AUSTRALIAN THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY NEWSLETTER
No: 92 August 2007
Published by the Theosophical Society (Pasadena) Australasian Section
664 Glenhuntly Rd., South Caulfield, Melbourne, Victoria 3162 AUSTRALIA
Tel.: (03) 9528.1011 Fax: (03) 9528.3907
WWW homepage : http://theosophydownunder.org/
The coming of spiritual teachers – G. de Purucker.
When will the Buddha return?
Globe rounds and root races – what does it all mean?
Space – Allen David.
An amazing example of Karma!
Tolstoy: about life – Roza Riaikkenen.
Theosophy in Practice: putting theory into practice.
Obituaries: Ilse North and Ray Rugland.
Last Word: from two former leaders of the Theosophical Society on making theosophical ideas practical and understandable – Jim Long and William Quan Judge.
THE COMING OF SPIRITUAL TEACHERS
G. de Purucker
So closely is all nature knitted together, so intimately and intricately are the strands of the web of life woven, that all nature must be considered as one vast organism; and when there is a lack of some element-energy in any part of the cosmic body, there is an impulse or urge from other parts, possessing this lacking element-energy in abundance, towards the place where such lack exists, and a consequent transference of the lacking element-energy in order that stability, and equilibrium of the cosmic structure, may be re-established.
The Avataras (high spiritual teachers) appear on Earth at intervals when the spiritual energies are running low amongst us, and the forces of matter are surging in turbulent waves ever higher. It is as if there were a spiritual psycho-magnetic strain in the structure of the solar system, resulting in a spiritual-electric discharge of a spiritual energy, something like lightning on earth, this discharge being popularly called the “descent” of the Avatara, thus preserving the stability and the equilibrium of things. Just so, then, in our world, is it in the cases of these great men, these sublime neophyte-initiants, who during the course of their initiation “descend” into the Underworld for the sake of bringing a spiritual light to the beings enchained in the darkness of those gloomy spheres – spheres which to us seem realms of gloom only because we are higher than they.
From what has been said it becomes obvious how grandly does nature’s heart beat throughout with compassionate pulse…Remember that the entire solar universe is one vast organism, quivering with life throughout all its reaches, and that what men call spirit or what men call matter are but two phases or two aspects of the onrushing of cosmic life-consciousness-substance working out its incomprehensibly sublime destiny. - from The Four Sacred Seasons by G. de Purucker.
New course in basic theosophy available in Melbourne: from July 2007, the University of the Third Age [U3A] course held at our TS (Pasadena) Centre in Melbourne, has featured a basic course in the Ancient Wisdom/Theosophy. Tony Downey is convening the course which is based on the 13 manuals of basic theosophical teachings available from our library and bookshop. Topics include Karma, Reincarnation, Seven Principles of Man, Astral Light/Psychic Powers/Dreams, After Death – What?, Hierarchies, Evolution/Rounds and Races/Cycles, Theosophy and Christianity, and a tour of Hindu and Buddhist Temples around Melbourne. Discussion classes are held weekly on Wednesday mornings. Please contact Tony on 9528.1011 if you are interested in joining this course.
New Australasian website: Next time you are on the Internet, please check out our new website at: http://theosophydownunder.org/
The new site features the current and archive issues of our newsletter, a ‘Tour of Theosophy’ giving basic teachings of Theosophy with links to more in-depth articles, a subject index to hundreds of articles from Sunrise magazine, and the text of many lectures delivered at our Melbourne TS (Pasadena) Centre, amongst many other interesting features.
Thanks to friends who assisted developing and hosting this site for us.
Meetings in Melbourne, August to December, 2007: All meetings are held at the TS (Pasadena) Centre, 664 Glenhuntly Rd., South Caulfield.
Sat. Aug. 4th, 2.30 p.m.: Tough Love: Another Face of Compassion.
Sat. Sept. 1st, 2.30 p.m.: Prayer: What is it?
Sat. Sept. 22nd, 2.30 p.m.: Man, Know Thyself.
Sat. Oct 6th, 2.30 p.m.: The Tinder Box of Strong Emotions: Personal Suffering and Anger.
Sat. Nov. 3rd, 2.30 p.m.: Ancient Egyptian Religion.
Sat. Dec. 1st, 2.30 p.m.: Multi-Faith Forum on “Love They Neighbour as Thyself”.
New Introductory Booklet on Theosophy: Our Society in April announced the publication of a new booklet entitled Exploring Theosophy. Its 64 pages comprise 14 articles drawn from our literature, mostly Sunrise, and provide a wonderful new introductory booklet for people new to Theosophy. Chapter headings include: ‘What is Theosophy?, Man’s Search for Truth, Karma, Reflections on The Voice of the Silence, Reincarnation, Inner and Outer Karma, The Path to the Heart of the Universe…, and many other interesting subjects. Contact Tony Downey at our bookshop if you would like a copy.
The Dalai Lama in Australia: In June the Dalai Lama visited Australia for the first time in five years. In Melbourne, 20,000 mostly young people heard the Dalai Lama speak of the importance of practical compassion in the world today. Compassion and cooperation he said are natural to human nature and show the way forward from global problems such as warfare and the human aspects of responsibility for global warming. As he said in his lecture: “Because we all share an identical need for love, it is possible to feel that anybody we meet, in whatever circumstances, is a brother or sister.”
A New Name for our Newsletter: Can you think of a more imaginative new name for our Newsletter? Perhaps an Aboriginal word or a theosophical term would be suitable. Please write with your suggestions to: email@example.com
Aboriginal crisis in the Northern Territory: I’m sure that many of our Australian readers will be aware of the current severe problems with alcoholism, drug and child abuse in the aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory. Most Australians wonder how the world’s oldest civilization could come to such a terrible condition. A new book by Richard Trudgen who lived with the NT aborigines for 20 years provides a very good understanding of their current desperate condition: Why warriors lie down and die. Darwin: Aboriginal Resource and Development Services Inc., 2000. For those interested in the religious life of aboriginal peoples in Australia, Professor Elkin’s classic study, Aboriginal men of high degree: initiation and sorcery in the world’s oldest tradition is certainly worth reading along with other materials on the Internet. These books would be available from any good public library in your area.
Sunrise magazine to cease publication: After 56 years in continuous publication, our international magazine, Sunrise, will cease publication with the Fall 2007 issue. More details will accompany the last issue.
Theosophical Conference needs helpers: the inter-organization
world conference of theosophists from all Theosophical Societies was
held this year in California in August. The organizers, Jim and Sally
Colbert, have sent us the following appeal for assistance, and
outline of future plans for such conferences: “There is a need
to form an independent organization to facilitate each theosophical
conference. This year's (2007) conference is to be held in Petaluma,
California. Next year's conference (2008) will be held in
Pennsylvania. Some have suggested that the 2009 conference should be
held in Europe. The independent organization would not only provide
immediate support for each conference it would eliminate the need for
a single individual to take on the responsibility, financial and
total planning, for each conference. It will:
a. Act as a non-profit entity to accept donations and make possible tax deductions for those paying for and attending conferences.
b. Provide scholarships to those needing funds in order to attend a conference.
c. Assist in the organization of each conference including accommodations, site selection, insurance, and other needs.
d. Assist in conference themes and possibly lead to a wider base for dissemination of Theosophy.
It is felt that the conferences have helped to further the Theosophical work. Please contact us if you have interest in helping - James and Sally Colbert at: firstname.lastname@example.org
National Meeting 2007: the National Meeting of the UK Section of our Society will be held at the William Quan Judge Branch on the 27th October 2007 at the Friends Meeting House, 23 School Lane, Liverpool, England. More information is available from the National Secretary of the UK Section at: email@example.com or tel:01392 275884.
From South Africa:
Members of the TS in the Western Cape are now meeting on a monthly basis. Dutch member, Nivard Vas, visited South Africa in April and gave a talk on ‘The Secret of Easter’. Alice Yetman is now the editor of the South African Newsletter Contact and she invites contributions from all over the world. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.Z9.
“Without inner peace, how can we make real peace?” – Dalai Lama.
WHEN WILL THE BUDDHA RETURN?
In these days of global warming and warfare in many parts of the world, people are often calling out for spiritual leaders to come and save us. Many New Age movements expect the imminent return of the next Buddha, or ‘Maitreya’ [meaning “loving kindness”]. So what does Theosophy say about the return of this great spiritual teacher?
According to Theosophy, humanity at the present time has just passed the mid-point of the Fifth Root Race Globe D (Fourth Global Round) – our Earth. (See the article on ‘Rounds and Races’ in this issue). Buddhas, or “Enlightened Ones” have an essential role to play in this scheme. They are highly evolved spiritual entities – men but vastly more spiritually evolved. Gautama Buddha for example, was a Sixth Global Rounder, two whole Global Rounds, i.e. billions of years, ahead of ‘normal’ humans on Earth now! Unlike the Pratyeka Buddhas (from the Sanskrit Prati – ‘for’; and Eka-‘one’; therefore “each one for himself”) who pursue their own evolution heedless of those following on behind them, the Buddhas of Compassion forsake the indescribable bliss of Nirvana to aid the spiritual evolution of humanity and other life forms. They make rare but cyclic appearances, two for each root-race appearing toward the middle and end of a root race and two for each Global Round. The Bhagavad-Gita contains a passage which treats this process:
6. “Unborn am I, changeless in my Self,
Of all contingent beings I am the Lord!
Yet by my creative energy (Maya) I consort
With Nature – which is mine – and come to be (in time)
7. For whenever the law of righteousness (Dharma)
Withers away, and lawlessness (Adharma)
Raises its head,
Then do I generate Myself on earth
8. For the protection of the good,
For the destruction of evildoers,
For the setting up of righteousness
I come into being age after age.”
Gautama the Buddha was the ninth in the series of racial Buddhas, that is, the spiritual instructor of our fifth Root Race Globe D and there is some evidence to suggest he was the seventh of the Global Round Buddhas. As such he is therefore, according to Buddhists and Theosophists, an extremely important entity in man’s spiritual evolution at our present stage. From the Dhammapada, small Buddhist devotional treatise of twenty-six Cantos:
193. An illumined person (a Buddha) is indeed
Very rare. He is not born everywhere.
Whenever such a one takes birth, that family
Gautama watches over the spiritual destinies of our own fifth Root Race because he is the first of the two who are to come in our Root Race. The second Buddha, the ‘Maitreya Buddha’ so popular in New Age Philosophy, will not come until the end of our Root Race some 3 ½ to 4 million years hence according to Theosophical chronology. At the present time, the “seeds” of the sixth root race are being developed and Buddha Gautama inaugurated this process as one of the first duties of the first Buddha of any Root Race. In order to correct some misunderstandings of his teachings and to restrict certain esoteric doctrines which he had given out in his boundless love of humanity, Theosophy claims Gautama reincarnated himself as the Avatâra Śankâchârya approximately fifty years after Gautama “died”. The coming of an Avatâra (or spiritual teacher) is at present a sporadic or unusual event in which Buddha is claimed to play an essential role: “The avatâra today can be, only when the human essence of a Buddha lends itself as the purest possible vehicle, as the intermediate link between the waiting divinity and the human body vehicle.
(Dialogues of G. de Purucker: G. de Purucker; Volume 1, page 234) The Sanskrit construction of the word provides the key to this process – Ava – down, Trî, Tarati – to cross; therefore, to cross over and down from the spiritual realms to the dense physical world and Bhagavad-Gita refers to it in the following:
6. “Yet by my creative energy I consort
With nature – which is mine – and come to be (in time)”
Śankâchârya taught the Adwaita-Vedânta, that part of the Vedânta system in India which is called Adwaita, the non-dualistic Vedanta, and in its essentials is so much like Buddhism.
As far as I understand it, this is the Theosophical explanation of Gautama Buddha’s coming to the world when he did and when we can possibly expect the return of a teacher of similarly high spiritual stature.
PLANETARY ROUNDS AND ROOT RACES – WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The earth and its inhabitants follow a pattern of cyclic development by planetary and global rounds and a series of root-races of humanity descending into matter, gaining experience through very many incarnations, then reascending toward the spirit. The doctrine concerning our planetary Chain, commonly called that of the Seven Rounds, means that the Life Wave begins its evolutionary course on Globe A, the first of a series of seven (10 or 12) globes, then completing its cycles there, runs down to Globe B and then Globe C, then to Globe D, our earth. Globe E on the ascending arc, and finally to Globes F and G. These are the manifest seven globes of our planetary chain (one planetary round). After the Planetary Round there ensues a Planetary or Chain Nirvana until the second Round begins in the same way but in a more advanced degree of evolution than was the first Round. A Globe Round is one of the seven manifestations of a Life Wave during its Planetary Round on any one, and therefore on and through each of the globes. When the Life Wave has passed through Globe D (our Earth), for instance, and ends its cycles on Globe D, this is a Globe Round for that particular Planetary Round, and so with all Globes respectively. During one Globe round the Life Wave passes through seven evolutionary stages called “Root-Races”. Each one of the seven Root Races reaches its maximum of natural efflorescence and power about the middle point of its evolution when the “seeds” of the next race (not necessarily “race’ as defined by colour or biology) are introduced by a racial Buddha. According to this time sequence we at the present time have just passed the mid-point of the Fifth Root Race on Globe D (Fourth Global Round), - our Earth of today.
Allen David, New York
Layers of inert matter sleep in the darkness of Space, awaiting the Cosmic Command to coalesce into galaxies with webs of stars and planets, spinning in fathomless dark. A dazzling, limitless, array of whirling spheres race through the backdrop of night, with a velocity beyond speed, to fulfil a preordained destiny.
The grand creation of celestial fire spreads an effulgent canopy through endless night, exulting in its brilliant light before extinction, to which all of creation must finally submit.
On planet Earth, the seasons and the immense diversity of burgeoning Life, complete their brief sojourn warmed by the Sun, and then depart for unknown realms.
The powerful forces of dark and light bound together in everlasting space, duel for supremacy in a battle that can have no victor or respite until finally the combatants sink into that soft sleep of non-being which hath no beginning and no end.
A couple of Pearls of Wisdom sent to us by Pam Donnelly from Queensland:
To err is human,
To forgive takes restraint,
To forget you forgave
Is the mark of a Saint.
The optimist believes we live in the best of all worlds;
The pessimist fears he is right!
AN AMAZING EXAMPLE OF KARMA!
His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog.
There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.
The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.
“I want to repay you,” said the nobleman. “You saved my son’s life.”
“No, I can’t accept payment for what I did”, the Scottish farmer replied, waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door of the family hovel.
“Is that your son?” the nobleman asked. “Yes, the farmer replied proudly.
“I’ll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.” And that he did.
Farmer Fleming’s son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of
Years afterward, the same nobleman’s son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia. What saved his life this time? Penicillin.
The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son’s name?
“Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes along.” – Samuel Butler.
TOLSTOY* - ABOUT LIFE
Roza Riaikkenen, Melbourne.
*Count Leo Tolstoy: 1828 to 1910 was a famous Russian novelist, essayist, dramatist and philosopher – as well as pacifist and educational reformer. As a fiction writer Tolstoy is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all novelists, particularly noted for his masterpieces War and Peace and Anna Karenina. In their scope, breadth and realistic depiction of 19th-century Russian life, the two books stand at the peak of realistic fiction. As a moral philosopher Tolstoy was notable for his ideas on nonviolent resistance through works such as The Kingdom of God is Within You, which in turn influenced such twentieth-century figures as Mohandas K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. HP Blavatsky and other theosophists, appreciated his genius and contributions to human advancement. Many of Tolstoy’s contributions have gone unnoticed as some of his writings remain only in Russian including his diaries, and later works, from which translations into English have been made directly here.
What is actually my life? Leo Tolstoy, a world renowned author in his mature age, asked himself such a question when he understood that he could not live and write any further without clearly and honestly answering it.
Indeed, any individual is living and putting all of his or her powers and time into that which they understand as their life. Everything people do and everything they refrain from, everything they understand as important and everything they can live without, and finally everything they pass on to the next generation depends on their understanding of their life.
From the very beginning of his search for the answer, Tolstoy acknowledged in his work About Life that: “Every individual is living only for the purpose of living well, for the purpose of their own good. For the individual, to live means to desire and to reach the best condition of wellbeing.” But what is in reality good for a man, while all his pleasures are transient and the most precious for him thing – his personality – is exposed to suffering and death? Only the life outside his personality is permanent; but, for most people, this ‘outside life’, isn’t as important to him as his own personal life, or maybe not important at all.
“So, the only life a man feels as his life and for the sake of which he is acting, appears to be something illusory and impossible; and only life outside his personality, which he doesn’t love, feel or know, is the real life.”
Tolstoy was deeply convinced, that while the “Pharisees”, or religious professionals, are talking about the transience of the earthly life and the better life somewhere after the death, in case you fulfil certain religious rituals, the majority of people don’t trust them. This lack of trust is due to the fact that often priests and ‘religious professionals’ of all types, don’t reject the earthly pleasures for themselves, and are fighting for pleasures and power. And also, if the life man is living now is meaningless, what could be the meaning of the afterlife?
Conventional science tells us that human life is corresponding to the functioning of the body cells. Science investigates the processes of cells’ functioning, but can say nothing about the real life of human beings with their desire for good.
“And you have to live. Human life is a series of actions from getting up to going to bed; every day a man has to unceasingly choose his actions from a hundred of possible actions.” How can he choose when he doesn’t know what is good for him?
Tolstoy thoroughly searched for a well-founded answer. He studied Greek and Hebrew to be able to read the works of the classical philosophers and the Cabbala. He found definitions of life in the works by Confucius and Lao Tzu, by the Brahmins, Buddha, Greek Stoics, Jewish sages and Jesus Christ. He decided that the Christ’s definition was in conformity with the other definitions and embraced all of them: “Life is love of God and of your neighbour, giving people the good.”
Tolstoy came to his understanding of the concept of “God “through his revelation that consciousness is the source and essence of human life. He understood that human life is not just animal existence from birth to death. This is only the manifestation of life, its physical form. Real life doesn’t start from the physical birth and doesn’t end with physical death. It is rather endless development of consciousness through different forms of its existence, which are changing from one to another in conformity with the level, needs and abilities of consciousness’ development. “No matter how long man searched in time for the point where his life had come into existence, he would never find this point”. This means that the life of consciousness exists outside the limits of time.
In Tolstoy’s philosophy, God can be understood as infinite timeless consciousness which is the source and essence of any life. When human beings reveal this consciousness in themselves, then they reveal god in themselves. This consciousness, god, is in reality indivisible. “In his consciousness, man doesn’t see where and how he comes to existence. Instead he realises his amalgamation with all the other conscious beings...”
As the division into personalities is conditional and in fact illusory, so it’s understandable that the personal good is an illusory concept. If we wish good for our personality, then we expect all the other personalities to wish good for us even more than for them. This is impossible to receive because, according to this logic, every personality will also wish good primarily for itself. It appears that good is impossible while people understand themselves as separate personalities and wish good only for their personalities.
Another situation appears when people realise the unity and merging of their consciousness with that of other beings. In this case a person can turn his or her wish for good towards the others and to understand the others’ good as even more important than the person’s own wellbeing. In this case the person can hope that all the other people will come to the same understanding and do the same thing, and this will be really good for everyone and for humanity altogether. To turn your wishes for good towards others means that you actually love them and recognize the god in them. This love gives the good, according to Jesus Christ. With this love, human life regains its meaning.
This logic is simple and understandable, and humanity knows many examples of people who turned this understanding of life into the practice of their daily experience. Leo Tolstoy hoped that very soon the majority of humanity would awaken from its unconscious animal condition and come to their real human state. Then all the life on the earth will change for the better.
Tolstoy was writing his books more than a century ago, but we can see even now that the predicted awakening dragged on at least into this century. For all of this time, people were blindly and harshly fighting with each other and with the very planet for their personal illusory good. And this fighting continues. Why didn’t they listen to Tolstoy’s ideas and didn’t meet his expectations? The writer gave us some clues to the answer to this question.
When a person’s consciousness awakens from its animal condition to the human state, only then this person starts asking the question about life. In this case he or she cannot already return to their former understanding of life. This understanding undergoes destruction, which is like the destruction of the seed when the seedling appears and starts sprouting, forming the new plant.
Through their attention, people often hold their consciousness tied to the flesh of their “seed”. They fear and don’t want it to be destroyed because they are under the influence of their self-preservation instinct. Therefore, they try at least not to see the revelations of the forerunners. If they are unable not to notice them, then they treat the forerunners as outcasts or mad people, and sometimes even punish them as criminals.
Tolstoy also couldn’t avoid such fate despite being a well-established and world renowned author. He was rejected by the Russian Orthodox Church. The most mature works of his last years remained unnoticed by the majority of the public. For many decades, even in Russia, he was known as a strange man with unreal ideas though a prominent novelist. He was known, and continues to be known, as a controversial author though in fact it would be difficult to find such a deeply founded and practically examined ideology of life as Tolstoy gave us in his non-fiction masterpieces: About Life, A Confession and What should we do?
Tolstoy explored his ideology in different aspects of relationships between a human being and religion, science, society, and finally, showed us then the way out of the condition of consciousness from which we are suffering now, to the condition which would provide good to everyone. Being true to himself, Tolstoy demonstrated in his daily life an example of practicing what he preached: minimum of material desires, self-serving and endless service to the main purpose – to love: “Love cannot be in the future, love is only one’s action now, in the present.”
THEOSOPHY IN PRACTICE: putting theory into practice.
We continue our series on practical methods to put Theosophy into practice in everyday life.
Those who wish to change the world and relieve suffering must do more than just say: “May they be free of suffering”. Theosophy tells us that if we wish to follow the Path of Compassion we must engage in methods that will bring it about. If we do not first engage in those methods ourselves, we will be unable to assist others in freeing themselves. Therefore, Theosophy advises if you want to work for others’ welfare you must first discipline yourself and put Theosophical theory into practice in whatever way is appropriate to your own life. How? Theosophy advises by first gearing our attitudes towards benefiting Mankind rather than destructive self-centred ways; and then secondly, practising the ‘Paramitas’ or ‘Perfections’, as they are sometimes called, in our daily lives. Buddhism numbers the Paramitas as six:
Generosity; Ethical Discipline; Patience; Joyous Perseverance; Meditative Stabilization; Wisdom.
Why should we develop these particular qualities along the path of spiritual learning?
To achieve the aims of others for spiritual understanding you must first help them with material goods as they won’t appreciate spirituality if they have an empty stomach! Since no benefit will come from Generosity accompanied by harmfulness towards living beings, you need Ethical Discipline, which has great purpose for others, that is the state of desisting from harm to others and the causes of such harm. To bring this to its full development you also need Patience that disregards the harm done to you. You need to develop the ability to fix your mind on your ideals so you need to develop Meditative Stabilization. Calmness and single-mindedness in the service of others lead to Wisdom. None of this is attainable by laziness, so you need Joyous Perseverance in the pursuit of wisdom through service to others and so this quality is the basis of the other perfections. - [based on Tsong-Kha-Pa Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment.]
Next Issue: A closer look at the ‘Perfections’ or ‘Paramitas’
We recently heard of the passing to greater light of long-standing member Ilse North, in October 2006. Members will recall the informal meetings held in years past at Ilse’s house in the beautiful bushland of Warrandyte north of Melbourne. Ilse’s husband Paul, was an artist and the house was full of beautiful artworks providing a fitting environment for a meeting with then Leader, Grace Knoche, and Kirby van Mater in 1977. We remember Ilse and Paul’s contributions to the work of our TS with love and respect.
Many of our members and friends will remember Ray Rugland, a long-standing member of the International Headquarters staff in Pasadena, who passed away in June. Ray was educated at the Point Loma school when our Society’s HQ was in San Diego, and he returned to our HQ many years later to work full time for the Society. He was an unassuming, kind and gentle man, who, along with wife Trudy, worked in the Press and lent a helping hand to the many other jobs that arise to keep our international work going. He gave many lectures at our HQ library, and wrote several articles for Sunrise magazine. He was very interested in exotic lands and had the best collection of National Geographic I have ever seen! He had a family connection to Australia, and often spoke fondly of the time his father had spent in our country. Godspeed as you journey amongst the stars Ray.
Andrew Rooke – National Secretary
Our thanks and appreciation to our friends around 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 21st Century Path (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.
Theosophical Society 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 Email : email@example.com World Wide Web homepage at: http://theosophydownunder.org/
LAST WORD: from two former leaders of the Theosophical Society on making Theosophical ideas practical and understandable:
From Jim Long:
“From my point of view, Theosophy as we know it, when it carries over into the next [ie.21st] century, will take a more practical, down-to-earth approach to life and understanding. Up to now, except for the devotional angle which we find in common with all the world’s scriptures, most of the technical doctrines behind our philosophy have not been sufficiently translated into day-to-day practical adoption. Devotional principles, yes, such as the Golden Rule which is so obvious to every human being whose eyes are looking upward. But when it comes to the enigmas of life and death and aeons of time and series of incarnations, and the basis and reason for wanting to grow and become ever more selfless – we ought to be able to answer these questions in simple human terms. This is what we can and should provide.” – Jim Long from a letter to all FTS in March 1967.
From William Quan Judge:
At the present time one of the most urgent needs is for a simplification of Theosophical teachings. Theosophy is simple enough; it is the fault of its exponents if it is made complicated, abstruse or vague. Yet enquiring people are always complaining that it is too difficult a subject for them, and that their education has not been deep enough to enable them to understand it. This is greatly the fault of the members who have put it in such a manner that the people sadly turn away. At public meetings, or when trying to interest an enquirer, it is absolutely useless to use Sanskrit, Greek or other foreign words. Nine times out of ten the habit of doing so is due to laziness or conceit. Sometimes it is due to having merely learned certain terms without knowing and assimilating the ideas underneath. The ideas of Theosophy should be mastered, and once that is done it will be easy to express those in the simplest possible terms. And discussions about the Absolute, the Hierarchies, and so forth, are worse than useless. Such ideas as Karma, Reincarnation, the Perfectibility of Man, the Dual Nature, are the subjects to put forward. These can be expounded-if you have grasped the ideas and made then part of your thought-from a thousand different points of view. At all meetings the strongest effort should be made to simplify by using the words of our own language in expressing that which we believe. - William Quan Judge: The Screen of time - The Path, Vol.X. February, 1896.