The Theosophical Forum – February 1941

THE ARTIST OF LIFE — Martyn Witter

One of the most difficult of problems for the Theosophist to solve is that of how to touch the flame in men's hearts in order that they may become conscious of their duty to the universe. Here lies a crucial point. There are millions of religious mystics in the world who are conscious of some of the spiritual verities taught by the Sages. But can a spiritual flame be kindled that will truly glow in the hearts of men if their thoughts are but upon the favors that are to be gained from the Universe for the price of being good? For a long time the greater part of the spiritual labors of mankind have been devoted to the earning of bliss. Such a motive is a blight upon the evolution of the races of men. For thousands of years man has, under the cloak of his various religions, scrambled over the heads of his brothers to receive blessings either from a God or the Gods. Religious greed is but a refined form of material greed. One form of spiritual greed is the "holier than thou" attitude.

Today, there awaits a great opportunity for Theosophy to teach the world a lesson that it shall not soon forget. Theosophy can do this without cloaking itself with a "holier than thou" garment; for does it not teach that all men are potential Gods? It can teach man to give to the Gods and work with them instead of the traditional begging for favors. Men must be taught that they need not ask anything from without for there is nothing in the "thousand universes" that does not lie already within man.

The warping of motives lies at the heart of religious greed. A truly great artist will work at his art for the love of art alone. He would rather die from starvation than be torn from his work. He is not working for praise, glory nor financial reward, for his motive for action lies in action itself. The spiritual man is an artist of life. He loves to see all life developing and growing — from the flowers to the souls of his fellow men. His supreme motive for action lies in action itself. He feels the challenge of all Life ringing in his ears and he answers that challenge by giving his will to the Universe and thereupon becoming an Artist and Master of Life. He considers only his duty to Man and the Universe, for fulfilment of that duty is his Supreme Art.

While our Theosophical Teachings are rich with the food of the Gods, there is no guarantee that the world will be impressed within time. The best of materials needed to produce a great work of art can be given to a man who is not an artist and nothing will happen. Though we have the teachings of the Gods, we are the agents of transmission and must play the role of the artist. Although, with the aid of our intellectual gifts, we bombard the world with our logical reasonings and writings, little will it avail if we, who are the transmitters, are mostly intellect, with little spirit. If we be not artists of life we shall fail to reach the millions of sleeping ones though we have the food of the Gods to offer.

It is always an inaudible voice that speaks in the causal realms while the physical man speaks with his tongue and pen. It is in the inner realms where the battle will be won. It is here where the spiritual warrior applies his art while the world thinks it is the physical man who speaks. The only solution is to live Theosophy with all the strength of one's being and make an Art out of Self-Discipline. A society of such individuals working in union would accomplish the seemingly impossible.

Theosophical University Press Online Edition