The "Call of the Time" group-a world forum instituted
by the Brahma Kumaris-met in New York this September for a week
of presentation and workshops. Their closing Declaration on the
"Inner State and the Outer State of the World" makes
some salient points. It states among other things:
It is becoming increasingly evident that the "outer state"
of the world is just the minor image of the "inner state"
of its citizens. As the inner is the outer, this calls for new
solutions to world problems-solutions whose point of departure
must be the transformation of the mind, soul, heart, values and
beliefs. The limits of "manipulating the outer" have
been reached, notwithstanding the importance of many outer elements
of our lives. Thus, if peace is to be attained, we must start
with inner peace. If social coherence is to be achieved, inner
coherence is the point of departure. If crime is to be eliminated,
we must eradicate crime from our minds. If world stability is
needed, we must start by inner stability. We cannot offer the
"supermarket solutions" to the world problem any longer.
Peace will not be sold in these markets.
The inner solutions are holistic and all-embracing and, therefore,
when we easily assert our rights we cannot fail in accepting
our corresponding responsibilities. When technology enables us
to amplify and broadcast the cries of the world's people, it
must also help us listen to people. When we act in response to
our individual interest, we must also be deeply concerned with
the collective (or public) interest-the needs of others. When
we strive for material prosperity, we must also strive for spiritual
The key responsibility and fundamental need is to change ourselves
first. Change will start when we focus on our inner transformation.
This is a very concrete and practical guide to changing the state
of the world in which we live
.On the personal front, we
gave to reach towards the highest values and a deep respect for
life in its several forms. We must love and respect each and
every one and enliven our own lives, for example, with the cultural
and ethnic diversity that is with us on this planet. Inner transformation
and outer transformation are part of the same wheel of life in
all its forms and manifestations, including economics, finance
and development. (Purity, October 2000)
In brief, we are the architects of our own future. We are
all interconnected in a global community of seekers of common
interests. World leaders are so preoccupied with the outer state
of the world that the inner state of the individuals making up
that world is hardly ever thought of. The needed transformation
is within our reach and we cannot afford to miss this opportunity.
It is now matter of common knowledge that sleep is not just
an interval of quiet rest, but is filled with intense mental
activity. Research over the past several years has led scientists
to new findings on the function of sleep. The latest among the
theories is that sleep can improve memory and enhance learning.
Some experts say the findings are "stunning," others
are unconvinced; yet the dispute has created quite a stir in
the scientific community. (The Sunday Times, London)
The latest research comes from a team led by Pierre Maquet
at the University of Liege, in Belgium, using a Pet scanner to
monitor brain activity before and during sleep. The volunteers
were taught to perform a computer task before going to sleep.
It was found that their skill improved after a night's sleep.
What is more, while the volunteers were sleeping their brains
showed patterns of activity very similar to those when they were
awake and performing the keyboard task. This may be evidence,
say the researchers, that sleep plays a role in strengthening
Similar studies were carried out in America by Robert Stickgold,
a psychiatrist, at Harvard Medical School, and the results were
almost identical to those of the Belgian studies. To find out
exactly what part of the sleep cycle was important, the student
volunteers were monitored in a sleep laboratory. Sleep researchers
recognize two main types of sleep-rapid eye movement (REM) sleep,
so called because of the flickering eye movements taking place
(which is mainly when we dream), and the deeper kind called "slow
wave" sleep. The study showed that students performed best
only when allowed to have both during the course of a night.
Other researchers say that it is really the "slow-wave"
sleep or deep sleep that is essential for learning.
Professor Stickgold believes his research provides more proof
that the brain is tracing out memories as we sleep, strengthening
them overnight. Anyone trying to learn a skill, he says, "really
needs a good sleep after intensive studying or training."
Although the research is far from complete, there are many who
believe the findings hold important clues to the role of sleep.
Theosophy has always asserted that the states of consciousness
during sleep are an extension of the waking state. Consciousness
continues to function in the dream state and in the dreamless
state. Freed from the trammels of the senses and organs, the
consciousness assimilates the experiences of the waking state
and gains the benefits and knowledge of Sushupti or deep
Scientists are so preoccupied with the theory that it is certain
structures in the brain that are reactivated during sleep, that
the nature and function of real sleep activity remains
terra incognita to them. The key to what is still an unsolved
mystery to science is knowledge of man's dual nature-the existence
of an immortal Ego, the inner man (not to be confused with the
Higher Self), which acts independently during the sleep of the
body. The dim recollection we might have of experiences of this
inner man during the hours of sleep becomes more or less distorted
by our physical memory at the moment of awakening.
Research into the relationship between sight and sound is
continuing apace. A new study shows that sound can help direct
visual attention. Dr. John J. McDonald and his colleagues report
in the British journal Nature (October 19) the results
of their study at the University of California at San Diego.
People were more accurate at detecting a flash of light when
a sound was produced at the same location, suggesting that sound
can help direct visual attention. It will be interesting to see,
say the researchers, what happens to the ability to pay attention
when one of the senses does not function as well as it should,
as in a person who is blind or hearing impaired. They also noted
that research into the relationship between sight and sound could
affect the way we look at people with attention disorders-those
who have a hard time paying attention. In some people, the researchers
say, the problem may stem from hearing or sight deficits, or
in relating sight and sound together.
The many ramifications of the sight-sound relationship are
now receiving due attention. Many sensitive people see a colour
for every sound. "It is sound which produces the colour,
and not the opposite," says H.P.B. ("Occult Vibrations,"
The Path, June 1893). In Transactions of the Blavatsky
Lodge (p.44), she further explains:
In the Eastern philosophy, the sense of sound is the fast
manifested, and next the sense of sight, sounds passing into
colours. Clairvoyants can see sounds and detect every note and
modulation far more distinctly than they would by the ordinary
sense of sound-vibration, or hearing
.Such vibrations can
be seen at a greater distance than they can be heard
One sense must certainly merge at some point into the other.
So also sound can be translated into taste. There are sounds
which taste exceedingly acid in the mouths of some sensitives,
while others generate the taste of sweetness; in fact the whole
scale of senses is susceptible of correlations
The senses are interchangeable once we admit correlation.
Moreover they can all be intensified or modified very considerably.
You will now understand the reference in the Vedas and
Upanishads, where sounds are said to be perceived.
The notion that tiny creatures like parasites are an immensely
dominant force might seem disturbing to many. Scientists are
just beginning to discover exactly how powerful these hidden
inhabitants (August 2000) prints an article adapted from Carl
Zimmer's Parasite Rex, which gives an inkling of the role
Scientists have no idea of the exact number of species of
parasites, but they do know one fact: Parasites make up the majority
of species on Earth. Parasites can take the form of animals,
including insects, flatworms, and crustaceans, as well as protozoa,
fungi, plants and viruses and bacteria. By one estimate, parasites
may outnumber free-living species four to one. Indeed, the study
of life is, for the most part, parasitology.
Most of the past century's research on parasites has gone
into trying to fight the ones that cause devastating illness
in humans, such as malaria, AIDS, and tuberculoses. But otherwise,
parasites have largely been neglected. Scientists have treated
them with indifference, even contempt, viewing them as essentially
hitchhikers on life's road. But recent research reveals that
parasites are remarkably sophisticated and tenacious and may
be as important to ecosystems as the predators at the top of
the food chain. Some castrate their hosts and take over their
minds. Others completely shut down the immune systems of their
hosts. Some scientists now think parasites have been a dominant
force, perhaps the dominant force, in the evolution of
As scientists discover more and more parasites and uncover
the extent and complexity of their machinations, they are fast
coming to an unsettling conclusion: Far from simply being along
for the ride, parasites may be one of nature's most powerful
and may shape an entire region's ecology.
Even after Copernicus took Earth out of the centre of the
universe and Darwin took humans out of the centre of the living
world, we still go through life pretending that we are exalted
above other animals. Yet we know that we, too, are collections
of cells that work together, kept harmonized by chemical signals.
If an organism can control those signals-an organism like a parasite-then
it can control us. And therein lies the peculiar and precise
horror of parasites.
All this goes to show that even the most inconspicuous and
primitive of organisms has its place and function-beneficial
or otherwise-in the scheme of things. Scientists are realizing
that their idea of how even physical nature really works needs
revision. That there is more to nature than just its physical
side is still beyond their ken.
Recent archaeological finds go to show that Asians were technologically
advanced long before what is known as the "modern"
age commenced. The evidence comes from the discovery by Chinese
and American palaeoanthropologists of thousands of sophisticated
stone-cutting tools in a region of southern China called the
Bose basin. The tools have been dated to the time of a large
meteorite impact 803,000 years ago. The significance of the find,
says excavation co-leader Richard Potts of the Smithsonian Institution,
is the date. Until now, he says, it was believed that Africans
made sophisticated tools long before East Asians; but now that
theory has been turned upside down.
The Sunday Review, October 15)
Those who know have ever maintained that civilization has
proceeded from the east westward.
Is today's young generation "going up in smoke"?
A recent WHO survey of 13-15-year-olds says that one in five
school-children in developing countries smokes. Nearly 25 per
cent of them started the habit before the age of 10. More than
half, and in some countries almost 90 per cent of them, wished
to stop the habit, and two-thirds had actually tried to do so
in the 12 months before the survey. (India Today, October
According to another study, reported in the American Journal
of Pediatrics, teen-agers who smoke cigarettes may damage
more than their lungs. They are four times more likely than non-smokers
to develop symptoms of depression. The study concludes that nicotine
and other by-products of cigarette smoke have a depressive effect
on the central nervous system.
The WHO report mentions that tobacco companies are now targeting
developing countries as the anti-smoking lobby gets more vociferous
in the industrialized nations.
The dangers of smoking, mental, moral and physical, and the
millions of teen-agers who are getting addicted, are of little
concern to the tobacco companies out to make a profit. Teen-age
smoking, like alcohol drinking, is but a symptom of the underlying
malaise of our age. It is one of several signs that all is not
well with the form of civilization we are evolving.
Tobacco prohibition, however, is not the answer. Unless we
go to the root of the problem it would only lead to some worse
form of indulgence and increase the consumption of alcohol and
sedative drugs. The right policy is educational.
As H.P.B. said: "Educate! Educate!! The children are
HUMANITY only seems to progress in achieving one discovery
after the other, as in truth, it only finds that which it had
lost. Most of our modern inventions for which we claim such glory,
are, after all, things people were acquainted with three and
four thousand years back. Lost to us through wars, floods and
fire, their very existence became obliterated from the memory
of man. And now modern thinkers begin to rediscover them once