Newsletter of the Theosophical Society (Pasadena) Australasian Section

No: 109 April 2013



"Rolling hills and all sentient beings, now a little seared by January's record breaking heat, wait anxiously for the Autumn rains." Photo by Stefan Carey near Flowerdale, Victoria, Australia.



Eternal Questions – Andrew Rooke.

Australian News.

Did Ancient Indonesian Buddhists Reach Africa? Part 1 – Robert Dick-Read.

We are Consciousness: Pure Spirituality in Ancient Norse Tradition - Guðrún Kristín Magnúsdóttir.

International News.

A Word is Not a Sparrow – Andrew Rooke.

The Swastika: a Misunderstood Symbol of the Ancient Wisdom – G de Purucker. Dharma and Religion – Charles Reither.

Book Reviews: The Mysterious Story of X7: Exploring the Spiritual Nature of Matter.

                          Proof of Heaven: a Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife.                         

                          The Thoughtful Guide to Sufism.

Introduction to Buddhism – Tony Downey.

Commentary on Ancient, Medieval and Modern Texts: Part 3: The Surangama Sutra - Don Shepherd.




We all start off our spiritual journey asking some eternal questions: What is the meaning of Life?; Does God exist?; What happens after Death?; Why is there Suffering in the world?; Why is there Evil?; What is the nature of the Soul?; How can we make a better world?; How can there be differences between religions if the Truth is One?


Our problems can start when inevitably we reach a point where we may begin to challenge the answers to these questions provided by the religious traditions of our own society. We may wish to move from commitment to a particular religion to expressing our own innate spirituality. We hope to move from faith alone to Understanding. We wish to progress from the hope of salvation from an outside God or Gods to the long, lonely walk down the spiritual path to enlightenment or transcendence through our own self-guided efforts. Depending on the capacity for tolerance of our own religious tradition, open-mindedness and questioning may meet with strong opposition!


The Great Religious Dilemma: Most religions have a fundamental dilemma arising from people wanting to ask our eternal questions. On the one hand, we have a monumental religious organization – church, mosque, and temple – call it what you will – built on religious dogma with a priesthood and rituals. Such a church is based on faith in a dispensation of revealed spiritual knowledge which has to be followed by devotees of that religion. The followers of such traditions are usually the majority of people in any society around the world. Examples would be – fundamentalist versions of Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Their advice in answering our eternal questions would be: “The way to God is through our religion – join us!”


On the other hand, in every religious tradition around the world there are always people who are asking awkward questions of their vicars and priests. Such people want to ‘know’. They want to have knowledge and experience of spiritual realities for themselves. They look inwardly for their spiritual inspiration rather than outward to a monumental church or religious professionals. Such people often end up being persecuted by the orthodox majority. Examples would be: Gnostic Christians; Sufi Muslims; Baha’i devotees; and Theosophists. Their advice in answering those eternal questions would be: “Religions are a testament to how far mankind is away from God – go find the answers for yourself!”


In the Hall of Learning: If our brave decision is to set foot on the spiritual path alone and self-directed as to what we feel are the right answers to our questions; we enter into what the ancient Egyptians called ‘The Hall of Learning’. Here, we, in the company of other like-minded seekers, search for instruction from spiritual teachers about the nature of spiritual realities. Here questioning and discussion are necessary to learn and develop faster.


It is worth bearing in mind that at any point in our long spiritual quest we should remember a time-honoured principle of instruction in the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom. We should always develop the habit of trying to answer our own questions first before questioning our teachers. This habit builds spiritual self-reliance and strengthens our connection with the only true spiritual master for every seeker – our own ‘Higher Self’. If, once we have sincerely searched for an answer, but still need further information, we should carefully frame our questions for our teacher as he/she can only address those specific issues we pose in our questions.


I guess the whole process can be summed up by saying that: “You can’t learn anything meaningful by getting into the habit of looking up the answers in the back of your school textbook!” You need to build up inner strength by working on problems yourself so you may qualify as a teacher yourself someday.


In the hallowed ‘Hall of Learning’ we should not become egotistical about what we think we know because spirituality is a never-ending quest. We should always be prepared to change our view of spiritual realities as we grow in understanding over time. We should be aware that the Hierarchy of Spiritual Teachers will always offer further insights into spiritual truths as Humanity develops its capacity to understand them on into the future.


In the Hall of Wisdom: Advancing beyond the ‘Hall of Learning’ to the ‘Hall of Wisdom’ we move beyond reliance on others for spiritual knowledge to increasing reliance on our own spiritual resources. Questioning without the habit of self-examination first is completely discouraged as self-reliance is vitally necessary to build inner strength as we advance. Ego-bound self-justification in intellectual argument, such as forms the basic stuff of university education, is discouraged as we should have accepted the reality of the law of karma (Action and Reaction) by this stage.


All answers to ultimate questions come from within – so where does this leave our teachers as we advance on the spiritual path? The teacher (Guru) and Student (Chela) relationship is paramount and we must have complete trust in our spiritual teacher once we accept him/her as knowing the ‘Truth’. It is said that the relationship between the spiritual teacher and student is even closer than that of a parent and child. A parent provides a body but the ‘Guru’ provides a means to a ‘Second Birth’ into spiritual realities. Trust and Faith in the teacher’s knowledge is implicit in this relationship.


Plato called true education ‘Unforgetting’ our way back to the source of Wisdom within. Essentially this means overcoming the power of the Lower Ego with its limited and selfish perspectives, and reaching out to the fiery source of our being – the Higher Self. As our intuitive capacity develops through a greater identification with the ‘Higher-Self’ within, we can begin to spontaneously appreciate the answers to many of the eternal questions which so vexed us at the beginning of our search. – Andrew Rooke, Melbourne, Australia.


An interesting film – What the bleep to we know? - giving perspectives from modern science on some of these ancient questions is available at: and also the second part of the film ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ at:


“There is a road, steep and thorny, beset with perils of every kind, but yet a road, and it leads to the very heart of the Universe: I can tell you how to find those who will show you the secret gateway that opens inward only, and closes fast behind the neophyte evermore. There is no danger that dauntless courage cannot conquer; there is no trial that spotless purity cannot pass through; there is no difficulty that strong intellect cannot surmount. For those who win onwards there is reward past all telling – the power to bless and save humanity; for those who fail, there are other lives in which success may come.” – HP Blavatsky- Co-Founder of the Theosophical Society -September 1891.





Email Addresses: in future years we will be sending this newsletter by email, so if you have not already done so, could you please send your email address to the Editor at:


Meetings in Melbourne April through July 2013:  all meetings are held at the Theosophical Society Pasadena Library Centre located at 664 Glenhuntly Road, South Caulfield, Melbourne commencing at 2.30pm. The Library is open from 2pm through 6pm on the day of the meeting and there is no entry charge. Subjects coming up:


Sat. April 6th, 2.30pm: Co-Creation with Nature – Roza and Margarita Riaikkenen.


Sat. April 20th, 2.30pm: Study Group - ‘To Light a Thousand a Thousand Lamps’ – Part 3: The Quickening of Mind – Andrew Rooke.


Sat. May 4th, 2.30pm: Pilgrimages: the Mystic Journey: slide show and discussion – Jenny Pignataro.


Sat. May 18th, 2.30pm:  Study Group - ‘To Light a Thousand a Thousand Lamps’ – Part 4: Reincarnation – Tony Downey.


Sat. June 1st, 2.30pm: Consciousness – Charles Reither.


Sat. June 15th, 2.30pm: Study Group – ‘To Light a Thousand Lamps’ – Part 5: Death: A Doorway to Light – Andrew Rooke.


Sat. July 7th, 2.30pm: Egyptian Mummies: Royal Mummies from the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt: pictures, lecture and discussion – Jennifer Jaeger from Ankh Antiquarian Bookshop.

Wednesday discussion group: at the TS Pasadena Library Centre 664 Glenhuntly Rd South Caulfield Melbourne. In association with The University of the Third Age (U3A) a series of lectures and discussions concentrating on comparative study of the religions and philosophies of India and Asia and Basic Concepts of the Ancient Wisdom including Universal Brotherhood; After-Death – What?; Dreams and the Astral World; Reincarnation; Karma; etc. Each Wednesday 10.30-12.30 throughout the year. Further information is available from Tony Downey on 9459.5067.

New on our website: our website is at Newly added to the ‘Theosophy Downunder Library’ section of the website are the following articles: Freyja: Great Goddess of Creation and We Are Consciousness: Paganism, Heathenry, and Asatru contain the purest ancient wisdom and theosophy - both articles by Gudrun Kristin Magnusdottir; One God or Many? Where did the idea of One God come from? The enduring legacy of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaton – Jennifer Pignataro; Spiritual Initiation: perspectives from Theosophy – Andrew Rooke; Paganism, Heathenry and Wicca: echoes of the ancient wisdom of EuropeHeathclyff St. James Deville.

New Books in the Library: we have a large collection of books at our Melbourne library and online via our website. These are available for loan at our meetings or online books anytime. New titles added to the library include: Azlander: Second Nature – Gabrielle Brunsdon; Proof of Heaven – Dr Eben Alexander; The Mysterious Story of X7 – Anonymous; Threshold of Light: Daily Readings in the Celtic Tradition – A. Alchin; Is the New Testament History? – Paul Barnett; Simply Christianity – John Dickson; The Art of Happiness: a handbook for living – The Dalai Lama; Secret Gospels: essays on Thomas and the Secret Gospel of Mark – M. Mayer; Beyond Belief: the Secret Gospel of Thomas – E. Pagels; Mystical Dimensions of Islam – A. Schimmel; The Deviation and Restoration of the Human Race – T. Verheven; God Under my Roof: Celtic Songs and Blessings – F. De Waal; Butler’s Lives of the Saints: concise edition – M. Walsh (ed.)

Universal Spirituality Group: in November our TS gave a talk at the Universal Spirituality Group at Templestowe, in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. If you would like to join their discussion group, please contact Fred Tropp-Asher who can be contacted at and check their website for activities coming up at: Their newsletter is available by writing to Fred, or look for it on display in our Library Centre in Melbourne.

We can cure physical diseases with medicine. But the only cure for loneliness, despair and hopelessness is Love. – Mother Teresa.




News from the British Section: it is with sadness we report the passing to greater light of Renee Hall after a long illness. Renee was National Secretary of the British Section for many years from the 1980s. Many members who visited the UK will remember Renee for her warmth, kindness and patience and also as a friend to those when a quiet and gentle perspective was needed.


The ‘Landfillharmonic’ Orchestra:  an inspiring film is available on YouTube about an orchestra based in a slum built on a rubbish tip in Cateura, Paraguay. All the instruments are made by hand from items found in rubbish in the landfill and lovingly maintained and played by young people who live in the slum. They sound as good as any chamber orchestra anywhere in the world. What a testament to the power of simple kindness, and to the resilience of the human spirit! Available at:


Sacred Texts Online: Many formerly rare sacred texts are now freely available to everyone on the internet. Why not check out the following: Mysticism, Christian and Buddhist by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki:  Finding texts about Australian Aboriginal religion in the public domain is extremely difficult. There is a landslide of 19th and early 20th Century books and articles about American and African indigenous traditions, many treating the subject with sensitivity and great depth. Only a few Australian works from this period are available, and most of them are pretty vague on the details. Some of this can be attributed to the traditional tribal secrecy, which is maintained even to this day: The Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries by Thomas Taylor The Myth of the Birth of the Hero by Otto Rank Many sacred texts are available at: here is a site where you may download any of the books listed in catalog for free, or to read directly from site. - Sotiria Galanoupoulou, Athens, Greece.


The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained liberation from the self.” – Albert Einstein.





[The wisdom traditions of many lands speak of ancient civilizations stretching back into the past beyond the scope of currently accepted archaeological time-scales. In addition, it seems that ancient peoples travelled more widely than has been suspected until recently as is described as a possibility by Robert Dick-Read’s original research on the ancient seafaring people’s of our northern neighbours from Indonesia. - Editor]


There is a tendency to underestimate the prowess of ancient voyagers, with the result that important historical events sometimes lie hidden simply because we have not believed them possible. Indonesian activity in Africa over a thousand years ago is a striking case in point.


The problem stems from the fact that Southeast Asian historians have rarely looked beyond their boundaries, while Africanists have confined themselves rigidly to their continent, thus leading to serious historical distortions in both regions.

                                                                                                                Replica of an ancient Indonesian ship   


Misconceptions might well have remained thus but for one anomaly … the island of Madagascar, whose Austronesian language-base is more similar to that of Easter Island 14,000 miles to the east than to that of African languages a mere 200 miles to the west.  Madagascar’s Indonesian connections leave no doubt that Southeast Asians once crossed the Indian Ocean and came to Africa.


In the centuries before Islam, and the subsequent Muslim settlement of the East African coast – and before Bantu-speaking people migrated in large numbers from their homelands in Western Africa, the indigenous people of Eastern Africa were mainly San hunter-gatherers, relatives of Southern Africa’s Bushmen of today who lived a simple, primitive, life.   But on the coast, for many years living alongside the San, were also people who became known as the ‘Zanj’ whose precise origins have remained enigmatic.  Careful observation, however, leaves little doubt that the Zanj must have been a polyglot mix of autochthonous Africans, and Indonesians whose mariners enabled them to occupy Africa’s offshore islands, as well as maintaining contact with their homelands in Southeast Asia.


Although, apart from a few later Arab records, there is no documentary evidence to help us – and though, as we shall see, there must have been contacts centuries earlier - the most prolific period of contacts between Southeast Asia and Africa probably came after the middle of the first millennium AD when the powerful Mahayana Buddhist state of Srivijaya (Sumatra and Java), with its well organised fleets of Bugis, Bajau, and Makassar sailors, began to extend its overseas interests.   This was doubtless spurred on by the discovery of gold and other minerals in the African hinterland.


Though Madagascar may have been known to the Zanj for many years, it was only in about the sixth or seventh century AD that there was a major migration from the African mainland to ‘The Great Isle’, as it was known.   As today’s Malagasy demonstrates, these early migrants must have spoken an Austronesian language substantially mixed, by then, with a Bantu vocabulary.


Both Indonesia and Madagascar left indelible legacies in East Africa. The convergence of Malagasy and African cultures, for instance, are to be found in Zimbabwe’s famous ancient stone ruins: also the thousands of miles of terraced mountainsides in the east of the country around Nyanga.   Indonesian culture was noticeable in such fields as music – for example the pan-pipes; and xylophones played from southern Africa to Uganda and beyond; and the designs of outrigger canoes which still share some Bugis, Bajau and Makassar nomenclature.  Contacts with Southeast Asia continued until about the 13th century when pressure from migrating Bantu tribes, and the ever-increasing strength of Muslim city-states on the coast, shut off the life-lines across the Indian Ocean; and eventually contacts between Madagascar and the mainland.


As we shall see in Part 2, there was a rather different scenario between Southeast Asia and Western Africa. – Robert Dick-Read, United Kingdom - Author of The Phantom Voyagers – Evidence of Indonesian Settlement in Africa in Ancient Times available from the author at:  


Editor’s note: A different view of the origins of civilisation in West Africa has been expressed by Nigerian members, Igwe Amakulo and E.A. Awa. This view gives the evidence that West African arts and religion developed locally without the influence of foreign cultures. This detailed analysis is available by writing to the editor.


I would like to live like a river that flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding. – John O’Donohue.



WE ARE CONSCIOUSNESS: pure spirituality in ancient Norse tradition - Guðrún Kristín Magnúsdóttir


Something is missing in our education.  No-one seems to tell us why we choose to be born. Neither do we know what is the purpose of our being here on earth in a highly evolved physical body. What is the purpose of it all? We seemingly do not know that we choose to be born for our purpose - even less do we realize how intelligently we manage to do so.


Many seem to be too concerned with their all-worldly systems and ´labels´, never getting beyond all that to the very core of philosophy and spirituality: Our purpose of existence. What we are in reality: in Icelandic -‘Ginnungagap’ (the great ‘void’) - Consciousness.


We choose to be born in this world to enable our spiritual evolution towards enlightenment, but - do we know?


One of our ancient NorseGod‘s, Óðin´s, many meaningful names includes the purpose of our life-spans: This his name is Síðhöttur, from Sanskrit सिद्धर्थ siddh-artha, ´perfection as a goal´. Unfortunately very few of us know this. The fewer know how to evolve quickly towards that goal and purpose. Even if we have that, too, in our Norse spiritual heritage. Transcending is called in Icelandic, ´nýsa niður´, which is ‘transcending’, reaching Nirvana. But how many understand?


Actually, we are deprived of wisdom when it comes to purpose of existence. Our modern education has been, until now, leading us astray from this exulted purpose -180° off-course. We were not taught the fundamental knowledge of life. Even if Jesus tells us to find Heaven ‘within’, we keep looking for it ‘out-there’. It is not ‘out-there’. It is ‘in-here’. But now, fortunately, Conscious-Based Education is avaliable for all students, from Kindergarten to PhD.


To find Heaven Within is becoming the easiest thing on earth, because we now have the technique to transcend. Transcend our thoughts and unite individual consciousness with cosmic consciousness. Amongst many techniques purporting to represent such knowledge and practical paths to it in the modern world, I have found that there is a real Yoga tailored for us, the ‘you and me’ living in this busy world - the TM-technique, Transcendental Meditation. Easy to learn, and natural to the mind, as mind, by its inherent nature, seeks greater and greater happiness and finds it here. Within. ‘In-here’. Leaving the ‘out-there’ completely for a while, leaving all thoughts. Mind in least agitation, emerges, by its own natural tendency, into Eternity.


The greatness and profundity of our reverent Norse forefathers´ great epic poem, The Edda, has always been realized by some.  I recall in year 1947, in our Icelandic Theosofical Society´s magazine, Gangleri, an article on Heathenry (Paganry) as being pure Theosophy.

Gangleri, one of Óðin´s many meaningful names, is from Sanskrit गङ्ग gangalahari, a ‘wave of wisdom’ from the sacred river गङ्ग (Ganga).


In, The Hávamál, one of our famous Edda-poems, we learn (in verses 138 - 163) to transcend, nýsa niður, so we shall gain the true skill in action in the world. This fundamental knowledge is intellectually understood only by a few. Sorry to say, it is practiced and lived by even fewer.


But now, by giving ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ an innocent ‘kiss of unconditional love’, we wake up. We are re-discovering the profound understanding and the abyss of knowledge and wisdom that our reverent forefathers possessed.


The Supreme Purpose of this noble creature ´Mankind´, possessing this our marvellous, highly evolved, human nervous system, is to enliven the link between the Absolute and the Relative. By transcending, we enliven The Field, and regain the Perfect Order into our world of living men. We should use this our precious human attribute for this High and Noble purpose.  -  by Guðrún Kristín Magnúsdóttir, Álfaheiði, Iceland.


[Editor’s note: For the comprehensive article, WE ARE CONSCIOUSNESS: Paganism, Heathenry, and Asatru contain the purest ancient wisdom and theosophy by Guðrún Kristín Magnúsdóttir, published electronically, please go to our website in the ´Theosophy Downunder Library´ section of our Theosophy Downunder website at:  For those interested in Norse traditional wisdom, keep an eye out for a book by Guðrún in English coming up 2013: Óðsmál -- The Unseen Reality -- Understanding Allegory and Symbolic Language of Myths and Ancient Poems -- On Heathenry‘s Abyss -- Science of Consciousness ISBN 978 9935 409 84 3 - by Guðrún Kristín Magnúsdóttir 2013, which will be sold online through Amazon. Also, why not check out the YouTube series by Guðrún which is in English language, all about the abyss of Heathenry; revealing the Allegory and the symbolic language by which the sacred Wisdom of the ancient Norse is conveyed to us in the modern world. Guðrún comments about the symbology of Heathenry: “The crude ones laugh, the pure ones get enlightened by understanding.” On YouTube search: Goiagodi and Heathenry Iceland Chatter.]

 … at some point you have to recognize what role it is that you belong to, what power rules it, and from what Source you spring. You should recognize that there is a limit to the time assigned to you, and you if don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return.” – Marcus Aurelius – Meditations.


There is an old Russian saying which says that “a word is not a sparrow”. This means that we should think carefully about everything we say because words have power.

In the Buddhist tradition, ‘Right Speech’ is placed third in the list of qualities which make up the ‘Noble Eightfold Path’ – Right Views, Right Aspirations, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Contemplation. These are the suggested life habits for those who wish to obtain spiritual understanding, or, as the Buddhists themselves would say that this is the Path that “opens the eyes, bestows understanding, and leads to peace of mind, to the higher wisdom.”

Theosophical teacher HP Blavatsky tells us that students of the Mysteries in ancient times were careful about reciting accounts of historical or religious events lest the powers originally associated with the event should once again be awakened. No such wise restraint seems apparent today when the media and our political leaders often indulge in highly critical language as their stock in trade. Unfortunately, this attitude of constant criticism and verbally destroying one’s opponent is built into our education system and is widespread amongst young people who often indulge in strong language as part of normal conversation. What then is the occult reason for us to be careful Sparrowabout our thoughts and speech?

Theosophical teacher William Quan Judge gave an excellent answer to this question when discussing the old English proverb that says: “Curses are like chickens, they come home to roost”. He shows that the power of speech is related to the operation of ‘elemental spirits’ in nature. ‘Elementals’ according to theosophy are the invisible, semi-intelligent, energetic forces of nature that are referred to in all folk traditions of the world in various ways as ‘Fairies’, ‘Goblins’, ‘Gnomes’, and the like. He explains that these elemental forces are not the product of primitive imagination, but a real and essential part of nature’s regular operations in our everyday activities, even though we may be completely unaware of the fact. He goes on to say:

“…The world of elementals is an important factor in our world and in the course of the student (of the Mysteries of Life). Each thought as it is evolved by a man coalesces instantly with an elemental, and is then beyond the man’s power. It can easily be seen that this process is going on every instant. Therefore, each thought exists as an entity. Its length of life depends upon two things: (a) The original force of the person’s will and thought; (b) The power of the elemental which coalesced with it, the latter being determined by the class to which the elemental belongs. This is the case with good and bad thoughts alike, and as the will behind the generality of wicked thoughts is usually powerful, we can see that the result is very important, because the elemental has no conscience and obtains its constitution and direction from the thought it may from time to time carry. Each human being has his own elementals that partake of his nature and his thoughts. If you fix your thoughts upon a person in anger, or in critical, uncharitable judgement, you attract to yourself a number of those elementals that belong to, generate, and are generated by this particular fault or failing, and they precipitate themselves upon you. Hence, through the injustice of your merely human condemnation, which cannot know the source and causes of the action of another, you at once become a sharer of his fault or failing by your own act, and the spirit expelled returns “with seven devils worse that himself”. This is the origin of the popular saying that: “curses like chickens come home to roost”, and has its root in the laws governing magnetic affinity”. W.Q.Judge Epitome of Theosophy. Page 20

With these thoughts ringing in our ears, shouldn’t we modern day students of the mystery tradition be much more careful of what we think and say? – Andrew Rooke, Melbourne, Australia.

A friend gave me some good advice… “Ego is the only requirement to destroy any relationship. Be a bigger person; skip the E, and let it…Go! One good thing about Egotists: They don't talk about other people!”



THE SWASTIKA: a misunderstood symbol of the ancient wisdom – G. de Purucker.


ultThe Swastika is a symbol most people associate with the horrors of the Nazi Party in World War II Germany, yet it is featured in ancient religious symbolism around the world and in the Seal of the Theosophical Society – how is this possible? Let’s look at a definition of the Swastika from Theosophical teacher G de Purucker:

Svastika, Swastika (Sanskrit) Svastika An auspicious or lucky object; especially applied to the mystic symbol — a cross with four equal arms, the extremities of which are bent sharply at right angles, all in the same direction — marked upon persons and things in order to denote good luck, although originally the symbol had a far deeper significance. Sometimes the arms are bent to the left, sometimes to the right. The symbol is very widespread, and extremely ancient, engraved on every rock-temple and prehistoric building in India, and wherever Buddhists have flourished, as well as in Greece, among the ancient Scandinavians, and in ancient America. It has been called the Jaina Cross; Fylfot, Mjolnir, or Thor’s Hammer by the Scandinavian peoples; and in the Chaldean Book of Numbers the Worker’s Hammer.

One of the most comprehensive, important, and philosophically scientific symbols, it is a symbolic summary of the whole work of evolution in cosmos and man, from Brahman down to the smallest biological unit. “Few world-symbols are more pregnant with real occult meaning than the Svastika. It is symbolized by the figure 6; for, like that figure, it points in its concrete imagery, as the ideograph of the number does, to the Zenith and the Nadir, to North, South, West, and East; . . . It is the emblem of the activity of Fohat, of the continual revolution of the ‘wheels,’ and of the Four Elements, the ‘Sacred Four,’ in their mystical, and not alone in their cosmical meaning; further its four arms, bent at right angles, are intimately related . . . to the Pythagorean and Hermetic scales. One initiated into the mysteries of the meaning of the Svastika, say the Commentaries, ‘can trace on it, with mathematical precision, the evolution of Kosmos and the whole period of Sandhya.’ Also ‘the relation of the Seen to the Unseen,’ and ‘the first procreation of man and species’ ” (SD 2:587). The bent arms also signify the continual revolution of the invisible cosmos of forces, which on our plane becomes the revolution in time of the world’s axes and their equatorial belts. In alchemy its shows that by the unceasing revolution of the four elements, equilibrium about a stable centre is attained, the circle is generated out of straight lines, the complex and changeful nature becomes one. The two crossed lines represent spirit and matter, male and female, positive and negative. It shows man to be a link between heaven and earth, for the horizontal arm having one hook pointing up, the other down. In its applicability to all planes it contains the key to the seven great mysteries of kosmos.

In addition, local writer Charles Reither comments:

“…The Swastika is one of the original symbols of the cross. The four arms displayed pointing in an anti-clockwise continuation being a symbol of Nazi Germany; but when displayed pointing in a clockwise continuation it is a symbol of well-being. In reference to a person, it means that the person is well resided in all four aspects - Spirit, Soul, Mind, and Body….”


DHARMA AND RELIGION – Charles Reither.


The question inevitably arises, particularly among those who have studied religions, “What was the ancient religion of India”?


The answer is there was no religion in ancient India, nor was their any religion necessary for the ancient Indians. They had a code of law for man to follow. This law was framed in accordance with various truths working in nature.  The law of the existence of nature and its creation was observed in all its detail and the law for man to follow was copied in accordance with it. This was made into a constitution called Bharata Dharma. It was the path of life commonly accepted throughout the land.


Any attempt for religion is naturally limited and narrowed when compared with this. The Vedas and the subsequent literature, which explains the Vedas, exemplify this law. In fact, Vedic teachings are amassed under the umbrella-term Sanatana Dharma, meaning Eternal Religion. There is no name like Hinduism or Indian religion in any one of the ancient books.  Even Gautama Buddha had no religion.  He once again purified the law and re-established it.  After his death, his followers narrowed the law into a religion.


Dharma is the teaching of the truth about the way things are. India’s vast body of Dharma, means to ‘uphold and support’; and protects us when it is followed. We are honoured when we honour it, and receive protection when we protect it. Dharma is a Sanskrit word for spiritual law, and in relationship to us it means to act in accordance with our ‘righteous duty’.  Knowledge of Dharma cannot be intellectualized and is obtained via our Intuitive mind; therefore, it is the direct perception of truth for us to comply with. 


Dharma is a comprehensive term for the natural laws and eternal principles that uphold the divine order of the universe and of man who is a miniature universe.  


Sankhya philosophy (one of the six schools of Indian philosophy providing a system of analytical metaphysics), defines true religion as ‘those immutable principles’ that protect us permanently from the threefold suffering of disease, unhappiness and ignorance.


Conformity to law or natural righteousness is a duty inherent in the circumstances in which we find ourselves at any given time; and the practice of the natural universal laws whose observance enables us to save ourselves from degradation and suffering. 


The dharma or natural order of the senses is to provide a means of exchange between the perceiving reincarnating Ego or soul and the objects perceived.


It is said that religion is required for those who are not yet prepared to follow and appreciate the law of Dharma.  Alternatively, as I have said before, religion is a prop or support for those who have not yet acquired the spiritual strength or know-how; and/or are not prepared to assume the responsibility for their own spiritual development and progress; and for that matter their ‘salvation’; which no one can assume responsibility for other than ourselves.


Ever since the universal path of Dharma has been degraded and insulted by us, by belittling ourselves to fit into the pattern of a man-made religion, we are forced to face the religious political and social intrigues, situations and sufferings we are confronted with. – Charles Reither, Melbourne, Australia.



The Mysterious Story of X7: exploring the spiritual nature of matter by anonymous authors, published by Findhorn Press, 2001.


What can be more valuable and compelling than a real spiritual experience well documented and explained? We are usually treasuring the bits and pieces of such information when reading spiritual writings, and often guessing what kind of events lead to it. And here we have a report in a form of a diary spanning almost 3.5 years: from the 28th of December 1953 to the 24 of May 1957. A report of described in detail and explained with understanding unique spiritual experiences!


The contents of this book is presumably reported by a group of anonymous prisoners of conscience incarcerated in a salt mine in Siberia – one of the many of Stalin era GULAG prisons. Out of the despair of their hopeless situation, theX7 (as the call themselves) came to an earnest prayer asking why they were so entombed, was there any purpose to their ordeal or they were just God-forgotten unlucky ones. Not at once, but gradually, they saw the Light that eventually liberated and transformed them into explorers of the spiritual nature of Matter. They also felt being under the protection and guidance of a Presence of a Grand Master of Light, who explained them their purpose and duty in their current incarnation.


When commencing reading, you would not even imagine that such things as described simply could not be, but the farther you read the more compelling the text becomes. When showing the phenomena of Light radiations that became simultaneously their object of experiment and its tool, the authors recognize these radiations, or Light Rays, as the very source of everything, and explain some mechanisms of how they are working. X7 are demonstrating knowledge of mechanisms and processes that exoteric science is yet unaware of until now, though there are some hints from esoteric sources that this is so. The X7 not only theorize, but live this knowledge as a practical daily reality in their supposed darkness inside the Earth.


What is more, they are experimenting with the Earth itself. Applying their newly- acquired abilities they send radiations to melt the Earth’s substance into light and then create forms of matter out of this light. These rays also heal and nurture them and they are not much in need of coarse chemical processes of food consumption and turning it into energy for their sustenance.


What was new and very valuable for me was that they researched and explained in detail the colour-sound properties of the radiations in connection with their potential for those who are able to perceive them. The whole spectrum of colour and tone, which result from energy vibrations of different frequencies, can be divided depending on their functions, each of which is allotted a colour and tone. For example, the colour blue has a sustaining quality – the major quality through which creation is held in form.


Every living being on Earth manifests certain qualities of radiations which formed it. For example, a tree demonstrates its “treeness” as something strong yet growing and changing. We people as living beings are also constantly absorbing a radiation of different colours and tones and the very quality of our life depends on their combination which we are receiving and giving out. As the X7 state, “the Ray of Love is the greatest because it has the essence of all things within it, and from it all things are made.”


A lot of wisdom is emanating from this little book which I would recommend to every Seeker for Universal Truth. A lot of findings are for everyone, and there is a sense of amazement throughout the book about how much exertion is necessary to come to such understanding and abilities!


And at lastly, how could this supreme knowledge could be transmitted to the world from a Siberian mine during the repressive Stalinist era in Russia? It appears that the prisoners transmitted their thoughts and a sensitive medium from the “Network of Light” group at Findhorn, Scotland, UK, received their contents telepathically. After a couple of decades of indecisiveness on the part of the people who had access to the text, it was eventually published by Findhorn Press in 1979 and republished in 1996 and 2001. Now we have gained access to the extraordinary findings of the group of prisoners who called themselves simply, X7 reviewed by RozaRiaikkenen, Melbourne, Australia.

Proof of Heaven: a Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Dr Eben Alexander, Macmillan, 2012.

In 2008, Dr Eben Alexander contracted bacterial meningitis, a deadly brain infection, and he slipped into a coma for seven days. Even though his body lay seemingly lifeless in the Intensive Care Unit, this book describes his amazing spiritual journey whilst his body lay close to death. He describes how first he descended into a mucky jelly-like realm which he describes as the ‘Realm of the Earth-Worm View’ (Kama Loka?), then guided by a beautiful girl (Spiritual Guide?) on the wings of a butterfly onwards to an immense void through ‘The Gateway’ into a stunningly beautiful landscape (lower reaches of Devachan?) with orb-like spiritual beings flying high above and then gradual absorption into an ‘Orb of Light’ (Higher Self?) which taught him lessons on the nature of spiritual reality by becoming that reality which underlies our manifest universe. He goes on to reconcile his experiences with his neuroscientist’s knowledge of medical conditions and even quantum theory from modern physics to show that his experiences were very real to him.

None of this will surprise theosophical students familiar with the various after-death realms described in theosophical classics and by our ancestors from many lands. What is new is the impact this book has already had on millions of people world-wide as this was an instant no.1 best-seller when it was published in late 2012; the author’s subsequent interview with famous TV interviewer Oprah Winfrey; and the fact that the author is a medical doctor and a brain specialist at that. This book is an extremely valuable addition to ‘Rational’ or ‘Evidence-Based’ spiritual knowledge which is very appealing to the modern Western mind and encourages those unlikely to accept spiritual teachings from more traditional sources. As Dr Alexander himself says: “…it is my belief that we are facing a crucial time in our existence. We need to recover more of that larger knowledge while living here on earth…” This book is highly recommended as an influential contribution to the literature of ‘Near Death Experience’ and ‘Rational Spirituality’. – Andrew Rooke, Melbourne, Australia.

The Thoughtful Guide to Sufism by Shaykh Fahhlalla Haeri. Published in New York by ‘O’ Books in 2004:

Many people in Western countries have a negative view of Islam based on fear of militant Islamic fundamentalists. The images of 9/11 are etched deep into the psyche of the West. How refreshing and much needed therefore, to have a book which clearly shows the great depth and mystical understanding possessed in the Islamic tradition known as ‘Sufism’. Sufism is the generic name for a movement that arose 200 years after the coming of the prophet Mohammed in reaction to the decline in the moral and ethical tone of Islamic rulers. Since then Sufis have been known as the keepers of the mystical inner ‘law’ of Islam. In plain language the Sufi author explains the way of the Sufi in almost theosophic terms: “…Sufism is primarily concerned with the ‘heart’ that reflects the truth which exists within it, beyond time and in time. The Sufi is the whole human being. He recognizes that his reality is beyond time and space and yet he understands that he himself is caught in his body in order to experience the duality of time and space in this world. The Sufi is the one who realizes the courtesy due to the prison of his body which has been given to him on loan for a few years. He is aware of the fact that he is returning to the abode of infinite bliss from which he originally emerged. Sufism is an art of ‘Beingness’ through the attainment of divine knowledge. It is not an intellectual exercise for scholarly investigations and postgraduate studies…” – page 36. This book is thoroughly recommended for Westerners seeking a greater understanding of the inner spirit of Islam. reviewed by Andrew Rooke, Melbourne, Australia.

I must be willing to give up what I am to become what I will be – Albert Einstein.


Siddharta Gautama, later known as The Buddha, was born approximately 566 BC as a Prince into a small kingdom in the North-East of India. His parents, keen to keep him in the fold of the establishment, protected him from all outside influences. He grew up in the luxurious confines of the royal palace, was married to a beautiful princess, and had a son.

One day he ventured outside the palace for the first time in his life and saw a sick man, then a beggar, and finally a dead body. He then realized the reality of the world. Thinking about the suffering he had seen that day, he left the palace and started his search to ease the suffering of his fellow man. He wandered through India on his own for a couple of years and, after deep meditation, found inner peace and enlightenment preaching his first sermon in the city of Banares, on the banks of the sacred river Ganges.

In this sermon he outlined his philosophy that there is suffering in all components of individuality.  The cause of suffering is craving and desire. Suffering can be stopped by the cessation of craving and desire. The way to end suffering he called the Eightfold Path, which if followed correctly would lead to the attainment of Nirvana (enlightenment) by the elimination of ignorance and selfishness.

The eight steps are – Right Views, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. The Buddha (meaning the enlightened One) wandered through India for 40 years preaching his message of the path that others too could follow to enlightenment. He is said to have died to the outer world at the age of 80 years. During those years he formed the Sanga, or monastery for monks and nuns he took his teachings throughout the country. Over the years these teachings were written down as spiritual texts known as Sutras.

Over the centuries Buddhism spread from India to Sri Lanka, Tibet, China, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, and in the last century to Europe, North America, Australasia and many other parts of the world. Internet sources estimate the number of Buddhists in the world as approx 400 million with a huge following of Buddhist sympathizers throughout the Western world. – Tony Downey, Melbourne, Australia based on the books - Layman’s Introduction to Eastern Philosophies and Religions - by H. (Lo) Guest Vols 1 and 2 (c.2002).



The 8th century Chinese translation of the Buddhist Surangama Sutra, or Indestructible Scripture, attempts to take the discussion of monism and enmeshment to even deeper levels. By presenting the relationship between awareness and objects as a paradox in which neither one is created or conditioned, the Sutra collapses the apparent distinction separating these two phases of life into a monistic unitya unity that allows the aspirant to grasp the fundamentals of enlightenment for the first time.


To do this, the Sutra initiates a discourse between the Buddha and his student Ananda on the process of physical visionthe ability of the human eye to see. The Buddha deconstructs the notion that the physical eye sees at all; rather, the mind sees. With eyes closed in a pitch-black room, it becomes clear that there is an awareness pervading physical vision viewing the darkness. This awareness is described as possessing no defining attributesno movement, no limitation of spatial dimension, no quality, no sensationother than its ability to pervade objects (ie: the physical eye) as sheer understanding. It is thisor what has been referred to as that or TAT in the Sanskritwhich actually does the seeing in the world.


When the light is turned on in the room and objects come into view, it is the same visual awareness doing the seeing as when the lights were turned off. The state of awareness remains the same; light and dark dont create or condition it.  As for the objects (ie: chair, lamp, desk) that are seen, they were there whether it was dark or light; the light did not cause them to come into existence, the darkness does not cause them to go out of existence, and awareness of them is irrelevant to the extent of their durability. All the light does is allow awareness, in some mysterious way, to become entangled with objectsto become openly diffused throughout the seven primary elements composing the skandhas (qualities) pertaining to one of the twelve classes of beings stretching across the ten directions of the cosmos or Dharma Realm.


The paradox, then, is that awareness, which is the root of objects due to its pervasive quality, does not in fact create or condition those objects as it possesses no other qualities to do so. Awareness is simply pervasive understanding and nothing more. It cannot create, destroy, or condition. The flicking on and off of the light gives the appearance of objects ceasing and coming into being, but the objects are there all the time. And the objects did not bring themselves into existence. Thus, objects arise from nowhere (as awareness is nowhere) and, despite their apparent movement (metaphorically the flicking of lights), go nowhere. If awareness, the source of objects, is nothing and nowhere, then objects that owe their existence to it cannot be spoken of as being created. In that realisation that objects share in the absence of a causejust like self-sustaining awareness which needs nothing to bring it into beingthe division between the two disappears, spirit and matter (as awareness and object) are recognised as co-eternal, and the stillness inside interfuses with the elements to become the stillness outside. 


Seeing this paradoxthat things can still exist without being created because their apparent source lacks the qualities to create them and thus they come from nowhereprovokes the ah-ha moment much in the style of  the 13th century Turkish writer Mulla Nasrudin in which the enigma of contradiction causes thought to stop in a flash of inspiration, bringing about a brief unification of the inward mind and the outward environment (the requisite for enlightenment) and forcing the individual to reassess himself as eternal in all his parts yet only bringing certain of those parts into activity at any one time. This state of unity is Tathagata-garbha, the womb-chamber for the coming and going forth of the Buddha-nature Don Shepherd, Los Vegas, Nevada, USA.


*Text: The Surangama Sutra - A New Translation with Excerpts from the Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. Ukiah: Buddhist Text Translation Society, 2009.



When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down happy. They told me that I didnt understand the assignment, and I told them that they didnt understand life. John Lennon of the Beatles.


Theosophy Downunder is issued three times per year in April, August, and December 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 : 0400942613 Email : World Wide Web homepage at:  Our International Leader is Randell C. Grubb.