Whoever joins the Theosophical Society finds an opportunity to learn something of the inner work that is being done for the spiritual welfare of mankind. Assuming that he is sincere in his desire for more light, the quickened tempo of his intuitions has led him to that body of men and women that has dedicated itself to practical Brotherhood, and for a time at least, he may become aware of the realities that work in and through the T. S.
In certain respects there seems to be a difference between our outlook and that held by some of the members in the earliest days of the Society. While the privilege of working with H. P. Blavatsky is one that we can never know, yet we hear that many joined because they wanted to be put into communication with the Masters, or wanted to learn practical occultism, and have special privileges conferred upon them. In part this was due to the necessity at that time of putting the Adepts before the public to a far greater extent than is done now, and to the need of demonstrating and explaining psychic Phenomena. Thus the cry was for more Adepts and bigger and better phenomena. A number of members at that time were fortunate enough to hear directly or indirectly from the Adepts themselves.
Since those days the Masters have apparently withdrawn, and phenomena have definitely subsided. One result is that in some ways we have grown more pragmatical in our approach to the T. S. Yet it can be said confidently that we also approach it with greater understanding of the worth of Theosophy and a greater willingness to work for it. This should be taken as an indication of genuine growth on the part of the T. S. as a whole, not in respect to numbers of members so much as in a maturity of outlook. When a child no longer cries for the moon he is old enough to understand something about what the moon really is.
The fact that the Theosophical Society devotes its full attention to the work of spreading the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom, and directs its energies to the sole end that Universal Brotherhood may become a way of life, has made it no longer needful for the Adepts to pamper it along, and they are free to do the inner work that is the real force sustaining the Theosophical Movement. The implication is not made that they have become detached from the Society they inaugurated. This would be far from the truth. Events have shown that when our attention has been on the work to be done, there has been a guiding hand directing the outcome of the various problems that we have had to face. And this will continue as long as we do our part. Thus any member anywhere can become temporarily at least, a channel through which the Masters can work. And it is of secondary importance whether or not that member suspects that aid has been given. It is written in the Karmic records that the work has been accomplished, and that is enough.
All this points to the inner work of the T. S. Through adherence to the principles laid down by H. P. B. and reiterated by subsequent Leaders, something is being kept alive. Without this, the T. S. would be nothing. It is difficult to give it a name. We have learned to call it the Lodge Force. Think of it as living, vitalizing energy permeating the Headquarters, every National Section, every Lodge, and finally the heart of every individual member in the T. S. It is what makes the Theosophical work "the most serious movement of the ages." And it is also what makes it an ever increasing joy and a privilege to be a part of that Work.
No promise is made to a newcomer except the promise of greater responsibilities, and of greater opportunities for work. He is not told that in a few short years he will become an Adept. Nor is he led to believe that because he joins the Society he will become endowed with unusual psychical or spiritual powers. He is told that we are striving for the spiritual regeneration of mankind. We are becoming "fishers for the souls of men," seeking out those who are spiritually awakened so that they too may come into the work. And taking the broadest possible view, he learns that there will come a period in human evolution when a great choice must be made; either to advance or to lag behind. Those who lag will have to go through the trials of earth life for ages to come, while those who advance will become the Guides and Helpers of races to follow. Theosophy gives definite teachings about the evolution of the human race, because sooner or later humanity must be spiritually aroused to action. For although the great choice is not at hand, nor will it come for millions of years, yet when it does come, it will be too momentous to be made in a brief moment of time. So far as any individual is concerned, it will be the result of ages of growth or lack of growth. In other words then, every moment of the day is a moment of choice, preparing us for future great events in the history of the Earth. Who will be the forerunners in those stirring times?
So while it is true that no promises are made, it is equally true that no barriers are ever put in the way of any individual who has the will to advance. There is unlimited opportunity for anyone who is willing to take the time and trouble. Thus spiritual growth is not a thing of which one can say: "That is so far beyond me that it will take lives before I can know anything about it. All I can do is to study and concentrate on my job." That is a negation of a fact of growth. How is discipleship reached except by study and concentration of the work in hand? I have heard it said — and I believe it to be true — that the T. S. as a whole may be thought of as a disciple or Chela of the Adepts. It is under their direct guidance, and because this is so of the group collectively, it brings every member under their influence, and each member is aware of it to the degree that he applies himself to the living of the life and the study of the teachings. Putting it in this way wards against a tendency of the personality to regard whatever illumination any individual may have as being a sign of special favors. Too often we see the tendency to turn these things to ourselves. Rather let us feel that we are all open to inspiration and illumination, and that whoever is experiencing it at any time is but taking part in the real work that is behind the outer activity of the T. S. Thus the advancement of any member or a group of members aids the T. S. because it raises the average standing of the group as a whole.
Thus we see the importance of the work behind the scenes. The Masters do their real work on inner planes. The life of the T. S. is the Lodge Force, intangible but none the less real. The inner life of the student is the thing that welds him to the core of the Work. And the T. S. is influencing the inner life of the world. The thoughts of men reflect the sublime ideas of the Ancient Wisdom, as witness the writings of our leading thinkers. Thus the accomplishment of the real work of the Theosophical Society is not to be judged so much by outward growth as by the degree to which the ideas are permeating the thought life of the world, which means the degree to which man is becoming spiritually awakened.