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Theos-World RE: Why the decline in interest in TS/Theosophy

May 05, 1999 05:28 AM
by Peter Merriott

Dear friends,

I agree with Martin that a variety of good points have been made.

It seems to me, as Luois also states, that the question of 'theoretical v/s
practical' is a misleading distinction.  Rich's post and work reminds me of
just how important 'scholarly' work can be in influencing the world at large
in 'practical' way.  Ideas are powerful.

Studying the works of HPB and the Masters is as theoretical or as practical
as *we* make it.  For example, we can dismiss the teachings on 'rounds and
races' as too theoretical to be of value, or we can take seriously HPB's
comment that these particular teachings throw a great deal of light on the
inner 'sevenfold nature of man'.  Now this 'sevenfold nature', as an
actuality, *is* intimately connected with our lives.  Whether we see the
study of the seven principles as just a theoretical pastime or make use of
this knowledge in a practical way, is again down to us.  The view that HPB
and the Masters went to such lengths, and faced such abuse and malice, to
bring forth teachings that have no practical value to us, seems to me a
strange idea for Theosophists to hold.   If we put this view then we do
great harm to their work and shouldn't be suprised that people are not
interested in Theosophy.

Actually, I share Lucio's view.  My experience, here in the UK, is that more
and more people are becoming interested in the teachings of Theosophy,
particularly the works of HPB.  They are just not interested in joining an
organisation.  Perhaps with our present day communications, and varieties of
workshops, lectures, 'trainings', and informal groups, the large
organisational format is no longer as valuable as in the past?

Everything we say in this forum is "armchair philosophy" unless and until we
put it into practice in our daily lives...  and our daily lives have an
'inner' and an 'outer' aspect.  Jerry points out that we mustn't lose sight
of that 'inner aspect', and this may be a cause of the decline.   How each
of us approaches that 'inner life' in a practical way is a very individual
task, in my view, and yet a necessary one.  In this respect Louis made a
good point in saying that we each have a different constitutional make up
and this affects the kind of 'spiritual' life we are drawn to and the way we
in which we 'live it' in the world.  I would only disagree with Louis in
that I have met some very heart centred Occultists and some head centred
Mystics.  It seems to me the 'Divine' cares very little for which particular
'type' we are in this incarnation.  None of us has any special claims on IT.

The world, and our life as part of it, appears such an incredidbly complex
affair.  Whatever kind of endeavour we are involved in, for every statement
we make about what should be done there are always at least another dozen to
show how inadequate that approach will be.  For example: We want to 'act'
not 'talk' or 'quote from armchairs', yet equally some of the 'holiest'
individuals who have affected the world at large never left their ashrams
and spent most of their time in SILENCE or explaining the 'sacred
teachings'.  Conversely the few people that HPB refers to as real
Theosophists lived a life full of selfless action for others, for example
Father Damien.  And of course he didn't belong to the TS or study the SD.

Are giving Talks on Theosophy valuable or are they just more 'talk' and
ultimately no real action?  Would the starving in Africa or the raped and
murdered in Kosovo be relieved to know we had charismatic leaders giving
talks on Theosophy in halls packed with people?   Is outward action any more
valuable than 'study' or meditation, or lending a serious enquirer a really
good book that inspires the soul within to something higher?   None of these
feeds a hungry mouth.  But then, is that the aim of Theosophy, as such?  Or
is Theosophy food for the soul?

The way I make sense of it is that each of us has our various strengths and
abilities to use within the context in which we find ourselves in this
incarnation.  How well we combine the two will be the extent to which we
fulfill our duty and karma to others in this life.  This is bound to mean we
each carry out different activities in the world.  It is foolish to judge
how well another is doing her duty to those around her.

The important thing is: if we are serious students of Theosophy we must each
find a way to understand and then intergrate its Fundamentals into the
fabric of our lives - 'inner and outer'.   We have to *become* Theosophists,
as Martin rightly said.  But each 'becomes' in his or her own way, by "self
induced and self devised efforts", to quote a phrase from the SD.  An
organisation or charismatic leader cannot do this for us.  Yet, through
working together we can offer support and encouragement to each other in our
efforts, and make it all the more likely that such efforts will be
successful.  Perhaps when that genuine mutual endeavour towards a more
spiritual life for ALL is present and vibrant enough then such a body of
people will attract those who need it and those who can aid it in its work.

Best wishes


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