To the mentally lazy or obtuse, Theosophy must
remain a riddle; for in the world mental as in the world
spiritual each man must progress by his own efforts.
The writer cannot do the reader's thinking for him, nor
would the latter be any the better off if such vicarious
thought were possible. - THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY
by H.P. Blavatsky
The Blavatsky Lecture was instituted to commemorate the work done by H.P. Blavatsky in promoting a knowledge of Theosophy through her voluminous writings and by participating in the founding of the Theosophical Society at the end of the last century. Her efforts were intended to promulgate a knowledge of Theosophy and promote the Society's well-known three objects. Instead of the usual form of written lecture, Dr Bilimoria elected to back up his lecture with additional material thus producing a complete book. The main work comprises three parts: Part I, Western Science, Part Il, From Western Science to Occult Science, Part Ill, Occult Science.
Part I has two sections, an introduction, and an appreciation of the investigations of modern science into consciousness, sound and light. Part Il is also of two sections, the third (because the sections are numbered consecutively throughout the book regardless of the Part they are in) the investigation of Truth, contrasting philosophies and methods of western science and occult science; and section four is an occultist's apologia to a scientist. Part III comprises seven sections: No. 5 the Nature, Structure and Dynamics of Divinity, a practical overview and appreciation; No. 6, Unity, Duality and Diversity; No. 7, Mechanism of Manifestation of Dualities in Nature; No. 8, the Role of Sound and Light and the Unfolding of Cosmos; No. 9, Mirages in Western Science resolved by Occult Science; No. 10, Predictions and Speculations; No. 11, the Ultimate Formula, the Way of the Heart.
These section headings in themselves outline the book's content. A review of this book is difficult because of its breadth and depth. Some justificatory and supporting passages from The Secret Doctrine are quoted, one of which is used as a 'text' which recurs throughout the work, namely, Nature in actu - being in abscondito. It is used as an occasion for a number of explanations. Other authors, notably Paul Brunton and I.K. Taimni are also quoted.
Part I is an extensive review of the latest thinking in scientific circles together with some critical remarks on the attitudes of a number of the leading scientists claiming to be able to pronounce authoritatively on matters really outside the field of their specialities. This part also evinces the author's comprehensive knowledge of the development of theoretical and experimental discoveries in science right up to the present time, finishing with a full appreciation of the problems of consciousness against a background of the ultimate nature of light and sound. The salient contributions made by the scientists of note to present-day knowledge are listed and their achievements summarized. A number of enigmas that arise from some classical experiments are described, leading to explanations of theories in quantum physics with some discussion on the nature of light, its wave/particle nature and its speed. The sections of Part II constitute an in-depth overview of modern thought based on the findings and pronouncements of modern science. Early on in this part some of the ideas pertaining to the esoteric view of science in terms of eastern philosophical concepts are introduced. In this connection it is important that the reader of this book spends time on the glossary put right at the beginning. This explains many of the words used in the book with which anyone not versed in eastern literature would be totally unfamiliar. These words have to be learned, as the unfolding exposition nearly entirely depends on them. For many westerners this will perhaps be an irksome handicap, but if the work is really to be appreciated it cannot be avoided. In section 3 the paradigms of modern science are stated, examined and critically compared. They are shown in many instances to be inconsistent and the author postulates that the only resolution of the difficulties that science finds itself in is to accept the idea of a coordinating Divine Principle. This introduces the idea of other than physical states of being, of which consciousness and mind are prime aspects. From Deity (the Divine) are derived Siva (Divine Consciousness) and Sakti (Divine Power).
In the sections of Part III the various roles played by light, sound, consciousness, mind, energy, space, time and matter are extensively examined, both insofar as they are germane to physical science and how they are defined and dealt with in the metaphysical religious science of the East, a system of great complexity and depth. The author has been at pains to expound these teachings logically in as simple terms as possible. Every facet of argument is clearly stated and very logically developed. Because of this step by step approach and the language used generally, it is relatively simple to follow the exposition and the book as a whole is eminently readable. At no time does the reader who is giving reasonable attention feel that he is being baffled by obscurities beyond his comprehension. The exposition is supported by numerous, sometimes ingenious, explanatory diagrams, and there is the odd illustrative example to clarify a point.
Nevertheless, persistence is needed. As one proceeds through the book the Sanskrit terms tend to become more or less familiar. They are, however, still strange to a westerner and frequent reference back to previous definitions is necessary. The average reader will just not be able to carry in his mind some of the lesser used Sanskrit expressions. In this respect the lack of an index makes the reader's task more difficult and time-consuming. Throughout the book the contrast between the dicta of modern science and the teachings of the eastern metaphysics is continually made, such that early on Deity becomes a necessary postulate to comprehend the eastern system. As the book proceeds one realizes that, if it is taken in its widest meaning to include the highest possible levels of Being from which can be derived by differentiation all the lower levels, this primal Divinity will ultimately include the manifest universe. As the exposition in the book proceeds, the idea of such a Deity becomes more and more acceptable. Nevertheless, the sceptical scientist could probably legitimately argue that this Divinity is still only a postulate.
However, the argument for such a state of Being which unfolds to become compatible with the idea of 'spirituality' is one which leads to the climax of the book wherein the case is plainly made for it as the only source of true knowledge, as opposed to reasoned exposition from premises which may or may not be well founded, and importantly that it is to be found in the human being. This knowledge can be acquired, it is claimed, by time-honoured methods of psychological, mental and spiritual development, by means of which consciousness enters into different orders or levels of being. It is in these levels that lie the causes behind the effects of manifest existence. The author refers to this inner development as the Way of the Heart as opposed to that of the Head or Mind.
Dr Bilimoria is to be congratulated on a considerable work of assimilation of current scientific' knowledge together with an in-depth understanding of the metaphysical knowledge of the East and his ability to relate the two so meaningfully.
As published by The Theosophical Society in England, 50 Gloucester Place, London, W1H 3HJ