Author Archives: Theosophy Watch

The Occult Side of Nature: An Invisible Physical

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Helena Blavatsky

ALWAYS ready to argue for the existence of an invisible physical world, within visible matter, the writer of The Secret Doctrine, Helena Blavatsky, was ever adamant.

She continually challenged the scientific materialistic beliefs of her day. In her monumental work, The Secret Doctrine, she wrote an introduction which included the following declaration:

“The aim of this work may be thus stated: to show that Nature is not ‘a fortuitous concurrence of atoms,’ and to assign to man his rightful place in the scheme of the Universe — to rescue from degradation the archaic truths which are the basis of all religions and to uncover, to some extent, the fundamental unity from which they all spring.

Finally, to show that the occult side of Nature has never been approached by the Science of modern civilization.

(The Secret Doctrine: Vol. 1:vii Preface)

Madam Blavatsky frequently took up the cause of a universal, invisible and intelligent medium supporting the visible physical universe. This “invisible physical” she maintained, is critical to understanding Occult Science detailed in The Secret Doctrine.

Universal Matrix

Establishing this occult science in her seminal work,  Mme. Blavatsky asserted that: “The whole issue of the quarrel between the profane and the esoteric sciences

depends upon the belief in, and demonstration of, the existence of an astral body within the physical, the former independent of the latter.

“The astral body is itself an aspect of the real inner body,” Robert Crosbie, the Co-Founder of the United Lodge of Theosophists wrote: 

“… which has lasted through the vast period of the past and must continue through the far distant future. This astral body is the prototype, or design, around which the physical body is built, and which, considered from the point of view of the powers, is the real physical body. Without it the physical body would be nothing but a mass of matter — an aggregation of smaller lives.” 

astralbody

Astral Medium

Our Real Senses

“It is the astral body which contains the organs, or centers, from which the organs have been evolved in accord with the needs of the thinker within,” he continued. “The real senses of man are not in the physical but in the astral body. The astral body lasts a little over one lifetime. It does not die when the physical body dies, but is used as a body in the immediate after-death states.” 

After The Secret Doctrine was published it would not be long before modern frontier scientists would begin to take up Mme. Blavatsky’s assertions in earnest using established scientific methods of inquiry. Seven important experiments suggesting the existence of an invisible astral matrix were initiated during the initial decades of the 20th and 21st century.

Even Mme. Blavatsky admitted:

It is gratifying to see how scientific imagination approaches every year more closely to the borderland of our occult teachings.

Thus the subtitle of this blog, i.e. “Ancient Thought in Modern Dress,” is taken from a phrase used by Mme. Blavatsky in her Volume 1, page 572 of The Secret Doctrine.

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No Big Bang: A Kinder, Gentler Universe

Soul of the World

THEOSOPHY teaches the progressive development of everything, “worlds as well as atoms,” this according to The Secret Doctrine.

The “stupendous development,” the Sages taught, “has neither conceivable beginning nor imaginable end.”

To Initiated Seers our universe, while full of important information, is “only one of an infinite number of Universes, all links in the great Cosmic chain of Universes,” Theosophy says.

[The Secret Doctrine 1:43]

In this view, each individual cosmos and corresponding single human life is the result and the effect of its predecessor. Under the never-erring law of Karma, every universe becomes “a cause as regards its successor.”

Instead of only one ‘Big Bang,’ as standard model science dogma describes the origin of the universe, Theosophy postulates an infinite number of recurring universes, each one an improvement on the last. Today a new view in modern theoretical physics suggests a similar idea.

Universeinyourhands

Cyclic Universes

“There was not just one bang,” say theoretical physicists Paul J. Steinhardt and Neil Turok in their book Endless Universe, postulating a groundbreaking “Cyclic Universe” theory. According to the theory, the Big Bang “was not the beginning of time but the bridge to a past filled with endlessly repeating cycles of evolution.” Very close to the Theosophical view, it turns out.

What these scientists seem to be proposing is the law of periodicity, the Second Fundamental Proposition of The Secret Doctrine

“In Endless Universe, Paul J. Steinhardt and Neil Turok, both distinguished theoretical physicists, present a bold new cosmology. Two world-renowned scientists present an audacious new vision of the cosmos that ‘steals the thunder from the Big Bang theory.'” —Wall Street Journal

The distinguished theoretical physicists propose that “the evolution of the universe is cyclic with big bangs occurring once every trillion or so.”

The Great Breath

To Theosophy, ‘periodicity’ is certainly an admirable start. But unlike the speculation of an “infinite cycle of titanic collisions,” Theosophy offers a much kinder and gentler solution tied to the cosmology offered by “generations of initiated seers.”

Those findings conclude that we exist in a living universe, where everything to its core is alive, sustained by an eternal, perpetual rhythmic breathing or pulsation.

(We may be asleep at night, but luckily, we continue breathing.) The Universe, according to the occult dynamics of The Secret Doctrine, does the same.

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Mother’s Love, a Shoreless Universal Essence

Mother and Child

WHENEVER there is separateness and selfishness, Theosophy teaches, there will always be suffering.

This is why we need to continually try to practice Divine Compassion, “the law of laws,” as urged in The Voice of the Silence, and all that implies about our daily actions.

“Compassion is no attribute, it is the LAW of LAWS — eternal Harmony —

“… a shoreless universal essence, the light of everlasting Right, and fitness of all things — the law of love eternal.”

(The Voice of the Silence)

A feeling of true, universal compassion and caring for others can never dissolve into either separateness or selfish pride. Says the Voice of the Silence of The Buddha: “The esoteric school teaches that Gautama Buddha with several of his Arhats is such a Nirmânakâya, higher than whom, on account of the great renunciation and sacrifice to mankind there is none known.”

Dalai Lama xlv

According to the H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, “compassion is something really worthwhile.”

It is not just a religious or spiritual subject, not a matter of ideology. It is not a luxury. It is a necessity.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.

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Darwin’s Black Box: Intelligent Design

intelligentdesign

Beautiful Design

SINCE Darwin presented his theories modern evolutionists have maintained the most elaborate scientific fraud of all time, critics say.

The fraud consists in a conscious refusal to accept any kind of design or purpose in Nature.

The denial is a consensus of blind authority by modern science waged against irreducible complexity as proof of design. 

Irreducible complexity is the compelling principle proposed by biologist Michael Behe as proof that certain biological systems are too complex to have evolved by random chance. A primary example Behe uses is the bacterial flagellum which is driven by a rotary engine made up of protein. Some authors have argued that flagella cannot have gradually evolved. (Wikipedia)

(See: Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution)

Flagellum

Modern evolution calls upon “natural selection,” acting on a series of chance mutations from simpler, or “less complete” predecessors. “No more than Science, does esoteric philosophy admit design orspecial creation,’ writes H. P. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine (2:731).

It rejects every claim to the ‘miraculous,’ and accepts nothing outside the uniform and immutable laws of Nature.

“It is argued that the Universal Evolution … the gradual development of species in all the kingdoms of nature, works by uniform laws. The fact is, that only the partial truth of many of the secondary ‘laws’ of Darwinism is beyond question.”

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Annas Hummingbirds

“And the law is enforced far more strictly in Esoteric than in modern Science. But we are told also, that it is equally a law that ‘development works from the less to the more perfect, and from the simpler to the more complicated, by incessant changes, small in themselves, but constantly accumulating in the required direction.'” Theosophy agrees in this case:

It is from the infinitesimally small that the comparatively gigantic species are produced.

Even though we are led to believe that during the Cretaceous the Earth used to be an exclusive home for fearsome giants, including carnivorous velociraptors and arthropods larger than a modern adult human, it turns out that there was still room for harmless minute invertebrates measuring only several millimeters.

An 8.2-millimeter fossil millipede in Burmese amber.

“Such is the case (above) of a tiny millipede of only 8.2 mm in length, recently found in 99-million-year-old amber in Myanmar. Using the latest research technologies, the scientists concluded that not only were they handling the first fossil millipede of the order (Callipodida) and also the smallest amongst its contemporary relatives, but that its morphology was so unusual that it drastically deviated from its contemporary relatives.” (ScienceDaily)

Modern science confirms this law with a new exhibit titled Dinosaurs Among Us at the American Museum of Natural History noting:

“… the unbroken line between the charismatic dinosaurs that dominated the planet for about 170 million years and modern birds, a link that is marked by shared features including feathers, wishbones, enlarged brains, and extremely efficient respiratory systems.”

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American Museum of Natural History, New York City

“The fossil record of this story and the biological research it inspires—much of which is being done by scientists trained or working at the Museum—grows richer by the day. So rich, in fact, that the boundary between the animals we call birds and those we traditionally called dinosaurs is practically obsolete.”

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White Lotus Day: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of H. P. Blavatsky

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H. P. Blavatsky

EVERY year on May 8th, on what they call ‘White Lotus Day,’ theosophists all over the world meet to commemorate the anniversary of the passing of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the principal founder, and inspiration of the Theosophical Society.

“A world-famous figure of mystery and controversy, and the leading intellect behind the occult revival in the western world, Mme. Blavatsky published The Secret Doctrine in 1888, her magnum opus.

“An unsolved mystery to the Victorian mind and a timeless challenge to our own, she plowed deep into the strata of archaic truth, and called for the restitution of spiritual values and the recognition of man’s divine heritage, Charles J. Ryan, an early student of Theosophy, wrote.

“H. P. Blavatsky had gained the attention of the public by her brilliant intelligence, the charm of her striking personality, and her slashing attacks on materialism and other evils. Her voice would now be listened to and recognized as speaking with authority.”

. . . some day, if not at once, the loftiness and purity of her aims, the wisdom and scope of her teachings, will be recognized more fully, and her memory will be accorded the honor to which it is justly entitled.

— Editorial, New York Daily Tribune, May 10, 1891

In her will, Blavatsky suggested that her friends might gather together on the anniversary of her passing (May 8, 1891) and read from poet Sir Edwin Arnold‘s The Light of Asia, and from the ancient Hindu scripture The Bhagavad-Gita.

Lotuses grew in unusual profusion in India on that day, and May 8th became known as White Lotus Day among Theosophists ever since.

White Lotus Day

“That which men call death is but a change of location for the Ego, a mere transformation, a forsaking for a time of the mortal frame,” her friend and colleague William Q. Judge wrote:

…a short period of rest before one reassumes another human frame in the world of mortals.

“The Lord of this body is nameless — dwelling in numerous tenements of clay, it appears to come and go. But neither death nor time can claim it, for it is deathless, unchangeable, and pure, beyond Time itself, and not to be measured.”

“So our old friend and fellow-worker has merely passed for a short time out of sight, but has not given up the work begun so many ages ago — the uplifting of humanity, the destruction of the shackles that enslave the human mind.”

— William Q. Judge
H. P. B. A LION-HEARTED COLLEAGUE PASSES.

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The Wonder of Life: The Great Inscrutable Mystery

Botticelli: Primavera

Botticelli: Primavera

WE are repulsed by a report of a terrorist beheading. David Brooks wrote about it in a NY Times Opinion, in which he concludes that “the body has a spiritual essence.”

“The human head and body don’t just live and pass along genes,” Brooks writes: “They paint, make ethical judgments, savor the beauty of a sunset and experience the transcendent.”

Sounding more like a student of Theosophy than a cultural and political commentator Brooks adds:

“The body is material but surpasses the material. It’s spiritualized matter.”

“Most of us, religious or secular,” Brooks wrote in his NY Times article The Body and the Spirit, “have some instinctive sense that there is a ghost infused in the machine. And because the human body is a transcendent temple it is worthy of respect. It is offensive to treat it the way you would treat an inanimate object.”

“Even after a person is dead, the body still carries the residue of this presence and deserves dignified handling.”

Similarly, H. P. Blavatsky quoted Thomas Carlyle: “‘we touch heaven when we lay our hand on a human body!'” … “How does our physical body come to the state of perfection it is found in now?,” she asks, and answers: “Through millions of years of evolution, of course, yet never through, or from, animals, as taught by materialism.”

Further quoting Carlyle: — ‘The essence of our being, the mystery in us that calls itself  ‘I,’ — what words have we for such things? — it is a breath of Heaven, the highest Being reveals himself in man. This body, these faculties, this life of ours, is it not all as a vesture for the unnamed?'”

Botticelli, Birth of Venus

Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus

“The breath of heaven, or rather the breath of life is, as Novalis said, and no one since has said it better, as repeated by Carlyle: —

“There is but one temple in the universe, and that is the body of man. Nothing is holier than that high form . . . . We touch heaven when we lay our hand on a human body!”

‘If well meditated it will turn out to be a scientific fact — the expression of the actual truth of the thing. We are the miracle of miracles — the great inscrutable Mystery.’ 

(Blavatsky adds): “The breath of heaven, or rather the breath of life, called in the bible Nephesh, is in every animal, in every animate speck as in every mineral atom.”

(The Secret Doctrine 1:211-12)

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Intelligent Design?

Quoting Thomas Carlyle directly:

“But none of these has, like man, the consciousness of the nature of that highest Being, as none has that divine harmony in its form which man possesses. There is but one temple in the universe, says the devout
Novalis, and that is the body of man. Nothing is holier than that high form.”

“We touch heaven when we lay our hand on a human body! This sounds like a mere flourish of rhetoric but it is not so.”

“If well meditated it will turn out to be a scientific fact; the expression in such words as can be had, of the actual truth of the thing. We are the miracle of miracles,— the great inscrutable Mystery of God. We cannot understand it, we know not how to speak of it; but we may feel and know, if we like, that it is verily so.”

(Thomas Carlyle, Ch. 1, Hero as Divinity)

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Kangaroo Care and The Healing Heart

Kangaroo Care

STUDENTS of Theosophy are sometimes called to task by some for being overly metaphysical or ‘intellectual.’

It may be true that some students of Theosophy prefer to use the force of their intellect to hammer out meanings, and have a purely intellectual discussion.

That means not consulting their feelings or emotions which are deemed lesser powers from the human ‘lower nature’ and therefore unreliable.

But W. Q. Judge was not of that opinion. He wrote in the Ocean of Theosophy that “intellect alone is cold, heartless and selfish.” The truth of this is shown today by studies of neurological correlates in the physical brain. Similarly, Mr. Judge, back in the day, insisted that if we can live “according to the dictates of the soul

the brain may at least be made porous to the soul’s recollections — if the contrary sort of a life is led, then more and more will clouds obscure that reminiscence.

Materialistic and intellectual data are stored in the lower mind and desire body, and such grosser data does not stimulate higher areas as the pineal gland in the brain. The mysterious ‘third eye’ whose vehicle is the pineal gland, is known by occultists to transmit spiritual powers including intuition and compassion.

Pituitary and Pineal Glands

Our Dual Nature

We are spiritual beings at our core, but our behaviors on this physical plane — just like the actions of the horse guided by the rider — are determined solely by how we have entrained our psychic and physical instruments.

“No physiologist, not even the cleverest,” Blavatsky wrote, “will ever be able to solve the mystery of the human mind, in its highest spiritual manifestation, or in its dual aspect of the psychic and the noëtic or the manasic, or even to comprehend the intricacies of the former on the purely material plane – unless he knows something of, and is prepared to admit the presence of this dual element.” 

– H. P. Blavatsky, Psychic and Noëtic Action

Horse and Rider

“There are persons,” H. P. Blavatsky writes, “who never think with the higher faculties of their minds at all.” (Studies in Occultism)

This is why it is so very difficult for a materialist — the metaphysical portion of whose brain is almost atrophied — to raise himself,

“Or for one who is naturally spiritually-minded to descend to the level of the matter-of-fact vulgar thought,” she wrote. “Optimism and pessimism depend on it also in a great measure.”

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