Tag Archives: hindu

A Great Breath, and the Universe is Alive

THEOSOPHY does not demand acceptance but points to fundamental principles, and how they can be ascertained and applied.

Theosophy is not only a ‘faith’ because faiths are changeable. It is not dependent upon dogma or revelation either, as are modern science and religion, but on verifiable occult records.

The object of Theosophy is to show that all things and beings in nature are truly souls in evolution, and for human beings the necessity of knowing ourselves — and becoming our own authority by knowing.

Theosophy as the “Wisdom-Religion” has existed from immemorial time. It offers a theory of nature and man which is founded upon knowledge acquired by the Sages of the past. It has been expressed in different ages by Krishna, Confucius, and Buddha in the East, by Pythagoras, Plato, and Jesus in the West.

Plato wrote about the quest for self-knowledge:

“The light and spirit of the Divinity are the wings of the soul. They raise it to communion with the gods, above this earth — to become like the gods, is to become holy, just and wise. That is the end for which man was created, and that out to be his aim in the acquisition of knowledge.”  

Plato

“Every one of us possesses the faculty, the interior sense, that is known by the name of intuition,H. P. Blavatsky explains in her The Theosophist article Le Phare De L’Inconnu (Beacon Light of the Unknown):

“… but how rare are those who know how to develop it! It is only by the aid of this faculty that men can ever see things in their true colours.”

Θ

True Colors

This power is, she says, is an “instinct of the soul, which grows in us in proportion to the employment we give it — which helps us to perceive and understand the realities of things with far more certainty than the simple use of our senses and exercise of our reason.”

“… there is one absolute Reality which antecedes all manifested, conditioned, being. It is “Be-ness” rather than Being (in Sanskrit, Sat), and is beyond all thought or speculation.

“This Infinite and Eternal Cause — is the rootless root of  ‘all that was, is, or ever shall be.'”  

“… the one Reality, is also symbolized by the term “The Great Breath,” a symbol sufficiently graphic to need no further elucidation. Thus, then, the first fundamental axiom of the Secret Doctrine is this metaphysical One Absolute — Be-ness …

“Spirit (or Consciousness) and Matter are, however, to be regarded, not as independent realities,” Blavatsky insists, “but as the two facets or aspects of the Absolute (Parabrahm), which constitute the basis of conditioned Being whether subjective or objective.

“Considering this metaphysical triad as the Root from which proceeds all manifestation, the great Breath assumes the character of precosmic Ideation. It is the fons et origo of force and of all individual consciousness, and supplies the guiding intelligence in the vast scheme of cosmic Evolution.”

Guiding Intelligence

“On the other hand, precosmic root-substance (Mulaprakriti) is that aspect of the Absolute which underlies all the objective planes of Nature.” [The Secret Doctrine Vol.1:14-15]

“The shell only of the spirit, soul and astral body of the Kosmos,” she comments in The Secret Doctrine (1:67), “has now fallen into the hands of Modern Science.”

Physicists now are busy studying that shell in the guise of hypothetical sub-atomic particles.

In their August 3, 2017 article, Scientific American reports “A new technology for detecting neutrinos represents a ‘monumental’ advance for science.”

The Spallation Neutron Source

The “elusive ‘ghost particles’ were detected bouncing off an atom.”  Following decades of ‘research’, it seems science is still stuck in their shell of hypothetical muck.

After more than a hundred years of  ‘research’, it seems modern science is still stuck in a shell of hypothetical silly putty.

Using the atom-smashing power of The Large Hadron Collider, scientists hope to unmask the so-called “god particle,” their imagined ultimate substratum of the universe. The accumulation of large amounts of data from collisions, according to physicists, “is crucial to increasing the chances of a discovery.” (!)

Physicists at CERN

Atoms live in a strange world dubbed quantum entanglement where they can be in two places at once. Everything changes at the sub-atomic level, though with science’s limited tools, atoms seem to be mostly ’empty’ space. It’s a seductive place, it seems, where one can free-fall into the unknown fields of an inexplicable universe.

Is there no room for ‘consciousness’ to exist in all that so-called “empty space?”

If atoms or some exotic energetic field underpins all substance, what of something as omnipresent as water? Almost 90% of our body, like the planet we live on, is water. We are conscious like our blue planet Gaia. Many researchers are convinced that water is capable of ‘memory’ by storing information and retrieving it, and research into water is just beginning.

Universal and divine mind (Transactions 94) is “reflected in the waters of Space,” says ancient Cosmogenesis: “In Absolute Divine Thought,” Blavatsky wrote, “everything exists, and there has been no time when it did not so exist.”

Continue reading

12.12.12

universalPLATO the ancient Greek Sage, along with Socrates and Aristotle, laid the philosophical foundations of Western Culture.

It was the irrepressible Plato who famously insisted that deity geometrizes in fabricating the Universe.

In his dialogue Timaeus (c. 360 B.C.) he says “there is a fifth figure (made of twelve pentagons), the dodecahedron. God used this as a model for the twelvefold division of the Zodiac.”

“Various models have been proposed for the global geometry of the universe,” Wikipedia explains.

“In addition to the primitive geometries, these proposals include the Poincaré dodecahedral space, a positively curved space consisting of a dodecahedron whose opposite faces correspond (with a small twist).

This was proposed by Jean-Pierre Luminet and colleagues in 2003 and an optimal orientation on the sky for the model was estimated in 2008.”

Photograph of a Roman dodecahedron from Wikipedia.

Photograph of a Roman dodecahedron from Wikipedia.

Wrote H. P. Blavatsky in Isis Unveiled: “The solution of the great problem of eternity belongs neither to religious superstition nor to gross materialism.

“The harmony and mathematical equiformity of the double evolution — spiritual and physical — are elucidated only in the universal numerals of Pythagoras, who built his system entirely upon the so-called ‘metrical speech’ of the Hindu Vedas.”

Continue reading

The Breath of God

STUDENTS do not demand acceptance of Theosophy, pointing rather to its fundamental principles and their application.

Theosophy is not a ‘faith’ because faiths are changeable, and it is not dependent upon dogma or revelation as are modern science and religion.

The object of Theosophy is to show that all beings in nature are souls in evolution, and for humans the necessity of knowing ourselves — and becoming our own authority.

The “Wisdom-Religion” has existed from immemorial time. It offers a theory of nature and man which is founded upon knowledge acquired by the Sages of the past. It has been expressed in different ages by Krishna, Confucius and Buddha in the East, by Pythagoras, Plato and Jesus in the West.

Plato wrote about the quest for self-knowledge: “The light and spirit of the Divinity are the wings of the soul. They raise it to communion with the gods, above this earth — to become like the gods, is to become holy, just and wise.”

“That is the end for which man was created, and that ought to be his aim in the acquisition of knowledge.”

“Every one of us possesses the faculty, the interior sense, that is known by the name of intuition,H. P. Blavatsky exclaims,but how rare are those who know how to develop it! It is only by the aid of this faculty that men can ever see things in their true colours.”

This power is “an instinct of the soul, which grows in us in proportion to the employment we give it,” she wrote, “which helps us to perceive and understand the realities of things with far more certainty than the simple use of our senses and exercise of our reason.”

“The shell only of the spirit, soul and astral body of the Kosmos,” she comments in The Secret Doctrine (1:67), “has now fallen into the hands of Modern Science.”

Physicists now are busy studying that shell in the guise of hypothetical sub-atomic particles.

Using the atom-smashing power of The Large Hadron Collider, scientists hope to unmask the so-called “god particle,” their imagined ultimate substratum of the universe. The accumulation of large amounts of data from collisions, according to physicists, “is crucial to increasing the chances of a discovery.”

Physicists at CERN

Atoms live in a strange world dubbed quantum entanglement where they can be in two places at once. Everything changes at the sub-atomic level, though with science’s limited tools, atoms seem to be mostly ’empty’ space. It’s a seductive place, it seems, where one can free-fall into the unknown fields of an inexplicable universe.

Is there no room for ‘consciousness’ to exist in that “empty space?”

Ο

If atoms or some exotic energetic field underpins all substance, what of something as omnipresent as water? Almost 90% of our body, like the planet we live on, is water. We are conscious like our blue planet Gaia. Many researchers are convinced that water is capable of ‘memory’ by storing information and retrieving it, and research into water is just beginning.

Universal and divine mind (Transactions 94) is “reflected in the waters of Space,” says ancient Cosmogenesis: “In Absolute Divine Thought “everything exists, and there has been no time when it did not so exist.”

Continue reading

The Body-Field

EASTERN metaphysics proposes the existence of an astral substance, or matrix, patterning the physical world.

This active image-field  is the mystical progeny of the omnipresent, spiritual and dynamic substratum of the universe.

It is a secret agent and, as noted psi researcher Dean Radin says in his book Entangled Minds“we occasionally have numinous feelings of connectedness with loved ones at a distance.”

“The idea of the universe as an interconnected whole is not new,” Radin says, “for millennia it’s been one of the core assumptions of Eastern philosophies. What is new is that Western science is slowly beginning to realize that some elements of that ancient lore might be correct.”  (see Into the Light)

This source of this immanent force is called Ākāśa, a Sanskrit word meaning “aether,” in both its elemental and metaphysical sense. The Ākāśa, with its alter-ego the Astral Light are the mechanism of ‘out-of-body’ experiences, and

…the primal storehouse and reflector of all the thoughts, ideas, feelings and acts uploaded from the Earthly doings of self-conscious humanity.

Continue reading

Healing from Inside

NEUROSCIENTISTS  have been busy for years trying to catalog the “neuronal correlates of consciousness” in the brain,

They are determined to prove that consciousness somehow originates in the gray matter between our ears.

This mechanistic view was assumed by the Human Genome Project, established to catalog the complete human DNA.

It is held that genes carry information about how we look, how well our bodies metabolize food or fight infection, and can determine even how we behave.

It was thought, therefore, that researchers would easily be able to identify specific genes underlying specific diseases, and then all diseases could be eliminated by manipulating the related genes.

But it was discovered that the seemingly simple concept was much more complex than expected.

Ö

Continue reading

Soul and Shadow

NEARLY all of us humans, occult teachers say, are inexorably reincarnated into new lives of earth, yet invisibly clothed in myriads of memories from the past.

These include snippets of our innate ideas, haunting images of unrealized aspirations and desires, and our unresolved fears.

These torn pages of personal history are the underlying drivers that steer our reincarnations. This is Karma, reincarnation’s unerring “twin doctrine.”

This post has been edited and updated, and republished at:

Karma

A New Order of Ages 2

THE gods are not without employment, wrote the Greek bishop Synesius of Cyrene (c. 373 – c. 414) – but their “descent to this earth” is not continuous.

They descend according to orderly periods of time, he said, “for the purpose of imparting a beneficent impulse in the republics of mankind.”

“For this providence is divine and most ample,” quotes W. Q. Judge in Cycles —”which frequently one man pays attention to, and affects countless multitudes of men.”

Describing the Gods, Synesius writes: “For there is indeed in the terrestrial abode the sacred tribe of heroes who pay attention to mankind, and who are able to give them assistance even in the smallest concerns:-

“This heroic tribe is, as it were, a colony from the gods established here, in order that this terrene abode may not be left destitute of a better nature.”

The Mahatmas

mahatma gandhi - Sharang and Prash 2007

These “gods” are also known in India as Mahatmas. No better description of these sages can be pointed to than  W. Q. Judge explaining the Sanskrit terms in his article The Mahatmas as Ideals and Facts:

“The whole sweep, meaning, and possibility of evolution are contained in the word Mahatma,” Judge writes. “Maha is ‘great,’ Atma is ‘soul’ — and both compounded into one, mean those great souls who have triumphed before us:

“Not because they are made of different stuff and are of some strange family, but just because they are of the human race.”

Continue reading

The Shiva Life

WE live on a planet constantly in motion, and except for the occasional natural catastrophe, a usually very slow, orderly motion.

The Earth is billions of years old and still in the making, where glacial cycles come and go, continents move, mountains form and erode.

Scientists investigate everything from the hypothetical big bang to the smallest geologic and biologic forces. But where Earth came from, how evolution works,

…and why and how life itself arose, is still the most profound mystery in science.

Please note this post was updated and republished at the following link:

Masquerade

Eye of Kapila

VARIOUS kinds ‘eyes’ or gazes are featured in Theosophical teachings, from healing eyes of soul, the spiritual or “third eye,” to the “evil eye” of sorcerers.

The power of the evil eye is described in detail by H. P. Blavatsky in her articles on occultism. The evil eye has “a great plastic power of thought,” she says, that impregnates a current of energy “with every kind of misfortune and accident.”

The Shiva eye, in the Mahabharata, is depicted as “the standard of invincibility, might, and terror”, as well as a figure of honor, delight, and brilliance.

Shiva is an auspicious god.  As the third person of the Hindu Trinity (the Trimûrti), Blavatsky explains, “He is a god of the first order-

and in his character of Destroyer higher than Vishnu, the Preserver, as he destroys only to regenerate on a higher plane.”

Siva, she writes, “is born as Rudra, the Kumâra, and is the patron of all the Yogis, being called, as such, Mahâdeva the great ascetic.”

There is also an example of a living Yogi, the selfless healer “Braco” (see The Look that Heals) — his simple gaze can affect an entire audience for good. Many people in Braco’s audience report seeing and feeling a powerful white light from his gaze, and they feel a “special kind of warmth and deep love.” Continue reading

Electric Human

This article and videos has be updated and re-posted at:

The Body-Field

So Far So Near

STUDENTS do not demand acceptance of Theosophy, pointing rather to its fundamental principles and their application.

Theosophy is not a ‘faith’ because faiths are changeable, and it is not dependent upon dogma or revelation as are modern science and religion.

The object of Theosophy is to show that all beings in nature are souls in evolution, and for humans the necessity of knowing ourselves — and becoming our own authority.

The “Wisdom-Religion” has existed from immemorial time. It offers a theory of nature and man which is founded upon knowledge acquired by the Sages of the past. It has been expressed in different ages by Krishna, Confucius and Buddha in the East, by Pythagoras, Plato and Jesus in the West.

Plato wrote about the quest for self-knowledge: “The light and spirit of the Divinity are the wings of the soul. They raise it to communion with the gods, above this earth — to become like the gods, is to become holy, just and wise.”

“That is the end for which man was created, and that ought to be his aim in the acquisition of knowledge.”

“Every one of us possesses the faculty, the interior sense, that is known by the name of intuition,H. P. Blavatsky exclaims,but how rare are those who know how to develop it! It is only by the aid of this faculty that men can ever see things in their true colours.”

Continue reading

Ruminations

fall-foliageCrazy Summer Days & Pre-Autumn Ruminations

By Steve Levey

(Having a crazy summer? Me, too. I was recounting all the bizarre things that have been happening to me the last few months, when my friend Steve Levey, of Washington, D.C., offered these insightful thoughts. K. LeBeau, ed.)

PERHAPS it has something to do with (and I might be going over the top here) with the upcoming month of September in which Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, falls on the 18th. It’s just 10 days before Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, which is being celebrated on September 27 this year. Normally, Yom Kippur occurs in early October — these holy days move a bit from year to year according to the lunar cycle of reference.

“Kippurim”

Kabbalistically, Yom Kippur is considered to be the most powerful day of the year (although the Sabbaths or each Saturday from sundown Friday on, also have this power latent in them) where the previous year is considered “closed” so that the new one can have a fresh start in us.

The term “kippur” is Hebrew (oddly enough) and comes from the word “kippurim,” which means “to close. “Therefore the Torah, normally kept open to the specific place required for reading each day of the year — for the entire year, is closed on Yom Kippur. I think this is a very significant and useful practice.

torah

My point is; I’ve always thought that the natural influences at this time of the year proved these particular days had merit. The idea being to prepare to close out the past year in terms of a consideration of what went on, which is very much like the Pythagorean review–called “nightly review,” which is to be done daily before sleep as he prescribed for his students, leaving the coming year (day) a chance to have a fresh presentation.

HPB mentions that she was surprised to see that the Christians didn’t keep these days for the New Year cycle instead of adopting the Greek one, even though the sun gods, as she groups Krishna, the Christ, etc., are to be revered around this time, culminating on January 4th, the Theosophical New Year.

Metaphysical Impressions,
Gifts for a New Cycle

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur

I think what she was getting at is — there is a genuine metaphysical impression upon our inner natures at the so-called Jewish cycle of New Year/Yom Kippur regarding ends and beginnings, and a natural reverential drive inherent to us, around the December/January cycle. This makes the connection Theosophical (which is what the term really implies) in terms of a synthetic relationship of all of this to us in the West as well as a synthetic doctrine which cuts across all continents and periods of time.

Transition Cycles:
Out with the Old, In with the New

As I understand all of this, we need to get used to seeing these periods as transition cycles, which makes them easier to live with, because they are going to happen anyway (a little reality therapy). Although most Jews living their cyclic recognition of the Jewish calendar of events, suffer righteously during these periods of time, because they take the repentance aspect of their connection to the past too strongly instead of also considering the holy day being latent with potential rejuvenation. Here is a resemblance to Shiva as the third aspect of the Hindu trinity Trimurti — death and regeneration.

Shiva

Shiva

Being raised Jewish, I saw how my mother put a special bulb containing the six-pointed star of David in a particular lamp on Yom Kippur, in memory of the dead of the previous year. Also, many Jews go to temple on the evening before, to a special Memoriam service in which Kol Nidre is sung-a particularly reverential (although beautiful) hymnal for the previously deceased.

So, Yom Kippur ends up being a day of atonement for themselves and those who died, which the Jewish temples support. All of it is grossly misunderstood or taken too literally or both, per the explanations given in rabbinical and Kabalistic writings.

Maybe one could consider taking a universal view of Kabala as compared with Esoteric Vidya (see chart):

sd1-242

Raja Yoga Dance

“And when Brahma produces the world anew… Collecting his mind into itself (Yoga willing), Brahma creates the four orders of beings …” (SD 1:456fn)

Temple of Apollo, Delphi

Temple of Apollo, Delphi

“Man, know thyself” read the inscription on the metope (MET-oh-pea) of the Apollo dedicated Oracular Temple at Delphi, its purpose being to remind any one entering the shrine of mysteries what the ultimate scope of his initiation (awakening) ought to be.

xxxviii

The Pythia, Isis Unveiled

Self-knowledge is the core and ultimate end of initiation. It can be achieved through perpetual effort to become detached from sense effects and personal impressions through an ethical course representing the Divine Law on earth.

The means to fulfill this goal is the mind joined to the heart, a link which cements the physical level of existence with the spiritual. “Self-Knowledge is of loving deeds the child,” says The Voice of the Silence.

Patanjali, the greatest codifier of the system of Self-knowledge known as Yoga Sutras, says that “Concentration, or Yoga, is the hindering of the modifications of the thinking principle,” where Yoga is the union of the material to the spiritual, or the union of the opposites. Yoga means “union.”

Man’s major deed and success is considered the focusing of the mind steadily on one single point or concept, so gaining wisdom and deliverance from the cycle of rebirth, and this is known as meditation or self-knowledge.

Pilgrimage To Tibet

tibet2HPB’ s familiarity with Tibetan Buddhism as well as with esoteric Buddhist practices seems to be beyond doubt. A report by Margaret Cousins, “A pilgrimage in the Himalayas,” is confirmed by a Hindu sadhu, among other testimonies, that a Russian lady named Blavatsky had found the high teachers and received the Ancient Wisdom. (World Theosophy, Vol.1, Number 2, February 1930)

She managed to reach the hard-to-access Tibetan lamaseries after strenuous efforts, and hardships overcome with the help of her Masters. In a letter to an inquirer, who asked why she was sent to Tibet, HPB answered:

“True, there is absolutely no need of going to Tibet or India to find some knowledge and power ‘which are latent in every human soul’; but the acquisition of the highest knowledge and power require not only many years of the severest study enlightened by a superior intelligence, and an audacity bent by no peril, but also as many years of retreat in comparative solitude …” (see also The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky, by Sylvia Cranston, ch.6)

Buddha’s Secret Teachings

gautama1In many of the mountain lamasaries, Blavatsky writes in The Secret Doctrine, “there are subterranean crypts and cave-libraries, cut in the rock…” She continues:

“Along the ridge of Altyn-Toga, whose soil no European foot has ever trodden so far, there exists a certain hamlet, lost in a deep gorge. … Pilgrims say that the subterranean galleries and halls under it contain a collection of books, the number of which, according to the accounts given, is too large to find room even in the British Museum.”

Beneath his public moral teachings, she says, were instructions reserved for his disciples (Arhats.) These were taught “secret portions of the ‘Dan or ‘Jan-na‘ (‘Dhyan‘) of Gautama’s metaphysics,” and “received their Initiation at the famous Saptaparna cave.” HPB further explains:

Dan, now become in modern Chinese and Tibetan phonetics chan, is the general term for the esoteric schools, and their literature. In the old books, the word Janna is defined as “to reform one’s self by meditation and knowledge,” a second inner birth. Hence Dzan, Djan phonetically, the “Book of Dzyan.”

patanjali_11

Patanjali

These mystical Stanzas of Dzyan are those upon which Blavatsky based her entire The Secret Doctrine.

Yoga Training

Raja Yoga, as she called it, the ultimate yoga, differentiating it from Hatha Yoga, was the way in which she perceived and understood the esoteric knowledge she lived and wrote about.

She could never have provided an esoteric teaching had she not, beforehand, undergone a training concerning the secrets of nature and existence – and after long personal effort, practice and experience. To her personal students she recommended reviewing each day in detail, and keeping a mental “Daily Life Ledger” to aid in clearing away the hindrances to meditation.

Her knowledge on meditation can be traced throughout her writings. The Dhyana ability she possessed, referred to by Patanjali (Book 3) as “the continuance of the attention” also called contemplation.   By the word “Dhyana” is the knowledge of the mysterious laws of nature, and and what is obtained by Yoga training.

Trance

In the The Key to Theosophy , she says that wisdom can only be attained when in an ecstatic state— how the limited can get to know the limitless — cautioning that such a state cannot be reached through hypnotism, or physical and chemical means.

She viewed trances as harmful to the human psyche. It is rather conscious awareness that is required to reach godlike wisdom. In her teachings,  Mediums and Mediators and “The Dual Mind” and many others, she makes a strong effort to make obvious that the two aspects of human nature, as personality and individuality, are opposing aspects, and are expressed by different behaviors.

Ecstasy

Plotinus

Plotinus

One can only achieve true enlightenment through “ecstasy” as defined by Plotinus, and she quotes:

Real ecstasy was defined by Plotinus as “the liberation of the mind from its finite consciousness, becoming one and identified with the infinite.”

Meditation is silent and unuttered prayer or, as Plato expressed it, “the ardent turning of the soul toward the divine; not to ask any particular good (as in the common meaning of prayer), but for good itself — for the universal Supreme Good”

Plato

Plato

… Therefore, adds Plato, “remain silent in the presence of the divine ones, till they remove the clouds from thy eyes and enable thee to see by the light which issues from themselves, not what appears as good to thee, but what is intrinsically good.” (The Key to Theosophy)


The Raja Yoga Dance

dancer12In Blavatsky Collected Writings 6, on “The God Idea”, Mme. Blavatsky comments:

“…the highest Yoga is the concentration of mind upon God, even amidst the transaction of worldly affairs. This Yoga has been illustrated by a sloka given in my ‘Superiority of Hinduism,’ containing the beautiful comparison of the real yogi to a female dancer with a pitcher full of water upon her head, singing and dancing according to the strictest rules of music, but still preventing the pitcher from falling down. This best of all yogas, the real Raj yoga, is to be attained by long practice requiring constant and tremendous exercise of will-power as was done by Rajah Janaka.”

The initiation and tools she obtained at the Tibetan lamaseries, the fruits of inner knowledge, she in turn offered to humanity through her writings. They are the cornerstones of Theosophy.

Ironically, the first step towards initiation, given in The Voice of the Silence, is that: “the pupil must regain the child-state he has lost ere the first sound can fall upon his ear.” And we know how children love to dance!

Univeral Ethics

Practical Theosophy, referred to in The Key to Theosophy , is testimony to her belief in Ethics. The First Object of the Theosophical Movement, “To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity,” is the imprint of divine ethics onto our world.

Studying H.P.B.’s Diagram of Meditation, we can clearly detect the ethical purity the trainee must achieve;  to set himself free from mental propensities; to awaken the consciousness of the Higher Self.

Mme. Blavatsky’s thesis on meditation is strictly based on the initiation and practice learned in Tibet. It surely agrees with what many Yogis say — that for facilitating the state of ecstasy called Samadhi, one has to submit physically to the greatest abstinence in food and drink — and mentally into an incessant endeavor to purify and elevate the mind.

Aspasia Papadomichelaki

Athens ULT