June 2017 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the June 2017 Newsletter to members. Non-members may or may not be able to relate to the contents.
By Geoffrey Hodson
How to be happy as a fellow of the Theosophical Society [F.T.S.] is a subject of supreme importance, surely, for if we can discover the answer we shall know how to be happy in all the phases of our lives.
Curiously enough, the attainment of happiness is a serious matter. As has been said: ‘Happiness is no laughing matter’.
(Richard Whately, Archbishop of Dublin. 1782-1863.)
The value of Theosophy may be assessed by the world by the appearance, manner, lives and of course the character of Theosophists. Cheerfulness is an oft neglected expression of the spiritual life, yet it is a religion in itself. Intelligent cheerfulness produces a natural radiance and effective channelship, which are valuable in the presentation of spiritual philosophy.
I presume that the ideal Theosophist is an inwardly happy individual for whom the very fact of existence has become an inspiration and a joy, for whom the beauty of Nature and the comradeship of men are an unfailing source of happiness.
The discovery of Theosophy can itself produce a great happiness. This can be of great value, for up to the great day and hour of the discovery of Theosophy, adult members may possibly have passed through such difficulties as spiritual darkness, mental distress, disillusionment, fruitless search for truth and karmic adversity. The discovery of a logical philosophy, a solution to life’s problems, can in consequence be a wondrous upliftment. Generally this may be both a rediscovery and as a ‘sun burst’ within one after which spiritual and mental ‘clouds’ begin to be dispersed and karmic adversities to lose their oppressive power. For many, therefore, the first rediscovery of Theosophy can be an unforgettable experience.
There then can follow a prolonged intellectual and spiritual feast. Truth after truth rings true, satisfying and elevating the seeking mind. Basic principles illumine the intellect and logically solve hitherto insoluble problems. Despair vanishes as hope is born, the sense of chaos being replaced by the discovery of order.
Occult teachings reveal the wonders of Nature, visible and invisible, without and within mankind. The future is opened up with all its limitless possibilities. The power of achievement within man is realized. Certainty of attainment replaces preceding despair. Hope is renewed. Purposeful living replaces drifting. Dignity is restored to life. Intellectual awakening occurs. Spiritual experiences begin to be enjoyed.
New faculties of heart and mind germinate and are expressed. The brain, hitherto so often bedulled, displays signs of a new intellectual life and capacity. Ways of self-training and fields of service present themselves, and with a sense of privilege are entered. The Masters of the Wisdom are realized and one’s life dedicated to Them, and to treading the Path which leads to Their feet, ultimately to those glorious heights upon which They stand.
Thus the rediscovery of Theosophy can produce a revolution in one’s life. The seeker, successful at last, is changed into a blissfully happy individual, the whole mental outlook having been transformed. The irrevocable resolve is made to join the ranks of those who serve and love the world. Dedication becomes the keynote of the life henceforth. No wonder intense happiness results, for the laws of happiness are fulfilled.
Fortunate are those F.T.S. who throughout the years that follow retain, and continuously convey to others, the inner happiness and enthusiasm of the first Theosophical months and years. Unhappy are those for whom that first deep gratitude, that sense of wonder, delight and discovery, that inward determination to attain the heights dies out and disappears.
This does happen, can happen to any of us, especially when precipitation of adverse karma is experienced; for sometimes the Angel of Sorrow puts his magic upon us, that we may grow wiser, humbler and more compassionate.
Unfortunately some then lose interest and resign. As far as one knows, the majority do not, the inner recognition of truth being too strong. Many members in the midst of great difficulties retain their membership and remain uplifted by the discovery of Theosophy, their enthusiasm and gratitude steadily increasing throughout their years of membership. This, they feel, is due to no virtue of their own. It is due to the power and beauty of Theosophy, of The Theosophical Society, and to the inspiration flowing from Those Who founded and lead it still. Such fortunate ones have found in the Ancient Wisdom an unfailing, inexhaustible source of knowledge, inspiration, joy. They have entered a world wide fraternity, enjoy absolute freedom of opinion and thought and have discovered complete spiritual security that Rock of Ages which for them is eternal truth and they are founding their mental and spiritual house thereon. Furthermore, those so moved find themselves to be within reach of the great Sages, can become Their disciples and be guided by Them to Truth and Power and Peace. This, is it not, is the source of the inward happiness of F.T.S.?
How, it may be asked, can this be maintained, recovered when lost, and also shared with all? Perhaps the answer lies in the aphorism ‘Happy is the man who has found his work’, for under certain circumstances the Theosophist has found his work ‘to Popularize a knowledge of Theosophy’ and so to illumine the minds and lives of others with the Ancient Wisdom. The question then arises as how then may one best give Theosophically and so live Theosophically? By practicing and sharing, I suggest, the safeguards against dangers which knowledge of Theosophy provides.
The world has passed through a great crisis, has surmounted one great danger enslavement by evil. Other grave dangers threaten.
Let us glance briefly at them and observe the great opportunities for Theosophical work which each one offers. In the realm of science danger exists since man is ethically unprepared for the grave dangers of added knowledge, for morality lags behind scientific progress. The one safeguard is Theosophy with its teachings of the Divinity within all that exists and therefore sacredness of life, of Unity, and therefore the brotherhood of man, and of Christhood as the goal for which spiritual purposes must rule.
In education the dangers are stultification, memorization, mass production, corporal punishment, materialism, cynicism, selfishness and self-indulgence. The safeguards include Theosophical knowledge of the evolving immortal Soul within man, its uniqueness and its goal of Adeptship; service to the God within all sentient beings; education as a lofty vocation; realization of the great Plan of evolution; recognition of the youth of today as the builders of the civilization of tomorrow and their teachers as guides and directors to prepare them for that contribution; public life the greatest of all careers; the development of every aspect of human nature, and not of mental and physical alone and the supreme importance of Theosophically-illumined and motivated education.
In politics the dangers include the abuse of power, corruption and class and personal interests before national welfare.
Safeguards include recognition of the brotherhood of man: true idealism in the fulfilment of Office; schools and universities as recruiting and training grounds for public men and women: children and adolescents being taught to see in public life the greatest of all careers, especially civic, national and international contributions to the welfare of man.
In religion the dangers include disunity between World Faiths and within orthodox religions, and formalism, priest-craft and dependence upon outer observances alone.
World safeguards are: Unity in religion; A Parliament of World Religions, dedicated to individual illumination and salvation with the resultant reduction of fear, and the philosophic and mystical interpretation of the Scriptures of all Religions.
Such, I submit, are five wonderful ‘fields’ ready for, urgently needing Theosophical ‘husbandmen’.
Reprinted from Theosophy in New Zealand, Vol. 41, No. 3, 1980
What Theosophy Is
By C. W. Leadbeater
For many a year men have been discussing, arguing, enquiring about certain great basic truths—about the existence and the nature of God, about His relation to man, and about the past and future of humanity. So radically have they differed upon these points, and so bitterly have they assailed and ridiculed one another’s beliefs, that there has come to be a firmly-rooted popular opinion that with regard to all these matters there is no certainty available—nothing but vague speculation amid a cloud of unsound deductions drawn from ill-established premises. And this in spite of the very definite, though frequently incredible, assertions made on these subjects on behalf of the various religions.
This popular opinion, though not unnatural under the circumstances, is entirely untrue. There are definite facts available—plenty of them. Theosophy gives them to us; but it offers them not (as the religions do) as matters of faith, but as subjects for study. It is not itself a religion, but it bears to the religions the same relation as did the ancient philosophies. It does not contradict them, but explains them. Whatever in any of them is unreasonable, it rejects as necessarily unworthy of the Deity and derogatory to Him; whatever is reasonable in each and all of them it takes up, explains and emphasizes, and thus combines all into one harmonious whole.
It holds that truth on all these most important points is attainable—that there is a great body of knowledge about them already existing. It considers all the various religions as statements of that truth from different points of view; since, though they differ much as to nomenclature and as to articles of belief, they all agree as to the only matters which are of real importance—the kind of life which a good man should lead, the qualities which he must develop, the vices which he must avoid. On these practical points the teaching is identical in Hinduism and Buddhism, in Zoroastrianism and Muhammadanism, in Judaism and Christianity.
Theosophy may be described to the outside world as an intelligent theory of the universe. Yet for those who have studied it, it is not theory, but fact; for it is a definite science, capable of being studied, and its teachings are verifiable by investigation and experiment for those who are willing to take the trouble to qualify themselves for such enquiry. It is a statement of the great facts of nature so far as they are known—an outline of the scheme of our corner of the universe.
An extract from An Outline of Theosophy by C. W. Leadbeater