I am no indiscriminate superstitious worshiper of all that goes under the name of ancient. I never hesitated to endeavour to demolish all that is evil or immoral, no matter how ancient it may be, but with that reservation I must confess to you that I am an adorer of ancient institutions, and it hurts me to think that people in their rush for everything modern despise all their ancient traditions and ignore them in their lives.
-- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
By Dara Eklund
Our friend Jeanne Sims had long hoped to see reprinted a series of STUDIES IN "THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE" by B.P. Wadia. These had appeared over several months in the periodical THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT during 1940. Jeanne had in fact typed them out for this purpose, but was happy to learn recently that the ULT has had these articles in print since 1969 in pamphlet form. When we wrote by E-mail to Sophia TenBroeck in Bombay (now known as Mumbai) she responded that while the pamphlet is still available, she would be happy to see them also on the Internet. We have added, in square brackets, citations of sources quoted by Mr. Wadia.
I am dedicating this electronic reprint to Jeanne Sims, who so faithfully held our SECRET DOCTRINE study classes in her Los Angeles home for nearly a decade.
By B.P. Wadia
[From the 1989 ULT pamphlet containing a reprint from THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, X, July 1940, pages 129-31.]
The downfall of every civilization is caused by the weak morals of those who live in and by it. False knowledge or misuse of knowledge generally accompanies weakened morals. An unbalanced relation between knowledge and ethics brings about a critical stage which, if not promptly attended to, results in death. Historical examples -- the Roman Empire for one -- will occur to any reader. War plays a part in the destruction and the reconstruction of civilizations. From the days of the MAHABHARATA down to our own times we come upon the phenomenon of unbalance between mental capacity and moral responsibility, competition leading to war and wars, then destruction. The destruction of the entire Kshatriya caste took place on Kurukshetra -- an event which has a lesson for us all who are witnessing the sinking of European civilization.
Only a few in every century perceive the necessity of maintaining in their own lives the balance between knowledge and love, between head and heart. The great majority show an unbalance -- feelings alone without the light of Wisdom predominate in one portion of the majority, while in the other head-learning without soul-wisdom, without compassion and philanthropy and sacrifice, works havoc. Religious feeling without knowledge is a curse which develops fanaticism, hatred and war; knowledge devoid of a spiritual basis soon develops into false knowledge which begets arrogance, enmity and war. Only a few, a small minority in any century, are Esotericists -- not enquirers nominally interested in the Occult but real students learning to practise and to promulgate the grand doctrines of the Science of Life. Their task is to produce that balance between knowledge and ethics in their own constitution without which there can be neither the gaining of enlightenment nor the practice of altruism for the good of all.
For these few HPB produced the book called THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, dedicating it to them. In the Preface to that priceless little volume she writes that she offers three Fragments and that more could not be given "to a world too selfish and too much attached to objects of sense to be in any way prepared to receive such exalted ethics in the right spirit." [iii ULT; ix-x TUP]
Those only who are serious and sincere about moulding their own minds will make use of the book. As HPB writes:
Unless a man perseveres seriously in the pursuit of self-knowledge, he will never lend a willing ear to advice of this nature. [iii; x]
Esoteric Philosophy has always taught the art of all-round development  -- a healthy mind in a healthy body; but also, it has always taught that the course of unfoldment is from within without, and that therefore mind and not body should be the starting point, and that motive and not method should receive primary consideration. Not that body and method were neglected, but ever and always mind and motive were made the starting point. This is the burden of the GITA, of the doctrines of the Buddha, of the teachings of Jesus.
Those who have made friends with THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE have noted that it too gives primary importance to the training of the mind, with the right motive. In these four articles we shall consider the place of the motive and the activity of the mind as taught in the three Fragments, each of which should be considered as an independent unit. While there is, of course, an intimate interdependence between them, we should not consider the third Fragment to be in line of succession to the second, nor the latter as a continuation of the teaching of the first. Each emphasizes a particular aspect of the Truth, of the Way and the Path; each has its own message. One is not superior to the other any more that blue as a primary colour is superior to yellow or inferior to red.
Like all Occult treatises THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE is written in a cipher and yields more than one meaning, for there is more than one key to be used in deciphering a profound cipher. The neophyte at his stage, the adept at his, use the teachings, for growth as for service -- for growth through service. HPB has made "a judicious selection" for "the few real mystics" of the era to which she came, who recognized her and its worth. For students of the modern generation the book has the same message and offers the same benefits; for them too the formulation of the motive and the training of the mind form the first step.
A phrase of HPB's might well be used as a touchstone to determine the nature of our motive for assaying the task of gaining self-knowledge and attempting self-improvement. In THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY [261-62], commenting upon ascetic practices HPB speaks of "what a man THINKS and FEELS, what desires he encourages in his mind, and allows to take root and grow"; what we think greatly depends on what we feel, and we can determine the character of our feelings by noticing the desires which arise from roots so firmly embedded in the soil of the personality. "What desires he encourages in his mind" -- what desires he "allows to take root," what desires he allows "to grow" -- this will reveal the motive he harbours. Very often our motives are hidden from us and on the score of motive many fail ere they begin. The Master K.H. once wrote:
The first and chief consideration in determining us to accept or reject your offer lies in the inner motive which propels you to seek our instructions, and in a certain sense -- our guidance.
-- MAHATMA LETTERS, Letter 2, page 7
We have to learn to distinguish between inner or real and outer or superficial motive. Again, the same Master points out that "our Eastern ideas about 'motives,' and 'truthfulness,' and 'honesty' differ considerably from your ideas in the West." [ML #30, 232] In India, most of the "educated"  have Western minds -- to be more precise, Eurasian minds -- and they suffer from the same limitations as Western-born men and women. The eastern idea of motive is a profound one, and in ascertaining our motive we must take time and have to be careful, judicious, alert and attentive.
While it is true that motive is everything, we must never overlook the clear teaching of history that "good motive without knowledge makes sorry work sometimes" Mr. Crosbie continues:
All down the ages there is a record of good motive, but power and zeal misused, for want of knowledge. Theosophy is the path of knowledge. It was given out in order, among other things, that good motive and wisdom might go hand in hand.
-- THE FRIENDLY PHILOSOPHER, 4.
On the plane of motive the student's attention is drawn from the beginning to the ideals of the higher life. Not entanglement in the world of matter through ambition and the like, but a withdrawal and a consequent complete emancipation from the universe of Illusion -- MAYA and its Play -- LILA. The student has to choose between sense-life and soul-life, and when he is sufficiently confirmed in his higher desire to live as a soul, subduing the senses, he is presented with another, the grandest ideal humanity has ever known -- Renunciation. Soul-culture leads the practitioner to the idea of Liberation, a state so much desired by the afflicted -- by hearts laden with sorrow, by heads full of confusion. Having seen the cause of disease, having drunk the potion of cure, who would want to continue hospital life? Having perceived the degradation of a prostitute's life, who would want to live in a house of prostitution? Having recognized the world as a vast lunatic asylum, who would want to dwell therein, and not run away from it? Even a little knowledge of Theosophy shows to the thoughtful and earnest student that this world is like unto a hospital, full of the ailing and the scrofulous; that men and women in their millions prostitute their minds and their hearts; that the world is full of moonstruck neurotics who rush about hither and thither fancying themselves sane and sound. The Theosophical student registers that to be of this world is to seek disease, to prostitute powers, to become mad; "Let me have none of these," he says. Thus for more than one life the student fixes his mind on Liberation and his motive in leading the higher life is to free himself from "the world, the flesh, and the devil." THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE recognizes the place of the Path of Liberation -- the conquest of Nirvana.
For many centuries the ideal of Liberation has inspired generations of mystics, and here in India especially the desire for Moksha and to reach Nirvana has become the supreme, nay, the only goal of spiritual striving. The great Buddha taught the Path of Renunciation and exemplified the teaching in his own life. Says HPB:
Esoteric teachings claim that he renounced Nirvana and gave up the Dharmakaya vesture to remain a "Buddha of Compassion" within reach of the miseries of this world.
-- THE THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY, 67
 With the passing away of His pure Teachings from the land of His birth, the concept of Moksha prevailed in India as the sole ideal, submerging that of Renunciation. Nowhere is the Teaching of the Path of Renunciation so clearly formulated, nowhere are its functions and objectives so profoundly contrasted with those of the other Path, as in THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE. One of the missions of HPB's incarnation was not only to point to this forgotten truth, but, further, to arouse in as many hearts as possible the aspiration to tread the Path of Renunciation. Therefore among the only three Fragments she gave to the public world is that of "The Two Paths" and among "the few" must arise those who will undertake the culture of the heart necessary for the treading of that path. The attractions inherent in the ideal of renunciation are so powerful and potent as well as patent that most among "the few" hastily say to themselves, "I will tread the Path of Renunciation." They overlook that special preparation is needed for that task and that between the great service of the Renouncers and the desire, however ardent, of the aspirant to love and to help his fellows there is a difference not only of degree but of kind -- of quality. To acquire the wisdom necessary for that Path takes time and especial effort; and this is possible through Chelaship, not as it is understood in the religious and mystical world, but as it is understood in Occultism and Esoteric Philosophy. A special kind of training and development is necessary to walk the Way of Renunciation: it is the renouncing not only of the world of matter but also of the world of spirit; not of life in form only but also of life eternal. It is freedom from the bondage of passion which every Emancipated Soul enjoys but further it is acceptance of the Bondage of Compassion which the MUKTA does not accept.
The training of the Probationer includes the unfoldment of the right motive which the ideal of the Path of Renunciation presents. Chelaship implies the treading of that Path and the displacement of other motives -- including that of Liberation -- by the One Motive, the real inner motive, of which all outer motives should be but expressions and emanations. The choice comes at the end, but that choice is the culmination of innumerable choices made by the soul -- from the stage of the Probationer to that of the Adept.
If we encourage in our mind the desire to renounce, if we nourish it that it may take root and grow, we will be getting the necessary training for acquiring the Right Motive. That training is not in mere resolve and verbal repetition of the famous Pledge of Kwan-Yin, but a remembrance of it during the performance of daily duties. ["Never will I seek nor receive private, individual salvation; never will I enter into final peace alone; but forever, and everywhere, will I live and strive for the redemption of every creature throughout the world."] The Great Renouncer does not rush to help here, there and everywhere, but "ever protects and watches over Humanity within Karmic limits." [TG, 231] This implies knowledge, especially of the Law of Cycles and "the ultimate divisions of time." [THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY, 4 ULT; 5 TUP] That is why HPB says that "It is easy to become a Theosophist ...But it is quite another matter to put oneself upon the path which leads to the knowledge of what is good to do, as to the right discrimination of good from evil." (Students will do well to reflect upon the differentiation  made by HPB -- RAJA YOGA, p. 17 [p. 19, 1973 ed.]; it is not easy to become a Theosophist, only comparatively less difficult; the path of the Esotericist "leads a man to that power through which he can do the good he desires, often without even apparently lifting a finger.") [B.C.W. Vol. IX, p. 155.]
The cultivation of Right Motive takes more than one life: the control of the wandering mind is a necessity universally recognized but how many think of the wandering heart? When the heart has been steadied concentration of mind becomes easy, for an objective has been found. The mind gathers itself together and makes the objective its centre; but without a goal or an objective the mind can never gain one-pointedness. Many and varied are men's objectives in life, and the student of Theosophy is no exception to the rule. If he determines his objective to be neither the bliss of Nirvana nor the developing of siddhis, low or high, nor achieving success in this or that sphere, but letting everything go, to tread the Path of Renunciation, disciplining himself for the life of SPIRITUAL service of Orphan Humanity, then he has found the correct objective, the Right Motive essential for the life of Chelaship. Once an aspirant resolves to follow the Right Motive, it, whether he remembers it or not, will affect his life and force him to work for humanity in one way or another. Directly he attempts to gain spiritual benefit selfishly instead of trying to help his brothers, he will feel the inner call to work, which cannot be evaded. For the Great Choice, his time will come; but its coming will be hastened as he remains faithful to the great Choice of his present incarnation -- to endeavour to make Theosophy a Living Power in his Life.
COLLECTED WRITINGS 1888, Vol. IX, by H.P. Blavatsky, compiled by Boris de Zirkoff, Wheaton, Theosophical Publishing House, 1986.
THE FRIENDLY PHILOSOPHER by Robert Crosbie, Los Angeles and New York City, Theosophy Company, 1945.
THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY by H.P. Blavatsky, Los Angeles, Theosophy Company, 1962.
THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY by H.P. Blavatsky, Pasadena, Theosophical University Press, 1987.
THE MAHATMA LETTERS transcribed and compiled by A.T. Barker, Pasadena, Theosophical University Press, 1975.
THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY by William Q. Judge, Los Angeles & Bombay, Theosophy Company, 1947.
THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY by William Q. Judge, Pasadena, Theosophical University Press, 1973.
RAJA YOGA, OR OCCULTISM by H.P. Blavatsky, Bombay, Theosophy Company (India), 1973.
THE THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY by H.P. Blavatsky, Los Angeles, Theosophy Company, 1952.
THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE by H.P. Blavatsky, Los Angeles, Theosophy Company, 1987.
THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE by H.P. Blavatsky, Pasadena, Theosophical University Press, 1957.
By Dallas TenBroeck
I think that the expression of ideas in clear language is not made unclear by the date when they were written. Nor does the literary style have much to do with that either. To presume to be able to modernize those expressions, implies that the translator is so well versed that they can do this with ease. If so, then instead of criticizing, why not set to work and produce those revisions in "modern phraseology" such as to have a broader appeal today.
After all, is it fine phrases we want, or basic ideas to think over? Try reading HPB, see if she minces words, or beats around the bush, then make up you mind.
To characterize HPB and the early writers on Theosophy in the magazines THEOSOPHIST, LUCIFER, THE PATH, and the books ISIS UNVEILED, and THE SECRET DOCTRINE, as "Victorian" is both unfair and unjust. What is the basis -- a matter of personal preference? Why not let the reader make up his own mind? I do not see that HPB's writing is less clear to me.
I also know that if one truly desires to know what she says and wrote, there is additional study for the reader, and a constant use of the dictionary needed. In fact the erudite nature of her writing is perhaps the best certificate one can offer to readers as proof of the extraordinary and fundamental nature of the doctrines advanced.
No, the study of THEOSOPHY is not "easy," if one desires to go into details, but without rejection, on someone else's say-so, going into THEOSOPHY as she wrote it, try it for your self.
Start the study with THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY; it's not all that difficult. But if you get hooked, then prepare yourself for a laborious but glorious pilgrimage that will lead you through more areas and departments of learning than you ever realized existed. The gauntlet has been thrown! Are we going to pick it up? "To dare, to will, to achieve, and to remain silent" is the ancient moto of the occultists of all ages, and they form a single, and not many "brotherhoods."
If a Ph.D., in preparing his or her dissertation researches early writings, they are not daunted by the style or the age of the writing, they are seeking for information as to whether there is some useful statement which will support or destroy their thesis. No one ought to be prevented from doing such work.
It would seem that some writers try to daunt the curiosity and initiative of readers by their characterizations and claims to erudition. If a student or a seeker after information desires to go to original writings then why set up unnecessary barriers?
How does one set about "clarifying the ideas of Theosophy?" Is anyone now alive and currently writing of such erudition that they can produce a SECRET DOCTRINE, or even an ISIS UNVEILED? I seriously doubt it, and have seen no evidence in current "theosophical periodicals" of such ability. The tradition among the followers of the Buddha, the Bhikkhus is to say when repeating what they had learned: "Thus have I heard ..."
What are "the ideas of Theosophy?" Can they be extracted and tabulated?
What is the interrelation of such ideas to each other? Do they form a coherent whole?
Where does the average student begin? HPB made this somewhat easy by writing THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. If one reads, and follows up one's first reading by study, then one will indeed find "the ideas of Theosophy" presented and explained in elaborate detail.
The next step is to ask oneself: "Is this valid? How can I set about proving that this presentation of doctrine is valuable to me and accurate insofar as our world around us works?"
In other words, Is the Soul of each human an immoral entity? Is the nature of consciousness and intelligence one that I can find in myself and analyze with care and accuracy in myself?
If as HPB claims for Theosophy, every "atom" is an immortal "life," a "perpetual motion machine," then its indestructibility to which can be added intelligence and consciousness forms the basis for all evolution, as it passes in time through every experience that manifestation affords.
Yes, that would take in a large amount of time. But if we turn to THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Vol. 2, pp. 68-70, we find that HPB accounts for vast periods which even today, the Science of Astro-Physics is just beginning to encompass in its time estimates.
If at least, as a "working hypothesis," we grant to "atoms" longevity, and the capacity to remember and to learn, then we also say that potentially it is an independent center. It is a center of intelligence, where it gradually builds its own memories of experience. Hermes of ancient Egypt is reported to state: "A stone becomes a plant, a plant becomes an animal, an animal becomes a man, and a man becomes (by self-effort) a God." When has any transformation debased or diminished the ongoing progress of life?
From this we can move to consider reembodiment, or reincarnation -- that the Mind-Soul, being an IMMORTAL, uses progressively many successive bodies, and that the population of the entire Earth. (Theosophy states that there is a fixed number of Soul-Minds undergoing this kind of experience at any time).
Science, and in fact all of us, treats as an axiom the fact that Nature rules herself and all components, of which we are one, by immutable laws. Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Astrophysics, Medicine, Biology ... all the known sciences base themselves on the immutability of LAW, and the fact that Data consists of the records of facts and events in the past, for which analogies will recur in similar states, conditions and circumstances in the future. All our lives and futures are dependent on this one fundamental fact. This is KARMA.
The Family of Man implies the recognition of the fact that Mind-Souls are all of the same general quality and ability, though varying widely in individual performance because of free-will. Theosophy further asks us to consider that the whole of the Universe, and our Earth in particular is made up of an enormous mass of living being, all organized according to the LEVEL OF EXPERIENCE which each has had. The basis "life-atom" is that same immortal and eternal intelligence which progressively advances through the whole process. WE need only use our own minds, looking within our consciousness to realize that we are at root, that basis inexhaustible and indestructible UNIT. Hence every being in Nature is one of our "brothers," but it may be either less progressed than we are or more progressed (as the ELDER BROTHERS are).
All this may be laughed at, but as a theory or a hypothesis, I would challenge anyone to find a more inclusive one.
Thus we have individual VIABILITY, and FREE-WILL posited as axioms or "chief ideas of Theosophy."
So far we have: individual immortality, consciousness and intelligence, cooperative living, universal and impartial LAW, reincarnation, progression toward a SIMILAR GOAL as the thrust for all evolution, AND, FINALLY: "Spirit," a mysterious pervasive quality which may be seen as cause, source, and final Goal for the experiences of all living, when finally brought to a summation.
To this list, we could add the development of INTERDEPENDENCE, or voluntary cooperation, and this alone will bring us to perceive that the vast interaction of all life demands self-sacrifice. If one desires to see an application of this principle in practice, we can open THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Vol. 1, pp 207-210, where one can read of the sacrifice that the Wise make for the untutored, of the "teacher," for the "pupil," of the "parent" for the "child." This is a Law in continual operation in nature. All evolution proceeds on the basis of the operation of this law in some form or another.
As an alternative, let us consider the selfish and acquisitive person who bends all his energies to gathering wealth, power or control of others. Ask the simple question: For how long can any of these be preserved? And when death comes, who profits? If one advances the idea that one makes savings for one's children and decedents, one need only examine the life conduct of most "children and decedents" to see that any wealth or power entrusted to them, for which they have not labored themselves, is usually soon dissipated and wasted.
So why all the fuss and fury? We see the law of self-sacrifice most intimately in the operations of our own physical bodies, where there is a constant replacement of individual cells, and substances, to the extent that medical science claims the physical body is replaced each year to the extent of about 98%. It is said to be wholly replaced each seven-year period. If this is true, then what is it that maintains the memory of our early lives? Where is the storehouse of Individuality, the sense of being "ones' self?"
After the publication of THE SECRET DOCTRINE, a number of students would meet with HPB each week, and from stenographic reports of those meetings, HPB edited a series that was printed in LUCIFER titled: TRANSACTIONS OF THE BLAVATSKY LODGE.
About a third of the way through this series the question of the "Teachers" arises, and HPB makes it clear that they remain alive. And, she states, some invisibly assist mankind as karma permits. She goes further and states that innate to each human will be found the Spiritual INDIVIDUAL (also called THE HIGHER SELF) which is in effect one who is wise, and who sacrifices its "status and position" to co-inhabit each human, to serve as the Voice of Conscience, and the Noble and Altruistic "pole" of the personality. [This doctrine will also be found in the KEY TO THEOSOPHY.]
Gradually, Science in the psychological and philosophical areas, draws closer to the doctrine advanced and supported by Theosophy, that there are several layers of living other than the physical, which they interpenetrate. The Mind and the "emotions," are not the product of "brain-action". But, rather, brain-action indicates that the Mind is using the brain. The "emotions" (Kama) remain to be accounted for as the highest quality of the personal and physical evolution also called instinctual.
What are the desires, the passions, the urges, the moods that can sweep over us? Why are there posited the ideal configuration of the moral man which is the constant subject of analysis in the legal world where accountability for choice and action is constantly being examined and redefined?
Let us pass on to consider the question that our author raises: Is the Theosophical Society to survive, to progress?
Let us make it plain that it would be a violation of the Great Law if by some miracle the "T.S." were to "survive" simply because it is so prophesied. There is a concomitant to any living form: that is self-preservation. The T.S. will survive if it remains morally "worthy" of Theosophy. If it guards and promulgates Theosophy.
But, the T.S. does not own Theosophy. HPB makes it plain in the first issue of THE THEOSOPHIST (October 1879), from the very outset, in two articles: "What is Theosophy? ," and "What are the Theosophists?" that they are distinct from each other.
The T.S. was chosen as a VEHICLE for the practice and promulgation of the principles of THEOSOPHY. Its life and future depend entirely on whether its members will, as a group, continue to employ and to promulgate Theosophy as it was originally expounded by the Masters through HPB. They can promote and pursue that purpose (as embodied in its THREE OBJECTS) and if they do, then the T.S. will grow and prosper and fulfil its hoped for function. If on the other hand the teachings of the masters as passed through HPB are abandoned and not studied or applied, the life of the T.S. will gradually fade and disappear. There are strong indications that this is happening, and it is very unfortunate.
The first Object is UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD. [The practice of this -- Universal Brotherhood -- -it has repeatedly violated starting with the exiling of HPB from Adyar by Col. Olcott and the General Council in 1884. Later came the expelling of the majority of the membership of the American Section in 1895. Following that, is a long history of unnecessary expulsions when "the rule of Adyar" was either ignored or refused.] That is history, unpalatable, and irreversible though it may be. [Students who desire to read the reasons for this should secure and read a copy of HPB's "Why I Do Not Return to India" a letter written in April 1890 and entrusted to Bertram Keightley to take to India to Adyar. This letter did not get published in the THEOSOPHIST until July 1929 -- some 39 years too late for THE general membership to profit by.
Following this they ought to read: "She Being Dead Yet Speaketh," this was a talk given by Jasper Neimand and published originally in THE PATH, for July 1892 -- in that JN quotes directly from important, pivotal statements and letters of HPB.
In the 10th volume of THE THEOSOPHIST, then being edited on behalf of Col. Olcott by Harte, appeared in June 1889 an article titled: "Applied Theosophy." In a rejoinder to certain statements made there, Mme. Blavatsky wrote in LUCIFER for August 1889 an editorial article entitled: "A Puzzle From Adyar." In this she reviews the differences between THEOSOPHY and the formal body called the Theosophical Society. In particular she states that no member owes any "loyalty" to "Adyar," unless the management of the Society from Adyar is moral and impersonal and upholds Theosophical principles in practice all the time. The demarcation between the two is made absolutely plain.
I draw attention to these facts as many are unaware of them, and they can be of course verified in the series COLLECTED WRITINGS, BLAVATSKY, published by the T P H, Adyar, Wheaton, London, so members of the T.S. ought to be able to get at them with comparative ease. If anyone desires copies of these articles, please let me know.
The final question is: Do we know what THEOSOPHY is? If the answer is "no," then the sooner we acquaint ourselves with its basics, the better. Then we will have something to talk about. All else is opinion and baseless speculation. If we are all acquainted with the same range of literature, we have a basis for discussion, but so long as one tries to pit an opinion against another's we will get nowhere.
You will have to excuse my trenchant and straight-forward speaking, but I see no alternative, as fine phrases which may smooth ruffled feathers produce only delay in time, and serve no useful purpose in the long run. I write this entirely on my own responsibility.
By Gail Stevenson
A new theosophical quotation service is now online. Special thanks are due Dallas Tenebroeck for the materials from his research, without which this would not be possible.
Please visit our web page --
-- and scroll down to "A New Service", and let anyone know who might be interested.
By Eldon B. Tucker
[based upon an April 11, 1994 posting to email@example.com.]
Animals, and to a certain extend primitive peoples, have a simple view of time. Only the present exists. The past is gone and non-existent. The future, to them, is also unreal.
In modern society we have learned to control things much better. We've learned to become accountable for the past and to carefully plan for the future. If we do something bad, it may now be in the past, but we still know that we'll be punished for it, and that thought affects our decision to take the action. And we know that if we plan our actions carefully, our future rewards are greater.
Giving value to the lasting consequences of the past, and to the rewards or suffering that the future may bring, depending upon our attentiveness to it, we assume more responsibility for ourselves as beings existing in time.
This added responsibility brings a greater sense of clarity to our activities on this world, our physical-plane Globe D events in life. We may sleep less, take on more responsibilities, and concern ourselves more with what we do and what is happening about us.
The past takes on more of a sense of reality as we keep records, journals, diaries, and take pictures, and surround us with materials that help us remember and picture in our imagination what has happened.
The future also takes on more of a sense of reality as we make detailed plans and schedules which we may subsequently try to live by. We may be under great pressure to finish certain things quickly, by some deadline, or burdened with a great number of responsibilities that we have to tend to, with too little time to do them justice. And we look forward, and try to arrange our upcoming activities to keep our live in order.
Contrast this with a primitive lifestyle. Picture a life on a little farm in Mexico, where one day is like the next, and there are no schedules, no pressures, no burden of responsibilities. We may have to keep ourselves fed, and to follow the regular routine of life, but it seems timeless, eternal, because it is always the same, without change, for as long as we can remember.
This secluded lifestyle allows one to disengage from life on this world. We are not as heavily invested in life and activities, but we rather just peacefully get by. We are not caught up in the flux of the human lifewave, of the great evolutionary sweeps of consciousness that drive the cultures and challenge us to our limits.
In this isolated Mexican life, we are more free of existence on this earth, more loosely engaged in life here, and able to bring a bit of the rest of the devachanic consciousness.
It may be necessary for us to disengage from the intense activities of life in the active subraces, the dominant cultures of our age. We may need a time of quiet, of peace, of rest, to reconnect to our spiritual roots within. And this may be a few years, or even a lifetime away from the mainstream. But eventually we come back, and resume our participation in the drama of human life.
In this peaceful haven, we have less pressure to be aware of the past and of the future. The sense of time is more simply just that of the present. It needs nothing more. And it is fine, we can exist and live good, noble lives.
But for evolution to take place, there needs to be growth, change, and challenge in our lives. We need the pressure of many things happening, the intensity of activities that makes us intensely aware of both a sense of the past and the future. The present is not sufficient to let us get by.
If we are not careful, though, we can even get so caught up in what has happened, or in planning for the future, that we pay but scant attention to the present. We may be reliving an event in our past -- be it horrifying or wonderful -- or dreaming of things to come, and impatiently waiting for them to hurry up and happen! This would not be good, though, and we would be neglecting the challenge for growth in our lives.
We live in the Kali Yuga, called the Iron Age, a period of intense existence where things are hard, where they come quickly, and where the most rapid evolution is possible. It comes as the last ten percent of a great cycle of evolution called a Kalpa, and we are but 5,000 years into its 432,000 year length. During this period, we are reborn much more quickly.
The Kali Yuga is considered a desirable period to be born into, because of the potential for our spiritual progress through the challenges that it offers. The intensity of life that we experience in the major cultures of our world come from it. The cultures take on the nature of the Kali Yuga, and we can join them and participate in it, or step away, and live in isolation.
Coming back to the sense of time, do we really, in our culture, have a better understanding of time than primitive peoples? No, not really. We are better able to plan things and to handle a complex lifestyle, but we are not necessarily more clear about what we are doing at any particular moment, more clear in our experience of the present. And our philosophical understanding of time may be farther from the truth that primitive ideas, because of various popular misconceptions that we have been brought up with.
We can observe objects or beings change over time. We can describe that change mathematically. For instance, we can plot the equation for a flying baseball, showing over time its position in the school yard.
In our graph of the baseball, one coordinate represents time, but does this mean that time is a dimension of space, because it can be graphed like space can? Does every moment of time represented on that graph exist, all at once, like every point of space across the schoolyard? No.
When we talk about the flight of the baseball in the abstract, we are referring to the space of the actual schoolyard, and comparing it to abstract time, a time that could start at any moment and would always follow the same course. We are comparing actual or manifested space with abstract time, when we are talking about the graph in a general sense.
When we talk about the actual fight of the baseball, the particular one that we might consider, then it is different. There is the actual space of the schoolyard, and an actual period of time where a real baseball is in flight. But even then, the entire graph is not true all at once.
During the time of the flight, the part of the flight that has happened, that represents the past, is a description of where the baseball has been. It is describing a sequence of state changes that the specific baseball has undergone.
The baseball is a dynamic thing. It is in flight. It is subject to the influence of the strike of the bat, and it will only follow the trajectory unless there are other influences that could change its path. It is not predestined to follow the graph that we might use to predict where it will be.
Soon the baseball has completed its flight, and has fallen to the ground. Its trajectory, its experience of the flight, the experience of the players in watching it fly -- these are all things of the past. They no longer exist. The graph has gone from a prediction, to a dynamic document, describing the present, to a historic document.
Even with this real flight of a particular baseball, there was no point in time when the entire graph was real, when the entire time coordinate existed at once. We have a dynamic succession of changes of state, but no timeline extending into the past and future.
The fact that we can plot different states of an object over time does not mean that the past and future are equally real, and that all are a continuum. It does not mean that there is such a thing as a dimension of time.
One difference, for instance, is that time is not reversible. Individual beings cannot move freely backwards or forwards in time. Two reasons why this cannot happen is that we are both the sum total of all our past experiences, and that we are ultimately composed of that karmic web of currently existing relationships that we have created with the other beings in life.
If we went into the past, if we were able to undertake time travel, we would have to have a personal time dimension, one that existed apart from the collective one for everyone else. For instance, day 14,601 in your life might be lived in June 10, 1995, and day 14,602 in your life lived in June 17, 1774, after you had travelled back in time. But assuming everyone else stayed in place as a movie that you could rewind and alter at your discretion is not reasonable.
The other reason that this cannot happen is that you are ultimately composed of all your karmic links with others. At any point in historic time, there is a particular way which everyone else is, and a particular state of those living links with you. And those links uniquely define you for that moment. So if you were able somehow to go back to 450 BC, the only you of that time that could possible be would be the one that you already had been at that moment.
There are mentions of the dimension of time, though, but the references are likely veiled references to deeper teachings. Consider the picture given by Blavatsky of a bar of metal being dropped into the ocean. [SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 37.] The you that exists in time is described as the cross-section of the bar that passes through the ocean's surface, as the bar drops. It appears to change over time, but is really all one thing.
It would not be correct to say that this means that the past and future are equally real with the present, but rather that there is a deeper truth to this analogy. The analogy is more useful when you take it as saying that you are greater than that part of you that exists at the moment, that you are the three-dimensional bar rather than the two-dimensional cross-section being manifested (in space and time) at the moment.
You are your totality of the moment, your Auric Egg, the BAR above and beyond the manifested self or CROSS-SECTION that you have brought forth at this moment in time.
When the bar is not passing the ocean surface, you are out of manifestation, but still whole and complete. And when the bar crosses the ocean's surface, it can do so at any angle, it can stop and reverse its direction many times, and it can go through many cross-sections. There is not a specific sense of a single flow of time to the experience.
The idea of time as a dimension like space is a false analogy. Even if we could reverse the physical processes of one's outer forms and make it appear to be moving backwards in time, because everything in it is going in reverse, it is not going backwards. For there is still you, the Monad, above and beyond existence, moving forward in time with the rest of us.
Reversing your physical processes does not take you to an external, objective, actual world of a day ago, of some time in the past, for there is no such place.
It is not possible to totally reverse things, because you are intimately interlinked with all of life, and you could not reverse everything else, everywhere else, to go with you. And even could you, there is no such place as the past as somewhere to go, as somewhere different than the present as a place where we are at this moment. At this moment in time, there is not also our world as it were 100 years ago, equally existing now and as a place we could time travel to.
The past has to die totally, at some point, to make room for the present to be born. The past is really a condition or affect that qualifies our existence in the eternal now. And it is not separable from the present. You are what you've done and made your self to this moment, and the past is not external to that self that you are.
The future is not separate either. It qualifies the experience of life by your awareness of upcoming changes and by your participation in the changes through your planning and preparations. You change what you do today to better optimize what happens in your life. You make take delayed gratification, withholding some pleasure in life until a later time, for the better good of your life.
When you do this, you are not as much experiencing or creating the future as you are working in the process of sequences the events that appear in your life.
The past eventually fades, and is recycled and eventually disappears. Nothing, though, is lost; it becomes a part of us. And the future, as we look farther and farther ahead, eventually appears to disappear as well. This is because it looses its effect on the present as well, as it becomes more distant in time.
When we plot the change over time of something in life, like the growth of a flower from a springtime bulb to its blossom and eventual demise, we show there is an order or sequence to its unfolding and we gage it by the cycles of day and year. There is a natural progression to that growth, which is itself a certain kind of cycle.
But every point of time along the way as the flower grows DOES NOT EXIST at once. There is the pattern and an individual attempt to follow and grow by it, but no guarantee of success.
As we unfold spiritually, we find an increasing sense of the past and the future in our lives. We find that we are affected more by things out of the distant past and are concerned and affected more by things in our distant evolutionary future. The sense of time of greater cycles than a day or lifetime begin to affect us. We begin to appreciate and be moved by our spiritual roots in the distant past, and to be drawn to participate in the grand work of bringing humanity to liberation, to bringing everyone to the other shore, to nirvana. We feel a real concern with things far removed from our immediate needs of physical survival in the world and personal interactions in the day-to-day life.
In doing so, we begin to participate in our consciousness in greater cycles than before, cycles of far vaster time periods and more far-reaching affects. We begin to grow and expand and evolve, and become something greater than before.
Let us not try to escape time, to shy away from the Kali Yuga and seek the Timeless in the wrong place, in the temporal world, but rather emerse ourselves in the grand cycles of life, and participate in life to the fullest. Let us embrace in our consciousness as much of our heritage and our destiny and we can, to our fullest extent and reach, and then bring this broader, this grander perspective into our lives. There is only the present, but we can make it as big or as small a present as we choose. Let us make it a wonderful, grand, full present, as we give expression to the loftiness that we can take into our lives!
By Mark Kusek
[based upon an July 15, 1997 post to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Consider the circle with the central dot. I am an artist and somewhat a student of such glyphs. The image has a deep and fascinating world history, a wonderful body of knowledge associated with it, and an unceasingly active presence in our lives. It's odd, almost, how such a simple image, which in it's commonality, can easily be passed over, but with the proper presence of mind, can reveal truth at significantly meaningful depths.
In Jungian circles, this glyph would be said to be an "A Priori symbol of the Self", which touches the mysteries of the innermost core of individuals and also transmits the significance of the transpersonal to ego consciousness.
There is plenty of literature well worth one's time to investigate here. I recommend Jung's "Mandala Symbolism" (ISBN 0-691-01781-6), G. Adler's "The Living Symbol" (New York, Pantheon, 1961), and E. Edinger's "Ego and Archetype" ( ISBN 0-87773-576-X) as good places to start in this area. They provide a healthy western psychological context to the somewhat obscure language of "The Book of Dzyan."
The persistence of this image in most world religions, especially those with developed mystical traditions, makes it rather easy (and fun) to find enriching references.
It won't take one long to find some. I know from personal experience, that if this image is "speaking" to one, and one follows its impulses, one's search will be rewarded.
I would even venture to suggest that it might not be so much an impression of ink on paper that one is noticing, but an activation within one of what it represents. As a symbol, it's referent is quite autonomous and alive somewhere deep inside all of us. A meditation on this image can prove very beneficial.
In theosophical terms, this image is typically made to refer to Primordial Unmanifested Unity and in particular, that Unity as it stirs (awakens), and begins to describe the field for it's eventual manifestation.
You could say that the circle itself marks the interface between Pralaya and (Maha) Manvantara,(or in Jung's terms, the Unconscious and the potentially Conscious) while the inclusion of the point in the center denotes a referent to Immanence. (A "veiling" of the Unmanifested in the "Waters" of Primordial Space.)
This "Immanence" is pre-existent to the vivification and differentiation of the field in preparation for it's eventual outpouring of formal manifestation (cyclic involution/evolution).
In meditation on this symbol, or in the physical act of consciously drawing it, it is good to pause and consider the blank substrate wherein the image will appear. This is ritual art-making par excellence and has been practiced as such, by diverse peoples in many cultures for centuries. In this context it is a mystically potent Creation symbol and I believe it was thus included in HPB's SD.I volume of Cosmogenesis.
I'd additionally refer the reader to the "Art of Tantra" and "Yogic Art" by Akit Mookergee. These books are excellent and informed sources from Hindu tradition that are only a short step away from the Theosophical perspective.
By Boris de Zirkoff
[reprinted from THEOSOPHIA, Spring 1979, pages 3-5.]
July 11, 1979, will mark the fiftieth anniversary of Katherine Tingley's "Passing into Light," after a long life dedicated to the service of humanity.
As is often the case with unusual people, her stature grows as her image recedes into the distant past. Misunderstood by some, violently opposed by others, misjudged by those whose materialism and ignorant conceit were challenged by her spiritual outlook on life, Katherine Tingley is slowly being recognized as an inspired leader of thought, and a witness to the undreamt of possibilities of the hidden powers in man.
The Point Loma Theosophical Center which she founded on the eve of the twentieth century, and of which she was the driving force and the inspirer, was another "witness," in the age-old meaning of this mystical expression, to the redeeming and the spiritually-constructive power of human brotherhood. Apart from being the Headquarters of a world wide organization, it was intended to be a nucleus of a mystery-school built on the traditional lines of ancient temple-schools, in which men and women who were ready in this incarnation were taught how to unlock from within themselves their inborn spiritual capacities, and how to put them into practice on lines of devoted service and unselfish endeavor within the structure of a cooperative effort in the cause of the Ancient-Wisdom.
Such an effort can be successfully started and harmoniously conducted only by an initiated disciple of esoteric knowledge, in touch with the Custodians of that knowledge, and laboring under their tutelage. Such an initiated disciple Katherine Tingley undoubtedly was, and I take this occasion to declare this as my own irrefutable conviction.
She was a powerful character, with an immense driving force, an unquenchable inspiration, a total dedication to the highest spiritual ideals, an inspiring outlook on life, on the potencies of every human being, and a disregard of the negative aspects of those whose positive qualities she incessantly fostered, and whose dormant capabilities she constantly urged into action.
She was a person of kindly and sympathetic attitude wherever these were required, and a person of great moral strength and dynamic force when such were needed. Some of her actions and plans showed rather plainly that she was able to use a power of foreknowledge not ordinarily common among men, and to rely on a thorough acquaintance with human nature gathered in previous lives. These made it possible for her to blend into concerted action the lives of a many-sided community made up of a large number of men and women from the four quarters of the globe. This, if nothing else, was a clear evidence of spiritual leadership, as a genuine leader is a man or woman who can sense the aspirations and higher desires of others and release them to action in harmonious unity. It is relatively easy to try and impose ones own will upon ignorant followers who happen to love authority where they see it. It is far more difficult to guide the potencies of other peoples' wills into constructive spiritual and ethical channels, and to lead them into forceful and sustained action in a great and impersonal Cause. Katherine Tingley was able to do that throughout her career.
Some have attempted to convince others that she was a medium and that she was occasionally engaged in mediumistic pursuits of a kind. Only ignorant people can hold this view, those unacquainted with Katherine Tingley's character and her opinion upon such matters. In all my association with her, never once have I seen the slightest tendency towards mediumism or anything commonly associated with it. She was adamant on psychic matters, warning against the development of any psychic powers, or abnormal psychic tendencies unregulated by reason and a sound intellectual understanding. However, it is understandable that some of her spiritual qualities of foreknowledge, direct perception of certain truths, and developed spiritual intuition, would APPEAR as akin to mediumism, to those whose knowledge about such things is almost nil, and whose information is usually distorted by other channels through which it had to pass before reaching them.
Neither the personality of Katherine Tingley nor the nature and objectives of her work can ever be adequately understood and justly appraised without taking into consideration the fact that she was an initiated disciple of one of the Teachers and was often acting as a DIRECT AGENT instructed to perform a certain task in the world, to leave a specific message for future generations of men, and to carry out a certain mandate better known to those under whose directions she worked. Unless this is taken into careful advisement, there will be misunderstandings and misjudgments as a natural result of wrong premises and distorted views.
As other direct agents of the Brotherhood of Teachers, Katherine Tingley exhibited upon occasion somewhat conflicting tendencies and characteristics which cannot be adequately explained without at least some knowledge of occult matters. This is almost invariably the case with such agents, and this fact alone, if nothing else, makes it very difficult to appraise their work, judge their actions, and assess their worth in proper relation to their surrounding and their karmic circumstances.
Agents of the Brotherhood are not mediums in the usual meaning of that term, which, as a rule, is connected in peoples' minds with one or another condition of trance. Such agents are MEDIATORS, in the sense of being channels -- selfconsciously aware -- through whom some specific teaching or work is to be conveyed, and these are sometimes different from the personal characteristics of the disciple and may be conveyed only partially or with slight modifications. Any careful study of the life of HPB or of W.Q. Judge will show this with considerable clarity. They were also MEDIATORS of their own type and kind. As a matter of fact, the Theosophical Movement -- using this term in a worldwide meaning, and without relation to any specific age or era of history -- has had a number of MEDIATORS who worked, and work even today, under the general guidance of the Brotherhood, to the extent to which they are able to channel that guidance through their own personal natures.
One of the major achievements of Katherine Tingley, and a crowning victory of her work and training, was the fact that she was able to hand over her Torch of Light to another direct agent of the Brotherhood -- Gottfried de Purucker -- who in his own quality of MEDIATOR formulated and outlined further installments of the Esoteric Philosophy from the same ageless source of Wisdom.
Now, fifty years after Katherine Tingley's departure from our scene of action, let this brief account stand as a declaration of trust and deep appreciation from the present writer for the inestimable privilege of having been led to knowing her personally, and for the karmic opportunity of having been for some years a pupil under her tutelage and guidance. The Center which she founded and led will someday be recognized as an integral part of the Mystery-Schools, which arise and disappear temporarily, on the shifting scenes of history, as links in an endless chain of similar efforts. They stand as Witnesses to the never-dying Wisdom of Those who guide the faltering steps of the human race through the stages of its immaturity and its search for the Light that can illumine all life, the Present and the Past, and throw its shining beam upon the Future.
By Ernest & Rogelle Pelletier
Since early on in its history, Edmonton TS has been striving to establish a Theosophical Research Library Centre. In 1984, a determined effort to fill the gaps in the collections of periodicals began in earnest. A photocopier was purchased through the assistance of the Lizzie Arthur Russell Theosophical Memorial Trust after it was determined that a number of individuals and organizations were willing to allow us to borrow materials to photocopy for this purpose. It soon became apparent that they too had gaps in their collections so copies were made in order to assist them to complete their collections. Additional copies were made to provide libraries/researchers/ students with the opportunity to add these to their collections also.
Edmonton TS' republishing program has continued to this day, although currently on a significantly reduced scale due to lack of funds. Since the start of our reprinting endeavor, over 150 titles have been reproduced using photocopying technology and innumerable volunteer hours. All work involved, except binding, has been donated by members of ETS. The photocopier used for these projects has had to be retired and no funding has been found to replace it therefore different types of projects are being undertaken. Among others, works in progress include indexes to various periodicals. One such project is the recently published Cumulative Index to Lucifer, Volumes I -- XX.
The natural progression in our publishing efforts seemed to be a theosophical magazine. Fohat magazine has been launched in order to encourage debate among the different threads of theosophical teachings. Debate has been limited in recent years through an almost dogmatic insistence that people be free to study whatever they choose. Fohat inquires of what value is study if the insights that are discovered are not shared in an open forum; study for self alone is selfish and not what the Theosophical Movement and Theosophy are about. Through the process of debate it is hoped that new insights and fresh energies will be captured by the Societies and their members. [Please feel free to contact us by email: email@example.com.]
Members of Edmonton T.S. meet every Wednesday evening from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. during the regular school term; special events are also scheduled during this time as well as over the summer months. Nearly fifteen years were spent studying The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett. When classes resume in early September, it will mark the third year of our study of The Secret Doctrine (and we are still just exploring the Proem!). Our study involves reading a paragraph and discussing it thoroughly, bringing in other resource materials where feasible.
For further information regarding Edmonton T.S. and its activities, please address your correspondence to: Box 4587, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6E 5G4. The editors of Fohat may be contacted via email as noted above. The president, Ernest Pelletier, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By David Reigle
[This is the final part of the BOOK OF DZYAN RESEARCH REPORT, June 1997, published by Eastern School Press, 3185 Boyd Road, Cotopaxi CO 81223. They have no email id. Accents have been removed from the original edition because of technical limitations.]
TRACING ABSOLUTE SHUNYATA AND ABSOLUTE SVABHAVA
There is a tradition known as "Great Madhyamaka," which was introduced in Tibet by Dolpopa and the Jonangpas several centuries ago. It fully agrees with the Prasabagika Madhyamaka school that absolutist philosophies of eternalism and nihilism are extremes to be avoided. Like all Madhyamaka traditions, it accepts as authoritative the words of Nagarjuna:
Emptiness (shunyata) is proclaimed by the Buddhas as the leaving behind of all philosophical views, but they have pronounced those who hold a philosophical view about emptiness (shunyata) to be incurable.
shunyata sarva-dristinam prokta nihsaranam jinaih, yesam tu shunyata-dristis tan asadhyan babhasire
-- Mula-madhyamaka-karika 13.8
Any conception, however subtle, that dharmas either absolutely exist or absolutely do not exist, is considered incorrect; but the Great Madhyamikas hold that there is something beyond what can be postulated by the mind. This inconceivable something, whatever it may be called, is described in the Tathagata-garbha sutras as absolute and eternal. If it did not exist, Buddhahood and all its qualities could not exist. Since it is beyond the range and reach of thought, it transcends any philosophical view. Just as the Prasabagikas in denying the absolute existence of anything, including shunyata, are careful to point out that this does not imply nihilism, so the Great Madhyamikas in affirming the absolute existence of Buddha qualities, as well as shunyata, are careful to point out that this does not imply eternalism.
There are many precedents for the teaching of absolute shunyata in the words of the Buddha. If there were not, no one would have taken it seriously, any more than any one would take seriously Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine without such precedents. Primary among these sources is a sutra called the "Disclosure of the Knot or Secret Doctrine" (Sandhi-nirmocana), in which the Buddha says he has given three promulgations of the teachings, or turnings of the wheel of the dharma, and will now disclose the true intention or meaning of these apparently contradictory teachings. As summarized from this sutra by Takasaki:
The ultimate doctrine of the Mahayana is no doubt taught in the Prajnaparamita, but its way of exposition is 'with an esoteric meaning,' or 'with a hidden intention.' For example the Prajnaparamita teaches the nihsvabhavata [lack of svabhava] in regard to the sarvadharma [all dharmas], but what is meant by this nihsvabhavata is not so clear. The purpose of the Sandhinirmocana is to explain this meaning of nihsvabhava 'in a clear manner,' that is to say, to analyze and clarify the significance of the shunya-vada [doctrine of shunyata]. Just because of this standpoint, the Sutra is called ' sandhi-nirmocana,' i.e. the Disclosure of the Knot or Secret Doctrine.
-- A Study on the Ratnagotravibhaga (Uttaratantra), by Jikido Takasaki, Roma: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, 1966, Serie Orientale Roma 33, Introduction, p. 58
In the first promulgation the Buddha taught that all dharmas really exist. Though they are impermanent, they all have their own svabhava. This is the teaching of the sutras accepted by southern or Hinayana Buddhism. In the second promulgation the Buddha taught that all dharmas are in reality non-existent. They are empty (shunya) of svabhava. This is the teaching of the sutras accepted by northern or Mahayana Buddhism, especially of the Prajna-paramita sutras. In the third promulgation the Buddha clarified in what way dharmas exist and in what way dharmas do not exist. To do this he put forth the teaching of the three svabhavas or natures. ---
[FOOTNOTE: Sandhi-nirmocana-sutra, chapters 6 and 7. For English translation see: Wisdom of Buddha: The Samdhinirmocana Sutra, translated by John Powers, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1995.]
--- The nature of dharmas as they are conceptualized to have their own svabhava is their imagined or illusory nature (parikalpita-svabhava); in this way they do not really exist. The nature of dharmas as they arise in dependence on causes and conditions is their dependent nature (paratantra-svabhava); in this way they exist conventionally. The nature of dharmas as they are established in reality is their perfect nature (parinispanna-svabhava); in this way they truly exist.
This teaching of the three svabhavas was elucidated in the treatises of Maitreya, Asabaga, and Vasubandhu. Although these writers are often classified as being Citta-matra, or "mind-only," and hence denigrated by Prasabagika Madhyamikas, Dolpopa considers them to be "Great Madhyamikas." As such, they would be vitally interested in the understanding of shunyata. Indeed, it is clear from their writings that they were; and as we saw earlier, the terms shunyata and svabhava are normally found together in Buddhist texts. Vasubandhu quotes in his commentary at the beginning of Maitreya's Madhyanta-vibhaga a classic definition of shunyata, as something that exists, and not just the emptiness of everything including itself:
Thus, 'where something does not exist, that [place] is empty (shunya) of that [thing];' [seeing] in this way, one sees in reality. Again, 'what remains here, that, being here, exists;' [knowing] in this way, one knows in reality. In this way, the unmistaken definition of shunyata arises.
evam yad yatra nasti tat tena shunyam iti yatha-bhutam samanupashyati yat punar atravashistam bhavati tat sad ihastiti yatha-bhutam prajanatity aviparitam shunyata-laksanam udbhavitam bhavati.
-- Madhyanta-vibhaga-bhasya, 1.1 in G. Nagao ed.; or 1.2 in R. Pandeya ed. This is also quoted in Asabaga's Ratna-gotra-vibhaga-vyakhya on 1.155; in Asabaga's Abhidharma-samuccaya; and in Asabaga's Bodhisattva-bhumi.
Later in the same chapter Maitreya and Vasubandhu discuss the sixteen kinds of shunyata. The last two of these are called abhava-shunyata, the emptiness which is non-existence (abhava), and abhava-svabhava-shunyata, the emptiness which is the svabhava or ultimate essence of that non-existence. Vasubandhu explains that this kind of shunyata truly exists:
[The former is] the emptiness of persons and dharmas. [The latter is] the true existence (sad-bhava) of that non-existence.
pudgala-dharmabhavash ca shunyata, tad-abhavasya ca sad-bhavah
-- Madhyanta-vibhaga-bhasya, 1.20 in Nagao ed.; or 1.21 in Pandeya ed.
The source of this teaching in the words of the Buddha may be found in the Tathagata-garbha sutras of his third promulgation. One of these, the Maha-parinirvana-sutra, puts it this way, as translated from Tibetan by S. K. Hookham:
Thus, these are respectively, the emptiness that is the non-existence (abhava-sunyata) of the accidentally stained form etc., which is their each being empty of their own essence [ svabhava ], and the Tathagatagarbha Form etc., which are the Emptiness which is the essence of [that] non-existence (abhava-svabhava-shunyata), the Absolute Other Emptiness.
[FOOTNOTE: The Buddha Within: Tathagatagarbha Doctrine According to the Shentong Interpretation of the Ratnagotravibhaga, by S. K. Hookham, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991, p. 139.]
Note the use of the phrase "Absolute Other Emptiness" (don dam gzan ston) in this quotation to describe the sixteenth kind of shunyata, abhava-svabhava-shunyata . This is one of many quotations utilized by Dolpopa to establish the teaching of an absolute (paramartha) shunyata. This shunyata is empty of everything other than itself, hence it is "empty of other" (gzan ston), but it is not empty of itself. In contradistinction to this, the shunyata taught by the Prasabagika Madhyamaka school is empty of everything, including itself. Theirs is a svabhava-shunyata, or an emptiness of any ultimate svabhava in anything. The Great Madhyamikas, too, accept the teaching that all dharmas, or the manifest universe as we know it, are empty of any svabhava of their own, so are ultimately non-existent. But beyond the range and reach of thought there is a truly existent absolute shunyata empty of anything other than itself, which is the truly existent absolute svabhava of the non-existent manifest universe.
This mind-boggling teaching of the Great Madhyamikas was quite shocking to the orthodoxy when brought out in Tibet by Dolpopa and the Jonangpas in the fourteenth century. The later Jonangpa writer Taranatha tells us that at first some found this "empty of other" doctrine hard to understand, while others were delighted by it. But later when adherents of other schools heard it they experienced "heart seizure" (snin gas) and "scrambled brains" (klad pa 'gems pa). ---
[FOOTNOTE: "Dol-po-pa Shes-rab Rgyal-mtshan and the Genesis of the Gzhan-stong Position in Tibet," by Cyrus Stearns, Asiatische Studien, vol. 49, 1995, p. 836.]
--- This led finally to the banning of Dolpopa's works by the Gelugpas in the seventeenth century. As one appreciative recent writer comments:
Dol po pa's work ... has the glorious distinction of being one of the very few works in Tibet ever banned as heretical.
-- Gareth Sparham, "On the Proper Interpretation of Prajna-Paramita," Dreloma: Drepung Loseling Magazine, no. XXXII-XXXIII, 1994-95, p. 20
Dolpopa was in many ways to fourteenth-century Tibet what Blavatsky was to the nineteenth-century world. The London writer W. T. Stead spoke in a similar vein about Blavatsky's work just after her death:
... it [the creed which Madame Blavatsky preached] has at least the advantage of being heretical. The truth always begins as heresy, in every heresy there may be the germ of a new revelation.
-- W. T. Stead, "Madame Blavatsky," Review of Reviews, June, 1891 (pp. 548-550); reprinted in Adyar Library Bulletin, vol. XIV, part 2, 8th May, 1950, p. 67.
While the Gelugpas and the Sakyapas, two of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism, found the Great Madhyamaka teachings to be heretical, the Nyingmapas and the Kagyupas, the other two schools, in general accepted these teachings. In fact, leading teachers from these two schools used the Great Madhyamaka teachings as a unifying doctrinal basis for their "non-sectarian" (ris med) movement. This was begun in Tibet in the latter part of the 1800s, the same time the Theosophical movement was being launched in the rest of the world.
Just as Blavatsky devoted the bulk of The Secret Doctrine to supportive quotations and parallels from the world's religions and philosophies, so Dolpopa devoted the bulk of his writings to supportive quotations from the Buddhist scriptures. Today many scholars are finding that Dolpopa's understanding of his sources makes better sense than that of his critics. One reason for this is that he takes them to mean what they say, rather than to require interpretation. It took the genius of Tsong-kha-pa to bring about the "Copernican revolution" of making the second promulgation or turning of the wheel of the dharma to be of final or definitive meaning and the third promulgation to be of provisional or interpretable meaning, and thereby reverse the teaching of the Sandhi-nirmocana-sutra . Buddhist scholar Paul Williams writes:
In portraying the tathagatagarbha theory found in the sutras and Ratnagotravibhaga I have assumed that these texts mean what they say. In terms of the categories of Buddhist hermeneutics I have spoken as though the Tathagatagarbha sutras were to be taken literally or as definitive works, and their meaning is quite explicit. The tathagatagarbha teaching, however, appears to be rather different from that of Prasabagika Madhyamaka, and were I a Tibetan scholar who took the Prasabagika Madhyamaka emptiness doctrine as the highest teaching of the Buddha I would have to interpret the tathagatagarbha teaching in order to dissolve any apparent disagreement.
-- Paul Williams, Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, London and New York: Routledge, 1989, pp. 105-106.
Dolpopa is most known for the Shentong or "empty of other" teaching of an absolute shunyata, said by him to be based on the three Kalacakra commentaries from Shambhala, ---
[FOOTNOTE: These three commentaries are: Pundarika's Vimala-prabha-tika on the Kalacakra-tantra; Vajrapani's Laghu-tantra-tika on the Cakra-samvara-tantra; and Vajragarbha's Hevajra-pindartha-tika on the Hevajra-tantra . The latter two explain their respective tantras from the standpoint of Kalacakra.]
--- and supported by him with quotations from the Tathagata-garbha or Buddha-nature sutras whose teachings are synthesized in Maitreya's Ratna-gotra-vibhaga and its commentary. Despite this, the majority of Dolpopa's writings are on the Prajna-paramita texts. Thus he, like Tsong-kha-pa, put most of his attention on the primary texts of the second promulgation. In doing so he drew heavily on a lengthy commentary which gives, according to him, the Great Madhyamaka interpretation of these texts. It is a combined commentary on the 100,000 line, 25,000 line, and 18,000 line Perfection of Wisdom sutras, called the Shata-sahasrika-pancavimshati-sahasrikastadasha-sahasrika- prajna-paramita-brihat-tika, attributed by some to Vasubandhu. Unfortunately, it has not yet been translated into a western language. The late Edward Conze, who was practically the sole translator of Prajna-paramita texts throughout his lifetime, lamented that:
The most outstanding feature of contemporary Prajnaparamita studies is the disproportion between the few persons willing to work in this field and the colossal number of documents extant in Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan.
-- Edward Conze, trans., The Large Sutra on Perfect Wisdom, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1975, p. x.]
Dolpopa believed that shunyata is found in two different senses in the Prajna-paramita texts, that must be distinguished through context and through knowledge of absolute shunyata, as may be found in the above-mentioned commentary. This text utilizes a three svabhava type scheme in its explanations, as we have seen from the Sandhi-nirmocana-sutra . Dolpopa refers frequently to the "Questions Asked by Maitreya" chapter of the 18,000 and 25,000 line Prajna-paramita sutras for the source of the three svabhava teaching in the Prajna-paramita texts. ---
[FOOTNOTE: Sanskrit text printed in "'Maitreya's Questions' in the Prajnaparamita," by Edward Conze and Iida Shotaro, Melanges D'Indianisme a la Memoire de Louis Renou, Paris: Editions E. de Boccard, 1968, pp. 229-242; English translation in The Large Sutra on Perfect Wisdom, trans. Edward Conze, pp. 644-652.]
--- It is there given in related terms; e.g., dharmata-rupa, translated by Conze as "dharmic nature of form," is there given for parinispanna-svabhava, the "nature which is established in reality." Dolpopa considers this chapter to be the Buddha's auto-commentary, which should be used to interpret the Prajna-paramita sutras. This chapter, like elsewhere in these sutras, also speaks of the inexpressible dhatu, saying that it is neither other than nor not other than the dharmas. While the teaching that all dharmas are empty of any svabhava of their own is repeated tirelessly in the Prajna-paramita sutras, Dolpopa also finds in them the Great Madhyamaka doctrine of the truly existent absolute shunyata empty of everything other than itself, but not empty of its own svabhava, which is established in reality (parinispanna).
All Madhyamaka traditions seek to avoid the two extremes of eternalism and nihilism, which are the two cardinal doctrinal errors: superimposition (samaropa) of real existence onto that which has no real existence; and refutation (apavada) of real existence in regard to that which has real existence. According to Great Madhyamaka, the Prajna-paramita sutras and the texts on philosophical reasoning by Nagarjuna address the error of superimposition of real existence onto that which has no real existence. They do this by teaching that all dharmas are empty of any svabhava. This is the Prasabagika teaching. But one must also address the error of refutation of real existence in regard to that which has real existence. This, say the Great Madhyamikas, is done primarily in the Tathagata-garbha sutras of the third promulgation and their synthesis in the Ratna-gotra-vibhaga of Maitreya, and also in the hymns of Nagarjuna. They do this by teaching the real though inconceivable existence of the dhatu or element, both when obscured as the Tathagata-garbha, and when unobscured as the dharma-kaya. They teach that the dhatu is not empty of svabhava, that its svabhava is threefold, consisting of: the dharma-kaya, "body of the law;" tathata, "suchness" or "true nature;" and gotra, "germ" or "lineage." (Ratna-gotra-vibhaga 1.144) This is its truly existent absolute svabhava established in reality.
Shunyata, as we saw above, is without doubt understood in the Arhat secret doctrine to be an inconceivable absolute like Shentong, the emptiness of everything but itself. So svabhava is without doubt understood in the Arhat secret doctrine to be a truly existent absolute, as seen in a phrase consisting of the few "technical terms as employed in one of the Tibetan and Senzar versions" of the Book of Dzyan given in The Secret Doctrine:
Barnang and Ssa in Ngovonyidj.
-- The Secret Doctrine, I, 23
This means: "space (bar-snang) and earth (sa) in svabhava or svabhavata (ngo-bo-nyid)." The Tibetan word ngo-bo-nyid or no-bo-nid is one of two standard translations of the Sanskrit svabhava or svabhavata. Robert Thurman notes that:
Where it is used in the ontological sense, meaning "own-being" or "intrinsic reality," the Tibetans prefer ngo bo nyid . Where it is used in the conventional sense, meaning simply "nature," they prefer rang bzhin, although when it is used as "self-nature," that is, stressing the sva- (rang) prefix, they equate it with ngo bo nyid .
-- Tsong Khapa's Speech of Gold in the Essence of True Eloquence, 193, fn. 11
This phrase occurs in stanza I describing the state of the cosmos in pralaya before its periodical manifestation. If space and earth are dissolved in svabhava, it must be the svabhava of something that truly exists, even when the universe doesn't.
The concept of svabhava or svabhavata found throughout known Sanskrit writings is the concept of the "inherent nature" of something. This something may be a common everyday thing or it may be the absolute essence of the universe. In terms of doctrines, then, there must first be the doctrine of an existing essence before there can be the doctrine of its inherent nature or svabhava. If a doctrinal system does not posit the existence of an essence, whether of individual things or of the universe as a whole, there can be no doctrine of svabhava. Rather there would be the doctrine of nihsvabhava: that since nothing has an essence, nothing has an inherent nature; such as is taught in Prasabagika Madhyamaka Buddhism.
The concept of svabhava or svabhavata found in the Book of Dzyan comes from the stanzas dealing with cosmogony, not from stanzas laying out its doctrinal system, which we lack. But from the writings of Blavatsky and her Mahatma teachers it is clear that the doctrinal system of the Book of Dzyan and The Secret Doctrine is based on the existence of the one element. This, then, is a unitary essence, with a unitary inherent nature or svabhava, not a plurality of essences with a plurality of svabhavas such as is taught in early Abhidharma Buddhism.
From what we have seen above, there can be little doubt that the svabhava spoken of in the Book of Dzyan is the svabhava of the dhatu, the one element. This teaching in Buddhism is focused in a single unique treatise, the Ratna-gotra-vibhaga . The doctrinal standpoint of the Ratna-gotra-vibhaga as understood in the Great Madhyamaka tradition is of all known texts far and away the closest to that of The Secret Doctrine, just as the ethical standpoint of the Bodhicaryavatara is of all known texts far and away the closest to that of The Voice of the Silence . These facts take us well beyond the realm of probability. Blavatsky indeed had esoteric northern Buddhist sources.
We are here speaking of the doctrinal system, not of the cosmogonic system, which the Ratna-gotra-vibhaga does not deal with. The doctrinal standpoint of the Ratna-gotra-vibhaga has been taken by most Buddhists down through the ages, other than the Great Madhyamikas, to be quite different from the other four treatises of Maitreya. One of the reasons for this is that it uses a largely different set of technical terms. Its primary concern is the dhatu, the element, while that of its commentary is the Tathagata-garbha, the obscured element as the Buddha-nature, or what we may call the one life. ---
[FOOTNOTE: It should be noted, however, that Prasabagika Madhyamikas such as the Gelugpas rather interpret the Tathagata-garbha as emptiness, specifically the emptiness of the mind. E. Obermiller more or less followed this interpretation in his 1931 pioneering translation of the Ratna-gotra-vibhaga or Uttara-tantra, since he followed Gelugpa commentaries, even though he considered that it taught monism. Similarly, David Ruegg in his 1969 monumental study of the Tathagata-garbha, La Theorie du Tathagatagarbha et du Gotra, also followed this interpretation. A review article by Lambert Schmithausen, "Zu D. Seyfort Ruegg's buch 'La theorie du tathagatagarbha et du gotra'," in f304 Wiener Zeitschrift fur die Kunde Sudasiens und Archiv fur Indische Philosophie, 1973, criticizes this interpretation. As summed up by Paul Williams: "Schmithausen has argued that reference to the tathagatagarbha as emptiness must be understood in terms of the particular meaning of emptiness for this tradition--that emptiness is a particular aspect of the tathagatagarbha, i.e., that the tathagatagarbha is empty of defilements, not that it is identical with the [Prasabagika] Madhyamaka emptiness. I agree." (Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, 1989, p. 281, note 11.)]
--- Neither of these terms is the concern of the other four treatises of Maitreya. In fact, the authorship of the Ratna-gotra-vibhaga is not even attributed to Maitreya in the older Chinese tradition, though it has always been attributed to Maitreya in the Tibetan tradition. Blavatsky in a letter to A. P. Sinnett specifically links The Secret Doctrine she was then writing to a secret book of Maitreya:
I have finished an enormous Introductory Chapter, or Preamble, Prologue, call it what you will; just to show the reader that the text as it goes, every Section beginning with a page of translation from the Book of Dzyan and the Secret Book of "Maytreya Buddha" Champai chhos Nga (in prose, not the five books in verse known, which are a blind) are no fiction.
-- The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett, 195
Given their doctrinal similarity, it is likely that the Ratna-gotra-vibhaga, or more specifically its secret original, is the book of Maitreya that Blavatsky refers to here. The known Ratna-gotra-vibhaga, though it may be a "blind," still apparently represents the same doctrinal standpoint as that of The Secret Doctrine . The other four books of the "i Champai chhos Nga " (byams-pa'i chos lnga), the five (lnga) religious books (chos, Sanskrit dharma) of Maitreya (byams-pa, pronounced Champa or Jampa), ---
[FOOTNOTE: The other four books are: Mahayana-sutralabakara; Madhyanta-vibhaga; Dharma-dharmata-vibhaga; Abhisamayalabakara . Note the unfortunate blunder of Geoffrey Barborka in translating Champai chhos Nga as "the whole doctrine in its essentiality," copied in Boris de Zirkoff's "Historical Introduction" to the definitive 1978 edition of The Secret Doctrine, p. , n. 130. I have more than once contacted the publishers concerning this, but it could not be corrected.]
--- however, according to the Great Madhyamikas also represent the same doctrinal standpoint as that of the Ratna-gotra-vibhaga . The Ratna-gotra-vibhaga forms the heart of the Great Madhyamaka tradition, which significantly was represented by Dolpopa to be the "Golden Age Tradition." Although this tradition teaches an inconceivable absolute shunyata or Shentong (gzan ston) which is not empty of svabhava, its teachings are not presented in terms of svabhava, so it is not a Svabhavika tradition.
The only references I am aware of to a Svabhavika school in any Buddhist text are those found in the Buddha-carita, and these do not refer to a Buddhist school of this name, but rather to a non-Buddhist school. ---
[Ashvaghosa's Buddha-carita 9.58-62. See also 18.29-40 for a refutation of the svabhava doctrine.]
--- The Samaya-bhedoparacana-cakra by Vasumitra, said to have been written only four centuries after the time of the Buddha, gives an account of the eighteen schools of early Buddhism, none of which is the Svabhavika. Thus, leaving aside the now largely discredited account of the Svabhavika school of Buddhism given by a Nepalese Buddhist pandit to Brian Hodgson, I am aware of no traditional sources for any Buddhist school either calling themselves Svabhavikas or being called Svabhavikas by other Buddhist schools.
The southern or Hinayana schools in general accepted a svabhava in their impermanent but real dharmas. In this sense they could be called Svabhavikas, but apparently they were not. Since this svabhava is impermanent, it cannot be the eternal svabhava referred to in Theosophical writings. We have noted above an exception to this in the Sarvastivada school, which taught an eternal svabhava. But its doctrinal standpoint on this is not clearly known; and this svabhava was apparently still the svabhava of the individual dharmas rather than the svabhava of the one dhatu. Thus it cannot be the unitary svabhava referred to in Theosophical writings. Again, the Sarvastivadins were not considered either by themselves or by others to be Svabhavikas.
The northern or Mahayana schools in general would be the opposite of Svabhavikas, teaching that all dharmas are empty of svabhava (nihsvabhava). Just as dharmas are ultimately non-existent, so their svabhava is ultimately non-existent. As put by Chandrakirti, svabhava is not something (akimcit), it is merely non-existence (abhava-matra). ---
[Prasanna-pada commentary on Mula-madhyamaka-karika 15.2.]
--- The inherent nature or svabhava of fire, for example, is here not its common everyday nature of burning, but rather is that its essence is non-existent. In other words, the inherent nature (svabhava) of dharmas is that they have no inherent nature (nihsvabhava). This position is most fully developed in the Prasabagika Madhyamaka school, the dominant school in Tibet, generally considered to be the culmination of the Mahayana schools.
The Yogacara school of Mahayana is known for its teaching of the three svabhavas, derived from the Sandhi-nirmocana-sutra . These svabhavas or natures, which are also called laksanas or defining characteristics, are applied to the dharmas: a dharma has an illusory nature, a dependent nature, and a perfect nature established in reality. However, these are balanced in the same texts with the teaching of the three nihsvabhavas, culminating with the absolute lack of svabhava (paramartha-nihsvabhavata). So this certainly would not be considered a Svabhavika position.
The Great Madhyamaka tradition accepts a truly existent though inconceivable absolute shunyata which is not empty of svabhava. Since this tradition presents its teachings in terms of shunyata and not in terms of svabhava, as noted above, they are not Svabhavikas. Yet it is only here that we find a match with the doctrine of svabhava or svabhavata found in Theosophy. The match is to their teaching of the dhatu, the element, which is described in terms of absolute shunyata or Shentong empty of anything other than itself, and whose svabhava is also absolute and truly existent. This, however, is the very teaching most pointedly refuted by the Gelugpas, who in other regards are considered closest to Theosophy. But Theosophists and others often remain unaware that the Gelugpas refute this teaching, because as stated by Hookham:
Unfortunately for those who intuit a Shentong meaning somewhere behind the Buddha's words, it is possible to listen to Gelugpa teachings for a long time before realizing that it is precisely this intuition that is being denied. The definitions and the "difficult points" of the Gelugpa school are designed specifically to exclude a Shentong view; they take a long time to master.
--- The Buddha Within, 17
Research in Buddhist texts is in its early stages in the West. The Great Madhyamaka tradition remained largely unknown here until quite recently, and only now are its texts starting to come out. Much remains to be done in preparation for the coming out of an original language text of the Book of Dzyan.
By United Lodge of Theosophists
[From a June 21-25, 1997 mailing from the LA Lodge.]
It is time Theosophy should enter the arena. -- THE GREAT MASTER'S LETTER
If these words were true in 1883, they are even more true today. With technological splendor gaining momentum on one hand, and great suffering and privation on the other, Theosophists need to focus their efforts so as to affect as widely as possible the mind of the race in general. This was the central theme of the Great Master's message. Mr. Judge clearly points out the way:
High scholarship and a knowledge of metaphysics are good things to have, but the mass of the people are neither scholars nor metaphysicians. If our doctrines are of any such use as to command the efforts of sages in helping on to their promulgation, then it must be that those sages -- our Masters -- desire the doctrines to be placed before as many of the mass as we can reach.
There is no substitute for enthusiasm in this effort. Mr. Judge exemplified this in everything he did. Once one recognizes the value of theosophical IDEAS as they affect every level of human life -- physical, mental, moral and spiritual -- enthusiasm to share with others is spontaneous, as shown by the ongoing efforts of students to publish and study the original writings of H. P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge. From India, for instance, come reprints of LETTERS THAT HAVE HELPED ME, by WQJ, as well as SELECTIONS FROM THE UPANISHADS AND THE TAO TE KING.
Several students are engaged in the translation of these writings into other languages. A translation into French, NOTES SUR LA BHAGAVAD GITA, was published in Paris last year. Articles by Mr. Judge from the first volume of his THEOSOPHICAL ARTICLES have recently been translated into Spanish and published in booklet form. Other translation projects continue, reflecting the need for accessible theosophical literature in many languages. Also reflecting the diversity of interest in Theosophy, the three special meetings at the Los Angeles Lodge were conducted jointly in both English and Spanish.
Magazines bind students together in all parts of the world. THEOSOPHY, VIDYA, and THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT continue to provide links for students with Theosophy, the Teachers and one another.
Public lectures and study classes work on the premise that students and inquirers can and should know Theosophy for themselves, and in fact, learn better by sharing their insights in discussion and study. During the past two years talks have been given at some Lodges focusing on the lives and work of those who exemplified the continuing current of intellectual and spiritual ideas representing the Theosophical Movement and its influence throughout history. Local study classes and workshops continue in outlying areas from the larger cities that meet the needs of those unable to attend regular Lodge meetings. A new study class began last year in Upland, California (east of Los Angeles) and students of the New York Lodge participated in New York City's Street Fair with a table and free literature. It should also be noted here, that the correspondence course undertaken by students at the New York Lodge continues to flourish.
ULT Associates in Southern California, Brookings, Oregon, and The Hague in the Netherlands, participated in cooperative meetings with students from other Theosophical groups held during 1996 in recognition of the life and work of William Q. Judge. The active participation by students and inquirers alike was enthusiastic and supportive, showing the broad interest in and appeal of Theosophy to the world.
Students started three web sites on the Internet last year, two of which are
Basic information can be found about Theosophy and ULT in English and Spanish, and THEOSOPHY Magazine is available from the December, 1996 issue onward. A third student site is
Texts of 119 of HPB's articles, THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY and THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE are available.
This is the work of today as opportunities present themselves. In spite of the clangor and din of our present civilization, we live in a time when it is possible to openly proclaim the existence of Theosophy -- the Wisdom-Religion. This has not always been the case, as history shows. We need not be reticent in publicly stating theosophical ideas as they throw light on the problems and issues facing the human family -- birth, death and dying, education, famine, human rights, justice, religious freedom, social conflict and war. HPB provided the key to transforming the "mind of the race" in our era when she said "Learn well the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation ..." In her Fourth Message to the American Theosophists in 1891 -- the last year of her life -- she called upon Theosophists to:
Be Theosophists, work for Theosophy! Theosophy first, and Theosophy last; for its PRACTICAL realization alone can save the Western world from that selfish and unbrotherly feeling that now divides race from race, one nation from the other ...
The ULT platform of non-partisan dissemination can become a vehicle for a broader and more meaningful dialog on the issues of the day, which can be discussed at all times in the light of Theosophy. This will continue the work of students to demonstrate the reality of the inner life of the mind, which is nourished on ideas and feeds the yearnings of the heart. Again, HPB said, "In your hands, brothers, is placed in trust the welfare of the coming century." In whatever we do, we but hand on the trust to the coming centuries.