This is the first of a two-part discussion. Essentially these discussions are about the same thing. Us and how we relate to our world, what is and isn't important. The second part (in another posting) relates to your activity here.
There are two themes in each of these sets of questions. The first is one of "How do I portray myself" to the world and to me? The second is ways that we feel we could do better. These are both fairly high risk questions in that we are telling everyone else out there about our interior lives and we are dealing more with feelings than opinion.
This second discussion is about us. How do you feel about our work and what are your thoughts?
Given the above, here are a couple short questions:
Thanks much in advance and I hope that we have a really good discussion as a result.
I would put Theosophy as one of a number of generally valid approaches to Esoteric Wisdom. There's a whole gamut of them out there, and we need not go through them all for the readership here. In my view, there should be no proselytizing of the Mystery School wisdom traditions, only putting out an open door to all who are drawn to them. Each of us will find the path that is right for us, in the West or the East, and usually drawing from both. Trying to "convert" people will be counter-productive.
But, in actuality, only a few will be motivated to go into the deeper esoteric waters. Most drawn to metaphysical and spiritual matters will stick with the more exoteric models, and that's fine for them.
As for what benefits are there in the esoteric traditions, I'd say that for anyone who really "soaks" in the wisdom and understanding that is offered, fears and doubts melt away, expecially that of death. This would naturally emanate over into one's day-to-day life, bringing about a more positive, "can-do" attitude to the mundane challenges one seems to be continually faced with.
How do we make the world a better place? That's the 10 billion dollar question. I can only say that for those who are motivated to take practical action, there's as plethora of groups and organizations, from eliminating hunger and poverty projects, to ecological, to human and animal rights, social justice, to bringing about more tolerance in the world, to science and ethics(a recent hot topic here) to you name-it. So, I don't see much necessity, most of the time, to "re-invent the wheel" in this regard. Whatever one's interest in serving and helping, just search engine the topic and 100's, if not 1000's, of groups and organizations will pop up to choose from.
On the other hand, I'm always suspicious of various "movements to save the world." For one reason, there's all sorts of competing views on just how to "put the world aright." There's no way everyone will be satisfied.
And, how many times have we witnessed first hand, or from afar, the "movers-and-shakers" of groups and organizations of lofty goals being unmasked. We find that their personal lives are in hypocritical disarray and when not in the public eye, are not very kind people.
I think our day-to-day treatment of others, especially in tense and chaotic situations, is of immense importance. Gandhi perhaps said it best:
"We must become the change we want to see in the world." Gandhi
Amongst the chief reasons for the inability of Theosophy to become popular is that it strayed from its core value of UNITY of all beings. It was reflected in its scathing attack on Christian Church and that created a backlash from which it is still to recover. One wonders why the Theosophists were so sympathetic towards Hinduism which even today is more dogmatic, superstitious and intolerant. The other important factor has been that although HPB included science in the Theosophy, many Theosophists continue to ridicule it, without coming up with anything that would validate their claims. If clairvoyance is science, give us the mathematics of it and we will believe you. If HPB, or the Mahatmas or others take the position that we can only tell you this much because the rest is secret or we are sworn to secrecy, what can an average person make of it.
Therefore, in my opinion, the way forward is twofold. "Responsible Living", based on UNITY principle and investment in education. Finally it is education that will allow the people to see the truth for what it is. Or, even lead them to it. As long as we ask people to 'believe' in whatever we are saying, we would be competing against other beliefs and the energies will get directed towards that 'competition'.
And unless one lives the UNITY principle, there is little hope of convincing others. The great teachers like Gautam Budha or Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi and many others did so and transformed the lives of millions.
My apologies to those Theosophists whose 'beliefs' may have been hurt by the above words.
Thanks Joe. You are most kind with your words.
But the real credit is due to David Reigle who introduced this forum to the priceless work, "Pranava Vada" and its principle of relation of negation. The book states, "energy of virodha, contradiction, opposition is Daiviprakriti". I have simplified it for my own understanding to mean that whenever there is opposition (non UNITY) a force called Daiviprakriti will be generated. It is perhaps this force that has brought Humanity in general and the TS in particular to the state each finds itself in.
But I also thought that nature cannot just create Daiviprakriti. It has to have something to balance it. This quest led me to a little known (in the west, but extremely popular amongst the Hindi speaking population of India) poet called Kabir. Kabir spoke of love. In fact many credit him as the first Sufi poet. He led a very interesting life. The entire Sufi tradition, as is well known, is based on exploration of love. So, I deduced that it is only LOVE that can counter the effects of Daiviprakriti. Love unites. That is UNITY principle. Moment UNITY is achieved, Daiviprakriti will disappear.
When one looks at the great historical figures and their achievements, it is not difficult to see the UNITY principle in operation.
Thank You David.
Joe Fulton said:
Capt. Kumar, that is as thoughtful an analysis as I have seen in quite a while. It is a challenging response, but one that is based in sound logic.
Far from being hurt, your words are most edifying.
The root of this is philosophical and, more importantly involves how we incorporate our philosophies into our lives. The philosophy that we live (not necessarily profess) is shown in our actual words and actions.
Did you mean this is the second part?
1. What do I feel that esoteric traditions have to offer to today's world of practical use? Esoterism is associated with the intellect, and I think rationalism is important. What should 'they' be saying to a larger audience? It just depends on each.
2. What practical role can we play collectively in making this world a better place to live? What should we do? How can we do it effectively? 'Be the change you want in the world'--Gandhi (paraphrased.) I am in favour living by and spreading the ideas of basic philosophy (more than Theosophy,) rationalism, ahimsa, meritocracy, Platonic republicanism, environmentalism, etc.
... all esoteric stuff is about goin' within, inside... you do it or you don't...
... esoteric life is NOT a philosophy, and philosophic, academic or objective science methods are useless regarding esoteric life... its not at all about "they" or "them", it's about you and me....
Gandhi's sentence is a truly esoterical one: the only way to become that change is to go inside...
hahahahaha levels again :-P
of course, academic studies may include anything, which will become academical and will be esoterical no more...
and yes, academic studies may help to go inside, but they also may prevent anyone from goin' inside... I did not find what I needed in academic studies...
I have pleasure in quoting Anand when he quoted the Buddha: "be your own light" ... then, it'll be obscure no more and rewards far better than any Nobel prize may be seen and enjoyed hahahahaha
there is need to know only one heart, the heart where you belong... when this is revealed, all are revealed
yes, academicals use to have some more common sense than theosophists hahahahaha and although I don't understand what you mean by "site leadership", I do appreciate the fact that you are able to write instead of just quoting or posting links ;-)
if esoterical life could be explained in words like any philosophical idea, it would deprive you the JOY of discovery, and I am not that mischievous hahahahaha
all esoterical practices can be summarized in one simple word: honesty, but it seems that not many are interested in such a practice
honesty is the only tool needed to go inside
not my idea, this is the gentle teacher's teaching
Theosophy is a three-way puzzle. Blavatsky used the integration of religion, philosophy and science as a prime object. They all stand as one, or fall as many.
Sri Aurobindo used the term Integral Yoga, which included jnana yoga, karma joga, bhakti yoga etc. Ultimately the human goal must be to bring all three together, especially the higher esoteric down and into the lower exoteric.
It can only lead to failure when one tries to achieve a supramental enlightenment, or all encompassing attainment, within pure/total reality by means of "mind-only" "isolation-tank" experience and thinking. Tanks are just too shallow <G>.
The inner creativity of mind must grapple to find itself, inner-self and the ultimate integration into life, i.e. with the external as well.
Many wonder if/how theosophy can affect and change the world......
Blavatsky, whether on purpose or not, left the legacy of an infatuation with esotericism that supersedes any desire by (many) people to find and use those practical items of knowledge needed to promote and help humanity. This cannot be done with esotericism only.
To sit around drooling-drunk in bliss-consciousness is not a worthy goal.
Aside: The closest prize that may be considered a "Theosophy-prize" is the Templeton Prize.
(It pays more than a Nobel-prize. Templeton set it up so that it must be so. He was pretty clever on that one.)
"Theosophy - The 21st Century Challenges"
The site needs to be one that is 21st century topics and ideas. We need to get forward (i.e. future) momentum that is NOT HPB Esoterica rehash, but solid issues facing people in their flooded cities, Countries with Power-grid failures, climate extremes, mass murderers, stochastic terrorism, lone-wolf terrorism and discuss the problems and prepare for a spirit that puts more emphasis in Knowledge, Practice, Understanding and generally a broader awareness globally that will be relevant tomorrow (and today). Even having a global events section that only states "New Catastrophe in XYZ area. See organizations A, B and C to get involved." That makes a news clearing house that helps. (Not a new idea, other sites do this - but we need to keep spreading those words. It is contemporary. We should be on it.)
In the USA, we get very poor coverage of world events. We need to bring in more of the items world-wide that people do not see on our rather limited news media that are too often run by a handful of people from the same "Country/Golf Club".
I really think the over-study of esoterica has become a hindrance and signature that theosophy is dated if not stale/dead. Esoterica is important, but it is not the signature that says "this is who we are". Theosophists should be first-class spiritual people who get active.. in any way they may be able to help. They must be informed with solid facts.
so - I see trying to be current with foresight, informative of the New and Modern ideas (a bit more exoteric), with a foundation of esoteric/mental understandings that are not limited but changing to meet new situations and conflicts. Religion is too often destructive these days. We need to create peaceful understanding of what/who/how a religion works today (correct any mistaken theory or rumor); The problem is not the religions, it is the idiots that are in control. Theosophy has a lot to say about theologies. we need to dispel some deep confusions and unnecessary hatreds. That is uniquely a Theosophical duty. We stand above squabbles to expound facts (current) and clarifications that lift the mind/spirit/activities out of the tar-pits of humanity.
I am glad to see that Joe started a new group "News". Many News-items are not distributed world-wide, depending on the country and media you look at. The US seems to having an outbreak of terrorism; most are home-grown and of the Lone-Wolf variety. It is not clear if it can be classified as Stochastic Terrorism.
When I heard, a while ago, of the suicides in India (Farmers in particular), I was doubly shocked by the information and embarrassed that the news media here was not covering it. (or - rather hard to find information on).
In any case thanks Joe!!