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Re: Theos-World Fundamentalism, religion and reason

Aug 03, 2006 07:13 AM
by adelasie

Dear Pedro,

Thanks very much for this description of your experiences. How 
interesting to know of theosophists in Muslim countries. We must 
realize I suppose that organized religion, no matter what its 
original impulse (always the same impulse, if we accept the teachings 
of ancient wisdom) inevitably corrupts the original message. This is 
not to say, of course, that an earnest student cannot find truth in 
any religious teaching. It's just that the sublime spiritual cannot 
be fully or adequately expressed in material form, and then there is 
the weakness of humanity which tries to adapt the teaching to suit 
its own lower desires. 

In this post you offered an answer to my unspoken question of recent 
days, as I read what theosophists online have to say, and wonder if 
anyone has any thoughts on the current condition of humanity. What 
does the ancient teaching have to offer us that can help us 
understand what is going on. I'm not talking about politics here, but 
about the real underlying causes and possible effects, about what we 
can do. 

You sum it all up, when you say, "...perhaps kindness  (or 
compassion) is the soul of religion." And compassion is something one 
can practice anytime, anywhere, no matter what one's religion 
background may be.

All the best,

On 3 Aug 2006 at 12:46, pedro oliveira wrote:

> Dear Perry,
> Thank you for your reply. I recently went on a lecture tour through 
> Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. As you know, both Malaysia and 
> Indonesia are Muslim countries and one should be careful about 
> words, not only to avoid offending sensibilities but also to stay 
> alive!
> In Bandung, Indonesia, I was invited to give a lecture at a Catholic 
> University in which the majority of the audience consisted of 
> Muslims. The subject of my lecture was "The Perennial Philosophy and 
> its Application in Daily Life", and it was based, in part, on the 
> Three Fundamental Propositions of The Secret Doctrine. After the 
> talk, my translator, a very dedicated theosophist who is also vice-
> president of the Indo-Pacific Federation of the TS (Adyar), told me 
> he was uncomfortable with me mentioning the Third Fundamental 
> Proposition, and specifically commenting on the identity of every 
> human Soul with the Universal Over-Soul. He told this teaching is 
> frowned upon in Islam as God is ever transcendent and that I should 
> consider myself fortunate that nobody in the audience objected to 
> it. Just to give you an idea of the risk involved, many centuries 
> ago a Sufi teacher, Mansur Al-Hallaj, was beheaded for affirming 
> publically his union with God! Such are the risks of trying to 
> disseminate Theosophy today.
> A very interesting experience awaited me in Jakarta, the last leg 
> (or neck, if you prefer!) of my tour. A commemorative meeting of the 
> anniversary of the Indonesian TS (due to legal reasons they call 
> themselves 'Federation of Indonesian Theosophists', as earlier 
> governments, after the Independence from Holland, banned any 
> association with foreign organisations) was organised and the former 
> General Secretary, who is a Muslim, gave us a talk about the history 
> of the TS in that country. I felt deeply moved by it. For example, 
> during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia, in World War II, 
> Indonesian theosophists kept the Society alive by holding meetings 
> undergound, at the risk of their own lives.
> After the talk, I asked the old gentleman for his opinion about the 
> difficulty in conveying to audiences in that country, the 
> fundamental identity between the human Soul and the Universal Over-
> Soul. He said that for him that was not a problem as he understood 
> God to be the unity of all existence. He is 84 and still holding 
> study meetings in his house.
> Sorry for my rambling. What I really wanted to say is that the 
> mystical heart of religion, I feel, is still alive, whether it is in 
> Judaism, Christianity or Islam. I felt it in Indonesia very strongly 
> and it expressed itself in the attitude of kindness of the many 
> people I met. And perhaps kindness (or compassion) is the soul of 
> religion. 
> Cheers,
> Pedro


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