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THEOSOPHY WORLD -------------------------------------- July, 1998
An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World
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(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)
"Dialectic in THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE" by Paul Johnson
"The Otherworlds" by Annette Rivington
"Regarding the Devas" by Eldon Tucker
"Upcoming Conference on Future Work For Theosophy"
"An Example of Brotherhood" by Alan Bain
"Dear Friend" by Laura
"Psychic Powers and 'The Mind's Eye'" by Eldon Tucker
"Our Directives" by Grace F. Knoche
"Higher Knowledge is Real and Not Elitist" by Eldon Tucker
"Blavatsky.Net Update" by Reed Carson
"Siddhis in the Context of Service" by Murray Stentiford
"No More Priests" by Walt Whitman
"Dear Associates" by the United Lodge of Theosophists
"Comments on the Masters" by Eldon Tucker
"Evil is the Absence of Virtue" by Greg Westlake
I think it a dangerous matter ... to stress the idea -- that the
Teachers of Wisdom and of Compassion and of Peace sent forth
their Messengers to meddle in the political turmoil of any age,
or to be involved in directing fevered human passions of
disagreement into channels even possibly leading to human
bloodshed, ... The Teachers guide humanity spiritually and
intellectually ... the Masters are not instigators of strife or
of human trouble ... it is their sublime duty to restore peace
and harmony and brotherly love. Should such Exalted Individuals
ever concern themselves with the political turmoil of any age,
they do so only as Peace-makers.
-- G. de Purucker, STUDIES IN OCCULT PHILOSOPHY, 29
DIALECTIC IN 'THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE'
by Paul Johnson
[based upon email@example.com postings from November 1 to 9,
The Book of the Golden Precepts is the alleged source of THE
VOICE OF THE SILENCE. No one has identified this with any Asian
text. Yet the internal evidence in the Voice is sufficient to
persuade knowledgeable readers that it is derived from genuine
The first fragment of the Voice is much more Hindu in content
than the other two, and parallels the Sant Mat literature which
is continued by the contemporary Radhasoami movement. The gist
of the Radhasoami message is that our true home is Sachchand, a
spiritual realm beyond the physical, astral, and mental worlds.
We can only return to this home through spiritual practices
involving three stages. Nam is repetition of divine names while
centered in the third eye. Bhajan is hearing the Sound Current
which we can follow through all the realms back to Sachchand.
Dhyan is envisioning the form of the guru, whom we can meet in
the inner planes and who will guide us back.
All this has interesting corollaries to the Voice; the spiritual
sounds HPB says one can hear are identical to those taught by
Radhasoami gurus. The Mahatma letters discuss one in the
lineage, Rai Saligram, and encourage Sinnett to join his group:
"no harm and much instruction" can come of it according to KH.
Ultimately, however, the Voice has a much more balanced and
life-affirming message than the Radhasoami movement. In
Radhasoami, soul travel is concerned with escaping the physical,
astral and mental planes because they are seen as contemptible in
comparison to the spiritual realms. The practices promise to
enable us to get out of the cycle of incarnation immediately,
without concern for everyone else.
The first fragment in THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE has very much the
same attitude toward the physical, astral, emotional, mental
aspects of ourselves -- outright rejection. "Let the disciple
slay the slayer." BUT this is only the first act in a three-act
play. In the next two fragments the tone changes entirely, even
reverses itself, and by the end we have an endorsement of full
engagement with life and service to others. Perhaps it would be
helpful to look at the first fragment as thesis, the second as
antithesis, and the third as synthesis.
Parallels to the Radhasoami (RS) literature in the first fragment
are many. The spiritual sounds heard on the inner planes
according to the Voice are identical to those taught in RS
initiation, and the RS practice of concentration at the brow
chakra to reach the inner Master and details like blocking the
ears and closing the eyes during meditation are also parallel.
This doesn't necessarily imply direct influence; as historian
Mark Juergensmeyer notes, the parallels may derive from common
sources in earlier Sant Mat teachings and practices. But while
the first fragment is all about the need to become free from
worldly attachments to reach the inner Master and hear the
spiritual sounds, the second fragment is all about how this is a
means and not an end. The goal is bringing whatever we gain from
the meditation back down into the "real" world. I would say that
the Voice is at a higher moral point of view than what I have
seen in RS lit because of this emphasis.
One thing that is especially striking is the distinction between
the "eye" and "heart" doctrines according to the Voice. This is
not merely symbolic, but has a literal aspect. The RS practices
focus exclusively on the Tilsa Til, or Third Eye, or Brow Chakra.
The Voice prescribes concentrating at both this center and in the
heart center. Thus the "eye doctrine" is implicit in any path
that restricts its meditative focus to that one center, which
inevitably draws us inward and upward to spiritual realms. But
only by bringing energy back down into the heart center can we
benefit others practically from our meditative experience. And
thus the "heart doctrine" is about bridging the spiritual and
material worlds through the middle principle, kama, or love.
Reviewing of the Voice in light of the intuition that the three
fragments present a thesis, antithesis and synthesis:
Fragment 1 is emphatic about the need for detachment and
withdrawal from everything worldly -- the world of people, places
and things -- in order to be united with a reality that
transcends and subsists appearances.
Fragment 2 is even more emphatic in endorsing the Bodhisattva vow
to reject nirvana in order to spend vast eons helping all
sentient beings attain enlightenment. It is all about engagement
as opposed to withdrawal. This is a marked shift of emphasis
from world-denial to world-affirmation. (Substitute "life" for
"world" for a perhaps better rendition of the meaning.)
Fragment 3 really does, it seems to me, reconcile these two
emphases through a third -- the practice of the paramitas.
The first three paramitas, dana, shila, and kshanti, are
collectively a summation of our responsibilities to others. To
love unconditionally, to act honorably, to be eternally patient
But the final four paramitas, viraga, virya, dhyana and prajna,
are all individual virtues oriented away from "life" and towards
nirvana. (Detachment, vigor in truth seeking, contemplation and
wisdom are rough translations for those unfamiliar with the
Rather than being rungs on a ladder (despite HPB's imagery) I
think a cyclical view is more appropriate, since the essence of
prajna -- clearsightedness, freedom from personal motive, leading
to right action without any "static" from the lower self -- will
lead us right back to dana. That is, s/he who attains the higher
paramitas is even more responsible than the rest of us for
manifesting the lower ones as well.
by Annette Rivington
[based upon a June 28, 1998 posting to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
There are three "worlds": Under, Middle, and Upper, in total,
Otherworlds. I probably have a subconscious problem with the
term Underworld resulting from childhood education in Greek
mythology and from experiencing childhood "trips" to such and
being "disciplined" for doing so. (From a parent: "Where the
hell have you been again, do you realize what the time is?")
Perhaps you know of the hundreds of Otherworlds. I stated them
in the three main realms, and I am borrowing my terminology from
Celtic Shamanism. However, one could use the more recent and
more complex Theosophical terminology to express:
Underworld: A state/plane/place in which beings connected with
the Earth Mother exist. Power animals, Fairies, dragons and such
"mythological creatures", who represent and provide knowledge
concerning birth, rebirth, awakening, life-understanding. May be
entered through a door in the tree of life (if you're a Kelti) or
counterclockwise movement (if you're a whirling dervish-type) or
simply connecting with the axis mundi. Often path trod with a
feeling of descending into the bowels of the earth. Place to go
to bring back a lost soul or to identify a dis-ease or to fight a
possession, or simply to travel and receive understanding on
physical life in the scheme of things.
Middleworld: The plane(s) closest to physical life in which
spirits of those passed over and the spirit of our current selves
may be met. The "training ground" for humans. Normally entered
by what most call "meditation" and expressed in earth terms as
"time travel". Place to go to gain direct knowledge of earth
events in other times, experience consciousness raising, get
messages from Guides, and dead humans not passed on to the higher
Upperworld: Reached by taking the climb up the tree of life or
the sacred mountain (Mount Meru for instance) or the silver
spiral, to the infiniteness of the cosmos. Place to meet
immortal beings, deities, Masters. Normally envisioned by
clockwise rotation upwards, or leaving the body, or transforming
into pure energy. Usually have to be "invited" in/out further
here and could be invited to "drink of the sacred chalice of
life". The "end of the line" either temporarily before
reincarnation (rebirth) or forever. The crossroads of all
worlds, the place where creation waits to create.
Important for traveling: the straight, strong, true staff
symbolizing the axis mundi. I find this staff thing interesting
as when Merlin whirls, my staff can be different lengths
depending on my state of mind/emotions, but never taller than
myself and is gnarled half way down in clockwise turns! This
shows my self-imposed limitations!
In the Underworld, I usually find myself walking the path back
surrounded by many animals and glimpsing lots of faerie-like
beings hiding in the flora, with my hand resting on the back of a
powerful lion/panther being, chatting about stuff and feeling
In the Upperworld which I have to reach by breathing very little,
I am either crystal or plasma, and I simply don't want to come
back at all.
In the Middleworld, which I used to be only able to reach by
physically being at a strong energy center (like Stonehenge), I
have never gone forward, always back, which was my reason for
that comment to you about having coffee some tens of thousands of
REGARDING THE DEVAS
by Eldon Tucker
[based upon a December 31, 1994 posting to email@example.com.]
There are a number of books published by the Adyar Theosophical
Society on Devas, angels, fairies, nature spirits, and similar
beings. Some books contain detailed color paintings, depicting
them. How do they fit in the theosophical scheme of things?
The term "deva" is Sanskrit, and means god. The script that
Sanskrit is written in, for instance, is devanagri, the language
of the gods. Devas are associated with the powers inherent in
In Theosophy, there is no such thing as inert matter, or as blind
force. Everything is alive, all action is the result of living
beings. Even the forces of mother nature, that shape and fashion
the sea, land, and sky, are the product of lives. We see about
us the results of both visible and invisible beings, all playing
their part in the drama of life.
Living beings are grouped into major classes called the Kingdoms.
We give the Kingdoms names based upon what we know of them here,
on our physical earth. On other planes (on the other globes of
our planetary chain) they may appear quite different.
The Kingdoms with visible bodies on our earth are the Mineral,
the Plant, the Animal, and the Human. Higher than the Human, but
no longer visible, are the three Kingdoms of the Dhyani-Chohans.
At the other end of the evolutionary scale, lower than the
Mineral, are the three Kingdoms of the Elementals, also invisible
on our world except for their effects.
(It should be noted that the Kingdoms contain Monads, eternal
Spirits, in a certain stage of spiritual evolution. The Kingdoms
are not the forms or bodies that their members inhabit. A
Mineral Monad, for instance, is a Monad undergoing a certain
stage of growth, and is not limited or defined by a crystal, a
pocket of limestone, or some other collection of material
substance. Mineral Monads are at the first stage of physical
representation, and may have difficulty maintaining a
well-defined physical form.)
Some theosophical writers have suggested, mistakenly, that there
is a dual track to evolution. They describe an alternate
evolutionary path that bypasses physical existence and where
Monads go through a Deva Kingdom instead of the Human Kingdom.
Every Monad needs to evolve through the Human Kingdom. The
progression through the Kingdoms represents a progressive
unfolding of self-conscious faculties, and there is not a single
step that can be bypassed, missed, or taken out of order.
What, then, are the Devas? While a few references to Devas in
Eastern literature may mean the Dhyani- Chohans, most often we
mean the Elementals, we mean Monads in the Elemental Kingdoms.
The Devas are pre-physical. They look down upon the world from a
higher vantage point. They act as guardians. Their action of
conscious observation creates the physical, material basis of our
world. The Devas or Elementals create the substance side of
nature. They have no shape or form of their own, but copy and
borrow forms; they are apprentices to having forms to represent
themselves. Even the Mineral Kingdom needs their will to exist,
their desire or drive towards physicality, in order to take on
forms and lead an embodied existence.
Each Kingdom draws upon the lower ones for its upadhi or basis of
existence. Consider the Human Kingdom. The thing that
distinguishes us from the animals is the human Ego or
consciousness. Both we and the animals have an animal nature and
consciousness. The animals are lacking a human Ego; they are
Animal Monads in the Animal Kingdom. To get into the Human
Kingdom they need an association with a Human Monad. With such
an association, they are Animal Monads in the Human Kingdom, and
at the end of the current cycle of evolution (Planetary
Manvantara) they will graduate into Human Monads. Each of us has
an animal nature, which is really an Animal Monad which we use as
the vehicle for our human consciousness; were we not in
association with them, our animal natures would be Animal Monads
in the Animal Kingdom.
At some distant time in the future, we will be enfilled with
gods. Each of us with be in relationship with his inner
divinity. At that time, we will be Human Monads in a
Looking back in time, materiality arose out of the Elemental
Kingdoms. The matter or substance of our world arose as
Elementals in the Mineral Kingdom. And there are Elementals in
the Plant, Animal, and Human Kingdoms as well. For us, as
humans, how do we relate to the Elementals?
They are involved with the basis for material existence. The
Elementals create the dynamic tension that allows for the
separation of spirit and matter. They give expression to the
contents of our consciousness.
The highest Elementals or Devas are grandly wise, being of the
nature of pure spirit. The intermediary are of a nature that we
can understand and relate to. The lowest are hostile and an evil
influence on us, being of the nature of the most gross of matter,
the dregs of material existence.
Devas are not created at some point of time. They are Monads
that happen to be in the Elemental Kingdoms. As Monads, they are
eternal, which means not only endless, but also beginningless as
well. Consider an Elemental of thought. When we create a new
thought, and fashion it out of the generic "thought substance",
we have created a thought-form. That form provides the "body"
for a manasic Elemental, for an Elemental associated with Manas.
The Elemental was not created out of nothing at that point; it
The Devas populate all the elements of nature, on all the
different planes. They help provide the basis for the physical
world. And they animate, they give life and motion to images in
the astral light as well. When we speak of an occultist as
gaining power over the forces of nature, we refer to his invoking
and controlling great Elementals, Elementals of tremendous power.
It's important to mention that when we consider the big picture
of life, the grand sweep of evolution, we are not necessarily
"higher" than the Elementals. So when we speak of the Devas as
being the same as the Elementals, we have not necessarily demoted
them to a lower place in the scheme of things.
Spiritual evolution is cyclic. There are big cycles, and yet
bigger ones. The entire evolution of the Monad into matter and
back to spirit, through the Kingdoms from the lowest Elemental to
the highest Dhyani-Chohan, is a cycle of evolution. Each step
along the way is measured by a Planetary Manvantara. Each such
step fills a time period of one Day of Brahma. The entire sweep
of evolution depicted, then, is a week, or ten days in Brahma's
life. But there are 36,000 days in the Life of Brahma. There
certainly are not 36,000 Kingdoms to evolve through! It is clear
that we cycle through the Kingdoms, again and again, and learn
something more with each such dip into matter.
From the standpoint of our repeated evolution into matter, it is
arrogant to feel superior to the Elementals or Devas. Certain
Elemental Monads may be far older, far wiser, far more evolved
than we are, having had many more evolutions into matter than we
have had! Picture a young boy, a recent rebirth of a old, wise
soul, someone of high spiritual evolution. Compare him to an old
but foolish man, someone not so evolved. The boy is physically
younger, but in his inner nature he is far wiser, far older, far
more evolved. The same may be true of some Monads in lower
Kingdoms of Nature. They may be far wiser, far older, far more
evolved than most. Who is to say?
All our fellow Monads, of whatever Kingdom, deserve our respect
and appreciation. We are coplayers in the eternal game of
existence. Let's appreciate all our fellow players.
UPCOMING CONFERENCE ON FUTURE WORK FOR THEOSOPHY
All students of Theosophy are invited to a gathering on August 7,
8, and 9, 1998 in Brookings, and nearby at Smith River. (The
location is or the border of California and Oregon on the Pacific
The gathering is hosted by the Brookings Study Group [ULT]; 16209
W. Hoeffeldt #C; Brookings OR 97415. The group can be reached
at 541-469-1825 or 707-487-3063.
Friday August 7, a potluck buffet will be held at 14390 Ocean
View Drive, Smith River, California. Then from 7:30 to 9:30 PM,
at the Brookings Beachfront Inn's Conference Room, a panel
discussion will be held, with all invited to participate. The
topic is "The Three Objects of the Theosophical Movement set
forth by Mme. Blavatsky in THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY."
On Saturday, there will be a brunch at the same address, to be
followed by an informal discussion and exchange of ideas on
theosophical topics with special emphasis on the present and
future work for Theosophy.
Reservations should be made early. There are many local hotels
and inns. There's also RV accommodations at Harris Beach State
AN EXAMPLE OF BROTHERHOOD
by Alan Bain
Way back in 1957-59, I began a small group (about 30 people max)
with a view to studying, investigating, and practicing the occult
virtues, mainly by way of Kabbalah, or Qabalah as we called it
then, this being by that time my specialist area (which it still
is). We called it simply, "The Group." I am sure some of you
have been there!
Students had two mandatory books to *purchase* and *study*. This
was to ensure that only serious students came in, as no fees were
charged. The two books were, THE MYSTICAL QABALAH by Dion
Fortune, and FIRST PRINCIPLES OF THEOSOPHY by C. Jinarajadasa.
They all dreaded the latter owing to its complexity (!) but did
as they were asked. The reason was simply that without an
understanding of the standard theosophical ideas of the time,
students would never properly grasp the later intricacies of
Kabbalah, nor would they be able to use it to the full,
especially in its ability to act as a means of comparing
different "occult" systems. Comparative theosophy if you like.
Above all things, however, we held what theosophy calls the first
object as the most important. Having a Christian bias at that
time, this was expressed as "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as
thyself" - also, of course, an antecedent law of Judaism. On the
practical level of group working, we all tried to apply this to
the best of our ability in our daily lives, for without doing
this, the entire study was pointless.
One day one of the group members discharged herself from hospital
very shortly after having given birth to her second child -- she
still had stitches in. Her husband had been arrested and charged
with defrauding the Post Office (which he had done and went to
jail for). She wanted to do her utmost to help him by raising
bail from her family (which she did, but he didn't accept).
We would often congregate in an inexpensive London restaurant,
and so this was her first port of call. One member was in there,
a young man -- we were all so young! -- and she, having nowhere
to stay for the night, and no money to speak of, asked him for
help. Without hesitation, having heard her tale, he have her the
key to his one-room apartment and six shillings for a taxi and
Unbeknown to her, it was his last six shillings, and he had
nowhere else to stay for the night. Later, some of the other
members found him sitting in the restaurant, and made sure he had
enough to eat, and money to keep himself going. Sadly, no one
available at the time was in a position to put him up, and he
slept on the streets for three nights, by which time the young
woman in question had been able to make arrangements.
As he saw it, her needs were greater than his, so he applied the
rule, and those who found him later did the same.
Now, in 1998, she is dead, but her two daughters are still alive
with children of their own, and I speak to them often. Sometimes
they come to stay, and there is a great bond between us.
That, theosophists of all colors, is what we called "brotherhood"
and still do. Quite a few of the members of that long-ago group
are now either dead, or have moved on without trace. The few of
us that are still in touch would, if called, respond at the drop
of a hat, as they say, and over the years, this has happened more
[The following letter was written four months ago by a Russian
woman, Laura, a recent emigrant to America. The letter was
written to a friend back in Russia, regarding a mutual friend
that had recently died. The letter was provided by Dallas
TenBroeck, with the author's permission.]
I received your greeting card for my birthday. Thank you for the
memory and for sharing with me you view on problems of life in
Russia, and for asking questions. I'm going to answer them at
the best of my ability.
You ask me how I can cope with the death of your (and my) best
friend. Three years ago I was not able to console you with
anything valuable. It seems to me that today I have something
valuable to say.
Two and a half years ago my American friend asked me to attend a
meeting of one of many small groups of people getting together to
study Theosophy. Theosophy gives its students a clear exposition
on ethics, science and philosophy.
At first it was hard for me to follow the discussions and
understand them, because of my English. And the subject was
itself too lofty, but I knew on the spot that it would be a part
of my life from now on. I knew that I'll get the answers on many
questions, which I wanted to be answered since the days of my
youth: Who am I? What am I doing in this world? Why it happens to
me, to my friends? What is death? What is intuition? What is
The following is an attempt to share with you my understanding of
some theosophical ideas.
I always wanted to know why Americans say that they are free
I understand what is freedom of religious beliefs, political
freedom, social freedom. But personal freedom is something
completely different because nobody gives it to you but yourself.
We are all slaves of ourselves because we live in fear to loose
what we have, or, not to get what we want. This is true for
people who are rich and who are poor, for a prince and for a
beggar, for Americans and for Russians. Freedom is a light at
the end of the tunnel -- we all follow through with a speed
programmed by evolution.
Where are we coming from? From the Beginning, where once we were
together and we would be together again, when, finally we finish
our journey. How can we describe something which is The
Beginning and the End of Everything at the same time? It is an
"Absolute" principle which has no attributes, because IT is
beyond duality, beyond human comprehension. But Everything
emanates from IT. How? I have to use metaphors in order to bring
this subject to the level of human consciousness.
How does our day start? We are waking up. Where are we? We don't
know. Our brain wasn't functioning during the night sleep, our
consciousness was in the other reality. We remember nothing, it
seems we were nowhere, particularly during our dreamless sleep.
what happens then? An unconscious desire to be awake grows within
us. The desire expresses itself in a first "conscious" breath.
A first thought and a first movement comes with it. It is very
conventional to use these images to substitute what we call
primordial matter in Theosophy.
Our planet as well as a million of other planets and stars began
from IT. By millions and millions of years of evolution human
"monads" have developed as a gaseous substance first, then as the
mineral kingdom, then as the vegetable kingdom, and finally
became the animal kingdom. The animal has consciousness which
express itself in the form of instincts. The evolution has
continued its work, and the history of Humanity did begin only
when the humanlike body was enlightened with self-conscious mind.
As a train goes smoothly and fast on the rails of very well
maintained track, so do we follow our way because Karma takes
care of everything. Karma is The Law of Nature, the Law of
action and reaction, the law of absolute justice and balance, the
law which most of us know as "what you sow you will reap." There
is personal Karma, family Karma, community Karma, and so on.
There are no doubts that in this world everyone and everything
follows the same cycle: birth, growth, bloom, fruit-bearing,
aging, death. Our Earth also goes through the same process.
What happens when matter dissolves? It turns into different
elements. We know that nothing appears or disappears without
leaving a trace. So what happen with our individuality? It is in
our genes say materialists. We get it from the previous
generations and it goes to the next ones. Suppose there is no
next generation, then what?
We commit the crimes or sow love and good. As a result,
religious believers say, we go to hell or heaven. No, contradict
the materialists, we die gaining nothing and losing nothing. A
coat is worn, we throw it away. Where is the one who wore it?
Theosophy states that our body dissolves, but our wandering soul
is eternal. Our soul reincarnates in another body and
experiences next life, as it did million and million times before
and will do after.
Talking about Karma and Reincarnation, H. P. Blavatsky, famous
Russian theosophist, wrote in THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY:
> We can only perceive that if with us things ought to have been
> different, they would have been different; that we are what we
> have made ourselves, and have only what we have earned for
> ourselves ... Belief in Karma is the highest reason for
> reconcilement to one's lot in life, and the very strongest
> incentive towards effort to better the succeeding re-birth.
> Both of these, indeed, would be destroyed if we supposed that
> our lot was the result of anything but strict Law, or that
> destiny was in any other hands than our own.
Yes, Karma takes into account all our deeds and thoughts, but
only spiritual experience help us to progress, to make one more
step towards freedom. We have to live spiritual life while we
are here, on Earth. And spiritual life is the "LIFE OF
I want to share with you how studying Theosophy affected my life.
The first: One day I discovered that the surrounding world and
myself have changed in proportions and in meaning. My self
became smaller and less significant. The Nature which previously
existed only as a background, providing pleasures or
es of life, turned into a dear, lifetime companion, a friend.
The second: I know theoretically what the "Great Master" [ the
Buddha] has said:
"Let a man overcome wrath by absence of anger, let him overcome
evil by good. Let him overcome the miser by generosity and the
liar by truth." So I stopped retaliating and justifying my self
-- this is the first small step in this direction.
The third: At the end of the day when I get in bed I have no
trouble falling asleep any more, because I know now how to span a
gentle bridge between two states of my consciousness.
Be well and best regards to everybody.
PSYCHIC POWERS AND 'THE MIND'S EYE'
by Eldon Tucker
[based upon a December 31, 1994 posting to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
We are told, as beginners on the Path, to shut down the psychic
and instead develop "the mind's eye." What does this mean? How do
we practice this in our lives?
First we need to define the term "psychic." Like many terms, it
can mean different things to different people. "Psychic" refers
to extensions of the physical senses, to extra-sensory
perception, to seeing and interacting with physical things from
afar, or with things in the astral light or other planes of
existence. In terms of our seven principles or basic ingredients
of consciousness, it refers to an extension of the sixth
principle, of the astral or Linga-Sharira. It does not refer to
the power to make things happen (Prana), to fashion things
(Kama), to understand (Manas), to relate to (Buddhi), or to exist
(Atma). This basic ingredient of consciousness, that of sense
perception, is essential to participating in the activities of
life on any plane of existence; it is essential to being a
fully-manifest being on a particular plane.
Consider Zen Buddhism. In Zazen, we practice alertness,
mindfulness, a dynamic type of consciousness. This is the
opposite of the passivity necessary for psychic development.
Meditation is done with the eyes open, where the outer world is
taken into the practice. We are aware of what is happening about
us, but do not pay it lasting, persistent attention; someone
shouts, we hear it, then we let go and it is forgotten.
Psychic impressions are not cultivated, they are ignored. If
they intrude upon meditation, they are ignored like an unwelcome
guest at the door. No special attention is given them; nothing
is done to exercise, develop, or encourage their appearance in
our lives. We are at a far deeper, a far more serious task, but
not something somber, serious, and heavy-hearted. The approach
to the spiritual is dynamic, inspired, with a sense of wonder and
magic that we once felt as little children, and profoundly
The training is to focus our full consciousness upon our
experience of life here on this world, on physical plane Globe-D
existence. We practice the awakening of our higher faculties *of
consciousness* through our existing personal self. The goal is
to unify our spiritual natures with the outer selves, to bring to
consciousness and give self-expression to the deeper aspects of
ourselves. This is the opposite of seeking the ability to
disconnect from outer life, practicing tuning out the world,
deadening reaction to others, going into trances, and trying to
astral project or get out of the Globe-D self.
We learn to shut down the senses, or rather to quiet them, but
not totally shut them off. They are intrinsically mayavic,
delusive, misleading, and we must disassociate from them, but at
the same time put them under our control. This control comes
from being seated in our spiritual-intellectual nature, with it
connected to and expressive through the senses. The lack of a
controlling connection between the inner and outer man is what we
try to overcome. We work to unify the higher faculties with the
waking consciousness, rather than escape the outer world to
Say we have some psychic faculties, some paranormal senses or
experiences. What should we do about them? The general rule,
which is what the theosophical answer to the question would be
is: downgrade the importance of them in our lives, come to feel
them as unimportant and remove any sense of ego-gratification
from having and using them, and even do things to grossen our
physical nature if they play too dominate a role in our lives.
To downplay the role of psychic abilities in our lives, we can
avoid activities or practices that cultivate them. Passivity of
mind should be avoided. If we have extremely intrusive psychic
experiences, we might need to do things like eat meat, if we're
vegetarians, to grossen our physical natures, and to
intentionally not remember dreams.
Granted, there are special karmic circumstances where a few
individuals may have psychic abilities that need to be put to use
in their lives, but these are exceptions to the general rule and
not what is good for people in general.
The senses that we have are different that in the distant past.
And they will change in the future. What senses we have is a
part of the evolutionary setup of life in the Human Kingdom, and
what we have now is what is appropriate to our human experience
at this time. Other senses, or extensions of the existing senses
are dormant at this time.
The search for the spiritual is really in a different direction
than the psychic. There is an entirely different set of
experiences awaiting us in life, completely independent of things
like reading auras, seeing thought-forms, or astral projection.
The barriers we naturally find in our personality to psychic
senses are part of the Guardian Wall, a protective barrier put up
for us to foster our spiritual evolution. Like an infant in a
playpen, wanting to get out, we may not always understand that
it's for our own good!
Our senses are basically reined in to the physical world so that
we won't be preoccupied with them, but devote our energies to
developing wisdom, compassion, insight, and even higher aspects
of our natures. Extension of our senses beyond the physical
world do not bring us higher consciousness.
A dog, if able to see things in the astral light, is no closer to
understanding calculus, to having a developed Manas. We are
after the development of higher faculties of experiencing life.
There is an element of escapism in the desire to go to other
planes. It is the same as in the science fiction literature. In
science fiction, we want to go to other worlds with bigger and
more powerful spaceships. Somehow, the going to these other
places make us more "evolved". In the metaphysical realm, the
same escapism is found in the desire to go to other planes, with
bigger and stronger magical powers. But this does not make us
any more evolved; we are still the same people, with the same
limited ability to experience life, just doing different things
than before. What we need is an inner transformation to make us
Sense perceptions are different than the higher faculties; they
are different than wisdom or knowing things. We seek to *really*
learn from our Inner Teachers, to awaken the "mind's eye." What
is it? It is a poetic metaphor for the ability to know that
corresponds to the sense of sight, as opposed to the normal
learning by what would correspond to a sense of touch. We can
have a different kind of "personal experience," wherein we learn
by experience things by gazing upon them from afar, rather than
by going to them and "touching" them in some outward situation.
Just as there are faculties of consciousness that sets us apart
from the animals, there are yet others that set the gods apart
from us. These faculties have nothing to do with what you can
see, touch, taste, hear, or smell; they are entirely different
ways of experiencing things. Just as an animal might not
appreciate the complex, subtle distinctions in an intellectual
debate, we might not appreciate the complex, subtle distinctions
in terms of some yet unawakened faculties within us.
The whole approach to the spiritual, then, is *to look for
something different within*. It is not bigger or better of what
we already are, although that too is important. It is rather the
discovery of the truly unknown and the making it a living part of
by Grace F. Knoche
[from THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, October, 1947, reprinted December
22, 1994 on email@example.com by Alan Donant.]
A STUDY OF THE EVOLUTION OF THE "OBJECTS OF THE T.S." -- FROM
1875 TO 1891
INSPIRED by the conviction that the Theosophical Society was the
inevitable outgrowth of the spiritual demands of the century, its
Founders valiantly strove, without concealment or equivocation,
to "arrest the attention of the highest minds" in all fields of
thought: science, philosophy, religion, literature, psychical and
spiritualistic research, as well as Oriental philosophy.
Starting with one broadly inclusive purpose, the infant society
The objects of the society are, to collect and diffuse a
knowledge of the laws which govern the universe.1
Within two years, H. P. Blavatsky had published Isis Unveiled,
startling the Western world with its "striking peculiarities, its
audacity, its versatility, and the prodigious variety of subjects
which it notices and handles," as the New York Herald aptly
commented in 1877, further describing it as "one of the
remarkable productions of the century."
By the winter of 1878 a sufficiently wide crack in the moldy
materialism of religious and scientific thought had been rent by
the Theosophical Society (not least of which was due to the
widespread acclaim of Isis) to enable the work in America to be
left under the protective care of William Q. Judge, then Counsel
to the Society, and soon to be elected Secretary of the Western
Division, with General Abner W. Doubleday being appointed
"President ad interim."
En route to India, H. P. B. and Colonel Olcott stopped in
London to visit the British Theosophical Society (later the
London Lodge), which included C. C. Massey, Rev. Stainton
Moses, and the eminent biologist Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace,
arriving in Bombay on February 16, 1879. Despite unprecedented
opposition from both governmental and missionary fronts,
President Olcott delivered a public address on March 23, at the
Frarnji Cowasji Hall, Bombay, "before a large and enthusiastic
audience which thronged the spacious Hall," the occasion marking
also a reorganization of the Society's officers with new By-laws
(or Constitution), the original one-inclusive objective being
amplified under Section viii into seven "plans" as follows:
(a) -- To keep alive in man his belief that he has a soul, and the
Universe a God.
(b) -- To oppose and counteract bigotry in every form, whether as an
intolerant religious sectarianism or belief in miracles or anything
(c) -- To gather for the Society's library and put into written
form correct information upon the various ancient philosophies,
traditions, and legends, and, as the Council shall decide it
permissible, disseminate the same in such practicable ways as the
translation and publication of original works of value, and
extracts from and commentaries upon the same, or the oral
instructions of persons learned in their respective departments.
(d) -- To seek to obtain knowledge of all the laws of Nature, and
aid in diffusing it, thus to encourage the study of those laws
least understood by modern people, and so termed the Occult
Sciences. Popular superstition and folk-lore, however
fantastical, when sifted may lead to the discovery of long lost
but important secrets of Nature. The Society, therefore, aims
to pursue this line of inquiry in the hope to widen the field of
scientific and philosophical observation.
(e) -- To promote a feeling of brotherhood among nations; and
assist in the international exchange of useful arts and products,
by advice, information, and co-operation with all worthy
individuals and associations; provided, however, that no benefit
or percentage shall be taken by the Society for its corporate
(f) -- To promote in every practicable way, in countries where
needed, the spread of non-sectarian Western education.
(g) -- Finally, and chiefly, to encourage and assist individual
Fellows in self-improvement, intellectual, moral and spiritual.2
The official title of the Society was here, apparently for the
first time, announced as "The Theosophical Society or *Universal
Brotherhood*" (*italics* ours), the fourth Rule or By-law
itself opening with the words: "The Society being a Universal
Brotherhood . . ." -- eloquent testimony that at last the
original plan as conceived by Masters (vide Mahatma Letters, pp.
9, 17, 23-4, 252) could be publicly set forth as our basic
spiritual directive for the next hundred-year cycle.
On December 17, 1879, at the palace of H. H. the Maharajah of
Vizianagram, Benares, the General Council of the Society met to
revise again its By-laws, which after ratification at Bombay on
February 26 and 28, 1880, were circulated among the now rapidly
spreading T. S., whose centers ranged from Paris to Egypt,
Budapest to Ceylon, Odessa, Corfu and Manila to London and the U.
S. A. -- to say nothing of active branches in several parts of
India. Here again we note the pointing up of the Brotherhood
idea, Rule I now setting the keynote: "The Theosophical Society
is formed upon the basis of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity."
The alterations adopted in the seven "plans" were slight, but not
unimportant: (a) and (b) -- changes or additions indicated by
(a) -- "To keep alive in man *his spiritual intuitions.*" (b) -- "To
oppose and counteract -- *after due investigation and proof of its
irrational nature* -- bigotry in every form," (continue as before).
Though unaltered in wording, the reversal in order of plans (c)
and (e) placing (e) third, gives a subtle but persistent emphasis
on the directive of promoting "a feeling of brotherhood among
nations." (d) and (f) remain; while (g) receives stress by
(g) -- Finally, and chiefly, to encourage and assist individual
Fellows in self-improvement, intellectual, moral, and spiritual.
But no Fellow shall put to his selfish use any knowledge
communicated to him by any member of the First Section; violation
of this rule being punished by expulsion. And, before any such
knowledge can be imparted, the person shall bind himself by a
solemn oath not to use it to selfish purposes, nor to reveal it,
except with the permission of the teacher.3
At this period Active Fellows of the T. S. were considered as
falling into three natural divisions, though no formalized
classification was publicly set forth until the opening meeting
at Bombay, or March 23, 1879.4
The General Council met again in February, 1881, and again
revamped the Rules of the Society, this time the seven "plans"
being condensed into four:
First -- To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of
Humanity, the obvious philanthropic value of which must be beyond
dispute, while the esoteric significance of a union formed on
that plan, is conceived by the Founders, for reasons derived from
a study of Oriental Philosophy, to be of great importance.
Second -- To study Aryan literature, religion and science, which
the Founders believe to contain certain valuable truths and
philosophical views, of which the Western world knows nothing.
Third -- To vindicate the importance of this inquiry and correct
misrepresentations with which it has been clouded.
Fourth -- To explore the hidden mysteries of Nature, and the latent
powers of Man, on which the Founders believe that Oriental Philosophy
is in a position to throw light.5
It is of significant interest to note that the Three Sections
into which Active Fellows of the T. S. are divided is mentioned
here again in the Rules, but this time casually, Rule X stating
that the "administration of the two superior Sections need not
be dealt with at present in a code of rules laid before the
public" -- this withdrawal from public notice presaging the
establishment seven years later of a formal Esoteric Section in
October, 1888. In succeeding By-laws reference to the higher
Sections is entirely omitted. The final streamlining into the
THREE OBJECTS used subsequently by the T. S. (with minor
alterations) took place at the sixth anniversary nominally
scheduled for November 17, 1881, but due to the extensive travels
in India of the Founders not celebrated until January 12,1882,
when the General Council announced its "Primary Objects" as
First -- To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of
Humanity, without distinction of race, creed or color.
Second -- To promote the study of Aryan and other Eastern
literature, religions and sciences and vindicate its importance.6
Third -- To investigate the hidden mysteries of Nature and the
Psychical powers latent in man.7
No further change was made in subsequent annual meetings until
December, 1886, when the Third Object was slightly modified,
including an interesting insert, making it read:
A third object, pursued by a portion of the members of the
Society, is to investigate unexplained laws of nature and the
psychical powers of man.
The form of the Objects continued without change until the
General Council meeting of December, 1888, 8 when minor but
suggestive alterations appear in the 1st and 3rd Objects as
First: the inclusion of "sex, caste," so that the last phrase
reads: "without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or
color" -- a far-sighted addition in view of the later Suffragette
activities in the Western hemisphere, and the abolition of
'untouchability' in the Eastern; Third: while remaining textually
identic since 1886, has the following paragraph added in
[The Fellows interested in this third object now form a distinct
private division of the Society under the direction of the
Corresponding Secretary] 9
H. P. B., sole head of the E. S. then one year old.
Organizationally separate from the T. S., the Esoteric
Section, nevertheless, was its vital heart, its raison d'etre.
This extra paragraph, however, did not appear more than this
once, being canceled in session of the General Council at Adyar,
Madras, on December 27, 1890, the last annual meeting of the T.
S. before the passing of H. P. B.
The succeeding fifty odd years has seen a number of verbal
changes in the Objects; but the spirit of the original directives
has remained: the dissemination of Truth, strengthened by
insistence upon the formation of at least a nucleus of a
Universal Fraternity described by K.H. (M.L., p. 17) as the
"only secure foundation for universal morality . . . the
aspiration of the true adept."
1. Chapter II of the By-laws of the Theosophical Society,
published with the "Preamble," October 30, 1875. See September
1947 issue of THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM for text of Preamble.
2. "Principles, Rules, and By-Laws," pages ii-iii, of "The
Theosophical Society or Universal Brotherhood," issued at
3. "Revised Rules of the Society," 1880, Bombay, page 9.
4. The following appears on page v of the "Rules of the
Society," issued March 23, 1879, and is quoted here for historic
"Of these, the highest is the First Section -- composed exclusively of
initiates in Esoteric Science and Philosophy, who take a deep interest
in the Society's affairs and instruct the President-Founder how best to
regulate them, but whom none but such as they voluntarily communicate
with have the right to know.
"The Second Section embraces such Theosophists as have proved by
their fidelity, zeal, and courage, their devotion to the Society,
who have become able to regard all men as equally their brothers
irrespective of caste, color, race, or creed; and who are ready
to defend the life or honor of a brother Theosophist even at the
risk of their own lives.
"The Third is the Section of probationers. All new Fellows are
on probation until their purpose to remain in the Society has
become fixed, their usefulness shown, and their ability to
conquer evil habits and unwarrantable prejudices demonstrated. "
5. "Rules of the Theosophical Society together with an
explanation of its Objects and Principles," as revised at Bombay,
February 17, 1881, p. 3, issued by Damodar K. Mavalankar, as
Joint Recording Secretary (for the Eastern Division, William Q.
Judge being Recording Secretary for the Western Division, of the
6. In 1885 the phrase "and vindicate its importance" was
dropped; the following words being added in the statement of
the Objects, Dec. 27, 1890: and to demonstrate their importance
7. "Report of the Proceedings of a Public Meeting . . . of
the Theosophical Society," Bombay, 12th January, 1882, page 5.
8. In The Key to Theosophy, ch. iii, published in 1889, H. P.
B. significantly slants this third object by adding the word
"spiritual," making it read: "To investigate the hidden mysteries
of Nature under every aspect possible, and the psychic and
*spiritual* powers latent in man especially (*italics* ours)
9. The Theosophist, Supplement, January 1889, p. 54.
HIGHER KNOWLEDGE IS REAL AND NOT ELITIST
by Eldon Tucker
[based upon a November 5, 1994 posting to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
The treasures of spiritual evolution are open to all. There is a
universality of access to them. We are all inter-related, and have the
potential of tapping into all the higher faculties of consciousness
that await the future evolution of humanity. No one has a special
privilege, special access, to the Higher. We are all free, at our own
choice, to open ourselves up, over many lifetimes, or to turn our backs
on the Higher and live solely in the material world.
As people, as personalities, none of us is any better than any other.
This applies to other kingdoms of nature as well. We are not
intrinsically better than the trees in the forest, the fish in the
ocean, or the birds in the sky. All come forth from the same Mystery,
the same Root, and all are inseparably interdependent on each other for
There are differences, though, in evolution, in developed faculties of
consciousness. There are more types of awakened consciousness in us as
humans than in animals or plants. We are able to self-consciously
participate in life in a much-more complete manner that Monads in
earlier kingdoms of nature.
While we can say that we are of equal worth with the creatures of
nature about us, we are not being arrogant or denying the universality
of life when talking about what we know and can do that the rest of
nature cannot. It is a simple statement of fact, not an arrogant claim
These differences in development do not only exist between higher and
lower kingdoms of nature, but within the kingdoms as well. Within
humanity, there are obvious differences in spiritual, intellectual, and
personal development. Noting these differences, the result of
countless lifetimes of hard work and development, there need be no
sense of judgment or superiority.
Consider a research scientist, with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering.
It is perfectly reasonable to say that he knows more of engineering
than a high school dropout whom ended up working as a bartender. This
statement does not place a higher *value* on the scientist, as a
person, but merely states the obvious fact that he really knows
something more, and it is not merely a matter of one opinion versus
We learn in Theosophy of a natural progression, through evolution, over
vast periods of time, wherein we progress through the kingdoms of
nature. We have come as far as humanity. There is much more left for
us to go as humans, after which even higher kingdoms await us, the
kingdoms of the Dhyani-Chohans.
Within humanity, there are a number of stages of development, following
the lines of evolution, wherein new faculties are awakened. Over vast
ages, humanity will undergo changes and these developments will become
commonplace. Some have raced ahead and already acquired these
faculties. That process of hastened development is called the Path,
and there are people at the various stages along it. We have good
people, pre-Chelas, Chelas, Mahatmas, Bodhisattvas, then Buddhas.
There are stages in the human kingdom even beyond Buddhahood, but there
are physical limitations that prevent even further progress at this
time of the development of the world.
Beyond the human kingdom are the Dhyani-Chohans. They took care of
humanity in its infancy, and at the point when humanity became
self-responsible, when men acquired the fire of mind, they imparted to
the elect of humanity what could accurately be called a divine
revelation. This knowledge is preserved to this day, as an oral
tradition based upon learning and personal experience, by the Mahatmas.
What we have in the theosophical literature is a rudimentary
presentation of fragments of that knowledge. There are bits of
cosmology, occult history, information on the nature of other planes,
and descriptions of the inner workings of consciousness. This
knowledge, though, is seriously limited due to a lack of adequate
terminology in the English language, and to the fact that it attempts
to express in writing things that go beyond our ability to articulate
them in words.
As we study Theosophy, we find ourselves coming up to a stepping-off
point. There is a rich offering of ideas to study. Under serious
consideration, though, we find that the same terms are used in more
than one way. This is sometimes to veil the deeper truths from all but
those whom have eyes to see, from those whom are ready for the hidden
or esoteric truths.
Our first study of Theosophy is intellectual, based upon reading books,
discussing our initial ideas, underlining passages and keeping track of
quotations. And although this is the first stage, we never leave it
behind; it remains an important part of the process even as we move on
to higher stages. The initial introduction to the intellectual study
of the Teachings could be considered the first Initiation or awakening,
the awakening of the personality to the fount of learning.
Eventually, though, we reach a plateau, a period of barrenness, a stage
where we seem unable to make further progress. This may lead us to
disillusionment and abandonment of Theosophy. It may persist for the
remainder of our life, with us become embittered to the Teachings,
becoming an open critic of the apparent emptiness of the "odd and
meaningless metaphysical system holding no practical value for anyone
or anything in life." But this perception of Theosophy as lifeless, as
a well-gone-dry, is due to our personal loss, not due to its lack of
Instead of giving up, we can treat the situation as a Zen Koan of
monumental proportion. We can face it and find ourselves an answer.
We can know more; we can go beyond the words; we can find an Inner
Teacher or source of renewed learning, and this might be called the
Going back to the Teachings with renewed interest, with a new
perspective on them, with a new key to unlock deeper meanings in them,
we find that we now use them as "diving boards" which we use as jumping
off points. We go beyond what is found on the written page and learn
more. There is a Treasury of Wisdom behind the written words, and we
have only to take what is there.
When we consider this process as an internal event, we would call it
the awakening of our Inner Teacher. When considered as external, we
could describe it as coming in touch with the theosophic
thought-current and tapping into external sources of Knowledge about
us, tapping into Mahat and learning directly.
This type of learning represents the initial awakening of a new faculty
of knowing. It corresponds to the ordinary manner of thought as the
sense of sight corresponds to the sense of touch. Animals may
unconsciously tap into it, and use it as instinct, knowing what to do
independent of personal experience. We too can tap into learning that
is not based upon personal experience (based upon experiences in our
It should be noted, though, that nothing in the universe is infallible.
This faculty of learning is as subject to mistakes as our ordinary
intellectual processes. Just as we can make mistakes of logic, or
remember what we have read incorrectly, so we can make mistakes based
upon this second form of learning.
In our theosophical literature, it is wrong to demand a conformity of
expression, to require that the doctrines be entombed in fixed words.
This is not because we have a confusion of opinions, and don't want to
arbitrarily impose one opinion over the others. Rather it is because
we are dealing with Truths that go beyond the ability of words to
express them. These Truths are real, true, and as much a living, vital
part of the makeup of life and nature and the sun, moon, and sky, but
we are lacking in easy ways to communicate them.
There is the additional problem of sorting out opinion from knowledge
in the theosophical books. Some books are written by students with
simply an intellectual understanding of the philosophy. If written
with accuracy, and properly cited, they can provide assistance in
study. If written carelessly, they may contain a confused mix of
opinions interblended with some of the fundamental Teachings. What you
get depends upon the author.
A second class of books are written by those whom have "gone beyond the
words" in their studies. They may present some of the basic Teachings
in an equally intellectual manner, but also include some personal
insights, from their "going beyond", that cannot be backed up by
citations to an authoritative text. These ideas can only be verified
by the personal experience of the individual reader. How many of these
ideas are true Gems and how many are silly confusions, depends upon the
clarity of insight, and upon the success in avoiding the adding of
personal opinion, of the author. This is analogous to psychical sight:
the bias of the personality can distort what is perceived.
The third class of books, but by far the most important, are those that
could be considered authoritative. These are written by people, too,
and people are fallible. The difference in them is that they are
written by Teachers, individuals specifically assigned the work of
communicating some of the wisdom of the Mahatmas to humanity. The
Teachers are assisted or overseen by the Mahatmas, and openly act as
their representatives in the world. Other books could be considered as
the sharing of what has been learned by one student to another. These
books could be considered as authorized presentation of a portion of
some of what the Mahatmas know. An example of this kind of book is
"The Secret Doctrine" by H.P. Blavatsky. These books would be the
ones that form the basis of a study of Theosophy; they are the ones
that need be learned and cited in an intellectual study of the
There *are* inner realities in the universe. We *can* tap into them.
They exist and are real regardless of what theory we may choose to
describe them by. One such reality is that there is a higher faculty
of knowing, one that can be awakened by a concerted study of Theosophy
and put to use in understanding life. It is as real as the shoes on
our feet, and not denied to anyone. We need only undertake the process
to develop and awaken it, and it is there. Our only barrier to
attainment is the false belief that it does not exist, or that it is
impossible to attain, or reserved for but the Buddhas and Christs of
the world. That is simply untrue. It is an easy, gentle process to
open up this faculty of Knowing. Step through the apparent barrenness
of intellectual metaphysics. Engage a way of seeing things that is not
elite, not privileged, but freely open to all to acquire. See the
Truth in a deeper, newer, fresher way!
by Reed Carson
1. The item we are most pleased about this month is the addition
of a home study course to the site. Long-time students in New
York, associated with the United Lodge of Theosophists, have
prepared a home study course consisting of 10 topics. This has
been mailed to over 1,500 individuals over a number of years.
The course is free and available on the homepage under "home
study course". It cannot be accessed all at once and downloaded.
Rather the visitor signs up for it and receives it in email with
one topic per week. This course is only available to members
(but then membership is also free). To encourage visitors to
sign up, the first topic, reincarnation, is available for
immediate inspection on the site by everyone.
2. The beginnings have been set for a members only section.
Currently to access that section you can type into the browser
Hopefully soon we will have in place the software that will
require you to enter your email, with which you became a member,
in order to access that area.
3. Speaking of the members only area, the second half of the SD
course that was suggested for a study class syllabus, is now
onsite in the members only section.
4. And speaking of study classes, we would like to point out
that the home study course, we think, would make an excellent
syllabus for study classes. If anyone would like to start a
study class using this material, we will be glad to mention them
here and to put them on the "meetings" page.
5. This month another study class was added to the "meetings"
page in Michigan. We have received some material from that class
and we think it is an opportunity for anyone in that area to
visit there. That class may possibly be able to give
presentations of Theosophy to others - see them.
6. A "research" click is now available on the homepage. There
is an enormous amount of research that needs to be done on the
basic material provided to us by Madame Blavatsky. Some bits and
pieces of that research have been done and lie in scattered
places, generally not known to the community at large. We hope
to make an effort over extended time, to do and collect such
research and to make it commonly available here. As a start, the
Michigan material we received, just happened to contain some
research material, to which we have long wanted to know the
answer. So we started the research page with that. And what was
it? Theosophy observes that St. Augustine said Christianity
existed before Christ! This research item notes the origin of
that quote and traces down where it can be found in print today.
We would like to request your help with this page if you have
some research to contribute.
7. Last month we announced an article on the Pope seeming to
prepare an encyclical on the new age and appearing possibly ready
to condemn Blavatsky. We have researched that item and located
the original longer article in Italian that was the source of the
story. We then translated the Italian into English and made it
available, with a few comments, on the Weathervane. It has
generated a little attention.
8. In the book store we have added a "Jesus Aisle". Currently
it contains 2 books. The first is on the Shroud of Turin and
relates to the same subject appearing on the weathervane page.
We have been asked if it is consistent with Theosophical
teachings that the Shroud could actually be that of the crucified
Jesus. Actually, we have been concerned with the Theosophical
teachings on Jesus for years. Finally in this book on the Shroud
we discovered some obscure details that finally made it possible
for the answer to be "yes". So we think this is an important
book. The second book is superb. Briefly, a bishop explains why
the church must adopt the Absolute as its "God". He does so very
eloquently. The Pope ought to condemn Blavatsky if he doesn't
9. A "Free book policy" has been introduced in the book store.
See the bookstore for the official version but briefly, for
purchases of $50-99 the purchaser receives a free copy of the
best seller "Many Lives, Many Masters". For purchases of $100
and over the purchaser receives a free copy of Isis Unveiled and
a 10% discount thereafter. All of these advantages are only
available to members.
10. Twelve more websites were added to the Roadmap page.
11. The home page was rearranged to have a "topics" and a
"features" section near the top of the homepage. In the topics
section is a "study aids" click. This is where the "search
engine" has gone. There is now also a "common truth" click in
the topics section. This information, consisting of 99 quotes
showing common ideas in world religions, had been somewhat buried
before. If you haven't seen it, we recommend it.
12. Daniel Caldwell has prepared on "The Blavatsky Study Center"
(not Blavatsky Net) a chronological listing of the articles of
Blavatsky as they exist on this site. You may find it useful in
your research. You can find the pointer to this list on the BN
13. To make the non-English "home-pages" of Blavatsky Net more
accessible, they can now be bookmarked as
14. In the second month of membership availability, new members
have continued to join at a rate of a little more than one per
day. No one has resigned.
SIDDHIS IN THE CONTEXT OF SERVICE
by Murray Stentiford
[based upon a March 17, 1998 posting to email@example.com.]
The subject of Siddhis is important for several reasons, not
least because there seems to be a rising number of people who
have the beginnings of inner or psychic powers and may be
striving to put together a world view that relates the fact of
these powers' existence to the person's deepest goals and values.
When these people encounter modern Theosophy, they often want to
know what it has to say on the subject.
In the original meaning of the Sanskrit word, a Siddhi is a power
understood to accompany the heights of spiritual attainment but
today, the mention of a Siddhi is likely to evoke a mixture of
positive and negative reactions, ranging from fascination to
In my experience, when a person well acquainted with modern
Theosophy is pressed on the subject, they are likely to say that
trying to develop Siddhis before you are ready is dangerous, and
that they are a distraction from higher goals. That these things
are best left until we are much more evolved when they will arise
naturally. Sometimes there's a hint of an assumption that great
power must corrupt greatly.
There is no doubt that these and similar concerns have a valid
basis, but I believe that wariness is sometimes taken a little
Siddhis need to be taken on their individual merits, to weigh up
their effects and uses, and the motives for acquiring or using
them. Intention, as always, underpins and shapes the nature of
any action, and the use of a Siddhi is no exception.
Take, for example, the Siddhi of being able to immerse one's
awareness in another being or object - to experience what it is
like to be that thing, whether it is a flower, a rock or another
human being. This Siddhi could be very valuable or very
dangerous, depending on how and why it is being used.
If it were used to pry into other people's lives and use that
information to write magazine articles for large sums of money to
be spent selfishly, then that would clearly be unwise and
potentially harmful. If on the other hand it were used by a
counselor or healer to understand more deeply why someone is
suffering, then wisely help them or maybe just offer some truly
healing words and the sense that they are not alone, that is a
transaction of a very different order.
We sometimes hear about weird and silly Siddhis, like being able
to see through our ears, that some people spend huge amounts of
time trying to develop. There might be something admirable about
the perseverance that this takes, and the demonstration that we
can develop in all sorts of ways, but the needs of this world cry
out far more pressingly for assistance by methods that offer a
greater return for the time and energy invested, in my opinion.
I think it helps to remember that Consciousness and Energy
inevitably go together. Where there is a movement of
consciousness, there is inevitably a release or flow of energy at
some level or another. Consciousness and energy have been
interlocked from the time of the very emergence of the universe.
In this light, then, the classical Siddhis are simply examples of
powers that are at present beyond most people, that have caught
our attention because they seem so dramatic. But there are
countless numbers of ways that we mobilize and direct energy in
everyday life, all of them coming under the category of
consciousness interacting with energy, all being ways that
intention leads to action on the different planes. Is this not
the prime generator of karma? And isn't it true that one of the
great lessons we are learning in the whole field of evolution is
how to wield power wisely and lovingly?
This brings us back to the question of intention. How and why are
we going to use the powers within our reach? Some people are born
with relatively usual abilities, but to be really useful as
tools of service and ways of furthering humanity's situation,
they still seem to need hard work to make them effective and
reliable. There's no easy ride, here.
Finally, I believe that seeking to be of service is the best way
for spiritual growth to occur, provided any desire to acquire
additional power is wholly enveloped within and aligned towards
that goal. That total polarization of the being is both the
ultimate motive and the ultimate safeguard in the quest for
abilities beyond the normal. I suspect, by the way, that seeking
to be of service is a great pathway on which to approach the
inner Teacher, but that's another topic.
NO MORE PRIESTS
by Walt Whitman
[A copy of a poem by Walt Whitman submitted by a THEOSOPHY WORLD
reader, from AMERICAN BARD, Preface to "Leaves of Grass,"
in verse by Wm. Everson.]
There will soon be no more priests, their work is done.
They may wait awhile, perhaps, a generation or two,
dropping off by degrees.
A superior breed shall take their place;
The gangs of kosmos and prophets will take their place.
A new order shall arise and they shall be the priests of man,
And every man shall be his own priest.
The churches built under their umbrage shall be
the churches of men and women
Through the divinity of themselves shall the kosmos,
and the new breed of poets,
Be interpreters of men and women, and all event and things,
They shall find their inspiration in real objects today,
symptoms of the past and the future.
They shall not deign to defend immortality or God,
or the perfection of things,
Or liberty, or the exquisite beauty and reality of the Soul.
They shall arise in America, and be responded to
from the remainder of the Earth.
by the United Lodge of Theosophists
[A letter dated June 21-25, 1998, send out to members of the
The present centennial cycle is rapidly coming to a close. The
new cycle will represent for many a promise, a hope that the
errors of the past will not repeat themselves. Our technology
has created "One World"; we no longer can escape from each other.
Our sciences, our educational systems and our economic
communities are learning that exploitation of resources and
manpower, prejudices and intolerance no longer are acceptable, at
least in principle. New approaches need to be discovered in our
treatment of the earth, and greater understanding and acceptance
of the diversity within the human family is essential. This
endeavor is being moved by an inner awakening, a need to
understand the spiritual aspirations within ourselves. An
indication of this inner searching is the sale of books dealing
with man's spiritual capacities which surpasses the sale of books
in all other categories. The human spirit is proclaiming itself.
It is a time of extraordinary promise and an opportunity in the
cause of Theosophy.
The character of the present and coming cycle is twofold: the
striving of the spiritual aspirations of the age and the Karmic
inevitability of repeating our habitual patterns of thought.
History indicates that we are inclined to repeat our destructive
tendencies. In an effort to counter these mental patterns,
students of Theosophy attempt to apply the direction given by HPB
in THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY:
...the main, fundamental object ... is to sow germs in the
hearts of men, which may in time sprout, and under more
propitious circumstances lead to a healthy reform, conducive of
more happiness to the masses than they have hitherto enjoyed.
We do not know when the propitious circumstances may
arrive, but we know that spreading the ideas of Theosophy is the
process for sowing seeds -- seed ideas concerning the nature of
man that will give a practical philosophical basis by which to
apply the already accepted ideas of karma and reincarnation in an
intelligent and fruitful manner.
Students of ULT owe the simplicity and clarity of the transmitted
teachings of Theosophy to the example and practice of Robert
Crosbie. The first objective of theosophical work is "to form a
nucleus of Universal Brotherhood without any distinctions
whatever." A nucleus forms a vital center, however small and
unpretentious, from which benefits may flow in affluent streams.
Simplicity of approach gives the inquirer confidence that the
ideas lie within his grasp. The appeal to the heart of the idea
of brotherhood protects against the lure of psychism and the
extravagance of high-sounding claims.
This past year students have continued to work with a number of
programs to spread Theosophical ideas. The New York lodge has
conducted seminars in towns outside the city, and at a street
fair held near the lodge, students set up a booth and give away
free literature to inquirers. Los Angeles lodge members are
again planning to have workshop/seminars on Theosophy in various
urban centers of the Los Angeles area and to assist the San
Francisco and Santa Barbara lodges with such workshops. Members
from other lodges have benefitted from these seminars and enjoyed
the support gained from the get-together. There is a sympathy
based on the strong bond of unity formed by all professing the
principles of Theosophy, while each individual is free to pursue
his or her particular course of action. Such is the genius of
the Declaration of ULT that contains the spirit of HPB's fourth
message to the American Theosophists:
> Theosophy first, and Theosophy last: for its PRACTICAL
> realization alone can save the Western world ... from sinking
> entirely into that mere luxurious materialism in which it will
> decay and putrefy as civilizations have done. In yours hands,
> brothers, is placed in trust the welfare of the coming
> century ...
There are further evidences of this commitment. A new study
class has been started at the lodge in Torino, Italy. The study
group in Brookings, Oregon is actively inviting the public to
participate in their discussions during their annual regional
gatherings. An outreach continues to be very successful in the
correspondence courses created and managed by a student at the
New York lodge. These courses on Theosophy and on THE
BHAGAVAD-GITA have been sent to students, including
correspondents in prison, for many years; the responses from
those who have taken the courses indicate the universal appeal of
The pursuit of the second and third objects of the Theosophical
Movement becomes a willing servant to the ideal of brotherhood.
The second object serves through philosophical instruction. The
third object, concerned with the laws of psycho-physical
evolution, contributes to Self-understanding. The three objects
follow the needs of humankind, and the lines of work undertaken
by ULT are an embodiment of these objects as a means of
promulgating this wisdom. Students all over the world work to
give the philosophy wide currency. Last year, a new ULT study
group was started in Lisbon, Portugal. A Spanish translation of
Mr. Judge's LETTERS THAT HAVE HELPED ME, just published by The
Theosophy Company, is a welcome addition to the considerable body
of Theosophical literature available in Spanish. For all who
make it so, ULT becomes a school of integrity, assumed
responsibility, and an enduring fellowship in the brotherhood of
COMMENTS ON THE MASTERS
by Eldon Tucker
[based upon a December 21, 1998 posting to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
When we look upon the Masters, we find ordinary men, not
non-physical, supernatural beings. They are real people, not
merely a myth symbolic of the potential of our inner spiritual
potential. They generally travel by ordinary means, and do not
use occult powers except as a last resort. The Masters may have
a longer lifespan than we do, but not dramatically so. Normally,
they are not exceptional in consciousness and power; it is only
when they paralyze their ordinary human ego and step aside from
it that they temporarily become something more than normal,
Fourth Round men.
How can we know about such men? Through a combination of common
sense and a certain theosophic insight. We don't necessarily
have to meet one in person and take down notes as he explains
what they are about. (How this theosophic insight works is
entirely another subject!)
They travel and work among us, mostly undetected. When
functioning in their higher aspect, and the ordinary human ego is
put aside, they can function as their true selves, Fifth
Rounders. In this mode, they are able to function on the other
Globes of our Planetary Chain.
The Masters are not like Christian angels, Greek gods,
Spiritualist guides, or Hindu Devas. They are embodied *men*,
not non-physical entities.
These special people are called Masters because they are
proficient, skillful, experienced in spiritual and spiritual-
intellectual living. They are accomplished in higher things.
This is as contrasted to what we are or could be: Initiates,
people whom are newcomers, unskilled, beginners in the higher
life. The Masters are skilled in a penetrating insight into
life, both visible and invisible, and into a spontaneous holiness
that is fresh, original, and individualized.
A Master could have any outward profession of faith, or outwardly
claim to be an agnostic or atheist--the outward beliefs
subscribed to make little difference to his inner life. The
esoteric truths that he studies are common to those studied
throughout the world; there is a Wisdom Tradition that is
ageless, as old as mankind, and that is what he studies.
In some eras, there is knowledge of the existence of the Masters.
Other times they are unknown to the public. They do not want
their existence to ever be proved beyond question. Their
knowledge is always concealed--not to keep it secret, but rather
because it is just not possible to communicate it until the
student reaches a certain stage of readiness, a certain ripeness
of mind and heart, and makes him receptive to the Teachings. If
told plainly, their studies would seem "insane gibberish" to the
The Masters sometimes have Messengers or Teachers, public
representatives that work openly in the world. Among the
existing theosophical organizations, there are various claims to
direct contract or inspiration from the Masters, including by the
Pasadena T.S. and other Point Loma offshoots, the ULT E.S.,
and the Adyar E.S.
There is, though, no exclusive franchise to any organization or
group of Theosophists to do their work in any territory in the
world. They work in and through any group that is true to the
theosophical spirit and working unselfishly for humanity. There
may have been various purposes to the theosophical groups over
the years. The basic purpose of the T.S. was to disseminate
some fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, and counteract the
materialism of the 1800's. It was not to be a training ground
for future Chelas. But we can't simply say that the T.S. was
founded for a certain purpose and let that be the final word on
the matter. At any point of time there is always the question:
Given the various theosophical groups and their current
memberships, what good work can be done through them?
There is no use for the Masters to run organizations that sell
"initiations," offer public training programs, teach special
occult or meditative techniques, or offer correspondence courses
for a fee. They do not run groups that claim esoteric credit for
solving the world's problems. They do not have public membership
organizations that we can join by filling out applications and
There are a number of misconceptions (from the Point Loma point
of view) regarding the Masters, some taught in theosophical
textbooks in some of the theosophical societies!
* They do not have specific work to do according to "the seven
* There is no "Deva Kingdom" as a parallel but different path of
evolution that bypasses the Human Kingdom, for the Masters to
* The Masters do not regularly visit Chelas in "astral bodies"
and sometimes become visible to the amazement on onlookers.
* The Masters have not graduated from the Human Kingdom, nor are
even the Buddhas themselves close to graduation.
* They learn and acquire wisdom on any plane of existence
through personal experience *with penetrating insight,* not
through psychical sight or an extension of the senses, not
* Their biggest requirement of pupils is to give up false but
sincerely-held beliefs, not of outer piety of vegetarianism,
non-smoking, non-drinking, etc.
* They are against organized religion as a substitute for a
personal religious life.
* They do not delegate any special authority or power to direct
others to the head of any Theosophical Society or associated
The Mahatmas protect and overlook things in the world. They
safeguard things. They are spiritual and occult
environmentalists. Part of the work is to insure safe settings
for the various cultures and subraces to flourish. And they
preserve the Wisdom Tradition, a Treasure of Knowledge that the
Dhyani-Chohans gave to mankind in the distance past. Their
protective and safeguarding role is sometimes described as the
They are not part of any "world government". They don't give
orders or command subordinates. It is incorrect to have an
organization chart, showing Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Maha-Chohans,
Mahatmas, et al, holding various offices in some spiritual
government. Rather, they participate in their own niche in an
overall spiritual ecology, with each live at its own level
functioning and contributing to the whole in its own unique way.
Each step along the Path brings us up a level, and each level is
occupied by a class of individuals. There are Pre-Chelas,
Chelas, Masters, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas. While it is true
that there are fewer individuals as we go to the higher steps on
the ladder, we never reach a position where there is a position
that can only be filled by a single individual. Each class
interacts with, but *does not rule* the lower classes.
The Mahatmas are real men. They have ordinary limitations and
possible shortcomings. After them come the Bodhisattvas, then
the Buddhas. Even as Buddhas, we are still in the Human Kingdom.
It is not physically possible to graduate from the Human Kingdom
at this time, in the Fourth Round. The Mahatmas are Fifth
Rounders. The Bodhisattvas and Buddhas are Sixth Rounders. And
conditions simply do not exist at this time for us to complete
our Seventh-Round evolution and graduate.
While it is true that the Mahatmas are flesh-and-blood men, they
are somewhat free of the requirement of continual rebirth. And
at a later stage as Sixth Rounders it is possible to function
with full sense perception, minus the organic physical body; it
is possible to function as Nirmanakayas and to exist in
mind-created (yet not concretely physical) forms called
The Masters that we read about, including K.H. and M., are all
probably dead, and reincarnated by now. To think of them by
name, to meditate on their pictures, to wish to be in touch with
them is both a waste of time and probably won't attract their
attention wherever and whomever they are now. They don't want to
be worshiped. There is no value to the goal to yearn to become
a student of a Master, to have a personal Master, as a end in
itself. When the student is ready the Teacher appears. It is by
inner readiness that we get a Teacher, and that Teacher most
often is the karmic situations awakened in our outer lives, and
not a person we come into contact with.
Should we want to be in touch with them? No. Why? To brag to
others about it? To ask them what to do with our lives? To seek
solace in signs and wonders? To provide learning experiences that
our own karma can't bring us in outer life? Certainly not! All
this is exactly the stuff that will guarantee we'll never see or
hear from one! The Masters don't want to make pets of would-be
The Masters have different schools or methods of training. Each
suits a certain temperament. We are told to not mix schools or
methods. The study of Theosophy is related to one such school.
It is not exclusive for that school nor its only approach. But
as a School of the Mysteries, it requires a deep "buy in" where
it becomes a rock-solid part of our lives, if it is to really
work for us. It should be as intense as the desire to breathe:
Picture how much we miss air when our heads are under water!
Individual initiative is a key element of their training. They
do not tell their students what to do, because it would deny the
students the experience of self-initiative, and deny the students
the karma and merit of the good deeds. They consider 2/3 of the
world's evil as coming from organized religions, and the other
1/3 from selfishness. And they have stated that false but
sincere beliefs are a bigger barrier to coming to them (in
thought, learning, development) than drinking or other physical
In temperament, the Mahatmas are cool, and not emotionally
passionate. They are more spiritual and saintly than we are, but
not pious in the traditional religious sense. Most are highly
developed intellectually; most have a highly- developed manasic
principle. They are mind-centered and thoughtful in ways that we
simply cannot appreciate. As Fourth Rounders, we simply function
differently, with desire or Kama being the seat of our
What do we do with the idea of the Masters? Just accept them for
their place in the scheme of things. They are just our fellow
men who co-exist with us in the drama of life, with their own
karmic ties and personal responsibilities. Like elder brothers,
they are both our kin, yet older, more experienced, and wiser.
We can appreciate them and learn from what they have done.
EVIL IS THE ABSENCE OF VIRTUE
by Greg Westlake
Being brought up in the heartland of the American Midwest, I
understand the inclination to depict Evil as a force. We are
taught early on that Self interest is a form of Evil and yet we
know that we are inherently filled with thoughts of Self
interest. Am I to believe that these thoughts are part of some
Evil force that is plotting to drag our Souls into oblivion? And
only after we learn to sacrifice our Self interest for the good
of the community do we find our spirituality and overcome Evil.
I DON'T THINK SO!
Many Christians believe that a Devil or an Evil force exerts an
influence on us. Taken to the extreme, some idealistic
individuals deny Self interest to the point that they exhibit a
behavioral problem known as "toxic religion". They do not trust
there own ability to evaluate the truth and feel guilty about
having any desires for personal gain. Fortunately, most
Christians only act that way on Sunday and have the common sense
to act on their desires the rest of the week. Something is still
wrong with this picture.
From my perspective, I think they are giving the Devil a lot of
credit for their own problems or bad choices. I do not think
that there is an evil force, only choices and consequences. Lets
examine real life examples of natural forces in nature, heat and
light. To a scientist the term "heat" represents a relative
excess of thermal energy and "cold" is a relative lack of thermal
energy. Similarly, "light" is the presence of radiant energy and
"darkness" is the absence of radiant energy. If we take this
concept further, then we may conclude that God represents the
presence of virtue and Evil is the absence of virtue. Not a
force at all!
There is still the appearance of Evil, but perhaps we are just
witnessing individuals who are out of balance. Perhaps the
perpetrators and the victims of Evil are just caught up in the
drama of Karma. Lest we judge it to be Evil, then we fall prey
to its influence for instability.
Most people recognize the inherent benefits of creating a balance
between Self interest and the desires of others. According to
Adam Smith, Self interest is the grease that keeps this country
running. Our forefathers understood the need for balance and
they put a symbol of the pyramid on our dollar bill to remind us
of it. There is a 4-sided psychological model which describes
how we interact with other people. However, I like the timeless
model of the four creatures: the Lion represents the desire for
Power for Self; the Eagle, desire for Knowledge for Self; the
Angel, desire for Union with others; and the Bull, desire to
Serve others. By balancing the 4 basic desires and resisting any
inclination to judge others, we can avoid the wheels of Karma as
we pursue happiness without guilt.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application