What is the Theosophists' criterion of truth? Do they believe in the Bible as the word of God and in divine revelation?
One of the fundamental teachings of Theosophy is the essential divinity of man and that there is in man the potentiality of godhood. Thus so far as that potentiality becomes actuality, does divine revelation become possible to each man, because of the awakening of the divine in him, and thereby the mirroring in him of the divine in the Universe and of the very nature of Deity. He who reaches this height will attain divine illumination and, as he speaks from the soul, he will give forth an inspired word, for he has so attuned his heart to nature that God can speak through him. As the heart of the flower is a part of the heart of nature and expresses nature's divine word in its beauty of fragrance and color, so as man consciously realizes his oneness with God, will he express God's word in his life through act and speech.
This possibility lies before all men and, from time to time, in the vast periods of the life of humanity, great Teachers and Saviours have arisen who, uttering the divine word, have given birth to the sacred scriptures or bibles of the world, all of which are " The Word of God," in that they contain the true teachings concerning God and Nature and Man and Life.
Slowly the Bible of the race is writ,
Each age, each kindred, adds a verse to it.
Besides the great scriptures such as the Vedas, Upanishads, the Hebrew writings and others, it will be also seen that there are many lesser bibles or writings containing divine truth more or less concealed and, it may be, mixed with error. That which makes the great scriptures truly the bibles of the race, is their universal application to all planes of the life of man and the cosmos, and containing, as was hinted at by Christ, "the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven."
Those who desire to pursue the subject further should study H. P. Blavatsky's great work, "The Secret Doctrine."
But although the whole of visible nature is a mighty scripture — the word of God — although there exist the great bibles, of what value are they unless man can read and understand them? And it is not the mere understanding of the mind that avails, but the understanding of the heart which is born of devotion. Without exception this has been taught by all great teachers of humanity. Jesus said, "If any one will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine." And three thousand years before Christ, Krishna said, "He who is perfected in devotion findeth spiritual knowledge springing up spontaneously in himself in the progress of time."
But while it is true in one sense that the last and final tribunal for each man is himself, his own soul, and that the criterion of truth lies in each man's heart, yet there is another factor that must be taken account of and that is, that no man is separate from his fellows, that the soul is but as a spark of the divine Over-Soul. Thus in a greater degree the final tribunal is the soul of humanity, and greater still, the Over-Soul. That is, as man mirrors more and more of the divine in his heart and attunes his life thereto, so does he find a higher and higher criterion of truth which ultimately must be Truth itself or God. But there is nothing arbitrary or authoritative in this, in the sense that a formula of truth or a dogma is imposed on man with the threat of the penalty of hell for disbelief or for non-conformity thereto. It is rather a growth by which man learns that the spark of light within himself derives its light from that Greater Light which is its source, and thus partakes of the nature of, and is one with, the light within the hearts of all other men.
In this way does it become possible for man to recognize his Teachers, for in nature there is no equality, but a brotherhood of elder and younger. Were it not so, man might well despair of ever attaining the truth or, having once sunk into the depth of ignorance, of ever rising again therefrom.
The revelation that comes to man, in very truth comes through his own heart, but through and by the aid of those who have climbed higher on the stairway of life, and who quicken the spark in his heart, making it glow and become a flame. Were it not for the Elder Brothers of humanity, human evolution could not proceed. Were it not that they come again and again with a divine revelation to strike the keynote of truth for each new age, humanity would sink down into utter darkness. So also the men and women of the world as parts of the human family have a great responsibility toward all their younger brothers and toward all the lower forms of life. For it is through humanity as a whole and the light that it passes on that these lower forms can progress. What a paradise earth would become did man know his power to become veritably in himself and in his life the revealed word of God — or to quote from one of the scriptures, "The word made flesh." — Orion
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Do you believe you go to some other place when you die?
This was a question asked by one of the tourists recently visiting Loma Homestead. The answer given was to the effect that after a period of rest we are born again on earth to take up the thread of life where we laid it down in the last life.
It is curious that the return to earth should form one of the objections of a certain class of enquirers, and that some are willing to accept the teachings of the continuity of life, if only they can think they will go to some other planet. Yet surely, if such people were to stop to think, they would know that in a short period of one existence they cannot possibly learn all the lessons that life on this earth affords. Further, as a matter of strict justice we must reap where we have cast the seed. We are not separate from the life of humanity and are connected not only with the past life of the world but with its future life and are sowing seeds that will bear their harvests here on earth, and therefore must come back to reap them here.
If only men could realize the enormous opportunity that reincarnation gives of making this earth into a heaven, of retrieving all mistakes of the past, of sowing new seed for a future golden harvest; if they could but realize for one moment the explanation it gives to all the inequalities and injustices of life, they would find that as a theory there was none other so reasonable, or full of hope. And if they would study the experiences of life, they would come to see that reincarnation is not a mere theory but one of the facts of nature, and the method of nature by which alone evolution and progress are possible. — J. H. Fussell
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"What then is the universe for, and for what final purpose is man the immortal thinker here in evolution?
It is all for the experience and emancipation of the soul, for the purpose of raising the entire mass of manifested matter up to the stature, nature, and dignity of conscious god-hood. The great aim is to reach self-consciousness; not through a race or a tribe or some favored nation, but by and through the perfecting after transformation, of the whole mass of matter as well as what we now call soul. Nothing is, or is to be, left out. The aim for present man is his initiation into complete knowledge, and for the other kingdoms below him that they may be raised up gradually from stage to stage to be in time initiated also. This is evolution carried to its highest power; it is a magnificent prospect; it makes of man a god, and gives to every part of nature the possibility of being one day the same; there is strength and nobility in it, for by this no man is dwarfed and belittled, for no one is so originally sinful that he cannot rise above all sin." — W. Q. Judge.
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