November 2015 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the November 2015 Newsletter to members. Non-members may or may not be able to relate to the contents.
It is Time that Theosophy Should Enter the Arena
By Geoffrey Hodson
An Extract from
Sharing the Light, Volume II
The words of my title are taken from a letter from the Maha-Chohan. Although not binding upon any member of the Theosophical Society, they may be taken as an indication of both the purpose of the Adepts in forming our Society and the chief task of its organizers, lecturers and authors. This view is supported by the further words of the same great Being Who also wrote, ‘We have to Popularise a Knowledge of Theosophy’.
What is implied by Theosophy and a knowledge of Theosophy? The Secret Doctrine replies: ‘The Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages . . . an uninterrupted record, covering thousands of generations of Seers, whose respective experiences were made to test and verify the traditions, passed on orally by one early race to another, of the teaching of higher and exalted Beings, who watched over the childhood of Humanity . . . No vision of one Adept was accepted till it was checked and confirmed by the visions — so obtained as to stand as independent evidence — of other Adepts, and by centuries of experience’.
Theosophy, then, is ageless, is beyond the limitation of time and of man’s mental outlook at any period. Theosophy is unaffected by the particular discoveries, beliefs and attitudes of merely human beings, important though these may be as milestones on the pathway to absolute knowledge and the attainment of that implicit insight into every first truth which is accorded to the Adept. So also the work of the Theosophical Society; for whilst methods of presentation must be adapted to the phases of intellectual development and cultural outlook of the day, the subject matter of theosophical literature and lectures remain the same, namely that fragment of Theosophy delivered to mankind in this age and its application to each problem of life as world peace, freedom, justice, happiness, health, disease, death and the life after death, and the meaning and purpose of life, cosmic and microcosmic.
This view of the work of the Theosophical Society is apparently supported by a letter written by a great Adept to A. P. Sinnett in 1883, in which he says: ‘One or two of us hoped that the world had so far advanced intellectually, if not intuitionally, that the occult doctrine might gain an intellectual acceptance, and the impulse be given for a new cycle of occult research. . . ’ (Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, 263). The closing phrase removes all suggestions of a fixed dogma and indicates a desired development of the occult knowledge imparted to mankind by the Adepts at the inception of the Theosophical Movement. The extension of existing information is evidently not to be based upon speculative opinions, but upon occult study and research.
The immeasurable importance and potential benefit to the human race of the promulgation of the accumulated wisdom of the ages is indicated in another letter from an Adept who wrote: ‘The members of the London Lodge have such an opportunity as seldom comes to men. A movement calculated to benefit the English speaking world is in their custody. If they do their whole duty, the progress of materialism, the increase of dangerous self-indulgence and the tendency towards spiritual suicide can be checked . . . The pendulum has swung from the extreme of blind faith towards the extreme of materialistic scepticism and nothing can stop it save Theosophy (Letters from the Master of the Wisdom, 1881-1888 T.P.H., Adyar).
In order to bring Theosophy within reach of mankind, great Adepts sacrificed a measure of Their silence and solitude, gave up part of the freedom which, with inconceivable effort and suffering, They had attained. Throughout the seventy-eight years* which have followed the founding down to the present day, the efforts, the devotion and the joyful sacrifice of the thousands of members have spread Theosophy and expanded the work of the Theosophical Society throughout the world. The movement has survived two World Wars and the intervening depression. Theosophy has begun ‘to enter the arena’ and efforts have been made ‘To Popularise a Knowledge of Theosophy’.
Evidently this is only a beginning, for Theosophy cannot be said either to have fully entered the arena of human thought, motive and conduct, or to have become popular. Who amongst war-ridden, crime-ridden, disease-ridden Western nations believes whole heartedly in karma and the immortality of the human soul alone among theosophical teachings? Very few, and hence the continued prevalence of selfishness, worldliness, cruelty, expatiation and the excessive funerealism which are prominent characteristics of modern civilization. Avidya still reigns. Suffering is, therefore, the lot of modern man.
The work ahead of us is, I suggest, quite clear. It is today what it was seventy-eight brief years* ago, namely, to continue occult study and research, to enable Theosophy to ‘enter the arena’ and ‘to Popularise a Knowledge of Theosophy’. In a phrase, our work still is to teach fundamental Theosophy, thereby banishing the ignorance, the suffering and the fear by which humanity is still beset. Whilst the machinery must continually be modernized and new and up-to-date methods of presentation must be constantly devised and used, the selfsame, ageless truths and their application to life constitute our message, our gift to the modern world, and its deliverance, our raison d’etre as a Society.
The presentation of many theosophical teachings is now greatly facilitated by certain changes in human thought and, I submit, the fullest advantage should be taken of this fact. Parapsychology, psychosomatic medicine and belief in the existence in nature of intelligence embued with aim or purpose, support theosophical teachings. Theosophy can now both be presented in terms of modern thought and shown to have been far in advance of it. Next steps in world-thought and action, such as the development and conscious use of the abstract mind and the intuition, and of their organs, the pituitary and the pineal glands, can also be suggested. Theosophical fundamentals should, however, form the heart and foundation of every exposition. The application of these fundamental teachings to the solution of both existing and new human problems, to the illumination of human minds — this, the practical value of Theosophy to man at this time — needs also to be thought out and offered to the world as part of the great gift of the Elder Brethren to the humanity of our present day.
Since the Theosophical Society was founded to teach fundamental Theosophy, it will be a great tragedy if over-familiarity with some of the apparently simpler teachings of Theosophy ever reduces our appreciation of their immense significance. Although the fundamentals of Theosophy may become familiar to theosophical students themselves, and may even come to be regarded by some as rather ‘stale news’, it should never be forgotten that such teachings as spiritual, intellectual, cultural and physical evolution, reincarnation and karma, the life after death, the super-physical planes of nature, their forces, phenomena, and inhabitants, and the existence, nature, powers and activities of Earth’s Adepts, are still strange and unacceptable ideas to the majority of Western mankind. Yet acceptance of them would radically change human outlook and mode of life. Full recognition, acknowledgment and ratification in conduct of the concept of karma alone, would transform human life on earth. So, also, for the more general public teachings, which it is of the utmost importance that the mind of modern humanity recognize, and apply to life. Acceptance by a sufficient number of people of the central theosophical doctrine of the unity of all life could, and one day will, utterly change international and individual relationships. Straight Theosophy is thus of supreme importance to the race; especially at this time of world crisis
*Dates are relative to 1953 when the article was first published.
New TS-Adyar Website
Our International Headquarters is pleased to announce the launch of the brand new TS-Adyar website at www.ts-adyar.org. It contains a wealth of information; it is much better accessible now, compatible with all mobile devices and, most importantly, user friendly. The simple-to-use dropdown menus in the top bar will show you the way.
Take some time to visit it and browse around; you will be pleasantly surprised. What, among many other things, is there to see? Under the following menus:
About—About Theosophy; Our Story; Early History; Objects and Freedom; Emblem or the Seal; Presidents and Officers; TS People; Membership; FAQ.
Visit—Events and Activities; Find us around the World; Retreat Centres in the World; Visit Campus; Getting to Adyar; Visual Tour; Visitor FAQ.
Learn—School of the Wisdom (SOW); Programs other than SOW; Study Together; Self Study; Extended Study; Books and Magazines; Videos.
Explore—Headquarters; Accommodation; Library; Temples and Shrines; Banyan Tree; Outreach Program; Olcott Memorial Higher Secondary School; Theosophical Publishing House.
Give—Various ways of contributing to the Society including the Theosophical Order of Service.
Connect—Contact Us; Recent News; International Directory.
There is much more, take your time and do enjoy your visit to the new TS-Adyar website.
40th Edition of A Course in Theosophy & Meditation
As part of our continuing effort to achieve our twin-object of popularizing a knowledge of theosophy and induction of new members, we will be starting our 40th edition of A Course in Theosophy & Meditation on Thursday, 26 November 2015.
Theosophy encompasses the science of life and the philosophy of living and has helped many people in the world. All members can help in the mission of popularizing a knowledge of theosophy. You will be doing humanity a great service by reaching out and bringing newcomers to the Society, to expose them to the theosophical teachings. As the Master has said, “Spheres of usefulness can be found everywhere. The first object of the Society is philanthropy. The true Theosophist is a philanthropist who—‘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 pathway to pursue. Yet the best ‘sphere of usefulness’ for the applicant is now in his own land.”
You would have received our email appeal to publicize this course by appending the following course information to the end of all your out-going emails between now and the commencement of the course on 26 November 2015. That way we can collectively reach out to as many people as possible.
Once again, the theosophy course will be combined with the popular meditation course, both to optimize our resources and also to give attendees the benefit of two courses at the same time.
The schedule of the next combined course is posted on our website at singaporelodge.org/btc_dates.htm.
Do them a service, get your relatives and friends to enroll online for A Course in Theosophy & Meditation.