January 2008 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the January 2008 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.”
2008--A Centenary Year
An abstract of the Chairman’s Address at the 2007 Annual General Meeting
Almost all the 590 members who joined the Singapore Lodge Theosophical Society in the past ten years joined as a result of attending the Basic Theosophy Course, which has since been renamed A Course in Theosophy (ACT). In addition to these members, over a thousand enquirers have attended the ACT which, as you know, is given free of charge to members of the public primarily to ‘popularize a knowledge of theosophy’. It is the mission of the Theosophical Society to ameliorate the condition of man through knowledge—knowledge of the laws of nature, the worlds we live in, the constitution of man both visible and invisible, the purpose of life and the inexorable consequences of karma from which none is exempted. With knowledge, it is hoped that man would live in harmony with nature, bringing peace and joy to himself and the people around him.
Yet, theosophical teachings are not immediately convincing. The talk about the invisible worlds and the forces therein may not find ready acceptance amongst the sceptics and the doubtful. We have to depend on the testimony of those with psychic abilities who had carried out occult investigations and observed and recorded their findings for our benefit. Indeed, the ACT is based almost entirely on the writings of the great occultists C. W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant. However, there will always be the doubt if all that is written can be believed. The credibility of the occultists and the veracity of their observations are thus often put in question. I would like to quote Dr. M. Srinivasan, a retired nuclear physicist who has been associated with the Theosophical Society for over 60 years, on one of the works of these two great occultists.
When some of their investigations were published in the form of the book entitled “Occult Chemistry” in 1908, it was totally rejected by the scientific community as unacceptable. A number of scientifically minded theosophists have, over the years, attempted to bridge the gap between the prevalent scientific knowledge of a given age and the observations of Besant and Leadbeater. The results of the remarkable piece of clairvoyant investigation into the sub-atomic structure of atoms and molecules carried out by Dr. Annie Besant and Bishop C. W. Leadbeater over a century ago has now been found to be in remarkable agreement with particle physics findings of modern physics. The clinching evidence for the veracity of the Besant-Leadbeater findings is their discovery of the phenomenon known to science as “isotopes” and publishing the atomic weights of several isotopes correct to the second decimal place, five years before science even learnt of the existence of isotopes. In fact Francis Aston who discovered isotopes in 1912 using his newly invented instrument called the “mass spectrograph” was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in the year 1913. In 2003, a Professor of Historian of Science at Manchester University Dr. Jeff Hughes, while researching for a book on the discovery of isotopes in the archives of the Royal Society found that Aston not only knew about the Besant-Leadbeater work but had borrowed their term for the isotope of Neon calling it “Meta Neon”. In an article titled “Occultism and the Atom: The Curious Story of Isotopes”, published in the September 2003 issue of Physics World, Dr. Jeff Hughes states:
“……It thus seems highly likely that Theosophy had a small, but significant impact on Physics, as well as other areas such as art, music and philosophy”
and goes on to suggest that Besant and Leadbeater perhaps deserve the Nobel Prize for the discovery of Isotopes rather than Francis Aston!
This is an important development. One cannot help remembering the words of one of our revered Masters, “Modern science is our best ally.” Will the occultists and occultism be vindicated if not sanctioned by science? If this be so then theosophical teachings can be readily accepted by the general public.
2008 is a significant year which we have reason to celebrate. It is the centenary of the publication of the First Edition of “Occult Chemistry”. Dr. Srinivasan suggested that during the year 2008, Theosophy-Science groups and other scientifically minded members, in various national sections may like to give some thought as to how this centenary event may be observed appropriately. Suggestions include convening a grand “International School on Occult Chemistry”, to holding separate local workshops at a National level. The latter has the merit that one can hopefully attract the participation of young students and researchers from various Universities in the vicinity. We, at the Singapore Lodge, hope to participate in the centenary celebration by inviting Dr. Stephen Phillips to give a seminar in Singapore. We have Dr. Stephen Phillips, theoretical “particle” physicist of the UK, to thank for placing the Occult findings on a firm footing by making a detailed analysis of the occult chemistry results and pointing out how it agrees very well with present knowledge of the structure of nuclei in terms of the quark (and even sub quark) constituents of atomic nuclei. Dr. Phillips published his studies in a book titled “Extra Sensory Perception of Quarks” in 1980 (Quest books) and in an updated version of the same titled “ESP of Quarks and Superstrings” (New Age Publishers, New Delhi, India) in 1999. The latter carries a foreword by Dr. Raja Ramanna, a former Chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission.
2008 is also the centenary of the founding of the Theosophical Order of Service (TOS). This Order was founded by Dr Annie Besant in February 1908 for the relief of suffering, and is now spread all over the world. The motto which she chose for the Order was: ‘A union of those who love in the service of all that suffers.’
The inspiration for the Order of Services was derived from an article written by one of the Masters, and printed by H. P. B. in the January 1888 number of Lucifer, the key-note of which is given in the following quotations. “The problem of true Theosophy and its great mission are: first the working out of clear unequivocal conceptions of ethics, ideas and duties, such as shall best and most fully satisfy the right and altruistic feelings in man; and second, the modelling of these conceptions for their adaptation into such forms of daily life, as shall offer a field where they may be applied with most equitableness.” “Theosophy must be made practical.”
To help to carry out the second part of Theosophy’s great mission, the Order of Service was founded in February, 1908, by Mrs. Besant, to organise a number of members for various lines of practical service, and to permeate the outside world with the Theosophical ideals underlying the different departments of work.
While the Theosophical Society provides spiritual philanthropy, the TOS provides physical philanthropy. The TOS is found in many countries in the world and is engaged in various services that seek to alleviate suffering, such as healing sessions, medical missions, providing free medicine and medical aid, visiting the sick, assistance during disasters, orphanages, scholarships, establishment of schools, rehabilitation of malnourished children, caring for the disabled, doing animal welfare work, preventing cruelty to animals, promoting vegetarianism, character building for young people, helping prisoners, forming peace groups, and donating funds to worthy causes, etc. TOS members need not be members of the Theosophical Society, although the management is. The Golden Link School is a wonderful TOS project in the Philippines. It was founded in 2002 by TOS, and is a shining example of successful theosophical work. At this school, students are motivated by “...awakening their interest in the subject matter instead of using rewards and punishments or threats.” Members of the Singapore Lodge recently collected and donated $11,500 in the spirit of TOS, to the Golden Link School, a very worthy cause, I must say.
We do not yet have a TOS in Singapore. Would it not be wonderful to start a local chapter in 2008—the centenary year of the TOS? We hope those who love in the service of all that suffers will gather together and make this a reality!
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 19 January 2008 when we celebrate our 119th 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 5 January 2008. 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 12 January 2008. Don’t miss it if you are a student of occultism.
Let’s Celebrate Our 119th
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 119 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, 19 January, 2008, 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, 19 January 2008 at 5 p.m.