The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
June 2003 Vol. 6 Issue 4
The ancients certainly knew more than we are inclined to believe. How many manufacturing secrets have they not taken to their graves, secrets whose rediscovery in our time might, who knows, bring revolutionary economic consequences! But the ancients saw these things with somewhat different eyes. Whatever had to do with technology and mechanics was not considered quite proper. This attitude must be considered against the background of the role played by the Mystery schools in antiquity, even though the signs of degeneracy had already begun to manifest in Plato's time. In them was taught a knowledge of the construction of the universe, of the inner structure of matter, of man's place in the cosmos, of his divine destiny, of the forces of nature and their control; here were taught art and science, religion and philosophy, as different manifestations of Truth; in like manner they treated of esoteric astrology, alchemy, medicine, poetry, music, mathematics, geology, geography, meteorology, etc. The teaching of these "sciences" was kept strictly secret because they were studied in their causal aspects rather than as effects. Knowledge of the causes that bring about effects implies, of course, power over the forces of nature, a power which easily may be misused for selfish purposes. Hence the secrecy that surrounded the teaching of the Mysteries.
The initiates of the Mysteries doubtless possessed a profound knowledge of nature, but they had an equally profound aversion to using this knowledge for material purposes and comfort. Their main intent was to awaken the divine forces that are latent in man, and to train his character in accordance with his abilities. Nonetheless, the cornerstone of modern physics, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, geography and related subjects, including laboratory techniques, was laid in the ancient Mystery schools.
Since long before antiquity and until a few decades ago, the releasing of the energies that slumber in matter has remained a secret, a secret that must have been known both to the initiates in the Mysteries and the adepts in alchemy. It is now no longer a secret. But are we mature enough for this knowledge, which formerly was guarded as a holy heritage, passed on from generation to generation? Are we not sitting on a powder keg? Is there not a grave danger in objective research that is totally divorced from religio-philosophic elements, which were a large part of the research in ancient times? And yet our nuclear physicists do understand their responsibility. Just before the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the scientists met in Los Alamos to try to stop it. But it was too late. The secret of nuclear fission was known.
As long as spiritual progress does not keep pace with the material, so long as increased knowledge of the control of nature's forces is not counterbalanced by increased spiritual insight into the proper use of these forces, we are embarked on a dangerous path, which could lead to the destruction of Western civilization.
Let us not, however, think that material progress is evil. What is essential is that the spiritual values not be obscured. Technology should be the ally of culture. The gains of technology may be a blessing to humanity to the extent that they make possible a life with time enough to cultivate the soul. -- Arne Wettermark
The Bhagavad-Gita Book Circle continues with its second meeting on Tuesday, June 10, 7:30-8:45 pm, at Bellevue Regional Library. We are just beginning the book, so those wishing to come for the first time are very welcome! The third meeting will be Tuesday, June 24, 7:30-8:45 pm, at the Newport Way Library, 14250 SE Newport Way, Bellevue.
Directions to Newport Way Library. From I-90: Take exit 11A to 150th, turn right onto 150th, go up the hill and turn right onto Newport Way at traffic light. The library is a short distance on the right-hand side, visible from Newport Way. Turn right onto 142nd SE and then right into parking lot. From I-405: Take the I-90 exit East, then follow the directions above. Maps will be available at the June 10 meeting.
"Science and Mysticism" is our subject. We will be discussing such questions as: What is the nature of human consciousness, and how can it approach reality or truth? What is the value and role of knowledge that comes from observation and analysis as compared with knowledge from inward experience and becoming? How do some scientific ideas relate to mysticism, metaphysics, and the perennial philosophy? What is the role of intuition and the non-rational in science? Are philosophy, science, and religion complementary or incompatible? Come and share your ideas!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge.
The topics for the monthly discussion group for the next few months are:
July 10: Who Am I?
August: Myths and Symbols: A Universal Language
September: What Is the Basis of Ethics?
October: Bringing Ourselves to Birth
November: What Is the Meaning of Life?
Isn't it remarkable that radios and television can "select" from the atmosphere the voices and music that are most desirable to the individuals turning the dials? With so many programs being given all over the world at the same hour and moment, there is a question that is apt to arise in the minds of both the unlearned and the wise: What is it that enables a mechanism of any kind to discriminate against the atmospheric chaos and select certain sounds which thereby remain intact and unmolested by other sounds? We, of a little learning, glibly answer the question thus: it is possible to select because the programs broadcast at the same time are not on the same wavelength. A simple answer and quite honestly given with conviction. But the wise man knows that every point in space is a consciousness-center, and that where there is force and energy, there is life and intelligence. He knows, too, that vibration is the rhythmic activity of living entities acting and reacting upon each other in response to a definite force which has preceded it.
Man in his complexity is both a broadcasting and a receiving mechanism. Every thought and emotion has a certain wavelength which becomes a vital thing that has its life in the universal atmosphere.
The more we realize that life is eternal and that there is no "dead" matter in the universe, the more will nature reveal her secrets to us. It is not enough to mechanically repeat that this is true, and in the next breath state that atmospheric resistance kills out vibration. The truth is that the lives making up the atmosphere carry the impressions on and on by their own activities. Once a thing is set in motion it is apt to reach that "furthermost star," and even there to find renewed impetus to live and grow. A thought becomes a living entity, composed of smaller vibrating lives, the aggregate of which has it own "key tone" or dominant quality. This key tone may be modified and apparently killed out by coalescing the vibrations of a so-called evil though with strong vibrations of the opposite quality. But the apparent cessation of a vibration is probably due to our limited perspective regarding nature's cyclic repetitious operation.
As the secrets revealed to us depend upon our receptivity and degree of understanding, our thought-life is the important factor in the problem of "selection." We tune in constantly, at certain wavelengths, on the universal flow, and we in turn broadcast, whether we are aware of it or not. Think of the marvelous opportunity that is afforded those who perform on radio or television -- the unlimited power that lies in their domain. They are entrusted not only with the power of all thinking individuals, that of impregnating the subtle atmosphere with his thought-waves, but also with the privilege of audibly objectifying those thoughts, the influence of which is an unknown quantity. The human beings -- the streams of consciousness tuning in, crossing, and interblending with the waves sent out by the one broadcasting -- are affected by both that objectified force and by the thoughts preceding it. The responsibility of the broadcaster is a great one. His words may contain inspirational value, but if his consciousness is not centered in the highest part of himself, the greater part of his opportunity is lost. There is power in the spoken word, but it must be directed and vitalized by thought. The atmosphere is full, but there is room for illimitable constructive and uplifting forces, for the "Fullness" is like the "Void": it is not mere container.
There have been those people who have developed a super-selective faculty. The great teachers were outstanding examples. It was because of this, combined with pure motives, that nature's mysteries were revealed to them. They needed no instruments to hear the voice of divine wisdom. They themselves were instruments through which humanity may hear wisdom today by touching the magic dial of its own inner being.
The wise man sums up the issue in a few words: "Yes, when man is able to forget his personal self and make of himself an instrument for the good of humanity, mysteries unfold before him. Then, if his self-mastery is complete enough, mechanics, the laws of motion, hidden operations of nature, are all open to him. Marvelous inventions may be placed at his feet, but he does not need them. He has already 'tuned in.'"