Theosophical University Press Online Edition
To the Wirral Lodge, Birkenhead
White Lotus Day in London
The need of regeneration in the Theosophical Movement — The error of spirit of separateness — Spirit of self-sufficiency and superiority in Theosophical Societies — Reform ourselves — Toward a union of all Theosophical Societies, each retaining its own integral organism — Need of a Teacher — Artificiality not desired in Fraternization Movement — A new era opening.
MR. CHAIRMAN, BROTHERS:
It is a beautiful thing to realize with clearness and with depth of feeling that we are here tonight joined together in a meeting which should be, and I verily believe is, based on the spirit of brotherly love. As your Chairman has finely pointed out, a part of my work — but not my whole work by any means — is not only to live the Theosophy which I try to teach, but to bring others, and especially other Theosophists who agree with me, into becoming a band of co-operating and willing co-workers, who, by uniting their efforts — not under my dictatorial supervision, as has been commonly misunderstood, but as free-standing men and women — in the spirit of brotherhood will do their best to tear down and to destroy the disgraceful barriers of suspicion, of doubt, of distrust and of mistrust, and even in some cases of hatred, that have kept your Society and mine apart for so many long years. This separation or disunion is fundamentally not right, unless indeed it be based on high principles of teaching and noble rules of ethical conduct which I cannot believe that you Brothers of Adyar do not possess or that you hold differently from ourselves.
I speak of principles, and advisedly so. Will anyone tell me that the spirit animating the Society of Adyar is one of hatred, of malevolence towards human kind, and imbodying a disposition to see evil where none exists? I don't believe it and I never have believed it; and I don't think that you our Brothers of Adyar imagine for an instant that we Theosophists whose Headquarters are at Point Loma, California, are a Society of sorcerers or of dugpas, at present represented by myself, going around the world seeking whom we may devour! If you have that idea, as indeed has been suggested to me, or if you have any particle of such an idea, you greatly err. You would then be in the wrong and you then would have no business to exercise the courteous prerogative which you have exercised of inviting me to speak to you tonight, for which gracious courtesy I thank you. I thank you Mr. Chairman, and you also, my Brothers.
I understand that the theme upon which I am going to talk to you tonight is: The Need of Regeneration in the Theosophical Movement. Well, upon my word, how can I speak upon something which I don't believe exists! I don't believe that the Theosophical Movement as such needs regeneration, and by the word 'Movement' here I mean the imbodied ideals which we all recognise and our common striving to attain to them. No, but it is its members who need regenerating — or many of them, or at least some of them. The Theosophical Movement as such, to adopt a favorite figure of speech of the early Christians, is the 'New Jerusalem' brought from heaven to this our earth; and there are enough true-hearted men and women even today in the Theosophical Movement, and belonging to whatever Theosophical Society with which they may happen to be affiliated, to keep the Theosophical Movement just as it ought to be and as it was intended to be, and as, by the immortal gods, those of us who still believe in it shall see that it remains!
But there are minds of other kinds in the Theosophical Movement, and I fear that their number in certain other Theosophical Societies compose the majority therein, who look upon Leaders as more important than principles, and who look upon certain teachings or doctrines as more important than abstract and eternal truth as tested by reference to the Universe in which we live and move and have our being. When I here say the 'Universe,' of course I don't mean the physical universe only, but I employ the term exactly as every genuine Theosophist should, as meaning the entire scope and range of all the spaces of Boundless Space: divine, spiritual, intellectual, ethereal, astral, and physical. Whatever is, i. e., whatever is a fact, is truth; and I here refer to a fact, not some man's imagination about it, but the thing per se; and being truth it therefore is a reality. It is the formulation in human language of the ultimate truths of the Universe, which is what our Masters, our common Teachers, Helpers, Leaders, and Guides, gave to us first in modern times through the intermediary of their Messenger, H. P. Blavatsky.
As you know, I should be but a human whited sepulcher, my Brothers of Adyar, containing naught but the memory of a glorious past and the dead bones of other men's thoughts only, if I were capable of standing here and saying to you aught but what in my inmost consciousness of consciousness — for a man has more than one field of consciousness operative in him — I could even imagine to be other than true. I am not here tonight to say merely pretty things to you, for the sake of tickling your ears or minds with tinkling words. I am here with the deliberate purpose of directing your attention to a very serious error that has fallen, not so much upon the Theosophical Movement indeed, but upon many of its members: an error that has entered into the hearts of many of the members composing the Theosophical Movement: this error is a spirit of dispersion rather than of aggregation, a spirit of separateness and disunion rather than of union, a spirit of dislike or repulsion rather than one of mutual understanding and forgiveness and of compassion for the mistakes which all of us probably have made in the past.
A Theosophist who cannot and who will not practise the doctrine that he preaches is a whited sepulcher, a hypocrite, and in my judgment should be exposed as such, albeit in a kindly way; and do you know how I think this is best done? — not by any of the old-fashioned methods of bringing him to a court of judgment and therein passing cruel sentence upon him, which sentence more often than not contains a larger measure of injustice than of justice; but such exposure is accomplished by the mere fact of testing what he tells you, and testing the life that he lives, testing both by the archaic Wisdom-Teaching of the gods which we in our modern times call Theosophy. If his life is in accordance with the old Theosophical doctrines of the ages, if his mind is clean and his heart is pure, and if his life exemplifies these in his thoughts and in his acts, then indeed listen to what he has to say to you; and doubtless what he has to say to you, you can accept as being truth or real adumbrations of it.
You will often hear it said in these days — and this is a perverse doctrine that has obtained currency even in the Theosophical Movement — that it matters not what a man's private life may be, and that the important thing is the doctrine that he preaches. I tell you that this is a lie; and if we of the Theosophical Movement, no matter to what Society we belong, allow this infernal falsehood to find lodgement in our hearts, then our Movement is doomed. It will eventuate in our reaching a point where we shall no longer be able to trust each other because we shall no longer be able to have firm confidence in each other's private life. The private life of a Teacher is everything, in a manner of speaking, when connected with the doctrine that he teaches. Pause a moment in thought over this, for it is of extreme importance. Would it be possible for one of the Great Teachers of mankind, one of the Mahatmans, to teach the beautiful Wisdom of the gods, and the while to lead a life which would disgrace an ordinary human being? Obviously not. The two ideas are not compatible, and there is something in a human heart which rebels with instant distrust and aversion when such an idea is presented to it; and we, their servants, trying to do their work in honesty and in sincerity, shall we, I ask, accept a moral, an ethic, different from that which is theirs? No, again!
The Theosophical Movement itself is all right, it is sound at heart, for there is a sufficiency of good men and true, of good women and true, in it and dating from the days of H. P. Blavatsky, to have kept it sound; but the trouble today is that most of the members, most of us — and may I not begin with myself lest anyone think that I exclude myself from pride or vainglory — need regenerating in various degrees, some of us more, some less. Indeed, I will go a step farther than this: I believe, my Brothers, that even among the Mahatmans themselves, judged by an ethic not different from ours but incomparably more sublime, that even they, if measured by standards still loftier than theirs, can be said to stand in need of regeneration and of a greater light.
I think it is high time that some of our Theosophical speakers began to talk a little more about these things that are so needed in the world. There is in all the Theosophical Societies, not excepting one, a spirit of superiority, of self-sufficiency: a spirit which is apt to say and which prides itself upon being able to say, "We are the exemplars of all the Theosophical virtues, and the others, they are failures, back-sliders: they are those who have not kept up with the rest of us who have gone marching on."
Yes, my Brothers, I know myself, Theosophical Leader as I am, how easy and tempting it is to have these thoughts; I myself know by my own love for my beloved T. S. which I love more than life for I know its lofty ideals, I know, I say, the temptation that I have had at times to think of myself as worthier than some of the other Theosophists, and I have worked upon myself until I believe honestly that I have eradicated that touch of spiritual pride from my heart.
Now how about our Theosophical past? What about it? What is the use of turning our faces to the past? Let the dead past bury its own mouldering bones. Let us look to the future; and if it shall be the destiny of our different Theosophical Societies, alas, to remain separate and working apart from each other — and I hope it won't so remain — even then, I say, let us live in peace together, let us learn to respect each other for the good things that are in each Society, and above everything else let us reform ourselves. Reform begins at home. There is lots of room for reform in G. de P., in the man who is talking to you; and the first step in self-reformation is the knowledge that it can be done, and the second is a recognition of the exquisite sweetness and delight that comes from the feeling of having achieved a step forward in self-conquest.
It is an interesting event, my talking so frankly to you here tonight: talking to you in this vein of mutual understanding and of sympathy and of brotherhood, just as I would talk to my own dear people who love me and whom I love — it is a significant thing, my Brothers of Adyar! Five years ago it would probably have been thought impossible that within the short period of five years thence we would be meeting together and conferring together, and thinking together, as fellow-workers in one Cause — which last of course we always have been — and recognising the fact, you receiving our lecturers at times, we at times receiving yours.
When people say that the Fraternization Movement has failed, as a few captious and atrabilious critics still say, they state what is not true. See what we have already accomplished in this line even my presence here tonight is a proof in point. I am happy to be here, happy to have the chance of speaking to you. I have spoken to a number of Adyar Lodges during the last two or three years, and always I have been received with courtesy: sometimes indeed with remnants of suspicion which it is easy for me to discern as I look into the faces of those I talk to; but this remnant does not weigh at all with me. It is the friendship of the suspicious ones that I want to win: I want to win their hearts and to gain understanding minds.
It has been said of me in connexion with this Fraternization Movement, that I aspire to be the Chief of chiefs, and Leader of leaders, myself to sit on the topmost pinnacle of the Theosophical Movement in solitary and lonely grandeur. This marvelous and fantastic allegation just simply isn't true, and I tell you very plainly that if you love truth, rather than loving what perhaps is more easy and convenient, i.e., suspicions and doubts, to reject this allegation when you hear it, because I have never made any such claim for unique and solitary grandeur, and it is assuredly not what I want. I want a union of all Theosophical Societies as the case was in the time of the spiritual Brotherhood of our own, of our common, H. P. B.: one common Instrument or Organism through which the forces of our Masters may work. My idea has been that each Society shall retain its own integral organism, itself as an integral organic entity, no change whatever — unless such should be its own pleasure — as regards its own officers, its own traditions, its own lodges, and indeed its organic existence to remain exactly as now everything is; but formally and officially recognising the fact that we come from a common source, and that we are in the wide view of things pursuing a common road, and marching towards a common end. I want to see all the Societies brought together into one official organic unity, and I don't care two pins who is the executive officer, the chief officer thereof; but I do know that in such a super-society or aggregated organism there will be need of a Teacher who, in my judgment, should have no exoteric power whatsoever, absolutely no official power, no temporal power, no administrative power of any kind, but should stand apart as Leader and Teacher; and that the one holding this position, in my judgment, should be the one who teaches pukka Theosophy, original esoteric Theosophy, the Ancient Wisdom of the gods, that esoteric Wisdom which you can find as the heart of all the great literatures and philosophical and religious systems of the world — some of it here in this form, and some of it there in that form, but when collected together composing a coherent and most wonderfully symmetrical and interdependently logical body of doctrine; and this is Theosophy.
I am trying to gain fellow-workers for this in the different Theosophical Societies. I am gaining them because people are at last beginning to understand that I am not trying to put the Theosophical Society of Point Loma on the top, and that I am not trying to put myself on the pinnacle of the top, because I don't care two pins, or a snap of the fingers, who occupies that pinnacle, provided that he be the genuinely esoteric Teacher that H. P. B. was in her own day to the Theosophical Society which drew its esoteric life from her. Indeed, whoever it may be I would pity him, for his existence would be a life-long spiritual and intellectual tragedy.
I am trying to bring about a reunification of the disjecte membra of the Theosophical Movement, i. e., of the various Theosophical Societies, so as to form a compact organic entity to do battle with the forces of obscurantism and of evil in the world, just as there was one organic entity, the T. S., in the time of H. P. B.; and I believe that this will come to pass, but perhaps not in my lifetime. I may be called to give an account of what I have done before the thing comes to pass; but verily, I believe with all my soul that this Theosophical unity will some day be an accomplished fact.
Now we of Point Loma hold certain doctrines and hold them with tenacity; we love these doctrines more than life, because to us they are Theosophy, all of it pure Theosophy, but not all of Theosophy openly expressed. We of Point Loma don't like other strange doctrines, or new doctrines, added on to these ancient Wisdom-Teachings of the gods. We don't like psychic visions added on to the Message of the Masters. But for pity's sake is the Theosophical Movement not broad enough to allow its component members, its component fellowships, i.e., the different Theosophical Societies which compose it, to believe what they please, and to honor what they may choose to honor? If not, then the Theosophical Movement has degenerated; and personally I don't believe that it has degenerated. I take you Brothers of Adyar: you, I believe, teach and accept certain things that I personally cannot accept as Theosophy. But do I say that you are ethically wrong in holding to these your beliefs and in teaching them, and do I say that you have no right so to do? Never. My attitude has always been: give fellow-Theosophists a full chance; if what they profess and believe as truth is true, it will prove itself to be true; if what they profess and believe is wrong, time will uproot it.
We of Point Loma ask for the same kindly tolerance. It was so in H. P. B.'s day, and it should be so today. There is no reason in the world why the different Theosophical Societies today could not and should not combine together to form a spiritual unity as it was in H. P. B.'s time; and the only thing that prevents it is the spirit of doubt, of suspicion, of mistrust, of hatred. These are lovely Theosophical virtues, aren't they!
Mind you, I must add that I don't like anything artificial in this Fraternization Movement, because I want the real thing. You of Adyar, if you don't like something that Point Loma has to say or to teach, I would like you openly to express your opinion about it and to tell us so; and if anything that you tell us is good and true, we will then listen and we will test what you say; but equally we reserve the right to tell you, our Brothers of Adyar, what we don't like; and I believe that it is only on such a basis of mutual understanding, on a platform of interchange of opinions frankly and manly expressed, that such a reunification of the different Theosophical Societies can ever be brought about. I don't like Theosophists to adopt the closed-door attitude. I like Theosophists to stand up for their principles, as we of Point Loma always have tried to do. I like Theosophists frankly to say what they believe, and to battle for it if the time should ever come when a forthright stroke, a forthright declaration of principles, should ever be required. If we can believe in each other, it is only on some such basis of confidence and honor as this: if we ever reunite, my Brothers of Adyar, as I understand it, it can be only on some such platform as this: full liberty of conscience and of speech, mutual trust, brotherhood, kindliness; and then we shall have peace.
We 'Loma-ites,' as our critics sometimes joy in calling us, are very proud of what we have, extremely proud; we love what we have. To us it is more precious than anything in life, more precious than life itself; and I will tell you — ay, as far as I can do so in an open public meeting like this is, because you are, my Brothers, Theosophists also — it is because we believe, and some of us know — mark these words please — that we have the genuine Theosophy of the Masters. This does not say that others are deprived of it, but that is another story, as the novelist would say. If you have it, then prove it. Ah, how gladly will I listen to the proof!
This fact will account to many of you, my Brothers of Adyar, for what hitherto may have seemed to you to be perhaps an attitude on the part of Point Loma which has been difficult of understanding. When H. P. B. died and the separation shortly thereafter ensued between your Society and ours, owing to a concatenation of unfortunate causes, a policy was deliberately adopted by what later was commonly called the Point Loma Society — taking this name from the locality where our Headquarters is — of cleansing our Society of everything in it that could not and would not ring true. It was, so to speak, a major surgical operation. Our membership for a time shrank enormously, but we gained enormously in quality. The chain had been broken in many places, but it was welded together again, and every link was of the best spiritual steel. There was a deliberate purpose in doing this — and I am going to speak very frankly to you tonight, because if I don't I will leave you with a false impression: the purpose lay in the fact that a cancer was eating out the life of the Theosophical Society at about the time when H. P. Blavatsky died. I am sure that many of you older members will know just what I mean: immorality of more than one kind, hypocrisy, treachery within the ranks. H. P. B. knew it well and fought it with her wonderful mind; and the work of cleansing, in our Society at least — I don't know what has happened in yours, but the work of cleansing in ours — took place after what has been called the 'split' between us. It was done with deliberation and full intent. The result has been that whatever faults we of Point Loma may have, whatever mistakes we may have committed, whatever errors of judgment we may have made, our Society has been a clean instrument for the working of the influence of the great Teachers, the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace; and it is this that we treasure more than life, and which we look upon as of value outweighing anything else, and it is this which will explain to you, perhaps what you have never heard explained before, the reason why we of Point Loma have appeared in the past to be sometimes almost unreasonably reserved and cautious in our relations with fellow-Theosophists.
Now, those times have passed; a new Era has come upon the Theosophical Movement, the call has come for reunification, for a rejoining of forces, for a mutual understanding; and as I said when I began my heart-to-heart talk with you tonight, this reunification is a part of the work to which I have consecrated my life, but a part only.
I must now close. I have had no opportunity to talk to you tonight about the wonderful Theosophical teachings which we all love, whether exoteric or esoteric. I hope at some future time to come to Liverpool again, and then, if the same gracious courtesy is extended to me which I gratefully acknowledge tonight, perhaps I shall be able to talk to you on technical Theosophy, and I shall be delighted to do so.
— Address before Wirral Lodge (Adyar) in Birkenhead, England, at their invitation, January 5, 1933. At this meeting A. Trevor Barker, President of the English Section, and J. W. Hutchin, President of the Liverpool Lodge (both of Point Loma) were also present.
Marks of a genuine Theosophist — Object of celebrating White Lotus Day — Union is strength — Our strength against the common enemy — Universal Brotherhood: its real meaning — Value of interorganizational reunions.
MR. CHAIRMAN, FELLOW-THEOSOPHISTS, AND BROTHERS:
We have heard from our speakers present many beautiful thoughts tonight: thoughts which have reminded us at least somewhat of the true soul of H. P. B.: tributes of love they are which have sprung from loyal Theosophical hearts, sincere, well-meant, rendered by men and women who have assembled here together in the spirit of brotherhood, which is the very soul of the Theosophy of the Masters, and containing important elements of the message of her whom tonight we render our meed of homage to. Yet, do you know how my mind ran in cogitation and reflexion as I listened to the noble words of our Brothers here present who spoke? I said to myself: Ay, all is true; yet, after all, what is the noblest homage that we, that each one of us, can render unto the Masters' first Messenger to the Occidental world, nay, to the entire world, of our era? What is this noblest homage? Is it words only, although spoken from generous and devoted hearts? Or is it living the life which she herself taught and exemplified in her own being and work?
It is a beautiful thing for Brother-Theosophists to assemble together, to meet together, in a spirit of unity, of concord, and of amity. It is also pathetic to think that there are Theosophists today who will refuse to assemble together, and to meet other Fellow-Theosophists — no matter what their differences of opinion may be — on the common ground of homage and reverence to our Masters' first Messenger to the world, in our era.
It is not words alone that make the Theosophist; it is not Fellowship in any Theosophical Society alone that makes the genuine Theosophist; it is not beliefs alone that make the genuine Theosophist — not alone they. It is the convictions of one's being, the convictions towards right and to righteousness, to use the good old-fashioned English word. A 'Blavatsky-Theosophist,' to use the argot of our modern Theosophical era, of the New Era, is he who practises the doctrine that he preaches. It is not the jingling cymbal nor the beaten drum: it is not the asseveration of our own impeccable virtues and of the supremacy of the doctrine that we follow, which make the genuine Theosophist; but it is a practising of the doctrines that Theosophy teaches us; and if we do not practise what we preach, we are then but whited sepulchers and living human lies. Remember what H. P. B. says in the beginning of her Key to Theosophy where she states in plain language that it is not fellowship in any Theosophical Society which makes the Theosophist, but, paraphrasing the old English saying that "handsome is as handsome does," so is it with us Theosophists: "Theosophist is he who Theosophy does," not he who merely talks about it.
I think it is a most excellent thing for Theosophists of different Societies to gather together in meetings like this one; because here, no matter what our individual differences of opinion may be, and indeed are, we meet on a common platform as brothers, we state to each other our differing views as brothers; we can learn from each other; we do away with the infernal suspicions, distrusts, which have kept the Theosophical Movement broken up into the disjecta membra which at present exist and which disgrace it. No one need tell me, Brothers, that H. P. B. asked that her death-anniversary be kept merely in order that future generations of the followers of the doctrine which she brought to us might render mere verbal homage to herself!
Pause a moment. What was her object in asking that what Colonel Olcott first called 'White Lotus Day,' should be celebrated? I do not think that any genuine lover of H. P. B. can imagine for an instant that it was merely to pay homage to herself, i. e., to her memory. I believe it was because her brilliant mind foresaw in the future the disgraceful disunions and dissensions which have come upon us since her passing, which have broken the Theosophical Movement, her child, into separate, and unfortunately in some cases, antagonistic parts. Doubtless she felt that at least on one day in the year, true followers of the Message of our Masters which she brought to us could assemble in peace and in brotherhood, in respect for each other's honest convictions, and render, not merely homage to her, but also homage to those who sent her, and homage to the mission which she so magnificently fulfilled while she lived, and to the Doctrine which she taught. Possibly — may we not believe it, Brothers? — she foresaw that unions, reunions, like this, might be the first step to a reunion of the Societies forming the Theosophical Movement, which Movement has been separated into parts and in which some of these parts are decaying. L'union fait la force is a French proverb, the national motto of Belgium, I believe, and the statement is true. "Union is strength"; and you know the old English story — at least I think it is English — of the farmer on his death-bed, and his sons and the bundle of sticks. When bound together the bundle could not be broken, but when the link binding them was torn away, then stick by stick the bundle of sticks was broken.
Few Theosophists realize that there is in the world a power antagonistic to the best spiritual interests of men, the power which H. P. B. fought during her entire life, and which every genuine Theosophist must fight if he is worthy to bear this noble name. It is the power working for obscurantism; it is the power of the enemies of the human race who yearn to see disunion and disarray in our camp, and who work with subtil machinery, with subtil enginery of thought, to this end, and unceasingly, even when the poor deluded ones of our own camp sleep in fancied security. Union is strength, I repeat, and I look forward to the day, my Brothers, when once again the Theosophical Movement will be a band of brothers united together and holding one common objective, as indeed many of us, though belonging to different Societies, today are united in heart and in essentials; and these brothers on the platform, belonging to different Societies, as also many of you in the audience are, are proofs of this invisible, though very real, fraternity composed of men and women in whom the spirit of truth rises above the pulls of partisanship, or of mere individual affiliation with this Society or with that.
Do not imagine for an instant that I, as Leader of the Point Loma Theosophical Society, contemn or discredit loyalty to what one believes to be true and loyalty to one's own Theosophical Society. Most emphatically I do not contemn or discredit such loyalty. I revere it. But although belonging to different Societies, at least we can understand each other. We can work together on a common platform, and for those points of principle upon which we can unite: we can on those points unite, and unite firmly, so that no external power can break the union, however invisible it may be, that thus once again we are bringing into being.
No, I do not contemn and discredit loyalty: I revere the sense of loyalty to one's own Society, and to one's own teacher, in other words to one's earnest convictions; and at least if we cannot unite immediately in an official manner and if we must look upon reunion as belonging to a far distant rosy dream of the future, we can work towards it, we can help each other, we can learn from each other, and we can combine in a massed front at least against the attacks upon the Theosophy which all of us hold dear. This it seems to me is the noblest homage and tribute that we can render to H. P. Blavatsky: the tribute of a Theosophical mutual understanding, the tribute of united Theosophical hearts, the tribute of a Theosophical life, the tribute of the brotherhood which she taught, and the tribute of a common acceptance of the philosophy which she brought to us.
My heart is deeply touched when the hand of brotherhood which we are outstretching, which we have outstretched, and which will remain outstretched no matter what rebuffs we may receive, is accepted in the spirit in which we proffer it; for in these cases of acceptance I recognise fellow Theosophical souls, 'fellow-pilgrims' as our Chairman has expressed it in his splendid opening address. I say, when a fellow-Theosophist accepts my hand with fraternal clasp, that here is a man in whom principles rise above personalities, a man in whom Truth is held to be superior to persons. Such a being is a Man, truly a Man! What does it matter if those of us who believe in the practice of brotherhood as particularly exemplified in interorganizational brotherhood, and who desire to practise it are misunderstood? What does it matter if our individual idiosyncrasies are criticized, providing that we work towards an end far nobler than these idiosyncrasies?
What does it matter if even our most cherished convictions are mocked at and derided by those who, because they misunderstand us, misinterpret our cherished convictions to be egoistic beliefs in our own organizational supremacy, and who themselves think that they alone are genuine Theosophists and even alas, in some few cases joy in bringing pain to fellow-Theosophists? What, I ask, does it really matter? Let us follow the words of William Q. Judge who said in substance that a Theosophist's duty is to practise the Theosophy that he preaches, and to do the best he can and to hold to what he finds to be noblest and best, and to let all the rest go.
Let us follow the path that we were shown by H. P. Blavatsky: the path of brotherhood, the path of peace, the path to truth, the path of joy, the path of self-respect, yea verily the path also of virile but kindly assertion of the convictions which we tenaciously hold. Now what are these convictions — merely that my opinion, or our opinion, is superior to yours, or to some other person's or body of persons? Never! The convictions that I allude to are these: That there is truth in the world, and that this truth must perforce be seen in divers manners by different men, and in diverse ways by different races of men as the work of evolution proceeds; for it is obvious that men change their views continuously through the ages; the conviction that this truth which is in and of the Universe can verily be understood by us, and that we can gain an ever-increasing understanding and perception of these natural verities, which are founded upon the very structure and operations and laws of the Universe itself, provided only that we live the life which will open the inner portals of our understanding, unlock our hearts, expand our minds, quicken our intuitions; and that the way to live this life is by studying always and by practising the sublime PHILOSOPHY-RELIGION-SCIENCE which has been given to us from our Masters first in our age through H. P. B.
One of the parts of this philosophy, one of its noblest teachings, is that of universal brotherhood; and I have never misunderstood this much-abused word 'brotherhood' to imply, as some people seem to think it solely implies, a sentimental and flabby acceptance of what unthinking and spineless people say "Yes, Yes," to. Brotherhood when properly understood means not merely the intellectual acceptance of our fundamental spiritual origin, and indeed unity, but also the actual carrying out in our daily life of the conviction that our fellow human beings are in a very true sense limbs of our own being, that you are a part of me, and that I am a part of you: that we are fellow-limbs on the tree of life, and that what hurts my opponent hurts me, and that what hurts me hurts not only my opponent but likewise my friend. We all spring from the same common spiritual source. We are all marching forwards on the same evolutionary pathway to that same ultimate divine goal; and it is not only a beautiful duty, a high privilege, but an ineffable joy to help others in their evolution and in every way possible.
Remember the sublime teaching of all the Tathagatas of Buddhism as exemplified particularly in the noble Mahayana doctrine of that great religion, to wit: the sublimest duty of the Tathagatas is to lead others into the pathway which the Tathagatas themselves follow. Remember what one of our Masters said in what is to me one of the most exquisite passages in the letters from him that still remain to us: the Master K. H. says in the supplementary note to one of his letters which is found on page 88 of The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, "Happy the man who helps a helping hand."
My Brothers, it is the hope of my heart that we may often meet in interorganizational reunions such as this one is. Let us try to forget the differences which have kept us so long apart. Let us try to find those points of mutual agreement on which we can work together, each Society and each individual member of whatever Society retaining his or its own convictions, each member retaining his own fellowship in whatever Society it may be, if indeed in such Society the questions of his mind and the yearnings of his heart are answered, and if he feels satisfied. If not, let him join the Theosophical Society where he feels that light and comfort will come to him. Let us be Theosophists, in other words let us do the Theosophy that we preach; and then, then, we shall be paying a tribute of homage to our beloved H. P. B. which will not be on one night only, on one day only of the 365 of the annual cycle of days, but we shall be doing it all our life, and every day of the annual cycle. Ay, even now I can feel that lion-heart of H. P. B. beat in sympathetic answer to this plea; and you know as well as I do that if H. P. B. were here amongst us, she would say, Ay, ay.
In conclusion I feel impelled, indeed compelled, to point out to you, my Brothers, that the Gupta-Vidya of the archaic ages, the Rahasya-doctrine, the Secret Wisdom, the Esoteric Teaching, is as strong today, and as active today, as ever it was; and that those, our Theosophical brothers, greatly err and wander wide from the facts who say that the processes of the Universe and the undertakings and activities of the Lodge of our Masters receive set-backs and closures, and that the flow of truth into human hearts is bounded by certain time-periods, and that in between these time-periods there is naught but barren spiritual and intellectual sterility or sterile barrenness, and that human hearts which cry in agony for light and truth cannot receive them except at certain intervals, unless indeed through the medium of the merely written word. Beautiful as that written word may be, it is not the same as the conviction which a man should have, that he can attain truth whenever he wills to take it. Truth is not on tap, as it were, to be shut off and turned on. The currents are flowing for aye, and good men and true and good women and true who live the life, and who do the deeds, who do the Theosophy that they preach, can have it whenever they will to take it.
This is no denial that there are certain cyclical periods when more particularly and more specifically open action for public propaganda is taken by our Masters, for this last is of course true; but there is at no time, nor is there anywhere, a hindrance to any loyal Theosophist, whether a fellow of the T. S. or not, from coming into touch with the great Guardians of the Ancient Wisdom and receiving from them as much of the Wisdom-Religion of the gods as he is able to assimilate. It will depend upon himself only, upon himself alone. Towards the end of each century it is certainly true that the Masters make a particular effort for public propaganda and strike a new key-note through a Messenger specially trained to this end; but after the Messenger has gone the current still flows for those who are able to drink of its life-giving waters. The link is not broken, the chain for transmission of teaching is not interrupted, save, alas, for those who will not understand.
— Address at combined meeting of the Phoenix Lodge and other lodges of the Adyar T. S. in England, with members of the Point Loma Society, at the National Headquarters (Point Loma), 70 Queen's Gate, London, on the evening of Sunday, May 7, 1933. Mr. J. W. Hamilton-Jones, President of the Phoenix Lodge, acted as chairman.