THEOSOPHY, Vol. 81, No. 1, November, 1992
(Pages 7-12; Size: 15K)
THE SPIRIT OF THE MOVEMENT(1)"THERE IS NO RELIGION (OR LAW) HIGHER THAN TRUTH," no deity greater than the latter, no duty nobler than self-sacrifice.THE work now submitted to public judgment is the fruit of a somewhat intimate acquaintance with Eastern adepts and study of their science. It is offered to such as are willing to accept truth wherever it may be found, and to defend it, even looking popular prejudice straight in the face. It is an attempt to aid the student to detect the vital principles which underlie the philosophical systems of old.
There is, and can be, but one absolute truth in Kosmos. And little as we ... can understand it ... we still know that if it is absolute it must also be omnipresent and universal; and that in such case, it must be underlying every world-religion -- the product of the thought and knowledge of numberless generations of thinking men. Therefore, that a portion of truth, great or small, is found in every religious and philosophical system, and that if we would find it, we have to search for it at the origin and source of every such system, at its roots and first growth, not in its later overgrowth of sects and dogmatism.
These truths are in no sense put forward as a revelation; nor does the author claim the position of a revealer of mystic lore, now made public for the first time in the world's history. For what is contained in this work is to be found scattered throughout thousands of volumes embodying the scriptures of the great Asiatic and early European religions, hidden under glyph and symbol, and hitherto left unnoticed because of this veil. What is now attempted is to gather the oldest tenets together and to make of them one harmonious and unbroken whole.
The Secret Doctrine was the universally diffused religion of the ancient and prehistoric world. Sprung from it in their origins, the various religious schemes are now made to merge back into their original element, out of which every mystery and dogma has grown, developed, and become materialised. The aim [of The Secret Doctrine] is ... to show that Nature is not "a fortuitous concurrence of atoms," and to assign to man his rightful place in the scheme of the universe; to rescue from degradation the archaic truths which are the basis of all religions; and uncover, to some extent, the fundamental unity from which they all spring; finally, to show that the occult side of Nature has never been approached by the Science of modern civilization.
Theosophy and Theosophists have existed ever since the first glimmering of nascent thought made man seek instinctively for the means of expressing his own independent opinions. The Beacon-light upon which the eyes of all real Theosophists are fixed is the same towards which in all ages the imprisoned human soul has struggled ... called by us, as by the earliest Theosophists, "Divine Wisdom" .... or, as we say sometimes, the "Wisdom Religion."
This "Wisdom" all the old writings show us as an emanation of the divine Principle; ... a single Supreme Essence, Unknown and Unknowable. Under this designation, all the ancient philosophers of the East and West, the Hierophants of old Egypt, the Rishis of Aryavart, the Theodidaktoi of Greece, included all knowledge of things occult and essentially divine. Their system was characterized by three distinct features: the theory of the above-named Essence; the doctrine of the human soul -- an emanation from the latter, hence of the same nature; and its theurgy.
Theurgy being essentially the art of applying the divine powers of man to the subordination of the blind forces of nature, its votaries were first termed magicians -- a corruption of the word "Magh," signifying a wise, or learned man. The interior world has not been hidden from all by impenetrable darkness. By that higher intuition acquired by Theosophia -- or God-knowledge, which carried the mind from the world of form into that of formless spirit, man has been sometimes enabled in every age and every country to perceive things in the interior or invisible world. The search after man's diviner "self," so often and so erroneously interpreted as individual communion with a personal God, was the object of every mystic, and belief in its possibility seems to have been coeval with the genesis of humanity, each people giving it another name. Theosophy develops in man a direct beholding; ... so that under the influence and knowledge of hyponia man thinks divine thoughts, views all things as they really are, and, finally, "becomes recipient of the Soul of the World," to use one of the finest expressions of Emerson.
Is it too much to believe that man should be developing new sensibilities and a closer relation with nature? If, somewhere in the line of ascent from vegetable or ascidian to the noblest man a soul was evolved, gifted with intellectual qualities, it cannot be unreasonable to infer and believe that a faculty of perception is also growing in man, enabling him to descry facts and truths even beyond our ordinary ken.
The sages of the Orient ... showed us that by combining science with religion, the existence of God and immortality of man's spirit may be demonstrated like a problem of Euclid. We were taught that this omnipotence comes from the kinship of man's spirit with the Universal Soul -- God! Man-spirit proves God-spirit, as the one drop of water proves a source from which it must have come. When one sees mortal man displaying tremendous capabilities, controlling the forces of nature and opening up to view the world of spirit, the reflective mind is overwhelmed with the conviction that if one man's spiritual Ego can do this much, the capabilities of the FATHER SPIRIT must be relatively as much vaster as the whole ocean surpasses the single drop in volume and potency ... prove the soul of man by its wondrous powers -- you have proved God!
All original thinkers and investigators of the hidden side of nature whether materialists -- those who find in matter the promise and potency of all terrestrial life," or spiritualists -- that is, those who discover in spirit the source of all energy and of matter as well, were and are, properly, Theosophists. For to be one, one need not necessarily recognize the existence of any special God or deity. One need but worship the spirit of living nature, and try to identify oneself with it. Be what he may, once that a student abandons the old and trodden highway of routine, and enters upon the solitary path of independent thought -- Godward -- he is a Theosophist; an original thinker, a seeker after the eternal truth with "an inspiration of his own" to solve the universal problems. With every man that is earnestly searching in his own way after a knowledge of the Divine Principle, of man's relations to it, and nature's manifestations of it, Theosophy is allied. It is likewise the ally of honest science, as distinguished from much that passes for exact, physical science. ... also the ally of every honest religion -- to wit, a religion willing to be judged by the same tests as it applies to the others.
Broader and far more universal in its views than any existing mere scientific Society, it has plus science its belief in every possibility, and determined will to penetrate into those unknown spiritual regions which exact science pretends that its votaries have no business to explore. And, it has one quality more than any religion in that it makes no difference between Gentile, Jew, or Christian. It is in this spirit that the Society has been established upon the footing of a Universal Brotherhood. Theosophy is not a Religion, we say, but RELIGION itself, the one bond of unity, which is so universal and all-embracing that no man, as no speck -- from gods and mortals down to animals, the blade of grass and atom -- can be outside of its light. Therefore, any organization or body of that name must necessarily be a UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD.
Theosophy teaches the spirit of "non-separateness," the evanescence and illusion of human creeds and dogma, hence, inculcates universal love and charity for all mankind without distinction of race, colour, caste or creed. ... The first rule ... is to carry out the object of forming the nucleus of a universal brotherhood. The practical working of this rule was explained by those who laid it down, to the following effect--
HE WHO DOES NOT PRACTICE ALTRUISM; HE WHO IS NOT PREPARED TO SHARE HIS LAST MORSEL WITH A WEAKER OR POORER THAN HIMSELF; HE WHO NEGLECTS TO HELP HIS BROTHER MAN, OF WHATEVER RACE, NATION OR CREED, WHENEVER AND WHEREVER HE MEETS SUFFERING, AND WHO TURNS A DEAF EAR TO THE CRY OF HUMAN MISERY; HE WHO HEARS AN INNOCENT PERSON SLANDERED, WHETHER A BROTHER THEOSOPHIST OR NOT, AND DOES NOT UNDERTAKE HIS DEFENCE AS HE WOULD UNDERTAKE HIS OWN -- IS NO THEOSOPHIST.
In order that one should fully comprehend individual life, with its physiological, psychic and spiritual mysteries, he has to devote himself with all the fervour of unselfish philanthropy and love for his brother men, to studying and knowing collective life, or Mankind. Without preconceptions or prejudice, as also without the least fear of possible results in one or another direction, he has to decipher, understand and remember the deep and innermost feelings and the aspirations of the poor people's great and suffering heart. To do this he has first "to attune his soul with that of Humanity," as the old philosophy teaches; to thoroughly master the correct meaning of every line and word in the rapidly turning pages of the Book of Life of MANKIND and to be thoroughly saturated with the truism that the latter is a whole inseparable from his own SELF.
This is what one of them [the Masters] wrote in a letter preserved to this day:Theosophy must not represent merely a collection of moral verities, a bundle of metaphysical Ethics epitomized in theoretical dissertations. Theosophy must be made practical, and has, therefore, to be disencumbered of useless discussion. ... It has to find objective expression in an all-embracing code of life thoroughly impregnated with its spirit -- the spirit of mutual tolerance, charity, and love. Its followers have to set the example of a firmly outlined and as firmly applied morality before they get the right to point out, even in a spirit of kindness, the absence of a like ethic, Unity and singleness of purpose in other associations and individuals. As said before -- no Theosophist should blame a brother within or outside of the association, throw a slur upon his actions or denounce him lest he should himself lose the right of being considered a theosophist.Theosophists have no dogmas, exact no blind faith. Theosophists are ever ready to abandon every idea that is proved erroneous upon strictly logical deductions. Realizing, as they do, the boundlessness of the absolute truth, Theosophists repudiate all claim to infallibility. Their highest hope is to approximate to the truth.
The problem of true theosophy and its great mission is the working out of clear, unequivocal conceptions of ethic ideas and duties which would satisfy most and best the altruistic and right feelings in us; and the modeling of these conceptions for their adaptation into such forms of daily life where they may be applied with most equitableness.
But if no true Theosophist will ever dictate to his fellow, brother or neighbor, what this one should believe or disbelieve in, nor force him to act on lines which may be distasteful to him, however proper they may appear to himself, there are other duties which he has to attend to: (a) to warn his brother of any danger the latter may fail to see; and (b) to share his knowledge -- if he has acquired such -- with those who have been less fortunate than himself in opportunities for acquiring it.
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:
Thus, then, "UNION IS STRENGTH"; and for every reason private differences must be sunk in united work for our Great Cause.
--Five Messages From H.P.B.
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(1) NOTE:--A student's collation from the writings of H. P. Blavatsky.
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