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IN THE LIGHT OF THEOSOPHY

From The Theosophical Movement
Vol 74 No.2 - December, 2003

Palaeontologist Paul Sereno—explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society and professor at the University of Chicago—and his team recently discovered India's first predator dinosaur, named Rajasaurus narmadensis, or lizard king of the Narmada. It was the first Abelisaur, the predator of the southern continent—comprising South America, Antarctica, Africa, Australia, Madagascar and India—to be discovered in India. It is believed to have lived 67 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period. Until recently, most of the dinosaur studies were confined to the northern continent, Laurasia—the primordial grouping of North America, Europe and Asia that broke away from Pangea. Now, world attention is shifting to hitherto neglected southern continents. India—especially the Narmada Valley and the entire state of Gujarat—has been the largest source of dinosaur eggs and fossils, over the years, which remained concealed beneath the crust of lava.

"India's dinosaurs could have a larger role to play in not only understanding why dinosaurs died out but also how the continents split apart....The Rajasaurus was closely linked to dinosaurs like Majunga tholus of Madagascar and Carnotaurus of South America," writes Sandeep Unnithan (India Today, September 1). "Don't forget," says Sereno, "dinosaurs were the only large-bodied animals that lived, evolved and died when all the continents were united."

The Secret Doctrine teaches that the Secondary Age, comprising Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, was the age of gigantic reptiles. "This...is the age of the Third Race, in which origins of the early Fourth may be perhaps also discoverable," (II, 713). Further, "Lemuria," the continent of the Third Race, was a gigantic land. It stretched south from the foot of the Himalayas across what is now India, Ceylon and Sumatra; then going further south it embraced on its way Madagascar and portions of Africa on its right and Australia, Tasmania and the Pacific Ocean on its left, further stretching to include a few degrees of the Antarctic Circle (S.D., II, 323-24) We also learn that "Lemuria was not submerged by a flood, but was destroyed by volcanic action and afterwards sank." (S.D., II, 141fn.)


We seldom think creatively. Creative thinking is exploring various methods of solving a problem. It consists in readiness to rethink—not being satisfied with the first answer. Ordinarily we think reproductively, hence our response is based on our previous experience on a similar occasion. We need to think productively taking into account alternative possibilities and approaches. "Thinking in new ways opens the mind to boundless possibilities and creative solutions," writes Michael Michalko (The Futurist, September-October, 2003)

The greatest obstacle to innovative thinking is education....We are taught how to handle problems and new phenomena with fixed mental attitudes based on what past thinkers thought....In short, we are taught what to think instead of how to think....

Creative ideas, like pearls, occur infrequently. So the sensible thing to do is to produce many ideas. Just as a good idea may stop you from going on to discover a great one, a great idea may stop you from discovering the right one....

The key is to move beyond logic to creative thinking by learning how to blend dissimilar concepts deliberately and consciously....Consider Einstein imagining objects in motion and at rest at the same time. Consider Niels Bohr imagining light as a particle and wave....These examples give a sense of the meaning of conceptual blending....

Creativity requires a lot of energy and hard work. In the physical world, objects resist change: Objects at rest remain so, and objects in motion continue in the same direction unless impacted by some force. In the same way, ideas resist movement from their current state. This is why, when people develop ideas, those ideas tend to resemble old ones.

The Voice of the Silence suggests that the creative mind is the mind with breadth and depth. Depth of mind comes from knowing the "why" of everything. It is the ability to link effect to cause. It is also the ability of going from the particulars to universals. But, above all, depth of mind comes by cultivating a general love of truth. There must be continued quest for truth—replacing the question "Is this the correct answer?" with "What is truth?"

Mr. Judge writes in Letters That Have Helped Me:

The Masters have said that the great step is to learn how to get out of the rut each one has by nature and by training, and to fill up the old grooves. This has been misconstrued by some who have applied it only to mere outer habits of life, and forgotten that its real application is to the mental grooves, and the astral ones, also.


According to an international study, the Arctic ice cap will melt completely within the next century if carbon dioxide emissions continue to heat the earth's atmosphere at current rates. Satellite observations show that the polar ice cap has shrunk by one million square kilometres over the last 20 years. According to Ola Johannessen, a professor at the Nansen Research Institute in Bergen, Norway, the total melting of the ice cap could adversely affect the climate and ecosystem of the European continent. It would result in a massive flow of cold water, which in turn may strongly reduce the effect of warm surface ocean currents, which help to maintain temperate climate in Europe. (The Times of India, August 15)

Regarding the polar regions (arctic and antarctic) H.P.B. has this to say:

The polar lands...have changed form several times, at each new cataclysm, or disappearance of one continent to make room for another. The whole globe is convulsed periodically; and has been so convulsed, since the appearance of the First Race, four times. Yet, though the whole face of the earth was transformed thereby each time, the conformation of the arctic and antarctic poles has but little altered. (S.D., II, 776)


Technological developments in the field of entertainment seem to spell doom for the make-believe world of children. An article in Newsweek (August 25 / September 1, 2003) explores the pros and cons of electronic entertainment. In many countries children devote 40 hours a week to television, videogames, CDs and Internet. There is growing concern that these have an adverse effect on the intellectual development and creative thinking of the children.

When children play make-believe, they get a chance to exercise their imaginations, to socialize, to express emotions and to practise motor skills. "If you take the box that the washing machine came in, it's a space-ship, a submarine, a train," says Michael Mendizza, cofounder of Touch the Future, a nonprofit resource and learning centre focused on children and play. "Time is taken away from human relationships, playing, wrestling, hugging, kissing, pulling each other's hair," says Paolo Crepet, a psychiatrist at the University of Siena in Italy. Sandra Russ, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University, says that children who play imaginatively in their early years are more likely to think creatively and are better problem solvers as they grow older.

The defenders of high-tech toys and video action games argue that these "benefit the kids by honing their reflexes and visual skills." They help prepare children for the 21st century. To help cultivate imagination in children, researchers at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts are trying to merge technology with fantasy.

Yet, it is simple toys and games that seem to enrich children and their imagination, and must be given priority. Since electronic entertainment is here to stay for a long time it is crucial to ensure that children are not deprived of entertainment that gives play to simple human emotions and human relationships.


"Why do physicians need to learn about spirituality?" asks Dr. Aniruddha Malpani (Housecall, January 2003). It is amazing that now, more than ever, a physician is being told to be aware of "man as a living whole." Some 2500 years ago, Hippocrates, considered to be the father of Medicine, made that principle the basis of the study of Medicine in his Academy. Hippocrates, the priest-physician and teacher, is even today recognized as one who anticipated modern medicine.

The article suggests to the physician: Before you address your patient's spiritual needs, you need to understand your own spiritual beliefs. One way to promote self-understanding is to perform a formal self-assessment by taking a spiritual history of yourself! Thus, honest self-examination is now rightly prescribed for the healers. It means also, "physician, heal thyself!" Malpani writes:

Learning about spirituality will help you become a better physician. It will help you find meaning in your daily work as you appreciate the importance of your primary role—to serve your patients. It will also help you become more compassionate, and teach you the importance of hope, and why you need to support your patient's spiritual needs. Finally, it will help to keep you humble, because it will teach you to realize that there is so much about the human body that we do not understand and cannot control, and that the human spirit can perform miracles that modern medicine still cannot comprehend.

While medicine as an art and a science of healing advocates objectivity, i.e., an impersonal examination and judgement, it can easily slide down to indifference, cold concern, and now even to commercial motives. Originally, Ayurveda was rightly called the science of healthy living and was considered an art of healing based on the knowledge of the whole man. That knowledge was supposed to be gifted by the gods who preside over health and healing.

Today, medical practice tends toward compartmentalization, encouraging superspecialities to flourish. It makes the patient more confused and his burden painfully more complicated.

A sensitive physician will not ignore the complete man, and not just treat the body. In times of yore, medical practice was conducted by the physician-priest who understood the mind-body relationship besides the spiritual need of the sufferer. Preventive measures included community and family involvement, meditation, yoga, etc.


These days, the chanting of mantras, especially the Gayatri, is gaining popularity. Few, however, understand the real meaning of this Mantra. "Vedic rishis, sages and scholars have sung the glory of the Gayatri Mantra," writes L. R. Sabharwal (The Times of India, July 21)

The Gayatri Mantra is a universal prayer; chanting it leads to wisdom and illuminated deeds....Our greatest heritage, this mantra is also known as the Guru Mantra, Savitri Mantra and Maha Mantra....

Aum is the way towards salvation of soul and it is the support of soul. God is addressed as Bhu because he is the support of all life in the universe....God is addressed as Bhuvah because He is free from all sorrow. Man's soul becomes free from all sorrow in His company. God is called Svaha because He is spread through the entire universe in all its diversely coloured forms and maintains it. Savitah is another name of God....

The word "Gayatri" means to pray and sing the glory of God to direct our intellect in an honest and just direction.

In an article, "A Commentary on the Gayatri," Mr. Judge writes:

The three first words, Om, Bhur, Bhurvah, draw attention to and designate the three worlds....The request made in the verse to unveil the face of the True Sun is that the Higher Self may shine down into us and do its work of illumination....The sun we see is not the true sun, and signifies too that the light of intellect is not the true sun of our moral being. Our forefathers in the dim past knew how to draw forth through the visible Sun the forces from the True one....

Unveil is the cry of the man who is determined to know the truth and who perceives that something hides it from him. It is hidden by his own Karmic effects, which have put him now where the brain and the desires are too strong for the higher self to pierce through so long as he remains careless and ignorant. (W.Q.J. Series, No. 17)

H.P.B. explains in Isis Unveiled that the effect produced by any mantram is determined by the numbers, syllables, rhythm and intonation of the sacred metre.

This great significance of the metrical speech is derived from the number of syllables of which it consists, for each thing has certain numerical proportions....The Gayatri metre, for example, consists of thrice eight syllables, and is considered the most sacred of metres. It is the metre of Agni, the fire-god, and becomes at times the emblem of Brahma himself, the chief creator and "fashioner of man" in his own image. (II, 410)


Would the scientists succeed in understanding the mystery of love and romance? Having identified the region of "fear" on the map of the mind, they are now trying to do the same for "love and attachment". "Like all emotions, love originates in the brain," writes Steven Johnson. Thus:

We feel the passions of love because our brains contain specific neurochemical systems that create those feelings in us. We are not torn between the heart and the brain but rather between different parts of the brain....

A new portrait of love has begun to emerge, and at its centre lies a fascinating hormone called oxytocin....People under the influence of oxytocin have smaller, briefer stress responses than others do; bad news seems to roll off them more readily....In terms of brain chemistry, you can load up on adrenaline and fight or flee, or you can cool down with oxytocin and tend and befriend.

Folklore and literature are filled with tales of love potions, but the story is far more complicated than that. There is a biologically grounded brain system that creates and maintains the feeling we call love, but its cause can't be reduced to a single molecule....Love may not reside in the heart, as folk wisdom would have it, but neither does it reside in a single molecule. When we feel the stirring of romantic love or parental attachment, we are sensing complex interplay of brain chemicals, triggering activity in specific regions of the brain. Oxytocin is critical to that interplay, but it is not the whole story. (Discover, May 2003)

Can Love—earthly or divine—be explained in terms of a single molecule? Finite love is the shadow and distortion of Universal Love. Fohat, Eros or Kamadeva represent Universal Love which degenerates into Cupid—the power that gratifies desire on the animal plane.

H .P. B. observes in her article "Psychic and Noetic Action," (reprinted in Raja Yoga or Occultism): "Every Theosophist must understand when told that there are Manasic as well as Kamic organs in him, although the cells of his body answer to both physical and spiritual impulse....Occultism teaches that the liver and the spleen-cells are the most subservient to the action of our 'personal' mind, the heart being the organ par excellence through which the 'Higher' Ego acts—through the Lower Self."


Your race boasts of having liberated in their century the genius so long imprisoned in the narrow vase of dogmatism and intolerance—the genius of knowledge, wisdom and freethought. It says that in their turn ignorant prejudice and religious bigotry, bottled up like the wicked Jin of old, and sealed up by the Solomons of science, rests at the bottom of the sea and can never, escaping to the surface again, reign over the world as it did in days of old; that the public mind is quite free, in short, and ready to accept any demonstrated truth. Aye; but is it verily so, my respected friend? —Mahatma K.H.  



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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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