Jul 22, 2017

The Value of Things and Persons

Where Your Treasure Is,
There Your Heart Will Be Also

Carlos Cardoso Aveline




Different people value different things, of course.

Even when they do value the same things, they most often see contrasting values in that which they seem to cherish in common.

Why do you value a forest: is it because of the high price of the wood?

Perhaps you value the trees because of some other economic potentialities, which are more correct from the ecological point of view.

Is the forest valuable for you because it plays a central role in preserving life as we know it in the present civilization? 

Or perhaps the forest itself is valuable to you, regardless of the many practical uses it has for mankind and the other living species? We also know that all the levels of value possessed by an object coexist: one needs to determine the emphasis and the relative importance of each sort of appreciation.

Besides the real value of a forest, other examples are possible, and they deserve being examined. The various forms of value are seen from different levels of consciousness. The physical importance of something may be far away from its emotional, intellectual, or spiritual importance.

The depth and sincerity of one’s respect for other beings depends on the point of view from which life is being looked at. Do you measure your own value by the number of apparent friends you have, or by the firmness of the approval you get from your own soul and conscience? 

Is your self-esteem in any way dependent on the purchasing power of your credit card, or the amount of praise and applause you receive every month?  There are more intelligent approaches to life.

The science of ethics speaks of two main levels of value.

At the instrumental level your life is important because you help people, because you are useful to society, you do good to your community and country.

Your wife makes you happy in many ways; therefore, she is most valuable.  Your children are part of your happiness. Your friends, colleagues, your nation and a thousand other factors in life contribute to your contentment; therefore they are most valuable to you. And so are the warm beams of the Sun in winter, the beauty of a flying bird and the shadow of a tree in the summer.

At this level of perception, value is instrumental. If you are unable to go beyond such a dimension of value you are still fundamentally blind to the beauty of life. 

Your wife has an intrinsic value: her importance cannot be measured by the amount of joy she makes you experience. The same is true of your children and your nation. It is scarcely intelligent to have respect for people only because, or as long as, they agree with you. The purpose of other beings in your existence is not to indulge you. Through them Life teaches you various ways to improve yourself.

Once we see the intrinsic value of a forest, of a nation, of sunrise, of friendship or humbleness, we recognize the higher and nobler dimensions of instrumental value.

The two things are inseparable.

It is a privilege to be useful to the inner growth of others. Our duties are both material and moral. There is a blessing in having deep respect for one’s fellow-citizens, and for the forests, forest-dwellers and all beings. 

In this process, we become conscious brothers of Those who are far more advanced than our present mankind and yet keep in subtle contact with human beings, in order to make sure they tread the path to universal ethics.

Theosophy According to Jesus

In every time and nation, independent thinkers have always pointed out the path to the evolution of the soul. Since the 19th century, many have questioned the system of values in a society whose actual god - the center of people’s existence - is money.

When material values are seen as the decisive factor in life, moral and religious values constitute a matter of mere appearance, a disguise to personal ambition, a tool at the service of selfishness.

Erich Fromm showed the need to choose between “having” and “being”. It is evident that in theosophy, such things as political leadership, money, institutional power and material possessions have no significance in themselves. They provide no true happiness or contentment. Theosophical values produce bliss because they belong to immortal souls. In the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus teaches the theory of value adopted in classical theosophy. That Jewish master never intended to establish a church, let alone a church that is attached to material power and possessions.

He taught, instead:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44-46)

Jesus added:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6: 19-21)

The same teaching is found in the Dhammapada and other scriptures.

By renouncing attachment to visible possessions (money, applause, power), one can attain the heavenly and invisible treasure - the permanent one -, and also the eternal pearl of universal wisdom.

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Jul 20, 2017

No Separation Between The Divine and the Worldly

When the Presence of the Soul Is
Strengthened in One’s Daily Tasks

Carlos Cardoso Aveline




In the first stages of the Way one often sees a painful difference, if not an abyss, between the divine and material aspects of life.

One’s ambition is then to get rid of outward tasks and duties, so as to dedicate one’s whole life to the altruistic ideal of human progression and perfection.

As one simplifies little by little his personal agenda, time for the search of selfless wisdom expands.

Into the extent that the change of one’s life unfolds, the difference and the contrast between divine tasks and worldly duties get reduced and the time approaches when they will completely disappear.

In fact, every effort destined to sustain physical life - our own, or of those around us - is an opportunity to strengthen the temple within our heart and mind.

Just as the air can be found in water, and water is invisibly present in the soil, the spiritual aspect of Nature is also contained in every right action that is well performed on the physical plane.

There seems to be a “separation” between the earth and the sky, but where exactly is the earth? The earth navigates on the sky all the time.

Human perception is part and parcel of divine consciousness.

Spiritual duty is that duty performed with the right intention and altruism. Through humble actions one defeats pride, eliminates self-importance and attains to selflessness.

Important actions are those which we perform with our soul. The science of theosophy teaches us to put our highest self and full attention at every moment and situation we live.

Nothing is useless whose intention is noble. No action is meaningless if done with a pure heart and generous mind by an individual who’s able to learn. All aspects of life are sacred as long as when we look at them from the point of view of universal sacredness. When the presence of the soul is strengthened in one’s daily tasks, the very substance of individual life becomes sacred.

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The above article was first published at the May 2015 edition of “The Aquarian Theosophist”, pp. 8-9. It had no indication as to the name of the author.

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See also in our associated websites the article “All Life is Good” and “An Unbroken View of Life”.

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In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists. Two of the priorities adopted by the ILT are learning from the past and building a better future.

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E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).


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Jul 19, 2017

Human Ethics and Earthquakes

The Secret Connection Between Human
Psychology and the Geological Cycles of the Earth

Damodar K. Mavalankar

 A scene showing results from the 2015 earthquake in Nepal



An Editorial Note:

The following article is reproduced from “The Theosophist” magazine, India, September 1885 edition, p. 285. Signed “K.D.M.”, the text was most likely written by Damodar K. Mavalankar (D.K.M., or K.D.M.), who was a close assistant to Helena Blavatsky.  Original title: “Earthquakes”.

In an article published in 1933, the North-American theosophist C. J. Ryan corroborates the idea of Damodar’s authorship.[1] It must be said that in September 1885 Damodar had already gone to live in one of the Ashrams of the Masters of the Wisdom.[2] His note on earthquakes was published a few months after he left India abandoning  the visible aspects of the theosophical movement. Helena Blavatsky had left India for good a few months before him: she went to Europe in March 1885.

(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)


Human Ethics and Earthquakes

The theories now put forth by the scientists as regards the cause of earthquakes are not satisfactory.

The Hindus have a superstition that the great snake Basuki carries the earth on its head, and when the earth becomes heavy with sins, this snake moves its head and this is the cause of earthquakes.

If we try to go to the bottom of this superstition we may get a glimpse of what was believed by the ancients as the cause of earthquakes.

According to the Tantrik yoga philosophy the earth is sustained by a force named Kundalini shakti, this force is the life of the earth. This force is symbolically represented by a snake entwined in 3½ coils round the linga-sharira of the earth. In the microcosm, this force is a state of strain producing a current that moves along a spiral path.

According to Professor Maxwell, electricity is a state of strain in the luminiferous ether, and all the phenomena of the magnetic force are observed when electricity flows along a spiral coil.

From these it may strike one’s mind that what is called magnetism in modern science is one form of the Kundalini shakti of the Hindu yogis.

It is a fact proved by the scientists that this earth is a large magnet. And I think that the internal disturbance in the earth’s magnetism is symbolically represented in the superstition above alluded to as regards the cause of earthquakes.

Modern scientific men can see no connection between the cause of earthquakes and events on the mental plane of the earth. But when they understand that there is no such thing as accident in this universe, that every event which appears to us as accident, is the effect of a force on the mental plane, then they will be able to understand why the superstitious Hindus look upon earthquakes as the effect of accumulated sins committed by men. [3]

The superstition of the Hindus properly understood means this: That the accumulated effect of the bad Karmas of men on the earth, impressed in the astral fire, is to produce a change in the position of the centre of the force which is earth’s life. This centre of force, known by the Hindus as Padma or Chakra, is the head of Basuki. When the earth, to sustain its own life, requires to change the position of the centre of its active life, a disturbance in the internal magnetism of the earth is produced, amongst other phenomena earthquakes occur, just as nervous tremors occur in a man’s body. [4]

Only one who is an adept in the knowledge of all departments of natural forces can say how far this view of the Hindus is correct. Let the reader seek the help of such a one to clear his doubts, and when I have said this I have nothing more to say.

(K.D.M.)

NOTES:

[1] “Scientific Notes and News”, by C. J. Ryan, in “The Theosophical Path”, October 1933, p. 220. (CCA)

[2] See letter 29, first series, in “Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom” (TPH) and the commentaries to it. (CCA)

[3] Human greed causes environmental devastation and periodical climate changes. (CCA)

[4] A change in the axis of the planet. (CCA)

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The annotated article above is reproduced from the May 2016 edition of “The Aquarian Theosophist”, pp. 9-10.

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In September 2016,  after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists. Two of the priorities adopted by the ILT are learning from the past and building a better future.

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E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).


Those who want to join E-Theosophy e-group at YahooGroups can do that by visiting https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/E-Theosophy/info.

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Jul 14, 2017

Developing an Accurate View

It Takes an Honest Heart to See
The Mystery of Universal Wisdom

Carlos Cardoso Aveline




Illusion depends on mental habits.

The level of accuracy in one’s view of any particular fact is inseparable from the degree of exactitude we have in looking at every other aspect of reality.

If, therefore, one blocks from himself an accurate view of something, the door is opened to subconscious delusion in other areas of life. All the ways we look at life are interdependent. We may deny a fact because it is emotionally painful, or because we are attached to some sort of imaginary pleasure or sense of security which the fact will erase: it does not matter. One lie brings another. One illusion produces two or three more.

And each true vision produces another. As we look honestly at one fact, we look at ten others.

Entire waves of illusion relating to all kinds of interconnected facts can get unmasked in the same second. When this experience is wide and deep enough, it is called “enlightenment”. And when the lights are turned on, all kinds of things get visible - the beautiful ones and the ugly -; and then truth and ethics gradually prevail.

Observing Polemics

One’s discernment will certainly be tested all the time in self-renewing and unexpected ways.  Some tools can help us not to be trapped in collective karma situations where illusion dominates.  Let us see two practical examples. 

When you see a fierce debate, examine how people use words. Who is ascribing negative feelings to whom, in an intense way perhaps, and with no proof or evidence?

Check the facts. Identify those who speak with honesty while the discussion goes on. Examine the varying degrees of respect for truth and consideration for each other.

Only he who respects himself is able to have due regard for the facts. To say falsehoods - even while being carried away by emotion - expresses a lack of self-knowledge, for the knowledge of oneself makes self-control possible. In a war of words, truth is often the first victim. It is worthwhile observing who uses falsehoods as a weapon, and who does not; who acts as a false friend of whom, and who is loyal in words and deeds. 

The Criterion of Sincerity

The harmony between words and deeds is an effective criterion. If an individual praises something but will not defend the thing praised when it is unjustly attacked, then there was no praise: there was instead flattery, a blunt form of falsehood. Many an insincere person unmasks himself or herself in this way.

Similarly, as one adopts a philosophy, one must be able after some time to defend its point of view and teaching. If one purports to adopt a teaching and will not defend it, one has adopted nothing. He or she just made an opportunistic approach to the teaching, and tried to take lower forms of benefit from it. This is a self-defeating kind of effort. For selfishness prevents any real benefits in the approach of a philosophy whose basis is altruistic.

The mysteries of universal wisdom are not sealed off mainly through secret codes. They are established in the territory of Ethics and Discernment: only an honest heart will be able to read them. However, a friend of truth must be ready to tread a thorny road. Any deep form of honesty looks like an unforgivable sin for hypocrites. If sincerity is strong enough not to be seen as a form of weakness or naiveté, then it sounds like a personal insult for those who decided to lie to themselves; and they get angry at it, even if they try to conceal the anger.    

Renewed Waves of Facts

Karma unfolds in waves of events, and not through isolated facts.

In order to develop a higher accuracy in his view of life, the pilgrim must face the renewing waves of facts that life sends him as a result of his trying his best in the science of right action.

The first approach to any difficulties is “a patience that nothing can disturb”. Only self-restraint allows us to calmly see when to wait, when to act like a lightning bolt, and when to choose a gradual approach. Obstacles and opportunities come together. Continuous observation will pave the way to a deeper understanding.

Rejecting mistakes is a decisive tenet on the road to wisdom. Justice and accuracy are inseparable: one’s sense of right and wrong must be confirmed by practical decisions, so as to protect the exactitude of one’s views. The subconscious distortion of facts is the gravest form of blindness.

A living combination of time and effort produces accumulated experience. Then one’s understanding improves, positive potentialities are seen, and the occasions to take initiative multiply.

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The above article was first published at the March 2016 edition of “The Aquarian Theosophist”, pp. 11-12. It had no indication as to the name of the author.

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E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).


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Jul 9, 2017

How a Sacred Decision Unfolds

Human Soul Can Become Fully
Conscious of Its Unity with the Universe

Carlos Cardoso Aveline




It is generally considered that the vitality of the esoteric or theosophical movement depends on the purity of commitment of its members, which in some cases directly involves one’s higher self and invokes one’s relation to the universal law of justice.

If this is correct, whenever one wishes to discuss and evaluate the real strength of the esoteric movement, it is necessary to examine the vitality of the vows, commitments and intentions of theosophists, starting by oneself. These may be formal or informal, it does not matter.

Samuel Pufendorf says that “an oath is held to lend conspicuous support to our speech and to all acts which involve speech”, for “it is a religious affirmation, by which we give up our claim” to the divine mercy, and “call down divine punishment if we shall not speak truth”. [1]

“An oath”, he says, “raises a presumption of truth by invoking an omniscient and omnipotent witness and avenger” - one’s higher self, a divine teacher, the universal law. Because we find it hard to believe that anyone would be so impious as boldly to call down upon himself - if I can use theosophical terms - the negative retribution of universal law.

However, says Pufendorf, there is no real compulsion in an oath taken by a divinity in whom one does not believe and for which there is no fear or respect. [2] The oath is only real if taken while one evokes as a witness some form of divine intelligence in which one sincerely believes.

Pufendorf adds:

“This is also the reason why if a man swears by false gods whom he believes to be true gods, he is undoubtedly bound, and if he is false to his oath he is in fact committing perjury. For it was the general notion of deity that he had before his eyes under whatever particular form, hence in knowingly committing perjury he has, so far as in him lay, violated the reverence [due to a divine intelligence].” [3]

How could one explain then the fact that since the 1880s many a theosophist has failed to fulfil his inner promise to himself in spite of the fact that in making it he invoked the secret presence of the universal Law, and of his own higher levels of consciousness?

In such circumstances, one may have to infer that they did not really believe in the Law, and their conscious connection to their own higher selves was not strong enough. As a result, their commitment had not real or practical value for them.

Life is a stern teacher. No doubt about that. Yet failures can always be healed, as long as sincerity to oneself remains alive; and even in unfavourable short term scenarios, other chances will present themselves in future lives.

The Nature of a Spiritual Commitment

In order to be effective, one’s oath, vow, or word of honour must be pronounced with a deliberate intention, says Pufendorf.

“… A man will certainly not be bound by an oath”, the German thinker adds, “if he simply enunciates it while reading it over or merely tenders its words (couched in the first person) to someone else. But one who gives the appearance of swearing in earnest will certainly be bound, whatever was going on in his mind while he was swearing. For the whole usefulness of the oath in human life would be destroyed, and so indeed would any means of binding oneself to an obligation by the use of signs, if by a tacit reservation one could prevent the act from having the effect it was designed to produce.”

Pufendorf says that vows do not create a new or additional obligation. They act as an extra bond to an obligation which must be valid in itself. No vow to commit misdeeds is legitimate. The effect of a solemn commitment ceases if one comes to know that the action one is supposed to do is fraudulent, vicious, or morally wrong.

On the other hand, the oath must add strength to a feasible duty, not to an impossible task.[4] In philosophy, one’s own conscience is the main judge of one’s actions, of one’s commitments and efforts to attain a sacred goal.

Karma will operate as the law of action and reaction regarding whatever I do in visible and invisible realms of life. Yet it is up to me to be responsible for my commitments, and no external authority can do that for me, as long as the spiritual path is concerned. The Jesuitical practice of acquiring authority over people by inducing them to make religious vows must not be accepted in theosophy. The pilgrim should receive correct information as to the nature and the implications of making a serious commitment to himself and to his higher levels of consciousness. However, no external “authority” can decide for  a pilgrim on such  matters.  Nobody has  the right to induce  him to this or that decision.[5]

Of course, the active energy of a spiritual commitment is markedly strong. It invariably unsettles the structures of one’s routine and past Karma.

Managing the magnetic waves of tests is no easy matter. The preservation of the purity and strength of one’s decision to expand contact with the higher self requires a specific kind of knowledge. Studying the experience accumulated by different pilgrims in various circumstances can be useful to those who are aware of the unavoidable law of self-responsibility.

An Intention That Is Constantly Reborn

Life has shown that individual decisions based on the practice of altruism need to be regularly reexamined and reaffirmed.

A vow to improve oneself requires a daily struggle against old habits, individual and collective. The structure of professional relations will change from within, whether one likes it or not. Family and friendship relations will be tested and transformed. The transfiguration is now slow, then sudden. The path to divine knowledge includes every dimension of life and brings uncomfortable forms of outward change.

Progress is often invisible, while obstacles easily call our attention. Various yearly and daily forms of confirming the sacred decision can be practiced so as to gradually strengthen one’s will.

Blind obedience and mere attachment to this or that ritualistic procedure will be mainly useless. The seedling of wisdom - one’s commitment to do good - must be taken care of and protected in constantly renewed ways.

There is no handbook on how to manage life after a firm decision is made to search for divine wisdom. The patience of a turtle is as necessary as the speed of lightning. What to do and how to act depends on many factors. At all times, learning in one’s innermost heart is more important than outward activities. Success or failure in the realms of appearance means nothing for life of the inner vow. Personal defeat can be a source of great and sacred lessons. Victories often pave the way to internal failure.

Leaving aside the attachment to comfort and concentrating mind and heart on the work ahead is extremely important if one wishes to preserve his loyalty to the goal of self-improvement. Two factors help the pilgrim in remaining humble and improving his ability to learn: one is seeing the scarce value of some personal feelings. The other is practicing self-observation from the point of view of his sacred potentialities.

Self-forgetfulness certainly purifies the way one looks at life. It prepares the soul to learn the philosophy of universal altruism. Yet nothing on the path is as easy as the pilgrim might hope and anticipate.

For many years, after his decision to do his best, he will have to patiently identify and neutralize the energy of selfishness infiltrated in his own and other people’s noble intentions. The same is true of his altruistic feelings and generous thoughts, and those of the individuals around him. “No one is entirely your friend, no one is entirely your enemy, all are your teachers, in one way or another”, says esoteric philosophy.

Spiritual ignorance uses to disguise itself under the appearance of profound legitimacy. In individuals, as in esoteric groups and religious institutions, disloyalty to the spiritual soul uses a thousand and one elegant masks. Each time the pilgrim gets proud of his spiritual progress, an alarm bell should sound for him. And the other way around: whenever despondency appears, he must remember the reasons he has to be happy with his long-term decision for self-improvement.

Decade after decade, as the pilgrim daily practices right action, an old Self of his gently dies, and the future Self gains territory, inch by inch. Such a resurrection takes place with each new inhalation and exhalation. It also involves various lifetimes, while the Soul slowly unfolds the process of conscious unity with universal law.

NOTES:

[1] From the book “On the Duty of Man and Citizen According to Natural Law”, by Samuel Pufendorf, Cambridge University Press, UK, 1991, 183 pages, see p. 80.

[2] “On the Duty of Man and Citizen According to Natural Law”, pp. 80-81.

[3] “On the Duty of Man and Citizen According to Natural Law”, p. 81.

[4] “On the Duty of Man and Citizen According to Natural Law”, by Samuel Pufendorf, Cambridge University Press, UK, 1991, 183 pages, see pp. 81-82.

[5] See in our associated websites the articles “Pledges in Theosophy, Real and Phony”, “Whether Crosbie Broke His Vows”, and “The Fraud in Adyar Esoteric School”.

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In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists. Two of the priorities adopted by the ILT are learning from the past and building a better future.

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E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).


Those who want to join E-Theosophy e-group at YahooGroups can do that by visiting https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/E-Theosophy/info.

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