During the thirteen years of Dr. de Purucker's leadership of the T. S. an enormous mass of correspondence passed through his office. Perhaps it is not so well known throughout our Society, however, how much of important instruction, practical and helpful in daily living and organizational conduct, was given out in this way to students and T. S. officials in all parts of the world. With this thought in mind the Editors have asked Miss Elsie V. Savage, G. de P.'s private secretary since 1929, to select from such letters and instructions a few extracts which stress more significantly some of the duties and needs that lie before us today. These excerpts follow.
Ways of Disseminating Theosophy
I know there are many ways of disseminating Theosophy, of casting forth the holy seed into the minds and hearts of men. To me all ways are good if they are successful, but in each we must be able to find the God-Wisdom which we are here to teach. If we do not teach it we are negligent of our holiest trust. Greater than showing people how broadminded Theosophists are, greater far than this, although that is most excellent and good in its way, greater still is to give men hope, to instill comfort into weary hearts, courage into their lives, and to give them vision. "Without a vision the people perish," and if it is not a good vision, so great is the hunger of human hearts for reality, alas, all too often it is replaced by an evil vision. Evil takes the place of good. And yet so wonderful is the web of nature, and so mighty the power of the spirit, that even in an evil web we will find woven through the mesh like golden threads the light of the spirit.
No, while all ways of disseminating seeds of truth are excellent, provided the seeds be disseminated or sown, I myself can find no grander way than that of following the traditional Theosophical habits of thought and of teaching and of living which are, first: the setting the example in your own Self of the truth that is living and burning within you; next, calling our brothers ignorant of Theosophy to the spiritual and intellectual banquet. Those who are searching for light and know not whither to turn, call them to the Master's table! And the food is set forth in our standard Theosophical books, and in all the great literatures of all the ages.
I think our best way of teaching our own God-Wisdom — I say "ours"; it is ours only because we are blessed in having received it, it is not ours in any other sense, it is humanity's priceless heritage — the best way is to show its existence in all the ages in the great books that have come down to us, in our standard Theosophical books, and by teaching it technically; for there is no other way of teaching it properly.
Learn to Think in Centuries
I look to the future, and as dear H. P. B. used to say, a phrase often humorously quoted by K. T.: "I sit by the sea and watch the future through the weather." We must learn to think in centuries, not merely in lustra of five years each; for in this way we obtain a mundial or world-picture, and build intelligently for the future, instead of having our attention absorbed by merely the present or immediately coming events. Don't allow all your thought to be swallowed up in the events and problems of the immediate present. I think it is imperatively necessary to learn to think in centuries. It is likewise extremely comforting and absolutely kills all such things as discouragement, downheartedness, pessimism, etc., etc. Indeed we have much, very much, to be thankful for, and I bless the Masters and the gods for that immensely strong yet always outwardly invisible help which daily I can feel or sense or intuit, and which will be ours as long as we prove worthy, and therefore receptive vessels of its benign influence.
Guard your Thought – Processes
I have observed my own processes of thought many and many a time, and I notice that many and many a time I have been saved from drawing a false conclusion by being reluctant to accept that conclusion until I have examined it. That is an excellent rule that we all try to follow. But I likewise have observed that if I am cowardly or lazy, and refuse to face a thought or a problem squarely, nobody suffers but me. I am the loser. So I have learned to think, and try to think clearly, to be afraid of thinking no thought whatsoever, but always to strive to see that the thoughts that pass through my mind as the instruments of cogitation shall be high ones; not to give in to snap-judgments, not led astray by emotional volcanic outpourings, nor what is worse I think, led into judging others with injustice. This is an exercise the Hindus would call Yoga. It is an exercise I recommend to anyone who wants to improve himself. Watch your thoughts. Watch your processes as you think those thoughts. Discard the thoughts you do not like. But be careful in so doing lest you refuse to receive a divinity knocking at the door of your heart when you are at first too blind to perceive its divine character.
The Injunction of Pythagoras
Do you remember the rule laid down by Pythagoras, a very beautiful one I think. It runs something as follows, often quoted by me; but it is worth quoting again and again. It loses none of its beauty and profundity by repetition:
"Let not the setting sun reach the western horizon, nor close thine eyes in sleep, before thou hast gone over all the events of the day just past, and hast asked thyself this question: What have I done today that has been done amiss? What have I done today that has been done aright? Have I injured anyone? Have I failed in my duty? Let not the setting sun reach the western rim of space, nor let thine eyelids close in sleep ere thou hast asked thyself these questions."
If only men and women would follow that simple rule, ninety percent of the world's trouble, heartache, sin, anxiety, would be nonexistent, would never happen. And the reason is simple. The world's troubles are from our weaknesses, not from our strength; and if we can increase our strength, do away with our weaknesses, every human being thereafter in proportion to his inner evolution or growth would become a power for good in the world. And you see what that would mean. It cuts at the tap-root of most of the thoughts and feelings and acts that bring misery amongst us.
Our Work in the Present and the Future
In these exceedingly difficult times for all men, one's heart of necessity often aches for the common sorrow and grief, and for the heavy burthen that so many are now carrying; so there is a certain gravity or sobriety of spirit that must of necessity weigh upon us Theosophists also. Yet it is one of our first, indeed one of our elementary Theosophical tenets that it is precisely in times of difficulty and stress that men's hearts open perhaps more than ever before to the reception of spiritual ideas; and it is by means of our Theosophical gatherings, whether great or small, that we can bring a large measure of hope and comfort to weary and stricken souls. You will feel yourselves as members of a great body-corporate of other men and women the world over, who are all united, spiritually and intellectually as well as by the impulses of the heart, in our blessed Theosophic propaganda-work, in order that the Masters" teachings may reach an ever-widening circle of hungry hearts and eager minds, seeking for comfort and the sense that the great realities of life govern men and are behind all things, in spite of the turbulence and storm of human existence.
Let us never forget that mighty and strong minds are behind the spiritual government of our world, indeed of our globe; and that sooner or later karman adjusts all things to its majestic purposes, and in the spirit of universal brotherhood, peace on earth, and good will to all men.
I repeat, that in my judgment it is precisely in times of difficulty and stress, as has indeed been said by the Masters is the case of kali-yuga, that spiritual progress is more easy to achieve than in other and more quiet times; and a spiritual effort such as that in which the Theosophical Society is engaged is far more likely to be received by human minds and hearts now than in other days when the steady comforts of life and the sense of regular security, fine as these are, often blind men's minds to the reception of higher things.
Continue, then, your noble Theosophical Work with unfailing courage, and with the assurance that not only G. de P., but thousands of members all over the world, are with you in spirit; for amongst us Theosophists, national or even local, Theosophical efforts have back of them the tremendous force of united minds, strong intellects, and devoted hearts.