Articles

Compiled and Annotated by Geoffrey Farthing.

NATURE AS THE BASIS OF TRUE RELIGION
or
NATURE AS THE TRUE BASIS FOR RELIGION

 

FROM EARLY DAYS

Nature in religion is not new. The sun in his majestic daily journey and the silvery moon at night have ever been objects of veneration and worship. All the planets in our system have their god names. The Elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire are in the Indian pantheon of gods. Mercury is the messenger of the gods, planetary Neptune is also the god of the sea. Pan is the god of all Nature. So men have revered Nature from time immemorial. Both the sun and the moon are the principal astrological factors in the planetary constellations, ruling the horoscopes, even the destinies some believe, of men. Also worshipped under various names and aspects are the Devas and Nature spirits, with their particular powers.

Our thesis, however, is not Nature as religion but Nature as the true basis for religion. It is hoped to show why.

I am not a scientist, but science, particularly quantum physics, intrigues me. Recently I came upon a book entitled Entangled Minds by Dean Radin, a senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma, California, which advances the thesis that the concept of entanglement in quantum theory may explain psychic faculties and parapsychological phenomena. I have become sufficiently emboldened to suggest that this concept might well apply to a well-known and long accepted principle in numerous spiritual traditions—the law of karma.  Radin does point out early in his book that there are “two flavors of stupidity: Just Plain Stupid and Mentally Deficient.” To avoid being categorized under one or other of those two “flavors,” I propose to tread cautiously on some unexplored aspects of karma, raising more questions than I intend to answer in any definitive manner.

First, what is entanglement? It appears that the word was first used by the noted physicist Erwin Schrödinger to describe the connection between separated particles that persists regardless of distance. Einstein’s famous remark that entanglement is “spooky action at a distance” perhaps encapsulates the phenomenon best. Could it be that connections persist not only over great expanses of space, but also over vast periods of time?

Compiled by Sandra Hodson

Geoffrey Hodson was born in Lincolnshire, England, on the 12th of March 1886, and passed away on the 23rd of January 1983, at his home in Auckland, New Zealand. He joined the Manchester Branch of the Theosophical Society as a young man, and from then on until the end of his Life of 96 years, he travelled throughout the world teaching, lecturing, and writing on Theosophy.

Diary entries exist from 1921 to 1983.

Light of the Sanctuary
(c) The Theosophical Publishers, Inc.
Manila, Philippines
All rights reserved
First Published 1988
ISBN-971-9113-0-0

Light of the Sanctuary contains some 3164 extracts from Hodson's diaries. Twenty-seven of these dealing with the Occult Chemistry work are reproduced below.


23 October 1958 New Zealand
Master Polidorus Isurenus

Clairvoyant Research into the Structure of Matter

After you have taken all possible care to see and describe accurately, you are right not to allow yourself to be disturbed by either contradictions of the present findings of science or differences from Occult Chemistry (C.W. Leadbeater). I watched you through most of your experiments ... The doctor is right in saying that the angle of vision is decisive in the appearance which the object presents to the observer. Degrees of magnification also make a big difference. There was, however, no denial of fact, and you are right to describe impersonally what you see without attempt to correlate your observations with either physical or occult physics ... The results will be cumulative and eventually, when all put together, will be part of the edifice of truth concerning the structure of matter.

by David Reigle, June 2009

In the early Theosophical writings, H. P. Blavatsky used the term “dugpa” for the various non-Gelugpa orders of Tibetan Buddhism, namely, for the Kagyupa, Nyingmapa, and Sakyapa orders. In doing this, she followed the usage of Western writers of the time. These writers indiscriminately termed all of these orders as “Red Caps,” “Shammars,” and “Dugpas,” or “Dukpas.” Blavatsky additionally used the term “dugpa” for followers of the non-Buddhist Bon religion of Tibet. We know that Blavatsky used the books of these writers because she often quotes them. Indeed, she drew the term “Kiu-te,” a phonetic spelling of the Tibetan rgyud sde that long baffled researchers, from Narratives of the Mission of George Bogle to Tibet, and of the Journey of Thomas Manning to Lhasa, published in London in 1876 (2nd ed. 1879). The editor of this book, Clements R. Markham, writes about the dugpas or dukpas in his Introduction:


In the middle of the fourteenth century a great reforming Lama arose in Tibet, named Tsong-khapa, . . . His reforms led to a schism in the Tibetan church. The old sect, which resisted all change, adhered to their dress, and are called Shammars, or Dukpas, and Red Caps. Their chief monastery is at Sakia-jong, and they retain supremacy in Nepal and Bhutan. (p. xlvi)

As may be seen, Markham lumped together all those who did not follow Tsongkhapa’s new order, the Gelugpas, as the “old sect,” calling them “Shammars, or Dukpas, and Red Caps.” Moreover, in the then prevailing ignorance of things Tibetan, he stated that the headquarters of the Red Caps is at Sakia-jong.
. . . the great monastery of Sakia-jong (Sankia of D’Anville), the head-quarters of the Red Cap sect of Buddhists. (p. xxviii)

Who Are the Dugpas in Theosophical Writings?

Each of us has a "soft spot": the place in our experience where we feel vulnerable and tender. This soft spot is inherent in appreciation and love, and it is equally inherent in pain.

Often, when we feel that soft spot, it's quickly followed by a feeling of fear and an involuntary, habitual tendency to close down. This is the tendency of all living things: to avoid pain and cling to pleasure. In practice, however, covering up the soft spot means shutting down against out life experience. Then we tend to narrow down into a solid feeling of self against other.

One very powerful and effective way to work with tendency to push away pain and hold onto pleasure is the practice of Tonglen. Tonglen is a Tibetan word that literally means "sending and taking." The practice originated in India and came to Tibet in the eleventh century. In Tonglen practice, when we see or feel suffering, we breathe in with the notion of completely feeling it, accepting it, and owning it. Then we breathe out, radiating compassion, loving kindness, freshness; anything that encourages relaxation and openness.

In this practice, it's not uncommon to find yourself blocked, because you come face to face with your own fear, resistance, or whatever your personal stuckness happens to be at that moment. At that point, you can change the focus and do Tonglen for yourself , and for millions of others just like you, at that very moment, who are feeling exactly the same misery.

Talk at the School of the Wisdom, Adyar, 5 December 1957.
Published in
The Theosophist, September, 1995.

There is an article by T. Subba Row, whom HPB held in very high regard as an occultist, entitled ‘The Occultism of South India’. In that he speaks of the two Paths, one of which is the steady, natural path of progress, on which there is all-round and sure growth. The other is through a series of initiations, and only a few specially organized and peculiar natures are fit for this. People who progress along the easier, natural path do not in any way suffer by doing so, nor is the final attainment anything less, but the Path of Initiation is meant only for certain people, because it is really a forcing process. Instead of developing very gradually and comparatively easily, the chela is helped to hasten his own growth and attain prematurely, so to speak, a knowledge of his spiritual nature. There is a relation set up between the pupil or chela and the Adept who directs through the chela various occult forces which force his growth.

Subba Row says further that Sri Sankaracharya, whom HPB speaks of in The Secret Doctrine as the greatest Initiate in historic ages, recommended the natural, easy, steady path to those who followed him, and to his successors in that particular office. We must not imagine that Adeptship and Initiation are chance happenings; they are strictly a product of Nature. The Adept Hierarchy has its important function, which is to keep open the upward Path through which descend the forces needed for humanity’s growth.

Magazine Article: Theosophy in Australia, March 2001

“Theosophy … is the fixed eternal sun, and its Society an evanescent comet trying to settle in an orbit to become a planet, ever revolving within the attraction of the sun of truth.” — H.P. Blavatsky

Our society completed an extraordinary century and a quarter of existence on 17th November 2000, a milestone of no small import. Milestones may be disregarded by some as belonging to a world dominated by parameters such as time. However, they can be a most valuable juncture for an organisation such as ours to assess its worth and integrity, its inherent usefulness or otherwise in the world and, most importantly, its usefulness to the work of the Great Ones who originally inspired the formation of the Society. If asked, probably each and every member of this organisation would have a different perspective on the TS and its future, a Society which is small in terms of the planet´s total population yet substantial in terms of its effect upon world thought. A few ideas are presented here.

Let us briefly reconsider the reasons for the formation of The Theosophical Society, which will be taken up again later. Madame Blavatsky made a beautiful statement when she wrote about Theosophy and The Theosophical Society:

Theosophy is divine nature, visible and invisible, and its Society human nature trying to ascend to its divine parent. Theosophy … is the fixed eternal sun, and its Society an evanescent comet trying to settle in an orbit to become a planet, ever revolving within the attraction of the sun of truth. It was formed to assist in showing to men that such a thing as Theosophy exists, and to help them to ascend towards it by studying and assimilating its eternal verities.

[The Key to Theosophy]

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.

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