The study of Theosophy soon begins to open the doors to the treasures of the Ancient Wisdom within Philosophy and Religion. They can help us to solve some of the riddles of psychology, particularly the nature of fear. It is impossible to experience desire without co-equally experiencing fear. Desire for the objects that attract our senses, including our thirst for existence, is accompanied by fear for the impending loss of whatever it is that we may have attained. Some mistakenly try to punish or kill out their inherent capacity to desire, and to fear.
Every major Religion or Spiritual Philosophy draws its adherents to the ideal of the Spiritual Path or Way. It is the Tao, or Way, “Strait is the Gate and narrow is the Way”, and the “Way, the truth and the light” of Christianity, the Path and Way of Hinduism and of Buddhism, the Way of Sufism, and so on. The same Path is described under many names, and like Nature is an aspect of life and cannot belong to any one Religion or Philosophy alone. Many have explored the Path directly, and many are preparing. The most succinct explanation of the Path, though the same ideas permeate all the great Religions and Philosophies, may be found in the teaching of the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, the last of which contains the Noble Eight-Fold Path: Right Belief, Right Thought, Right Speech Right Action, Right Means of Livelihood, Right Exertion, Right Memory, Right Meditation. We could say much about each of these, and many insights are certainly found in the Theosophical classics, ‘At The Feet Of The Master’, ‘Voice Of The Silence’, ‘Light On The Path’ and ‘The Masters And The Path’, which broadly describe the stages of preparation, the beginning of the Path, and beyond.
However, in discussions about the spiritual Path, an oft-quoted phrase from Jiddu Krishnamurti, or K, is that “Truth is a pathless land”, so I was intrigued to read the full speech. I found, perhaps not surprisingly, that it contains many Theosophical ideas which yet allude to the ideal of the one spiritual Path. His words are couched in quite strong phrases on first reading, particularly the opening paragraph, though we may note that the statements of past Religious reformers may be perceived as equally bold, unconditional and challenging. If we take some of the expressions attributed to Jesus, for instance, such as that he requires mercy—or love—and not sacrifice (Matt 9: 9-13), or to be perfect as the Father in Heaven is perfect (Matt 5:48), we find that each of these Truths are difficult to ignore, are not easily resolved, and whose meaning requires a much deeper understanding.
As we approach the festive season of Easter, following the Mystery Drama begun at Christmas, one cannot help but to think not only of the great world teacher known as Jesus, the Christ, (meaning ‘the Anointed One’) (1), but also of that great act of sacrifice undertaken by Mary in becoming the mother of the Son of God. It was she who stood by Jesus from a very young age, accompanied him through all of his tribulations and victories, and stood with him throughout his era of teaching and ultimate sacrifice. The joy of the Christmas birth, like most births, naturally passes from the community to the new-born child and to the parents. Our festive season pays full homage to Jesus and eternal gratitude to God, the Father. The word ‘God’ means many things to many people and we may define it here in the Pantheistic sense, as that divine essence within, and underlying, all life. However, there is often the impression that Mary, the mother, is somehow less significant beyond the actual birth, and, one who barely receives acknowledgment as a steadfast witness and support in the final victory of life over matter.
Comment on the New Scientist ‘God’ issue, 17 March 2012 .
After reading the articles in New Scientists coverage of the recent ‘God’ issue, there arose the not unnatural feeling that in fleeing the dogmatism of Religion we may perhaps be running into the waiting arms of a manipulative and dogmatic Scientism. Within the editorial “To rule out god, first get to know him”, is stated; “Secularists would also do well to recognise the distinction between the “popular religion” that comes easily to people’s minds and the convoluted intellectual gymnastics that is theology. Attacking the latter is easy but will do little to undermine religion’s grip.” And further; “Religion is deeply etched in human nature and cannot be dismissed as a product of ignorance, indoctrination or stupidity. Until secularists recognise that, they are fighting a losing battle.”
Is it simply a matter of attempting to ‘undermine religion’s grip’, or ‘fighting’ a ‘battle’, as the article suggests? Or can the scientific method be applied without the expectation of a final result, so that each individual can judge for themselves whether they have understood what is true. Or are we replacing the authority of the titles and robes of the priests, monks and gurus of Churchianity with the authority of the titles and lab coats of the researchers and administrators of Scientism?
Appetites Of Atheists
Science could certainly do more to understand Religion as much as Religion could do more to understand Science. In the article “In Atheists We Distrust”, it is not only John Locke who feels that Atheists are untrustworthy. Thomas More made a similar comment through his text of “Utopia”, many years earlier, when he wrote; “for there is no doubt to be made that a man who is afraid of nothing but the law, and apprehends nothing after death, will not scruple to break through all the laws of his country, either by fraud or force, when by this means he may satisfy his appetites.”