Edited by John and Elizabeth Sell and Roselmo Z. Doval Santos
Quezon City, Philippines: Theosophical Publishing House, 2014, xvi + 490 pages, hardcover, $24.
Geoffrey Hodson (1886–1983) ranks among the Theosophical Society's most respected teachers and writers. In addition to having authored at least forty-six books and thirty-seven booklets, he wrote hundreds of articles and gave hundreds of talks throughout the world.
A modest and self-effacing individual, Hodson avoided the guru adoration syndrome that has befallen so many spiritual teachers over the years. It was not until after his passing that we learned that Hodson had received direct guidance and inspiration from adept and archangelic teachers throughout his adult life. Although he often referred to himself as simply a "student of Theosophy," Robert Ellwood, emeritus professor of religion at the University of Southern California, described him as "worthy of compare with the greatest seers and mystics of any land or time."
This book is the third collection of Hodson's lesser-known writings, gleaned primarily from pamphlets and booklets long out of print by John and Elizabeth Sell, prominent members of the New Zealand Section, and edited by them and Roselmo Z. Doval Santos, president of the Theosophical Society in the Philippines.
As in the previous two volumes, the material presented here is clearly written, and reflects Hodson's broad and eclectic range of personal and professional interests, with a strong practical emphasis on how to live a spiritual life of integrity, compassion, and right action. Subjects include esoteric Christianity, death, reincarnation, world peace, the importance of beauty, the way to the Masters, relationship, healing, diet, animal welfare, marriage, motherhood, and education.
This impressive collection contains a wealth of material suitable for both individual and group study. Individual titles include "The Clairvoyant Study of Fairies, Nature Spirits, and Devas," "The Spiritual Significance of Motherhood," "Angels and the New Race," "Principles Governing Happiness in Marriage," "The Path to the Masters of the Wisdom," "Health and the Spiritual Life," "The Humanitarian Cause," and "Does Justice Rule the World?"
Although some of the writings date back to over eighty years ago, many still resonate with the present day. Lamenting the pernicious effects of radio and cinema on young people, Hodson writes: "For today, success simply means becoming rich. 'Get! Get! Get!' becomes the motive for all effort. Trick, deceive, outwit, compete, becomes the mode, the means of success . . . They are sent out into life with a strong desire to advertise themselves, their education, their scholastic degrees, their highest gifts for money, power, possessions."
Writing towards the end of the Second World War, Hodson could be describing the present-day cults of narcissism and materialism, fueled by television, magazines, and social media.
Much in this volume reflects a similarly passionate tone. "Krishnamurti and the Search for Light" is a vigorous and detailed critique of Jiddu Krishnamurti, written seven years after his resignation from the Theosophical Society in 1929. Referring to Krishnamurti's teachings as "an extraordinary blend of rare flashes of transcendental wisdom, penetrating intelligence, incomprehensibility, prejudice, intolerance, and vituperation," Hodson's essay focuses on how Krishnamurti led many former members of the Theosophical Society into "darkness" and why his teachings should be rejected. Hodson writes, "The extraordinary confusion of thought which he is causing everywhere he goes might be productive of great harm."
In "The Problem of Sex Training and a Solution," Hodson offers wide-ranging advice on raising children to become well-grounded, ethical, and spiritual adults, emphasizing celibacy when teaching young people about sex: "There is only one absolutely sure protection against grievous effects, physical and moral, of sexual indulgence. That sole protection against disease of body and soul for youth is the bright shield of continence . . . This simple but dishonoured truth must be at the heart of all sex instruction, all hygienic education."
Some readers may feel uncomfortable reading such direct statements, many of which may challenge their accepted beliefs or behavior. We can choose to dismiss them as simply being part of another era or as examples of an extreme, absolutist, or puritanical point of view. Yet open-minded seekers of truth can choose to welcome such ideas and use them as a touchstone to examine their own character, beliefs, and conduct.
In addition to his writings, this volume includes a previously unpublished discussion between Hodson and John Sell, exploring such areas as elementals and discarnate entities, kundalini, and spiritual healing. Readers will also welcome two little-known articles by Hodson's wife Sandra: "Theosophy and Family Life" and "Failure: Gateway to Success." A former general secretary of the TS in New Zealand, Sandra Hodson was a respected Theosophical teacher and author in her own right. Often working quietly in the background, she helped edit many of her husband's writings and compiled his three posthumous books, Light of the Sanctuary: The Occult Diary of Geoffrey Hodson (1988), The Yogic Ascent to Spiritual Heights (1991), and Illuminations of the Mystery Tradition (1992).
Like the previous two volumes, this one contains photographs of Hodson that have been rarely seen before. It also includes a fascinating report by a scientist who observed some of Hodson's clairvoyant research in New Zealand during the 1950s.
Like the previous two volumes, Sharing the Light offers a wealth of original, eclectic, and practical teachings that will challenge, inform, and inspire. In addition to being an important addition to the library of every Theosophical lodge or study center, this book can form a valuable part of the library of individual students who wish to expand their insight, compassion, and understanding of life.
Nathaniel Altman has been a member of the Theosophical Society in America since 1970. He was a student of Geoffrey Hodson at the Krotona School of Theosophy in 1972.