Brotherhood is a fact in Nature. To demonstrate this fact is the principal aim of Theosophy. The aim is to show brotherhood to be, not simply a sentiment, not even a mere ideal, but a practical workable reality. To this someone may object, "But how can it be a reality when it simply doesn't exist? Show me anywhere a real brotherhood!" Theosophy explains: It is because brotherhood is not recognised as a reality, existing as a basic law and always and everywhere, that there is so much suffering. We are not many but one. Like the fingers of one hand, like the hand to the body — so does each small human organism reach back into the Great Organism called the Universe. In that Divine Life we have our spiritual roots. In it we "live and move and have our being."
There is only one real cause of suffering — human selfishness. Selfishness antagonizes this law of organic unity — therefore harmony. Ethical laws are laws of harmony which spring from this inherent Unity. They are as real as the laws of electricity and gravitation. Just because we are all actually living tissue in this brotherhood of flesh and heart and spirit every selfish action is like a knife-thrust into the social fabric. One man's selfishness injures all. Can a man cut off his arm without suffering all over? Cannot the tiny pin-prick you hardly notice result in death? Because we are all parts of one organism we cannot injure others without having to suffer like consequences in our own souls and bodies. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap." If we do not reap that harvest in one life then we must meet it in some later life on earth. For that is how we learn. Not in heaven. Not in hell. We pay our debts here where we made them.
The Theosophical Society was founded in New York in 1875 as "a nucleus of Universal Brotherhood." It was to be only a nucleus. Its founders realized that the world is so afflicted with ignorance and selfishness that little more than a beginning could be made. A kindred object in Theosophy is to explain man to himself. Ignorance is the breeding ground of selfishness. If we understood what we are doing to ourselves and others when we injure them, we would think twice before acting. We do not suspect that in allowing war, crime, and injustice we cannot shift all the results onto the next generation. We fasten some of them upon ourselves. For nations living now will have to be reborn on earth as other races to work out the consequences of present mistakes and indifference.
These are three of the spiritual Laws of Life — Brotherhood, Karman, Reincarnation. Understanding them includes many deep and fascinating teachings which can be found in advanced Theosophical literature. Theosophy offers them as well worth investigation and study.
The Theosophical ForumTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE