The devastation wreaked by the recent earthquake in Gujarat
has once again aroused speculation about the cause of such calamities.
While scientists attribute them to physical causes, Theosophy
has this to say:
It is absolutely false, and but an additional demonstration
of the great conceit of our age, to assert (as men of science
do) that all the great geological changes and terrible convulsions
have been produced by ordinary and known physical forces.
For these forces were but the tools and final means for the accomplishment
of certain purposes, acting periodically, and apparently mechanically,
through an inward impulse mixed up with, but beyond their material
nature. There is a purpose in every important act of Nature,
whose acts are all cyclic and periodical. But spiritual Forces
having been usually confused with the purely physical, the former
are denied by, and therefore, have to remain unknown to Science,
because left unexamined. (The Secret Doctrine, I, 640)
The Secret Doctrine (I , 644) also states: "It
is a law of occult dynamics that 'a given amount of energy expended
on the spiritual or astral plane is productive of far greater
results than the same amount expended on the physical objective
plane of existence'." And W.Q. Judge says in The Ocean
Man is a great dynamo, making, storing and throwing out energy,
and when masses of men composing a race thus make and distribute
energy, there is a resulting dynamic effect on the material of
the globe which will be powerful enough to be distinct and cataclysmic.
Occult philosophy holds that all the forms of major cataclysms
are manifestations of electrical and magnetic changes, proceeding
under the rule of cyclic laws. "Not only is man ruled by
these laws, but every atom of matter as well, and the mass of
matter is constantly undergoing a change at the same time with
man. It must therefore exhibit alterations corresponding to those
through which the thinker is going." The effects of these
cyclic changes occur on many planes; on the lowest, the physical,
they are brought about through "the electrical and other
fluids acting with the gases on the solids of the globe."
Mr. Judge has written:
Earthquakes may be brought on according to philosophy by two
general causes; first, subsidence or elevation under the
earth-crust due to heat and steam; second, electrical
and magnetic changes which affect water and earth at the same
time. These last have the power to instantaneously make the earth
fluidic without melting it, thus causing immense and violent
displacements in large or small waves.
Although the exigencies of evolution make cataclysms necessary,
still their reaction on man in the form of suffering need not
be. It is only because man has violated the laws of harmony that
the convulsions of nature bring death and destruction in his
The sympathy of the world has been aroused by the devastating
earthquake in Gujarat, and we add our humble thought-energy to
the cumulative flow of condolence towards out brethren who are
Newsweek, in its Special Edition dated December 2000-February
2001, looks at the issues that will dominate the world during
the year and how they can be met. Prominent among the challenges
is the intersection between human beings and technology.
What makes us who we are? What is the measure of man? Asks
Peter McGrath in his essay "Building a Better Human":
Today some researchers believe that machines might be so assimilated
to us-or we to them-as to raise the most fundamental questions.
As technology fills you up with synthetic parts, at what point
do you cease to be fully human? What part of us is irreplaceably
human? The brain? Or is the brain merely a conductive medium,
our humanity defined more by the content of our thought and the
intensity of our emotions than by the neural circuitry? At bottom
lies one critical issue for a technological age: are some kinds
of knowledge so terrible they simply should not be pursued? If
there can be such a thing as a philosophical crisis, this will
There have always been dangerous technologies. The 20th century,
which might as well be called the age of industrialized murder,
is only the most obvious example. But technology is upping the
ante by creating fields where benign intentions could lead to
Is human civilization equipped to keep pace? Engineers tend
to associate history with progress. But what in our history inspires
confidence in our ability to channel technology away from destructive
uses? "Technology is evolving a thousand times faster than
our ability to change our social institutions," says Bill
Joy [chief scientist at Sun Microsystems].
But if bioengineering really "turn off" cancer cells,
what's wrong with that? If nanotechnology can develop devices
that extend our physically active lives for decades, is that
a problem? If robots can for most purposes end our need to do
physical labour, should we object? Joy's answer was that "with
each of these technologies, a sequence of small, individually
sensible advances leads to an accumulation of great power and,
concomitantly, great danger."
In the end, the measure of humanity is a philosophy matter.
Philosophy, however, has almost nothing to say about such things
Bernard Williams wrote in his 1972 book "Morality":
"Contemporary moral philosophy has found an original way
of being boring, which is by not discussing moral issues at all."
Who, then, can speak on moral issues? Certainly not the engineers
are the last people "to understand what is an acceptable
This will be the great decision of the next decade. It goes
well beyond the mere commercial viability of new technologies,
though many will think that is all we need to know. It goes to
who we think we are. One way: every possibility is welcome, no
matter how dangerous, because we are a species that loves knowledge.
The other: we don't want to be overcome by technology.
But that's what it means to be human. You have a choice. Take
What all this boils down to is that knowledge alone, without
the moral perspective to use it wisely, can prove a dangerous
thing. The present is an age of which a characteristic is its
failure to understand the status of its own creations, and this,
perhaps, is the inevitable fruit of the divorce of science from
metaphysics. The dignity of Man is seldom considered. That man
was not made for science and technology, but science and technology
for man, who remains more and greater than his creations, is
often lost sight of.
After its retreat in the face of modernity's march from the
West, spirituality is once again on the ascendant in India, writes
Sudhir Kakar in the India Today Special Millennium Issue:
From ancient times, travelers from other civilizations-starting
with Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador to Chandragupta Maurya's
court-have remarked on the Hindu preoccupation with the spiritual
quest. For centuries, every cultural endeavour, whether in the
sciences or in the arts, explicitly acknowledged the fostering
of the spiritual dimension of life as its ultimate goal. Spirituality
in India, in spite of dissenting voices in the past and even
more so in the present, continues to be regarded as the highest
knowledge-sarva vidya pratishtha.
At the beginning of the new millennium, this ancient Indian
preoccupation that had been shaken by the blasts of modernity
coming from the West is once again on the ascendant. Ironically,
whereas it was the hopes for human progress held out by modernity
which made a large number of educated people doubt the spiritual
message, it is now that the ills of modernity-ecological exploitation
and political oppression, economic inequality and the loss of
meaning-which is leading to a call for the revival of the spiritual
dimension of life. In this era of global markets and triumphant
capitalism, a large number of thinkers from around the world
are advocating a turn inwards as a remedy for contemporary ills
all agree that real freedom is liberation from desire, not from
If spirituality has formed at the core of the Indic world
image, it would be reasonable to expect that it has also conditioned
the Hindu mind, colouring its intellectual, artistic and emotional
responses in certain distinctive ways. One of these is the pervasive
presence of hope, even in the most dismal of life circumstances.
For centuries, the Indic civilization has conveyed to the growing
child an almost somatic conviction that there is a hidden, even
if unknown order to our visible world. That there is a design
to life, which can be trusted in spite of life's sorrows, cruelties
and injustices. From the very beginning, the Hindu mind has been
instilled with a vision of the world in which virtue will ultimately
be rewarded in spite of life's trails and tribulations
Another gift of the spiritual preoccupation is tolerance.
Over millennia, the Hindu spiritual quest has traversed many
paths. In the absence of a single religious orthodoxy, the seekers
have worn many garbs and held different, often contradictory
opinions on the nature of spiritual truth and the best way to
realize it. At its core, then, Hindu mind has come to be pervaded
by the idea that truth is relative, not absolute, leaving it
no choice but to be tolerant of the truth of others.
What, after all, is a spiritual renaissance? Wherever we see
enlightened thought and action helping people find freedom from
selfishness, separativeness, sensuality and vice, we see the
blossoming of the spiritual. Wherever we see the sacrifice of
self-interest and the emergence of concern for the betterment
of all life, we are seeing the flowering of the spiritual potential
India has much to give to the West, but merely priding itself
on its past glory is of little use today. Mr. Judge, in his article
on "India and her Theosophists," which originally appeared
in The Theosophist for September 1893, refers to "spiritual
pride" as having caused India's decadence. That pride must
be rooted out if a regeneration of this ancient land is to be
brought about. The Indians of today also need to understand truly
their ancient teachings. This would be greatly facilitated by
a study of the Theosophical writings of H.P.B. Blavatsky and
W. Q. Judge.
The United Nations General Assembly has designated the year
2001 as the "Year of Dialogue Among Civilization."
The transition to a global society is a major concern today,
and a series of international and interdisciplinary dialogues
are scheduled for the year.
Way back in 1993, Samuel Huntington, Director of the Institute
for Strategic Studies at Harvard University, wrote in a widely
quoted article, "The Clash of Civilization":
Difference among civilizations are basic, involving history,
language, culture, tradition, and most importantly, religion.
Different civilizations have different views on the relations
between God and Man, the citizen and the state, parents and children,
liberty and authority, equality and hierarchy. These differences
are the product of centuries. They will not soon disappear.
Commenting on this, Rene V.L.Wadlow states in World Union
While recognizing the truth that civilizations change slowly
and that the past is always in the present, we must also recognize
that we are at a time of a major change in history. The accelerating
pace of change in the political, social, technological, economic,
cultural, and spiritual arenas of human affairs has created new
opportunities for dialogue as the world is inexorably being transformed
into a global society. The term "globalization" is
increasingly used to characterize these changes. Some writers
on globalization stress the economic forces at work pushing globalization,
but many recognize that there are deeper currents at work.
One of the central tasks of today is to develop a problem-solving,
future-oriented global view which addresses the important concerns,
issues, and problems of humanity as a whole
The year 2001 should provide real opportunities for dialogue
among civilization. It is true that to an unprecedented degree
people are meeting together in congresses, conferences, schools
and universities all over the globe. In itself such meetings
are not dialogue. There is a need to reach a deeper level. Reaching
such deeper levels takes patience, tolerance and an ability to
take a long-range view.
Why is there life? Cosmologists have offered several possible
explanations. British Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees, theorizes
that it took innumerable "big bangs" giving birth to
a multitude of universes-"and one turned out just right."
(Discover, November 2000)
Some scientists and philosophers argue that our life-friendly
universe is "one of a kind." Rees objects, and proposes
that our universe is a small corner of what he terms the "multiverse."
His theory is that a possible infinite array of separate big
bangs erupted from a primordial dense-matter state. "If
there are many universes, each governed by a differing set of
numbers, there will be one where there is a particular set of
number suitable to life. We are in that one."
Another scientist, Andrei Linde at Stanford, speaks of the
"self-reproducing inflationary universe." The multiverse,
Linde contends, is like a growing fractal, sprouting inflationary
domains that sprout more inflationary domains, with each domain
spreading and cooling into a new universe. Our universe, says
Linde, is just one of the sprouts. In his view, each particular
part of the multiverse, including our part, began from a singularity
somewhere in the past, but that singularity was just one of an
endless series that was spawned before it and will continue after
What intrigues Rees is that Linde's theory permits differing
fundamental constants and differing numbers of dimensions in
this ever-blooming collection of universe. Universe A could feature
six dimensions, universe B could sport ultraweak gravity. The
possibilities are literally endless
.Rees is also tantalized
by the fact that our universe displays a certain "ugliness
and complexity" that goes along with the idea that it is
a subset of a larger series
The totality of the mystery, he emphasizes, will most likely
never ultimately yield to the prying of cosmologists. "Why
are we here?" is a big question, but Rees concedes that
a bigger mystery probably resides outside the grasp of science
altogether. "The fundamental question of 'Why is there something
rather than nothing?' remains the province of philosophers,"
The Secret Doctrine, drawing from archaic astronomy,
has much to say about the origin and development of the world
and why and how life originated.
The doctrine of a common origin for all the heavenly bodies
and planets, was, as we see, inculcated by the Archaic astronomers,
before Kepler, Newton, Leibnitz, Kant, Herschel and Laplace.
Heart (the Breath), attraction and repulsion-the three great
factors of Motion-are the conditions under which all the members
of all this primitive family are born, developed, and die, to
be reborn after a "Night of Brahma," during which eternal
matter relapses periodically into its primary undifferentiated
state. The most attenuated gases can give no idea of its nature
to the modern physicist. Centres of Forces at first, the invisible
sparks of primordial atoms differentiate into molecules, and
become Suns-passing gradually into objectivity-gaseous, radiant,
cosmic, the one "Whirlwind" (or motion) finally giving
the impulse to the form, and the initial motion, regulated and
sustained by the never-resting Breaths-the Dhyan Chohans. (S.D.,