February 2005 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the February 2005 Newsletter to members. Non-members may or may not be able to relate to the contents.
Glimpses of the Occult World
One of the most significant early books that introduced theosophy to the West is “The Occult World” by A. P. Sinnett, which was first published in June 1881. Indeed, many of the best minds during the last quarter of the 19th Century joined the Society as a direct result of the influence of Mr. Sinnett and his writings. Amongst those so influenced was C. W. Leadbeater who went on to become not only one of the most illustrious leaders of the Theosophical Society but also one of the greatest occultists of the 20th century.
Mr. Sinnett began “The Occult World” with the following statement:
“There is a school of philosophy still in existence of which modern culture has lost sight. Glimpses of it are discernible in the ancient philosophies with which all educated men are familiar, but these are hardly more intelligible than fragments of forgotten sculpture—less so, for we comprehend the human form, and can give imaginary limbs to a torso; but we can give no imaginary meaning to the hints coming down to us from Plato or Pythagoras, pointing, for those who hold the clue to their significance, to the secret knowledge of the ancient world. Sidelights, nevertheless, may enable us to decipher such language, and a very rich intellectual reward offers itself to persons who are willing to attempt the investigation.
For, strange as the statement will appear at first sight, modern metaphysics, and to a large extent modern physical science, have been groping for centuries blindly after knowledge which occult philosophy has enjoyed in full measure all the while. Owing to a train of fortunate circumstances, I have come to know that this is the case; I have come into some contact with persons who are heirs of a greater knowledge concerning the mysteries of Nature and humanity than modern culture has yet evolved; and my present wish is to sketch the out lines of this knowledge, to record with exactitude the experimental proofs I have obtained that occult science invests its adepts with a control of natural forces superior to that enjoyed by physicists of the ordinary type, and the grounds there are for bestowing the most respectful consideration on the theories entertained by occult science concerning the constitution and destinies of the human soul.”
An alluring revelation found in Mr. Sinnett’s writings is the existence of the Adepts, variously referred to as the Brothers, Mahatmas or Masters of the Wisdom. For the earnest students and devoted members of the Theosophical Society, the existence of the Masters of the Wisdom is an undeniable fact and also an immense source of inspiration. Not only do they know that such Perfected Men exist, the earnest students also hold Them as the highest authority on theosophical teachings. Indeed, the Theosophical Society would not be founded if not for the Great Ones! Substantial evidence is available for the benefit of those who need convincing.
Starting this month we shall conduct a series of talks under the title of “Glimpses of the Occult World” so as to know a little more of the Great Ones. We shall attempt to know a little of the whereabouts, the lives and the work of the Adepts. We shall follow some of the events leading to the appearance of the lofty beings in the outer world and the communications They had with some members of the Theosophical Society. In the process we will inevitably be awed by some of the wonderful phenomena that invariably accompany Their appearance or communications. Above all, we will be inspired by Their great compassion and the wonderful teachings They have given out to the world. And, we may ask, are They still around?
The first of the “Glimpses of the Occult World” talks will be given on 5 February 2005 at 5 p.m. taking us through events and incidents up to 1878. We have a special treat for members on 19 February 2005, when we celebrate Adyar Day. We shall let Bishop C. W. Leadbeater introduce “The Great White Lodge” to us, in his own voice. This is a rare recording of CWL done in 1932, two years before he left the physical plane. Having read many of his books, I am sure you would like to hear what he sounds like. Consider this a rare privilege as few still living have ever heard his voice. Please take note that this series of talks on “Glimpses of the Occult World” is strictly for members only!
Informal Study Group
Students often need to seek clarification on theosophical teachings and explanation of certain writings as our literature can sometimes be rather abstruse. Originally, we were hoping that our Free Discussion programme could serve that purpose. Unfortunately, as experience has shown, it did not quite turn out the way we expected. Therefore, to facilitate earnest students, this year we are introducing informal study group (ISG) meetings for the express purpose of answering questions of students. In such meetings, students may refer to specific writings or passages that are unclear or aspects of theosophical teachings which they have difficulty understanding. Initially we intend to hold the ISG meetings once a month. Depending on the response, we may increase the frequency.
The inaugural ISG meeting was held on Saturday, 8 January 2005 at 3 p.m. and the subject of study was Cataclysms of Nature. The devastation of the recent tsunami has made many students think. There were several questions raised and the inaugural meeting was devoted to discussion on cataclysms of nature and the theosophical view of such acts of Nature. We pondered over the purpose of such calamities and addressed the question on whether God had anything to do with such seemingly widespread sufferings of His creatures. We noted that significantly the recent cataclysm affected followers of all the major religions including Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Christians.
Please note that the ISG meetings are intended for members only. Furthermore, such meetings are only meaningful for those members who are earnestly engaged in the study of theosophy. This month, the ISG meeting will be held on 5 February at 3 p.m. and we intend to answer questions arising from the annual talk on The Occult Hierarchy.
Although our International Headquarters at Adyar has miraculously escaped unscathed the terrific tsunami that hit Chennai on 26 December 2004, the number of victims and refugees in Chennai is very high and growing by the day.
We received information from Adyar that the TOS-Chennai Region is very active collecting donations for the victims, particularly in order to buy essential medical supplies aimed at avoiding the tangible risk of infectious diseases.
In response to the appeal by TOS-Chennai Region, we made an appeal to our own members for donations. We are happy to say that our members have responded well and we collected a total of $9,040 in donations for the tsunami victims. We remitted US$5,500 ($9,222) to TOS-Chennai Region to aid the victims of tsunami. May you be blessed for you kind donations!
Adyar Day Celebration
Adyar Day, February 17, was instituted in 1922 in memory of the passing of Colonel Henry Steel Olcott and also to celebrate the birthday of C. W. Leadbeater, one of the greatest occultists and an indefatigable worker of the Theosophical Society who devoted 50 years of his life to serving the Society and, therefore, humanity.
The first Adyar Day was celebrated on February 17, 1922 when the great services of Col. Olcott to the Society were recalled. Looking back at the early history of the Theosophical Society, it would be fair to say that had it not been for Col. Olcott’s organizational abilities and untiring efforts, the Society would not have established itself as successfully as it did over a hundred years ago.
Since the early days, many students of theosophy owe a debt of gratitude to CWL whose remarkably lucid writings make theosophy more comprehensible. He expounded the ancient wisdom in simple language making the secret doctrines less of a mystery. Yet, he was cruelly maligned by some of his detractors and unjustly drawn into controversies, during and even after his lifetime. The monumental work, Occult Chemistry, which he co-authored with his colleague, Annie Besant, was largely ignored for the past hundred years. Only now, nuclear and particle physicists are beginning to discover the validity of the occult investigations of CWL conducted a century ago on the structure of subatomic particles and thus indirectly vindicating him.
CWL was an inspiration and a teacher to many, including both clairvoyants and lesser endowed members. One of his pupils, C. Jinarajadasa, assumed office as the Fourth International President of the Theosophical Society on Adyar Day 17 February 1946. It was CWL who discovered J. Krishnamurti who later went on to become a renowned philosopher in his own right. Coincidentally, Krishnamurti died on 17 February 1986—Adyar Day.
Come and join us on Saturday, 19 February 2005 at 5 p.m. to celebrate Adyar Day. There will be a short talk on the lives and times of HSO and CWL. This year we will also play a voice recording of CWL’s talk on The Great White Lodge in his own voice.
As part of our continuing effort to achieve our twin-object of popularizing a knowledge of theosophy and induction of new members, we will be starting a new Meditation Course soon for the public. The Meditation Course which will be conducted by our Hon. Secretary, Lily Chong, is intended to complement the Basic Theosophy Course and it will also cover the basic tenets of theosophy. The first Meditation Course will commence on Friday, 18 February 2005 at 7 p.m. and will run for five consecutive weeks. You may wish to get your friends to enroll for the Meditation Course. For further information, go to our webpage at www.singaporelodge.org/med_course.htm.