THEOSOPHY, Vol. 77, No. 9, July, 1939
(Pages 269-272; Size: 10K)[Compiler's Note: This article by the Editors, written and collated many years later, is also related to the collated 12-part series, and the other related article, both of which had the same name and preceded this one, and so is well worth presenting.]
THE "FRIENDLY PHILOSOPHER"
IN the years which have elapsed since the death of Robert Crosbie in 1919, there has been an increasing perception of the importance of his vision. The work he began in 1909 is non-sectarian; it is for all who desire to "fit themselves to be the better able to help and teach others." Students of Theosophy find direction and many an occult lesson in his letters, gathered in The Friendly Philosopher. The following paragraphs, taken from early correspondence with his co-workers, are as pertinent today as when they were written.
"The 'theosophical' meeting that you write of is much as I should imagine -- they have missed the key as have so many others; they have become involved in the processes of life. I wonder if these unfortunates ever think what it was that H.P.B. founded? Was it any branch, or the people who belong to branches? 'Let it be understood that with the exoteric society H.P.B. has nothing to do.' That which was founded by H.P.B. was not the diversified aggregation now existing, but something else which bore that name. They might also consider the saying well known to them, 'If ye love me ye will keep my commandments'."
"The most painful experiences I have had in my Theosophical life have been the witnessing of the negation of Theosophic principles by those professing them, and were it not my duty to put you in possession of the facts as I know them -- facts representing dangers which lie about us in our quest -- I would not have spoken. You asked for the facts; I have to give them as I know them. It should be said that while we condemn the act, we never condemn the actor. For a Theosophist must recognize that failures are not irremediable if followed by undaunted struggles upwards, and for professing Theosophists, who to our eyes appear to have strayed from me Path, we know that the time will come when the failure will be recognized, and the struggle back will be hard. Such must necessarily have our pity and sympathy if we are true to the spirit of the Teachings.
"Now possibly it may be seen what our Lodge stands for: the three objects as laid down by H.P.B. and Masters, and along the lines laid down by Them; no dogmatism, no personal followings, no spiritual authority. Thus each may follow his line of development with such assistance as may be afforded by those who have traveled further on the Path than himself, when such help is requested. In this way true discrimination is gained -- and the bane of all spiritual movements, authority, dogmatism and their corollary -- personal followings, avoided."
"In fact we may take as part of our statement of policy, that 'The policy of this Lodge is independent devotion to the cause of Theosophy, without professing attachment to any Theosophical organization.'...
"This is where we stand, and where all true Theosophists should also. If our position is made clear to Theosophists generally, there will be not a few who see the righteousness of the position. Much of our work in the future will be the presentation of our 'platform.' We have perceived and given it form; we should let as many as possible know that it exists for them. We may have something to say later on."
"In our age it is well to consider what the Great Ones have done and do. Age after age, year after year, They conserve the knowledge and wait, doing what They can, and how They can in accordance with cyclic law. Knowing this and doing thus, there can be no room for doubt or discouragement. 'Theosophy is for those who want it, and for none others.' We are holding, waiting and working for those few earnest souls who will grasp the plan and further the work, 'for the harvest is ready and the laborers are few.' Those who were entitled to the first invitation to the feast have had it, and now with many of these -- sad to say -- their ears are so dulled and their attention so diverted that no number of repetitions will reach them. Yet is must be held out continually for all. That is our work -- our self-assumed work. We have the example in W.Q.J., in means, method and spirit, and we, so doing, serve that Great Lodge of which he was and is a great and devoted part."
"Much as it may seem like dogma, there is but one philosophy; there are Masters; there is Their Message. It is not dogma because it is a statement of fact, which each is invited to prove for himself -- and shown how to do it. True knowledge has been lost to the world; the Masters restore it. They help those directly whom They can; those so helped help others directly and indirectly. The cycle has an upward -- less material tendency; it needs right direction, which the direct and indirect influence of the Message provides. Blessed are those who are able to perceive and take the direct way."
"We base our devotion and our efforts upon the nature of Those who gave the Message, and accept as safe, good, true and what is necessary, the lines that are to be found laid down in Their writings. Those who think that way will work that way. There is a solid basis for united effort in this position. Any other position can but lead to differences, to assumptions, to authorities. It is UNITY that the Movement needs among all who are attracted by the Message; that which will best bring it about is the true way, no matter what any one says. Neither Jesus nor H.P.B. lived and died that a book or books should be swallowed wholesale, nor even that men should become disciples, but that all men should become brothers. We have to hold to that which eliminates differences, not to pander to any form of religion near or far."
"H.P.B. once used a phrase that reads like this -- as I recall it, 'A Theosophist who understands Theosophy in his own bigoted sectarian way.' I was wondering if our organizational friends might not call us that kind, in view of me fact that we question their methods and practice? We do not question any methods whatever used for the promulgation of Theosophy, but only those that tend to obscure it. We also point out the untheosophical nature of exclusive claims for persons or organizations. This charge will doubtless be made sometime against us by some one. We have a sound and effective reply. We are in sympathy with every movement made to promulgate the message of Theosophy, as such, and with every endeavor to apply that philosophy. While it is true that the principles of Theosophy are just as good and effective under any other name, yet the name is an indication of the source and true embodiment of those principles, and cannot be obscured or changed without some person or system of thought in the way of the seeker after truth. What can be the motives for this? Many, perhaps. Usually some person desires to be the exponent par excellence, knowing well that he will find those who will accede to his claims.
"Some organizations claim to be the spiritual organ of Theosophy. These embody separateness, cannot make for unity, and are foreign to the spirit and genius of Theosophy. Theosophy is a Message, which should be made accessible to all without intermediaries or would-be interpreters; should be presented as delivered, and its existence as an all-inclusive philosophy continually held forth. Societies who do not do this, should assume a name which would be indicative of their particular effort, in the interest of justice to Theosophy and to those who seek to know it. What do we object to? Titles which present interpretations as the Thing itself, and which by the fact are misleading. No one objects to the use of Theosophical principles as admixtures in any system of thought whatever; it will not hurt them; it may break them; but such use, while it might be courtesy to call it Theosophical, is not teaching what Theosophy is.
"Evidently 'The world is not ready for Theosophy,' per se; at least one would judge so from what is being done. ... But do these exponents give the world a chance? They are hiding the light under a bushel; they are giving stone for bread; and the blind world does not know the difference. We do, however, and will keep the link unbroken."
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