Theosophical University Press Online Edition
Fidelity and the Future of the T. S
The T. S. a Living, Growing Organism
The Main Purposes of the T. S.
The Real Work of the T. S.
Fellows of the Theosophical Society
Freedom of Thought and Speech in the T. S.
Back to Brotherhood
Born in the womb of cyclical time, the Theosophical Movement made its reappearance in our modern world, and at its birth there presided the kindly and benignant Destinies in full accordance with the spiritual and intellectual Powers behind the scenes. Yet, even at the moment of its birth or new-coming there were 'malignancies,' as the astrologers would say, whose influences were destined later to show themselves in the sometimes rather tempestuous career of this Child of Destiny — a child destined to succeed, as H. P. B. so finely pointed out, despite the worst mistakes of Theosophists themselves.
I for one have sometimes thought that it is just these 'malignant' aspects which presided at its birth in our modern world in New York in 1875, which will in the long run, because of lessons we can learn from their workings, in a strangely paradoxical way prove to be the steadying influence in the career of our beloved Theosophical work. It is from our mistakes that we learn and grow wiser, seeing how to avoid the errors of former days and to eschew the temptations and biases that former experiences have proved to be more or less disastrous when followed.
Breaking up into its different component or separate societies, the Theosophical Movement has nevertheless lived on, with its ups and downs, its successes and temporary failures, but always up to the present at least, holding in a general way faithfully to the Principles which characterize it and to the work which it is its fated destiny to perform. Each one of these different societies will succeed or fail, in my judgment, precisely in accordance with the degree of spirituality and intellectual penetration and selfless devotion which its members as individuals possess; or, lacking these, any one of them will drift off, as H. P. B. pointed out, on to one or more sandbanks of thought and there decay and become another sad wreck in the cyclic history of Theosophical endeavor.
Let us pause a moment and look at these sandbanks, that we may more clearly understand just what they are. They are rarely if ever, indeed never, in my judgment, sandbanks formed of the thought of other movements contrary to our own, but always of the mental prejudices, biases, and intellectual and emotional waywardnesses which it is human nature so utterly to cherish. In other words, these sandbanks are the products of ourselves, of Theosophists, of whatever society we may belong to. We are caught and ensnared by our own weaknesses and our infidelity to the principles I have mentioned above, in which principles lie our only safety, our sheet anchor, as well as our assurance of future success.
Any society, for instance, which becomes merely a bibliolatrous sect, worshiping books, however grand they may be because of the teachings contained in them, is almost certainly destined to fall into the next error of judgment, which is the worshiping of dead Leaders; and this is one of the pitfalls, one of the commonest sandbanks, of organizational thought which our own beloved T. S. must at all costs avoid.
On the other hand, there is the equally strong tendency, human nature being what it is — and this is a danger as real as the former — to lack loyalty and to be deficient in troth towards the great-hearted Theosophical Leaders and other Theosophical worthies who have preceded us and who have given their all, their lives and their substance it may be, to hand over to us the sacred charge which we now carry.
I would therefore most earnestly urge upon all our own beloved F. T. S. as individuals to see to it that each one, as I wrote years ago, become a leader in Theosophical work and in Theosophical thinking; for it is obvious that with every F. T. S. a leader in the Theosophical Society we shall follow the safest course in securing that independence of the individual in spiritual and intellectual matters which, combined with utter fidelity to the teachings as given to us by the Masters and H. P. B., will keep the T. S. a strong, united Body of independently thinking and active Workers, each one a leader in the Theosophical work that he prefers most, and doing this self-chosen work with indifference to results, with the impersonal love of the work itself uppermost in his heart. These ideals if successfully followed and attained will make of the T. S. what it was destined to be and what it should be; and to these objectives we have pledged our lives. With malice towards none, with good-will towards all, with determination to follow our own chosen pathway of work, we shall march steadily and constantly forwards, while the T. S. will continue in the uninterrupted and steady growth in membership and in influence which have characterized it now for years in the past.
"Orthodoxy in Theosophy is a thing neither possible nor desirable"; we do not want it in the T. S., but we do want to continue in the pathway of utter fidelity to the teachings and traditions received by us; for this is our unbreakable bond of union, and "in Union lies Strength."
Even the most wonderful magician of words leaves his audiences cold unless he have in his mind, and send forth from his heart, something which is intrinsically grand and ever-perduring. Spiritual and intellectual grandeur is what we Theosophists, students of our God-Wisdom, long for: we long to imbody in ever greater fulness the ancient Wisdom which we have received as our holiest possession, so that we may give it, as far as we may and unadulterate, to others who have hungered as we have hungered for it.
We of the Theosophical Society are not mere parrots, mere word-repeaters, repeating the grand thoughts of men long dead, or again, merely quoting from certain Theosophical books that we love and revere and that have been written by H. P. Blavatsky, the Envoy of the Masters of Wisdom. We are not mere parrots, I say; and in this we try to follow H. P. Blavatsky's instructions, trying to develop ourselves inwardly so that, as she pointed out in her wonderful Key to Theosophy, we shall become strong men and women, strong spiritually and intellectually, men and women of incorruptible character with independent ideas of our own, born of the Wisdom-Religion if you will, but nevertheless illumined with our own native genius as far as we can evoke and draw upon this last.
This is not egoism; it is in fact the exact opposite of egoism; and again, it is not putting oneself forward as an authority in spiritual things. When a man has reached the stage where he will accept truth wherever he finds it, and perhaps at whatever cost to himself, he has indeed grown inwardly, and then it becomes his duty to give of what he has gained to others who know still less than he. Furthermore, and this is a most important thought, it is precisely because he himself, through his studies of Theosophy, has grown at least somewhat inwardly, that he comes to appreciate the fact that there are other men who know as much as he does — aye, much more, mayhap. He then understands, and does not merely accept the verbal statement, that we are all students, but students in differing degrees of understanding. This means that we do not stand still, blindly satisfied with the noble work done by those Theosophists who have preceded us in time and work, although none more than we revere these our predecessors in the Cause. The Theosophical Society were a mere farce, an imposition on human hearts, if it were not based on the principle of essential progress, collectively and for the individual, implying that each individual each day goes a little farther forwards and upwards towards our common and sublime objective.
The Theosophical Society, please remember, is composed of all the Theosophists who unite to make it. There is no organization more worthy nor superior to the men who compose it; it is precisely the men who compose it who make it. The standing, spiritual and intellectual, of the Theosophical Society is gaged by the men and women who compose it, and it will be just as low or just as high as we individuals make it, because of what we are ourselves. To the degree that we as individuals follow with fidelity the grand and beautiful instructions which we have received, to the degree that we show in our own lives how much inner growth we have achieved otherwise, what we ourselves have learned and have grown to, and having learned are prepared to pass on to others: to this degree will our Society be high or low, and will retrograde or march steadily forwards.
May the gods in high heaven ever prevent, through our efforts both collectively and individually, the Theosophical Society from becoming a mere sect, depending upon a book or books, however grand this or these may be in themselves; may they prevent our pretending to live alone on the Word received from our predecessors; but may we continue to grow from within ourselves and become independent thinkers and workers steadily raising the level of ourselves and therefore of the Theosophical Society. Let our beloved Society continue for ever to be a living, growing organism through which pulses the inspiration of our blessed God-Wisdom. We can best render our homage of immense reverence and devotion to our Teachers, higher and lower, by striving to improve ourselves as individuals, as individuals to advance ourselves in all things great and good, and as individuals to become independent, strong characters. If we can do this, then we shall for ever be able to retain and to manifest to others those principles of conduct which have ever graced the lives of the noblest of our predecessors, and this likewise will insure that our Theosophical platform shall be ever free, growing, in all the best senses of the word, and therefore becoming ever more truly a nobler platform for the elaboration and dissemination of Theosophy to the world.
It is results that the world looks for, and not talk; for it is a mere truism to state once again that the world is weary of talk without action, of professions without their expressions in the lives of the professors. If the Theosophical Society is not to drift on some mere sandbank of thought, however noble that thought may be, and even based on our own Theosophical ideas — if the Theosophical Society is to grow and to become for future ages what it was destined to be, it is in our hands to make it so by ourselves making ourselves ever truer exponents in our lives, and in our independent but ever loyal thinking, of the Wisdom-Tradition that we have received from our Masters.
Why do Theosophists devote so much time and energy and intelligence to a study of recondite doctrines? What is the use of it? To be very Occidental, "does it pay?" It won't pay a particle if your mind is directed downwards. But if you are a normal human being, with normal human aspirations, and want to be more and greater than you are, if your mind is directed upwards, it will "pay" enormously. Why? I will tell you why.
The Theosophical Society was founded by the Masters of Wisdom for one purpose mainly. The secondary purpose was to give priceless comfort and help to human individuals, giving them courage and hope and a sublime objective in life. But the main purpose was to give to mankind a religio-philosophical and scientific explanation of life's riddles, based on the natural fact of Universal Brotherhood, which would bring about a moral and spiritual revolution in the world.
The Masters knew that the world was entering upon conditions which if not checked would lead us to hell, conditions spiritual and intellectual, social, political, conditions of all kinds, of which the psychical outbreaks are only symptomatic.
The purpose of the Theosophical Society therefore, principally, is to establish a nucleus of a true Universal Brotherhood, and to give unto thinking men and women the reasons for this. When you can persuade men's and women's reason, and charm their hearts, you have won; and you cannot persuade thinking man that a thing is right if all his instincts rebel against it, instincts intellectual and other. So the Masters founded the Theosophical Society once more in our age in order to give anew to a very materialistic and discouraged world, the teachings of the God-Wisdom of all the ages, man's heritage. Now understand that clearly. And we study these Theosophical doctrines so that we, becoming acquainted with them, understanding them, and ourselves persuaded by them, i.e. our minds and hearts captured by their grandeur and completeness, will change our own lives. Then we shall be able so to present them to other men that they too will see the Vision Sublime which we at least have caught glimpses of.
That is why we study the Theosophical Doctrines; and I can tell you that had it not been for the very perilous conditions that the human race began to go into with the downfall of the so-called Pagan religions and philosophies of two thousand years agone, had it not been for world conditions, I myself doubt very much if the Theosophical Society would have ever been founded for two or three or six thousand years. Individuals would have been helped in the silence and privately. But conditions were such that help from above, from wiser heads than ordinary men, was needed. It was given.
I will tell you, the problem in the world today is not with the men on either side of the fence, or any side of the fence. Men are human beings. The trouble is wrong ideas, which make wrong conduct. You change ideas and you have conduct in conformity therewith. If you can set men going crazy about some fad or other, you can just as easily fire them and enthuse them with the love of something sublime, and change the whole course of life: bring peace on earth and good-will to men.
But you have to know how to persuade men. You have to give them a philosophy that they can study and respect and have conviction in, and which will grow upon them as they study it the more; the greater study, the greater belief. Truth is marvelously persuasive in itself. Men are inherently decent and good; and a good many, I do believe, of the so-called criminals of the past and of the present are people, men and women, who have become so absolutely discouraged that they have lost their grip. If they had had a decent chance, the inherent weaknesses in their characters might probably not have overpowered, paradoxically as it sounds, the higher part.
I believe in my fellow human beings. I know men, and I know that men think and feel — no matter what their race, no matter what their beliefs. Men are men the world over, and fundamentally decent, and they love decency and grand things. Look how the appeal of an heroic action runs like wild fire in all countries; all men respond. That shows the inherent right and decency in the human heart. It is to these things that we appeal. If fads can sweep over not only one people, but the whole world and fascinate mankind for a thousand years or more, making them all kinds of things which we now look upon as crazy; you can just as well, and with just as much hope, and with infinitely more chance of permanent success, appeal to the decency in men, to the good in men, to the common fellow-feeling that we are human beings, that we at least will learn to respect each other's convictions in harmony and in peace. There is where real decency comes out. Not in the attempt to convert with violence, always bringing forth more violence and resentment.
There is the pathos of the situation. I personally have never yet found it to fail in my own dealings with my fellow humans, I have never found kindliness, consideration, and the appeal to the decency in other men — I have never found these to fail. If the response has not always been what I have wished for, then I have questioned myself, whether I myself have longed for the things I have wanted, longed for them strongly enough.
That is one reason why the Theosophical Society admits to its Fellowship men of all races, of all creeds. There is no distinction of race, caste, creed or color in our organization. Remember the main objective of the Theosophical Society: to establish a nucleus of a genuine Universal Brotherhood, a nucleus which is absolutely and throughout non-political, based on no sentimental reasons. This perhaps may never make an appeal to some of the hard-heads, those wilfully blind, who simply will not see. Our appeal is to intellect and decency in moral instincts, and points to the laws of the universe as the foundation on which life is builded. That is why we study Theosophy and its sublime religio-philosophico-scientific doctrines. It is the Occult Hierarchy that sent our H. P. B. to establish the Theosophical Society, whose work is not to labor spectacularly, showily, theatrically, but to work steadily, untiringly, to change the hearts and minds of men. Secondarily, the work of the T. S. is to help us as individual Theosophists.
The Theosophist is often asked what practical good the Theosophical Society is doing in and for the world, and the answer is simple enough and direct to the point of the question. We work with ideas, and we try to show men that there is nothing more practical, stronger and more forceful than an idea. Ideas shake civilizations and overthrow them. Look what has happened in the past. What brought such changes about? Ideas. The ideas living in the minds of a few men — seeing ill or seeing good, is quite beside the point I am discussing. It is the ideas that I wish to stress, not who voiced them, or the consequences flowing from their enunciation to the world. The important thing is that ideas good or bad have tremendous power. And because these ideas and ideals were different from what was commonly accepted, they met at first with contempt and derision, later with study, and finally with acceptance; and structures toppled and there was much dust, and other structures rose and endured for centuries.
Show me something more practical than an idea. If ideas overthrow civilizations, they also build them up. The whole work of the Theosophical Society is to fill the minds and hearts of men with ideals of grandeur, inspiring them to ever nobler, more unselfish, and altruistic objectives; to give men and women thoughts that they can live and die by. Show me something more practical than this. This is our main work. True, we give from our slender means what we can and may when the calls come; but this is the least.
What ails the world today? Is it lack of riches? No. Is it lack of thought and good-will? The hearts of men vibrate with agony and pain at everything that goes on everywhere. But men and women are blind, they have no ideal, no solid, central spiritual idea around which men may collect. Religion has lost its grip on Western men. Science has become suspect even in the minds of its foremost proponents, so that they themselves are questioning whether their scientific discoveries are good for the ethical stability of the human race, giving to men power to control their present evil passions and thoughts. Philosophy is today little short of a caricature and mimic of far older and truly grand philosophical systems known however to relatively few in the Occident.
What the world needs today is grand humanitarian ideals that they can believe in and follow in trust, ideals of a constructive character: something to give men hope, and a conviction that this world is run morally, i. e. morally inspired by the spiritual powers of nature, and is not a mere accident, originating in some far off time in cosmic space when by chance a nebula began spinning in empty space and finally after many aeons brought us forth, creatures of a day, finally to draw up our legs in bed and die into nothingness.
For fifty or sixty years Occidental science has been teaching us that men are but a higher kind of beast, soulless, irresponsible, answerable to none: a teaching flying in the face of every voice of Nature, of every being around us. For everywhere we see law and order and cause and effect, and that if you do certain things you will reap the penalty, or win the guerdon, the reward. These are facts. The others are evil dreams or devachanic illusions.
What, then, can we do? Teach men that this universe is essentially and fundamentally governed and controlled by irrefutable law and destiny, ethical, moral in its essence; and that it is not simply a crazy phantasmagoria, a danse macabre, without sense or purpose or reason. That is what too many tens of millions think in the Occident today, that is what they think they believe. Self-interest has become their sole guide in life. Result? Each man for himself, and the Devil take the weakest. There is where the trouble lies: false teachings, false convictions, stupidity, and the pathetic picture of noble human beings run away with by ideas and ideals indeed — but of what category? The pathos of it all is that men fail to discern in nature and in themselves nature's own categorical moral imperative, in which indeed most men no longer believe. Thus they fail to find the road to everlasting happiness and peace and wisdom and unselfish love.
The greatest men in the world are they who have seen beyond the clouds, seen the stars of spiritual destiny and followed them. In other words they have followed that divine inner peace which all men vaguely sense, but which when recognised and followed gives us wisdom and knowledge and power to labor mightily for the common good of all men. But our civilization as a whole has lost that religious instinct of unity with inner guidance; it has lost belief in its science which has miseducated it; it has no philosophy; it is unguided, blinded, almost helpless, and yet it is pathetically crying and asking the cause like a child in the night, crying helplessly — an appeal to the powers that be. There is the picture.
The main work of the Theosophical Society seems to me to be the restoring to man of the self-conscious realization of his spiritual intuitions and of the belief in the innate morality welling through Nature's heart and recognisable when our own eyes, through the same moral urge, open to recognise it in others and everywhere. This is the main reason of its founding; this is the main reason why the Masters sent their first Envoy, H. P. Blavatsky: to restore to men the archaic heritage of the philosophy of life which is at once a religion and a science, which is founded on the spiritual heart of Almighty Mother Nature herself and on no man's say-so; which is provable by examination into Nature's secret places.
It is our work to change men's hearts by changing their thoughts; give them ideas and ideals for them to follow and live up to. And to work with malice towards none, with a yearning to do justice to all, even to those with whom we most disagree. The Theosophist will be successful just in so far as he can implant in the hearts of others who may see him and hear him the thoughts and ideas and ideals which he himself has sought and found and is blessed with. Little by little the thoughts of men will change, until a time will come when these Theosophic ideas will sweep like wildfire through the hearts and minds of men everywhere, permeating both mind and conscience, thus furnishing a strong, a mighty, guide to all. The world will then be changed because men will begin to think new thoughts, see new ideas, realize their truth and immense import and value, and instinctively will follow them; and they will understand then that self-interest is the worst policy possible to follow, because the man who works for his fellows works likewise for the best for himself and wins friends everywhere. The man whose honor is unstained and whose heart beats with love for his fellows: he is the man who will be looked to for counsel, for all will instinctively feel the inner guidance that such a man follows, and will themselves seek the light that directs him.
If ideas can overthrow and work havoc, it is by this fact evident that ideas of another type can build and unite and save.
The Theosophical Society is formed of Fellows who may be roughly grouped into two general classes, at least I have found it so: the less active workers and the fully active workers. To the first class mentioned belong those who have joined the T. S. indeed because they find in it sublime teachings, the help and comfort and peace that their hearts and minds have been hunting for, it may be half a lifetime, but who are more or less satisfied in receiving because the teachings bring strength to them and happiness and peace and to a certain extent greater vision. This state of things is good, so far as it goes. They are entitled to it as being sons of the Cosmic Spirit, sons of men, human beings. But they have not as yet awakened to the fact that the giving of the Wisdom is more precious than the receiving.
On the other hand and belonging to the second class of which I speak, there are those who are not satisfied merely to get, who refuse to continue asking favors, who have caught a gleam of the light celestial from the teachings, and have pledged themselves to become units in what we call the Hierarchy of Compassion. These are they in whom the light celestial begins to come with its holy peace and glory.
Now this second class are the real workers in the T. S. Not all of them are publicly known by any means. Those who are publicly known get most of the public credit; according to the Latin proverb, they publicly receive the palm of virtue and merit. But there are, as well, unknown, faithful-hearted workers who are doing their bit, and more than their bit, and I know that the Guardians of the Theosophical Society are grateful to them all.
It is not the faces at the front, it is not the forefront speakers, nor the Leader and his especial staff of officials, who should have all the credit, and who make up the entirety of the class of active workers in the T. S. It is not only our lecturers and our fieldworkers. Equally with these do I include the humblest worker in the ranks who stands firm and loyal to that Theosophical flag which H. P. B. put into our hands, and who works for it. These too should receive due meed of grateful recognition. And this unknown service is perhaps the more dignified and the more gracious and the more beautiful in that it is not publicly known to all.
I tell you, even here in our beloved Lomaland, when I see some of the workers going about their daily duties, day in and day out, week in and week out, month in and month out, year in and year out, loyal at the task, faithful in the performance of the labor, I say: Well done, ye faithful servants of the Law. They are like the truly great ones of the earth, for they labor without seeking public credit. They work without outward recompense, without public recognition, and without the stimulus of the public's esteem. These are they who have an especial place in my heart, for they represent the great virtues which as Theosophists we teach.
And there are also those who are out in the field, those who have the difficult task of facing the public: our lecturers, the officials of the different Sections of our Society in different parts of the world, in many cases men and women having to work for a living, and working hard in these difficult days, yet carrying on, doing their extra work when they come home from their offices, or elsewhere, and loving it; doing their work at night, often without the help even of a stenographer, in some cases, from lack of a typewriter, having to write in long-hand, writing letters themselves that will carry help to some hungry soul somewhere, guidance to some Lodge at a distance, information that should be shared with the Section. This also is grand, this also is real devotion.
Now of these two classes mentioned in the beginning of this article, it seems clear that the first class mentioned are as yet merely formally in the work. They are willing to receive but not to give. They do not yet realize that the least amongst us can give of his time, of his money, of his work, and, greatest of all, can give of his soul, can give to others what he himself has received.
The other class, the really active workers, are those who give all they can, in time, money and work, to help the T. S. It is they who find the inspiration of their lives in helping and sharing in the common Theosophic life.
These two classes form the membership of the Theosophical Society. I would that all belonged to the really active group. But after all, you cannot drive people. They can be led; they cannot be driven. I would not like to be driven. And again, after all is said, what kind of allegiance is it, what kind of help is it, what kind of fidelity is it, which has to be forced or wrested from unwilling hearts by fear or by some other similar type of motive power? Let people be natural in the sense of being true-hearted. Then they will gradually awaken to an understanding of what true service is, and then they are beginning a truly Theosophical path, ultimately leading to the Great Ones.
"Keep the teaching unadulterate and pure for the future" — Oh, how those words ring in my heart; for it is what I want too; and yet I feel impelled and compelled to call your attention to a very serious danger here. Agreeing absolutely with the principle of the thing, I must call attention to the danger, and it is this: In striving to retain the purity of the teachings of our blessed God-Wisdom, let us never drop into the dogmatic attitude, which will spell the death of free conscience, free thought, free speech, sane and legitimate freedom of all kinds, in the T. S. By all means retain the purity of the teachings, it is the grandest thing we can do; but never refuse to a man his right to speak, and speak freely, even if you know what he says is not true, or distorted. The principle of freedom is so precious, it must never be forgotten.
It was just there that the primitive Christians stumbled and became in time a dogmatic sectarian church: Desiring to keep the teachings of their Avatira-Master pure, unadulterate, simple and glorious as he gave them, they laid down certain dogmatic rules, credos, tests, somewhat like the fourteen points, twelve points, sixteen points, etc., etc., that we have heard of recently  in Theosophical matters — a sure way to start a creed; and so anxious were people thereafter that all Christians should conform to these as it were codified laws of belief, the codification of belief, that they utterly forgot the inherent right of the human soul to think and think freely. Thereafter you have the Christian dogmatic church, and immediately they began to wax strong. Why? Because they all had one simple form of belief, and exoteric united force behind that belief.
But what do you lose when you get unity and force and nothing else? You lose everything of greatest value. Force is only good or even decent if it is the force of the spirit, which means no imposition of will upon any other mind: the force of conscience, the force of truth, the force of abstract right, the force of justice. That is the only force that is excusable in human affairs. Any other force is from hell.
So let us therefore never allow the establishing within our own ranks of a dogmatic testing (which is but a creed) of other men's understanding of what we all, including these other men, hold so dear. It may be quite possibly true that these other individuals are brilliant, it may be even intuitive; and we can be grateful for the results of their studies and meditations; but to establish any form of testing by which others should believe, is to work a mischief that at all costs we should avoid.
In this remarkable period of transition, which is affecting the entire world, both psychically and physically, and, therefore, the Theosophical Movement as well, there is need for writers with vision and a steady head who will serve as guides for Theosophists who have neither the opportunity nor, perhaps, the ability to express themselves vocally. The Theosophical Movement today is reaping the karmic consequences of past errors, and, alas, in many cases, of mistaken views. But this very fact makes it incumbent upon all those possessed of some Theosophical influence, however small, to aid in guiding our common ship towards the spiritual North Pole towards which in the beginning its course was set by the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace.
For years past the signs have been plain to all who had the vision to see them that the Theosophical Movement as a whole was drifting on to the same rocks of catastrophe that have spelled disaster to more than one spiritual movement in the past. The Fraternization Movement which was dealt with so well and lucidly in the Editorial of the May issue of the Occult Review, is a sincere effort to call together individuals of the various Theosophical Societies which compose the modern Theosophical Movement into a common work for brotherhood, and, indeed, mutual safety.
The signs are not few that the Theosophical Movement, as hinted above, is today approaching the stage of breaking up into various cliques, or, indeed, actual sects or churches, separated as yet, fortunately, by merely intangible but still very powerful barriers of suspicion, mistrust, doubt, and, alas, in some cases, actual dislike, verging even into conscious or unconscious hatred of a kind. All this is entirely wrong, and it behooves us all to take cognisance of what is occurring in our midst and around us, and to attempt to check the disintegrating influences which, to our shame be it said, have obtained currency in many parts of the Theosophical Movement as a whole.
It is shameful that Theosophists who teach brotherhood and who preach it so glibly, should fail to practise it among themselves; and in the instances where this occurs should shelter behind plausible excuses of doctrinal texts, and should support themselves by random passages drawn from Theosophical text-books, much in the same manner as the Christian sects in the past have disgraced themselves by adhering to what were supposed to be points of rigid doctrine.
It is not bibliolatry based on our Theosophical text-books which marks the genuine Theosophist. It is not shutting ourselves within the narrow and restricted bounds of egoistic and self-sufficient organizations which will prove those doing so to be genuine Theosophists, nor are they true to the teachings of the Masters and of their Messenger H. P. Blavatsky, who preach and teach Theosophy, but refuse to practise it. "Theosophist is who Theosophy does," once wrote H. P. Blavatsky, and wiser words were never written. Mere brain-mind acquaintance with Theosophic text-books does not prove the genuine Theosophist. The genuine Theosophist is he who has love for mankind in his heart, combined with a deep knowledge of the Theosophical teachings, and who carries these teachings into actual practice in his daily affairs. It is brotherhood: first, last, and all the time, that should be the guiding principle in life, not only of each Theosophist's own life, but of the policy guiding any Theosophical organization; and anyone who has looked into the luminous deeps of his own spiritual consciousness, and who is wholly at one with the bright essence of being which he finds there, will have no difficulty in finding the proper pathway to follow.
As individuals it is the inner god of each one of us to whom we should turn for guidance and for light, and he who successfully does this, thereafter is marked out among men, for he becomes noteworthy among his fellows as a practiser of brotherhood as well as a teacher of it; and he sees in all other men, no matter how much they may differ from him, and no matter to what other Theosophical organization they may belong, the same spiritual glory that illumines his own path. He who understands this turning to the god within, and who at least in some degree becomes at one with that inner god, is the one who is brotherly, is the one who is kindly, charitable of mind, peaceful in intent; for he, indeed, is the practiser of the Theosophy which he preaches.
In my judgment — for what it may be worth — the man who cannot see that finding the inner light and realizing the need, also, for teachers are but two sides of the same thing, is a man, alas, who wanders from the Path — the Path of chelaship, the pathway to that Mystic East where dwell the Great Ones whose pupils and servants we are. It is not the hidebound and restricted limits or 'principles' of any organization or Theosophical church whatsoever, wherein will be found the wisdom of the gods, the divine Theosophia of the Archaic Ages, but solely in the illuminated hearts of men and in their minds. When such men and women, aflame with the spirit of Love and Wisdom, group themselves together for the noble and impersonal ends which they recognise and follow in common, there indeed, among them abide the Spirit of Truth and the holy Fire of Brotherhood. Such a nucleus, indeed, is a fit and adequate channel for the transmission, not only to themselves, but to their fellow-men, of that stream of inspiration flowing from the asrama of the great Teachers.
Genuine Theosophical fraternization is the polar antithesis of mere sentimentality or emotionalism. The very core of the spirit of fraternization is the seeing in others of the same lofty Theosophic sentiments that exist among ourselves; it is the feeling, likewise, that other Theosophists can, as much as oneself, have the spirit of devotion to truth and the love of high-minded and honorable dealing. Fraternization will be a farce unless it is based on principles of mutual confidence, mutual trust, and on genuine brotherly love.
Am I a shallow-minded optimist in believing that other Theosophists feel and believe as I do? I do not think so. The present-day Fraternization Movement is simply a call, an appeal to all other Theosophists to practise in thought and in act the Theosophy which they believe and preach. It matters little or nothing to me what any other Theosophist may believe in the way of tenets or doctrines, because I know as I live that where views are inaccurate and doctrines obscure, the best remedy for these defects is an honorable interchange of views on a basis of perfect equality with other Theosophists. "From the shock of ideas springs forth light." If the fraternization work is to remain sincere and genuine as it was begun, and as it still is, it must be based on the feeling, mutual among all Theosophists, that every Theosophist shall have his right to his own views, to his own genuine convictions, and shall not be hindered or scorned for the frank expression of them before others.
Our great Teachers do not expect that all men shall feel alike and shall think alike, and the most powerful antidote for the insidious work of the sectarian spirit is the feeling that a man is able to express his convictions with earnestness and sincerity, and that he shall be respected for his earnestness and sincerity. I, for instance, hold very strong convictions, but I love my fellow-men, I try to do my Master's work in a manner which to me is the most faithful following of highest ethical principles; but I deny to no other man exactly the same right and the same position of equality of right openly to state his convictions likewise.
There is nothing that prevents us all from forming at some day in the future a reunion of the various Theosophical Societies into a noble Spiritual Brotherhood as it was in the days of our beloved H. P. Blavatsky — nothing, I say, prevents this, except the suspicions, the doubts, the dislikes, and the carping and corroding criticisms, all of which, in several parts of the Theosophical Movement today, are considered to be Theosophical virtues.
Nobody more than I loves the genuine Theosophical teachings, and I shall stand for the genuine Theosophy of the Masters and of their Messenger, H. P. Blavatsky, as long as I live; but I never forget that a part of these Theosophical principles and teachings is the sublime fact of universal brotherhood, and that the man who neglects this in thought and in practice, by so much proclaims himself as lacking in the first element of loyalty to the highest behests of truth and of devotion thereto and to the great Teachers.
I never criticize others in a spirit of unkindliness; but I retain my right to express my views about abstract matters as my inner light guides me, and there is no ethical law or principle which I recognise as valid which could be invoked to prevent me from stating my spiritual and intellectual convictions to the impartial judgment of mankind, and I grant the same right to all other men. It is not a barren uniformity of belief or of feelings or of opinions, in my judgment, which the Theosophical Movement should strive for. Our first duty is to follow the dictates of truth as they lie inherent in our own inmost consciousness; and second, to recognise the same duty and right in others, although all such statements of convictions should be phrased with kindly consideration for the feelings of others, and with due respect for the convictions which these others hold.
Selfishness in its manifold forms has wrought evil work in the Theosophical Movement in the past, and as H. P. B. so nobly wrote in 'The Original Programme of the Theosophical Society': it is our duty "to oppose selfishness of any kind by insisting upon sincere, fraternal feelings among the members — at least outwardly; working for it to bring about a spirit of unity and harmony, the great diversity of creeds notwithstanding; expecting and demanding from the Fellows a great mutual toleration and charity for each other's shortcomings; mutual help in the research of truths in every domain moral or physical — and even in daily life."
I am very glad to be able to say that the response that the Fraternization Movement, originated at the International Theosophical Headquarters at Point Loma some two or more years ago, is receiving in the hearts of genuine Theosophists everywhere, of whatever affiliation, is very gratifying indeed, and I take this opportunity to say that if we can continue it as successfully as we have begun it, the prospects for an ultimate reunification of the different Theosophical Societies into one Spiritual Brotherhood are very bright indeed.