Many religious creedists and "new-thought" psychologists claim that their religions or their philosophies are panaceas for the present ills of the world. Yet, with all the religionists and psychologists, the world still appears to abound in ignorance, selfishness, and much human misery. Materialistic progress has far out-distanced moral development, and amid the chaos of confused and twisted, therefore insufficient, thinking, mankind searches for "a way out" by various methods of faith and belief, only to find that false and incomplete systems lead into "blind alleys" and fail to give satisfactory answers to the unexplainable circumstances and events of life and its mysteries.
We truth-lovers — for that is what Theosophists really are — have no creeds or dogmas, and therefore do not accept, nor do we require others to do so, anything on "blind faith." That we teach certain doctrines as being facts of Nature is true, and these may be misunderstood by others to be dogmas; but that does not make them so. Each one is left to his own choice of accepting or rejecting the teachings as he sees fit. And this is as it should be; for to exercise this privilege rightly is to use the wisdom of the discriminating faculty" — intuition. It is the Knower within us; hence we should seek to find it and rely upon its wise counsel. From this fountain of wisdom comes faith — "faith" used in the sense of that which proceeds from or is based upon, Knowledge arising out of an authentic source, as distinguished from indiscriminate belief in a so-called authority. The authenticity of the source is and can only be determined by intuitive perception, which faculty in Theosophical terminology is known as the Buddhi-principle, or the Christos within us.
While we are religionists also, this is true only from the standpoint of devotion to the cause of searching for truth, and to the dissemination of a knowledge of the True for the benefit of mankind generally. By the term "Truth" is meant: a knowledge of the facts of Nature, visible and invisible, derived both from a reliable source — a true Spiritual Teacher — and from the individual's own realization of these facts consciously, through "experiencing" or becoming aware of these truths in his consciousness. This is made possible by going deeply into the heart of things, including ourselves, and by means of the knowledge which comes from within; i. e., by the illumination emanating from the intuition, there become aroused and stimulated within our consciousness the thoughtful processes of logical and analogical reasoning, which support intuitive knowledge.
The resultant of following the hints of a true Spiritual Teacher and intuitive perception is: Spiritual Vision or Knowledge of things as-they-are, our "Savior," in fact. Gautama the Buddha is reported to have said, "The way of Salvation is through Knowledge," and the words attributed to Jesus the Avatara: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life," unquestionably refer to the Higher Consciousness in man; or, in other words, the intuitive Preceptor within him, as suggested by the meaning of the mystical phrase, "I am." By a slight rearrangement, and without distorting the essential meaning, this could be read: "The Intuitive Faculty, the Christos within, is the Way (or the means), the Truth (that Reality which we are seeking and finding in relatively greater degree through becoming) and the Life (which is a synonymous term for consciousness, in this particular instance meaning Higher Consciousness)." Or the whole phrase could be summarized in one word, "Illuminator.'
There is another very familiar phrase accredited to Jesus the Syrian Sage: "The Kingdom of God is within you." If it is analysed, we find that it has reference to the high internal state of intuitive consciousness; and it is a Kingdom or Hierarchical state or condition that is within us — not outside, as attention is so unwisely drawn to in the heartrending carnalized crucifixion of Christ upon the upright cross. It is the intuitive faculty within us, the Inner God, that is meant by the "I am." In order to avoid becoming confused, it is well to bear in mind that there are several different terms or words used to describe the same principle or idea, in dealing with the Mysteries of the Universe.
The instruction imbodied in the famous "I am" phrase ascribed to Jesus, as indeed is true with many of the mystical Christian teachings which veil deep esoteric truth, is too often taken literally, and in a more or less personal way to mean that He alone is the only Savior from eternal hell-fire and hopeless damnation. And this is based upon the unsupported blind belief that such is the case. It is not intended to deny the saving qualities of this great Spiritual Teacher; but all Spiritual Teachers are Saviors, because they bring knowledge to men — and there have been many, as an unprejudiced examination of the history of the past will show. All of them have given man the teachings whereby he himself becomes actually his own Savior, which teachings, being based upon Nature's immutable laws, do not vary in principle with the Teacher who brings them, but only in the manner of their appropriate and fitting presentation, suitable to the times, and to those to whom they are given. To look entirely outside of ourselves to some external form of Deity, and especially to expect Jesus or any other Sage or Seer of like spiritual grandeur to "save" us from our evil and thoughtless actions, is anticipating something which we do not deserve, and therefore will not get.
Justice is the reaction which follows all action. Why should we expect reward for doing good, or escape the suffering of our evil acts? In either case, the result will ever be Justice — and that is enough. How else can suffering be explained at the hands of a just God, or Law, or Principle — or by whatever other term or name is applied to the Divine Wisdom and Justice of the Boundless Universal ALL?
The world needs to understand the teachings promulgated by the Theosophical Society more than ever before. To re-establish a true system in the outer world, an honest and primarily ethical school of thought based upon and teaching the natural principles of the Universe, and to broadcast those teachings to the world, is one way of stating the need of and for the Society. The ignorance, selfishness, and misery arising out of the incompleteness of materialistic thinking and misinterpretation of age-old doctrine, which are running rampant among our fellow human beings today, consciously and unconsciously, have brought forth from the compassionate and kindly hearts of those intelligent Elder Brothers of our race, who have evolved in consciousness far beyond the average among us — the Masters of Wisdom, Spiritual Beings of lofty evolutionary standing similar to Jesus the Christ and the Lord Buddha as well as many others — the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom Movement. This, a modern movement, called ancient because it has ever existed, uses as a vehicle for the expression of Divine Wisdom an organized Society composed of believers in Universal Brotherhood, regardless of present religious affiliations. Through this Society the Wisdom of the Gods is stepped down, so to speak, to man's capacity of understanding, and thereby the opportunity has been offered him to learn, among many other things, the secret causes of his sufferings and misfortunes, and the remedies for their cure. For those who have been fortunate enough to find these teachings, the world and its conditions are more clearly understood, and life takes on a different shade of meaning. Conviction is brought to the mind, therefore proof, that the application of a working knowledge of the Wisdom of the Ancients — Theosophy — is actually and truly the cure-all of ignorance and selfishness and all their attendant evils, because it tells the "why" of things, and explains in a logical and matter-of-fact manner the structure and operations of the Universe in all its parts and phases.
The Society has, as an outward or exoteric body, been established only sixty years, which is a relatively short period of time. Who can say, if he has made an unbiased study and examination for himself, that its beneficent influence has not already in a comparatively great degree, persuaded thinking individuals of the logic, truth, and common-sense of its teachings the world over? Observe the outstanding progress being made by the ultra-modern scientific thinkers, and note how closely some of their recent findings and theories approximate, in fact agree in many cases, with the teachings appearing in Theosophical books of decades ago. Yet due credit should be given to these scientists for their energetic and courageous efforts in the research for scientific truth, and the intuitive ideas which are proceeding out of their search into the secrets of Mother Nature and the Universe, of which they and all things are inseparable parts.
Concerning psychology: our understanding of that subject is quite different from what is advocated by many. The most dangerous form of "new-thought" psychologists are those who teach half-truths. Beware of these! Others are honest and sincere and serve a useful purpose in at least an intermediary capacity for those who are breaking away from ecclesiasticism and commencing to think for themselves. But, in dealing with the subject of psychology, it should be understood that the term comes from the Greek word psyche, meaning Soul, and has to do with that part of man which we call the Human Soul, or the Reincarnating Ego, the intermediate portion of man's sevenfold constitution. With all due respect to the honesty of the psychologists' convictions, the average among them seldom deal with any faculty in their study of man beyond that of mind, and lack a fundamental understanding of our Higher Spiritual faculty of Intuition, which illumines the mind and animates the logical reasoning processes. An understanding knowledge of the fact that man, as well as all other entities, is a septenary being would be of much assistance to them. Theosophy explains the nature and operation of these seven principles in man and all other things and of their relation to each other, and should not be confused with the philosophy of those who deal incompletely with only the intermediate and lower portions of man's nature.
To account for the ignorance, selfishness, and misery in the world, there is but one answer, speaking generally, viz: man himself, individually and collectively. There is ample knowledge available, and the opportunity is open to all who truly set their course in the direction of finding it. If this be doubted, an impartial reading of the standard Theosophical contributions to the world's knowledge since the Society was founded in 1875 will prove of great value. If you would have Truth, go to the source, the head-waters, "the center of the circle," to use a mystical phrase, the Heart of Things. There exists abundant knowledge! The difficulty is with the nature of man, which is septenary. He does not know himself. And furthermore, he often does not choose or seek to know; for if he did, he would find and know himself and become consciously aware of far greater knowledge than he now has any idea of. This is in accordance with the age-old injunctions, "Man, know thyself" and "Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you."
By means of our intuitive consciousness, and not by "blind faith," are we able to discern the true from the false; find the Way or Path to the Inner Divinity; help others to find it; and in due course of time, by bringing forth or unfolding what is latent within us, we shall ourselves consciously become that. Through the Inner God is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Are these mere words? Or do they contain true instruction? If we look within ourselves, we shall have the answer.
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