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From The Theosophical Movement
Vol 71. No. 10 - August, 2001

Solomon, son of David and king of Israel in the 10th century B.C., is noted for his wisdom and magnificence, and especially for the temple he is said to have built-"a splendid temple to the Lord, composed of successive courtyards, each one more holy than the next, with the innermost containing the Ark." Yet, little is known about who Solomon really was, and even the very existence of such a personage is being debated by scholars. In Time magazine (April 16) we are told:

Outside of the Bible, there is only the scantest evidence of either King's existence [David and Solomon]. A mere two commemorative inscriptions have been found referring to a "House of David," both from a later period. Solomon's trail is even colder….Few experts believe that the father-and-son team's Unified Kingdom could have stretched, as kings claims, "from the [Euphrates] River…to the border of Egypt." A vocal minority of historians known as biblical minimalists claim that most of Kings was myth concocted hundreds of years later to legitimize a later regime. The minimalists argue that there is no good reason beyond piety to think that Jerusalem in 1000 B.C. was a major city that David and Solomon were anything more than tribal leaders.

And the Temple?…Very few scholars doubt its existence, in part because the testimony to its destruction is son eloquent. By 715 B.C., Jerusalem had indisputably turned into a prosperous capital of a major Judahite kingdom, documentable through both archaeology and written accounts. By 586 B.C., it was rubble….

Whatever of the first Temple may eventually be dug up, its most glorious remnant will not be physical. Scholars quibble over whether what they call ethical monotheism had fully developed before the city's fall or was realized by the Jews only on their return from exile in Babylon. But it was in the Temple, or with the memory of its grandeur tempered by the harsh wisdom of the stateless, that the Jews refined their embrace of a God who was the only God, who involved himself in human history and who wanted his people to do right.

According to a Jewish tradition, says H.P.B., "the stones which were used to build Solomon's temple (an allegorical symbol taken literally and made into an actual edifice) were not chiseled or polished by human hands." In her article "Is Theosophy a Religion?" H.P.B. refers to

the temple of Solomon's wisdom, in building which "there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was building" (I Kings, vi); for this "temple" is made by no human hand, nor built in any locality on earth-but, verily, is raised only in the inner sanctuary of man's heart wherein reigns alone the awakened soul….

[Solomon's] 700 wives and 300 concubines, by the bye, are merely the personations of man's attributes, feelings, passions and his various occult powers: the Kabalistic numbers 7 and 3 showing it plainly. Solomon himself, moreover, being, simply, the emblem of SOL-the "Solar Initiate" or the Christ-Sun, is a variant of the Indian "Vikarttana" (the Sun) shorn of his beams by Viswakarma, his Hierophant-Initiator, who thus shears the Chrestos-candidate for initiation of his golden radiance and crowns him with a dark, blackened aureole-the "crown of thorns." (See The Secret Doctrine for full explanation.) Solomon was never a living man. As described in Kings, his life and works are an allegory on the trials and glory of Initiation.

In Isis Unveiled (II, 391-92) we are further told:

The building of the Temple of Solomon is the symbolical representation of the gradual acquirement of the secret wisdom, or magic; the erection and development of the spiritual from the earthly; the manifestation of the power and splendour of the spirit in the physical world, through the wisdom and genius of the builder. The latter, when he has become an adept, is a mightier king than Solomon himself, the emblem of the sun or Light himself-the light of the real subjective world, shining in the darkness of the objective universe….

In the East, this science is called, in some places, the "seven-storied," in others, the "nine-storied" Temple; every story answers allegorically to a degree of knowledge acquired. Throughout the countries of the Orient, wherever magic and the wisdom-religion are studied, its practitioners and students are known among their craft as Builders-for they build the temple of knowledge, of secret science.

How many people have ever lived on Earth? Demographers are debating the question; but with erroneous data to start with, their calculations are bound to be wide of the mark. To begin with, do they have any idea of when the human race began and what the birthrate and the total population were in bygone ages? This is how the current thinking runs:

Before the invention of agriculture [do they know when that was?] the global population was probably no more than 5 million to 10 million, kept low by the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. By A.D. 1 the population had risen to about 300 million, judging from fragmentary censuses in Rome, China, and the Mediterranean. Applying a high birthrate to that population, we can estimate a total 106 billion humans have been born. The 6.1 billion living at present therefore represent 5.7 percent of all who have lived. Rapid growth in developing countries has caused the global population to soar from just 1.6 billion in 1900, so the percentage currently alive compared with those ever born is actually rising. (Discover, May 2001)

Is the total number of people who have ever lived on Earth really increasing as statisticians assume? Theosophists would word the question a little differently: Is there a varying number of souls or egos belonging to our globe, or is it a fixed quantity? In other words, is a new soul created for every new-born infant? H.P.B. answers this in The Secret Doctrine (II, 302-3). Mr. Judge explains in The Ocean of Theosophy (p.83):

It is true that so far as concerns this globe the number of Egos belonging to it is definite; but no one knows what that quantity is nor what is the total capacity of the earth for sustaining them. The statisticians of the day are chiefly in the West, and their tables embrace but a small section of the history of man. They cannot say how many persons were incarnated on the earth at any prior date when the globe was full in all parts, hence the quantity of egos willing or waiting to be reborn is unknown to the men of today. The Masters of theosophical knowledge say that the total number of such egos is vast, and for that reason the supply of those for the occupation of bodies to be born over and above the number that die is sufficient. Then, too, it must be borne in mind that each ego for itself varies the length of stay in the post-mortem states. They do not reincarnate at the same interval, but come out of the state after death at different rates, and whenever there occurs a great number of deaths by war, pestilence, or famine, there is at once a rush of souls to incarnation, either in the same place or in some other place or race.

At present, most people are engrossed within narrow boundaries, and what they lack most is perception of perspectives. What is needed is right education, which would enable the individual to grow into his or her highest possibilities, not merely physical and mental, but also ethical and spiritual. "Education for character development" is of prime importance today, writes Kireet Joshi in his article under that title in The Advent (April 2001):

In the first place we need to clarify ourselves as to what we mean by education for character development. In simplest terms, character implies well-trained will to be straightforward, fearless and honest, coupled with sincerity to act and even to fight nobly and courageously in order to embody in one's own life and in the life of the society all that is true and all that can foster solidarity and unity.

Character may be considered to have four dimensions, dimension of wisdom, dimension of heroic will, dimension of compassion and universal love, and dimension of competence, chiseled skill and untiring labour.

A well-developed character is an integrated character; it is able to sharpen inborn capacities and potentialities towards their own highest values. A developed character is a developed personality that harmonises the demands of physical education, vital education, emotional education, rational education, aesthetic education, ethical education, and spiritual education.

In our present system of education, all that we have conceived here to be relevant to the development of character is sadly missing. We do not emphasize the development of imagination as much as we emphasize the learning of facts. We do not give importance to the pursuit of truth; we propose only the pursuit of piecemeal assemblage of topics and subjects which are prescribed in our syllabus….Even our thinking on the subject of values which are central to character development is beset with confusion and doubts. Our first necessity is to explore the basic ideas in regard to values, to determine what they mean and what place they can be given and in what way they can be implemented in our system of education…

There is a common understanding in regard to truth, goodness and beauty which can be conceived as the supreme values of life. These three great ideals can guide us in developing all that we have spoken of as character and all that can be considered to be of highest value to integral personality….

Values that we seek in moral and spiritual domain are those of sincerity, faithfulness, obedience to whatever one conceives to be the highest, gratitude, selflessness, freedom from egoism, equality in joy and suffering, in honour and dishonour, in success and failure, pursuit of the deepest and the highest, and of the absolute and the ultimate, and progressive expression of this pursuit in thought, feeling and action.

While in modern India Sanskrit is considered a dead language, in the West there is a growing number of people who look upon it as "fascinating," "a language in which the genius of the human civilization was perfected to its fullest," writes Ajit Kumar Jha in The Express Magazine for June 10. Strange as it might seem, even more than half a century after independence it is actually the Occident that is busy discovering the genius of the Orient.

Ever since 1786 [writes Jha], when Sir William Jones, in a paper presented to the Royal Asiatic Society, in Calcutta, said, "the wonderful structure of the Sanskrit language is more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either," the West has been busy learning for Sanskrit.

According to Professor Richard Gombrich [the present occupant of the Boden Chair in Sanskrit at Oxford], "the reasons for studying Sanskrit today are the same as they ever were: that the vast array of Sanskrit texts preserves for us a valuable part of the cultural heritage of mankind, including much beautiful literature and many interesting, even fascinating, ideas."

The Sanskrit craze has caught up in the U.S. Unlike Britain, and unlike its own past, it is totally demand driven….

The last conference of the International Association of Sanskrit studies held at Turin, in Italy, was an eye-opener. There were a number of Sanskrit scholars from the Eastern European countries, including Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Russia. Unlike the U.S., most of these countries hardly have much of an NRI population. They hardly have any temples. No community funding, no involvement of local populations. Yet, the zeal for Sanskrit continues.

In The Path for May 1886, Mr. Judge prophesied that "the Sanskrit language will one day be again the language used by man upon this earth, first in science and in metaphysics, and later on in common life." It is, he said, a language "which is scientific in all that makes a language, and has been enriched by ages of study of metaphysics and true science." And H.P.B. called it "the most perfect as the most grand of all human languages."

In the article, "Was Writing Known Before Panini?" which appeared originally in The Theosophist for October 1883 (reprinted in THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, May 1965), it was stated:

Everyone sees-cannot fail to see and to know-that for a language so old and so perfect as the Sanskrit to have survived alone, among all languages, it must have had its cycles of perfection and its cycles of degeneration. And, if one had any intuition, he might have seen that what they call a "dead language" being an anomaly, a useless thing in nature, it would not have survived, even as a "dead" tongue, had it not its special purpose in the Reign of immutable Cyclic Laws; and that Sanskrit which came to be nearly lost to the world is now slowly spreading in Europe, and will one day have the extension it had thousands upon thousands of years back-that of a universal language.

In numerous ways the lesson is being driven home to us that the world is one. What happens in one region has repercussions in distant regions.

Often used when talking about trade, the term "global village" takes on a different connotation in the context of the global ecological system, where imbalances in one part of the globe impact on another region. For example, global warming and climate change are believed to be responsible for the increasing severity of storms in Northern Europe. But now cloud physicist Daniel Rosenfeld from Jerusalem's Hebrew University, and meteorologist Hans- Friedrich Graf of Germany's Max Planck Institute have said that the burning of vast tracts of tropical forest in distant corners of the globe-South America, Africa, Thailand and Indonesia-might play a role as well. Fires in these regions are typically set to clear forests for plantations. These fires, sometimes extending over hundreds of square kilometers, unleash huge smoke clouds that produce complex atmospheric effects, including a shift in storm tracks. The presence of a higher concentration of smoke particles in clouds causes water vapour to condense into many minute particles, never becoming large enough to overcome their natural buoyancy and fall to earth as rain. The researchers theorize that such fire-triggered suppression of rainfall initiates a complex chain of atmospheric events, including a shift in storm tracks over the north Atlantic. According to Rosenfeld, a reduction of rainfall in one place will mean an increase in rainfall in another. Along with global warming, this might be another reason for the increase in the severity of storms hitting northern Europe in recent decades. (Sanctuary Asia, February 2001)

New scientific studies have identified the link between changes of mood and the way our immune system responds. Physical, mental and emotional enjoyment and satisfaction, even in small doses, can enhance immune function for hours afterwards, according to new research from ARISE (Associates for Research Into the Science of Enjoyment). Consequently, many of life's small pleasures may have a cumulative effect in boosting the immune system over a longer period. (The Sunday Review, June 3)

One study examined how the immune system responds to happy and guilty memories. Happy thoughts showed a marked improvement in mood and clearly increased immune response, while guilty ones were shown to undermine it. Another study showed that even unpleasant odours modify the amount of secretory immunoglobin-A that is produced, potentially weakening our resistance to any disease.

Study after study has confirmed the direct link between our moods and our state of health.

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