No. 89: August, 2006.

Published by the Theosophical Society (Pasadena) Australasian Section

664 Glenhuntly Rd., Melbourne, Victoria, 3162, AUSTRALIA,

Tel: (03) 9528.1011. Fax: (03) 9528.3907

WWW homepage:

ISSN: 1447-8188


Do We Have A Future?

News Corner.

Book Review: Teddy and the Blue Butterfly.
Whale Rescue.
The true meaning of Peace.
Beyond a Caterpillar Consciousness — Roza Riakkenen
The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.
A story from the Dreamtime of the Australian Aboriginal. — Lo Guest
A parable of two frogs.
Nicholas Roerich.
What Theosophy Means To Me — Jennifer Pignataro
Thoughts from Mother Theresa.

Do We Have a Future?

Twenty-five years ago, British Professor, James Lovelock, electrified the scientific world with his concept that the earth is a self-regulating mechanism that shows many features of being alive! He used the ancient Greek name for the Goddess of the Earth, Gaia, to describe our home planet as a living entity. Over the years since his first book, Gaia: A New Look At Life On Earth [1979], the idea that the Earth is similar in many ways to a living being, has become known as the ‘Gaia principle.’ It is a shock, therefore, to read his latest book, The Revenge of Gaia: Why The Earth Is Fighting Back, [2006] which says in summary that, due to pollution and global warming, humanity has no future as far as we understand it from our lives today. In his own words from a recent interview: “…when we look back at the past events of history 55 million years ago, which seems to be our fate now, most of the Earth’s surface, the great continents, were overheated and turned into scrub and could only support a very few people. The people who are in those regions now will just not be able to survive…” [Interview with the ABC 30/5/06].

Environmentalists like James Lovelock, tell us that global warming is caused by the burning of fossil fuels creating waste from cars, factories, coal-fired power stations, etc. poisoning the Earth’s atmosphere with carbon dioxide gas. Every year we inject into the atmosphere enough carbon dioxide that if you froze it solid to dry ice, it would make a mountain one mile high and 12 miles around in circumference! Along with this, humanity is destroying forests at an unprecedented rate. Forests are one of the ‘self-regulating mechanisms’ by which Gaia reprocesses carbon dioxide into life-giving oxygen and maintains the capacity for life on our planet. This combination could possibly mean, according to Lovelock, that most of the earth will become unliveable within a comparatively short period of time. The future remnants of humanity will retreat from the current population centres to the Arctic and Antarctic areas of the world for the 100,000 to 200,000 years it takes for Gaia to recover from her present fevered state. What does Theosophy say about this developing global crisis – do we have a future?

Descriptions of current environmental problems bring to mind sacred histories from many cultures which speak of cycles of general decline in moral standards including environmental depredation related to an increasing emphasis on externals and the persuasive influence of materialism. The Vishnu Purana, an ancient Indian religious text, long ago described the present cycle in humanity’s evolutionary history as the Kali Yuga or ‘Black Age’. This age was said to begin 5,000 years ago with the death of Krishna and to be 432,000 years long. It should be noted that such times, whilst terrible in their assault on the finer human aspirations, are a testing ground for our inner mettle. More spiritual progress can be made in such an adverse moral atmosphere than at times when conditions are easier. A wise friend once described the challenge and opportunity of this present age by saying: “You don’t build your muscles by pushing against the air”. Instead of throwing our hands up in horror at the state of today’s world, we have the opportunity to realise that there are myriads of opportunities for us as individuals and as a society to come up with technological and attitudinal solutions



Ireland: A Theosophical Weekend sponsored by our TS was organised in Cork, Ireland, in June this year.

England: Meetings and study groups are currently held in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Croydon, Sevenoaks – Kent, North Wales and Exeter. Should you require further information on the T.S. – in England in case you visit, then contact Renee Hall at

America: In April, John and Alex Rau of Rodney, Michigan, were appointed National Secretaries of the American Section. John and Alex have for the past seven years been at the heart of the Great Lakes Branch, giving lectures, holding discussion groups, meeting with prisoners, and publishing the Kali Yuga Rag. John and Alex recently purchased Wizards Bookshelf, which publishes a variety of esoteric books, which are all available from our Melbourne bookshop.

It was heartening to hear that the world’s two richest men, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, decided in June to give large portions of their fortunes away to help needy people and medical research. Bill Gates of the Microsoft Corporation, decided to work full time for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the world’s largest philanthropical organisation with assets of Aust. $40 billion.

South Africa: the latest issue of the South African Section’s newsletter, Contact, contains several interesting articles. Of particular interest is an article by Marilyn O’Day on our relationship to the stars and especially ‘parent stars’. If you would like a copy of this newsletter you can be put on the mailing list by contacting Maude Oosterwijk at:

Our thanks and appreciation to the many friends around Australia and the world, who send their newsletters to us. We encourage you all to read them as they are kept in our library in Melbourne, or photocopies can be sent. They include: Impuls (Netherlands), Contact (South Africa), The Link (USA), Theosophy North-West View (USA), Kali Yuga Rag (USA), San Diego TS Newsletter (USA), Compass (England), The Tub Thumper (Australia), Peace and Love Circular (Ghana-West Africa). Also, Dutch and German language translations of Sunrise magazine are sent to us regularly.

Australian Theosophical Newsletter is issued three times per year in April, August, and November and is edited by Andrew Rooke. We can be contacted at the Theosophical Society (Pasadena), Australasian Section, 664 Glenhuntly Rd., South Caulfield, Melbourne, Victoria 3162, AUSTRALIA.
Tel : (03) 9528.1011 Fax : (03) 9528.3907

World Wide Web homepage at The current issue of this newsletter is also published electronically on our website.

We welcome contributions on theosophy or related subjects. You can be placed on the mailing list by contacting the editor or see our website.


Never boast of your wealth, friends, and youth; time may steal away all these in the twinkling of an eye. Giving up attachment to this world, which is full of illusion, try to realise Brahman soon and merge into it.



“Teddy and the Blue Butterfly”

by Gerry Lane,
Illustrations by Jenny Riddle.
Melbourne, Brolga, 2006, ISBN:1920785728, Price: $24.95.

A young boy’s dream of a Blue Butterfly became the magical spirit of a wonderful new children’s book, Teddy and the blue butterfly, which has been nominated for Children’s Book of the Year, Australia. It was written by the relative of a friend right here in Melbourne, and the true story of how it came to be written is quite amazing.

Young Zach Dynes loved his Uncle Liam. Like the rest of the Dynes family and friends, he was devastated at the passing of his fun-loving uncle at the age of 26. Shortly after this sad event, young Zach had a dream. He saw his Uncle Liam riding on the back of a blue butterfly, winging his way to heaven. Zach told the family of his dream. So detailed was his dream, that Liam’s mother Aileen Dynes approached Gerry Lane, a local children’s book author, with a request. Aileen asked Gerry if it would be possible to write a story about new life, new beginnings, just as a caterpillar turns into something even more beautiful, like the blue butterfly in young Zach’s dream.

Some months later, Gerry was in the middle of writing his story about a teddy bear sitting in a toy shop, lonely, unhappy, and unsold because he had lost his button eyes. Gerry remembered Aileen’s butterfly request, and the result was magical. The Blue Butterfly added a warmth and spirit to the story, with an ending that can only be described as beautiful.

The words on the cover say it all:

A story of love, hope and wishes.

A story of a magical butterfly and teddy bears.

A story of a young girl’s longing to help another.

A story of a miracle for someone she cares about.”

Teddy and the Blue Butterfly is dedicated to Liam Dynes, who gave the gift of sight to others.

After writing the story, Gerry learned the following, much to his surprise:

Gerry wanted to write about a teddy without an arm or leg, but changed it to missing eyes – Liam donated the cornea of his eyes so others may see.

Liam’s pet dog was Jessie – the little girl in the story is Jessie.

A collage of Liam’s photos in a large frame is a feature in the Dynes home, with both stars and a teddy bear as its centrepiece – Gerry’s story is about teddy bears, butterflies and starlight.

Gerry and Aileen like to think that Liam just might have had a hand in writing a beautiful children’s picture book: Teddy and the Blue Butterfly. The prayer at the end of the book is an inspiration for all of us seeking to make changes in our lives and, perhaps make the world a better place:

Should you discover a golden cocoon,

When there is magic in the air
and starlight in the moon,
Close your eyes, make a wish for someone you care.

Perhaps a blue butterfly is listening in there.”

Whale Rescue
A Story of Blessing

If you read the front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday, December 15, 2005, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighed down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line (rope) wrapped around her body – her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farrolone Islands (outside the Golden Gate bridge) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so badly tangled; the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her, a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail would kill a rescuer. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around – she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.

The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

The True Meaning of Peace

There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them. One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains were all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds.

All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace. The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell, and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the King looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest ..... perfect peace.

Which picture do you think won the prize?
The King chose the second picture.
Do you know why?

Because”, explained the King, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace”.


Beyond Caterpillar Consciousness

Would a caterpillar be happy to die, if it knew it will one day become a beautiful butterfly? Would a man be prepared to venture past his everyday consciousness, if he knew of the wondrous worlds beyond?

Let us imagine a caterpillar on a leaf. Its vision is constrained to the surface of the leaf. All its world is encompassed by the leaf and the foliage nearby. The caterpillar is probably quite surprised when the leaf becomes yellow and falls from the tree in autumn. The caterpillar knows nothing about the wider universe of the tree and its network of roots and branches, much less the seasons that control its growth. They exist in a dimension the caterpillar cannot imagine in its wildest dreams.

The same applies to Man. His physical body lives in three dimensional space, but his spiritual body extends far from its material manifestation, roaming through the far reaches of space to its Parent Star and beyond to the Absolute. As an inseparable part of the Absolute, the higher spiritual aspects of man are multidimensional. Therefore the Earthbound human being, bound as he is by his limited three-dimensional consciousness, cannot see with the clear eye of the spiritual self. If he is aware only of his physical body, he cannot understand the effect of his spiritual self and its state upon his health, relationships, and destiny.

He tries in vain to find explanations limited to the three-dimensional material world with which he is familiar. He cannot penetrate to the real roots of the effects he feels in the outer world because they lie in the outer dimensions of his spiritual self.
Are we, ordinary people, totally attached to our familiar three dimensions? It seems so, but only when we are acting as if unaware of any other dimensions. When we purify our mind amid the welter of routine thoughts and opinions, we become capable of expanding and multiplying the co-ordinates of our lives. By multiplying the co-ordinates of our professional and personal lives, we expand our personal universe and all its possibilities.

A caterpillar is not aware of its ability to fly. It doesn’t even dream of flying. By shedding its skin the caterpillar can grow wings, become a butterfly and receive a whole new dimension of life – it can fly! Our caterpillar may be apprehensive about the necessity to change its life. It seems like death, but dying as a caterpillar, it resurrects as a butterfly! We cannot realise or even imagine the consciousness and might of the Absolute – call it ‘God’, or by whatever name, which is the real Reason and Creative force acting in all dimensions. Mankind has received descriptions
of Divine (Cosmic) laws from Divine Hierarchies through enlightened teachers throughout the Ages and in the modern era by HP Blavatsky and others.

The science of the new millennium could derive its premises from these universal multidimensional laws, changing our point of view, observing all things from the all-dimensional spiritual level of the Absolute, rather than from the limited three-dimensional material level of a terrestrial being. Now, as we stand on the threshold of the new millennium, each of us has the choice: whether to remain secure and fixed in our limited notions or to start the process of forming a multidimensional view grounded in the Spirit. So, do we want to remain caterpillars or fly free like butterflies?

Roza Riakkenen


The prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

O Lord, make me an instrument of
Thy Peace!

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is discord, harmony;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light, and

Where there is sorrow, joy.

Oh, Divine Master, grant that I may not so Much seek to be consoled as to console;

To be understood as to understand;

To be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

And it is in dying
That we are born to Eternal Life.

“Coming to Earth is about travelling away from our home to a foreign land. Some things seem familiar but most are strange until we get used to them, especially conditions which are unforgiving. Our real home is a place of absolute peace, total acceptance and complete love. As souls separated from our home we can no longer assume these beautiful features will be present around us. On Earth we must learn to cope with intolerance, anger and sadness while searching for joy and love.
We must not lose our integrity along the way, sacrificing goodness for survival and acquiring attitudes either superior or inferior to those around us. We know that living in an imperfect world will help us to appreciate the true meaning of perfection. We ask for courage and humility before our journey into another life.

As we grow in awareness so will the quality of our existence. This is how we are tested. Passing this test is our destiny.”

From a book Destiny of Souls” by Michael Newton.

A story from the Dreamtime of the Australian Aboriginals

For many years I have been fascinated by the similarities we find in the Myths and Legends and Religions existing among the different kinds of people of this earth, showing us that we all share a common heritage.

I have found that there is no civilization that does not acknowledge, in one way or another, that this earth has been created long ago and eventually has to die and another one will follow to take its place, in the endless cycle of Birth and Death.  In the “Dreamtime”  we find  Creation stories, as well as the Story of the Flood.

The Australian Aboriginals have lived in this country, according to the latest research, for at least 60,000 years.  They call their Myths, Legends and Religion “The Dreamtime”.   In a book called “Aboriginal Myths & Legends” by Roland Robinson I found an ancient story about the Flood. The story was told  by Kianoo Tjeemairee,  of the Murinbata Tribe.

He tells the story of how heavy and continuous rain fell day and night, until the land was flooded by both the rain and the rising of the sea. 

Only one mountain remained above the rising water.  To escape the rising waters, all the men of the bird totems had been led to this mountain top by the stone-curlew man, Karan. 

In this story, Karan is opposed by the king-quail man, Yalngook who believes that nothing can save all living  beings of this world from destruction.

The water continues to rise, the bird-men, under the direction of Karan, built a ring of stones, just below the mountain top to keep out the rising waters.

Again and again Karan sends out various couples of bird-men to fly over the water and see if any land is showing. The bird-men  always return, exhausted, without any news of having sighted land. Yalngook, the quail-king, who is opposing Karan, ridicules him for his efforts in trying to find land, for he can only believe in death and destruction coming to all.

At last, two honey-eater bird-men were sent out by Karan. After a day and a night they returned and one of the bird-man held a branch of leaves in his beak, which he had taken from a tree standing on dry land.

Yalngok admitted that he was wrong and admits that life  would survive.

Karan flew away from the mountain top and as the waters went down all the different birds flew  away back to their own countries to build a new life.
— Lo Guest

A parable of two frogs

A group of frogs were hopping contentedly though the woods going about their froggy business, when two of them fell into a deep pit. All of the other frogs gathered around the pit to see what could be done to help their companions. When they saw how deep the pit was, the rest of the dismayed group agreed that it was hopeless and told the two frogs in the pit that they should prepare themselves for their fate, because they were as good as dead.

Unwilling to accept this terrible fate, the two frogs began to jump with all of their might. Some of the frogs shouted into the pit that it was hopeless, and that the two frogs wouldn’t be in that situation if they had been more careful, more obedient to the froggy rules and more responsible.

The other frogs continued sorrowfully shouting that they should save their energy and give up, since they were already as good as dead. The two frogs continued jumping as hard as they could, and after several hours of desperate effort they were quite weary.

Finally, one of the frogs took heed to the calls of his fellows. Spent and disheartened, he quietly resolved himself to his fate, lay down at the bottom of the pit, and died as the others looked on in helpless grief. The other frog continued to jump with every ounce of energy he had, although his body was wracked with pain and he was completely exhausted.

His companions began anew, yelling for him to accept his fate, stop the pain and just die. The weary frog jumped harder and harder and – wonder of wonders! Finally leapt so high that he sprang from the pit. Amazed, the other frogs celebrated his miraculous freedom and them gathering around him asked: “Why did you continue jumping when we told you it was impossible?”

Reading their lips, the astonished frog explained to them that he was deaf, and that when he saw their gestured and shouting, he though they were cheering him on. What he had perceived as encouragement inspired him to try harder and to succeed against all odds.

This simple story contains a powerful lesson. The book of Proverbs says. “Your encouraging words can lift someone up and help them make it through the day. Your destructive words can cause deep wounds, they may be the weapons that destroy someone’s desire to continue trying - or even their life. Your destructive, careless word can diminish someone in the eyes of others, destroy their influence and have a lasting impact on the way others respond to them.”

Be careful what you say. There is enormous power in words. If you have words of kindness, praise or encouragement – speak them now to, and about, others. Listen to your heart and respond. Someone, somewhere, is waiting for your words.


Nicholas Roerich


Nicholas Roerich’s activities were so wide and multifaceted that it’s not possible to describe them in a short article. An
artist, who painted more than seven thousand paintings, writer, poet, who left behind nearly thirty volumes of books. A great traveller, who spend about ten years in extremely difficult expeditions in the deserts of Asia. A scientist, archaeologist, philosopher historian, and a member of many World cultural organizations.

He was born on the 9th of October, 1874 in St Petersburg, Russia to the family of a famous notary, K. F. Roerich.

As a young boy he had interests in history, archaeology, writing short stories and seriously studied painting. Later he studied simultaneously at the Law faculty of the St. Petersburg University and at the studio of a famous artist, A. I. Kuinjy, at the Emperor’s Academy of Fine Arts. Kuinjy was famous and respected by the students for his humaneness and unselfishness. He supported and developed the creative individuality of his disciple, strengthened in them the force of spirit, purposefulness and breadth of vision. Roerich remained grateful to this man till the end of his life and kept remembering him cordially.

His paintings, explore the mythic origins, the natural beauty, and the spiritual yearnings of humanity and of the world. In 1897 his first important work, the graduation picture “A Messenger” was approved by the most severe critics and bought by Tretyakov for his gallery. In 1898 at 24 years of age, Roerich received two interesting and attractive proposals: to work as an assistant of the director of the museum by the Emperor’s Arts Encouragement Society and a place as an assistant on an artistic magazine. About the same time his co-operation with a new artistic society, “The World of Arts” began. In 1899 Nicholas Roerich had another important event. He met Helena, daughter of the architect Shaposhnikov and niece of the composer Mussorgsky. There seems to have been an immediate mutual attraction, and they were soon engaged to be married. Helena Roerich was an unusually gifted woman, a talented pianist, and author of many books, including The Foundations of Buddhism and a Russian translation of Helena Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine.

In the 1920s the Master El Morya and others formed the Agni Yoga Society in Russia by inspiring and training his disciples Nicholas and Helena Roerich to become Messengers for the Mahatmas. The Agni Yoga Society is still very popular in Russia today.

Roerich’s outlook on life was forming under the influence of the Russian art and history. From the middle 1900,s Oriental influence on his paintings was clearly pronounced. Most of all he was attracted by India with its ancient culture, splendid nature and rich spiritual traditions. Roerich’s interest in Indian culture was not incidental. When studying traditions of ancient Russia and going still deeper into history, to the origins of the human society, Roerich never considered Russian culture something separate and isolated. In his article “The Joy of Art” he wrote that he had always seen Russia as a “miraculous and unique land, where the will of destiny leads the ways of many wanderers of the world. And many of those “ways” originated in the East, in India. Roerich thought about the mysterious “cradle of civilization” not only as a historian or archaeologist, but also as a philosopher. He was convinced that basic ethical laws were formed in ancient times, at the beginning of civilization and he looked for solutions to the world mysteries in myths, legends, ancient philosophic systems; he studied works of oriental thinkers.

Most of Roerich’s paintings have a symbolic character. The painting “Lotus” shows man sitting in the lotus position, in deep meditation, in the middle of a lake, surrounded by lotuses. “The Path”, a word, which is very familiar to theosophists, shows symbolically our journey to perfection along the Path, which is narrow, and very difficult.

In 1904 Roerich created the first of his paintings on religious themes. These mostly dealt with Russian saints and legends, and included “Message to Tiron”, “Fiery Furnace”, and “The Last Angel”, subjects that he returned to with numerous variants in later years. “The Treasure of the Angels” was described by one writer: “A host of angels in white garments stand silently row after row guarding a mysterious treasure with which are bound up the destinies of the world. It is a blue black stone with an image of the crucifix cut into it, glowing with emerald hues.” The angels are hierarchical Masters of a Great Brotherhood; Roerich believed that they are guiding humanity in its eternal journey of evolution.

The word “treasure” figures prominently in the titles of many of Roerich’s paintings, as, for instance, in “The Treasure of the Mountain” and “Hidden Treasure”. It is clearly not material wealth that he refers to, but rather the spiritual treasures that lie buried, yet available to those with the will to unearth them.

In the years 1925 - 1926, during a stay in Khotan, the artist created a series of paintings “Maitreya”, dedicated to
a future Buddha, whose name is connected among the peoples of the East with the arrival of a new age, an age of peace and justice. At the core of Roerich’s belief system is the Hindu concept of a beginningless and endless universe, which manifests itself in recurring cycles of creation and dissolution of material forms, caused by the pulsation of divine energy. On the human plane, this means the rise and fall of civilizations and, in terms of individual life, the reincarnation of a soul. As Roerich, the poet writes, in the poem “About the Eternal”:

Brother, let us abandon

All that rapidly changes.

Otherwise we will not have time

to turn our thoughts to that

which is changeless for all.

To the Eternal.

All paintings, music and poetry are expressed through colour, sound and words. Are these expressions confined to our senses only? In a book by David Tame “Beethoven & the Spiritual Path” the author leads us to believe that Beethoven was able to hear the “Music of the Spheres”. Did Roerich see surrounding nature through the “Colours of the Spheres” with his inner eyes?

His art projects a sense of intensity, majesty and serenity. In his Himalayan collection one can feel and smell freshness of the snow, crispness of the air and an ever-changing play of light and shadow with unusual colour combinations.

Art, music and literature, when used to influence our Higher Self become a divine gift; a gift which encourages and inspires us and reminds us who we are. Nicholas Roerich’s work achieved that. His paintings are like celestial music; divine, pure, timeless and precise. You want to contemplate them, drink them, absorb them. They leave you somehow pure and uplifted.

Nicholas Roerich died in the Kullu Valley, of the Himalayas, on December 13, 1947. His body was cremated and its ashes buried on a slope facing the mountains he loved and portrayed in many of his nearly seven thousand works.



For thousands of years rumours and reports have circulated that somewhere beyond Tibet, among the icy peaks and secluded valleys of Central Asia, there lies an inaccessible paradise, a place of universal wisdom and ineffable peace called Shambhala.

The Sanskrit name means “place of peace, of tranquillity.” Though it’s true location has never been found, its beginnings are unknown and its existence is unproven.

Shambhala is recognized and honoured by at least eight major religions, and is regarded by most esoteric traditions as the true center of the planet and the world’s spiritual powerhouse. It is said to be inhabited by adepts from every race and culture who form an inner circle that secretly guides human evolution.

It would be easy to dismiss Shambhala as pure mythical fantasy, were it not for a very credible explorer who searched for, found and returned to tell us something about his experiences in Shambhala. Nicholas Roerich, a Russian born artist, poet, writer and distinguished member of the Theosophical Society, led an expedition across the Gobi Desert to the Altai mountain range from 1923 to 1928, a journey which covered 15,500 miles across 35 of the world’s highest mountain passes. Roerich was a man of unimpeachable credentials.

In his books “Heart of Asia” and “Shambhala” he describes both his scientific observations and his personal spiritual quest. This blending of the scientific and the spiritual is also present in the hundreds of paintings Roerich made throughout the expedition.

That Shambhala was a physical reality was shared both by a growing metaphysical school in Europe, and by Rene Guenon, a Sufi scholar and skilled student of the ancient Jewish Cabala, and a contemporary of Roerich and spiritual teacher George Gurdjieff.

The wise do not expect to reap everlasting happiness from friends, beloved family, or dear possessions! The forms of loved ones are snatched away by death. Material objects turn out to be meaningless when one becomes used to them; or when, in old age, the senses grow unappreciative, powerless. Concentrate on the immortal Spirit through meditation and find there a harvest of eternal, ever new peace!

Paramahansa Yogananda

Commentary to “The Bhagavad Gita”


What Theosophy Means To Me

For me Theosophy and its application of strategies for living, as espoused by the Society’s five objectives, attempts to direct one’s endeavours towards a life of “divine ethics”. This is a personal, individual attainment. I hasten to add, difficult to live by, but a noble attainment, regardless.

What I particularly appreciate about Theosophy is the lack of dogma, any sense of an organised religion with its attendant ritual and regalia. I applaud the fact that it always encourages the individual to freely and personally consider what is “truth” and to discard that which one feels is irrelevant.

It encourages one to be the seeker of truth for oneself. It fosters the quest of the independent search for this “truth”. There are no gurus, leaders, messiahs. In fact, the seeker of truth must determine for oneself what this “truth” is, and allows one, over time, to re-evaluate whether this “truth” has currency. This principle links directly to the notion that no god is responsible for one’s fortunes.

I especially relate to the notion of being responsible for my own salvation, based on my thoughts, words and deeds. Being aware of this notion, one can not but be made consciously mindful. I find it useful in understanding this notion to regard past civilisations’ images. The one which is the most striking for me is that of the Egyptian “Weighing of the Heart” Judgement scene. In the ancient Egyptian belief system, even thoughts were scrutinized at the day of reckoning.

I also find it insightful and instructional considering the ‘wisdom, truth, knowledge, science and philosophy of civilisations over the ages’, as such information relating to human endeavour has much to teach us, and is current and universal.

As a student of the ‘human condition’, wondering and searching for answers to the eternal questions such as “Who am I?”, “How did I get here?”, “Is there life after death?,” concepts and objectives of Theosophy greatly comfort my inquiring mind.

While various philosophies such as Existentialism consider such questions, I don’t feel that they give valuable strategies for living a purposeful life. Nor do they offer adequate mechanisms for exploring responses from the ancients about what constitutes “truth” and the ancient wisdom.

Jennifer Pignataro


Thoughts from Mother Theresa

The dying, the cripple, the mentally ill, the unwanted, the unloved, they are Jesus in disguise.

There is a terrible hunger for love. We all experience that in our lives - the pain, the loneliness. We must have the courage to recognize it. The poor you may have right in your own family. Find them. Love them.

Before you speak, it is necessary for you to listen, for God speaks in the silence of the heart.

Speak tenderly to them. Let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting. Always have a cheerful smile. Don’t only give your care, but give your heart as well.

Only in heaven will we see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God better because of them.

Calcutta can be found all over the world if you have eyes to see.

The other night I dreamed that I was at the gates of heaven. And St. Peter said, ‘Go back to Earth, there are no slums up here’.

We need to find God, and God cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature, trees and flowers and grass, grow in silence. See the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence. The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life.

When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.

In the developed countries there is a poverty of intimacy, a poverty of spirit, of loneliness, of lack of love. There is no greater sickness in the world today than that one.

If you have a sick or lonely person at home, be there. Maybe just to hold a hand, maybe just to give a smile, that is the greatest, the most beautiful work.

The poor do not need our sympathy and our pity; the poor need our love and compassion.

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.