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IN THE LIGHT OF THEOSOPHY

From The Theosophical Movement
Vol 73 No. 4 - February, 2003

The recognition of the spiritual dimension of health by the World Health Organization (WHO) is a landmark event, writes Dr. Alok Pandey in his Editorial in Namah (October 15, 2002). Yet the full import and significance of this fundamental aspect of human existence has still to be grasped, he says:

The reason is very simple. The spiritual dimension is still a concealed possibility in the race as a whole. Even though its emergence is the inevitable next step in Nature's scheme of things, yet it is a slow emergence. There have been individuals, no doubt, who have experienced a greater spiritual consciousness. It is also true that such individuals have cut across the barriers of race and gender, language and culture. Yet for the majority of humankind, the spiritual dimension still remains a possibility which many do not care to explore....

We can attempt to define the spiritual dimension as the highest perfection man is capable of through self-evolution....The Sanskrit word for health, "Swasth," literally means "rooted in the (true) Self." That is to say, true health exists only when man's consciousness is firmly fixed in the spiritual self, the "Sva." Short of it, there can be absence of disease, or physical prowess and fitness, but not health. Dr. Bisht rightly pointed out in his recommendation to the WHO, "there is something more in man which marks him apart," and that "something more" is not just the maximum development of his mind through education and learning, but the wisdom and power of his soul....

The task therefore before us is not just the relief of symptoms but to seek deeper into the layers of our psychology where the roots of health and illness lie. The illness is a crisis point which leads us, as if by Nature's irony, to the doors of our own concealed possibilities. We suppress one form of illness but another returns. It is so because we have failed to take note of the hint and refused to learn from the wisdom of Mother Nature. We can avoid this responsibility of learning what Nature intends to teach, only at our own peril. We can ignore the lesson and the leading, only to face the threat of extinction. But if we are not only to survive but to progress and evolve beyond our religions and our bombs, then we must open the doors to this greater and vaster spiritual consciousness and allow its influx in us. It is in this spiritual emergence that lies our hope and future as a race. The spiritual dimension holds the key to the enigma called man and the solution to the paradox called life.


Students of Theosophy who know of the electric and magnetic nature of the astral body, the model for the physical, cannot but be struck by what present-day researchers are beginning to say. It has been proved that the body's inner, natural electric fields play a key role in its ability to heal itself. Researchers are now concentrating on enhancing these natural fields in order to speed up healing.

Cell migration and division plays a key role in development and healing, and several studies have shown that applying even external electric fields can affect and boost the healing of wounds, spinal cord injuries, etc. Enhancing the natural field, however, is more effective. The findings of Colin McCaig's team at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland are reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The team found that healing was faster when the electric field was boosted, and slower when it was decreased. Stronger fields also encourage cells to divide. "It's a big step forward to help biologists believe that the fields are important," says McCaig.

Electricity is Life itself, the Primal Cause of all, the vivifier of all things (Isis Unveiled, I, 258). It has long been known that life and electricity are indissolubly connected. The electricity generated spontaneously by living beings as part of their natural life processes is fascinating scientists, and researchers today have come a long way towards understanding the intricate chemical processes through which it is released in the living cells of humans, animals and plants.

Whatever the uses to which biological electricity may be put, there looms on the horizon of present scientific knowledge a problem which will require investigation along metaphysical lines: Whence this electric power, and what is the ultimate nature and essence of the electric fluid? Is the electricity generated by a living body the result merely of chemical actions? In its highest aspect it is Anima Mundi, "the divine essence which pervades, animates and informs all, from the smallest atom of matter to man and god." In its lowest aspect it is Astral Light.


Study of twins, especially identical twins, continues to intrigue scientists, and the nature-nurture debate goes on. The Twins Days Festival held each year in Twinsburg, Ohio, U.S.A., is a unique event that includes parades, contests, and draws a lot of attention—even from medical researchers who come there to perform physical and psychological studies on twin subjects. Last August, over 3000 sets of twins showed up at the festival.

Kristin Ohlson writes in New Scientist (5 October 2002) about the popularity of the festival and the ongoing research in this field:

Ten teams had set up stalls to sign up volunteers for twin studies, the classic way of investigating whether a particular medical or psychological trait is determined by nature or nurture. It's a research tool that is enjoying a burst of popularity. Now twin studies are being used to calculate the heritability of everything from breast cancer to right-wing political views. Last year, for example, researchers at St. Thomas' Hospital in London declared that a key aspect of musical ability, pitch perception, was 76 per cent down to our genes....

But not everyone is so enthusiastic about twin studies and some people are downright hostile. Critics claim that the whole nature-nurture debate is wrong-headed—prompted by people who want to prove that social inequalities are down to our genes, not our culture. And they challenge it on more fundamental grounds too. To ask whether a feature is down to nature or nurture is meaningless, they argue, as nearly every trait you care to mention is affected by both. Are twin studies, a late 19th-century invention, sophisticated enough to investigate such complex interactions in the era of molecular biology and the Human Genome Project?....

Just because new molecular techniques to study genetics have arrived on the scene, that doesn't mean twin studies are behind the times. In fact, they are proving more powerful than ever. Researchers can now use new forms of twin studies to learn the precise mechanisms that lie behind individual differences. "The stuff we're doing now involves looking at the DNA in more detail," says Tim Spector, director of twin research at St. Thomas Hospital in London, which has Britain's largest medical register of twins....Twins are emerging as the ideal tool for probing complex gene-environment interactions.

Science recognizes nothing except material heredity and environment to explain the similar characteristics of twins. While it is true that the personalities of some sets of identical twins seems to be almost the same, no amount of research will yield satisfactory answers along the mechanistic lines of heredity and environmental influences. Apart from mere physical likeness, there seems to be an amazing affinity between the sequences of events which mark the journey of the twins through the years. Identical twins, even those separated from birth, seem to have elements of their psychic nature in common, which enables communication on the astral plane in a manner not customary for the average person. Mental telepathy between such twins is not uncommon, and there are cases on record where a mishap suffered by one twin inflicts pain and suffering on the other, regardless of the distance separating them at the time. It is undoubted that the destiny of identical twins is closely linked by Karma—the result, perhaps, of an intimate rapport established in prior lives. The explanation of similar life patterns and close psychic affinities in terms of Karma and Reincarnation requires thought.


"In nature, function and design are interblended," says Bittu Sahgal, Editor of Sanctuary magazine. He goes further and states that "the dividing line between science and art is thin," as anyone who has observed nature as it should be observed will confirm. Everything is connected, and all designs have their own stories to tell:

Some, such as the scales on insects, or the claws of birds, have been used in the animal world for millions of years. They have endured precisely because they work so well. The exoskeletons of bugs and beetles and crustaceans, for example, are elegant in their functional simplicity. Or consider the domed carapace of the turtle, smooth yet hard, virtually impregnable yet streamlined. In nature, function and form go hand in hand and colour is a part of the design, often a survival imperative in a world populated by enemies.

Perhaps the most exquisite example of functional also being beautiful is that of the butterfly....Equally beautiful, provided you can see it that way, is plain, ordinary sand on a beach....Or consider the fish. Its scales protect a soft body. Scale shapes vary according to the species, but they will invariably be positioned one overlapping the other like the tiles on a roof. Experts can tell the age of a fish from their scales....

The next time you see a leaf, examine it under a magnifying glass. The leaf is life itself. Leaves are organic solar collectors. They are designed to act as the food factories of living plants.

There are designs in nature all around us. All of them are functional. And all are beautiful. All we need to do is tap into this beauty to enrich our lives.

What causes these designs in nature? The whole of nature, animate and seemingly inanimate, evolves on parallel lines, we are told, and "draws its attributes from above as well as from below." Every physical particle "corresponds to and depends on its higher noumenon—the Being to whose essence it belongs." (S.D., I, 218 fn.)

We see Cosmic matter scattering and forming itself into elements; grouped into the mystic four within the fifth element—Ether, the lining of Akasa, the Anima Mundi, or Mother of Kosmos. "Dots, Lines, Triangles, Cubes, Circles" and finally "Spheres"—why or how? Because, says the Commentary, such is the first law of Nature, and because Nature geometrizes universally in all her manifestations. There is an inherent law—not only in the primordial, but also in the manifested matter of our phenomenal plane—by which Nature correlates her geometrical forms, and later, also, her compound elements; and in which there is no place for accident or chance. (S.D., I, 97)


In an Editorial Note in The Theosophist for January 1882, H.P.B. stated: "In connection with the archaic legend of the Asian Sea and the Atlantic Continent, is it not profitable to note a fact known to all modern geologists—that the Himalayan slopes afford geological proof, that the substance of those lofty peaks was once a part of an ocean floor?"

How did the Himalayas arise? Panda Bulletin (No. 14), published by World Wide Fund for Nature-India, has this to say:

Approximately 20 million years ago India was connected to the southeastern tip of Africa. Stresses in the earth's crust resulted in the development of a rift between them. India broke free and began drifting north as part of the Indo-Australian Plate. The leading edge of the plate was oceanic crust. Several millions of years later this leading oceanic edge collided with the Eurasian Plate and began to be thrust upward. Eventually, the deep sea floor of the Indo-Australian Plate rose above sea level, and the Himalayas, were born! Today, India continues its push northward. The Himalayas, once the deep sea floors of the ancient Tethys Sea, are now a majestic terrestrial mountain range. Imagine the surprise of geologists when they discovered the fossilized remains of ancient sea creature at the top of the world....

The continents were said to have formed a single mass at one point of time. From this single mass, today's continents have "drifted" apart from each other over a period of millions of years....

About 250 million years ago, all the earth's land was a single super-continent called Pangea, which was surrounded by a large ocean. Around 200 million years ago (also known as the Middle Permian Period), an extensive sea stretched along the latitudinal area presently occupied by the Himalayas. This sea was named the Tethys. Around this period, the super continent Pangea began to gradually split into different land masses and move apart in different directions.

The Earth's geography has changed many times as the result of cataclysmic changes. Says The Secret Doctrine:

Violent minor cataclysms and colossal earthquakes are recorded in the annals of most nations—if not all. Elevation and subsidence of continents is always in progress. The whole coast of South America has been raised up 10 to 15 feet and settled down again in an hour. Huxley has shown that the British islands have been four times depressed beneath the ocean and subsequently raised again and peopled. The Alps, Himalayas and Cordilleras were all the result of depositions drifted on to sea-bottoms and upheaved by Titanic forces to their present elevation. The Sahara was the basin of a Miocene sea....Why may not a gradual change have given place to a violent cataclysm in remote epochs—such cataclysms occurring on a minor scale even now? (II, 787 fn.)


It is not politicians, or those at the helm of affairs in the nations, who can bring about right human relations—individual, communal, national and international—but the men and women of goodwill everywhere. A pamphlet distributed by World Goodwill, The Challenge of International Unity, outlines the principle of unity and offers guidelines for action:

We, humanity as a whole, are learning the hard way that we all go up together or we all go down together. International unity is fast becoming a necessity even for the strongest nations....

The key to humanity's trouble over the past two hundred years has been to take and not to give, to accept and not to share, to grasp and not to distribute. This is contrary to all accepted standards of behaviour in an increasingly interdependent world....

People in every land are beginning to realize that they are largely responsible for what is wrong, and that their inertness and lack of right action and thinking has led to the present unhappy state of affairs.

The word "spiritual" does not belong only to the churches or to the world religions. The churches are themselves in some cases great capitalistic systems....It is no longer possible to separate human affairs from spiritual reality and selfless living. The changing of the old order, the awakening of humanity to new possibilities and the purification of the political and economic arena, are today the factors of the greatest spiritual value....

Men and women of goodwill form a world group, standing for right human relations. They thus create a world public opinion. Steadily and regularly the public should be taught in internationalism and a world unity which is based on simple goodwill and on co-operative interdependence.


A HUMAN being is part of a whole, called by us the "universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few people near us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

—Albert Einstein



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A section in the monthly magazine: discussing current developments in science and the world and relating them to the teachings of Theosophy
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