Universal Brotherhood Path – May 1901

FREEDOM — R. W. Machell

Freedom! The rallying cry of races that have fought for it, age after age. Freedom! How often won but to be lost again! How often has the conquered race that has freed itself from a foreign yoke, at once put its head under another yoke of its own making and become in turn an oppressor of a weaker people and an enemy to Freedom! Time after time does history record how a nation has scarcely done crying Freedom, before it has already become a tyrant either to some part of its own people or to some foreign nation. No wonder the cynic scoffs at Freedom, seeing only the grizzly phantom that stalks the earth as a black counterpart in the train of the bright Goddess of Liberty. For every bright and beautiful image is reflected in this shadow-world of human passions as a dark malignant phantom, whose gaudy richness parodies the pure radiance of the bright image that shines in the heaven-world of man's hopes and aspirations.

The soul-inspired leaders see the light of the true Goddess of Freedom, they feel her presence, they sing the songs which her light awakens in their hearts, they proclaim to all around the glories of her beauty, her power to make men glad and great. She stoops from out of Heaven and touches their foreheads with her fingers, and marks them on the brow with the sign that never dies, that makes them her own throughout the ages. They are sealed on the forehead with the sign of Liberty and in whatever land they may be born and in whatever age, in whatever class or condition, they are the Teachers of Freedom, the children of the Hosts of Light, and you may see the sign upon their brows if you can read the writing. They know their Mother Goddess and though their names be very many in all lands, and changing with the ages that roll by, yet she herself is still the same, ever unseen and unknown excepting to her chosen ones.

Our lady of love by you is unbeholden,
For hands she has none, nor lips, nor golden
Treasure of hair — But we, who love,
Know her more fair than anything.

Is she a Queen, having great gifts to give?
Yes these! that whoso hath seen her shall not live
Except he serve her sorrowing, with strange pain,
Travail and bloodshedding, and bitterer tears,
And when she bids die, he shall surely die,
And he shall leave all things under the sky,
And go forth naked under sun and rains
To weep and wail and watch out all his years.

But the men of the world do not know the Mother Queen in her radiant purity, they look for her in the gloomy places of their darkened minds, or in the fiery mirage of their passionate hearts and see the wild Fury with the red robes that are stained with human blood; and the fierce pitiless eyes that look deep into the darkness of their ambitions and penetrate to the depths of their greed and cruel selfishness; and she stirs in them the fires of frenzy that again and again have made the armies of liberty a disgrace to Humanity, painting the blackened pages of human history beneath the glowing title of Liberty.

This terrible phantom that follows so close upon the steps of the bright goddess of Liberty is tyranny personified, oppression living as a demon, ruling the race by means of their vices, their greed, ambition, sensuality, or pride. These are her vassals, these her ambassadors in the hearts of men, and she counts as hers all men and bodies of men who seek to rule the world for love of power. She leads the black-robed army of the sons of night, who rule by terror, who lead men by their vices, and hold them bound in utter ignorance as long as they have power to hold them bound at all.

Those who serve this phantom, welcome all who cry liberty and violence, for they know well that those who try to invoke freedom by stirring hatred in the hearts of men are working in the cause of their dark order and, though they may wave the banner of light and liberty, they are paving the way for the army of the sons of night.

The Children of Light are those who have freed themselves in ages past from the dominion of the dark powers of self, of ambition, hate, and greed, and fear, and cruelty. They have fought the dark powers in their own hearts in other lives and won their way to the side of the Queen Mother. At each new birth they sink again into the sea of human life, to fight again the battle in themselves and win the right once more to stand beside the Queen in the great battle of the ages between the darkness and the light. She knows her children and calls them to her from far off and close at hand, where they are wandering, only half awake as yet, forgetful of the purpose of their lives perhaps, aye even sunk so deep in their forgetfulness that they are almost lost among the hosts of men whom, in other lives, they have sworn to serve and save. She knows them by the light that lingers in the darkness of their eyes and by her sign upon their brows, and sees them from afar and calls to them, and sends her messengers to call to them as we now call to you.

The power of the dark sons of night is great, greater perhaps today than it has been for ages past, for now the battles of the ages is at hand and the dark powers of oppression, of greed, ambition and ignorance, are massing themselves for one great effort to enslave the world and all the air is full of prophecies and dark previsions of disaster, wars, revolutions, massacres; though men who stand the nearest to the danger are blind and self-sufficient and believe the world is very prosperous and most securely planted on the path of peace.

But a new age has dawned, a new light is in the world. Freedom has raised her standard and on its ample folds the legend runs, Universal Brotherhood, — freedom for all by mastery over that which causes tyranny, self and selfishness. Each man so freed is greater in the service of mankind than even a host of the black enemy that count their crafty minds more powerful than the flood of light that streams from one unselfish heart. They are many and they are strong, but how does the darkness fare when the sun comes up above the mountain range?

This is a battle worthy of men and women whose hearts are great. It is time that the children of light who still wander in the crowds shall awake and hear the call and know once more the comrades who in ages past have stood beside them holding back fate from the masses of feebler folk who follow where they may be led like sheep. Too long the wolves have shepherded the sheep. Awake! and know your strength.

You are the chieftains of the hosts of Light
Who came down through the night to save the world,
With battle-banners wide unfurled you came,
And wielding bolts of flame and fiery swords
Powerful to conquer hordes and break strong towers,
That the dark powers of chaos built of yore.
Warriors arise and sleep no more!

You are the chieftains of the hosts of Light
That came down through the night at pity's call
But now forgetting all, you stare and dream,
And no God-gleam shines in your lightless eyes
And no glad battle cries arise, to wake
The slumberous stars and shake the world to light.
Ah! slothful war-lords, rise! arise! and fight!

Theosophical University Press Online Edition