In a recent radio Church service which came from a British Army garrison in Germany, the preacher had the courage to raise questions that are seldom discussed from a pulpit. For example he asked, "How many gods are there?" In the light of all the religious strife in the world at the present time, where nations are locked in war and in one case where both sides profess the same religion, it can be asked, on which side can it be said that God is fighting? Can he fight against himself?
Such fearless questions are rare. The pastor seemed to suggest that the God that anyone worships is the one to support his cause. It is the one in whom that particular person believes. There are, however, communal views when groups of people believe in the same God. In these cases God becomes identified with the soldier's country.
Outstanding instances of 'God' fighting against himself were the first and the second Great Wars, where both sides were Christian. In the recent war in Afghanistan Allah is on the side of both the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. We are also all too familiar with the Christian God having to take opposing sides in the religious strife in Ireland. He has to be both Protestant and Catholic.
In answer Theosophy bids us to free ourselves of our religious mind-sets; to try to see things as they really are. First, we can all agree that there is one Universe, that there is one solar System, that there is one planet upon which we live. Then we can ask: how many Gods are there in the cosmic scene? Do those believed in by the various sections of humanity on our planet really exist? If so, what is their relationship to this unitary cosmic whole - and to each other?
Somehow or another our Universe has continued to persist for many countless
millions of years. It has not proved self-destructive. We have to acknowledge
that occasionally there occur some cataclysms in the vast areas of space with
its uncountable numbers of stars, planets and galaxies. On our planet there
are natural calamities: tidal waves, the eruption of volcanoes, tornadoes, vicious
thunderstorms, but by and large the universe and our earth survives. Further,
humanity continues on its way, regardless of great differences in its families,
tribes or nations, all with their various customs and backgrounds.
Can we deduce from this continuity in cosmic and human terms that in some way, albeit at the very limits of our imagination, there is a common 'government'? Theosophy tells us that there is, but that the 'government' does not accord with any idea of an extra-cosmic God who pulls controlling strings attached to the heavenly bodies, the planets, and the races and nations which inhabit our planet. Even less does that extra-cosmic Deity have a string attached to each of us. Our Cosmos and our individual lives are ruled by Divine Law.
Theosophy tells us that the 'government' of any cosmic entity, a human family or even an individual, derives from that entity, family or individual itself. Imagine, for example, an isolated family where each individual member is in relationship to all others. He or she must soon learn that if that family is to survive there must be an over-riding minimum harmony between all its members. Each member has to adjust to the whole or the family as such could not persist for long. The process of survival is one demanding mutual accommodation as between the members of the family. The same principle applies up the scale to nations and thence upwards even to heavenly bodies. The government of the whole mighty scheme is from within itself. It depends on the harmonious interaction of all the parts. Theosophy says that this is Universal Law in action. The modus operandi is in the intrinsic nature of each thing, large or small, where relationships are not only at physical level. Everything has elements of its being in the invisible realms, i.e. of life energies, psychic, mental and physical, the admixture depending on evolutionary development.
Science will tell us that the mutual harmonies existing between heavenly bodies and their placing within the vast spaces of Cosmos are according to mutual attraction or repulsion. It calls this force gravity but even gravity is dependent upon the individual 'quality' of each heavenly body. Some are great, some are small, some are dense, some are tenuous, but there is a law of mutual attraction and repulsion. Theosophy tells us that all such bodies are living and that they are, in their degree, 'intelligent'. For the system to persist they must work together in an established mutual harmony which is never static. It is continually in movement and changing, as indeed are all the members of our imaginary human family. For example, they all grow up. Children cannot always remain as children. They themselves have to become parents and so it is in the great scheme of the universe.
Then where is, and what is, God? In our new order God can be imagined as the sum total of the whole process in operation at both objective and subjective levels. In another aspect God can be regarded as that whence in the beginning of everything all things came. This stretches our imaginations to even further limits. Where could such a source exist? The answer is that the source at its level always IS. It is an 'ever existent' something from which all came. During the life of a Universe it equates to space, not only dimensional, physical space occupied by things but non-dimensional, subjective space.
It is in that forever-enduring, 'non-existent existence' that lies the potentiality of all that can ever be in a manifest universe, although it itself is always unmanifest. What we see as an objective universe is a reflection of aspects of itself periodically brought forth. As an aid to our understanding analogically everything, great or small, comes and goes in due season. Whatever it is that is brought forth is primarily, and in effect is, the Essence of all that will ever be and which in fact is at any moment. This Essence underlies all motion, life, form, consciousness, memory, volition. It is the deific heart of everything. It is, however, not a god of any kind. Because it is in everything, it is at the very heart of man's being. It is his inner absolute Essence making him inseparable from that same Essence which is his life, and also the common life of everything else.
Everything is animated and motivated by this Essence; everything that we are, including our bodies and our minds, our emotions and even our highest spiritual self are all of it, and this is the same for everybody. At this level not only humanity but all that exists is of one family. All essential harmonies are absolute from within Itself. Although every thing in Nature is unique, no two beings in their constitutions being exactly the same, all differences are resolved in this One Essence. It is an all-embracing Unity.
Whence then all our bitter differences and disagreements? They are in our personalities. In a relatively short letter this subject cannot adequately be dealt with. The question revolves around an essential dichotomy in things - an essential difference between two levels. The one level is the spiritual with its potential qualities unadulterated, unalloyed, and the other the 'existence' of every individual thing with its unique physical means of expression on this earth, i.e. a body, with its invisible make-up different from all others. Physical being and its associated inner counterpart are each individual though they stem from the same original source. It is in these elements of 'existent' being, with their various peculiarities, that lie the significant differences. They are characteristic of each thing. In the case of man they are the seat of the separation which is emphasized in man's mind. He feels himself to be separate from every other being and from every other thing. His subjectivity, his very "I"-ness, is particularly his. He does not feel himself actually to be everything or everyone else in his inner nature. He feels compelled to maintain his separate identity. In other words, he is selfish.
This condition applies to us all, but we do learn that, to survive, we have to control and regulate our personal impulses to maintain harmony with others.
Nations can be selfish, particularly if they are motivated by what they regard as their exclusive religious backgrounds. Just as members of a family tend to quarrel when their particular fads are at stake, so will 'religiously-minded' nations quarrel and fight to maintain their unique religious integrity. Harmony could be restored if everyone would adopt one particular belief, although even this might not suffice because of other differences, i.e., those of birth, nationality or even social standing (caste, etc.).
These differences between peoples and nations are, however, not real; they are in the mind, mental creations, mere beliefs. They are traditional mind-sets, very much fostered by both secular and religious leaders. They create God in imagination, someone to whom their prayers can be addressed, someone who can bestow favours, particularly on them, their loved ones or their compatriots.
So it has been, and is, but it need not always be. If people can but eradicate fear they can be free.
In previous years the Trust has been able to report the progress of production of videos on theosophical topics. For the last few years a video on Religion for our Time has been in the process of making. This is to feature David Soul of Starski and Hutch fame. He has completed his part of the narration and three-quarters of the pictorial content has been finished. It has, however, been long delayed because of some final adjustments. It is hoped that within the next few weeks the work will be complete. The video should be a good promotional aid for the theosophical message.
The Trust organized as usual two weekends at Tekels Park, Camberley. One was the Theosophy/ Science weekend on the theme of Modern Science and Esoteric Philosophy. The principal guest speakers were Sutapas Bhattacharya on "Synthesising Science and Mysticism", Arthur Neate who spoke on "The Use of Colour and Form for Colour Therapy", Keith Wakelam on "Research on a Human Energy Field" and David Harvey on "Levitation and Anti-Gravity". The event was well attended and it is hoped to arrange for another such weekend in 2002. The Trustees are considering moving the venue to bigger premises, perhaps in London. The other weekend was on the Secret Doctrine, held as usual at Tekels Park. It will be repeated in 2002.
The Trust is anxious to get the message of Theosophy as widely known as possible. In the past, because of the nature of the subject, all efforts have tended to be directed towards the 'converted'. Getting Theosophy known in the world at large, even amongst those sections of the community which might be interested, is difficult on account of the cost of notices and the reluctance of editors to take material on this subject. For the time being there are very few books which deal with the subject in a 'lay' fashion. The Trust is endeavouring to contact people who have the necessary writing skills to contact the public and make the message more widely known.
As an attempt to do this the Trust has made an agreement with the University of Wales to fund a Research Fellowship in Theosophy and the Western Mystical Tradition. Although the agreement was signed a few months before Christmas and the post advertised, there were very few applicants for it and no appointment has been made.
There has been a general reluctance in the academic world to take serious notice of the writings of H.P. Blavatsky which began the theosophical movement. This has chiefly been because, early in the 1880's, an investigator was sent to India to look into claims that H.P.B. was receiving correspondence from Masters of the Wisdom by extraordinary means and further that a number of examples of her psychic abilities were receiving wide attention. The investigator found that on both counts H.P.B. was a fraud. His report got very wide coverage as being an official document from the Society for Psychical Research.
Two years ago, however, Dr Vernon Harrison, a member of the S.P.R. and an eminent handwriting expert used in court cases dealing with forgery, wrote a book describing some very painstaking research he had done into the handwriting of the letters and declaring that they could not have been written by her. The S.P.R. has acknowledged the authenticity of his research and have rescinded their support for the original investigator's (Mr Hodgson's) report. It is hoped that this vindication will be productive of more serious academic interest in H.P.B.'s writings.
The Trust has an on-going Web Site at www.blavatskytrust.org
The Trust a charity registered in England and depends for funds on private
subscription. Any donation large or small will be gratefully received. The Trust
can recover any income tax paid on such donations, which can be regarded as
Gift Aid. Please remember the Trust in your will. Its registered number is 268913.
I wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year.
Geoffrey A. Farthing
Trustees: C.F. Price (Chairman), H.S. Tarn, R.J. Kitto