THEOSOPHY, Vol. 47, No. 8, June, 1959
(Pages 363-367; Size: 15K)

SOME POINTS FOR REFLECTION(1)

THEOSOPHIST is a name by which many mystics at various periods of history have called themselves. All real lovers of divine Wisdom and Truth had, and have, a right to the name, rather than those who, appropriating the qualification, live lives or perform actions opposed to the principles of Theosophy. However, "that they have had but little direct influence on society" is true of the Theosophists of the last three centuries, but not of the later ones; for the Theosophists of the nineteenth century have already visibly impressed themselves on modern literature, and introduced the desire and craving for some philosophy in place of the blind dogmatic faith of yore, among the most intelligent portions of mankind. Such is the difference between past and modern Theosophy.

The Theosophical Society is international in the highest sense in that its members comprise men and women of all races, creeds, and forms of thought, who work together for one object, the improvement of humanity. Intrinsically, Theosophy is the most serious movement of this age; and one, moreover, which threatens the very life of most of the time-honored humbugs, prejudices, and social evils of the day. And since Theosophy does not agree with any one sect or creed, it is considered the enemy of all, because it teaches that they are all, more or less, mistaken. In order to awaken brotherly feeling among nations we have to assist in the international exchange of useful arts and products, by advice, information, and co-operation with all worthy individuals and associations (provided, however, add the statutes, "that no benefit or percentage shall be taken by the Society or the 'Fellows' for its or their corporate services").

Theosophy is essentially unsectarian, and work for it forms the entrance to the Inner life. But none can enter there save the man himself in the highest and truest spirit of Brotherhood; and any other attempt at entrance will either be futile or he will lie blasted at the threshold. The seventh rule of the ancient Rosicrucian brotherhoods, which is universal among all true secret societies, "the Rosy-Crux becomes and is not made," is more than the generality of men can bear to have applied to them. But let no one suppose that of the candidates who fail any will divulge to the world even the trifle they may have learned, as some Masons do. None know better than themselves how unlikely it is that a neophyte should ever talk of what was imparted to him. Thus these societies will go on and hear themselves denied without uttering a word until the day shall come for them to throw off their reserve and show how completely they are masters of the situation.

Theosophists are of necessity the friends of all movements in the world, whether intellectual or simply practical, for the amelioration of the conditions of mankind. But in our quality of Theosophists, we cannot engage in any one of these great works in particular. As individuals we may do so. But as Theosophists we have a larger, more important, and much more difficult work to do. The function of Theosophists is to open men's hearts and understandings to charity, justice and generosity, attributes which belong specifically to the human kingdom and are natural to man when he has developed the qualities of a human being. The Society as such takes absolutely no part in any national or party politics. The reasons are that political action must necessarily vary with the circumstances of the time and with the idiosyncrasies of individuals. While from the very nature of their position as Theosophists the members of the T.S. are agreed on the principles of Theosophy, it does not thereby follow that they agree on every other subject. As a society they can act together in matters which are common to all -- that is in Theosophy itself; as individuals, each is left perfectly free to follow out his or her particular line of political thought and action, so long as this does not conflict with Theosophical principles or hurt the T.S.

The question is often asked: What have you as an organization to do with labor, with legal questions, labor-saving forces, with education, with society? We have nothing to do with them. Is it not true that man, if he has a knowledge as to how he ought to live, needs no laws whatever? Was not St. Paul right when he spoke of that and said you could become your own law? Knowing the truth, you need no law. If there are to be laws, let them be passed and execute them, but the T.S. has nothing to do with them as such. Every brother in the Society must obey the law of the land in which he lives, for he would be a poor Theosophist if he did not. The T.S. has nothing to do with education. Its members may have as much to do with it as they please, but they have no right to say what is the T.S.'s idea of education. They can only say "That's my idea of it." And always they must and shall preserve these distinctions.

If a Theosophist is born to be a legislator, let him legislate as a citizen and not as a Theosophist, or if he is born to be a judge, let him be a judge and skilled lawyer. They ask also about marriage. We have nothing to do with it as a Society. We know there are many kinds of marriage, sometimes merely by tying a string, sometimes by walking around the fire. As a body we have nothing to do with these forms nor interfere with them. And as to prayer, if you want to pray, pray. But if you pray, and if you say you have a certain belief, live up to it.

Were it not for the existence of a large amount of uncertainty in the minds of students of Theosophy, healthy divergences of opinion would be impossible, and the Society would degenerate into a sect, in which a narrow and stereotyped creed would take the place of the living and breathing spirit of Truth and an ever growing Knowledge. It is not a dull agreement on intellectual questions, or an impossible unanimity as to all details of work that is needed, but a true, hearty, earnest devotion to our cause which will lead each to help his brother to the utmost of his power to work for that cause, whether or not we agree as to the exact method of carrying on that work.

Karma will reconcile all our differences of opinion. A strict account of the actual work will be taken, and the "wages" earned will be recorded to our credit. But as strict an account will be taken of the work which any one, by indulging in personal grievances, may have hindered his neighbor from doing. Think you it is a light thing to hinder the force of the T.S., as represented in the person of any of its leaders, from doing its appointed work? So surely as there is a Karmic power behind the Society will that power exact the account for its hindrance, and he is a rash and ignorant man who opposes his puny self to it in the execution of its appointed task.

Slowly but surely the tide creeps up and covers the once dry shores of Materialism, and, though priests may howl, demanding "the suppression of Theosophy with a firm hand" and a venal press may try to help them, they have neither the power nor the knowledge to produce one backward ripple, for the Master-hand is guided by omniscient intelligence propelled by a gigantic force, and -- works behind the scene.

So long as the T.S. has a few devoted members willing to work for it without reward and thanks, so long as a few good Theosophists support it with occasional donations, so long will it exist, and nothing can crush it. Our duty is to keep alive in man his spiritual intuitions; to oppose and counteract -- after due investigations and proof of its irrational nature -- bigotry in every form, religious, scientific, or social, and cant above all, whether as religious sectarians or as belief in miracles or anything supernatural. What we have to do is to seek to obtain knowledge of all the laws of nature, and to diffuse it; to encourage the study of those laws least understood by modern people, the so-called Occult Sciences, based on the true knowledge of nature instead of, as at present, on superstitious beliefs based on blind faith and authority. The Theosophical Society or "Universal Brotherhood" declared in 1875 its three chief objects to be, namely: Brotherhood of man without distinction of race, colour, religion, or social position; the serious study of the ancient world-religions for purposes of comparison and the selection therefrom of universal ethics; and third the study and development of the latent divine powers in man.

On the day when Theosophy will have accomplished its most holy and most important mission, namely to unite firmly a body of men of all nations in brotherly love and bent on a pure altruistic work, not a labor with selfish motives -- on that day only will Theosophy become higher than any nominal brotherhood of man. Let the encouragement we draw from a survey of the results accomplished, serve to spur us on to greater efforts and more strenuous exertions. Let it make all feel that there is a power behind the Society which will give us the strength we need, which will enable us to move the world, if we will but unite and work as one mind, one heart.

It is an unfortunate fact that there are more misconceptions and misapplications of Theosophy among its would-be students than there is of real understanding. Most of this is due to the self-acclaimed leaders of societies who are very prominent in the public eye, and who proclaim and issue their own ideas, interpretations, and speculations as Theosophy pure and simple. No one would have a word to say if these exponents chose some other name under which to promulgate their ideas, but to present the latter as Theosophy, the Message delivered to the world by Masters, is to our mind the greatest imaginable crime against humanity. Every presentation of Truth given to the world has been vitiated in a similar way, being filtered through the minds of the original disciples to the disciples of the latter, and so on for generations, until but little was left of the spirit of the Message.

No individual need ever fail. No society need fail. All can fail and all will fail, just in the degree that they fail to study Theosophy, to adhere to the program of the Masters, to follow the lines laid down. All, whether individuals or societies, that have so far failed can retrace their steps, can retrieve their position, by a return to the Source and a resumption of work along the original lines of unity of aim, purpose and teaching. These must be constantly borne in mind. But before they can be borne in mind, they must be born -- in mind and heart and brain. The Masters have said that they have "no secrets to impart to a select few."


COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:

GANDHI'S KEYNOTE

Internal purification was the key-note of all the activities of Gandhiji. He never missed an opportunity to emphasize "the futility of mere external activity" and the need for "intensive internal development." He wanted the Congress to cease to be "a begging association" and to become "primarily a self-purification association designed to achieve its goal by developing internal strength." The constructive programme fitted into his scheme because it was "the work of internal growth" and helped in "developing strength from within." It was his ambition to make this strength irresistible. It was a sort of prophylaxis. This is another basic principle which occupies a very important place in his philosophy of life and accounts for many of his attitudes and decisions. For instance, he rarely speculated, when taking a decision, as to how the Government would react to it; his sole anxiety was to see that the decision was right from our own point of view -- taking into consideration, of course, all factors -- moral as well as political. In the course of an explanation of the Patna decision in 1934, he was asked how in his view the Government would react to it. "That means," he replied, "you will shape your policy according to what the Government will say or do. The idea never crossed my mind as to what the Government would say or do, as I drafted my statement. I only considered whether I was true to myself and to my country. Let us do what we want to do." Here is a key to the proper understanding of many of his decisions. 


--CHANDRASHANKER SHUKLA

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(1) NOTE.--Collated from standard Theosophical writings.
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