The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
May 2004 Vol. 7 Issue 3
A most descriptive name applied to highly evolved human beings is elder brothers of humanity. For they are our brothers in every sense. Firstly, they are just as much human beings as you and I, but as much more advanced than us as a mature man is developed beyond a child. Besides this, it is the essence of their work to watch over and guide mankind -- and indeed all creatures climbing up the toilsome evolutionary path. Evolution, however, does not end with these mahatmas. Beyond them are the Christs and Buddhas. And even this class of grand human beings ascend gradually in degrees of relatively greater perfection. They finally range into still diviner beings until we come to the limits of evolution possible to the duration and reaches of our solar system.
There was a time when humanity passed, as everything must, through its infancy. Then we were just learning to develop our brains and other organs to master the functions they now fulfill automatically. That was the Golden Age recorded in every tradition, when mankind had the gods themselves for teachers. It was then that the wisdom-religion, archaic science, esoteric tradition, or theosophy was first taught to humanity.
Even at that time there were humans far in advance of the average -- just as there are today and always will be. Those advanced humans became pupils of the gods and eventually formed into an association. From that day to this, that Lodge of spiritual initiates has never ceased as an organization to exist and function. In cycles of spiritual vitality it has worked more or less openly. In cycles of spiritual barrenness, it does its work in secret. From time to time it has sent great masters of wisdom to give out a fresh revelation of truth to the world. Such were Krishna, Gautama Buddha, Jesus the Christ, Lao-tse, and Confucius. Then a world-religion would be born or revitalized. At other times they founded Mystery Schools such as those at Samothrace and Eleusis in Greece. From those colleges for spiritual training, initiates were sent out who taught world-echoing philosophies. Pythagoras, Plato, and Ammonius Saccas were initiates of this stamp. H. P. Blavatsky was an-other. All these religions and philosophies embodied the basic teachings of the same wisdom-religion. Yet each teacher adapted it to the age and the people to which it was being re-taught. Since the times of Ammonius Saccas it has often been called Theosophy in Western Europe. -- Leoline W. Wright
We are born into the world in which we live with certain influences, during certain signs of the zodiac. We struggle under difficulties. Some of us feel we are facing situations we can scarcely cope with, but these only bring to mind the practical value of love. We must learn to love the thing we have to face, or the thing we have to do, else we will always have to do it. If we ever expect to escape from the doing of a thing we dislike, or which we find difficult, we shall have to learn to love it. A little while ago I remember hearing a great artist telling about the difficult little detail piece-work he had to do at a certain time, and he said that as soon as he learned to love it the task was taken from him! It disappeared from his world. This is a worthwhile experience. So it is in my own experience. I hear the troubles of patients all day long, and it would be a terrible din if it were not for the love of service. I have seen times when all the influences of what stars I know not seemed to be present, and I have learned that as soon as you tackle a job and learn to love it, you don't have to do it any more. -- Dr. Lloyd A. Kennell
May 5th we will continue reading and discussing the Tao Teh Ching by Lao-tzu, starting with verse 3. Those attending are encouraged to bring any translation of this Chinese classic that appeals to them.
(Because Newport Way Library is not scheduling its meeting room in June, the subsequent meeting will take place at Bellevue Regional Library on Thursday, June 3.)
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge
Our topic is "The Sacred in Our Lives." We will be discussing such questions as: What does sacred mean? Where does the sacred come from? What purpose does it serve, and how can we increase our day-to-day awareness of it? Do we or others bring it into our lives? How is it related to the world's religions? To science? Is there anything that is not sacred? Come and share your ideas!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge.
The topics for the monthly discussions are chosen by members of the Northwest Branch. If there is a subject that particularly interests you, or if you have ideas or suggestions about the meetings, please do not hesitate to email or mail them to the Branch or to mention them after the meetings.
Sometimes people seem curious about the Northwest Branch and the Theosophical Society (Pasadena), and how they relate to other theosophical organizations in the Puget Sound area. We are an autonomous Branch of the American Section of this Theosophical Society (TS). Three or more members of the Society can apply to form a Branch, as six of us did in 1996. Members of the TS can also ask to join an existing Branch or choose to remain members-at-large, as most members choose to do. Each Branch chooses its name, elects its officers, and decides on its activities.
The local activities of our Branch include monthly discussions, a book circle, website, and newsletter. Through 2002, however, most of our work involved preparing existing theosophical publications for the internet and posting them on www.theosociety.org and www.theosophy-nw.org. The work was undertaken in connection with the TS headquarters in Pasadena and its publishing arm, Theosophical University Press. This internet project continues, but less intensely, since we have completed virtually all Theosophical University Press books, as well as many articles from magazines -- about 100 books and over 1,100 articles. Future activities remain open, since they depend entirely on what the Branch members decide to do together. Input and ideas from those who take part in our public activities is a very valuable part of this process.
The Theosophical Society (Pasadena)
The Theosophical Society was founded in 1875 to encourage universal brotherhood and independent spiritual thinking. Membership involves accepting the principle of universal brotherhood and supporting the Society's objectives: forming an active brotherhood among mankind; encouraging the study of ancient and modern religions, sciences, and philosophies; and investigating the spiritual, psychological, and material aspects of the cosmos and human beings.
The Theosophical Society is not a religion or church, and its members may belong to any religion or to none. Out-side of universal brotherhood there are no required beliefs. While the Society publishes various types of literature to further its objectives, study of them is voluntary. The TS charges no dues and depends entirely on donations for its support.
Various Theosophical Organizations: A Genealogy
There are several organizations tracing themselves back to the Theosophical Society founded in 1875 in New York City. In 1895, after the death of its principal founder, Helena Blavatsky, the Society split, the two resulting groups today both calling themselves the Theosophical Society. One group was headed by William Quan Judge, a founder of the TS, and today has its international headquarters near Pasadena, California. This is the TS that our Branch is affiliated with. In 1909 Robert Crosbie and several other members left this TS, with its headquarters then at Point Loma, California, to form the United Lodge of Theosophists (ULT), whose mother lodge is in Los Angeles. This international organization has for years carried on theosophical activities in the Puget Sound area and has an extensive internet presence.
The other Theosophical Society formed in the 1895 split retained the international headquarters at Adyar, India, under the leadership of President-Founder H. S. Olcott and Annie Besant, who later worked extensively with Charles Leadbeater. The most widely known theosophical organization, it has its American Section headquarters in Wheaton, Illinois. The Quest Book Shop on Capital Hill, as well as the Indralaya retreat center on Orcus Island, are part of this Society. In 1912 Rudolf Steiner, with many of the German members, left this TS to found the Anthroposophical Society, well known today for its Waldorf Schools. In 1923 Alice Bailey left the Adyar TS to form the Arcane School, now affiliated with the Lucis Trust. In the late 1920s Besant and Leadbeater advanced Krishnamurti as the Coming Christ. When he came of age, he denied that he was the world teacher for the new age and went on to work independently. There are quite a number of other organizations that also spring, mainly or in part, from the Theosophical Society founded in 1875.
The two Theosophical Societies and the ULT all have basically the same objectives and membership requirements, but over the years each has developed different literatures, emphases, and approaches which give them distinctive "personalities." Encouraging universal brotherhood remains the chief motive for all, however, and relations among the organizations are generally cordial.