The Theosophical Forum – August 1943


The great sages and seers, the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion, belong to no race, and especially to no creed. They are the children of the spirit, awakened men, whose familiar thought is truth itself; and hence their sympathies are universal. They need no frontiers of race, of caste, of creed, of color. They are truth-seekers, truth-teachers, and their instrument, the Theosophical Society, was founded by them to promulgate the truth; the cosmic wisdom, the cosmic philosophy, that existed before the foundations of the mighty mountains were laid, ay, even before the Sons of Morning began to sing, to chant their hymns celestial. For Truth has no age. It never was born, it never has not been. It is timeless because universal. Its appeal is to the hearts and minds of all men. It matters not a whit from what part of the world a beautiful truth may be drawn; and in consequence whenever any human has so attuned the seven-stringed lyre of Apollo — which is his heart or his seven principles — to whisper and ring like an aeolian harp when the winds of heaven blow upon it, then, for the time being and as long as he can hold this plane of consciousness, he is one of the sages and seers, whether his fellow-men recognise him or not; and this means you and me and all men, at least any one of us who may have attained thus much.

And mark you the promise in this statement: that precisely because we are children of infinitude, not merely sons of the gods but the very offsprings of the celestial spaces, there is that within us which is attuned with them, and which therefore is timeless, which therefore is infinite, which therefore is eternal.

How true that old statement in the Christian New Testament is which you so often hear me quote, because so lost sight of by Christians in these days! I link two such statements together: "Know ye not that ye are gods and that the spirit of the eternal liveth within you?"

Where are the sages and seers? Where they have always been. The question at first blush may strike a Theosophist as being foolish but I suppose it arises in the desire to explain to people why the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion do not take the human race in hand, and oblige it, force it, to be decent. But a Theosophist simply looks up in wonder and says: Why, what good would that do? How may you convince men by compulsion that this, that, or some other thing is true? Isn't it obvious that men only believe what their own hearts teach them? And that no matter what they hear or are taught, if there is not an answering response in the human heart, and an instant answer in the human intellect, there is no acceptance, but a worse than steel wall raised?

Truth is eternal. Truth is always with us, and the devotees of truth are always with us and always have been and always will be; and it is we in our folly and ignorance and blindness who refuse to accept them. Open your hearts and open your minds, and the light will come pouring in. There is the promise of all the sages and of all the Masters the human race has ever given birth to. The Teachers are always ready when the pupil is ready. If we see no evidence of the Masters in the world today, it is partly because we we have forgotten the god-wisdom in the world, and partly because we won't hearken.

Yes, the truth has been laid down by the titan intellects of the human race; and if men do not accept it, whose fault is it? Not that of the Teachers. If I prefer strife and wretchedness and crime and horror, why shall I say to the deaf heavens: "Where art thou, O God?" Of all the agonies of stupidity, we see here just one more evidence of man's attempt at self-justification of his own folly and ignorance. You might as well say, where are the laws of nature? What has become of them? Why don't they take the human race in hand? A nice spirit! Even ordinary human parents know better than that. Ordinarily a father or mother would not attempt to interfere with the growth of a child by force. It never worked and never will. You cannot cause a leopard to change its spots until that leopard has evolved, and no amount of starving or chastisement or so-called vengeful punishment will ever make a leopard anything but a leopard.

Do you want truth? You can have it whenever you want it. The world is full of it. The great teachings of the ages are full of it. What prevents our seeing it? Is there any man so blind as he who won't look? Is there any man so deaf as he who refuses to hear? These are some of the simple truths known to every child; yet we prefer hypocrisy and cant and self-justification, to righting the wrongs we ourselves wreak on others, and then raise a clamor to the immortal gods for help when we ourselves begin to suffer from our folly. Yes, we choose hypocrisy; and how many of us sitting in this auditorium can say before the tribunal divine within our own hearts: "I am not a hypocrite. I am pure." Just ask yourselves! Pharisees and hypocrites! "Oh, how I thank God that I am not as other men are!" Now honestly, brothers and friends, hasn't that ever occurred to your hearts and minds? And don't you see that that is the first shackle you yourself have placed on your limbs as a pilgrim: self-justification and self-righteousness? Don't you see that by so doing you blind your own eyes?

How true it is that truth is not popular, that truth is not welcome, that people do not like it. Why? Because it means change. It means an evolution of feeling and thinking. It means a revolution of the moral instincts to become alive and vigorous again. I tell you again that to become acquainted with, to have first-hand individual knowledge of, the great Teachers, the first step is to become as far as we may and can, alike unto them. There is no other way. The heart must be consecrated to truth at any cost. Are you strong enough? If you are, you are ready for chelaship, as we say, for discipleship; and you will be a disciple before this life for you is ended, ay, perhaps before tomorrow's even sees the setting of our day-star.

The Masters, the great Sages and Seers are ready for you always. There is no barrier to them whatsoever except yourself, absolutely none; and if you don't attain chelaship in this life or in the next or in the following one, blame none but yourself. You see the reason why. It is so simple a child may understand. How can you become a disciple or a chela before you are ready for it, before you have become it? How can you see the light before you have eyes with which to see it? How can you appreciate beauty or get a touch of beauty anywhere, until beauty already is taking birth within your soul, so that the beauty within you can sense beauty without? How can you recognise a great man until some grandeur at least is born within yourself to enable you to recognise grandeur? If you are paltry and small and mean, how can you recognise the opposites of these?

It is like the men who go through the world incognisant, blind and deaf to the divine beauty in their own fellow human beings. One of the easiest ways to find beauty, to find truth, and more quickly to come into instant magnetic sympathy with your fellow human beings is by becoming yourself sympathetic and seeing. Don't you see? If a man has no sympathy in his soul, how can he sense the sympathy in the souls of others? If he has no beauty in his heart, how can he see beauty anywhere, or as the English playwright Shakespeare phrases it:

The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils.

Don't you see you will never see the Master-self until you have become masterlike within yourself? Because you won't recognise him or them. It would be impossible. You have not developed the vision inside, the faculties inside; but those faculties are there.

And now a final word: These sages and seers exist today; they take pupils, to use the ordinary phrase. Indeed more, they pass through the world hunting, searching, seeking, not so much like Diogenes for an honest man, but like Masters of Wisdom as they are, searching everywhere for good material, sensitive human souls, or, as I phrase it, looking wherever they may see, however dim it may be, a touch of the Buddhic splendor in a human being's heart; and when they see that, instantly their attention is attracted. They feel the impact instantly in their own hearts. They approach, they aid, they inspire, they do everything they can to foster the trembling flame of vision and of feeling. They foster it and feed it, until the flame finally burns strong, and the man is reborn, no longer born of the flesh, but reborn of the spirit, of the inspiration from within and from the Teacher without.

And above and beyond and back of these sages and seers there is their own great Chief. What a marvelous figure of celestial wisdom and beauty, utterly dedicated to the spirit and to the world and all that is in it irrespective of race, nation, creed, caste, color, or sex! This being is a God. We Theosophists speak of it in reverence and awe as the Silent Watcher. He is the chief Master of the Masters. He is one of us, our own brilliant guide, Teacher, friend, brother, the source so far as men are concerned of all enlightenment and wisdom and beauty and love. So that in the deeper reaches of our blessed Theosophical teachings we may say with great reverence, yet with all truth, that back of all our labor however imperfectly we human beings may be doing, back of it as its origin and inspiration is this grand Divinity.

What a hope! What a wonder to look forward to for all us men, Theosophists or non-Theosophists. For indeed if the truth were told, I think that there are millions and tens of millions and hundreds of millions of men and women in this world today who are Theosophists in everything except that they have not as yet received the teachings of our blessed God-Wisdom. But in everything else: in readiness, in yearning, in reverence, in universal love, and in desire to advance upwards and onwards forever, these fellow human beings are as good Theosophists as we are. Oh, that we might collect them all together into one band of impersonal workers! What a power in the world we would then be! No longer would problems vex man's intelligence, problems born of his selfishness. No longer then would the human race be afflicted with poverty, misery, and with most of the sin that now exists, and the dreadful, appalling wretchedness. I sometimes think that the most heart-touching, the most heart-rending story in the world amongst our brother fellow human beings is that story which is not heard, which is carried in the dumb agony of the silence. Oh, how human beings suffer so needlessly!

I know of no loftier title, Brothers and Friends, than that which I love to give to our great Teachers: Friends of mankind and of all that lives! — Address given in March, 1941, Point Loma, California

Theosophical University Press Online Edition