The Theosophical Forum – November 1945

UNITY AND BROTHERHOOD — John Lucas

Two of the more particular objects of the T. S. since its revival by the champion of Truth, H. P. Blavatsky, in 1875 have been to promulgate the knowledge of the essential unity of all that is and to form an active brotherhood among men. The latter follows naturally from an understanding of the fundamental unity of all things in Nature, as anything we do whether for good or evil affects not only the immediate recipient of our attentions, but the whole of humanity and indeed the whole of the Universe. It follows that we should constantly strive to maintain in our lives that harmony and peace which is apparent in the depths of the Universe around us.

The essential unity of all that exists is a fact based on a knowledge of the spiritual core at the heart of all things, and has been a fundamental teaching of all the great Sages and Seers of the past. It has also been understood by intuitive and mystical poets of all ages, as witness the following inspired passage from "The Mistress of Vision" by Francis Thompson:

All things by immortal power,
Near or far
Hiddenly
To each other linkèd are,
That thou canst not stir a flower
Without troubling of a star.

The conception has however for a long time sounded strange to western minds, accustomed to the old materialistic ideas and the arbitrary division of Nature into animate (organic) and inanimate (inorganic) kingdoms, between which there appears to have been a unique distinction. The recent staggering advances of science are however rapidly bringing about a radical change of ideas, and the following extract from a review by Prof. H. H. Price of R. G. Collingswood's latest book The Idea of Nature (Sunday London Times, 11/3/45), is expressing Theosophical tenets revealed anew to the Western world in 1875:

Matter, even mass itself is resolved into activity. It is what it does. Since all activity requires time to happen in, there is no such thing as "matter at an instant." The notion of "simple location" — that a given physical entity is just at this place and nowhere else — is abandoned. Every electron is everywhere, since it acts everywhere. Moreover every piece of matter, even the simplest is a pattern of activities . . the distinction between the living and the lifeless is broken down. Nature is not the dead-level affair we thought it was. It is a graded hierarchy, and even the lowest level entity, the electron, is a kind of simple organism.

There is therefore no reason to doubt the fundamental unity of Nature and also the fact of Universal Brotherhood as a necessary consequence.

Theosophy does not teach that Brotherhood depends upon external conditions — social, political, or even intellectual. Its root lies in the order of Nature, in the organic unity of the human race, physically and above all spiritually. . . . Mankind is an organism; men are its constituent cells, and what injures one hurts all. Theosophy shows that the recognition of this in the life of each individual with all that it implies — is the only basis on which a true civilization can be built. The Brotherhood of Man, therefore is not a sentimental theory, framed to ameliorate stern realities; it is a fact in Nature. . . .

The fact of universal brotherhood has again been a fundamental teaching of all the great Sages and Seers of the past, and also from time to time has been grasped intuitively by poets and artists. In this connexion the work of Beethoven is a shining example, particularly in his later compositions. Imagine an untidy garret room, the bed unmade in one corner, manuscripts littering the room in all directions. In the room a solitary figure, stone deaf, ill and uncared for, is concentrating on his masterpiece, the Ninth or Choral Symphony. In the midst of all his own troubles, Beethoven turns to the troubles of the world around him, and, in the words of Schiller, conceives the great solution:

Alle Menschen werden Bruder
(All mankind as brothers hold we.)

The music makes the fact a reality, and today the world needs just this fact of Universal Brotherhood. "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."


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