Theosophical Society and Worship of Supreme Self
Mar 29, 2009 04:04 PM
Judge, in his essays on the Gita, comments on how after coming to understand that the "Self is all", souls reincarnate with this central core to their being and they begin to work out their Karma. He writes in his "Essays on the Gita" Chapter VII:
This means, as Krishna says, that those who with the eye of spiritual wisdom see that the Self is all, begin to reincarnate with that belief ingrained in them. Hitherto they had come back to earth without that single idea, but possessed of many desires and of ideas which separated them from the Self. Now they begin to return fully at rest in the Self and working out their long-accumulated karma. And at last they become what was mentioned in the opening verses, a mahatma or great soul.
There is, however, a large number of persons who are in the class which has been deprived of spiritual discernment "through diversity of desires" or who have not yet had discernment for the same reason. The verse reads as follows:
"Those who through diversity of desires are deprived of spiritual wisdom adopt particular rites subordinated to their own natures, and worship other Gods."
Although these words, like the rest of the colloquy, were spoken in India and to a Hindu, they are thoroughly applicable in the West. Every mode of thought and of living may be called a rite gone over by each one as his conscious or unconscious religion. A man adopts that which is conformable, or subordinate, to his own nature, and being full of desires he worships or follows other gods than the Supreme Self. In India the words would more particularly mean the worship, which is quite common, of idols among those who are not educated out of idolatry; but they would also mean what is said above. In the West these "other gods" are the various pleasures, objects, aims and modes of life and thought, be they religious or not, which the people adopt. They have not the many thousands of gods of the Hindu pantheon, each one for some particular purpose, but it comes to the same thing. The idol-worshiper bows to the god visible so that he may attain the object of his heart which that god is supposed to control. The Western man worships his object and strives after it with all his heart and mind and thus worships something else than the Supreme Imperishable One. The god of one is political advancement, of another -- and generally of most -- the possession of great wealth. One great god is that of social advancement, the most foolish, hollow and unsatisfactory of all; and with it in America is yoked the god of money, for without wealth there is no social preeminence possible except in those cases where official position confers a temporary glory. The mother often spends sleepless nights inventing means for pushing her daughter into social success; the father lies wakefully calculating new problems for the production of money. The inheritors of riches bask in the radiance coming from their own gold, while they strive for new ways to make, if possible, another upward step on that road, founded on ashes and ending at the grave, which is called social greatness. And out of all this striving many and various desires spring up so that their multiplicity and diversity completely hide and obstruct all spiritual development and discernment.
But many who are not so carried away by these follies attend to some religion which they have adopted or been educated into. In very few cases, however, is the religion adopted: it is born with the child; it is found with the family and is regularly fastened on as a garment. If in this religion, or cult, there is faith, then the Supreme Self, impartial and charitable, makes the faith strong and constant so that thereby objects are attained. In whatever way the devotee chooses to worship with faith it is the Supreme which, though ignored, brings about the results of faith.
Judge above identifies the core of Theosophy, encouraging others to understand the emptiness of these other gods and to worship the All that is not different than Self. Any Theosophical Society, in its makeup and bylaws has to understand the above and make room for members to come to that understanding. It cannot be a belief that is imposed upon them, but rather must be a conclusion they come to through study and practice in the laboratory of life. The study of theosophy brings to a student the tests that will make this knowledge a part of himself to be carried forward from life to life. Until this knowledge becomes a part of the aspirant, the aspirant is still susceptible to false gods and loss of way.
Does any Theosophical Society today leave room for this dynamic for "every" sincere seeker?
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