School of Theosophy - Journey of Spiritual Search
Out of the billions of human beings on the planet Earth, only a few are deeply struck by the obvious fact that ‘I did not create myself.’ We use the expression ‘I am breathing’ as if I created my breathing apparatus as well as the air that is needed for my body to stay alive. It is obvious that ‘I am being breathed.’ Then a searcher naturally begins to wonder what forces or energies have created me and why? And only for a few decades. Is my existence accidental, or is there some meaning or purpose to my being alive? Who am I? And why am I here?
Out of the many who are occasionally struck by these facts and the associated questions, only a few are really called by a serious spiritual teaching, as Christ implied in his remark, "No one can come to me unless it is granted to him by the Father." (John 6:65).
Out of the many who are called by the teachings of the traditional great sages like the Buddha or the Christ or Krishna; or the contemporary exponents like Blavatsky, Gurdjieff or Krishnamurti, some undertake a serious study of the teaching and begin to ask how to apply these teachings to oneself. A searcher soon realizes that the call of any serious teaching is to undertake the necessary practices for the enhancement of my being with the very distant aim of coming to the level of the Mysterious ONE—overflowing with Truth, Love, Beauty, Consciousness and Delight.
Becoming aware of the call within oneself from a sutler level of being as well as of the deep-seated resistance within by whatever is meant by ‘myself,’ a searcher begins to see the presence of the two in me: an element of the Divine spiritual Self as well as the ego-driven carnal self. The Buddha said, “Look within you are the Buddha.” But searchers cannot not see the strong forces of worldly desires and fears dominating them. Then the journey shifts towards finding the right relationship between the two currents of energy, one coming from the spiritual side and the other from the material side. More and more freedom is needed from the control of my usual material side, as expressed by Christ, “Unless you leave your self behind, you cannot be a follower of mine.” (Matthew 16.24).
An important shift that takes place in the journey of spiritual search is from ‘I have a question’ to ‘I am in question.’ A searcher realizes the necessity of an impartial and serious self-study. What is the self which I need to leave behind? Do I have some connection with the Self that is said to be identically the same as the Mysterious ONE. A seeker discovers that I am a hologram of the whole universe, and that in principle the entire external universe—including the divine as well as the demonic elements—is mirrored inside me. Owing to the obvious dangers of either fantasy or despair, a fortunate seeker finds a helpful company of some fellow searchers.
A searcher sooner or later realizes that I am being sought by the Divine side or by God much more than I am seeking God. Then the search shifts towards more and more freedom from my knowledge and from my actions, driven by my self-assertion or self aggrandizement, and allowing myself to be known and to be acted upon. As Krishna says in the Bhagavd Gita (5:8), “Steadfast in yoga, the knower of truth realizes ‘Truly I do nothing at all.’” Then even the ego-driven self of a searcher becomes an instrument of the Divine will.
In attempting to follow the practice of a radical transformation of my usual self, a searcher’s impartial observations reveal the inevitable fact of a step forward and two steps back or side-ways. Also, it becomes clear that whatever I regard as the goal or the aim of my practice is very much imagined and constructed by my conditioned self. Sooner or later a searcher abandons the fixation with the destination or the goal—such as enlightenment, nirvana, going to heaven, oneness with God—and becomes more and more interested in the journey. Then every step—upward or downward, leading to some illumination or obfuscation—becomes interesting. The Mystery remains, but one does not fear it or deny it. In fact, a searcher celebrates the Mystery and engages in whatever one is called to undertake. The moments when I truly stand outside myself naturally lead to ecstasy.
Director of studies: Ravi Ravindra
Ravi Ravindra was born in India and received his early education there. He went to Canada as a graduate student and later as an immigrant. Now he is a Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he served for many years as a professor in three Departments: Comparative Religion, Philosophy, and Physics. He was a Member of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla, and the Founding Director of the Threshold Award for Integrative Knowledge. He has been a member of the Board of Judges for the prestigious Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. He is a life member of the American Section of the Theosophical Society. He has directed more than a dozen courses in the School of the Wisdom in Adyar, and many courses at Naarden in Holland and Krotona in USA. He was invited as the Chief Guest Speaker at the Indo-Pacific Federation Conference in Bali in November 2013. He has published several books including The Yoga od the Christ; Wisdom of Patañjali’s Yoga Sutras; Science and the Sacred; The Bhagavad Gita: A Guide to Navigating the Battle of Life; The Pilgrim Soul: Search for the Sacred Transcending World Religions. More details at www.ravindra.ca.
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