Is there a way of life that we can adopt?
Regulating one’s own life is what we do when we understand things in a right perspective. Knowledge and updating one’s understanding each day, changing one’s attitudes and opinions, based on experience obtained, is also known to us. Sometimes we may think that there is nothing in our nature that needs a change. Scriptural knowledge comes to our aid in our understanding. It is not necessary to take it as an ‘authority’, but consideration as to its utility and its contextual examination is necessary.
A preliminary understanding of human nature, its processes, relationship with others, as well as Nature, is the basic need. Non-personal observation and non-judgmental attitude in daily living is helpful. These days, terms such as Yoga and Meditation have gained much currency and are advocated for practice. Words do not mean the same thing to all, cannot even describe the total meaning of the term. Much is left to imagination, reflection and deeper consideration.
Yoga and Meditation are normally associated with religion and philosophy. Now, science is also giving currency to the practices of yoga and meditation. Life is enjoyed in layers and levels. Mind plays a conspicuous role in life. Our life is lived in many planes of nature, not just at the physical level. We consciously or unconsciously live in three worlds, physical, emotional and intellectual. There is need to obtain coordination among these three levels. There can be higher laws of life and they ought to be adopted if the life is to become Total and Blissful. We see competition and comparison playing vital role. We often say, the world is full of competition and unless we acquire skill to be on the top we cannot survive. These views require a close analysis. No knowledge could be a proprietary theme of a particular group.
Friendliness is a quality natural to us. But we come across many enemies, named and unnamed, known and unknown. There can be no external enemy; our internal nature may breed certain traits that are inimical to the basic nature. Not knowing about them, it is possible we wage wars against life, its situation and events. We may build a life that is not compatible with the Compassion we ought to contain and carry with us.
Realizing that there is much gross/crude nature associated with us and cultivating subtler aspects of culture and enlightenment would make our life well congenial and comfortable. There has to be Reverence to Life and we have to assume responsibility for life. We must be prepared to share our life, our knowledge with others. No one’s life is solitary. We are part of a net work of relationships and/or a web of Life. We are tiny constituents of One Globe.
Developing humaneness and moving up the level of Divinity is natural sequence of our life. We have the potential for such orientation. Initially, it may need some practice coupled by conviction. As the adage is, it is only ‘constant practice’ that makes us ‘perfect’. Perfection is a mark of divinity. Humanity, essentially a constituent of divinity, can flower in the Divine Garden. We are designed for that, may be growing in the direction unconsciously; yet we can do that consciously and help the Nature.
MK, in my experience the copyright owners are rarely asked before their intellectual property in purloined - and pdf files made out of their works, I merely point out the dilemma of taking someone's property without permission - how far can this go? As I previously said small extracts for scholarly purposes are excepted but whole books?
Let me clarify my last post.
There are many out of print books out there whose copyright has not expired. These books are never going to be published for several years to come because it is very uneconomical to reprint them due to high reprinting cost as well as the miniscule market for them.
If the copyright holders of these books are interested and motivated to make the material available to their audience, I am offering a very simple solution.
Volunteers are standing by to convert the books to pdf files at no cost to the copyright holders provided the converted files are made available for free download. Of course, we can seek a donation, which most readers would be glad to support due to the value of the material.
This offer is in the best interests helping fellow students access valuable out of print materials. Whether the offer is grabbed by the copyright holders or falls on deaf years, only time will tell.
MK of course the mechanics of pirating an electronic version of a book have long been known. It is the morality that I am referring to. Just because a book is out of print it does not mean that the copyright has lapsed. In some cases the copyright owners know that their copyright is being infringed or in some cases badly abused, but they take no action. In other cases they have prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and the punishments can be very draconian, especially in the United States.But it is a moral dilemma for the copyright breaker - how far can one break the law ostensibly in order to do some good? As I previously referred to this is a grey area which our society has not properly sorted out.
If the copy right holder of any out of print spiritual/theosophical book which has a ghost of a chance of ever getting reprinted, is interested in sharing the book in pdf format (perhaps we can encourage a contribution such as being made in shareware or freeware software), there are volunteers who can make the conversion at no cost. All one needs is a copy of the book or even a photocopy. The binding can be trimmed and the book fed through a scanner and the end result is a searchable pdf file. Let us see how many takers are there who profess the welfare of the humanity. You can take the horse to the water but cannot make it drink, as the saying goes.
MK, admittedly this is a grey area which our world society has not yet fully sorted out yet. It is of course great to make things available for free, and if it is your own property you can do with it whatever you want, but if you make other people's property available for free without their permission that is called stealing. It may well be that few people are totally guiltless in this regard, but an aspirant for high spiritual values at least ought to be aware of the implications. There is material which is out of copyright which people are free to use, but what we have recently been talking about is a book that was published as recently as 1988. I think the point that I am making is this: that we all know that this illegal downloading goes on and some intellectual property owners and organizations are very indulgent in turning a blind eye to it, but that is entirely different from assuming that it perfectly alright to download whatever you want, just because you don't want to or can't afford to pay for it. I don't really want to say much more than that, people have to make a choice, life is full of dilemmas and in my opinion the spiritual life even more so. Personally speaking I don't believe there is such a thing as a free lunch - a price has to be paid for everything one way or another.
My objective is to make spiritual material available free for all. The question is simply how to balance this objective with putting food on the table of the author.A 64 dollar question.
Just a few minutes ago, I saw an announcement of theosophical encyclopaedia at a list price of US$50.00. Most potential readers especially from third world countries cannot afford. There is no mention of a pdf version available.
There is also the other issue of many out of print books which are uneconomical for reprint now or in the future due to miniscule market; but can be made available as a pdf file for free, if only the movers and shakers who can make the decision go for it. Also, the upcoming generation is more attuned to digital medium and the future is with them and let us see how things develop. Much like what CD and computer did to music industry, today's inexpensive fast scanners are going to do it to publishing industry, whether one likes it or not. Who can forsee the future.
Thank you for that statement MK. I remember discussing the republishing of Geoffrey's 2 volume Lecture Notes from The School of the Wisdom with him at that time - he told me that he was in discussion with the T.P.H. Adyar on the matter. In the end it must have proved too difficult for them and they ended up producing a much reduced version in one volume entitled Practical Theosophy. Of course any publishing house must assess whether they can recover their costs of a publication from sales - they are not a charity and have to survive in the real world. if people pirate their works it simply reduces their viability. As an analogy I have a musician friend and he told me that illegal downloading on the Internet had ruined his music career. I simply point out that just because something is possible to download, and a person cannot afford the purchase price (although they apparently can often afford other items of a luxury nature) it does not justify doing something illegal or immoral. Stealing other people's intellectual property rights just because one is able to do so can range from minor to major offenses and under the great law of karma everything is accountable. It is an individual issue where one is going to draw the line and a person's motive probably comes into it. Many of us have been involved in this in some way or another. In The Theosophical Society they have been very indulgent and do not tend to prosecute people, although for all I know they might do in a particularly bad case. But, in other areas people are being prosecuted all the time for doing this. I don't think that the Master's statement to Geoffrey comprised advice for people to break the law, do you?
Here is the comment I was referring to. The Adept was aware of the cost aspect. In 1977 we did not have Internet nor pdf files.Considering recent pricey books out of reach for most students in developing countries, there is definitely a disconnect. What publishers do not do, inexpensive scanners is going to take care of it whether one likes it or not.
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Master Morya (pp.346- 5/7/77)
[Regarding the Theosophical Society at this time:]
The problem to which you refer is due in part to the fact, is it not, that
the greatest number of the people who keep the Lodges and Sections alive
and working are all, or nearly all, themselves working people? They are
finding it in these days exceedingly difficult even to keep their own
finances in good order ...
Yes, directly approach the Manager of T.P.H.! concerning your Lecture
Notes. Ask whether the fact of changes in the production is preventing
reprinting; I fear so, since the type is all completely set up and so
maintained. In addition, as you have heard, the cost of printing has risen
in India so as to present an almost impassable barrier to reprinting some
of your works.
MK, If you can can find the statement I would be happy to comment on it. Otherwise, I would have thought that the Adepts would have favoured a spiritual author who had something to say selling his books and people who wanted to hear the information paying a fair and reasonable price for the privilege. This being in accord with the Lord Buddha's Right means of Livelihood. I doubt whether they would approve of the exploitation that occurs in spiritual activity on our planet at the present time.
In the book there is a short comment by one of the Adepts about financial side of readers and reprinting of books. I do not have access to the cite now. It can be located by key word search,
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