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Re: Practical theosophy: was DEFENSE OF HPB and moving on.

Jan 27, 1999 03:21 AM
by Alpha (Tony)

Dear Peter,

This sentence from the "Bhagavad Gita," [VI, 5], and which Judge entitled
one of his Papers:

"The Self is the Friend of Self and also Its Enemy."


Peter wrote:
>Hi Paul,
>Thanks for your replies.  I want to persist a little longer with this line
>of questioning, if you are willing, as it seems to me to touch on Practical
>Theosophy.  Perhaps others will also contribute.  Also I am struggling a bit
>with some of your replies as I am not quite sure what you are getting at in
>terms of practicalities.
>> The "brotherly way" may not exclude the use of a verbal/written
>> sting in the tail if necessity denotes. It is a question of motive.
>Yes, I am sure that it can.  I think you have just said what I had said ie
>that it is the intention behind the response that is important.  However, I
>would add that it is also *where* that response comes from that is the most
>important factor.  Just because HPB or the Master M could deliver a sting in
>the tail doesn't mean, at least to me, that we can use that as an excuse for
>our own attacks on other people and their ideas.  The Initiate has a
>knowledge of the Aura and spiritual state of the person / situation
>concerned  that informs their actions and this is something which the rest
>of us don't have, or have developed in only a small degree.
>> "You must thoroughly put aside the personal element
>> if you would get on with occult study . . ." (Letter> XLIII).
>Isn't this just saying what I am suggesting.. that *attacking* (which is
>different from genuine questioning) people, their ideas etc... , notions
>about shaking up the personality, as you put it, are just missing the mark,
>and are likely to end up making the whole interaction *even more personal*
>than ever?
>> > > [Paul]Are there not some things that it is impossible to
>> > > take seriously?
>> > [Peter] Well that depends on what you mean by "some things."  I try to
>take the
>> > person who is talking seriously even if I am having trouble
>> > with what they  are saying.
>> [Paul]How seriously can/should we take a bundle of transcient memories
>> "me"?  It - the "me" - is a serious impediment, yes.
>Well, that depends on what you see-sense when you 'look' / 'listen' to
>another person.  Do you really regard people merely as a bundles of
>transient memories hardly worth taking seriously, Paul?
>I think we have to take the I / me reasonably seriously.  This is after all
>the vehicle of the higher consciousness during incarnation.  And it is
>'through' the personal vehicle in each incarnation that most of us either
>help or hinder the forward movement of humanity.  As we know from the
>theosophical teachings  the conscious link with our higher nature is one
>that has to be forged during incarnation.  Humanity as a whole seems to be
>incredibly identified with the personality doesn't it.  This identification
>won't go away, in my view, just by saying the personality isn't important.
>But more importantly the feeling of "I" or "I am I" is derived from Manas.
>AS HPB writes in the Key to Theosophy page 33-34..
>"We distinguish between the simple fact of self-consciousness, the simple
>feeling that "I am I," and the complex thought that "I am Mr. Smith" or
>"Mrs. Brown." Believing as we do in a series of births for the same Ego, or
>re-incarnation, this distinction is the fundamental pivot of the whole idea.
>You see "Mr. Smith" really means a long series of daily experiences strung
>together by the thread of memory, and forming what Mr. Smith calls
>"himself." But none of these "experiences" are really the "I" or the Ego,
>nor do they give "Mr. Smith" the feeling that he is himself, for he forgets
>the greater part of his daily experiences, and they produce the feeling of
>Egoity in him only while they last. We Theosophists, therefore, distinguish
>between this bundle of "experiences," which we call the false (because so
>finite and evanescent) personality, and that element in man to which the
>feeling of "I am I" is due. It is this "I am I" which we call the true
>individuality; and we say that this "Ego" or individuality plays, like an
>actor, many parts on the stage of life."
>The problem, as I see it, is not simply that we have a personality a "Peter
>Merriott" or a "Bazzer" but that we identify with that personality and lose
>sight of the individuality, the manasic "self consciousness", and thereby
>miss the opportunity to consciously 'link up' via that conscousness with the
>Spiritual Ego (Atma-Buddhi).  I think if we just view people as
>personalities, as "a bundle of transient memories" then we also lose sight
>of that "self consciousness" in the other person which is the true actor
>within the personality.  The danger here is that our actions towards people
>may then become indifferent rather than theosophical.
>It is only this manasic "self consciousness" in the person that can:
>- aspire to something higher
>- learn not to identify with that "complex thought that 'I am Mr. Smith."
>- turn towards Atma-Buddhi
>- develop those qualities that are taken into Devachan.
>Without this "self consciousness" Buddhi is of no use to man remaining only
>the vehicle of Atma.
>So I think "yes" we have to take the person seriously by looking out for,
>speaking to, and encouraging that aspect their being.  Likewise we endeavour
>to identify less with our own personality and so on.
>> Is not our object the progress/elevation of Humanity as a WHOLE?
>> Why focus on the illusory 'part'?
>I'm trying to get a sense of what this might mean for you and me in practice
>Paul, I mean as a practicing theosophist?  How do you use this to help you
>to relate to the people around you, to those you come into contact with on a
>daily basis?  How does this inform the basis for Right Action in the world?
>What does it mean to act "with intelligence" as you put in in another part
>of your reply?  It is a lofty ideal, but as HPB says, when quoting
>Carlylse, - "the end of man is an action not a thought, though it be the
>To dismiss people as illusory parts seems un-theosophical for me.  Doesn't
>the compassionate One say, "I would not let one cry whom I could save."  In
>the Voice of the Silence we find:
>"Let not the fierce Sun dry one tear of pain before thyself hast wiped it
>from the sufferer's eye.
>But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain, nor ever
>brush it off, until the pain that caused it is removed."
>HPB praises Father Damien for being a "true theosphist" (a rare compliment
>from HPB) in giving his whole life for the benefit and alleviation of the
>suffering of the lepers of Molakai. (Section 12 THe KEY)
>In the 3rd Fundamental Proposition of The Secret Doctrine we are told that
>not only are all Souls Fundamentally at one with the Universal Over-Soul but
>also that as a spark of the Over-Soul *each* has to make the journey through
>the Cycle of Incarnation.  I know we could say that each soul is only an
>illusory part compared to the One Reality,  just as everything, from the
>highest to the lowest is only relatively real during a manvantara.  However,
>during 'manifestation' Humanity as a Whole is essentially the collective
>aspect of these individual parts/ sparks / pilgrims on The Way.
>If Father Damien is regarded as a  true theosophist for his unselfish work
>with physical suffering then surely to seek to respond to and encourage the
>true individuality (manasic self conscousness) in our dealings with each
>other must have some real value and be something worth aspiring to, even
>though difficult to perform(!) - especially as HPB writes:
>"The future state and karmic destiny of man depend on whether Manas
>gravitates more downward to Kama Rupa, the seat of animal passions, or
>upwards to Buddhi, the spiritual ego...."
>Best wishes,

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