Why do Theosophists devote so much time and energy and intelligence to a study of recondite doctrines? What is the use of it? To be very Occidental, "does it pay?" It won't pay a particle if your mind is directed downwards. But if you are a normal human being, with normal human aspirations, and want to be more and greater than you are, if your mind is directed upwards, it will "pay" enormously. Why? I will tell you why.
The Theosophical Society was founded by the Masters of Wisdom for one purpose mainly. The secondary purpose was to give priceless comfort and help to human individuals, giving them courage and hope and a sublime objective in life. But the main purpose was to give to mankind a religio-philosophical and scientific explanation of life's riddles, based on the natural fact of Universal Brotherhood, which would bring about a moral and spiritual revolution in the world.
The Masters knew that the world was entering upon conditions which if not checked would lead us to hell, conditions spiritual and intellectual, social, political, conditions of all kinds, of which the psychical outbreaks are only symptomatic. The purpose of the Theosophical Society therefore, principally, is to establish a nucleus of a true Universal Brotherhood, and to give unto thinking men and women the reasons for this. When you can persuade men's and women's reason, and charm their hearts, you have won; and you cannot persuade thinking man that a thing is right if all his instincts rebel against it, instincts intellectual and other. So the Masters founded the Theosophical Society once more in our age in order to give anew to a very materialistic and discouraged world, the teachings of the God-Wisdom of all the ages, man's heritage. Now understand that clearly. And we study these Theosophical doctrines so that we, becoming acquainted with them, understanding them, and ourselves persuaded by them, i. e. our minds and hearts captured by their grandeur and completeness, will change our own lives. Then we shall be able so to present them to other men that they too will see the Vision Sublime which we at least have caught glimpses of.
That is why we study the Theosophical Doctrines; and I can tell you that had it not been for the very perilous conditions that the human race began to go into with the downfall of the so-called Pagan religions and philosophies of two thousand years agone, had it not been for world conditions, I myself doubt very much if the Theosophical Society would have ever been founded for two or three or six thousand years. Individuals would have been helped in the silence and privately. But conditions were such that help from above, from wiser heads than ordinary men, was needed. It was given.
I will tell you, the problem in the world today is not with the men on either side of the fence, or any side of the fence. Men are human beings. The trouble is wrong ideas, which make wrong conduct. You change ideas and you have conduct in conformity therewith. If you can set men going crazy about some fad or other, you can just as easily fire them and enthuse them with the love of something sublime, and change the whole course of life: bring peace on earth and good will to men.
But you have to know how to persuade men. You have to give them a philosophy that they can study and respect and have conviction in, and which will grow upon them as they study it the more; the greater study, the greater belief. Truth is marvelously persuasive in itself. Men are inherently decent and good; and a good many, I do believe, of the so-called criminals of the past and of the present are people, men and women, who have become so absolutely discouraged that they have lost their grip. If they had had a decent chance, the inherent weaknesses in their characters might probably not have overpowered, paradoxically as it sounds, the higher part.
I believe in my fellow human beings. I know men, and I know that men think and feel — no matter what their race, no matter what their beliefs. Men are men the world over, and fundamentally decent, and they love decency and grand things. Look how the appeal of an heroic action runs like wild fire in all countries; all men respond. That shows the inherent right and decency in the human heart. It is to these things that we appeal. If fads can sweep over not only one people, but the whole world and fascinate mankind for a thousand years or more, making them all kinds of things which we now look upon as crazy; you can just as well, and with just as much hope, and with infinitely more chance of permanent success, appeal to the decency in men, to the good in men, to the common fellow-feeling that we are human beings, that we at least will learn to respect each other's convictions in harmony and in peace. There is where real decency comes out. Not in the attempt to convert with violence, always bringing forth more violence and resentment.
There is the pathos of the situation. I personally have never yet found it to fail in my own dealings with my fellow humans, I have never found kindliness, consideration, and the appeal to the decency in other men — I have never found these to fail. If the response has not always been what I have wished for, then I have questioned myself, whether I myself have longed for the things I have wanted, longed for them strongly enough.
That is one reason why the Theosophical Society admits to its Fellowship men of all races, of all creeds. There is no distinction of race, caste, creed or color in our organization. Remember the main objective of the Theosophical Society: to establish a nucleus of a genuine Universal Brotherhood, a nucleus which is absolutely and throughout non-political, based on no sentimental reasons. This perhaps may never make an appeal to some of the hard-heads, those wilfully blind, who simply will not see. Our appeal is to intellect and decency in moral instincts, and points to the laws of the universe as the foundation on which life is builded. That is why we study Theosophy and its sublime religio-philosophico-scientific doctrines. It is the Occult Hierarchy that sent our H. P. B. to establish the Theosophical Society, whose work is not to labor spectacularly, showily, theatrically, but to work steadily, untiringly, to change the hearts and minds of men. Secondarily, the work of the T. S. is to help us as individual Theosophists.
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