RE: Fundamentalism, religion and reason
Aug 03, 2006 03:41 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck
8/3/2006 2:24 AM
In trying to present what THEOSOPHY has to say on this subject [not
"FUNDAMENTALISM" but quoting "source material" ] so that the basis for
mutual exchange is clear --- a knowledge of some of the ancient terms in
"Sanskrit" is needed. Without that, there is no possible bridging the gap
of millennia of research and the most ancient records of such research.
Let for argument's sake offer:
Why not compare in terms of "fundamentals" the basic Arithmetic ( 4 rules)
and the basic propositions of Geometry. on which all "measurements" start ?
Those proceed, invariable and immutable through every aspect of "Science."
age has no effect or bearing on such a common basis. True today, as it was
since the "beginning."
We could not describe or talk without their being common to all of us.
THEOSOPHY is said by its chief promulgators ( Masters of Wisdom and HPB - in
the SECRET DOCTRINE , Vol. I, pp. 272-3 ) to be the result of the historical
research, proving and work of thousands of independent scientists down the
--------------------- Quote from SECRET DOCTRINE Vol. 1
"Let us recapitulate and show, by the vastness of the subjects expounded,
how difficult, if not impossible, it is to do them full justice.
(1.) The Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages, and its
cosmogony alone is the most stupendous and elaborate system: e.g., even in
the exotericism of the Puranas. But such is the mysterious power of Occult
symbolism, that the facts which have actually occupied countless generations
of initiated seers and prophets to marshal, to set down and explain, in the
bewildering series of evolutionary progress, are all recorded on a few pages
of geometrical signs and glyphs.
The flashing gaze of those seers has penetrated into the very kernel of
matter, and recorded the soul of things there, where an ordinary profane,
however learned, would have perceived but the external work of form. But
modern science believes not in the "soul of things," and hence will reject
the whole system of ancient cosmogony. It is useless to say that the system
in question is no fancy of one or several isolated individuals. That it is
the uninterrupted record covering thousands of generations of Seers whose
respective experiences were made to test and to verify the  traditions
passed orally by one early race to another, of the teachings of higher and
exalted beings, who watched over the childhood of Humanity.
That for long ages, the "Wise Men" of the Fifth Race, of the stock saved and
rescued from the last cataclysm and shifting of continents, had passed their
lives in learning, not teaching. How did they do so? It is answered: by
checking, testing, and verifying in every department of nature the
traditions of old by the independent visions of great adepts; i.e., men who
have developed and perfected their physical, mental, psychic, and spiritual
organisations to the utmost possible degree. No vision of one adept was
accepted till it was checked and confirmed by the visions-so obtained as to
stand as independent evidence-of other adepts, and by centuries of
(2.) The fundamental Law in that system, the central point from which all
emerged, around and toward which all gravitates, and upon which is hung the
philosophy of the rest, is the One homogeneous divine SUBSTANCE-PRINCIPLE,
the one radical cause.
. . . "Some few, whose lamps shone brighter, have been led
>From cause to cause to nature's secret head,
And found that one first Principle must be. . . ."
It is called "Substance-Principle," for it becomes "substance" on the plane
of the manifested Universe, an illusion, while it remains a "principle" in
the beginningless and endless abstract, visible and invisible SPACE. It is
the omnipresent Reality: impersonal, because it contains all and everything.
ITS IMPERSONALITY IS THE FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTION OF THE SYSTEM. IT IS LATENT
IN EVERY ATOM IN THE UNIVERSE, AND IS THE UNIVERSE ITSELF...
(3.) The Universe is the periodical manifestation of this unknown Absolute
Essence. To call it "essence," however, is to sin against the very spirit of
the philosophy. For though the noun may be derived in this case from the
verb esse, "to be," yet IT cannot be identified with a being of any kind,
that can be conceived by human intellect. IT is best described as neither
Spirit nor matter, but both. "Parabrahmam and Mulaprakriti" are One, in
reality, yet two in the Universal conception of the manifested, even in the
conception of the One Logos, its first manifestation ... not as
Parabrahmam; as its veil and not the one REALITY hidden behind, which is
unconditioned and absolute.
(4.) The Universe is called, with everything in it, MAYA, because all is
temporary therein, from the ephemeral life of a fire-fly to that of the Sun.
Compared to the eternal immutability of the ONE, and the changelessness of
that Principle, the Universe, with its evanescent ever-changing forms, must
be necessarily, in the mind of a philosopher, no better than a
will-o'-the-wisp. Yet, the Universe is real enough to the conscious beings
in it, which are as unreal as it is itself.
(5.) Everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is CONSCIOUS:
i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of
perception. We men must remember that because we do not perceive any
signs-which we can recognise-of consciousness, say, in stones, we have no
right to say that no consciousness exists there.
There is no such thing as either "dead" or "blind" matter, as there is no
"Blind" or "Unconscious" Law. These find no place among the conceptions of
Occult philosophy. The latter never stops at surface appearances, and for it
the noumenal essences have more reality than their objective counterparts;
it was the Universals that were the realities and the particulars which
existed only in name and human fancy.
(6.) The Universe is worked and guided from within outwards. As above so it
is below, as in heaven so on earth; and man-the microcosm and miniature copy
of the macrocosm-is the living witness to this Universal Law, and to the
mode of its action. We see that every external motion, act, gesture, whether
voluntary or mechanical, organic or mental, is produced and preceded by
internal feeling or emotion, will or volition, and thought or mind.
As no outward motion or change, when normal, in man's external body can take
place unless provoked by an inward impulse, given through one of the three
functions named, so with the external or manifested Universe.
The whole Kosmos is guided, controlled, and animated by almost endless
series of Hierarchies of sentient Beings, each having a mission to perform,
and who... are "messengers" in the sense only that they are the agents of
Karmic and Cosmic Laws. They vary infinitely in their  respective
degrees of consciousness and intelligence; and to call them all pure Spirits
without any of the earthly alloy "which time is wont to prey upon" is only
to indulge in poetical fancy.
For each of these Beings either was, or prepares to become, a man, if not in
the present, then in a past or a coming cycle (Manvantara). They are
perfected, when not incipient, men; and differ morally from the terrestrial
human beings on their higher (less material) spheres, only in that they are
devoid of the feeling of personality and of the human emotional nature-two
purely earthly characteristics. The former, or the "perfected," have become
free from those feelings, because
(a) they have no longer fleshly bodies-an ever-numbing weight on the Soul;
(b) the pure spiritual element being left untrammelled and more free, they
are less influenced by maya than man can ever be, unless he is an adept who
keeps his two personalities-the spiritual and the physical-entirely
The Incipient MONADS, having never had terrestrial bodies yet, can have no
sense of personality or EGO-ism. That which is meant by "personality," being
a limitation and a relation, or, as defined by Coleridge, "individuality
existing in itself but with a nature as a ground," the term cannot of course
be applied to non-human entities; but, as a fact insisted upon by
generations of Seers, none of these Beings, high or low, have either
individuality or personality as separate Entities, i.e., they have no
individuality in the sense in which a man says, "I am myself and no one
else;" in other words, they are conscious of no such distinct separateness
as men and things have on earth. Individuality is the characteristic of
their respective hierarchies, not of their units; and these characteristics
vary only with the degree of the plane to which those hierarchies belong:
the nearer to the region of Homogeneity and the One Divine, the purer and
the less accentuated that individuality in the Hierarchy. They are finite,
in all respects, with the exception of their higher principles-the immortal
sparks reflecting the universal divine flame-individualized and separated
only on the spheres of Illusion by a differentiation as illusive as the
They are "Living Ones," because they are the streams projected on the Kosmic
screen of illusion from the ABSOLUTE LIFE; beings in whom life cannot become
extinct, before the fire of ignorance is extinct in those who sense these
"Lives." Having sprung into being under the quickening influence of the
uncreated beam, the reflection of the great Central Sun that  radiates
on the shores of the river of Life, it is the inner principle in them which
belongs to the waters of immortality, while its differentiated clothing is
as perishable as man's body." S D I 272 - 276
To those who would write concerning basic and self-serving motives - and
ascribe those to all humans -- as a single basis for (as an example) : "[
.. power-seeking placates every human organisation on this earth and is not
limited to religion." and "..[not] even science is free from it,
and even in the broad daylight of the 21st century it still sees
consciousness not as a primary reality but as an epiphenomenon of the brain
chemistry!" . what THEOSOPHY offers is nonsense.
Can anyone prove that selfish ambition alone motivates all things?
There is evidence of the contrast of compassion, generosity, unselfishness
THEOSOPHY presents this evidence convincingly.
SCIENCE [meaning the record of observation without any bias], if pure and
all-inclusive, must conserve in its archives all aspects of history,
thought, and actions.
Theosophical doctrines draw our attention to some basic concepts:--
1. The Universe is All. IT has no limits, either in space or in time.
It is Immortal. It is Life. We are in, and therefore a part of IT.
2. The Universe operates under cyclic Law. Law cannot be broken. It
supports universal progression. Morally It can be said to provide justice
and compassion to all beings.
Universe = Nature in toto = Deity (God)
3. Each being is a unit of Life. In its essence it is a ray of the
Universal One. The unit is variously called "Monad," or "Life-atom," etc...
it is a "perpetual motion machine" and is an immortal entity, it passes
through all evolutionary processes, acquiring intelligence and experience.
It is analogous to a solar system, or to a galaxy.
4. Every being shares in the immortality of the One in its essence.
It therefore cannot be destroyed or annihilated as an essential Unit of
Life, even though its forms may be dissipated by death, etc. Life or energy
is universal, and in its diversity it animates every "unit of life."
5. In essence each "part" (Unit of Life), is united through
'electro-magnetic' links with all others. There is one whole; only the
'units' seem to be separate, divided from one-another in terms of our gross
perceptions of "matter." Their unity is the basis for cooperation,
expressed in brief as Universal Brotherhood.
6. To make a physical form, each 'unit' draws together other units of
lesser experience than itself on the "Ladder of Being." In doing that it
makes itself responsible for their growth and well-being. Just as a
"teacher" makes himself responsible for the progress of many pupils. It
should be noted that while the "Teacher" offers instruction based on his
experience, it is the responsibility of the "pupils" to test and adopt it
when they are satisfied as to its accuracy. We call this, in general terms
: Evolution, when viewed as a whole.
7. Any "form," serves temporarily as a place for those beings of
lesser experience to acquire more experience and thus have opportunity to
"advance." Under the operation of LAW, Karma, they acquire, each in its own
way, a wider experience, a higher degree of consciousness. All those who
have not yet reached the "human-mind" state, are called non-self-conscious
"life-atoms." They are incipient men-to-be. They inform for the moment,
the elemental, mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, or divisions, of
8. When the level of self-consciousness (mind, manas, man, soul) is
achieved by any of the "monadic lives," it proceeds further, as a human
being, through the process of reincarnation, using many successive physical
bodies. All live in the same framework of law, progression and mutual
support. The whole evolutionary scheme is a vast brotherhood. In the
man-mind condition / stage, progress is by trial / error, and thus the
awareness or attentive faculty is developed as the individual studies the
operation of universal laws operating in and around him.
9. Like the Universe, [and man] is seven-fold in constitution: [S D I
157; II 596]
1. Spirit - ATMA, (a "Ray" of the Universal Divine.)
2. Discrimination-Intuition-Conscience-Ethics and Morals
- BUDDHI, ( memory of experiences)
3. Thinking, Intellection, Reason,
- Mind - MANAS, (choice & free will
4. Emotion, Sensation, Selfishness -
- KAMA, ( desire, passion )
5. Vitality, Life-energy, magnetism -
- PRANA, Jiva (vitality, life-force)
6. Electro-magnetic model form -
-- ASTRAL BODY, (electro-magnetic form
-- this forms the underlying structure
for all organs)
7. PHYSICAL BODY. (Known to us by our senses.)
10. The Universe, Man, and all other beings go through an evolutionary
cycle which is seven-fold, covering an immense time, during which each being
passes through every one of the seven phases that this seven-fold scheme
provides, so that each may secure the highest degree of perfection by its
own experiences and voluntary decisions. All progress is by self-effort. [
Very much as in our educational system.]
11. The self-conscious man, in which Manas (mind) or
self-consciousness is the active principle, makes decisions. Motive
actuates Karma. If the decisions are universally-based, 'good' and progress
for the unit, and the whole accrues rapidly. Should decisions be
self-focused, as opposed to the general good, 'evil' results. Karma thus
actuated, teaches the unit through disciplining circumstances what the ideal
decisions ought to be. Thus evolution proceeds. All karmic events are the
direct result of the choices that are individually made.
12. Graduates from this "School-of-Life" face the choice
or responsibility of becoming, in their turn, "teachers." That is, of
actively assisting in the process of diffusing and explaining this universal
process. They are superior men. [ Similar to the Professors in our
13. These are designated Sages, Wise Men, Adepts,
Masters-of-Wisdom, Arhats, Bodhisattvas, Buddhas, Dhyan
Chohans, Tathagatas, Prophets, etc... [ In history we may
name Jesus, Gautama the Buddha, Krishna, Pythagoras, Lao
Tse, Plato, Shankaracharya, Apollonius of Tyana, and many
others.] they all came as reformers, and if their original
teachings are compared it will be found that they all
taught the same metaphysical doctrines and practical
14. The process of securing experience by mankind is
called reincarnation. The "Life-atom" that is self-
conscious, or the Real Man, uses a physical body which is
assembled, as above described for it to live in. In this
life process it not only advances (or recedes) depending on
its choices, but at the same time serves to assist and
elevate by its example the whole mass of "life-atoms" for
which it has specific karmic responsibilities.
At death the man-consciousness passes first into a
state called Kama-Loka, where a separation between the
moral, and the immoral occurs. A 2nd "death" occurs in a
short while and the immoral side of one's nature is allowed
to disintegrate gradually in the astral plane of Kama-Loka.
15. The higher, immortal Ego, the moral side of our being,
passes into a state called Devachan, which has three stages
1st the rupa-loka, where the consciousness of the Ego is
occupied with the aspirational and noble feelings, thoughts
and actions of the last personal life. This process of
assimilation being over, the MIND-EGO enters a spiritual
plane where, united with the "Ray" of the Universal Spirit,
it is quasi-omniscient. This 2nd stage is called the
arupa-loka [formless stage]. In that condition it is able
to review the life last lived within the perspective of all
previous lives, and thus trace the line of its Karma. The
3rd stage is one of preparation for a new incarnation, and
it begins to draw to itself those personal elements
(skandhas) which will be used to make up its new
16. Nature of Consciousness -Monad -- Man's Evolutionary
"...Man (physically) is a compound of all the kingdoms, and spiritually--his
individuality is no worse for being shut up within the casing of an ant than
it is for being inside a king. It is not the outward or physical shape that
dishonors and pollutes the five principles--but the mental perversity.
Then it is but at his fourth round when arrived at the full possession of
his Kama-energy and is completely matured, that man becomes fully
responsible, as at the sixth he may become a Buddha and at the seventh
before the Pralaya--a "Dhyan Chohan."...
He starts downward as a simply spiritual entity--an unconscious seventh
principle (a Parabrahm in contradistinction to Para-parabrahm)--with the
germs of the other six principles lying latent and dormant in him...(76) [
follows a description of stages of differentiation, round by round, a kind
of 'gestation' process ]...
Volition and consciousness are at the same time self-determining and
determined by causes, and the volitions of man, his intelligence and
consciousness will awake but when his (77) fourth principle Kama is matured
and completed by its (seriatim) contact with the Kamas or energizing forces
of all the forms man has passed through in his previous three rounds.
The present mankind is at its fourth round (...as a genus...)...so the
individual entities in them are unconsciously to themselves performing their
local earthly sevenfold cycles--hence the vast difference in the degrees of
their intelligence, energy and so on.
Now every individuality will be followed on its ascending arc by the Law of
retribution--Karma and death accordingly.
The perfect man or the entity which reaches full perfection, (each of his
seven principles being matured) will not be reborn here. His local
terrestrial cycle is completed...(The incomplete entities have to be reborn
On their fifth round after a partial Nirvana when the zenith of the grand
cycle is reached, they will be held responsible henceforth in their descents
from sphere to sphere, as they will have to appear on this earth as a still
more perfect and intellectual race.
This downward course has not begun but will soon...The above is the rule.
The Buddhas and Avatars form the exception as verily we have yet some
Avatars left to us on earth."
M L (Barker), p. 75-77
"...Devachan is a state where the Ego enjoys and does not suffer, suffering
being reserved for the earth life. It is not a question of memory strictly
speaking, but is a state where the causes generated on this earth which can
exhaust in no other state, do so exhaust themselves, leaving the causes
relating to this plane of earth life to be afterwards exhausted here, and as
it is, like this life, a state of illusion, the Ego naturally enlarges all
its conceptions of what it thought best and highest when it was alive, for
such are the causes that relate to that state." WQJ--Pract. Occ. p.
W Q J published in the PATH for May-June 1890: "Notes on Devachan" [
reprinted p. 242, THEOSOPHICAL ARTICLES AND NOTES by U L T]
Here, the whole scheme as it operates in REINCARNATION [as Nature
established and sustains], is outlined.
"As physical existence has its cumulative intensity from infancy to prime,
and its diminishing energy thenceforward to dotage and death, so the
dream-life of devachan is lived correspondentially...[bottom] As in actual
earth-life, so there is for the Ego in devachan--the first flutter of
psychic life, the attainment of prime, the gradual exhaustion of force
passing into semi-unconsciousness, gradual oblivion and lethargy, total
oblivion and--not death but birth: birth into another personality, and the
resumption of action which daily begets new congeries of causes, that must
be worked out in another term of Devachan, and still another physical
rebirth as a (196) new personality..." M L (Barker) p. 195
"Who in the West knows anything of true Sahalo-Kadhatu, the mysterious
Chiliocosm out of the many regions of which but three can be given out to
the outside world, the Tribhuvana (three worlds) namely: Kama, Rupa, and
Arupa-Lokas." M L (Barker) p. 199
"...the sensations, perceptions and ideation of a devachanee in Rupa-Loka,
will of course, be of a less subjective nature than they would be in
Arupa-Loka, in both of which the devachanic experiences will vary in their
presentation to the subject-entity, not only as regards form, color, and
substance, but also in their formative potentialities. But not even the
most exalted experience of a monad in the highest devachanic state in
Arupa-Loka (the last of the seven states)--is comparable to that perfectly
subjective condition of pure spirituality from which the monad emerged to
"descend into matter," and to which at the completion of the grand cycle it
must return. [ on to p. 200]...The "reward provided by nature for men who
are benevolent in a large, systematic way" and who have not focused their
affections upon an individual or specialty, is that--if pure--they pass the
quicker for that through the Kama and Rupa Lokas into the higher sphere of
Tribhuvana, since it is one where the formulation of abstract ideas and the
consideration of general principles fill the thought of its occupants."
M L p. 199
TRIBHUVANA is in the T. Glossary, p. 338, but there is not much given.
TRIKAYA, and TRAILOKYA (p. 336 ) will be found to have some relevancy.
There we come across the equivalents: Rupadhatu, and Arupadhatu.
In her article THE MYSTERIES OF AFTER LIFE, ( HPB Articles, Vol. II, 203 )
"The spiritual Ego of man moves in Eternity like a pendulum between the
hours of life and death. But if these hours marking the periods of
terrestrial and spiritual life are limited in their duration, and if the
very number of such stages in Eternity between sleep and awakening, illusion
and reality, has its beginning and its end, on the other hand the spiritual
"Pilgrim" is eternal.
"Therefore are the hours of his post-mortem life--when, disembodied he
stands face to face with truth and not the mirages of his transitory earthly
existences during the period of that pilgrimage which we call "the cycle of
rebirths"--the only reality in our conception..." HPB Art. II 203 -- U
"Every Spiritual Individuality has a gigantic evolutionary journey to
perform, a tremendous gyratory progress to accomplish...from first to last
of the man-bearing planets, as on each of them, the monad has to pass
through seven successive races of man...Each of the 7 races send 7 ramifying
branchlets from the Parent Branch: and through each of these in turn man
has to evolute before he passes on to the next higher race; and that seven
times...The branchlets typify varying specimens of humanity--physically and
spiritually--and no one of us can miss one single rung of the ladder...There
are other and innumerable manvantaric chains of globes bearing intelligent
beings--both in and out of our solar system--the crowns or apexes of
evolutionary being in their respective chains, some--physically and
intellectually--lower, others immeasurably higher than the man of our
chain." M L (Barker) p. 119
Elsewhere, in THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY, and a number of
From: pedro oliveira
Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Subject: Re: Fundamentalism, religion and reason
Dear Cass and Perry,
Thank you for your views. I prefer to take a cautious approach to
the issue of fundamentalism because I am convinced that it is not
possible to understand it as if it were a black or white reality. .
The issue of power in this question, mentioned by Perry, is quite
evident. But then power-seeking placates every human organisation on
this earth and is not limited to religion. The dualism in religious
structures/theologies, mentioned by Cass, is also evident, but I
would faintheartedly suggest that not even science is free from it,
and even in the broad daylight of the 21st century it still sees
consciousness not as a primary reality but as an epiphenomenon of
the brain chemistry!
The Theosophical Movement is also not without its contradictions in
its attitude to religion. We have the forceful (and convincing)
denunciation of religion as being responsible for two thirds of
human misery (Mahatma Letters) and yet the Founders established a
Society to study Comparative Religion! See, for example, the
"GREETINGS to the Hindu, Parsee, Buddhist, English and other
Delegates and to the Fellows herewith present.
Remember that though of various nationalities and religions you are
nearly all the children of one mother, India. Remember and act
accordingly. You have to make of the Anniversary ceremony
celebration a grand success.
You have to prove to your evil-wishers
and enemies that your cause, being strong and having taken its stand
upon the rock of truth, indeed can never be impeded in its progress
by any opposition, however powerful, if you be all united and act in
concert. Be true, be loyal to your pledges, to your sacred duty, to
your country, to your own conscience.
Be tolerant to others, respect the religious views of others if you would
have your own respected.
Sons of India, of old Aryavarta, whether adopted or sons of her
blood, remember that you are theosophists and that Theosophy or
Brahma Vidya is the mother of every old religion, forsaken and
repudiated though she may now be by most of her ungrateful children.
Remember this, act accordingly and the rest will follow in due
With our sincere blessings,
K.H. (Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, First Series,
Did the Mahatmas give so much importance to religious understanding
because they somehow knew religion would be an explosive influence
in the twentieth century, when destitute of spiritual insight or
mysticism? I confess I don't know. But what seems clear to me now is
that fundamentalism is not an isolated phenomenon, but an integral
part of the cultural wars that started with the dawning of the
modern age in the 17th century, with Cartesian and thought-centred
world views dominating the world. Interestingly enough, this is also
the period of dramatic expansion of colonialist rules around the
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