Born in the womb of cyclical time, the Theosophical Movement made its reappearance in our modern world, and at its birth there presided the kindly and benignant Destinies in full accordance with the spiritual and intellectual Powers behind the scenes. Yet, even at the moment of its birth or new-coming there were "malignancies," as the astrologers would say, whose influences were destined later to show themselves in the sometimes rather tempestuous career of this Child of Destiny — a child destined to succeed, as H. P. B. so finely pointed out, despite the worst mistakes of Theosophists themselves.
I for one have sometimes thought that it is just these "malignant" aspects which presided at its birth in our modern world in New York in 1875, which will in the long run, because of lessons we can learn from their workings, in a strangely paradoxical way prove to be the steadying influence in the career of our beloved Theosophical work. It is from our mistakes that we learn and grow wiser, seeing how to avoid the errors of former days and to eschew the temptations and biases that former experiences have proved to be more or less disastrous when followed.
Breaking up into its different component or separate societies, the Theosophical Movement has nevertheless lived on, with its ups and downs, its successes and temporary failures, but always up to the present at least, holding in a general way faithfully to the Principles which characterize it and to the work which it is its fated destiny to perform. Each one of these different societies will succeed or fail, in my judgment, precisely in accordance with the degree of spirituality and intellectual penetration and selfless devotion which its members as individuals possess; or, lacking these, any one of them will drift off, as H. P. B. pointed out, on to one or more sandbanks of thought and there decay and become another sad wreck in the cyclic history of Theosophical endeavor.
Let us pause a moment and look at these sandbanks, that we may more clearly understand just what they are. They are rarely if ever, indeed never, in my judgment, sandbanks formed of the thought of other movements contrary to our own, but always of the mental prejudices, biases, and intellectual and emotional waywardnesses which it is human nature so utterly to cherish. In other words, these sandbanks are the products of ourselves, of Theosophists, of whatever society we may belong to. We are caught and ensnared by our own weaknesses and our infidelity to the principles I have mentioned above, in which principles lie our only safety, our sheet anchor, as well as our assurance of future success.
Any society, for instance, which becomes merely a bibliolatrous sect, worshiping books, however grand they may be because of the teachings contained in them, is almost certainly destined to fall into the next error of judgment, which is the worshiping of dead Leaders; and this is one of the pitfalls, one of the commonest sandbanks, of organisational thought which our own beloved T. S. must at all costs avoid.
On the other hand, there is the equally strong tendency, human nature being what it is — and this is a danger as real as the former — to lack loyalty and to be deficient in troth towards the greathearted Theosophical Leaders and other Theosophical worthies who have preceded us and who have given their all, their lives and their substance it may be, to hand over to us the sacred charge which we now carry.
I would therefore most earnestly urge upon all our own beloved F. T. S. as individuals to see to it that each one, as I wrote years ago, become a leader in Theosophical work and in Theosophical thinking; for it is obvious that with every F. T. S. a leader in the Theosophical Society we shall follow the safest course in securing that independence of the individual in spiritual and intellectual matters which, combined with utter fidelity to the teachings as given to us by the Masters and H. P. B. will keep the T. S. a strong, united Body of independently thinking and active Workers, each one a leader in the Theosophical work that he prefers most, and doing this self-chosen work with indifference to results, with the impersonal love of the work itself uppermost in his heart. These ideals if successfully followed and attained will make of the T. S. what it was destined to be and what it should be; and to these objectives we have pledged our lives. With malice towards none, with good will towards all, with determination to follow our own chosen pathway of work, we shall march steadily and constantly forwards, while the T. S. will continue in the uninterrupted and steady growth in membership and in influence which have characterized it now for years in the past.
"Orthodoxy in Theosophy is a thing neither possible nor desirable"; we do not want it in the T. S., but we do want to continue in the pathway of utter fidelity to the teachings and traditions received by us; for this is our unbreakable bond of union, and "in Union lies Strength."