What are Helpers of Humanity? How did they come to be Helpers? Why are they able to help us? What kind of help can they give? Who are they? Where? Why do we not know about them generally?
You yourself may some day be a Helper of Humanity. It may be you have already started upon the pathway that will guide you. Your very reading of this would seem to show that, for a searching for Truth is the first step upon the pathway.
And here is one great truth that we all know: that there are two (or more) sides to our natures. We have a higher side — call it the soul if you like, or the spirit. When we are unselfish; when we are helping another who is in trouble; when we are deliberately trying to conquer a weakness within ourselves, such as laziness, envy, or dishonesty, then we are living in the highest part of ourselves, the divine part of us, the part that is close to the Inner God.
Then there is the lower side of us, the something in us that tempts us to be selfish or careless, or to take advantage of another's helplessness.
And between my fine nature and my selfish nature stands — what? What is it between these two? A something that can choose; that can say, I will be honest; I choose to be honest; I will not gain wealth or happiness for myself by hurting another. Or else this 'something' can choose to hurt others. You answer, It is the mind that can choose; the mind that can have such ennobling, unselfish thoughts or that can be very cruel and evil. It is the mind that must decide to follow the Path that leads towards our higher, the highest Self. For it is a Path or a journey; and to guide us there stretches a golden thread between that finest part of ourself — our highest Self that dwells in some upper, or inner, mysterious region — and our mind. And this link that binds us to our best part can be broad and strong; or else weak and ready to break.
But, you ask, what has all this to do with the Helpers of Humanity? It shows us how there came to be such men. There are men in the world today who have lived so unselfishly through many, very many lives, purifying their thoughts, combating each impulse to do wrong; failing often, yet ever trying again, until finally they have made the link between themselves and their divine nature so strong, they have drawn so close to it, that in many cases they have come to live entirely in this finest part. Even as you and I are able to do it for short intervals, they do it all the time.
Why are these men so able to help us? What kind of help can they give? They can give us knowledge, wisdom; they can tell us how to solve all our problems and how to avoid future sorrow. But, how do they know? How do men know anything? Einstein — where do his brilliant thoughts come from? Where did Shakespeare find his immortal poetry, immortal thoughts? Inventors, geniuses, great musicians — whence come their inspirations? Isn't there some mysterious place, some inner hidden side of nature, where inspiration comes from, where our conscience dwells, and our intuition? A world that only those with pure intentions ever reach, a divine sort of world? These great men have so opened their minds, so placed their thoughts away from their own personal concerns and personal desires, that great knowledge comes to them. But greater far could come. It is coming. Look at all the wonders of modern science, only beginning to unfold around us. But the scientists are generally interested only in material results, in knowledge about things we can see or feel or hear. Surely there is a greater, loftier wisdom than this, in the depths of the divine world? There is; and this wisdom comes to these men who have conquered selfishness, who are close to the divine within them. For they are so much closer to the unseen world where knowledge is than are any ordinary geniuses.
These men (or women) who live always in their highest self — as we do only occasionally, but could learn to do always — these men find the answers to the ancient puzzles, such as: — What is life for? Why must we suffer? What happens to our inner, unseen selves when we die? Do we ever return to this earth again? What is the history of mankind? Were there men on earth a million years ago? They gained this wisdom after lives of unselfishness and earnest striving; and they yearn to help us too, to guide us that we may avoid mistakes and sorrow, that we may advance faster into our highest selves. These men, who were ordinary men long ago, are the Helpers of Humanity. Such men there have always been, and in all ages the truth about life has been known by such as these.
Where are these Helpers, who know the Truths of life? I understand they are everywhere among mankind — men unassuming, for fame and fortune they do not want; men with gentleness and power written upon their brows. Forgetful of self, they work among us, and only the pure of heart, those who strive to be always their best self, can know who these men are.
They, with their divine wisdom, know when any one of us resolves to try to be better. They can perceive the golden link that joins each of us with our soul — I love best to think of it as a ray shining from the soul down into the mind. These Helpers see this ray grow broader, more radiant, as each noble thought or act helps to clear away the mists between the mind and the flaming soul.
You have been thinking perhaps of Jesus the Christ, or of Buddha of India, or of Confucius, the great Chinese Teacher. Yes, they and many others have been our greatest Helpers. And all had exactly the same message, for there can be only one Truth. The truth they teach tells us that we are in this world only to learn to be honest, kind, loyal, all the things we know we should be; that we must return to this Earth again and again, through many lives, until these lessons are learned; but that then we can rise to experiences of great happiness, living in that mysterious inner world that most people feel must exist somewhere. These great Helpers have gained this release from the troubles of Earth, yet they come to help us out of pity for us, sorrow for our ignorance, the desire to show us how to live. They tell us that ignorance is the cause of all evil, all sorrow; that if we fully realized that every action of ours has a corresponding result, that good brings good, and that if we do wrong we must suffer, then we would consider our actions more carefully. This is a natural law, natural as Newton's law of gravitation, and is called Karman.
Of course there are many helpers less advanced than Jesus and Buddha, who nevertheless have found that happiness lies in helping others. Many are not far ahead of us along the road toward perfection. Encouraging fact! We can join with them. They stretch out their hands to help us, and they must do it, for unselfish service is what takes them, takes us, upward, inward to the shining soul within each one of us: the beautiful something in us that tries always to help us. And as we advance we too must pass on what we have learned — and so we become at once helpers of humanity.
Indeed that is all that the Theosophical Society exists for. Every true Theosophist has no other aim in life but to train himself to be a helper; that is, to show others how they can help themselves, for that is the only kind of assistance that is lasting. You, if you are an earnest seeker after truth, know that that is the only way that one can help another, thus following the Great Helpers.