Hidden away in each of us is a permanent record of our past,
"How do we hold on to memories for a lifetime? Could our histories
be inscribed in our genes?" asks Bryant Furlow (New Scientist,
15 September 2001). The popular idea among scientists has been
that all experiences a person goes through from childhood on are
permanently inscribed somewhere amid the billions of neurons in
the brain. There are, they say, connections joining neurons up
into intricate networks that can recreate sequences of brain activity
days, weeks or even years later.
A handful of researchers are now suggesting a new theory-that
long-lasting memories are inscribed in our brain's DNA. Perhaps,
they say, we create gene-like codes in which we permanently record
the blueprints of our memories. "There are still some big holes
in our knowledge of how permanent stable memories form," admit
the scientists, and not everyone is convinced that new genes are
created in the brain.
According to Asiatic Psychology, memory is not solely a faculty
of the brain or even of the whole body but must inhere in consciousness
itself. There is consciousness in every atom of the physical body,
hence there is also bodily memory; but as the body is only the
instrument of the inner soul and this soul is dual, there
are two other sets of memory independent of the body. One is that
of the personality, the other belongs to the individuality. Much
has been said about the problem of memory in H.P.B.'s writings,
especially in her long article "Psychic and Noetic Action" (reprinted
in Raja-Yoga or Occultism). Elsewhere she wrote:
Nothing that takes place, no manifestation however rapid or
weak, can ever be lost from the Skandhaic record of a
man's life. Not the smallest sensation, the most trifling action,
impulse, thought, impression, or deed, can fade or go out from,
or in the Universe. We may think it unregistered by our memory,
unperceived by our consciousness, yet it will still be recorded
on the tablets of the astral light. Personal memory is a fiction
of the physiologist. There are cells in our brain that receive
and convey sensations and impressions, but this once done, their
mission is accomplished. These cells of the supposed "organ
of memory" are the receivers and conveyers of
all the pictures and impressions of the past, not their retainers.
Under various conditions and stimuli, they can receive instantaneously
the reflection of these astral images back again, and this is
called memory, recollection, remembrance; but they do
not preserve them….There are cases on record of long months
and years of insanity, of long days of fever when almost everything
done or said, was done and said unconsciously. Yet when the
patients recovered they remembered occasionally their words
and deeds and very fully. Unconscious cerebration is a phenomenon
on this plane and may hold good so far as the personal mind
is concerned. But the Universal Memory preserves every motion,
the slightest wave and feeling that ripples the waves of differentiated
nature, of man or the Universe. (Note in "Problems of Life,"
Lucifer, October 1891)
The healing power of faith has become a much discussed topic,
and even doctors are now finding medical evidence that faith is
a complement to medical treatment. Patients who have had extraordinary
cures generally credit them to their belief in God, religion and
prayer; but it is not all that simple, writes Lydia Strohl in
an article reprinted from Washingtonian in Readers's Digest
(October 2001, Indian ed.):
It's not just organized religion giving some patients strength,
though. "Everyone has spirituality" says Reghan Foley. "it's
basically what gives your life meaning."
The connection between spirit and body may be age-old, but
as healing became a science, Western practitioners moved away
from spirituality and religious faith. Now patient demand, coupled
with scientific studies correlating faith with good health,
is slowly converting a skeptical medical community. Scientific
journals and many new books are taking up the subject. Doctors
are attending conferences on faith and healing in increasing
Says Joe Semmes: "Healing is a movement towards wholeness-waking
up to where you are, being connected to others, and loving.
Spiritual growth in the time of physical collapse is tremendous."…
"Healing may come in the form of acceptance, dealing with
yourself and others in a different way, maintaining a sense
of peace in the face of affliction," says Diane Rehm. "Disease
has a physical basis," says Howard University's Jones, a cancer
survivor himself, "but there is a hierarchy: the physical level,
the emotional level, the intellectual level, and the spiritual
level." Jones foresees a subtle shift in medical practice, from
treating disease to treating the whole person….
In other words, not faith healing, but faith in healing.
Medical science has increased life expectancy by almost two-thirds
in the 20th century. But science is not the total picture. There
is much more to healing than just scientific advance. Man is not
merely his physical body. Both doctors and patients need to recognize
this to make "total treatment"-healing of the whole man, not just
his body-a reality.
Theosophy recognizes no miracles as infractions of the laws of
nature, but it says that, if there be in the patient:
A faith supreme and unshakable in the power of a healer, of
a holy relic, of the touch of a shrine, of the waters of a well,
of a pilgrimage to a certain place and a bath in some sacred
river, of any given ceremonies, or repetition of charms or an
amulet worn about the neck-in any of these or many more agencies
that might be named, then the patient will cure himself by the
sole power of his predisposed faith. (Unsigned article: "The
Power to Heal" in The Theosophist, Vol. IV, p. 158)
The havoc that violence has wreaked in recent months has shaken
mankind's faith in man. Hate and violence only create more hate
and violence, and even though there may later be a semblance of
peace, feelings of anger and hate once aroused remain deep-rooted
in the human psyche-to erupt again into a fresh wave of macabre
acts. S. K. Venkatramani, writing in The Times of India
(November 10, 2001) has these suggestions to offer on conquering
hate and violence:
No amount of fortification, police security and physical vigilance
can protect humanity from these mindless acts of violence that
manifest hate and anger. Vigilance and force can pre-empt and
suppress acts of violence, but they cannot ensure that the demon
of violence, springing up from hate and anger, does not rear
its ugly head in a remote cranny of the mind. Indeed, like a
sleeping ulcer or an internal injury, it may silently gnaw away
at the very core of the human mind….
To tackle the issue of violence in human society, we need to
fundamentally address the source of violence, intolerance and
hatred in our own minds. It is the anger, hate and violence
in the microcosm of our mind that gets magnified and manifests
itself as international terrorism on the macrocosm of the world….
The Cartesian mechanistic paradigm is passé. The whole is no
longer the sum of the parts. In fact, the whole is contained
in each one of its parts. So what is the source of this hate
in our minds? Hate can spontaneously well up as an impulsive
feeling in the mind. All such spontaneous impulses are the result
of your having been conditioned by your own past sensory experiences.
A feeling of hatred can also arise from evaluation and judgement
based on your own subconscious but subtly obtrusive ego. The
ego intangibly manifests itself as your deeply embedded likes
and dislikes. The liking gains in fervour through experience
imbibed through your own jaundiced perspective; and gradually
looms into fanaticism. Your dislikes similarly snowball into
So it is the maya of the self that divides the world into one's
own self and the other, comes with attendant emotional baggage,
and sows the seeds of violence and war in the human mind….The
illusory sense of the self provides a comforting cocoon of a
system of beliefs and faith. Fortifying the self, it incubates
the pupa of hate. Suddenly and unpredictably, a volcano of violence
from erupts from the cocoon. When you perceive this clearly,
not as words or a concept, but like the blistering heat of fire
on your skin, you will transcend hate from the innermost depths
of your being.
There is hardly a word more misunderstood than "religion," writes
Ajit Singh in The Times of India for October 31. throughout
recorded history, there have been those who have thought, without
a ripple in their conscience, that they could kill, maim, set
ablaze, destroy, demolish, for the sake of their religion.
Every heinous crime [writes Ajit Singh] becomes respectable
if larded with the name of religion. The great library at Alexandria
was burnt down with a holy book in one hand and a burning torch
in the other; the crusades were carried out to recover the holy
land….The accepted form of religion has also become a subterfuge
for some sections-the worthless, the fear-ridden, the greedy
and the cunning….It serves their inadequacy and low self-esteem
very well. Since they are not sure of anything, they behave
menacingly and argue in terms of the absolute while a man of
understanding always talks in terms of the relative….
There are others for whom religion, a euphemism for rites and
ceremonies, is a by product of fear-fear of loneliness, of retribution,
of the unknown. They are quite hollow from the inside. For them
religion is a teddy bear to be hugged desperately for comfort,
consolation and a protracted sense of security.
Materialist spiritualists build huge organizations and a theology
and an impressive rhetoric. They convert culture into cult,
spiritualism into ritualism and God into dogma….
The world outside is only an extension of the world inside.
If we find ourselves closed in with hatred, misery and squalor,
it is an infallible pointer to the well-entrenched wasteland
inside us. Maybe it is time to define man not by his ability
to hate but by his ability to love, not by his ability to hurt
but by his ability to heal, not by his ability to destroy but
by his ability to build.
Only an individual, that is, one not divided against oneself,
can imbibe this humanizing state and claim to be religious….Religion
is the symbiotic relationship between man and his environs,
promising a homogenized and congenial ambience.
"Your future is in your hands, or, rather, is in your mind.
What you think today determines what you become tomorrow," writes
A. B. Carlson (East and West Series, Vol. 43, No. 7):
The power inherent in the mind is shamefully wasted. Only a
small fraction of this mental potential is ever employed.
Many people complain about life-how they have been deprived
of the things that others enjoy. And they blame it on misfortune
or bad luck. Or, they blame it on other people. But the blunt
fact is that, by neglecting to use his mind properly, man himself
has produced that which he does not want.
To increase the efficiency of the mind, Carlson recommends
the method of what he cells "inspiration," using the word in
the sense of "the act of drawing in." the exercise of contemplation
or meditation is another way of expressing it. We open ourselves
[remarks Carlson] to an inflow of ideas that come from a universal
fountain or source of ideas….By daily opening yourself to the
in-breathing of this universal mind or intelligence, you can
be guided unerringly in every phase of your life. Through this
process you can discover your hidden talents and start moving
in the direction of your life goal.
At the outset, fifteen minutes a day should be enough to use
this plan. Select the time of day that suits you the best and
start putting it into effect right away, giving your attention
to this thought: There is a universal intelligence that contains
every idea necessary for the fulfillment of my every need. I
now open my mind to the inflow of these ideas. My own talents
are expressed through me easily, bringing success and prosperity
into my life and affairs….Remember, of course, only wholesome,
constructive ideas can come to you from this universal source,
because it doesn't contain any ideas of a destructive or negative
Remember too that every idea which comes to you has within
itself the power to carry it out to a fruitful conclusion. This
creative power within the idea enables it to express itself
when you give your consent to it….
The value of this method cannot be over-emphasized. Frustration
will be replaced by a sense of achievement, failure will give
way to success. In fact your life will never be the same again.
People by and large fight shy of the word "meditation," though
nowadays it is being increasingly used. A daily endeavour to purify
and elevate the mind can indeed prove beneficial in many ways.
Meditation has been defined
as silent and unuttered prayer, or, as Plato expressed
it, "the ardent turning of the soul towards the divine; not
to ask for any particular good (as in the common meaning of
prayer), but for good itself-for the universal Supreme Good"
of which we are a part on earth, and out of the essence of which
we have all emerged. (The Key of Theosophy, Indian ed.,
ALL numbers are multiples of one, all sciences converge to a
common point, all wisdom comes out of one center, and the number
of wisdom is one.