Articles

Magazine Article: The American Theosophist, July 1974

“The trouble with the three fundamental propositions is that they are way up there in the blue somewhere. They don’t answer any of my problems. Why should I bother to study them?”

How often do we hear this complaint, not only about the three fundamental propositions, but about The Secret Doctrine as a whole? The concepts are too abstract, too vast, too impossible to comprehend. “Anyhow, it’s all speculative, and I’ve got to earn my bread and butter, look after my family, carry on my business. I haven’t got time for something I can’t use.”

If The Secret Doctrine did nothing more than lift our minds “way up there in the blue” it would have served some purpose; we would have a wider perspective; we would be able to see our problems as a whole and perhaps stop running around on our little squirrel-wheels of doubt and speculation. For it is at the “daily problem” level that we really speculate: “Is this right? Is that right? Should I do this? Should I do that? There must be an answer somewhere!”

Pure logic would give us answers, but we are seldom capable of pure logic at the “daily problem” level. It comes from a much higher octave of our beings and can scarcely get a wedge into the tangle of doubts, fears, angers, panic, and other often uncontrollable emotions that beset us when we are in the midst of situations which seem to pull us in several directions at once – in short, when we must make a choice between this or that or some other action, or remain paralyzed in inaction. In an extremity we may even wonder why the Masters do not help us, show us what to do, give us some direction.

I. K. Taimni

Originally published in The Theosophist, February 1967

The discussion about the nature of Samadhi in the first chapter of the Yoga-Sutras of Patanjali and the subtle mental processes which are involved in it might well give the impression that the technique of Yoga is not meant for the ordinary man and he can at best make only a theoretical study of the subject and must postpone its practical application to his own life for some future incarnation when the conditions are more favourable and his mental and spiritual faculties have developed more fully. This impression, though natural, is based upon a misconception.

Those who formulated the philosophy of Yoga and devised its elaborate technique were not so ignorant of the weaknesses of human nature and the limitations and illusions under which an ordinary man lives. They could not point out the necessity and urgency of man’s freeing himself from these limitations, and then place before him a method of achieving this object which seemed to be beyond his capacity.

They knew the difficulties which were involved, but they also knew that these difficulties could be overcome by adopting a graduated course of training which is scientific and in accordance with the laws of human growth and evolution. Even in achieving any worthwhile worldly object a person has to proceed systematically and be prepared for a prolonged and strenuous effort.

If he wants to become a great mathematician he begins with the four rules of arithmetic and gradually works his way up from one stage to another until he masters the science. He does not start by attending courses of lectures on differential and integral calculus in a university. He is prepared for the long course of training but also knows that his final success is assured if he does not give up the effort.

This article was originally published in The Theosophist, the international journal of the TS, October 1982.

It is important to grasp, not merely as a concept, but as a fact, that the Path is oneself. The Voice of the Silence states that one cannot travel on the Path until one has become the Path itself. The Path is the qualitative change which takes place in one’s consciousness and in the vehicles through which consciousness functions.

It is said that consciousness, in its absolute form, is ever pure and that no change can, or needs to, take place in it. But ‘consciousness’ is an ambiguous term. The Sanskrit chaitanya is more accurate and indicates the ever pure, ever free, unlimited consciousness which does not change. Eastern philosophy speaks of two kinds of truth: one is paramarthika satya, absolute truth; the other is vyavaharika satya, relative truth. From the absolute point of view, consciousness cannot change, but, from the relative point of view, change must take place. Consciousness is identified with and entrammelled by the material vehicles through which it acts and, practically speaking, works in ways which are not natural to itself. It is unable to express its natural purity and freedom so long as these vehicles are not made into perfect instruments able to respond to its every vibration.

Theosophical studies show that all the bodies—physical, emotional and mental—have their own consciousness. In fact, every particle in every body, as a living unit, has its own consciousness, for life, functioning at its own level and in an appropriate manner, is found in all matter. The aggregate which is the body—whether it is the physical, emotional or mental aggregate—also has a consciousness of its own. There is also a further aggregate which is the physical-astral-mental body consciousness, and which is the ‘personality’ of man in Theosophy.

A COMFORTING IN TRUTH One of the most wonderful and comforting truths which the Ancient Wisdom brings to us is the fact there is in reality no death anywhere in the Universe. Nothing ever ceases to exist, it but changes its state. In the words of the poet Longfellow:
"There is no death, What seems so is transition"

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The Theosophical Society has the unique role of being a responsible Keeper and Sharer of the Ageless Wisdom, especially during periods when civilizations are in decline, government institutions are in decay, or societies slide perilously into violence. By the preservation and public sharing of the sacred teachings, they are enriched by contemporary experience and become relevant to the lives of entire communities, as modern Theosophy.  

Victor  Peñaranda is trustee and Vice President of the Theosophical Society in the Philippines and coordinates the Section’s lodge development and training activities.  He is also an experienced trainer-facilitator of the Self-Transformation Seminar.  Victor has worked as a journalist and as a capacity-builder on community development and governance in the Philippines, the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Republic of Macedonia.  He has written and published three collections of poetry and he has just received the Nick Joaquin Poet of the Year Award in the Philippines.  Victor and his theosophist wife have three children.

A presentation at the Theosophical Society in New Zealand Convention in 2016.

 

The 2016 School of Theosophy in New Zealand was directed by Dr Pablo Sender, assisted by Michelle Sender.

The focus was to look at the Theosophical Society tradition which has developed a wealth of teachings about the spiritual life that constitutes a distinctive system of yoga.  This path is particularly relevant for today's world since it is not meant to be trodden in retirement but in the midst of our daily life.  Some of its prominent practices are study, meditation, purification, self-observation and service, all of which stimulates a holistic unfoldment of our physical, moral, mental and spiritual nature.

The following sessions were explored in detail:  (Videos will be added as they become available)

1 - Definitions & Foundations

Meaning of the words ‘Yoga’ and ‘Theosophy’.  Foundations of the theosophical approach to the spiritual life.

2 - Study

The aims of study.  Change of perspective.  Transformation.  Practical Instruction.  Occultism.

3 - Meditation – General

Definition.  Why meditate?  Is meditation all we need?  Effects of meditation.  The practice of meditation.

4 - Meditation – The Process

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  2. To encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science.
  3. To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in humanity.

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