The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
September 1999 Vol. 2 Issue 6
The Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary, edited by G. de Purucker, is a work in progress available online from Theosophical University Press. It provides definitions for hundreds of words and terms pulled from many different Theosophical sources. Three excerpts on scientific topics are given here.
Atomatomos (Greek) Indivisible, individual, a unit; among the Greek Atomists what in theosophy is called a monad. Atomic theories of the constitution of the universe or of matter are many and ancient. In modern physics the atom is a small particle once thought indivisible, but now resolved into component units. In some philosophies, as that of Leibniz, the atoms (which he calls monads) are psychological rather than physical units - unitary beings of diverse kinds and grades, composing the universe.
In theosophy, atoms have to be considered in relation to monads; in The Secret Doctrine gods, monads, and atoms are a triad like spirit, soul, and body. A monad is a divine-spiritual life-atom, a living being, evolving on its own plane, and a life-atom is the vehicle of the monad which ensouls it, and in turn ensouls a physical atom. The ultimates of nature are atoms on the material side, monads on the energic side; monads are indivisible, atoms divisible (a departure from the etymological meaning). Thus there is a quaternary of gods, monads, life-atoms, and physical atoms. "An atom may be compared to (and is for the Occultist) the seventh principle of a body or rather of a molecule. The physical or chemical molecule is composed of an infinity of finer molecules and these in their turn of innumerable and still finer molecules. Take for instance a molecule of iron and so resolve it that it becomes non-molecular; it is then, at once transformed into one of its seven principles, viz., its astral body; the seventh of these is the atom. The analogy between a molecule of iron, before it is broken up, and this same molecule after resolution, is the same as that between a physical body before and after death. The principle remains minus the body. Of course this is occult alchemy, not modern chemistry" (Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge by H. P. Blavatsky p. 84).
Akasic MagnetismIn theosophy both electricity and magnetism are considered as the vital fluids or effluxes of living beings, which flow forth from them and, interblending and interworking, produce the multimyriad forms of electric and magnetic phenomenal activity common everywhere. This means that both magnetism and electricity are to be traced to their source in cosmic akasa, which is in the great what the magnetism of an individual is in the small. The changes occurring in the earth's magnetism "are due to akasic magnetism incessantly generating electric currents which tend to restore disturbed equilibrium" (The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, p. 160). Hence all magnetic or electrical activity on earth is produced by astral magnetism and electricity incessantly generating electric and magnetic currents which reproduce themselves in the physical sphere.
Cave Dwellers, Cavemen: People of primitive habits lived in caves in the past, in various parts of the world, as they do in the present. Skulls, bones, implements, and art works of past cavemen have served paleo-ethnologists as material for a stratification of human history based on a supposed ascent of humanity through progressive stages from the animal kingdom; but all that can legitimately be inferred from it is that primitive peoples have existed at all times, together with technologically sophisticated races, and that the human type has not changed for millions of years past except as to minor fluctuations of physiologic parts around the persisting general physiologic structure. These cavemen were not mere stages in an upward evolution, but decadent offshoots of great races who, once having become racial relics, took to cave life, and commenced a career of slow extinction, yet in some cases preserving something of their former fine physique and artistic ability.
"Does Science Practice Ethics?" is our subject. This month we will be discussing such questions as: What should the role of ethics be in scientific research and development? Who, if anyone, should set boundaries to the use of scientific and technological findings, and on what basis? Does the end justify the means? What is sacrificed to produce scientific results, and is it worth it? How do we, as consumers and members of society, control the direction of scientific interest and focus? Do popular beliefs and accepted theories sway scientific analysis? Come and share your ideas!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge.
Upcoming TopicsOctober 14: Consciousness: The Ultimate Mystery.
All physical maladies have their ultimate origin in a faulty outlook on life, in a faulty direction taken by the individual will. All diseases therefore ultimately, not as they exist when once they exist in the physical body and wreak their work of suffering and pain, but as they exist in their origin, have this origin in the mind - in this or another life. Weakness of will, the giving way to bad habits breeding seeds of thought which leave thought-deposits in the mind, enfeeble the character. An evil or false thought manifests in a body and ultimately ruins it by bad habits. And criticism, pessimism, and the habit of making complaints and fault-finding are diseases of the mind in very truth.
Every sage and seer has taught the same thing: cleanse the temple of the holy spirit, drive out the demons of the lower nature. What are these demons? One's own thoughts.
When the thoughts chase through the mind as unruly steeds do not struggle and waste your force. Picture to yourself the things opposite to those you hate. Picture the things that you really inwardly love, really love in your heart, and which you know are helpful. The secret is inner visualization: therefore visualize.
If you find yourself gloomy, if you are ashamed of thoughts that are in your mind, do not struggle with them, do not fight them, forget them. They are only ghosts rising out of your own past. But turn your head to the East and watch the rising sun. Paint the visions in glory. Watch the mountaintops of your nature where rosy-fingered Aurora of the inner dawn weaves the web of her splendorous magic before your eyes.
Forget the evil thoughts and do not give them an artificial life by visualizing them and then fighting them. Do not waste your energies in fighting bogies, the phantoms and ghosts of your imagination. These are only the phantasms of your own imagination, and have no reality outside of yourself. Yet these phantoms and ghosts can at times overcome you and become a temporary reality because you have given them the framework and power of thought. You incarnate these things in thoughts, and thoughts will govern your body. Visualize the other thing. Make pictures of beauty and strength in your mind. If you are obsessed by these uglinesses, picture to yourself scenes of beauty. It is far more fascinating. It is a delightful pastime, and it always works. See things of a high and noble character and visualize them forcefully. Visualize to yourself a success in fine things. Visualize things of beauty, of inward splendor.
Silence your thoughts: this does not mean to stop thinking, but to control your thoughts, be the master of them. Do not be the slave of the vagrant mental tramps that run through your mind. Give birth to thoughts and rule these your children, and when they become naughty put the dampers on. Silence them.
Examine your own mental processes, and see how much time you waste in merely thinking thoughts, useless thoughts most of them, and neglect to drink of those sublime fountains of knowledge and wisdom and consciousness that you have within you, the sources of inspiration and genius - to drink of the genial springs, of those Pierian founts, whence flows all that makes life worth while.
There is a test by which one can make certain whether something that springs into the mind comes from the higher self, or whether it is merely from some desire or colored by some desire. Here is your test, and an easy one. The higher self is impersonal; it is self-forgetful; it is kind; it is loving; it is pitiful; it is compassionate; it has sublime inspirations. The lower nature is selfish, ingathering, acquisitive for self, hateful often, unforgiving, violent.
If what comes wandering into your mind, or is brought thither by your own will power and aspiration, is such as urges you to do good to your fellow men, gives you inner peace and comfort, makes you kindlier and more thoughtful of others, it is from the higher part. This higher impulse may be a desire, but it is not a desire for the personality; it is a desire of the spirit, a desire to grow greater, to be more, to help others, to love, to forget injury, to forgive.
A kindly thought sent out towards some other human being is a protection to that other, and it is a beautiful thing to do. It is a human thing, a truly human thing, and one that every normal human being loves to do.