January 2009 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the January 2009 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.”
New Executive Committee
Our 2008 AGM was held on 27 December 2008. It was attended by 56 members in person, which is more than the required quorum, and 83 through proxies. The following office bearers and members of the new executive committee were elected without contention.
President: Chong Sanne
Vice President: Kam Chai Heng
Secretary: Lily Chong
Asst, Secretary: Tang Kwok Choon
Treasurer: Djimmy Ong
Asst. Treasurer: Choong Chi Pin
Librarian: Vivekhananthan M.
Asst. Librarian: Serena M. L. Lee
Choong Tsui Wei
Lee Suit Fun
Tham Pui San
Moral Strength and Courage
Reprinted from On the Watch-Tower in the December 2008 edition of The Theosophist
At the Feet of the Master mentions courage as a qualification on the path. It is perhaps not always clear what that courage means. Does it mean, as a few people imagine, doing whatever one wants? Whatever one wants may be according to the desires of the personality, from a lower point of view, and not suitable for real progress. Or it can be the action of a person who sees in what direction humanity should advance. There is also a mass of people we call humanity who more or less follow the practice, both in thinking and in doing, which is considered normal and right by those in positions of authority or power.
Giordano Bruno grew up and joined a monastery at a very early age, which was not uncommon in those days. His thoughts, and perhaps his experience, ran far ahead of the vast mass of people around him. He began to speak of things which they had never thought over. He moved from country to country until he was caught and burnt alive. I mention him because he had courage. Being an unusual person, he spoke about things and matters which were considered improper in those days. Annie Besant was not willing even at a young age just to follow her husband, and go along with the life approved by orthodox Christians. When she asked questions because she wanted to know, she was told to keep quiet. She left her husband and lived a life of poverty, struggled through many things, and emerged as she did. C. W. Leadbeater had the courage to leave known circumstances and to follow HPB. It is difficult for us to imagine how atrocious this seemed in his time. Krishnaji was expected to do certain things, and fall into a pattern. But he had something extremely important to convey to people all over the world, and he wanted others to think for themselves. So we have these instances of people who incurred the wrath of society, but had the courage to face disapproval and to speak of what they considered to be the truth. This gives us an idea of the courage mentioned in At the Feet of the Master, which is not just physical courage.
Many people have physical courage, and even give up their lives, but that is comparatively easy. Inwardly, to think over things, and follow the truth courageously even when people disapprove of it is more remarkable. If we think of the inner government of the world, there is said to be complete harmony and cooperation. When the Masters, who are the inner founders of the Society, had the idea of working for a society like the TS, not everybody agreed, but they said, ‘you can try’. Courage is part of the qualifications for the path. Every person has to try to know the truth of it and live it, and see whether it works. The courage we are speaking about has to be built up within oneself slowly, to see whether it works. This kind of courage, Dr Besant advises, can be helped by meditating on the subject.
If we can begin to distinguish between the outer personality and the ātmā or inner ruler, then perhaps we will know courage in the real sense. What the ātmā sees as the truth is what needs to be done. There may be an occasion when important things need to be spoken about. Then we may stagnate, and go along with the crowd; that is very different. So it requires knowledge of what is important and what is less important, what is true and what is not true, for which this meditation is necessary. We talk about all sorts of things which do not concern us; things which do not matter to us, but we like talking. We enter into situations which do not call for our presence.
The person who meditates must think about what his Self really wants. Does it want to spend time by doing all that which the average person does? It is through daily meditation on what is necessary that we shall come to the conclusion that most of the things that the average person is in contact with, is useless. If we meditate on the real, we reject the unreal, and the difficulties in life, which appear so great to the man of the world, appear not so important.
Often the statement is made that a kind of moral strength is necessary on the path. The orthodox Hindu, for example, is certain that what is said in the Vedas or in some other text he has read is true. He says “I will reject the lower castes,” but he does not know the truth of it. The same thing can be said of the Christian or the communist, or anybody else. They grasp certain facts and imagine certain truths, and they may not be true at all. So to have moral strength also calls for a lot of thoughtfulness, of wakefulness, of trying to find out where the truth lies.
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 24 January 2009 when we celebrate our 120th 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 10 January 2009. 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 17 January 2009. Don’t miss it if you are a student of occultism.
Let’s Celebrate Our 120th Anniversary
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 120 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, 24 January, 2009, 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.
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, 24 January 2009 at 5 p.m.