Lucifer7, July 2006


Contents

Short Quotes
Editorial
Deja Vue - Postscript to Prophecy
The Verbum (OM), William Q. Judge
Meditation upon Aum, Prasna Upanishad
OM TAT SAT, Dnyaneshwari
Pravana, Mundaka Upanishad
Self, Christmas Humphreys
Correspondence on the Indian Caste System
In a lighter mood, Mr. Schoonmaker


Short Quotes

H.P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence (p. 12 and 16)

    Strive with thy thoughts unclean before they over-power thee.  Use them as they will thee, for if thou sparest them and they take root and grow, know well these thoughts will overpower and kill thee.  Beware, Disciple, suffer not, e'en though it be their shadow to approach.  For it will grow, increase in size and power, and then this thing of darkness will absorb thy being before thou hast well realized the black foul monster's presence...
Woe unto him who dares pollute one rung with miry feet.  The foul and viscous mud will dry, become tenacious, then glue his feet unto the spot;  and like a bird caught in the wily fowler's lime, he will be stayed from further progress.  His vices will take shape and drag him down.  His sins will raise their voices like as the Jackal's laugh and sob after the sun goes down;  his thoughts become an army, and bear him off a captive slave. 

Buddha, Dhammapada, Translation Juan Mascaro

146 How can there be laughter, how can there be pleasure, when the whole world is burning? When you are in deep darkness, will you not ask for a lamp?

N. Sri Ram, Thoughts For Aspirants, Second Series

That compound entity, the "self," loses its identity and power as one discovers for himself the disparate elements that constitute it.

Alfred Whitney Griswold

Could Hamlet have been written by a committee, or the Mona Lisa painted by a club? Could the New Testament have been composed as a conference report? Creative ideas do not spring from groups. They spring from individuals. The divine spark leaps from the finger of God to the finger of Adam.

Paul Brunton, The Inner Reality, Chapter V

It is worth noting that no one finds the kingdom until after he has walked the path of tears.

Editorial

Unfortunately useful and inspiring websites sometimes go away. In a similar manner the 'Jewel in the Lotus' website managed by the ULT has passed away. I've saved whatever material I could (not the whole collection of quotes, unfortunately) from the Internet Archives - and copied it onto my website. The collection included material on the sacred Indian mantra: Om. That material is shared here in this newsletter. Other quotes from that website form the basis of a new section on my website 'Alternative Christianity'.


New on Katinka Hesselink Net


Online


Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Magan) update

Katinka Hesselink 2006

As I've been covering Hirsi Ali's politics and movie, I can't very well not comment on the governmental crisis that has now erupted in The Netherlands. On the other hand, it seems that the current governmental crisis here in The Netherlands has very little to do with Hirsi Ali and a lot with political considerations. I can't explain it very well, because frankly, I don't understand.

As for Ayaan: she does have a legal Dutch passport now. There was an interesting article in a quality Dutch paper which checked up on Ayaan-quotes and commentaries in the news. It turns out that although Ayaan has been in the news a lot, she hasn't actually been very influential. Her public position seems to have more to do with the public interest in a westernized Muslim turned atheist, then with her actual opinions. It is feared that she will end up in a similar position in the right-wing panel she is joining in the US. Her opinions place her more on the left side of the spectrum. In other words: it is more as a symbol than as a person that her worldwide reputation has been based on. For the person Ayaan Hirsi Ali this must be a heavy burden to carry. 

Sources


Deja Vue - Postscript to Prophecy

Theosophical Notes, April 1955.

    Almost everyone, from time to time, has the feeling, during some act, trivial or otherwise, that "I have done this before," or "I have seen this before."  The fact of the experience is admitted by materialistic psychologists, who explain it in various ways - usually as the reaching of first one lobe of the brain, then the other, by a sense impression.  Theosophists are more likely to ascribe it to a glimpse of a past life - but meet with some difficulty when, for instance, it is a situation involving an airplane or automobile, or the like.

    We have suddenly seemed to discover that the explanation is simplicity itself - first granted some Theosophical propositions not very simple, but accepted throughout the Movement.  The chief of these is the birth vision, in which the Ego sees spread before it the panorama of the coming incarnation.  This is the reverse of the post-mortem vision in which the past life is seen:  the two together form the continuous chain of subconscious memory which connects incarnation after incarnation.*  It happens that the increasing volume of psychic phenomena which accompanies, agreeable to cyclic law, the present period of the century, has brought the Editors of Notes into close contact with a number of peculiar happenings, phenomena, some of which have only indirectly been catalogued in Theosophical literature.  There appear to be impending psychic and psycho-spiritual developments which may be as surprising to the present generation of Theosophists as those of last century were to an earlier generation.  (Not that the underlying principles have changed at all;  but the details are new.  The Editors do not happen to be psychics;  but have been developing some very curious contacts and observations.)  One such occurrence has uncovered what seems to be the explanation aforementioned.  It rests simply on the apparent fact that the panorama of the birth vision lies quite close to the surface of normal life, and that these deja vue experiences are simply leakages of these impressions into normal consciousness.  In other words, they really are memories, as they seem to one who experiences them;  but not memories of the past;  memories of a vision of the future first seen and then forgotten, until the occurrence itself appears.

    The explanation goes far into the matter of prophecy.  If the foreseen happening is one involving the seer in that particular incarnation, it may then simply be an unusually clear transfer of a portion of the birth vision episode into normal consciousness.

    The writer has previously mentioned having his life saved by a dream.  This would apparently be an episode in the birth vision, aroused through the dream state on the eve of its actual happening.  The most frequent prophetic dreams experienced by this writer have been visions of scenery about to be visited for the first time in this incarnation.  (Dream seems to be the channel in his case;  he does not recall ever having had the "deja vue" feeling about anything in waking life.)

    During the conversation with friends in which this idea developed, the question was raised as to why so many prophetic dreams and visions were of trivialities, or at least, of things not particularly vital.  One of those present suggested that it was a protective blockage;  that an inner guard was maintained against premature revelation of things of real importance, but that unimportant things could be allowed to come through.

    When one thinks of the awful suffering that can come from prevision of certain events in one's life, the protective nature of such a situation is evident.  But the necessity would seem to exist in other categories of events also.  Clear vision of what is coming in matters of import would be sure to affect one's actions in such a manner as to throw the whole karmic stream into confusion.

    It seems possible for an individual to get into a state where the birth vision seems to lie so close to the surface of consciousness as to produce a feeling of the imminent revelation of the whole panorama of time - and corresponding terror.  Such terror may be well founded;  for unless one has reached that state where personal ties are few and weak, and indifference to one's personal fortunes has been achieved, such seership might be unendurable.

    Hardly surprising that warnings have been so often given against trying to peer into the future!  When the Adept gains that state of consciousness where the death and birth visions form an unbroken continuity and are continuous with normal waking consciousness, it is clear that past, present, and future, no longer have any meaning for him such as they have for the rest of us.  But that also signifies that life itself has a meaning for him wholly incomprehensible to those still caught in the net of Time.

     * A curious analogue of this combination is found in the hypnopompic and hypnogogic visions which often accompany entering and leaving the sleeping state.

The Verbum (OM)

William Q. Judge

The Padma Purana says: "The syllable OM is the leader of all prayers. Let it therefore be employed in the beginning of all prayers," and Manu, in his laws ordains: "A Brahmin, at the beginning and end of a lesson on the Vedas, must always pronounce the syllable OM, for unless OM precede, his learning will slip away from him, and unless it follows, nothing will be long retained."

The celebrated Hindoo Raja, Ramohun Roy, in a treatise on this letter says:

   OM, when considered as one letter, uttered by the help of one articulation, is the symbol of the Supreme Spirit. 'One letter (OM) is the emblem of the Most High, Manu 11,83.' But when considered as a triliteral word consisting of a, u, m, it implies the three Vedas, the three states of human nature, the three divisions of the universe, and the three deities - Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, agents in the creation, preservation and destruction of this world; or, properly speaking, the three principal attributes of the Supreme Being personified in those three deities. In this sense it implies, in fact, the universe controlled by the Supreme Spirit.

Now we may consider that there is pervading the whole universe a single homogeneous resonance, sound, or tone, which acts, so to speak, as the awakener, or vivifying power, stirring all the molecules into action. This is what is represented in all languages by the vowel a, which takes precedence of all others. This is the word, the verbum, the Logos of St. John of the Christians, who says: "In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the word was God." This is creation, for without this resonance or motion among the quiescent particles, there would be no visible universe. That is to say, upon sound, or as the Aryans called it, Nada Brahma (divine resonance), depends the evolution of the visible from the invisible.


Meditation upon Aum

Prasna Upanishad

   O Satyakama, AUM is the Supreme Brahman and the conditioned Brahman. By meditating upon It the wise man may attain either the one or the other.
    If he meditates upon one letter (matra) alone and is enlightened thereby, then after death he will quickly be reborn on this earth. The Rik verses lead him to the world of men, and by practising austerity, chastity and faith, he will enjoy greatness.
    If he meditates on the second letter, he will hold the mind and will be led up by the Yajur verses to the intermediate realm, the plane of the moon. Having enjoyed greatness there, he will return again to this earth.
    But if he meditates upon the Highest Being through the word AUM, consisting of three letters, he will be united with the effulgent sun. He will be freed from sin even as a snake is freed from its skin, and he will be led up by the Sama verses to the realm of Brahma. From here, the aggregate of all lives, he will behold the Supreme Purusha, higher than the High and dwelling in the body.
    Thus it is written: "The three letters of AUM are separately mortal; when joined together in meditation on Reality as a whole and used rightly in the external, internal and intermediate states, the Knower trembles not."


OM TAT SAT

Dnyaneshwari

   The Invocation which is the root of all power consists of three syllables:
    Om, Tat and Sat. This threefold name of Brahman is the sublime flower of the Upanishads. If you are devoted to sattvic action, and you also hold to this invocation, liberation cannot be far away.... You may have oil, wick and fire, but you cannot produce light unless you know how to prepare them. Thus you must know precisely how to use these three names.
    The three sounds should be used properly at the beginning, the middle and the end of every action. The Sages who know Brahman, having found this invocation to be of great assistance, follow the Shastras and carry out the duties and obligations laid down in them. They contemplate the form of the syllable Om at the beginning of every sacrifice or rite, and then they utter it clearly. What light is in darkness, what the companionship of a brave guide is in the forest, the utterance of this syllable, Pranava, is in all actions. In the performance of sacrifices, Sages avoid obstructions such as pride, indulging in charity or performing tapas. Actions themselves constitute bonds, but the utterance of Om makes them the means of attaining liberation.
    The syllable Tat refers to Brahman, self-illuminating and beyond the three worlds, existing before the universe. As soon as there is any fruit arising out of yajna, dana or tapas - sacrifice, charity or self-mastery - Sages utter the syllable Tat so that these fruits may go their way towards Brahman. Tat symbolizes the offering of all results to Brahman, so as to say 'not mine'. What was begun with Om is given away with Tat. All action is thus pervaded by Brahman, the only duality left being that between the performer of action and Self (Brahman). This duality is dissolved by the syllable Sat.
    Uttering the syllable Sat destroys all unreal forms and points to one Supreme Self, unchanging in time or space. The visible world is unreal and has no power, and when real potency is recognized, it is self-realization. The unity of Brahman is thus established. Even good actions are unreal when there is something wanting, just as a cart cannot move when one wheel is missing. Defective actions are restored to wholeness by the addition of Sat to the first two syllables. The wondrous power of Sat purifies everything, and action which tends towards error through thoughtlessness or oversight is thus corrected. You must comprehend the real meaning of the Gita.
    The heart is lighted up by the name of Brahman in the form of these three syllables. They show the path to Brahman, which is pure and nameless. Just as the sky alone can support the sky, these three syllables which invoke Brahman are supported by Brahman. The sun in the heavens is visible by its own light. Similarly, Brahman becomes visible by these three syllables....
    If you have true faith, Om Tat Sat will enable you to cross the ocean of life and death.


Pravana

Mundaka Upanishad

Having taken as a bow the great weapon of the Secret Teaching,
One should fix in it the arrow sharpened by constant Meditation.
Drawing it with a mind filled with That (Brahman)
Penetrate, O bright youth, that Immutable Mark.

The pranava (AUM) is the bow; the arrow is the self;
Brahman is said to be the mark.
With heedfulness It is to be penetrated;
Become one with It as the arrow in the mark.

Know that Self alone, the One without a Second,
On which are strung Heaven and Earth,
Inner Space, Mind, Vital Energy, all the organs.
Leave off other words, for this is the Bridge to Immortality.


Self

Christmas Humphreys (Studies in the Middle Way)

Be seated, thou, unfettered, free,
The heart's attention poised as third of three.
Now still the mind, nor claim the unceasing flow;
He holds the boundless heaven in fee
Who learns the uttermost command - Let go.
Now seal with cold resolve the doors of sense.
Be still, my son, and seek thine Immanence.

I am not body. I am never ill,
Nor restless, weary, fretful, nor in pain.
I am not hot emotion, nor the will
Which forfeits progress in the name of gain.
I am not thought, the process of the mind
On caging partial truth intent,
Unknowing, for its eyes are blind,
The wings of life beat ever unconfined.
I am not any instrument. I am.

I am the light that slays the night at dawning.
I am the love that woos its own reward.
I am the slow resolve that wakes at morning,
And sleeps at twilight on a sheathed sword.
I am the fullness in the wealth of giving.
I am the void within the orb of fame.
I am the death that dies within the living.
I am the namelessness that bears the Name.
I am the golden joy of beauty.
I am the stillness underlying sound.
I am the voice of undistinguished duty.
I am the Self in which the self is drowned.

Correspondence on the Indian Caste-system

One of my readers comments:

Katinka

Just picking up two points from the latest Lucifer7.

As generally portrayed, Gandhi was against Caste but Annie Besant was sympathetic to it. The two had different views on Indian independence too. This is a matter I hope to look into. Mrs Besant was supported by Mahatmic visions in her Indian policy.

About ten years ago, I did some research for Szekely for LIGHT. His Essene documents are modern productions.  In one of his books he included a Hebrew passage. I asked a Jewish scholar, Hyam Maccoby, to examine this, and he pronounced it German Romantic, not ancient at all.

Leslie Price

The Szekely quote was published in Lucifer7's last issue because of the intrinsic merit in his position, not because of any claims he made about the Essenes or anything else for that matter. I was unaware of those claims, but it would not have stopped me from publishing this piece either. Theosophists in general can't avoid publishing material by people who make unwarranted scholarly claims - I think that is an old esoteric tradition. Certainly the accusation of lacking scholarly merit has been thrown at theosophists like Blavatsky from the start. Mahayana Buddhism is founded on the probably unwarranted claim that their teachings go back to the Buddha (to be precise: to visions of the Buddha, but these are presumed to represent the last incarnated Buddha: Gautama Buddha). 

As for the caste-system: I wrote in the previous issue of Lucifer7 that theosophists protested the caste system from the start. This was a quick note, and one lacking in nuance. H.P. Blavatsky and Col. Olcott did protest caste. For instance, in her article of April, 1888 in her London-magazine Lucifer, 'What good has Theosophy done in India', Blavatsky observed with pleasure that the strict division between people of various castes and religions in India had slackened. She also quotes a lecture from Brahman who observes that (C.W. Vol. IX, p. 133) :
“It is the rule of the T.S. that its members, whatever their creed may be, shall treat the religions of other members with deference; and its principle is that all religions have some truth underlying them. . . . But between Brahmanism and Buddhism we may have something much greater than mere toleration—we must have the deepest mutual esteem and reverence, for all learned people know that there is but little difference between our philosophies.”
It is perhaps necessary to note that this was a highly revolutionary statement at the time. For Brahmans to leave India, mix with Sri Lankans who were Buddhists, and return to India without abandoning caste was still not a normal occurrence in the 19th century. In The Secret Doctrine, vol. 1, p. 270 Blavatsky notes on something in the Upanishads, that they had been written in part before the caste-system had become the "the tyrannical institution which it still is". The point: she publicly showed her distaste for the institution of caste. 

Leslie Price rightly reminds us that Annie Besant, second president of the Theosophical Society (Adyar) was less clear in her condemnation of the caste-system and has been interpreted as a supporter of the caste-system. The following is, I think, a fairly typical quote from Annie Besant:
A man born into a certain environment of duty finds his proper morality in the discharge of the duties imposed upon him by his environment. Hence his morality will vary with his position, with his stage in evolution. No eastern sage or thinker dreams of laying down one common moral ideal for all; that is a purely western fancy, and does not on the whole work very well. In the East the fighting caste will have its own set of duties and its own morality; the caste of teachers will have its own, duties and its morality, very different from the humility of the fighter; the merchant caste will have its own duties and its own morality; and the peasant and the artisan will have — their own moral code and duties. The servant has his special code, with comparatively few duties to be found within it — obedience, honesty, and good service — but those to be thoroughly discharged. Outside that, what would be willed wrong is not regarded as wrong for him. The other parts of moral codes will find their accomplishment in lives yet to be lived. There is no hurry. We need not try to compass universal perfection in a single life — the most impossible of all impossible tasks.
East and West, the Destinies of Nations, Annie Besant
Also note the following passage where she makes it clear that in her opinion caste is a matter of personal character:
A man only really belongs to a caste when the qualities of the caste are shewn in his character. A man of unchained passions, a man of angry speech, of impure life, of undeveloped intelligence, is not a Brahmana, though he be born in a Brahmana family a hundred times; a man who shews Brah­mana qualities becomes a Brahmana, though he be not one by birth. The caste is not recognized by the Great Ones till the qualities of the caste are evolved, for true caste is in the inner man, not in the outer form. Where the two are found together, blessed is the man, happy is his karma; but when they are disjoined, better to have the lower form and the higher quality than the higher form and the lower nature.
Some lessons from the Ramayana for the use of Hindu students in the Schools of India

Both these passages show the ideal behind the caste-system, but not support of the practical consequences of the caste-system as it existed at that time (and now) in India. On the other hand, Besant also clearly refrains from condemning the caste-system of India when she lived there. As those who don't defend the powerless in effect support the powerful, by not supporting the casteless in their struggle she actually supported the Brahmins. Still, her writings can't very well be interpreted in a simple black-and-white manner. Her support of the caste-system wasn't an active support of the obvious abuses that occured in name of that system. I think it should be read as a call to a spiritual life, for all those reading or hearing her words.

In the following quotation she does actively protest the current state of things:
We see how in that day there was the ideal of the Brahmana, an ideal that might be summed up as that of the soul approaching liberation, which asks no longer for the goods of earth, which asks no longer for the enjoy­ments of the flesh, which asks no longer for the gifts of wealth, of power, of authority, of earthly pleasure, the type of the Brahmana being that he was poor, but wise; whereas today we too often find the man who bears the Brahmana name not poor and wise but wealthy and ignorant. There in that caste you have one of the signs of the degeneration by which the ancient polity fell; and the same with each of the four castes.
The Path of Discipleship

This last quote is actually the oldest. The online edition used as reference notes that the second edition was published in 1899. The conclusion seems to be that Annie Besant, in the period represented by these quotes, (1899-1915) became less pronounced in her judgement of the caste system of India. This supports the opinion of quite a few of her critics that her spiritual insight became less over the years.

From a biography of Gandhi, by E. Stanley Jones, written shortly after Gandhi's murder, I gather that Gandhi had very similar views to the caste-problem as Besant. He too considered it based upon the inherent differences between people, which give them inherently different duties and ethical standards. Like Besant he considered the present system to be an abonimation. He supported the spiritual basis of that system with his words, but with his actions he showed his contempt for them. Choosing to sweep floors himself, and advising other Brahmans to do the same, went against caste-prejudice. As a Brahmin he was in a very different position from Annie Besant who was after all casteless herself and not a native of the country. From the online literature I gather that a group in which lower castes organized themselves was started in response to Annie Besant becoming president of the Indian Congress. She was clearly perceived as a defender of Brahmanic power and spirituality. Theosophical tradition has certainly always stood for the more cultured strands of religion - and this was a response.

I want to put on record as well that Annie Besant supported that Jiddu Krishnamurti, and his brother Nityananda, were raised outside the caste-system. Something that was held against her in the custody-hearing around Jiddu Krishnamurti started by his Brahmin father.

Conclusion

Theosophists have played varying roles in the caste-debate. I should have been more clear in my statement that 'theosophists from the start opposed the caste system'. My main excuse is that I'm more of a Blavatsky-theosophist, then a Besant-theosophist. It is also ;understandable that Annie Besant, after all a foreigner on Indian soil, and a woman to boot, should have taken a less active role in trying to change local custom. On the other hand, knowing the atrocities that the caste system defended, I do find it hard to understand that she did not stand up against that with more force. I also want to note though, that it is always easier to see what's right looking back. People in the public eye have very difficult decisions to make, that can have very large consequences. 

Sources


In a lighter mood (Mr. Schoonmaker, Canadian Theosophist, vol. 29, #6)

A woman was trying to explain the idea of Reincarnation to her husband. "Rubbish!" he snorted - "Do you mean to say that if I died I might come back as a worm?"  "No, not as a worm," she replied gently, "you see, you will never be the same thing twice."


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