This is what Theosophy means and is. It came to us from the Masters of Wisdom, who have travelled the road of evolution to a point much farther than we have reached, and are much nearer than we to that Kingdom of Nature which is next above our human kingdom. They are the Guardians of Humanity; Their supreme interest is to aid in the evolution of mankind, to draw men upward, away from the ignorance and consequent selfishness and wrong-living that keep us in misery and make this planet and the life on it seem the bad joke of an omnipotent Caliban. There is a Divinity within us, They are men made One with that Divinity, and the allies of the Divinity in all men. The last thing They would wish would be to form a new orthodoxy, to found a church of the "saved," or a new religion for getting its faithful into its own particular brand of "heaven', or to start a School of Magic and teach people how to develop their "powers" or give them interesting teachings to amuse them and make them feel superior to their fellows. Their Theosophy — or Divine Wisdom — has nothing whatever to do with any of these things; if these are what you are after, don't join the Theosophical Society; you will never feel at home in it. Study the Masters' teachings, that you may get from them power to help your fellows; get them clear in your mind, and don't confuse them with the personal opinions of Tom, Dick and Harry posing as teachers at so much a lesson, because it is from the Masters' Theosophy you will get the power to help, however amusingly fantastic the views of these others may be; but shun like poison the mood of the creedmonger, the attitude that you know it all! For a creed is a dead thing, that you "believe in" and that's that; a kind of Micawberish writing I O U's for your debts and thanking God that's off your mind; it sets finality before you where you are; dopes you with the bluff that nothing is to be learned nor any road of growth to be travelled; no matter what clauses it might contain, it would still be a lie. For Truth is not a formula, but a certain direction, and travelling in that direction; a growth; a progress, from gross to fine, from mean to noble, from limited to universal. Could truth be embodied in a creed — one tick of the clock and it would be a lie.
There is no way to come towards Truth except by cutting out one's limitations, universalizing oneself — which is as much as to say, deepening and widening one's sympathies. So that, to learn anything of truth, you must do the work the Masters desire done, learning in order that you may teach and living in the will to better the stuff of humanity. Why should you study what is taught about the Universe and Man, the Monads and Hierarchies, the Principles and the Atoms? — Why, just that you may get the keys to yourself and to the methods of things, and have entry into the treasure-chambers of wisdom, courage, compassion that are within you, and bring forth from them what shall sweeten the life of your valley and your town. That you may be able to re-create courage where it has fainted to extinction-point; to waken hope and manhood, and the knowledge that will sustain them, where before there was only despair; and all, that the stuff of humanity may be bettered. You can't get truth without becoming pervious to that within you which knows truth, the Higher Nature; and the higher the Higher Nature, the more universal it is, the more it is something that is in all mankind, in all life, equally; and therefore the more you live in your fellow men, in the will to help and serve and raise them up, the more you are That Which Knows Truth — or the more you know of Theosophy.
What has been written about, for instance, Karma, would fill volumes; one means, what has been given out from the Masters for the intellects of men to assimilate. But nothing that can be spoken or written or printed cannot be twisted into a lie. Thus, one has heard it argued that Karman means that a murderer should be hanged for his crime. But no one could think so who knew that Theosophy is Truth, Light and Liberation for Discouraged Humanity. A real knowledge of, or belief in, Karman, on the other hand, convinces us that punishment must be left to Karman, which is impersonal, automatic, and certain, and in which there is no concept of punishment or revenge. Actually no human being can be just when he undertakes to punish another; we cannot know, ever, how much of guilt, of evil will, went to impel a criminal to his crime. We have no means of measuring how far the man was responsible, nor what degree of punishment putting him to death may be. But Universal Nature does know, because man is part of her; and she takes her steps, dealing out absolute justice; not to avenge, but to cure. — Or again, there is the old contention that to come to the assistance of one who is suffering is to interfere with his karman. But — Truth, Light and Liberation! — his karman and yours brought you there at the time with the ability to help him; and not to do so is to sin against the Oneness of Being, and to incur heavy karman by so flouting the Whole of which we are parts. — And then there are those who would make dogmas out of Karman, and a cause for division, hatred and attack; homoousion-homiousionism and hairsplitting; "Who doesn't believe about it as I do, or phrase the thing as I do, is a liar and deceiver, and probably a thief." Diach yr od! is there help for any man in such tomfoolery? If you want to know the truth about Karman, find a man who is in despair, and tell him what will bring the light of new courage into his eyes, what will take from him the bitter feeling that someone else is wronging him, and make him know that he, and he alone, is absolutely the Lord and Master of his own destiny; aye, and more, can enrol himself right now among the Helpers of Mankind; and you will have told him the truth about it. You will soon find out that half measures won't do; that sometimes-just-and-sometimes-unjust has no power to rouse the lion in the soul of him, that it is only H. P. B.'s teaching, Justice Absolute and Infallible, that can do that. And this is the real test; because Theosophy is Truth, Light and Liberation for discouraged humanity; and what is not compassion-lit is not Theosophy.
What's that you say? Any religion can comfort people in adversity? — Yes; the falsest of them all can dope a man into effortless drifting with the current, leaving it all to God or Church or priest — to anything outside himself. But the "Comfort" of Theosophy is to have him swimming up-stream with strong strokes, knowing himself mightier than the current.
Nothing is really yours till you have given it away. To know Theosophy you must help people with it; you must show them how to meet their difficulties with it. When you have done that, the teachings you have read about, and have thus used, become Theosophy in you; Knowledge, Power, Peace; above all, a living Love.
— Reprinted from The Welsh Theosophical Forum, January-February, 1945