Newsletter of the Theosophical Society (Pasadena) Australasian Section
No: 95 August 2008
Theosophical Society (Pasadena) Centre
664 Glenhuntly Rd., South Caulfield, Melbourne,
Victoria 3162 AUSTRALIA
Leader: Randell C. Grubb
Homepage : www.theosophydownunder.org
A reservoir of spiritual force – based on comments by James A. Long.
What are hierarchies? – Andrew Rooke.
Reincarnation, civilization, and history – John P. Van Mater.
From our readers: Our Milky Way galaxy is on a collision course!
The law of karma: can we escape the cycle of necessity? - Clive Bellgrove.
Book Reviews: Who ordered this truckload of dung?: inspiring stories for welcoming life’s difficulties – Ajahn Brahm
Children of the light: the near-death experiences of children – Cherie Sutherland.
Theosophy in Practice: How can we practice ethical discipline?
Some thoughts on putting theosophy into action.
A RESERVOIR OF SPIRITUAL FORCE
Based on comments by James A. Long
How can I possibly make a difference to this suffering world? Shouldn’t I rush out and volunteer for service in the developing countries, or shout religion and theosophy from the roof-tops! Most of us are not in the position to do anything dramatic about many of the world’s problems. We have families to feed and ever increasing mortgages to pay, and the world is already full of people promoting their religious ideas all over the place! Theosophy tells us there is one enormously effective thing anyone can do to quietly assist the positive forces trying to relieve suffering in the world.
It is simply this – doing the duty before you no matter what your station in life, and thinking right thoughts can make a big difference. Making a sincere effort to live the ‘Golden Rule’ – doing unto others as we would have them do unto us – is within the reach of everyone and is a most powerful way of helping. How can this be you say? Surely we must be doing something more spectacular than this?
The Masters of Wisdom and their helpers are constantly trying to alleviate the burden of suffering in the world, and guide us forward on the path of spiritual evolution. However, they can only work with the ‘reservoir’ of karma that has been put there for this ‘manvantara’ [cycle of activity] and that is all there will be – unless we add to it. So you see how vitally important it is that we as students of theosophy should all recognize that we have a responsibility self-consciously not only to direct our own spiritual evolution, but self-consciously to contribute to that ‘spiritual reservoir’ of energy that is available for the Masters to use.
The power of simple spiritual energy coming forth from the heart of a sincere and compassionate person when it adds to that reservoir of spiritual force which the Masters of Wisdom only can use, and nothing more than we send there, is so great when it finally breaks through on the outer plane of ordinary life that we have not the slightest possible conception of the results that are given and received by the average ‘man in the street’. The results of our quiet efforts of good will and living the Golden Rule will be felt by our fellowmen as a spiritual strength and a guidance, however unconscious it will be to them, that will lead our civilisation a real step on the pathway towards the Masters of Wisdom. To the extent that we reach up through the quality of our thoughts and aspirations to these representatives of the ‘Hierarchy of Light’, is the extent to which they in turn can reach ‘down’ and assist our faltering footsteps along the path of spiritual evolution.
As our former Leader Jim Long said during a lecture tour of Europe:
“Thus our job as theosophists, individually and as a Society, is to attend to our work and, being good citizens in our respective nations, work for theosophy as we see fit, to the best of our ability, doing our daily duty, whether it is one thing or another. So long as we do it one-pointedly and honestly, we will begin thereby to form such a solid nucleus of spiritual force that it will have an incalculable influence in the world around us and we will win the battle of true spiritual freedom.”
Based on lectures by James A. Long to meetings at Utrecht, Amsterdam, and Bussum in Holland during his 1951 lecture tour of Europe and the United Kingdom. Available in its completeness at our Theosophical University Press website: http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/jal-1951/jaltour-hp.htm
Meetings in Melbourne August to December 2008: all lectures held at the Theosophical Society (Pasadena) Centre at 664 Glenhuntly Road, South Caulfield, Melbourne:
Sat. Aug. 2nd, 2:30pm: Using The Voice of the Silence – Brian Parry
Sat. Sept. 6th, 2:30pm: Sacred Birds – Mandy Rooke.
Sat. Oct. 4th, 2:30pm: Beauty in Ancient Egypt – Jennifer Pignataro.
Sat. Nov. 1st, 2:30pm: Spiritual Teachers: how do they get to know what they say they know? – Stefan Carey.
Sat. Dec. 6th, 2:30pm: 2012: what does it all mean? – Paul Rooke.
New on Theosophy Downunder website: New articles added to our website http://www.theosophydownunder.org/ recently under the menu item ‘Theosophy Downunder Library’ include: Ammonius Saccus by Stefan Carey; Reincarnation, Civilization and History by John P. Van Mater; the following articles by Lo Guest - Brotherhood, Theosophy in the Modern World; the following articles by Clive Bellgrove – The Infinite Divisibility of the Atom, Can we escape the Circle of Necessity?, Psychic Powers: their Use and Misuse; After Death: What? by Andrew Rooke.
WHAT ARE HIERARCHIES?
The concept of Hierarchies is one of the corner-stones of the Ancient Wisdom. In a new series, we discuss what this means and how we can apply it to our understanding of how Nature works and how we fit in with the divine plan of Universal Nature.
Many of us have fond memories of school days, progressing on through our classes in elementary school, high school, and perhaps college, all under the watchful eye of our teachers. As we outgrew the lessons of one class, we graduated and moved forward with our classmates to the more complex lessons that await higher up the educational tree. The universe itself is in a sense a vast school in which we are all pupils, learning and progressing in awareness through the various kingdoms of beings and planes of existence that this cosmos offers us. In every classroom there are pupils at roughly the same stage of educational development — the various kingdoms of life — and teachers to help us along to graduation, the spiritual teachers, messengers, and divinities. This in essence is the concept of hierarchies, a cosmic ladder of life reaching upwards and downwards through countless kingdoms of life, offering the multitude of learning experiences we need to progress through and beyond this universe.
The word hierarchies comes from the Greek hieros, "sacred," and archein, "to rule." It therefore implies grades or a series of beings working cooperatively under delegated authority directed by One having supreme authority. Examples would be any commercial company, government, or club we may have belonged to that has members, managers, and a Chief Executive Officer. Everywhere nature gives evidence of hierarchical organization, of myriad individual lives working cooperatively within more complex entities in the march of evolution. Consider the amazing social organization of the insect world where colonies of ants or bees, for example, behave like a single organism. The human body provides another example in its complex of specialized organs, each fulfilling highly specific tasks to forward the health of the whole. If one looks at the basic building block of the body, the cell, miniature organs with specific functions within their tiny cosmos appear, and again on through the molecular and sub-atomic levels in an infinite hierarchy of life.
The concept of the universe as a hierarchy of life extending through the physical into the spiritual realms is integral to most religious systems around the world. From the animist beliefs of African traditional peoples to the hierarchy of the Hindu gods, there is evidence of a widespread belief in a gradation of power and authority in the universe, of a multitude of entities working together in their appropriate realms in conducting the affairs of the cosmos.
In some religions this hierarchy is symbolized as a tree — for example, the Asvattha tree of India, the tree of wisdom and knowledge whose fruits are immortality, with its roots in heaven and its branches in the material world. The Jewish Kabbalah speaks of nine sephira hanging from a tenth, Kether, the crown or primordial point. The Pythagorean school of Greek philosophy had what they called the sacred Tetraktys, referring to the hierarchies of the cosmos in mathematical symbolism. Christianity looks on various grades of archangels, angels, seraphim, and cherubim referred to in the Bible as intermediaries between man and God. Especially influential for our view of angelic beings in the Western world were the writings of 5th-century Christian mystic Dionysius the Areopagite, including his On the Celestial Hierarchy.
In modern theosophical literature hierarchies signify the innumerable degrees, grades, and steps of evolving entities in the cosmos guided and directed by higher entities in an infinite series upwards towards godhood and downwards towards increasing materiality. Of mankind's position in the innumerable steps of the ladder of evolution, G. de Purucker says:
“The series of hierarchies extends infinitely in both directions. If he so choose for purposes of thought, man may consider himself at the middle point, from which extends above him an unending series of steps upon steps of higher beings of all grades — growing constantly less material and more spiritual, and greater in all senses — towards an ineffable point. And there the imagination stops, not because the series itself stops, but because our thought can reach no farther out nor in. And similar to this series, an infinitely great series of beings and states of beings descends . . . downwards and downwards, until there again the imagination stops, merely because our thought can go no farther.” — Occult Glossary, p. 58
Theosophical literature generally employs scales of seven, ten, or twelve in describing the hierarchies of beings "above" and "below" the human condition. The hierarchies hang one to another like pendant jewels forming a chain. So, if we use the scale of ten, the highest of our series is the lowest of the next hierarchy above it, and the lowest of our hierarchy is the highest of the cosmic hierarchy below it, giving nine steps. The nine kingdoms of life from highest to lowest as taught by the Greeks are sometimes given as: Super-Divine, which is the highest for us but which is the lowest of the hierarchy above ours — then 1) Divine hierarchies; 2) Gods or the Divine-Spiritual; 3) Demigods, sometimes called the Divine Heroes; 4) Heroes, meaning highly evolved humans; 5) Human beings; 6) Animals; 7) Plants; 8) Minerals; and 9) Elementals. Last comes the highest "Super-Divine" level of the hierarchy below ours, which is highest for them but which is attached to the lowest portion of our present cosmic hierarchy.
Next issue: What about the hierarchies of life above the human level of consciousness – Masters of Wisdom, Demi-Gods, Gods, and Super Gods? We will be taking a detailed look at the ‘Hierarchy of Compassion’ in the December issue.
REINCARNATION, CIVILIZATION AND HISTORY
John P. Van Mater
Looking around at world conditions today, with prolonged wars and a declining world economy, we might wonder how we have come to such an impasse. An understanding of the processes of reincarnation casts new light on the rise and fall of civilizations. John Van Mater comments:
“…We might ask ourselves: Why the ups and downs of civilization? They seem to rise only to die, as the flowers do, as everything in this manifested world seems to do. But why is this the case with civilizations? Well, it strikes me that when a civilization is born or a nation emerges, it attracts to itself those souls that have that karma and those abilities to express. When it is a time for pioneering, those types come in. Hardy souls like those in Australia and the USA who worked their way across the wilderness. The administrators come in at the appropriate time, come in by karma. Also the law-givers, artisans and artists, and the creative efforts begin to flower. The military also enters into the picture. In time the nation reaches its zenith of power and influence. Now the citizens no longer have to struggle for their ideals and freedoms. They suffer from a surfeit of worldly things. These come to them on a silver platter. A new type of soul comes to birth, softer, more effete. Gradually the seeds of decline set in, and in due course the nation will ebb away.
I believe reincarnation sheds a wonderful light on this subject, because at every stage in the development of a nation, the souls come in whose destiny is such as to fulfil the destiny of the nation at that point. This also applies to the nation’s decline. In the decline of Rome some of the Caesars were actually depraved. Caligula, who had his favourite horse raised to the consulship and given a golden stall. It is difficult to conceive of the head of a huge empire behaving in such a fashion. Of course Rome was so well built that it took a long time on the way down, Centuries.
Civilizations simply cannot continue to rise and rise for very good reasons, the way I see it. Take the hordes that followed Genghis Khan when he slaughtered his way across Asia, hesitating (luckily for us) on the borders of Europe. Then there was his grandson Tamerlane who swept through Asia Minor pulling down some of those grand old cities stone by stone. Can you imagine such a thing?
Now these often cruel souls who followed their cruel leaders were human souls like we are. They will reincarnate, and when they do, they will bring themselves and their karma. It will not be sweetness and light. The seeds they sowed were not seeds of calmness, deliberation and forbearance. Their seeds were seeds of violence, and they will bring on violent karma. Now if civilizations continued to rise and rise, where would be the place for these types with different brands of karma.
That is why the world is fragmented at times. Here a high civilization, but over there more violent types expending themselves. Hence we have the rise and fall, the birth, growth, zenith, decline, and death; sometimes a violent death, but not always so. It seems to be nature’s way. Everything follows these rhythms: seeds sprout, grow, flower, and in the Autumn wither and die. Nations, corporations, and even suns follow the same pattern. But when they die, that is not the end, for the souls return to build anew…”
The full text of John’s article on this subject is now available on the internet on our Theosophy Downunder website at:
FROM OUR READERS
Please write in with your ideas or comments on any aspect of Theosophy at any time. One of our readers who has an interest in astronomy, has written in with a rather disturbing observation:
MILKY WAY GALAXY IS ON A COLLISION COURSE!
Our solar system exists within a great whirlpool of billions of similar suns and planets that make up our Milky Way galaxy. The nearest large galaxy to us is the Andromeda galaxy which is currently about 2.5 million light years away from us and rushing towards us at enormous speed. As the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxies are the two largest objects in our local area of space, there is nothing surer that they will collide, as indeed galactic collisions are relatively common in the universe. This momentous event is due to begin in about 2.5 billion years from now with the final merger of the two galaxies in 5 billion years from now. If you think of one 'day', or rotation of our galaxy as approx. 250 million years, then this means that in approx 10 'days' of galactic time, this collision will occur! The science behind this coming merging of our galaxy with the Andromeda galaxy is explained in detail on the internet at:
What could this possibly mean to me you might say? Surely this is so far off in the future that it has no relevance to me? Thinking of it scientifically, this collision will occur when our Sun is reaching the end of its current life cycle and our Earth will be already in its 'death' or 'pralaya' period for this incarnation as far as I understand the theosophical explanation of the time periods and cycles involved. When the earth and the human life wave as reimbodying beings come into rembodiment again, our solar system will exist in an entirely new and much larger galaxy made up of the two old galaxies that collided. The solar system will be in a new position compared to its current location in regards to the 'central sun' of the galaxy, and our cosmic environment will be very different from what we know today.
Nowhere in the theosophical literature can I find anything which even hints at this incredible catastrophe that is surely coming to us as the Andromeda galaxy moves inexorably towards us at 120 kms per second. Think of the profound theosophical implications of a complete restructuring of our galactic environment and what this could mean for the future evolution of the Earth and Humanity.
What do you think about this? Does it matter at all? Why do you think this is happening? What implications does it have for the future of the evolving Earth, Solar System and Humanity?
THE LAW OF KARMA: can we escape the circle of necessity?
Karma is the all-pervading law of Infinite Nature, and it manifests its purposes through Cause and Effect, Action and Reaction. There can be no effect without a preceding cause, and no cause without a succeeding effect, however delayed the result may be.
A circle in itself is very interesting. It cannot create itself. Somebody has first to want to draw a circle; then proceeds the placing of a point on paper and, with compass and pencil, drawing a circle. The circle is both a finite and an infinite line, and constitutes the limit beyond which the central point cannot expand, its “ring-pass-not”.
The Ancient Wisdom teachings show that the sphere, an extension of the circle, is the most perfect form in Nature, because the periphery is everywhere equidistant from the centre. The surface of the sphere is both a finite plane as well as being infinite, starting nowhere, ending nowhere.
Infinity is a continuum, full of Conscious Entities. There is no emptiness anywhere, there are no hiatuses. Every entity within Infinity is obliged through past karma to reimbody. After a period of rest the entity desires to reimbody to gain more experience and to strive further along the pathway to spiritual enlightenment.
“Desire first arose in the heart of the Absolute”, and within every other entity that reimbodies.
But each entity can manifest only on planes of Being that are appropriate for its development. It cannot reach higher into spiritual planes than it karmically deserves; and it has already evolved out of and beyond the limitations of those planes of Being lower than itself.
Coming into manifestation in the planes of Being appropriate to itself, it does so in a state of ‘nescience’, of unknowing. As its evolution proceeds, always in strict accordance with its karma, it makes many mistakes through its ignorance, and later by choice. By the time the ability to discriminate between right and wrong has been reached there is a load of karma that it has been gathering, and which will be added to all the unfinished karma from past times that brought us back into incarnation.
The Law of Karma is relentless, but it is also absolutely just. Saint Paul in the New Testament, explained the doctrine perfectly when he wrote:
“Be not deceived, God is not mocked; but
whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”.
Nature calls upon all beings to redeem only such wrongs as they have thought or done; never more, never less. But Nature ensures that, whether we like it or not, we do the redeeming ourselves. To aid us in our endeavours we have the guidance and inspiration of great sages who, however great their stature now, have lived through and triumphed over the experiences equivalent to our humanhood, and who therefore are entitled to teach because of that experience.
As everyone knows, or comes eventually to know, we learn more quickly and certainly through our mistakes than through mere lecturing and book learning. These latter touch the mind; but the former become ingrained in the soul.
We have lived thousands of lives on Planet Earth already, and will live thousands more before our association with this sphere ends. There has never been a time when we did not exist, and there will never be a time when we will cease to exist, in some form or other. Is it possible, then, to escape this present Circle of Necessity? The answer is emphatically yes; and just as emphatically no! Both are true. Let us take this paradox in two stages.
No one, no Being, comes into imbodiment without countless strands of karma from the past. No human being reincarnates with a load of karma too heavy for him to bear, for Nature is fundamentally compassionate, and seeks to nurture her products, not destroy them. But a human being can, through wilfulness, so add to a load of karma during a lifetime that the burden becomes insupportable.
It is at this stage that people begin to look for ways and means to avoid their problems and difficulties, their sorrows and sufferings. They turn to one or more of the many diversions such as tarot cards, astrology, tea cup reading and a host of other such means by which they hope to learn something of the future, and thus be able to avoid further problems and difficulties, and perhaps learn a few solutions to present ones. In fact, they are tying to avoid the working out of their own karma, the results of their own thoughts and actions in the past. Nevertheless they readily accept, without question, the “good” things that come their way. As a result of past actions they have deserved these “good” things too, and Karma, being thoroughly impersonal and impartial, brings these as well. One can suppress the working out of “unfortunate” karma for a while; but when it comes naturally it comes when conditions are best for coping with it. When put off, and the longer it is put off, it becomes progressively more difficult to handle.
The lesson, then, is to learn how to accept one’s karma as it arrives day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, and to meet it with the strength of character, such as it is, that one has developed over many lifetimes and the ages. By this process the development of strength of character continues ceaselessly. With what result?
One of the early lessons learned is that, in hurting others, one eventually hurts oneself most. So one learns not to harm other people by word or deed; and then to help others when one can without interfering in their karma; for they are learning entities also. Nevertheless “inaction in a deed of mercy becomes an action in a deadly sin.” But one must remember that one does not help others by allowing them to impose upon oneself.
The great sages have given, over the ages and in many languages, teachings as to the best way to live harmlessly and helpfully in the world, how to live wholesomely, how to cleanse oneself physically, emotionally, mentally; and since Nature abhors a vacuum, as the lesser qualities are overcome and flow out of one’s character, they are replaced by the higher and yet higher mental and spiritual thoughts of a person living in a wholesome physical body.
Somewhere along the line of this spiritual progress one has become a student of the wisdom teachings, eventually to attract the attention of some chela or teacher or sage, who teaches the searcher how to triumph over the lesser part of his character, and how to redeem more and more of his past karma through good works.
The eventual result, as some will have read or heard, is that the aspirant will have the opportunity and duty to undertake the experiences of genuine initiation. During that event he will survey all the events of not only his present life, but many others on this Planet Earth, and know the absolute justice of all that has happened to him in the past; and, returning safely from those experiences of initiation, he will have overcome his karma and his Circle of Necessity will be finished. Nevertheless he can thereafter, as and when he wishes, return to imbodiment on Earth and help and teach retarded humanity, some of whom are beginning the struggle on the upward path to spiritual enlightenment and attainment; others, indeed the majority, who are unaware of the splendour that lies ahead of literally everyone who walks the face of Earth, eventually. Thus, one sees, it is impossible to escape the Circle of Necessity.
But what happens next? Infinity is a continuum, and so there must be a consequence to this initiatory attainment. He who triumphs can return to imbodiment to help and teach and encourage lesser mortals. Or he can enter a prolonged Nirvana and rest in the sublime conditions which he has earned through his own efforts. But, as with heaven and ‘Devachan’, there is an end to Nirvana for every entity experiencing it. That ‘Nirvanee’ finds himself in a higher world of manifestation, beyond the understanding of our present humanity; but still a realm of Being where the Law of Karma applies, as it does throughout all infinity. And so our Nirvanee finds that, having escaped from one circle or cycle of necessity, he has, after a long rest period, entered another one which, though next higher than that in which we present humans function, still has its “ring-pass-not”, its zenith or apex beyond which he cannot soar until a far higher initiation takes him into that next higher sphere; its nadir impinging on that realm of existence which he has just left behind in his march of evolution, but in which we still at present function.
And so we see that one Circle of Necessity is replaced by a higher one, on and on through infinite time and space. And although the Law of Karma is of infinite application, because of that fact it can never finally be overcome; which explains the paradox.
BOOK REVIEWS - New books recently added to our Melbourne library include:
Who ordered this truckload of dung?: inspiring stories for welcoming life’s difficulties by Ajahn Brahm. Wisdom Publications, 2005.
An inspiring collection of 108 stories from an English Buddhist monk, trained in Thailand, and now resident in Western Australia. Ajahn Brahm is renowned for his wonderful sense of humour and the philosophical depth of his deceptively simple and homespun stories. It is the sort of book that is very easy to read and can be kept at the bedside and dipped into at any point to comfort and inspire. Many stories are true-to-life tales that help us to develop a deeper understanding of mindfulness, compassion, and wisdom. After reading this book we will all open the doors of our hearts to more, goodness, kindness, and happiness.
Children of the light: the near-death experiences of children by Cherie Sutherland. Bantam Books,1995.
We wish to extend our thanks and appreciation friends around the world who send us their newsletters. 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 21st Century Path (USA), Theosophy North-West View (USA), Kali Yuga Rag (USA), Compass (England).
THEOSOPHY IN PRACTICE: How can we practice ‘Ethical Discipline’?
We continue our series on putting theosophical ideas into practice in daily life based on the Buddhist teachings of Tibetan Buddhist Master Tsong-Kha-Pa. This issue we continue our analysis of the six ‘Paramitas’ or ‘Virtues’ which are said by Mahayana Buddhists and Theosophists alike to be necessary for those seeking to live a more enlightened life or, as the Buddhists would say, follow the ‘Boddhisattva Ideal’. These six virtues are: Generosity; Ethical Discipline; Patience; Joyous Perseverance; Meditative Stabilization; and finally Wisdom. Let’s take a closer look at the second such virtue: Ethical Discipline.
When we set out seriously on the spiritual path, we may start to develop an exaggerated sense of our own importance after we receive a few teachings of the ancient wisdom. The ever-present tendency is to think of ourselves as ‘more along the spiritual path’ than others, and from here it is a short step to not practicing what we preach. Buddhists call keeping a sense of perspective and sincerely practicing our spiritual ideals, ‘Ethical Discipline’. Besides keeping high standards of personal ethics, it means refraining from harming others in thought or deed or even developing the attitudes which have the potential to harm others. Do not be hypercritical of those who know less than you or of the standards of the world which, after all, we helped create in other lives of the past, and must now work to put aright. Practice what we preach and sincerely work towards our own perfection of ethical discipline. For, how can we help others if we have no ethical discipline ourselves?
Think and ponder upon the importance of maintaining ethical discipline and what follows karmically from it, and what may follow for us from the non-observance of it! One of the great benefits of quietly working at the implementation of these ‘virtues’ in our lives is that other people will automatically see it in our behaviour and people who need advice or assistance will be attracted to you. I remember a case like this of an elderly lady who had sincerely worked at the ‘inner work’ of incorporating theosophical teachings in daily life for a whole of a very long lifetime. When this elderly lady was sitting at a bus stop one day, a young woman started spontaneously talking to her because she said she sensed there was something special about her. It turned out the young woman was on her way to commit suicide, and the old lady was able to talk her out of it, and from then they became firm friends and the young lady went on to have a full life.
So how can we practice ‘Ethical Discipline? Here are some suggestions from Tsong-Kha-Pa, the founder of the Buddhist order of monks the Dalai Lama belongs to:
The ethical discipline of restraint: this means restraining from harm in word or deed to others, or doing that which is inconsistent with the ‘boddhisattva ideal’ [to live to assist humanity forward on the spiritual path], ie. restraining from deeds that are wrong in their very nature, or even the motivation towards such deeds. This was said to be important as the basis of the other two practices of ethical discipline being:
The ethical discipline of gathering virtue: this means sincerely working towards the development of the six ‘virtues’, ie: Generosity; Ethical Discipline; Patience; Joyous Perseverance; Meditative Stabilization; and finally Wisdom. We should work towards developing those of the six that remain undeveloped in our nature, don’t spoil the ones we have developed already, and increase them even further in our thought and consequent behaviour.
The ethical discipline of acting for the welfare of others: means that we should focus our energies on the welfare of others, and help them accomplish their spiritual development as far as possible in this and future lives in a suitable manner without wrongdoing.
These may seem pretty high ideals amidst the hurly-burly of modern life. But at least we can do something along these lines according to whatever job or situation in which we find ourselves. If we genuinely try to practice ‘ethical discipline’ in the arena of everyday life, we will thus strengthen our adherence to the ‘Boddhisattva Ideal’ and improve our capacity to serve the cause of the Masters of Wisdom in this and in future lifetimes.
Next issue: building and practicing Patience.
SOME THOUGHTS ON PUTTING THEOSOPHY INTO ACTION
principles to be vital, must be lived from within, outwards. They
should pass uninterruptedly from the state of intuitive ideas into
that of objective activity. Pure intellect (analytical and agnostic
in attitude), delays this process. While it searches the content of
the heart in the spirit of a customs officer examining suspected
luggage, much of the force of that heart's spontaneity is lost. We
are dealing with questions of Force, and, from that aspect, intuitive
ideas are deadened the moment they are intellectualized. . . . Could
we discard the fatal habit of viewing acts and conditions as final
and complete in themselves, could we see each interlinked with the
whole plan of Nature, we should in that broader aspect regain a sense
of proportion, of relativity, of interaction of states of Being, to
which the minds of men today are either strangers, or wholly
averse.” — Julia W. L. Keightley,
Theosophy, Vol 11, No. 8, “Theosophy In the Home”
“A man is not great merely because he thinks lofty thoughts, because his ideas equal in sublimity the loftiest that the human race knows, nor because he is a preacher of beautiful phrases. A man is great only in proportion as these, through his own deliberate will, manifest themselves in his daily life. Such a man becomes a light, lighting not merely his own pathway on the endless pilgrimage of eternity, but shining afar as a star giving light unto his fellows, providing an ever-flowing inspiration into their hearts. A true teacher is one by example as well as by precept” G de Purucker The Esoteric Tradition
“What you are cries out so loud, I can’t hear what you say.” Emerson.
Greece: I have been told that Melbourne, Australia, is the second largest Greek-speaking city in the world, including Greece! It therefore seems appropriate to mention a good Greek theosophical site that has been recommended by Greek friends - www.blavatsky.gr Also, some Greek theosophists have recently established a theosophical ‘blog’ that enables readers to provide feedback and ask questions in Greek language located at: http://theosophy-ult.blogspot.com
The three-day annual meeting of Blavatsky Studies held from 29 May to 1 June, was successful with 60 participants sharing comments and questions. Besides the Greek participants, theosophists from abroad participated. The theme of the conference was the “Law of Periodicity” including such topics as: the Law, Divine Thought, Soul and Consciousness, Evolution, the Paramitas, Karma and Reincarnation, and the law of Cycles. The purpose of this meeting was to focus on Madame Blavatsky’s writings and to gather together theosophists from different groups. The organizers hope that this first meeting will be the beginning of similar gatherings around the world.
USA: International Theosophical Conference 2008: to be held at Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania, USA August 7-10, 2008. The conference theme is, ‘Global Dialogue: Universal Communication of Wisdom in the 21st Century’. More information is available at: http://www.theosconf.org
New play on HPB opens on Broadway: a new play, ‘A Dangerous Personality’, based on the life of theosophical founder HP Blavatsky opened in New York at the Julia Miles Theatre in June. It certainly shows that there is still plenty of interest in HPB’s fascinating and adventurous life 120 years after her passing.