Evidence of Spiritual Interest
Dear Member of Blavatsky Net,
We Theosophists care a very great deal about the spiritual state
world. In this topsy-turvy world of the Kali-yuga we may look around
and be quite distressed at the apparent immorality and injustice
of the world around us.
Of course it can be difficult for us to assess the state of the
whole human race on this score. We know the affairs of man less well as
we reach our minds to further and further removed places and situations
on earth. We may sense that even the immediate world around us may
not reflect well the larger whole. We hear various forms of remarks
that the Theosophical groups have reasons to be discouraged about their abilities
to attract and hold newcomers. Finally there may come a time when,
like Arjuna, we feel like dropping the bow. So the purpose of these few
words is to offer a few ideas that may suggest a broader more underlying
success for Theosophy in this world.
The information presented here is of course not definitive. It leaves
many questions. But hopefully it will raise many questions and,
after some thought, encourage us to keep up the battle.
To me the most striking datapoint is found on Amazon.com. Amazon
gives there the sales rank of the Secret Doctrine. The paperback version
of the Secret Doctrine as published by the Theosophical University
Press is listed with a sales rank that to me is very high - at the moment
of writing this, it is about 72,000. That means only about 72,000 other
books are selling better at Amazon than the Secret Doctrine. Isn't
that amazing? For some perspective they offer about one million books.
That means about 928,000 books sell worse that the Secret Doctrine. That
suggests that there is a strong desire on the part of people to
reach for the knowledge contained in that book. It is difficult reading we
know. All the more striking that they purchase the book in that quantity.
Suppose we move away from this specifically Theosophical book. HPB
says "Compassion is the law of laws". On Amazon, the Dalai
Lama's book "An Open Heart Practicing Compassion in Everyday life" Would be a good test. It ranks at 65,000 in sales volume out of some one million books.
If that is not impressive enough we can consider another book "Seat
of the Soul" by Gary Zukav. That book has been recommended to me by
some Theosophists. I had heard that years ago it had sold out of its
first printing of 2,000,000 copies. A check at Amazon shows that book
is, at this moment of writing, at a rank of 4,969. Just amazing. It was
first published in 1990 and still going this strong.
Another indicator that is suggestive comes from google.com. We can
visit that site and enter quite a variety of different terms and see at
the top of the resulting page, the number of pages on the internet that
contain the given word. For example, I asked about the word "justice"
and google said there were 28,000,000 pages on the internet containing that
word. Quite impressive. The total number of people concerned about the
subject will of course be much larger. Some people don't put up web pages.
Some don't have access to the internet. And some sites have more than
one page on the subject. In this case there is one caveat. Many of the references
were to Departments of Justice and that was not quite what I had
in mind. However the word "ethics" seems just right. It yields
11,000,000 web pages! That seems to me dramatic.
The idea of ethics is so important to the internet world that eleven
million pages have been put online containing that specific word.
People are thinking a good deal about ethics and they are concerned about
Some other numbers may be of interest. I have heard that 25,000,000
people in the US have practiced yoga. Of course their are various
statements made about that in Theosophy but it still indicates an
interest and receptivity to ideas emanating from India.
There may be some worthwhile polls around that would give us yet
another measure. One that was passed to me recently is at:
http://home.sandiego.edu/~baber/logic/gallup.html. It asserts that
belief in reincarnation in the US is at 25% (I thought it was higher than
that?)and "Americans' Belief in Psychic and Paranormal Phenomena
Is up Over Last Decade. Belief in psychic healing and extrasensory perception top
the list." It would be interesting if we could find yet more relevant polls.
So there is a conclusion. Yes our organizations are having trouble
sustaining their numbers. However the interest level in the world
at large in the subjects of concern to us is much larger than we might have
suspected. If anyone has other ways of approaching an understanding
of the spiritual state of humanity it would be interesting to hear them.
Books mentioned in this newsletter can be bought at www.seekerbooks.com
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Reed Carson, President of Blavatsky Net Foundation.
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