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Re: Theos-World Inaugural Address

Feb 03, 2009 11:39 PM
by Morten Nymann Olesen

An excerpt:
"Madame Blavatsky pointed out that truth is not realized by disputing 
over that other people have said or written, or in arguing in favour 
of one's own ideas or any accepted systems of philosophy. "

And where did H. P. Blavatsky say that?
Did H. P. Blavatsky not do the quite opposite, when she was - debating - with various persons?

M. Sufilight

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Pedro Oliveira 
  Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2009 12:30 AM
  Subject: Theos-World Inaugural Address

  Inaugural Address by Radha Burnier, President of The Theosophical 
  Society, delivered at the Headquarters Hall, Adyar, on 3rd August 
  1980.(Published in The Theosophist, August 1980)

  It was with a remembrance of the august beginnings and lofty aims of 
  the Theosophical Society and of the inspiration provided by the lives 
  of the great Founders and leaders of the Society such as Annie Besant 
  that I assumed office as the seventh President of the Society on 17th 
  July. These great persons brought to the Society that special 
  dynamism which springs out of absolute disinterestedness in the 
  service of humanity, and they created a channel for the great Powers 
  which guide the world, by subserving their lives to the cause of 
  Truth. In following in their footsteps, I undertake a great 
  responsibility of which I am sensible, and which I shall endeavour to 
  fulfil with all my strength and all the powers at my disposal, with 
  the aid, affection and support of my fellow members throughout the 

  In a world torn by conflicts, at a time when insecurity and fear are 
  mounting to an unprecedented peak on this globe, the objectives of 
  the Theosophical Society remain not only unchanged, but have a 
  sharpened relevance.

  The Theosophical Society was not meant merely to preach brotherhood 
  to the world. The statement of its first Object makes it clear that 
  the Society is intended to be an actual nucleus of brotherhood. This 
  implies that those who compose its membership must be clearly aware 
  that there is a shared destiny for all. The feeling of a common good 
  must override personal interests and subordinate the desire for 
  individual advantage. The human mind by its very nature branches out 
  in innumerable directions when motivated by self-interest. The 
  discord created by the divergent forms of self-interest pulling in 
  different directions is the antithesis of the harmonious living and 
  the deeper awareness of the unity of existence implied in the 
  term "brotherhood".

  A world whose agony has been prolonged through centuries because the 
  mind of man has always been shattered and pulled by disparate 
  interests cannot be served, much less saved, by any group of persons 
  who embody in themselves the same traits which make the world a sorry 
  spectacle. Only to the extent that the members of the Society 
  sincerely and deeply share a feeling of altruism and in the measure 
  that they have an unselfish devotion to that Wisdom which is the 
  source of right action, will there be an unbreakable nucleus of 
  brotherhood in the body of the Society, with the energy to draw many 
  more into a non-divisive, shared way of living, which will be a 
  blessing to the world. Words which are not lived, but merely thought 
  and said invariably lack substantiality. Their impact, if any, is 
  weak and temporary. Therefore one of those Elders who inspired the 
  Society said: "If you would be a Theosophist you must not do as 
  those around you do who call on a God of Truth and Love and serve the 
  dark powers of Might, Greed and Luck." The message of the 
  Theosophical Society can never be spread by appealing to motives of 
  self-interest and gain. Every truly unselfish endeavour for the 
  upliftment of the world draws to itself a power beyond itself from 
  the Forces of Goodness which are ever ready to flow through channels 
  which are unsullied. But such Forces can "give but little assistance 
  to a Body not thoroughly united in purpose and feeling, and which 
  breaks its fundamental rule universal brotherly love, without 
  distinction of race, creed or colour".

  If the creation of a nucleus of brotherhood is not to be an empty 
  show, a superficial fraternization with little reality, those who are 
  dedicated to it must be "thoroughly united in purpose and feeling", 
  as Mme. Blavatsky says in the above-quoted sentence. That unity of 
  purpose and feeling must be of an unselfish character, intent on 
  finding a way to solve the human problem, and not merely to obtain 
  individual benefit. In the eyes of the wise, "The highest 
  aspirations for the welfare of humanity become tainted with 
  selfishness if, in the mind of the philanthropist, there lurks the 
  shadow of desire for self-benefit or a tendency to do injustice, even 
  when they exist unconsciously." On the other hand, if a body such as 
  the Theosophical Society can offer "the grand example of practical 
  altruism, of the noble lives of those who master the great knowledge 
  but to help others", the world may be inspired to follow that 
  example. The impact of the Society should not be that of one more 
  creed, organization, institution, like many others. It is intended 
  to shed the sweet influence and power of a spiritually inspired 
  Sangha or Brotherhood.

  Perhaps there are not many, even among the members of the Society, 
  who realize the magnitude and importance of the work to be undertaken 
  by volunteers in the Theosophical Society. It would be easy for the 
  Society to drift into byways which may have their attractions, and 
  even their usefulness, but which do not lead to the enlightenment of 
  human beings. The urgency of discovering the right direction for 
  human progress can be blunted by pursuits which have plausible 
  religious, occult or philanthropic overtones.

  The central focus of the Society's work lies in the meaning of the 
  word "Theosophy" which refers to what Madame Blavatsky called Wisdom-
  Religion. Theosophists have to explore the meaning of both the 
  words "Wisdom" and "Religion" in order to grasp the nature of the 
  work before the Society.

  At the end of the last century, when our Society was founded, the 
  scientific materialism of the day provoked a reaction which took the 
  form of interest in spiritualistic phenomena, communication with the 
  dead and other forms of escape from a world-view in which man became 
  a cog in the evolutionary machine. Theosophy repudiated spiritualism 
  with its phenomena as well as materialism. It was stated that "It is 
  not physical phenomena, but universal ideas we study. To comprehend 
  the former, we must first understand the latter". The true subjects 
  of study for the Theosophist were proclaimed to be: Man's true 
  position in the universe; his origin and ultimate destiny; the 
  relation of the mortal to the immortal, of the temporary to the 
  eternal, of the finite to the infinite; and universal Law, unchanging 
  and unchangeable.

  These profound questions still continue to be those which are central 
  to the work of the Society. It is not concerned with phenomena and 
  occult arts, interesting though many phenomena pertaining to the 
  invisible world may be to the parapsychologist or even to the 
  layman. They are trivial in the perspective of the knowledge needed 
  to regenerate human life. It is not spiritualism, but spirituality 
  which the world needs, not occult arts, but occultism, otherwise 
  called gupta-vidyã (the secret doctrine) and ãtma-vidyã, true Wisdom.

  "True Occultism or Theosophy is the `Great Renunciation of the self', 
  unconditionally and absolutely, in thought as in action." All the 
  manifestations of the separative self, whether they are intensive and 
  obvious, subtle or dormant, cloud the understanding and 
  intelligence. At their worst, they completely distort the view, 
  making the individual see his environment in terms of his own 
  ambition, pride or envy. At their mildest, they still bar the gates 
  of perception into the hidden meaning, splendour and beauty which is 
  the heart of existence, concealed in the very being of all, both in 
  the animate and the inanimate. Only when the taint of selfhood is 
  completely washed away does Wisdom bloom in all its perfection, and 
  that which was secret before becomes as the light of day.

  The search for such "self"-destroying Wisdom is not a selfish 
  occupation. It is of the highest importance, for the truths and 
  mysteries it reveals are "at once profound and practical". The 
  abolition of self which opens up the understanding and clarifies the 
  perception has an immense practical bearing on the interests of 
  mankind, for the very source of suffering is put to an end. The 
  great Teachers of the world have therefore sought to kindle the spark 
  of Wisdom in man and have set little store on modifying the effects 
  of unwisdom, unlike ordinary people who are always combating results 
  without tracing them to the cause and source.

  The conditioning of the mind which compels it to divide, 
  compartmentalize and categorize, has created the belief that a 
  person's actions are unrelated to what he is and to the kind of 
  reality which he sees. The philosophy of the East has, on the 
  contrary, pointed out that the quality of a person's actions, their 
  rightness or wrong, depend on what he is able to see. Illusory 
  perceptions, distorted vision, the superimposition of value on what 
  is in fact of unreal worth, are productive of actions and pursuits 
  which are unsound and creative of tension and pain, for they are out 
  of accord with the innate truth and harmony of existence. Distorted 
  vision and blindness to the real nature of things is, on the other 
  hand, unavoidable when freedom from self-concern does not exist. A 
  state of fear makes every shadow appear to hide a lurking danger or 
  makes one imagine that shadows abound where none in fact exist. 
  Every state of the mind imprisoned in thought of self, whether it is 
  one of fear or hope, jealousy or despair, colours, vitiates and 
  reduces the power of perception.

  Thus the truth or unreality, the loveliness or banality of what an 
  individual sees depends on what he is within himself, and out of what 
  he sees, the false or the profound, the superficial or the essential, 
  arise his actions. The virtue of actions can therefore be separated 
  neither from the search and discovery of Truth and Wisdom, nor the 
  exigency of living a righteous and clean life which enhances clarity 
  of mind and perception. Those brought up in the permissiveness of 
  the present age are apt to lose sight of the importance of a way of 
  life conducive to clarity. There has been the age-old emphasis of 
  the religions on a life of virtue, which in its passive form is non-
  egocentrism and in its positive aspect, a deep respect for life in 
  all its manifestations. This has a logical basis which no seeker for 
  knowledge nor would-be benefactor of humanity can afford to ignore. 
  For the members of the Theosophical Society it is of profound 
  importance to recognize that being, seeing and action are one. Truly 
  helpful action cannot be performed when there is indifference to the 
  discovery of Wisdom or negligence in regard to the manner of one's 
  daily living, the purity or otherwise of the thoughts, feelings and 
  motivations displayed in relationship. When there is purity within, 
  there is rightness of perception and increasing depth of 
  understanding which endow all actions with benefactory power. The 
  mode of daily living of members of the Theosophical Society is of 
  utmost importance, for it lays the foundation for all other work. 
  Without attention given by members to self-awareness, which enables 
  one to dissolve the self, the I-centre which blinds the vision and 
  pollutes the world's atmosphere, an organized body merely perpetuates 
  problems or may add to the many ills which already exist.

  To be engaged in the task of self-understanding and self-purification 
  in the midst of daily avocations, being watchful of the quality of 
  one's relationship, is the beginning of a religious life. The 
  word "Theosophy", as mentioned earlier, signifies religion in the 
  true sense as much as Wisdom.

  The Theosophical Society is neither a church nor a sect. It has no 
  belief to offer, no opinions or authority to impose. In the 
  beautiful words of Dr. Annie Besant, it is meant to be composed of 
  students, whose "bond of union is not the profession of a common 
  belief, but a common search and aspiration for Truth. They hold that 
  Truth should be sought by study, by reflection, by purity of life, by 
  devotion to high ideals, and they regard Truth as a prize to be 
  striven for, not as a dogma to be imposed by authority". The 
  encouragement to enquire and realize truth for oneself in an 
  atmosphere of freedom is not a licence for branches or groups of the 
  Society to import or promote particular cults, beliefs or 
  personalities. The attitude of affording to every individual the 
  opportunity to unfold his intelligence in an atmosphere of freedom is 
  not to be equated with providing a platform or home in the Society 
  for one or all of the welter of creeds and panaceas hawked by quasi-
  religious movements and self-styled gurus. There is danger of 
  missing that which is vital and fundamental in what is supposed to be 
  a spirit of tolerance. Tolerance of superstition, of orthodoxies and 
  conventionalities, or thoughtless obedience and dependence on those 
  who are seated on spiritual pedestals are not consonant with the 
  Theosophical view and the Society's work.

  One of those who inspired the founding of the Society, wrote soon 
  after it came into existence: "We have a duty set before us; that of 
  sweeping away as much as possible the dross left to us by our pious 

  Madame Blavatsky pointed out that truth is not realized by disputing 
  over that other people have said or written, or in arguing in favour 
  of one's own ideas or any accepted systems of philosophy. The 
  devotee of truth must endeavour as much as possible to free his mind 
  from all ideas which he may have derived by heredity, from education, 
  from surroundings, or from other teachers. A scientist engaged in 
  research has to shed all his prejudices, preconceptions and personal 
  desires in order to obtain a knowledge of facts as they are. A 
  biased mind fixed in its own mould and confined to a personally 
  pleasing thought-system can no more come into contact with noumenal 
  truths than it can with facts of the phenomenal world.

  If the earth were no populated by a vast number of people who are 
  absorbed in their private interests and totally oblivious of wider 
  horizons, it might be quite a different place. As it is, for each 
  individual his own advancement, his family, his village and nation, 
  his community and religion, his opinions, theories, and so forth loom 
  overwhelmingly large in the mind, chasing away the rest of life, as 
  if for all practical purposes it does not exist.

  The religious quality dawns on the mind when the stifling atmosphere 
  of personal pre-occupations is broken through. For the truly 
  religious man "the world is his family" and there is no divergence 
  between the world problem and the individual problem. The existence 
  of suffering in multifarious forms is one of the fundamental problems 
  to which the intelligent mind has to apply itself. Suffering is the 
  lot of all human beings without exception. Birth, death, disease, 
  decay, separation, etc. are all sorrow. When confronted by this 
  universal phenomenon, it is generally reduced to a personal matter, 
  and each one wants to know why he should be involved in sorrow, and 
  how he can escape it. A religious approach to it demands that the 
  personal element should be left behind and the mind seriously applied 
  to finding out the answer to this and a universally human problem.
  The non-personal understanding of vital matters pertaining to the 
  human situation also requires that what is at the root, the 
  fundamental issue, should be tackled. No thoughtful person can be 
  indifferent to the present arms race with its unthinkable dreadful 
  consequences, and all who strengthen the public conscience against 
  such devilry are to be lauded. Yet, it is not enough to give thought 
  to such moral issues at the outer level. The root of the problem 
  lies in the aggressive competitiveness, love of gain and power of the 
  human mind. It is woven at the root with other fundamental 
  questions. In its depth, the student is brought to contemplate the 
  relation "of the mortal to the immortal, of the temporary to the 
  eternal, of the finite to the infinite".

  Religion, from the Theosophical point of view, commences with the 
  denuding of the mind of its favoured thoughts and conditioning and 
  allowing it to come into contact with what is of universal and 
  fundamental significance. The impact of the Society on world 
  conditions would be outstanding if its worldwide membership were 
  composed of true altruists, a body exemplifying brotherhood, men and 
  women seeking Wisdom and leading the life necessary to widen the 
  horizons of the mind and obtain insight into truth. It is those who 
  are drawn towards such objectives who are worthy candidates for 

  As time passes, generations change. Every generation faces the basic 
  problems of man in terms of a changing environment. No teaching, no 
  philosophy can be of adequate aid to any generation if it is 
  converted into a mere idiom or tradition. But the Wisdom of a truly 
  religious mind can speak the tongue of any generation and communicate 
  its own quality of significance.

  "May Those who are the embodiments of Love Immortal bless with Their 
  protection now as heretofore the Society founded to do Their Will, 
  bestow upon us the guidance of Their immeasurable Wisdom, and inspire 
  in each and all of us throughout the world the urge to never-failing 
  beneficent action."


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