Adyar Pamphlets No. 159
THE RECONSTRUCTION OF CIVIC LIFE

by JAMSHED N. R. MEHTA (Mayor of Karachi)


Being one of the Series of Convention Lectures entitled
“ Theosophy and the World' s Present Needs” delivered at Adyar, December 24-28, 1931
.


March, 1932

Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Chennai [Madras], 600 020, India

To the question what is “Theosophy” and how it can be applied to work in daily life, an invocation urged some time ago by the great President of the Theosophical Society, Dr. Annie Besant, in a prose poem of five lines, is the best reply that can be given in a condensed form. The first three lines define “Theosophy” and the last two lines point out in a straight way how to apply it in the programme of life. Those who have heard Dr. Besant repeating this invocation on different occasions, must have felt the Power, the Wisdom and the Love emanating from within her as if urging the whole world into that direction. The invocation has gone all round the world and is now being repeated in thousands of homes and on hundreds of platforms.

O Hidden Life! vibrant in every atom,
O Hidden Light! shining through every creature,
O Hidden Love! embracing all in Oneness,
May each who feels himself as one with Thee,
Know that he is also one with every other . [page 2]

This great message of Theosophy — oneness of life — is now being proclaimed by scientists in almost every department. Bose, Einstein, Eddington, Lodge, Edison tried to prove it, each in his respective department of science. To every person, opportunity for the realisation of this great truth is given by the Creator who is the One Life, whose two mighty components, Wisdom (Light) and Love, are known in the ancient Shastras as Chit and Ananda. All Messengers of God, Prophets, came to give this truth again and again, which is often forgotten by the world.

This truth which alone can bring eternal happiness, which only can make us free from the pair's of opposites — joy and sorrow, birth and death — is the birthright of every soul. A conscious realisation of this mighty fount of freedom is the essential object of creation. It cannot be reserved for a few only. It is made accessible to everyone. It is the gift of the One Life to all. The process to attain this realisation is described in the fourth and fifth lines of the invocation. It teaches us, it guides us. “Feel one with every other and you will feel one with Him who is Life, Light and Love”. This is no longer a theory. Persons who have lived the true life have attained and realised it.

Coming therefore straight to the solution, “feeling one with every other” necessarily requires for each person an agency to practise, to exercise, to accomplish it in daily life. Each one of us is free [Page 3] to select the agency, the instrument, one or more.
One may give the choice to mother, father, wife, child, friend, a club or any group or association, severally or jointly. Circles, groups, associations and even religions are formed to facilitate this end, to bring mankind into touch with one another, to enable us to tolerate and to understand one another, to combine, co-operate and team with each other in daily tasks, and ultimately to feel one with the other. The institution of marriage is established for each pair to this end, to feel one in each other.

Looking round the world as it has evolved and its modern existence, in practical experience a Municipal organisation seems to me one of the best instruments, an excellent agency, which gives a very much larger scope to attain this object than any other agency, or department, individual or corporate.

A Municipality is a civic organisation, a co-operative body, activity or enterprise, in which
every citizen is a party, partner or shareholder. The share-profit, dividend or interest one gets is the improved health, the increase of comfort and happiness of a family or community. This is a recognised definition of a Municipal organisation, and the reward of service is, in the words of George S. Arundale, more and greater opportunities to serve.

Generally in the present-day world, the management of this organisation is entrusted to trusted representatives elected by the people. They are [Page 4] like the directors of a co-operative concern or a vast business. Their reward of service, voluntarily offered, is the confidence they gain of the people, the love of the citizens, and more opportunities to serve.

The Municipal organisation consists of two
main parts — the people and the elected managers, or the councillors. Above them is the constitution, the Act, which is granted to each Municipality under the seal of the Central Government. The last but not the least vital factor is the men appointed to work the departments of the organisation, the paid employees.

Thus there are four factors:

 1. The Central Government representing the King, which grants a Constitution, an Act.
 2. The people of an area who elect the trusted directors.
 3. The elected representatives of the people — the councillors.
 4. The workers of the details — paid officers and the staff.

Looking at the picture of a Municipal organisation with these four factors, Theosophically. it presents to the mind, though very imperfectly, a miniature of the Inner Government of the World which has been described beautifully and so often by our President in her Convention Lectures and writings.

The Inner Government composed of the King, the Buddha, the Bodhisattva, (the Christ) the Divine [Page 5] Mother, the Prophets, the Masters, Protectors of mankind, birds, animals and plants, the Chohans who preside over different departments of life, is beautifully reflected in miniature in a Municipal organisation, which is sometimes known as Local Self-Government.

The Inner Government of Creation has seven broad departments for the management of the world-departments, and these seem to be reflected fittingly in the civic organisation, for the management of each local area:

Inner Government Municipality
   
Will (Icchã) Administration and Rules
Knowledge ( Jnãna) Education: schools, colleges, libraries.
Service (Kãrya) Action: detailed work of officers and staff and services rendered by various departments
Beauty (Saundarya) Art: town-planning, buildings, gardens.
Science (Vijñãna) Science: water-works, drainage, medical researches.
Devotion (Bhakti) Love: community-services rendered, medical relief, protection.
Ceremony (Kriyã) Rules, regulations, meetings, formalities, order, civic honours.

 

 [Page 6] Each department of the civic organisation can be perfected in reconstruction and can lead every one serving in any department towards a full understanding of the One Life in all.

The Inner Government is presided over by One who is known as the King, and each department is in charge of a Mighty Being, with its sub-departments similarly presided over and administered by perfect Lieutenants. The King of the Inner Government defines a Constitution for the management; so also to a Municipal organisation, in the name of the King or the Central Government, a constitution or a charter is given, empowering the President and the trusted councillors to manage the affairs of the Municipality. As the King of the Hierarchy watches, guides and protects, as and when necessary, without interfering in the working of details, so does the King's Central Government or the Provincial Government headed by the Governor is expected to watch, guide and protect the Municipal administration, leaving the details to be worked out by the representatives elected by the people under the charter, constitution or what is known technically as the Act. In difficulties or when there is need of wiser counsel or guidance, the help of the King or his representatives is requested for and it is expected to be given lovingly and with devoted consideration.


In the Inner Government, the Department of Ichhā or Will, or that of administration, is headed by [Page 7] the Manu, the Great Law-Giver, and is in the control of the Chohan M. This corresponds to the Administrative Department controlled by the Chief Officer in a Municipality, headed by its President. The Will, or Ichhā, is the basic principle of this department. It is the central and the controlling department. It decides what work should be done by other departments. It appoints heads and subordinates of all departments. It controls payments or rewards for service done. In certain Municipalities the work is divided into various committees; business and professional men from the citizens, with the best organising ability, are expected to be the chairmen and members of these committees. It is their work to see that the rules, made are strictly observed, that all matters run smoothly, that just dues are paid and just rewards for services are granted. The head has to be a strict law-administrator. On him and his departments depend the lives and happiness of the people. He has to exercise justice with mercy. He holds the balance of judging what is good and what is not good. He can make no distinction between the rich and the poor. It is for this department to find out means and methods of devising schemes and maintaining them, for the common comfort, happiness and joy of the people. The President, the Chief Officer and the Members of the Managing Committee are responsible in a Municipal organisation for all these. They are [Page 8] expected to devote their time continuously to think out what will add to the joy, happiness and comfort of the citizens. Every department and generally the citizens look to them for orders, guidance and help. The choice of selecting employees and workers firstly remain with them. They are directly in touch with the Government; every representation, memorial and request to the Government of the King passes through them.

Just as the President of the Municipality occupies the place of the Manu of the Inner Government, the Chief Officer fills up the place of the Mahachohan. He has to work as the Secretary for all departments. He has to keep an eye on every one and every thing. He is the coordinator of all departments, knows the wishes of the heads and the committee members of other departments. He issues the agenda, the accounts, the annual report, and presents all documents to the representatives of the people.

This Department of Administration collects taxes and recovers dues. Whilst city amenities are offered equally to all, the payment received is according to the status and income which each enjoys, and in proportion to the property each possesses. This department is the medium between the King and the people. The wish of the King is the obligatory duties laid down in the Municipal Act and the managers have to carry out the duties, understanding at the same [Page 9] time the wishes of the people. As the worshippers of life look to the centre within, so do the people of a city or a village look to the Municipality for the life which animates the outer world, especially to this department which is the innermost central and controlling department of all.

Thus the One Life is realised by this department working for all, feeling for all, planning for all, obeying implicitly the Constitution of the King and the rules of the Law-Giver.

The second great department of the Inner Government, that of Education, headed by the great personages, the Bodhisattva, and His able Lieutenant, the Chohan K. H., carries out educational work throughout the world, continually thinking of and acting for the growth of education which produces civilisations and forms Nations. Similarly in the Municipal organisation, the Educational Department plays an important part. The Municipality generally has a School Board with its Chairman, an Officer and a Committee to manage the affairs of education in its whole area. In the modern world children's education is the chief work entrusted to Municipalities. In the Inner Government children are considered the assets of the Nations. In the Municipal government, children are to be taken as the assets of the city and prepared to be good citizens. Each child is generally educated free, of whatever capacity and standing, religion or colour. The vast [Page 10] network of schools which are being established for their education is a great responsibility. The whole city pays for the education of the children, unconsciously accepting the principle of the One Life in every soul, acknowledging the necessity for the growth of wisdom and love in them.

In the methods of education there is constant evolution. As the days pass by, we see that the health, happiness and comfort of each child are looked after more and more. The scope of education is being enlarged continually to suit children of different temperaments, and it is now an accepted principle that children ought to be evolved and developed through various paths of life as it suits each child. Marching onward, the Municipality also takes up the responsibility of higher education with a view to bringing up manhood and womanhood with such wisdom and knowledge, that each one may earn and maintain one's family and surroundings. Vocational education, in civic reconstruction, ought to be an obligatory duty of the Local Self-governing bodies. A regular programme of apprenticeship for various vocations could be made by a Municipality in co-operation with the citizens. As the people evolve in wisdom and as the citizens are able to understand more and more and realise the One Life, they will take up more responsibilities willingly and accept higher education, such as secondary, collegiate and professional training, as part of their city [Page 11] functions. There are Municipalities which run Medical, Law, Arts and Engineering Colleges, or support them; there are Municipalities which run technological institutions. Adult education in night schools is also a part of Municipal work. In the reconstruction of civic life, domestic and home education will play a great part. Persons who are able to teach have a very large scope of service; they could offer some hours a week to teach in Municipal schools; it would lessen the burden of the tax-payers.

There is another and a special type of education, which is the education of would-be mothers. As each child is considered to be an asset to the city, the care and education of expectant mothers are necessities. There are certain Municipalities which employ a number of qualified doctors and nurses whose duty is to go round the area, meet every woman during the ante-natal period, explain to them and teach them how to keep the body in good health in that period and after the birth of the coming child. The education of thought-power specially, for this period, could be an ideal type of education in civic

There are several ways and methods of promoting general education; for example, establishing museums for which articles are collected from all parts of the world to bring home to the people the knowledge of various Nations and countries. Here everyone who is internationally inclined, can help [Page 12] museums of different countries by sending articles of one's own place, and thus render a true service to the Department of Education. One can help children and youths by taking them to museums and giving them general knowledge about different articles in the museums. The department of Libraries and Reading Rooms is also becoming a feature of modern Municipalities and helps considerably the growth of wisdom and love of knowledge in the general masses. In several Municipal organisations, the Municipal Reading Rooms and Libraries are free for all classes of people. Many of us get books, papers and magazines of our own and such can well afford to help the Libraries and Reading Rooms after reading them, instead of throwing them away as is generally done, They could be sent even to hospitals for the patients, Flower-shows, exhibitions of local industries and such other activities become a source of education to many. They bring new life into the civic area.

In civic reconstruction, each Municipality will be responsible to carry out the following four ideals of life:

1. Healthy birth of each child.
2. Right education of each child.
3, Provision for the employment or maintenance of each family,
4. Provision of a house for each family.

It will be seen that the first three ideals are directly connected with the Department of Education. [Page 13] Here also those who try to see the One Life in everyone, will be able to do their part of the work efficiently and well for the happiness of the many.

Leaving the Department of Jñāna, Knowledge, we now come to another important Department of the Inner Government — that of Bhakti, otherwise known as Devotion, Love and Joy. It may come as a surprise to many how and what the Municipal government can and must do for this department. A Municipality ought to be in a position to create devotion in the people for the city and for the Nation. Bhakti is truly the love-aspect which ultimately brings us to reverence all. A Municipality can provide so much to create love in the people of its area. The care of those who are ill, deaf, mute, blind, crippled, or suffering from leprosy and such other chronic diseases would constitute love-practices which the Municipality is expected to create in and for the people of the city. Relief-work during epidemics and famines also contributes to the growth of devotion and love. The provision of nurses and nursing institutions, dispensaries free of charge and maternity homes for people of all denominations, is a growing and acknowledged work of the Municipality.

The Inner Government accepts the principle of Karma which brings just rewards and sufferings to each, and Those who are Heads of departments continually work with their utmost love and [Page 14] devotion for the relief of sufferers. So the Municipality and its organisations can become a miniature copy of the Bhakti Department of the Inner Government. As the citizens grow in the spirit of the One Life, more and more will be done for the relief of sufferers and more and more will such ideals be applied to daily life. The Municipal councillors, officers and those others who desire to help can thus become the channels of the relief-workers of the Inner Government. Relieving suffering is a definite task of civic bodies. A definite rule is also made by the Municipality to make no distinction between the people of different faiths, and it is usual to allow them facilities for their devotional practices. In several Municipalities, certain concessions and grants of land are given for building the houses of devotion, to the followers of different faiths. In schools, devotional songs of Brotherhood and Oneness should be introduced. A Municipality could also display, daily or weekly, devotional mottoes at different sites of the city for intellectual meditation by the citizens. Here the citizens can also help. Some can afford to put up a nice little altar at a prominent corner of their houses for a motto or a quotation for every week. This helps passers-by considerably; it gives hope, courage and strength to many.

The civic bodies are expected to provide facilities for creating joy and happiness amongst the people. Providing recreation and play-grounds for the [Page 15] children, and supplying articles of various games and sports to these, are accepted and acknowledged ways and means of service in modern Municipalities. The owners of houses who can afford them, could add to these by putting up a see-saw or a swing or a slipping board on their premises for the fun and joy of children. The various resting places for the people and animals, such as gardens, sun-shades and carriage-sheds, are built on the principle of comfort and rest for both men and animals; certain Municipalities even provide resting places for birds. Fountains and troughs with pure drinking-water for people, animals and birds must be erected at proper places in the city. Bathing taps and shower baths must be provided for poor labourers to wash and clean themselves, near the factories or places of work. Those who have gardens could add to the joy of the people by keeping their compound walls low enough for passers-by to be able to admire and enjoy flowers and plants. All this once again brings us to the ideal of the One Life and its application. In these ways each citizen has an opportunity to serve and to create that ideal of the One Life by seeing It in each other.

This Department of Love ought also to be used for creating tender feeling for those who are weak and make mistakes in life. Juvenile courts to administer justice specially to misguided children, to save them from the prison-house, to provide [Page 16] spent facilities to them of education for bringing them up as good citizens, are being provided by modern Municipalities. Here specially women of the city could be of great help and be god-mothers to such children. They could sign bonds as helpers, save such children from being sent to jail, look after them and guide them to better paths of life.

There must be homes for mothers who have been the unfortunate victions of the follies of men; there must be foundling homes for such children to protect and to bring them up well in life. There are methods and ways established for protecting that class of our sisters who are known as fallen women, to save them from ugly diseases and to rescue them entirely. Many people are ever ready to denounce these women. Little do they think how far each one of us, specially men, is responsible for these women's misfortunes. Our own thoughts, words and deeds create this situation for them. Some when they do not get love at home or near by, from where they ought to get, seek it elsewhere. Many who do not get understanding or protection from those who should give it, try to find it from other sources and when they come in touch with wrong type of men, they are misguided to go wrong. So much could be done by a civic body to cure and save and save these unlucky ones.

The establishment of veterinary hospitals for diseased animals, the building of water-troughs for thirty animals by the roads, ambulance work [Page 17] for sick animals, are all useful functions of a Municipal organisation which produce devotion, love and joy, and subserve the purpose of the One Life in each of us all. The protection given to animals that they shall not carry more load than they ought to and other work for the prevention of cruelty to animals give evidence also of the recognition of the One Life in all.

Another form of devotion and love in a Municipal organisation is the formation of co-operative societies and co-operative banks for the Municipal employees and other citizens. This mighty movement of co-operative credit is the real essence of brotherhood wherein everyone shoulders the burdens of one another by becoming the security of others or all members. It saves considerably on the economic side; economics is a valuable factor in a civic organisation. Without co-operative societies the burden of life becomes heavy owing to the expenses of modern living; for in modern civilisation the employees get a few rupees per month and there are several expenses to meet such as for sickness, rearing and education of children, besides the minimum food, clothing and shelter. It becomes a difficult problem several times for many of them. The organisation of co-operative societies can do wonderful work for the upliftment and comfort of the people.

In one Municipality it was noticed that out of seven hundred sweepers it employed, six hundred [Page 18] were in debt to the extent of Rs. 31,000, and they paid as interest every year over Rs. 53,000 on this capital debt of Rs. 31,000, and a good many of them were helped through co-operative banks. For the poverty of this country (India) if the Government is responsible in some ways, there is no doubt that the colossal debt of and the heavy interest paid by the poorer class are also responsible for the unhappiness of the country as a whole. Co-operative societies well organised under the patronage of the civic bodies, a well-established civic bank run on co-operative ideals, can help and do much. This will be a necessary factor of civic reconstruction. Not only the Municipal employees but all poor persons paying heavy interests can be made free from these burdens by a well laid out programme; and smaller industries may be helped by such civic banks.

Of the four noble aspirations for each Municipality which I have mentioned above, three have been already described. The fourth is a house for every family. This ought to be the slogan and motto of modern Municipalities. Under the co-operative credit system this aspiration is a possibility and not a dream as many may imagine. Already experiments have been made and have been found successful. In civic reconstruction this aspiration of the Municipality ought to be fully realised by which everyone will have a house from which no one can be shifted; a mind at peace [Page 19] with settled ideals of furnishing and decorating one's home and a small garden for each — this is the ideal which has to be attained by the Municipal organisation. No increase in rent is the economic foundation of cheap and economical living; and the happiness of people depends a good deal on economic and healthy living. Much can be written on this subject to prove how this may be practically carried out and how this department may teach us real brotherhood to enable us to see the One Life in everyone. Each one of us can help, each can do something if only we so desire.

Art, Culture and Refinement form a department in itself of the Inner Government. The thousand and one wonderful ways, which come out of the heart of the Great Dispenser of Beauty, could be brought into practice ably and efficiently by a Municipal organisation. A well laid out village or city is a joy to all its citizens. To anyone, who visits the ancient cities of India, it must occur that the Indian Kings of the past, both Muslim and Hindu, had special aptitude for such refinement. Town-planning is becoming one of the most important arts of the civilised world. Each road, each alignment, each curve is thought out so that it may add to the joy and comfort of the people and the beauty of the city or the village. Gardens, roadside plantations, monuments, clock-towers, lighting pillars and posts, public buildings, are all designed and brought into existence with the great [Page 20] ideal of bringing joy into the life of everyone. School halls and rooms are adorned with lovely pictures. Each school has a department which teaches drawing in colours and also how to make models and articles; thus creative ideals are developed in the children. Roadsides too are provided with flower beds and shady trees. Music halls, facilities for learning music, entertainments in music and recitals are also provided for the people by modern Municipalities. Theatres for dramas and public halls for public speaking are also considered essential factors of city development. Encouragement is given for the development of beautiful bodies by various ways of physical culture. Due honour is paid through the Municipal organisations of several places to those who attain distinction in art, painting, drawing, music and such other cultural attainments. Houses with artistic pillars and cornices, and walls in beautiful colours are being encouraged through Municipal organisations. Cultural refinement is given impetus through the Art and Educational Departments of the Municipality.

The celebrations of the birthdays and anniversaries of national heroes and, benefactors of humanity are also an essential feature of the Art Department. In fact anything and everything that inspires, that bring's joy, removes sorrow and makes each one draw towards the other and towards Nature, is the work of a Municipality entrusted [Page 21] with this department of building, engineering, garden, recreation and other sub-departments.

Under the shelter of this department the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides are given all possible impetus for training and rendering service in city life. Scouts are induced to water the roadside plants. People are prevailed upon to lay open their gardens, if not for public use, at least for public vision when passing by the roads. Public bands playing sweet music to the people of the city, and the modern amenities of the radio bringing the world's music and eloquence to the very door of each city or village are vital factors of joy in life, to be supplied through a Municipal organisation.

This department of happiness and joy reminds one of the great teaching of the Zoroastrian faith

Oosta Ahmai, Oosta Kahmai Chit
“Happiness to him by whom is happiness to others”,

Without distinction of caste; creed, colour, age, sex or nationality, the amenities of life in the Department of Art and Culture are offered to the citizens, and thus again the One Life is seen in every other. The destruction of sorrow and disease and the creation of joy ought to be the work and service of each Municipality. There is a shloka (verse) in Sanskrit:

 Na Tvaham Kāmye Rājyam
Na Svargam, Na punerbhavam
Ārtānam Dukha taptānum, Kamye DukhaNās'anam. [Page 22]


“ I desire not the Kingdom — not heaven — not salvation.
What I long to see is the destruction of sorrows which bring great miseries and diseases.”

This ought to be the intense desire and longing of a Municipal councillor and those interested in civic life.

Then comes the Department of Vijñāna or Science. This mighty department of the Inner Government releases year by year, month by month, and day by day, powerful scientific investigations and researches for the happiness of the creation and the people. Through the mercy of the Great King and His able co-workers, this department is also reflected in miniature in the Municipal organisation. Science plays an important part in several departments of Municipal life.

The provision of clean water for drinking, washing and industrial purposes, for the ships and the railways, is all a work of science. The utilisation of drainage which takes away the sullage; the destruction of rubbish; the provision of modern systems of electric or gas lighting; the modern methods of reinforced construction; the asphalted or cement roads which keep the villages and the cities clean and free from dust; the work for horticultural and botanical gardens; the various engineering problems — all these are carried out through the medium of scientific investigations and researches. [Page 23]

The help which is rendered to the sufferers from bodily diseases, chiefly epidemic, is truly great. Malaria, diphtheria, cancer, the venereal diseases and even leprosy are diseases which the Municipality tries to eradicate with the aid of scientific researches and investigations.

Laboratories for the analysis of water, foods stuffs, blood and bodily excretions are provided to help the people, and are also the creations of Science.

The chlorination and filtration of water and the utilisation of sullage and sewerage for manure purposes are helped by the modern scientific methods. Modern Municipalities take advantage of the radio and loud-speaker to provide musical and educational amenities to the people. A Municipal organisation is expected to keep in touch with scientific development in all countries of the world, and to get the benefits of the same for the people.

Generally the people of a city think very little of the great scientists whose deep devotion to scientific researches provide all these amenities and facilities for the comfort and joy of the people. If we could only think with gratefulness and love of these who are the instruments of the Inner Government and who become the scientists of the modern world, we would be doing out part more efficiently and well. Science is making everyone realise, more and more, the One Life in every one, more keenly, more rapidly, than anything else. It is eliminating for us time and [Page 24] space, plunging us mentally into the ocean of Oneness. Praise be to Them and Their instruments in the physical world.

We will now pass on to the Department of Kārya, Action or Service. True living is in right action. Manual labour carried out with hands, feet and muscles, and with full common sense, has always been valued and spoken highly of by the Prophets and Members of the Inner Government. In this world, especially in modern times, the respect for manual labour, the appreciation and understanding of manual workers, has not been so true and great as it ought to be. The result is that great differences have been created between capital and labour, employers and employees, with the consequent miseries of life.

I hold that it is only when we are able to create the true understanding and respect for the labourer who does so much for the general happiness, who contributes such a great share to the joy of life, shall we be able to copy and follow rightly the leadership of the Great Ones, who see in anyone, howsoever rich, however great, the same life as in the common labourer working in the mine-pit or the drainage-hole.

Municipal service could be the factor for creating that understanding if we would only realise the importance of these manual labourers, who work night and day for the comforts of the people in these days of modern civilisation. Very few can [Page 25] appreciate their work, because we are asleep generally at the time when the immensely important work of cleaning the city is going on. These faithful workers get up early in the morning in the hottest or the coldest season and work in all kinds of distressing conditions, rain or storm, without a full holiday at any time of the year. The men in the underground drainages who risk their lives owing to foul gas in the midst of which they have to work; the men in the far-away jungles from where water is drawn; the men on the roadside who work so hard; the workers in the gardens and sewage farms; carpenters, masons and coolies — these men, who work for a few annas or one or two rupees a day, contribute considerably to the efficiency of a city government. They are the true servers of humanity and nobler servants of God than many of us who are arrogant and proud of the little services which we do in life, and which is sometimes proclaimed with a bigger drum, in the press and on the platform, than we really deserve. In our own arrogance that we are true servants of the Masters, we often miss seeing where true service is being rendered by the real workers of the world.

The obedience, the tolerance, the discipline and the hard work, which we expect from our labourers for a few rupees per month or week that we give them, we are not able to carry out ourselves, not even a hundredth part of the same with our higher [Page 26] salaries and greater position. They are considered low paid menials. If we could only understand their greatness, their true worth and value, as the Great Ones of the Inner Government understand the great value of these workers, life would be happier and free from much misery and trouble. If we could understand this part of life, we would soon be able to see the One Life in one another and thus the One Life of the Creator much more rapidly. If in a Municipal organisation, the President, the Officers, the Councillors and generally the people of the city were able to realise the value of this work, it would create a volume of understanding which would ultimately bring freedom to everyone.

The services which are rendered by some of the departments and the workers which have been mentioned in the Department of Bhakti or Love are highly valuable. There are many other small or important services which are being or can be rendered by a Municipal organisation. It is difficult to enumerate them in detail. The protection, which is given to the people by the fire-extinguishing department, generally holds great risks. The health department looks after the cleanliness of the city, the purity of food in the markets and the management of hospitals and dispensaries. The engineering department with a large number of builders, surveyors, supervisors and coolies, protect people in various ways by examining the buildings, by removing obstructions and encroachments, by [Page 27] watering the roads, by clearing them and the drains after storms; they are all servers of humanity. In this Department of Action much can be done in the way of service by the peoples' representatives for the comfort of the citizens. Lectures on health, instruction through magic lanterns and cinemas, helping in the night schools and co-operating in adult education, ambulance work, Red Cross work, relief work for the blind and general social activities — in all these a Municipality can do much. It is the duty of a Municipality to provide a hall of service in each city or village wherein all social activities can be centred with several departments from which Power, Love and Work can emanate and in which every aspiring citizen can find scope for service to one's brothers and sisters. Each temperament can add something to the happiness and comfort of the people. How many times we miss giving or getting opportunities to many who are true gems. The spirit of great love is to be seen in those who are considered young and ignorant, in those who are considered uneducated or devoid of knowledge, in those who are considered too old for any activity. Only if we could see the burning hearts where they exist, much would be done by directing their energies into the right course. Rightly has a poet said that we readily see the flaming forests but miss to read the flaming hearts. A city Municipality and a village Panchayat can do much [Page 28] to bring out the true servers of humanity. These social activities form the common basis of the One Life in all and thus this department stands one of the uppermost for the purpose of the realisation of God and His creation.

Then comes the Department of Ceremony or Order. In the Inner Government, it is presided over, we are told, by one who is known generally as the Chohan R. Surprising as it may appear, He is also said to be one of the chief workers in the political world and in National movements. How can ceremony be part of a Municipal organisation will be the question which will occur to many immediately. On a closer scrutiny it may be realised that a Municipal organisation has its own ritual of preserving order and rhythm within its own circle. So many times the question is asked of the President at Municipal meetings: “ Is it in order, Sir ? ” It reminds one of the “Orator” in the Masonic ritual. The formalities which one has to observe in Municipal meetings form a regular ceremony. Strict obedience to the rules of etiquette towards the President, discipline towards one another by the members of the Council, rules and regulations of conducting a meeting, moving proposals and amendments, carrying out discussions and debates, framing resolutions, all form a perfect ritual of ceremonies. Generally the book of these rules and regulations is known as the Municipal Ritual. [Page 29]

The various public functions organised by Municipalities such as granting the freedom of the city, presentation of address, honouring well known visitors and guests, all require a ceremonial basis. In some Municipalities entrance into the hall is also organised in a procession with robes and insignia of different offices and in a perfectly ceremonial manner. The Municipal office is a temple of service for all castes and creeds, sexes and colours, in which the true worship of mankind can be carried out. All Municipal work practically is service — service which is really and truly the worship of the One God, or the Brother-Man as  Mr. C. Jinarajadasa loves to call Him. It is an ideal field for the seeds of plants and trees which beautifully flower into happiness and joy. It brings everyone into touch with other human beings and thus into touch with God. 

Seeing how the Municipal organisation has evolved from the past to the present, one looks to the future with greater and brighter hopes. The world is proceeding on the ideals of democracy, socialism and communism, and one feels that the best type of communism, democracy and socialism could be evolved through the Municipal organisation. Fraternity, equality and liberty could be best practised and organised in civic life. One sees how common share is enjoyed by all citizens in water distribution, drainage, gardens and roads. The tendency is for this spirit to grow still further [Page 30]  in the utilisation of electric lights, tramways and transport facilities. Municipal banking is also an ideal already in practice. Thus socialism and communism in a Municipal organisation get wider and wider, and one looks forward with expectations and aspirations to that description of the community life of the coming sub-race and Root-Race, so ably described by Dr. Annie Besant and Mr. C. W. Leadbeater, in their books and lectures. 

Municipal organisations are the foundations on which the community life of the Great Brotherhood of the coming Root-Race is to be built. Those who share in the administration of Municipalities have opportunities to gain experience to work hereafter for the community life of the future. Let us pray and hope that the building of the community life and brotherhood will be completed early and rapidly on those foundations which have been already laid through the existence of Municipal organisations. It means more unselfish workers with aspirations are needed to move forward rapidly, so that this day may come earlier of happiness for all, wherein one may live in the ideals of brotherhood and companionship. In the Municipal world everyone is a brother or a sister, every child is each one's child. Protection, shelter, kindness, justice have to be administered to every soul without distinction of any kind. It is an organisation of brotherhood and co-operation, which are the factors which lead us to know and [Page 31] understand each other, and thus to understand God.

 It has been seen that every department of the Inner Government is reflected in the Municipal organisation. Each one of the citizens, therefore, has to try to bring out his own creative ideal, to develop his own temperament according to his own capacity and will, to serve in his city or village; thus each one may surrender at the feet of the Lord of any department, and through Him at the feet of the King of the Inner Government. Working for the people and serving them through any department of civic life is the true worship of the Lord presiding over that department and of the King of Creation. True service in this Brotherhood and Co-operation — the Municipal organisation — becomes the true worship of God. To be a citizen, and more so a Municipal councillor, is a great privilege and an opportunity for the growth of oneself. Seeing and understanding thus life in each other brings us to the goal of freedom which has been so beautifully proclaimed by Krishnaji. Working for the people becomes what Professor Laski terms, “creative co-ordination”. It is the process to realise and understand the One Life in all. When we attain to the realisation of the One Life in every other as invoked and urged by the revered President of the Theosophical Society, Dr. Annie Besant, when we have served the people [Page 32]  in different departments through these activities then well may we invoke:

Om Icches'varāya namah,
Om Jñānes'varāya namah,
Om Kārya-Kus'ates'varāya namah,
Om Saundarya Samates'varāyā namah,
Om Vijñānes'varāya namah,
Om Bhaktes'varāya namah,
Om Kriyā-Rahasyesvarāya namah,
Hari Om.

 “Homage to the Lord of Will.
Homage to the Lord of Wisdom.
Homage to the Lord of Action and Service.
Homage to the Lord of Beauty.
Homage to the Lord of Science.
Homage to the Lord of Devotion and Love.
Homage to the Lord of Ceremonial Order.
Homage to the King.”

When we have thus served in the microcosm — this world — through Municipal, organisations, and when we have surrendered to and rightly worshipped the macrocosm — the Great Ones, the King, — we shall have realised the One Life in all and we shall have gained the power, the privilege and the authority, like our Krishnaji, to declare the Great Truth that we are also flowers of [Page 33] humanity and we have also attained Freedom.

Then shall we each proclaim:

O visible Life! vibrant in every atom,
O visible Light! shining through every creature,
O visible Love! embracing all in Oneness,
I have felt myself and am one with Thee,
And I know that I am one with every other.

 


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