Universal Brotherhood – December 1897


The high tide of civilization of this19th century is only the prelude of an early twilight to the approaching day. Few are the real workers and only they have acquired a momentum of motion, while the masses, who benefitted by the results are yet at a standstill. They are not able to look ahead till they start to move themselves. And they imagine vainly that the time for enjoying the fruits of progress has come; that nature is conquered; the wide spaces are spanned by railroads and telegraphs, steam and electricity are set to work; the secrets of nature are investigated and society is in a perfect state. It is they who call the new pioneers dreamers and acquiesce in rest. Yet they have little reason to apply the term of dreamer to the Founder of the I. B. L.

No thin vapory dreams and no bare intellectuality are shaping this movement. No indistinct and personal emotionality is propelling it. The propelling force is the force of the heart which every child knows and every hero. For as a child obeys the first primeval forces of its soul and grows in bright harmony with the sunshine of the skies, and with the sunshine of its home, the hero is the same child healthily grown to manhood. He finds his sunshine in that harmony which pervades the totality of life, and the emotions which always run in some particular direction do only interfere with his work. His pulse beats exultantly with the pulse of the great shoreless divine life surrounding him everywhere. His interests are so wide that they touch and include the interests of all he loves, — and his love is as wide and quick as the lightning flashing from east to west.

If this is a dream, it is a dream of the Universal Life.

If it is a dream, it is a dream about very real things, for it includes every man, woman and child upon this suffering earth; it is a dream which every minute proves itself true in happy smiles, in rising hopes, in serene brightness of the mind and in the satisfaction of the heart.

And if there are any metaphysics in it they are only the threads between the one and all, the flashing rays of brotherhood, as it comes down as a white dove to spread its wings above the whole earth.

As the light of the sun is never visible till it strikes the surface of the air, or water, or this sweet earth, which it makes to blossom, so the metaphysics of the heart are never set at rest until they beam from human faces with that soul-radiance which makes civilizations grow. Nay! instead of running to the clouds, and some secluded places, they spread like glory of the daylight and penetrate into the deepest well and every corner of the human life and thought, and are as powerful as the Great Life itself.

Therefore, those who will help in this great work will live in open air and warmth of that great Sun of Life and those who'll play in harmony with the great music, will learn to understand it.

It is not a work of charity. It is the work of love. If you can not rejoice helping the meanest thing upon its upward path, your light is not upon it. Let your body do work among the bodies, and your soul among the souls. Thus all the vestures of the Self will be its channels. And remember that the Heart cannot receive any reward from the outside. The greater love and light and life, these are the rewards of the heart. It grows and unfolds its petals as a lotus flower, from its own germ divine, from that ocean of immortality, which is in every drop of life.

Therefore, for a compassionate heart every sufferer is a part of itself, and by no means outside. On the mirror of the lower person the images may come and fight among themselves, rejoice and suffer like some foreign pictures, like outward friends or enemies. But when the Heartlight touches the scene, it takes all pictures to itself, and they all weep or rejoice there, as in one great lucid diamond, as the integral parts of itself. Nothing outer then can be, reward.

You might call it the philosophy of children, or you might call it the philosophy of sages, but you see, the real, singing radiant life is here, so that if you wish to live and tear the gloomy veil of death which now oppresses human kind, though they foolishly look for it in the future, here is the chance to do it and grow in action.

The action will start at the beginning through the seven objects of the I. B. L. They are like the seven nerve centres appearing in the jelly-like substance of an embryo of the new cycle, which is dawning — and no matter how insignificant they may appear at the beginning, they are perfectly necessary to give an ever-growing instrument for the already existing heart and soul of humanity to manifest itself in the world.

Now let us discuss the objects one by one. (1) To help workingmen to realize the nobility of their calling and their true position in life.

In order to do that, those dark clouds hanging above the modern age, should be as much as possible gradually removed and dispersed. The theological original sin has made just as much evil as the blighting materialistic beliefs. The masses are oppressed mentally even more than physically. This gloom should be removed. Light removes darkness. Now, what is light? We can touch people by mind, but we can make them see and feel only by the heart. For the hearts of people are suffering even still more. No! no amount of philosophy will ever be accepted generally if there is no heart beyond it.

The heart gives the ultimate sanction. Therefore we should learn to love people. Is it so difficult? More shall we help them, more shall we love them. They will become part of ourselves, part of our thought, so to say. Let us look ahead into that future, and it would be easy to love them even now, if we are not able to discern a divine spark, which condescended to burn in such primeval vehicles. Who then are we that we should shrink?

This is the beginning and foundation — the sine qua non. We shall be then the first touch of heaven to the unfortunate, and thus the hope shall be given, the first gloom dispersed and the first light brought in. Then the people will understand, that their salvation and their future are in their own hands.

Next, all theories discussed should start from this same radiant centre. Every question should be a ray of heart. Hope — a divine ray in time; brotherhood — a divine ray in space; justice — a divine ray in motion. To renounce them is to renounce life and to plunge into despair. And yet in the imagination of many these things are very indefinite and dreamy. Why is it so? Because people do not dare to live and do not dare to love eternally. Only eternal things we can love eternally and be serious about them. That means that we ourselves become self-conscious souls when we love souls.

Men should be awakened to the fact that they are souls, and their true dwelling place is the ideal and eternal world of Truth. Then only will, hope, brotherhood and justice be of any value.

The heart should be shown as a power which is perfectly satisfied in the excellency of these things by such direct perception, that it even may rule the mind. And this is true nobility, which it is not difficult for the American mind to understand. When we have awakened to the reality of these things so far, and received so much happiness and light, it would be foolish not to proceed. People should be taught that only by experience can we learn that the heart is real. Theory may run ahead, but the experimental knowledge is the only true one.

After people understand that life is not an endless mockery, but something serious and real, they begin to rise on their feet. Life becomes worth living. And energy will be given to change the conditions to better.

Some people object to broad teachings and require details. They wonder what it will be, Capitalism, Socialism or even Anarchy. That shows a ridiculous and superficial understanding of the subject. The idea of brotherhood and tolerance is a good deal more important than any of the sociological isms. And an example of it is that this idea will stop all fighting between those isms. It is impossible to give to any of these isms a preference. They have to develop side by side without fighting and the political fanaticism desirous of reforming by force of one part of humanity by another is a form of narrow-mindedness. Just as well to go and reform by force Dahomey or China. Evolution works best when it is free and unhampered. The vote of the majority is lawful, as Herbert Spencer has proven, only in those things which concern everybody, as war, tariff, monetary systems, etc. The American Constitution provides for that. But other things are local, not only geographically, but even sociologically. Every large society with its own self-government and by-laws is an example. It may spread over many states, but it is local in the sense of its peculiarities, which are perfectly unsuitable to other people. Many isms could exist as such societies. But no! they generally desire to make a political party and impose their ideas upon others, perfectly forgetting that their ideas do not concern everybody, and that only a very limited number of ideas can do so. This is as ridiculous as if somebody would propose to establish a state religion, because a majority wants it. But brotherhood and tolerance are happily guardians of freedom. They only can regulate the healthy growth of the modern nations, who are passing through a dangerous point in their evolution. And that is why we should leave all isms to themselves, but influence them to such a degree, that they would treat one another just as fraternally as individuals do. And this broad question is at present the most urgent one from the standpoint of true citizenship, which means less politics, and more private enterprise, tolerance and fraternal cooperation and help. The I. B. L. would have a very short existence if it engulfed itself in any political party. It was meant to have a brighter future, to stand as a messenger of light who is sent to work and move actively among those lost in a social whirl; but its movements will be angelic. No passion will touch it, no bitterness, no ambition, no desire of physical rule. This Angel will be in the world but not of the world. As says a poet: "Proceed O thou, an Angel with the radiant face! In thy hands there is no dagger crowned with the garlands of the mob, which pierced the breast of an enemy. There is a flash of another weapon. The Spirit conquers here only by a divinely-human deed! Thou art divine and above this earth, for thou hast gathered all sorrows of the world unto thee, for thou art divine love.

"And now thou dost return with the good message.

"Evil foams around thee, but thou dost not heed; thou throwest one more handful of light, and again it is brighter in the world; till thou wilt circle all lands and with the two-edged sword of light chase away from them the darkness of the death. Thus thou comest again!"

2. To educate children of all nations on the broadest lines of the Universal Brotherhood and to prepare destitute and homeless children to become workers for humanity.

This object seems easier to accomplish. Who does not like children? The breeze of the fresh primeval forces of nature seems to blow through them from some far off diviner source. To see them playing in a group one would forget, which are his children and which are not. All are his children at such a moment, all are sunny bright beams of the same kind, some divine progeny, some rays of the eternal youth, from which the grown up people have wandered far away, driven by the relentless hand of the fate they had themselves created. And yet in their inner nature they feel this radiance themselves though they cannot manifest it with their darkened vehicles. But helping it in children and seeing it sparkling there they can enjoy it mentally by sympathy through their observation. O what wonderful chances nature gives even to a savage!

Now what makes out of a group of children a rosy garland, is that fraternal spirit they feel one to another. They do not care about the differences of creed, caste, sex, nation and color of skin. And to educate them on the broadest lines of the Universal Brotherhood is simply to keep their fires burning. Truly sometimes children show lots of the smoke, too, but it is faint and can be easily dispersed. Yet it is generally increased by trying to overcome smoke by smoke, by speaking to them too much about their faults and by refusing to give response to their sunshine, or giving a hypocritical response, while children have such sharp sense that they simply cannot be cheated on their own radiant plane, though they can not express their astonishment at those cold forms, to which so much is sacrificed. Now this second object of the League not only changes the old system, by renouncing the dead forms of the past and calling out to action the Spirit of Unity, but it prepares new workers for humanity and never will stop till all humanity is embraced. Helping the children we also help ourselves, for we actually sometimes learn more from them than we can teach them, though that can not be always expressed in words. We have here an illustration of a direct reward, which can be easily understood. Let this be as an illustration that this reward exists in the fields of the unselfish actions, and that if we see it in one place we can expect it in another, and that by profiting others we profit ourselves. Let those for whom it is difficult to love humanity at large start to love children, so in future they will learn easier to recognize the bright response in others. The bright dawn must come, but every ray of it must be conquered by ourselves, and let us hope that the bright, loving faces of the children will help us to begin it. Let us then give them a chance to help us; they are as many millions of ages old as we are, but because they remember it better, therefore our pride can just as well give itself up. By teaching us they become also the excellent workers in the grand total of forces striving to reach Unity and Brotherhood.

3. To ameliorate the condition of unfortunate women and assist them to a higher life.

Let us call them unfortunate sisters of ours, for when every bit of selfish passion is torn away, every woman is a sister. The name of the maiden is in Slavonic languages deva, — the same word as Sanscrit deva, and means radiant. It is of the same root as the word day. As men represent active part of life, so women do the shining part. Not because those two are separate, but because of the predominance of either. The law of cycles suits here also, for at one time an Ego needs to conquer and manifest new experiences, and at another time to weave them together into a shining robe of life. Therefore the life of woman is more inner and restful and harmonious and even nearer to spirit. Therefore it is no wonder that it smites every feeling heart with pain to see our sisters dragged to the outer edges of rough material experiences by the hard conditions and brutality of the age. To see those whose light made cheerful every corner of their home, whose silvery laugh was as if coming from some distant stars, whose fragrance was like incense before the Angel of eternal youth, — to see them cheated in their childish trust, to see them thought as the lowest servants of passion, to be ever kept under the lash of that worst slavery in the world, to see them driven down and down into poverty and degradation, with none to lift, with none even to send a helping thought, to see all this and not to help, and not to suffer with the insulted nature and its angels, and stand still with supreme contentment of the superiority of the miserable self, — to do all this is never to know what true love to this poor suffering humanity ever can be.

No! The Buddhas of compassion did not forget this point. Jesus did not forget Magdalene, neither did Gotama nor any other Messenger of the Fire-Mist. Let us then join in this great work in a right spirit.

4. To assist those who are or have been in prisons to establish themselves in honorable positions of life.

When day has come its light is searching for every nook and corner, and tries to reach even the deepest well. When a wave of life strikes a planet at a manvantaric dawn, it dives even to the bottom of the seas, it surges even through the hardest stone. And the radiance of Brotherhood, the glory of the One Light, appears in the soul of men, it weaves itself in halos of a thousand garlands, it flashes in a thousand rays, till it fills all with its soft, suffused tender glow. Naught are before its penetration the prisons of the forms of custom, and naught are the prisons of the flesh and stone, and those worse prisons of human passions, hates and doubting darkness self-imposed. Through all this a heart will listen to the Heart, and it will not fail, when all else fails. For says a poet: "O you do not know, you sick, you poor, you ignorant, where is that divine lightning, the weapon of your future victory! It lives in your breast and is called Love, and it alone dissolves the mazes of the fate." The cowards say: The world is yet dark, the masses ignorant, the laws deficient, nothing could be done for the improvement of such depths. What a small experience! And thus the mazes of Karma grow, the unredeemed depths strike back, surge under feet, and many times tear the victory out of the hands. But there are a few who speak less by words, more by compassion, whose hearts are not directed to get reward, or to advance, but to help, to help, to help, — to help for the sake of Love, who know that in that Love their growth and their reward abide and nowhere else, who have lost themselves to find themselves in every brother, be he even a criminal without hope. These will do a real work, these will succeed, for the smallest words upon their lips will have a meaning and a most fleeting glance will be as a glance of the Eternal Mother.

5. To endeavor to abolish capital punishment.

This is so self-evident, that no explanation seems to be necessary. Truly to say, there is no punishment beside self-punishment. That is the way the universal justice works. The wretch goes to drown himself in the water, the water comes not to drown the wretch. Once the wretch is in the water, the waves come and go, of course, and close over his head, but that self-conscious part of him which suffers, always descends wilfully, though not always remembers it after submersion. Even in cases of accidents, floods, earthquakes, if we suffer at all, we suffer because we thought of it. Mr. Judge wrote that all catastrophes are connected directly with mankind, and the Secret Doctrine says that we make bad Karma, whether we do evil or simply brood over mischief in our thoughts. They are certain to return and often in a very material shape. This being the case, the punishment by law is also the expression of uncharitable and hard feelings of the sufferer himself coming back to him. The judges and lawmakers are the channels of the force generated by evil-doers. They do it quite unconsciously, too, and as if propelled by some invisible hand, working through the customs of the country. Neither judges nor lawmakers feel any special revenge, though they may talk about the revenge of society, nor is there a very great necessity to protect the community by death of a culprit, other means being available. This illogical talk shows the great power of the fatal force working unflinchingly through unconscious channels, whose lack of discriminative power makes them easy tools. But once men will understand the ways of the Great Law, they will refuse to be channels of such bad Karma and will turn their labors into more worthy directions, perhaps into giving spiritual help to those whom they now suppose to kill, but in reality with whom they never will part through many a rebirth.

More merciful is Nature than the most ideal Gods created by human imagination, and more just is she. Her purposes run through eternities, and her ways and patterns are magnificently wide and liberal, even so much that there is left enough space for our own mistakes and foolishness, which in her wonderful hand she turns into our lessons. She is the magician which succeeds to make a truth out of a thousand lies, which makes beauty out of a thousand imperfections. Nothing is wasted in her hands, for she is the Great Mother, and out of her Unity the Universe was created, not by or from a something new, but directly out of her great substance by numberless divisions and reflections in those dividing films, so that every imperfection is a limited perfection and every lie is a limited Truth. All is her part and all will return to her, the just and the unjust, each in his own way.

For nothing is evil by its essence, only by its limitations. Would then those limitations be increased by the shadow of death between us and those whose sin and whose shame is ours, and whose Karma is inextricably interwoven with our Karma. Thus, omitting quite a grave aspect, that the liberated phantom of the soul of the criminal may prove more dangerous after death, and omitting the circumstance that mistakes are often made and innocent people killed, and that in the hands of political or fanatical persecutors frightful red excesses are committed, — the fact alone that we have cold sympathy excludes the possibilities of our divine essence to meet bravely our Karma throughout the world and by destruction of our limitations to return to the Universal Life.

6. To bring about a better understanding between so-called savage and civilized races by promoting a closer and more sympathetic relationship.

And well Americans might do it, who are a mixture of so many races. But the confusion of national ideas in other countries has not yet passed. The great improvement was made in Europe in this century, which can be called a century of awakening of the nations. France is liberated, Italy united, Germany consolidated, Greece, Servia, Bulgaria, Roumania freed, Hungary raising its head, Ireland awakening to the great culture of its past, Poland to the great ideals born of suffering, — Russia opening her eyes like a baby-giant, smiling brightly to the morning, — and how much friendship was born from mutual aid and sympathy! International fairs and congresses led to international societies; the nations started to work together, first in science, then made feeble attempts at political concerts, then in social questions.

The time when a nation regarded every other nation as a savage one is securely past, although the old feeling yet atavistically smoulders, and can be taken advantage of by political adventurers in moments of passion. Yet the Angel of international thought and intelligence seems to punish quickly any narrow jingoism, if not by actual force, then by just criticism. The light of the West is even so strong that it reacts on India, till she will also awaken. The movement went even as far as Japan and even China, in its outer form. And even so-called primitive races, which are in reality remnants of the grand old races, are being reached and their mental growth is regarded with sympathy. Attempts are made to protect the African races from slavery, and in America it was done at a great sacrifice. The good forces are at work already, the I. B. L gathers them into one centre, gives them ever moving life, gives them mind and constant care. The undertaking is stupendous, and who knows how much literature, poetry and art will win by the taking up of new ideals. Only those ideals will live which dare to claim a real life, — and mediaeval romanticism which deserted the orphan earth and went to live in idle dreams, will return as something else, as an awakened hero of bones and blood, who, as a knight in a fable will free from the chains of sleep and dreaming the princess of the human force, the force of heart, whence only a true awakening can arise.

There are colors which only can be got by combining all other colors, and there are the glories which can be obtained only by the joined light of the glories of the civilization of every nation of this earth. For every nation has a spiritual mission to perform, a new understanding of life to develop, a new idea, a new color, a new psychic essence. And for whom is all this? Not for themselves, but to share with all humanity.

Every notion is a revelation in itself for those who sympathize with it. It seems as if a new space was opened, new truth learnt, a new tone sounded, and some old unknown longing of the heart is now known anew and satisfied. Who knows how many ages of the past blow their fragrant wind of reminiscence to the wondering soul, who loved so much, who did so much? If that is so, why should we care, that old shadows may be also brought by breezes, — and why should we not awake ourselves so much as to regard them like something of the nature of the theatrical curtains, beyond which are they who charm our soul, that it weeps or smiles for joy? And so it looks, when so many wars, oppressions, jealousies are forgotten and forgiven in the blue distance of history, and the ancient charm remains and smites the heart through the blue air with pain, reminding of home-sickness, and with the joy of hope immortal that the true essence is never dead, for it descended and will descend again from that eternal generation, where none is born — "gens aeterna, in qua nemo nascitur."

7. To relieve human suffering resulting from flood, famine, war, and other calamities; and generally to extend aid, help and comfort to suffering humanity throughout the world.

This object has to do with occasional chronic cases, which, nevertheless happen so often in the world at large, that they require nearly constant care.

And the care shall be given by those who understand what Universal Brotherhood means, and that it does not exclude a single human being in its scope. The previous six objects include a good deal, but this one rounds all. It includes alike rich and poor, old and young, men and women, virtuous and vicious, friends and enemies, cultured and savages. The humanity of earth has to prepare to be a vehicle of Celestial Humanity, which is mystically One. Therefore its vehicle should learn to be an organism. Now a normal organism has no dead or neglected parts, — and it is connected throughout. The awful significance of a lack of it is illustrated by a thing which sometimes happens to a squid, whose brain consists of eight brains, each connected with others by a nerve thread and each lying at the base of one of its eight gigantic feet. It happens sometimes, that the thread is broken and that some of the brains are disconnected for a time, till it restores itself. The movements of the feet become disconnected also, and the feet fight between themselves, or even get eaten by the mouth of the same body.

This animal illustrates volumes of philosophy. It was built by a long process of evolution out of a colony of animals, which grew into unity physically, and it may relapse into a state which is quite barbaric for it in its consequences. And yet the entity is one. Humanity is also one, and yet . . . therefore, if humanity is destined to grow into an organism, to what may amount the talks about the survival of the fittest, and so on? Just as well talk about the survival of the fittest fingers on the hand. O let us free ourselves from these terrible dreams of modern science! "Sursum corda!" The sun is bright, the life is beautiful, the future is smiling and inviting, and one preserves the many in its embrace. If you think so, then you will be so, and matter will obey. Do not be afraid of matter. It is a mirror only of your mind of past and present. The future you shall make yourself. And you are doubting yet. You ask, where are those nerve threads to carry the life of all my brother men into my head, that you might see it and believe? Tell me then where are the nerve-threads between the phagoeytes of your own blood and a small inflamed wound of yours? And know, they feel the message; look how they haste, how they climb through the smallest holes in the blood vessels, how bravely they meet every microbe entering your wound and fight with them to the bitterest end. You see it? Then think! "Sapienti sat."

Now the floods, famines, wars, . . . they all correspond to wounds in the human body. Let us hear, call and hasten, otherwise the smallest things, which feel the pain and trembling of the whole body, just as they do the light and joy, will make us blush with shame.

Universal Brotherhood