January 2007 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the January 2007 Newsletter to members. Non-members may or may not be able to relate to the contents.
"A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! This seems easy enough to say, and everyone expects some such greeting. Yet, whether the wish, though it may proceed from a sincere heart, is likely to be realized even in the case of the few—is more difficult to decide. According to our theosophical tenets, every man or woman is endowed, more or less, with a magnetic potentiality, which when helped by a sincere, and especially by an intense and indomitable will—is the most effective of magic levers placed by Nature in human hands—for woe as for weal. Let us then, Theosophists, use that will to send a sincere greeting and a wish of good luck for the New Year to every living creature under the sun—enemies and relentless traducers included. Let us try and feel especially kindly and forgiving to our foes and persecutors, honest or dishonest, lest some of us should send unconsciously an “evil eye” greeting instead of a blessing."
“May no further karma attach to those who have sinned last year in thought as well as in deed. Personally they are forgiven. Let a new year and new hopes begin for them.”
Significance of The New Year
“.... let no one imagine that it is a mere fancy, the attaching of importance to the birth of the year. The earth passes through its definite phases and man with it; and as a day can be coloured so can a year. The astral life of the earth is young and strong between Christmas and Easter. Those who form their wishes now will have added strength to fulfil them consistently.”
Why We Need More Members
An abstract of the Chairman’s Address at the 2006 Annual General Meeting
This is the seventh time that I have the pleasure of addressing you as the President of the Singapore Lodge Theosophical Society at our Annual General Meetings. In my addresses to you in the past AGMs I have always talked about the issue of membership and the challenges we face with regard to the volatile situation with membership renewal. In the same tradition, I would like you to take a look at our current membership situation.
At the first glance you may think that all is well, that our membership is after all growing, albeit slowly. But, the fact is, a great number of members have not paid their subscription this year. We may indeed, for the first time in nine years, see a net reduction in members. It is a sad reality that many members fail to see the importance and significance of membership in the Theosophical Society. If you were to add up the numbers in the last column you will see that 536 members joined the Singapore Lodge since 1998. Yet, we are left with 338 members as of end September 2006. In order words, some 200 members have come and gone.
You may wonder if the concern with membership numbers is real and justified. To be sure, it is not so much our preoccupation with numbers than the overall object of the Theosophical Society that we are concerned with. The importance of a strong membership goes beyond the obvious financial support we would get. Financial viability, of course, allows us to carry on our work without the distraction of making ends meet. But more importantly, through numbers we gain strength and the greater the number the more potential workers we may find. Our work cannot practicably be accomplished by only a few individuals. We need all the help we can get through a larger membership. Allow me to take this opportunity to explain once again the reasons why we need a strong membership.
We must ever be mindful of the Masters’ words on why the Society was founded.
“The only object to be striven for is the amelioration of the condition of MAN by the spread of truth suited to the various stages of his development and that of the country he inhabits and belongs to.”
“Spheres of influence can be found everywhere. The first object of the T.S. is philanthropy. The true Theosophist is a philanthropist — ‘not for himself but for the world he lives’. This, and philosophy, the right comprehension of life and its mysteries, will give the ‘necessary basis’ and show the right path to pursue.”
“If your efforts will teach the world but one single letter from the alphabet of Truth — that Truth which once pervaded the whole world — your reward will not miss you.”
If we consider the fundamental purpose of the Theosophical Society to be the propagation of theosophical teachings, then clearly the more members we have the greater will be our spheres of influence and the more effective we will be in the spreading of truth.
What is probably not as evident is that other than the direct theosophical teachings we are giving out, which is aimed at the amelioration of the condition of man through knowledge, there is also the greater sublime influence of theosophy on world thought. With a greater membership, we can influence the world through the realization of our First Object:
“To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour.”
To fully appreciate the implications of the First Object, we must be cognizant of the evils caused by the discrimination and prejudice of race, creed, sex, caste and colour. The Master once said
“...work out every cause of evil you can think of and trace it to its origin and you will have solved one-third of the problem of evil. And now, after making due allowance for evils that are natural and cannot be avoided — I will point out the greatest, the chief cause of nearly two thirds of the evils that pursue humanity ever since that cause became a power. It is religion under whatever form and in whatsoever nation.”
If religion is the cause of two-thirds of the evils that pursue humanity, then racial and sexual discrimination, social injustice and selfishness must contribute to the remaining one-third of the problem of evil. Wars, terrorism, ethnic cleansing, sexual abuses and other atrocities are undoubtedly the results of ignorance.
With an understanding of the eternal Verities and a knowledge that all religions come from the same source, members must necessarily become non-sectarian, therefore without distinction of creed. Nevertheless, a theosophist can still be most religious, even if he does not belong to a sect, for in truth the esoteric tradition is the Wisdom Religion.
Likewise, understanding the laws of evolution and karma, one realizes that race, sex and colour are incidental in one’s evolution and that these are stages and vehicles of consciousness which we would all have to pass through and endure in the course of our evolution. With esoteric knowledge imparted by theosophy, members would readily abide by the first object of The Theosophical Society.
The first object in practice will certainly bring about the following results:
1. Racial harmony
2. Religious tolerance and understanding
3. Sexual equality
4. Social justice
Where would you find Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Chinese, Indians, Malays, people of all professions, men and women, sitting side by side as brothers and sisters, with a common object? The importance of the First Object is evident from the following statement made by one of the Masters.
“The term “Universal Brotherhood” is no idle phrase. Humanity in the mass has a paramount claim upon us. It is the only secure foundation for universal morality. If it be a dream, it is at least a noble one for mankind: and it is the aspiration of the true adept.”
If members of the Theosophical Society can form such a nucleus of universal brotherhood of humanity and show the world that such ideals are achievable, humanity will be so much the better and the world a far better place to live in. Imagine now, if that nucleus includes men and women in positions of influence and authority, how they may possibly change the world through their knowledge of the Wisdom Religion. More than that, through the power and control of thoughts, each one of us has the capacity to influence the world to a greater or lesser extent. And the synergy of such power can be tremendous. Would it not be desirable to have more members, all with the veil of ignorance somewhat lifted, helping in this respect?
Finally, as I have said in my address to you at the last AGM, there are only two objects before the earnest members of the Theosophical Society. Firstly, he should help humanity through the spread of truth by popularizing a knowledge of theosophy. And, secondly, by living his life in accordance with the theosophical teachings and showing the world that the ideals are achievable. But above all, by remembering that he could best render his service to humanity by remaining a member and becoming a worker of The Theosophical Society.
Thank you for your kind attention. May you always find peace and joy.
We start the year with a number of talks in the month of January which may be of special interest to members. Indeed, these talks are restricted to members and are given only once a year, normally in January, if only for the benefit of new members. The talks which include computer-based illustrations are continually being updated either with additional information, graphics or pictures as they become available. All earnest members and students of theosophy will find these talks both interesting and useful. Those who have attended these talks previously may find it worthwhile to refresh their memory and see if anything new has been added.
One of the annual talks is on the Purpose of The Theosophical Society. This talk reminds us why the Society was founded in 1875 by Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Henry Steel Olcott. More importantly, we are reminded of the words of the Great Ones on the true purpose of The Theosophical Society. Understanding the purpose of the Society is important if the Singapore Lodge, as a part of this great worldwide movement, is to contribute to the noble ideals of the Society. We must realize our specific mission. As this talk will be given on 20 January 2007 when we celebrate our 118th anniversary, you have one more good reason to come and join us in our celebration.
For those who are interested to know more about clairvoyants and psychic abilities, you may wish to attend the talk on The Nature of Psychic Abilities on 6 January 2007. In this talk we will realize that the unfoldment of psychic powers is a natural process in evolution.
Another annual talk which is intended exclusively for members is The Occult Hierarchy. As students of theosophy, we know that just as there are many below us climbing the ladder of evolution, there are also many above us, way ahead of the mass of humanity, who have achieved perfection--the Adepts. We also know that amid the seeming chaos in the world, there is perfect law and order supervised by the Inner Government of the World. In this talk we learn about the quest for perfection and the august fraternity of humanity who have reached the other shore--The Masters and The Path. This talk is scheduled for 13 January 2007. Don’t miss it if you are a student of occultism.
Let’s Celebrate Our 118th
The Singapore Lodge Theosophical Society was formed by Col. H.S. Olcott on January 24, 1889. Many of us may not realise that we have been in existence for 118 years! As a matter of fact, the Singapore Lodge was formed only 14 years after the founding of the parent Theosophical Society in 1875.
To commemorate this momentous occasion , we are gathering together on Saturday, 20 January, 2007, to have an anniversary bash. On this day, we shall remind ourselves of the Purpose of the Theosophical Society and reaffirm our dedication to it. Diplomas of Fellowship will also be presented to the new members.
A real party is not complete without food--so there shall be food! This is one of our most important days in the year. Do come and join the merriment and rejoice together. Remember, it will be on Saturday, 20 January 2007 at 5 p.m.