March 2005 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the March 2005 Newsletter to members. Non-members may or may not be able to relate to the contents.
Many an earnest truth-seeker has been led astray through wrong beliefs. Although we are often advised to trust our intuition, the power of discrimination through intuition does not always work as well or as reliably as we had hoped. Consequently, many seekers get sidetracked along the way in their spiritual quest. This is all the more unfortunate especially when some are already on the right path yet still get misled to turn off into side roads or to make unnecessary detours. Some of these side roads may well be culs-de-sac which under the circumstances are so much the better for the seeker. For in this case it would be obvious that he could proceed no further and has no choice but to turn back, hopefully, onto the right path. All he would have lost in this case is, perhaps, time. Others may be less fortunate and probably get lost in a maze of delusions and distractions. The occult consequences and the loss in opportunities for spiritual progress would be considerable in the latter case.
Now, what are the attractions and common causes for a seeker to turn into some of these side roads? The attractions for the seekers are generally the performance of miracles and phenomena, promises of vicarious atonement, instant remedy to immediate problems, rapid spiritual advancement and enlightenment or perhaps the development of psychic powers. Impatience and the anxiety to get quick results are also common causes. Surely none of the above can be a valid reason for our indulgence if only we understand the Laws of Nature. One must ever remember that there is no quick and easy way to gain the Wisdom in the search for Truth. An Adept once said:
“Knowledge for the mind, like food for the body, is intended to feed and help to growth, but it requires to be well digested and the more thoroughly and slowly the process is carried out the better both for body and mind.”
But is there any harm in pursuing some of these interests, the seeker might ask. Are we not taught to keep an open mind in search of Truth? The answer lies in the inner belief in the mind of the seeker. Plain intellectual curiosity without yielding to false beliefs is probably quite harmless other than a waste of time. However, it would be quite different when the seeker embraces a false philosophy and indulges in wrong beliefs and superstitions. So much so that the compromise to the spiritual progress of the seeker would be far worse than gross physical indulgence. Here again we are reminded of the words of an Adept,
“Their beliefs are no barrier to us for they have none. They may have had influences around them, bad magnetic emanations the result of drink, Society and promiscuous physical associations (resulting even from shaking hands with impure men) but all this is physical and material impediments which with a little effort we could counteract and even clear away without much detriment to ourselves. Not so with the magnetism and invisible results proceeding from erroneous and sincere beliefs. Faith in the Gods and God, and other superstitions attracts millions of foreign influences, living entities and powerful agents around them, with which we would have to use more than ordinary exercise of power to drive them away. We do not choose to do so.”
We could see quite clearly from the Master’s words, that while one may keep an open mind it would be most unwise to dabble in everything spiritual that comes along. The price, evidently, is high!
But then the pull of one who is reputed to be able to perform phenomena and ‘miracles’ is simply quite irresistible, you may argue. Indeed, the initial attraction of the Theosophical Society was the occasional display of such psychic abilities by Madame H. P. Blavatsky. One might even say that she could perform phenomena that rival the greatest one could find in the world today. Yet, she would constantly remind all those who were awed by her phenomena that there was nothing divine in what she could do but a practical knowledge of the laws and forces of nature and the ability to make use of them accordingly. That phenomena are deemed undesirable is evident from the following statement of a Master.
“Also try to break thro’ that great maya against which occult students, the world over, have always been warned by their teachers — the hankering after phenomena. Like the thirst for drink and opium, it grows with gratification...If you cannot be happy without phenomena you will never learn our philosophy.”
Does the demonstration of psychic abilities make the exponent lofty, specially wise or spiritual? Or even divine? Certainly not, as Madame Blavatsky would reiterate. Nonetheless, this remains one of the greatest fallacies. One will always find persons of exceptional abilities in all ages who could convince the uninitiated of their divinity. A. P. Sinnett, during his time in 1881, was confronted with the same question regarding a certain individual and his guru. To his question one of the Masters replied,
“You are right: they say and affirm that the one and only God of the Universe was incarnated in their guru, and were such an individual to exist he would certainly be higher than any “planetary.” But they are idolators, my friend. Their guru was no initiate, only a man of extraordinary purity of life and powers of endurance. He had never consented to give up his notions of a personal god and even gods though offered more than once. He was born an orthodox Hindu and died a self-reformed Hindu, something like _______ but higher, purer and with no ambition to taint his bright soul. Many of us have regretted his self-delusion but he was too good to be forcibly interfered with.”
What about those who do not claim to be divine but nevertheless claim they could see and hear what normal people could not? The Master’s comments are as follows:
“Unless regularly initiated and trained, no self-tutored seer or clairaudient ever saw or heard quite correctly.”
So we can see that having the Right Beliefs is imperative if one is to make spiritual progress. It is no wonder then that when the Lord Buddha (while He was residing at the Deer Park in Isipatana near Benares) gave His very first discourse, commonly known as the Dhammachakkappavattana Sutta, He taught the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Noble Path, and the very first step on the Path is Sammā Ditthi, which is Right Belief or could also be translated as Right Understanding or Right Knowledge. We must develop our discriminative power, that of Viveka so as to know the real from the unreal. Only then can we be free of the wrong beliefs.
Study Class—A Study in Consciousness
On 5 March 2005, we will be commencing our Study Class for 2005. This year we will be studying the book “A Study in Consciousness” with the sub-title ‘A Contribution to the Science of Psychology’ by Annie Besant . This highly illuminating book on metaphysics was first published in 1904 and it shows the great breadth and depth of knowledge of the author. Yet, in the Foreword she displays her usual humility.
“THIS book is intended as an aid to students in their study of the growth and development of consciousness, offering hints and suggestions which may prove serviceable to them. It does not pretend to be a complete exposition, but rather, as its sub-title states, a contribution to the science of Psychology. Far ampler materials than are within my reach are necessary for any complete exposition of the far-reaching science which deals with the unfolding of consciousness. These materials are slowly accumulating in the hands of earnest and painstaking students, but no effort has yet been made to arrange and systematise them into a co-ordinated whole. In this little volume I have only arranged a small part of this material, in the hope that it may be useful now to some of the toilers in the great field of the Evolution of Consciousness, and may serve, in the future, as a stone in the complete building. It will need a great architect to plan that temple of knowledge, and skilful master masons to direct the building; enough, for the moment, to do the apprentice task, and prepare the rough stones for the use of more expert workmen."
The book is divided into two parts. Part I of the book discusses Consciousness and Part II Will, Desire and Emotion. In the first part she talks about origins and the origination of Monads, Spirit-Matter and the formation of atoms in the different planes of nature. Part I also talks about the Permanent Atoms, Group Souls, unity of consciousness, mechanism of consciousness, consciousness and self-consciousness, human states of consciousness, Monad at work, and the nature of memory.
In the second part she talks about the will to live, the nature and vehicle of desire, the conflict of desire and thought, the birth of emotion, the transmutation of emotions into virtues and vices, the power of the will and White and Black Magic.
Students will find this book invaluable for a study in consciousness. The subject of the unfolding of consciousness in the beings whose field of evolution is a solar system is one of considerable difficulty; none of us may at present hope to do more than master a small portion of its complexity, but it may be possible to study it in such fashion as may fill up some of the gaps in our thinking, and as may yield us a fairly clear outline to guide our future work. Those interested in attending this Study Class must enrol themselves prior to the commencement of the Study Class. Enrolment can be made by contacting the Hon. Secretary.