You see the surface of things; and what you would term "virtue," holding but to appearances, we — judge but after having fathomed the object to its profoundest depth, and generally leave the appearances to take care of themselves. — The Mahatma Letters
We are today in the midst of a time when the need is strong for the citizens of the world to be alert to recognize the treachery of appearances. This alertness must be exercised both ways: if the appearance is good, is it really good; and if the appearance is bad, is it really bad?
The aftermath of any upheaval, whether it be war, world or national politics, sudden social and economic reforms, reorganization of societies or of an individual life, the aftermath is fraught with confusion and veils of illusion. Until the smoke of battle clears away, even the battlefield cannot be seen in its true perspective. Just so the illusory aspect of any changing situation remains to veil the true sense of values until the vision is cleared and the new scene is fully revealed.
The world-situation today represents the play of such a complexity of forces, both good and evil, each striving for supremacy within the still beclouded atmosphere of the recent great conflict. Until the wind of a strong spiritual effort clears up the haze of false appearances the future of the race is hanging in the balance.
What then is the key to the solution of the entangled international problems? What will unravel the confusing maze of intricate relationships that exist each with its respective goal or limited objective? What of the conflicting elements in our society each supporting what appears to be that which will bring peace, and joy, and contentment? What combination of effort will create that wind of the spirit which will blow away this universal fogginess and allow us to see as well as to feel the true sense of the situation?
There is a key, a touchstone, which can be used to get beneath the surface of things, dissolve the appearances, and reveal their rightness or wrongness. It is the same key that has been used through the ages by all who have succeeded in leading the race onward: Is the objective one that will benefit the few or benefit the many?
At this point in history can we hope that our world statesmen will use this key as they work together to solve their respective political problems? Can we hope that the world's business leaders will use this key to unlock the door to universal economic benefits rather than seek individual or group supremacy? Can we hope that the conflicting elements in our society will find the touchstone to the peace and harmony they seek?
Utopia is not around the corner!
However, we can be grateful that today in all fields of human endeavor, political, economic, and social, our leaders are growing toward a more universal point of view. Their efforts are encompassing more and more the wider horizons of influence. But we would be deluding ourselves if we expected to find in a decade, or a century, or a thousand years, universal brotherhood in full operation. The full flowering of humanity requires ages and its true culture is the responsibility of the spiritual gardeners of our world, who by constant care and attention, by allowing the weeds to smother themselves, by watering and pruning the healthy plants, will ultimately have as Their reward — one world.
But how does all this spiritual gardening take place? How, in these intricate and complicated webs of individual and group destiny which are commingling in life, is it possible ever to discern the true from the false, the constructive from the destructive, the real from that which appears to be real? Can just a few Great Ones, seeing the world as a whole — seeing appearances as such, having fathomed the situation to its profoundest depth — can They alone leave these appearances to take care of themselves? Obviously not. They must have assistance. They must have at Their service a reservoir of spiritual energy, a reserve of spiritual aides. They must have sowers of seed, harrowers, primers, they must have helpers in all walks of life — in high places and low. And They have.
To the lay mind, unfamiliar with the true ways of spirit, it is the greater mystery. To the average theosophist, and student of the occult philosophy, it is a lesser mystery. To the true student of occultism it is no mystery at all — it is his responsibility. As an aide, he sees through the appearance of things, recognizes the true from the false and does his bit, however small, unnoticed perhaps but nevertheless effective, and thus leaves the appearance to take care of itself, to die, cut off from the stem of reality.
The need is strong for the citizens of the world to be alert to the treachery of appearances. The need is strong for the citizens to provide more aides in all walks of life to assist the Spiritual Gardeners. The need is strong for each citizen to take inventory of his basic objectives and aspirations: is he interested only in himself and his own? Or, is he interested in fathoming the object of life to its profoundest depth, and finding the true "virtue"? If the latter, he will become an active part of the spiritual reserve which is at the service of the Great Ones leading mankind onward. He will become one with that effort which will cause the wind of the spirit to purify the present beclouded atmosphere. He will have joined forces with those uncovering the treachery of appearances. His aid will help swing the balance to insure the future of the race. He will have become a true Occultist, a Chela, a real Helper of mankind!
"To him that knocketh it shall be opened."