The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
September 2003 Vol. 6 Issue 7
The September and October meetings of the monthly Theosophical Discussion Group will be held at Newport Way Library (directions at www.kcls.org/npw/direct.cfm), as the Bellevue Library is closed to all meetings due to remodeling. The Discussion Group will return to the Bellevue Library when it is open for meetings again.
[On August 27, 2003, Mars was closer to Earth than it has been in nearly 60,000 years. At this close approach, the Red Planet was brighter than Jupiter and all the stars in the night sky, outshone only by Venus and the Moon. Mars will continue to be very bright for at least the first two weeks of September.]
The ancient wisdom teaches that the physical sphere of Mars is younger than the Earth. But at the present time it is what we may call asleep, in obscuration, for the vastly larger part of its living entities have left it to go to higher globes of the Martian planetary chain. But this again does not mean that there is no life on Mars. When our own physical body is asleep, does it mean that it is in decay, that it is dead? Are there no vital processes going on? Of course there are, many: recuperation, reinforcing of the bonds of the inner nature.
There are on Mars in its present state certain beings left there by its receding life-wave, called in Sanskrit sishtas, meaning "remainders" or "remains," i.e., those whose duty it is to keep the seeds of life on that planet until the incoming flow of the returning life-wave in the new period of manifest-ation to come shall find these bodies ready for them and in all ways appropriate. These sishtas are of seven kinds: three elemental; the mineral; the "plant"; the "beast," which represented the human on Mars; and one other. There are certain ones which are not of the lower types; they must have been higher than the average of its humanity when that planet went into obscuration, in order to provide for the more evolved humanity coming down on its succeeding round fit and appropriate vehicles for the new life cycle. Generally then the sishtas are those superior classes -- each of its own kind and kingdom -- left behind on a planet when it goes into obscuration, in order to serve as the seeds of life for the inflow of the next incoming life-wave when the dawn of the new manifestation takes place on that planet. -- G. de Purucker
What is the basis of morals? This is the most important question that can be asked of any system of thought. Is morality based on the conviction in most men's hearts that for human safety it is necessary to have certain abstract rules which it is merely convenient to follow? Or is morality, ethics, based on truth, which it is not merely expedient for man to follow, but necessary? Surely upon the latter! Morals is right conduct based upon right views, right thinking.
On what, then, is morality based? And by morality is not meant merely the opinion which some pseudo-philosophers have, that morality is more or less that which is "good for the community," based on the mere meaning of the Latin word mores, "good customs," as opposed to bad. No! Morality is that instinctive hunger of the human heart to do righteousness, to do good to every man because it is good and satisfying and ennobling to do so.
Ethics are no mere conventions however much man may clothe them in conventional thoughts, but are based on the harmony and love at the heart of the Universe. Ethics are very real because based on Nature herself. Ethics means doing aright; right means harmony; right means law; and law is cosmic justice which is universal love. -- G. de Purucker
The Bhagavad-Gita Book Circle continues on Tuesday, September 2, 7:30-8:45 pm, at Newport Way Library. We will be reading Chapter 8. The following meetings will be on Thursday, September 18, October 2 and 16, 7:30-8:45 pm, at the Newport Way Library, 14250 SE Newport Way, Bellevue. Feel free to drop in at any meeting!
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. A map and directions are available online at www.kcls.org/npw/direct.cfm.
This month "What Is the Basis of Ethics?" is our subject. We will be discussing such questions as, Are ethics arbitrary, socially convenient rules, God-given commandments, an internal code, or expressions in human life of the functioning of the universe? What is the balance between religious or civil authorities imposing a set of ethics, and each person determining his or her own ethical principles? What is the role of conscience? Are we justified in imposing our moral views on others? How do ethics apply to us today? Come 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:
October 30: Bringing Ourselves to Birth (at Newport Way Library - Bellevue Library remodeling and closed to meetings)
November 13: What Is the Meaning of Life? (at Bellevue Regional Library)
Spiritual Guard Duty
by Abbott Clark
Let us end the day with more power of thought for self-conquest than we had at the beginning of the day.
Let us close our eyes tonight with a clean conscience, and with a feeling of generous love for all that breathes, which is the best side of our natures.
Let us seek more knowledge, more light, more strength, in the silence of our last thoughts before retiring. -- Katherine Tingley
In the service of one's country, guard duty is so important that by one hour's neglect the whole army may be thrown into confusion or even captured. The same law works with regard to human life. We are all surrounded with inner enemies: usually it is some well-known weakness that betrays us, but sometimes it is at the least suspected point that we are tried and found wanting. This applies in all the affairs of daily life, business or pleasure, public or private. I might almost say, waking or sleeping, for if we go to sleep with a wrong thought, the living forces connected therewith may molest us and bad dreams or even nightmares result, for there are all sorts of enemies of humanity, mostly of its own making, on the astral plane. This plane surrounds us as water surrounds a ship, and our weaknesses act as holes in our being through which salt or dirty water may pour in and a bad dream or bad day result.
What are we going to do about it? The answer is easy: guard our mind, thoughts, and feelings, especially before going to sleep. The wise Pythagoras gave a rule which can hardly be improved upon:
Let not the setting sun reach the western horizon, nor close thine eyes in sleep, before thou hast gone over all the events of the day just past, and hast asked thyself: What have I done today that has been done amiss? What have I done today that has been done aright? Have I injured any-one? Have I failed in my duty? Let not the setting sun reach the western rim of space, nor let thine eyelids close in sleep ere thou hast asked thyself these questions.
Another way of putting this same helpful rule is what has been called "the daily life ledger." The last thing before going to sleep, as one carefully thinks over the day, note how to correct the errors and how to repeat or accentuate the successes. Note also weaknesses, and use your will to be strong and resolute on such points or occasions as may need reform. Especially forgive your enemies -- if you have any; and if not, think kindly of those who may need it, particularly of those whom you may dislike, for they, like yourself, are travelers struggling on the Path. Above all, note any tendency you may have to criticize, for criticism is one of the most insidious of inner enemies. It springs from the sense of separateness, and is the negation of brotherhood, a hidden and tenacious form of egotism. When this healthful self-appraisal is over, take a favorite devotional book and read a chapter, or meditate on the higher self. This frees the mind from earthly attachments and helps the soul to wing its way through the airways of the spirit. As Dr. de Purucker remarked about the Pythagorean injunction:
If only men and women would conscientiously follow that simple rule, ninety-nine percent of the world's trouble, heartache, sin, and anxiety, would be non-existent, would never happen. The reason is simple. The world's troubles arise from our weaknesses, not from our strength; and if we would increase our strength, and do away with our weaknesses, every human being thereafter, in proportion to his inner evolution, would become a power for good in the world. And you see what that would mean. It would cut the taproot of most of the thoughts and feelings and acts that bring misery amongst us. -- Wind of the Spirit, p. 48
The great, dominant, all controlling fact of this life is the innate bias of the human spirit, not towards evil, as the theologists tell us, but towards good. -- William Archer