November 2018 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the November 2018 Newsletter to members. Non-members may or may not be able to relate to the contents.
Significance of The Theosophical Society
“You and your colleagues may help furnish the materials for a needed universal religious philosophy; one impregnable to scientific assault because itself the finality of absolute science; and, a religion, that is indeed worthy of the name, since it includes the relations of man physical to man psychical, and of the two to all that is above and below them. Is not this worth a slight sacrifice? And if after reflection you should decide to enter this new career, let it be known that your Society is no miracle-mongering or banqueting club, nor specially given to the study of phenomenalism. Its chief aim is to extirpate current superstitions and skepticism, and, from long sealed ancient fountains to draw the proof that man may shape his own future destiny, and know for a certainty that he can live hereafter, if he only wills; and that all “phenomena” are but manifestations of natural law, to try to comprehend which is the duty of every intelligent being.”
A Master of The Wisdom
The Theosophical Society
On the occasion of the 143rd anniversary of the founding of The Theosophical Society, it is perhaps appropriate to quote a few words of what was written by C. W. Leadbeater in the Inner Life about The Theosophical Society. He wrote:
“It would appear that some of its members have not quite comprehended the position of this Theosophical Society to which they belong. It is not a Society which is formed merely for the promotion of learning in some special branch, like the Royal Asiatic or the Royal Geographical Societies; still less is it a Church, which exists only to spread some particular form of doctrine. It has a place in modern life which is all its own, for its origin is unlike that of any other body at present existing. To understand this origin we must glance for a moment at the hidden side of the history of the world.
All students of occultism are aware that the evolution of the world is not being left to run its course haphazard, but that its direction and administration are in the hands of a great Hierarchy of Adepts, sometimes called the White Brotherhood. To that Brotherhood belong Those whom we name the Masters, because They are willing under certain conditions to accept as pupils those who prove themselves worthy of the honour. But not all Adepts are Masters; not all will take such pupils; many of Them, though equal in occult rank, have the whole of Their time occupied in quite other ways, though always for the helping of evolution.
For the better surveillance and management of the field of action, They have mapped out the world into districts, much as the Church divides its territory into parishes (though these are parishes of continental size), and an Adept presides over each of these districts just as a priest does over his parish. But sometimes the Church makes a special effort, not connected specially with any one of its parishes, but intended for the good of all; it sends forth what is called a “home mission,” with the object of stirring up faith and arousing enthusiasm all over a country, the benefits obtained being in no way a matter of personal gain to the missioners, but going to increase the efficiency of the ordinary parishes.
In a certain way the Theosophical Society corresponds to such a mission, the ordinary religious divisions of the world being the parishes; for this Society comes forth among them all, not seeking to take away from any one of them those people who are following it, but striving to make them understand it and live it better than they ever did before, and in many cases giving back to them on a higher and more intelligent level the faith in it which they had previously all but lost. Yes, and other men too, who had nominally no religion—who, though at heart of the religious type, have yet been unable to accept the crudities of orthodox teaching—have found in Theosophy a presentation of the truth to which, because of its inherent reasonableness and wide tolerance, they are able heartily to subscribe. We have among our members Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, Jews, Muhammadans and Christians, and no one of them all has ever heard or read from any of the officials of our Society a word against the religion to which he belongs; indeed, in many cases the work of the Society has produced a distinct revival of religious interest in places where it has been established.
Why this should be so is readily comprehensible when we remember that it is from this same great Brotherhood that all the religions of the world have their origin. In this true though hidden government of the world there is a department of Religious Instruction, and the Head of that department has founded all the different religions either personally or through some pupil, suiting the teaching given in each case to the people for whom it was destined, and to the period in the world’s history which had then been reached. They are simply different presentations of the same teaching, as may at once be seen by comparing them. The external forms vary considerably, but the broad essentials are always the same. By all the same virtues are commended; by all the same vices are condemned; so that the daily life of a good Buddhist or a good Hindu is practically identical with that of a good Christian or a good Muhammadan. They do the same things, but they call them by different names; one spends much time in prayer, and the other in meditation, but really their exercises are the same, and they all agree that the good man must be just, kindly, generous and true.
Many have joined the Society without knowing anything of the inner opportunities which it offers, or the close relation with the great Masters of Wisdom into which it may bring its members. Many have come into it almost carelessly, with but little thought or comprehension of the importance of the step which they have taken; and there have been those who have left it equally carelessly, just because they have not fully understood.
Even those have gained something, though far less than they might have gained if they had had greater intelligence. The Countess Wachtmeister tells how once when some casual visitors called to see Madame Blavatsky and offered to join the Society, she immediately sent for the necessary forms and admitted them. After they had gone, the Countess seems to have said half-remonstratingly that not much could be expected from them, for even she could see that they were joining only from motives of curiosity or courtesy.
“That is true,” said Madame Blavatsky, “but even this formal act has given them a small karmic link with the Society, and that, little as it is, will mean at least something for them in the future.”
Some have deserted simply from a fear that if they remained in the Society they might be identified with some idea of which they disapprove. This is not only selfishness but self-conceit; what does it matter what is thought or said of any of us, so long as the Master’s work is done and the Master’s plan carried out? We must learn to forget ourselves and think only of that work. It is true that that work will be done in any case, and that the place of those who refuse to do it will quickly be supplied. So it may be asked, what do defections matter? They do not matter to the work, but they matter very much to the deserter, who has thrown away an opportunity which may not recur for many incarnations. Such action shows a lack of all sense of proportion, an utter ignorance of what the Society really is and of the inner side of its work.
This work which our Masters are doing, this work of the evolution of humanity, is the most fascinating thing in the whole world. Sometimes those of us who have been able to develope the faculties of the higher planes have been allowed a glimpse of that mighty scheme—have witnessed the lifting of a tiny corner of the veil. I know of nothing more stirring, more absorbingly interesting. The splendour, the colossal magnitude of the plans take away one’s breath, yet even more impressive is the calm dignity, the utter certainty of it all. Not individuals only, but nations, are the pieces in this game; but neither nation nor individual is compelled to play any given part. The opportunity to play that part is given to it or to him; if he or it will not take it, there is invariably an understudy ready to step in and fill the gap.”
Let’s rejoice in being a small part of this great movement—The Theosophical Society!
Foundation Day Celebration
We shall be celebrating the 143rd anniversary of the founding of The Theosophical Society on Saturday, 17 November at 5 p.m. at the lodge. Let us rejoice together. Please take note of this important date in your diary and try to attend as we join the rest of the theosophical world in observing this significant occasion.
Blessed Are We!
By Geoffrey Hodson
From the Inaugural Address by Colonel H. Steel Olcott, President of the Theosophical Society. Delivered at Mott Memorial Hall in the City of New York at the first regular meeting of the Society, November 17, 1875.
‘In future times when the impartial historian shall write an account of the progress of religious ideas in the present century, the formation of this Theosophical Society, whose first meeting under its formal declaration of principles we are now attending, will not pass unnoticed. This much is certain.’
In consequence, we here, 99 years later are the privileged members of this our T.S.
It has lived and grown and spread throughout the world and bestowed the Divine and Immortal Wisdom upon hundreds of thousands of people. This, with the help of its present and future members – ourselves here in New Zealand — it will continue to do.
Such is our privilege, if so moved, to live for this Movement, to give to it all that we reasonably may and to serve it in our different capacities, as long as we live.
How blessed are we!
In doing so according to our abilities and opportunities, we may be sure that the blessing of the Great Masters will rest upon us and upon Their Society, for as one of Them has said:
‘Be brave for Truth and Brotherhood and we shall be with you throughout the
Viveka-Chūdāmani Study Class
The Viveka-Chūdāmani Study Class resumes on Tuesday, 13 November 2018. We shall have our study class on this and following Tuesday nights at 7:30 p.m.