Universal Brotherhood Path – March 1903


The value of kindness and sympathy and brotherly assistance as powerful evolutionary factors and forces have not received that recognition with the mass of people which their importance demands. This disregard is the effect of a too materialistic view of life, and the tendency well-nigh becomes chronic, to rely solely upon the senses as the only guides to an understanding of existence. With many this state is regarded as something to be proud of and is called common sense; any science which treats of nature's finer forces is refused a hearing and the cry is only for that which is "substantial."

Such are the surface reasoners on life who still carry about with them the incubus of an effete and obsolete system, which attempted to account for a perfectly balanced, harmonious, wondrously intelligent universe, from a basis of non-intelligent matter under the action of a blind and purposeless force. This aberration of the human mind is being supplanted by a fast growing recognition that man is a wonderfully constructed being, the generator and transmitter of forces of inalienable power and potency, himself a great power with an important part to play in the evolution of the globe. Given a sufficient number of men capable of realizing this and it is possible to make modern social life a fitting emblem of the perfect law that operates in human earth-life as well as guides the stars in their courses.

Unselfish and brotherly acts and thoughts are the key to a knowledge of real life, because they alone harmonize man with the universe and establish his position in nature either as a harmonizing constructive power, or a discordant destructive entity. Beyond doubt we are too severe and cold-hearted in our attitude towards offenders against the social and moral laws, nor is our attitude calculated to produce good in the community, in ourselves, or in the offender. Because of this, too often a prisoner comes to regard his offence as beyond remedy or reparation, and the future offers but a still further descent into crime and recklessness. Our condemnation and treatment of criminals is an outrage on the principle of justice. Surely when an offender has paid the penalty demanded by law, his debt ceases, and he should not be called upon to face the even severer tribunal of public contempt. Condemnation of evil is every man's duty, but this is vastly different from unreservedly condemning the criminal. In the one case we condemn the principle of evil of which the man has partly become the victim. Our idea of ourselves and others needs readjusting. We are the soul, and we inhabit a body and use a brain; nor need this statement remain solely a matter of belief, it can be well-supported by sound evidence, complete and exact, and by the best evidence — that of one's own experience and nature. From the soul comes all that is noble, god-like, virtuous, speaking through the voice of conscience. Opposed to it is the selfish nature, its hereditary enemy, which when it predominates, shuts out knowledge of the soul. We can see from this how any unjust condemnation recoils upon ourselves, and how evil thoughts carry their own penalty. Looking at ourselves and all men as souls, we see that all are fighting in a battle of nature's own ordaining and for the purpose of the soul's experience, man having the power of choice as to which side he will fight on. At one time the soul wins, at another the selfish animal predominates. To assist another in controlling the lower nature is the truest brotherhood, and we are powerfully assisting nature in her purpose. Love and compassion are not solely feelings of the human heart and without effect or purpose, but are the expression through the heart of the mighty power of the Divine in man and nature. The peace and happiness found in deeds of love which all can bear testimony to the truth of, are faint echoes of life's deeper harmonies wafted into our outer life from the Kingdom of Heaven within. And as the sphere of man's usefulness and helpfulness in the cause of humanity increases does he find this Kingdom of Heaven coming nearer and more a part of his daily life.

If we would thus help our fellows, we must not be ruled by custom, nor hold ourselves accountable to the tribunal of prevailing opinion, but seek only the approval of our conscience, and be governed by the divine and immutable principles of compassion and justice.

Universal Brotherhood Path

Theosophical University Press Online Edition