THEOSOPHY, Vol. 19, No. 12, October, 1931 (Pages 561-563; Size: 9K)
THE SURE BASIS
PRESSURE upon the Divine part of our nature reacts upon the animal elements in us under the inevitable Law of all action. Whether we call this the will of God, as religious-minded men have always done, or recognize it as Newton's third law of motion, or name it Karma as Theosophists have learned to do -- the fact remains the one and the same fact. Voluntary action of any kind induces an involuntary reaction. Although we name the one, Cause, and the other, Effect, and the two together Law, their indivisible Unity as the basis of all manifestation is not observed by us in any practical sense. We still act upon the basis of Law and Miracle, of Law and Chance, of Free-will and Fate. It is this fundamental misconception of the basis of all change, whether in good or evil direction, which gives rise to both religion and superstition, both science and materialism.
All men are the hosts and the guests of two forces or influences -- what we call the Ideal and the Real. Whatever our understanding or power, or position, or relation in life, none is so dull or unfortunate, none so blest or able as to exempt him from the common fact that what happens to him is regarded as real; what has happened in the past, or what the future may hold in store, are both regarded as unreal when compared with the present, although we are aware that the "present" is as a matter of fact as illusive as what we call sunrise and sunset. We know, in short, that Time is one and indivisible, and its three "divisions" of Past, Present, and Future are pure fictions of our own. We divide Space in the same way into presence, nearness and farness, all the time knowing full well that Space is as omnipresent as Time is indivisible, as Law is inseparable from action.
All our religions and all our sciences -- which we regard as antagonistic to each other, when in truth both have to do with one and the same thing, the Life we live -- all our religion and science, even when combined, do not suffice to unite the Ideal and the Real in us; they neither produce in any man a concordance of all the elements of his Being, nor bring any nearer the harmony between one man and another which we call Brotherhood, let alone the harmony of man with the whole of Nature -- of which we and all other beings are essential and inseparable parts, as are the soldiers of any Army, or the members of the Body. We call disharmony in the body by a specific term, Disease; but we do not see that our mental and moral disharmonies, those of each man in himself, of man with man in human relations, of men in their relations with Nature at large -- that all these are universal diseases from which no human being is exempt, and the few who do recognize the fact seek either to escape it, to dodge it, to minimize it, to alleviate it, believing all the time that in the end they themselves as well as all other beings must succumb to it as inevitable. If we were wise, as Theosophists have it in their power to become wise, we would not merely recognize this universal fact of inharmony, of mental and moral and spiritual disease in ourselves and in nature, but we would also see that all this is but an effect, and would look for the cause of this effect. If we did that, not one Theosophist but could see that the whole structure of Life which we have reared, the good in it as well as the bad, rests upon a false basis -- the fundamental misconception of Nature and of Self.
Attempts to establish a nucleus of brotherhood, of "peace on earth, good will toward men," have been endless. They have all been as perishable as a fraternity of robbers. Robbers cannot see that the very idea of theft, of living at the expense of others, is fundamentally incompatible with enduring Union. No more can the most learned theologian in religion, the greatest mind in science, the wisest in statecraft. One and all, they proceed upon the basis of Separateness in some one or another of its countless ramifications. Yet the very primary perception of ultimates in each declare the Unity of Space, of Time, of Law -- the basic continuity of all things. Why this illogicality in the greatest reasoners, this absurdity in the greatest scientists, this obtuseness in the greatest theologians, quite as much as in the simplest and most unthinking man?
Theosophists have the answer, and they have it from the teachings of H. P. Blavatsky and her Masters -- even though few Theosophists have as yet applied their Theosophy to the great problems personified as religion, science, and philosophy. It is not that any Theosophist, the greatest any more than the least, is different from other men; it is that Theosophists have a sure basis, an enduring basis, an eternal basis. That basis is the perception of the Unity of all in nature; the Universality of Law; the evolution of each being through his own actions or conduct under that Law.
To see this is to see Universal Brotherhood as the eternal Ideal of all Nature, conscious or unconscious of the great Fact. To apply this perception in all the relations of daily life unshaken and undeterred by any failures in one's self or in others, is the Ideal of every true Theosophist. How is that Ideal to be realized? The answer is found in asking the correlative question: How have the Masters of Wisdom realized what to us still remains in the region of the ideal? By living from the basis of Unity and Continuity. In their words, as recorded by H. P. Blavatsky: By the reconciliation of the Divine Principles in us with the animal Elements of our Human nature -- the harmonization of all the warring factors in our own mental and moral constitution. Where else than in the study and application of the Theosophy of H. P. Blavatsky can Theosophists of every degree or persuasion find the sure basis for the formation of that Nucleus of universal brotherhood which will hold unbroken from generation to generation, from century to century, as impregnable as its Ideal -- the Great White Lodge(1)?
Attempts to live, that is to say, to think and to act from this basis, must of necessity meet with many failures, but the great fact remains that the basis is sure and unchanging, however many our failures to use it. Each repeated attempt, each new effort, no matter how many our failures, brings us ever more clearly to see that the failure is in ourselves, not in the basis taken. The Theosophist is inspired to renewed struggles even when he has failed. Other men, perhaps with more human ability, think and act from other bases -- those provided by their religion, their science, their philosophy, whatnot, only to find in the end that their very basis was a false one. There is no despair equal to this -- to find at last that our god is a false god, our philosophy a false philosophy, our science a false foundation. This dreadful awakening to the death of Ideals is the ruin of the individual man and of civilizations too. But the Theosophist, knowing that the sure basis on which he stands (or falls) is the unchanging Ideal which he is to realize, knows well that "each failure is success," for it brings him, even when he falls, by so much nearer union with the Divine in all nature.
Between the Lines
ONE (1) FOOTNOTE LISTED BELOW:
COMPILER'S NOTE: I added this footnote; it was not in the article. If it doesn't paint an accurate enough picture, or is incorrect, I hope the Editors of THEOSOPHY magazine will spot it and point it out to me, so that I can make the necessary corrections.
(1) "Great White Lodge" has nothing to do with skin color, and everything to do with White & Black, as in the following contrasting samples: Truth & Falsity, Light & Dark, Good & Evil, Love & Hate, Wisdom & Ignorance, etc.
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