At the feet of the master


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This is an exploration on the theosophical classic "At the Feet of the Master" presented to the Theosophical Research Group (TRG) of the Theosophical Society in the Philippines (TSP) in Quezon City.

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At the feet of the master

  1. 1. At the Feet of the Master A sharing of thoughts TSP Headquarters Quezon City
  2. 2. J. Krishnamurti <ul><li>“ These are not my words; they are the words of the Master who taught me. Without Him I could have done nothing, but through His help I have set my feet upon the Path.” - Alcyone </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>“ When the student is ready, the Master appears.” </li></ul><ul><li>Not by goodness alone. </li></ul><ul><li>Not by knowledge alone. </li></ul><ul><li>Not even a combination of these two. </li></ul><ul><li>But a “spiritual tone, </li></ul><ul><li>an element of wisdom or </li></ul><ul><li>a true understanding of the purpose of life </li></ul><ul><li>and an acceptance of Elder Brethren </li></ul><ul><li>as Guides and Teachers” (Arundale 18-19). </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>At the Feet of the Master </li></ul><ul><li>serves as a guide to those </li></ul><ul><li>who are willing to take the Path. </li></ul><ul><li>As students, we stand at the feet of the Master </li></ul><ul><li>to gain wisdom, will and cultivate love </li></ul><ul><li>not for ourselves but to be used </li></ul><ul><li>as “channels” of service (Arundale 205). </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>At the Feet of the Master , which is just a Portal to the Temple of Divine Wisdom, outlines four traits or qualifications: </li></ul><ul><li>Discrimination </li></ul><ul><li>Desirelessness </li></ul><ul><li>Good conduct </li></ul><ul><li>Love </li></ul>
  6. 6. Discrimination <ul><li>We must be able to sift the fine from the gross. </li></ul><ul><li>Let us not be lazy to use our faculties and conveniently designate the act of discerning to any body, and be impatient to the answers to our questioning. Recognize the real from the unreal, essential from the nonessential. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>“ Ignorance is not a crime but a stage of growth” (Arundale 30). </li></ul><ul><li>Ignorance is a state of being asleep or blind. </li></ul><ul><li>“ All knowledge is relative, and you must bear in mind the Master’s words: ‘However wise you may be already, on this Path you have much to learn’” (Arundale 30). </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>“Do not mistake your bodies for yourself—neither the physical body, nor the astral, nor the mental. Each one of them will pretend to be the Self, in order to gain what it wants. But you must know them all, and know yourself as their master” ( At the Feet of the Master ). </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of the trappings, illusions and pretenses of the personality. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><li>The actor (higher self) in the movies puts on the persona (lower self) of the character he plays, but he knows that he is just a character. But because the actor is good, he is able to use his skills to make the character come alive (self-mastery). The actor remains separate from the character. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>For the Occultist, there is only choiceless choice. Between right and wrong, good and evil, there is no choosing. He simply does the right and the good. </li></ul><ul><li>“ At whatever apparent cost, that which is right you must do, that which is wrong you must not do, no matter what the ignorant may think or say. You must study deeply the hidden laws of Nature, and when you know them arrange your life according to them, using always reason and common-sense.” </li></ul>
  11. 11. Discrimination: Practical Application <ul><li>Physical : stewardship of the body so it will always be healthy and ready to carry out duties (e.g., Am I hungry or just thirsty?) </li></ul><ul><li>Astral : distinguish want from need, be aware of feelings that arise in you and how they can take control of you (e.g., I feel insulted. Why?) </li></ul><ul><li>Mental : discern things with the Master and his work in mind (e.g., What will I tell them? Is this according to the Master’s plan? OR, Is this a right choice?) </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>On a spiritual level : </li></ul><ul><li>Recognize the God in every one and every thing, regardless of appearances. </li></ul><ul><li>Appeal and arouse the Divine Life </li></ul><ul><li>in every one so you can help your brother </li></ul><ul><li>and save him from wrong ( At the Feet of the Master ). </li></ul>
  13. 13. Desirelessness <ul><li>“ [Krishnamurti says] those who think there will be no self left if their desires are taken away ‘are only they who have not seen the Master; in the light of His holy Presence all desire dies, but the desire to be like Him’” (Arundale 114). </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>“ Master points out that ‘discrimination has already shown you that the things which most men desire, such as wealth and power, are not worth having; when this is really felt, not merely said, all desire for them ceases’” (Arundale 115). </li></ul><ul><li>In order to come to right desires, strengthen the power of discrimination (Arundale 117). </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Be on guard against the following desires: </li></ul><ul><li>To see results </li></ul><ul><li>To expect rewards </li></ul><ul><li>To have psychic powers (“Better for you to be without them.” It is for the Master to decide.) </li></ul><ul><li>To appear clever and wise </li></ul><ul><li>To meddle in other people’s business </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>“ Do not fall into the error of desiring heaven, or personal liberation from rebirth. ‘If you have forgotten self altogether, you cannot be thinking when that self shall be set free, or what kind of heaven it shall have’” (Arundale 118). </li></ul><ul><li>“ All selfish desire binds, however high may be its object, and until you have got rid of it you are not wholly free to devote yourself to the work of the Master” (Arundale 118). </li></ul>
  17. 17. Good Conduct <ul><li>Self-control as to the Mind </li></ul><ul><li>Self-control in Action </li></ul><ul><li>Tolerance </li></ul><ul><li>Cheerfulness </li></ul><ul><li>One-pointedness </li></ul><ul><li>Confidence </li></ul>
  18. 18. Self-control as to the Mind <ul><li>Control of temper and of nerves, </li></ul><ul><li>and calmness of mind </li></ul><ul><li>“ An agitated thought inevitably reacts on the astral body, and, since the mental body is more powerful than the astral, the effect of a disturbed mental body is largely to increase the disturbance of the astral” (Arundale 135). </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>“ The world is in a whirl of excitement, [despair, anxiety] and unless one has sufficient power to steady oneself against the whirling forces, one hardly knows whether [these are] from within or from without” (Arundale 136). </li></ul><ul><li>That is why we are advised to meditate: to quiet and calm the mental and the astral bodies. </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Calmness also means courage and steadiness. </li></ul><ul><li>Pay little attention to worries and troubles for they are the result of our past and we cannot do anything about them, but bear them with cheerfulness. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not let your mind be idle and to wander. Keep to good thoughts. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Practical Application <ul><li>Think of someone in trouble and send loving thoughts to that person. </li></ul><ul><li>Plan your day and follow your schedule. </li></ul><ul><li>Engage yourself fully to a task at hand. </li></ul><ul><li>Raise your thoughts to the highest you can think of, you may think about a saint or a Master or a virtue. And make this thought a habit. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Self-control in Action <ul><li>“To be useful to mankind, thought must result in action. There must be no laziness, but constant activity in good work.” </li></ul><ul><li>Let us take up our own work with much eagerness and cheerfulness because we are at the service of the Master. </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Even if we are engaged in ‘higher work’, we must not neglect our ordinary duties every day through which we will progress in the Path. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Until the ordinary duties of life are done, we are not free for other service. Notice that He uses the word ‘other’ and not ‘higher’” (Arundale 148) </li></ul>
  24. 24. Practical Application <ul><li>Do little things extraordinarily well. </li></ul><ul><li>Give your best effort even in little things. </li></ul><ul><li>It is not so much what is being done, </li></ul><ul><li>but more of how and the spirit </li></ul><ul><li>with which it is being done. </li></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>“ The man who manages the affairs of State lazily and carelessly has much to learn from the crossing-sweeper who is careful to keep in the utmost cleanliness the crossing upon whose cleanliness his attention is concentrated” (Arundale 151) </li></ul>
  26. 26. Tolerance <ul><li>“’ When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things.’ </li></ul><ul><li>Yet he who has forgotten his childhood and </li></ul><ul><li>lost sympathy with the children is not the man who can teach them or help them. </li></ul><ul><li>So look kindly, gently, tolerantly upon all; but upon all alike, Buddhist or Hindu, Jain or Jew, Christian or Muhammadan.” </li></ul>
  27. 27. Practical Application <ul><li>Be adaptable to the changing of times. </li></ul><ul><li>This means that we should be well-informed about things happening around us and be able to adapt to the situation, and that we can recognize the signs of the times. </li></ul><ul><li>We must not be quick to judge other beliefs, other’s experiences, other religions, other persons. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Cheerfulness <ul><li>Let us bear our karma cheerfully and do our tasks gladly. </li></ul><ul><li>There should be no feeling of possession or attachment. If there is, be ready to part and stand on your own, and be a lamp unto thine own self. </li></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>“ The apparent drudgery of selfless service is due to ignorance. The great principle of life is that nothing which is needed to be done has in it the essence of drudgery” (Arundale 149). </li></ul><ul><li>The fear of selfless service comes from the lower self reacting to the awakened higher self. </li></ul>
  30. 30. One-pointedness <ul><li>This means being focused on what you have set out for yourself to do. </li></ul><ul><li>This also means that once you have decided to set your feet on the Path, nothing should have you turn away from it. “To break away from it would be to break away from yourself because you, the Monad, have decided to enter the Path” ( At the Feet ). </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>The Path is everywhere. The path is the life with and for the Master so that anywhere you are at anytime, every activity must link you to the Master (Arundale 161-162). </li></ul><ul><li>Karma is always on our side, whether bad or good, because every action is an opportunity to step to the ladder of perfection (Arundale 161-162). </li></ul>
  32. 32. Confidence <ul><li>If you have seen and recognized the Master, your confidence will be as a rock (Arundale 165). </li></ul><ul><li>Trust yourself and trust the Master so that perfect love and power can flow ( At the Feet ). </li></ul><ul><li>Confidence here is used as will and determination. “’What man has done, man can do. I am a man, yet also God in man; I can do this thing, and I will.’ For your will must be like tempered steel, if you would tread the Path” ( At the Feet ). </li></ul>
  33. 33. Practical Application <ul><li>Trust in your abilities and skills (e.g., when you are assigned a task, trust that your skills can complete it). </li></ul><ul><li>Trust your decisions (Whether, in the end, your decision may prove to be wrong, trust that it will be right.) </li></ul><ul><li>Trust in the goodness of other people (God is in them.) </li></ul><ul><li>Trust that, in the end, everything will lead to our perfection. </li></ul><ul><li>This trust is shines the most in our independence. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Love <ul><li>If the quality of love is strong enough in a man, ‘it forces him to acquire all the rest, and all the rest without it would never be sufficient’ (Arundale 171). </li></ul><ul><li>If we must try to become like the Master, we must be filled with selfless love as He himself is selfless. </li></ul>
  35. 35. Practical Application <ul><li>“Do not hurt.” </li></ul><ul><li>Three things that hurt: </li></ul><ul><li>gossip, cruelty, superstition. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Gossip <ul><li>Gossip are done in the absence of a person. When we gossip, we hurt the person who cannot save himself from the rumors spread about him. </li></ul><ul><li>1. We fill the thoughts of person with negative things about another person. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Your wicked tongue may strengthen the evil in him or make him do the wrong you are thinking. </li></ul><ul><li>3. You fill your thoughts with negative things. </li></ul>
  37. 37. Cruelty <ul><li>Both intentional and nonintentional </li></ul><ul><li>This is why many have become vegetarians. They have felt the connection of the human life with the life of the animals. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: physical punishment, torture, cruelty in speech, thoughtlessness, tactlessness </li></ul>
  38. 38. Superstition <ul><li>Those beliefs that lead us to hurt others (e.g., racial superiority, religions that claim that they are the only true religion, beliefs that bring about discrimination and division). </li></ul>
  39. 39. <ul><li>The Masters are our Elder Brothers and we can be their younger brothers if we share the common sentiment of serving humanity (Arundale). </li></ul><ul><li>“ That which is the One Life in the Master, is also the One Life in me. Life in Him may be more perfectly unfolded, but only because He has gone further along the path which I am treading” (Arundale 169). </li></ul>
  40. 40. <ul><li>Works Cited </li></ul><ul><li>Arundale, George. Thoughts on ‘At the Feet of the Master. 1919. Theosophical Publishing House. California. Web. </li></ul><ul><li>Krishnamurti, Jiddu. At the Feet of the Master. 1910. Web. </li></ul>