Universal Brotherhood – May 1899

THE PAIRS OF OPPOSITIES — Edward C. Farnsworth

When I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do; and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun."

The discontent of the Hebrew preacher, here so strikingly expressed, contains nothing unique, for thousands in all ages have had like experience. Indeed, any student of human nature finds discontent manifesting on every side, in all stations of life. He sees man a bundle of contradictions, alternately hoping, desponding; now moved by love, now indifferent, even hating; bound by some evil today, repentant tomorrow, ever in an unstable condition, finding no rest in either extreme of his personal being. The question as to the cause of all this naturally arises.

A great law known as the "attraction of opposites" operates in the Universe. But for this law evolutionary progress would be impossible. Man, ancient wisdom declares, is the Microcosm of the Macrocosm therefore we can deal directly with him as illustrating the nature and action of this law. We may, despite our limited power of cognition, conceive of Divinity as a Trinity of Will, Desire and Thought in stable equilibrium, a Unity reflecting itself in the inmost heart of man and revealed in all its perfection only to beings capable of comprehending its entirety. As yet man catches, here and there, but imperfect glimpses of what he feels is a pure and divine reality and, mistaking illusion for that reality, strives to make it his own. Grasping the fleeting shadow, he finds it "vanity and vexation of spirit." Still the divine inner urge is upon him. Buffeted and defeated, he will try again. Surely that bow of promise e'en though faintly pictured on his mental sky, must hold for him, within its sevenfold beauty, one ray whose glory he never yet has known on earth, in air, or sea. So in his feverish quest for happiness, he flies to the other extreme, to be again disappointed, foiled, driven back. Now in order to rise superior to the clash and clamor of the pairs of opposites, to really free himself from these many adversities, man should strive to cultivate habits of introspection, of looking to that calm reflected in the depths of his being, of all being, for Being is One. When he looks upon his brother, he ought to remember that the pure, eternal flame which consumeth not, lies beneath the outward seeming, and by sympathetic words and actions he should strive to remove any obstruction. Then that beneficent, uninterrupted light shall ray forth upon himself and others. Man with eye fixed on the guiding star at the positive pole of his being, shall finally reach the restful haven where enter not the troubled waters.

Theosophy teaches that the eternal spirit of man sits enthroned above delusion, and by the power, the majesty of its presence, draws man to itself, thus gradually narrowing the area of his oscillations, slowly but surely overcoming the resistance of his belligerent personal will, to finally bring him into that calm and peace from which spring true knowledge and self-conscious union with the Divine.

Man's mental, astral and physical constitution is such that he cannot proceed independently along any one line of development.

He loses interest, satiety ensues and with it comes a vague sense of unrest, precursor of change; so he is forced from round to round, up the ladder of experience. His petty personal will is made to bow to the Divine Universal Will acting through his spiritual will, for the balance of parts must be preserved in the universal whole, each will must be rounded out to focus that universal whole. The law of opposites which affects the individual, also acts on men in the aggregate; therefore every man represents in his earthly life the rise, culmination, decay and final death of nations. Every nation, like every man, is the living expression of some particular virtue or vice, some excellence or defect, because its main energy, like his, is directed to the accomplishment of certain ends, thus rendering the Nation incapable of realizing in itself the varied excellences of other nations and so endangering and delaying the harmonious perfection of the final whole. Therefore in national life the great law of opposites becomes active; for instance, military power and virility give gradual place to weakness and impotence, then suddenly the Goths and Vandals of fate — blind instruments in the hands of unseen powers — are thundering at the very gates of the stronghold. The end must come, as it came to many nations; some of them unremembered in the pages of the world's historians.

What civilizations lie buried beneath the calm surface of the great ocean! Pacific it seems, yet those mighty waters hide the remains of the old Lemurian land. The Atlantic spreads an almost unbroken plain where once stood the great islands of fair Atlantis, whose splendid, though material civilization, contained within itself, like Lemuria, the germ of that which should cause its final overthrow. When the strength of the storm is upon us, the restless Atlantic, with its turbulent waves lashed into fury by "the powers of the air," well illustrates the final condition of that ancient people, whose lack of spirituality rendered them an easy prey to pride, selfishness and every vice springing therefrom.

The chief defects of our own civilization are selfishness, unbrotherliness, striving for power and preferment, exalting the one at the expense of many. Is this not a one-sided development? Shall not the great equilibrating law be called into action? Surely, unless we discover and utilize something that can counteract these evils.

The chief object of the Universal Brotherhood Organization is to demonstrate from a philosophical, ethical, and — most important of all — from a practical standpoint, the existence and nature of such a counteracting power and its application to these urgent times. Practical Universal Brotherhood is that counteracting power. This alone can ameliorate conditions; reduce to a minimum pain and misery resulting from violated law and thus prove a most important factor in the bringing about of the infinite purpose of Divine Will, balance of parts in the perfected whole.

Man vibrating between the opposites of his being, is but a single, though notable example of the instability of all below the equipoised and immovable Supreme. All else, whether low or high, are more or less under the influence of the positive and negative poles of being.

Olympian Zeus, the allegorical ruler of the Grecian Pantheon, is shown as realizing the impermanence of his throne, for he in reality represented a certain stage of Cosmic and human development, as did his predecessor, the dethroned Titan.

Now all these gods and heroes, results or symbolizing Grecian thought and thrilling us in its Epic and Drama — clothed, it is true, to the uninitiated with man's imperfections and vices — were to Pythagoras, Plato and other mystics and illuminati, in reality great powers and hierarchies who have their correspondents in the cosmogonies of every nation from Odin and the gods of the North, to Isis and Osiris of Egypt, and the triune Brahma, Vishnu and Siva of India. All of them, covering vast cycles of time, are symbolical representations of Nature's truths, and though apparently yielding and being replaced, yet ever reappearing under new forms. Time itself must ultimately yield to, must become one with its container, Infinite Duration. It was the sublime conception of the Hindu sages that at the symbolical inbreathing of Brahm — the mystical unknown Deity — Suns and Systems disappear; their light is lost in Absolute Light, the light of Orcus, the unknown Darkness.

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