The Theosophical Forum – February 1948

TORCH OF PROGRESS — J. A. Long

What is it that causes civilization to move forward to new goals of perfection?

The scientist will say perhaps that it is the result of new discoveries in the vast field of technology and point to the enormous strides made in transportation and other equally phenomenal accomplishments. The philosopher may say that man has greatly improved in his ability to think and reason and the subsequent result is progress. The religionist may refer to God and credit His all-wise omnipotence as the real cause of civilization's advance. But to the mind that penetrates the outer garment of life, these ideas are soon recognized to be but effects clothing more subtle and deeply rooted causes which reveal themselves only to those having the ability to see the hidden or occult side of life.

It is difficult for the lay mind to accept, let alone conceive, the idea that there is at the center of all progress an expanding spiritual impulse, which impulse represents the occult side of Nature and upon which is builded the philosophy of the Ancient Wisdom — Theosophy. It is even more difficult to accept the further fact that this impulse finds its expression in the world through the medium of a group of highly developed human beings who with their predecessors have been the guardians of man's destiny, and who perform their work strictly on the basis of Nature's own rule for true progress — Universal Brotherhood. And to accept the Theosophical Society as the outer body through which these Masters of Wisdom work, seems to the lay mind too much to expect.

Nevertheless, doubts notwithstanding, humanity has been watched over with compassion by this central Brotherhood down through the ages and has worked through a body of their representatives in the world which carried various names in different periods of the world's history. Today and since 1875 it has used the Theosophical Society, and particularly its Esoteric Section, to carry the torch of true spiritual progress for the re-enlightenment of the hearts and minds of men. Doubters need only take the trouble to investigate briefly the teachings given out by this central Brotherhood in an ever-expanding stream of occult literature through the channel of the Society. Such investigation will reveal that while this stream has been accompanied by a multitude of pseudo-occult publications based on plagiarism, the truly inspired works of the leaders of the Theosophical Movement such as The Secret Doctrine, The Mahatma Letters, Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, and The Esoteric Tradition clearly indicate there is no body of teachings extant in known history that presents so comprehensively the true basis for the progress of civilization.

As we approach the mid-point of the century it becomes obvious that those who have been so privileged as to find themselves in the midst of this stream of spiritual force flowing into and giving impulse to the life of our time, carry a grave responsibility. One need only glimpse the alignment of forces of self-interest, individual and national, to see the great burden being carried by the Brotherhood of Masters whose very existence sprang from complete unselfishness, and whose objective is to aid the orphan humanity to know itself and realize that true Universal Brotherhood is not merely a ritual of lip-service but is a fact in Nature.

What is it that causes civilization to move forward to new goals of perfection? It is the combined efforts, whether given consciously or unconsciously, of those souls both great and small, who by their thoughts and deeds contribute something to the reservoir of spiritual strength and impersonal service through which the impulse toward true Brotherhood can find expression. Every helper of the "helpers of the helping hands" of the Masters who form the guardian wall of our humanity is a partner in the Cause which moves civilization forward to new goals of perfection.


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