The Theosophical Forum – January 1940

FREEDOM OF THOUGHT AND SPEECH IN THE T.S. – G. de Purucker

"Keep the teaching unadulterate and pure for the future" Oh, how those words ring in my heart; for it is what I want too; and yet I feel impelled and compelled to call your attention to a very serious danger here. Agreeing absolutely with the principle of the thing, I must call attention to the danger, and it is this: In striving to retain the purity of the teachings of our blessed God-Wisdom, let us never drop into the dogmatic attitude, which will spell the death of free conscience, free thought, free speech, sane and legitimate freedom of all kinds, in the T. S. By all means retain the purity of the teaching, it is the grandest thing we can do; but never refuse to a man his right to speak, and speak freely, even if you know what he says is not true, or distorted. The principle of freedom is so precious, it must never be forgotten. It was just there that the primitive Christians stumbled and became in time a dogmatic sectarian church: Desiring to keep the teachings of their Avatara-Master pure, unadulterate, simple and glorious as he gave them, they laid down certain dogmatic rules, credos, tests, somewhat like the fourteen points, twelve points, sixteen points, etc., etc., that we have heard of recently in Theosophical matters — a sure way to start a creed; and so anxious were people thereafter that all Christians should conform to these as it were codified laws of belief, the codification of belief, that they utterly forgot the inherent right of the human soul to think and think freely. Thereafter you have the Christian dogmatic church, and immediately they began to wax strong. Why? Because they all had one simple form of belief, and exoteric united force behind that belief.

But what do you lose when you get unity and force and nothing else? You lose everything of greatest value. Force is only good or even decent if it is the force of the spirit, which means no imposition of will upon any other mind: the force of conscience, the force of truth, the force of abstract right, the force of justice. That is the only force that is excusable in human affairs. Any other force is from hell.

So let us therefore never allow the establishing within our own ranks of a dogmatic testing (which is but a creed) of other men's understanding of what we all, including these other men, hold so dear. It may be quite possibly true that these other individuals are brilliant, it may be even intuitive; and we can be grateful for the results of their studies and meditations; but to establish any form of testing by which others should believe, is to work a mischief that at all costs we should avoid.


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