Whenever we find a Theosophical Society,
throughout the centuries — and
there has been some such movement in the last quarter of
each century — we find certain requirements in connection
therewith: to put together the bibles of the world and
find out what was common to all of them, and to find out
the extent to which one bible would explain another, to
make enquiry into so-called supernatural phenomena, and,
added to these another requirement, a requirement of great
importance; the so-called brotherhood. The Theosophical
Society of our day was established on that primary basis,
that it should be made to form a nucleus for the universal
brotherhood of mankind.
People are inclined to say 'this is another of the many isms', but it possesses this distinct difference; it does not endeavour to be a separate cult but endeavours to be a synthesis of all of the so-called new religions, and endeavours to tie them up to the religions of the past. In this tremendous work, it naturally faces tremendous difficulties, and the diffusion of effort arising out of the work of the Theosophical Society has resulted in a great many divergences and in spreading a great many ideas and sending out a great many students for whom it could have no credit. In considering the society today, you have to consider the things it has achieved, and the men who have worked with it at various times. It becomes the most potent influence of our era. Those things arising out of the Society and running collateral with it, and deriving help and benefit from it, have become so widespread that you will find wherever you go a new point of view about life. All the great liberalizing movements in the various countries have grown from those who have had some link with Theosophy at some time. When you find these people all have something in common, the source of supply is either the present Theosophical movement or one of the many Theosophical societies or groups that have been formed back through the centuries; the establishing of a nucleus for the brotherhood of mankind always the center.
The trouble with mankind is that it has been living in little valleys surrounded by high hills, and the people of each valley hold to their own belief and say it is the only true faith. We find for instance one group saying that a child is newly created of God, perhaps in health, perhaps in sickness, perhaps in adversity and perhaps in wealth, and he goes on all through life, required to make certain achievements in it, always with a terrible disparity between opportunities. Is it worthy of God that this should be the case? Is it worthy of the God who is the author of this universe that these doctrines should be true? Let us put all the beliefs of all the valleys together side by side and see what all of them have to say.
There are certain things that man knows in his own soul, certain fundamental ideas. It is fundamental that whatever teaching there may be about life, about man's origin and his destiny, must be available equally to all men. There must have been always a revelation of that sort. If it could occur once, it could occur again. Everything issues from a divine center and no center of life can ignore any other center of life. The great fundamental truth which has always been believed by the greatest among mankind and upheld at the cost of suffering, always has been, first, that there is a fundamental brotherhood between the individuals of the human race, between the human race and the animals, between the animals, the trees and the rocks, and that every atom of manifested life in the universe is indissolubly tied within some central Being. This is not a poetical fiction but a fundamental fact manifested in all the sciences. Whosoever hurts a thing outside himself, as he thinks, inevitably wounds himself. All revelation has been equally for all mankind, and this broken jagged thing we call physical life is eternal, and made up of many physical lives. We come again and again to this earth, return here to the place where causes were set up. What you see broken, unfair, unjust, is really the carrying over from a previous set of actions. Whatever is unrewarded must achieve its reward in another set of conditions on this earth. This life goes on through the human race and goes on to illimitable ranges after that; nothing less would be sufficient for the glory of God. All justice is exactly equal and even. Whatever you do now you can expect inevitably to meet and pay for. Mankind represents a vast stretch of evolution. The pathway from the lowest savage up to the Christ occupies an immense period in time and evolution. There are those who have gone through the stages through which we have gone, and have emerged, have attained to a sufficient understanding of mankind that they can turn and teach; and that is the eternal law of the universe, that each one does it for some other. But away on beyond us and ready always to teach and work for us, are those who have, as we say, liberated themselves.
There is a more observable phenomena, where an individual suddenly transcends the mental consciousness and steps into something higher than that. It is a state of increased vision, such a vision as came to Buddha, to Jesus, to Walt Whitman, to Plato; and Dr. Bucke in his book Cosmic Consciousness gives numerous instances of a lesser degree of the same thing. It is a state of direct cognition; the actual union of all created things is known; an acquirement of the understanding of all the things of the earth. There is sufficient indication, I think, to every thinking person, that there is a world just beyond the world in which we live; not a world to which the dead go, but a state of consciousness, a realm of being below which we stand, and which possesses as much greater powers than the powers of mind as mind possesses over the powers of emotion; and the operation of consciousness in that realm would be to ours as ours would be to a dog. You know how a trained dog struggles just on the verge of understanding of human thought.
The great thing about that world is the sudden realization of this essential fact that all mankind is indissolubly linked together. When you have done an evil or a harsh thing to another, you have set up a barrier between that person and yourself which closes off the life that is poured down into you. The tie that links us up is in another world and one excludes himself therefrom by blocking the channel through which he receives that current or that life which is the common life of all mankind. Having hated or excluded someone, having refused to perform the brotherly thing, you have inserted a plug which breaks the current. The ordinary run of mankind do not feel these things, but we come to a place where the doing of something which is not as it should be, blocks certain warm currents in your body. You often see the results in indigestion and headache. You have cut yourself off from a central source of supply by that act. The fact of resenting this or that, of disliking, has actually impaired your own life currents.
If you go into these enquiries without that fundamental recognition that you do this work in service to the rest of mankind, you are going to hurt yourself. You will find ideas which will render you very powerful, will give you possession of knowledge, a system for the understanding of the things of the world, which will give you immense advantages, a research which will carry you into dangerous slippery places, and if you go into one or the other of these places without this safety which is the knowledge of one's absolute responsibility to everyone about him, the knowledge that one is choked or cut off by an unbrotherly thing, you are walking to your certain disaster. When you hear an occultist talk about brotherhood, no matter how badly he may fall down on his doctrine, you may know he is not talking about a poetic thing, nor about passing around the hat for somebody, he is talking about a fundamental force which is as wonderful as it is terrible. By no possible strain of effort can you escape the human race.
By no effort can any individual in mankind do more than by going on learning more, finding out more, achieving greater responsibility for mankind around about him, all he does is lift himself higher in the chain of teachers that runs like a great series of golden threads down through the universe.
Madame Blavatsky requested that there be a day in each year set aside to recall the Society itself to think that out of the grossness, out of the chaos of things dark, in due season grew a very precious flower, something which gave birth to a new movement. May 8th is called White Lotus Day after the East Indian lotus symbol of the flower of perfection, which grows from the waters and the grossness of life. Let us once in the year, see what this Society is about, what it has done and can do. It has been the builder of a far greater pattern than any one person in it knows anything about. It may not be making a great noise, it may not be doing the things that we look at as so important in life, but it is actually by its very preoccupation with ideas, by the people whom it sends out, it is forming a nucleus for the universal brotherhood of mankind. It does actually set something alight on inner planes, and these contacts are the most priceless things in life. Curious initiations go on all the time among such people.
Simply to talk about these things, — the talk spreads from one to another, and it goes out, and disciples who had forgotten their teachers, and teachers who had almost forgotten their disciples remember, and old links are re-established, and we make the world anew.
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