Monday, 30 September 2019

Top 25 posts of all time / 5th anniversary

To celebrate our 5th anniversary of blogging, we present a rough compilation of the 25 most visited posts. It is difficult for a blog to get noticed on the busy internet highways, and so we are grateful for the somewhat greater than average attention these posts have gotten, for reasons that are often due to chance, or at least not easy to understand. The main factor, is due to a topic choice that finds a certain response, and it is often due to the kind efforts of people who have shared these posts on their networks, of which we are thankful. Our astrology posts especially have benefited from this and, if included on this list, would account for about a dozen of the top spots. Some posts have even carved a hard-earned prime position on various search engines, which is more than could be hoped for such a modest enterprise. Many thanks for all the people who have visited our humble blog, we hope our posts have been useful to you. We hope to continue to offer diverse and quality posts of a theosophical nature on a weekly basis.


1-Blavatsky on Sufism / Sufi Wisdom

2-Theosophy basics: Blavatsky on the number seven

3-Plato's Four Arguments for the Immortality of the Soul from the Phaedo part 1


4-Theosophy Basics: Gupta Vidya, Atma Vidya, Brahma Vidya

5-Blavatsky's translation of Leo Tolstoy's The Imp and the Crust (1889)


6-Through the Gates of Gold, Chapter 1, The Search for Pleasure, part 7


7-The Secret Doctrine - The Introduction Section

8-10 Theosophical books that changed the 20th Century


9-The Mahabharata and the Iliad compared - a symbolic interpretation

10-Introduction to Gnosticism: The Pistis Sophia, part 1 (Blavatsky)


11-The Kabbalah on Reincarnation 1/5


12-The 8 Confucian Virtues


13-The 12 Most Important Ethical-Moral Philosophy Writings of All-Time


14-Jean-Marie Ragon on Universal Masonry and Brother/Sisterhood


15-Blavatsky on Astrology 2: Capricorn 

16-12 Theosophical Books that Changed the World


17-The spiritual meaning of St-John's Day / Midsummer Day / the Summer Solstice 


18-Book Review: Masters of Wisdom: The Mahatmas, Their Letters, and the Path - Edward Abdill 


19-The Golden Rule in 20 World Religions


20-Persian-Iranian Wisdom - The Javidan Khirad


21-The Spiritual Meaning of Easter 1


22-The Mahatma Letters on Compassion


23-Blavatsky Interview - Paris, 1884

24-Blavatsky on the Tao and Taoism


25-Gauri Viswanathan on the Mahatma Letters

Friday, 20 September 2019

Astrology: Fall Equinox, September 23, 2019

Dazed and Confused 

This is the last quarter before the year 2020 which begins with a momentous Saturn-Pluto conjunction and ends with an epochal Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, marking the beginning of a new era. The Fall Equinox chart is very similar to the Summer Solstice chart, only more intense. We have two fairly difficult T-Squares, but the oppositions on both also form a Triangle of Potential, which help balance things and make them easier to deal with. See Summer Solstice post:
Conspiracy Theories (Mars-Jupiter-Neptune T-Square)
This aspect can bring unrealistic, deluded views and can foster extremist, fanatical tendencies. It can even lead to foul play, slander and fraud. Religious fanaticism could be an issue (Jupiter in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces). For example, there is a fanciful New Age prediction of an imminent collective shift of consciousness that is quite popular on the Internet. As always, vigilance and discrimination is encouraged.
With the Triangle of Potential, the situation is helped with a perseverent, productive, respectful attitude and a sense of dedication to just causes (Saturn/Pluto sextile Neptune, Mars trine Saturn). There could be nit-picking over details (Mars in Virgo). One also tends to have high energy, ambition and enthusiasm, but with a domineering tendency (Mars Conjunct Sun).
Failure to Connect (Moon-Mercury/Venus-Saturn T-square)
Although there is a general feeling of friendliness and social graces (Mercury/Venus conjunction), there is an underlying insecurity and fear of rejection. There is also a tendency for anxiety, harsh speech, and a general sense of inhibition, shyness and frustration in relationships. This can lead to a tendency for emotional manipulation and impulsive sexual initiatives.
The Triangle of Potential brings a sense of close family ties, a practical idealism and an effective assertiveness to help balance things. (Moon trine Neptune, Saturn sextile Neptune) Moreover, there is another key aspect for both T-Squares which can bring an outgoing, supportive, sympathetic attitude and an articulate, philosophical outlook to help balance things (Venus/Mercury sextile Jupiter).

With Pluto and Saturn opposite Cancer, lots of retrograde planets, two eclipses, and some difficult Mars aspects, the Summer may have been quite challenging. With the Fall season, the year ends in an interesting way with the year's two main aspects (Saturn sextile Neptune and Jupiter square Neptune) at their most intense.  Therefore, on the one hand, we have a strong tendency for delusion and deception, fueled by extremism and fanaticism. On the other hand, there can be strong feelings of insecurity, alienation and anxiety, which can lead to manipulation and rejection. However, there are some strong, friendlier, well-placed aspects that can provide the key to providing productive resolutions of underlying issues. A T-Square is an intense, high energy aspect, and along with the Triangles of Potential, which bring positive, constructive attitudes, there is a distinct opportunity for resolving issues that can lead to personal transformation, in the sense that underlying issues can be better resolved if a catalyzing situation causes them to be brought out in the open, so they can be identified and examined.
In the last two years, I've been focusing on the aftermath of the strong revolutionary energies (the 7 Uranus - Pluto squares) which lead to rebuilding and re-organizing for a new phase. However, this re-building process has probably been rather slow and sluggish and probably won't gain steam until the end of the rocky year which 2020 promises to be. Once the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction occurs at the end of 2020, things should start to move forward in a big way, as a new decade and 20-year cycle begins in a phase of Jupiterian optimism.

Friday, 13 September 2019

A Mumukshus Daily Life

Mumukshu is a Sanskrit term for one who is focused on attaining liberation, and a seeker of knowledge and truth. This article was adapted as part of ‘’Some Practical Suggestions for Daily Life’’, which appeared in Theosophical Siftings Vol. 3 and later became part of a popular little booklet with Blavatsky’s ‘’Practical Occultism’’.

T H E following are some of the hints given me by one whom, of  all human beings, I revere most, about the rules which should  guide an aspirant after truth in his daily life. By this I do not mean to back these rules by his authority, but I request my brothers to take them for w hat they are w orth. My object in writing this is the same as that expressed in the following lines:
If I am right, thy grace impart, 
Still in the right to stay ;
If I am wrong, O teach my heart, 
To find the better way. 

“Rise at four in the morning. Rise as soon as you awake, without lying idly in bed, rolling about, half waking and half dream­ing. Then earnestly pray that all mankind may be spiritually regenerated; that those who are struggling on the path of truth may be encouraged by your prayers and work more earnestly and successfully; and that you may be strengthened and not  yield to the seduction of the senses. Choose a clean spot somewhat distant from your house, and having answered the calls of nature, cleanse your teeth. Then retire to a quiet place in your house, and having saluted Ganesa and your master, do as follows.

If you are a Raja yogi, picture before your mind’s eye the form of your master as engaged in Samadhi; or of some god whose image you have seen frequently. Fix it before you, fill in all the details, circle him thrice and prostrate yourself before him; then worship  him as you would your household god; having prostrated again,  pray that all mistakes of omission and commission might be forgiven (all this mentally, of course). This will greatly facilitate concentration, purify your heart and do much more. Or reflect upon the defects of your character; thoroughly realise their evils and the transient pleasures they give you, and firmly will that you should try your best not to yield to them the next time. This self-analysis and bringing yourself before the bar of your own conscience facilitates in a degree hitherto undreamt of your spiritual progress.

Or if you practice Yoga, do so, but in practising restraint of breath, do not allow your mind to wander on any other subject, but fix it on any p art of your body, as for example on one of the lotuses. This concentration can also be practised without restraint of breath. Bathe afterwards, exercising during the whole time your will, that your moral impurities should be washed away with those of your body. This is effected in the case of Brahmins by the sprinkling of the magnetised water over them before bathing, and by the Purusha Sukta and other mantras pronounced while bathing; but they should do this with a knowledge of their meaning and their effects. Then wearing a silk cloth or one that was not touched by others since it was dried, perform your Sandyavandanam . Many do not know the immense spiritual truths contained in it and the incalculable good it would do them. Perform it properly and with a knowledge of its esoteric significance, and it forms a yogic practice in itself. You may then enter upon your daily avocations.

In your relations with others observe the following rules : 
1. Never do anything which you are not bound to do as your duty, that is, any unnecessary thing. Before you do a thing, think whether it is your duty to do it. 
2. Never speak an unnecessary word. Think of the effects which your words would produce, before you give utterance to them. Never allow yourself to violate your principles by the force of your company. 
3. Never allow any unnecessary or vain thought to occupy your mind. This is easier said than done. You cannot make your mind a blank all at once. So in the beginning try to prevent evil or idle thoughts, by occupying your mind with the analysis of your own faults or the contemplation of the perfect ones. 
4. During meals, exercise your will that the food which you take should be properly digested and build for you a body consonant to your spiritual aspirations, and not create evil passion and wicked thoughts. The five oblations to the five Pranas which are offered before eating, the rule enjoined that we should not speak during our meals and that every mouthful should be taken after pronouncing one of the sacred names of Vishnu, effect this in the case of the Brahmins. 

Eat only when you are hungry and drink when you are thirsty and never otherwise. If some particular preparation attracts your palate, do not allow yourself to be seduced into taking it simply to gratify that craving. Think that the pleasure which you derive from it had no existence some seconds  before, and it will cease to exist some seconds afterwards; that  it is a transient pleasure ; that that which is a pleasure now, will turn into pain if you take it in large quantities; that it gives pleasure only to your tongue ; that if you are put to a great trouble to  get at that thing ; that, if you allow yourself to be seduced by it, you will not be ashamed at anything to get it ; that while there is another object that can give you eternal bliss, this centering your affections on a transient thing is sheer folly; that you are neither  the body nor the sense, and as such, the pleasures or the pains which these enjoy can never affect you really, and so on. Practise the same train of reasoning in the case of every other temptation, and though you will fall often, you will effect a surer success.

Do not read much. If you read ten minutes, reflect for as m any hours. Habituate yourself to solitude, and to remain alone with your thoughts. Accustom yourself to the thought that no one beside yourself can assist you and wean away your affections from al things gradually. Bathe in the evening after you come home from your labours (this is said only of those whose health would allow them — I. N .). Before you sleep pray as you did in the morning.  Review the actions of the day, see wherein you have failed, and resolve that you will not fail in them to-morrow.” 

Iswar Nisna , B. A ., F. T. S
(The Theosophist  v.10,  n. 119,pp.  647-649)