The parents of a child are but his enemies when they fail to educate him properly in his boyhood. An illiterate boy, like a heron amidst swans, cannot shine in the assembly of the learned. Learning imparts a heightened charm to a homely face. Knowledge is the best treasure that a man can secretly hoard up in life. Learning is the revered of the revered. Knowledge makes a man honest, virtuous and endearing to the society. It is learning alone that enables a man to better the condition of his friends and relations. Knowledge is the holiest of the holies, the god of the gods and commands the respect of crowned heads; shorn of it a man is but an animal. The fixtures and furniture of one's house may be stolen by thieves; but knowledge, the highest treasure, is above all stealing.
Learn to look intelligently into the hearts of men. From an absolutely impersonal point of view, otherwise your sight is colored. Therefore impersonality must first be understood. Intelligence is impartial; no man is your enemy; no man is your friend. All alike are your teachers. Your enemy becomes a mystery that must be solved, even though it take ages; for man must be understood. Your friend becomes a part of yourself, an extension of yourself, a riddle hard to read. Only one thing is more difficult to know - your own heart. Not until the bonds of personality are loosed can that profound mystery of self begin to be seen. Not till you stand aside from it, will it in any way reveal itself to your understanding. Then, and not until then, can you grasp and guide it. Then, and not till then, can you use all its powers, and devote them to a worthy service.
We have to realize that what actually exists as truth is one thing, and what the mind conceives and thinks to be true may be something else.
We must experiment if we are to experience.
Last week I put up google-ads. These will help me keep up the site.
of the regular contributors to this newsletter mailed the following
very interesting links. Do note that the capacity 'nowletter' may give
you trouble in the download process. If so, first download the newest
version of Acrobat Reader; a link is supplied on the website in
question. Note that David
Reigle also has a website on his more specifically theosophical pursuits.
The Oct., 2005, No. 111, "Nowletter" put out by Alan Mann, has an article from Victor Endersby's "Theosophical Notes" (Feb. 1958). The article is by Theosophist and Buddhist Willem B. Roos, and is a valuable critique of the Buddhism and sexual-tantric leanings of ever-popular Alan Watts. The issue is on-line at:Of interest also, is that Theosophist David Reigle has an article on Kalachakra Tantra in the Oct-Nov, 2005 "Mandala" Buddhist magazine. See Reigle's website at:
Last month the trouble was: how to fill the editorial. This month the trouble is: how to find words to describe how this Dutch person is feeling when reading about and watching the news on the disaster in New Orleans. The surprise isn't that dikes can break. I've lived with that certainty all my life. Half of my country is below sea level. That disaster can strike is also not news. The Tsunami-disaster in Asia is not that long ago. What shocks us on the other side of the Atlantic ocean most is the moral chaos that rules. How come suddenly the government is responsible for maintaining order, when most of the time Americans maintain the adage that the government should keep their hands off? How come opportunism rules to such an extent that neighbours don't help each other, but steal from each other? If a dike breaks here, I fully expect to help and be helped by my neighbours. I don't expect them to hold a gun to my head. In the news from Asia on how the Tsunami went we heard about lack of organization, about a bit of corruption, about how the casteless were helped last in India. We did not hear, and never expected to hear, of gunned vagrants making the streets unsafe. I may be wrong, perhaps it never reached the international press, but I don't think people went that far. In the many water disasters that have struck my country I've certainly never heard of such a thing either.
The US is a country where the government is in general supposed to keep its hands off. It provides legislature, to some extent, and is supposed to keep lowering taxes. That's how it appeared to me when I was living in Austen Texas when I was twelve. Yet the government is also supposed to keep even 'soft-drugs' like Marijuana illegal and keep people from drinking alcohol until they are 21. The government is supposed to allow citizens to protect themselves by allowing them to indiscriminately own guns. It is also supposed to no virtually nothing about the differences in the accessibility in schooling etc. How could it do anything, when it doesn't have money? Then again the whole country does all it does (and that is a lot) on a tremendous debt. The government tries to keep up with the chaos created in the war with Irak that did stop Saddam Hussain's??? dictatorship. That is one thing Americans do agree on: the government should maintain the army.
The government is certainly responsible for the behavior of
employees - stealing policemen are a disgrace. But the government can't
be held responsible for the moral chaos its citizens fall into the
moment disaster strikes. That's the responsibility of each citicen for
themselves. How can a country famous for the way it treats it's
visitors from overseas stoop to this level?
Part of the answer to this puzzle is perhaps the
fact that those
left in the waters of New Orleans are the ones who did not heed the
warning to leave that city. That group of people is bound to not be the
group that contains most responsible citizens. Still, compared with the
calm with which the English responded to the bombs in the London Subway
the hysteria that is apparent here is astounding.
Personally I think there is a link with the American
(and in general
modern) adage to 'stand up for yourself'. Standing up for yourself is
indeed in some cases the best way to act - for those that tend to in
general follow the judgment of others learning to stand up for their
own ideas is great. But standing up for yourself can easily go too far.
There is only so much attention to go around. If attention is only
given to those that scream for it, a whole country will learn to scream
for attention - as I think we have seen in New Orleans. In cultures
where working together is valued (as it is I think in almost any
culture in comparison to the US) a disaster brings out more a sense of:
now we need to work together.
The situation in New Orleans came as close to
hellish as I can
imagine. To be in a disaster area one risks hunger, disease and death
those are the natural givens in such a situation. All the water about
doesn't help any with hygiene, for instance and it is probably not
healthy to drink either. But to also have to worry about people taking
advantage of the chaos, at the expense of others, to the extent of
being threatened with your life... How much worse can a situation get?
Hunger, disease and death are part of life. It is only the body suffering in each of these three cases. The body will die, or it will survive. But the soul suffers when moral chaos rules.
hesitant whether I should add a note on gun-policy. I know that in the
US the ability to carry guns is seen by many as a God given right. I
guess it is necessary to add that given the fact that guns are mostly
used to harm other people, there are strong restrictions on carrying
guns in most European countries, including The Netherlands. This in
contradiction to the drug-issue where the harm is mostly to oneself. I
would like my American readers to ponder how different the situation in
New Orleans would have been without the presence of guns and other
What is the meaning of human life, or of organic life altogether? To answer this question at all implies a religion. Is there any sense then, you ask, in putting it? I answer, the man who regards his own life and that of his fellow-creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life.
The World as I see it What an extraordinary
situation is that of us
mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he
knows not, though he sometimes thinks he feels it. But from the point
of view of daily life, without going deeper, we exist for our
fellow-men--in the first place for those on whose smiles and welfare
all our happiness depends, and next for all those unknown to us
personally with whose destinies we are bound up by the tie of sympathy.
A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life
depend on the labours of other men, living and dead, and that I must
exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received
and am still receiving. I am strongly drawn to the simple life and am
often oppressed by the feeling that I am engrossing an unnecessary
amount of the labour of my fellow-men. I regard class differences as
contrary to justice and, in the last resort, based on force. I also
consider that plain living is good for everybody, physically and
In human freedom in the philosophical sense I am definitely a disbeliever. Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity. Schopenhauer's saying, that "a man can do as he will, but not will as he will," has been an inspiration to me since my youth up, and a continual consolation and unfailing well-spring of patience in the face of the hardships of life, my own and others'. This feeling mercifully mitigates the sense of responsibility which so easily becomes paralysing, and it prevents us from taking ourselves and other people too seriously; it conduces to a view of life in which humour, above all, has its due place.
To inquire after the meaning or object of one's own existence or of creation generally has always seemed to me absurd from an objective point of view. And yet everybody has certain ideals which determine the direction of his endeavours and his judgments. In this sense I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves--such an ethical basis I call more proper for a herd of swine. The ideals which have lighted me on my way and time after time given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Without the sense of fellowship with men of like mind, of preoccupation with the objective, the eternally unattainable in the field of art and scientific research, life would have seemed to me empty. The ordinary objects of human endeavour--property, outward success, luxury--have always seemed to me contemptible.
My passionate sense of social justice and social
always contrasted oddly with my pronounced freedom from the need for
direct contact with other human beings and human communities. I gang my
own gait and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or
even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these
ties I have never lost an obstinate sense of detachment, of the need
for solitude--a feeling which increases with the years. One is sharply
conscious, yet without regret, of the limits to the possibility of
mutual understanding and sympathy with one's fellow-creatures. Such a
person no doubt loses something in the way of geniality and
light-heartedness ; on the other hand, he is largely independent of the
opinions, habits, and judgments of his fellows and avoids the
temptation to take his stand on such insecure foundations.
My political ideal is that of democracy. Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized. It is an irony of fate that I myself have been the recipient of excessive admiration and respect from my fellows through no fault, and no merit, of my own. The cause of this may well be the desire, unattainable for many, to understand the one or two ideas to which I have with my feeble powers attained through ceaseless struggle. I am quite aware that it is necessary for the success of any complex undertaking that one man should do the thinking and directing and in general bear the responsibility. But the led must not be compelled, they must be able to choose their leader. An autocratic system of coercion, in my opinion, soon degenerates. For force always attracts men of low morality, and I believe it to be an invariable rule that tyrants of genius are succeeded by scoundrels. For this reason I have always been passionately opposed to systems such as we see in Italy and Russia to-day. The thing that has brought discredit upon the prevailing form of democracy in Europe to-day is not to be laid to the door of the democratic idea as such, but to lack of stability on the part of the heads of governments and to the impersonal character of the electoral system. I believe that in this respect the United States of America have found the right way. They have a responsible President who is elected for a sufficiently long period and has sufficient powers to be really responsible. On the other hand, what I value in our political system is the more extensive provision that it makes for the individual in case of illness or need. The really valuable thing in the pageant of human life seems to me not the State but the creative, sentient individual, the personality; it alone creates the noble and the sublime, while the herd as such remains dull in thought and dull in feeling.
This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of the herd nature, the military system, which I abhor. That a man can take pleasure in marching in formation to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was all he needed. This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism by order, senseless violence, and all the pestilent nonsense that does by the name of patriotism--how I hate them! War seems to me a mean, contemptible thing: I would rather be hacked in pieces than take part in such an abominable business. And yet so high, in spite of everything, is my opinion of the human race that I believe this bogey would have disappeared long ago, had the sound sense of the nations not been systematically corrupted by commercial and political interests acting through the schools and the Press.
The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle. It was the experience of mystery--even if mixed with fear--that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms--it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvellous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavour to comprehend a portion, be it never so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature.
Academic chairs are many, but wise and noble teachers are few;
lecture-rooms are numerous and large, but the number of young people
who genuinely thirst after truth and justice is small. Nature scatters
her common wares with a lavish hand, but the choice sort she produces
but seldom. We all know that, so why complain? Was it not ever thus and
will it not ever thus remain? Certainly, and one must take what Nature
gives as one finds it. But there is also such a thing as a spirit of
the times, an attitude of mind characteristic of a particular
generation, which is passed on from individual to individual and gives
a society its particular tone. Each of us has to do his little bit
towards transforming this spirit of the times.
Compare the spirit which animated the youth in our universities a hundred years ago with that prevailing to-day. They had faith in the amelioration of human society, respect for every honest opinion, the tolerance for which our classics had lived and fought. In those days men strove for a larger political unity, which at that time was called Germany. It was the students and the teachers at the universities who kept these ideals alive.
To-day also there is an urge towards social progress, towards tolerance and freedom of thought, towards a larger political unity, which we to-day call Europe. But the students at our universities have ceased as completely as their teachers to enshrine the hopes and ideals of the nation. Anyone who looks at our times coolly and dispassionately must admit this.
We are assembled to-day to take stock of ourselves. The
reason for this meeting is the Guntbel case. This apostle of justice
has written about unexpiated political crimes with devoted industry,
high courage, and exemplary fairness, and has done the community a
signal service by his books. And this is the man whom the students, and
a good many of the staff, of his university are to-day doing their best
Political passion cannot be allowed to go to such lengths. I am convinced that every man who reads Herr Gumbel's books with an open mind will get the same impression from them as I have. Men like him are needed if we are ever to build up a healthy political society.
Let every man judge according to his own standards, by what he has himself read, not by what others tell him.
If that happens, this Gumbel case, after an unedifying beginning, may still do good.
Let's say that I compare myself to an insect. I am a follower
Buddha, and a human being equipped with the capacity to think and,
supposedly, to be able to judge between right and wrong. I am also
supposed to have some knowledge of the fundamental teachings of the
Buddha, and theoretically I am committed to these practices. Yet when I
find certain negative tendencies arising in me, or when I carry out
negative actions on the basis of these impulses, then from that point
of view there is certainly a case to be made that I am in some ways
inferior to the insect. After all, an insect is not able to judge
between right and wrong in the way humans can, it has no capacity to
think in a long-term way and is unable to understand the intricacies of
spiritual teachings, so from the Buddhist point of view, whatever an
insect does is the result of habituation and karma. By comparison,
human beings have the ability to determine what they do. If, despite
this, we act negatively then it could be argued that we are inferior to
that innocent insect! So when you think along these lines, there are
genuine grounds for seeing ourselves as inferior to all other sentient
[sent in by Joaquim Fernandes]
Authors say Famed Apparitions in 1917 were Close Encounters with Alien Beings
VICTORIA, BC – The Fátima incident was an important event in the history of religion. In 1917, three little Portuguese shepherds – Jacinta, Francisco, and Lúcia – suddenly encountered the Virgin Mary, illuminated in the splendor of heavenly lights, who told the children three secrets about the fate of the Earth. The contacts were followed by an unexplained aerial phenomenon, called “The Miracle of the Sun,” in which the Sun was seen to dance in the sky by thousands of awestruck onlookers who flocked to Fátima.
The apparitions were presumed to be a case of divine intervention in human affairs, a sign from Heaven that the world war then raging in Europe should end. A shrine sprang up at Fátima that drew millions of believers, and a myth was invented that the secrets of Fátima would be revealed in the fullness of time – as a testament of faith in a secular age.
In Heavenly Lights (EcceNova Editions; July 2, 2005; $22.95), Portuguese historians Joaquim Fernandes and Fina d’ Armada tell the true story of the apparitions of Fátima. The first history of Fátima to be written by Portuguese historians based on the original documents, Heavenly Lights is the result of a 25-year odyssey by the authors in search of the actual facts of the Fátima case. Fernandes and d’ Armada began their investigation in 1978, when they were given access to secret archives held at the Sanctuary of Fátima.
The records of Sister Lúcia, kept at the archives since the incident, revealed that the children did not interact with an apparition of the Virgin Mary but with a hologram of an extraterrestrial projected on a beam of light from a spacecraft hovering high above them. The archives clearly showed that the entities encountered at Fátima were not deities from Heaven but rather alien beings visiting our planet from “elsewhere” in the vast Cosmos. This finding was supported by hundreds of other facts from the time of the apparitions. Fátima, the authors discovered, was the first major UFO case of the 20th century.
Heavenly Lights is certain to become a definitive history of the Fátima Incident of 1917. When it was first published in Portugal in 1995, entitled As Aparições de Fátima e o Fenómeno OVNI, the Jornal de Notícias, a leading Portuguese newspaper, heralded the work “a literary success without precedent in the field of Portuguese ufological studies.”
Now the whole world can know the truth about the apparitions of Fátima. This new translation by American journalists Andrew D. Basiago and Eva M. Thompson offers a powerful argument for both UFO researchers and religious scholars alike to re-examine the actual evidence that at last explains the enduring mystery of the Fátima incident.
Joaquim Fernandes, Ph.D, is Professor of History at the University Fernando Pessoa in Porto, Portugal. He directs the Multicultural Apparitions Research International Academic Network (Project MARIAN). His research interests include the history of science and the comparative anthropology of religion, with an emphasis on anomalistic phenomena.
Fina d’ Armada holds a Master’s degree in Women's Studies. She has written five books about the Fátima incident, all based on original documents held in the archives – three co-authored with Fernandes – and hundreds of articles. Her research interests include phenomenology, local history, the history of women, and the era of Portuguese discovery.
Heavenly Lights: The Apparitions of
Fátima and the UFO Phenomenon
By Joaquim Fernandes and Fina d’ Armada
Translated and Edited by Andrew D. Basiago and Eva M. Thompson
Foreword by Jacques F. Vallée
Publication Date: July 2, 2005
Price: US $22.95, CAD $30.95, £14.99
For Publisher’s Summary, Author Information, Jacket Photo, Excerpt, and Contact Details visit www.eccenova.com and follow the link to the Media Kit
Q- How many Theosophists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A- NONE- Theosophists are not afraid of the dark.
When someone knocked on the door, Bayazid called out:
'Whom do you seek?'
The caller answered:
'I, too, have been seeking "Bayazid" for three decades, and I have not yet found him.'