In the Light of Theosophy


The environmental issue of global warming is proving to be a great moral crisis of our time, argues Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Long Distance. Overindustrialization, increasing vehicular traffic and other human influences on the environment are wreaking havoc on our planet and the air we breathe. Writing in the news magazine In These Times, Mckibben paints a gloomy picture of things to come:

In temperate latitudes, climate change will creep up on us. Severe storms already have grown more frequent and more damaging. The progression of seasons is less steady. Some agriculture is less reliable. Most of us live lives so divorced from the natural world that we hardly notice the changes. By the time the magnitude of the change is truly in our faces, it will be too late to do much about it: There's such a lag time to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that we need to be making the switch to solar and wind and hydrogen power right now to prevent disaster decades away.

So maybe we should think of global warming in a different way—as the great moral crises of our time. Why a moral question? In the first place, no one's ever figured out a more effective way to screw the marginalized and poor of this planet than climate change. Having taken their dignity, their resources, and their freedom under a variety of other schemes, we now are taking the very physical stability on which their already difficult lives depend....

And global warming is a moral crisis, too, if you place any value on the rest of creation. Intricate ecosystems are also spectacularly vulnerable. All in all, the 21st century seems poised to see extinctions at a rate not observed since the last big asteroid slammed into the planet. But this time the asteroid is us.

It's a moral question, finally, if you think we owe any debt to the future. No generation yet to come will ever forget us—we are the ones present at the moment when the temperature starts to spike, and so far we have not reacted....

You can't really get angry at carbon dioxide, and the people responsible for its production are, well, us. We emit so much more carbon dioxide now than we did a decade ago....There are huge companies with a lot to lose, and many people so tied in to their current ways of life that advocating change smacks of subversion. But this has to become a political issue—and fast. The only way that may happen, short of a hideous drought or monster flood, is if it becomes a personal issue first.

Trying to launch a moral campaign is no easy task. It is the sum total of individual actions that can bring about a shift of habits and change of lifestyle in the collective whole—enough to pressure governments to pass laws that would reduce the levels of carbon dioxide and other lethal gases pouring into our atmosphere.


It is rare to find men of science, or those belonging to the medical fraternity, who view science, spirituality and service as the three sides of a triangle. The three merge with one another at the deeper level, says Dr. K. P. Mishra, senior cardiologist at Apollo Hospital, Chennai. He writes in Tattvaloka (December 2001):

Science is an inquiry in the world outside. Spiritualism is an inquiry into the world within. Both are complementary to each other....If we wish to know man in all his dimensions and facets and also if we wish to study the entire world in which we live, science and spirituality have to grow together so that the total knowledge becomes comprehensive and integrated....

Service of mankind is actually, as Mother Teresa says, love in action. There cannot be love without service, nor can anyone serve without love. In fact, service is an appreciation of the unity of creation....

This is the view of modern science also with the GUT theory (Grand Union Theory) wherein the scientists postulate that the entire universe is created and sustained by one form of energy alone. The more we understand this aspect of life, the more we get attracted towards service, because by serving others we are only helping ourselves.

The entire creation is interdependent. Nothing can survive without the help and support of the other parts of creation....This is the law of nature. Every flora and fauna in the world is interdependent for survival on others. The beauty of life is in realizing this and giving abundantly to others.

A society or a nation that takes more than it gives perishes in no time, whereas a society that gives more than it takes flourishes and nourishes others. The story of all civilizations is reflected in this eternal truth....

We have received all our lives many things in many ways, without which we could not be what we are today. Isn't it our duty to pay it back? Therefore, service is not a luxury, a hobby or a fashion but an unavoidable obligation and a sacred duty towards society....

To give is to live and to keep is to die....Service makes us appreciate the unity in creation and the love for fellow human beings.


While books and writings and other works of men often fade away and are no more for subsequent ages, the great symbols do not disappear. Hence "the religious and esoteric history of every nation was embedded in symbols" (The Secret Doctrine, I, 307), and thus preserved for posterity. The science of true symbols and the art of interpreting them is little understood today. Dr. S. A. Sarma is among the few who recognizes the value of ancient symbols. In his book Kena Upanishad he writes:

The science of symbols constitutes a fascinating study in itself. It is by means of this science of symbols that the Unknown becomes the Known, the occult the obvious. Symbols enter into almost every phase of human endeavour and pursuits: in mathematics, mysticism and music, in art and architecture, in the diverse rituals and ceremonials of the esoteric religious systems and their practices, in alchemy and in astrology, in the traditions of esoteric teachings, from the most "primitive" mind's early perceptions to the most modern artistic apperceptions, and in the intricate dialectics, in every field it is this science of symbols that so ensures the satisfactory transmission and appreciation of the essential "intent" of what is thus taught....

A symbol is a visible sign