECRET DOCTRINE she states several times that some of the teaching given there had never been made public before. These statements indicate that the teachings included more material than was contained in any published religious or philosophic literature.
This distinction has been almost entirely overlooked. The great Hindu scriptures have been taken virtually to be Theosophy. Initiated Brahmins know this is not the case but they keep their esoteric knowledge to themselves.
This was the position when HPB made some of that knowledge public: it was much resented even -by Subba Rao whose Master incidentally was the same as HPB's. All extant scriptures are exoteric even though in their mystical content they reflect much of what is in Theosophy.
Such treatises as THE BHAGAVAD GITA, the Puranas, many Sufi writings and other world acknowledged scriptural writings are beautiful and inspiring, potentially capable of leading aspirants on to the highest experiences.
Neither they nor Hinduism nor Buddhism, in their published form, are 'esoteric', nor of course is the now published THE SECRET DOCTRINE except that its prolonged study changes our modes of thinking and understanding, giving us insights we could otherwise not get.
What do the theosophical writings include that others do not? While the differences might appear superficial in themselves, in their totality they are not.
For example, the Hindu system is fivefold, as far as the human principles and the skandhas are concerned, whereas the theosophical system is sevenfold. The planes of Nature are sevenfold, with each having a corresponding level of consciousness.
In Theosophy Karma is a comprehensive Law applying universally, not just to human beings by way of reward or retribution. Theosophy contains the vast evolutionary scheme by Chains, Globes, Rounds and Races which process by analogy applies to all manifest things, e.g. all those 'things' comprising the kingdoms of Nature. Incidentally, properly there are no 'things'; every 'thing' is a life.
Some 'esoteric' systems of the past, notably the original Kabala, had reflections, in some instances almost exact, of the theosophical scheme, but they were neither so comprehensive nor so explicit. In THE SECRET DOCTRINE for example, HPB relates much of the theosophical teaching to the principal world religions and explains much of their symbolism and practices.
Some of this is also dealt with in ISIS UNVEILED wherein the student can find exciting insights and many explanations of even obscure ancient writings. It is a mine of information leading up to the comprehensive and relatively systematized exposition in THE SECRET DOCTRINE of as much of the Ancient Wisdom as could be published then.
All this knowledge was in addition to that of the 'mystical' information and teachings in exoteric literature. The outpouring of information and teaching given in THE SECRET DOCTRINE pushed forward the boundaries of knowledge several steps beyond what was then otherwise available to the layman.
To a very large extent this has been ignored by the world and much more sadly even by the majority of members of the Theosophical Society, who according to THE KEY have the special responsibility "of letting it be known that such a thing as Theosophy exists". They cannot possibly do that if they themselves do not know what it is.
The Maha Chohan uses the expression "to popularize a knowledge of Theosophy". Where this has been heeded at all it has been taken to mean the rendering of the vast and erudite teachings of Theosophy into a form suitable for assimilation by the general populace.
Quite obviously this cannot be done and any attempt to do so must at least oversimplify the grand concepts and at worst dilute them until their profundity and inner meaning is completely lost. Such an attempt to 'popularize' Theosophy in this way, to make it appeal to people who otherwise cannot comprehend it, is virtual sacrilege.
This, however, is a tactic used to increase membership of the Society. The Society's three objects are popular, for anybody to subscribe to, but apart from letting it be known as widely as possible that it exists, Theosophy itself cannot be popularized.
This is something that has to be accepted when considering the future of the Society. We must never forget the nature of the original writings. No attempt was made even in THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, to 'simplify' or 'dilute' the subject matter. They were written to appeal to the 'highest minds', who in turn, as far as possible, would disseminate their content to others, i.e the grand ideas would percolate down and so influence all society.
A consequence of the virtual substitution of the original literature by that of the second generation writers has meant that there has been very little follow-up material in the HPB/Masters vein. There is, however, enough to introduce the subject to intending students.
To comprehend Theosophy one has to make a serious and prolonged effort. In Bowen's Notes "Madame Blavatsky on How to Study Theosophy", HPB explained to him, "This mode of thinking is what the Indians call Jnana Yoga" and then mentioned the likely experiences that may arise.
But nothing can happen without the effort. The Theosophical Society was founded at the instigation of the Masters with a sublime object in view: the salvation of the whole human race by a 'popularization' of their teachings. Surely we can attempt to do this to the limit of our capacity. Let us try!
By Eldon B. Tucker
[Based upon a January 20, 1994 posting to theos-l.]
An interesting ethical question for us to consider confidential materials. Is it ever right to possess and study materials belonging to other people, materials that were considered confidential and not entrusted to oneself?
Does the right to possess and to utilize the materials depend solely upon how they were acquired, or are their certain ethical principles involved that are independent of anything one may have agreed to? Are there certain principles that are right to follow regardless of whether we can be sanctioned or found at fault by others?
Say that we've found a photocopy of someone's diary in a trash bin, or perhaps in a folder at a used bookstore. Is it okay to freely use it without the writer's permission? What is a fair use of the materials in these circumstances?
One of us may have materials of the Esoteric School of Theosophy, an organization associated with the Adyar Theosophical Society. We all may come across materials in bookstores, or from friends. How do we handle them?
When we have materials where their owner intends to keep them secret, and it is clearly known that those entrusted with the materials are sworn to secrecy, does it matter if we came into possession of them through an round-about way?
For us to obtain something like the Adyar Esoteric School materials, someone had to intentionally or inadvertently break their trust with the organization, to allow the materials to come into our hands. Are we ethically bound to keep them secret, or can we say that because we've made no specific pledge to do so, that we are free to reveal them at our own discretion?
I would say that there is a karmic responsibility to the person whom betrayed the secrecy, and that we may add to their bad karma, and make some for ourselves, depending upon how we handle the situation.
It is not a cut-and-dry situation, where a blanket rule can be made. But when we read materials meant to be secret, and talk about them, we are in a delicate situation, one where we could possible do harm.
I'm not trying to make a case that the Adyar Esoteric School secrets are especially esoteric--except to those who believe in the Besant/Leadbeater variant of Theosophy--but there is a direct analogy to the real Mysteries. Would we reveal their secrets if we were to come across them?
There are different degrees of betrayal of a secret. We could join an organization, but be unfaithful to our pledges, and reveal information entrusted to us. We could secretly copy materials that were not meant for us to see or have. Or we could obtain materials that were lost by their owner, or inadvertenly released, materials never intended to be let go of, and only coming to us due to someone's mistake.
It is not always, though, in the best interest of others that secrets be kept, beyond a certain point. Consider the Mahatma Letters. They certainly needed to be secret at the time that they were being written. But by the 1920's, things had changed, and they were needed to help bring to public attention again the original Theosophy that HPB taught.
In our time, we have seen similar decisions being made regarding the Point Loma esoteric materials. The higher Esoteric School materials were published as "The Dialogues of G. de Purucker." Then the first degree Esoteric School materials were published, first by Theosophical University Press, revised and edited into a book called "The Fountain-Source of Occultism." They were later printed, in nearly the original form of the twelve books, by Point Loma Publications.
A case could be made that times change, and that materials that were meant to be esoteric in one time could be published at a later date. But we are always faced with the question: When does our need to present some materials exceed the right of others to keep it hidden? And is the exposing of the materials a form of our intervention in or interference with the karma of another, the karma of the person whose decision or mistake allowed the materials to get into our hands?
Maybe the distinction could be made between the theosophical doctrines, as presented within the esoteric theosophical groups, and the actual Mystery doctrines, which come to us through special training or through some form of inner contact or guidance. Perhaps the materials taught in the outer organizations were meant to eventually become public, and that is why they were allowed to be written down and given wide distribution. The other secrets, of the Mysteries, perhaps, only come to those whose lips are already sealed against their betrayal.
We hear that we are to Know, to Dare, to Will, and to Keep Silent! I think that we are capable of such. I think that we know when we have something that should go unmentioned. And that we will simply forget, or lose touch with, or never really know those great Truths that we would betray. It is not that we are talking about things that are beyond words, just beyond OUR words, beyond our right to speak of them. And we will know, too, when our lips are unsealed, and we should share what we have learned.
By Johannes M. U. van Driel
The URL of the theosophical society (ADYAR) in Saarland, Germany is:
And comments can be sent to HermesTris@aol.com
We would be pleased to hear from fellow Theosophists and to link our website to other good theosophical websites.
By Einar Adalsteinsson
[based upon a May 1, 1997 posting to email@example.com]
I would like to try to bring the karma theory down to the level of everyday psychological experience level, so we can live it's cause-effect mechanism consciously moment by moment every day of our life. This is the only way to "burn all karma in the fire of understanding".
In my opinion E.J. did quite a good job describing the empirical effects, the interreaction of karma in the external world, and the interaction between individuals and groups.
But there is another side to it, the psychological individual side, and I want to put the following forth as a point for discussion, and not as a karmic dogma.
Sharlene is quit right about the role of intentions, i.e. the psychological factor, rather than the deeds themselves. It's right that we are all a part of the whole -- or rather we ARE the whole -- we are the world, each one of us.
Individuality (i.e. self awareness) is a result of the psychological evolution, which is so picturesquely described in the Biblical "Paradise" parable. Having gained the intelligence of "knowing right from wrong" -- and going against that knowledge, makes the individual "responsible" for his actions. It also invokes the "SIN", which is primarily an individual condition, but since we are "All One", it's no ones private matter either.
I look upon karma as a scar on the psyche -- and at the same time a disharmony in the Universal Consciousness. The higher Self (Atman) and the universal consciousness (Brahman or Divinity) will in cooperation work at compensating those scars in the psyche and the Universe.
In the short term it will counteract the cause by inflicting a suitable effect on the individual, which is done continually moment by moment, all our life. In the long run this will not solve the universal problem of disharmony, individually or universally.
Therefore the most important effect of karmic "retribution" is the learning element, the education towards the individual wisdom, that ultimately will "burn all karmic debts in the fire of love and understanding". This is a "forced" process in life until each individual has gained enough wisdom to take his/her education in his/her own hands and thereby enhance the process of learning enormously.
How should we then practically encounter our own karmic debts in our daily life? By conscious encounter, forgiveness, understanding, awareness, self-control, in-attachment -- it is a complicated psychological process.
The main thing is to inhibit the emotional retribution, to disconnect the cause-effect-cause vicious cycle. This is the "other cheek" psychology of Jesus Christ. The next important lesson is the psychology of forgiving, which by the way is about correction in our own psyche, and has very little to do with the one we forgive.
The doctrine of karma is really not about a lofty philosophical speculations on universal retribution. Neither is it in any way about fatality or destined fate. It's about the momentous living, the psychology of momentous action. Every moment, we are shaping our future by the way we encounter our momentous "destiny".
Every incident that we meet in our life, shows us what WE are, and if carefully noticed, that self-knowledge will aid us in our next encounter, so that slowly our wisdom, which is really a combination of self-understanding and love, will guide us towards harmonious living in this world.
We are representatives of the social organization of spirit direction, called "The Community of Cosmic Conscience". We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Community is the Moscow organization. It was officially registered on the 19th of November in 1993. The aim of the Community is the elimination of the spirit ignorance of people and turning their orientation to moral values.
The means which help us to achieve the purpose are seminars, lectures, open evenings of the spirit direction, publication of books, the use of means of the mass media: radio, television, newspapers, magazines. In our work we base on theosophical works, on books about Agni Yoga, on books of Alice Bailey and on works of great Danish cosmologist of the 20th century Martinus.
We don't deny any spirit trend, leading to the Light. At our open evenings esoterists and scientists give lectures: the stage was given to members of the Orthodox Church and to the followers of Shri Chinmoi and of Krishna, to Mormons and Tantrists, and to representatives of the religion Bahai, to the members of the Community Babagy, and to the head of Pythagorian school.
We are for the friendship between different spirit trends, for the tolerable attitude to brothers undergoing the evolutionary way.
Aware of the vital necessity of the collaboration of all the light forces of the Universe we would also like to receive some information about theosophical activities elsewhere in the world.
As we are poor noncommercial organization in Russia, as the country is very poor in the present day, and as far as in Russia not all the theosophical books have been published, we would be very glad to receive spiritual books in English.
We are interested in audio and video aid of occult, esoteric, meditational orientation. We would be very grateful for anything sent to us.
In general we are ready for any kinds of collaboration. We would be very glad to have theosophical visitors at our place, to discuss with and to listen to lectures on subjects which they are interested in. We are deeply convinced that is necessary to combine our efforts for creation of the world-wide brotherhood.
We wish the Light to your souls and fortitude in such a stormy time for the Planet.