The virgin birth – Theosophy’s view

Discussion in 'Alternative' started by Nick the Pilot, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    Thanks Nick, neatly explained!

    I have another question; I see Theosophy is very aligned with Hindu/Vedic metaphysics/cosmology . . . where does Theosophy differ from Hindu religion?
     
  2. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Hi Etu,

    I'm not too familiar with Hinduism, but one big difference is the large number of Hindu gods, and the Hindu way of praying to these different gods. Theosophy does not emphasize such praying.

    Another difference is the Hindu emphasis on rituals. Theosophy is much more similar to Buddhism in its non-emphasis on rituals.

    Another is the Hindu caste system. I'm not sure how the Hindu caste system works, but I think Hinduism says people of the Brahma caste have a better chance at getting to heaven/moksha/nirvana than non-Brahmas, whereas Theosophy teaches that a person's chance to getting to heaven/moksha/nirvana depends solely on his/her efforts rather than circumstances of birth.

    I'm not sure how the concept of enlightenment fits into Hinduism. (The twin concepts of enlightenment and nirvana are core concepts in Theosophy.)
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Did you know there are over two dozen 'proofs of God' in the Christian Tradition?

    Faith is not, as many assume, a deficiency of knowledge, but is an order of knowing beyond knowledge — a different order of gnosis, if you will — Plato asserted that there is knowledge, which can be transmitted in words, and there is experience, which cannot, and it is this he regarded as 'esoteric'.

    Knowledge is, after all, a body, it is a cloak, a veil, and a form ... faith deals in essence beyond forms, albeit forms are utilised to enable all to access the essence.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  4. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Here is the thing about "faith", you have to have ti do do even science... faith in induction (which cannot be proven to a hard-core skeptic) faith in any mathematics higher than the basic arithmetic (which, again, cannot be strictly proven). Faith in your perceptions (which could be hallucinations).

    Reality is complex. We do not just wonder around picking up "knowledge of truth".
     
  5. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Are you saying faith is "of the mind" or "not of the mind"?
     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Faith is of the heart.

    Because the object of faith is always, in that sense, unknown, faith is more about the disposition of the self towards its object, and the object disposes itself towards the faithful in return.

    This is exemplified by the Abrahamic Traditions, each in its own unique way.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Same with theology, which is a science.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  8. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    IG,

    Faith can be "of the mind," but it can be also a willingness to believe something that makes no sense. The original topic of this thread is the idea that Christians believe Mary was a virgin, which is a sign of their faith. But the original topic of this thread is also that virginity originally refers to the "virginity" of the universe, not to a woman who lived 2,000 years ago, and asks people to have the "faith" to look at how the teaching of a woman who lived 2,000 years ago was used only as a symbol of a universal truth, and that she was not an actual virgin. Having "faith" requires people to be open-minded and critical towards dogmas they are asked to blindly accept, and reject dogmas that do not make sense to them. Theosophy does not ALLOW anyone to believe ANY blind dogmas, it forces all Theosophists to rigorously and critically examine each and every small piece of their own personal belief system, and it forces them to believe only believe ideas that have survived this rigorous examination. It is an imperfect and painful way of constructing a person's own personal belief system, it does not allow for any guru, monk, Pope, or Dalai Lama to tell us what to believe, and it is a scary path to enter upon (what other religion or philosophy can make this clam?)

    We wouldn't have it any other way.
     
  9. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    The virgin birth – Theosophy’s view A Reminder of Post #1
    Christianity teaches of the virgin birth of Jesus. I thought I would explain where such a concept comes from, as seen from a theosophical perspective.

    The entire universe is made up of atoms. The universe is composed of more than mere physical atoms. There are astral atoms, mental atoms, buddhic atoms, etc. A large number of astral atoms combine to make up a single physical atom, a large number of mental atoms combine to make up a single astral atom, etc. Each atom is a finer gradation of matter than the next lower, densest type of matter.

    In this way, there is a hierarchy of atoms, each one being nothing more than a combination of atoms at the next higher level. But there is a limit to this hierarchy. There is a point at which we reach a core "matter" or pre-matter, from which all other types of matter are composed. This pre-cosmic pre-matter is the "substance" from which universes are created, and is called Mulaprakriti.

    Mulaprakriti is said to be a virgin matter. By itself it is pure, and is not affected nor "damaged" by the process by which Mulaprakriti is used to create various types of atoms from which universes are created.

    It from these ideas that the idea of virginity has been transferred to the Christian idea of the virgin birth. According to Theosophy, Mary symbolizes Mulaprakriti and the Baby Jesus symbolizes our present universe. (Mary’s name even begins with the same letter, M, as the word Mulaprakriti. M is actually from a hieroglyphic, a wavy hieroglyphic symbolizing water. Water has always been a symbol for Mulaprakriti. The word "water" in Genesis 1:1 actually refers to Mulaprakriti, not physical water, and refers to the first differentiation of Mulaprakriti into "super-physical" atoms.)

    The symbolical Mary has had many symbolical children – many universes have been created from the "virgin" matter called Mulaprakriti.

    In a fascinating example of cross-religious similarity, Buddhism has a similar Mulaprakriti/universe symbology. A central (and very Mary-like) diety exists in Buddhism called Gwan Yin. Gwan Yin is just as popular among Buddhists as Mary is among Christians (especially Catholics.) There are thousands of Buddhists temples dedicated to Gwan Yin, and millions of Buddhists pray to Gwan Yin everyday.

    Quoted from Nick the Pilot
     
  10. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Sounds like Theosophy is based on critical reasoning and not faith, would you agree?

    Where do you see faith in relationship to Theosophy?

    Would you classify Theosophy as a science and not a faith-based religion?
     
  11. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Thomas, that is a good explanation.

    But, as you admit that the object of faith is always unknown, what is the advantage of having "faith" in the unknown vs. just being agnostic towards the unknown?
     
  12. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hi Nick —
    Yes it can, but it's not the order of faith that I wrote about. Faith of the mind is natural, but the faith discussed here, to use Schuon's words, is 'supernaturally natural' ...

    In which case it is a mere sentimetalism, as the quote from Schuon states.

    Yes, a 'supernaturally natural' event revealed and as such inaccessible to any intellectual operation.

    Not the virginity spoken of in Scripture. There are many subsequent formulations of the revealed doctrine, for Universal Truth is one and cascades down, as it were, into many expressions.

    I, for example, have offered an exegesis on the Virginity of the Immaculate as an expression of her fidelity to God, in her own words (Luke 1:38), but that again is an intellectual appreciation of Scripture, a typological and analogical exegesis, but not the primary data.

    Sheesh! And there you've been telling me you have no dogmas, then hit me with that one!

    Well, not a religion nor philosophy, by definition ... but every egocentric system says the same thing, obviously.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Depends whether one is drawn to know God as God, or to know God in His image imprinted on creation?

    Jesus says "Follow" — we can never catch up with Him, we can never know Him, because to know Christ requires that we can encompass Christ, and how can the finite encompass the Infinite?

    To use the Areopagite's words, faith fills us with a 'dark radiance'.

    The answer of faith is not that I know my Lord, but that He knows Himself in me.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  14. bhaktajan

    bhaktajan Active Member

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    Why all the doubt of the "Virgin-ability of a birth"?

    Do we know How/Why our understanding of Sperm/Ovum works?

    Its a mystery from A to Zed!
     
  15. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    "Virgin" simply means "pure", it can mean the Bible is simply saying Mary and Joseph have not been craving sex when Jesus was conceived, that sex happened out of utter love and free from all desire.

    At the same time, we have seen in certain reptiles cases of virgin birth - always the offspring are male. These are not asexual creatures, and yet the births have been spontaneous - no contact with the male reptile has been involved and the offspring does not share any genetic resemblance to the only plausible fathers. Is it such a stretch that it can occur ONCE in the entirety of human history?

    Either way we look at it though, what does a virgin birth get us? Why is this considered important at all?
     
  16. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    My old Southern Baptist pastor would say it breaks the "originial sin" link and therefore Jesus was born pure, free of original sin of the rest of humans, which is passed down through birth from Adam & Eve. Therefore Jesus can be free of sin, including original sin.

    Jesus = virgin birth = no original sin.

    IMHO, sounds like something made up or borrowed from other mythologies to fit a nice & neat Christian theology...
     
  17. bhaktajan

    bhaktajan Active Member

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    Obviously, the "Virgin-Birth Standard" originated in some scriptural tradition that pre-dated Christ's, Roman's & Greek's epochs.

    There must have been a legend-type senario that set the standard for the appearence of an Avatar.
     
  18. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    This is an area I am just not interested in pursuing... "original sin" is necessary to ensure everyone feels guilt, that way everyone is a candidate to be saved from that guilt. For me, it is a disgusting cycle, and a concept that ought to be dropped from humanity.

    Spirituality is about discovering our true potential, it is about finding the highest aspects of human existence. It should not be about some bizarre battle against nature, which is all you are prescribing with the "original sin". You are saying that sex is a sinful thing in saying virgin birth is the only way to be free from sin, yet it is ignored that we have been created this way - it is not our choice so how can we be blamed? It is because humans have always been uncomfortable about this subject, it is however our fundamental chain...

    Moksha, Heaven, Nirvana, whatsoever you want to call it, it is essentially a great freedom, this sort of thing is exactly the bondage. I would be interested in any other explanations, but this one is just utterly backwards.
     
  19. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    Avatar means descend, to come down, it signifies the ultimate consciousness - brahman, dharmakaya, yehweh, allah, that. The other part is the ascension of the human consciousness, this.

    At the meeting of the two, enlightenment happens, neti neti.
     
  20. bhaktajan

    bhaktajan Active Member

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    Great Conflations!

    Total shmorgasburgmentionalism!


    In Hinduism, an avatar (Sanskrit avatāra, meaning "descent" from heaven to earth) is a deliberate descent of a deity from heaven to earth, or a descent of the Supreme Being (i.e., Vishnu for Vaishnavites) and is mostly translated into English as "incarnation", but more accurately as "appearance" or "manifestation".
    Avatar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Neti neti is also an analytical process of conceptualizing something by clearly defining what it is not. One of the key elements of Jnana Yoga is often a "neti neti search."
    Adi Shankara was one of the foremost Advaita philosophers who advocated the neti-neti approach.
    Neti-neti is held as the approach to understand the concept of Brahman without using affirmative (and thereby inadequate) definitions or descriptions of Brahman, comparable to apophatic theology in Eastern Christianity.
    Neti neti - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    your common vaishnavite,
    Bhaktajan
     

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