From our Readers

Today has been a wonderful day and I’d like to share it with you. I was thinking about karma and my situation. Most people who share this home with me say, “This is as bad as it gets!” Others might say it’s “bad karma.” Today I realize karma really is perfect justice, but at the same time I believe karma has a goal: to lead you to your inner God, the divinity within. It is said that through great suffering will come understanding, and those words are absolutely true. Difficult situations like prison open the heart to all the love that exists in the world. Love is said to be an emotion but I think it’s called that for lack of better words. To me love is a sacred force that, if properly understood, would make universal brotherhood a living reality. Love is manifest everywhere. Even when pain and suffering are all around us, love still finds a way to shine through. I think love has her arms wrapped around me right now. So again, is this good or bad karma or perfect justice shining its light on the “Way” to the inner God? I can honestly say that because of my situation I am happy today. — Timothy Foley, New Jersey


I read the Winter issue of Sunrise and liked very much the article about Muslims. I had almost the same experience when I traveled to Jordan. The people there are very content and friendly, and they respect others’ beliefs — but only if you respect theirs too.

Petra, Jordan    Petra, Jordan

When I went to Petra, our driver wanted to show us another place called “little Petra.” Once we got there and he started to explain its history, two Bedouins arrived. After some discussion with our driver, they asked if we would like them to show us a very beautiful view. After thirty minutes of climbing we reached the top. The scenery was perfect. It was almost sunset, absolute silence, and we could see shapes made by the edges of the mountain. For the first time I could hear the sound of silence. Then suddenly one of the men took a very small metal flute out of his pocket and started to play. It was magic, listening to the echo of the flute and the music. I felt completely one with nature.


When we came down from the mountain I tried to give the men some money — they were very poor people — to thank them. They were very embarrassed and told me that they did it for pleasure, not for money. I asked them to forgive me, and we ended up at their tent with their family, ten of us drinking tea and listening to poems from our “guide” — his poets — and talking about poetry, nature, and religion. — Sisi Galanopoulou, Greece


Mahayana literally means “great vehicle,” and Hinayana “lesser vehicle,” but in practice one vehicle naturally leads to another. Through the process of awakening you come to feel compassion for your fellow sentient beings, and this compels you to teach and thereby enter into the greater vehicle. Seeking liberation from cyclic existence necessarily motivates one to seek liberation for all — eventually. With nonattachment we overcome our lower selves. This also tempers our resolve for the supreme maneuver of nonattachment to godlike realms. Still, liberation is ultimate or total freedom, and there is no freedom in attachment, which also includes attachment to the well-being and liberation of others.

True love and compassion are not human emotions. They run deeper than that. They are practical movements of naturally reciprocating energy, and when we align ourselves with those currents there is perfect balance and unspeakable bliss.

Sacrifice of self is not giving up our individuality. Rather, it is shattering the mirror of self-reflection. When we stop interpreting ourself, constantly explaining ourselves to ourself with an inner dialogue, we find oneness and silent knowledge that transcends words and duality. — Laurence Sunderland, Texas


I would like to share my enthusiasm for the magazines from the early days of the Theosophical Society that Theosophical University Press recently put online [at]. After reading a few articles in Volume 1 of The Path I found so many gems of thought that I longed to read more and more of them. Even when the titles did not seem to resonate with what typically appeals to me, I found myself reading some two and three times because of the thoughts they contained. I also found that, a few outdated terms aside, they read very much like anything written today would; some of them almost poetically so.

I believe these articles have the stamp of their editor, co-founder of the Theosophical Society William Q. Judge, and bring a fresh insight to things even over 100 years later. The Path was founded by Judge in 1886 and continued till his death in 1896. Many topics and themes are timeless, and those which relate to specific events of the day are insightful in a firsthand manner.

Having barely finished Volume 1, I quickly recommended to a couple friends that they read this material online. I am looking forward to reading further volumes, and exploring the other three magazines now available as photographic reproductions in searchable PDF format: Theosophy (1896-1897), Universal Brotherhood (1897-1899), and Universal Brotherhood Path (1900-1903). — Scott Osterhage, Washington

(From Sunrise magazine, Spring 2007; copyright © 2007 Theosophical University Press)

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Karma is not a punishment but the path through which experience is gained and truth revealed, and it relies as much on the present and future as it does on
the past. — Shawn Hawk