If we can get into our minds the deep and profound meaning of brotherhood and if we can commence to live the life of brotherhood, we shall then have no divisions and there will be no wars. Struggle, suffering, and conflict are the result of people being so separated in interest. One nation is against another, and it is fight and battle and struggle for bread and butter all along the way, when all we have to do is to find the secret of living and to realize that the life of man is a true, mighty scheme. Man is the commanding figure in life; he is the summit of its expression on earth.
When one thinks of that, everyone — even the most discouraged, the most disappointed, the most disheartened — can rise in the consciousness that every man is essentially divine in nature and that he has the power within him to know this truth. When he knows it he will apply it to his life, and when he applies it, he will live more truly. Then his life will be one of joy, of service, of helpfulness, and of peace instead of what it is now. If we can seek truth with confidence in the self, in other people, in our country, and in other countries — if we can have that sweet, warm, beautiful, binding force of brotherly love with us constantly, we shall be as happy as nature is.
Theosophy aims to set aside and eliminate all the shadows and the disappointments and the discouragements that come into man's life. I have not to spend any time in telling about how discouraging are the conditions in the world today. And why are they so? It is because humanity is yet ignorant of its royal heritage and its possibilities. So instead of blaming and criticizing man, let us believe in man in a new way. Many have endeavored to bring out this idea, but they have not hit the mark because they are so overburdened and overshadowed with pessimism, with doubt, with timidity.
Now, that is not the religion to teach. Man must have hope, and it must be built upon the heart-doctrine, out of his own nature. It must be built upon the pictures or the visions that he has of the growth of his own life. And one cannot be satisfied with the same thing every day, because one does not grow if he accepts only the things that satisfied him a few years ago. Every day should add something to one's knowledge of oneself, knowledge of the divine laws that govern life. When one can find this knowledge and apply it to his life, he has touched magic. To a large degree he sweeps away all the difficulties in his life — the disappointments, the overshadowings, the limitations, and the over-humility. One awakens every morning with a consciousness that something new has happened, a great light has come, that the great blessings of the eternal truths of life are here, close to us daily.
Then one begins to see that man is not to be set aside, he is not to be belittled. Nor can he ever find the peace and the joy and the knowledge of living until he has found himself. He may read all the books, have all the teachers, listen to all the preachers, but never will he win in the truest sense until he finds his own heart, his own soul, and believes in the eternity of man's spiritual nature. When this happens, one can very easily realize that something wonderful comes to a man who has long lived in the shadows of discouragement and then suddenly finds himself in the light, aspiring, becoming.
Now, according to theosophy, we are never alone because within this body of ours, within this part that in seventy-seven or a hundred years dies, is the inner part, the eternal part, which lives and goes on forever. That is the spiritual soul of man, and the soul is traveling on its pathway of spiritual attainment. It is progressing, it is climbing the mountains each time it is reborn, each time it suffers to gain more knowledge. That is growth.
Move away from all the weights and shadows that are upon you and love yourself — your inner spiritual self — for truth's sake! Love that self, that you may have the power to serve others; love it because you are loving the eternal man. But the trouble with humanity is that it sees and loves the outer man, the physical man, the mental man, and it thinks that this is the whole thing. But the other man, the real man which is the spiritual, eternal nature, this has very little attention given to it.
Cease dwelling on your sorrows and troubles, and go out into the bright light of truth, out into the great hopes. Build castles for yourselves, build vistas. Let them be merely from the brain-mind, if you can do no better, but build them high towards the spirit and plan them today that tomorrow shall bring you more light, more knowledge, more courage, and more determination to win out, not just for this one life, but for your soul's sake and for humanity's sake.
Humanity is waiting for humanity, and the hearts of men are bleeding for that help and that quality that can be given, not from one man alone but from that unity of force, that wonderful bond of brotherhood, that must come and bring us to a position where we can look out over the tops of the mountains. There, instead of struggling with our difficulties, we can rise above them. When we reach that position, then we are constructing, then we are building for the future — not just for a hundred years, but we are building the very thought-atmosphere that we live in. We are building our country for even better things, we are purifying our politics with a new life through the spiritual energy and will of man.
There is no disposition on my part to disturb those who are satisfied in their spiritual knowledge. There is no attempt to do away with anything that is good, or to teach theosophy except for the purpose of bringing more sacredly to every man the knowledge of his spiritual rights and duties, so that he may live in those duties and rights happily and truly, that he may sustain his country with such force of truth and higher patriotism that it will be impossible to have war. War is in the air; we have not passed it yet. And it is for us, just this growing body of people in the right state of mind, to be up and doing. One can never know what such a body can do.
The real thing is to construct, and to construct today, not preach construction today and tomorrow do nothing. That is not the way to do. The way is to live every day in such manner that the next day may be a better one, that there may be more courage tomorrow than today.
Follow the simple teachings that Jesus taught — not the teachings that others have added to what he taught. Live in the spirit of brotherhood and keep yourselves in the sunshine. If the shadows are over the hills, know that they are good: the rain and the clouds are also needed for vegetation. But wait until tomorrow, and build, construct in the sunlight and joy of life. By doing this, one destroys error and stands before the world as an example of spiritual living — not a halfway life, not a timid life, not an apologetic life, not shams, but real things.
It is wonderful to realize that man is a soul, that he is a part of the universe, and that nobody can rob him of this fact: that he has within him the power to conquer, to overcome, and to become. Man can stand before the world as one who knows his soul, who knows the truth that is before him, and who is ever striving to grow in this knowledge.
When one stops to think of life as it is, one realizes that we are little children. The best of us, the most studious, the most advanced in thought, experience, and education know very little of human life; indeed, very little of anything. The one essential for us, if we are to round out our characters and become anything that approximates to our ideals of manhood and womanhood, is that we shall know ourselves. We must know the secrets of living. We must know what it means to live nobly and honorably and truly and with such dignity and power that truth will manifest through us.
So the mission of theosophy is to teach man to construct, to make everything better today than it was yesterday for humankind, so that each may find within himself the secret of governing his own life and bringing it into harmony with other lives. Thus there will be a united family of human beings all over the world, so strong, so impregnable, so impersonal, that war cannot come. When you demolish the spirit of warfare and make it disappear, you are beginning to climb the mountains — to reach the light.
And it does not take great oratory to bring home to one the hidden impulses of the heart and all the hopes and aspirations that have never been answered, and to solve all the questions and doubts. All these problems must be solved before humanity can find its way, before the best nation can find its real nationality, before the unity among men and women shall be of such a kind that it cannot be broken because the spirit of brotherly love, which Jesus taught when he said "Love ye one another," will then be triumphant. That is the spirit that must exist in the hearts of men.
How is it that we have so many aspirations and so few of them are fulfilled? How is it that we long for the day when all men shall be at peace with one another and with their own souls, for the day when we may understand the future, when the conviction will come to us in such a way that we cannot dispute it, that there is no death, that what we call death is but a transition, a change, that we live here for seventy-five or a hundred years and then instead of dying out or going to some place in space — none of us being sure of which place we are going to — our souls do but take a needed rest before resuming the duties of earth-life again in a new human form?
It is utterly impossible for a human mind that is clear in confidence in his own soul and in himself to accept the idea that the divine — the great, eternal, all-loving deity — could ever have planned for us to go through the suffering we have endured. No! The suffering which humanity has had for ages has been inflicted by man himself. He does not do it intentionally; he does not know why he does it. But spiritual man is eternal. The body lives and then, tired and worn out, dies. But the soul lives on in just the same way that the trees live on through the seasons. You see them springing into sunshine in the summer with their beautiful foliage, and when the winter comes the leaves all disappear. If you were a stranger and had never seen a tree before, you would say it was dead. But it is not dead because the spirit of nature, the elements of nature, never die. The real principle of the tree is not changed. Next year you see fresh leaves, but they are not the same leaves. They are, in a sense, a copy of the leaves of the previous year. The life of man is analogous.
Put yourselves into this position: that the God that you must revere, and the God that you must follow, must be a God of love. Your God cannot be unmerciful, because divinity is perfect. Divinity cannot punish you, because divinity is perfect. Divinity does not place you on this earth and then punish you for being here. You punish yourselves — possibly not today or yesterday, but somewhere along the gamut-pathway of your lives, you have sown seeds which have yielded their harvest of misery and doubt and suffering.
Look within your own natures and believe that man is essentially divine! But when you reach this position of realizing that the great eternal light is centered in man, as a source of light and help and strength to him, your conviction of the possibility of spiritual life and the possibilities of another life and the eternity of man is rekindled. So is your love of the divine, of the eternal, in such a way that your confidence is reborn. When you understand this, you will find something new in your heart, something new in your mind. You will have new hope, more trust, a broader vista that will tell you of the mercy of the divine or the great source of life, and will bring home to you in the saddest moment of life the compensation which you cannot get in any other way. It does not take very long for a man who is weighed down and discouraged to reach out and to meet life with a belief that there is something noble and splendid in the hearts of all men, something that has not been expressed, something that has not been awakened.
It is the lack of knowledge that humanity suffers from, not because it is evil, not because humanity is low and degraded in its nature. It is simply because it is unacquainted with itself and because the real spiritual man is not recognized in the true sense that would enable the mortal man to find his own way out of ignorance. Think of all the time we spend in eating and drinking, and also in gaining dollars and cents so as to do our duty by those we love. And then think how little time we give to these ideas: Who is man? Whence comes he? Whither goes he? What is the meaning of life? Books are read, preachers preach, and teachers work, but how much more could be taught and lived if life were met heartfully in spiritual trust.
Have you ever thought, when you listen to beautiful music, how your natures change, how your minds open to the beauty of life, how full of cheer and hope and trust you are? The real secret of true living is finding inner peace and happiness, and I do not believe one human being can be found who can honestly say before the divine and before his conscience that he has found true and complete happiness. But if we can build our lives on a belief in the eternal man, happiness can be found. And there is no other way. Believe first in the essential divinity of man and the all-loving power of the divine — no punishment, no revenge, but love and service and encouragement and that spirit of brotherly love that brings all men together so there can be no wars, no difference among men. Then in the course of time disease and many darkening, discouraging phases of life will disappear, because in treading this path of light man will have found his happiness, he will have found his peace, he will have found his inner divinity, and also he will have found himself.