As a scientist and psychologist I can clearly see the narrow limitsto which science has confined itself. As regards religions, most of themhave big trouble to present a clear, consistent philosophy of life.Neither of them can answer urgent ethical questions satisfactorily.
So we face the strange situation of science, claiming certain theoriesto be a fact of life, while religion claims other visions to be true.
Now, common-sense-logic demands that there is one truth; at least we cannotembrace two essentially different opinions about life and nature.
In fact there is an old philosophy called Wisdom-Religion that claimsjust to bridge this gap. Nowadays this philosophy is called Theosophy,brought to the West by H.P. Blavatsky under guidance and inspirationof her teachers (the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion). This will bethe subject of this document. At this place it will be proper to statethat this is not just a fancy philosophy, but, on the contrary, a grandsystem of truths based on the spiritual visions of thousands of wise men,prophets and great founders of religions through the ages.This philosophy can and should be tested by all serious searchers fortruth. Theosophy gives some guidelines how this should be done.At the end of this document this will become clearer (if not, put yourquestions and I will discuss it). It is most certainly a practicalphilosophy of life, what will become apparent if you apply its principlesto daily life.
The gap, spoken of above, has not always been there. It has growngradually, as science split itself from theology. Nowadays scienceis completely materialistic in its views. Even consciousness is reducedto materialistic processes. But we can already notice the vague contoursof a new, less materialistic science that incorporates the paradigmof wholeness or the essential connectedness of all beings.David Bohm was one of the pioneers in this area.
Paul Feyerabend, a philosopher of science, has shown that scientific models are comparable to themodels of nature, pictured in the old myths of humanity. See his work ~Against method~, 1975. This should makethe scientists think again about their paradigma. It is totally outdatedand they find themselves stuck in their attempts at understandingnature in greater depth (I'm not talking about technology).
Plato would say that materialistic science can neverarrive at truth, because it wholly depends on what our senses tell usabout the world. Instead we should develop our inner sense of understandingto such a degree that we can perceive the causes behind all visible phenomena.Our outer senses are just a help for living on this outer plane of life.
Theosophy closes the gap between science and religion by providingthe knowledge of the principles of nature which can be recognizedby both religion and science, if properly investigated.In essence, Theosophy is the core of all great religions and grandphilosophies (such as from Plato and Pythagoras). In its religiousaspect it tells us what the goal of all life is; in its philosophicalaspect why things are as they are. In its scientific aspect it tells ushow nature works. These three aspects are all interconnected and shouldnever be seperated, because seperation causes a real loss of understanding.Seperation also causes science to lose its ethical basis, which is justwhat has happened during the last centuries.
Knowledge of (esoteric) science gives tremendous responsibilities.Abuse by selfish minds can cause severe disasters.That's why this kind of knowledge is severely restricted from beinggiven to humanity. Of course, sometimes dangerous knowledge is discoveredby scientists themselves, like the secrets of nuclear energy.It has created a real threat to the safety of mankind.
Well, you might ask, what knowledge is given to this world?This is the subject of the next section:
The most important principles or truths are called:
"The seven jewels of wisdom".
Together, these jewels give a sublime, practical system of ethics,incorporating the idea of Universal Brotherhood (the essentialconnectedness of all beings). These jewels can be used to build a systemof science, which is based on consciousness as a primary factor.Those that want to know more about the jewels than is said in thisessay are referred to the bibliography at the end of this article(the books mentioned there are now on the web!)
Theosophy proceeds from a spiritual point of view.It says that consciousness is prior to form or manifestation.Consciousness imbodies itself periodically in a suitable form.Socrates talks about this in Plato's Phaedo.
This doctrine really is the about the law of cycles.All processes in nature are of a cyclic nature.There are literally hundreds of examples in nature that substantiatethis law. Some more examples:
What looks like an unconnected bunch of examples, is in realityrelated to each other by a process called: the analogical workingsof nature.
This law states that every action produces a reaction that is in accordwith the action. This law is active on all planes of being: physical,psychologically and spiritually. The Christian bible has the proverb:'As ye sow, so ye shall reap', which is exactly the same idea.
Karma is the universal law of justice, perceptible to the mind's eye(cf. Plato). There is no other logical consistent explanation forthe very great differences between people than provided by this jewelof wisdom and the twin doctrine of reincarnation. It also is the mostdificult principle to grasp, because of its endless ramifications andapplications to all aspects of life.
Those who believe in blind chance may do so, but they are reallyincapable of explaining many phenomena like telepathy, clairvoyance,etc.Also, it is downright amazing to me that relatively few people observe theintelligence working through nature, configurating a single cellinto a human body, and, maybe even more striking, the intelligencethat is unfolding right under their noses in their children growing up.There are very marked stages visible in the above mentioned processes and I don't think that materialistic science will ever be able to explain thesestages and processes.
Theosophy gives at least some hints about the forces, energies, thatplay a role in these processes. It says, for example, that the principle of conservation of energy extends to all planes of nature, including the mentalplane. This makes sense, don't you think? Thought-energy is a powerful energy which certainly has its effects on the mind of oneself and of others.It is being conserved, though the forms it is being expressed throughare being subject to change and transformation.
This principle of nature is not well-known. Yet Plato and Pythagorastaught it in their academies. They stated the hierarchical structureof nature to be a fact. Indeed, we can observe some remarkable examplesin nature and elsewhere that point clearly in this direction:
There are other kingdoms which cannot be elaborated upon now, but may be briefly mentioned. Above the human kingdom there are divine kingdoms (why would the human race be the most evolved species in the universe? It isn't.)
For simplicity I only mention some:
Societies have inherently such a structure. There is a government (which does a good or bad job..), there are states, counties, towns, families and individuals.
Because intellectual knowledge is higher valued than real wisdom, we see the deplorable picture of governments that are not able to really help their people. The accumulated wisdom of all ages is available tho those who want to listen and think it over.. In lit. 1 one can find more about this jewel, which is also called the doctrine of emanations, because hierarchies are a result of emanations from the Spirit (Self) configurating Itself in matter in various degrees or states.
The idea behind this principle is that every being, consciousness,manifests itself in just that form that is in accordance withthe developed qualities of the reimbodying consciousness.Human consciousness takes a human form (body), animal consciousnessreimbodies into an animal, etc.More specifically stated, a horse-consciousness becomes a horse;a rose-consciousness becomes a rose, etc.
This brings up the question of heredity.Materialistic science tells us that the cause for a rose-seed developinginto a rose lies in its genes. Well, to be sure, heredity exists, butit is only a secondary phenomenon. We can ask a question: what are thecauses for a certain pattern of genes to exist? This question can neverbe answered by science as it is now. Theosophy gives some general clueswhen we combine the seven jewels together. At this point I should pointout that there are many questions of detail which require a life-long studyand research. At the end of this document I will provide some keys to beused in this kind of research.
It should be clear by now that this principle reverses the point of visionregarding heredity: heredity is not a cause for our character, but justthe result of our character that we built during ages and ages.Heredity confines itself to the physical aspect of man.
Now, evolution as it is understood by Darwin and his followers concernsitself with the transformation of forms and the survival of the fittest.
Theosophy regards these processes as secondary processes and statesclearly that consciousness is the primary factor in evolution.It doesn't deny a struggle between beings, but points out that thereis actually a lot of cooperation in nature. Indeed, we begin to understand a littlemore of the intricate ecosystems, symbiosis, mimicry, etc.(a nice question for you: why do zebras have black and white stripesthat make them very visible to lions, etc.- certainly not an evolutionaryadvantage for them..)
Evolution means literally, to e-volve, to manifest certainqualities (of consciousness in matter!). No phenomenon is possiblewithout an active, intelligent force. Each phenomenon is evolved from Universal Life-Matter in a long lineof differentiations. At the same time it is Life, involved in Matter.So, we have two concurrent processes, instead of just an emptytransformation of forms as the Darwinists will have us believe.
Now, regarding the term progressive evolution, it is stated thatthere is a gradual development of qualities of consciousness, as can beseen in the different kingdoms of life. Plants are more evolved thanminerals. Animals are more evolved than plants, men are more evolvedthan animals (some people may think differently..). Of course, we seemen often behave like animals (this is a part of our nature) but thereare also many examples of unselfish people who sacrifice their ownlife for others.
Man has evolved the thinking faculty to some degree, animals havethis faculty in a latent condition.
Progressive evolution states that beings in a certain kingdom developtheir consciousness by experience in this world, they reincarnatein the same kingdom until they have reached the limit of possibleexperience in this kingdom. Then these beings can enter the nexthigher kingdom, after a certain period. In this new kingdom theycan evolve higher aspects of consciousness.This fifth jewel is clearly connected with the third one, hierarchies, andthe first one, reincarnation.
In fact all these jewels are indissolubly interconnected.Those who wish to pursue the subject of evolution, as theosophy describes it, further are refered to lit. 2. (online on the web)
For men, it is taught, there are still a lot of aspects of consciousnessthat can be developed. To give two important examples: the facultyof understanding (discernment) and the faculty of inspiration(consciousness of the essential unity of all beings). This is our great task.Nowadays we mostly let control our lives by our lower desires and impulses.Instead, we can use the faculties of Imagination and Will to createa powerful image of Brotherhood, cooperation and peace. This fascinatingsubject is elaborated in part 2 of theosophy basics. It is really a most effectiveway of changing the mental atmosphere (noosphere) on this planet.Plato says: 'Ideas rule the world', and he is right. Of course, we shouldalso perform the necessary actions to help realise our ideals.
All the great Teachers of humanity point out the way out of human misery .This is further elucidated in the next two jewels.
Krishna speaks about the 'pairs of opposites' in the Bhagavad Gita. *1)Mind and Matter are the two poles of manifestation. The interactionof these two poles causes all progress and regress. This, again, isa most profound subject with profound philosophical implications.
We can choose between selfish action or selfless service for the benefitof the whole. Those who act selfishly confine their consciousnessto a very narrow area of existence and experience.
Those who work for the benefit of the world extend their consciousnessto higher planes of consciousness. Of course, this is a gradual process.In Buddhism, there is a teaching about the Path of Compassion. Thosewho work for the benefit of others , who have no feelings of seperatenessfrom others (the greatest heresy in Buddhism) tread this Path( not for themselves, but for others). They refuse Liberation or Nirvanawhen faced with the possibility of acquiring this, because they do not wantit as long as others suffer in misery. They do not desert the poor orphanhumanity. This is the most sublime ethics ever conceived in theentire history of mankind!
What is the origin of all things? How does the One Essence becomesthe manifold? These questions are really most fundamental in philosophy.It refers to the Source of all manifestation.
Is it possible to know the origin of life? Yes, Theosophy answers.In the heart or core of each being Universal Life is to be found.'Thou Art That', the Upanishads say. Every human being can discoverthis Divine Spark inside by gradually evolving higher aspects ofhis/her consciousness. This will result in a realization of the connectednessof all beings. This realization can be called 'enlightenment' and is reallya stepwise, gradual process.
Mark that evolution is the expression of inner faculties of consciousness.It has nothing to do with color of skin, etc.By treading the Path of Compassion, not for one self, but for the whole,one is bound to discover the core or essence of things.
To be realistic, this will take many reincarnations. Of course, this doesn'tmatter, because there is no end to evolution..
The only thing that matters is the right application of the rightunderstanding of the ancient wisdom to daily lifeby using your common-sense.
Some keys for the scientist-philosopher.
The main purpose of all that has been said is to demonstratethe existence of a coherent, consistent philosophy of life,which shows us the rationale for ethical behaviour. Who would beso stupid to hurt his fellowmen when he understands that bydoing so he is really hurting himself? The essential connectednessof all beings is a central theme in this philosophy.
The second purpose of this document is to provide some stimulatingthoughts for those scientists (or people who are really interestedin science) who understand that a synthesis between old religioustruths and science is a possibility.Now, I cannot provide a finished, complete system of deductivemethods of esoteric science. A lot of building blocks are alreadyprovided, however, by Theosophy. A combination of inductive and deductivemethods may be in place for the diverse sciences.
An important principle can be found in the statement:
"nature works along analogical lines". Macrocosmic processes are analogical to microcosmic processes.
The application of the seven jewels of wisdom is possible byusing this masterkey of analogy.
The Hermetic axiom: "As above, so below" is to be appliedin every direction conceivable. A deep study of the third jewel, alongwith the other jewels of course, will yield surprising results, I think.
Also a study of old myths and sacred literature will furnish food fordeep contemplation. H.P. Blavatsky tells us, in the Secret Doctrine,that seven keys of interpretation must be applied to each symboland allegory to fully understand what is meant.
As far as I have been able to establish, these seven keys are: geometrical, numerical (e.g.,Ancient Kabbalah),physiological (& anthropological), physical-chemical, metaphysical,astronomical (& Ancient astrology, now hardly available), and psychological (in the sense of: "Man, know thyself"and thus know nature). Geoffrey Baborka (author of 'The Divine Plan')seems to have researched this question about what these keys are thoroughlyand I may write about his findings in a next update of this article.
This is really a master-project, which none can undertake alone.Nevertheless, I hope some daring minds will take up the challengeof synthesizing religion, science and philosophy into one systemalong the lines sketched. The broad outline of this system is alreadygiven to us by Theosophy. I recently discovered (June, 1996) thatVitvan ] has donesome valuable work in this direction[see introductory note of mine in theosophy corner or link to Kabbalah/Gnosis/Theosophy archive on my homepage].
Science will need to incorporate consciousness as a basic factorinto its system, otherwise it will fail to fulfil its real task:helping people to understand how nature really works, thusmotivating them to act and think according to the principles of thetimeless wisdom hidden in the book of nature; principles which are,to some extent, revealed by Theosophy.
1) Krishna is conceived of as the Logos by the famous BrahminSubba Row, in his ~Notes on the Bhagavad Gita~, Theosophical UniversityPress. Subba Row also analyzes the fundamental misunderstandings thathave crept into Hinduism and Buddhism. Mme Blavatsky and G. De Purucker havedone this too to some extant in their writings, including the misunderstandings that plague Christianity, and other monotheistic religions. Gerald Massey and Alvin Boyd Kuhn have devoted a lifetimeof research pertaining to these matters (especially in connection to the restoration of the original ideas behind the Christian Bible).
Bibliography. [see also a fuller bibl. in theosophy basics, part 2]
Fundamentals of the esoteric philosophy, G. de Purucker.
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2. Man in
evolution, G. de Purucker.
New paradigma regarding evolution
3. More online theosophical books
Tingley manuals on theosophy
A series on some of the main tenets of theosophy