This group discusses the practical applications of the theosophical philosophy and the therapeutics of the wisdom of the ages.
The art of living study group intends to discuss the relevance and connection of theosophical ideas to the challenges and hurdles of daily life. This group will focus on the ethical issues, psychological challenges and artistic applications of theosophy to the daily round and the common task. While the other three groups freely move back and forth between the universal and the particular, the theoretical and the practical, this group will make an attempt to stay focused on the practical side of the art of living equation.
Weekly Theme for Contemplation: The Two Paths
November 5, 2016 at 6:27 am #3735
Theme for Contemplation: The Two Paths
“Only by ascending to the universal and then descending to the particular can one find greater meaning in every atom as well as in every event upon life’s journey.”
— Aquarian Almanac
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Weekly Theme for Contemplation: The Two Paths
ModeratorTN November 5, 2016 at 6:29 am #3738
November 5, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: The Two Paths
“True Occultism or Theosophy is the “Great Renunciation of the SELF”, unconditionally and absolutely, in thought as in action. It is ALTRUISM, and it throws him who practices it out of the calculation of the ranks of the living altogether.”
JamesParticipantJames November 5, 2016 at 1:31 pm #3741
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEOSOPHY AND OCCULTISM. HPB;KT
ENQUIRER. You speak of Theosophy and Occultism; are they identical?
THEOSOPHIST. By no means. A man may be a very good Theosophist indeed, whether in or outside of the Society, without being in any way an Occultist. But no one can be a true Occultist without being a real Theosophist; otherwise he is simply a black magician, whether conscious or unconscious
Odin TownleyParticipantOdin Townley November 5, 2016 at 1:02 pm #3740
Search for the Paths. But, O Lanoo, be of clean heart before thou startest on thy journey. Before thou takest thy first step learn to discern the real from the false, the ever-fleeting from the everlasting. Learn above all to separate Head-learning from Soul-Wisdom, the “Eye” from the “Heart” doctrine.
The Voice of the Silence, Fragment II, by H. P. Blavatsky
KS November 5, 2016 at 6:35 pm #3747
The topic of the Two Paths is a very important focus for students of the Secret Doctrine when attention is drawn to the current state of evolution regarding the human being. Many teachers have spoken of the great responsibility that comes when the student has truly chosen according to ones own intuition, and when the first step has been absolutely sanctioned.
Reading from the Gatha Ahunavaiti Yasna 33.9-
“Hence, O Mazda! through my own Internal Light < स्व-आ-त्रा> (along/as well) with purest unbiased mind, I compare alternately these (Thy) Two Manyus (who are) both promoters of Righteousness and both of great strength, notwithstanding being in contest; I have ascertained the co-service of them both, the spirits of both of whom work together in association.”
Considering the profound teaching of the above strophe, one immediate observation is that the Two Manyus (Spenta and Angra; see SD etc.) are both employed together as mighty forces of Virtue and Vice/Sin, both promoters of Righteousness- Dharma, LAW- when fully understood through the “Internal Light” shining within the “pure and unbiased mind.” Such a Mind will detect the inner-workings of the Laws of Nature when the idea of self is subjugated and its limited mind becomes disassociated. As good and evil exist as one ultimately which become distinct and divided concepts born in through the personal mind in accordance with its relative manifest effects. Outwardly, both these forces in Nature i.e., Light and Darkness, appear as very much opposed to each other, yet when the student detects the necessity of cyclic law, Light and Darkness appear as though it were the metaphorical Dawn of Truth.
Karma, for instance, can neither be ultimately good nor bad, as it is Just and Fair. To set foot on the Path of Righteousness is to sacrifice ones personal will to that of the Will of the Cosmos- LAW.
One may ask, can the virtuous deeds of one be the sinful vices of another? The perilous and uncertain path may be one to avoid for one, but the way to the Light of Truth for another. The student able to see both working in co-operation knows the ultimate division between Good-Virtue and Evil-Vice/Sin and the Fire which burns equally in both. Though, it is to be known that without out this third element- Internal Light- neither path can be detected as no experiential knowledge can be gathered.
Pierre Wouters November 7, 2016 at 11:59 pm #3754
I would think that it is virtually a matter of principle that ANY choice we (at one time) make, is the culmination and reflection of all our previous choices that tend in that particular direction. So indeed it is both.
HPB in the SD points out that there will be a moment of choice for humanity as a whole in the 5th Round, the choice we will make then, will in a certain sense be pre-determined by the tendencies and motivation of our previous choices. I think we could say that any choice we make betrays to the adept our motive and wisdom, because to Them we would be an open book 🙂
- This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by Pierre Wouters.
KS November 9, 2016 at 1:33 am #3762
Though it is said that the choice could have been made many lifetimes ago. I believe it to be a firm resolve and devote dedication towards living a life on the Path of Truth. Like Pierre has said, this choice could in reality be the culmination of all efforts reflecting the choice towards living a life inline with ones spiritual ideal or philosophy- including the religious lifestyle of a particular leaning.
So comparing this to a determined individual, who has at a young age decided to pursuit a career doing __(whatever)__, for their entire life- or at least up to the final goal- innumerable decisions and choices would have been made, all in some way or another would be choices and efforts in accord with the fulfillment of the individuals original pledge, oath, or goal.
In this way, we see that though one initially has pledged or sworn themselves to follow the Good Path, the Path of Truth, “individual” karma becomes quickened; as a pledge is technically a sacrifice. Though, the choices and decisions done by the individual may appear as negative or objectionable- ultimately speaking, they are done by one who has pledged and sacrificed their personality to the purifying fires of the Path of Truth.
Thus, the importance of “I have ascertained the co-service of them both, the spirits of both of whom work together in association.”
This is my observation at any rate.
Alex PapandakisParticipantAlex Papandakis November 9, 2016 at 6:52 am #3764
You might say that choices are required all along the way not matter what previous choices might have been. In the enlightenment story of the Buddha Maya tempts Siddartha in a variety of ways at the bitter end. At the end of the section on the two paths it says:
“Thou hast the knowledge now concerning the two Ways. Thy time will come for choice, O thou of eager Soul, when thou hast reached the end and passed the seven Portals.”
Perhaps one way to read this is that diligence is required every step of the way. The climber can fall at the bottom or the top of the climb.
Peter November 9, 2016 at 2:45 pm #3770
“Is it a choice that we make at one time or is it a choice that we must make over and over again, or perhaps both?”
Interesting question, Grace. Perhaps any choice which involves a major transformation of our outlook and way of life is one that we inevitably end up coming back to and affirming, time and time again until through steadfastness of will, application and the necessary build up of energy and motivation we finally cross a threshold beyond which no more choice and willing is necessary.
We must necessarily make many, many choices throughout our life and over many lifetimes. While looked at as a whole these may be varied and perhaps even contradictory at one time compared to another (thus seeming to cancel out each other). Yet our day to day choosing does seem to leave an imprint on our nature, which becomes our disposition or latent propensity to act in one way rather than another when future choices arise.
It may well be that it is in events of our day to day choosing – even though these be relatively minor choices compared to those that aspirants more advanced than ourselves have to take – that adds to, builds up and strengthens that underlying disposition or latent propensity towards goodness, goodwill and altruistic action. Who knows – perhaps with steady regular effect such a point is reached whereby our disposition and latent propensity towards ‘the good’ is so strong that to choose otherwise is no longer an option.
Grace CunninghamParticipantGrace Cunningham November 9, 2016 at 9:11 pm #3785
Thanks to everyone who commented on my question. Oh my gosh there is so much wisdom in this group. I much appreciate your contributions one and all. The impression I get is that the journey is trod not in jumps but in steps. The great task is accomplished little by little.
ModeratorTN November 8, 2016 at 1:24 am #3756
November 7, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: The Two Paths
“To cling to the Void and neglect compassion
Is to fall short of the highest path.”
“To don Nirmanakaya’s humble robe is to forego eternal bliss for Self, to help on man’s salvation. To reach Nirvana’s bliss for Self, to help on man’s salvation. To reach Nirvana’s bliss but to renounce it, is the supreme, the final step — the highest on Renunciation’s Path.”
— The Voice of the Silence
ModeratorTN November 8, 2016 at 1:26 am #3757
November 8, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: The Two Paths
“You must take into consideration the fact that each of us is born not for himself alone.”
“The acquisition of Brahma Vidya is entirely dependent upon the development of a feeling of universal love.”
Peter November 9, 2016 at 2:11 pm #3768
The topic is the Two Paths, however, unless I have missed some posts (apologies if that is the case) I’m not sure we have actually clarified what is meant by ‘the Two Paths’. Some posts appear to suggest it is a choice between good and evil, some appear to suggest it refers to the choice between seeking liberation for oneself or seeking liberation for all beings. Both types are surely important choices.
With regards to the second view, the Voice of the Silence says:
“The PATH is one, Disciple, yet in the end, twofold… At one end – bliss immediate, and at the other – bliss deferred. Both are of merit the reward: the choice is thine.’ (p41, original edition)
KS November 10, 2016 at 3:34 pm #3788
“I’m not sure we have actually clarified what is meant by ‘the Two Paths’.”
I think it is difficult to draw an explicit distinction between “path A and path B.” As you have shown through HPB’s quotation- “the Path is one, yet in the end twofold”- shows the general fruit of ones labor; “bliss immediate” and “bliss deferred.”
However, if one were to look to Light on the Path, we see the following;
“20. Seek it not by any one road. To each temperament there is one road which seems the most desirable. But the way is not found by devotion alone, by religious contemplation alone, by ardent progress, by self-sacrificing labour, by studious observation of life. None alone can take the disciple more than one step onwards. All steps are necessary to make up the ladder. The vices of men become steps in the ladder, one by one, as they are surmounted. The virtues of man are steps indeed, necessary—not by any means to be dispensed with. Yet, though they create a fair atmosphere and a happy future, they are useless if they stand alone. The whole nature of man must be used wisely by the one who desires to enter the way. Each man is to himself absolutely the way, the truth, and the life.”
I believe the Path could be indicating the Path of the Heart Doctrine (as Odin has pointed out earlier)- the Path that leads to “Divine Light shining within.”
A Sufi Poet writes:
“I measured intensely, I pondered with heed (Ah! fruitless my labor) The cross and its creed.
To the Pagod I rushed, and the Magian’s shrine, but my eye caught no glimpse of a glory divine.
The reins of research to the Caaba I bent, wither hopefully thronging the old and young went;
Candasai, Heart searched I wistfully through, nor above nor beneath came the Loved One to view!
I toiled to the summit, wild, pathless and lone, of the globe-girding Kâf, but the Phoenix had flown,
the seventh earth I traversed, seventh heaven explored, but in neither discerned I the court of the Lord.
I questioned the Pen and the tablet of Fate, but they whispered not where He pavilions his state.
My vision I strained, but my God-scanning eye no trace that to Godhead belongs could descry.
But when I my glance turned within my own breast, Lo! the vainly sought Loved One, the Godhead confessed,
In the whirl of its transport my spirit was tossed till each atom of separate being I lost:
And the bright sun of Tanniz madder than me, or a wilder, hath never yet seen, nor shall see.”
- This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by KS.
Peter November 10, 2016 at 9:18 pm #3798
Thanks Kristan – lovely passages. My own comment was more mundane. I was suggesting we hadn’t actually clarified what we meant by The Two Paths. Is it Left and Right Hand Path; direct or gradual; individual liberation rather than seeking liberation for all beings; head or heart & so on?
KS November 10, 2016 at 7:56 pm #3793
The way I see it is that the Path i.e. Heart-Doctrine, is the path in which deeds and efforts transpire, or materializes for a furtherance towards unity and harmony. Just as in the Sufi quotation, “..till each atom of separate being I lost” points the way towards the dissolution of the personal- evanescent self, and the conceptual materialization of the individual- Immortal self.
Bhawanishankar’s quotation, “They reach that goal when the Jivatma (individual soul) becomes untied with, or assimilated to , Ishvara (Logos)” explains this just as well. From what I recall, he further states that this process is rather the “extension of ones Individuality,” preserved in its Parent Source.
Eye-Doctrine, might be generally described as that path which nothing has transpired towards practical harmony and the furtherance towards Brotherhood. I think, in all my personal observations, the difference is so subtle and so minute. A difference that cannot be ultimately detected or known unless one is able to finally reap the sweet or bitter fruits of their labors.
Again, the Path is ONE, but in the END it is twofold.
- This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by KS.
KS November 10, 2016 at 8:17 pm #3795
James had posted a quotation from the Key that also fits with this topic;
“But no one can be a true Occultist without being a real Theosophist; otherwise he is simply a black magician, whether conscious or unconscious.”
I think the emphasis here is on “whether conscious or unconscious.”
Indeed, a terrifying thought… How many make great progress, developing tremendous power and unspeakable ability, superhuman insight etc., yet what is the ultimate difference between the Magician and the Black Magician? Both are equal in their strength and abilities.
It is what lies within the Heart, the final fruition of lifetimes of labors, that will ultimately be the final word. Likewise, I think this may somehow relate to the distinction between the two paths.
Peter November 10, 2016 at 9:00 pm #3796
“Is the Eye Doctrine to be connected with Bliss Immediate and the Heart Doctrine with Bliss deferred? Or is that going the wrong way with the correlations?”
Good question, Gerry. I don’t think we can quite correlate them in this way. HPB tends to use the term ‘Eye Doctrine’ to refer to exoteric teachings – whether of the Buddha or other religions, while the Heart Doctrine usually refers to the esoteric teachings.
The exoteric teachings of the buddhist Mahayana tradition contain extensive teachings on both the path that leads to bliss / liberation for oneself and on the bodhisattva path which seeks liberation for all beings (liberation deferred). So, we can’t easily divide these into exoteric and esoteric.
ModeratorTN November 9, 2016 at 6:27 pm #3783
November 9, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: The Two Paths
“They are Jivanmuktas and, having no desire for mukti, renounce it for the purpose of helping humanity. They reach that goal when the Jivatma (individual soul) becomes untied with, or assimilated to , Ishvara (Logos) .“
— Bhavani Shankar
“So shall I join the choir invisible
Whose music is the gladness of the world.“
— George Eliot
ModeratorTN November 11, 2016 at 12:39 am #3802
November 11, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: The Two Paths
“Believe to the end, even if all men went astray and you were left the only one faithful; bring your offering even then and praise God in your loneliness.”
— Fyodor Dostoievsky
“Happy are they who sow but do not reap, for they wander afar.”
— Avraham ben Yitshak