IN THE BEGINNING
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IN THE BEGINNING
IT is futile to accept revelations on anybody’s say-so. They convey no knowledge, and it is actual knowledge that is required by each one. Shibboleths and formulas are mere words, not a criterion of truth.
Theosophy is in
the world to present the means by which each one can acquire knowledge for
Its study and application call forth the judgment and discrimination latent in the man himself.
Truth is not a man, nor a book, nor a statement. The nature of Truth is universal; its possessors in any degree will be found to be appliers of universality in thought, speech and action. Their efforts will be for humanity regardless of sex, creed, caste or color. They will never be found among those claiming to be the chosen spokesman of the Deity—and exacting homage from their fellow-men: true Brotherhood includes the least developed as well as the very highest. We must seek to give aid to all in search of truth. Our value and aid in this great work will be just what we make them by our motive, our judgment, our conduct.
The heart-felt desire that others may benefit from our lives will be felt by those open—it matters little how few; they may be the means of wakening many others. It is the effort and the sacrifice that bring the ultimate results, but in our zeal it is well to consider what the Masters have done, and do year after year, age after age. They do what They can, when They can, and as They can—in accordance with cyclic law. They conserve the knowledge gained—and wait. Knowing this, and doing thus, there can be no room in us for doubt or discouragement. The-
osophy is for those who want it. We are to hold, wait, and work for those few earnest souls who will grasp the plan and further the Cause. Many have their ears so dulled, or their attention so diverted, that no number of repetitions can reach them—yet Theosophy must be held out continually for all who will listen. That is our self-assumed work; we have our example in H. P. B. and W. Q. J. to means, method and manner: let us imitate them, and so do their work in their spirit.
The Theosophical “arch” has been thrown across the abyss of creeds and materialism. Some have discovered where a base rests on one or the other side; others have found “stones” that belong to the arch, but the “key-stone” has been “rejected” because of its irregular shape—all like the story of old in masonic tradition. But we are also reminded that the time came when the rejected stone became “the head of the corner” because it was found to be the key-stone. All the time there were those who knew of the key-stone, but they were very few and their voices were not heard amid the clamor of the claims made by those who had found portions of the arch and desired recognition. So the few had to “Work, Watch—and ‘Wait,” knowing that history repeats itself, and that there is nothing new under the sun.
The allegory of the tower of Babel applies to the present times. Everything is in confusion, everyone talking his own gibberish—and nobody listening. I said “nobody”—but some are; a few realize that none of these things bring knowledge. All that can be done is to let the light so shine that all who will may seek it, thus sowing for future harvest. It would be a hopeless task were is not for Reincarnation; so the great effort should be to promulgate the fundamental principles of Unity, of Brotherhood, of Karma and Reincarnation.
IN THE BEGINNING
In the work which we have undertaken together, it matters not whether “we” fail or succeed: Our purpose has been and will be that the Work shall go on. We can throw—each one of us—our best into the effort; the rest is in other and stronger hands. Our “best” may not be great, but if the motive is there, even to hold our ground is victory in some contingencies, for where there is no standing army, the art of fighting has to be learned; the recruits have to do the fighting, the older teaching and leading the younger. With no concern but to keep in fighting trim, our best work is done when most heavily pressed and tried.
It is, then, to the Teachings that attention has to be called— not to ourselves who are only handing them on as best we can. If one sees that in many ways he is not able to do all that needs to be done, or that he would like to accomplish, it is evidence that he is in the way of improving. Our ideals are never reached: they continually precede us. As a man thinks, so he becomes; time is an element in this, and it is shortened by patient doing of what we can. To be in the least cast down by our apparent imperfections is a form of impatience—a disregard of Law. Whatever comes is right—until something better appears. Observed defects will fade out under observation, so we can cheerfully bear with our own defects as well as with those of others, while we go right on working.
One of the
greatest helps that Theosophy gives is the power to take a wider survey of the
field of action than is otherwise possible: we do not look on this life only,
but on many future lives during which “I and thou and all the princes of the
earth” will live and strive for the universal redemption of mankind— ever
looking ahead, ever seeing further heights toward which the awakening spirit may
be directed. There is much strength, there are many faculties among men and
mostly used without direction of a permanent nature. Could right philosophy be
even the single idea of the Divine nature in man—a greater impetus would be given to right living; then a philosophy in accord with this nature would be sought by those so quickened.
It would not take so long, nor be so difficult, if those who are interested in Theosophy would stop figuring it out for themselves, and get busy in spreading the philosophy and the idea of service. Without the right philosophy, strength and special faculties are useless. If all study so as to be the better able to help and teach others, there must result a general gain and help. I think that the word “Theosophy” has power: if it had not, there would not be so many misusing the name. In spite of all these, Theosophy itself is untouched. Our work is to keep it pure as it was delivered to us, for the sake of those who can be helped—and we are finding some all the time. In better days we will be able to do more—and all the better because of present difficulties. Theosophy pure and simple is the standard by which efforts may be applied and errors combated, so it must always be kept in evidence as the source of all right effort.
When the Parent theosophical society was established, it was necessary to give it the form that would be best understood by the people of the time. It was known that many would cling to the form rather than to the spirit of the Theosophical Movement, and would imagine that the spirit could not exist in any other form. But also it was known that some would perceive the spirit and care only for that. Events have justified all this, so that we stand at another point in the cycle. Perfection in action is not possible; so, while showing forth the spirit of the Movement only, we yet present a visible basis necessary in any exoteric work. “U. L. T.” is a name given to certain principles and ideas; those who associate themselves with those principles and ideas are attracted and bound by them only—not by their fellows who do likewise or who refrain or who cease to consider themselves so bound. THE DECLARATION, with its signature by the Associates, is a wide departure from anything that exists as an organization.
IN THE BEGINNING
We are not concerned in “seeing things,” but in awakening the Higher Consciousness—for we know that Theosophy gives the knowledge of the principles that should guide its students in their public and private work. We should also be able to find explicit directions.—explicit in the sense that Theosophy points the way clearly how best to serve our fellows. So it is good work to search out and make available to all, those necessary quotations from their writings which carry the intent of the Teachers. If such could not be found, one might have grave doubts as to the course to be pursued. If we are able thus to throw a clearer light upon the intent, our work will be good for both the learners and the learned.
The basis of successful work is Unity: this is the constant cry of H. P. B. and W. Q. J. To be able to afford a basis for Unity to individuals or organizations, without demanding any relinquishment of affiliation or belief, is no small thing. The Declaration of “U. L. T.” does just that: it is not a theory, but a carrying out of the spirit of the Messengers. Paraphrasing a saying of the Master, we might say: “All Theosophy is before you; take what you can.”
The part we play, major or minor, does not concern us at all.’ We might say, as Judge once did, “sometimes a minor agent is used by the Lodge to call the attention of greater ones to a proper course.” Our work is to call attention to the true basis for Union among Theosophists—and at the same time to set the example. People need, whether new students or old, to grasp the message of Theosophy for itself—not because of belief in any person or organization. If students succeed in grasping and applying the Philosophy, they will have true clairvoyance as to men, things and methods, and their gratefulness will include all that contributed to their opportunity; this gratitude will find expression in their doing the same for others.
So, the effort should be to get those interested to participate, to associate themselves with the Work and share in its responsibility—not by proselyting or urging, but by keeping the idea before them in various ways. As with anything else, every method has to be tried, but without making the line too hard-and-fast. The main work is to convey ideas.
No doubt the “successorship” and organizational proponents will do some squirming over the “U. L. T.” Declaration. Any thing that might be said will not prevent their thinking and saying what they like—nor will their squirming affect the facts. If the Declaration shows itself to be directly in line with the teachings, the teachers, and the original lines laid down, it will make the observant think. Doubtless the Declaration could be amplified, but would not amplification detract from attention to the points made by it? It is direct and it is short, therefore quickly grasped. All can make their own deductions, but with us it is “a firm position assumed out of regard for the end in view.”
Our purpose is to draw attention to the Teachers and the Teaching, not to any others; hence it is conservation, safety, to maintain the impersonality of “U. L. T.” Its aim, scope and purpose are shown in the Declaration, and besides, attention is called to the great underlying Movement which compels such alterations from time to time; so, as the declared policy is followed out and the Teaching is studied, the practical amplification will come of itself. Until each one clarifies his own perceptions he would not know gold of Ophir from base metal. What we have avoided is the prevailing tendency to say too much.
Let “U. L. T.” flourish on its moral worth alone. The work we have to do, the knowledge we have to give out, depends on no other names than those of the true Teachers, H. P. B. and W. Q. J. Associates must learn to look to Them, to point to Them and to the Masters whom They served. Nothing else will restore the Movement. Unity is the key note of our attempt, and. living persons, if made prominent, will detract from that at tempt, will be attacked, to the injury of the Movement. So we will keep their names out of consideration. Let the curious and
the antagonistic surmise all they want to—the really earnest will then judge by the fruits, not by persons. Theosophy does not emanate from any society nor from any living persons. So far as the world and all Theosophists are concerned, Theosophy comes from H. P. B. and W. Q. J., or rather, through them. So, to avoid misconceptions, we get back of living persons to the Message and the Messengers.
W. Q. J. was not the “successor” of H. P. B.; he was her Colleague and Co-worker who retained his body a few years longer than she remained in hers. He was the “stone that was rejected by the builders,” who desired to pose as successors to H. P. B.—to the confusion of all who depended on them. The real foundation of the “successor craze” is the itch for more instructions; this begets the hunt after anyone who will promise fresh “revelations.” What was given Out by H. P. B., and applied by W. Q. J., was not and is not studied by Theosophists at large, or it would have awakened a fuller thought and realization by the students. All the theosophical follies are the result of ignorance, superstition and selfishness, which knowledge alone can overcome. Our efforts may seem inadequate, but they are in the right direction, and “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” We will do what we can and all that we know how to do, enduring the evils of the present while attempting that which will work for greater good in the future, here a little and there a little, thus leading the minds of Theosophists of every degree and in every society to as broad a conception of the Philosophy as possible. And all these efforts will be educational for us, too, for we will have to meet all kinds of minds from ignorance to arrogance, and so speak as to leave an impress that will stick.
H. P. B. once wrote: If anyone holds to Buddha’s philosophy, let him say and do as Buddha said and did; if a man calls himself a Christian, let him follow the commandments of Christ—not the interpretations of his many dissenting priests and sects.” The moral is—If anyone desires to be a Theosophist, let him study Theosophy as it was given by those who enunciated it. For one to accept as true what any teacher chooses to tell him,
without any means given him by which to verify the statements made, or without verifying for himself the facts alleged—is simply to believe on blind faith, as do so many others.
Our own difficult task is to avoid all semblance of authority of any kind, while being at the same time sure of our ground and not afraid to say so. We have, like the Founders, to give everyone an opportunity to see for himself that what we have to say is well founded. At present, the initiative is in our hands as the pioneers. We have to strike the key-note for those who come after us; once struck, it will be followed by those who take hold. The others will find it “too absorbing and too lofty” for them, and will not attempt it. In other words, we have to show the raison d’être of “U. L. T.” so that others may see it as clearly as we do. We have undertaken a high mission and a heavy task—not because we think ourselves so eminently fit, but because we see the need and there is no one else to do it; and we also know that we will not be left alone in the doing. So, what we have to give are the salient points, clear and definite, as well as concise in statement, so that thought shall be directed to them; to make the points so striking that they cannot be passed over, even by the careless reader; and that they shall stand as facts, and facts only, before the mind, verifiable by anyone who cares enough to do so.
IN THE BEGINNING
Mere attendance at meetings is not enough to make us feel our identity with the work. Attendance is but the preliminary to a further step; this shows itself when those who attend begin to ask how they may obtain further understanding. As they participate they develop, of course—but they must not be allowed to forget the object of the help afforded them, nor that such help is but a means and a way. The object of Theosophical study and
work is not individual development, but that each and all should become true helpers of Humanity. Some will catch the feeling. The tendency to say more than is useful to the newcomers is a common one in the beginning, but is gradually overcome when it is seen to minimize inquiry. We should push nothing, while responding to everything. We would not use force if we could, because each mind has to be free to choose; otherwise there would be no true progress. And I think this is a good attitude to be taken in the matter of questions concerning theosophical claims and exponents. These various stripes must have their place in the great economy of consciousness—they must have, or people would not be attracted by them, would not seize and hold on to them. When the particular “stripe” does not bring the devotee the expected result in knowledge, then a further search is indicated to the mind so caught. Every person really waked up by such claims or exponents will touch us sooner or later, if we hold to the straight line. On this, Mr. Judge once wrote: “By our not looking at their errors too closely, the Master will be able to clear it all off and make it work well.”
The fewer the words an idea can be expressed in, the better. Our effort is to disseminate among Theosophists the idea of unity regardless of organization. Many “old timers” will not see the need, but those disgusted with the claims and squabbles of organizations will fall into line on the true basis of union: “Similarity of aim, purpose and teaching”—for they will see that the failure of the various societies is in that basic lack. Let each go his own way, and with best intention, giving credit to others for the same: in this way we set up no hindrances, no matter what others may do. No hindrance leaves an inlet, and there is no saying what may come about even among those who hold to separateness. We sympathize with all efforts to spread broadcast the teachings of Theosophy pure and simple, without expressing preference for any organization or individual so engaged—recognizing that while methods differ, the Cause of one is the Cause of all, Meantime, we go on with our own line of work which, because of its freedom from any complications of organization,
presents a catholic spirit. We are not drawing attention to our selves as a body, but to the principles that, as a body, we hold. The Declaration is a summation of the stand that all Theosophists should take—toward the work and toward each other. We all need to cultivate that charity which sympathizes with every effort to spread Theosophy, even if the methods and other things do not appeal to us: any effort is better than no effort at all.
This tolerance does not mean “fraternizing” with everything and everyone that demands it; it only means that no one is to be condemned for his opinions. We may not care to spend time and energy in his direction, which is our privilege—and if he were himself tolerant he would not wish us to. Many who talk “tolerance” seem to think it means that every one else should endorse what they want to say or do. The tolerance is of little value which consists in the egotistical attempt to enlist the support of those who have their own duty to attend to.
“U. L. T.” and its Declaration will be compared by many with the claims made by the various societies and their exponents. Each of these makes the claim that he or it is alone right. What are our claims?—it will be asked. We make none: we point to the Message, the Messengers, and Their enunciation of the Work—and carry on the latter in accordance; we have no “revelation” to offer, we only hand on that which was known before. The position is unique and unassailable in that it makes no claim to any other authority than, the Message and the Messengers. It should be our policy to state at each meeting what our purposes are—namely, to disseminate the fundamental principles of Theosophy and to answer questions on the provided.
The Authority which we recognize is not what men term authority, which comes from outside and which demands obedience, but an internal recognition of the value of that which flows through any given point, focus, or individual. This is the authority of one’s Self-discrimination, intuition, the highest intellection. If we follow what we recognize in that way, and still find it good, we naturally keep our faces in that direction. This means no slavish following of any person—a distinction
which some are unable to grasp. H. P. B. wrote: “Don’t follow me or my Path: follow the path I show, the Masters who are behind.” We point always that the most and the best anyone can do is to do as Judge did—follow the lines laid down by H. P. B., regardless of any others. All that we are doing is to help others to find those lines. We do not want attention paid to us. It is true that “U. L. T.” necessarily centers around those most active in it, but they could do nothing if history, evidence, and energies were not in the lines taken. So we point to those lines of direction as the things to be seen and known. For ourselves we are merely some who are able to grasp and apply as well as aid in direction. This will prevent “U. L. T.” from degenerating into some such condition as now exists throughout the theosophical world, for if attention is attracted to detracted from the real issue. One may have confidence, how ever, without making the mistake of placing anyone too high. The strength shown by any worker is not that of the personality, which has none, of itself; it lies in the words, the ideas, the conviction of truth held by the inner man.
IN THE BEGINNING
H. P. B. showed herself a true Teacher when she said, “Do not follow me nor my path; follow the path I show, the Masters who are behind.” The wisdom of this advice is seen in observing the course of those who judged of the teaching by what they could see of the teacher. They judged her by their standards, not by her adhesion to the Theosophy she taught. W. Q. Judge had similar judgment passed on him, primarily because he upheld H. P. B. first, last, and all the time. This was the underlying cause of the attacks made on him by those who should have been his defenders. They were fearful of “authority”—so fearful they tried
to convey the impression that they could explain her away, could tell where she was right and where she made “mistakes”; thus making a claim to authority that she never made. They minimized the only possible source on which reliance could be placed, while Judge continually pointed to her as the Teacher to whom all alike should look.
Those who followed his example and advice then, or who will follow it now, found and will find where she pointed. In effect it comes to this, that those who professed or who profess to look to H. P. B. as their Teacher, do not do so unless they also look on Judge as she looked on Him. If they minimize or vilify Judge, they have to minimize and vilify H. P. B.
We are striving for Unity first, and as far as possible leave out points that may antagonize. Theosophy itself, pure and simple, is the great “unifier”; more we can encourage others to study and apply Theosophy, the more will they see for themselves the parts played by the various persons and personages in the movement. Our work is to inform, not to proselyte.
The Masters used Colonel Olcott because he was fit for the work he was given to do, and the only one at that time who could do it; and furthermore, he was willing, despite his failings, to stick to his task without hope of reward. It is certain that he missed much that he might have had, and finally let the Society drift into the wrong hands through his very inability to discriminate. For this, he alone was to blame; but the law adjusts and will adjust. We cannot judge as between him and Those who used him. They did not condone his faults. They used his virtues—and gave him every opportunity to increase them. Perhaps his close and unremitting attention to the exoteric work he had to do, prevented attention to his own nature, so that he thought he was entitled to some relaxation of the kind he understood. It may be that some knowing his faults, and that he still did good and prominent work for the Movement notwithstanding—have reasoned that the faults do not count, and can be atoned for, or overlooked, as is the case with many a public man by reason of service. This is a mistake, for the path of true Occultism and
that of immorality do not coincide. The Masters do not judge anyone, nor can They “forgive” anyone for sins of omission and commission. Naturally They must stand as did the Essenian Master, when he said, “Let him that is without sin amongst you, cast the first stone.” Masters have to use such material as exists. If anyone has lapses, so much the worse for him and for the work. It should also be remembered that so long as one is willing to stay in the work, he can. Each stays or goes out in accordance with his own desire. The door is never shut on him by the Law, and the laws of Occultism do not permit “removal for cause.” It is strange that so many who have studied Theosophy fail to understand these things, but never fail to characterize and pass judgment.
And all this applies, not to Colonel Olcott only, nor to any particular person. It applies to all and sundry—ourselves included. All through the writings and conduct of H. P. B. and Judge, condemnation of others is warned against; yet those who elected themselves to be their students paid little attention either to warning or example. This led either to condemnation of persons, or to worship of them, and then to dissensions and disruptions, ending in total lack of discrimination. The Path of Brotherhood and the Path of Occultism are One Path.
Of course, here and there, all the crimes in the calendar have been committed by professed theosophists, but the majority, in the old days as now, have been good men and women—many times misled by their own ignorance, by their misconceptions, by their desires and passions sometimes, but honestly striving with their enormous difficulties. Olcott was not young when he was “pulled out of the fire,” and had the vices of his time and position in the world. But he did what no one else at that time would undertake; the Masters assisted him, while knowing his weaknesses; and we should judge him by what he did for Theosophy. So also with Mrs. Besant, who is sincere, if mistaken. In Mrs. Tingley there is apparent lack of sincerity, and much that is the opposite of theosophical conduct. When questions are asked, and when occasion compels it, plain statements of fact have to
be made, but in defense of Theosophy, not in condemnation of any person. This is our key to a right attitude in all such cases presented by theosophical history, made or in the making. It may be a hair line—but we have to find it, and while pointing out truth, whether in Theosophical philosophy or history, to avoid condemnation, even where names have to be mentioned. Where others have made mistakes and gone wrong, they become a vicarious atonement for those who might have done the same thing but for the lesson learned from the errors of others.
IN THE BEGINNING
Organizational Theosophists have the “successorship” idea in their minds, as has the world in general, simply because of the various claims made in that direction. This has to be cleared up in no uncertain way, but at the same time without the slightest intimation of intolerance or condemnation, by pointing out that one has to know Truth in order to detect its counterfeits. So we point to the Message and the Messengers as the Source upon which all should rely who desire to learn what pure Theosophy is and what it is not.
There are many things to be worked out in connection with the “U. L. T.” If the movement is to spread, how are beginnings to be made in other places, and how are they to be started right and kept in line? It can only be done through close communication with some sure and solid point of help and guidance. As matters stand, anyone can take the name and consciously or unconsciously mix things up—as has been done with Theosophy itself. What means, if any, should be taken to conserve the name “U. L. T.” to the particular effort? It is for us to devise ways and means. There is time enough, but the field should grow in extent, so that the future has to be considered. Would not a magazine serve as guide and means of communication whereby
the discrimination and judgment of all would grow? What all need is intelligent devotion to Masters’ cause, which involves the subservience of the personal self. It is always personal divagations that throw students off the Philosophy and “the straight and narrow path.” We have to go ahead, doing what seems right in ever varying circumstances, and that is where discrimination comes in. It is never what one would like to do in this or that condition—but what should be done. We have much to do to fit ourselves for what may be in store. Can we do it? We can try.
If basic ideas are not taken in, nothing can be done. If we can do no more, as humble agents, than to keep these ideas alive in the world and among Theosophists, we should be content; but we are not through, and while our life lasts we will keep on doing all we can to give others a sound basis, a better understanding of what the great Ideas of Theosophy mean. Each of us must find his own expressions of the same great Truths.
This is an age of transition and our work is to hark back to first principles, promulgate and sustain them as best we can, so that they shall be ready for those who need them, drawing our inspiration from the Message and the Messengers. This constitutes the right work for all Arjunas. It is not the “personality,” but what “it” represents to us that is the danger. In the case of some it might drag down the ideal; so, let the ideal exist, but let the visible focus be unknown except to those who have a right to know.
There must be “someone” to reply to questions; a magazine would do this without making anyone responsible for the opinions therein expressed. We must get one started, but we will need readers—where will they be found? That also is for the future. We will have to advance boldly without,—not in our own strength, but in the strength of that for which we speak. We have to be like Sir Galahad whose “strength was as a thousand men because his heart was pure.” There will be then no terror of personal defeat, nor anxiety for personal success, but only Masters’ work and our continued effort in it. If this spells failure, we will have the right to pronounce the word and understand
its meaning; at the very Worst, We Will not have “failed” in vain. But we have no idea of failing, because the only real failure would be to stop working, and we will not do that.
We cannot and should not prevent others from using the Declaration of “U. L. T.”—but we should see that they get started right. If other centers are begun and those beginning them have the right spirit, they will want to be in close touch with the rest. We have not only the duty of promulgating, but of safeguarding as far as possible the spirit of our Declaration. “U. L. T.” is avowedly a voluntary association; hence a Lodge that would not want association with the rest would be an anomaly. Is it possible that any group in sympathy with the Declaration would hold the opinion that unity is local only? They might; but Registration would help. If any did not wish to register, would they be in accord? Lodges, like Associates, should become so by the simple fact of registration.
Growth of the movement should be and will be slow, but it cannot be kept confined and still be growth. As new centres spring up, perhaps at great distance, they would easily be thrown into confusion without the help of trained Associates. What means should be taken to keep such centers in touch with older students? A magazine would help greatly if all the Associates took it—but we have to remember that only a very small proportion did that in the old days. That may prove to be the case with us, yet we must try to lay firm foundations for all who will enter. This is our duty to them, to the Masters, and to ourselves whose aim is to serve the cause of Masters.
IN THE BEGINNING
What we need to be on our guard against in working theosophically, is not our mistakes—but our avoidable mistakes.
It is a mistake to allow the impression to grow in anyone’s mind that he is of importance to Theosophy. Theosophy was
restored to the world for the sake of those who are looking for light, not for those who are satisfied with things as they are and life as they find it. So, to try to interest special persons is not worth the effort expended. The very effort made prevents by arousing either opposition or erroneous notions. To let as many as possible know about Theosophy, but to seek out no one in particular, is the wiser course.
The Karma of many is such as to leave no mental or physical doors open directly, yet even they may be reached indirectly through the efforts of others in affinity with them, who may take hold and find the way. What we should do is rather to convey the information that the opportunity to understand and apply Theosophy comes under Karma to the very few, not because it is withheld from anyone, but because their prevailing tendencies are not of a nature to leave the mind open to the consideration of new truths, or to enable them to take advantage of the ways and means afforded. This comes from neglect or misuse of opportunities in former lives, in many cases. Especially is this true in this age when so much of the ancient Wisdom is once more made available to all who will. All get this chance, some more favorably than others. It is the height of unwisdom to neglect the opportunity again, most especially in those cases where it is brought home to them without effort. In our daily lives we mingle with people as they are. This enables us to show human sympathy with their life, to understand their conditions, without getting involved in either, while in indefinable ways giving the impression of the serious side of life and the necessity of real knowledge as to its meaning.
It is both wise and necessary to have a good comprehension of ways and means, of the processes of dealing with others’ minds, not merely for the sake of doing or being good,” but that they and we may learn the rules of Soul-warfare, the duties, individual and collective, of the incarnated Ego, the ‘Warrior.” We are Karma, for we are the cause of all we do. Our trouble is that we do not realize the extent to which the causes go which we set in motion, either for good or evil. Hence the necessity for know-
ing our pedigree, spiritual, intellectual, and physical. Our heredity is our own, the present effects of causes set going by us in the long past.
Although all that we can say is but a re-statement, there is a different light cast sometimes by a word or an application, which will be helpful and useful to some. The two things that hinder effectiveness are our own failure to give as good an impression as might be, and the failure of the listener to appreciate the meaning of what is said. Most minds cannot look beyond the person, with his faults and limitations, beyond the giver to the gift itself and all that it implies, and so, expect too much of the personality in that it does not fully embody what is handed on.
This will be true of the “U. L. T.,” as of the workers who make up its life, for the course of “U. L. T.” will be what its Associates make it—no more, no less. Its “basis for union” is purposely left undefined from the exoteric, the personal, point of view, in order to make more prominent the true and lasting basis for unity among all who call themselves Theosophists. A central office or bureau of registry will serve to keep a record of all Associates, and to receive and give out information and help to all Lodges and individual inquirers interested in any way in Theosophy and the Theosophical Movement, quite regardless of whether they are affiliated with our Association or not.
This means of Theosophical inter-communication will be of great importance, but every care must be taken to keep it impersonal, non-partisan, non-proselyting, while at the same time a dependable source of information on Theosophical history as well as philosophy. It must be so conducted that it will never drift into any kind of a controlling force. This can always be obviated and guarded against by continual reiteration and application of the principle of union, that “mental control” of any kind is contrary to the letter and the spirit of our Declaration, and that, while Lodges and individuals may seek information, advice and suggestion, they are not in any way bound in so doing.
Those who are true to this principle will always remain in union, even on an agreement to differ, if the older students take
that position and set the example themselves. It should never at any time, nor should any of our policies and practices, degenerate into hard and fast conclusions as to men, things, or methods of work. If we stand true and steadfast as to our aim, purpose and teaching, we will afford such aid and guidance as is in our power to all who may inquire, and all necessary arrangements will shape themselves. We have but to keep continually in mind and heart the original lines laid by H. P. B. and W. Q. J., namely UNITY first, as a focus for spiritual growth and mutual strength; STUDY, that a knowledge of the Movement, its purpose, its Teachers and its Message, may be had; WORK, upon ourselves in the light of that study, and for others first, last, and all the time.
All that any of us can give is Theosophy. We did not invent it. It was given to us; we stand in line and pass it along, as people used to do at fires in passing the buckets of water. People are grateful to the one who passes the “water of life” along to them, but the “passer” knows where gratitude belongs, and says: “don’t thank me; thank Theosophy—as I do. It enables me to help others; it will also enable you.” Thus he helps them and helps himself to get rid of the personal idea. The fight against the “personal idea” is a long one and a strong one. It has to be guarded against that it does not take to itself what it has no claim to. What others think we are serves as an object lesson for them, but our ideal is beyond all personality and personalities. It does not matter what people think of “us,” as long as they come and get Theosophy straight. There should be more and more come in closer, for the sake of Theosophy—new units in the body of Workers.
The Messengers have left all that is necessary—for us and for others—in the way of direction; it is for us and for them to apply the right things at the right times and in the right way. Some may think this discouraging; so, many are looking for “orders and instructions” from Masters in ways and means. This would not do any good, even if it were possible, for if directed in every thing, how could we grow in discrimination, judgment and
power? We would be but automata, and would never fill the necessary place. No doubt They help all sincere men by adjustment rather than direction; so we should not look for the latter, but using our own best Theosophical judgment move forward, feeling sure that if our understanding of the nature of the task is good, and our motive pure, the right way will appear to us. This will be guidance of the right sort—one that leads to growth. In the meantime we live and learn, and should not forget that They and we are working in the present for the future, and for the same great end. It is a “bumpy” road that we are traveling—because the Karma of our race has constructed that kind of a road; there is no other way to get help to the race but by traveling it as best we can.
Masters do not direct; They adjust. There have been and there are those who think and say, in effect: “the Master will do everything.” All such are bound to go wrong, by not considering what is the right thing and the right way, by not using all the powers they have to determine the right procedure and conduct. We trust to the great Lodge and to the Law, but use the powers we have to the best of our ability: what we cannot do, we know They will do when necessary. We have to present this idea for the better guidance of all.
IN THE BEGINNING
Many members of the various theosophical societies will naturally demur to our conclusions and conduct, while sympathizing with our determination to adhere to Theosophy strictly as originally recorded. Others, the “old timers” who play the leading roles in these societies, will oppose us vigorously while themselves claiming to “revere” H. P. B. This cannot be avoided if we are to be true to our declared purposes, for those purposes would necessitate a radical change in attitude on the part of both leaders
and followers in the different societies. But all those who are not so deeply committed that they will not or dare not consider philosophy, logic and facts on their merits—all those who are or who may become to any extent open-minded, will make some investigation, will gain a better outlook to that degree, a better appreciation of the need for Unity on a philosophical basis. These impressions will be recalled when such theosophists themselves are forced by events within their own sphere of interest to a reconsideration. Let us, then, trust to recorded facts, recorded philosophy, and the consistent example set by the true Teachers H. P. B. and W. Q. J.
It was natural that you should attend the Art Exhibit, but unfortunate that it detracted from the strength of the meeting by taking you away. Where there are so few, the absence of even one is felt by all. It weakens the current by division of interest for the time being; moreover, the tendency to repeat is easily established. This may seem like making a “jealous god” out of Theosophy, but it springs from experience, and is given for what it may be worth to you. It should not be taken as a stricture on any particular thing or person, but in general, as a guiding principle. I know that you are no lukewarm Theosophist, but I am thinking of the example set to younger students. It is so easy, and especially in the earlier stages, to lose enthusiasm for the Work itself through dissipation of energy in diversions harmless in themselves. It is better to take relaxation or to attend to “social” matters at other than meeting times, if our intention really is “to sacrifice to the Permanent the mutable.”
A year ago at this time, what has since been done and what is in the air to be done, all seemed a long, long way off. U. L. T. has made quite a stride since it was formed, and already it is standing firmly on its own feet, and begins to make its voice heard in the land. Devotion did it, and has grown stronger through the efforts made; so there is every encouragement. A few have already grasped something of the spirit of this movement; there will be more as time goes on, and some of them will grow into real warriors. If we give our hearts to the Cause, all the rest will follow.
Many hear, but few heed the Message, and of those who heed, few are they who take to heart the warnings of the Teachers. Some think, evidently, that all warnings are a sort of scare crow to test their courage. They forget or ignore that the real test is not of our courage but of our discrimination. If the philosophy is true and Masters are behind it, then what They say is meant. They have said other things besides warnings, and these also are meant, as fully and as truly as their warnings.
Theosophy is not in conflict with any form of religion, any society, any man, any opinion—however much these may be in conflict with Theosophy. What Theosophy is engaged in, through those who believe in it, as we do, without any mental reservations whatsoever, is a battle for recognition. Theosophy serves to explain the hidden side, the real and inner meaning of all things, for it is a friend to understanding, an aid to knowledge. By it a man may come to know himself through and through. It is because of misunderstanding of the real Self that we have all these religions, sects, parties, dogmas, with all their vested interests and sustainers. It is the Karma of the race that meets us, so we will not cry out nor dodge it when it confronts us. What we might otherwise think is the worst, is the best thing that could come, if we meet it in the right spirit, clearing up our Karma as we go along, making ourselves better instruments for Them. We are not working because of our self-interest in the results, but for Masters and for Humanity. So, we will take cheerfully whatever comes, “enjoy or suffer whatever the Higher Self may have in store for us by way of experience or discipline.” It is for us to go on without doubt or anxiety: both are hindrances which spring from the lower nature, not the Higher. We suffer, and must continue to suffer from the bodily and mental weaknesses of the race. We can cheerfully endure all this when we are working for a better time, better minds and bodies, better understanding for the whole of humanity.
There come times to everyone in his development when work seems useless and irksome. I think that the irksomeness of the work is the cleaning up of Karma and the clearing up of “the
sheaths of the Soul.” That which galls, that which hurts, is our personal desires unattained or feared to be unattainable. We can go through all, bear all, in thinking of the Self of all. It is by giving up self to Self that the White Adept has become what He is. We “know” all this very well, but it is the realization of it that we lack; hence we find the pressure hard many times. We have to keep on, and dwell as much as possible in the Self and on the Self; every effort brings the time of realization nearer.
It is by dwelling on our inherent perfectibility that we get rid of our imperfections. The last thing to doubt is the inherent perfectibility of all men. Here is an interesting statement by H.P. B.:
“Every Ego has the Karma of past Manvantaras behind him. The Ego starts with Divine Consciousness—no past, no future, no separation. It is long before realizing that it is itself. Only after many births does it begin to discern, by this collectivity of experience, that it is individual. At the end of its cycle of reincarnation it is still the same Divine Consciousness, but it has now become individualized Self- Consciousness.”
Without this sense of inherent perfection, there would be nothing worth living for: a few years of “pleasure and pain,” and then it is all gone—and what has been gained? Do what we will, we cannot escape Life, for we are Life—all the time; most of us realize but a portion of its possibilities. Sometime we will learn what Life really means. We are working to that end, for others as well as ourselves—mostly now for those others “who know still less than we,” but we also are learning all the time. Is it not worth all that it costs? Men make greater sacrifices than we are called upon to make, and for infinitely less—a few years of questionable happiness, and then oblivion as far as they know or can see. That we can see even a little of the purpose of life, is much; to feel it, is greater still; to realize it, is to Live. If Nietzsche’s doctrine is right, then we have made a great mistake. Well, have we? There is no “if” about it; we have every certainty that we are doing right in following the Path of Mas-
ters, the lines laid by H. P. B. So what matters it if we suffer wounds in battling for Them and for all mankind. We have accomplished something, however small. We have done all that we could do and the fight is still on. It is a School of Life, and everything that comes to us at any time contains in it the thing we need, whether it seems hard, troublesome ,or pleasant.
The Work makes up for the sacrifice. “Nothing is gained with out sacrifice.” Let us take to heart Judge’s words: “And yet, at every moment, every hour of each day, these Masters are willing and anxious to meet those who are clear-eyed enough to see their own true destiny, and noble-hearted so as to work for ‘the great orphan, Humanity.’”
IN THE BEGINNING
There are many “good souls” who do not know their own minds, and hence have no solid basis in Theosophy while accepting it as the only thing worth knowing. They cannot “stay put” any where. We don’t have to hunt them up—they come to us right along. If we had to look for them we might let them go by, as not being of the right kind or from some other ostensible reason. There are hundreds who have gone off on one wrong track or another. They all have some good traits—Karmic inheritances; but these do not bring Wisdom nor Will. They need guidance, not leadership. Study and work is their only salvation and we can help them all to the degree that our Karma and theirs permits, if only by example. Our work is with all Theosophists. As far as I can see, “U. L. T.” is the only real “olive branch” in the Movement, for it means peace with all, in unity of aim, purpose, and teaching.
Had Theosophists remained together on this basis, dissensions could never have occurred, and the many side-issues would have had no vogue. What a Karma for the delinquents and for the
world! The ignorant take up with pretensions and promises, and while some will remain ignorant, no small number will develop into sorcery of the worst kind. The undiscriminating innocents in all these bodies screen what is behind, because unable to see that they are being used for selfish ends. That is the pity of it. The great majority of people deride the idea of anyone possessing occult powers for evil.
This is the
mystery of the human mind. Being creative, it endows its every form of thought
with life and being, makes for itself idols in its own image, and then seeks to
exact obedience from others. And such idols as it creates—monsters or vampires!
These things are not pleasant to contemplate, but they exist. We cannot shut our
eyes to them, and must warn all whom we can, pointing to the SELF as the refuge.
Theosophists, if they would follow the one safe, true and royal road, have to
forget persons and leaders and attend to Principles, and be loyal to Those who
gave them out. In order to be loyal to H. P. B. and
W. Q. J., they have to follow the lines laid down by the Teachers. If we are loyal to H. P. B. and Judge and what They stand for, we shall not be found running after leaders who cry lo here, and lo there. Many are “joined to their idols: let them alone.” But warnings to would-be’s are always in order, and where we see danger to others, it is our duty to warn—not in antagonism to anything but those errors and wrong practices which bring injurious results. Theosophists must point out error by comparison with Theosophy. Methods must vary with time, place and conditions. Few minds, especially those attracted by “the lure of the Occult,” are able to make applications in any wide sense. Distinctions have to be pointed out to them. We have to learn that the way to present truth is by examining various beliefs in its light, not by forcible attempts to “corner” another. Even an animal resists when cornered; so the right way to obtain consideration of the ideas we have to present implies a full sense of freedom on the part of the one who listens, as well as on the part of the speaker. In these days of proselyting and propaganda for all sorts of ‘isms there is the more need for tolerance if we are to find those chinks
in the mind of others through which questions may possibly be aroused. We can set the example of examining anything on its merits, and then presenting in contrast the Theosophical view, which accords with nature as a whole.
The “U. L. T.” Declaration should turn the attention of every open-minded Theosophist from forms to principles. It provides a real basis for study and work. Its reasonableness should awaken many to get busy on themselves. The door is open to all, but we cannot help those who will neither listen nor think. I was amused at the statement published in the Besant periodical that U. L. T. is a “secession from Point Loma.” I wonder how they made the deduction? As it is largely composed of Theosophists from different organizations, it might better be called a “secession” from them all! The fact that “U. L. T.” does not profess attachment to any organization, and that it has no organization of its own, does not appear to have registered with those who would pigeon-hole us as well as themselves. We can leave it to time to vindicate the truth. As the years go on, and “U. L. T.” becomes better known by its fruits, it will be more and more difficult for those who have an axe to grind to label us anything but straight- line Theosophists, resolutely declining any connection with any theosophical organization, but always in full sympathy with our fellow-Theosophists of all organizations or of none. Yet we must be watchful to correct the impression wherever it exists that “U. L. T.” is a secession or succession, or anything but an Association to study and apply Theosophy pure and simple. Can any sincere student observe the things taught and done in the name of Theosophy and fail to see the crying need for just such an Association as “U. L. T.”? Some otherwise loyal Theosophists think that the Movement has failed for this cycle, because of the dissensions and false doctrines so much in evidence. They ought to remember that Masters never cease working, and that it is always possible for even the humblest Theosophist who is clear-eyed and humanity-loving to aid Their endeavor. The way to know the truth is to get back to what the Teachers themselves gave, both in philosophy and
in right work. If that is done, it will be found that there is neither “variableness nor the shadow of turning” in the “U. L. T.” from the lines laid down by those Teachers. We need to bring again and again to the attention of all discouraged or bewildered Theosophists what H. P. B. wrote to Judge in 1888:
“Night before last I was shown a bird’s-eye view of the Theosophical Societies. I saw a few earnest, reliable Theosophists in a death-struggle with the world in general, and with other—nominal but ambitious—Theosophists. The former are greater in number than you may think, and they prevailed, as you in America will prevail, if you only re main staunch to the Master’s programme and true to yourselves.”And again: “For it is only when the Nucleus is formed that the accumulations can begin that will end in future years, however far, in the formation of that body which we have in view.”
missed much by careless reading. If this is a Movement inspired by Masters, and
H. P. B. and Judge were Their mouth-pieces, there is the necessity for looking into the meaning behind the words They used. To think that the effort had failed and that it was no use to try further, would show lack of faith in the Masters and a misunderstanding of the great occult laws that govern such a Movement as this. “The wheel of the Good Law moves swiftly on. It grinds by night and day. The worthless husks it drives from out the golden grain, the refuse from the flour.” This must apply to the Movement, as well as to everything else—being Universal in its scope. I do not think that They used words purposelessly; it is for us and for all others who would serve Them, to apply, apply, apply Their teachings. There is no time limit to effort.
IN THE BEGINNING
If we waited until we were saints would we ever begin? The Gita says, “Lay all thy deeds, good and bad alike, upon me.” We have to give ourselves as we are, not as we would like to be, or we could never become as Masters are. The fact that some of our deeds are recognized as bad, means their relinquishment sooner or later. This must be so, if we are striving to be true to Them. So, while doing all we can to make the way sure and clear according to our lights, we may step forward with strength and boldness, because the path is Theirs as well as ours. At times we may doubt, but this arises from the personal uncertainty, the fear of one or another consequence. We should take it that what ever comes is a necessary position for us to be in, in order to do further and better work for Them.
And we are helped, and in the right way, the way our nature needs—not necessarily according to what we assume would be the proper way. If we felt certain that They would be on hand to pull US Out of holes we walk into carelessly, or have made possible by past neglect, how could we ever learn right discrimination and right action? “Ingratitude is not one of our vices.” They have said this, and it is lived up to. We may be sure the very best that can be done for us is done and being done all the time. We have to find the way to Them through service. Criticisms by others may or may not be well taken. We have to judge by results obtained, rather than by anyone’s opinion, and follow those methods which bring desirable results. “Old timers” will naturally criticize because in many cases they have lost the spirit of the work. They are in the dark generally, both as to Theosophy and the theosophical organizations, so that simple loyalty and devotion to the Message and the Messenger is difficult for them to understand. We shall be glad to have their moral support if no more, and their criticisms will help us to steer clear of repeating the errors of the past. The
old timers” do not realize that they need adjustment more than any newcomers to Theosophy. The best way to help both classes of mind as well as ourselves is to stick to principles and let each apply them for himself. The “stuff” handed out by all these organizations and leaders, the claims made for them, only go to show how vitally necessary it is that the true Teachers and the true Teaching should be pointed out in no uncertain tone.
There is a psychic wave at present and it will require much effort to maintain any movement in the true direction. So far as we are concerned, this will cause the output of energy which increases strength. If it were not for such obstacles and opportunities we might fall into mere reliance upon our present acquirements and results achieved, and so go no further. We have to think at all times of others and of the future. If others are not helped and trained to take hold, to share in the work and its responsibilities, then, should anything happen to us, the Work would suffer. Study and preparation on the part of beginners will alone make them efficient as propagandists. In endeavoring to aid them, it is essential to encourage their own initiative as much as possible, suggesting and adjusting when and where necessary.
For the beginning, the middle, and the end, we should hold to the Three Fundamental Propositions of The Secret Doctrine in all our public work—for upon these the whole philosophy hinges, and unless well grounded in them, no real progress can be had. The first thing to make clear in every exposition of Theosophy is the impossibility of the ordinary conception of a personal or separate God, and the importance of realizing the SELF as all, in all. Then, the Law of Periodicity, Cycles or Karma, in all its applications as “the world’s eternal ways.” This shows Reincarnation by analogy, as also the successive re-embodiments of solar systems, planets, and every form of matter. This leads naturally to the consideration of “the Universal Over-Soul,” the collective intelligence in any solar system, as well as in all of them—for all are connected, “down to the minutest conceivable atom,” and what affects one affects all—Egos small and great as well as
embryonic ones. This means Unity throughout all, inter-action among all, individual responsibility.
It will be well at every study class to state what the purpose of the meeting is; to have volunteers state in their own words their understanding of the Three Fundamentals. Questions should be freely invited and asked, the object being that students, even beginners, should formulate for themselves. Only so can they make their understanding good, and get themselves in the position where they can best help others even as they have been helped. In the class in The Ocean of Theosophy, the Three Fundamentals are the background of the whole work. Chapter by chapter, in question and answer, the applications can be brought out and the consistency of the entire philosophy made clear. Individual students who want to learn should both ask and answer questions in terms of the philosophy itself. There will be difficulty in getting many to see the importance of this continual reiteration, but it is essential to all true progress.
Unavoidably we shall draw the attention of those who are inimical to anything we may attempt in Theosophical work, as well as the attention of those who desire to learn what pure Theosophy is. Well, all this takes time to overcome, but time swallows up men, centuries, and worlds—as well as some attitudes of mind. We know such an effort as ours is needed, and we know that what we present is eternal Truth itself, the effects of which will go on forever. We are glad to have people “register,” glad for them, and glad for the world’s sake, but not as a favor to us. We can rejoice that those interested are able to see their true interest and join themselves to the helpers of humanity. There is much of wrong, of error, of mistaken idea, and these we have to recognize where found, take a lesson from them, and so avoid the pitfalls into which so many have stumbled. We need not care for what is said about any of us personally, though we shall have to meet it so that “U. L. T.” will not be affected by anything of the kind. All attacks upon Theosophy and Theosophical work have been directed, not at the philosophy or the Objects of Theosophical work, but at those who were at the front and looked
upon as the directors of the Movement. We will discount this as much as possible by keeping ourselves in the background, so that if attacks should come, as is not improbable, they will affect the work as little as possible. The way we have marked out for ourselves bids fair to prevent any particular hindrance to our work. H. P. B. and Judge were pioneers, and many of the theosophical illuminati—save the mark—have sought to belittle Them. The whole crowd of “successors” have either to belittle the Teachers—or direct attention to Them. In the latter case, the “successors” lose out; what they have done and are doing tells its own story. Well, people can take their choice between our work, which directs attention to the Messengers and Their Message, and the work of those who call attention to themselves by hoisting themselves up on what the Messengers have left for the world. If the world had to depend on these “old timers” for Theosophy pure and simple, what chance would the world have?
The Movement begun by H. P. B. and Judge has passed through many changes—changes unavoidable in a period of transition and among people whose heredity and training are obstacles in the way of right appreciation and application. But out of all these confusions must come the nucleus of that great body, the formation of which They had in view from the very first. We do but labor to hasten that great aim and object. ‘Who or what can prevent, however much they may try to hinder?
It is strange that so many who have studied Theosophy fail to understand and apply it, but never fail to characterize and pass judgment. Their interest is limited either to the worship or the condemnation of persons.
IN THE BEGINNING
The right way of looking at things is shown in Theosophy. Each has to learn, to know, and to control his own nature, if he is to acquire discrimination—the ability to help others. Each
has to take the philosophy and apply it, in the face of all mistakes and acts which, while they make the task more difficult, have been the means of arousing the very discrimination needed. Our vicarious atonement having shown us the way, our mistakes can be turned to good account. We will take time to think what we shall say and how we shall say it. One gets over changeableness and indecision as he takes time to think things out fully before acting or making promises. He will then study to do what ever he says he will do. This carefulness will increase true self- reliance and the reliance that others will place in him. Only as full confidence is gained can men be helped in themselves and with each other. Masters must work with those who will work, and as They can, and this applies to all. Some blame H. P. B. and Judge for the mistakes made by those who played leading parts in the Movement, as pupils lay on the shoulders of the Teacher their own fiascos. All this comes from lack of discrimination, the failure on the part of leaders and followers to apply what H. P. B. and W. Q. J. taught. The letters written to you are the results of observation, experience, study and application of the philosophy of Theosophy, and as such must be of use to others in like case with your own. So must also be the results of your own efforts, and those of all other sincere students.
The Western mind is apt to look upon mere literary form and fine phrases as the standard of judgment. People in general do not get the meaning of what is written, in the same way that they do not extract the value from their experiences. They make surface deductions and applications only. So they have little ability to apply the philosophy to daily life, nor can they see its practical value. They have to be helped to assimilate the fundamental principles if they are to realize right valuations and applications. Each has to eradicate his own faults in these as in other directions—not the faults of others. Until students set to work seriously on these lines they cannot find surety nor happiness. Theosophy and its application go together, if there is to be real progress. It is not for us to say, “Do this,” or “Don’t do that.” It is for us to put the case, Theosophy and its individual
application, and leave each student, each inquirer, to make his own decisions. People get into tight places right along by following “advices,” instead of exercising their own discrimination, and then invariably blame the “advisor” when matters do not go according to their expectations.
Is it not strange that plain statements are not grasped? That superficial meanings are taken to be true applications? Most men think, when they have heard a statement made, they know it. All of this is chargeable to our modern educational methods, wherein soul and mind are considered as mere recorders. “Amongst thousands of mortals a single one perhaps strives for perfection.” So, among the many who may be interested in Theosophy—the philosophy of the perfectibility of Man—here and there will be one who may wake up. Therein lies the hope. And even those who are interested enough merely to listen or to read with attention, will get something in the way of a trend that may some day develop. If we keep trying in all proper ways and means open to us, something will come from such mutual endeavors.
The fundamental statements of the Teachers are axioms to be applied. At the same time they are woven in with such reasoning as may affect the ordinary way of thinking. Science, Psychology, and all efforts that are based on them, fail—and for no other reason than that they do not assume or admit that full and true knowledge exists. If Western Science and Psychology would go on with their painstaking efforts in the light of Theosophy, the spiritual and intellectual darkness of the world would soon be overcome and a civilization brought into being that would best express a true physical life. What hinders? Intellectual pride, together with the cramping effects of false religious conceptions. If the idea is held that there is but one life on earth, then all the learning of the man and of the age is limited to a small and narrow range. But if one grasps the idea of successive lives on earth—all under Karma—then, the learning takes on a wider sweep, leading the man to the conception that all powers of every kind proceed from the Supreme, the Self of all creatures; that
he himself is in reality a spiritual being, and must think and act as such.
We may not be able to apply, as fully as we and others might desire, all the axioms and reasoning of the philosophy; but what of that? We can apply what is possible and all that is possible to us, and in that application greater understanding and facility arise. Each one has to find his way. Words cannot give it, yet there is a way for each. Most of the trouble lies in trying to see, trying to hear, trying to “think” it all out, instead of applying what we do see. All ability comes very gradually, imperceptibly—felt, grasped, realized, rather than perceived in the ordinary sense. Here, there is not enough acquaintance as yet with the philosophy itself for many of the students to have confidence enough to take hold and carry on the work. When I have hinted at approaching departure, it brings dismay because they imagine that Theosophy will be dead if I go: yet they ought to have learned that no one is Theosophy and the best are but transmitters; that they too, having received, should get busy doing as much by others, becoming transmitters in their turn. 41 Associates of “U. L. T.”! If 25 of them turn out to be “good stuff,” will the effort not prove to be worth all that it has cost? “Good stuff” means just that many Warriors for the restoration of the Theosophical Movement to its original lines. Many thousands are needed, but as the body grows, it takes care of itself. The struggle will be fierce—as we face it, not knowing the outcome—but the struggle is for us, or we would not have it. We will take what comes, and will give all that we are and have to the common cause, knowing that we are not fighting for self but for all. More we cannot do, and less we may not do under the Law of Brotherhood. A year ago today we began this struggle, and so it naturally brings retrospections to us. Things past are always easier than things present, or the unknown yet to come. The past can be judged as to relative importance, for it is now the hollow of the wave of progress, whereas the present and the future represent the crest and the resistance felt or feared. Yet— if we remember—the past, when it was both present and future,
held just such disturbances which we now see were a waste of energy. In the writings of the Teachers there is naught but encouragement. It is the deep sense of the gulf between our ideals and their attainment that dismays the personal conception. If we involve “ourselves” in these personal conceptions, we shall feel despondent—like Arjuna. In reality we should feel more of encouragement than ever, for the past year has brought a success greater than we could then have dared to hope in the circumstances.
We are all links in the great chain of the Theosophical Movement. What affects one affects all, and in degree. Everyone who endeavors to help others in any real way, puts himself in the position where he must take the reactions. The Karma of the Parent theosophical society is that of H. P. B. and Judge, known by them beforehand in a general way. It is also our Karma and that of all other Theosophists. Theirs was the first effort to spread Theosophy; much has been done since in this respect, and by many students. But its application has not been as general as might have been. The reactions from the spread of Theosophy and of its mis- and non-application by students will be taken care of when They come again. We and all other true students are linked with the Great Lodge by aspiration, by service, by following the Masters’ program as nearly as we know. All sincere students are surrounded by an “invisible escort” as long as their faces are set toward the Goal and they remain staunch to Masters’ program. Masters neither push, pull, nor hinder voluntary action. To do so would be to prevent true Self reliance. For this reason some may think that Masters have deserted them, or do not see nor hear them; but this is the worst conception that could be. It belittles Them and implies ignorance and ingratitude on Their part. They have spoken clearly of Their nearness to all those who “try and ever keep trying.”
IN THE BEGINNING
“MASTERS never cease working, but they cease at times from such public efforts as were made at the establishment of the Theosophical Society; before that They were working with individuals.” Mr. Judge made this statement at a crucial time, repeating what the Master had written years before to Mr. Sinnett, and what H. P. B. had more than once put of record.
Applying this, it would seem to mean that They are not now working directly with any theosophical bodies as such, as They at one time were working with the Parent society, but that They continue to work with individuals. Those who thought or think that any organization carries the Masters with it have taken the shadow for the substance, have mistaken the tool for the Work man. If these mistaken theosophical leaders were really Initiates, or under the guidance of Masters, there would not be so much of personality and pretensions in evidence as are exhibited on every hand. Even minor Initiates would not act that way.
It may very well be that the public effort and the recorded teachings of the Masters were put forth in order to find willing, clear-eyed and noble-hearted men and women, able to see their true destiny and anxious to serve humanity. If it did not and does not find them, then H. P. B. and Judge’s mission was largely futile—for Theosophy can be used selfishly as well as in the right way. The good comes from the fact that Theosophic ideas pave the way for those who are as yet not clear-eyed. So even those who selfishly use Theosophical ideas unconsciously help by keeping these ideas before the world. Theosophy is, and even a mistaken idea of it may lead to a correct understanding. Let us keep to the correct understanding and refrain from condemnation, and success must come in some measure. If we make and keep our selves ready and fit, we shall be used as occasion and fitness permit. We are dealing with minds, not persons. The Soul, being
conformed to the mind, reacts upon the whole nature. If, as persons, we could all look at the world of ideas in that way, we would learn more, gain more discrimination, and be more useful to others, so meriting Their guiding influence. It is Karma, all of it; students should realize that and benefit by the knowledge. The right start is everything. If this is gained and held, then all that each one does carries him and others in the right direction. In this Work, natures are intensified, good and bad come to the surface. The ‘cleaning-up” process is gradual and each must do his own work of elimination where such work is seen to be needed. The barriers to help from Masters are in ourselves and nowhere else.
Either Theosophy pure and undefiled is the most real thing in the world, or we are all wasting our time and effort. If we are able to conceive its reality in all seriousness, we should then never cease trying to understand and apply what has been recorded by Masters’ Messenger for our guidance and instruction. What is the distinction between Theosophy and anything else? In Fundamental Principles, I should say. Nothing else affords an all-inclusive view of existence. All kinds of sincere efforts help, all kinds of systems contain some truth, but they all fall short, because they all exclude or ignore some part of nature. Theosophists of every degree should realize that under Karma much is required of those to whom much has been given in opportunity and knowledge. We can only use our opportunities and knowledge to the best possible advantage and continue to do so, if we would not ourselves fall short of the requirement of ‘ Law of Laws—Compassion absolute.” What has been done has been of real and lasting advantage to many; there are others yet unborn, yet to come. This is the time when one wishes to be like Brahma with “eyes, heads, mouths and ears in every direction.” Read “The Tidal Wave” in Lucifer, volume V, page 173, if you would learn how H. P. B. felt—and feels. The real point of issue is the divine nature in man. The real basis of work is to impress this on the minds of those who come. In Theosophy
* Reprinted in Theosophy, Vol. , page 446; Vol. 27, page 496.
we have this basis. A right philosophy is desperately needed by the world. Without this, strength and special faculties are useless because they are misapplied. Theosophy is not merely words. It is Life, and this includes all things in life and all the planes of living. To have Brotherhood among the many, it is first necessary to realize brotherhood among the few, and the basis of brotherhood is the divinity inherent in all men.
All true impressions come from within—from the highest Principle in us, Atma, or the Divinity which is one and the same in all. If there is nothing in the brain but impressions from the lower principles of our being, nothing to connect the Thinker with higher planes, he can but waver between these lower states. If thought is to rise further, it must be thought without a brain. Nature works by orderly processes to which we give the name of law. In the individual it is called the Will. By an act of the will all ordinary mental processes may be stopped; then the habitual center of mental action may be transcended and the ascent to the next plane made, without losing the power to perceive on this. In all such attempts we must keep the Fundamentals in view—in mind. -The Spirit in man, the Perceiver, is “untouched by troubles, works, fruits of works, or desires.” It seems to me that the clearest comprehension, if not understanding, of all this comes from dwelling on the idea of the Perceiver as looking into one or another of his “sheaths” and finding there the record of the actions in any or all of them.
Everything depends on what one has in mind—his fundamental conceptions of Deity, Nature, and Man, when considering or attempting to practice “concentration.” The general idea on this as on other subjects and objects is purely personal. There is no self-examination of motives, no altruism, no effort to carry out in daily life the assumed object of fitting one’s self to be the better able to help and teach others, no observation of the evil effects of rushing in for “psychic development.” H. P. B. says, “One has to have an unshakable faith in the Deity within, an unlimited belief in his own power to learn; otherwise he is bound to fall into delusion and irresponsible mediumship.” Here
is the signpost of warning against all attempts to develop psychically before one has learned to master and guide the lower, personal self. What is indispensable is right philosophy and its application in daily life. By the wrong attitude in this and other respects, many well-meaning theosophists fail, and harm themselves and others. The meaning is plain. Leave psychism alone; work from the spiritual side upon the lower nature—visible and invisible, psychic and physical—first, by analysis and comprehension of the principles of our being as Theosophy teaches, then by the guidance of knowledge as it arises within oneself. We pass from plane to plane daily, but relate everything to the brain circle of necessity, and thus lose the real meanings. Dwelling on the Fundamentals and the endeavor to help others is the true concentration. Mr. Judge wrote: “Thus the Will is freed from the domination of desire and at last subdues the mind itself.”
We have to gain, each for himself, the unshakable faith that “the Master’s hand is over all” sincere Theosophists, the humblest as the most progressed. In true work for Masters’ Cause there is no rivalry. Our place in that Work is clear to us, and can be shown to be clear to anyone who will take the trouble to make the search that we have made. This place we hold for those who have the good Karma to come in contact with it before meeting other phases of the Movement, as well as for those who, having met other phases, are either entangled in them or trying to find a way out of them. The harm of the dark phases we cannot help, but we can let the true light shine “as widely and as quickly as possible.” I would like to see the “U. L. T.” Declaration known to every Theosophist as to every searcher for Truth.
IN THE BEGINNING
The tendency among men to accept words and names as realities is unfortunately all too common. An article in a publication issued by one of the theosophical organizations propounds the
question “Theosophy or Orthodoxy; Which?”—evidently presenting to its readers the necessity for a choice between them.
A moment’s thought should have shown that Orthodoxy has no existence of itself, but can only be considered in relation to some formulated system of thought, and that the title in question presents an impossible situation.
This would be a small matter and could have been passed over without notice if the same unfortunate tendency had not been applied to a field of thought where correctness of understanding is vital. For, if Theosophy is taken to be something of an abstraction, or a simple point of beginning from which a system is to be developed by individual research, the whole idea of Masters as the custodians of the accumulated wisdom of the ages and Their Message to the world of men, has to be abandoned. This is practically the position taken in the article in question; for, while there are occasional references to both Messenger and Message, these seem to be used as names and not as realities.
The question therefore which every student should put before himself for solution is neither orthodoxy nor heterodoxy, but— “Did anyone present to the world a formulated system of philosophy, religion and science? Did that personage give a name to the system? Who was that personage?” The answer cannot be obtained by consulting the opinions of any person or persons whatever; they are questions of fact, and facts alone can answer.
Every student worthy of the name knows that H. P. Blavatsky gave a body of knowledge to the world; that She named what She gave “Theosophy” and that She explicitly declared it to be from the Masters of Wisdom.
In justice to the Message, to the Messenger who brought it and to the ideal of Masters, nothing should be named Theosophy but this Message. Whoever takes any other position violates the first laws of occultism by belittling both Message and Messenger, and cannot expect to benefit by them. Those who accept the Message and belittle the Messenger, are equally unfortunate, for in belittling one, they belittle both. To these it should be said that it is folly to imagine that the Masters
of Wisdom did not know enough to select a Messenger who would deliver Their Message correctly and in its entirety. The Masters’ wisdom being questioned, the whole edifice falls to the ground.
The materials of which that building was composed may of course be put to use by those who desire to erect structures according to their own ideas, and sad to say, this is exactly what has occurred among the various theosophical organizations; each has taken more or less of the material supplied by the Message of Theosophy, has built an edifice according to ideas of its own, and has labeled its structure “theosophical.” Each building so constructed differs from every other.
Yet—here was a building known as “Theosophy,” complete in design and structure; each separate component part accurately adjusted to every other part and to the whole.
The mystery of it all is that these latter-day constructors should recognize the beauty and symmetry of the portions selected by them, and fail to perceive that there was a perfect building, an Architect and a plan. It is the old story over again: “They have divided his raiment among them and for his vesture have cast lots.” The failure to accept the teaching as given and to revere the ones whose sacrifice made that presentation possible is at the root of every past failure. The responsibility for every failure rests with those who interposed themselves between the Message and those who would learn. The woe of the world has been intensified by such as these, and surely a fearful responsibility is theirs. It is no small thing to obstruct the work of the Lodge of Masters, hence every student, be he prominent among his fellow-men or not, should take heed lest he fall and in falling drag down thousands with him. There is but one safe course. Theosophy must be understood to be a gift to mankind by more progressed beings than ourselves. We must learn, and a the fundamental principles which underlie that grand philosophy, and understand the operation of law as disclosed therein. Then, and then only can we begin to
make Theosophy a living power in our lives. We should preserve a willingness to give and receive instruction, but we should in either case be sure that such instruction is in exact accord with the principles and laws set forth in the Theosophic philosophy.
If each student did this, all would have one aim, one purpose, one teaching, and a sure basis for united effort. Such differences of individual opinion as might arise would be solved by a careful adjustment of these to the philosophy. Thus all would be united; all preserve the utmost freedom of thought; all progress most rapidly by self-induced and self-devised efforts. No one, then, would make the fatal blunder of imagining that Theosophy is something which can be developed, but each would devote his thought and effort to growth along the lines that Theosophy indicates, so that he may become the better able to help and to teach others. If there are Masters, and They have delivered a Message to us, that Message is Their Orthodoxy—or right understanding; this should be preferred to that of all others, however highly such may esteem themselves or be esteemed by their fellow-men.
IN THE BEGINNING
“The orthodoxy of Masters, or that of men?” This question is raised in a communication signed “A Student.” We care nothing for the identity of our correspondent, but we have respect for an honest expression of opinion, and are glad to make answer. Not that we desire to change “A Student’s” opinion but that she (or he) and others of like conceptions, may gain something of an insight into the causes and reasons for the methods pursued by the Associates of The United Lodge of Theosophists. We quote from the communication the following:
“Providing we remember that Theosophy is not a dogmatical presentment of the Wisdom-Religion—a system delivered for once to the Saints—but a progressive system of Religion.”
There is some confusion in this statement, for if there is such a knowledge as the Wisdom-Religion, it is the result of the observation and experience of the Masters of Wisdom, and as such stands for itself; it can neither be enlarged nor improved upon by its students. Furthermore, what was named “Theosophy” by Mme. Blavatsky is that same Wisdom-Religion so far as the latter has been promulgated by the Teacher. In regard to the latter statement H. P. B. herself has written:
Doctrine (or Wisdom-Religion) is not a series of vague theories or treatises,
but is all that
can be given out in this century. It will be centuries before much more is given. A similar statement by Wm. Q. Judge is as follows:
It (Theosophy) is not a belief or dogma formulated or invented by man, but is a knowledge of the laws which govern the evolution of the physical, astral, psychical and intellectual constituents of nature and of man.
In the face of such statements and similar ones made by Those who brought Theosophy to us, the assumption that it is a system of progressive religion can only proceed from ignorance of the facts, and a false conception which can only lead to confusion on the part of any “student.” Theosophy is not a religion, but Religion itself in the truest sense; even the use of the term “religion” without any qualification is misleading, for Theosophy is not “a belief” as religions are generally, but rather Religious Science, Scientific-Religion, and an all-inclusive Philosophy.
As to “a dogmatical presentment,” Theosophy has never been put forth as a Dogma, but as a relation of facts which have been gathered through observation and experience, which any one can accept or reject without condemnation or praise. One might as well call the only exact science we use, viz., Mathematics, dogmatic or a dogma because it is presented as an assemblage of facts which the student can study, apply and prove for himself. Theosophy stands in exactly the same position: a presentation of Knowledge gained through aeons of time; it is not to be con founded with the speculations of any of its students, who at
best are subject to their personal prejudices, predilections and weaknesses. It should also be clearly understood that all theosophical writers or leaders—except Those who brought Theosophy to the world—are students of more or less proficiency in the Science, and are therefore liable to misconceptions and erroneous applications. The only possibility of discerning such errors lies in a comparison with the Science as originally presented.
In the same communication we are taken to task in the following words, “you are doing no good by ‘barking against the bad’ as Emerson would say, about what is going on in the Theosophical world. I believe you over-emphasize the evil that is being done, while minimizing the good.”
It is admitted that evil is being done. Can it be wrong to point out where and how such evil comes about? How else can any sincere student who desires only to warn against pitfalls help his fellow-men?
As to the “good” in any presentation, it stands for itself, and is the only reason why error or evil has any possibility of acceptance; it is the mixture of Truth and Error that confuses and misleads the ignorant and the unwary. Remove the error and its sequence, evil, and the Truth stands out all the more clearly; there is no “minimizing the good” in such a course.
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. One would expect from such exponents the false and misleading idea that “Theosophy is a progressive system of religion,” for such a statement beclouds the facts, and serves to draw attention to their own lucubrations as “progressed” Theosophy, and to themselves as having progressed farther and as knowing more than the original Teachers. 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 in the past 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—and that little obscured by systems of materialistic concepts under the name of religion. Under the conditions of past periods, this could not be helped, because there existed no way by which the “written word” could be so duplicated as to place it within the reach of every human being who desired it. The present period, however, made it possible for every enquirer to obtain or study Masters’ Message as it was written by one qualified to do so. This was done in order that there should be no need of intermediaries between those who would know and the knowledge itself. But, sad to say, many who drew their inspiration and ideas from the delivered Message, and had the great Karmic opportunity of presenting and promulgating that Message pure and undefiled to the world-at-large, turned the eyes of men to their own personalities as “successors” and “teachers” and have not only misled thousands of adherents, but have made the name of Theosophy stand for everything that is undesirable in the minds of humanity at large. H. P. B. and W. Q. J. knew well the probability and the danger of such a sequence, but They could only warn. H. P. B.’s last message to Theosophists in Convention assembled contained the following words: “Never is there greater danger than when vanity, ambition and a desire to lead, dresses itself up in the peacock feathers of altruism.”
What is at the root of the schisms that have disrupted the Theosophical Society that H. P. B. left? Personalities every time. ‘What is the opposite and corrective of Personality? Nothing less than Impersonality which seeks nothing for itself and every thing for the Cause of Theosophy pure and simple. There is no worldly fame, glory or profit in such a course, yet it, and it alone, removes every obstacle that might intervene between the Message of Theosophy and those who desire to study and apply it on its
own merits. For that reason, and that reason alone, are the magazine Theosophy and “The United Lodge of Theosophists” conducted anonymously. The mind of the race is still obsessed by the idea that it is important and essential to know who the active agents are, whereas the important thing is the merit of the thing done. The injunction by the Man of Nazareth, “Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth” is as binding as any other injunction of His, but do Christian peoples follow it, or regard it as of any importance? Do theosophical exponents exhibit a regard for the above injunction, or for that more explicit one they well know, “that power which the disciple shall covet is that which shall make him appear as nothing in the eyes of men”? Let them answer. If they excuse themselves, it will be on the ground that men will not listen unless the personality of the speaker is under intimate inspection; but have they tried it? Truth is not dependent upon the one who utters it, but upon its own self-evident nature, and whether spoken by the wicked man or one who is esteemed as righteous, it is neither debased by the one nor enhanced by the other.
If Theosophists or Christians recognize that the world has gone mad on personalities, can it be made sane by glossing over that madness or pleading expediency? They know it cannot; but they are the creatures of their generation and have not the courage to do that which puts personality out of court in their own cases, and sets the example of a truer, less selfish line of effort. Yet if the change is to be brought about, someone must make the beginning; it is the first step that begins the count, and if the goal is a right and true one, the results can be left to time and Karma. We rest on that.