Lucifer7, December 2007


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Short Quotes
Obituary - Ton den Hartog
California Fires burn theosophical archives
Maya or Illusion, H.P. Blavatsky
Progressive Revelation, George E. Creed

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Short Quotes

W.Q. Judge in The Vahan, August, 1891

Mercy and forgiveness should have the highest place in that branch of Theosophy which treats of ethics as applied to our conduct.  And were it not for the perfect mercifulness of Karma - which is merciful because it is just - we ought long ago to have been wiped out of existence.  The very fact that the oppressor, the unjust, the wicked, live out their lives is proof of mercy in the great heart of Nature.  They are thus given chance after chance to retrieve their errors and climb, if even on the ladder of pain, to the height of perfection.  It is true that Karma is just, because it exacts payment to the last farthing, but on the other hand, it is eternally merciful, since it unerringly pays out its compensations.  Nor is the shielding from necessary pain true mercy, but is indeed the opposite, for sometimes it is only through pain that the soul acquires the precise knowledge and strength it requires.  In my view, mercy and justice go hand in hand when Karma issues its decrees, because that law is accurate, faithful, powerful, and not subject to the weakness, the failure in judgment, the ignorance that always accompany the workings of the ordinary human judgment and action.

Buddha, Dhammapada, Translation Juan Mascaro

61 - If on the great journey of life a man cannot find one who is better or at least as good as himself, let him joyfully travel alone: a fool cannot help him on his journey.

Paul Brunton, The Spiritual Crisis of Man, Chapter XII

No man may rightly say that he has had a full experience of life if he has not had any spiritual experience during life.

Practical Occultism 74.

Virtue and wisdom are sublime things, but if they create pride and a consciousness of separateness from the rest of humanity, they are only the snakes of self reappearing in a finer form.

Obituary - Ton den Hartog

As most of you know, Ton den Hartog was responsible for putting the Collected Writings of  HPB online.  Not having heard from him recently, I wrote a few days ago.  His parents responded with the saddening news than Ton passed beyond on 21 September.

Nicholas Weeks

California Fires burn theosophical archives

Ken Small reports on the website of Point Loma Publications, an independent theosophical publishing house, that their archives have suffered major losses in the recent fires in California - specifically San Diego. In response they are starting an effort to digitalize the remaining material. Please consider helping them. Here's the complete message on the Point Loma Publications Website:

I have very unfortunate news. The recent fire consumed virtually all of PLP's back inventory (95% of its published in print books)  and 85% of the library, etc. (Some books and all the archive of photos and art work are safe and some archive originals at another location.) Additionally a complete copy of the archive was made about 6 years ago, but much original material was lost. A complete overview of the loss will be accomplished during the next 1-2 weeks. The fire storm came through at 1000 degrees+ so everything burned from the inside out with near 100 mph winds according to the fire department Sunday night October 21. This fire burned around 80,000 acres during last week in San Diego County. A second fire burned almost 200,000 acres in the north part of the county.

Such is the impermanent nature of things, and though the wisdom lives on, there is the importance and necessity of safeguarding and maintaining for future generations the literature of the Theosophical Movement  in an accessible way as well. To that end we are initiating with the cooperation of Theosophical friends and groups in the US and Europe a project to digitally scan the entire Point Loma Theosophical literary heritage. Those interested in more information about this or contributing to its support may contact us at Direct financial contributions may be made via paypal (CLICK HERE). (Donations are tax deductible.) As this project develops we will also be re-building the library and collaborating with others in establishing  long term centers in different location(s) for Theosophical study, research and practice. 

Maya or Illusion

H.P. Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine I, p. 39, 40

Maya or illusion is an element which enters into all finite things, for everything that exists has only a relative, not an absolute, reality, since the appearance which the hidden noumenon assumes for any observer depends upon his power of cognition.  To the untrained eye of the savage, a painting is at first an unmeaning confusion of streaks and daubs of colour, while an educated eye sees instantly a face or a landscape.  Nothing is permanent except the one hidden absolute existence which contains in itself the noumena of all realities.  The existences belonging to every plane of being, up to the highest Dhyan-Chohans, are, in degree, of the nature of shadows cast by a magic lantern on a colourless screen; but all things are relatively real, for the cogniser is also a reflection, and the things cognised are therefore as real to him as himself.  Whatever reality things possess must be looked for in them before or after they have passed like a flash through the material world; but we cannot cognise any such existence directly, so long as we have sense-instruments which bring only material existence into the field of our consciousness.  Whatever plane our consciousness may be acting in, both we and the things belonging to that plane are, for the time being, our only realities.  As we rise in the scale of development we perceive that during the stages through which we have passed we mistook shadows for realities, and the upward progress of the Ego is a series of progressive awakenings, each advance bringing with it the idea that now, at last, we have reached “reality;” but only when we shall have reached the absolute Consciousness, and blended our own with it, shall we be free from the delusions produced by Maya.

Progressive Revelation

George E. Creed, M.Sc., Canadian Theosophist, Volume 29, #5, 1948

Theologians proclaim that the whole Bible is the inspired word of God and an infallible guide for Christian conduct.

Such teachings become quite difficult to accept however, when one reads in the Old Testament such statements as God's command to Saul:  "Thus saith the Lord of hosts . . . now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not, but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass" ( I Samuel 15:3.)   And again, (in Jeremiah 13:14): "And I will dash them one against the other, even the fathers and the sons together, said the Lord;  I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them." - hardly the words of a benevolent God.

In an effort to find a way out of the dilemma and to explain away the obvious contradiction, the theory of "progressive revelation" has been put forth. That is to say, inquirers are told that the Bible is a record of man's gradually changing and developing ideas concerning the nature of God.

If that be the true explanation, it is equivalent to stating that large portions of the Bible were not divinely inspired at all but were written by ignorant, cruel and semi-barbarous humans who did not understand the truth.

If the theologians are correct in what they claim, large portions of the Old Testament ought to be scrapped as quickly as possible. Or, assuming the theory of progressive revelation to be correct, the teaching of the Bible ought to be accompanied by a clear explanation that large portions of it must on no account be considered as being the word of God but only as a collection of man's crude ideas concerning God.

It is significant to note that in spite of the theologians' claims concerning progressive revelation, the Bible continues to be taught in our Sunday Schools and churches as being divinely inspired from cover to cover. It is only when our religious leaders are forced into a corner, so to speak, that they resort to the theory of progressive revelation. Then, when the pressure is removed, almost invariably they spring back to their original contention that the whole Bible is the inspired word of God.

What would we think of a medical college where the students were required to study from a textbook, two-thirds of which advocated such medieval medical practices as burning holes in the patient with red hot irons to let out the evil spirits, administering portions of powdered skulls as a remedy for fever, and so on? Then, towards the end of the book the best and most modern methods of treatment would be described, but with nothing to indicate that all the teachings in the book were not equally valid. Then, when thoughtful students objected to swallowing it all blindly, the professor would explain: "Well, you see, it is progressive revelation."

Actually, the Bible was not dictated for us by God, neither is it the work of semi-barbarous men.  It is a collection of the teachings of men who lived in ancient times, men who attained to the most exalted wisdom in spiritual affairs and who have passed on their knowledge to us in the form of allegories, which serve as containers for sublime truth.

The error of the Christian church for the past sixteen centuries has been in mistaking these allegories for literal history and thus turning large portions of the Bible into fantastic nonsense.

When the true esoteric interpretation of the Bible is restored to its rightful place in our churches and Sunday Schools, there will be no need to resort to the theory of "progressive revelation" - that alibi for misunderstanding.

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