The Theosophical Forum – August 1941


The public mind today is much perturbed and often vexed on this question of Leadership and Dictatorship. It is important to clarify one's mind on what these issues stand for and do not stand for. Let us examine the cosmic system. Our Theosophical philosophy contains the explanation of fundamental principles that are universal, consistent, permanent, and convincing to minds prepared for the truth. It involves three propositions:

I. A Universal, boundless, omnipresent, and immutable principle, concerning which speculation is impossible.
II. The eternity of the Universe, carried with absolute Universality of periodicity.
III. The fundamental identity of all souls with the Universal Over-Soul, being the basis of Universal Brotherhood.

These three fundamental propositions work out through seven processes, but it is sufficient to mention four of these for our purpose. We wish to emphasize: 1. Reimbodiment. 2. Karman. 3. Hierarchies. 4. Evolution. That is, that all entities reimbody; all are subject to the law of Karman or consequences; all evolve from lower grades to higher; and all in consequence find themselves associated with groups or Hierarchies and in their hierarchy find their proper level, not by designation of a superior being, but by their own affinity. In fact the whole Universe is a product of law and order.

Incidentally a hierarchy is a group of entities of common interests and grade of evolution, and composed of smaller groups contained in and part of this larger group. Every such group whether large or small belongs to and is incorporated in a hierarchy of more comprehensive bulk and importance, i. e., more evolved.

Every hierarchy has at its head, a hierarch or head, that is, an entity who has assimilated all the lessons of his hierarchy and therefore is its "head-man." He is there not by any false process, not by election or choice, but by a "divine right." He has earned it, and by his own superior evolution, he is there, and one judges that this law is the origin of the saying "the divine right of kings." But let us not forget the ordinary king does not hold his position by divine right but often only by birth right; he is only a symbol.

In the old days when the Mystery-Schools played such an important part in the control of the race, there was recognized a spiritual hierarchy of adepts, that is, advanced souls. And there were priest-kings, those wonderful, compassionate and wise Souls, who by their innate powers and wisdom assumed control and responsibility; and when such a system was established the collective wisdom of the community and their spiritual demands ensured the continuous supply of subsequent hierarchs to fill the place of the one departing.

So one gets, as a natural law, a system of a succession of the most fit. This principle was adopted by Christianity as the apostolic succession, and this is an assumed principle of the Roman Catholic Church, that recognizes St. Peter as the first pope.

But these successors were adopted by a very frail system — a reflex of the collective moral, spiritual or non-spiritual consciousness of the extant community.

The fact remains that leaders, teachers, rulers are required in every movement or community of interests, and are evident in presidents of societies, premiers of governments, governors of states and rulers of nations.

It is a Universal principle, but is not always consistent with natural or divine principles; it is often only an artificial and imperfect simulation of these. The nature of the hierarch is always a reflection of the collective consciousness of the community. A corrupt or criminal community may acquire a gangster for its head. A spiritual community may and does by its inherent spirituality acquire a spiritual head. A pronounced individuality may and often does by his force of character impose his individuality on a community, often with great benefit to that community. Such a ruler may prove himself a beneficent force, or he may, by a process of profound egotism and personal ambition degenerate from a beneficent force to a consummate nuisance.

Even an autocrat may be beneficent, but the tax on his personal makeup to retain his or her balance as a benevolent force is tremendous.

In the divine or cosmic system of hierarchs, before the hierarch is worthy to occupy such a place, he has to pass through incarnations or aeons of probation, till every virtue is tested and strengthened by long processes of trials and sufferings, till every selfish instinct, every bit of personal egotism, is swept out of his nature, every weakness to temptation is eradicated, in fact until a Christ-like compassion, a profound wisdom, an unassailable peace flows from his soul — and we see a Master of Wisdom, Compassion, and Peace: a man incapable of meanness, weakness, fear or cupidity, a man of sound judgment, supreme knowledge, indomitable will and understanding heart. And such simply find their position in the golden chain of the spiritual hierarchy. They are the spiritual guides, comforters, protectors and kings of the race, in an unbroken chain of every grade of evolution. A self-appointed demagogue, who by his personal will, fine oratory, and forceful nature acquires a supreme control, is no guarantee of beneficent rulerhood, but is symbolical of the consciousness of those ruled. They have called him forth.

The moral of these suggestions is that because we have had throughout historical times evidences of leaders and dictators who have become nuisances, menaces, aggressors and objectionable autocrats, that is no argument against leadership, kingship, or autocrats. Yes, let us have autocrats, but divine autocrats, who know, who never encroach on another's right, who never self-seek, who are free from egotism, who are wise, compassionate and peaceful.

Theosophical University Press Online Edition