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July 4th: Theosophy, the Gospel of Goodwill

H. P. Blavatsky 1877

H. P. Blavatsky 1877

H. P. BLAVATSKY understood America because she loved America.

Confirming this in a letter delivered to the Second American Convention she wrote:

“Your great country which I love for its noble freedom . . . and of which country I myself am proud of being a citizen.”

This loving understanding of the American culture and temperament in the light of the marvelous knowledge which was hers, has graciously provided for the students of Theosophy everywhere in the world.

But more especially in America, hints, warnings, suggestions and, above all, inspiration for their labor on behalf of the Sacred Cause.

To the students of Theosophy in America, these Letters are of special value and significance at the present time.

In conducting their own lives and tasks as well as in helping their fellow men in all fields of activity, they will receive from these thoughtful and stirring words real help themselves, and that of an unique character. 

A Prayer Labyrinth

In these days of constant struggles of many and diverse kinds, when a myriad remedies are suggested and advocated for our ills physical and psychical, moral and mental . . . puzzled by the strange working of Mother Nature . . .

These wonderful Messages of one whose wisdom and compassion stirred her to point the finger of warning and at the same time to stretch out the hand of fellowship and sure guidance, ought to be read, studied; nay, meditated upon.

(Above excerpted from Theosophy Company, Los Angeles, CA)

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July 4th: A Theosophy of Freedom and Independence

H. P. Blavatsky 1877

H. P. Blavatsky 1877

H. P. BLAVATSKY understood America because she loved America. In one Letter she writes: “Your great country which I love for its noble freedom . . . and of which country I myself am proud of being a citizen.”

This loving understanding of the American culture and temperament in the light of the marvelous knowledge which was hers, has graciously provided for the students of Theosophy everywhere in the world.

But more especially in America, hints, warnings, suggestions and, above all, inspiration for their labor on behalf of the Sacred Cause.

To the students of Theosophy in America, these Letters are of special value and significance at the present time. In conducting their own lives and tasks as well as in helping their fellow men in all fields of activity, they will receive from these thoughtful and stirring words real help themselves, and that of an unique character. 

In these days of constant struggles of many and diverse kinds, when a myriad remedies are suggested and advocated for our ills physical and psychical, moral and mental . . . puzzled by the strange working of Mother Nature . . .

These wonderful Messages of one whose wisdom and compassion stirred her to point the finger of warning and at the same time to stretch out the hand of fellowship and sure guidance, ought to be read, studied; nay, meditated upon.

(Above excerpt from a Forward by Theosophy Co., Los Angeles)

Madam-Blavatsky2

The First Message from H. P. BLAVATSKY to the American Theosophists in Convention Assembled 1888:

 THE FIRST MESSAGE

(Excerpts)

1888

To WILLIAM Q. JUDGE,

General Secretary of the American Section of
the Theosophical Society.

MY DEAREST BROTHER AND CO-FOUNDER
OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY:

    In addressing to you this letter, which I request you to read to the Convention summoned for April 22nd, I must first present my hearty congratulations and most cordial good wishes to the assembled Delegates and good Fellows of our Society, and to yourself—the heart and soul of that Body in America. We were several, to call it to life in 1875.

    Since then you have remained alone to preserve that life through good and evil report. It is to you chiefly, if not entirely, that the Theosophical Society owes its existence in 1888. Let me then thank you for it, for the first and perhaps the last, time publicly, and from the bottom of my heart, which beats only for the cause you represent so well and serve so faithfully.

    I ask you also to remember that, on this important occasion, my voice is but the feeble echo of other more sacred voices, and the transmitter of the approval of Those whose presence is alive in more than one true Theosophical heart, and lives, as I know, pre-eminently in yours. May the assembled Society feel the warm greeting as earnestly as it is given, and may every Fellow present, who realizes that he has deserved it, profit by the Blessings sent.

W. Q. Judge, by Charles Johnston

W. Q. Judge, by Charles Johnston

  Theosophy has lately taken a new start in America which marks the commencement of a new Cycle in the affairs of the Society in the West. And the policy you are now following is admirably adapted to give scope for the widest expansion of the movement, and to establish on a firm basis an organization which, while promoting feelings of fraternal sympathy, social unity, and solidarity, will leave ample room for individual freedom and exertion in the common cause— that of helping mankind. . . .

But let no man set up a popery instead of Theosophy, as this would be suicidal and has ever ended most fatally.

We are all fellow-students, more or less advanced;. . . but no one belonging to the Theosophical Society ought to count himself as more than, at best, a pupil-teacher—one who has no right to dogmatize.

HPB Bust by Alexey Leonov

HPB Bust by Alexey Leonov

    Since the Society was founded, a distinct change has come over the spirit of the age. Those who gave us commission to found the Society foresaw this, now rapidly growing, wave of transcendental influence following that other wave of mere phenomenalism. Even the journals of Spiritualism are gradually eliminating the phenomena and wonders, to replace them with philosophy.

The Theosophical Society led the van of this movement; but, although Theosophical ideas have entered into every development or form which awakening spirituality has assumed, yet

Theosophy pure and simple has still a severe battle to fight for recognition.

The days of old are gone to return no more, and many are the Theosophists who, taught by bitter experience, have pledged themselves to make of the Society a “miracle club” no longer.

The launch of Scottish Biodiversity fortnight sowing seed at the wildflower meadow.

    The faint-hearted have asked in all ages for signs and wonders, and when these failed to be granted, they refused to believe. Such are not those who will ever comprehend Theosophy pure and simple. But there are others among us who realize intuitionally that

the recognition of pure Theosophy—the philosophy of the rational explanation of things and not the tenets—is of the most vital importance in the Society, inasmuch as it alone can furnish the beacon-light needed to guide humanity on its true path.

one religion

    This should never be forgotten, nor should the following fact be overlooked. On the day when Theosophy will have accomplished its most holy and most important mission—namely to unite firmly a body of men of all nations in brotherly love and bent on a pure altruistic work, not on a labor with selfish motives.

On that day only will Theosophy become higher than any nominal brotherhood of man. This will be a wonder and a miracle truly, for the realization of which Humanity is vainly waiting for the last eighteen centuries, and which every association has hitherto failed to accomplish.

Orthodoxy in Theosophy is a thing
neither possible nor desirable.

It is diversity of opinion, within certain limits that keeps the Theosophical Society a living and a healthy body, its many other ugly features notwithstanding.

Were it not, also, for the existence of a large amount of uncertainty in the minds of students of Theosophy, such healthy divergencies would be impossible, and the Society would degenerate into a sect, in which a narrow and stereotyped creed would take the place of the living and breathing spirit of Truth and an ever growing Knowledge.

womanonpath

    It must be remembered that the Society was not founded as a nursery for forcing a supply of Occultists—as a factory for the manufactory of Adepts. It was intended to stem the current of materialism, and also that of spiritualistic phenomenalism and the worship of the Dead.

It had to guide the spiritual awakening that has now begun, and not to pander to psychic cravings which are but another form of materialism.

    For by “materialism” is meant not only an anti-philosophical negation of pure spirit, and, even more, materialism in conduct and action—brutality, hypocrisy. and, above all, selfishness,—but also the fruits of a disbelief in all but material things, a disbelief which has increased enormously during the last century, and which has led many, after a denial of all existence other than that in matter, into a blind belief in the materialization of Spirit.

cropped-white-lotus-71421.jpg

Lotus Lily

    Theosophy seeks to develop the human nature in man in addition to the animal, and at the sacrifice of the superfluous animality which modern life and materialistic teachings have developed to a degree which is abnormal for the human being at this stage of his progress.

Men cannot all be Occultists, but they can all be Theosophists. Many who have never heard of the Society are Theosophists without knowing it them selves; for the essence of Theosophy is the perfect harmonizing of the divine with the human in man, the adjustment of his god-like qualities and aspirations. and their sway over the terrestrial or animal passions in him. Kindness, absence of every ill feeling or selfishness, charity, good-will to all beings, and perfect justice to others as to one’s self, are its chief features.

He who teaches Theosophy preaches the gospel of good-will; and the converse of this is true also—he who preaches the gospel of good-will, teaches Theosophy.

    This aspect of Theosophy has never failed to receive due and full recognition in the pages of the “PATH,” a journal of which the American Section has good reason to be proud. It is a teacher and a power; and the fact that such a periodical should be produced and supported in the United States speaks in eloquent praise both of its Editor and its readers.

William Q. Judge 1887 The first volume of the publication that brought theosophy to the attention of the American public.

William Q. Judge 1887 The first volume of the publication that brought theosophy to the attention of the American public.

    America is also to be congratulated on the increase in the number of the Branches or Lodges which is now taking place. It is a sign that in things spiritual as well as things temporal the great American Republic is well fitted for independence and self-organization.

    Here in England Theosophy is waking into new life. The slanders and absurd inventions of the Society for Psychical Research have almost paralyzed it, though only for a very short time, and the example of America has stirred the English Theosophists into renewed activity.  . . . and the first fruit has been the founding of the “Theosophical Publication Society.” This Society is of great importance. It has undertaken the very necessary work of breaking down the barrier of prejudice and ignorance which has formed so great an impediment to the spread of Theosophy.

Theosophists are of necessity the friends of all movements in the world, whether intellectual or simply practical, for the amelioration of the condition of mankind.

We are the friends of all those who fight against drunkenness, against cruelty to animals, against injustice to women, against corruption in society or in government, although we do not meddle in politics. We are the friends of those who exercise practical charity, who seek to lift a little of the tremendous weight of misery that is crushing down the poor . . .

helping-the-poor

The function of Theosophists is to open men’s hearts and understandings to charity, justice, and generosity, attributes which belong specifically to the human kingdom and are natural to man when he has developed the qualities of a human being. Theosophy teaches the animal-man to be a human-man; and when people have learned to think and feel as truly human beings should feel and think,

they will act humanely, and works of charity, justice, and generosity will be done spontaneously by all.  . . .

But whether I be in England or in India a large part of my heart and much of my hope for Theosophy lie with you in the United States, where the Theosophical Society was founded, and of which country I myself am proud of being a citizen. But you must remember that, although there must be local Branches of the Theosophical Society, there can be no local Theosophists; and just as you all belong to the Society, so do I belong to you all. . . .

    Meanwhile, my far-away and dear Brother, accept the warmest and sincerest wishes for the welfare of your Societies and of yourself personally, and, while conveying to all your colleagues the expression of my fraternal regards, assure them that, at the moment when you will be reading to them the present lines, I shall—if alive—be in Spirit, Soul, and Thought amidst you all.

    Yours ever, in the truth of the GREAT CAUSE we are all working for

H. P. BLAVATSKY.  . . .
London, April 3rd, 1888.

Our Green Horizon

Ferry Farm, Artist's rendering by L. H. Barker © 2008

Ferry Farm, Artist's rendering by L. H. Barker © 2008

WE would like to introduce a series on the practical necessity and spiritual implications of going “green.” Whether or not you voted for President-elect Obama, there is great anticipation that as our new president, he will change policies and laws to support the environment and sustainable agriculture. Let’s hope so.

But he won’t be the first president to go green. Our first president, George Washington, truly had a vision for agriculture as part of America’s future. In fact, he was really into compost as a basis for a successful farm.

We know from William Quan Judge’s writings, that the Adepts inspired key individuals behind the American Revolution. George Washington was a mason, as were a number of revolutionary luminaries with him. HPB noted that Masonry was the “Theosophy” of its era, “the Theosophists of Ammonias Saccas and the later Neo-Platonists, were all virtually Masons.”

And Judge himself, an April 5, 1896 New York Times article tells us, embodied as one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

As the Adepts continue to inspire and guide us, what is Their ideal for a Green Horizon?

Let’s start with George Washington.

aa_wash_soldier_3_m1

“Our lands…were originally very good; but use, and abuse, have made them quite otherwise.”

-George Washington (1732-1799)

President George Washington was one of the most innovative farmers of his era. Instead of wearing out soil and then moving elsewhere to farm, he believed in restoring soil through adding compost, using “green manure,” and rotating crops on his 8,000-acre plantation at Mount Vernon.

Washington kept up with the latest agriculture practices in England and experimented with more than 60 different crops along with various fertilizers, techniques, and tools to increase yields.

Washington prized those who could make good compost; when looking for a new farm manager from England, he wrote to a friend for help stipulating that above all else, the manager had to be

“Midas-like, or who can convert every thing he touches into manure, as the first transmutation towards Gold.”

Washington built an unusual 31- by 12-foot building, probably the first of its kind in America, to compost manure and other materials into fertilizer, and instructed workers to “rake, and scrape up all the trash, of every sort and kind about the houses, and in the holes and corners,” to add to the compost.

Buckwheat Field

Buckwheat Field

He also experimented adding creek mud, fish heads, marine fossil clay, ashes, and plaster of Paris to nourish soil. Instead of letting fields idle to try to restore the soil–as was the practice of the time, Washington planted depleted fields with clover, peas, buckwheat, and grasses. When he plowed them under, green plants fed essential nutrients to revitalize the soil; thus the name, “green manure.”

Washington also devised portable fences to manage cattle grazing and manuring fields directly.

Before the mid-1760s, Washington grew tobacco as his main cash crop, but it had so depleted the soil, he stopped and grew wheat and other crops instead. He experimented growing peas and potatoes between rows of corn, and varied the distance between rows to see what worked best.

To keep his soil fertile, Washington rotated his crops. He carefully mapped out, for example, what would successively grow in each of his seven fields from 1793 to 1799. He assigned one field for corn and potatoes, one field for buckwheat, two fields for wheat, and three fields for clover or grass.

The next year, the crops would be planted in different fields. Washington wrote to his farm manager:

“My object is to recover the fields from the exhausted state into which they have fallen,” but two ways will enable me to accomplish this. This first is to cover them with as much manure as possible (winter and summer). The 2d a judicious succession of crops.”

While he emphasized self-reliance, Washington reveled in the latest farm tools to increase productivity and yields. In 1791, Washington and Thomas Jefferson traveled to a farm near Philadelphia to see a new threshing machine in action. Jefferson later built his own version of the machine.

threshing

Washington told Jefferson in a letter:

“If you can bring a movable threshing Machine, constructed upon simple principles to perfection, it will be among the most valuable institutions in this Country.”

Washington believed agriculture was the foundation of America’s economy and future:

“I hope some day or another, we shall become a storehouse and granary for the world.”

In his first State of the Union Address in 1790, he said:

“The advancement of agriculture, commerce and manufactures, by all proper means, will not, I trust, need recommendation. But I cannot forbear intimating to you the expediency of giving effectual encouragement as well to the introduction of new and useful inventions from abroad, as to the exertions of skill and genius in producing them at home…”

George Washington delivered the State of the Union message aloud.

George Washington delivered the State of the Union message aloud.

Washington’s own farming repertoire included a threshing machine, an array of plows, drills to plant seeds, and other tools—some sent by his friend, British agriculturist Arthur Young, who thought Washington was as good a farmer as he was a general.

Just a few days before he died, Washington was absorbed in planning future operations for his farms. His zeal as a farmer was not only to succeed, but also to be the example for other farmers. He wrote:

“Nothing in my opinion would contribute more to the welfare of these States, than the proper management of our lands,” and nothing, in this State particularly, seems to be less understood. The present mode of cropping practiced among us, is destructive to landed property; and must, if persisted in much longer ultimately ruin the holders of it.”

(Excerpt from Kara LeBeau’s Writing Seminars master’s thesis, Natural Farming: A Dire Improvement Mandate and Planetary Solution Conscientious in Integrated Principles, at Johns Hopkins University.)

© Kara LeBeau 2003, 2008. All rights reserved.