Selfishness is essentially conservative, and hates being disturbed. It prefers an easy going, unexacting lie to the greatest truth, if the latter requires the sacrifice of one's smallest comfort. The power of mental inertia is great in anything that does not promise immediate benefit and reward. Our age is preeminently unspiritual and matter of fact ... If we add to this the personal efforts and great purity of life exacted of those who would become the disciples of the inner circle, and the very limited class to which an entirely unselfish code appeals, it will be easy to perceive the reason why Theosophy is doomed to such slow, up-hill work.
315 Like a border town that is well guarded both within and without, so let a man guard himself, and let not a moment pass by in carelessness. Those who carelessly allow their life to pass by, in the end have to suffer in hell.
Truth, in the real sense, belongs to the spiritual aspect of man and will flow into each one when his nature is pure enough to receive it; he cannot find it outside himself.
In the cathedral-like silence of the soul, he will feel that merely to think is to make a sacrilegious noise.
May 8th is White Lotus day again, for theosophists. We commemorate Blavatsky's passing in 1891 and her message. There is some theosophical news and we report on an open letter by Leslie Price most acclaimed for his work in creating a Theosophical History community (magazine, meetings) and a subsequent open letter by Daniel Caldwell which is a bit more broad.
The rest of this issue turns around the practical aspects of the theme of last month: wisdom. I've selected links from my own site and elsewhere in the 'online' section.
I'm rethinking the format for Lucifer7, please take the survey to help me with this process.
I reported last month that Grace Knoche had passed away, and speculated on the possible consequences of her death for the Theosophical Society Pasadena. It appears that this time the succession of leadership in Pasadena was uneventful, if surprising in outcome for the outsider. Sunrise Magazine now lists as 'editor-in-chief' (read: leader): Randell C. Grubb. A page on the Grubb-family-website also confirms that he is at present leader of the Theosophical Society with headquarters in Pasadena. Born in 1951 his accomplishments include having made a Devanagari type design for the computer, to aid in publications which include Sanskrit letters.
Unfortunately that is just about all the outsider can know of this man. The family-website does mention the death of his father in 2003, so apparently the loss of Grace Knoche is not the first in recent years. The reader of Sunrise will not recognize his name as one of the frequent authors, because he wasn't. Indeed the first issue of Sunrise under his leadership does not include one word under his name and this editor suspects that the real editing of Sunrise continues under the able hands of the listed editors: Sarah B and William A. Dougherty. It does seem likely that Rand Grubb was close to Grace Knoche and is well-respected within the TS-Pasadena group, or he would not be the leader today.
I've asked the TS-Pasadena group for an obituary of Grace Knoche and more information about Rand Grubb, but unfortunately have not received a reply.
In the Ukraine there are some active theosophists who are helping build a Blavatsky centre in the house where H.P. Blavatsky was born. They could really use our help, both in terms of money as well as in terms of a forum they will be hosting in September.
Hope we can help them.
However, I would not want to single out Adyar in this situation. It is but one of a number of relevant Theosophical archives. In the pro-Judge TS Pasadena may be found letters of Olcott and Besant to Judge, the diaries of Judge, and the letters of the Mahatmas to Judge which featured in the Case. Someone might suggest the TS Pasadena was suppressing evidence of Judge’s guilt. In fact all archives, by preserving documentation, are performing a vital service. It would be useful now to move beyond charges and for all parties to work together to get all relevant documentation into the scholarly domain.
Daniel Caldwell, well known for his Blavatsky Archives has posted the above mentioned note on Theos-talk and added his agreement with the basic premise.
I do hope a more open research-environment can come of these efforts.
To prescribe definitely your course as a beginner:
(1) a. Drink not intoxicating liquors, take not intoxicating drugs. b. Eat no meat. Destroy not any life.
(2) Refrain from unlawful sexual intercourse, if you cannot lead a life of Celibacy.
(3) a. Scrupulously avoid any kind of untruth. b. Take not that which is not given - i.e., avoid wrongful gain.
(4) Cease to long for money, position, sensual pleasures and the transitory objects of this brief earthly existence.
(5) Free yourself from the thraldom of passions. Endeavor to overcome anger and pride.
(6) Cherish not hatred or malice towards anybody. Gently advise those who are neglectful of their duties. Do away with your religious prejudices, if they prevent you from feeling a kind tolerance for the beliefs of others.
(7) Try your best to improve the moral and spiritual conditions of others. Love humanity with all your heart.
N.B.: Remember all earthly desires are the cause of sorrow. "Trishna" is the cause of all evil.
This Course is still the most effective way to prepare for Discipleship.
(*) The title of this piece is an addition by the editor of Lucifer7. She is very interested to hear of anyone who can tell her from original sources like archives whether the statement that starts this fragment is correct and this advice was really given to each new member of the Theosophical Society.(**) T.S. stands for Theosophical Society.
Strict asceticism in the midst of the world is more meritorious than avoiding those who do not think as we do, and thus losing an opportunity of showing them the truth.
Gurdjieff:: If you try to do something you don't want to do - you will suffer. If you want to do something and don't do it - you also suffer. [Ref. 19A]
In Gurdjieff Work Intentional Suffering is one of the two principal ways to Work on oneself (the other is Conscious Labour of which later). He says that most of the time we suffer because of our corns, which is not worth 'one Franc'. With Intentional Suffering we help Our Common Father Endlessness and alleviate his sorrow. [See Beelzebub's Tales]
Doing the opposite and opposing the demands of the body and the soul (thoughts and emotions) are the beginning of asceticism. This struggle of man with himself is called in Russian podvig and used by the Orthodox to depict the pain and the hard Work.
The need for a guide is essential for this Work. St. Theophan the Recluse writes: "Whoever conducts warfare with himself is conducting it himself, and while trying to work against egotism he is in a way feeding it. With a guide our "I" and its will entirely disappear at the outset, and together with it the passions lose all support." [Ref. 20]
All the sorrows and unpleasantness that an Orthodox meets are sent from God as a gift to give material for this Work of uprooting the passions (meaning strong emotions).
Another reason our modern subconscious is in turmoil, compared to previous times, is our modern lack of purity. Human psychology has developed a pattern of optimum development based over eons of experience, and this in general is living purely. Impure living is an assault on our own inner design, producing the resulting inner turmoil. We are just made this way. In previous times one wasn't confronted from childhood with every type of drunkenness, drug-taking, and violence one sees every day by simply turning on the TV. Its a part of everyday life now.
A group of alumni, well established in their careers, got together to visit their old university lecturer. The conversation soon turned into complaints about stress and frustration in their work life.
Offering his guests coffee, the lecturer went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, some plain looking and some expensive and exquisite, telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.
When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the lecturer said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and unattractive ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your frustration and stress. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you unconsciously went for the better cups and are eying each other's cups."
"Now, if Life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn't change. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it, which is 'Life'."
So folks, don't let the cups drive you...enjoy the coffee [Life] instead !
[With thanks to one of those anonymous spreaders of wisdom on the internet - you know who you are!]
Previous issues of Lucifer7 can be found at the online index of Lucifer7