No laughter, no grace.
Even though a speech be a thousand words, but made up
of senseless words, one word of sense is better, which if a man hears,
Even though a poem be a thousand words, but made up of senseless words, one word of a poem is better, which if a man hears, he becomes quiet.
One 's own self conquered is better than all other people; not even a god, a Gandharva, not Mara (with Brahman) could change into defeat the victory of a man who has vanquished himself, and always lives under restraint.
If a man for a hundred years sacrifice month by month with a thousand, if he but for one moment pay homage to a man whose soul is grounded in true knowledge, better is that homage than a sacrifice for a hundred years.
And he who lives a hundred years, idle and weak, a life of one day is better if a man has attained firm strength.
And he who lives a hundred years, not seeing the highest law,
of one day is better if a man sees the highest law.
It is both near and far, both within and
without every creature; it
moves and is unmoving. In its subtlety it is beyond comprehension. It
is invisible, yet appears divided in separate creatures. Know it to be
the creator, the preserver, and the destroyer.
Dwelling in every heart, it is beyond darkness. It is called the light of the lights, the object and goal of knowledge, and knowledge itself.
"The first necessity for obtaining Self-knowledge is to become profoundly conscious of ignorance; to feel with every fibre of the heart that one is ceaselessly self-deceived.
The second requisite is the still deeper conviction that such knowledge - such intuitive and certain knowledge - can be obtained by effort.
The third and most important is an indomitable determination to obtain and face that knowledge.
Self-knowledge of this kind is unattainable by what men usually call 'self-analysis." It is not reached by reasoning or any brain process; for it is the awakening to consciousness of the Divine nature of man.
To obtain this knowledge is a greater achievement than to command the elements or to know the future."
I ask those who would be offended by the article by George C. LeGros, to look beyond the damning words on certain types of people to the core of the matter: what makes a true spiritual searcher. The true spiritual search is not about being goody goody, agreeing with everybody and everything. It's about being totally honest and in search of truth, wherever found. Unfortunately, this doesn't make for the politest of people, as any theosophical lodge-worker knows. It does make for some very interesting people. Mr. LeGros lifts up some part of the veil as to why people on the path aren't always the nicest.
My studies at Leiden University are very interesting, but one important question gets adressed only indirectly (in the psychology of religion-classes). This question is: What is wisdom? I would love to hear from readers what they think the answer to this question is, or includes. Here goes my version:
What we tend to forget, however, is that while Newton's law can be clearly and succinctly stated, it is not altogether obvious how gravity works. (David Grandy p. 14)In fact Newton had some fundamental misgivings about his newfound law of physics and he wrote:
That gravity should be innate, inherent, and essential to matter so that one body may act upon another at a distance through a vacuum without the mediation of any thing else by and through which their action or force may be conveyed from one to another is to me so great an absurdity that I believe no man who has in philosophical matters any competent faculty of thinking can ever Fall into it. (Westfall 1980, p. 14 of the article by David Grandy here discussed)
The first step on the way to Initiation is purification of heart and mind, because the light of Divine Wisdom cannot manifest itself in a place clouded with impure thoughts and filled with selfish desires. No one has ever made the second step without making the first one, and all efforts to drag the high into the service of the low lead only to degradation, misfortune and evil. Therefore the real practice of occultism consists in the control of one's lower thoughts and emotions, which can be done only by the aid of one's own higher nature; because only the higher has power over the lower; "self" cannot overcone "itself," and for this purpose it is necessary to acquire that discernment between the eternal and true, and that which is temporal and illusive, of which we spoke in the beginning of this article.
the Great Souls who are watching over the progress of humanity will not fail to come to the aid of those who keep the divine ideal before their eyes and seek to realize it within their hearts.
Grace Frances Knoche, lifelong associate, and for 35 years, Leader of the Theosophical Society with international headquarters at Pasadena, California, died peacefully February 18, 2006. She is the author of many articles and publications, including three books: The Mystery Schools, To Light a Thousand Lamps, and Theosophy in the Qabbalah.
Published in the San Diego Union-Tribune on 3/14/2006.
Grace Knoche was Leader of the Theosophical Society (Pasadena) and since these leaders have no formal way of succession the Theosophical Society Pasadena is in for interesting times. Splits of the theosophical movement usually follow the death of a leader by only a few years, especially in what one might conveniently call 'the Judge groups' (Theosophical Society Pasadena, United Lodge of Theosophists etc.).
We in Theosophy and metahysics are always being reminded of how bad we are compared to the nice people at the corner church. But our critics don't know that the nice People at the corner church are unawakened souls drugged on the verbal narcotics of Billy Graham and Bishop Sheen or their imitators, and that we are people who because of greater suffering, experience, age, or reasons we know nothing about, face a show-down with the demon that lurks in every human heart. To approach the ancient Path means taking steps which cause the poisonous debris of the lower nature to surface. It is not a lovely sight. Some chelas, we are told, present anything but an attractive appearance, and may even be mistaken for horned devils. Discrimination is needed if we are to judge others rightly - if there is a right way to judge anyone, which is doubtful.
All of which brings up an interesting question: how are the people making up the Metaphysical World to be classified? Suppose we try. Group one: Genuine Theosophists who in past lives won some major battles with
kama-manas and now walk confidently on, or toward, the Path. Group Two: Genuine Theosophists who are fighting for their lives (or souls) and who may resemble the aforementioned horned devils. Group Three: Potential Theosophists who are trying to make up their minds -the troubled Arjunas. Group Four: Mystical intellectuals like Manly Hall who have a wonderful time romping about the frontiers of the arcane world. Group Five: Serious students determined to master Nature's finer forces for evil ends - future black magicians. Group Six: Members of the occult lunatic fringe: "I AM" decriers, Neo-Theosophists (followers of Annie Besant and Bishop Eggbeater), Alice Baileyites, Rosie Dawners, AMORC "Rosicrucians," Great White Brotherhooders, Mount Shastaites, Edgar Cayceites, Unityites, Christian Scientists, Religious Scientists, maybe Nuclear Scientists, Spiritualists, past life readers, astral projectionists, - and dabblers in Yoga, Hyonotism, and the misunderstood Occult Arts. Group Seven: Harmless hangers-on who don't know where they are or how they got there, but have no other place to go. Perhaps seven is the right number, but we might throw in one more: the half-Christian-half-mystic who makes up Norman Vincent Peale's following.
It goes without saying that One, Two, and Three are the only safe groups. All others are dangerous beciuse they call for no discipline, no striving, no effort to become any better than one already is. Nothing in Nature stands still: we go either up or down. There is a dual momentum in the Occult World, and every one of us is eventually swept into the ascending or descending current, - one leading to Godhood and the other to the Pit. A good way to start moving in the right direction is to memorize the above quotation from the Gita and say it regularly, and EVERY TIME someone comes running to tell you about that marvelous Yogi who just arrived in town to lecture on Health, Love, and Abundant Living.
A mechanic sold a car he had fixed up and repaired to his friend, Mulla Nasrudin. The next day he was sorry he sold it, so he went to see the Mulla. "I will buy the car back from you," he said, "and give you fifty dollars' profit." So Nasrudin sold him the car. The following day, he looked up the mechanic. "I am sorry I sold the car back to you," the Mulla said. "I will give you seventy-five dollars' profit for it." So the Mulla bought the car back. The next day, the mechanic was sorry he sold it and bought it back again, giving Nasrudin one hundred dollars profit. The following day, the Mulla came to buy it back, but learned that the mechanic had sold it to a used-car dealer.
"YOU DOPE! WHY DID YOU SELL IT TO A STRANGER?" said Nasrudin, "ESPECIALLY WHEN WE WERE BOTH MAKING SUCH A WONDERFUL LIVING OUT OF IT."