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Theosophical Tenets: Universal Brotherhood and Sisterhood

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    Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
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    Universal Brotherhood and Sisterhood, Human Solidarity

     “. . . we insist that universal brotherhood is a fact in nature. It is a fact for the lowest part of nature; for the animal kingdom, for the vegetable kingdom, and the mineral kingdom. We are all atoms, obeying the law together. Our denying it does not disprove it. It simply puts off the day of reward and keeps us miserable, poor, and selfish. Why, just think of it! if all in Chicago, in the United States, would act as Jesus has said, as Buddha has said, as Confucius said, as all the great ethical teachers of the world have said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” would there be any necessity for legal measures and policemen with clubs in this park as you had them the other day? No, I think there would be no necessity, and that is what one of this great Brotherhood has said. He said all the troubles of the world would disappear in a moment if men would only do one-quarter of what they could and what they ought. It is not God who is to damn you to death, to misery. It is yourself. . . . . Live with each other as brothers; for the misery and the trouble of the world are of more importance than all the scientific progress that may be imagined. I conclude by calling upon you by all that humanity holds dear to remember what I say, and whether Christians, Atheists, Jews, Pagans, Heathen, or Theosophists, try to practice universal brotherhood, which is the universal duty of all men.”

    — William Quan Judge, from an address given during the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 (The Theosophical Society participated in the first World’s Parliament of Religions).

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Theosophical Tenets: Universal Brotherhood and Sisterhood

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN

    “The term “Universal Brotherhood” is no idle phrase. . . . 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 K.H. in a letter to A.P. Sinnet

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

    We are taught that no matter how strong and large our idea of universal brotherhood might be it can be enlarged. Mr. Judge talks about seeking to enlarge his sense of Brotherhood in one of his Letters That Have Helped Me. How do we determine where the boundaries of our own sense of brotherhood lie and how do we enlarge it?

    • Profile photo of Laura
      Laura
      Participant
      Profile photo of LauraLaura

      This is difficult as the work must be done on all planes.

      I like to consider that our lower nature is one as well. That we are all struggling to overcome or lift up the matter that surrounds us. We are all overcome by the lower iddhi at some point so it is well to give compassion to all who struggle. This helps to expand our understanding of Universal Brotherhood. In the opposite way we can celebrate and recognize the many ways in which people struggle with and overcome the lower forces every day.

      Whenever someone does something we do not like , look for the cause. Remember when we did some error similar and remembering our own struggle we feel compassion and understanding towards others.

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

        That is exercise of mental charity

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

        I find it takes a second and sometimes a third thought to get to this point. The first reaction is defensive. It takes a moment’s reflection to realize there is more to the story.

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

      I think what we are taught blocks brotherhood and sisterhood is a false separative sense of self. Every effort must be made to dissolve the separate self idea. This is very difficult. The lower mind is dependent upon an architecture of false attachments to name and form and history. When we try to deconstruct it through meditation and self study it pushes back, it asserts itself, it clings harder. This is my experience. Theosophy, if we would pursue universal brotherhood, requires us to struggle (fight in the words of the Gita) with the false self conception.

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

        Lower self, therefore, is symbolized as Ass. When you push it, it pushes
        against you with equal force.

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

          So what is the best way to get the donkey to go in the right direction? Is brotherhood the counterpoint to the pull of selfishness?

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

        Thanks Tamiko for this post which really got the gears of my brain-mind turning.

        The reality of the emptiness of our conceptions of the self as a doer and enjoyer is the basis of Shantideva’s famous argument for compassion. Since pains are ultimately without an owner, we realize that everyone else’s pain is the same as our own; there is no distinction. Since pain ought to be prevented or made easier, we should attempt to alleviate everyone else’s pain just as we do our own.

        This got me thinking of another subject, free will, that ties into this. Most people have a false conception of free will, that our “selves” may do anything at all whatsoever without regard to causes and conditions. In reality, we could never have done otherwise than we did. But on the level of the Absolute, the noumenon, there is no causality and everything is entirely free. Since we are an aspect of the Absolute, ultimately we are completely free. As H.P.B. writes in Isis Unveiled, V1 pg. 184:

        “While man is free to act as he pleases, the manner in which he will act was foreknown from all time; not on the ground of fatalism or destiny, but simply on the principle of universal, unchangeable harmony; and, as it may be foreknown that, when a musical note is struck, its vibrations will not, and cannot change into those of another note. Besides, eternity can have neither past nor future, but only the present; as boundless space, in its strictly literal sense, can have neither distant nor proximate places. Our conceptions, limited to the narrow area of our experience, attempt to fit if not an end, at least a beginning of time and space; but neither of these exist in reality; for in such case time would not be eternal, nor space boundless. The past no more exists than the future, as we have said, only our memories survive; and our memories are but the glimpses that we catch of the reflections of this past in the currents of the astral light, as the psychometer catches them from the astral emanations of the object held by him.”

        Another name for “universal, unchangeable harmony” is karma.

        Gottfried de Purucker develops these thoughts in a very helpful and illuminating manner in his Dialogues, which can be read here.

        There are few philosophers who have developed this theme more extensively than Spinoza. This notion that we can act apart from causes and conditions makes us feel separate from other people. In reality, anyone who is in our lives is not there by accident; it could not be any other way. This is simply an aspect of the absolute unity and harmony that exists in the “Attribute of Thought” or mind of God. Neal Grossman, explicating Spinoza’s thought, writes:

        “We can speak of a force operating in the Attribute of Thought that attracts various souls together for a common purpose, and this force can be thought of as “spiritual” love. We can thus conclude that any personality with whom we are in close relationship-and this includes adversarial relationships-is in our lives as a consequence of the spiritual love that exists at the soul level. But just as two actors can be good friends and yet play adversarial roles on the stage, so also can souls be good friends, so to speak, and yet play adversarial roles in the theater of life.” (Spirit of Spinoza 144).

        The more we come to understand our identity with the Absolute the more we can appropriate this spiritual love into our conventional lives and make universal brotherhood and sisterhood a reality in our hearts.

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN

    From HPB’s Key to Theosophy

    THEOSOPHIST. We may divide each of the three objects into as many explanatory clauses as may be found necessary.

    ENQUIRER. Then let us begin with the first. What means would you resort to, in order to promote such a feeling of brotherhood among races that are known to be of the most diversified religions, customs, beliefs, and modes of thought?

    THEOSOPHIST. Allow me to add that which you seem unwilling to express. Of course we know that with the exception of two remnants of races — the Parsees and the Jews — every nation is divided, not merely against all other nations, but even against itself. This is found most prominently among the so-called civilized Christian nations. Hence your wonder, and the reason why our first object appears to you a Utopia. Is it not so?

    ENQUIRER. Well, yes; but what have you to say against it?

    THEOSOPHIST. Nothing against the fact; but much about the necessity of removing the causes which make Universal Brotherhood a Utopia at present.

    ENQUIRER. What are, in your view, these causes?

    THEOSOPHIST. First and foremost, the natural selfishness of human nature. This selfishness, instead of being eradicated, is daily strengthened and stimulated into a ferocious and irresistible feeling by the present religious education, which tends not only to encourage, but positively to justify it. People’s ideas about right and wrong have been entirely perverted by the literal acceptance of the Jewish Bible. All the unselfishness of the altruistic teachings of Jesus has become merely a theoretical subject for pulpit oratory; while the precepts of practical selfishness taught in the Mosaic Bible, against which Christ so vainly preached, have become ingrained into the innermost life of the Western nations. “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” has come to be the first maxim of your law. Now, I state openly and fearlessly, that the perversity of this doctrine and of so many others Theosophy alone can eradicate.

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

      This, and other, similar quotes from the Key that I remember, show quite clearly what the First Object was about. It is not mere “do-good-ing,” as the modern theosophists seem to be inclined to believe. The object is much loftier than that. Of course, every true spiritual seeker is obliged to “see the Supersoul in every living being” (Isopanishad, 6, 7) and exercise compassion whenever one can, but reducing the first object to such small acts of kindness is dwarfing the original vision of HPB. Theosophy is much more than preaching morality in the kind of barren fashion that I see everywhere from online groups to the Adyar Conventions.

      One is expected to rise above the subjective morality of priests and preachers, as well as above personal “guilt-complexes” and morals instilled in us by our upbringing and not by the Higher Self. The acts of kindness on the personal level should be a “non-issue,” something that one doesn’t talk about – less so from the pulpits.

      Of course, some people need to be reminded, and a certain moral education may have its place. But, really, if we consider ourselves adults, this should be so ingrained in our soft tissues, that talking or, God forbid, bragging about it may, perhaps, be considered corny, trite, and platitudinous.

      Perhaps, the First Object of Theosophy had in view work on a much higher, and subtler level – something to do with “Collective Unconscious,” perhaps; something that will have an effect on a global scale, but will have nothing to do with cheap moralizing or political activity.

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

        Pavel was it not you who suggested we have this discussion on Universal Brotherhood?

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

          Yep. In part, exactly to elucidate this issue of how the idea of Brotherhood is perceived vs. what, perhaps, was meant by it.

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

    These are good points Laura. It seems to me that our Spiritual Teachers, whether they be HPB and WQJ, the Mahatmas that stand behind them, or any of the great Teachers of the past like Jesus, Buddha or Plato, in every case a premium has been set on human beings treating each other as family. Yet this has been extremely hard to achieve even in the most rudimentary way. The modern theosophical movement has been plagued with dissension. This week we honor WQJ and his treatment by the very Society he helped build is suspect at best.

    In my forty years of being connected to the theosophical movement I have witnessed intense antipathy and hard feelings between theosophical students often for the most personal and trite of reasons. In other cases the cracks between us were for profound reasons to which the brotherhood principle was not strong enough in us to span the distance. In both cases we failed.

    We have been asked to try and form a “nucleus” of universal brotherhood which I understand to mean a sense of family within the boundaries of our own limited circles. In other words with those immediately around us. But look how hard that has proven to be.

    When HPB made the point in the SD that further volumes would be made available based on the reception of the first two I believe one of the measures of this reception was how we treated each other. How far are we willing to sand away the personal imperative to make room for universal brotherhood? How much do we understand from the SD that leads us to see a larger sense of Self? It is no mystery to me why the next two volumes she promised were not delivered. Frankly we have not earned them yet.

    We simply have to do better. We have to make the first object of the society an imperative and make it supersede all other concerns. I welcome any contrary opinions.

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe Gerry Kiffe.
    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe Gerry Kiffe.
    • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
      Pavel Axentiev
      Participant
      Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

      I think you’ve plucked some very deep chords here, Gerry.

      In Gurdjieff’s work, bringing different people together was said to almost inevitably create interpersonal “frictions.” This was to be used as part of the Work. Other people are, perhaps, the best indicators of our own inconsistencies and faults. However, there has to be an intention to work in this manner, because automatically good rarely happens.

      The “nucleus” may be there, with us not being aware of it. It is said that true Unity, Love, Consciousness, Will, Friendship are possible mainly for the Inner Circle of humanity.

  • Profile photo of Laura
    Laura
    Participant
    Profile photo of LauraLaura

    The personalities we encounter in our work for Theosophy are very important. We must love those who are antagonistic towards us, knowing that such energies or forces are from our past. It is good to remember we are dealing with forces and if we are going to be the better able to help others we must Conquer those forces, in the only place they should be challenged. Within. Unseen by others we beg I. The work. It is good if someone annoys us. It is an opportunity to work out on the inner . The mistake we make is if we blame our annoyance on others, or thinking we should leave the situation for a better one. I too have witness such conflicts, but I always saw my older student friends smile and continue with the work. I always visualized water around a rock as the best way to work. I like what one student said The lower nature is an ASS . When pushed it pushes back. Another student said if we make friends with the Higher Self we cannot be an enemy with the lower. We need to reach the point in the life as a student where we never allow the actions of others determine our course.

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by Profile photo of Laura Laura.
  • Profile photo of barbara
    barbara
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    Profile photo of barbarabarbara

    “How do we determine where the boundaries of our own sense of brotherhood lie and how do we enlarge it?” – Grace

    For some, it is by study, by contemplation, and by observation, our consciousness and attitude gradually enlarge and we wake up to the essential “Unity” between us and the Kosmos. The more we are in tune with this consciousness of Unity, the more we express Universal Brotherhood and Sisterhood, outflowing from within to without.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by Profile photo of barbara barbara.
    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
      Ramprakash ML
      Participant
      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

      “Realization comes from dwelling upon the thing to be realized.” — Judge

      The process is slow but sure and steady.

  • Profile photo of barbara
    barbara
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    Profile photo of barbarabarbara

    “In my forty years of being connected to the theosophical movement I have witnessed intense antipathy and hard feelings between theosophical students often for the most personal and trite of reasons. In other cases the cracks between us were for profound reasons to which the brotherhood principle was not strong enough in us to span the distance. In both cases we failed.” – Gerry

    I am NO expert in the history of the Theosophical movement, but one thing comes to mind, that is, I believe somewhere in the TS literature, we are taught to defend the teachings and the teachers. This makes it very complicated because, as individuals, our psychological, karmic, cultural, family background, point of evolution, and personality types, vary; hence our ability to grasp the truths and understanding inevitably are different. These hard feelings leading to opposing conflicts may stem from a sense of loyalty to our own interpretation of the teachings. If we look at other traditions, we usually witness the same pattern of controversies, multiple splinter groups and dissension grow from the original source. Theosophy is no exception in this regard.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by Profile photo of barbara barbara.
    • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
      Pierre Wouters
      Moderator
      Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

      Very accurate point there Barbara!

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

      Yet, in all these conflicts and confusions a few, very few, who attend to the Heart Doctirne, remain loyal to the Cause and to the lines of work traced out by the Masters. It is in this sishta (morally fit)which survive the crash of organizations that lie the promise of regeneration and growth along the right lines.

      “Great sifter is the name of the Heart Dictrine, Disciple.”

    • Profile photo of James
      James
      Participant
      Profile photo of JamesJames

      Hi Barbara,…Yes there is a mention of defending the teachings.

      Most of the hard feelings between the different Lodges and their students plus antagonism to other writings originated from, and still exists, because of the refusal to recognize and follow HPB’s statements listed below, which if followed would remove any grounds for the accusation of ‘pseudo theosophy’

      1.. No true theosophist, from the most ignorant up to the most learned, ought to claim infallibility for anything he may say or write upon occult matters. HPB

      2.. “I think the best thing you could do would be to coin new English words. If you want to ever become Western philosophers, you had better not take from the Hindus, who will be the first ones to say; “Behold, these Europeans! they take from us all they can, disfigure everything and do no good.” Find equivalents for all these terms’ coin new English words, and do not depart from them; and then there will be no confusion”. HPB

      3.. There is a real esoteric seven-fold theoretical and scientific classification of the seven rays and principles which develops progressively, similar to the gradual development of the rays of the spectrum. This sevenfold system is one of the most important, if not the most important classifications and it will be necessary to adopt it to explain certain classes of phenomena noticed by occultists, also it is perhaps better fitted to be the basis of a perfect system of psychology. It has seven distinct principles, which correspond with seven distinct states of consciousness. It bridges the gulf between the objective and subjective, and indicates the mysterious circuit through which ideation passes. HPB

      4.. Theosophists have not adopted this this seven-fold system, but instead adopted the primary, old, classification. Reason being they first have to learn the A B C of practical Eastern Occultism, before they can be made to understand correctly the tremendously abstruse classification based on the seven distinct states of consciousness. HPB

  • Profile photo of barbara
    barbara
    Participant
    Profile photo of barbarabarbara

    “In Gurdjieff’s work, bringing different people together was said to almost inevitably create interpersonal “frictions.” This was to be used as part of the Work. Other people are, perhaps, the best indicators of our own inconsistencies and faults. However, there has to be an intention to work in this manner, because automatically good rarely happens.” -Pavel

    Gurdjieff liked to create friction by including different personalities, especially discordant ones, in the group. His philosophy was to build an uncomfortable psychological situation so people can wake up and do not fall asleep. As it is, the world today is rampant with discords and strife.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by Profile photo of barbara barbara.
    • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
      Pavel Axentiev
      Participant
      Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

      I felt obliged to respond to this.

      In the Work, one of the higher goals is transformation of suffering. I believe that suffering has always accompanied man on these lower planes, and singling out our age seems unnecessary and short-sighted.

      As one Fourth Way teacher has noted, “Everybody suffers but not everybody transforms suffering.”

  • Profile photo of barbara
    barbara
    Participant
    Profile photo of barbarabarbara

    Most of the hard feelings between the different Lodges and their students plus antagonism to other writings originated from, and still exists, because of the refusal to recognize and follow HPB’s statements listed below, which if followed would remove any grounds for the accusation of ‘pseudo theosophy’ – James

    Hi James:

    The only comment I can offer is that speaking from personal experience, I come across “Theosophy” ideas, books, and articles, which do not seem to be completely in sync with Theosophy. For example, it was very helpful when Jon outlined the ideas of Purucker that were at odds with HPB. It is interesting to see how some writers interpret and “enhance” HPB’s statements with volumes of books and establish its own school; they may or may not have much resemblance with the doctrines given out by HPB. This gets very confusing for someone like myself who, at this point, is just trying to understand the teachings by HPB and her teachers and not someone’s interpretation.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Profile photo of barbara barbara.
    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Profile photo of barbara barbara.
    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
      Ramprakash ML
      Participant
      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

      Problem is with the self-styled interpreters of Masters’ Theosophy. A brood of them popped up with their own versions, making confusion worse confounded, after the Founders were gone, even going to the extent of saying S.D. is an evolving body of knowledge, to be improved upon !

      The only true authority is each individual student himself or herself, and the only true interpreter and guide is his or her Higher Self.

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

        SD was written to arouse the dormant Buddhic faculty in students. Anyone taking the position of authority, and pose as interpreter, will be subversive of that noble end, and disservice to the Great Teachers and Guides, besides laying the foundation for priestly authority, which will imperceptibly creep in, and turning the TS into a popery, against which HPPB warned.

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

          I think this is a very important point, and one that is underestimated by many. The seeds of popery are well into germination already it would seem.

  • Profile photo of James
    James
    Participant
    Profile photo of JamesJames

    This gets very confusing for someone like myself who, at this point, is just trying to understand the teachings by HPB and her teachers and not someone’s interpretation.

    Hi Barbara,
    I was referring to HPB’s recommendations to achieve a more consistent format to work from thus removing the confusion you speak of.

    She says there there are six schools of philosophy in India each with its own views and terms, therefore unless one sticks strictly to one school and say so, ones terminology will be misunderstood, ever though they all originated from the same source. To overcome this problem she recommends to coin new English words and stick to them.

    Example; Adyar TS followed HPB’s recommendations and coined the term ‘Etheric body’ from HPB’s writings to replace multiple terms including; Linga-sarira, vital body, astral body, shadow body, Protean body, Plastic Body.
    Quote; ‘The Linga-Sarîra, or ethereal double of the Body, is molecular in constitution, but of molecules invisible to the physical eyes. It is therefore not homogeneous’.
    ‘The Linga-Sarîra , as often said before, is the vehicle of Prâna, and supports life in the Body’. CW12, 704

    For Adyars effort their terminology been incorrectly labelled ‘Pseudo Theosophy’ by some Theosophist who ignored HPB’s points in 1 & 2 of my post and the fact that Etheric body is a term HPB used. {for clarity I am not referring to any Adyar individuals or their controversial psychic abilities}

    Another Example; Lower Quaternary is said to consist of the four lower principles of man, two of which are the Physical Body and the Life Principle, however later HPB says the physical body is not a principle, but the physical double of the ethereal body, which is the principle as both belong to the same plane.

    The Life Principle she also later says is not a lower quaternary principle as it pervades all planes of the system. Therefore the four part Lower Quaternary has suddenly lost half its parts when systems are compared/combined.

    In her Esoteric Instructions she touches on some more advanced points of the teachings which appear to contradict some of her earlier statements if one goes by comparison’s. Therefore it is important to realize that all systems are valid in their own way, but for those who are seeking the highest version of the truth possible at this point, one has to study HPB’s more advanced teachings with someone familiar with them, but don’t make the mistake of mixing them up.

    • Profile photo of barbara
      barbara
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      Profile photo of barbarabarbara

      #5297

      Hi James:

      I think Peter has given us a clear background and better understanding behind HPB’s statement of the need for new terminologies with the different Theosophical concepts. I have seen we, students, regularly take phrases from the TS literature out of context and not see them in its proper light.

      Ram’s advice seems very reasonable, “first to establish and become familiar with standard terms she has already done, principally in the Key. If that is held as the common basis with which all are familiar, then new terms may be coined and used with least confusion.”

      The term ‘Pseudo Theosophy’ helps me to know that some the concepts are from HPB and some are not in total congruence with her teachings. Now, this does not mean that the ideas are not valid; they are just different with embellishments.

      In terms of “seeking the highest version of the truth possible at this point, one has to study HPB’s more advanced teachings with someone familiar with them, but don’t make the mistake of mixing them up,” I am not sure who are these people that are familiar with the advanced teachings.
      The Secret Doctrine, VOS, and the Mahatma Letters have given me more Truths (not sure whether this is higher or lower truths in your mind) to digest for many lifetimes.

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

    It is better we stick to the terms HPB clearly defined, and proposed by her to be regularly used, in her Key to Theosophy. That will be the best. Otherwise the new inquirers would be confused.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Profile photo of Ramprakash ML Ramprakash ML.
    • Profile photo of James
      James
      Participant
      Profile photo of JamesJames

      HPB made the statement below so new English speaking inquirers would not be confused, and you are taking the position that we should totally ignore her words of wisdom for the English and follow your advice. Some individuals may Interpret this as taking a position of authority above HPB’s, hopefully this was not your intention.
      “I think the best thing you could do would be to coin new English words. If you want to ever become Western philosophers, you had better not take from the Hindus, who will be the first ones to say; “Behold, these Europeans! they take from us all they can, disfigure everything and do no good.” Find equivalents for all these terms’ coin new English words, and do not depart from them; and then there will be no confusion”. SD Commentaries, read pages 4/5

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

        HPB has suggested a set of definite terms, both in English and Sanskrit in the Key. She has already given the English equivalents in it. The suggestion is that there will be least confusion if we employ those terms.

        Of course, it is wise for English speaking people to evolve their own terms as she advised for Sanskrit terms which are not covered in the Key. She has given Greek, Egyptian, Hebrew terms in SD and the Key. Evolving English terms or terms in European tongues, is a slow process. What is perhaps needed, to avoid confusion, is first to establish and become familiar with standard terms she has already done, principally in the Key. If that is held as the common basis with which all are familiar, then new terms may be coined and used with least confusion.

        • Profile photo of James
          James
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          Profile photo of JamesJames

          Ram
          I tend to agree with your post within reason, and it may not be so much a coining of a completely new word, as first establishing a clear English meaning of a point or concept in question, then going through the numerous terminology and sorting out one word or words to suit, then sticking to them. One point I was perhaps not completely clear about with my previous posts was how her Esoteric instruction CW 12 contained some new ideas/teachings in some areas and enhanced/elaborated on previous teachings in others, which could be gone through and added to the existing six philosophy’s, or made into a separate format/philosophy. Presumably none of the Esot Instructions would have been included in the Key.
          There is a diagram of the seven planets and how each has an energy connection to its a particular chakra and subtle body and how this is what Astrology is based on and why it is an exact science. Although she stated the diagram was symbolic only and the number did not mean anything, she has given enough information to connect them all up, plans, planet names/colours, chakras, energy. All this could be made into an evolving process as you say, but I haven’t seen it being done, is it put together anywhere. I know when i looked at it here it didn’t go down well for some reason.
          She has told us Venus governs mental plane, both higher and lower, Mercury yellow Buddhi/Buddhic plane, Saturn green Atmic??.
          I have also discovered by trial and error that without a basic knowledge of Astrology, (not meaning one has to be a practicing astrologer) one often cannot discover the full meaning of parts of her work.

  • Profile photo of Peter
    Peter
    Moderator
    Profile photo of PeterPeter

    James, I invariably find your contributions to be both thoughtful and food for further thought. On this occasion I can’t help but feel that your remarks to Ramprakash are unfair and unwarranted. There is nothing in Ramprakash’s post (#5298) to suggest he was taking up a position of authority above HPB. In addition, having followed all of Ramprakash’s contributions to Nexus since he first posted to this forum some years ago I can’t think of anyone less likely for such a thought to cross his/her mind.

    I think you are reading too much into HPB’s comment in that question and answer passage that you have quoted from the SD Commentaries (a record of meetings with HPB between January and June 1889) i.e. “I think the best thing you could do would be to coin new English words.”

    In those passages the original idea to coin new terms comes from Mr. Kingsland following the realisation and/or appreciation among some members of HPB’s group that the Sanskrit and esoteric terms used by HPB (e.g. Buddhi) have a different surface meaning to that traditionally ascribed to them by the various schools of Indian philosophy, each ascribing its own particular meaning to such terms. Hence Kingsland wonders should they have their own terms?

    In the revised version of that very conversation with HPB and published as Transactions of Blavatsky Lodge (revised and edited by HPB, herself), HPB puts her answer more tentatively:

    “It would, perhaps, if possible, be best to invent for ourselves a new nomenclature. Owing, however, to the poverty of European languages, especially English, in philosophical terms, the undertaking would be somewhat difficult.’

    Indeed!!

    Perhaps, it was her deep appreciation of just how difficult it would be to coin new terminology for theosophical ideas that HPB took upon herself the task of rendering that terminology and those ideas more clearly by bringing out a further work. Hence she announces later on during those meetings between January and June 1889 that she has just begun a new work to do just that – ’The Key to Theosophy’. This work was published later that same year.

    It’s no surprise, then, that many of the questions along with the issues about lack of consistent terminology raised in the meetings above are directly brought up and answered by HPB a number of places in The Key to Theosophy. It’s in ‘The Key’ that HPB sets out definite words for definite things and suggests that people use that same terminology from that time onwards.

    So, I think it’s not for lack of coining new terms that divisions in the understanding of Theosophy arose in the years following HPB’s passing. In part, it may well have had more to do with a lack of familiarity with the core teachings, particularly as set out as clearly as HPB could make it in The Key to Theosophy.

    ~~

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Profile photo of Peter Peter.
    • Profile photo of James
      James
      Participant
      Profile photo of JamesJames

      Peter, I cannot agree with your interpretation that my remarks were unfair and unwarranted, they were made as a result of MLR’s three quick posts 5298, 5301,5303, all arriving by email within a twenty minute period. They included phrases against following HPB’s instructions for the English, like; “taking the position of authority” “disservice to the Great Teachers and Guides,” “turning the TS into a popery, against which HPPB warned” I pointed out that some might think that he was taking the same position he was warning others against. Now if I was being antagonistic towards him I would not have said I did not think it was his intention.

      In my posts I pointed to the ‘Etheric body’ and how it is a term used by HPB herself in Esoteric Instructions but was labelled ‘Pseudo Theosophy’ by some. I was also trying to point out how her Esoteric instruction/SD v3 contained some new ideas/teaching in some areas and enhanced/elaborated on previous teachings in others, but too often seems to be put in the ‘Too Hard Basket’.
      HPB has been gone for a centaury and a quarter yet there are those who do not attempt to think/teach outside a certain Theosophical square of taking things at surface value and not turn the key again, which she says takes seven turns to unlock all knowledge.

      You and I have had some good discussions in the past in which we both brought something to light things the other had not seen/imagined before.
      My last discussion topic was about the Aquarian teacher who is due around this time with teaching for the next 2000 years. HPB has clearly stated this and also spoke of the Taurus/Persian Mithras age teachings, Aries fire age and Jewish teaching, Piscean fish water age of devotion bible teachings, and the coming Aquarian age Air/mental teacher. This topic should be known through out Theosophy but it seems few are interested. The Aquarian age teacher is much larger than anything CWL & Besant could tarnish.

      Now If I was to say Mars is not a sacred planet I would get shot down with HPB quotes saying it was sacred, none would look any deeper.
      Instead I will ask to reverse the process and ask all to look for where it is definitely indicated by HPB and other TS sources that Mars is not a sacred planet, perhaps also naming the ones definitely known to be sacred, excluding Mars.

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

        James, I just want to step in quickly with a thought. Whenever I hear someone say that “HPB has clearly stated” such and such… it makes me wonder if they’re reading the same HPB as me. 😉 Saying “HPB clearly stated” is quite similar, in my opinion, to saying “the bible clearly says” such and such. For most statements made by HPB one will find some other slightly (or greatly) deviating statement, just as with the bible one will find seeming contradictions at every turn. For every “definition” offered by HPB, one will find deviations from that definition by HPB herself. Just go to the theosophical glossary, one single source, and search for the term “monad”, as an example, and one will find a huge range of definitions and ideas associated with that term. As far as I can see, in HPB’s writings nearly nothing is “clearly stated” in such a way that any of us can authoritatively say “this is exactly what HPB meant or intended by such and such and is thus gospel.”

        The very writing style itself that we’re confronted with in the SD is one that makes it very difficult, if not outright impossible, for the logical mind to nail down exactly what she means by any single term or statement. Making clear and definite statements seems to have not been her style at all.

        • Profile photo of James
          James
          Participant
          Profile photo of JamesJames

          Jon.. I hear what you are saying, but in this case if I may be so bold, I consider you have missed my point.
          To use an analogy if I say “The Sun is now clearly in Aries and it will move into Taurus on approximately 19th of April”. Without splitting hairs, would you say that statement is open to contradiction, or is it an actual event that happens approximately every 30 days.

          I made that statement as HPB was indicating an actual event that happens every 2155 years approximately, which is due again around this time. She termed it the Messianic cycle being historic and very occult. Backing it up with happenings from past Zodiac changes and their different teachings. The outer event could be termed physical just like our Sun going into another sign, but the inner Occult side has great depth. In SDC she writes that the Astral light is changed with every tropical year (the whole 12 signs or 25,868 years)page 165. She also said the turbulence we are experiencing has not happened since Jesus time, indicating it is caused by the changing of energy from Pisces to Aquarius, a devotional Water Sign to an to mind Air Sign. Quote; “When it enters, in a few years, the sign of Aquarius, Psychologists will have some extra work to do, and the psychic idiosyncrasies of humanity will enter on a great change” Is that not a clear statement of things to come, and possibly what is happening now. Just look at all the different psychological problems that have sprung up within humanity in recent time, depression being just one of many examples. A Raja Yoga student may sometimes experience similar as they overcome their desires and fantasy’s of the karma-manas state, and their consciousness shifts totally into the mind. This can make life seem dry and arid for a period until used to it so I am told.
          The meaning of Dyslexia has gone from being considered a learning disability to a learning difference, and numbers seems to be growing percentage wise.
          If studied from an Occult prospective one might be in for a surprise as it happens in children of average or higher intelligence with written material often moving on the page, and getting numbers mixed up exactly like HPB did reading the Astral Light/akashic records. Its a left brain right brain thing in which they appeared to be ‘wired differently’ to put very simply. There are numerous sufferers who have done extremely well like Richard Branson, but got bullied at school as they struggled to learn the old way.

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

            James, there is nothing “clear” in any of this. It is but your interpretation of selected quotes and other interpolated ideas pieced together by you yourself. It is your theory, and whether or not HPB would agree in full is not something we can verify because she is long gone.

            On one hand you criticize “certain websites” who throw around the terms “pseudo theosophy” and “genuine theosophy” and on the other hand you use the exact same words and method of claiming possession of truth because “HPB clearly says” this or that, as a way to bolster your own particular view of theosophical doctrine. James, you must try to realize the foolishness in attempting to use HPB’s words as gospel when it suits you while simultaneously using her quote that insists that no one is infallible when it suits you!

            You have your own specific interpretation of aspects of theosophical doctrine. We all do. And that’s all fine and dandy. But you become exactly like those “certain websites” you criticize when you try to claim that you know the truth of this or that because “HPB clearly said”…

            • Profile photo of James
              James
              Participant
              Profile photo of JamesJames

              Jon… I found your post tending towards an unnecessary attack, however I am not at all offended by it.

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

                You are free to take it as you wish. However, pointed and strong disagreement, directly stated, is not synonymous with attack. Brotherhood can exist even when we strongly disagree (it’s not brotherhood if it can’t withstand that), but I don’t believe it can exist when we are not being forthright and honest in our communications or our motives. Further, I believe that brotherhood is most strongly threatened by dogmatism and its foundation of appeal-to-authority, especially in the realm of religious/spiritual inquiry (we may observe that one of, if not the single greatest threat to current global brotherhood is dogmatic religious thought and action and its resultant warring factions).

                The appeal to authority fallacy is among the strongest prevalent tendencies I see in the modern theosophical movement, even though it was strongly opposed by its founders, and the most common means by which this is expressed by theosophists today seems to be the “HPB clearly said such and such” statement. The recent rebuttal by myself and another student of statements made against the ideas of G. de Purucker was made for the very reason of opposing this type of approach, and it is not alone in that regard. When I observe two opposing factions both utilizing this technique in order to oppose one another (i.e. the “certain websites” you mentioned and their “genuine theosophy” vs. those like yourself who favor one or another later theosophical interpretations) my mind becomes filled with the remembrance of what this resulted in for past movements similar to this one, and the totalitarian horrors those past movement then thrust upon the world (movements, we must remember, which were also founded upon such pristine ideas as universal brotherhood). It is entirely possible to oppose the ideas and methods of others without succumbing to the same tactics used by them.

                We fail if we oppose one another based on interpretations of what we deem HPB to have “clearly stated”. There have been not a few, but hundreds if not thousands of teachers of the Wisdom Religion who have given some form of public teaching in our recorded history, many quite recently. None are infallible. Our philosophic position as to specific doctrines of that W.R. is not bolstered by appeal to what any have “clearly said”, and brotherhood is not served by such an approach.

                James, your reply (#5279) above seems to me, along with dozens of other instances of piecemeal-quoting those same few passages from HPB, to have more to do with your own motives in regards to which modern interpretation of theosophy we ought to be leaning towards, and less to do with the subject at hand in this or other discussions where you have brought those quotes into play. As others have expressed, your comments in these forums are often food for much fruitful discussion of theosophical ideas, and I for one am grateful for that, but the repeated attempts to lay these breadcrumb-quotes towards a certain theosophical interpretation well known to most of us, despite us having discussed the ideas represented in those quotes at length several times in several discussions, begins to feel disingenuous.

                I would ask all of us here to consider this: there is an idea prevalent in nearly all major religious traditions in this world, that “world peace” or “heaven on earth” or “universal brotherhood” will arrive only when all, or a majority, of human beings become followers of this or that dogmatic system of thought. I see the exact same tendency, even if slightly less carved-in-stone, in the modern theosophical movement. And that, in my view, is our greatest hurdle to overcome before we can even begin to hope for a nucleus of brotherhood among theosophists. James, in my opinion, your 4-points above are a subtle example of this kind of tendency, essentially saying that the animosity etc. among theosophists is due to us not agreeing upon which interpretation of theosophical doctrine to follow, essentially: our problems come from not unanimously agreeing upon a specific interpretation of four piecemeal quotes from HPB (and hence the system of thought or approach to theosophy which you believe those quotes to support). I trust you understand what I mean. Such thinking seems, to me, to be highly mistaken.

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

                  Perhaps another way of making your point Jon is that a nucleus of universal brotherhood can only happen when the desire to see each other as beloved family members is stronger than the desire to be perceived as being right.

  • Profile photo of Peter
    Peter
    Moderator
    Profile photo of PeterPeter

    Hello James – If you had said to Ram that you did not think that was his intention i would not have made a comment. It sounds like that is what you meant and it just didn’t come across that way.

    If we take HPB’s answer to Kingsland’s question about coining new terms as an authoritative statement, one which expresses an instruction for her english students to follow, then I suppose we might end up viewing anyone who has a different view to HPB as someone who thinks they know better than her. For myself, I wouldn’t take that view and I also find it hard to interpret her comment as ‘an instruction’ for reasons already stated. Not only is her revised comment in Transactions put very tentatively it’s also altered to be inclusive rather than appearing as advice or an instruction given to someone else.

    “It would, perhaps, if possible, be best to invent for ourselves a new nomenclature. Owing, however, to the poverty of European languages, especially English, in philosophical terms, the undertaking would be somewhat difficult.’ (SD Commentary/Dialogues p5; Bold added.)

    This inclusive reference of ‘for ourselves’ in the above passage makes sense if we consider that the only person who could have realistically coined new terms for the theosophical teaching that HPB was given out to the world at that time would have been HPB herself. Who else would have known with any certainty if the new terms and their meanings referred to the existing terms and their meanings as used by herself?

    I think you are right to point out that there are problems with the consistency of the terminology. Whether it would have been solved by coining new english terms during HPB’s time (or even now) I really don’t know. One question would have been how to apply the new english terminology to the sanskrit terms in already published works of HPB as well as to the literature cited from all the other spiritual traditions.
    It’s not unusual for us modern day students to end up disagreeing about the meanings of many terms that we regard as ‘definitive’. Thus, I’m not sure to what extent replacing a sanskrit term with a newly coined english term would help. It may simply be that we find ourselves disagreeing about the meaning of an english term rather than a sanskrit term!

    I wasn’t sure what you were getting at with regards the term ‘etheric body.’ As far as I know ‘etheric body’ or ‘etheric double’ are not terms that HPB uses, but I’m happy to learn otherwise. The term ‘etheric body’ does appear in the index to HPB’s Collected Writings, put there by the compiler of her works. But it doesn’t seem to appear in the work itself, unless I have missed something. The term ‘etheric double’ appears once in a fragment attributed to HPB and posthumously published by Annie Besant in 1948 (CW XIII 362)

    I appreciate the general line of frustration (apologies if this is the wrong word) in the rest of your post. We should look beyond the surface meaning – you are quite right. It’s very rewarding when members here can bring out new insights and ways of looking at things. You are one of the people who regularly attempts to do just that. Whether in that exploration we are actually turning the esoteric keys in their seven turns is another question.

    With regards to whether Mars is a sacred planet or not and similar issues – if you or I were to state something that appeared to contradict what HPB or the Mahatmas have said we should expect people here to challenge us and point out where she says the opposite. If we have good reasons for what we propose we shouldn’t be put off by that but press on providing our reasons and the insights behind our proposals. Even if other people still can’t see what we see, which leads us to stop sharing that particular line of enquiry, we shouldn’t give up following that thread in our own way, perhaps privately, if we believe we are onto something important.

    ~~

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Profile photo of Peter Peter.
    • Profile photo of KS
      KS
      Moderator
      Profile photo of KSKS

      Pitching my two cents into this discussion, I’d just like to remind everyone of ‘real life practicality’ when conversing with ‘non-theosophical’ students, which in all honesty should be our goal- i.e., “Universal Brotherhood and Sisterhood” by means of philosophical and ethical discussions, not through lexical conversion. Many hope to establish a universal connection but are not willing to sacrifice the words to which they have grown so accustom to. Perhaps I am speaking in vain, but this thread in my observation, is stone cold proof.

      Every technical word used means absolutely nothing to those who have not the slightest clue in the designated concept. Words are representatives of ideas, facts, and principles. To those who do not understand said principles, ideas, and facts, the word is meaningless. Therefore argumentation regarding a word minus concept- which should be proven as universal- is an utter waste of time and energy and, in no way will help one individual to make a deeper connection with another.

      It is my observation and experience that technical language- though fascinating and often illuminating- are the fetters of the mind ultimately. Intellectualization without abstract understanding is a philosophical snare. It is an endless battle of intellectual wits to establish a “concrete” concept which will ultimately change once a ‘higher truth’ is introduced in the mental scope, if given the opportunity.

      In real life (not on nexus) words like etheric body, astral body, etc., are not at all recognized as being respectable or even valid, but yet 99% of scriptures speak of these principles under designated technicalities according to specific traditions. We must know and master the concepts in order to converse with our Brothers and Sisters of Humanity. To be as well rounded in conceptual understandings appears to be far more important than to “create new vocabulary.” What is our goal? For who are we doing this for? And what is the ultimate purpose?

      A universal language is Truth, pure and simple. Truth, in its closest form of purity is seen when two people make a subtle connection not through intellectual discussions via technical vocabulary, but through sincere understanding and profound appreciation towards life. Many poets, Sufis in particular, masters of esoteric wisdom, cast aside technicalities and adopted known symbolism along with the simplest of language in order to convey the Highest Truths, being Absolutely Universal.

      I am aware that what I am saying in steering away from what HPB suggests. But with anything established, vocabulary or otherwise, there seems to be a risk of confinement, which ultimately leads to isolation. It can be a dangerous path, I was told.

      • Profile photo of Peter
        Peter
        Moderator
        Profile photo of PeterPeter

        Hello Kristan,

        Always good to hear your thoughts.

        I’m wondering why you feel that what you are saying is steering away from what HPB suggests.

        I’m also wondering why you don’t include the exchanges and explorations here on Nexus as a part of ‘real life.’ Im assuming, perhaps foolishly, that the rest of you actually do exist and that you share thoughts and questions that matter to you.

        I’m not a supporter of creating a new vocabulary. I’ve no reason to think that those who do are any less interested than myself in the underlying concepts and how to communicate these to others. But perhaps I am missing your point when you refer to this?

        ~~

        • Profile photo of KS
          KS
          Moderator
          Profile photo of KSKS

          Hello Peter;

          “I’m also wondering why you don’t include the exchanges and explorations here on Nexus as a part of ‘real life.’”

          Perhaps I should be more clear about what I mean by this ‘real life’ idea. Real life, as far as what is real and apparent to me, does not include people who are willing to sit in some sort of contemplation regarding a specific, suggested, or intended meaning associated with a technical term. Nor does it consist of people who are eager to branch out into other philosophical or religious texts. I live in a city, which is very diverse, both in ethnicity and religious beliefs, which I find it to be sort of a haven… I embrace diversity, especially religious diversity. The more devoted the better.

          Two months ago I spoke with a Christian who was handing out pamphlets on the street about “Eternal Life.” For 45 minutes we spoke about cosmogenesis, God, Law, faith, devotion, purpose and sacred linage. Nothing too metaphysical, but involved nonetheless. At the end of our conversation I found that we agreed almost 85% on most topics. A few days ago I spoke with a Muslim about the Revealed Paths (al-sharâ’i), Messengers, Universality of Islam, Ethics (including struggles of service and temptation), Spiritual hierarchy (individual and cosmic), and Reality/Truth/Allah (Al-Haqq) as spoken about in the Qur’an and Hadith. Our conversations of ‘exoteric Islam’ were deeply steeped in spirituality and divine ethics, of which I found inspiring. I could not use one iota of typical theosophical vocabulary with the people I meet, nor should I, as in ‘real life’ I must adopt universal concepts as understood by Universal Sources. I hope I am being understood. Most of the time these universal concepts are symbolism, or just natural observation in Nature (inner/outer).

          So, Nexus is a collection of specific students who share very specific ideas. At least 90% of those who actually contribute belong a to ULT or TS or some branch of the Theosophical Movement, and/or are familiar with HPB and the collected writings. This is far from my daily reality, and as I imagine, the reality of most people on this site.

          That is all I meant by ‘real life practicality.’ If we cannot have a practical conversation using non-complex vocabulary we are missing the point. High philosophy and Truth has nothing to do with the dependency or even acknowledgement of Sanskrit technicalities or Buddhist metaphysics. Sometimes, as I am beginning to see, the clearest way to establish a lasting connection with Brothers and Sisters is speaking plainly and honestly about the confirmed truths one has experienced along with Universal Truths found in the plethora of Sacred Texts belonging to Humanity. This is closer to my ideas of ‘real life practicality.’

          Intellect has its place, but I am beginning to feel certain is it a private place of personal study.

          “I’m wondering why you feel that what you are saying is steering away from what HPB suggests.”

          Simply because of how I personally interpret the following quotation;

          ‘It would, perhaps, if possible, be best to invent for ourselves a new nomenclature. Owing, however, to the poverty of European languages, especially English, in philosophical terms, the undertaking would be somewhat difficult.’

          I dont believe new nomenclature is needed… just a willingness to adopt each and every possible concept found in and introduced by sacred texts through the use of ‘depersonalized’ intuition and clearer non-intellectual insight. As the kids on the street say… “I feel you brother.”

          Just my observations, experiences and ideas… nothing more.

          • Profile photo of Peter
            Peter
            Moderator
            Profile photo of PeterPeter

            Kristan – thanks for sharing a little more about your ‘real life’ idea (#5320). The meaningful contact and conversations you describe with others in your diverse community come across as very rich, indeed. If I have understood you correctly, you are saying such conversations are the main substance of your ‘philosophical’ meetings with others in your daily life. On a day to day basis, you don’t find yourself in the company of students of theosophy or people looking further afield to other religious texts and philosophies.

            I agree – we don’t need to use theosophical terminology when exploring spiritual matters with others, especially if they have never heard of theosophy, nor express an interest in it. At the same time, there may be no harm in introducing it if, when, and where appropriate to do so. It’s a judgement at the time, isn’t it.

            In my own life journey I’ve found it helpful to have studied other religions and philosophies as it enables me to ‘meet’ people on their own ground, so to speak. That said, I’ve also met and explored with many individuals who belong to no tradition at all and who know very little of any particular religion or philosophy – they just have a profound sense that there is an underlying reality and purpose to life and what to explore what that means or where it might lead. When I carried out qualitative research into ‘mystical experience’ for a Masters Programme many years ago I found it interesting to see, when looking at other studies, a) just how many people had had an experience they would describe as ‘spiritual’ or ‘mystical’ and b) that in a good number of studies the majority of people who reported such experience did not belong to a religion.

            To my mind, we all partake of a ‘spiritual’ nature irrespective of what we believe or whether we have no beliefs at all, and there are many ways in which we can make a connection to explore that nature with others. If we happen to be students of Theosophy it may well be important for us to find others who share that same vision – people who share a common language and who are also trying to deepen their understanding of teachings that are meaningful to them just as they are to us; people who can support us and challenge us in our shared endeavour. For me, it’s yet another meeting point in the journey with others which is just as ‘real life’ as the other meeting points mentioned above. But I’m using the term ‘real life’ in a difference sense than you are, I would think, hence my question to you.

            Anyway, just some thoughts and observations of my own to add to your own.

            ~~

    • Profile photo of James
      James
      Participant
      Profile photo of JamesJames

      Hi Peter, yes I should have said ‘I know its not your intention’ instead of ‘presumably its not…’

      HPB; …’Be-ness. It is a word we have coined, and we have coined it correctly, I think’. SD Com 23

      ‘Etheric Body’ may have been coined by CWL, not sure now but possibly taken from Esoteric Instructions where HPB did use ‘The Linga-Sarîra, or ethereal double of the Body’ as already shown. Adyar adopted its planes and names from Esoteric instrictions

      HPB used Astral body for both vehicles at different times
      Australia and presumable Adyar uses etheric and Astral body terminology

      Now in what I call new-age books, some channelled, a lot of spiritual people read before they progress to the Wisdom teachings, the term etheric body is often used and (I could be wrong) but I think it has become quite universal. Also the term astral body is likewise used and quite universal, meaning karmic-desire-feeling body. It is the body some use for Astral traveling on Astral plane etc.

      Where the main problem comes in is some Theosophical websites advertising Genuine Theosophy and similar openly criticize/name calling of those who use the alternative terminology and this is what my original points 1, 2, & 4 were about. How can one truthfully advertise they alone have the genuine Theosophical teachings and terminology when they only have the primary, old, classification of the Teachings, of which there are many. Will this sort of comments/criticism attract new comers, I think not.

      With regards to Mars;…. Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, and Venus, the four exoteric planets, and the three others, which must remain unnamed, ………………. let it be stated that among the three secret orbs (or star-angels) neither Uranus nor Neptune entered SD 1, 575
      Now that clearly shows Mars is not in there, even though it was mentioned just before when called by the rabble.
      ‘There are seven, two of which or three of which are not know yet’.SDC Commentaries 354. I also think she or person in the chair said same elsewhere in SDC
      As you know she later states that the two veiled by the sun and moon are no secret at all, being Vulcan and she thinks Uranus, which was originally thought to be retrograde. This only leaves one secret, which if we look to Greek mythology the answer could be the ‘God of the Sea’ Neptune. If she changed her mind on Uranus, then the same could be done with Neptune. Also look at the energy of Mars and ask yourself if it could be sacred. Impulsive reactions, acts without thinking, always wanting to fight, all desires sexual and otherwise, An analogy of the difference between a sacred and non-sacred planets is same as between an Initiate and non-initiate. Do initiates go around fighting and womanising?

      Also HPB states there is both Esoteric and Exoteric Astrology, and that the Occult influence of this secret planet (Uranus?) passed through the moon.
      In advanced Astrology, the Sun and moon veil planets and I have always considered HPB’s so called veiling of secret planets by the Sun and moon to be an Occult blind for Astrologers to see.
      Using the a scenario that what i indicated was correct, Mars would rule our impulsive desires, reacting instead of right action until we have controlled/overcome them and then the influence of a higher planet would take over.
      I maybe incorrect in saying this without checking, but in the Mars Mercury Earth controversy, I seem to remember it said that Mars was behind Earth and Mercury in front, if so this would also indicate Mars’s statis, sorry i haven’t time to check this out thoroughly.

      • Profile photo of Peter
        Peter
        Moderator
        Profile photo of PeterPeter

        Hi James (your #5325) – I see your having lots of responses to manage at the moment(!), so no hurry to respond to mine.

        I’m not familiar with the web sites you’ve mentioned. My own view is that it’s not wise to judge something as theosophical or not based solely on the terminology used. What matters is what the term refers to. This seems to be your view too.

        Yes, I think you’ve raised a valid question about whether Mars is a sacred planet. It is the case that there are a number of places in her writings that HPB repeatedly includes Mars as one of the sacred planets, while saying that the Sun and Moon were blinds. However, the passages in the first paragraph of SD I 575 might give us pause for thought. The first being:

        ‘It is then the “Seven Sons of Light ” — called after their planets and (by the rabble) often identified with them — namely Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, Venus,”

        As you point out, the phrase ‘by the rabble’ indicates the above may be exoteric only. HPB then goes on to state:

        ‘Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, and Venus, the four exoteric planets, and the three others, which must remain unnamed, were the heavenly bodies in direct astral and psychic communication with the Earth, its Guides, and Watchers — morally and physically ; the visible orbs furnishing our Humanity with its outward and inward characteristics, and their “ Regents ” or Rectors with our Monads and spiritual faculties.’

        In the SD Commentaries/Dialogues, HPB seems to suggest that what makes a planet a ‘sacred planet’ is it occult influence over our planet earth. This criterion appears to apply in the above passage. However, unlike her earlier statements, Mars is now very definitely left out as one of the exoteric sacred planets in the above passage – planets that were ‘in direct astral and psychic communication with the Earth [etc].’ That she now makes a point of describing these as exoteric planets suggests we might also need to look deeper at them too. Of course, she may just mean she is not referring to the physical planets so named. She then goes on to add:

        ‘In order to avoid creating new misconceptions, let it be stated that among the three secret orbs (or star angels) neither Uranus nor Neptune entered ; not only because they were unknown under these names to the ancient Sages, but because they, as all other planets, however many there may be, are the gods and guardians of other septenary chains of globes within our systems.’

        So, it seems that while we have that definite question mark over Mars, along with more to think about with regards ‘the four exoteric planets’, the one thing HPB does appear to be definite about, both exoterically and esoterically, is that neither Uranus nor Neptune are sacred planets in relation to our septenary earth chain – ‘because they…are the gods and guardians of other septenary chains of globes within our systems.’

        Yes, I take your point about the energy of Mars, at least as we normally refer to it. However, there might be another side to the Mars energy just at there is another side to Kama, which is normally associated only with our lower nature or lower manas (kama-manas). By another, perhaps ‘higher’, side, to Kama, I’m referring here to the passage in The Secret Doctrine, where it states that it was the Agnishvattas (the holy Kumaras or Manasaputras) who provided the humanity of the 3rd Root Race with both Manas AND Kama (our 5th and 4th principles), making the human being a septenary at that time (see SD II 79). We also have a passage from the Mahatma Letters in which the Mahatma states:

        ‘The whole individuality is centred in the three middle or 3rd, 4th and 5th principles. During earthly life it is all in the fourth the centre of energy, volition – will. Mr. Hume has perfectly defined the difference between personality and individuality. The former hardly survives – the latter, to run successfully its seven-fold downward and upward course has to assimilate to itself the eternal life-power residing but in the seventh and then blend the three (fourth, fifth and seventh) into one – the sixth. Those who succeed in doing so become Buddhs, Dyan Chohans, etc. The chief object of our struggles and initiations is to achieve this union while yet on this earth.’
        (Mahatma Letters to Sinnett, no.13, note 7. Barker edition. Bold emphasis added)

        That there may well be another side to Kama is not meant to diminish the importance of you question mark of Mars – just further food, potentially, for thought.

        ~~

        • Profile photo of James
          James
          Participant
          Profile photo of JamesJames

          Peter, looked today and am getting lost so will just reply in a very mixed up way..
          Agnishvattas (the holy Kumaras or Manasaputras) who provided the humanity of the 3rd Root Race with both Manas AND Kama (our 5th and 4th principles)… Agree..HPB Quote from memory; ‘there is no kama without manas’ which would be quite correct as manas is need for man to recognize everything else, then distinguish them, and finally discriminate between, his Kama, his lust, his desires, his personal love, spiritual love etc.

          I don’t have ‘Echoes’ but one thing in SD1, 164 stating ‘a student needed to have past at least one initiation before he can expect to have the secret teachings explained to him thoroughly and completely’. Therefore we could assume that to get to truth of what HPB wrote back then, at best we would be looking at a series of occult blinds, at worst and most likely outcome, a complete impossibility.

          Mars’ relationship to our Earth which pertains to the highest Initiation: Here we can’t be sure what initiation they are referring to, or even if its man’s initiation. But just supposing it’s enlightenment/3rd Degree, then if we look at VoS fragment 1, we have the two separate happenings, first killing our desires etc. resulting in the power raising to Heart, then to the center between the eyes. If we take this as a VoS happening. Now after that it all happens again with the defeating the King of Mara before the end. Now if we connect Mars with being the driving force that brings out the King of Mara/illusion otherwise I think known as Dweller on the Threshold, then there Mars would be a close connection with this initiation.

          ‘That there may well be another side to Kama is not meant to diminish the importance of you question mark of Mars – just further food, potentially, for thought’. Good thought add this to it. I think I suggested in another post that the lower energy/principle possibly becomes refined and maybe comes under the control of another planet. Interestingly in Astrology Neptune is called “The Refiner”.

          ‘As to Mars, Mercury, and the “four other planets,” and include with the section ‘because they…are the gods and guardians of other septenary chains of globes within our systems.’ There appears to be chains consisting of 7 system like our Earth chain within them as I read it, and with Neptune and Uranus system being either included in one of these 7, or outside as overseers or maybe waiting there to receive all the 7 Hierarchy’s that made it, synthesising them into one completely finished unit. If we leave out the Sun and moon but include Vulcan and Pluto there are ten planets that we know of so several systems probably with some non sacred planets possibly being sacred to another system
          The explanation of diagram in Es. Instructions say/shows there are seven Hierarchy’s within each sacred planet, but it is the dominate one that is the specific Ray energy connected to Earth and us humans. Each of these planets could be connected into other systems through one of the other 6 energy Hierarchy’s.
          As everything evolves and progress in a double centrifugal and centripetal way things get really complicated

          So, as to the question, is Mars a sacred planet? It’s a valid question which still remains a question for me.… Me too. Hope I am not too confusing

      • Profile photo of Peter
        Peter
        Moderator
        Profile photo of PeterPeter

        James (re #5325) – with respect to whether the monadic evolution on Mars is ‘ahead’ of or ‘behind’ our earth chain:

        As you know, the planet Mars that we see on the same plane as our own is said to be in obscuration, which means the Egos passing through that sevenfold chain are either resting or passing through one of the other of its seven globes. I believe Purucker says that Mars has not yet reach the fourth round. However, Judge states that Mars could be in obscuration either because the Egos have finished their fourth round or because it has not yet commenced (see Echoes of the Orient vol.1 370).

        Interestingly, Judge, refers the reader to a statement of the Master, quoted in The Secret Doctrine, which reminds us that there is mystery connected to Mars’ relationship to our Earth which pertains to the highest Initiation:

        ‘As to Mars, Mercury, and the “four other planets,” they bear a relation to Earth of which no master or high Occultist will ever speak, much less explain the nature.’ (SD I 163; see also footnote on the same page.)

        So, as to the question, is Mars a sacred planet? It’s a valid question which still remains a question for me.

        ~~

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

    Looking at modern progression in the studies of the world’s religious traditions, I can see that as time goes on most serious students are beginning to use the Sanskrit (or Pali, Greek, etc.) terms when it comes to specific technical concepts. You won’t hear many Buddhist scholars, for instance, adopting English terms for technical terms in Buddhism, but rather using the original terms in those cases. Example: skandhas. You will hear many English terms used for it, but when the discussion is technical, the Sanskrit term is used. English terms are generally adopted for all non-technical terms. This was generally the same in the early theosophical movement (with terms like atma, buddhi, manas, mahat, etc.) being used when dealing with specific concepts, while English terms would be used when the meaning is more casual or perhaps more vague (note: kama-rupa vs. animal soul, etc.).

    It seems to me that the likely course for our developing human societies will be that in a few generations from now all serious students of the world’s wisdom tradition(s) will be fully verse in a technical vocabulary drawn from those various traditions, with English as the base-language for communication.

    When one considers HPB’s comments about establishing English terms etc. one might look to the way the Sanskrit works were translated into Tibetan, with very specific terms being universally applied as equivalents for Sanskrit terms. Perhaps this could be done with English, but it doesn’t seem to be going that direction among those at the forefront of the study of religious traditions (whether Buddhist, Vedantic, Egyptian, Greek, etc.). So, if this is the direction the wave of English-speaking students, professors, religious scholars, religious leaders, etc. are going, I think it would be helpful for theosophists to go in that same direction when dealing with terminology from those traditions, at least in our communications with them. Certain terms will in time become simply part of the English language, like Karma for instance.

    Perhaps the most important thing is to understand who we are talking with so we can adapt ourselves to their chosen language. If we’re studying with a group of theosophists, we can agree upon terms to be used, whether English, Sanskrit, Greek, or whatever, which agreement will help avoid misunderstandings. If we’re speaking with Buddhist scholars and students, we can adapt ourselves to the terminology they use. If we’re speaking to a layman, we can try to speak in a way that they will understand, with terms that they might connect with better, as a way to bridge any purely intellectual divides between us.

    For example, I’ve used terms like “ghost” when beginning to explain the theosophical idea of the kama-rupa to layman friends, but I’d never use “ghost” when speaking with a theosophical student who I know is familiar with the term kama-rupa; that would be pointless and distracting. So, we need to be adaptive. And in this I agree wholeheartedly with what Kristan has said here. For me, I think the most important thing is that we genuinely come to understand the concepts themselves, and if we can do that then we should be able to explain those concepts in a multitude of ways and adapt our explanation to many different types of people. If we are unable to adapt our explanations or couch the concepts in different language/terms, it is quite likely that we don’t understand those concepts as well as we might think we do.

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

    Kristen. I cannot agree with you more. While use of technical terms is unavoidable in Theosophical study forum such as this, it is wise to always bear in mind that terms / words are only verbal representations of realities / truths, and as much as possible focus our attention on the realities themselves, and we must attempt to express our understanding of the truths in our own words, over and above the established technical terms.

    HPB does it in SD. While she uses certain Sanskrit or English terms to explains certain truths in one place, she deals with the same truths and ideas using altogether different terms, such as, in Chinese, Tibetan, Hebrew or Mazdean traditions. She, perhaps, did it with intention of helping us not to get stuck in symbols and terms themselves but go beyond symbols and try to apprehend the truth itself. For example, the reality represented by the Sanskrit term Para-brahm, is elaborated elsewhere using the Hebrew term Ain-Soph, and Adi-Buddha in another place, and so on, with many other axioms and terms.

    In regular Theosophical study in which students belonging to many theosophical denominations and new inquirers participate, it is important that standard terms as given by the original Teachers, and the meaning They have given them, are used.

    It is not easy to substitute English words for Sanskrit terms. For instance, Sanskrit word Atma has built in its very etymology the the essential truth it represents : Ah, expiration signifying breath, motion; also swara, sound. The English word Spirit is a poor substitute.

    Agni is another word. Fire is a poor English translation. Agni comes from the root idea : aagre navaniti iti agni, meaning that which was Motion in the beginning is Agni. Which means Absolute Abstract Motion, in one sense, and Cosmic Motion–a reflex of the former–in another sense, Motion being the ultimate source and the cause of all that was, is and will be, and Agni, in this sense, is a perfect synonym of Atma, and swara.

    As Theosophists grow and evolve, the language they use, English, will also pari passu evolves. It has to be a slow process.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Profile photo of Ramprakash ML Ramprakash ML.
  • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
    Ramprakash ML
    Participant
    Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

    James
    April 3, 2017 at 1:29 pm #5326

    James,
    In the first place I must apologize to you if I offended you in any way with my remarks about the need to stick to HPB’s teachings and the terms she proposed we should use, and about uncalled for interpretations of SD some students have indulged in. The latter point was independent of the thread of discussion about evolving new terms. I am sorry, I have a habit of using strong language and giving our forthright views, rather undiplomatically, which offend sensitive people, though I do not mean any offence. I need to get over the habit.

    Coming to the point you have made about evolving technical terms in English :

    I appreciate the point you have made, that the esoteric instruction of HPB, gathered in CW, are not included in the terminologies she has given in the Key, and that we ought to take them also into consideration in working out appropriate terms in English for various principles mentioned therein.

    I look at the question from a different angle, with which my fellow students may not agree, but about which I have strong conviction. I have two reasons why your proposal does not seem appropriate to me :

    1. Much of material in cw seems to be private instructions of HPB to her very close students, who were supposed to keep it secret. HPB never intended that they should fall in the public domain. But much of it seems to have leaked out to the public because of betrayal, by some renegade students of hers, of the trust she had reposed in them.

    The question is, because some of her private teachings meant only to her very close students, and which she intended to be confidential, has fallen into the public domain, is that the reason I make free use of it? Analogically, if some private property is stolen by some and scattered in public places, will I help myself to them and take it home ? They are not mine, and I do not have right to them, and if I do take them, I commit theft. If this is so even in ordinary mundane life, how much more force the moral implication of it should be in regard to sacred lore of the Masters !

    This question has always stared me in the face. That’s why I dissuaded myself in even taking a cursory look at “stolen material” put out on the websites and publications. I refuse to look at them. My reverence for our great Guru, HPB, bids me to honour her wish, which under no circumstance will I ever betray though that Being is no longer in the body she used. If I don’t have even such common elementary morality how can I spiritually benefit from her teaching, though I may seem to shine in intellectual attainment by intellectual study of Theosophy ? Intellect alone, says Judge, leads us all to hell–a profound occult truth he has spoken.

    If I deserve to learn the HPB’s esoteric teachings they will come to me somehow, if I don’t desrve, they will not. In either case, I have my duty plainly set forth in Theosophy.

    2. So my position is — whether my friends agree or not — let us work on the teachings HPB gave out freely to the world at large. There is so much of it that even one’s lifetime in its fullness is not sufficient to thoroughly master it, assimilate it and make it a part of our being so as to become–as HPB implored us–each on of us, a centre of Theosophical work from which spiritual influences radiate, which alone can regenerate the world, our fellowmen. True esoteric instructions come only thus, in progress of time, as Krishna promises in the Bhagavadgita (4th and 10th chapters–pp 36 and 71, Judge’s)

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Profile photo of Ramprakash ML Ramprakash ML.
  • Profile photo of James
    James
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    Profile photo of JamesJames

    Ram, firstly I was not at all offended, just looking from another angle as it’s often hard to express how we perceive something without overstepping. Secondly I would like to say I am not at all a follower of C.W.L. especially his psychic side, just indicating the format Adyar has adopted possible attributed to him but not necessarily by him.

    With regards to the Es. Instructions, there are a lot of different views with no way of validating any of them. As Theosophy was new to the general public at that point in time and they were given to those who were interested in further studies and disciplines. Today TS is 140 yld old and Theosophy has spread far and wide, if somewhat thinly. The general intelligence of man has evolved and my view is Theosophical students are ready to study this section should they so desire as there is much to be gained from it. Also if there was major secrecy problem with them they may have somehow disappeared. Correct me if I am wrong here but, is not a lot of Es. Instructions included in SD3 which I think has been mostly validated in recent years and worth a look.

    ‘Intellect alone leads us all to hell’ I have always had a problem with this saying. I would much prefer; ‘Intellect incorrectly used leads us all to hell’ as without intellect you and I would not be communicating and those who made it possible may only know ‘intellect alone’ in this life, but that doesn’t mean they are hell bound. Just another technical point that can be easily misunderstood and why evolution of terms is relevant. The saying I personally connect with in this regard is; ‘The Mind can make man either a Buddha or a Beast’

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Profile photo of James James.
    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
      Ramprakash ML
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      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

      O, James, by cw I did not mean Leadbeater. I meant collected writings.

      Between head learning (intellect alone) and heart doctrine, the first will mislead us if not guided and ruled by the second. This is of utmost importance. “Even ignorance is better than head-learning with no soul-wisdom to illuminate and guide it.” How intellect alone takes us all to hell need no elaborate demonstration. Our all-material civilization is itself a standing example. In the theosophical life, especially in the case of one who is making progress in inner life, intellectual development at the expense of the Heart Light proves to be a disastrous outcome. History of the TM has telling illustrations of it.

      What “hell” it leads to is something one has to learn.

      Isavasya upanishad also warns against it. Loosely translated : “He enters into darkness who remains ignorant. Still greater darkness enters he who is intent on mere learning (vidya)” ie., mere intellectual study.

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
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    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN

    UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD IN DAILY LIFE – Helen Douglas

    Before brotherhood can be made a part of daily life, it must first be recognized as a fact. The intellectual conception passes gradually into a feeling of its truth, and this works its way out in action. Universal Brotherhood is not a theory. It is not a mere hypothesis for sentimentalists on which to construct a visionary golden age. It is not a passing fancy. Universal Brotherhood is a reality. It is the expression of the fundamental unity of Nature. The many forms of life are manifestations of the one life, which works its way from the lower kingdoms of nature up through man to conscious godhood. Nature is one; no part is separate from any other part.

    The unity of the human race can be seen even on the physical plane, where the delusion of separateness is most deceiving. Divest men of their surroundings, the conditions of their lives, and what have we? Take from the scholar his books; from the general his army; remove the business man from the intricacies of trade, and the society leader from the whirl of fashion; think of the Englishman minus his nationality, and the American less his; cancel the brown skin of the dark races and the white skin of the whites; remove from the Christian his dogmas; from the Mohammedan his forms; from the Brahmin his superstitions and we have — human beings who suffer the same physical wants, whose lives are torn by the same contending passions and lighted by the same loves, whose souls cry out for the same Truth. Only the superficial interests of mankind are diversified and antagonistic. The fundamental interests are identical.

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

    Ram, I always appreciate your inputs.

    If I may break into your exchange of viewpoints, I wonder whether this juxtaposition of heart vs. mind, and them alone, is really valid. I find that spiritual practice – outlined, e.g., in the Hindu/Yogic and Buddhist teachings, and that focuses, especially in the beginning, on control of the mind, control of the impulses of one’s ego – is as essential.

    The changes that the world has undergone soon after HPB’s death are rarely acknowledged in discussions by Theosophists. If, before the end of the 19th century, traces of high morals were still to be found relatively frequently, which many early members of the TS especially represent, they were much rarer, or so it seems, two decades following. In the 1910s, G. I. Gurdjieff introduced his System of spiritual development to his contemporaries, who could, in his words, “only strive to be able to be Christians.” Nowadays even that appears to be too lofty a goal, and even Buddhist teachers tend to focus on bringing people to the state of personal happiness before embarking onto higher practices. In my opinion, a person who hasn’t healed himself to the point of being content and happy in his own life can only do a fraction of what is in his/her powers to benefit others, and even that is likely to turn into a wrong direction.

    I believe we must be attuned to the current state of the world, in order to fulfill any of the Three Objects.

    • Profile photo of barbara
      barbara
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      Profile photo of barbarabarbara

      #5362 “I believe we must be attuned to the current state of the world, in order to fulfill any of the Three Objects.”

      Hi Pavel:

      Can you expand on your comment above? Do you think we are too insulated and isolated from worldly events? It also seems like you are saying our society is on a moral decline in the past decades.

      Thanks.

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

        Hi Barbara:

        By worldly events I mean not so much political events, but the general state of mind and culture. HPB’s books were given at a particular time and, perhaps, targeted especially at the people of that time. In the few sentences above I tried to outline the few changes in the spiritual inclinations of the people, that, as I observe, might have happened in the following decades. Yet, the Theosophical Society seems, both in those times and even till today, sort of stuck on the “letter” of the teachings.

        Another aspect of being attuned to the world is being aware of the developments that have occurred since the “early times,” that are relevant to the second and third objects. While many here, notably Peter, as well as others, have obviously studied the materials that have become available, since the early Theosophical history, on the Eastern religions, especially Buddhism (including Tibetan Buddhism), the Third Object seems to be completely disregarded despite some enormous developments in the most recent times (e.g., research by Dean Radin, and others).

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

    I don’t mean to be rude but we may have strayed a ways off the path here my friends. Our topic here is Universal Brotherhood and Sisterhood and although it is possible to build a connection between any one idea and any other idea I dare say we have lost our focus on the topic. It is easy for any of us to stray off into the woods of our favorite topics or points of views. We may from time to time look for excuses to roll out our pet projects and pet peeves. But a genuine discussion needs a focus and without it no depth or breathe is possible.

    What is Universal Brotherhood? Why is it the central theme of the theosophical movement? Why is it so difficult to pursue little less achieve? Is it a reality or an idea or both? What is its counterfeit? How do we test ourselves to determine whether we are moving towards it rather than away from it? Why Universal? What is the importance of the Nucleus idea? Should we include the word Sisterhood even though the term brotherhood implies both men and women? What is the relationship between this idea and the Three Fundamental Propositions of the SD? What does it mean to be a good brother to one’s fellow man? What is the role of society in universal brotherhood? What is the role of the individual? Does being a true individual, in the Thoreauian sense, mean by definition, to move towards brotherhood?………..

    • Profile photo of Peter
      Peter
      Moderator
      Profile photo of PeterPeter

      Gerry – you’re quite right. We have wandered far off topic. Apologies!

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

        Well, I have tried to stay on topic, at least in my opinion. However, my comments rarely receive any feedback. I wonder if that’s an expression of “Brotherhood”?

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

          You may not rceive feedback but posts you and others send are indeed read and aprreciated. I do, at any rate, though I may not post comments

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

      If one studies the excerpts from the Key To Theosophy, given earlier on this page, one might see that the idea of Universal Brotherhood, as explained by HPB, seemed to focus largely on overcoming the conflicts in the minds of common folk based on their religious upbringings. One of the early goals of Theosophy was to show the essential unity of religions, as is well-known to all of you. This, in addition to overcoming the hypocritical attitudes based on “distinction of race, … sex, caste or color,” I see as the meaning of the “Universal Brotherhood,” if, perhaps, taken not too generally.

      We should acknowledge how much has been done towards this goal since those early times, and, perhaps, how much remains to be done.

      • Profile photo of barbara
        barbara
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        Profile photo of barbarabarbara

        #5377 “We should acknowledge how much has been done towards this goal since those early times, and, perhaps, how much remains to be done.”

        Good point, Pavel.

        Reading the first object of the society – to form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity…., I wonder why the word “nucleus” which implies a small core group. Does it mean that humanity is not expected to develop this sense? Does it mean this applies mainly to the TS members having this sense for each other and eventually to the whole of humanity?

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

          I think “nucleus” should be read in the sense of “seed.” Everything grows from some kind of “seed.” In any case, it is a central core that controls the development of everything else, like a cell’s nucleus.

          Perhaps, in the times of TS founding, there were few, if any at all, groups that were based on the unity of all religions. There were either devout Christians (talking about the Christian world), or fundamentalist followers of other religions, – or those on the side of the positivistic science. Theosophical Society was unique in this regard.

          Since then, religious pluralism has become rather a norm, than an exception. Perhaps, we are reading too much into the First Object, although it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have to change over the course of time.

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

      The first object of the TM, viz., universal Brotherhood, was sought to be proved to the world that it is a fact, not an utopia, on two fronts. One metaphysical and the second, comparative study of word religions. The first was to demonstrate that the universe and all beings are formed of one indivisible, indestructible universal essence; man and universe have common origin, evolving under one Law, tending towards one common end; and, therefore, essentially all are bound up indissolubly with all, such that action of one affects all, for good or ill, and to what extent each self-conscious unit is responsible for the well-being, and progress on the right lines, of the collective life.

      IF humanity is formed of one universal essence, it is logical that all the great world religions, philosophies and sciences are the many expressions of one universal Truth, proof of which is to be found in the pursuit of the second object of the TM.

      Both these approaches are extensively elaborated and profusely demonstrated in Isis Unveiled and the S.D. so one comes out of that study deeply convinced of the fact of Universal Brotherhood, and transformed.

      Study of the UB is inseparable from the study of Karma and Reincarnation–especially, of the profound law of Distributive Karma. It is so potent. One sees and feels to what extent each of us is our brother’s keeper. One who comes out of the study cannot bring himself to slide back into the irresponsible ways of the world. Such is the power of Theosophy.

      Reg the third object, as far as I understand, the Teachers never expected us to indulge in any experimentation by trying to develop psychic powers, but warned against it. Unexplained laws of nature were to be studied philosophically and their basis in immutable laws was to be understood, and widely disseminated to counter superstition and skepticism. The ten propositions of Oriental psychology throw brilliant light on many a psychological and spiritual phenomena, which otherwise are inexplicable. Isis, in this respect is a great educator. BPW used to say that Isis is a much neglected study.

      So we can see that it is not easy to demonstrate the fact of UB to the world which gives little attention to serious side of life.
      Judge said that it is realizable in the degree one evolves one’s consciousness to higher states.

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

        So, the first, broader interpretation of the idea of Universal Brotherhood is essentially the same as that expressed in the first two slokas of Sri Isopanishad:
        “Everything is covered by the Lord [or, as I understand it, Being]. . . .
        Accept [be nourished by, rejoice in (?)] what is given to you.
        Do not desire another’s lot [wealth, life conditions, personal qualities…]. . . .”

        I think that the realization of Being – or, in its most abstract sense, Existence – is the necessary and sufficient condition for the understanding of the Unity of the All, which includes the idea of Universal Brotherhood.

        That is, if one, in a moment of spiritual exaltation, feels joy at the feeling of Life in oneself, one can extend this realization to every human being.

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

          As I understand it, seeing oneself in all, and all in One Self, not only in spiritual exaltation, a condition not easily obtainable by all, but even at our level sensing it with the Eye of higher Reason and intuitive conviction.

  • Profile photo of barbara
    barbara
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    Profile photo of barbarabarbara

    “I tried to outline the few changes in the spiritual inclinations of the people, that, as I observe, might have happened in the following decades. Yet, the Theosophical Society seems, both in those times and even till today, sort of stuck on the “letter” of the teachings…….the Third Object seems to be completely disregarded despite some enormous developments in the most recent times” #5376

    Hi Pavel:

    I see your points; even though I am reluctant to generalize about the “spiritual inclinations of the people” because, considering there are billions of people alive on the planet right now, I only have contact with a small number of people. Nevertheless, I understand your sentiment.

    You are right about being stuck on the teachings that were given out hundreds of years ago; I am guilty of this. Personally speaking, I have not yet found anything deeper than the TS tradition. In a way, I wish I had because it sounds archaic when I tell others all the books I study are from the 1800s and earlier and I am aware that many discoveries have been made and attitudes have changed. Yet, the Ageless Wisdom still applies and very pertinent.

    As far as I know, there are TS students and organizations that place a strong focus on the third object- to investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in humanity. There just may not be much discussion on this particular forum. We all have different leanings and interests.

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

      No objections here, Barbara. I probably wouldn’t be here on this forum if I didn’t think that Theosophy far surpasses all other traditions. It is also expressed on my profile.

      However, it would be folly to think that HPB would insist on reading only her books. On the contrary, I am sure we can find lots of evidence that the Theosophists were encouraged to know of other goings-on in the related fields. Theosophy was a dialogue with other intellectual movements of the epoch. Perhaps, lack of this dialogue is at the root of what many talk of as crisis of modern Theosophy.

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

        When the monthly magazine, Theosophy, was published by LA ULT, a wide survey of emerging ideas in various fields was done, and excellent comments were made in the section, titled, On the Liok Out.

        It was very edifying.

        I wish LA revived the magazine

      • Profile photo of barbara
        barbara
        Participant
        Profile photo of barbarabarbara

        “However, it would be folly to think that HPB would insist on reading only her books. On the contrary, I am sure we can find lots of evidence that the Theosophists were encouraged to know of other goings-on in the related fields. Theosophy was a dialogue with other intellectual movements of the epoch. Perhaps, lack of this dialogue is at the root of what many talk of as crisis of modern Theosophy.” #5381

        Hi Pavel:

        I do not believe that HPB would ever expect her students to only read her books. All the writers you noted in your posts are indeed well-respected thinkers in their field of study. Yet, I always go back to Theosophy as the foundation. I, too, think we should be familiar with current discoveries, conflicts, ideas, practices, views and attitudes. We need the breadth of knowledge to have a better understanding of life. Perhaps, I was not clear in my early comments, i.e. it is one thing to read and peruse through books and articles; it is quite different to study them in depth. I was referring to the latter when it comes to TS teachings. This requires discipline and devotion: the student would constantly brood and ponder over the ideas till one sees the light and, eventually, assimilate the ideas into one’s being.

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

      For example, if I am not mistaken, during HPB’s time there was no such thing as comparative mythology or comparative theology. She was a pioneer in that regard. However, the 20th century saw the birth of this as an academic discipline. You have such recognized figures as M. Eliade and Joseph Campbell (not to mention the mythological theories of C. G. Jung). I am sure that their works can if not enrich a Theosophy student’s understanding of Theosophy, at least make one think and assess his/her own ideas from new angles.

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

        I suppose we can take up each one of the authors mentioned, draw up a gist of their thoughts and researches, and study them in the light of Theosophy. That has to be a separate link dedicated for the puroose of comparitive mythology.

        Sorry, this is a digresaion from our main focus

      • Profile photo of James
        James
        Participant
        Profile photo of JamesJames

        Hi Pavel, I totally agree with you on all this. Blavatsky’s work was full of quotes from other sources and as you say perhaps lack of this dialogue is the crisis of modern Theosophy.

        Blavatsky used to tell her students to think for themselves, develop their intuition and sometimes even called them (jokingly) ‘Flapdoodles’ if they didn’t.

        It in more recent times the opposite often appears to be the norm and some even consider literature after 1891 to be irrelevant. This observation is across the board, not just one branch or Lodge.

        If one try’s to present/discuss possible ideas based on HPB’s prophesy’s and teaching for today’s world that is outside what appears to be a narrow band of TS thought, one is often not taken seriously, although hopefully all that maybe changing slowly.

  • Profile photo of campert
    campert
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    Profile photo of campertcampert

    Can anything be said about this article on masters and avatars that are guiding our Brotherhood? http://www.esoteric-philosophy.net/mast-av-disc.html
    Is there any substance to the facts stated here?

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

      Despite this being an off-topic question, I believe I can say the following:

      The first two paragraphs look pretty convincing (in a good way).
      If I can speak for the Russians (my native country), Helena Roerich (the founder of Agni Yoga) is largely accepted as the major spiritual teacher of the country for the 20th century, and is looked upon as the heir of HPB. Her husband, Nicholas Roerich (the painter) was the one through whom the first two books of Agni Yoga (The Call – Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, and the other) were transmitted. Claimed to be in telepathic contact with MM and KH, and, I believe, photographs exist of them in the company of two individuals very much alike other known photographs of the Master. Helena Roerich, however, was very inimical towards Alice Bailey and her teachings, and claimed that they had made inquiries as for the existence of the Master DK, and none such was to be found in the Himalayan Brotherhood (I believe she said that he was some unknown dweller in the region of Tibet, and his teachings through Alice Bailey were considered distortions of the Teaching).

      The Master Hilarion is referred to by HPB (she claimed to have met him during her early travels) and is also acknowledged as an influence by the Agni Yogis.

      Some other names (e.g. Apollonius of Tyana, founders of major religions, Greek philosophers) are well-respected among Theosophists. As for others, I cannot say either yay or nay, nor can comment on the numerical representation of the levels of achievements of either of the figures on the list.

      • Profile photo of campert
        campert
        Participant
        Profile photo of campertcampert

        Thanks a lot Pavel.
        Maurits

        • Profile photo of James
          James
          Participant
          Profile photo of JamesJames

          Hi Campert,
          Just adding a little, while Helena Roerich was very inimical towards Bailey and DK, her inquiries, presumably correctly quoted here, are contrary to the M. L. where he is mentioned numerous times under various spellings of Djual Khul, DK, and “Disinherited”.

          As to the list, most are known to have contributed to humanity in some degree although not all as spiritual teachers. Their actual point of attainment in this format appears never to have been given out, although often quoted as a disciple, initiate, chela etc.

          A study of David Reigle’s paper “The Centennial Cycle” on his Eastern Tradition Research Institute will give a broarder aspect on the 100 year cycle of HPB’s and how future teachings are decided, their various forms of presentation, which are many and varied.
          Although little known to many, Paul Brunton and his Mongolian teacher are also mentioned several times, as is a co-disciple of HPB’s,

          For a student to claim infallibility on occult matters by stating certain ideas are complete fiction appears contrary to HPB’s advice

    • Profile photo of barbara
      barbara
      Participant
      Profile photo of barbarabarbara

      Hi Campert:

      #5412 There are many interesting claims; most we can not verify. As such, we need to rely on our discernment. I also see this in the second paragraph, “In searching for reliable sources of knowledge the discrimination of the spiritual seeker is always important.”

      I heard about Benjamin Creme about two decades ago. If I remember correctly, he declared that Maitreya would manifest around the turn of the century. This did not materialize. Many of his students used to meditate day and night evoking (I believe) his reappearance. Later on, I heard that Christ would not appear in a physical form but only on the “etheric” plane. He was also supposed to appear on television. I was never involved with his school but these are the stories I used to hear from some Bailey’s students who eventually severed ties with his group.

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

        Looks like these are cast in the mould of Seventh Day Adventists who are perpetually in expectation of Armageddon, and live on the roof of their houses to escape floods !

      • Profile photo of campert
        campert
        Participant
        Profile photo of campertcampert

        Thank you Barbara.

        I fully agree with you.

        Maurits

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

      Hi Maurits,
      as pointed out by Barbara, “There are many interesting claims; most we can not verify. As such, we need to rely on our discernment.”
      It would be a very time consuming task to go into everyone of the individuals represented, let alone checking out all of the claims. Some of the figures are “kosher”, others have contributed from very little to major elements in philosophy, and a substantial amount are downright pseudo claimants.

      If you’d like to make some comparison between Bailey and theosophy, check out some of these links:
      http://www.blavatskyarchives.com/baileyal.htm
      Alice Bailey and her Christianised Pseudo-Theosophy
      http://www.teosofiskakompaniet.net/BlavatskyvsBailyALC.htm

      Of course, everyone is entitled to their own belief, but a statement under the heading of Bailey such as:
      “These books [by Bailey] constitute the second or Intermediate Phase of Revelation by the Spiritual Hierarchy of Masters (the works of H P Blavatsky constituting the first or Preparatory Phase).” is complete fiction.

      • Profile photo of campert
        campert
        Participant
        Profile photo of campertcampert

        Thanks Pierre,

        I could not agree with you more.

        I will study the suggested material.

        Maurits

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

      When it comes to the Masters and what they teach, one ought to rely upon one’s own direct experience, and never on the claims of others, not even HPB. It is unimportant whether or not such and such individual claims to have been inspired by or taught by this or that so-called Master; it is only important what that person gives forward to the world. We should not trust HPB because she claimed to have been taught by Masters. Nor should we trust anyone else because of their own claims. We should trust our own intuition when we apply it to the teachings of such people. It is also important to cross-check those teachings with others who claim the same source, and ask ourselves if those teachings match or contradict each other. Again, don’t rely on others who claim to have cross-checked and come to some conclusion; do it for yourself. We have thousands of great sages/philosophers/theosophists throughout human history who have given some form of public teaching with which to compare any modern teachings with, and that is a powerful exercise to undertake. Take Isis Unveiled and the Secret Doctrine, for instance, and then follow up on every reference given to ancient systems of thought and ancient teachers; see what they have to say on the subject.

      If/when you have spent decades sifting through the teachings of the major sages of human history and delved deeply into the teachings of various modern theosophists, it will become abundantly clear who’s teachings accord with that great tradition and who’s do not. And then you will be able to confidently find your way through the labyrinth.

      Remember that when stating the objects of the Theosophical Society, HPB gave the 2nd Object as: “To promote the study of Aryan and other Scriptures, of the World’s religion and sciences, and to vindicate the importance of old Asiatic literature, namely, of the Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Zoroastrian philosophies.” (see Key to Theosophy)

      She didn’t say: “I wrote a book and you should all study only that book, cause it’s from the Masters!” And she didn’t say: “so and so is gonna come just after me and give you a book, and you should just study that book, cause it’s gonna be from the Masters!” Nah… study the world’s religions and sciences as deeply as you can, don’t worry about who claims what about the Masters (best to just ignore all that flapdoodle in my opinion), and develop your own intuition and knowledge about the great Tradition that seems to underlie the world’s religions, philosophies and sciences. I’d say that’s a sure path.

      • Profile photo of campert
        campert
        Participant
        Profile photo of campertcampert

        Thanks Jon.

        I fully agree with you.

        Was just a strange ‘categorisation’ of enlightened beiings that struck me. That is why I asked.

        Maurits

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

        To add to Jon’s point. You might say that for all of the circumstances of life there are few that fit the expression, “It takes one to know one” better.
        We have the instruction from the Great Masters, “If you would know us study our teachings, if you would serve us, serve our humanity.” That is a rough paraphrase at least. So that is what we are trying to do here on the Nexus. Study the teachings for the good of humanity. That is the goal at least as I see it. The better we know the teachings the easier it becomes to see through imposters and misconceptions wherever and however they might arise. And they will arise. It is a very very old story, one of the saddest and bitterest stories in the human pilgrimage. We have to work extremely hard to understand the Masters. We cannot know them from the standpoint of personal consciousness. We have to lift ourselves up to a more universal standpoint to catch a view. This is the work of lifetimes, and it is the battle between the lower and higher man so elegantly described in the Bhagavad-Gita. Intellectual pride is one of the hardest nuts to crack we are told. Stubborn certainty is a tell tale sign of danger on the path I believe.

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

        I couldn’t agree with both of Jon and Gerry more.

        In my opinion, the value of Teachings such as Alice Bailey’s is exactly that they show that there is no ownership of the doctrine.

        The fact that Helena Roerich was against Bailey shows her own limitations. Perhaps they were meant to complement each other in different hemispheres (of the planet). That said I have gained a lot from Helena Roerich’s teachings and probably will continue.

        Discrimination is, indeed, a quality that needs to be developed, if one is on the Path.

        Such teachings, with all their imperfections (whether large or small, although I believe the latter), teach us discrimination. Ultimately, if your heart sings from them, can they be bad?

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

      Regarding whether there is any substance to the Benjamin Creme material on “Masters, Avatars and Disciples”:
      For students of the Benjamin Creme writings, this is truth.
      For the majority of students of the Alice Bailey writings, this is fantasy.
      For the majority of students of Theosophy, both the Creme and Bailey writings are fantasy.
      For the vast majority of the intelligentsia in the world, Theosophy along with Creme and Bailey are all fantasy.
      For most scholars of comparative religion, Theosophy and related teachings are fantasy, and thus are not worthy of attention. One scholar did deal with Theosophy.
      Prof. Agehananda Bharati wrote in his article, “Fictitious Tibet,” published in the Tibet Society Bulletin, 1974:
      “Mme. Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine, a multivolume work, is such a melee of horrendous hogwash and of fertile inventions of inane esoterica, that any Buddhist and Tibetan scholar is justified to avoid mentioning it in any context.”
      The consensus, then, is that there is no substance to either Theosophy or Bailey or Creme.

      • Profile photo of campert
        campert
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        Profile photo of campertcampert

        A rather pessimistic view I might say…

        Maurits

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

        There may be truth to what you are saying here David but I wonder how much we really know about the groups you mention here. How much is merely guessing? And if we are guessing, why not err on the side of being hopeful. People are on this pilgrimage at different conditions of consciousness, evolving in different ways. It seems to me the ideas are what is most important. If we keep the focus there these figures from the past will sort themselves out.

  • Profile photo of campert
    campert
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    Profile photo of campertcampert

    Thank you James.

    My question did arise after a question of one of our students: do the mystery schools still exist in Europe?

    Not having an answer I did some research on the web.

    I was amazed by this Bailey/Creme ‘categorisation’ of enlightened beings…

    New for me between all other new age claims.

    Maurits Campert

    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by Profile photo of campert campert.
    • Profile photo of James
      James
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      Profile photo of JamesJames

      Hi Maurits, its a Creme only categorisation, not Bailey.

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

      All these attempts to categorize adepts and initiations, or to predict avatars, or to explain the working structure of the Brotherhood, etc. etc. are hilariously misguided, and about a light year away from what’s important in theosophy. Reminds me of the church fathers trying to figure out how many angels can fit on the tip of a needle while completely ignoring the actual message of Jesus. Pretending to such knowledge about Adepts by anyone who is not an adept is like an ant pretending to knowledge of human affairs. Hogwash, all of it. Sadly, the theosophical movement is likely to see no shortage of such silliness for the foreseeable future, but we can hope it’ll eventually outgrow it, mature and learn to focus on what is important.

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

    Each of the statements made here (comment #5441) apply only to those who operate on the level of belief and blind faith in what others say. Creme followers believe they have truth, Bailey followers believe they do, “majority of theosophists” believe they do, “intelligensia” and scholars believe they do. So do fundamentalist Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, materialists, atheists, etc. etc. ad infinitum. Belief, belief, belief. All blind. Now just look at the world this madness creates! No first-hand knowledge is to be found among such “followers” and “unthinkers”, which is why none of their opinions should matter at all to the sincere theosophist who is interested in knowing; and which is why the 2nd and 3rd objects of the theosophical society encourage us to find out for ourselves through sincere and unceasing study of the world’s traditions and sincere and unceasing investigation of our selves and our own capacities. If one does that, none of the hogwash of any “believers” will matter.

    I don’t blame the world for thinking of theosophy as nonsense. We present it that way every time some random person with no real knowledge makes some pointless claim about masters or avatars, or claims that we know the truth of this or that doctrine. And with every claim the gulf that keeps humanity away from real universal brotherhood is widened.

    To someone who is interested in knowing, the claims of truth on any subject by any one don’t matter at all unless one can verify that truth for oneself. Believing doesn’t grant us knowledge, and certainly doesn’t put us on the path towards it. But it’s definitely well on its way to building up a new set of dogmatic religions for the world, so there’s that…

    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by Profile photo of Jon Fergus Jon Fergus.
    • Profile photo of campert
      campert
      Participant
      Profile photo of campertcampert

      Must not we Theosophists take care to end up in the conrner of those ‘who know better than the rest (science included)’…?
      I propose to end this unintended discussion.
      Maurits

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

      Jon Fergus
      April 17, 2017 at 4:30 pm #5444

      Jon has made an important point. Blind belief only blinds us the more.

      “To someone who is interested in knowing, the claims of truth on any subject by any one don’t matter at all unless one can verify that truth for oneself.”

      Precisely. Masters did not give out some of the deepest mysteries of man and the universe hitherto unknown to the profane world, not for us to blindly believe in. They want us to investigate and ascertain the truths They have given by our own self-induced, self-devised ways and means. And those means are also provided by Them. Each student has only to thoroughly grasp the basic propositions of Theosophy and apply them in every direction, and see how they throw brilliant light on mysteries of life, which, otherwise, are incomprehensible, which neither existing religions nor modern science can solve.

      There is a vast difference between belief on blind faith and belief based on knowledge. The latter is based on self-evident, self-validating universal axioms, and which turns into actual experiential knowledge if one works earnestly on them along the lines traced out by the great Gurus. By this discriminative knowledge one can discern the true from the false, the genuine Teachers from the pretenders, the true Teachings from the counterfeit.

      Masters can do no more than give out a part of Their knowledge to the world with the hope that at least some will benefit by it. They can do no more. Says HPB in her article “What is Truth” :

      “In every age there have been Sages who had mastered the absolute and yet could teach but relative truths. For none yet, born of mortal woman in our race, has, or could have given out, the whole and the final truth to another man, FOR EVERY ONE HAS TO FIND THAT (TO HIM) FINAL KNOWLEDGE IN HIMSELF.” (caps mine)

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

    David, I don’t really see it that way. If Theosophy is some package or presentation of concepts and beliefs then yes you are indeed right. There are all of these schools of thought and consensus of belief in society and in intellectual circles that we have to contend with. I think human beings, where ever they may live and whatever tradition or academic training they may participate in appreciate the idea of Truth. They appreciate the idea of Reality. They appreciate the idea that the universe is a functioning system. And if they are honest searchers of the truth their path is a theosophical one. I know what you are saying. Most people, particularly in academic circles, have no regard for HPB, the SD, The Stanzas of Dzyan etc. etc.All true. But that is OK in my book. Most academics don’t believe in the inherent goodness of humanity, brotherhood, or the power of thought either. The vast majority of professors at my college were cynics and I am told by people who work in that department today that the level of cynicism is much deeper now.

    Remember what Thoreau said: ” I learned more in two weeks in a canoe on the Merrimack River than in four years at Harvard.”

    Not everyone is ready for these things. We have the expression, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Most of us are not ready. We are not ready for the self-transformation necessary to SEE these higher truths. And I am convinced it requires a self-transformation, without which everything else is merely speculation, not matter how articulate.

    I don’t really understand why it is important to convince academics in the first place. In the past it might have been important because the intellectual classes, as HPB used say, hold sway over intellectual life of much of mankind. I don’t believe that influence is as profound now. We have ways to communicate and create dialog with people that can circumvent this old bottleneck.

    Look at the music industry. It used to be that the only way and I mean ONLY way to get your music heard is to sign a record contract with one of the major Record Labels. The monopoly was true for movies as well. With the advent of the Internet we can skip around recording companies, the movie studios and in our case a closed minded academic community (there are exceptions of course) and communicate directly to people.

    Mr. Judge said Theosophy is for people who want it. I think in people’s hearts they are yearning to understand human suffering, what happens after death, how the universe works, what our place is in the scheme of things etc. etc. If people are sincere and persistent in their questioning they will find the road that leads to the answers to those questions. Our job as theosophists (people who believe that there is wisdom in the universe and that we are capable of acquiring it over time) is to make sure the teachings are accessible and to become good students and practitioners ourselves. In so many fields academia lags behind the trends that lead to the society of the future.

    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe Gerry Kiffe.
    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe Gerry Kiffe.
  • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
    Pierre Wouters
    Moderator
    Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

    That’s remarkably well put David, it may sound rather pessimistic as Maurits points out – which indeed it is – but it is also the reality with which we are faced in the world with its gazillion opinions. It just goes to show how many perspectives that reside in the minds of people trying to come to grips with the world in which we live, or who are searching for that “something” that wants to reach beyond our ordinary perceptions.

    True understanding comes to us from within, whereas information comes to us from without, nobody can make someone else understand anything. The best we can do is to present the information to others in such an intelligible way that it may trigger something in the recipient of this info, so that the preexisting archetypal wisdom that resides within each of us gets a chance to respond, in the end we just provided the info, not the understanding.

    So the best we can do is to be ourselves as free as possible from preconceived biases – which all of us entertain or we wouldn’t be here in the first place – and to inform ourselves to the best of our knowledge and help each other out without necessarily expecting too much of a success 🙂 We have all been here for millions of years (that is, if you adhere to this perspective 🙂 and as such we see how slow understanding is being developed both in ourselves and others over many a lifetime. I think Universal Theosophy and our Nexus forum provide an excellent opportunity to live up to that promise of helping out one another without the expectation of trying to make converts, thus the reason why we emphasize a minimum of courtesy for each others point of view, and as we all know, this forum is primarily concerned with the perspectives offered in the theosophical teachings and as such we try to remain on track. This does not preclude that what we perceive as being “beyond the pale” is totally useless or untrue, we just set certain boundaries to ourselves so as to have a particular focus that resonates with our own major perspectives or we wouldn’t be here participating, and that includes informing ourselves about different perspectives in the world. Mr. Judge points out that no one can be so wrong that there is not a shred of truth in it.

    At the same time we have to understand that the written word does not always carry the desired intent – which deals more with our feelings than with the intellect – as we can’t hear each others voices or see each other smiling or frowning while writing down the words or reading someones contribution, and in the end even emojis will fall short of the meaning intended:

    HPB herself indicated many of the elements raised in your response as to the way the world would receive her writings and this obviously leads to a bleak view of the theosophical teachings especially in the academic world, but then again, so do many other views, and to my mind science is not exempt from a bleak view from a theosophical perspective 🙂

    At the same time – as pointed out by others in this forum – we have the words of the Elder Brothers that can set us on our way, but this road needs to be travelled to be discovered, and yes, we’ll meet with many obstacles and discrepancies along the way and in each other, but that’s what helps us in acquiring a facility of mind that is now very much being discussed and searched for in science as neuroplasticity and most likely what HPB intended with her teachings. Thus we can only develop that within ourselves, not in others and as such “Patience sweet that nought can ruffle” is perhaps the prime requisite to stay on that road.

    And by the way, I think we’re still right on topic, which is… um… universal brotherhood 🙂

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

      Well said Pierre.

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

      Gerry Kiffe
      April 17, 2017 at 5:40 pm #5451

      “I don’t really understand why it is important to convince academics in the first place. In the past it might have been important because the intellectual classes, as HPB used say, hold sway over intellectual life of much of mankind. I don’t believe that influence is as profound now. We have ways to communicate and create dialog with people that can circumvent this old bottleneck.”

      To try to communicate Theosophy to skeptics, and to those who do not value it, is not only useless but can be dangerous. Warns the Master not to cast the pearls before the swine lest it should………

      Said Master to HPB,

      “Be prudent, we say, prudent and wise, and above all take care what those who learn from you believe in; lest by deceiving themselves they deceive others……for such is the fate of every truth with which men are, as yet, unfamiliar…..Let rather the planetary chains and other super-and-sub-cosmic mysteries remain a dreamland for those who can neither see, nor yet believe that others can.” (SD, vol. I, p. 167)

      And HPB commented :

      “It is to be regretted that few of us have followed the wise advice; and that many a priceless pearl, many a jewel of wisdom, has been cast to an enemy unable to understand its value and who has turned round and rent us.” (ibiden)

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

        Thanks for sharing this quote Ramprakash. Very fitting and wise words.

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

        It is not students of Theosophy that need to convince scholars of comparative religion. It is scholars that need to convince Theosophists. Just as Theosophists may help to free students of the Benjamin Creme writings from their fantasies, so scholars may help to free us students of Theosophy from our fantasies.

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

          I think the work Students of Theosophy have on hand, as traced by the Teachers whom they trust, is not going about convincing people, least of all the community of scholiasts and scholars, nor be looking out for approval of scholars of our aims, purposes and the philosophy, nor try to free fantasies of followers of any school.

          No doubt Theosophical doctrines are no better than will-o’-the-wisp to the wiseacres of academies. Our business is to study, try to apply what we study, and spread broadcast seminal ideas of timeless Wisdom Religion in an impersonal way, and thereby realize as much as possible the true nature of the Self, which gives rise to ever deepening conviction of Universal Brotherhood. It is their conviction that spread of this all-embracing, all-inclusive synthesis of science, religion and philosophy alone is capable of reconciling science and religion, demonstrate the essential unity of all religions, and of Universal Brotherhood, and give the civilization–gloating and wallowing in materialism, as it is–a World Ideal without which, it will putrefy, decay and die, symptoms of which are already too evident.

          Whether students of Theosophy succeed or fail is not their concern. They only collectivley do the best they can, and leave the results to the ever Just Law.

        • Profile photo of barbara
          barbara
          Participant
          Profile photo of barbarabarbara

          Hi David:

          Are there any particular fantasies you have in mind that the scholars can help to free the students of Theosophy? Is it the Book of Dyzan, or the Masters, or Cosmology, or karma and reincarnation, or all the doctrines in general?

          Thank you.

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

          That’s an interesting point you bring up there David and one that is certainly worth of some consideration. I agree to some extent that throwing “the book” at scholars by just parroting theosophical texts or “preaching from the pulpit” isn’t going to get us very far.

          If I’m not mistaken, there were quite a few scholars of different scientific disciplines that were part of HPBs entourage so to speak. Of course, over the last century or so, science has made tremendous progress in many of its disciplines, but one problem that I see is that the abyss between the profane and the actual understanding of the academic has also widened. Many scientific disciplines have become very specialized and what we read in articles from the pen of journalist is often a very much watered down version of the true extent of scientific investigation, and besides, on many topics even scientists seem to disagree, except for the very broad outlines of what we refer to as science, which I think is nowadays a too generalized term anyway. We can’t expect the average student to be acquainted with the specialties in every scientific discipline. On the other hand, perhaps what we are missing in the theosophical realm are students that are “specialized” in specific theosophical disciplines? HPB points out that there are also specialists among adepts, so why not among students of theosophy? The 2nd and 3rd object of the theosophical Movement comes to mind here.

          Would you mind elaborating on “It is scholars that need to convince Theosophists”?, i.e., what is it exactly that we need to listen to? Approaching scholars with an open mind to what they have to say is pretty much a given, unless we can’t get over our preconceived opinions. So perhaps you can give us some pointers as to what particular element students of theosophy have to lend an ear to.

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

          In the arena of overcoming illusion and even fantasies we can use all the help we can get!

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

            My statement was primarily intended to point to an observation I made. I was not able to see any difference between the criteria used by students of Theosophy to determine that the Benjamin Creme material is fantasy, and the criteria used by scholars of comparative religion to determine that Theosophy is fantasy. Theosophists admit that it is possible to receive material from Mahatmas; so that, in itself, does not rule out the validity of the Creme material. Therefore their criteria for the Creme material is to weigh it against the material received by Blavatsky and the Mahatma letters. Since the Creme material does not match the Blavatsky and Mahatma material, it follows that the Creme material must be fantasy. The scholar quoted who critiqued Theosophy used very similar criteria, weighing the Theosophical teachings with the known teachings of India and Tibet. Regarding Blavatsky, he wrote that: “what makes them phonies is their basic attitude of refusal of matching their tenets with those of a genuine tradition.” Since the distinctive Theosophical teachings are not found in the Eastern religions, and further since Tibetans that he contacted in India had never heard of the Mahatmas, it follows that the Theosophical material must be fantasy.

            Now, we may say that Theosophy never claimed to be Buddhism or Hinduism, but rather claimed to make known long hidden teachings. Students of the Creme material can of course say essentially the same thing. The initiate status of the various world teachers is simply not a topic that the Theosophical teachers dealt with in the writings we have from them. The Mahatmas must know much more than the comparatively small sample we have from them in the Theosophical writings. Therefore, giving out previously unknown teachings about the status of teachers is no different than giving out previously unknown Theosophical teachings such as the rounds and root-races. In summary, a Theosophist finding the Creme material to be fantasy is no different than a scholar finding the Theosophical material to be fantasy.

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

              Hear, hear!

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

              I follow what you are saying here David and I makes sense to me. It brings out the question of how human beings validate things. I am sure the criteria we use varies with the individual. I don’t know anything about the Creme material, whatever that might be, I plead ignorance of it. I simply don’t have the time or the interest to look into it. But I am concerned about the Universal Brotherhood idea and believe it to be worthy of supporting and practicing. And to that end I think it is incumbent on all of us to be patient with each other. I also think it requires us to adopt a sense of humor about how differently we see things. It demonstrates how deeply separative consciousness isolates us one from the other. This is the central challenge of the student of the theosophy as I see it. To break out of the isolation requires a herculean effort that only very few are willing to undertake. And Gandhi warned that without the intense effort to engage in moral reform, purification and mental discipline one has no right to speak of an inner voice or contact with a Spiritual Teacher.

              Mark Twain wrote: “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).”

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

              I fully agree with David’s line of thought in the last comment.

              “I neither accept not reject…” – Walt Whitman

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

          re: comment #5478.

          It is not either; scholars don’t need to convince theosophists and theosophists don’t need to convince scholars. The whole premise here is faulty.

          In regards to “scholars”, it may be the case that a small handful of scholars do indeed have their “eyes open”, or that some scholars are indeed “wise men”. But if we take the bulk of scholars, in every field, we’ll quickly see that almost all hold strongly to a very materialistic worldview that, when probed, will be found to be unsupported by any real knowledge. And we can easily call this a “materialistic fantasy”. And this goes even for those scholars who specialize in fields like comparative religion. Most approach it as a kind of intellectual curiosity, and are not there because of a dedicated search for Truth (with a capital T). Their studies reveal time and time again a disinterest in and disbelief in the kinds of mystical experiences that those religions fundamentally teach.

          Take any one of these materialistic scholars and grant them 30 seconds of truly mystical experience, and we’ll see who’s fantasies are left behind in an instant. 😉

          In regards to theosophists, as I’ve said before, most are (like these scholars) operating on the level of blind belief in what others have said, but instead of a “materialistic fantasy” they hold to a “spiritual fantasy” for lack of a better term. But a theosophist who is not operating on that level, who either has some direct experience to base their knowledge on, or who approaches all as “working hypothesis”, such a theosophist is not either in need of convincing or in need of convincing others (and neither would a truly wise scholar).

          So the entire premise is flawed. What is needed is not one blind group trying to convince another, in either direction, but rather for all to stop operating based on blind belief, and for people in general to stop trying to prove to one another that their particular vision of reality at this one little cross-section in universal duration is the true one.

          As to David’s other point (comment #5486), it is but further support that all are operating on blind belief. One basic idea in theosophy is that it is possible for human beings to directly know the truth, further that in the course of evolution some have attained to this ability before the bulk of humanity. Thus, Mahatmas (or arhats or munis or rishis or whatever we wish to call them). How many of us actually know this to be true? We can use it as a working hypothesis, but we are in grave error if we try convincing others of the idea before we ourselves have verified its truth. For scholars, the same can be said in a negative: how many scholars know that mahatmas do not exist? Scholars of eastern religions will absolutely find that the texts they study insist that they do exist, but how many are even willing to accept this as a working hypothesis rather than dismiss it outright? And in this field we have so many scholars going around trying to convince people that so much of these old texts, including the references to mahatmas/arhats/rishis/etc. are just the fictions of adolescent humanity. Neither group is in the right, because neither knows. And so we circle around the drain over and over again. Until people stop operating on blind belief and undertake the mission to discover truth for themselves, instead of convincing others, we’ll be stuck.

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

            “instead of a “materialistic fantasy” they hold to a “spiritual fantasy”” That’s a quoter Jon! 🙂

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

            #5488: “So the entire premise is flawed.” Exactly. It is just as flawed for Theosophists to say that Benjamin Creme’s material is fantasy as it is for scholars of comparative religion to say that Theosophy is fantasy. Or if preferred, it is just as helpful for Theosophists to say that Benjamin Creme’s material is fantasy as it is for scholars of comparative religion to say that Theosophy is fantasy. We may be able to envision a scenario where a student of the Benjamin Creme writings might benefit by hearing from a student of Theosophy that the Creme material is fantasy. We may even be able to envision a scenario where a student of Theosophy might benefit by hearing from a scholar of comparative religion that the Theosophical material is fantasy. Probably, though, students of the Benjamin Creme writings would not like hearing this any more than students of Theosophy would like hearing this. The topic here is brotherhood.

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

          Until a person is enlightened there is some illusion, some fantasy, they are harboring. Universal Brotherhood is a society of enlightened men and women from one point of view.

  • Profile photo of barbara
    barbara
    Participant
    Profile photo of barbarabarbara

    “In summary, a Theosophist finding the Creme material to be fantasy is no different than a scholar finding the Theosophical material to be fantasy.” #5486

    Given the extent of direct experiences we have with any school of thought, we naturally rely on the source we find to be reliable. If we were more evolved, we could ascertain the truth from the false using our inner eye. At present we can only exercise our imperfect faculty of discrimination to distinguish the real from the unreal. We can also learn to apply our “inner touch” to sense the veracity of any teaching by observing its effects. Of course, we may be wrong and make many mistakes, but this is the best we can do right now and is the price we have to pay to sharpen our mind and develop discernment. Children fall many times before they can walk on their own.

    Scholars of comparative religion use historical facts and rely mainly on their eye of intellect to draw conclusion on the authenticity of the teachings. But they are only able to touch the surface and the heart and soul of Theosophy reside in the spiritual planes which academic scholars have no access. Hence, their opinions on the subject of spirituality have very limited value. How can a scholar validate or comprehend the Spiritual Sun, while, to the devoted students of Ageless Wisdom, it is a living Reality for the rays continually nourish their Soul.

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

      “We can also learn to apply our “inner touch” to sense the veracity of any teaching by observing its effects.”
      Nicely put Barbara.

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

      There were skeptics and sophists during Plato’s time, there are more now, perhaps, than then, and they will continue to be even as far as fifth Round. Somewhere HPB says that every Occultist there are nine sophists. It cannot be helped.

      It is also said that skeptics and charlatans are natural shield of protection for Occultists.

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

    Thank you for all the comments fellow students. Since we wandered off the topic a bit here let us take a pause, regroup and we will move on to a different Theosophical Tenet. Please everyone remember we are trying to reach a level of mutual respect and trust for each other that we can disagree, and maybe even argue, but never lose faith in each other’s sincerity. The Dalai Lama is famous for pleading with others to point out his errors. He has no ego to defend apparently. We have had a good discussion here but I believe it is time to move to a new topic in the tenets section. We will begin one tomorrow.

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

    So, while we are patiently awaiting the new topic in the tenets section, promised by Gerry, I thought it might be timely to introduce this verse from Isa Upanishad, which, I believe, perfectly expresses the approach to Universal Brotherhood:

    He who systematically sees everything in relation to the Atman, and sees the Atman in every living being, does not hate anyone. (Isa Upanishad, 6)

    Or, an alternative translation:

    Who sees everything in his Atman and his Atman in everything, by that he feels no revulsion.

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

      How can one explain this to someone who doesn’t seem to understand it? Is such explanation even possible?

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

        No more than you can make one enjoy and appreciate music who has no ear for music.

  • Profile photo of Shen Rampersaud
    Shen Rampersaud
    Participant
    Profile photo of Shen RampersaudShen Rampersaud

    “Live with each other as brothers; for the misery and the trouble of the world are of more importance than all the scientific progress that may be imagined.”

    In response to this point, I question (rhetorically) why our priorities are collectively skewed to value progress over brotherhood. When did we conclude that we can only have one and not the other?

    Innovation will better lives to the extent that universal brotherhood is imbued in the effort. It is the core intention and fuel that allows scientific progress to be applied altruistically.

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