6 Great Teaching From SouthIndian Spirituality
When I went to South India, I had the opportunity to discover the Theosophical Society in Chennai.
Theosophy is a kind of philosophy, which aims to bring spirituality through human lives, and wishes to go beyond discrepancies between main religions. This wisdom is based on Hindu ideas of karma and reincarnation.
The Society stands for complete freedom in individual spiritual search and belief.
The Theosophical Society has a wonderful bookshop - the Adyar Library. No book from there can be found elsewhere, the publishers are indeed The Theosophical Publishing House of Chennai. The library itself, especially for book-lovers, should be worth visiting the Society!
Here is an abstract of what one can find and understand there:
"Theosophy is a body of ideas coming from religions and philosophies of India, China, Egypt, Greece, Palestine and Arabia. Some of its wisdom also comes from the discoveries of scientists of the past and present.
Theosophy is not presented as a religion or dogma, it is not offered for belief, but for examination and judgment."
Then, what are the main tenets of Theosophy?
* The Universe is ruled by the expression of the Consciousness
"Every event has happened according to certain laws inherent to the Universe. The laws are the expression of Consciousness. This fundamental reality is so far beyond our grasp, which sages and saints have shown by contradictory terms. Many have called it "God", some "laws", some "heaven", some "evolution".
In Theosophy, each man according to its temperament and experience, must determine how he will regard the Consciousness.”
So yes, Theosophy says there is a God, but it lets everyone call it the way they want. God can have a different name, appearance and origin, depending on people.
* The nature of God resides in every man and woman
“We are not these bodies that perish, they are only garments we wear for a while and cast aside. We are immortal souls. The perfection of God dwells in us also. But we are unconscious of our divine nature till we awaken it."
* The soul of a man is immortal, and its growth has no limit
"Our birth is as the entrance into a workshop or a laboratory, where by work we wholly unfold our faculties. But it is not possible to realize our divine nature in only one lifetime. So we reincarnate again and again.
After a rest in heaven, growing by realizing the joys we had planned but did not achieved, we return to birth again, more purified, stronger, wiser, to work again, so as to become more expert in thoughts, feelings and actions."
* Men and women’s lives are ruled by Karma
"As we live and act, sometimes we succeed, sometimes we fail. We do good and we do evil, guided either by altruism or selfishness. When we do evil, we create discord in the universal harmony, and we must restore it. The evil we did must be balanced by new good, the good we did must be reshaped to reach a more far-reaching good.
This process is called Karma. It is the law of readjustment which a man puts into operation in every one of his thoughts, words and deeds.
Each man is his absolute lawgiver, the dispenser of glory and gloom to himself, the decreer of his life, reward and punishment."
* Since all souls are divine, all souls are equal
"There are no young souls or old ones, but only brothers. In spite of every difference, of age, capacity, environment, race, creed, sex, colour or whatever can be found, all men form an invisible brotherhood.
It also extends to all animals, or plants, even elements as mountains and seas. We grow through our unity with all things. The divine nature, which is latent in them as it is in us, helps our inherent divinity to step forth in its beauty."
* There are two central mysteries: the mystery of God and the mystery of Man
"All that we postulate concerning God, in terms of goodness, holiness, truth and beauty, reside in man. Religion, philosophy, art, sciences, philanthropy are channels along which the divine nature descends upon us to reveal its beauty. And our human nature ascends to divinity by growing in the virtues and capacities associated with these channels.
Theosophy means the wisdom of God. This understanding is the heritage of every soul. But a man will possess it only as he learns to be a brother to all that lives. Who acts lovingly will inevitably come to Wisdom."
Additional explanations from C. Jinarajadasa, International President of the Theosophical society (1946-1953):
"A time will come, though you and I will see it only in our next incarnation, when the curses called competition and the struggle for life, which dog the footsteps of mankind today, will have been seen as evil dreams of the night.
You and I are working to create that new day's light and that happiness for all, when there shall be no distinction of race, creed, sex and colour; when men know and rejoice in the only fact of their earthly bodies, that happiness is within themselves, that the way to salvation starts from their own hearts, and that they need no temple or priest of book to show them the road.
For they will have discovered the way, the truth, the life and the joy are inseparable from the essential nature of every man, woman, and child."
C. Jinarajadasa, International President of the Theosophical society (1946-1953)
Annie Besant was a great figure of the Theosophical society at the beginning of the 20th century. She was a British social reformer, campaigner for women's rights and a supporter of Indian nationalism. As a member and later leader of the Theosophical Society, Annie Besant helped to spread Theosophical beliefs around the world, notably in India.