July 2011 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the July 2011 Newsletter to members. Non-members may or may not be able to relate to the contents.
“So far -- WE KNOW. Within and to the utmost limit, to the very edge of the cosmic veil we know the fact to be correct -- owing to personal experience; for the information gathered as to what takes place beyond we are indebted to the Planetary Spirits, to our blessed Lord Buddha. This of course may be regarded as secondhand information. There are those who, rather than yield to the evidence of fact will prefer regarding even the planetary gods as “erring” disembodied philosophers if not actually liars. Be it so. “Everyone is master of his own wisdom” -- says a Tibetan proverb, and he is at liberty either to honour or degrade his slave. However, I will go on for the benefit of those who may yet seize my explanation of the problem and understand the nature of the solution.”
A Master of the Wisdom
The Asala Festival
Bishop C. W. Leadbeater wrote in The Masters And The Path, which was first published in 1925, the following account of the Asala Festival.
“Besides the great Wesak Festival there is one other occasion in each year when the members of the Brotherhood all meet together officially. The meeting in this case is usually held in the private house of the Lord Maitreya, situated also in the Himalayas, but on the southern instead of the northern slopes. On this occasion no pilgrims on the physical plane are present, but all astral visitors who know of the celebration are welcome to attend it. It is held on the full moon day of the month of Asala, (in Sanskrit Asâdha), usually corresponding to the English July.
This is the anniversary of the delivery by the Lord Buddha of His first announcement of the great discovery—the sermon which He preached to his five disciples, commonly known as the Dhammachakkappavattana Sutta, which has been poetically translated by Rhys Davids as “The Setting in Motion of the Royal Chariot Wheels of the Kingdom of Righteousness”. It is often more briefly described in Buddhist books as “The Turning of the Wheel of the Law”. It explains for the first time the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, expounding the great middle way of the Buddha—the life of perfect righteousness in the world, which lies midway between the extravagances of asceticism on the one hand and the carelessness of mere worldly life on the other.
In His love for His great predecessor the Lord Maitreya has ordained that, whenever the anniversary of that first preaching comes round, the same sermon shall be recited once more in the presence of the assembled Brotherhood; and He usually adds to it a simple address of His own, expounding and applying it. The recitation of the sermon commences at the moment of full moon, and the reading and the address are usually over in about half an hour. The Lord Maitreya generally takes His place upon the marble seat which is set at the edge of a raised terrace in the lovely garden just in front of His house. The greatest of the Officials sit close about Him, while the rest of the Brotherhood is grouped in the garden a few feet below. On this occasion, as on the other, there is often an opportunity for pleasant converse, and kindly greetings and benedictions are distributed by the Masters among Their pupils and those who aspire to be Their pupils.
It may be useful to give some account of the ceremony, and of what is usually said at these Festivals, though it is, of course, utterly impossible to reproduce the wonder and the beauty and the eloquence of the words of the Lord Maitreya on such occasions. The account which follows does not attempt to report any single discourse; it is a combination of, I fear, very imperfectly remembered fragments, some of which have already appeared elsewhere; but it will give to those who have not previously heard of it some idea of the line generally taken.
That great sermon is wonderfully simple, and its points are repeated over and over again. There was no shorthand in those days, so that it might be taken down and read by every one afterwards; His disciples had to remember His words by the impression made on them at the time. So He made them simple, and He repeated them again and again like a refrain, so that the people might be sure of them. One may readily see in reading it that it is constructed for this special purpose—that it may be easily remembered. Its points are arranged categorically, so that when it has once been heard each point reminds one of the next, as though it were a kind of mnemonic, and to the Buddhist each of these separate and easily remembered words suggests a whole body of related ideas, so that the sermon, short and simple as it is, contains an explanation and a rule of life.
One might well think that all that can be said about the sermon has been said already many times over; yet the Lord, with His wonderful eloquence and the way in which He puts it, makes it every year seem something new, and each person feels its message as though it were specially addressed to himself. On that occasion, as in the original preaching, the Pentecostal miracle repeats itself. The Lord speaks in the original sonorous Pâli, but every one present hears Him “in his own tongue wherein he was born,” as is said in the Acts of the Apostles.”
In addition to the account by C. W. Leadbeater we also have the testimonial of Geoffrey Hodson (1886-1983), a renowned theosophist and clairvoyant and also a priest of the Liberal Catholic Church, regarding the Asala Festival. In his occult diary, his wife Sandra Hodson wrote on July 7, 1976, “Geoffrey recorded to me verbally that on one or more occasions he remembered, on awakening, an out-of-the-body experience following the Asala Festival, of attendance at the home and garden of the Lord Maitreya. Geoffrey stated, “As far as my memory goes, not only Adepts, but a considerable number of aspirants to Adeptship—devotees of the Lord Buddha, the Lord Maitreya, and the Masters of the Wisdom—were also present and listened to the discourse. Most of them, in physically influenced memory, were floating in their subtle bodies, as it were, in the air above the Lord’s garden on the southern slopes of the Himalayan Mountains.”
It is our pleasure to welcome back to Singapore Dr. N. C. Ramanujachary, or Dr. NCR as he is fondly called by members of the Singapore Lodge.
Dr. NCR visited Singapore several times before. He first came in September 1999 and again in August 2000. The last time he visited us was in September 2005. He gave lectures and conducted study classes during all his visits and he will be doing the same again this time. He will be in Singapore from 15 to 31 August 2011 during which he will be conducting a six-part study class on ‘The Secret Doctrine: How to Study’ as follows:
In addition to the study class, Dr. NCR will also give two talks to members. The first talk is on ‘Wisdom packed in Minor Upanishads’ and the second on ‘Pythagorus – His Philosophy in Aphorisms’. The study class and talks by Dr. NCR are restricted to members only.
Dr N C Ramanujachary, 76, has a M.A. in Political Science, B.L. in Industrial and Commercial Law and Ph.D. in Comparative Philosophy and Religion. He has been a member of the T.S. since 1958 and actively connected with the work of the Society since 1979 at the World Headquarters, Adyar, Chennai.
Dr. NCR is a prolific writer and speaker on Theosophical Subjects and General topics connected with Human Civilization and Culture. His special areas of Study are History and Philosophy of Theosophy, Madame Blavatsky, T Subba Row and J Krishnamurti. He has published more than 50 books in English and Telugu, both fiction and non-fiction. Some of the recent publications include: The Human and the Divine; An Enduring Philosopher; Awakening to Truth; Padileche Kadali Tarangalu (Srivirinchi Kathanikalu,Vol.7); Understanding Krishnamurti; and In the World of Magic. He is currently working on Letters of T Subba Row and Blissful Way of Life. He is currently Joint General Secretary, and Director of Studies of Indian Section and member of the Indian Section Council and Executive Committee.
One of the highest and one of the commonest of human aspirations is to become a healer. This talk examines what spiritual healing is, what can and what cannot be done by spiritual healing alone, the parts played respectively by the healer and sufferer, how spiritual healing works and how one may train oneself effectively to heal by the powers of mind and Spirit.
The true cause and healing of ill-health is discussed. This talk also examines methods of healing other than spiritual such as pranic and magnetic healing, mesmerism and hypnotism. Are there any cautionary considerations regarding the latter? Also, should one heal by the power of the Will? Find out the answer to these questions and others regarding healing by attending this talk by our Hon. Secretary, Sis. Lily Chong, on 16 July 2011 at 5 p.m. Don’t miss this most interesting talk which is for members only!