The Theosophical Forum – December 1946

THE PRESENT CYCLE AND H. P. B. — James Stauffer

If we pause for a moment in the rush and confusion of present events and review the changes which have taken place with increasing swiftness during the last hundred years, we may well be amazed at the progress made during that period, both in the material and technological sense, and also, and perhaps principally, in the world of thought and ideas. At the same time, in quietly reviewing the course of events, we begin to perceive an underlying pattern or purpose which led us, as a race, to where we stand today.

We often hear the aphorism of Plato repeated, that "ideas rule the world," but do not always realize that by ideas Plato meant the archetypal pattern which is above ordinary thought, but which colors and gives direction to thought in all fields of endeavor.

In ancient times, the arts and sciences were taught within the sanctuary of the Mystery Schools, where under strict ethical and moral training, the spiritual intuition illumined the mind of the student. Discipline and moral fitness preceded knowledge of nature's secrets; for there are secrets of nature which are dangerous to mankind.

In those days, knowledge was not separated into compartments as is the case today, but each study was related to the spiritual evolution of man, his origin, destiny, and relation to the universe in which he lived. Thus the different phases of knowledge were synthesized into an organic whole, by a higher consciousness capable of viewing the whole field of human thought from above.

With the withdrawal of the Mystery Schools, the inner esoteric illumination receded and the exoteric knowledge, left to itself, divided and subdivided into more and more restricted and materialistic fields of research.

To make matters worse, during the Middle Ages which followed, the church attempted to synthesize all thought within the iron bonds of dogma, which eventually resulted in the violent reaction of Nineteenth Century materialism.

Thus the world to which H. P. Blavatsky came and worked in the late Nineteenth Century was one in which separation and isolation were the rule, for science and religion were not only separated but in violent conflict. In this ideology, racial and national consciousness were strongly developed: our planet was the only planet in all space capable of supporting life, our race at the peak of competitive evolution, and it was generally believed that there was little more to be learned except to fill out details in the accepted theories and hypotheses of a materialistic science, whose creed was the survival of the fittest, and the ape-ancestry of man.

Into this world of separateness and materialistic ideology in religion, science, and social and national life, H. P. Blavatsky came like a human bomb-shell, announcing the existence of a living universe in which everything was interrelated.

She formed a nucleus of Universal Brotherhood, and demonstrated in her voluminous writings that such brotherhood is the basic law of nature. She presented a picture of the cosmos as an organic being in which solar systems, suns, and planets are living parts of the whole, each bearing its appropriate lives, and all the lives united and interlinked, evolving through endless time.

Others have said that man must be good, (under threat of punishment or hope of reward), but H. P. Blavatsky showed the necessity for right behavior by presenting a cosmic view in which man's place in the universe as an immortal evolving being made the desirability of right behavior self-evident — since a universe governed throughout by eminent justice reacts upon the inharmonious unit automatically: one who harms another only harms himself in the end.

Only a great occultist, with a prevision of the age upon which we are now entering, would have had the courage and the skill to break the crystallized molds of mind as she did. It was the birth of a new ideology destined to replace the old; which if the world survives the dangers now threatening it, will color and shape the global civilization of the future.

This total view of the universe is the gift of H. P. Blavatsky to the Western World: a gift which was largely scorned and rejected in her time, but is today being recognized, although the source is in most cases either unknown or unacknowledged.

Into this cosmic vision of nature the other teachings given by Mme. Blavatsky — Karman, Reimbodiment, Hierarchies, Cycles, etc. — fit as explanatory details and necessary features of universal laws of nature. But the chief motif and keynote of her work was the establishing of a nucleus of Universal Brotherhood, and the repeated declaration that Brotherhood is the basic law of nature. Once that is realized the rest follows of necessity.

We are approaching the midpoint of our Fifth Root Race, and as every race is divided at its midpoint, we will in the future see a definite division forming as the majority of people enter upon the downward sweep of the latter portion of the racial cycle.

On the other hand, the forerunners of the next race will gradually begin to emerge and separate themselves from the present race much as our Fifth Race once separated from the Atlantean.

We are entering upon a new cycle whose keynote has been sounded by H. P. Blavatsky and those who followed her, and by thousands of intuitive and noble men and women throughout the world, who may never have heard of Theosophy, but who feel the urge of the new time.

All over the world we see the forces gathering both of construction and of destruction, and as time goes on these will become more and more apparent. At the same time, the nature of the cycle upon which we are entering is becoming increasingly apparent; and those who seize the opportunity to work with the rising tide will take their place among the builders of the new age.

The Theosophical Forum