Theosophical University Press Online Edition
To the European Convention, The Hague
(address July 15, 1933)
To the European Convention, The Hague (from letter July 16, 1933)
To the European Convention, The Hague (from address July 16, 1933)
Change in world thought since 1875 due to H. P. B. and T. S. — Danger of crystallization — Religious, scientific, philosophic eras follow in succession — H. P. Blavatsky came in scientific era — Present era largely philosophical — The new era and its key-notes.
MR. CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENTS OF THE NATIONAL SECTIONS, OFFICIALS, FELLOW-THEOSOPHISTS, BROTHERS, AND FRIENDS:
I have been asked to speak to you for a while this morning on the theme of 'The New Era and its Key-notes,' which I would like rather to change into 'The New Theosophical Era and its Characteristics.' Probably they mean the same thing. But before embarking upon what will be, I believe, something in the nature of an explanation of the New Era, I would like to say a few words by way of preamble, concerning this Convention, which is really the ending or completion of the present Theosophical Lecture-Tour in European countries.
A few moments ago we rose and stood a moment in silence and with a reverential lifting of our hearts in memory of the great-hearted woman who preceded me in guiding the destinies of the Theosophical Society which we all so love. Many years ago she told our Brother Arie Goud that Holland would be the scene after her passing of an International European Theosophical Convention, which would be like an historic landmark in the history of Theosophy in European countries. This is now taking place; and this could not have taken place, this Convention, nor the work which you Delegates and visitors represent, coming here to Holland or coming from different parts of Holland hither, if it had not been for the amazingly fine work in building up the Dutch Section of the Theosophical Society done by the President of this Convention, who is also the President of the Dutch Section of the Theosophical Society, President Arie Goud. He and his brother Jan — and, I think, one or two more: I don't recollect their names — at a time shortly following upon Katherine Tingley's accession to the leadership in succession to Mr. Judge, represented a mere handful of workers in the Low Countries.
Out of small seeds grow mighty trees; and out of the Constitution that the Society was then working under, giving to one person the power to direct, unquestioned and unchallenged, the affairs of a spiritual and intellectual and psychological movement founded for the welfare of the human race, was destined to grow a mighty tree, which I hope and believe with all my heart will shelter all the 'fowls of the air,' and under the cover of whose branches I trust we shall find assembling all animate creatures. I am no poet and I am not choosing poetical words or phrases in order to string together flowery sentences: I am speaking from my heart and telling you what I inwardly know to be facts.
The modern Theosophical Movement was founded by means of the Theosophical Society in New York in 1875, as you know, by H. P. Blavatsky, Colonel Olcott, Mr. Judge, and others, and was founded under the inspiration of the greatest spiritual intellects of the human race — those whom we call the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace. Those of us Theosophists who accept them likewise accept this fact; and accepting this fact, we accept it because we are convinced of its truth, not as something to talk about but as a fact of history and as a fact of which we have every reason to be justly proud, and also as a fact which covers us with honor in so far as we take a part in the sublime work which these Great Men, our Teachers, inaugurated.
They sent a lone Envoy to the West, one woman, who single-handed battled against the forces of obscurantism in both religion and science, and by the might of her powerful will, by the power of her mighty intellect, and by the enginery of her remarkable psychological constitution, she crashed through the opposing walls of orthodoxy both in the church and in the scientific circles, which were more orthodox in some ways than was the church, and she founded a Society which soon ramified greatly — a tree which soon sent forth branches in different parts of the world, growing amazingly, growing apace, beyond even the sanguine expectations of the very sanguine gentleman, Colonel Olcott, who at that time led the exoteric destinies of the Theosophical Society.
This was an era of science which had followed an era of religion, so-called. Religion was passing away — outer religion; and the old science, the product of two hundred or three hundred years, was likewise passing, becoming senile and decrepit, so that within forty years after the time of the founding of the Theosophical Society there were signs in scientific circles that the era of science was coming to an end and an era of philosophy was entering upon the throes of its birth. Who knows how far the thought of the Theosophical Society and the influence of the teachings of which the Theosophical Society was, is, and will be the vehicle, were instrumental in bringing about this mighty change in the thought and thought-structure and thought-methods of the human race, so that what was science in 1875 is now forgotten except as records in the historic annals; and the new science that is now born and that was coming to birth thirty years ago, let us say, taking thirty years merely to come into the light — the science of today is approaching the doctrines of Theosophy in amazing respects, so that Science today is becoming philosophical and our ultramodern scientists today are uncertain even of the first fact of human thought of the old science of fifty years ago? That is to say, our modern scientists are not certain today even whether there be such a thing as a uniformity in the Universe; they are not certain whether the Universe runs strictly according to mechanical determinism or whether there be powers in the Universe which make the 'events,' as they now call them after the typical philosophical fashion, which make the events, which we call the facts of being, indeterminate, or, in other words, the results of the operations of energies, of consciousness, of consciousnesses, which guide the Universe and control it.
This is the New Era; and typically characteristic of the history of the Theosophical Movement throughout the ages, where it has always led the thought of mankind. So, three years ago there was definitely opened up in our own beloved Theosophical work the taking of direction, showing the path, the seizing of the reins of human thought and opening out before the eyes of all those who have the eyes to see and giving unto those who have ears to hear, what will be for them an explanation of the riddles of the Universe. This is our Newer Theosophical Era.
I trust you follow this sequence of thoughts, for they are extremely important in the history of the Theosophical Movement and will be found much more important thirty, forty, fifty, years from now than they are at this hour when I am speaking to you. Remember, the Theosophical Society was founded in order to guide the destinies of the human race. Let us not forget this. It is no vainglorious boast. Those of us who believe in the Masters of Wisdom and the work they do among men must believe that the Society which they founded, the Movement to which they gave birth through their Envoy, must have a reason back of it and a work before it, at least as long as they, the Movement and our Society, remain true to the ideals which the Masters set before us and which were so magnificently proclaimed with such utter fidelity by our H. P. B.
The New Era is an example in point of what the Theosophical Society should ever strive to be and to become — the guide of men, the consoler of men, the leader of the thinking of mankind in church, in state, in the laboratories of science, and likewise in the philosophical schools.
Now then, pause a moment in thought over this picture which I have at least sketched for your consideration, and for the filling in of the details of which you yourselves, I take it, are fully adequate and capable. Let us draw a deduction from the facts as I have just briefly outlined them: Does this mean that the Theosophical Movement in any of its present branches, or that the Theosophical Society which we have the high honor to belong to, is a static body, are static bodies, static organizations born like Minerva from the brow of Zeus full-formed and impossible of a greater and a major development after birth? In other words, is the Theosophical Society such an organization that it cannot ever grow, become greater, or is it an example of crystallization which can never change? The latter surely not! Do you begin to see the drift of my thought?
If we do not keep the Theosophical Society or the Theosophical Movement, for to us in our inmost hearts they are one, always fluid, always uncrystallized, always ready to grow, always ready to lead and not to follow — if we are not prepared for this and have not the vision sublime of our destiny as well as of our duty, then we are slack, then we are failing in our devoir and are not true pupils or chelas of those to whom some of us at least owe perfect allegiance and all of us owe reverence.
I mean, in other words, that the Theosophical Society is a living body; it is an ensouled organism; it is an organic entity. It is not a mass of crystals changing never except when broken under the hammer of fate. The Theosophical Society is an ensouled body, and therefore not only can it learn, but it can grow, it can become greater. Pity those of our erring brothers who, no matter what their intentions may be, do not understand that Theosophy is not given in toto, completely and for ever, once and never again, even within the time-period of 100 years. We live and we lead, and therefore we must grow greater with the times as the times themselves wax greater.
For this reason: because the Theosophical Society is ensouled by us, living spirits, is it a growing entity, is it an ensouled organic entity, learnings its lessons too, making its mistakes if you will, but learning out of them. But because it learns from its mistakes it advances, changes with the changing times, ready for new eras when the new eras come upon us, ready to seize any new light from the gods and glad of the opportunity to win the new light. We are torchbearers and we must keep our torches alight and lifted, not extinguished and held down in the foolish conviction that what the gods once delivered unto men is unalterable, cannot be changed or improved, and that no further truth can come from the heart of Father Sun.
The destiny of the world does not lie in the hands of men who are satisfied with their self-sufficiencies, who are so proud of their haughty isolation that they stand apart and will not even obey the dictates of the conscience within them nor the sublime precepts of Brotherhood and fraternal peace which our Masters have given us to follow as our first law.
The New Era some day will become the Old Era; but only when we, marching forwards, shall have passed beyond and out of the frontiers of thought which even now hem us in, because such is human weakness. Recognising this weakness, as a matter of duty and as a study in psychology we begin to realize that, as long as we become subjects within frontiers we are in so far failing in our duty. Every Theosophical Movement in the past has had to face the passing over into a New Era. Some have failed because they were satisfied with what they had; satisfied that the revelation given was complete and perfect unto the next Messiah who should come at some indefinite time in the future, and neglected the duty of the moment, which was keeping the mind fluid, the heart warm with brotherly love, and therefore the avoidance of crystallization: churchism. Churches are always the danger of a movement like ours, churches which are brought about by self-satisfactions, with a feeling that "We have the truth" — suspicious of our fellow-men, afraid to receive truth from a brother, because, forsooth, our own opinion is so great that our interpretation and translation of what we already have is so profound and so perfect that even a brother may not know a little more than we!
This last is the spirit of the sect, the spirit of the church; and we must not allow it in the Theosophical Society; for if we do, then we become but another sect, another Theosophical failure; and we shall deserve the fate that Nature has in store for all failures. It is not self-satisfaction which means growth; it is not high approval of our own perfect opinions which means growth. Growth comes from the feeling that we can learn more, that we can learn more from others as well as from ourselves. Growth comes from the readiness to receive more light at any time and from whomsoever the divine illumination may flow into our hearts and into our minds. Growth comes from keeping the mind plastic, the heart warm with the love which flows to us always from the Heart of the Universe.
I don't wish to mention names in connexion with what I have just said. You are intelligent men and women; you know something at least of the history of the Modern Theosophical Movement. I will merely say this: that some of our Brother-Theosophists especially and all our Brother-Theosophists in general need our help, need the kindly help of our understanding hearts. They need our forgiveness for their unkindness to us. Remember that you can teach a man a lesson more quickly sometimes, usually perhaps, by not opposing him, but by never varying your own stand for principle; and sometimes the stand should be voiceless. Arguments are usually futile; they usually make the other fellow think that he is right and that you are stupid. Therefore, as a rule don't descend to arguments. Be what you preach; live what you believe; and this will be the strongest possible manner of convincing those who differ from us. Grow; and remember that it is our duty to be in the head of the procession of thinkers. Lead. We shall not resign this post.
Now then, my Brothers, I have talked more than the time that has been allotted to me. I want, please, to bring to your attention two main points of what I have tried to elucidate to you this morning: The New Era is simply a succession of the New Era that was and now is the Old Era. The affairs of men are the manifestations of the thoughts of men; and the thoughts of men follow three distinct and separately characteristic types, as history demonstrates. They are: a religious era, always followed by a scientific era, invariably followed by a philosophical era, which ushers in again a religious era, which gives way in its turn to the scientific era, followed again by a philosophical era; and thus the wheel of life turns continuously round.
H. P. B. came in a scientific era and her works were largely addressed to breaking the scientific molds of the thoughts of men, although obviously her magnificent genius dealt beautifully, splendidly, with philosophical and religious questions also. The philosophical era is now upon us. Science is becoming philosophical; and our Theosophical work, our teaching, during the last three or four years especially, when the New Era among us arrived so that we began to move forwards and to keep the lead in the van of human thought, has taken upon itself a more definitely philosophical cast than before. This philosophic era in the future will be followed by a religious era; and this will be exceedingly dangerous; for it is in matters of religion that men differ more acrimoniously, more ungenerously in feeling, than they do either in philosophy or in science.
Fortunately, about the time when the new religious era will be upon us will be the time when the Great Teachers will make a special effort; and it will be at the beginning of the fourth quarter of the present hundred-years' period. I fancy that when the Envoy comes then, the Leader comes then, most Theosophical Societies will not welcome him; for his teachings and his personality alike would be unwelcome. He will not be what they think he should be; and with crystallized minds and crystallized societies set stone-like, there will be small hope for his getting help from these quarters. Let us be ready. Many of us will be gone, passed on, by that time. But those of us who remain, let us be ready to welcome the new Torchbearer of truth, the new Leader (for that is what a Torchbearer is), who will follow in orderly succession as the ages follow each other, the preceding leaders, the preceding thinkers, the preceding guides of men.
Childish is the talk which we hear so much about Leaders. It is the most commonplace fact of human life. Everywhere are leaders. Every successful thing, even business, the consummation of whatever it may be, is brought about by leaders, by a single directing mind. There are successful leaders and unsuccessful leaders, good ones and bad ones. This is common experience. It is the good ones who produce work that will prevail and that will remain. The bad works crystallize and are finally broken up in Nature's ever-shifting and changing fields of thought.
You now understand, I believe, what the New Era means to us. It means an era of growth, of expansion, of change, of development, of becoming greater, of an opening of the soul, of a new opening of the mind, of an awakening of the conscience as well as the consciousness within us. It means deliberately seizing the reins of human thought as far as we can and guiding — or, to change the figure of speech a bit, becoming the torchbearers of thought, and leading. That is what we should try to do. We have done it, I believe, up to the present.
If you examine our books, our literature, the printed material which has emanated from Point Loma, you will find that years ago, just as it was in H. P. B.'s time, we gave out forecasts of what modern scientific and philosophical discoveries would be coming to. Let us continue to do the same. Let us not mind if others drop out of our ranks because they cannot agree with us. Let us be kind. Let us not say, "Oh, they could not keep up with the procession." That is not kind. It is true; but why rub salt or acid into the sore? Let us compassionate them, help them if we can, and be ready for the time when they will be rushing after us, eager to catch up and to renew the bonds, the ties, of brotherly love, mutual trust and confidence.
Charity in all things maketh a man's heart to sing; for it beautifies his own life and beautifiest he lives of those whom it touches. Let us, therefore, have charity in our hearts, brotherly love towards all. Let us keep our faces to the Spiritual East always, and march, march, march, at the head of the van, into the light of the Spiritual Sun!
— Address to European Convention, The Hague, Holland, July 15, 1933.
Suggestions for a more efficient running of the National Sections — An Executive Vice-President, Literary or Propaganda Agent, Business Manager, to work with National President.
MR. PRESIDENT AND BROTHERS:
It is with the greatest diffidence that I address to you this present communication, which I do with the permission granted to me by the respected President of the Dutch Section and Chairman of this Convention, Brother Arie Goud. It has always been my inflexible policy, since the passing of our beloved Katherine Tingley, and the taking over from her of my work as Leader of the Theosophical Society, strictly and rigidly to refrain from any interference, or any action that could be considered as interference, in the affairs of any National Section of the T. S. There are most excellent reasons for this policy which it would take too long to explain here, and which, indeed, it is not necessary to explain, because I am sure you will understand these reasons, and hence the long pause that I took before I ventured to direct to you, my Brothers from different lands, the present letter.
Now, then, what I have in my heart and on my mind to tell you is something which I beg of you, my beloved Brothers, to receive with the most sympathetic consideration, and genuinely to believe that what I am writing is dictated solely by the hope of bringing help to all the Sections of the Theosophical Society, in order that the excellent, and, indeed, wonderful Theosophical work done in the past may serve as a foundation for a still larger work to be done in the future.
With the coming of the New Era it became immediately obvious to all thinking Fellows of the Theosophical Society, that new methods would have to be followed, although, indeed, the general policy of the Theosophical Society will remain unchanged; and it is exactly the same policy, identical in every respect, that has prevailed since the time of our wonderful H. P. B., through Judge and Katherine Tingley, to the present.
The Theosophical Society in the New Era is beginning to grow, and, in fact, is growing rapidly, particularly in some countries; but less rapidly in other countries. Our greatest need at the present time is an increase in membership. While Theosophy is for all men, for the rich and for the poor, for the high and for the low, for the princely born and for the noble hearts who may be born in the humble dwellings of the peasant, nevertheless it is also perfectly true that in order to do our best work in the world at the present time, we must carry the sublime teachings of the Wisdom-Religion to the more educated elements of the population of a country, and we must interest them in Theosophy, so that they will join the Theosophical Society, and thus not only enlarge our ranks, but give us the benefit of their education, social standing, and experience in the general affairs of life, as well as the financial aid which the Theosophical Society in all its Sections obviously needs if it is to grow and to carry on the work for which it was founded by our Masters.
Most beautiful work has been done in all the Sections of the Theosophical Society in the past, most admirable work, work which warms my heart whenever I think of it. But new times have come upon us. New ways of looking at things must be recognised as now existing. With the new and more developed teachings that have come into our literature, and therefore into our thoughts since I assumed office, has appeared the need for new methods of propaganda. More vigorous and intensive and more effective means of propaganda must be found. I love all my Comrades; I love their devotion; I love their beautiful trust in our Masters and in their Messengers; I love the fidelity which has crowned them, as it were, with a crown of glory through so many years; and having this in mind I want to put these noble qualities into more active service for the present and for the future.
You see, my Brothers, I am in a difficult situation. Under our present Constitution, which, although based upon the Constitution of the U. B. and T. S., was at my own request so changed, in December, 1929, that the Leader is shorn of many of his powers, I have the right to declare the policy of the Theosophical Society, and to do a few certain other important things, such as appointing officers for special work; but I have no right, save in cases of extreme need, nor have I the desire, to interfere or to meddle or to come into the internal affairs of any Section of the Theosophical Society, unless invited to do so by the chief officers of such Section.
Consequently, what I herein write is solely by way of making suggestions to you, which in my own heart of hearts I am convinced will be helpful. But please bear in mind that if these suggestions, which personally I consider very important for the growth of our work, are considered by you, my Brothers, to be unwise or impracticable, or if they are disagreeable to you, or if you think them difficult of application in your respective countries, then of course you will be perfectly justified in rejecting them, and in so notifying me.
With these preliminary observations, I now come to the suggestions that I would like to make for your most earnest consideration; and it is my hope that if you approve of my suggestions, they may be voted upon by this present Convention, and carried into effect as soon thereafter as possible, in so far as they are applicable or necessary in the various Sections of the Theosophical Society. My first point may not be applicable in all our Sections; and yet it may contain a helpful hint to over-worked Sectional Presidents who are carrying more of the burdens of their respective Sections than their time, health, personal responsibilities, and economic resources warrant their carrying. I will preface and illustrate my first suggestion by referring to the Scandinavian Section and its saintly and venerable President, Dr. Erik Bogren. For years and years he has stood like a rock of Theosophic devotion and intelligence, facing the Sun of the spiritual East, always faithful, always true, always steady, always intelligent, always brotherly and kindly, devoted as is one of our Masters' chelas to their work and to the T. S., as well as to the Leaders of the T. S. But ever since 1931 when I was in Sweden, I have realized that our dear Bogren's hands are over-full with duties. He has not only his own professional and family cares and obligations to fulfil, but he has also the main burden of the T. S. upon his shoulders. I know that he has the help of other devoted comrades who have not only served as faithfully and devotedly as he has, but who would be willing to undertake more than they are now doing; and I would like to say with regard to our beloved Erik Bogren, that it is my hope that he will remain the President of the Scandinavian Section of the Theosophical Society as long as he lives, or, indeed, until the day when he himself may feel that the burden is too heavy for him.
But — and this is the first of my suggestions, which was enthusiastically and unanimously adopted at the Annual Convention of the Scandinavian Section of the Theosophical Society held at Visingso on June 25th last — a Sectional President situated wholly or even partially like Dr. Bogren, should have the help of some devoted member, preferably a man, who could act under the President and for him as perhaps an Executive Vice-President, the actual incumbent remaining President, of course. Such an Executive Vice-President would take care of the main routine-work of the T. S., consulting with the President constantly; and in this manner with the two, the President and this Executive Vice-President working together, hand in hand and heart to heart, I feel that new energy, new impulses, would come, and new fields of activity would open out in every Section where the work of the President is more than the incumbent can possibly handle alone. I leave the assignment of the duties of the Executive Vice-President to the governing body in each Section; but in all cases the one holding the office of Executive Vice-President should be, if possible, a man of physical and intellectual vigor as well as of Theosophic devotion, who could lecture for Theosophy throughout his Section, and help in the founding and organizing of new lodges, writing letters of information and of expansion, etc., etc.
Another suggestion which I think would be very helpful in some if not all of our National Sections, would be the appointing of some proper individual to the post of what I will tentatively call a Theosophical Literary or Propaganda Agent; i.e., one whose principal official work would be to specialize on increasing the amount and sale of our Theosophical literature in his own Section in the language spoken therein. I know that most wonderful work has been done along this line in the past; but I think that if it were under the supervision in each Section of one who could concentrate on it, a great deal of most excellent and useful propaganda could be accomplished in this direction.
And finally, I have one more suggestion which I consider of great importance, in view of the nature of our present civilization and the material aspects of the world in which we live. I have felt for a long time that it would be a most excellent thing for each of our National Sections to have what I would call a Business Manager whose sole official duty it would be to concentrate his efforts on the financial and business-parts of his Section. Of course the Business Manager, just exactly like the Propaganda Agent, would work hand in hand with the President and with the Executive Vice-President, so that there would be no strains or misunderstandings or differences of opinion, which would inevitably lead to catastrophe.
With the President still functioning as the highest officer in each Section and as one of the General Officers of the whole Theosophical Society, with the Executive Vice-President concentrating on building up the Theosophical Society and its membership within his Section, with the Propaganda Agent concentrating his efforts on increasing and spreading our Theosophical literature, making more and more of our Point Loma publications available in his own tongue and also promoting the sale, as far as possible, of the books and periodicals emanating from Point Loma in English, and with the Business Manager having in his hands the general business-affairs of the National Section, and all these four working as one mind, under the President, I feel that new life would come into the work of each Section, new fields of activity would be found, and a new inspiration would flood the minds of all our F. T. S. with its holy light. I feel that the Masters would be back of a plan like this, and I say this unreservedly, for I know that if this plan can be carried out, it would succeed; and after all, what our Masters desire above everything else is to have the ancient Wisdom-Religion of the gods and of men carried to our brothers in the world whose minds are darkened and whose souls are not yet lighted with the holy fires of Truth.
I repeat that these four officers that I have suggested should work as one man, and naturally their Chairman would be the President of the Section. These four chief officials of the Section above everything else should work as one heart and one mind; and in order to do this they should hold frequent meetings for consultation, and in order to agree as one mind and one heart upon what to do.
In conclusion, I desire to make the following suggestion as to the method of these four working together. I would suggest that their regular meetings when they gather together to consult and to exchange views, should be like a clearing-house of ideas, that each one of these four gentlemen should unreservedly and without concealing anything, lay before all the three others his entire plans and his entire methods, and be ready for the sake of the common good of their Section to change or even to abandon a detail of a plan or even a plan itself, should the other three, meeting in Council, find that the proposed detail or the proposed plan would on the whole be unwise. They would remember, I am sure, that higher than the individual post of each one, there is the common good of their Section, and that they will have their Leader's trust and confidence; and furthermore, that if they act as I suggest, the holy light of the Lodge will guide their steps.
As herein before already stated, it is quite possible that in some Sections the office of Executive Vice-President may not be a desideratum at the present time; in which cases this part of my suggestions may very readily be ignored. But I do most earnestly recommend to the most sympathetic consideration of all the National Sections the appointment of the two other officers suggested by me; to wit, a Business Manager and a Propaganda Agent. The creation of these three officers will not in any wise interfere with the hierarchical form of constitutional government which we have been working upon since my arrival in Europe; because these three officers, the Sectional Executive Vice-President, Business Manager, and Propaganda or Literary Agent, will be like the executive mind and body of the National President and of the National Council.
In those Sections where no National Council or similar body functioning under another name already exists, I would most earnestly recommend the creation of such a Council in each National Section, to act as a sort of Cabinet or Advisory Council for the President.
Brothers of the Theosophical Society from different lands assembled together in friendly conclave: it is the earnest wish of my heart that these suggestions will be helpful to you, and that if you care to adopt them they will be faithfully followed. At the same time I remind you again that you are at perfect liberty to reject them.
I am, my Fellow-Workers in our Holy Cause, ever faithfully and fraternally yours.
May the blessing and peace of our Masters be with you all.
G. de P.
— Letter to European Convention at The Hague, Holland, July 16, 1933.
Our task in the future — The heart of all religions is Theosophy — The Theosophical Movement founded by the Masters to be a torch for the world — Let Theosophists unite in a spiritual brotherhood --Truth is infinite.
MR. CHAIRMAN, BROTHERS, COMRADES, AND FRIENDS:
I have been asked to speak on the Task of the Theosophical Movement for the Future. I talked to you yesterday morning on a theme which was very similar if not identical; but what I will have to say to you now concerning the Task of the Theosophical Movement in the Future can be summed up by asking ourselves: For what was the Theosophical Society founded? To be a closed corporation for self-satisfied egoists, who are satisfied with their own doctrines and will only give them to their fellows under certain restrictions of dogmatic declarations or creeds or after a certain pattern? No! Our task for the future is to keep the Theosophical Society as it was given to us: a broad platform on which all Theosophical opinions or colors of opinion may have a chance to be freely expressed.
This does not mean strange religions, crank philosophies, erratic ideas about food, or about politics. These don't belong on a Theosophical platform. Our Theosophical platform is merely for the purpose of teaching Theosophy; and it has no other reason for existence. Our task for the future is to teach men the grand old truths of the Wisdom-Religion of the gods. That is all; and it is enough and more than enough. In order to do this it is perfectly proper and appropriate that illustrative material be drawn from the great religions and philosophies and sciences of the past, because Theosophy is the root of all these. For the heart of Buddhism is Theosophy; the heart of Brahmanism is Theosophy, as is shown in the Vedanta, especially the Advaita-type given so splendidly by the Avatara Sankaracharya; the heart of Taoism is Theosophy; the heart of even the Pagan beliefs of Greece and Rome — the heart is pure Theosophy, as is shown in the Neo-Platonic teachings and the Neo-Pythagorean teachings; the heart of Christianity is Theosophy — that is, if you can find the heart: it has shrunken and dwindled to such a microscopic point today that you will have difficulty in finding it; but when you do find it (and it can be found), the point of light is Theosophy — the teaching of the great Avatara, Jesus.
Our task for the future is to lay the foundation upon which will be builded the spiritual and intellectual inspiration and salvation of the future men and the future women; that is our task. The Theosophical Movement was founded by the Masters to be the guiding torch for the world. It was a new revelation, if I may use this much-abused word, a new revelation, i. e., unveiling, to men of the old Wisdom-Religion of the gods. It was formed, not so much to replace, but to show and explain, the heart-teaching of the present great religions and philosophies, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Brahmanism, Taoism, and all the others.
But what will happen? Men instinctively will turn to the points whence they received light and help and will leave the points which they have discovered to be abandoned light-houses in which the light of truth no longer shines. Thus it is that I foresee that the Theosophical Movement will be the vehicle for the dissemination among men of the wisdom-teachings, and that these teachings will grow, not only in number but in expanded explication, so that out of the present Theosophical teachings will grow the grand world-religion of future ages; out of the present will grow the religions and philosophies of the future. That is our task: to lay the foundation right and strong, four-square and orientated to the spiritual North.
For this reason more than for any other I began the Fraternization Movement, because I realized how difficult it would be for any one Theosophical Society to do this divine labor alone. I want the co-operation and help of all Theosophists; and I say 'I,' because I love it. Let me say 'we.' Let us Theosophists, all of us, unite and be once more as in H. P. B.'s time — a spiritual brotherhood, each society remaining distinct if it will, with its own officers and all the rest of it; but let us unite in brotherhood on the essentials where we can agree, and carry forward the torch of the Theosophical teachings into the future. That is our task; and we cannot do our task if we do not lay the foundations aright now.
I for one don't desire to see the Theosophical Movement become a failure. I tell you, my Brothers — and I say this with deep sorrow — that the Theosophical Movement at the present time is in a very critical state. It has been so for fifteen or twenty, possibly twenty-five years. Some of the Theosophical Societies are going to pieces; others are mere little sects, self-satisfied with the beautiful teachings that they have, forgetting that others have them too. My wish is to help; not to disintegrate, but to reintegrate, to help, to do what I can, as an outsider if it be asked, to help our Brother-Theosophists.
In all the Theosophical Societies there are wonderful people. Oh, I would that they would work with us! They need not leave their own societies; that is not required. Let them remain in their own society, but at least help us in the work of carrying Theosophy into the future, pure and unadulterate, as we have received it from the Masters.
This does not mean that this is a static doctrine, which cannot be added to; for that is not so. Truth is infinite; and with every new age comes a new light, a new instalment of truth, a new torchbearer bringing the truth; and who can say when a new age comes upon us? We are all gifted with the faculty of hind-sight for seeing the past; but very few of us can look into the future; very few of us have fore-sight.
Such then, as I conceive it, is the task of the Theosophical Society: to teach the grand doctrines of the Wisdom-Religion of the gods to all men; to teach them as we have received them. Thus have I received the teaching; thus must I pass it on, not otherwise. This is not dogmatism; this is not creeds, because coincident with this comes the realization that tomorrow, perhaps, a new light, a new revelation, a new truth will burst upon our minds, freeing them from the misconceptions and prejudices of yesterday: 'a pure heart, an open mind, an eager intellect — these are three of the steps on the stair which leadeth to the gods; and only he who hath brotherhood in his heart as a living motive for his Theosophical work, only he who practises, can climb those stairs which lead to the heart of Father Sun.
— Extracts from address at European Convention, The Hague, Holland, July 16, 1933.