The Theosophical Forum – September 1937


Projected against the panoramic background of everyday life, the stream of human beings floats along in its thousand gradations of the good, the bad, and the indifferent. As we watch, the fleeting glimpse vanishes; the vision is replaced by another, and another, in quick-changing succession. Occasionally our attention is irresistibly drawn to a face or a scene. Memory is prodding us, and we stretch out a hand in recognition of common experiences once lived through, or perhaps we instinctively recoil in antipathy. A moral might be drawn from this.

Since we must reap what we sow, we shall meet again and again those for whom we have felt deep love and hatred; they are our helpers and our obstructors. They are always our teachers. But don't we all prefer good-tempered and friendly teachers? Some may claim the opposite — and they are welcome to their pretended choice. But in any case, the people with whom we are now living will be with us again in future lives, although our respective positions may be reversed. Why not be far-sighted now — make friends, not enemies, for the future?

Animals act by the same instinct as man, but theirs is more unerring, more swift in its applications. They recognise friends and enemies by the stealthy tread approaching from afar: keen eyes, sharp ears, an uncanny power of smell, sift sound, sights, and smells and classify them as inimical or protective. When our intuition becomes as strong as the animal instinct, humanity will have taken a long stride. Man, as we now see him, is more often than not a curious mixture of the immortal Don Quixote and his Sancho Panza. But through the Don's vainglory and weaknesses there penetrates an odor of sanctity. He is on a journey which will carry him far beyond the windmills.

Theosophy has something to say about this. It claims that behind the fantastic masks one often meets, there is a real man yearning for a nobler expression of life; the antics performed with such seriousness on the stage of life yet have a purpose in the progress of the world. In this very striving for happiness, so seemingly futile, may it not be that the hates and rivalries of men can be burnt away from their hearts, and that the devils" mask of the gory carnival of national wars and private feuds can be cast off to let us get a glimpse of the God who patiently is laying the foundations of a nobler world?

Is Theosophy justified in drawing an analogy between external man as we know him, and nations, creeds, and even the worlds of stars and cosmic galaxies? Whenever you have a chance, put these questions to your best friends. It might awaken dormant memories buried in the intuition of one who may have marched alongside of you in lives forgotten. Your karman has given you this opportunity of strengthening the little band of mystic students. The great religions of today can look back on a history of conquest and glory; they have clashed with weaker ones and emerged victorious by swords of steel, or by persuasion; but behind the scenes we might picture to ourselves the rather sad-faced gods in whose behalf the battle has been waged. Suppose they were to send their recognised messengers, Buddha, Jesus, Lao-Tse, Confucius, and others, to a conclave in order to effect an amicable settlement. Do you think such a conference would break up?

No, not very likely! Could you imagine them going back on their most solemn precepts: "Do unto one another what you want done to yourselves"; or, "Don't do to one another what you don't want done to yourselves."? Their various philosophies of life are identic at the core, but garbed in raiments appropriate to the people they primarily came to teach. And perhaps they all belonged to the same Council of Peace who from time to time send out one of their number to set things aright after long periods of chaos and darkness.

The intuitive student might say that there is in the hearts of all of us one of the same Brotherhood whom we would venture to call "Esoteric Man."

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