RE: Practical theosophy: was DEFENSE OF HPB and moving on.
Jan 30, 1999 04:54 PM
by Peter Merriott
Just a reminder, to put these questions / replies into context, that my
thoughts in my first post arose out of a consideration of how we respond /
relate to one another both on this list and in the world at large. I'm glad
to read in another post of yours that you like to respond on a "cut and
paste" basis as it makes it easier to reply. However it does make the post
longer. Others on the list who don't want to read a long post are welcome
to use the delete button, but I hope that we have touched upon some
important issues in Theosophy, at least in places, for those who read on.
So to continue...
A key statement in your reply was: "Is not our object the progress/elevation
of Humanity as a WHOLE? Why focus on the illusory 'part'?"
> I think we have to take the I / me reasonably seriously. This
> is after all the vehicle of the higher consciousness during incarnation.
> What is posing the statement: "we have to take the I / me reasonably
> seriously"? Is it the I / me itself?
I'm not sure I understand what you are getting at here, Paul. You could
equally ask that question about your own statement above. Or ask - who is
it that ensures he has a copy of the Secret Doctrine?... who studies it and
seeks to understand the theosophical teachings contained therein?... & so
on. *Who* treads the Path? In the context of our communication I prefer to
see it simply that we are two students of Theosophy exploring a question
together about the nature of the 'person' the 'individuality' etc.
> The Quarternary is the vehicle of incarnation. It has to become "cypher".
> The "me" clouds/muddies the vehicle. Big problem.
I can see my use of the words "I" and "me" to refer to the same state of
conscousness (ie self consciousness) hasn't helped this discussion. But
lets not get caught in the words. For there is more usage of the terms
"me", "you", and especially "I" by KH in the Mahatma Letters than in any
other theosophical work I know.
> How important is the "personality" compared to Humanity as a Whole?
Obviously the personality isn't important *compared* to humanity as a whole,
I'm not suggesting it is. But I wouldn't want to let that *idea* prevent me
extending a helping hand to another in need. Otherwise why care for a child
who is ill? Why care for the mentally and physically ill? Why bother
digging up people buried by the earthquake in Colombia? Shall we do nothing
on the basis that the personality is not important compared to humanity as a
whole? Shall we not help another on the basis that the "me" that thinks she
is suffering is only an illusory part?
[Paul Qoutes from "The Voice of the Silence", Fragment 1:]
> "The Self of matter and the SELF of Spirit can never meet. One
> of the twain must disappear; there is no place for both.
> Ere thy Soul's mind can understand, the bud of personality must be crushed
> out, the worm of sense destroyed past resurrection."
Good qoute. I think HPB is refering to quite an advanced stage on the path
here. Hence the instruction immediately prior to this qoute which says:
"Before the 'mystic Power' can make of thee a god, Lanoo, thou must have
gained the faculty to slay thy lunar form at will"
As I understand the Voice of the Silence... the Lanoo at this stage has
already progressed through the first two Halls, the Hall of Ignorance and
the Hall of Learning and is now in the third, the Hall of Wisdom preparing
for the fourth state. The latter HPB refers to as...
"The Turya, that beyond the dreamless state, the one above all, a state of
high spiritual consiousness" (glossary to "The Voice" part one, no 15.)
My reason for quoting from this section of the 'The Voice' in my earlier
post to you (and repeated below) was to point out that even at this advanced
stage the 'Lanoo' is still required to help his fellows hence the next
passage in "The Voice", which follows on from your qoutes:
"Let thy Soul lend its ear to every cry of pain like as the lotus bares its
heart to drink the morning sun. 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."
Be that as it may... if we apply your qoutes to ourselves and the present
discussion we could say that the personal conscousness centred around "the
complex thought that "I am Mr Smith" (as HPB puts it) and ATMA will not
meet. Yet the 'light' of the latter can irradiate the 'lower quaternity'
through Manas which is the link between them - that alone which decides
whether to gravitate downwards to Kama or upwards to Atma-Buddhi.
As mentioned before, this higher Manas is reflected in the lower quarternary
as the feeling of "I am I", that "simple self conscousness", as HPB refers
to it. So what I am asking - *and this is the main thrust behind all that
I have said* - is can we find ways to respond to people whereby we learn to
perceive and encourage the 'Actor' within (again as HPB refers to it) rather
than just criticise / blame the personality 'without'. The 'Actor' is both
beyond the personal consiousness and yet reflected in it, albeit in an
identifed way for most of us.
For as I understand it, it is this 'Actor' alone that asks how to do his
duty by those around him; who struggles through the various trials involved
in treading the Path. It is this 'Actor' who will, hopefully, reach the
stage of that Lanoo in the Voice of the Silence. And it is this which led
me to write:
> 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.
> Is it un-theosophical to see beyond the difference?; the
> difference we call 'you' and 'me'? To see beyond the
> great dire heresy of separateness?
Yes, this is indeed a very theosphical view. I just don't understand how it
relates to what was written. Perhaps you could say more on this?
Paul, you wrote in your first post..
> Is not our object the progress/elevation of Humanity as a WHOLE?
> Why focus on the illusory 'part'?
Which led me to ask: what does this mean for us as aspiring practical
theosophists; how do you use and translate this noble object into action in
daily life, in relating to the people around us?
> It may mean "you" and "me" will have to get out of the driving seat.
> What is a practicing theosophist?
> Use what, Peter? If Oneness IS, what is there to relate *to*?
> "The people around you" might imply being the centre of importance. Does
> that not create a problem? Does that not create *the* problem?
Using your analogy above, I would put the view that during incarnation the
personality is the car and the individuality, the "Actor", is the driver -
at least potentially. I guess the problem for most of us and humanity at
large is when there is no one in the driving seat or that the person in the
driving seat believes s/he is the car. Which means we simply allow this
Kama fuelled vehicle, to take us wherever it wishes. No wonder it can do so
much damage... and all that road rage!
I think as we begin to return to "self consciousness", 'self awareness',
with its source in Higher Manas, we can begin to identify less with the
vehicle and take more responsibility for the journey. Hopefully, this
'driver' will continue to progress in understanding and realise that we are
all on the very same journey and that we need to help each other on the way.
Perhaps we may begin to look at the vehicles around and start to realise,
"Hey! There is a real 'being' somewhere in there!"
As this understanding develops into love and compassion for all that lives
there is an increasing possibility of the 'driver' blending this
consciousness with 'higher' states of being (Atma-Buddhi). And who knows,
the 'vehicles' of the future could be driven by 'gods' and fueled by
You ask above "If Oneness IS, what is there to relate *to*?"
I would be really interested to know more about what this statement means
for you, Paul. I would suggest that this viewpoint as generally used
represents a certain kind of Mysticism which *on its own* is not
Theosophical. At one level it could represent the view of those schools
that believe there is no 'ego' at all, no "I" no "you", everything is
illusion. Thus, there is no one who suffers, no one to save, no one to
become enlightened and so on. At another level one can see, perhaps, how
this view is part of the path of those who become Prateyeka Buddhas (to use
that term as HPB defines it in "the Voice"). If all and everyone is an
illusion on the planes of manifestation why not get to Nirvana as soon as
possible. Hence they are refered to as Buddhas of spiritual selfishness.
The Secret Doctrine teaches us that at the 'highest level' there is THAT
which is ONE - the Absolute Be-Ness. I imagine it is this deeply
theosophical tenet that you are refering to. It is from the point of view
that we are in 'manifestation' that I suggest the addition of "...so what is
there to relate *to*" is not a theosophical one, because Theosophy also
maintains that Compassion is the Law of Laws. Buddha renounced Nirvana for
himself because he cared about the suffering of others. HPB and the
Masters emphasise over and over again that we must do our duty to those
around us. This is part of the solution not part of the problem. They also
point out that though our present karmic duties may 'appear' small and
meagre they must still be done. The opportunity to play an increasingly
larger part in the work for 'Humanity as a Whole' depends upon our progress
along the path and our Karma. This all seems to me to be about relationship,
practical Brotherhood, of the highest order. I imagine this is your view
too hence my encouragement to you to say more.
Paul your final question came as follows..
> To dismiss people as illusory parts seems un-theosophical for
> Where did such a thought arise?
Actually it came out of our earlier post where I wrote:
> I try to take the person who is talking seriously even
> if I am having trouble with what they are saying.
and Paul replied:
> How seriously can/should we take a bundle of transcient
> memories called "me"?
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application