"To diffuse among men a knowledge of the laws inherent in the Universe"
This has been the service of the gods during all time. At certain cyclic seasons especially their agents descend among men and scatter the seeds of truth, without which the people would perish. How else should men, mental babes in their beginnings, have gained a knowledge of the laws inherent in the Universe? This do the gods until enough seeds have rooted in many minds, after which they withdraw, leaving their children to grow in strength and spread still further the seeds already planted. Then, as the need or the hunger for more truth awakens on earth, again those Great Ones move among men or send their disciples to stimulate human sympathies, awaken the hearts of men, and scatter those precious seeds, by means of which all truly great civilizations have been born, and without which there is such confusion, disorder, and suffering. These laws are based on the all-inclusive fact that the Universe is, as its name implies, one vast being, of which all units — from gods down to men, to beasts and plants, through suns, planets, and the minerals which compose them — have a common origin and a common destiny; that every portion, down to the last atom is an essential part of the whole, sharing, and a necessary factor, in the common destiny.
The gods, through their agents, control the higher kingdoms, all of which serve every other, but men must learn to guide themselves and consciously climb the ladder of life. Every normal man feels this relationship in some way, as is evidenced by natural human sympathy, self-sacrifice, or even the recognition that self-interest lies in the direction of service to others. One quite callous to the needs or suffering of his fellow-men is sub-human. And even without a mental comprehension of the laws inherent in the Universe, this awakening of the higher human nature has given us some most inspiring examples during all ages, of men whose influence has warmed the hearts of thousands and aroused to service many who might otherwise have slept in the lonely chains of selfishness. Yet if also the mind is awakened and has a clear vision of basic truths; if, for instance, the races of men could clearly perceive that Brotherhood is a fact in nature, that all men are inescapably tied together, that it is as disastrous for one body to rise against another as it would be for two organs in a human body to work at cross purposes; if this were realized but imperfectly, could such conditions as now exist in our world ever have been born? There would still be attractions and repulsions as exist in the atoms, but there would also be a desire for justice and well-being for all in their various spheres. What the heart knows would be plain to the mind and explain why a denial of this fact in thought and action is so disastrous, so fraught with confusion and pain.
An understanding of these laws is brought to earth by men more highly evolved than are our present races; men whose teachings, if understood and followed would bring order out of chaos, and it thus becomes the primal duty of those who have had the privilege to hear and, at least, partially understand these teachings, to become the channels, as best they can, in their various capacities, to help "to diffuse among men a knowledge of the laws inherent in the Universe."
In our very complicated social structure, men inevitably follow the pattern of nature and group themselves to accomplish their purposes, gradually feeling and finding their way to enlightenment. There is room and necessity for all, intellectual and mechanical workers, philanthropists, and statesmen. Practical philanthropy is the duty of all, but, as an organization, it must be the absorbing and sacred duty of those who have been taught the basic unity of all life, to do their full part toward charging the atmosphere with thoughts based on the facts of being, and thus in making them a conscious factor in human life.
This is the answer of the Theosophical Movement to those who ask why Theosophists do not devote their whole energies in these days of agony, to relief of physical suffering. Thought seeds must be planted in time for the new harvest. For it is ideas that rule the world.
The Theosophical ForumTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE