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London Lectures of 1907   By: (1847-1933)

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First Page:

London Lectures

of 1907

By

Annie Besant

President of the Theosophical Society

London and Benares

The Theosophical Publishing Society

City Agents: Lund, Humphries & Co., Ltd.

Adyar, Madras: The Theosophist Office

New York: John Lane

Chicago: The Theosophical Book Concern

1907

Contents

PART I

PSYCHISM AND SPIRITUALITY

THE PLACE OF MASTERS IN RELIGIONS

THEOSOPHY AND THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY

PART II

THE PLACE OF PHENOMENA IN THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY

SPIRITUAL AND TEMPORAL AUTHORITY

THE RELATION OF THE MASTERS TO THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY

THE FUTURE OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY

PART III

THE VALUE OF THEOSOPHY IN THE WORLD OF THOUGHT

PART IV

THE FIELD OF WORK OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY

Part I

Psychism and Spirituality

The Place of Masters in Religions

Theosophy and the Theosophical Society

Three public Lectures delivered in the smaller Queen's Hall, London, on 16th, 23rd, and 30th June 1907.

Psychism and Spirituality

Our subject to night consists of two words: psychism spirituality. I am going to speak to you on the subjects denoted by these two words, because there is so much confusion about them in ordinary conversation, in ordinary literature, and out of that confusion much of harm arises. People think of one thing and use the name of the other, and so continually fall into blunders and mislead others with whom they talk. I want to night to draw a sharp and intelligible division between psychism and spirituality; if possible, to explain very clearly what each of them means; so that, thoroughly understanding the meaning of the things, people may choose for themselves which of the two they desire to evolve, or unfold, within themselves. For if a person, desiring to unfold the spiritual nature, uses the means which are only adapted for developing the psychic nature, disappointment, possibly danger, will result; while, on the other hand, if a person desires to develop the psychic nature, and thinks that he will reach that development quickly by unfolding his spiritual powers, he also is equally doomed to disappointment; but in the second case, only to disappointment for a time. For while it is not true that the great psychic is necessarily a spiritual person, it is true that the great spiritual person is inevitably a psychic. All the powers of Nature are subject to the Spirit, and hence, when a man has truly unfolded his spiritual nature, there is nothing in the lower world which is not open to him and obedient to his will. In that sense, then, the man who follows the spiritual path will not ultimately be disappointed if he is seeking psychic development, but the very seeking for it will, on the spiritual path, act as a certain barrier. I shall return to the point again presently, and show you in what sense, and why, it is true that the development of the psychic powers may hinder the unfolding of the spiritual.

Now, to distinguish clearly between the two, I will begin with two brief definitions. They will be expanded naturally in the course of the lecture, but I will define each of these two words in a single sentence so as to make the definition clear and brief. Spirituality is the Self realisation of the One; psychism is the manifestation of the powers of consciousness through organised matter. Each word of that definition has its own value. We are far too apt, in our ordinary thought and talking, to limit the words "psychical," "psychic," or "psychism" in a quite illegitimate way, and the popular use of the term is illegitimate. It is generally used amongst us to mean unusual manifestations of the powers of consciousness, whereas, properly speaking, the word ought to cover every outer manifestation of consciousness, whether on the physical, on the astral, on the mental, or on the buddhic plane... Continue reading book >>




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