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Theosophical Tenets: Reincarnation

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    Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
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    Reincarnation.

    Theosophical Tenets:  Reincarnation

    “Intimately, or rather indissolubly, connected with Karma, then, is the law of re-birth, or of the re-incarnation of the same spiritual individuality in a long, almost interminable, series of personalities. The latter are like the various costumes and characters played by the same actor, with each of which that actor identifies himself and is identified by the public, for the space of a few hours. The inner, or real man, who personates those characters, knows the whole time that he is Hamlet for the brief space of a few acts, which represent, however, on the plane of human illusion the whole life of Hamlet. And he knows that he was, the night before, King Lear, the transformation in his turn of the Othello of a still earlier preceding night; but the outer, visible character is supposed to be ignorant of the fact.”

    — H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol II, p. 306

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Theosophical Tenets: Reincarnation

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
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    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN

    From Mr. Judge’s Ocean of Theosophy

    What then is the universe for, and for what final purpose is man the immortal thinker here in evolution? It is all for the experience and emancipation of the soul, for the purpose of raising the entire mass of manifested matter up to the stature, nature, and dignity of conscious god-hood. The great aim is to reach self-consciousness; not through a race or a tribe or some favored nation, but by and through the perfecting, after transformation, of the whole mass of matter as well as what we now call soul. Nothing is or is to be left out. The aim for present man is his initiation into complete knowledge, and for the other kingdoms below him that they may be raised up gradually from stage to stage to be in time initiated also. This is evolution carried to its highest power; it is a magnificent prospect; it makes of man a god, and gives to every part of nature the possibility of being one day the same; there is strength and nobility in it, for by this no man is dwarfed and belittled, for no one is so originally sinful that he cannot rise above all sin. Treated from the materialistic position of Science, evolution takes in but half of life; while the religious conception of it is a mixture of nonsense and fear. Present religions keep the element of fear, and at the same time imagine that an Almighty being can think of no other earth but this and has to govern this one very imperfectly. But the old theosophical view makes the universe a vast, complete, and perfect whole.

    • Profile photo of Tamiko Yamada
      Tamiko Yamada
      Participant
      Profile photo of Tamiko YamadaTamiko Yamada

      By seeing our fellow man as an immortal soul and treating them as such.

      • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
        Ramprakash ML
        Participant
        Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

        Precisely.

        That we are immortal souls is the very first and foremost truth with which Krishna begins his instructions to Arjuna — with these soul stirring words : Never was I was not, nor thou, nor all these princes of the earth, nor shall we ever hereafter cease to be ; as the dweller in the body experiences therein infancy,youth and old age, so will it meet the same in future incarnations. (Quoting as remembered)

        But it is not easy to realize the changeless immortal self, though we admit it through intellectual reasoning and intuitive perception.

        Very powerful teaching on the essential nature of the Ego and its transmigrations is found in the 15th chapter of the BG :

        It is even a potion of myself which having assumed life in this world of conditioned existence draweth together the 5 senses and the mind that it may obtain a body and may leave it again; and these are carried by the sovereign Lord to and from whatever body he may enter or quit, as the breeze bears the fragrance of the flower. Presiding over the organs of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch, as also the mind, it experiences the world. (As remembered)

        But no one realizes it, though they hear of it in astonishment, speak of it in wonderment.

        Such is the power of Maya, difficult to surmount. Mr Judge says it is the powerful personal idea of separateness–egotism–difficult indeed to subdue.

        Mr Judge, however, says, realization comes from dwelling upon the thing to be realized.

        We have to think, think and think all the time–right from the time when we rise in the morning, working during the day, to the time when we go to sleep in the night–that we are not the body or circumstances but are the Self distinct and separable from the body–neither praise nor blame, neither relative happiness nor sorrow, neither sleep, dream or deep sleep, neither birth nor death of the body–of which perpetual ceaseless changes “i” am the witness standing on high unaffectd (Kootastha).

        Look on every one of “others” in the same light.

        If Ego-Self is immortal, then it is eternal. How many eternals can there be ? Eternal can only be One not many.

        Hence there is only one Self–in you, in me, in all : Hence universal Brotherhood.

        Though realization may not be ours as yet, yet we are affected deeply by this line of thought and meditation by way of changed attitude to life and in regard to our relationships. Fear of death is to a great extent abated, and certain higher carelessness, a certain calmness and a spirit of tolerance of circumstances and persons do indeed arise. That is not a small gain !

        • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Profile photo of Ramprakash ML Ramprakash ML.
  • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
    Gerry Kiffe
    Moderator
    Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

    How can we make the idea of Reincarnation truly make a difference in our lives?  How do we elevate the idea from the position of a casual belief into something that transforms the way we live?

    • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
      Jon Fergus
      Moderator
      Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

      I feel like a genuine belief in reincarnation can’t help but effect our lives in many ways. Our perspective on death changes automatically I think. But how to make reincarnation have a positive impact on our lives may be a bigger issue, especially in regards to its effect on our morality. For instance, reincarnation has been heartily believed in India for countless generations, but among many (most it seems) the belief has informed a morality largely based on the fear of what might come to be in future incarnations and/or the desire for reward in future incarnations, and this seems to differ little in practice from the classic fear of hell and desire for heaven among those who believe in life after death but also believe that we only live once.

      So I wonder…. what aspects of reincarnation, or what view of it, or what other ideas would help inform a higher morality (one based on doing right for the sake of it being right, etc.)? It seems that a belief in reincarnation alone isn’t enough.

      • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
        Gerry Kiffe
        Moderator
        Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

        You are right.  Karma needs to be added to the equation.  Responsibility, which lies at the heart of morality, is made infinitely more compelling when you put the two together.    All our deeds, all our thoughts and all our feelings are effecting the world and will come back to us, if not now or soon, in a future life. We are responsible for them.

        • Profile photo of Alex Papandakis
          Alex Papandakis
          Participant
          Profile photo of Alex PapandakisAlex Papandakis

          Karma and reincarnation are co-dependent concepts.  Karma makes little sense to human beings without reincarnation and the holding of effects from causes in one life to be displayed in another.  How and when and where a soul incarnates is based upon karma, that is, the effects flowing from past causes.

          • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
            Kate Blalack
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            Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

            Alex, What about the karma that we can create and change in this life alone? Not all karma waits until another lifetime.

            • Profile photo of Peter
              Peter
              Moderator
              Profile photo of PeterPeter

              Hi Kate – what sort of examples are you thinking of whereby Karma doesn’t wait until the next life and/or Karma that we can change in this life?  These might just help us focus on your good question.

               

              ~

            • Profile photo of Alex Papandakis
              Alex Papandakis
              Participant
              Profile photo of Alex PapandakisAlex Papandakis

              Agreed.  Some karma turns around very quickly, like when you stay up too late at night and then have trouble staying awake at work the next day.  But without reincarnation we cannot account for the circumstances of life, and the great inequities in this department, that we are born into. Causes will have a effects.  This is what Karma means.  If not in this lifetime in another.

              Here are some Aphorisms from Mr. Judge that relate to this point:

              (14) In the life of worlds, races, nations, and individuals, Karma cannot act unless there is an appropriate instrument provided for its action.

              (15) And until such appropriate instrument is found, that Karma related to it remains unexpended.

              (16) While a man is experiencing Karma in the instrument provided, his other unexpended Karma is not exhausted through other beings or means, but is held reserved for future operation; and lapse of time during which no operation of that Karma is felt causes no deterioration in its force or change in its nature.

              (17) The appropriateness of an instrument for the operation of Karma consists in the exact connection and relation of the Karma with the body, mind, intellectual and psychical nature acquired for use by the Ego in any life.

              (18) Every instrument used by any Ego in any life is appropriate to the Karma operating through it.

              • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
                Kate Blalack
                Participant
                Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

                This is interesting, so it would seem from this that our karma expands beyond our physical bodies. So we have a much further reach. I wonder if this is how the channel of psychic communication operates?

                • Profile photo of Tamiko Yamada
                  Tamiko Yamada
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                  Profile photo of Tamiko YamadaTamiko Yamada

                  Could it be that our higher principles are not bound by space and time in the same way our material nature is bound?

                  • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                    Ramprakash ML
                    Participant
                    Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                    Absolutely right. Higher Self is free, the lower material principles in which it reflects itself as the terrestrial ‘I,’ personality, is self-perpetuating entity through the blind and unintelligent power of self-reproductive or self-procreating Kama.

      • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
        Ramprakash ML
        Participant
        Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

        I wholly agree with the statement of Fergus that : “So I wonder…. what aspects of reincarnation, or what view of it, or what other ideas would help inform a higher morality (one based on doing right for the sake of it being right, etc.)? It seems that a belief in reincarnation alone isn’t enough.”

        But reincarnation is bound up with, and is the outcome of, the law of Karma. No Karma, no reincarnation, and again, “there is no Karma unless there is a being to make it or feel its effects.” (Aphorism on Karma, no. 1) Effects produced by our actions are in strict accord with, and follow the line of, causation we produced. Here is the trigon : of i. the Agent, ii. the moral causation, and iii. the consequence or the effects that follow. Harmonious adjustment of effects of actions done by us which the GREAT ADJUSTER, Karma, effects is always via and through the Agent (the Ego) which produced the cause, during which adjustment the Agent feels pain or pleasure according as the moral causation was in accord with, or, antagonistic to the harmony of life.

        This is true of individuals, of families, communities, nations and even the world as a whole.

        If we add to it the Law of Distributive Karma then we have, as HPB shows, a clear explanation of the terrible mass sufferings and calamities which frequently overtake societies.

        There is no injustice anywhere and at anytime except such as those we ourselves–individually and collectively– produced, and have become the victims thereof.

        • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
          Gerry Kiffe
          Moderator
          Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

          Might we say that reincarnation is about the cycles of life and karma is about how they unfold?

          • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
            Ramprakash ML
            Participant
            Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

            Seems to be that Karma is not only about how cycles of reincarnation unfold but how reincarnation occur at all and why, for what purpose, to what end.

            • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
              Gerry Kiffe
              Moderator
              Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

              Karma seems to have a truing or balancing principle about it that bends to the Good, moves evolution forward, or maybe we could say is on the side of growth ultimately.

              • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
                Pavel Axentiev
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                Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

                I would say that this is a rather religious position. Yet if one views Karma based on the reality of Oneness of the ALL, it becomes a sort of redeeming factor for the return to the true, original nature of things.

                • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
                  Gerry Kiffe
                  Moderator
                  Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

                  Yes, in the original sense, to bind back, to unite (re-ligare), to make whole again. Karma works on behalf of the whole, never the part.

              • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                Ramprakash ML
                Participant
                Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                Yes.Karma ever tends upwards, leading Egos through experience and discipline to highest goal which is complete, universal Self-consciousness. Mr Judge shows that it is Just Law and at the same time Merciful–Justice and Mercy being the two aspects of one reality.

      • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
        Pavel Axentiev
        Participant
        Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

        The concept of Dharma is, truly, what complements the idea of re-incarnation.

        • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
          Ramprakash ML
          Participant
          Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

          Dharma, says Mr. Judge, in his Notes on the Bhagavadgita, — as regards man — “Man alone has the power to retard his ‘journey to the heart of the Sun,’ by refusing to perform his properly appointed and plainly evident Dharma.”

          What then is his Dharma — Manava Dharma ?

          • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
            Pavel Axentiev
            Participant
            Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

            It is great that Mr. W. Q. Judge says that Dharma is ‘plainly evident.’

            In my view, Dharma is individual, and is based on the understanding of one’s calling. It should come from the heart, and not be based on the feelings of guilt, etc.

            I also agree that certain things are essential to Dharma – such as, as the Manu-Shastras tell, if I am not mistaken, that man should be self-sufficient i.e. earn enough to provide for his basic needs (food, shelter, clothing, basic hygiene).

            Also, the Buddhist Eight-fold Path comes to mind, with its concept of Right Livelihood.

            • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
              Ramprakash ML
              Participant
              Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

              Dharma forms fundamental basis of all aspects of individual and collective life in ancient India–though modern India, corrupted as it is, has lost that basis and gone astray. All the terrible things that you hear of India is on account of that calamity. What prevails now is just dead letter observances and priestly exploitation.

              HPB said that tragedy of India is that she has lost Theosophy–ever since the Master were exiled by Brahminical orthodoxy. These latter have sway over peoples minds and will never know the meaning of the Shastras, unless they go reverentially, with repentance, to the Masters and seek Their guidance.

              • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
                Gerry Kiffe
                Moderator
                Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

                Can you say more about how Masters were exiled in Brahminical orthodoxy? When and how did this occur?

                • Profile photo of Kristan Stratos
                  Kristan Stratos
                  Moderator
                  Profile photo of Kristan StratosKristan Stratos

                  GK- as you know it isn’t only the case with Brahmin Orthodoxy but is the common trait of all Orthodox vs. Occult teachings.

                  Take away specifics and named traditions, we can observe it in every aspect of Nature.

                  Check out the link- a short film, “The Grand Inquisitor” from Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.

                • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                  Ramprakash ML
                  Participant
                  Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                  Gerry,

                  Exact historical account is not found, as far as I know, in the mainstream history books. My statement is based on what HPB has stated, and what Masters have hinted at. Jainism and Buddhism flourished in India. Of that there are mainstream historical accounts. Chandragupta Mourya was deeply influenced by these two streams. Ashoka embraced Buddhism and under his benevolent rule whole of India put into practice Buddha’s teachings. There are extensive Buddhist Viharas in the caves of the Eastern Ghats in the coastal region of Andhra Pradesh in Southern India. HPB says that Voice of the Silence is a translation of the Mahayana Buddhist text written in Telugu language spoken in Andhra Pradesh.

                  I have heard the present Pontif of Sringeri–a highly learned Brahminical Monastry in the Western Ghats–speaking of exile of Buddhism from Southern India. Brahmins always had sway over the rulers of Southern India and had their way always. It was a very learned pontiff of Sringeri–probably an Initiate also–called Vidyaranya who founded the glorious Vijayanagar empire about 1336 which flourished for more than 300 years, leaving behind rich cultural heritage.

                  As you all know Nalanda Buddhist seat of learning flourished in northern India from 5th to 13th century CE till it was ransacked and destroyed by Moghul invaders. Its destruction was foreseen and precious MSS were transported to Tibet and translated into Tibetan tongue and preserved. Dalai Lama speaks of it. They have come back to India with the Tibetan refugees who sought asylum in India, and their beautiful extensive monasteries have hundreds of thousands of MSS in Tibetan.

                  Brahminism has such a sway over Hindu mind I wonder whether Buddhism has a chance at all of gaining widespread acceptance in India.

            • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
              Ramprakash ML
              Participant
              Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

              Very well said, Pavel ! Dharma is adherence to the laws of virtue or morality based on a knowledge of true nature of Self, of universal Brotherhood, Karma and Reincarnation, and self-responsibility and duty–not something motivated by fear of hell or guilt.

              Manu says that earning one’s livelihood according to one’s natural qualities and capacity (Swadharma) regulated by Dharma makes for human happiness and social harmony. It has for its goal the World Ideal : Nirvana or Moksha, liberation from all conditioned existence.

              If these truths are understood and become widespread in the world will not our whole socio-political economy undergo fundamental change ?

          • Profile photo of Kristan Stratos
            Kristan Stratos
            Moderator
            Profile photo of Kristan StratosKristan Stratos

            Purging into Humanities texts, we find many accounts of “Dharma”- Duty rather- individual or otherwise, mentioned as being the forerunning qualification to attain an adept, noble, or divine position.

            Truth, honesty, humility are all more or less qualities that manifest within the individual when their specific Duty is enjoined fully into every aspect of ones life. In the Avesta we find a word; “Khwarenah”- the “Kingly Glory” or, as a scholar pointed out, akin to the Arabic word “baraka”- the Royal Touch.

            Each individual has this Khwarenah radiating from ones Fravashi (Ego, ‘Spiritual Parent’)- the Fortune of Destiny; i.e., the purpose and lessons directly regarding an individuals incarnation. It is Destiny in the truest sense of Karmic Retribution, not a fatalistic idea of destiny.

            “…Each man has his own individual khawarena, and to this he must cling, for it is the instrument of his salvation. The Khawarena is… it is work in the fulfillment of your final cause.”

            From the Pahlavi Dinkard;
            “The Creator created his creation for action, and creatures are the Creator’s agents. Their work can only develop satisfactorily by obtaining a right view (Bavandak-mênîtârîh) of their own Khwarenah, that is, by doing their own job (duty). By making a success of one’s on job (duty/purpose) one furthers the Creator’s work and thereby conforms to his will and pleasure…”

            A neglect of this Purpose (individual or otherwise), apparently results in a disturbance, a friction occurs regarding this Khwarenah, which fails to conform to the Universal Will, Universal Law. Hence, a perpetual state of personal bewilderment and confusion; the metaphorical gap isn’t bridged but becomes eroded into a vast canyon of separation. Dishonesty, cowardice, and neglect is the result.

            Judge mentions something also in deep connection taken from the above quotation;

            “Man alone has the power to retard his ‘journey to the heart of the Sun…”

            The Khwarenah is said to be identical with the “Blazing Fire” which (Khwarenah) is derived from the Endless Light. It appears to be the agent through which Universal Law is implored.

            “It is the omniscient and omnipotent Ohrmazd who reunites it to what is properly its own- both in individual cases (when each individual khwarenah is reunited) to its particular seed and body, and universally, at the time of “Making Excellent” (Universal Khwarenah is reunited) to the architects of that “Making Excellent”… and again at the Final Body (…reunited) to the whole of material existence”

            Dharma, Duty, Khwarenah is the purposeful action, the Humanity of mankind, by which each must obey and act loyal to. It is simply another tradition showing identical teachings of The Mystery School.

            • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
              Pavel Axentiev
              Participant
              Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

              That’s great, Kristan, thanks.

            • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
              Ramprakash ML
              Participant
              Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

              Thanks Kristan. SO, there is no direct allusion to reincarnation in Pahlavi texts ? You mean to say, you have to infer it by reference to context ?

              I wonder why. Except in Hindu and Buddhist texts not much importance is given in other religions to reincarnation as a religious doctrine of importance, though without it, and its twin law, Karma, no philosophy is complete and no ethics can have mandate of conscience.

              What could be the reason ?

              • Profile photo of Kristan Stratos
                Kristan Stratos
                Moderator
                Profile photo of Kristan StratosKristan Stratos

                I haven’t studied the entire corpus of the Pahlavi texts, but I have found, what I consider, both direct and indirect teachings of reincarnation, which can be seen through translation (though vaguely), and more clearly when we understand the Secret Doctrine of the Mystery School.

                Don’t forget though, that the Pahlavi texts were written at a much later date than the Gathas and Zend Avesta, which explicitly speak of Universal Law and Righteousness = (sanskrit) Karma, which ultimately is just a word representing an Existing Universal Fundamental. There are explicit teachings of Karma presented in both texts. It appears to be the only teaching in some regards. However, both texts are fragmented and apparently incomplete, hence much is lost, let alone the “key” of interpretation- given to the initiates. Much interpretations have altered the original teaching of the Gâthâs, which are seen in the Pahlavi texts.

                We also must keep in mind not to limit ourselves with sanskrit vocabulary and specific traditional ideas when studying non-sanskrit texts. The fundamental principles of Law and Cyclic Law (Karma and Reincarnation) are without a doubt present, though spoken about in far different contexts and perspectives compared to Buddhism and Hinduism.

                The Desâtîr contains fundamental occult axioms, being universal to all esoteric traditions, yet it is seen as a “fraud” by the orthodox Parsis. One scholar stated that such mystical doctrine was “borrowed from the mystical doctrine of the Persian Sufis, and from the ascetic tenets and practices of the Yogis and Sanyasis, of India…”

                Reincarnation largely plays a role in cosmogenesis if one were to be philosophically consistent… The teachings of Zarathustra (an Aryan Master) has been corrupted for many ages. Those who follow the “mystical” side aren’t seen as “orthodox” in their understandings.

                “Except in Hindu and Buddhist texts not much importance is given in other religions to reincarnation as a religious doctrine of importance…”

                I cannot say I can fully agree with this. I think a lot of esoteric schools, like Sufism, speak of Karma and reincarnation in their own language, which may be far different in symbolism of what we are generally shown. Each “school” has its specific language, to which is kept for its “students.” It is just a thought… I cannot accept that these fundamentals are entirely absent form any tradition headed by Master Adepts. Human error and war is largely responsible of unfortunate desecration of sacred traditions.

              • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
                Jon Fergus
                Moderator
                Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                Having spent the last few years delving into the Upanishads and now into the Vedas, I’ve come across the same thing: that there is seemingly no direct teaching of reincarnation/karma in the veda samhitas, and thus also no direct teaching of liberation as we generally understand the idea. It’s only in the upanishads that these doctrines appear in direct terms and then in later texts that they’re really developed into doctrines.

                Charles Johnston (along with scholars like Paul Deussen) who translated the Upanishads, held the opinion that the vedas and upanishads were two different streams of wisdom from two different peoples, and that the vedas were simply devoid of these doctrines. I suspect that this isn’t the correct approach though. It seems to me that the vedas (and perhaps also the Avestan texts) may simply be teachings given from a very different perspective than the one we currently find our consciousness locked into, and in order to understand them we must try to elevate ourselves to that perspective. The common teachings of reincarnation and liberation are generally given from a perspective that we can easily grasp: i.e. the doctrines make sense even from a mundane human perspective. But Reincarnation and Liberation may look entirely different from a higher perspective, and may not even faintly resemble the way they are taught to us in this current condition of our consciousness. A pyramid looks very different from ground level than it does from directly above, so to speak.

                • Profile photo of Alex Papandakis
                  Alex Papandakis
                  Participant
                  Profile photo of Alex PapandakisAlex Papandakis

                  Here is another point of view to the idea that reincarnation is not mentioned in the Vedas:

                  Reincarnation in the Vedas

                  By Yogi Baba Prem, Yogacharya, Veda Visharada

                  http://www.vedicpath.com/Articles/ReincarnationVedas.html

                  Exerpt from the beginning:

                  It has become common to hear from followers of Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) and scholars that reincarnation is not found in the Vedas; regrettably this is often due to a great deal of misinformation as well as an emerging literalist mentality that is attempting to sweep the global community. While it might be correct to say that the Rig Vedas does not address reincarnation literally with a specific word for reincarnation as a literalist would prefer; the Vedas does reference what could only be viewed as references to reincarnation. It does this initially through mantras that are considered funeral mantras, and these are found within the Rig Veda, the oldest of the four Vedas. Within the Rig Veda, there is a lovely funeral mantra that states:

                  ā ta etu mana punah kratve dakshāya jīvase,

                  Jyok ca sūryam drishe. Rig Veda 10.4.57.4

                  “May your spirit return again, to perform pure acts for exercising strength, and to live long to see the sun.”

                  • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                    Ramprakash ML
                    Participant
                    Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                    Excellent references from Rk Veda on reincarnation. thanks Alex.

                  • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
                    Jon Fergus
                    Moderator
                    Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                    The full hymn, with Griffith’s translation (a quite literal translation, following Sayana’s commentary) and the newest Oxford translation:

                    1. mā pra gāma patho vayam mā yajñād indra sominaḥ | mānta sthur no arātayaḥ || 2. yo yajñasya prasādhanas tantur deveṣv ātataḥ | tam āhutaṃ naśīmahi || 3. mano nv ā huvāmahe nārāśaṃsena somena | pitṝṇāṃ ca manmabhiḥ || 4. ā ta etu manaḥ punaḥ kratve dakṣāya jīvase | jyok ca sūryaṃ dṛśe || 5. punar naḥ pitaro mano dadātu daivyo janaḥ | jīvaṃ vrātaṃ sacemahi || 6. vayaṃ soma vrate tava manas tanūṣu bibhrataḥ | prajāvantaḥ sacemahi ||

                    Hymn 10:57. Viśvedevas. (Griffith)
                    1. Let us not, Indra, leave the path, the Soma-presser’s sacrifice: | Let no malignity dwell with us. || 2. May we obtain, completely wrought, the thread spun out to reach the Gods, | That perfecteth the sacrifice. || 3. We call the spirit hither with the Soma of our parted sires, | Yea, with the Fathers’ holy hymns. || 4. Thy spirit come to thee again for wisdom, energy, and life, | That thou mayst long behold the sun! || 5. O Fathers, may the Heavenly Folk give us our spirit once again, | That we may be with those who live. || 6. O Soma with the spirit still within us, blest with progeny, | May we be busied in the law.

                    Hymn 10:57 (Oxford)
                    1. Let us not depart from the path, nor from the sacrifice of the one who has soma, Indra. | Let hostilities not stand between us. || 2. He who assures the success of the sacrifice, who is the thread stretched to the gods, | him [=Agni], bepoured, might we attain. || 3. We now call mind hither, with soma dedicated to Naraśaṃsa | and with the composed thoughts of our forefathers. || 4. Let your mind come here again, for will, for skill, for life, | and to see the sun for a long time. || 5. O fathers, let the divine race give us mind again. | May we keep company with the troop of the living. || 6. Under your commandment, O Soma, bearing mind in our bodies, | may we, along with our offspring, keep company with it.

                    Lots of room for interpretation here, of course. We must also be careful of “confirmation bias” in our approach. If one wants this to be about reincarnation, they’re likely to interpret it that way. But notice the “parted sires”/”forefathers” (ancestors) and the abundant use of terms like manas, pitris, and soma, all references involving the lunar aspects of our being. A surface reading of this verse, for one with some basic knowledge of the brahmanical ancestor worship, fits quite squarely into it. And, if a theosophist with knowledge of the secret doctrine wants to go deeper into the symbolism of this hymn, I am quite doubtful that they will conclude that the Sanskrit verses are discussing reincarnation. Just my opinion on the matter though.

                    • Profile photo of Samantha Province
                      Samantha Province
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                      Profile photo of Samantha ProvinceSamantha Province

                      Maybe this hymn speaks of ancestor worship on one level, reincarnation on another, and the lunar pitris on yet another level? Sacred texts have many levels of meaning from the exoteric to the esoteric and many gradations in between. And besides that, is the doctrine of the lunar pitris really comprehensible without reincarnation? Just a thought.

                    • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
                      Pierre Wouters
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

                      That seems to be a standard procedure Samantha, in hiding the esoteric within the exoteric. Both HPB and Mr. Judge apply this in their public writings. If what is said in The Secret Doctrine has become public, then why still call it a secret doctrine?

                    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                      Ramprakash ML
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                      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                      Fergus,

                      A few hymns you quoted from Rig Veda do not seem to contain any reference to reincarnation, but one has to study the whole corpus to find evidence of it.

                      It is inconceivable that Rig Vedic compilers did not know Karma and Reincarnation, as HPB says that highest knowledge attainable by man is there in it, and Max Muller finds it most ennobling even in its dead letter sense, to which alone he has access.

                      The whole language, imagery, quaint metaphors of the Rk is indeed difficult to understand unless made explicit by one who knows the hidden sense.

                    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                      Ramprakash ML
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                      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                      One more point :

                      Fergus, You said :

                      ” But notice the “parted sires”/”forefathers” (ancestors) and the abundant use of terms like manas, pitris, and soma, all references involving the lunar aspects of our being. A surface reading of this verse, for one with some basic knowledge of the brahmanical ancestor worship, fits quite squarely into it.”

                      A very important point. To me it seems that the verse cited certainly do not refer to the degrading practices of worship of the Manes as now prevalent in India, which is nothing but sanctified worship (or appeasement ?) of the shells (spooks) of the departed–of which HPB has spoken extensively in Isis and her other works.

                      I would like to draw the attention of my friends to a very important teaching HPB gives regarding the esoteric meaning of true of Pitri worship, in HPB Article vol. II, p. 176, 177, and glossary on Soma and Soma drink. She says :

                      “It is not the Pitris individually that were ever consulted, but their STORED WISDOM collectively; that wisdom being shown mystically and allegorically on the bright side of the moon.” (p. 176)

                      “What the Brahmans invoke are not ‘the spirits’ of the departed ancestors……But to comprehend fully the nature of the ‘lunar’ ancestors and their connection with the ‘moon’ would necessitate the revelation of occult secrets which are not intended for the public hearing. Therefore no more will be given than the few hints that follow.” (ibid.)

                      It is too long to quote here. Soma means, says she, is moon, which is also the name of the mystic drink of the Brahmans [initiated ones, not the present day dead-letter pundits]. There is a connection between that drink and the moon.

                      “A ‘Soma-drinker’ attains the power of placing himself in direct rapport with the bright side of the moon, thus deriving inspiration from the CONCENTRATED INTELLECTUAL ENERGY OF THE BLESSED ANCESTORS. This ‘concentration,’ and the moon being the storehouse of that Energy, is the secret, the meaning of which must not be revealed, beyond the mere fact of mentioning the continuous pouring out upon the earth from the bright side of the orb of a certain influence.” (ibid.)

                      “That which is invoked is the LUNAR wisdom esoterically, and mot the ‘Lunar ancestor. It was the Wisdom that was invoked by Qu-ta-my, the Chaldean, in the ‘Nabathean Agriculture,’ who wrote down the ‘revelations of the Moon.’ ” (p. 177)

                      So, references in Rk verses, you quoted, addressed to ancestors, Soma, Moon, Pitris, I suppose, have references to these verities of Occult Sciences.

                      How can such Masters be unaware of Reincarnation beats my understanding.

                    • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
                      Jon Fergus
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                      Thanks for this reply Ramprakash. Very helpful! I think that brings us much closer to the meaning of this hymn (and many others in the Rigveda).

                      I’d like to also clarify for everyone that I’m not trying to argue that the masters were ignorant of reincarnation. I’ve only been arguing that either 1. reincarnation is not present in the Rigveda OR 2. it is present but under symbolism we’re not generally familiar with and/or is described in ways that we don’t generally (or easily) recognize, AND that if the doctrine is not present in the vedas this needs to be explained, at which point I do not believe it is accurate to say that they were left out (or left under deep symbolism) solely because they were doctrines so well known as to not be in need of mention (as was suggested by Gerry earlier).

                      For my part, I do believe reincarnation is to be found in the vedas, but I believe it is spoken of from such a perspective and in such a way that, to our minds, it hardly resembles the doctrine that we are familiar with through theosophical teachings. What this encourages, for me, is to reexamine what I think I do and do not know about reincarnation, and to examine if, perhaps, there are other perspectives from which I might view it wherefrom it may appear quite different than the way I am accustomed to thinking about the doctrine (see my analogy of the fish, below).

                    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                      Ramprakash ML
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                      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                      Of course Fergus, it is evident from your posts that the idea of reincarnation in the RIg Veda is not in literary forms readily recognizable by us who are used to another forms of expression. You said it quite explicitly. It was not disputed

                    • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
                      Irfan Rouhani
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                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      Never forget that the form or reincarnation as presented in the traditional Vedic and Buddhistic context is distinct from the Theosophical form … the Buddhist form, if you go to the traditional sources is highly absurd … and the question one must ask oneself is HPB and
                      Meher Baba put it into a more logical form, but still many questions remain. Best to be agnostic in a sense.

                    • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
                      Irfan Rouhani
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                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      Also there is a tradition that states, errors are deliberately placed in all prophetic and sacred texts and traditions … so as to confuse us … and the purpose of this is to hinder the development and consolidation of a dogmatic mind that can’t distinguish between knowledge and belief, and belief and prejudice.

                    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                      Ramprakash ML
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                      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                      You are right. In all sacred scriptures truth is partially revealed and mostly concealed with deliberate blinds and contradictions purposely made. It is said the reason for it is that sacred truths cannot be revealed to unprepared minds, as danger lies in it both to the revealer and the society. But to the instructed and initiated the hidden light in the scriptures are at once apparent. Concealment thus serves two purposes.

                    • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
                      Irfan Rouhani
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                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      Yes Ram, but in the real sense, that’s not the point, why?

                      As all mystics know:

                      “Even the Quran, which Sufis respect as the direct speech of God, lacks the capacity to shed light upon God’s essence. As one Sufi master has argued, why spend time reading a love letter (by which he means the Quran) in the presence of the Beloved who wrote it?”

                    • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
                      Gerry Kiffe
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                      Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

                      The teaching of reincarnation as communicated through the Secret Doctrine is essentially once the monad reaches the human stage of development it cannot backslide into lower forms of life.

                    • Profile photo of Samantha Province
                      Samantha Province
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                      Profile photo of Samantha ProvinceSamantha Province

                      I’m not sure what article of W.Q. Judge Ramprakash is citing but it seems clear that he does not intend to dispute that human monads take rebirth as human monads only. I’m interested to know more about what Judge had to say about getting “caught up in vegetable and animal bodies” and what exactly this entails, however. There is certainly a lot of Theosophical literature I haven’t read and always more to learn.

                    • Profile photo of Samantha Province
                      Samantha Province
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                      Profile photo of Samantha ProvinceSamantha Province

                      I came across this passage from Jeanine Miller’s The Blazing Dragon of Wisdom pg. 372 and wanted to share:

                      Scholars have denied the existence of the doctrine of reincarnation in the Rigveda. The examples brought forward by A.B. Keith in his Religion and Philosophy of the Veda and the Upanishads for critical survey, are not at all to the point and not worth discussing here. The only example in the Rigveda which does seem to refer to it has been ignored except for Dr. Werner in his “The Vedic concept of human personality and its destiny”.
                      My translation of the verse in question runs thus: addressing Savitr, the solar Presence, the poet admits: “First thou hast bestowed upon the worthy gods the loftiest share: immortality Then for men, as their share, thou openest out successive existences.” (anucinà jãvità. Rgv.IV.54.2)

                      http://jeaninemiller.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/TheBlazingDragonOfWisdom.pdf

                      Does this Vedic reference pass the smell test?

                    • Profile photo of David Reigle
                      David Reigle
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                      Profile photo of David ReigleDavid Reigle

                      Here is this verse from the now standard Rigveda translation by Stephanie Jamison and Joel Brereton, 2014:

                      4.54.2. For you first impel immortality to the gods worthy of the sacrifice as
                      their highest share;
                      just after that, o Savitar, you reveal your gift: lives following in
                      succession for the sons of Manu.

                    • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
                      Jon Fergus
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                      I think this verse, 4.54.2 is a case where we might see high potential for confirmation bias, so we must be careful in our approach. It is a single verse, without any further explanation of what is meant by “lives following in succession” (anūcīnā jīvitā), but because we are already familiar with the concept of reincarnation, from studying other texts, we may have a tendency to graft that idea onto this verse. It may be just as likely (more likely, in my opinion), that this verse simply indicates the process by which the “sons of Manu”, i.e. humanity, perpetuates itself, i.e. one generation following another, lives succeeding lives. The immortality of the gods is pure immortality, while the immortality of humanity requires “successive lives” or successive generations. Humanity is in this way “immortal”, even if individual men/women are not, so to speak.

                      We may also consider the preceding Hymn (4:53) (both hymns are to the god Savitar). The closing verses of that hymn are:

                      The god has come according to the ritual progressions. Let him make our dwelling place strong. Let Savitar establish for us refreshment that brings good offspring. | Let him quicken us through the nights and the days. Let him speed wealth that brings offspring.

                      Note the emphasis on offspring. Then following this hymn we are immediately met with the distinction between gods and humanity in terms of immortality. Gods are immortal, while humanity needs lives after lives. Are those lives after lives indicating reincarnation of each individual, or is it more likely to be again related to offspring and the successive generations of humanity?

                      It is interesting to note that the translators David referenced as well as Griffith have nothing to say about this verse in their notes/commentary.

                      All that said, the god Savitar does seem to have relation to the idea of cyclical processes. According to Sayana (famous commentator of the vedas) the sun before rising is called savitar, and after rising until it sets again is called sūrya. Successive lives, or days seems built into the character of Savitar.

                      Of course, I can certainly see how we may view this verse, in the light of theosophy, as indicating reincarnation, but the question is: is that actually the intended meaning of the verse itself, or is it simply the meaning we attach to it, based more on our study of theosophical material than on our study of the Rigveda itself? Again I would simply ask: if reincarnation as we understand it today formed a core part of the vision of reality represented in the vedas, why are we in need of seeking single verses here and there to find it? Why no clear exposition of the idea?

                      A couple other translations to consider:

                      Griffith:

                      “For thou at first producest for the holy Gods the noblest of all portions, immortality:
                      Thereafter as a gift to men, O Savitar, thou openest existence, life succeeding life.”

                      Geldner:

                      “Denn zuerst weisest du den opferwürdigen Göttern die Unsterblichkeit als bestes Teil zu.
                      Dann tust du, Savitri, deine Gabe auf und weisest den Menschen ihre Lebenszeiten in der
                      richtigen Folge zu.”

                      Notice Geldner’s use of richtigen, indicating “right” or “correct”, so with him the meaning seems to be more akin to “life in the correct sequence”, rather than simply “lives in succession”. However, I don’t have the original publication of his translation in front of me to verify if he provided any notes on this verse.

                    • Profile photo of Samantha Province
                      Samantha Province
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                      Profile photo of Samantha ProvinceSamantha Province

                      This interpretation did occur to me but there is a huge problem as I see it: the Vedic view is that man survives bodily death and goes to various abodes. Yet, he does not achieve immortality. Saying that men and women have offspring as their equivalent of immortality would only make sense if they were assumed to die with their bodies, so it isn’t to the point. If we assume the Vedic view of survival of bodily death, offspring do not tell us how the postmortem existence of men is distinguished from the immortality of gods. So these successive lives really only make sense for individual humans.

                      The Werner paper that Miller cited lays out this context very clearly. It’s been uploaded to
                      this blog (albeit without attribution).

                      In addition to the passage under discussion, he also cites RV 10:88:15, rendered by Jamison and Brereton as follows:

                      I have heard from the forefathers that there are two routes, (that of) the gods and (that of) mortals.

                      Along those two everything that moves goes together, whatever is between the father [=Heaven] and the mother [=Earth].

                      This parallels the later Upanisadic teachings on the two ways and is interpreted as such by Griffith.

                      As for Geldner, in the Werner paper (cited by Miller) this translation is taken to task as follows:

                      Jîvitâ ‘lives’ might perhaps be translated as ‘Lebenszeiten’ as Geldner does, but the adjective anûcînâ, agreeing in form fully with its noun, can by no means be interpreted adverbially in Geldner’s way. Besides, it is not at all clear what Geldner means by his phrase “Lebenszeiten in der richtigen Folge”.

                      So why we do not receive a clear exposition? Werner points out that the Vedas are “hymns and not explanatory writings.” The Vedas are “not expressed in straightforward conceptual language such as could be readily understood by our rational minds, but in symbols and mythological images which require special effort from us to establish their meanings.”

                    • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
                      Gerry Kiffe
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                      Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

                      For me this is precisely why the Secret Doctrine is such a great aid in comparative religious investigation. If you want to see the metaphysical basis and be pointed to the esoteric meaning of these texts HPB gave us The Secret Doctrine. Without it I sense that the whole field is a morass of conflicting opinions.

                    • Profile photo of Samantha Province
                      Samantha Province
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                      Profile photo of Samantha ProvinceSamantha Province

                      I appreciate the Secret Doctrine’s insights into comparative religion more and more all the time, although at first, I found this to be the most difficult part of the text.

                    • Profile photo of Samantha Province
                      Samantha Province
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                      Profile photo of Samantha ProvinceSamantha Province

                      Also very relevant to this discussion is the work of Joanna Jurewicz on rebirth in the Rigveda. The renowned Sanskritist Richard Gombrich has high praise for this work and it forms a pillar of volume “What the Buddha Thought.” He writes: “There has been a lot of progress in this field over the last quarter century, mainly because of a Polish Sanskritist called Joana Jurewicz who reinterpreted, I think totally successfully, a hymn in the tenth book – that’s the last book – of the Rig Veda, the funeral hymn. I think it’s absolutely certain that she’s right: it fits the grammar, and it also makes sense of the whole early history of Indian religion in this area.”

                    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                      Ramprakash ML
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                      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                      Samantha’s post #4540

                      1. It is said :

                      “The Werner paper that Miller cited lays out this context very clearly. It’s been uploaded to
                      this blog (albeit without attribution).
                      In addition to the passage under discussion, he also cites RV 10:88:15, rendered by Jamison and Brereton as follows:
                      I have heard from the forefathers that there are two routes, (that of) the gods and (that of) mortals.
                      Along those two everything that moves goes together, whatever is between the father [=Heaven] and the mother [=Earth].”

                      My comment : Are not the above verses strongly reminiscent of the two paths all souls follow, mentioned in the 8th chapter of the Bhagavadgita and Chandogya Upanishad 5-9-1 to 5-10-10 —
                      the path of the moon and the path of the Sun, by the one, who departs returns again, and the other path by which one departs returns not ?

                      The path of the sun is the path of the gods. By gods must mean souls who have attained immortality by following the path of the sun, and the mortals necessarily fall into the path of the moon, and have to return again and again.

                      It is reminiscent of it, but may not be the real meaning intended.

                      2. Further it is said in Samanta’s post :

                      ” why we do not receive a clear exposition? Werner points out that the Vedas are “hymns and not explanatory writings.” The Vedas are “not expressed in straightforward conceptual language such as could be readily understood by our rational minds, but in symbols and mythological images which require special effort from us to establish their meanings.”

                      Werner is right. Not only are the Vedic writings symbolic but the esotericism lies deeply hidden in the SWARA – the intonation of the mantras while chanting. Even slight change in the inflection changes the meaning and produces effect specific to that modulation.

                      But correct inflectional chanting is certainly lost in India. There may be very few who may know it but remain unknown, anonymous.

                      Moreover, HPB, even Swami Dayananda Saraswati who was an Initiate says, what we have of the Vedas in public domain are not even a fifth of the original corpus, and are rejected copies.

                      Hence straining after grammar and philological hair-spitting are not much help.

                      The only right approach which will unveil to us the hidden sense of the Vedas is the Path of the Heart Doctrine : the Path of the Sun, of Fire, of the fortnight of the bright moon that confers immortality.

                    • Profile photo of Samantha Province
                      Samantha Province
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                      Profile photo of Samantha ProvinceSamantha Province

                      My comment : Are not the above verses strongly reminiscent of the two paths all souls follow, mentioned in the 8th chapter of the Bhagavadgita and Chandogya Upanishad 5-9-1 to 5-10-10 —
                      the path of the moon and the path of the Sun, by the one, who departs returns again, and the other path by which one departs returns not ?

                      The path of the sun is the path of the gods. By gods must mean souls who have attained immortality by following the path of the sun, and the mortals necessarily fall into the path of the moon, and have to return again and again.

                      It is reminiscent of it, but may not be the real meaning intended.

                      Yes, this is the interpretation of Werner and Griffith. Given the Vedic conception of human survival of bodily death and also an “immortality” that only a few exceptionally holy souls achieve, as well as the verse speaking of successive lives, it seems to me like a reasonable and safe interpretation. This becomes stronger when we consider the research and interpretation of Jurewicz regarding the “rebirth cosmology” of the funeral hymns in book 10 of the Rigveda. According to Jurewicz, in the Vedic view the departed soul goes to the sun, remains there for a period, and then returns in the rain, which produces plants which are eaten by the deceased’s relatives. Rebirth in the family of the deceased then follows. This also makes sense of the many passages in the Rigveda which speak of transmigration into plant life, noted by Werner.

                      This is pretty exoteric, even phallic, but it does demonstrate that reincarnation isn’t an absence that needs to be explained.

                      Werner is right. Not only are the Vedic writings symbolic but the esotericism lies deeply hidden in the SWARA – the intonation of the mantras while chanting. Even slight change in the inflection changes the meaning and produces effect specific to that modulation.

                      But correct inflectional chanting is certainly lost in India. There may be very few who may know it but remain unknown, anonymous.

                      Moreover, HPB, even Swami Dayananda Saraswati who was an Initiate says, what we have of the Vedas in public domain are not even a fifth of the original corpus, and are rejected copies.

                      Hence straining after grammar and philological hair-spitting are not much help.

                      The only right approach which will unveil to us the hidden sense of the Vedas is the Path of the Heart Doctrine : the Path of the Sun, of Fire, of the fortnight of the bright moon that confers immortality.

                      This is all doubtless perfectly correct, but I think even the grammatical and philological meaning of the Vedas has value. After all, Swami Dayananda Saraswati himself used the dead letter of the exoteric Vedas to reform Indian society for the better.

                    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                      Ramprakash ML
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                      Sanmantha’s comment 4588

                      It is said :

                      “This becomes stronger when we consider the research and interpretation of Jurewicz regarding the “rebirth cosmology” of the funeral hymns in book 10 of the Rigveda. According to Jurewicz, in the Vedic view the departed soul goes to the sun, remains there for a period, and then returns in the rain, which produces plants which are eaten by the deceased’s relatives. Rebirth in the family of the deceased then follows. This also makes sense of the many passages in the Rigveda which speak of transmigration into plant life, noted by Werner.”

                      Soul going to the sun, remaining there for a time, and returning by the rain which produced plants, which are eaten by relatives, and this followed by rebirth, has been explained in the Chadogya Upanishad cited earlier, 5-9-1 to 5-10-10

                      How does the disembodied Ego return to another rebirth ? Chandaogya says that the return path is through cloud, rain, plants, animals, thence into the seed of man, from seed of man to the egg of the woman. There is nothing phallic in it, being a perfectly natural process of rebirth at this stage of Man’s evolution.

                      Mr Judge speaks of it in the outlines of his occult novel given in Letters on page 253-4.
                      In fact in another article on rebirth of man in animals, Mr. Judge has shown, the truth underlying the superstitious belief among the Hindus and Buddhists that man may be reborn in animals or plants. Theosophical axiom being Once a Man always a Man. That is, the Ego can never go back to lower kingdoms of nature. But during the passage to reincarnation, it may get caught up in vegetable and animal bodies, which Hindus dread. The more on deviates from the harmony of life the more the Ego has to suffer such dreadful fate. In the normal cases the passage to rebirth is quick, but in other cases of opposite kind, cases of bad Karma, the passage is obstructive and delayed.

                    • Profile photo of Samantha Province
                      Samantha Province
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                      Profile photo of Samantha ProvinceSamantha Province

                      Thanks for this Ramprakash, very illuminating discussion and I’m glad to stand corrected. Such strong continuity between the scholarly reconstruction of the Vedic tradition and the Upanishads only strengthens the case for rebirth in the Vedas.

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                      Irfan Rouhani
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                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      Ram, I was compelled to ask a question relating to the issue of method (sadhana) … the Theosophical circle, for all the benefits it has showered on humanity, is very often criticized for lacking any kind of coherent sense of orthopraxy or clear and explicit methodology … it is said that the Theosophists err in the respect that traditional Christianity eers in emphasizing orthodoxy … while Judaism and Islam are more orthopraxy oriented in their attitudinal orientation … as well as Buddhism for example … and it seems to me that in the main Theosophical books or literature (NOTE: the secret DOCTRINE) … there is no definite determinate call to a clear and explicit vision of a experientially and practice-based spiritual life or sadhana … as is not the case for example in all the counter-movements aka Ramakrishna-Vedanta, Gurdjieff Fourth Way, Aurobindo Integral Yoga, Hindu Revivalism (Ramana Maharshi and countless other saints and sages), the Traditionalist School or Perennialism … and so on and so forth ad infinitum. What say you to this charge?

                    • Profile photo of Samantha Province
                      Samantha Province
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                      Profile photo of Samantha ProvinceSamantha Province

                      This charge is accurate to a certain extent. There are some very high-level practices in H.P.B.’s inner group teachings and the study and practice of the teachings of the Yoga Sutras is emphasized generally but overall the purpose of the Theosophical movement at the time of the writing of the source literature was primarily to change patterns of thought in the west and this was most appropriate for the level of consciousness at the time. Ultimately theory and practice are mutually informative and indispensable and, to my own mind, there is no “doctrinal” material that approaches Theosophy in breadth and depth.

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                      Irfan Rouhani
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                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      Reply to Province: yes, well I agree with a part of what you say … namely the part about how for the general public … and the majority involved with the TS movement … the main event has largely always been in regards to this “changing of patters of thought” … and I would add … the opening up of a space for intellectual liberty and search … which is to say the same thing.

                      Unfortunately there hasn’t been a balance between doctrine and method … which is why so many abandoned it for other “paths and ways” … for example Irina Tweedie famously became a Sufi and Krishna Prem famously became a Vaishnavite yogi … and Paul Brunton famously became a follow of Ramana Maharshi … and many many became followers of Ramakrishna, Yogananda, Sri Aurobindo, Meher Baba, Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, Gurdjief 4th Way Krishnamurti and the list goes on and on.

                      I don’t think Theosophical organizations have in reality properly absorbed and assimilated the host of critiques that have been launched at them.

                      It’s not really a “sacred tradition” in any conventional sense … which usually includes and encompasses some definite and explicit emphasis on alchemical spiritual methods and means (sadhana), some places for sacred space and communal practice, some shared rituals that are means and vehicles for the transmission of transformative sacramental spiritual grace (endowed with real potency), so on and so forth.

                      It is primarily an educational program and a stepping stone and launching pad for many (and alas for many a vacuum in which they get attached to a constellation of ideas and ideals that bind them to a particular formal and therefore temporal plane of ideas and ideals [there is only one essential idea and that is Divine Unity]).

                      But the most important and interesting thing about what you say concerns the “doctrinal material” … I would challenge that … I thought it was the case too in the past … but now I’ve come up with some other ideas and opinions.

                      We should discuss, I added you on Facebook.

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                      Jon Fergus
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                      Three things:

                      1. The study of theosophy is a path unto itself. The path of jnana yoga; the most appropriate path for “western minds”, as HPB says.

                      2. When asked about practical training one of the mahatmas simple said that everything we need is already there in the public domain: all instruction on preliminary training is to be easily found in whichever tradition a theosophist feels most drawn to.

                      3. I would argue that, for those willing to sincerely plumb the depths of its meaning, The Voice of the Silence gives all we need (and more) about how to actually walk the path set before us. It is the complimentary work to the Secret Doctrine and in my view the two are a pair: studying one while ignoring the other gives only a partial grasp of what theosophy really.

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                      Irfan Rouhani
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                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      Sounds to be a solid defense, but I have only two follow up points:

                      1) could you point me to a couple verses in TVOTS that refer to methodology of unlocking and traversing planes?

                      2) how do you account for the notions set forth in SD and the notions set forth in other systems (Aurobindo, Meher Baba) and the seeming contradictions … or the existence of the phenomena of contradiction in general.

                      My take is that all the contradictions and imperfections, which is a feature or characteristic of the perishable planes … is functional and by design … which is to say … that it is meant to push us forward or upward so to speak … into the underlying Atmic Unity … Alone where perfection broods Alone with Itself.

                    • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
                      Jon Fergus
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                      We are drifting a little from the topic of reincarnation, but these are important points to cover. My response to your (Irfan) two points is:

                      1) you’ve asked a very specific question (re: “methodology of unlocking and traversing planes”), to which I believe the best place to begin is:

                      Before thou set’st thy foot upon the ladder’s upper rung, the ladder of the mystic sounds, thou hast to hear the voice of thy inner GOD in seven manners.
                      The first is like the nightingale’s sweet voice chanting a song of parting to its mate.
                      The second comes as the sound of a silver cymbal of the Dhyānis, awakening the twinkling stars.
                      The next is as the plaint melodious of the ocean-sprite imprisoned in its shell.
                      And this is followed by the chant of Vīnā.
                      The fifth like sound of bamboo-flute shrills in thine ear.
                      It changes next into a trumpet-blast.
                      The last vibrates like the dull rumbling of a thunder-cloud.
                      The seventh swallows all the other sounds. They die, and then are heard no more.
                      When the six are slain and at the Master’s feet are laid, then is the pupil merged into the ONE, becomes that ONE and lives therein.

                      Then, one may become a Khechara (“sky-walker” or “goer”).

                      Unless one’s only interest is in the lowest of the astral phenomena, and then one might as well go to the exoteric gurus of India, or the Fakirs, etc. for instruction on how to fly around in one’s astral, but I see very little use for such teachings if our goal is real enlightenment and real brotherhood for all. In fact, the casual development “the lower iddhi” are more likely to halt our progress indefinitely than to aid us in any way.

                      While the quote above about the mystic sounds may seem like poetry and not much more, the truth is that nothing is spoon-fed in HPB’s presentation of the theosophical path. We must work to unlock the ideas and the practices ourselves (and become worthy of such knowledge), for doing that work is the path. Blindly applying techniques supplied by some one else, who is not our Inner Guru, is simply not the path theosophy teaches. But like Ramprakash says, the practical instruction is there, in a handful of texts we all have easy access to. What we don’t have easy access to is the inner understanding and poise required to successfully apply that practical instruction, and therein lies the danger; a danger that is remedied by intent study, which brings us to…

                      2) Working through seeming contradictions and paradoxes is part of the practice of jnana yoga (or whatever we wish to call it). For instance in this very discussion on reincarnation: how is one to successfully apply practical instruction meant to help one overcome the impelling forces that lock us into an endless cycle of reincarnation if we do not even remotely understand what reincarnation actually is!? Step one (as Sankara explains) includes the ability to discriminate between true and not true. Step one! Not step 28 after blindly applying techniques 1-27. No, step one.

                      “The first “accomplishment,” which a neophyte must have, is the right knowledge of the real and the unreal.” (Mohini Chatterji, Qualifications of Chelaship)

                      On this path, we must recognize that contradiction is always within our understanding of a given idea; the conflict is between our partial vision of the truth at any stage of our progression and the actual truth itself; contradiction arises only because we have not yet sufficiently developed the ability to recognize truth from partial truth or outright falsehood. Again, theosophy is not about spelling things out or spoon-feeding us; it requires years (lifetimes) of continuous efforts to develop the finer sheaths of our being such that we become more able to recognize truth and dismiss falsehood. An intent study of theosophy leads to a controlled fluidity of mind (sanyama), such that contradictions and paradoxes lose the power to restrict our progress and access to the truth. When an ordinary mind comes to a paradox, they halt and the door is shut. When a mind trained deeply in theosophical study comes to a paradox, they halt only to seek for the key to unlock that door, and that key once found allows them to push through that “laya point” to arrive at a grander vision (and on and on this goes, rung by rung).

                      It is important, I think, to undertake the study of theosophy not as an intellectual exercise alone, but as a kind of spiritual practice, a kind of yoga, a kind of meditation. And in terms of morality, ethics and practical life: it is up to us to intuitively understand that which is righteous and not to depend on outward “commandments” or rules or techniques. Develop our own rules, our own commandments, our own techniques… and then we’re on the path to becoming adepts instead of blindly following adepts.

                    • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
                      Irfan Rouhani
                      Blocked
                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      I see, quite cleanly spelt out, my only response would be, have you met a practitioner of this path that seemed to clearly exhibit the fruits of this way, “you will know them by their fruits.”

                      For example, if someone asked about the truth of Islam, which embraces the exoteric and the exoteric (for those called and ready to advance to that level) … one can point to many such proofs and fruits … aka a plethora of the worlds greatest saints and mystics, etc., to show that “it works” so to speak.

                    • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
                      Irfan Rouhani
                      Blocked
                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      correction: the exoteric and *esoteric*

                    • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
                      Gerry Kiffe
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

                      I think when anyone practices anything one will quickly know if fruit is being born. Piano, guitar, tennis, bowling, speech restraint, meditation, kindness etc. Those who look for quantum leaps, little less short cuts, to the penultimate goal of enlightenment will always be thwarted because it is not supported by Nature. Nature, that would include all human beings, progresses by increments. Look at the rings on a giant sequoia tree, which show one very small ring for each year. Reincarnation is a crucial doctrine in this process because self-mastery and Self-Realization are too lofty a goal to be achieved simply in one lifetime. Besides why should we rush. The desire to rush itself is an impediment. As Mr. Judge says, “we are right now living our immortal lives.”

                    • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
                      Irfan Rouhani
                      Blocked
                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      “Reincarnation is a crucial doctrine in this process …”
                      True that.

                    • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
                      Jon Fergus
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                      To answer simply and directly: yes, I have personally met those whom I consider to exemplify the fruits of the theosophical path. For me (and others I suspect) the “proof is in the pudding” and all evidence I need has been furnished.

                      But aside from personal connections, even if we look to the world at large we will find such exemplars in abundance. The main question is: which fruits are we looking for? Psychical powers? Exhibitions of phenomena or other such things? Claims to special status etc.? Or are we looking for heart qualities like true peacefulness, love, altruism, courage, fortitude, etc.?

                      If one is looking for examples of extraordinary powers, one need look no further than HPB herself. If one is “lucky” enough, one who is steadfast on this path may come to know of living individuals who are capable of the things she reportedly was. But I would also ask: is that the true measure of greatness?

                      On the other hand, if one is looking for heart qualities, the fine examples of the fruits of this path are countless, including (in my personal view) several individuals who are members of this very forum. If one is looking to history, I would direct them to W.Q. Judge, Damodar K Mavalankar, B.P. Wadia, Charles Johnston, and many others in the theosophical movement who exemplified the true spirit of theosophy in their daily lives.

                      Let’s not forget: it is easy for organized religions, or even scientific communities, etc. to crown someone a “saint”, but I would argue that rarely are the truly great ones really recognized as such, and far too often are the mediocre raised up in public estimation. Theosophy will tend to focus on the inner, higher qualities of Man, and be bothered much less with the lower. One of the Mahatmas who helped organize this movement once said that a man “may be a Bacon or an Aristotle in knowledge, and still not even make his current felt a feather’s weight by us [the mahatmas], if his power is confined to the Manas.” It is to the highest in us that we need to look for the qualities marked by a Great Soul, and I would venture to say that it is likely that “it takes one to know one.”

                      Now, all that said, there is one main idea that I feel is confused in your approach. You are making a direct comparison between Theosophy and Islam. Theosophy, however, is not a religion, nor is it a singular belief system, etc. A theosophist may be a Muslim, or a Christian, or a Buddhist, etc. and remain a theosophist. When you speak of an esoteric Muslim, I would see such a person as a theosophist. An esoteric Christian likewise. An esoteric Vedantin or Buddhist also. Heck, an esoteric atheist as well. For to be a theosophist is simply to be working one’s way to the heart-of-things. The path is One, but it varies with each pilgrim. We may all begin from different points, traverse the “paths” of different religious or spiritual or scientific traditions, but when we get to the heart we will find one another there, converged together. An esoteric Muslim does not end up at a different heart-of-things than an esoteric Christian, or any other, for they are all theosophists and the heart is One.

                    • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
                      Irfan Rouhani
                      Blocked
                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      I see, yes, I understand your groups thinking now and it strikes me as quite sound.

                    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                      Ramprakash ML
                      Participant
                      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                      The charge is wholly baseless, in my view. Much needs to be said on this point but time and limited space are constraints.

                      True way is to first to seek and comprehend the right philosophy of life, then right thought and right action on the basis of the truth learnt–which is essentially to comprehend the reality of Universal Brotherhood, the ethical law of moral causation, and practice ethics based on these. This mental and moral effort cleanses the mind and heart of wrong beliefs, false ideas, lower desires and passions, develops dispassion, love of truth, altruism, devotion to humanity through intuitive understanding of the self to be in reality All-Self, destruction of sense of the illusions of the sense of separateness.

                      this is the true path, this is the true practice, from within without. This is the path Theosophy shows, the end and aim of which is entire renunciation of Self–of even the bliss of Nirvana–to work ceaselessly for humanity for cycles without number.

                      Theosophy warns against psychic practices which are run after by multitude in the name of spiritual progress.

                      True practice and the immutable laws of spiritual development are clearly given out. This is unambiguously taught in the Bhagavadgita, the Voice of the Silence, Light on the Path, and the Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali. Nothing could be more clear and more definite than these devotional books in the right spiritual practices.

                      Remember the warning with which the Voice of the Silence begins the instructions on the true meditation practice :

                      “These instructions are for those who are ignorant of the dangers of Lower Iddhi.”

                    • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
                      Irfan Rouhani
                      Blocked
                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      Psychic practices? I know not what you mean, sadhana, and you know this, is not “psychic practices”. For example: mantra-japa or nama-japa.

                      It seems that what you say rests on this: “This is the path Theosophy shows, the end and aim of which is entire renunciation of Self–of even the bliss of Nirvana–to work ceaselessly for humanity for cycles without number.”

                      That is on a sort of westernized mahayana sect … but my question to you is this … what on earth makes you think that such an idea of absolutized mother teresa syndrome has any basis or validity in reality?

                    • Profile photo of Peter
                      Peter
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of PeterPeter

                      HPB wrote:

                      ‘Theosophy is not a religion, but a philosophy at once religious and scientific; and that the chief work, so far, of the Theosophical Society has been to revive in each religion its own animating spirit, by encouraging and helping enquiry into the true significance of its doctrines and observances. Theosophists know that the deeper one penetrates into the meaning of the dogmas and ceremonies of all religions, the greater becomes their apparent underlying similarity, until finally a perception of their fundamental unity is reached. This common ground is no other than Theosophy—the Secret Doctrine of the ages..’ (CW VIII 268)

                      Therefore, the student of theosophy may come from any background in life and may be a follower of any of the great religions or of none. From a study of their writings we discover that the aim of HPB and her Teachers was not to present the multitudes around the world with a method of spiritual practice that could and should be applied by all. A twofold general aim is apparent from their writings: 1) to assert a fundamental unity or source underlying all religions and 2) to assert the fundamental unity of all life as a fact in nature.

                      In terms of spiritual practice Theosophy upholds the ethical and moral values found in all the worlds great religions. It adds to this that the ideal aim of the aspirant on the spiritual path is to work for the benefit of the whole, not for his or her own welfare alone. How each person manages this path will depend on the temperament and developmental stage of each person along with circumstances in life (karma etc) in which they find themselves. Many students may already belong to a spiritual tradition with its own practices.

                      It appears that the aim of HPB and her Teachers was to point towards a fundamental unity of Truth and of Humanity rather than proclaim a uniform method that all should follow towards the realisation of that Truth. As one of her teachers wrote:

                      ‘As the course of the river depends upon the nature of its basin, so the channel for communication of Knowledge must conform itself to surrounding circumstances. The Egyptian Hierophant, the Chaldean Mage, the Arhat, and the Rishi, were bound in days of yore on the same voyage of discovery and ultimately arrived at the same goal though by different tracks. There are even at the present moment three centres of the Occult Brotherhood in existence, widely separated geographically, and as widely exoterically –– the true esoteric doctrine being identical in substance though differing in terms; all aiming at the same grand object, but no two agreeing seemingly in the details of procedure. It is an every day occurrence to find students belonging to different schools of occult thought sitting side by side at the feet of the same Guru. Upasika (Madam B.) and Subba Row, though pupils of the same Master, have not followed the same Philosophy –– the one is Buddhist and the other an Adwaitee.’ (Mahatma Letter no. 85)

                      HPB seems to endorse some approaches to the spiritual path more than others. Her work, ‘The Voice of the Silence’ has inspired many but its study is by no means a requirement for a student. We each have to take stock of ourselves, examine what it is that we aspire towards, consider our strengths and weakness along with what we have and what we lack and start from there.

                      ~~

                    • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
                      Irfan Rouhani
                      Blocked
                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      a lot was written here, let me take it a point at a time:

                      ” … that the chief work, so far, of the Theosophical Society has been to revive in each religion its own animating spirit, by encouraging and helping enquiry into the true significance of its doctrines and observances. Theosophists know that the deeper one penetrates into the meaning of the dogmas and ceremonies of all religions, the greater becomes their apparent underlying similarity, until finally a perception of their fundamental unity is reached.”

                      Who can argue this point, but that the “Theosophy” or “Secret Doctrine” mentioned (Gnosis in short or in Arabic: Irfan, Haqiqa and Ma’rifa), which is something distinct from the book entitled ‘The Secret Doctrine’ and the organization entitled the Theosophical Society or ULT … must be born in mind.

                    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                      Ramprakash ML
                      Participant
                      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                      By psychic practices, Irfan, we mean what is called “sitting for development,” engaging in yoga practices for acquisition of Siddhis. This is very common in India. Hatha Yoga practices are one kind of it. The latter is devotion to the body and bodily perfection by means of yogic postures and breath control (Pranayama) Instead of the mind being directed to the Eternal, it is directed to the corruption of the mortal frame. This will lead to gradual atrophy of Antahkarana –the bridge that links mortal man to his Higher Self, and, if pursued for long, will lead to a calamity called Spiritual Death.

                      Masters warn against this. They are dead against Pranayama. They say it is both physical and moral death.

                      Many a misguided devotee has hurt himself. in his psychic and nervous organization.

                      Every street corner of India you will find money making “gurus” who will teach you Kundalini yoga, “transcendental meditation” and even communications with so-called spirits.

                      These are dangerous psychic practices which are not only ruinous to mental, moral and physical well-being of man but, if pursued foolishly, will develop mediumship and, worse, land him in black magic.

                      Once open the inner door to the Astral World, it cannot be shut nor can he be helped. Dangerous influences of the Astral Light will take control of him over which he will have no control, and lead him to ruin.

                      Raja Yoga is to be pursued. Voice of the Silence teaches the purest and highest Raja Yoga. You will not find Raja Yogis. They remain anonymous, the true renouncers, silently work for the good of humanity, but are available to the pure in heart, the truly devoted.

                      You will have to study Theosophy deeply to understand it.Of course, religious practices laid down by the Dharma Shastras, like, Nama Japa, fasting, control of the senses and mind, purificatory practices and ethical living are good and helpful. But even here the MOTIVE is the most important factor. If the Motive in indulging in these is pure Love and devotion to the Supreme with no selfish intent, they are beneficial.

                    • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
                      Irfan Rouhani
                      Blocked
                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      Yes, “If the Motive in indulging in these is pure Love and devotion to the Supreme with no selfish intent, they are beneficial.” Yes, absolutely, and you no Ram, Japa-Mantra or Zikr is considered by many of us, whatever our cultural designation, to be of paramount importance in the spiritual life.

                    • Profile photo of James
                      James
                      Participant
                      Profile photo of JamesJames

                      Some points from a R Y booklet showing they are both a sign of progress and a test in resisting temptation for the Yoga student.

                      Psychic experiences like clairvoyance and clairaudience, though true in them­selves, can produce a false sense of self-realisation thus blocking further progress. This is akin to the foolishness of the man who missed the train by whiling away his time on the roadside magic show! It needs great strength and wisdom to transcend the temptations of such psychic powers as they often develop as a matter of course in spiritual aspirants.

                      Patafijali himself warns the aspirants. against this danger in alL 3.51.: When supernatural beings occupying celestial spheres invite the yogi (to their worlds) he should neither be tempted nor be puffed up with pride, since there is every possibility of a fall into sathsara’

                    • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
                      Irfan Rouhani
                      Blocked
                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      a lot was written here, let me take it a point at a time:

                      ” … that the chief work, so far, of the Theosophical Society has been to revive in each religion its own animating spirit, by encouraging and helping enquiry into the true significance of its doctrines and observances. Theosophists know that the deeper one penetrates into the meaning of the dogmas and ceremonies of all religions, the greater becomes their apparent underlying similarity, until finally a perception of their fundamental unity is reached.”

                      Who can argue this point, but that the “Theosophy” or “Secret Doctrine” mentioned (Gnosis in short or in Arabic: Irfan, Haqiqa and Ma’rifa), is something distinct from the book entitled ‘The Secret Doctrine’ and the organization entitled the Theosophical Society or ULT … must be born in mind.

                    • Profile photo of Kristan Stratos
                      Kristan Stratos
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Kristan StratosKristan Stratos

                      Irfan,

                      You say and I quote;

                      “Theosophy” or “Secret Doctrine” mentioned (Gnosis in short or in Arabic: Irfan, Haqiqa and Ma’rifa), is something distinct from the book entitled ‘The Secret Doctrine’ and the organization entitled the Theosophical Society or ULT … must be born in mind.”

                      I must agree 100% in full with this statement. Theosophy- “A School of Mysticism”- must be, by necessity, in agreement with the Commonwealth of Occult Brotherhood (all esoteric traditions) or it will stand on its own as a separate school of philosophy- definitive and explicit. Dissensions cause discord which ultimately leads to sects and “parties.” Often these dissensions are caused by the inability to recognize essential fundamentals. This inability to do so causes restriction, a barrier which obstructs the Divine Light- Ma’rifa- from manifesting properly. A form can only expose the amount of Light limited to its capacity. Thus a form is fundamentally limited.

                      I believe, due to personal experience, the second one limits the “Secret Doctrine” to a particular book is the minute one commits a great folly on various levels. Likewise, the moment Theosophy is restricted to the TS and ULT is the moment one bars themselves from Universal Brotherhood- speaking idealistically.

                      If one is not able to “cradle Theosophy with an open hand,” the following quotation is short of meaningless;

                      “Theosophists know that the deeper one penetrates into the meaning of the dogmas and ceremonies of all religions, the greater becomes their apparent underlying similarity, until finally a perception of their fundamental unity is reached.”

                      To penetrate into the deeper meaning of dogmas and ceremonies, one must be free from the influence of setting up dogmas and ceremonies themselves. The mere fact that there is question of orthodoxy in Theosophy (TS or ULT) is proof that students still struggle to free themselves from an inherent tendency to attach a form to a Universal Teaching. Unity cannot be understood if there is a distinction between essence- the Essence must necessarily be singular, The Secret Doctrine by necessity, must be singular in Essence.

                      I have spoken with many people, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, etc. and I find that those who are most devoted to their faith, those who strive and uphold the Divine Ideals and live solely to represent the highest of Principles are true Theosophists, Students of The Secret Doctrine simply because they are willing to sacrifice themselves to That Principle which is Most Exalted- personal or impersonal- as this Union is the Universal Sacrifice for Humanity at large.

                    • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
                      Irfan Rouhani
                      Blocked
                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      Kristan Stratos: couldn’t have said it better myself.

                    • Profile photo of Peter
                      Peter
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of PeterPeter

                      Irfan and Kristan,
                      It’s completely accurate for you to say that neither the Theosophical Society (or any other theosophical group) nor HPB’s book are THE Secret Doctrine that she asserts underlies all the great spiritual traditions.
                      I’m only wishing to add to your good thoughts when I say that, of course, HPB never made either of those claims in the passages I cited. That said, she did claim that her book, ‘The Secret Doctrine’, revealed a few fundamental truths from the Secret Doctrine of the Archaic Ages. It’s on that basis that we might study it, acknowledging that those ‘few fundamental truths’ are by no means the complete picture nor the last word on esoteric Wisdom. I mention this just in case people less familiar with her writings form a misunderstanding as to what HPB claimed about her work and the role of the Society she helped form.

                      ~~~
                      ~~~

                    • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
                      Irfan Rouhani
                      Blocked
                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      I agree.

                      But there are some points of disagreement that need to be shed out also.

                      For a start, the messianic bodhisattva “ideal”, which was concocted by the rather overheated and overzealous imagination of that poet mythologist moralizing-extremist Shantideva … and consequently infected the minds of some of the Tibetans, but thank God only some of them and not the rest of Tibet and Asia.

                      He took an idea and exploded it out of all proportions.

                      The notion of becoming mother teresa X infinity must be categorically rejected in my opinion.

                    • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
                      Irfan Rouhani
                      Blocked
                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      Thank you to this gentleman Peter for writing such a wonderful and thoughtful response:

                      ” 1) to assert a fundamental unity or source underlying all religions and 2) to assert the fundamental unity of all life as a fact in nature.”

                      Absolutely, absolutely, and this is TRUE and this they brilliant succeeded in. Although it has always had its precedents, it needed to be restated strongly in modern times. What precedents? Well tracing it back: Bahai, Shikhism, Kabir, Sufism, Neoplatonism, and Rig-Veda/Bhagavad Gita … too name a few. Also some eminent Christians, although they had a lot of restraints imposed on them.

                      Yet, that underlying source or transcendental unity of religions … is what is called God or Spirit, the Atman or Paramatman … however one conceives of this … in us all.

                      And indeed, the fundamental unity of all life is not only a fact in nature, but a fact beyond nature, and that is the most important thing.

                      “It appears that the aim of HPB and her Teachers was to point towards a fundamental unity of Truth and of Humanity”

                      Sir, I think you will agree with me that this must never be lost sight of at any moment. That Unity of Truth is consubstantial with the Unity of Humanity, they are of the same essence and one and the same. The Truth is One, and is the real essence of all these illusionary world-systems that are more or less equivalent to ever changing and passing dreams.

                      Thank you for your reply.

                    • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
                      Irfan Rouhani
                      Blocked
                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      Behold! A revelatory oracular utterance that sums and seals the universal wisdom of the ages for the forthcoming shift of the ages: God or the Divine is infinite and absolute Oneness! And the end and aim of all life and existence is to REALIZE that eternal and infinite Oneness! All else is mere illusions within the great illusion! Om, Amen, Amin!

                    • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
                      Pierre Wouters
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

                      “We must also be careful of “confirmation bias” in our approach.”

                      Good point Jon, and something that is drawing a lot of attention lately, even in scientific quarters, but how do we distinguish between the two, confirmation bias on the one hand and proper interpretation on the other hand? And how can we get away from this accusation by others?

                    • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
                      Irfan Rouhani
                      Blocked
                      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                      where there is a group there is confirmation bias, and where that confirmation bias is violated, there is the ejection of the violator from the group, in addition to the very forgetting of this fact, and with great self-affirmation and zeal.

                • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                  Ramprakash ML
                  Participant
                  Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                  I agree. Reincarnation and Liberation appear differently from a higher perspective from the one we are accustomed to. To the Jivan Mukta there is neither birth nor death, neither bondage nor liberation. Having transcended time. space, matter, causation his ideation is something we cannot comprehend. As said of a Mahatma, quoted in SD (do not remember the page no.) that He feels irritated at having to use such clumsy terms as past, present, future, that they are as ill adapted for the purpose as an axe for fine carving.

                  • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
                    Pierre Wouters
                    Moderator
                    Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

                    Here’s the ref. Ramprakash: In the words of a Master, “I feel irritated at having to use these three clumsy words – Past, Present, and Future – miserable concepts of the objective phases of the subjective whole, they are about as ill-adapted for the purpose as an axe for fine carving.” – Secret Doctrine I:44

              • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
                Gerry Kiffe
                Moderator
                Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

                One explanation I have heard is that in those ancient cultures the idea was simply assumed the way the “One Life” doctrine is simply assumed in our modern western world. There was no need to talk about something that was such common “knowledge”. It was a “the sky is blue” sort of thing.

                • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
                  Jon Fergus
                  Moderator
                  Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                  I’ve heard this too, but, to be honest, having studied the Vedas now a little, I have to say I don’t think that theory has any validity.

                  I really can’t imagine someone familiar with the vedas putting forward that idea, and the reason is this: the vedas touch on an incredible array of aspects of life, from the most mundane day-to-day stuff to the highest metaphysics and everything in between. When one delves into the vedas one is not left with the feeling that anything important was left unsaid, especially not ideas that are supposedly the centerpieces of the whole philosophy, as reincarnation, karma and liberation are considered to be by hindus and theosophists alike. On the contrary, one comes away from the vedas with the distinct impression that there is very little, if anything, that has been omitted.

                  The vedas are simply too vast and too all-encompassing to have left out these ideas. Either they are there, under perhaps (to us) unfamiliar symbolism, or they are not there and their absence is then in need of explanation.

                  • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                    Ramprakash ML
                    Participant
                    Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                    Moreover, what is now extant, as said by HPB in the SD, of the Vedas is only a tiny portion of the original corpus. Much is “missing”

                • Profile photo of Kristan Stratos
                  Kristan Stratos
                  Moderator
                  Profile photo of Kristan StratosKristan Stratos

                  Building off of what GK said, I think we must also consider that perhaps all which was known was not all that was written. It is a basic idea and perhaps the simplest of ideas…

                  Every Hindu knows about karma and reincarnation. Some more philosophically than others, either way it is a basic exoteric teaching for this tradition.

                  Perhaps in other traditions, this would be seen as being more esoteric, hence, information given to the pledged initiates who’ve devoted themselves to the fulfillment of a Higher Duty.

                  Most people strive to no limit to keep their life comfortable and simple- to make it familiar, to eliminate all unknowns. They concern themselves with their daily affairs, and the affairs of their closest relations. Few, at best, take in account of their actions upon others, let alone the results of said actions 4 weeks from any given point. To explain to the masses that an action such as a thought- as thoughts are indeed actions- will influence subtle matter in a next life, will be an absurd teaching, a complete waste of time, or far too fatalistic. So let them do good when they do good, what more can be needed?

                  Two quotes from another thread:
                  Christ; “I reveal my secrets to those deserving of them.”

                  Ḥamza ibn ‘Ali ibn Aḥmad; “Protect divine knowledge from those who do not deserve it and do not withhold it from those who are deserving.

                  Just an observation.

                  • Profile photo of Alex Papandakis
                    Alex Papandakis
                    Participant
                    Profile photo of Alex PapandakisAlex Papandakis

                    It was assumed in ancient Greek culture and seems to be rarely mentioned with the isolated example of Plato and even he mentions it only by talking about the immortality of the soul mainly and a brief parable on the River of Lethe.

                    • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
                      Jon Fergus
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                      I think we need to make a strong distinction between the general populous and the initiates of any given culture when making statements like this. Is there evidence that reincarnation was “assumed” by the average citizen or entire culture of ancient Greek? It may have been assumed by Orpheus, Pythagoras, Plato, etc. and those who belonged to the mystery schools, but that does not mean it was understood or widely believed in by the people.

                      I suspect it was rarely mentioned in ancient Greece, not because it was assumed by the culture, but because it was a truth that was guarded by the initiates and not openly spoken of, along with many other “theosophical” ideas. I could be wrong, but this seems like the more likely explanation.

                      When one scours the records of ancient civilizations there is nearly always a kind of superstitious religious belief of the masses and a quite different set of teachings belonging to the initiates and their schools. In Plato’s writings there is a good deal said about Socrates trying to communicate the errors of the general populous, complaining about how a literal reading of Homer led to all kinds of silly beliefs, and so on. The “culture” seems to have been like most others, woefully ignorant and superstitious.

                    • Profile photo of barbara
                      barbara
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                      Profile photo of barbarabarbara

                      It is very interesting to see the prevalence of ancestor worship in various cultures. There does seem many superstitious practices in the ancient times. I wonder why the initiates withheld such important concept, like reincarnation, when this idea would inevitably help the masses live a more ethical life.

                    • Profile photo of Kristan Stratos
                      Kristan Stratos
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Kristan StratosKristan Stratos

                      “…why the initiates withheld such important concept, like reincarnation, when this idea would inevitably help the masses live a more ethical life.”

                      Ideally, I agree with you Barbara.

                      However, given the present state of humanity it appears even “theoretical knowledge” of reincarnation couldn’t save people from adopting ethically questionable perspectives, personal philosophies and political leanings. Knowledge is one very little thing, but perhaps maturity is quite another which ought to be first developed.

                      It dawned on me, if we really knew- and I mean truly understood what goes into making a life, not just the elemental body, but all associated bodies, how would one then proceed to act? Can you imagine the crippling responsibility that comes with initiated knowledge, wisdom?

                      Would one detect abuse at every corner of distant thought? Would one stand horrified at the acts of terrible injustice committed by themselves and those respected and loved? Would the knowledge send one into the continuum of endless indecisiveness, irrationality, and spiritual confusion?

                      These are all very serious teachings which contain very potent and life changing perspectives. Granted, what is made available today may speak of reincarnation explicitly- but how much of its doctrine is made known to lay-students? Perhaps just surface teachings, as we have all (the masses) proven our lack of responsibility, humility, and brotherliness.

                      ____

                      MLR- if you are still following, here is a direct stanza in the Gâthâs regarding reincarnation;

                      Spentâ-Mainyu 3.11 Yas. 49.11

                      at dushexshathrêñg dush-shyaothanêñg duzhvacanghô duzhdaênêñg dush-mananghô dregvatô akâish hvarethâish paitî urvãnô paityeiñtî drûjô demânê haithyâ anghen astayô.

                      “But (among) evil-rulers, evil doers (and) evil speakers, among the evil-Egos (duz-Daênêñg) evil-thinkers, (and) the followers of Untruth (dregvatô),
                      Souls (urvãnô) (do)-come back by-reason-of-(their)-dim insight (akâish hvarethâish paitî urvãnô paityeiñtî); truly they-are Dwellers in-(this)-Abode of Untruth (drûjô demânê).

                      This is most direct in “authentic” texts. Proof for most.

                    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                      Ramprakash ML
                      Participant
                      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                      Excellent quote Kristan. That is Reincarnation, unequivocally !

                    • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
                      Gerry Kiffe
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

                      I am not convinced that the idea of reincarnation was withheld at all. We have the entire sub continent of India in our present day which lives in a culture that assumes reincarnation. It was certainly not revealed to them through the modern theosophical movement. What we know through historians and the written record is fragmentary at best. I don’t believe we know all that much about ancient societies, our knowledge in these fields, as revealed by HPB is scant.

                      Here is an alternative view from a writer, outside the theosophical world, who has made an independent study on this very point. Paul Van Ward. He promotes independent research on the reincarnation topic:

                      “Scholars report that traditional Teutons, Celts, and Gauls accepted the “reality” of reincarnation.* Other historical sources referring to reincarnation include the sagas of the Northmen, the lore of the Druids, Eskimos, Sioux, Zunis, and Incas, and the tales of the Pacific peoples of Hawaii, Australia, and the South Sea.** In the Orient, including Japan and Eastern Russia, such reports are pervasive and detailed. *[The Enigma of the Hereafter, Paul Siwek], **[Reincarnation: The Hope of the World, Irving S. Cooper]

                      Many other accounts demonstrate that beliefs similar to these were widespread in ancient times. Given the partial historical records and difficult-to-interpret ancient languages, modern scholars cannot construct a complete and reliable history of all the worldviews that encompassed what we call the principle of reincarnation.”

                      Read the larger article here: http://www.reincarnationexperiment.org/reincarnationhistory.html

                      Food for thought.

                    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                      Ramprakash ML
                      Participant
                      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                      Reincarnation idea was prevalent in the western hemisphere, as Gerry has shown, as widely as it did in the East, and does in India particularly. In the West it vanished with the advent of Christianity, when an anathema was passed on the doctrine by the Roman Church sometime in 4th or the 5th c.

                      Had this not happened, if the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation had prevailed and continued in the West, the very character of Western Civilization would have been different from what it is now.

                      When these two truths again gains currency in the western mind, it will bring about a qualitative shift in the world-view of the West, with sweeping changes in the Western society and international relations.

                    • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
                      Jon Fergus
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                      Again, I think we need to be careful to distinguish between what “the few” believed and what “the many” believed. Among the few, the initiates, the learned, sure, reincarnation was likely a common doctrine, widely believed. But among the vast stores of Greek literature at our disposal, not just spiritual literature (which is what theosophists tend to focus on), but literature pertaining to the daily lives of the people, can we really say that reincarnation was an idea that held wide and/or deep sway over the people? I just don’t see the evidence for that.

                      I think the people believed in a kind of pantheistic paganism, a kind of “nature worship” if you will. Ideas about transmigrating souls, karma, and especially of liberation seem to have been almost entirely absent from the minds of the people, and held only perhaps by the minds of the educated few. I’m open to evidence countering this, but thus far have not seen it.

                    • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
                      Kate Blalack
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                      Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

                      Jon, I agree, and in my studies the oldest “recorded” religious practices of daily life did not include immortality of the soul. It was generally believed that after death a “shade” might survive for a short time and then that was it. Only the “gods” were immortal, and we were their slaves. The Tale of Gilgamesh is a good place to see some of this at play.

                    • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
                      Jon Fergus
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                      Indeed Kate, this is what I’ve found in my studies as well. It seems to have been quite prevalent around the world, this kind of “immortality is only for the gods” type of religious view, along with the (somewhat gloomy) afterlife of “shades”. In many ways, it seems basically to have been “theosophical doctrine” devoid of the teachings of the higher trinity, and thus: no reincarnation, no liberation, etc.

                      In theosophical circles I think we tend to focus on the writings of the great sages, and this can indeed make it seem like the ancients were all about theosophical doctrines, but when you read further and discover Plato’s academy was only a few folks, Pythagoras’s commune was only a few hundred and lasted a very short time, the neoplatonists were an isolated few among the most educated, and so on, and so on. In the east there’s a prevalence of “brahmanical” pantheism and sacrificial religious ideas, and only here and there does a Krishna or Buddha or Sankara come along to openly re-teach the doctrines that the masses seem almost wholly ignorant of, and their stories are full of combat against other prevalent ideologies, some similar, some quite opposed to the doctrines of liberation/reincarnation.

                      As far as I’ve seen, there are quite good records of what the common “pagan” religions of the west taught about nature, humanity, gods, etc., and the liberation of an immortal soul from being locked into a cycle of reincarnation doesn’t seem to have been part of it.

                    • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
                      Pierre Wouters
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

                      Good point Ramprakash, and I would certainly hope so, but is it enough? What has it brought to the west and what has it done for the east? War has been with us in the east and the west in spite of those two doctrines.
                      If people not familiar with karma and reincarnation would inquire into this question, what would our answer be when notwithstanding those two laws we’re still chopping away at each other?

                    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                      Ramprakash ML
                      Participant
                      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                      You are right Pierre, that wider diffusion of the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation will not, –and has not been in places where it is well known–prevent violence and wars. Still, they have a certain mellowing effect, in a subtle way.

                      After all we are still in the middle point of the 4th Round wherein Kama reigns supreme, and Higher Manas is dormant. Yet combative animal nature is to a significant extent retrained by the moral force of the conviction and belief in Karma and Reincarnation. as can be seen among peoples where it is popular. They may not know Karma and Reincarnation as philosophical doctrines but it has become a part of their psyche as a hereditary tendency.

                      Notwithstanding the many ugly features of Indian society you will find a certain tolerance, patience, long suffering among the masses in adversities. Tendency is more pronounced towards acceptance and resignation than rebellion and anger at adverse circumstances.

                      Kristan Stratos was here recently and experienced this particular character among the poor people.

                    • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
                      Jon Fergus
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                      “the entire sub continent of India in our present day lives in a culture that assumes reincarnation”

                      It is also a culture infused as deeply with the idea of sacrifices to our ancestors (who are not seen as simply readying themselves for reincarnation, but are seen as being in dire need of libations from the living in order to maintain some semblance of an after-life). There are two competing sets of ideas in India: 1. reincarnation/karma/liberation (the teachings of Krishna and Buddha primarily), and 2. ancestor worship, superstition, and a kind of literalistic pantheism.

                      Keep in mind that Krishna’s ideas weren’t the standard of his time. Neither were Buddha’s ideas. They had to fight tooth and nail against the brahmanical priesthood, whose ideas held (and sadly still hold) a tight grip on the minds of Indians. And as HPB explains, it was not the Vedas that the Brahmans were scared to allow into the public eye, but the Upanishads! Sure, reincarnation and liberation were not introduced by either of these great sages, but the ideas were certainly brought back to prominence by them… at least for a time.

                      So one must look for the origins of these two competing systems of thought, and also for how they may be reconciled. When reviewing the most ancient texts, it does seem that these two systems are quite well represented by the Veda Samhitas on the one hand, and the Upanishadic literature on the other. And maybe that was the point. The fact that the Upanishads tell the story of brahmans with full knowledge of the vedas needing to go to Rajanya teachers in order to learn the deeper teachings is not something that can simply be swept away.

                      I also think humans have a tendency to romanticize the past. We like to think ancient India was this wonderful spiritual place of great knowledge, where theosophical ideas reigned supreme and everyone took the core principles as basic assumptions of life, and maybe if we go far enough back we might find a time like that. But the stories of Krishna, Rama, Yajnavalkya, Buddha and so many others portray a quite different picture. India has always been, it seems, a battleground of these two great sets of teachings.

                  • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                    Ramprakash ML
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                    Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                    Very valid observation, Kristan. I have heard that Jewish religion knows of Reincarnation but does not speak of it, its main focus, as you say, is to teach people to live the life in the present in the right way.

                • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
                  Jon Fergus
                  Moderator
                  Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                  One major problem with that theory is what is said in the Upanishads. In the oldest upanishads (chandogya and brihadaranyaka) there is more than one instance where a learned brahmin (described as one who “knows the three vedas”) comes to a Rajanya teacher, and when the teacher straight up asks him if he knows the doctrines of reincarnation and liberation, the brahmin admits that he has never heard of them. In one of those cases, the brahmin returns to his father to ask him why he had never taught him those doctrines, despite knowing the 3 vedas well enough to recite any given verse! The father then also admits that he’s never heard of them either, and straightaway goes to the Rajanya to learn about them. The royal teacher then instructs the brahmin in these teachings (this royal line of teachers is the same line Krishna and Buddha belonged to btw). If the vedas taught these doctrines, surely one who “knows the 3 vedas” would have some knowledge of them, no? The impression given in these upanishads is that the vedas simply don’t teach these doctrines, so you need to go to a master to learn them. This runs directly opposite to the idea that everyone knew these ideas and so there was no need to talk about them. It might be the opposite: that these ideas were esoteric and well-guarded, even from the most learned brahmins. (but if this is the case, then it challenges the idea that the vedas contain all knowledge (at least of this cycle)).

                  Now, instead of reincarnation and liberation, the religious belief system of the ancient Hindus was basically a kind of “ancestor worship” (and it still is to this day for many). The Mahabharata explains the belief system in a few places (see here and here). This forms part of the “dead letter observances and priestly exploitation” Ramprakash mentioned.

                  What is described in the Mahabharata are the deceased ancestors relying upon the sacrifices and ceremonies of the living descendants in order to maintain a kind of after life condition (the allegory of the rope and the rat). Instead of our karma determining our after life conditions, it is based instead upon the actions of the living in regards to the dead: i.e. if they sacrifice and perform the ceremonies the dead will have such and such condition, if they don’t they will fall into the pit of hell!

                  This type of “ancestor worship” is what Arjuna believed (along with everyone else) in the opening chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, and so Krishna had to teach him to abandon those beliefs and then instruct him about karma, reincarnation and liberation. The fear of going to war that Arjuna displayed was (by his own words) in part due to a fear that if the men of his army died, there would be nobody left to perform the ceremonies for the ancestors, etc.

                  Now, if the vedas openly taught these doctrines (as the upanishads, gita, etc. do) it would make little sense that this ancestor worship would’ve been the beliefs of both the brahmins (whose focus of study was the vedas) and even of the kshatriyas (who had their own schools of learning). Again, it may be that the doctrines are taught in the vedas, but under some other type of symbolism that was unknown even to these learned brahmins—it is quite possible that the teachings are there but the “key” was lost. What is very improbable is that the doctrines were left out simple because they were so well known.

                  Here’s a good article by Charles Johnston about Arjuna’s beliefs prior to being taught by Krishna: http://www.universaltheosophy.com/articles/johnston/arjunas-beliefs/

                  There’s a good deal more about this addressed in his translations and commentaries on the Mukhya Upanishads, where he translates and comments on the learned brahmins admitting that they don’t know about reincarnation and liberation.

                  • Profile photo of Kristan Stratos
                    Kristan Stratos
                    Moderator
                    Profile photo of Kristan StratosKristan Stratos

                    This is amazing- it supports my initial idea that all which was known was not written- meaning specific topics, such as reincarnation- as you have shown- were kept for initiates.

                    Three Vedas, if I am remembering correctly, were Rik, Yajurs (sukla & krsna), and the very mystical Atharvaveda. Isn’t this so? The Samas was never included, thus, by knowing the “3 Vedas” was conventional knowledge, the “4th Veda” was the Upanisadic lore- esoteric philosophy- only given out to those who have proved worthy and upheld the 3 Vedas.

                    • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
                      Jon Fergus
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                      The “3 vedas” are Rik, Yajus and Saman. Atharva is/was a later work added to these to make the fourth.

                      Of course, when we say “vedas”, we generally mean the samhitas, and not necessarily the whole corpus of brahmanas, upanishads, etc. that have been attached to them.

                      So, in the oldest upanishads, a brahman who “knows the 3 vedas” is a brahman who knows the rik, saman, and yajus, seemingly with the ability to recite the whole of them off by heart. It’s an open question as to whether that implies real knowledge of the meaning of the 3 vedas. But it does show that those who knew the texts still didn’t know the dual-doctrine of reincarnation and liberation.

                      The truly “twice-born”, however, would’ve certainly known these doctrines, and in the oldest upanishads (along with the gita and buddhist literature) those who know these doctrines are generally represented as descendants of the Rajanyas/Kshatriyas (i.e. Ikshvaku’s lineage) and not as Brahmans.

                    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                      Ramprakash ML
                      Participant
                      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                      Whether the three Vedas were just conventional knowledge, as Fergus suggests, is an open question. What follows the Samhitas, viz., Brahamanas and Upanishads, are exposition of the hidden sense of the Vedas, and not something outside of the ambit of the three Vedas. Whole exposition is so cryptic, the hidden sense contained in the subtleties of intonation (swara) correlated to colour and rates of vibrations of sound, which only those initiated could ever know.

                      We can correlate the three Vedas to the first three virtues of Paramitas of perfection six in number, viz., Dana, Shila and Kshanti

                      To Dana correspond Rk
                      To Shila, Yajus
                      To Kshanti, Saman

                      Rig Veda is an extensive discourse on Cosmogony, Anthropogony, Theogony, inter-relationship between
                      the three –in short, whole philosophy of the science of life, theoretically expounded. It is like our study of the Isis and SD. Krishna begins his teaching with Sankhya, speculative doctrine, which must first be known before any practice can follow, which are detailed in the III chapter of the BG.

                      Yajur Veda is to do with actual sacrificial rites, equivalent to the Virtue of Shila : Key of Harmony in word and act, the key that counter balances the cause and the effect, leaving no room for Karmic action. It is actual sacrifice of personal self to Self Impersonal–the inner sacrifice that Judge speaks of in his Notes on the Bhagavadgita. It is burning out of the dross of personal idea from the heart, leaving behind a purified body, mind and heart, in the great battle between the lower and the higher Self. Seeds of Karma are burnt out. It is equivalent to Key to Theosophy, book of practical Theosophy par excellence.

                      Sama is Kshanti, Patience sweet that naught can ruffle, a state of Titiksha, the Ego is firmly established on the path to Adeptship. Sama is harmony, equanimity, equity, justice, which the disciple has to embody. Sama Veda is song. It is sung. This is equivalent to the Heart Doctrine of the Voice of the Silence.

                      Manu says that only he who is proficient in Trividya can be called a Brahmin, and not others who are not.

                      Trividya cannot be mere theoretical knowledge but practical science of self-regeneration, and resurrection from the dead (life in the body of unregenerated man is indeed Dead)

                      Only then the path to Adeptship is attained, the condition of the Srotapatti

                      Just a few reflections.

                  • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                    Ramprakash ML
                    Participant
                    Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                    Ancestral Worship of the Hindus Fergus spoke of has a very powerful hold on the Hindu mind to this day, and it is enforced by Brahminical priest class through instilling fear in the masses that ancestral spirits would perish into hell if not offered libation and water in a prescribed ritual to be performed annually.

                    When my Mother passed away, I being the eldest son, had to perform the last rites ending with cremation of the mortal remains. Post cremation rituals were so absurd and, to me, absolutely disgusting, I refused to perform, and told my father I could not for one moment go along with it, and abstained. My younger brother who ardently believed in it continued the ceremonies.

                    There is a Dwaita sect religious centre near my place. Quite a large establishment where the faithful throng. A question was asked by the followers whether they have to perform the annual ancestral ceremony of shraddha and pinda even after years of passing away of elders. A notice board was displayed enjoining that the ceremony has to be performed till the last day of the surviving near relative.

                    It is just Brahmincal exploitation.

                • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
                  Irfan Rouhani
                  Blocked
                  Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

                  Reply to #4164 … may or may not have been assumed … it’s all speculation in regards to history that ancient … but main point is … assuming reincarnation was assumed or not … several questions arise: 1) was it assumed in an illogical and erroneous form? 2) if so, WHY, was it assumed in an illogical and erroneous form? 3) if it was assumed, is it right? 4) perhaps the truth lays in the middle of the extremes of one existence versus many … in such a way that a. it is beyond present means to express and b. doesn’t help us transcend speculation mode.

              • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
                Jon Fergus
                Moderator
                Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                One further idea I’d like to toss out here for consideration is something I find really fascinating and which leads to a curious mental exercise.

                Our theosophical teachings on reincarnation are naturally given so that we can look at and grasp the idea from our current perspective; but what if the rigveda (and perhaps also the oldest avestan texts etc.) present the teachings as they are seen from a perspective above this plane of ours?

                This then naturally leads to a very interesting question:

                What might reincarnation look like to a being who is not subject to it? What might it look like from “above” so to speak?

                • Profile photo of Kristan Stratos
                  Kristan Stratos
                  Moderator
                  Profile photo of Kristan StratosKristan Stratos

                  Are you referring to a state of being (i.e. mind) that is poised in a way which in all activity is seen as a sort of conscious continuous function of the attraction and repulsion of “personalized (individual) matter (tendencies)” ?

                  If so, then to my understanding, reincarnation may take on an entire different perspective, of which I am not quite prepared to elaborate it for lack of proper language.

                  The only question I have with reincarnation is definition of the word. What can others say about its etymology ?

                  Carne/carnis is the flesh, correct? So to reenter into flesh… Hence does this strictly limit reincarnation to bodies of flesh?

                  • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
                    Pierre Wouters
                    Moderator
                    Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

                    Here’s Mr. Judge’s answer in the Ocean (pp.61-62) as to your question Kristan:

                    “Of course, to be strictly accurate, we cannot use the word reincarnation, because “incarnate” refers to flesh. Let us say “reimbodied,” and then we see that both for matter and for man there has been a constant change of form and this is, broadly speaking, “reincarnation.” As to the whole mass of matter, the doctrine is that it will all be raised to man’s estate when man has gone further on himself”

                    We see Mr. Judge often using the term “incarnation” or “reincarnation” in a very broad sense to indicate that “everything” eventually returns to embodiment.

                    “The Earth Chain of seven globes as thus defined is the direct reincarnation of a former chain of seven globes…” Ocean, p. 24

                    “Therefore as to reincarnation and metempsychosis we say that they are first to be applied to the whole cosmos and not alone to man.” Ocean, p. 62

                    Etc.

                    • Profile photo of Kristan Stratos
                      Kristan Stratos
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Kristan StratosKristan Stratos

                      I see. I do remember reading that, thanks for reminding me.

                      So then it is to be understood that “reincarnation” can be, and is often used regarding the general “embodiment” of any specific form, flesh or otherwise.

                    • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
                      Pierre Wouters
                      Moderator
                      Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

                      Yup 🙂

                      Sometimes metempsychosis and/or transmigration have often been used, but these have to be understood within the right context. You may recall HPBs article on “Transmigration of the Life Atoms” in HPB-Articles Vol. II:249.

                • Profile photo of Alex Papandakis
                  Alex Papandakis
                  Participant
                  Profile photo of Alex PapandakisAlex Papandakis

                  Here is a guess: Like the change of seasons to the farmer.

                  • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
                    Jon Fergus
                    Moderator
                    Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                    Perhaps, the difference might be analogous to a fish jumping out of water, if we try to imagine ourselves experiencing it from the fish’s perspective, and compare that with our perspective as a human being. To the fish, their entire world is the water. To us, our world includes both the air and the water and we look down upon the waters from above.

                    If a fish tried to describe what it is like to rise above the waters and then descend again into them, they might describe it a certain way. If we, however, tried to describe a fish jumping up out of the water and then falling back in, from our vantage point, we might describe it an entirely different way. And to the fish, our explanation might not make even the slightest bit of sense.

                • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
                  Jon Fergus
                  Moderator
                  Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                  One more example of how perspective may mean everything in terms of our understanding and explanations of reincarnation:

                  From a regular human/animal perspective on earth, we might say that the sun dies at the end of every day and is reborn again every morning. This indeed forms part of many myth stories from around the world and was the common explanation of many religious/philosophical systems. From a certain perspective, it makes perfect sense.

                  From a more educated perspective, however, we understand that the Earth rotates on its own axis while orbiting the sun, leading to the illusion that the sun sets and rises, and we know that when the sun is not visible to us it does not mean it died.

                  Now, compare the following statements:
                  1. the sun dies and is reborn each day.
                  2. the earth rotates on its axis.

                  To a person educated in the perspective of the first statement, the second statement might seem both absurd and completely unrelated to the first statement. To them, the idea that the earth rotates on an axis would have nothing at all to do with the reincarnation cycle of the sun.

                  This, I think, is what we might be facing with the Rigveda. It may be speaking of “reincarnation” in such a way that we don’t even recognize it. It may be speaking of processes that are the actual causes of what we call “reincarnation” without ever using terms like “death” or “birth” or whatnot. It may be saying that Savitar and Surya and Indra and Agni do this and that and the other thing, and to us we find little or no meaning in what is said, but from a more educated perspective perhaps we would find a much better, more real, more accurate description of what we, in our ignorance and limited perspective refer to as “reincarnation”.

                  In this sense it may be relatively useless to seek for verses verifying our explanation/understanding of reincarnation in the Rigveda, instead of seeking to glimpse what may be a completely different explanation/understanding, just as seeking in modern astronomical texts for mention of the sun dying and being reborn would be quite unprofitable.

            • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
              Ramprakash ML
              Participant
              Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

              Very fine passages you have quoted, Kristan. Most thought-provoking !

              You cited :

              ““…Each man has his own individual khawarena, and to this he must cling, for it is the instrument of his salvation. The Khawarena is… it is work in the fulfillment of your final cause.”

              How well this harmoinizes with what Manu and Bhagavadgita say of Swa-dharma : performances of one’s own natural duty, leading to fulfillment of Soul freedom. Voice of the Silence speaks of it and warns against neglect of swadharma : “Man who does not go throrugh his appointed work in life has lived in vain.” Each of us, by our Karma, has an appointed work in life, which we should perform sacrifice to one’s Farvarshi.

              • Profile photo of Kristan Stratos
                Kristan Stratos
                Moderator
                Profile photo of Kristan StratosKristan Stratos

                It also contains many clues to a reference you have recently posted;

                “…“It is not the Pitris individually that were ever consulted, but their STORED WISDOM collectively; that wisdom being shown mystically and allegorically on the bright side of the moon.” (p. 176)

                “What the Brahmans invoke are not ‘the spirits’ of the departed ancestors……But to comprehend fully the nature of the ‘lunar’ ancestors and their connection with the ‘moon’ would necessitate the revelation of occult secrets which are not intended for the public hearing. Therefore no more will be given than the few hints that follow.” (ibid.)”

                In the Gathas the Moon is referred to as Aramaiti (sk. amṛtam). They speak of Armaiti as having two nodes or faces, the Light and Dark- symbolized by Spenta and Angra Mainyu. Naturally, the bright side of the Moon receives lumination from the Sun (Ahura Mazda as the 3rd Logos). The successive influence of Planetary Bodies are also transmitters of the Light of Divinity reflected by the Spiritual Sun. An observer points out that all planets are “outside of the moon,” meaning, it is the Moon, Aramaiti, who acts as somewhat of a mediator between Earth and the other Heavenly Bodies. I mention this because each Farvarshi- though individual- is also a collective body, the custodians of the Wisdom of the Ages, or “Stored Wisdom,” hence the “Good Spirit” or Spenta Mainyu.

                Yas.31.9 and 12
                thwôi as ârmaitîsh thwê â gêush tashâ as xratûsh manyêush mazdâ ahurâ hyat ah’yâi dadå pathãm vâstryât vâ âitê ýê vâ nôit anghat vâstryô.

                Within you pervades Aramaiti everywhere. Both the Creators of Earth, Mazdâ Âhura! Within You also pervades the purpose of (creating the Evil) Mainyu, so that you have ordained the real path for Her (Earth): either she abides by the (words of the) Prophet-Protector, or by him who may not indeed be as a prophet.

                athrâ vâcem baraitî mithahvacå vâ ereshvacå vâ dà vîdvå vâ evîdvå vâ ahyâ zeredâcâ mananghâcâ, ânush-haxsh ârmaitîsh mainyû peresâitê ýathrâ maêthâ.

                Here (in this world) either the antagonistic speaker or the right speaker, either learned or unlearned, carries on discourse with each other according to his Heart and Mind: ever-uninterruptedly following Aramaiti asks of both Mainyus to find out wherever there is any doubt.”

                So another name for the Light Face of the moon is Ketu- signifying Salvation. We may look into the Haoma/Soma as mentioned in your post regarding the occult aspects of this….”Ketu-Spenta Mainyu (Bright side of Moon) is regarded as an incendiary planet… Asa, is the significator of Fire and there is a connection between Asa and Athra-Fire; similarly, this incendiary Spenta Mainyu is also associated with Ketu.

                Asa, Jupiter- LAW is the Eternal Guide (karma) for universal and personal restoration towards harmony, duty, and service. It would be only natural that these fundamentals are found in all texts of antiquity.

      • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
        Gerry Kiffe
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        Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

        Another thought on your question Jon is that the value of reincarnation in regards to ethical action is not so much the fear of future retribution but rather the essential role it plays in the validity of the whole scheme of nature. You are right when you assume that doing the right thing to avoid personal suffering is the wrong motive for action. But for an individual to begin the process of reorienting their life from the avoidance of pain and the seeking of pleasure to performing one’s duty for the good of the whole requires an understanding and confidence in the fundamental justice of Nature. Without reincarnation we cannot make that leap because we cannot account for the vast inequities of life in a one life only system. Hence it is impossible to preach the doctrine of karma without including reincarnation or rebirth into the equation. One does not make sense without the other. Once the whole logic of Nature as a system is grasped sufficiently the path to action and the need to purify motive is made clearer for the individual.

    • Profile photo of Grace Cunningham
      Grace Cunningham
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      Profile photo of Grace CunninghamGrace Cunningham

      The idea of reincarnation is predicated on the idea that we are in fact immortal souls.  If that be true then what is this name and form I presently occupy and how real is it?

      • Profile photo of Tamiko Yamada
        Tamiko Yamada
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        Profile photo of Tamiko YamadaTamiko Yamada

        Buddha would say a group of traits (skandas) that is temporary and a vehicle for learning.

      • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
        Gerry Kiffe
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        Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

        Windows for the soul.

      • Profile photo of Grace Cunningham
        Grace Cunningham
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        Profile photo of Grace CunninghamGrace Cunningham

        Thank you Tamiko and Gerry. I suspect one of the main challenges of the spiritual life is to stop identifying with one’s name and form. If we are immortal souls we have had many names and forms. Is it equally erroneous to identify with ones traits and habits?

        • Profile photo of barbara
          barbara
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          Profile photo of barbarabarbara

          “If we are immortal souls we have had many names and forms. Is it equally erroneous to identify with ones traits and habits?”

          Most of the times, we are identified with whatever comes to our attention. If I am reading a book, I am lost in the contents. If I am talking to someone, I am lost in my conversation. Our identify is like a chameleon which changes ceaselessly by our thoughts and external perception. That said, we are comprised of a terrestrial and a celestial facet; these two components make us an organic whole. The terrestrial is evanescent, a product of the celestial; it is also a vehicle to manifest the eternal principles.

          In this light, we can ask ourselves whether our traits or habits are materialistic or noble? In other words, do they belong to the terrestrial or celestial? Traits and habits are essentially fossilized thoughts; some may resonate to the higher sphere while others lower. They embody our values which eventually shape our destiny.

          Looking at this from another perspective, traits or virtues do not belong to us because they are universal powers. We can try to purify ourselves to become a humble instrument for these positive forces to flow through us.

        • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
          Gerry Kiffe
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          Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

          Where does identity itself come from? And how is relevant to the concept of reincarnation?

        • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
          Pavel Axentiev
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          Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

          Hi Grace, regarding your question, “Is it equally erroneous to identify with ones traits and habits?”, the idea of impermanence might be the key.

          • Profile photo of barbara
            barbara
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            Profile photo of barbarabarbara

            Hello,

            Regarding traits and habits, how can we distinguish those which are temporary, ie skandas and those which are permanent that belong to our character, ie Ego?

            What is the relationship between our Higher Self and our character? Is the latter an emanation of the the former?

            Thanks in advance for your feedback.

            • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
              Pavel Axentiev
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              Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

              According to the Buddhist philosophy, there is really nothing permanent. So they say there is really no self. Even if we do not accept this notion, there might be something to learn from their reasoning. Basically, as far as I know, they claim that after thourough deliberation they (the great Buddhist philosophers) have not found anything that could be called a “self.” They do, however, emphasize the practice of compassion, as well as trying to understand what they call “emptiness.”

              • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                Ramprakash ML
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                Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                The notion that Buddhist do not entertain the idea of self has to be viewed in its correct perspective–if I am not mistaken.

                HPB has made it clear in the Key to Theosophy that when Buddhist say there is no self that reincarnates they mean personal self. Buddha had to destroy the wrong notion in India then that the personal soul (personality) reincarnates, whereas in truth it does not, but disintegrates leaving behind only skandhas.

                Moreover, she says, Buddha did not speek of philosophical and metaphysical ideas with masses but discouraged them to speculate on these, and taught just what they needed, which is right living.

                But Buddha did, and Mahayana Buddhist do, speak of Reincarnating Ego as the Self

                Canto on Self in the Dhammapada speaks of Self

                His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in his wonderful dialogue with leading scientists of the west spoke exhaustively of dual and triple consciousness : i. Personal brain-consciousness of which nothing remains after death.
                ii. Basis of it, and standing apart unaffected by it, is what he called Foundation Consciousness, which is equivalent in Theosophical classification as Higher Manas or Divine EGO.
                iii. Clear Consciousness — equivalent to Theosophical Buddhi-Manas (Buddhi-Taijasi = Manas assimilated to Buddhi)

                “Gentle Bridges” is the title of the book in which the dialogue is detailed. (Shambala publication)

                • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
                  Gerry Kiffe
                  Moderator
                  Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

                  Further support for this explanation can be found here:
                  https://www.amazon.com/Atman-Brahman-Ancient-Buddhism-Kamaleswar-Bhattacharya/dp/0881810053

                  This book was published, supported and defended by one of our Tnexus students David Reigle.

                • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
                  Jon Fergus
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                  Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

                  “It is clear that the Atta of the Pali scriptures is not the Parama-Atma of the great Upanishads, but is the lower self of the false personality; and that the purpose of the Buddha, when he teaches in detail the unreality of Atta, is, to help the disciple, or, perhaps, we may almost say, to compel the disciple, to that abandonment of self, which is the first step on the path of wisdom and attainment.”—Charles Johnston, The Ladder of Consciousness

                  As another author, in comparing modern theosophical teachings with the doctrine of anatma, notes:

                  “In The Gospel of Buddha [by Paul Carus], we find the following statement given as part of a discourse by the Buddha: ‘That which men call the ego when they say ‘I am’ is not an entity behind the skandhas; it originates by the cooperation of the skandhas.’ If we may assume that this quotation is a valid representation of the original teaching, then it throws a considerable light upon the meaning of the anatmic doctrine as it was meant by Buddha Himself. The ‘I am’ in this sense seems to be none other than personal egoism, which carries the force of ‘I am I and none other,’ and, therefore, is separative and the base of selfishness.”—Franklin Merrell-Wolff, Is Theosophy Authentic? Part IV

                  The following article is related to the book Gerry referenced:

                  Ātman/Anātman in Buddhism and Its Implication for the Wisdom Tradition” by Nancy Reigle

                  Here is a link to the section in the Key to Theosophy, where HPB directly addresses the Buddhist approach to self or soul:

                  http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/key/key-5.htm

  • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
    Gerry Kiffe
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    Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

    One more thought to Jon’s question.  I think the lower mind has the capacity to edit out what does not fit its desires.  You may know about reincarnation and karma, but when the lower mind wants something vigorously enough it conveniently edits out any thought about consequences (karma and reincarnation). This capacity to compartmentalize life is a hallmark of the lower mind of which we all struggle.  To become integrated (integrity to universal principles) is the ethical goal it seems to me and a supreme challenge.

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN
    Reincarnation—The Hidden Doctrine

    WRITING of reincarnation, Lessing, dramatist and philosopher of the eighteenth century enlightenment in Germany, summed up the meaning of this doctrine and its most powerful supporting argument by addressing four simple questions:

    Why should not every individual man have existed more than once upon this world? Why should I not come back as often as I am capable of acquiring fresh knowledge? Is this hypothesis so laughable merely because it is the oldest? Because the human understanding, before the sophistries of the schools had dissipated and debilitated it, lighted upon it at once? (The Education of the Human Race.)

     

    But, if reincarnation is the natural conclusion of the unprejudiced intellect, why has it been all but obliterated in Western thought — hidden except to the few? The selfishly biased disposition of the Roman Catholic hierarchy serves as but partial answer. If reincarnation be a law of nature, easily discernible, how could such opposition as that of Catholicism arise? Earnest theosophists today feel that the teaching of reincarnation is for the masses, that all men will be helped through its promulgation to find and feel a vital purpose in life. Yet in ages past, even among such enlightened cultures as the most ancient Greeks and Egyptians, the full truths of reincarnation were reserved for those who had won the right of initiation into the Mystery Religions. Why? This question will be asked by the whole world of thinking men if the hypothesis of reincarnation becomes popularly considered, as it may before long, aided by the necessities of both science and religion, and further spread by efforts of Theosophists. But when and if such a conclusion is forced to the intellectual foreground “by the mighty onrush of facts,” as predicted by H. P. Blavatsky, it should come pari passu with the general recognition of impersonal law. Stated in a telling sentence from the Secret Doctrine: “Evolution in general, events, mankind and everything else in Nature proceed in cycles.”

    Theosophy , September 1941

    • Profile photo of Tamiko Yamada
      Tamiko Yamada
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      Profile photo of Tamiko YamadaTamiko Yamada

      If  you take out reincarnation and replace it with a one life doctrine you can maintain control over issuing salvation by forcing people to be dependent upon organized religion to grant advancement to heaven or salvation.  If you have reincarnation salvation is in the individual’s hands.

      • Profile photo of Grace Cunningham
        Grace Cunningham
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        Profile photo of Grace CunninghamGrace Cunningham

        Theosophy supports Self-Reliance.

        • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
          Gerry Kiffe
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          Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

          Yes indeed. The question then becomes which Self are we talking about?

      • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
        Irfan Rouhani
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        Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

        reply to: #3607 … not at all … not in Sufism and many systems … the beauty of the one life view is … if you really believe it is your last life and you are on your journey back to the Source and Origin … you live accordingly and make it the case.

        Basically Hinduism teaches one life view … just like Sufism … in that they say in all the forms I’ve come across anyways … that the goal is to focus on God’s Name … and if you end your life in that state … you return to God. Says so in Bhagavad Gita.

        Conversely, if you assume many lives, indeed you will live many more lives if that is your attitude, faith and hope.

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    There are six arguments for Reincarnation which seem conclusive.

    1. That the idea of immortality demands it.
    2. That analogy makes it the most probable.
    3. That science confirms it.
    4. That the nature of the soul requires it.
    5. That it explains many mysterious experiences.
    6. That it alone solves the problem of injustice and misery which broods over our world.

    Taken from: — E. D. Walker, The Path, April 1887.

    • Profile photo of Alex Papandakis
      Alex Papandakis
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      Profile photo of Alex PapandakisAlex Papandakis

      Another argument would be that we can observe cycles in every department of nature, why not human?

  • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
    Kate Blalack
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    Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

    Peter, I will try to give some an example from my own life:

    Several years ago I was always consumed with work. Any time a friend would write to me or call I would talk about how busy I was. I never made time for the people I cared for, even though I had many friends. Then it came to a climax when a friend told me that I had really hurt her feelings and made her feel insignificant by always proclaiming how busy I was. She said that it “felt” like I was telling her that I didn’t have any time for her and didn’t have time to be her friend. She also stopped really talking to me after that, and today I can not say that we are more than casual acquaintances. A short time after this (about three years ago) I noticed that friends stopped communicating with me. Any time I called someone to hang out or talk they told me how “busy” they were, and I found myself always the one reaching out and nobody had time for me in their lives.  It continued and people began leaving my life like an exodus. I had almost no people in my life, because everyone was too busy and told me so. I continued to hear this phrase uttered all the time when I would reach out. Only now is the universe beginning to send people back into my life. I suffered a great loneliness during my time of isolation. I know this was due to my inconsideration for the people who had tried to be a part of my life. This is karma. We don’t often recognize it when it is happening in this current life cycle, but it is definitely there.

    In the same way, we are told that when we begin down the path of Theosophy our karma quickens.

    What do you think about this, Peter?

    • Profile photo of Peter
      Peter
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      Profile photo of PeterPeter

      Hi Kate – I’m quite slow in catching up with posts at the moment. Apologies for the delay in replying. Yes, I see what you are getting at in your example with regards to whether or not Karma always waits until the next life to operate.

      As I see it, there are a number of factors we have to take into account in relation to karma. Our actions and their effects on others generate not only the karmic conditions into which we will be born in a future life, they also generate the type of characteristics and tendencies (i.e. the skandhas) that will make up the personality in the next life. In other words, our character traits, our moral strengths and weaknesses, our tendencies and inclinations are all carried forward as part of the karmic stream of cause and effect that make up our moment to moment experience – the mental continuum which underpins our personal nature. Thus, our current personal make up is just as much ‘our karma’ as are the surroundings and conditions we are born into and the people we find ourselves born among.

      How might the above apply to someone in this life who, let’s say, is consumed with work and who consequently doesn’t make any time for her friends, the result of which leads her friends to desert her, which in turn leads to her to experience great loneliness and isolation?

      Well, it could be karma not waiting till the next life to fulfil itself in another life – instant karma, so to speak. Alternatively, it might be the effects of previous life causes maturing in this life. For example, if the personal characteristics we have in this life are the continuation of characteristics in our previous life, it’s possible that this person acted in a similar way in the previous life. Since we also create the karmic conditions we find ourselves born into, it could be the case that this person finds herself in this life living among people who, in one way or another, will cause her to realise the painful consequences of this behaviour. This comes to a peak in her own experiences of loneliness and isolation along with insight, at some point, into the process.

      The truth is, we don’t know for sure how karma is working itself out at any moment in our lives. While it can appear that the events of our lives can be explained by present life causes and conditions, it may well be the case that these present day causes and effects are merely a part of the drama being acted out on a larger stage of life directed by our overall Karma and that of other people. For example, what did the friends who deserted her also need to experience and learn in this life based on their karma generated in the past? The law of Karma is far reaching in its time scale and far reaching in the complexity of causal links, influences and possibilities that it brings together in any one lifetime. We may have our intuitions but mainly we find ourselves speculating and inferring from general principles – not knowing if we are correct or not.

      ~

      • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
        Kate Blalack
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        Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

        This is very helpful and clarifies things, Peter. Thank you!
        In my case I had time for people, but I used the word “busy” too much in my interactions with them. So even though I had the time, I was continuously uttering a negation and block. More proof that words have more power upon our thoughts than we might at first imagine. 🙂

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
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    The Purpose of Reincarnation

    HOW man has come to be the complex being that he is and why, are questions that neither Science nor Religion makes conclusive answer to. This immortal thinker having such vast powers and possibilities, all his because of his intimate connection with every secret part of Nature from which he has been built up, stands at the top of an immense and silent evolution. He asks why Nature exists, what the drama of life has for its aim, how that aim may be attained. But Science and Religion both fail to give a reasonable reply.

    What then is the universe for, and for what final purpose is man the immortal thinker here in evolution? It is all for the experience and emancipation of the soul, for the purpose of raising the entire mass of manifested matter up to the stature, nature, and dignity of conscious god-hood. The aim for present man is his initiation into complete knowledge, and for the other kingdoms below him that they may be raised up gradually from stage to stage to be in time initiated also. This is evolution carried to its highest power, it is a magnificent prospect; it makes of man a god, and gives to every part of nature the possibility of being one day the same; there is strength and nobility in it, for by this no man is dwarfed and belittled, for no one is so originally sinful that he cannot rise above all sin. The old view makes the universe a vast, complete, and perfect whole.

    -WQJ

    • Profile photo of Russ Law
      Russ Law
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      Profile photo of Russ LawRuss Law

      These words of Mr. Judge are certainly some of his most stirring and inspiring. He seems to be shouting to his readers, “Wake up, behold your divine nature, recognize your sublime role as a creator of change and as a participant and helper in the evolution of all life!” Coming as this does as a kind of “preface” to his presentation of the concept of Reincarnation in the Ocean, might we say that before the idea of reincarnation can really take hold as a meaningful possibility with respect to one’s own life, one must in some measure have awakened to a feeling, or recognition, a sense of reality for a transcending self – some aspect of us which partakes of universality and connectedness?

      By framing the subject of Reincarnation in such terms, he touches on its universal and indeed moral aspects, and helps us to get beyond the personal or sensational realms that the subject so often invokes.

      • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
        Pierre Wouters
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        Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

        “one must in some measure have awakened to a feeling, or recognition, a sense of reality for a transcending self – some aspect of us which partakes of universality and connectedness?”

        Yeah, I think that’s a really strong point that would at least subdue the idea that it is the personality that reincarnates.

      • Profile photo of Tamiko Yamada
        Tamiko Yamada
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        Profile photo of Tamiko YamadaTamiko Yamada

        That feeling that Russ so wisely points to seems to be very difficult to acquire without a regime of meditation and inward turning of the mind.

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    From Theosophy Magazine Sept. 1941

    The first step of every great religious and philosophical reformer has been to attempt to awaken man’s consciousness of inner divinity. So it was with Buddha, who came to reform the materialistic Brahmanical religions which had clouded over the simple truths of spirit. He strove to re-awaken memories “impacted in the imperishable center of man’s nature” — memories of those great teachers who personified spiritual knowledge to infant humanity on this earth. Buddha perceived that the nature of the soul must once have been known to every man, and that the fire of spiritual understanding must be rekindled.

    The legends of every civilization picture man’s long pilgrimage in search of his own soul. The story of Lucifer, “the fallen prince,” is an allegory of man’s descent into matter at the beginning of present human evolution. Lucifer, the mind-being, acquired a dual nature with the addition to the soul vesture of the many degrees of lower intelligence making up his physical and emotional instruments and dependent upon him for upward impulse on the ladder of being. It was easy for beings of power to exploit and indulge these lower lives, and few souls there were, according to ancient legend, who could with unfaltering steps march the highroad of further evolution without first losing themselves in the unreasoning sensual enjoyments of the material world. Since Lucifer fell into the slumber of “spiritual disgrace,” in accordance with the probabilities arrayed by the nature of material evolution, he has struggled to awaken and find his other self — the being within of high resolve who possesses naught but spiritual desire and the power to control and use intelligently the forms of life entrusted to his care.

  • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
    Ramprakash ML
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    Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

    Excellent contribution, Kristan. Thank you. Pahlavi texts you have quoted echo the very same axioms of Universal Science of Life which find resounding in the Upanishads (in which is included Bhagavadgita) and Buddhas’s Dhammapada, Plato’s Phaedo, Timeaeus, of the divine voice of Jesus in the Gospels. Same grand Truths !

    Hence it is that ” “True Theosophists belongs to no cult or sect, yet belongs to each and all.” (Declaration of ULT)

    Theosophy breaks down, with the brilliant light of spiritual knowledge, the artificial barriers erected by man in the darkness of his ignorant mind which splinters One grand Universal Truth into many sectarian mutually antagonistic, warring fragments.

    HPB says : “Polarity is universal, but the polarizer lies in our own consciousness. In proportion as our consciousness is elevated towards absolute truth, so do we assimilate it more or less absolutely.” (“HPB Article “What is Truth?” in HPB Article vol. I. p. 2)

    This elevating one’s purified consciousness towards ones Higher Self is our Dharma, our self-evident Duty — rising towards one’s Khavareana as the Avesta says. Higher Self, our Farvarshi, is ALL SELF. There is but ONE SELF. So, devotion to ones Higher Self is Devotion to Humanity without distinction of race, creed, caste or colour. Universal Brotherhood.

    For Humanity is manifestation of Logos (Heavenly Man) on earth.

    • Profile photo of Laura
      Laura
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      Profile photo of LauraLaura

      If we hold to this idea stated once again in the ULT declaration, while facing all the karmic difficulty, we can transform our lower nature. Universal Brotherhood HPB said was the only thing we had to believe in order to know Truth.

    • Profile photo of Kristan Stratos
      Kristan Stratos
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      Profile photo of Kristan StratosKristan Stratos

      Thank you, Ram.

      There are other excellent strophes found in the Pahlavi Texts, the older Avesta Gâthâs (pre Vendidad), and even a very mysterious Occult text, according to HPB, The Desâtîr, which extolls the critical teachings of performance of Duty, though more often translated as “The Great Religion.” In the latter, reincarnation is explicitly mentioned (via mysterious language) as being fundamental to the performance of Duty- or as it appears- Eternal Dharma, as no aspect of manifestation is free from Universal Responsibilities; each form/vehicle must be perfected, elevated, and saturated with Inspiration, which is done so by gradual and steady elevation- by living a principled life in accord with “The Great Religion” or Universal Law. Neglect of this, naturally has adverse consequences.

      In the Gîtâ, I believe one can find a corresponding word; स्वधर्म (svadharma/Khwarenah), which if my memory is correct, this word is only used by Krsna. Deep truth can be found in this very word and its contextual usage.

      Spentamainyu 2.12 Yasna 48.12;

      [ aT tOi aMhvn saoKyaNtO daFyun&m
      YOi xCnUm WohU manaMhA haclNtE
      KyaoqanAiS aCA qBahyA mazdA sVNghahyA
      tOi-zI dAtA hamaEstArO aECvm mahyA.]

      “Such, indeed, shall-be the Saviors of the Lands (Earth and Her associated Adepts/Prophets) who follow the (call of) Duty (guided) by Vohû Manô (theos. Buddhimanas), (their) Deeds, because (inspired) by Asâ (Universal Law Eternal) in accord with Thy Command, O Mazdâ, they have been marked out as Vanquishers of Hatred (i.e., reformers of Humanity, abolishers of separation).”

      In previous strophes, it is said, more or less, that in order to preform Duty properly- assuming that the individual was on a path of firm conviction- one ought to know “the pattern of Vohû Manô… (as a request of said pattern, it shall) be-revealed truly unto me; The Adept should-know how Vohû Manô (Hôi) blessings shall flow.”

      All of this is apparently revealed by the self-sacrifice to the Eternal Law, Universal (sva)Dharma/Duty/Purpose/Khwarenah. From the old Persian Desâtîr, the book of Shet the Prophet Ky-Khusrou;

      5. Thy Heart is never separated from Me for the twinkling of an eye.
      6. Thy Soul is an angel, and the son of an angel: and so I have given thee a great and exalted angel, named Intelligence.
      7. Finally I will place thee near to Myself, along with Ferhûshbûd.
      8. Thou art not absent from before Me for one twinkling of an eye.
      9. I am never out of thy Heart;
      10. And I am contained in no-thing, but in thy Heart, and in a Heart like thy Heart.
      11. And I am nearer unto thee than thou art unto thyself.
      12. O My friend! Do thou make strong the Religion of the Great Abâd, who is the greatest of Prophets and that Religion which is my Own (Religion).
      13. For they can find no straight road towards Me except by this Religion (i.e.; Eternal Truth, Universal Law, Brotherhood).

      All the above is contained in the well known axiom amongst Theosophists (of every tradition); “Duty is the Royal Talisman.”

      Reincarnation, to my understanding, and the teachings of Adepts (via sacred texts) is compulsory, even though some “Orthodox” sects fail to recognize it.

  • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
    Pavel Axentiev
    Participant
    Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

    I would like to emphasize here, although it may have been addressed by Ramprakash here, the idea that what appears to re-incarnate is a combination of karmic “aggregates” (aka ‘skandhas’). Thus, the idea that one has to stop re-incarnating – to stop returning to the wheel of samsara – seems to be connected with the Buddhist position that self is an illusion. The Buddhists emphasize (as, e.g., the Dalai Lama in his recent teachings) that the belief in Atman is not their belief. The doctrine of ‘No-self’ (anatta, or anatman) is in the foundation of Buddhism.

    Trying to comprehend this idea I come to think that it may be, that although the belief in the Higher Self may be very useful and beneficial at some stages of individual evolution, it may ultimately have to be forgone, as one of the last vestiges of the lower self, one of our fundamental attachments.

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN

    Arguments Supporting Reincarnation

    “WHAT are your proofs?” is often asked of those who believe in reincarnation and karma, and who think that evolution demands a place in the cosmos for Mahatmas (or great souls) as facts and ideals. “If you cannot prove reincarnation just as you would a fact in a court of law, I will not believe,” says one, while another says, “Make such objective demonstrations as science does, and then you may expect me to agree with you.” But in truth all these objectors accept as proven many things which on a slight examination are seen to rest as much on theory and metaphysical argument as do any of these doctrines. The axioms of mathematics are unprovable; the very word assumes that they have to be accepted. Being accepted, we go forward and on the basis of their unproved truth demonstrate other and succedent matters.

    The sun is the apparent source of energy, and is confidently supposed by many to be a mass of burning material. No one, however, knows this to be so. No one was ever there, and the whole set of theories regarding the luminary rests on assumptions. Many natural facts are against some of the theories. The great fact that the higher the mountain the more cold it is on top would be one, not wholly accounted for by theories as to radiation. And when we remember the great, the immense, difference between the various scientific estimates of the sun’s heat, doubt increases. Seeing that electricity is now so much better known, and that it is apparently all-pervading, the ancient idea that the sun is a center of electrical or magnetic energy which turns into heat as well as other things on reaching here, becomes plausible and throws some spice of illusion into the doctrine that our sun is a mass of burning matter.

    WQJ

    • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
      Pavel Axentiev
      Participant
      Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

      Logically, these arguments are irrelevant.

      There are some observed cases that seem to point to the possibility of reincarnation. The fact that this knowledge is largely suppressed is a different matter.

      It may be that we are unable to prove reincarnation. However, as a working hypothesis, it may be quite valid.

      • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
        Gerry Kiffe
        Moderator
        Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

        And until we know that reincarnation is true through experience we are forced to consider it as a working hypothesis.

        • Profile photo of Tamiko Yamada
          Tamiko Yamada
          Participant
          Profile photo of Tamiko YamadaTamiko Yamada

          Yes but that does not mean that it is erroneous to believe in it. If logic and experience point in a direction then it is natural to follow that direction for additional truth.

          • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
            Ramprakash ML
            Participant
            Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

            We have for our belief in reincarnation the basis of logic, reason, intuition and testimony of absolutely trustworthy witnesses who know it by experience, who show the ways and means by which we also can know it by experience. Such a belief based on Knowledge cannot but be right belief.

            HH Dalai Lama once said that a hypothesis based on a wrong premises and assumption will invariably leads us far from truth, whereas the one based on right premises will ultimately leads to truth.

            Belief or hypothesis of reincarnation is of the latter kind.

  • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
    Jon Fergus
    Moderator
    Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

    Just to add one more note to this. If one allows the 40th book of the White Yajurveda to be included as a legitimate part of that veda (it is actually the Isa Upanishad stitched to the end of the veda), then it can be said that there is a direct mention of Karma in the vedas (verse 2 of the Isa Upanishad / book 40 of the white yajurveda). But this is really quite a stretch, and the text bears no relation to the rigveda.

    Since the yajus and sama vedas are almost entirely composed from rik verses, it really ought to be solely the Rigveda in which we look for the philosophical teachings of what we call “the vedas”.

    The Upanishads are where the doctrines of karma, reincarnation and liberation really begin, and take center stage, and it’s from these that all later vedanta thought on the matter originates.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by Profile photo of Jon Fergus Jon Fergus. Reason: Edited due to a mistake between the atharvaveda and the white yajurveda (see comment by David below)
    • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
      Pavel Axentiev
      Participant
      Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

      Jon, I appreciate your knowledge, the result of long study. If you could, please, clarify the following: based on my quite amateurish knowledge, the concept of “rita” (the cosmic order) was central to the early Vedic philosophy. It is said that it has later evolved into that of Dharma. Could it be that there are at least some precursors to the ideas of karma and re-incarnation in the early Vedas?

      Although the idea of ancestor worship, so predominant in the Vedas before the reform of Hinduism, appears to contradict the idea of re-incarnation, I wonder whether it could actually be interpreted in such a way that the two ideas would complement each other.

      • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
        Jon Fergus
        Moderator
        Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

        Thanks Pavel. Yes, this is perhaps an example of what I mean that “it may be that the doctrines are taught in the vedas, but under some other type of symbolism.”

        The interesting thing is that despite ṛta playing such a major role in the rigveda, it plays virtually no role in the oldest upanishads (no more than a dozen occurrences in the mukhya upanishads, none of which seem particularly striking or meaningful). One would think that if this idea was a precursor to the idea of karma (which is so central to the vedanta philosophy) that there would be some sort of explanation of such in the upanishads, or some verses linking the idea to similar concepts etc., especially given it’s clear prominence in the vedas. But when the term does occur in the upanishads it seems quite limited (either meaning something like “righteousness” perhaps or simply indicative of the seasons (and their orderly progression) and so on).

        That said, I haven’t really delved into the study of ṛta in the rigveda, so I’m certainly not an authority on the idea. The root concept seems to be closest to the English “right” and then applied in numerous ways involving the “action” of that “right”, but I’m sure it’s more complex than that. I’m just not sure it is meant in the vedas in the same light as how we interpret the ideas of karma or dharma (particularly as applied to an immortal soul within Man), but perhaps it does. Ṛta does also seem linked with the ideas of orderly time, cyclical seasons, etc. (see ṛtu) so perhaps there is also a link to the idea of reincarnation/rebirth as cycles subject to “right order”, but I haven’t studied enough to root that out if that explanation exists in the vedas. (my study of the vedas is still very surface to be honest).

        Perhaps ṛta is an example of what dharma or karma looks like from a different perspective (going back to my analogy that a pyramid looks different from above than from ground level). Karma and dharma look a certain way to us, from this plane and this stage of consciousness; perhaps ṛta is what it looks like from “above” so to speak?

        In regards to how the “two ideas [ancestor worship and reincarnation] would complement each other”, I do think we find that in theosophy: the ancestor worship being applicable to the kama-rupa, and reincarnation being applicable to the Ego, to put it crudely. I think if we follow that general direction of thought we’ll find a way to reconcile the two ideas.

        • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
          Pavel Axentiev
          Participant
          Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

          Yes, the kama-rupa vs. the Ego is what I had in mind, trying to suggest that these ideas are not mutually exclusive.

    • Profile photo of David Reigle
      David Reigle
      Participant
      Profile photo of David ReigleDavid Reigle

      You meant to say that the Isa Upanisad is the 40th book of the White Yajur-veda rather than the Atharva-veda.

      • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
        Jon Fergus
        Moderator
        Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

        Jeesh, yes, indeed. I got myself mixed around there. Thanks for the correction David!

  • Profile photo of Tamiko Yamada
    Tamiko Yamada
    Participant
    Profile photo of Tamiko YamadaTamiko Yamada

    Many things are assumed by a culture and seldom questioned. For a long time the body was seen as a sort of machine and that went unquestioned. Now it is seen more as an ecosystem but devoid of a spiritual component. Slavery as a practice went unquestioned. The Earth being the center of the solar system also comes to mind. Objections to these common notions were simply not discussed.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 3 weeks ago by Profile photo of Tamiko Yamada Tamiko Yamada.
    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
      Ramprakash ML
      Participant
      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

      Unquestioned conformity to status quo is due to Tamogunam. It is the indolence of the soul (personal self)

  • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
    Ramprakash ML
    Participant
    Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

    Fergus,

    what you have quoted from the Gospel of the Buddha seems to the correct idea about Anatma :

    ““In The Gospel of Buddha [by Paul Carus], we find the following statement given as part of a discourse by the Buddha: ‘That which men call the ego when they say ‘I am’ is not an entity behind the skandhas; it originates by the cooperation of the skandhas.’ ”

    Therefore the personality, the sense of I and Mine distinctly separate from others, is an illusion, because non-eternal, that which arises as a result of a chain of causes and effects called Nidana.

    The personal idea is to be gotten rid of if we will ever realize the true self. But it is so difficult–so difficult that the Buddha says that it is easier to raise an army and conquer the world than the conquest of self, and Jesus saying that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for man (whether rich or poor) to reach the Kingdom of Heaven.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by Profile photo of Ramprakash ML Ramprakash ML.
    • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
      Pavel Axentiev
      Participant
      Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

      In response to Ramprakash’s post #4340:
      This discussion regarding the lower self (the Kama-Rupa) vs. the higher self that might be immortal and/or re-incarnate reminds me of the docrtine of the Fourth Way, which I have been a student of for more years than of theosophy.

      In the Fourth Way, a human might achieve immortality (develop a “soul”) only after a prolonged struggle involving intentional (voluntary) suffering and meticulous work of unifying and controling all one’s thoughts, emotions, and actions.

      • Profile photo of Tamiko Yamada
        Tamiko Yamada
        Participant
        Profile photo of Tamiko YamadaTamiko Yamada

        The teaching in Theosophy is not that we have a soul but that we ARE a soul. We HAVE a personality which is ephemeral.

      • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
        Ramprakash ML
        Participant
        Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

        Pavel,
        That is an interesting idea — of “developing a soul,” after a prolonged struggle.

        Can you elaborate on the “Fourth way” ?

        • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
          Pavel Axentiev
          Participant
          Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

          Ramprakash, regarding your question, the Fourth Way is an esoteric system of spiritual development associated mainly with G. I. Gurdjieff, who introduced this system in the 1920s in Europe. It has been claimed that it comes and goes in different times and lands under different names and in different forms. Its major focus is on the inner work, and the major tool is attention. I have been practicing the teachings for a long time now, and find it remarkably effective. In my opinion, the Fourth Way is the Method, while Theosophy is the Wisdom. The Fourth Way is called so in contrast to the three traditional ways of development, as per Gurdjieff: the way of the fakir, involving mainly the physical body; the way of the monk, involving largely the emotions; and the way of the yogi, focusing on the mind. The Fourth Way claims that for the fastest and harmonious development, all the “centers” (physical, mental, and emotional) should be engaged.

          The Fourth Way is said to occur “in life” – i.e. it doesn’t require leaving the worldly life for a monastery, etc. It is said that if one practices it in one’s common environment, so much the better, because it is in this very environment that we are most “asleep,” and the goal of the Fourth Way, or one of its major goals, is to awaken. The ultimate “routine” practice of the Fourth Way is called “self-remembering,” which is a combination of awareness of one’s external environment, one’s impulses and reactions, and, perhaps, of something higher. After a certain skill in self-observation is obtained, one proceeds to fine-tuning one’s psychological processes to get a unified activity of the mind, heart, and body.

          So much for the answer. I am sorry that it is so off-topic.

          • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
            Ramprakash ML
            Participant
            Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

            Thanks Pavel for the information. I will look up the subject on the internet for more information.

            • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
              Pavel Axentiev
              Participant
              Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

              In reality, the concept of Higher Self is very much a Fourth Way concept. The more technical goal of the Fourth Way is achieving a connection with the “Higher Centers” – the repositories of Higher Wisdom, Love, Will, Consciousness (i.e., buddhi), that are dormant in every human being (it is said). To access them, one has to bring to harmony one’s “lower functions” – the instincts, the lower emotions and the mind (i.e., manas). Fourth Way starts, perhaps, on a lower than Theosophy level – it presumes that a common human being is not able to access the higher functions (i.e., the buddhi) and needs to be prepared for that. It argues that we often ascribe to ourselves these qualities but in reality only human beings of a higher “level of being” possess them.

              I find the Fourth Way to be in line with the teachings of the Mahatmas. It may prepare one to practice Theosophy on a more advanced level. It develops humility, it teaches one to work hard on oneself.

              • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
                Pavel Axentiev
                Participant
                Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

                Since I have – largely unintentionally – brought the focus of this discussion to the Fourth Way, I will bridge the two topics now with the following conjecture:
                We have two approaches to life after death:
                1) Reincarnation, continuous life-to life existence in the wheel of samsara.
                2) Immortality of the soul, or nirvana, or existence in unity with God.
                The first one seems to indicate that Kama-Rupa is what reincarnates, and this process is reflected in worship of the ancestors.
                The Self appears to exist throughout the reincarnations in a somewhat distant form, with its influence muddled in some way.
                Another option is that of Mahayana – the bodhisattva tradition – which insists on abstaining from nirvana in order to help other beings to achieve nirvana.
                A sort of tangential form of the teachings on immortality is the relatively little known, obscure tradition of the Fourth Way – teaching a method of retaining consciousness in other incarnations – and a connected teaching of the Ancient Egyptians, who, it appears, were preparing themselves to reincarnate in a particular region of the sky.
                The Fourth Way approach may be similar to the way of the bodhisattva, since it allegedly allows one to retain consciousness throughout the lifetimes, thus allowing reincarnation of the bodhisattva.

  • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
    Irfan Rouhani
    Blocked
    Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

    Greetings, I’m in and out, this group helped me clarify the epiphany that all religion, philosophy, science and spirituality … revolve essentially around one thing and one thing only … realizing God, Brahman, the One, etc. That is the main point and the main goal of all, all else is more or less distractions, diversions, opinion, speculations, child’s play and so on.

    Peace, goodbye and thank you.

    • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
      Gerry Kiffe
      Moderator
      Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

      Irfan, might I add one thought to your wonderful observation? Realizing the SELF, or God, or Brahman or the One does indeed seem to be the essential element of all these endeavors. The other side of the coin is the practice. We progressively realize the SELF or God through seeing it in our fellow man and looking for it in ourselves. Universal Brotherhood and Sisterhood is the practical side of the quest. There can be no one without the other. This is why Theosophy emphasizes and in fact insists upon it. And this is exactly where organized religion has fallen down. We cannot profess to seeking God, or the All in All, if we are unwilling to acknowledge it in each other.

  • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
    Gerry Kiffe
    Moderator
    Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

    What test(s) can an individual apply to confirm or deny the reality or unreality of reincarntaion for oneself existentially independent of outside testimony or spiritual texts?

  • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
    Irfan Rouhani
    Blocked
    Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

    Greetings moderators, I am wondering if a new Key Concepts – Theosophical Tenets – category can be opened up: Universal Unity.

    I hope it can, and to kick it off, I wanted to post this, and ask everyone’s honest opinion, would you consider this a statement or utterance that is Advaita Vedantic or Vishishtadvaita Vedantic?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKzgK6EORPY&t=657s

    • Profile photo of Kristan Stratos
      Kristan Stratos
      Moderator
      Profile photo of Kristan StratosKristan Stratos

      Recognizing this is off the topic of Reincarnation, but not wanting to be rude, I thought I’d just mention a quick little bit. Perhaps Irfans question can be posted in a more closely related discussion.

      To my knowledge, Allah and the Parambrahm are both literally undefinable in essence. Even to speak of It as undefinable is imposing a implication that it is a thing which is “undefinable.” Look here what is read in Fusus al-Hikam by Ibn Arabi;

      “Whoever limits Allah, denies Allah in other than what he limits Allah to, and confirms Allah in what he limits Him by, when Allah gives him a tajalli (apparent manifested form). Whoever frees Allah from limitation does not deny Allah, and so confirms Allah in every form in which Him changes. He is given from himself according to the form in which the tajalli infinitely occurs. The forms of the tajalli are without end. Similarly knowledge of Allah has no limit in the gnostic who understands the forms. Rather, he is a gnostic at every moment, seeking increase of knowledge by “Lord, increase me in knowledge! Lord, increase me in knowledge! Lord, increase me in knowledge!”

      Many Sufi Adepts, as you probably are aware, refer to Allah under various titles, such as “The Light of Lights”, “Necessarily-Existent” and so on… Suhrawardi writes in his Hayakal al-Nur;

      “… Let the illumination by the Pure Light of the soul be our path and let the selfless Brotherhood of Faith be our companion. You are the One who gives only good to all the universes through Your generosity and munificence. Allah is the best of all helpers.”

      I cannot speak as to how one should understand this, but the way I see this in relation to your question, is that it matters little if we were to compare Allah to Parambrahm of the Advaita or Vishishtadvaita- each is devoted to the highest capacity of their particular understandings. Is not the personal god, which the Vishishtadvaita accept, the first manifestation of the Eternal Light, The Light of Lights?

      • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
        Irfan Rouhani
        Blocked
        Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

        Yes, well here is the central thing I’m trying to understand … does it not stand to reason that from One came many … which is to say … that all finite diversity and differentiation issued forth from so to speak (and has its basis in) some fundamentally underlying principle of infinite unity?

        I’m a Persian and you’re a Greek so I’m trying to meet you in-between in Egypt (Plotinus).

        Now the question is, that infinite unity, from the ultimate point of view (which may evade us no doubt) … can it be characterized as a pure and unqualified nonduality … or as a qualified nonduality …

        Or in other words … is there only one Soul without a second … or are there many souls suffused and infused in One Spirit?

        This question has always puzzled me.

    • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
      Gerry Kiffe
      Moderator
      Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

      Irham;

      I sent you a private note that might not have gotten through. I will email it to you. Yes a new discussion in the Key Concepts/Theosophical Tenets section and was begun about a week ago. Human Perfectibility. We hope to get through all 10 (there are probably more) eventually. We keep the discussions open for people to add to them whenever they want. This one has had a great deal of activity and participation with many thanks to you on that score.

  • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
    Irfan Rouhani
    Blocked
    Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

    Greetings, this is a VERY IMPORTANT discussion I want to initiate on what may be an erroneous idea that must be eliminated from the domain of consciousness, being and existence. I’m under the impression that a personage, and whether he was real or not I’ll let you decide … but in any case … as a real individual or literary construction … this figure Shantideva … who was a religious zealot and extremist awash in improbable mythological fantasies … made the claim that it is somehow righteous or virtuous or even possible … to prolong one’s reincarnation(s) to an infinite and eternal extent … now do I even have to waste any time refuting this false notion concocted from a overheated imagination … or is this actually taken seriously by anyone?

    Gross absurdity must be refuted outright, there can be no compromises in that, but rather sober earnestness.

    • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
      Irfan Rouhani
      Blocked
      Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

      “Piety and moral goodness have naught to do with ecstasy; stain your prayer rug with wine!” (Hafiz)

    • Profile photo of Peter
      Peter
      Moderator
      Profile photo of PeterPeter

      Hello Irfan ( re your post 4638 and Shantideva and question about the Bodhisattva ideal)

      It’s not correct to say that the bodhisattva ideal was concocted by Shantideva (circa 700ce).

      Yes, the bodhisattva ideal is normally associated mainly with the Mahayana tradition in Buddhism with its strong emphasis on attaining enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. However, it is not absent from the earlier schools of Buddhism; see, for example, Walpola Rahula writings, where he seeks to show that the Bodhisattva Ideal was present in the early teachings of Buddhism. The Buddha refers to his former lifetimes as a Bodhisattva.

      Nagarjuna writing around 500 years ealier than Shantideva writes about the Bodhisattva ideal in his Precious Garland (a famous Mahayana text). Nor is the bodhisattva ideal limited only to Madhyamikas in Tibetan Buddhism. The Madhymaka tradition, dating back to the time of Nagarjuna, is a philosophical school centred around views of emptiness. Aryasanga (circa 300ce), regarded as the founder of the Yogacarya school with the Mahayana, also wrote about the Bodhisattva ideal in his ‘The Bodhisattva Path to Unsurpassed Enlightenment’.

      The Bodhisattva ideal is ofter referred to simply as ‘the spirit of enlightenment’. It distinguishes between those who seek enlightenment and liberation for the sake of other beings and those who seek liberation for their own sake alone. The latter are regarded as following the lower vehicle(s) to liberation (the Hinayana), and who seek to free themselves from the endless circle of rebirths in samsara. The following passages give some pointers as to what developing the spirit of enlightenment, or Bodhisattva ideal, involves.

      ‘Once you have abandoned forever the two lower vehicles,
      Which possess no power to provide the welfare of the world,
      Enter the vehicle which the Conquerer Sakyamuni compassionately taught ––
      This consists only of helping others

      When people see that joy and unhappiness are like a dream
      And that beings degenerate due to the faults of delusion,
      Why would they strive for their own welfare,
      Forsaking dealing in the excellent deeds of altruism.

      Why wouldn’t anyone who is in the Conquerer’s lineage and
      Who works for the welfare of the world
      Have compassion for those stumbling with their eyes of wisdom closed
      And joyously persevere so as to clear away such confusion.

      (from Āryasura’s – ‘Compendium of the Perfections’, quoted in the Lamrim Chemno of Tsongkapa, book 2)

      The Bodhisattva path, as explained by Tsongkhapa, includes the development of both Wisdom and Compassion. Quoting Maitreya :

      Through knowledge you do not abide in cyclic existence [samsara].
      Through compassion you do not abide in peace [nirvana].

      In other words, the Bodhisattva frees him/herself from the ongoing cycle of suffering (samsara – i.e. the cycle of birth and death resulting from ignorance and its resulting karma). Yet the Bodhisattva does not seek to be free of rebirth entirely, such as would happen by dwelling in nirvana alone. The Bodhisattva stays within the realm of cyclic existence as a result of his/her altruistic intention to help suffering beings.

      ~~~

      • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
        Irfan Rouhani
        Blocked
        Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

        The bodhisattva stays in phenomenal cyclic existence for all eternity?

        Wouldn’t the universe then be overflowing with bodhisattvas?

        As for myself, I haven’t met too many supremely Enlightened bodhisattvas.

        • Profile photo of Peter
          Peter
          Moderator
          Profile photo of PeterPeter

          Irfan – I get the impression that you are more interested in dismissing the Bodhisattva Ideal (and perhaps Buddhism in general) than in trying to understand it. Your initial claim was that it was an idea concocted by the overheated imagination of Shantideva. The historical evidence shows this claim is false.

          The validity of the Bodhisattva Ideal is not going to depend on the number of Bodhisattvas you or I have personally met. Perhaps there are only a relatively few in our age, just as there seem to be only a few enlightened beings from any spiritual tradition compared to the number of sentient beings as whole. Should we dismiss spiritual enlightenment as a false ideal because the universe does not appear to be overflowing with Jnanis?

          In Mahayana Buddhism, the Bodhisattva ideal is something that each and any of us may choose to aspire to. It is a path with many stages of development thus it contains beginners as well as proficients. Hopefully, as humanity develops there will come a time when there there are more people working for the good of the All than there are people working for their own selfish ends; hopefully there will come a time when there are more enlightened beings than those suffering through ignorance. In the meantime, the Bodhisattva ideal signifies an intention, as aspiration, to help our fellow Man and not give up that aspiration until everyone is freed from ignorance and suffering.

          Such an aspiration forms part of the cornerstone of all theosophical endeavour. As one of HPB’s Teachers wrote:

          ‘The term “Universal Brotherhood” is no idle phrase. Humanity in the mass has a paramount claim upon us… It is the only secure foundation for universal morality. If it be a dream, it is at least a noble one for mankind and it is the aspiration of the true adept.’
          (Mahatma Letters to Sinnett; no 28)

          ~~~

          • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
            Irfan Rouhani
            Blocked
            Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

            Peter, my claim was not that Shantideva created the B Ideal, one only has to read the Diamond Sutra to be aware he didn’t. My argument was (and if you can source earlier texts to the contrary I’d be happy), that he is the earliest person I am aware of that explicitly and emphatically gave it a very specific formal twist that I disagree with on purely logical grounds. My argument is (and if you can demonstrate a counter-example I welcome it) that he took the B Ideal, and mythologized it in such a way that, although technically valid from the mythic level, in strict and sober logic is invalid … in the very specific sense that there is no way a BSatva can be in phenomenal existence for infinity … which is to say for a never-ending duration.

            Why?

            To your jnani point to make it clear … it stands to reason that a jnani doesn’t stay in the rupralokas for an indefinite span of eternal duration … but retires into the Absolute-without-form eventually. Now this Shantideva version of the B Ideal … stipulates that a BSatva stays in the Absolute-with-form for an unending duration … BUT … if that were so … that would mean that … unless this is a new conception or new ideal … rather than an eternal one … THAT … there has been an unending past in which … an infinite number of Bsatvas abiding in the Absolute-with-form have had a chance to come into being … and THEREFORE … our world would be replete with them. It is not.

            Can you point something off in my chain of logical reasoning above?

            Therefore, one must draw the conclusion that, either it is a new conception of uncertain status … or … in fact and actuality … there is a limited and finite quantity of Bsatvas in existence … and for a limited and finite duration of time … and one generation of Bsatvas eventually replaces another in the course of time … and that older generation retires as it were … into the Absolute-without-form … eventually.

            That’s my reasoning based on logic.

            Indeed, I consider that Bodhisattvas, and Bodhissatvas on advanced stations, indeed do exist … I only say that they don’t subsist in the Absolute-with-form for in perpetuity for an eternal duration.

            Furthermore I consider it a sacred and saintly ideal, and it is valid from its own side in its mythic form … just that … strictly speaking in all sobriety … it is technically invalid (the eternal perpetuity aspect) in fact and actuality from the rationalist point of view.

            And one more thing, there are many very serious Bodhisattva types … who are such … but adhere to no formal vow of service-adinfinitum.

            Lastly, the Dalai Lama has pointed out that many Tibetan Buddhists talk a good talk with reference to the B Ideal … but very little actual objectively demonstrable concrete results in history and actuality (the Chinese Communists have argued a variant of this too in the past with some persuasive substance) … and he goes on to say that “our Christian brothers and sisters” … have been much more demonstrably and actually impressively active in the charitas domain.

            Of course the flip side is that it often comes with strings attached aka missionary.

            ‘The term “Universal Brotherhood” is no idle phrase. Humanity in the mass has a paramount claim upon us… It is the only secure foundation for universal morality. If it be a dream, it is at least a noble one for mankind and it is the aspiration of the true adept.’
            (Mahatma Letters to Sinnett; no 28)

            • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
              Irfan Rouhani
              Blocked
              Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

              also term “universal brotherhood” … which in essence designates universal unity at the level of science and metaphyics … does not strictly connote the Boddhisatva Ideal as Shantideva specifically formulated it.

            • Profile photo of Samantha Province
              Samantha Province
              Participant
              Profile photo of Samantha ProvinceSamantha Province

              That maya or samsara has literally no beginning is also a teaching of Advaita Vedanta. So I don’t think this should really be a controversial point although it can be beneficial to discuss the philosophical implications of this. But it needs to be emphasized, not only does manifest existence have no end, its also without a top or bottom, or a wall to the south, north, east, or west. Further, there are an infinite number of planes of existence in which to progress. No one will get “crowded out.”

            • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
              Pierre Wouters
              Moderator
              Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

              We may want to have a look at this excerpt from The Black Pearl – Spiritual Illumination in Sufism & East Asian Philosophies p. xxxi Henry Bayman:

              Enlightenment is an eminently acceptable term from the Sufic standpoint, because God is Light (al-Nur). As the famous Light Verse puts it, “God is the Light of the heavens and the earth…Light upon Light!” (24:35) Since the goal in Sufism is the Summit of Unification, where only God exists, it is clear that the climb to that peak entails increasing levels of enlightenment. And indeed, Sufis speak of the appearance of various “lights” (amvar) during the long ascent to the top. Shihabuddin Suhrawardi used the term “sunrise, enlightenment” (ishraq) to describe the illumination that occurs when the Sun of the spiritual world is born in one’s Heart.
              Here a short digression may serve to justify the translation of “prophet” as “buddha” or “bodhisattva.” “Prophet” is nabi in both the Semitic languages Hebrew and Arabic, and derives from nabiin or naba. “These terms come from a group of cog-nate words which have nothing to do with time [or prophesying the future], but rather with flowing and becoming bright.” (19) In Arabic, naba means 1. news, message (whence “Messenger” or prophet) and 2. (sometimes rapid) elevation. Now all these concepts actually describe a spiritual Ascension (meeraj), for one Ascends via a beam of white light that emanates from God, who is Light (24:35). (One becomes brighter as light flows out below.) It appears, then, that the original term nabi was much more expressive of the truth, and we would thus not be far wrong in linguistically equating “prophet” with buddha (“enlightened, awakened”) or bodhisattva (“enlightened being”), perhaps also rescuing its primal sense in the process. Since “Buddha” means “awakened” or “enlightened,” in my opinion there is nothing wrong in calling the Prophet a Buddha (Muhammed Butsu, Ahmed-i Fo).
              (19) Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral
Mind, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977, pp. 299-300.

              Suhrawardi, the most eminent Sufi master is in full accord with the Theosophical teachings, but as with all teachings, they have to be read with a mind unbiased by academic concerns and seen in its true esoteric meaning, a meaning that resides in the heart rather than in the scholarly mind, no matter how “intellectual” that may be.

  • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
    Irfan Rouhani
    Blocked
    Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

    I hope to open up a serious conversation here about the “bodhisattva ideal” … or the “path of renunciation” … and I think the reincarnation section is the best place to do it, since they are so integrally connected.

    If anyone wishes to try to explain to me the rationale of this idea, please do so, my ears are wide open.

    As for me, here is my question to the heirs of nalanda:

    Take ye a God, a supreme Objective or Ideal, apart from the Infinitely Glorious One?

    Take ye a sublime ideal apart from your infinite and absolute source, home and destination, the Incomparable and Unexcelled?

    And call ye upon deities other than the Absolute One, Paramatma, Infinite Self or Spirit?

    Then ye err, and all your works will come to nought, renegades from the inextinguishable Abode which will inevitably swallow you whole, no matter how long ye run and hide, serving illusion beyond your measure, serving that which comes to naught.

    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
      Ramprakash ML
      Participant
      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

      Rouhani’s questions in post no. 4653

      Question 1 :Take ye a God, a supreme Objective or Ideal, apart from the Infinitely Glorious One?

      Response : The first fundamental proposition of Theosophy is ABSOLUTE Deity, boundless, eternal, immutable, infinite. IT cannot be named, cannot even be represented in any way or conceptualized, because it transcends the limitation of human thought, but can be sensed by the highest spiritual senses of a perfect Sage or a Seer. That is the highest ideal towards which all are heading, as from That all come. But IT cannot be fully realized by even the highest Sage. Logically, it not possible for finite to encompass Infinity but it ever progresses towards it more and more, but never reaches it.

      As the Light on the Path says : You can enter the light but can never touch the flame.

      2. Take ye a sublime ideal apart from your infinite and absolute source, home and destination, the Incomparable and Unexcelled?

      Response : Now sir, come to think of it this way. How can you form an Ideal of that which is ABSOLUTE, INFINITE, ETERNAL of which you cannot even conceptualize ? Does it make sense in “worshiping” Absolute, a perfect abstraction ? If THAT is itself Causeless but the Cause of all that was, is and ever shall be, can it be absent from any point or an atom in boundless space ? If you cannot sense the presence of THAT in your fellowmen, in your friend, in your enemy, in the tree, in the humble earth worm, in the pebble, in the flaming fire, in the flowing water, in the sweet smelling earth, in the rushing wind, and honour and worship THAT in all these and everything, how can you worship THAT apart from all that you see, feel, touch and sense ? If you cannot, then your proclamation that only THAT should be worshiped is illogical and hypocritical, and nothing nothing short of dogmatism. It is this dogmatism which is the source of all troubles throughout human history.

      Theosophy teaches that the abstract Eternal can only be realized in collective humanity. It teaches that individual self is in essence and reality THAT, and THAT is seen in the collective Humanity. The ideal is self-identification with Humanity which is the highest expression of THAT. The ideal is to obtain knowledge and wisdom to realize this and help and aid all mankind in the evolutionary journey back to the source from which it emanated.

      Question : And call ye upon deities other than the Absolute One, Paramatma, Infinite Self or Spirit?

      Response : Universe is embodied consciousness consisting of endless series of hierarchies of intelligent intracosmic forces, from formless and the highest to the more tangible spiritual forms. They are all impersonal forces having many cosmic functions. They can be classified into two main groups. Sub-human, and supra-human. sub-human will come into human stage in the cyclic progress, and the supra-human are the human Egos who have evolved beyond the human stage to live in spirit as part of the hierarchies as coworkers with Nature in governance of worlds and beings according to the Cosmic Karmic Laws. These hierarchies are evolving also higher and higher with each new great cycle, ever approaching the Absolute, but never touching THAT, of which we can form no conception.

      Question : Then ye err, and all your works will come to nought, renegades from the inextinguishable Abode which will inevitably swallow you whole, no matter how long ye run and hide, serving illusion beyond your measure, serving that which comes to naught.

      Response : This question has been raised because of misconceptions explicit on the above three questions. As they have been clarified question 4 seems misplaced.

      The tone and the tenor of the last question has all the terrible flavour of the ritual of the public penance of condemned heretics and apostates during Spanish Inquisition. We plead NOT GUILTY.

      • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
        Irfan Rouhani
        Blocked
        Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

        To Ram-Prakash (Divine Light),

        1. “The first fundamental proposition of Theosophy is ABSOLUTE Deity, boundless, eternal, immutable, infinite. IT cannot be named, cannot even be represented in any way or conceptualized,”

        Refutation: You just named it “it”, and also “Deity”, and you just conceptualized it with all these qualifications.

        “because it transcends the limitation of human thought, but can be sensed by the highest spiritual senses of a perfect Sage or a Seer.”

        Response: Yes.

        “That is the highest ideal towards which all are heading, as from That all come.”

        Response: Absolutely in agreement.

        “But IT cannot be fully realized by even the highest Sage. Logically, it not possible for finite to encompass Infinity but it ever progresses towards it more and more, but never reaches it.”

        Rebuttal: Totally wrong and completely illogical.

        There is ONLY THAT and THAT ALONE. There is nothing else, always and forever. The way I see it, that One Infinity is everywhere and in all, and all are in it and of it … and One essentially sees One by the Light of the One, when the veil falls.

        One, simple, whole, uncreate and indisivible.

        Where you got this idea of infinite progress I have no idea but it completely contradicts the Perennial Philosophy and all the divine symbols of the Perennial Philosophy and Sacred Science, everywhere and in everyway.

        Completely contradicts the Lotus symbol as well as the Sri Yantra.

        If you’re not convinced, we should discuss this point further, more indepth and in more detail.

        Quite simply, by definition and according to strict logic, if you assert the existence of the Infinite One, nothing is other than It, and anything appearing other than It, merely appears other than It, but is not so in reality.

        Now sure, it might take on the face of temporal and finite, evanescent phenomena, but IT takes on the face of its own illusory manifestation, and nothing besides. Now I’ve been told that this aforementioned “illusory manifestation” … can be both perceived as the eternal and temporal intersecting and in union simultaneously … and as Itself formlessly and formlessly Alone.

        “As the Light on the Path says : You can enter the light but can never touch the flame”

        Rebuttal: And how does the author know? And what really is the difference between the light and the flame? And how could there in reality be any such duality?

        2. “Now sir, come to think of it this way. How can you form an Ideal of that which is ABSOLUTE, INFINITE, ETERNAL”

        Rebuttal: Who are you calling sir? And who is this “you” calling “me” sir? Brahman, my dear sir, and Brahman alone.

        Shivoham.

        You see, essentially, It forms an ideal of itself, which changes and evolves as it progresses towards Its own Self-disclosure in what is called the Supreme Gnosis.

        But let us not get beyond out humble station and presuppose more than we actually know.

        The Great Sages have counseled Silence in regards to the elucidation and unraveling of the knots of the greatest mysteries.

        “Does it make sense in “worshiping” Absolute, a perfect abstraction ?”

        Jnani, are you violating the Gita and rejecting the path of love, where the lover journeys towards the Beloved, culminating in the realization that the Beloved alone ever was all along?

        Quite simply, and I must reiterate this … the question of metaphysical puzzle of Brahman and Maya, the mystery of the Eternal and Infinite One and the finite and evanescent many … and how to reconcile this …

        and how to reconcile this …

        is a puzzle and a mystery that remains indeed.

        Can you solve it for me?

        Perhaps.

        Perhaps not.

        Perhaps: “the secrets of eternity reveals not for both of us
        solution to the riddle remains hidden for both of us
        what we debate about beyond the veil, all in vain
        as the veil is torn down none of us would remain.” (Khayyam)

        Sri Shankaracharya says more or less the same in the Hymn to Dakshinamurti.

        “Theosophy teaches that the abstract Eternal can only be realized in collective humanity. It teaches that individual self is in essence and reality THAT, and THAT is seen in the collective Humanity. The ideal is self-identification with Humanity which is the highest expression of THAT. The ideal is to obtain knowledge and wisdom to realize this and help and aid all mankind in the evolutionary journey back to the source from which it emanated.”

        Humanity and all the worlds are a finite and evanescent appearance that will pass away ever and ever again … pass away into That One beyond all words and mind and thought and form, one advancing life stream after another.

        “These hierarchies are evolving also higher and higher with each new great cycle, ever approaching the Absolute, but never touching THAT, of which we can form no conception.”

        False, the Absolute shoots through them all, and they are all shot forth in and of the Absolute, ever the Absolute, and never not the Absolute, only the REALIZATION (for “me” and “you”) is currently lacking.

        When will you understand, that according to strict logic … if the Absolute Infinite One exists … it is everywhere and in everything, and it is Simple and One, and when Unity is realized and revealed … Unity abides in Unity … in and through and by the Light of Unity.

        Tawhid!

      • Profile photo of Irfan Rouhani
        Irfan Rouhani
        Blocked
        Profile photo of Irfan RouhaniIrfan Rouhani

        Lastly, Attar claims that, when the “birds” reach that Valley of Unity, tis “The oneness of diversity/ Not oneness locked in singularity.”

        So if Attar is right, the many souls that are threads of the web of the Light of the One Spirit become utterly immersed and identified in that Eternal Ocean of the One Spirit.

        This seems to reconcile the conundrum of the One and the many.

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