[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Re: theos-talk AN ENDURING FOUNDATION by Boris de Zirkoff

May 22, 2012 05:55 PM
by MKR

The main focus of the lodges in India is generally Universal Brotherhood
and much less on the esoteric matters this has led to vibrancy in their
membership and activities. The membership has shown consistent increase.
Also the impact of the immense work done by Besant in educational and
social fields continue to be felt even today. In many lodges there are
activities in support of the local population and this is in extension of
the first object. I am reminded of the Great Chohan's long term view as
reported by KH where the importance of the first object is the main focus.


'It has been our experience of recent years to find that Theosophical
Lodges in various parts of the world present such a sorry picture of
stagnation and somnolence precisely because their platform has often
nothing positive to offer to the public, and therefore the public is
conspicuous mainly by its absence, partial or total.'

On Tue, May 22, 2012 at 7:24 PM, Daniel <> wrote:

> **
> Boris de Zirkoff
> ----------------------------------------------------------
> In the pages of our contemporary, Theosophical News and Notes, the
> Journal of The Theosophical Society (Adyar) in the British Isles, in
> its July-August and Sept.-Oct., 1958, issues, Dr. Laurence J. Bendit,
> recently elected General-Secretary of the British Section, T.S.,
> contributes editorially some pertinent remarks on the freedom of
> thought in our Movement and the non-sectarian character of ideas
> presented under the name of Theosophy.
> There is much in what he says that is most commendable, sensible, and
> a needed reminder to most students. We are glad to see some of these
> ideas clearly stated by the chief Official of a large and influential
> Section, and to be told, for instance, that "there is ... no heresy
> in Theosophy," that "everybody has the right to question the writings
> even of those who are looked upon still, and with good reason, as
> more-than-average students," - and that "deep study and understanding
> should gradually lead to an intuitive feeling for what is the direct
> line of truth, and what is truth distorted or misinterpreted."
> We are also thoroughly in agreement with the writer when he states
> that "Wisdom can only be evoked from within, from a realm which is
> beyond language and words," and that "humility and the sense of
> wonderment which is the mark of every true Theosophist" are qualities
> the loss of which is to be regretted whenever it is superceded by
> a "know it all" attitude.
> But we cannot help feeling that the writer has somewhat hurriedly
> given expression to certain ideas in both of his articles, which a
> closer examination of existing evidence might have modified to a
> considerable extent. It often happens that we find ourselves carried
> away by our own most laudable feelings and convictions, and show a
> tendency to go to extremes and to disregard certain other aspects of
> the total picture.
> He finds it very unfortunate that some lecturers on the Theosophical
> platform should use such expressions as "Theosophy teaches ..."
> or "the teachings of Theosophy are ...," and that some people would
> be "so bold as to set themselves up as Theosophical teachers." This
> seems to him to be "quite inconsistent with the emphasis on freedom
> of belief." "Yet," he adds, "when all is said and done, there is a
> loose body of thought which seems to deserve the
> label 'theosophical,' if only to distinguish it from other
> philosophies ..." In his opinion, "Theosophy is neither eastern nor
> western, neither ancient nor modern; neither has it any teachings or
> teachers," because Theosophy is Wisdom, and one cannot teach Wisdom.
> It is precisely at this point that our esteemed author leaves the
> solid ground of impartial research, and the sound intellectual
> foundation of our work, and sails, perhaps quite unwittingly to
> himself, into the domain of slogans and convenient cliches. Let us
> look into this subject a little closer.
> The foundation-rock upon which the modern Theosophical Movement is
> established, as far as its philosophy is concerned, is H.P.B.'s The
> Secret Doctrine, a rather curious title to be used in a Movement
> which is supposed to have no definite teachings. This work, let us
> hasten to say before we are misunderstood, is no Theosophical Bible,
> and its students are no bibliolaters sitting in raptured awe before
> the unspeakable "revelation" contained in its pages. It is
> neither "divinely" inspired, nor devoid of errors, neither a final
> statement of all possible truth, nor anything more than a lifting of
> a "corner of the veil," in the words of H.P.B. herself. But it is
> most decidedly an authoritative declaration of a system of thought, a
> statement of specific teachings, an outline of a "doctrine" whose
> precepts, principles and positive assertions are as distinct,
> unalterable and definitive as are the basic laws of chemistry,
> physics, genetics or astronomy. Let there be no mistake about it. It
> is not a "loose body of thought," not "by a long shot," to use an
> Americanism.
> H.P.B.'s magnum opus is permeated through and through with some very
> definite statements. It proclaims that "the Secret Doctrine is the
> accumulated Wisdom of the Ages, and its cosmogony atone is the most
> stupendous and elaborate system" (I, 272). It establishes "three
> fundamental propositions," specifically defined and elaborately
> explained (I, 14 et seq.) It speaks of the divine Substance-Principle
> as "the fundamental Law in that system" (I, 273), and goes on to
> outline a large number of teachings, based on facts of Nature, which
> are in their sum-total the foundation-principles of the Esoteric
> Philosophy (I, 273-82). Moreover, it never fails to point out that
> these teachings were brought by higher Beings to nascent humanity,
> and impressed upon its collective consciousness for its own good and
> future growth.
> The pages of The Secret Doctrine, as well as of The Mahatma Letters,
> teem with statements such as: "the esoteric philosophy
> teaches," "theosophy establishes," "the Ancient Wisdom
> proclaims," "the secret teachings state," and many other similar
> expressions.
> If we consult our friend Webster, we will find that he defines a
> doctrine as "that which is taught; what is held, put forth as true,
> and supported by a teacher ..." He speaks of a dogma as a "doctrine
> laid down with authority," but without necessarily an arrogant
> insistence upon such authority. There can be little question of the
> fact that the teachings of The Secret Doctrine are authoritative, put
> forth as true, supported by teachers, namely, those original sources
> of inspiration whence they came, and that, moreover, such teachings
> are never arrogantly insisted upon, pushed down the throat of a
> reluctant following, or insolently paraded as infallible or as the
> last word of Truth. With these provisos, the postulates of. Theosophy
> are most decidedly a doctrine, a system of thought, and a body of
> teachings.
> And it is precisely because of the fact that H.P.B.'s writings and
> the writings of her superiors, the Adept-Brothers, have been allowed
> to be set aside for many years in certain portions of the
> Theosophical Movement, and to gather dust on forgotten shelves, to
> the advantage of pseudo-revelations by various psychics, that there
> has grown among some students the totally erroneous idea that
> Theosophy or the Esoteric Philosophy has no specific teachings to
> proclaim, no definite doctrine to promulgate, and that almost
> anything can and should be called Theosophical that is put forward by
> sincere and well-intentioned, but self-deluded individuals, whose
> sincerity can never be the guarantee of direct spiritual knowledge.
> If our writer means by "teachers" individuals who imagine they know
> it all, and who feel themselves vastly superior to those others whom
> they have decided to "teach" from the profundities of their own very
> questionable understanding, we are in complete agreement with him
> that such people injure our Movement, destroy self-confidence in
> students, and make themselves ridiculous by filling the air with
> empty word-weavings. But if by "teachers" are meant individuals who
> have become through years of deep study proficient in the philosophy
> of the ancient wisdom, have tried to live its precepts the best they
> know how, and who are called upon, by their general karmic stage-
> setting, to help others to acquire a deeper understanding of
> Theosophy than they already have, and to bring out from within their
> own inner Selves the knowledge hidden therein, - then we will have to
> let them be called by that time-honored title, which, in reality,
> designates someone who shows, who imparts knowledge, who makes aware
> of information, who guides, adjusts, and leads on towards a greater
> vista and a wider horizon. Would any sincere Theosophist refuse the
> privilege of becoming in due time a "leader of men," whose word and
> whose life point out to others nobler and ever-receding horizons of
> achievement, and show them the method to be used in their march
> forward towards the Light?
> We see, therefore, that the "teachings" are much more than
> a "statement of what Theosophists of all ages and nations have
> discovered as a result of their own searches and experiences," as our
> writer seems to think. If they were that, and nothing more, they
> would contain some truth and a very large degree of uncertainty and
> error, were they even the result of the understanding of exalted men,
> such as the Adepts themselves. In reality, these "teachings" are a
> formulation of the facts of Nature, irrespective of the opinions or
> the views of any particular man or group of men concerning them, and
> subject only to the limitations imposed upon our ways of expression
> by the paucity of the languages employed. Essentially, as has been
> said by H.P.B. and others, these "teachings" have been handed down
> from one generation of Seers to another, and originated in the far
> distant times of infant Humanity from spiritual Beings whose
> knowledge and wisdom are of an order entirely above those of our
> terrestrial mankind.
> When the student of the Esoteric Philosophy finds it stated that the
> human constitution is composed of certain specific seven qualities of
> substance and consciousness, or that the structure of the planet
> includes a specified number of invisible globes, or that there exists
> a certain definite co-ordination as between various Hierarchies of
> Beings, or again that the succession of root-races and rounds follows
> a certain specified pattern, and no other, and that the after-death
> states of the human entity can be known with considerable certainty,
> as a natural result of certain states of consciousness in embodied
> existence, or that cycles stand in a certain numerical relation to
> each other, - these proposition are as definite and positive, and we
> might even say, as unalterable, as any proposition of chemistry,
> physics, or mathematics.
> Is it dogmatic to assert that under normal conditions of atmospheric
> pressure water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, that the sum of the
> angles of any triangle is 180 degrees of arc, and that the
> acceleration of falling bodies is the same in Australia as in Europe?
> Upon propositions as definite as these, and others like unto them,
> are based some of our scientific structures. Upon equally definite
> spiritual-intellectual propositions, derivative from facts in Nature,
> are based those formulations of the Esoteric Philosophy which some
> have called its teachings. There is no vague, loose uncertainty about
> them.
> H2O is water everywhere on earth, irrespective of the opinions of
> anybody. NaCl is common salt on all the five continents. The key to
> the atomic era - E=mc2 - does not depend upon human attitudes towards
> it. As a matter of fact any constant is a numerical quantity
> expressing some physical law or magnitude as a fixed relation,
> because it is based on Nature's own operations, i.e., facts of
> Nature. The same is applicable to psychic, intellectual and spiritual
> facts in Nature's structure, as determinable by those who have
> complied with the conditions necessary for the acquirement of that
> knowledge.
> A professor of chemistry, physics or astronomy, presenting to his
> audience a statement of alleged laws and numerical relations which
> the experiments of the laboratory or observatory do not justify,
> would have but scant chance of continuing his career as a professor,
> although he might found a new school of thought, completely
> satisfying to himself and some others, even if unrelated to the facts
> of Nature.
> Similarly, an individual who would attempt to explain the structure
> of the invisible worlds in a manner which the experience of
> generations of Seers does not justify, and whose ideas, logical for
> himself and perhaps a few others, do not stand in harmony with the
> facts of Nature and collide head-on with the pronouncements of the
> greatest spiritual minds evolved upon this earth, would have scant
> chance at having his presentation become an integral part of a
> workable philosophy of life, and endure for ages to come as consonant
> with the facts of Nature.
> It has been our experience of recent years to find that Theosophical
> Lodges in various parts of the world present such a sorry picture of
> stagnation and somnolence precisely because their platform has often
> nothing positive to offer to the public, and therefore the public is
> conspicuous mainly by its absence, partial or total. The seeker after
> truth and light, the individual, whoever he or she may be, who is
> trying to find a solution to his troubles and a workable philosophy
> of life, would welcome any speaker who would outline for him specific
> yet undogmatic teachings concerning the nature of man and the
> Universe, and give him definite keys with which to tackle his own
> difficulties and open for himself a new treasure chamber of knowledge
> within himself. If this is done by the speaker without bombast,
> humbly, impersonally, and sympathetically, with dynamic conviction in
> the truth of what he says, and with an attitude of companionship with
> the one who seeks and asks, the result will be that the heart and
> mind of the seeker will be deeply moved and something within his soul
> will stir in response to the speaker. Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm.
> Conviction arouses response. Positive statements, backed by facts,
> generate an attitude of positive endeavor on the part of the seeker,
> and might do a lot more than that.
> What chance would any Lodge have to help others, if the visitor heard
> it stated from its platform that Theosophy is but a loose body of
> thought, that it has no real teachings or teachers, and that all it
> can do for anyone is to lead him somewhere into a realm of blue
> ether, beyond language and words!
> To judge by some of the gatherings we have attended from time to
> time, certain lecturers achieve an eminent success in this sort of
> voluble emptiness, with the result that promising people in search of
> truth never come back.
> No, my friends and brothers, the Esoteric Philosophy is something far
> more definite and dynamic than some apparently imagine it to be. It
> is the direct heir to the innate knowledge of super-human, quasi-
> divine Beings, or at least that much of this infinite knowledge as
> our finite minds can grasp today. It is a system of thought embodying
> in itself the positive experience of generations of Seers, Adepts,
> Initiates, whose personal and direct acquaintance with the operations
> of Nature - a clinical observation, we might say, of its functions,
> behind the veil of the visible - places them in a position to state
> with no uncertainty whatsoever what are the facts of Nature, and to
> outline its laws.
> Students of Theosophy, whether in organized Theosophical Societies or
> not, have not only the opportunity and the privilege, but also the
> duty of offering to those who seek for light a consistent and all-
> embracing philosophy of life, wherein the philosophical, the
> religious and the scientific elements blend together in a harmonious
> system, vitalized moreover by noble ethical precepts upon which to
> erect a life of constructive endeavor. If The Theosophical Society of
> the present era had no philosophy to present to the world, and no
> system of thought to promulgate, it would be but another useless
> excrescence upon the decaying stump of materialism, another
> worthless "ism," to be swept away by the revolution of time into the
> mounting heap of discarded human delusions.
> It is up to everyone of us, to see that the banner of Theosophy fly
> high over the battlements of human thought, so that others can see it
> and rally to the Universal Cause it stands for.
> ----------------------------------------------------------
> First published in THEOSOPHIA, Volume XV No. 2 (76) - Fall 1958
> Daniel

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application