The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
November 2004 Vol. 7 Issue 9
November 4th we will continue reading and discussing the Tao Teh Ching by Lao-tzu, starting with verse 26. We will be meeting in Room 6 (upstairs) at the Bellevue Regional Library. Feel free to drop in at any meeting!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge
****Note: Beginning with the December 9 and January 6 meetings, the Book Circle returns to Newport Way Library, 14250 SE Newport Way, Bellevue (map at www.kcls.org/ npw/direct.cfm).
"What is that which was, is, and ever will be, whether there is a universe or not; whether there be gods or none?" Space -- child of none yet the parent of all existing things. The Hindu Vedas referred to it as Tat, "That." The Greeks called it pleroma, the utter "fullness" of manifested universes, ranging from the divine to the material. Seeing the other side of this analogy, Buddhist name it sunyata, the "emptiness" of all manifestation from the viewpoint of consciousness. But however named, space is the heart of all manifested entities. From boundless space are born individual spaces: universes, worlds, suns, planets, men, atoms, each a discrete portion of space, and yet inseparable. The heart of each of us is space, the heart of a sun is space.
From the abyss of universal sleep, manifestation stirs space to produce individual spaces which start anew the cycle of existence on cosmic planes or spheres of being. These many planes, in which evolving beings pass through particular stages of consciousness, are not separate but inter-penetrate each other. Each is composite and contains all others in it. We conceive of them as different only by virtue of each plane predominantly expressing one characteristic aspect of universal consciousness. Evolution proceeds from plane to plane, each of which not only is the vehicle of entities, but is actually the entities themselves unfolding one aspect of consciousness after another, and thus finding themselves evolving on plane after plane. -- Grace F. Knoche
Laya-center is a term for a mystical point where matter, consciousness, or whatever it may be, disappears from one plane and passes onwards to reappear on another plane. Laya is derived from the Sanskrit root li meaning to dissolve or vanish away, hence a laya-center is a vanishing or disappearing point. It may be a point where energies of a lower plane flow into a more ethereal plane. Conversely, it may be where energies of a higher order flow into and manifest in a more material plane. In our solar system, the core of the sun is a laya-center. Each planet also has, and is, a laya-center at its central point. In each of us there is a center through which pour the forces from above, and through which we may ascend higher. That is the laya-center of our inner nature. -- C. M. Savage
The universal solar system includes all the bodies -- known and unknown, visible and invisible -- that revolve around our sun as their primary. Among its visible members our solar system includes what the ancients called the seven sacred planets: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, and Moon. The Sun and Moon, however, are said to be merely "enumerative substitutes" for two unnamed planets that are invisible to us.
The Earth is a living being, a sevenfold entity built by forces within and without itself. The interior forces are contained in its essential root, from which come the impulses for rebirth and self-expression. Exterior forces come, in large part, from the beings which manifest as the seven sacred planets. From these come characteristics which influence the nature of the planet and the measure of its success in self-expression. It is very like the birth and development of a person: the urge to life starts within, influences of environment and associates act from without. -- Inez Davenport
Our topic this month is "What is Theosophy?" We will be discussing such questions as: Why study ancient and modern religions, philosophies, and sciences? Is one school of thought superior, and are the differences fundamental or superficial? How can we judge what is true and real? Are teaching of authorities or our individual investigations and experience more reliable? How is the perennial philosophy relevant to our lives? What is the relation between theosophy and the Theosophical Society? 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.
Theosophy is not an invention. It was not discovered or composed by some finely intellectual and spiritual mind. Nor is it a mere syncretistic aggregate of doctrines taken piecemeal from the various religions and philosophies of the world. Theosophy is that original formulation of truth from which all the great religions and philosophies of antiquity sprang in their origin.
This majestic wisdom-religion is as old as thinking man-kind; far older than the so-called enduring hills; because thinking races have existed in times so far past that continents have been submerged under the oceans and new lands have arisen to take their places, and these geologic convulsions were long posterior to the first appearance of human beings on this globe. Indeed, this ancient doctrine was delivered to the first thinking humans on this earth by highly intelligent spiritual entities; and it has been passed down from guardians to guardians thereof until our own time. Furthermore, portions of this original and majestic system have been given out at various periods to various peoples in various parts of the world by those guardians when humanity stood in need of some new extension and renewal of spiritual verities. In each age which needs it -- and these needs recur cyclically due to the revolving wheel of life -- there comes a new "revelation," a new unveiling with an accompanying spiritual and mental revolution in human minds and hearts.
Who are the guardians of the wisdom-religion? They are not excarnate spirits but, relatively speaking, fully evolved humans -- those who have, more successfully than we as yet have, run the evolutionary race and are therefore now, in point of spiritual and intellectual grandeur, where we shall be many ages hence. Their mastery is gained through the unfolding in the individual of spiritual and intellectual faculties which are native to all, but which require developing, partly by self-induced efforts and partly by training.
Intuition is the source of all human understanding of truth. It lives in the human heart, in the core of our being; and it is the working of this intuition which gives to us all our highest and best ideas regarding the nature of man and the universe. Like a "still small voice" it tells us that there must be, in a universe regulated and ruled by law and consequence, some means of arriving at a fully satisfying explanation of that universe, because it is One, and therefore wholly and throughout consistent with itself. At the same time, human mentality, while differing greatly due to differences in individual evolution and because each person follows his own path, nevertheless pursues one common course of action, because we are all intimately related as human beings. On account of this fact, our minds do tend, through the natural operations of thinking itself, towards one common end; so that any system of thought comprising fundamental truths acknowledged by all people must be, in degree, a truthful presentation of the workings of nature, so far as the human intellect can understand and transmit these workings into human mental systematization. And those principles of universal being are what we call truth, in other words, things and beings as they are in themselves.
This body of teachings, kept and reserved for worthy depositaries yet divulged at cyclical intervals for the human weal, has always been the common property of mankind. Consequently, in all the great religions and philosophies are to be found fundamental principles which, when subjected to meticulous examination and analysis, are discovered to be identic in substance. No world religion or philosophy, how-ever, gave out in fullness and in clear and explicit form the entire body of teachings which are at its heart. One religion emphasizes one or more of such fundamental principles; another religion or philosophy will emphasize others, the remaining principles lying in the background and relatively veiled in formulation. For this reason the various religions and philosophies vary in type and characteristics and often, to the unreflecting mind, seem to have little in common, and perhaps even to be contradictory.
Another cause of this variety is the varying manner in which each religion or philosophy was originally given to the world, the form that each took being best for the period in which it was propagated. Each, having its own place and period in time, represents, in its later forms, the human minds who have developed its doctrines or who have translated it to the world. These mannerisms of thinking we may discard if we wish, but in the fundamental principles behind every great religion or philosophy, in this universal doctrine, lies the mystery-field of each great religion or philosophy.