One whirl of the Earth on its axis brings us day and night; one circling round the Sun brings us the seasons; one swing of the Solar System, with the Earth in it, round that greater celestial body which is our Sun's Sun, undoubtedly has significant if as yet unknown effects upon all life in the Solar System. There is ever the return — and ever the new January 1st, 1938, and the year to follow it have never been lived before.
Today we have frequent reminders that the menacing conditions in the world are a recurrence of what happened in Europe before the fall of the Roman Empire. In the centuries since then, however, the human mind has wrought mightily and won control of many natural forces for the use of man. But can Humanity's present planetary experience be regarded as even nearing completion or fulfilment while the human heart has never fully uttered itself? And, with every New Year, springs a hope — even an intuitive certainty — that there may yet flow from the deeps of human nature a current bringing to the perplexed and bewildered world beauty, harmony, and peace.
In all beginnings, even of a year or a day, there is the hazard of the untried. Today the hazards loom large. We are becoming familiar with such expressions as "this age of fear," "more comfort, less faith," "civilized races seem to be losing the courage to live," "a state of scare," "collective nervous breakdown," as descriptive of the present time. For long in the West, while the Ancient Wisdom, knowledge of which practically eliminates the fear of death in the East, has been obscured, man has dreaded the unfamiliar future that he believed awaited him after death. He has striven to secure that future by saving his soul. Today, faced with the power that threatens from his own achievements and inventions, man begins to wonder if he is going to be able to save his skin. At such a crisis man may find, however, that if he looks deep within himself, beyond his soul to its source, to that root of him which is one with the Heart of the Universe, he will find that impulse, that driving-power that brought both the Universe and himself to the present hour and will carry them toward that goal of life where Man's full conscious, creative activity finds expression in higher human associations of a nobility and harmony he now cannot even visualize.
For in that same Ancient Wisdom, which the world is discovering to have been not only Eastern but universal, so ancient that it antedates every historical crisis that is recorded or may be expected to recur, there is a teaching the very simplicity of which helps to keep it secret when men have ceased to recognise the deep truth in simple things. This is the doctrine of Swabhava, which means that every being in the Universe, from the tiniest to the greatest, is a "self-starter" so to speak; that the primal impulse that brought the Universe and all that is in it into manifestation and to the place where we all are now, is an impulse, a driving-power, that impels us all to unfold our individual characteristics in progressive steps, with a chance to continue in successive lives on Earth and in successive periods of universal manifestation; that there is that in us which lasts and lives and learns.
Now we should have to say that minerals and plants and trees have done pretty well. "A diamond is a chunk of coal which has stuck to its job." On the value of diamonds no comment is needed. A rose-bush gives us fragrance and beauty and there seems no end to the variety of perfected blooms that a horticulturist — a member of a hierarchy of more conscious beings than the rose-bush — can help the rose-bush to produce. An acorn grows into an oak, and the oak-tree stands firm to the winter wind, bared of every leaf, without a whimper. Is man less than a tree or a rose-bush or a lump of coal? Is there in him a deficiency of resource, of still unexpressed individuality, so that he fears to hazard the growing-pains that hurt because the human race is bringing to birth a new era in which more of his enduring, creative individuality can manifest in new and better conditions on Earth?
The hazards of our day are the hazards of this bringing forth of the new. We've got it registered in our consciousness that a child who survives the dangers attending birth into a body can grow from infancy and youth to maturity; but owing to the incomplete picture which human beings have of the full opportunity for development of all their faculties and powers, they face an unfamiliar future that causes them to dread. The sorest need that humanity has, almost, is the need for new pictures of the life to be — on Earth, mind you. And the source-material for correct and heartening visualization of this future is abundantly and comprehensibly set forth in the Ancient Wisdom, Theosophy.
Moreover, with every opening cycle — morning, when, Theosophy reminds you, not only your body but that neglected inner nature of yours is refreshed; New Year, when the impulse toward expression in your life of those deep inner resources of conscious, creative power is reinforced from the Hierarchy of Beings who have climbed the Ladder of Life ahead of you; with every dawn there is fresh energy to be availed of. Man, searching within, with the knowledge of what is there, can learn to swing into step with the Great Companions, can storm those inner frontiers beyond which awaits a Light that can guide him past fear to fulfilment, to that full human experience won by those high hearts that crave "the Splendid Hazard of the New."
The Theosophical ForumTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE