'Theosophy - What's it all about?' - Foreword

by Geoffrey Farthing

'A brief summary of a wonderfully exciting and vitally important subject.'

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If one is in almost any gathering of people and is asked what one's interests are and one says Theosophy, the next question will almost certainly be, What's that?

Apart from a very few no one has ever heard of it, let alone knows anything about it. It is hoped that when you have read this little book you will find that state of affairs hard to believe.

Theosophy is probably the most important single thing that mankind could or should know about. It deals with the very nature of man's existence in every aspect and at every level of being. And he will see that there are more of these levels than are normally dreamed of. A knowledge of them is fundamental to a proper understanding of what makes us, and our Cosmos 'tick', to use a common expression.

We all have T.V. nowadays. Occasionally there are programmes dealing with E.S.P., with ghosts, with the paranormal generally and with reincarnation and what happens after death. For all their opinions, some of them very learned, and their beliefs, do we get the impression that either the laymen or the 'experts' really know what they are talking about? Is it not all speculation, except for the facts of the phenomena? The events seem real enough but what about the explanations, are they really credible?

Then there are the fields of psychology and religion. In the first, by way of some work done by men with extra- ordinary experience and insight, progress is being made into some aspects of the field of mental activity and derangement. But in spite of the wonderful findings of the neurologists and brain surgeons as to what parts of the brain do what, are we any further towards discovering what orders our brain functions and what determines what we shall

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think? Does anyone know how it is that a non-physical impulse, say to move a limb, activates the brain so that a signal is sent to the appropriate muscles?

We all know how the eye works and how signals are sent to a special part of the brain to be turned into images of which we become aware, but what is really the instrument of perception, what is this consciousness which can register these visual impressions? Who knows? What is an emotion? Is it something we feel as a result of a surplus or deficiency of some chemical affecting some part of our brain? It is known that emotional states can be so produced but could not an emotional impulse from our inner being produce naturally the chemical change in our bodies which we feel?

Similarly. are thinking and memory really functions of the physical brain? May it not be that the physical brain registers some subtle impulses from an inner plane of being and transmits them to waking physical consciousness?

Again what is life? What is the essential difference between a very newly dead body and a live one? Is it not that there is nothing co-ordinating the activity of the various organs, regulating the function of the ductless glands to adjust their inter-action?

What stops a particular plant or animal from growing to twice the normal size of the species? What programmes the genes of living things so that within narrow limits their physical characteristics stay the same? Talking of characteristics, whence the distinctive individual character of even the youngest child? Further is man just a naked but intelligent ape?

Whence the life-force which seems to pervade and manifest through all living things? How comes it that planets spin on their axes? How are the places of the heavenly bodies determined? Is there a God to whom we can and should pray?

Does anyone know the answers to these questions? The ordinary student of Theosophy fairly soon learns, however, that there are answers. And that the answers together make up a consistent scheme of knowledge such that each aspect relates harmoniously to all others. The Universe is a living whole, as also is a man, with all its divers constituents

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marvellously ordered. The total process manifests one LAW, itself the product of experienced intelligence, without some modicum, greater or lesser, of which, there is nothing in the whole of Nature.

How does all this affect you or me? It gives us understanding, whereas before there was obscurity and mystery .We understand the processes of life and our part in the process. We discover our relationship to Cosmos, even in its depths. We learn the 'mysteries' of life and death, and what we are here for. We learn the grand object of all existence.

It is not the intention to deal with all these things in this little book but to introduce some ideas to enlarge our outlook in general. It is hoped to say enough to create an appetite for more. There are some 'secrets' to learning Theosophy. One of them is that real knowledge of it is born of effort, the effort to acquire the data, so to speak, the effort to understand and the effort to persevere. All this changes our very being, our faculties. More significantly perhaps we are, as it were, taken out of ourselves. Consciousness is liberated from the confines of our personal selves and their immediate interests. Better, may be, than all this even, is that we begin to sense a unity with all life and especially with humanity, we sense its essential brotherhood, its common aims, its common pains, its inherent capacity for affection, for love, but we also come to realise its immaturity, its follies and cruelties, its ignorance, its superstitions, leading to untold strife and misery.

We sense its helplessness, too, and then begin to want to help. Last we realise how even a little of the 'eternal verities' of Theosophy could indeed be a universal panacea, as the basis, at least, for a long term course of treatment, which in the end could not fail. Perhaps, after reading this book you may see something of the vision and want to enter on the voyage of discovery, and feel you have a part to play in helping others to see.

The purpose of this book is to let it be known that such a thing as Theosophy exists, and to say something of what it's all about.

GAF 28.6.83

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