In the Light of Theosophy

Solomon, son of David and king of Israel in the 10th century B.C., is noted for his wisdom and magnificence, and especially for the temple he is said to have built—"a splendid temple to the Lord, composed of successive courtyards, each one more holy than the next, with the innermost containing the Ark." Yet, little is known about who Solomon really was, and even the very existence of such a personage is being debated by scholars. In Time magazine (April 16) we are told:

Outside of the Bible, there is only the scantest evidence of either King's existence. [David and Solomon]. A mere two commemorative inscriptions have been found referring to a "House of David," both from a later period. Solomon's trail is even colder....Few experts believe that the father-and-son team's Unified Kingdom could have stretched, as Kings claims, "from the [Euphrates] the border of Egypt." A vocal minority of historians known as biblical minimalists claim that most of Kings was a myth concocted hundreds of years later to legitimize a later regime. The minimalists argue that there is no good reason beyond piety to think that Jerusalem in 1000 B.C. was a major city or that David or Solomon were anything more than tribal leaders.

And the Temple? Very few scholars doubt its existence, in part because the testimony to its destruction is so eloquent. By 715 B.C., Jerusalem had indisputably turned into a prosperous capital of a major Judahite kingdom, documentable, through both archaeology and written accounts. By 586 B.C., it was rubble....

Whatever of the first Temple may eventually be dug up, its most glorious remnant will not be physical. Scholars quibble over whether what they call ethical monotheism had fully developed before the city's fall or was realized by the Jews only on their return from exile in Babylon. But it was in the Temple, or with the memory of its grandeur tempered by the harsh wisdom of the stateless, that the Jews refined their embrace of a God who was the only God, who involved himself in human history and who wanted his people to do right.

According to a Jewish tradition, says H.P.B., "the stones which were used to build Solomon's temple (an allegorical symbol taken literally and made into an actual edifice) were not chiselled or polished by human hands." In her article "Is Theosophy a Religion?" H.P.B. refer to

the temple of Solomon's wisdom, a building which "there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was building" (I Kings, VI); for this "temple is made by no human hand, nor built in any locality on earth—but, verily, is raised only in the inner sanctuary of man's heart wherein reigns alone the awakened soul....

[Solomon's] 700 wives and 300 concubines, by the bye, are merely the personations of man's attributes, feelings, passions and his various occult powers: the Kabalistic numbers 7 and 3 showing it plainly. Solomon himself, moreover, being, simply, the emblem of SOL—the "Solar Initiate" or the Christ-Sun, is a variant of the Indian "Vikarttana" (the Sun) shorn of his beams by Viswakarma, his Hierophant-Initiator, who thus shears the Chrestos-candidate for initiation of his golden radiance and crowns him with a dark, blackened aureole—the "crown of thorns." (See The Secret Doctrine for full explanation.) Solomon was never a living man. As described in Kings, his life and works are an allegory on the trials and glory of Initiation.

In Isis Unveiled (II, 391-92) we are further told:

The building of the Temple of Solomon is the symbolical representation of the gradual acquirement of the secret wisdom, or magic; the erection and development of the spiritual from the earthly; the manifestation of the power and splendour of the spirit in the physical world, through the wisdom and genius of the builder. The latter, when he has become an adept, is a mightier king than Solomon himself, the emblem of the sun or Light himself—the light of the real subjective world, shining in the darkness of the objective universe....

In the East, this science is called, in some places, the "seven-storied," in others, the "nine-storied" Temple; every story answers allegorically to a degree of knowledge acquired. Throughout the countries of the Orient, wherever magic and the wisdom-religion are studied, its practitioners and students are known among their craft as Builders—for they build the temple of knowledge, of secret science.

How many people have ever lived on Earth? Demographers are debating the question; but with erroneous data to start with, their calculations are bound to be wide of the mark. To begin with, do they have any idea of when the human race began and what the birthrate and the total population were in bygone ages? This is how the current thinking runs:

Before the invention of agriculture [do they know when that was?] the global population was probably no more than 5 million to 10 million, kept low by the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. By A.D. 1 the population had risen to about 300 million, judging from fragmentary censuses in Rome, China, and the Mediterranean. Aplying a high birthrate to that population, we can estimate a total 106 billion humans have been born. The 6.1 billion living at present therefore represent 5.7 percent of all who have lived. Rapid growth in developing countries has caused the global population to soar from just 1.6 billion in 1900, so the percentage currently alive compared with those ever born is actually rising. (Discover, May 2001)

Is the total number of people who have ever lived on Earth really increasing as statisticians assume? Theosophists would word the question a little differently: Is there a varying number of souls or egos belonging to our globe, or is it a fixed quantity? In other words, is a new soul created for every new-born infant? H.P.B. answers this in The Secret Doctrine (II, 302-3). Mr. Judge explains in The Ocean of Theosophy (p. 83):

It is true that so far as concerns this globe the number of Egos belonging to it is definite; but no one knows what that quantity is nor what is the total capacity of the earth for sustaining them. The statisticians of the day are chiefly in the West, and their tables embrace but a small section of the history of man. They cannot say how many persons were incarnated on the earth at any prior date when the globe was full in all parts, hence the quantity of egos willing or waiting to be reborn is unknown to the men of today. The Masters of theosophical knowledge say that the total number of such egos is vast, and for that reason the supply of those for the occupation of bodies to be born over and above the number that die is sufficient. Then, too, it must be borne in mind that each ego for itself varies the length of stay in the post-mortem states. They do not reincarnate at the same interval, but come out of the state after death at different rates, and whenever there occurs a great number of deaths by war, pestilence, or famine, there is at once a rush of souls to incarnation, either in the same place or in some other place or race.

At present, most people are engrossed within narrow boundaries, and what they lack most is perception of perspectives. What is needed is right education, which would enable the individual to grow into his or her highest possibilities, nor merely physical and mental, but also ethical and spiritual. "Education for character development" is of prime importance today, writes Kireet Joshi in his article under that title in The Advent (April 2001):

In the first place, we need to clarify ourselves as to what we mean by education for character development. In simplest terms, character implies well-trained will to be straightforward, fearless and honest, coupled with sincerity to act and even to fight nobly and courageously in order to embody in one's own life and in the life of the society all that is true and all that can foster solidarity and unity.

Character may be considered to have four dimensions, dimension of wisdom, dimension of heroic will, dimension of compassion and universal love, and dimension of competence, chiselled skill and untiring labour.

A well-developed character is an integrated character; it is able to sharpen inborn capacities and potentialities towards their own highest values. A development character is a developed personality that harmonises the demands of physical education, vital education, emotional education, rational education, aesthetic education, ethical education, and spiritual education.

In our present system of education, all that we have conceived here to be relevant to the development of character is sadly missing. We do not emphasize the development of imagination as much as we emphasize the learning of facts. We do not give importance to the pursuit of truth; we propose only the pursuit of piecemeal assemblage of topics and subjects which are prescribed in our syllabus....Even our thinking on the subject of val