AUSTRALASIAN TS NEWSLETTER
No. : 75 December 2001
Theosophical Society (Pasadena) Australasian Section
664 Glenhuntly Rd., South Caulfield, Melbourne, Victoria 3162 AUSTRALIA
Tel. : (03) 9528.1011 Fax : (03) 9528.3097
Email : email@example.com
WWW homepage : www.theosophie.net/australia/
ISSN : 0814-569
Who was Jesus? - Marilyn O’Day
Woerld Trade Centre Disaster : a theosophic perspective - Nancy Coker
The Critical Moment : facing feelings of Dread - Zealator
Seven Jewels of Wisdom : 2 : Karma - Stefan Carey
Obituary : Mamie Parsons
WHO WAS JESUS?
By Marilyn O’Day
In the Christian gospels, the life, teachings, and death of a man named Jesus are described. For centuries searchers and theologians have asked: Did Jesus really exist? Who was he, and why did he come? How much of what is said of him in the Bible is fact and how much myth? Theosophical literature tries to answer some of these questions.
According to HAP. Blavatsky and G. de Purucker, Jesus really did exist. He was born in Syria, perhaps 100 years before the time set by Christian scholars. As a youth, he “followed all the esoteric teaching of his time.” As he grew into manhood, he became an initiate at a Mystery school in Syria, where he learned esoteric subjects and strict discipline. The purpose of the initiation process that he went through is to allow a worthy pupil to achieve a self-conscious reunion with his inner god. This makes the initiate a better tool through which spiritual forces can work to help humanity. As Jesus reached maturity, he went through the final phase of initiation, in which he faced many trials, some of which are described in the New Testament as the temptations, the descent into Hell, etc. After Jesus passed this initiation, his teachings became truly esoteric.
The teachings of Jesus are not new; they are the same as those taught by other great masters, comprising the ancient wisdom religion that some today call theosophy. These teachings were not meant for the masses, but for Jesus’ chosen circle of students and disciples. But one may notice that the teachings in the Christian gospels only vaguely resemble teachings in modern theosophical literature. Why? According to G.de Purucker, “within less than one hundred years after the disappearance of the avatar Jesus, the body of teachings that Jesus had left behind had degenerated. His disciples failed in practically every instance. They obscured and even changed the original teachings. They made them what they thought would be more simple and more easily understood” (Dialogues 2:213). Not only were Jesus’ original teachings changed, but the narratives in the gospels describing his life are not necessarily accurate. The man described there is an idealised representation of any initiate, and around this figure were woven tales of the initiation process as then told in Syria. Jesus’ virgin birth, his trials, crucifixion, and resurrection are all allegorical description of the initiation process in general, and do not necessarily represent a true narrative of his life.
Jesus was more than just a great seer or sage. he was an avatara, a Sanskrit word meaning “to pass down” or “to descend”. An avatara is the manifestation of a god or divinity in the form of a human being. The avatara consists of three parts: “an inspiring divinity; a highly evolved intermediate nature or soul, which is loaned to him and is the channel of that inspiring divinity; and a pure clean physical body.” The avatara is created when the human consciousness or soul of a very highly evolved human enters an unborn child, and the resultant being is then overshadoewd by a divinity. The avatara thus created is only a temporary being who has no karma as an ordinary man does. It also does not die as we do. When its time on earth is done, it separates into its component parts: the atoms of the body dissipate, the intermediate nature returns to the one who loaned it, and the divine ray is withdrawn.
Teachers such as Jesus appear on a cyclical basis. One such cycle extends over 2160 years. This equals the length of time of the precession of the equinoxes (25,920 years) divided by the number of houses of the zodiac (12), and is the length of time the earth spends in any given sign of the zodiac. At the beginning and ending of each such “messianic” period, various cycles of civilisation are running downwards spiritually and psychologically , and a special effort is needed to provide intellectual and spiritual help. It has been about 2160 years since Jesus’ appearance, and we are just entering a new messianic cycle, the so-called age of Aquarius. Helena Blavatsky helped to open this cycle with her theosophical work.
Jesus was one of many avataras who have appeared on earth. But that in no way diminishes the magnitude of the sacrifice made by him to bring spiritual enlightenment to an ailing World. Through gospels may not accurately reflect the details of the life of the man-avatara Jesus, the spirit of Christ’s love of mankind is evident there, and his example. of an unselfish and forgiving soul continues to inspire us.
[Any readers who want to know more about theosophical views on Christianity should read : Henry Travers Edge - Theosophy and Christianity Theosophical Manual no.12]
Australian Newsletter : the Australasian TS Newsletter will appear three times per year now instead of quarterly. Look for it in April, August and December from now on. The latest issue of our newsletter is also always available on the Internet at our website.
NSW library relocated : our library of theosophical books, magazines and tapes stored for many years at the home of Walter geerings in Umina, has recently been relocated to our TS (Pasadena) Centre in Melbourne. The library has now been unpacked and is available for consultation as part of our Melbourne library collection.
Lecture tapes handouts : tapes and printed handouts from recent lectures in Melbourne are available for anyone contacting the editor. Handouts on “What are Hierarchies?”, “The Hierarchy of Compassion” and “Modern Russian mysticism after HP Blavatsky till now...” and “Lokas and Talas”.
Radio programs on mystical subjects : Australia’s ABC Radio National has a special program ‘Encounter’ that explores the connections between religion and life on Sunday at 7.10am repeated Wednesday at 7.10pm. The program regularly reflects on the religious experience of multicultural Australia. This includes small, leer-known groups and gives access to voices and experiences that are often not heard in the mainstream media. Radio National is available on the Internet where printed transcripts are available. Radio KPFK is also on the Internet at http://www.kpfk.org/kpfk.ram There are two times for spiritually oriented programs : Tuesday 5pm to 11pm and Friday 5pm to 11pm. Also, Tuesday 4-5pm has an hour of Alan Watts lectures and Friday 4-5pm has a call-in talk show with Michael Benner.
Encyclopedic Theosophic Glossary : The current manuscript of the Encyclopedic Glossary prepared under the direction of G. de Purucker during the 1930s and 1940s, but never published, and subsequently reviewed and edited by an editorial team led by Grace Knoche may be accessed on the internet website at : www.theosociety.org/pasadena/etgloss/etg-hp.htm
This is an invaluable source of information on all theosophical subjects and should be a standard reference for all theosophical students.
Theosophy Magazines on the Internet : there are several wonderful resources on the internet for theosophical students including the following magazines : Sunrise : theosophic perspectives published by our Society available at our HQ website www.theosociety.org and also available at the same address are links to our own Australian newsletter on the net and the address to write to for the email version of the South African newsletter Contact. Other magazines include : Theosophy World : at www.theosophy.net/tw.html; The High Country Theosophist : at www.groups.yahoo.com/group/high country; The Aquarian Theosophist : is a monthly send out as an email attachment if you mail to firstname.lastname@example.org The theosophical search engine at ‘Blavatskynet’ has references to many other wonderful theosophical magazines and other web resources in theosophy.
NEWS FROM THE USA : recent newsletter from the USA give dtails of activities of our Society in many parts of the US including San Diego, California where there is a new discussion group in Sanish discussing the Spanish version of Expanding Horizons. Theosophy Northwest in Bellevue, WA, has regular discussions at the local library including such subjects as “Is Life Fair?”, and “Theosophy and Christianity” and they publish a very good newsletter, Theosophy Northwest View which is on display in our Melbourne library. On of the most intereasting newsletters published by any of our groups in the States is Kali Yuga Rag published by the Great Lakes Branch of the Theosophical Society (Pasadena) and also in our Melbourne library.
NEWS FROM AFRICA : Nigeria : belief in reincarnation is a world-wide phenomenan, but I wonder how many pople know that reincarnation is a widely held tradition amongst African people. Igwe Amakulo, of our Nigerian Section has recently sent us a fascinating lecture he gave this year on ‘Reincarnation in Igboland’ which gives a unique view of reincation in traditional African religion by a local person. This means that Igwe’s lecture is full of personal observations from his village as well as interesting details of different beliefs about reincarnation and its processes. Igwe also includes a well-researched section on reincarnation in Christian tradition. A copy of Igwe’s paper can be sent to you by contacting the editor. South Africa : Maude and Hugo Oosterwijk have kindly sent us their newsletter Contact by email once again. This issue contains articles on the September [northern autumn] equinox and its esoteric significance - ‘The Great Passing’. Other articles include ‘Our Shared Humanity’ and ‘The Secret Wisdom of Symbols’.
Many thanks to friends of other Sections for sending us their newsletters Copies are on display in our melbourne library and photocopies can be sent on request.
WORLD TRADE CENTRE DISASTER - a theosophic perspective
by Nancy Coker, Pasadena USA, September 19th, 2001
We were catapulted into the season of darkness [the northern autumn/winter] tragically and early this year. In the northern hemisphere, late Fall and Winter are the times we associate with dying, not bright summer days.
But there is an orderliness in the procession of the planets and seasons that can help centre us, help us stabilize as we come to grips with the horrendous and chaotic events of these past weeks. As Earth approaches its autumn equinox [September 22nd] - a time when both night and day are of equal length - we are reminded and reassured that balance and harmony are always establishing themselves. We take comfort that the universe works.
We sometimes get lost in the confusion of the small picture, but we are rooted firmly in the large. And in our spiritual practice of working towards brotherhood, we’re learning to see past the superficials, towards the divinity shining within each and everyone. I grant you, after the horror of the last few days, our vision is being sorely tested.
Though the terrorists acted out of hatred, they acted coordinately, with patience, focus, boldness, and discipline. Surely exemplary values when balanced with love; monstrously perverted when used in the service of hate. Observing our reactions to these catostrophic activities, we begin to discern whether we are spiritual-tourists or real spiritual workers in the world. The future speaks through us (as it did through the actions of those terrorists), so let’s not allow vengeful thoughts to fly from us like hate-seeking missiles. let our outrage galvanize our actions to work towards peaceful co-existence, everywhere. Let wounds we’ve received help our hearts grow increasingly strong and wise. let us ally ourselves in thought with all those who suffer, that they may draw from our strength.
THE CRITICAL MOMENT : facing feelings of Dread
by Zealator - from New Century Vol.6no.28 1901
It is a common experience with those who are struggling toward the light of a higher life that contemplation of tomorrow, or the future in general, brings feelings of Dread.
This may follow a time of unusual exaltation, or it may come about by the thought of tomorrow as devoid of some indulgence which we have decided to give up. The hours of the day come to look gray and sterile, and anticipation of them may even bring a sort of terror.
It is just there that the aspirant fails, and just there that victory may be gained, a leap upon a new level. The failure consists in some new or old way of filling those grey, blank hours with sensations, transient pleasures. The success consists in going courageously forward into the coming hours and illuminating them with the light of duty.
Which of the two or three ‘persons’ in each man and woman is it that feels depression and emptiness? The lower, of course, the pleasure-seeker. It feels that your life, attention and interest are about to be withdrawn from it and poured elsewhere. So it shrinks appalled, and then makes frantic efforts to make such pictures of possible pleasures as shall once more draw you back into its service. It wins if it succeeds in making you share its dread.
At that very same time, in another part of nature, is a profounder peace and joy than ever before. Profounder and richer because some of the force that was in the outer has now gone to this inner. To find the inner and live in it is the victory, one of that increasingly beautiful series that ends in final illumination, final gainment of perfect life.
So the steps of the finding are to admit the existence of that inner place, to seek in the heart for it, to try and live in it, and then to face the next immediate duty, square, confident, determined. The victory is generally won then and there. And one full day of such work, with meditation through it all along, completes the case. The enemy admits that he is beaten, and also admits that he is glad of it. Duty done from the standpoint of meditation, in the full radiations of the place of peace, constitutes the path. Duty is not properly done if it is done savagely and without the pulse of the light in the acts.
Of course the lower personality is not now redeemed forever by one such victory, nor its tastes silent. It is already beginning to weave a new set of schemes and entanglements for you. In due time you will see through these and proceed to throw them off. And then there is the original difficulty. But with the wisdom acquired in the last affair, there will be little trouble. We have only to remember that the moment the future looks grey is the moment for scoring an important victory.
7 JEWELS OF WISDOM : The second jewel : KARMA - by Stefan Carey
Also known as Karman, but not Kama which means Desire. The origin of the word is a Sanskrit term which means ‘to do’ or ‘to make’. For example, if we throw a stone into the ocean, the ripples will fan out infinitely and eventually be transformed into new forms of energy. Similarly any thought or act has its affect on the environment for good or ill and fans out to affect others over a long period of time. Therfore, you cannot separate your actions from the rest of the universe and hope that you are immune from the results of your actions, thoughts, etc. This is the real basis for all the laws of ethics that society and the church imposes on us.
There is family karma, national karma, and personal karma. It is not so much a system of punishment or reward, rather more an impersonal law with the results created by us and balanced by us in the final analysis.
Karma has been taught throughout the ages by all the great religions. One explanation comes from Zen Buddhism as discussed by Professor Suzuki who explains : “Human suffering is due to our being bound up in Karma. All of us as soon as we are born carry a heavy burden of past Karma. Human beings alone of all creatures on our globe can design and calculate and are conscious of themselves and of their doings...from thinking consciously, we develop the faculty of seeing, designing, and planning beforehand, which demonstrates that we are free...Not only are we so wrapped up in our Karma, but we know the fact that we are so wrapped up...this very fact of our being aware of the karma- bondage is the spiritual privelege of Humanity. From this privelege, implying freedom, means our ability to transcend Karma.... We must make make full use of it, and accepting the Karma-bondage as far as it extends, resolutely face all forms of suffering and thereby qualify ourselves for transcending them” [quoted from the Esence of Buddhism]
All cultures have a reward and punishment system in varying forms - from the burning Hell of fundamentalist Christianity, to the more enlightened and non-judgemental idea of personal responsibility of Buddhism and Theosophy. Not only is there no separateness in the universe but, in fact, no part of reality is immune from the influences around it. Reality is interblended on all levels. This interweaving of all levels in nature leads on to the third jewel we shall discuss in our next issue : The Doctrine of Hierarchies.
OBITUARY : MAMIE PARSONS
It is with sadness that we report the passing of Mamie Parsons who was a member and loyal supporter of our work for many years. Mamie and her late husband Bernie, both had distinguished careers as schoolteachers at many primary schools around Victoria where they directly applied their theosophical principles to the education of young people. They were inspired by the educational work of one of our former Leaders, Katherine Tingley, and Bernie even wrote articles on Katherine Tingley’s contributions to education in our international magazine Sunrise. In her latter years, Mamie involved herself increasingly with family duties and she travelled extensively, especially in England. In our meetings she was always ready with a witty comment “right on the button” and her wisdom will be sorely missed by other members of our group.
The passing of Mamie puts us in mind of all that we owe those who have gone before us in theosophical work, and of the importance of our continuing mission for peace and balance in a dangerous world. John Van Mater, Snr. said of this debt we owe our forebears ...
“We should now make mention of the devoted Companions. I am now speaking of those not here and long gone, who in their day gave in full measure of devotion...they made sure that in their time the light would be held up high...for all these wonderful servants of the servants [of the Masters of Wisdom], commemoration is the least they would want us to make. The deepest wish they would have, and now we have, is to carry forward the Work in the true spirit.”
Australasian TS Newsletter 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 Email : email@example.com World Wide Web homepage at www.theosophie.net/australia/ 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.
Wishing all our readers a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year