The more we study Theosophy the more we begin to realize that it is not just a body of knowledge, no matter how important that knowledge is, nor is it the joining of a lodge or society or the wearing of a badge or emblem. Theosophy, like many of the enduring philosophies of the past, is a way of life, a standard of thought and action, a position assumed and retained throughout life.
The philosophic basis for such an assertion was signaled by H. P.Blavatsky in the first of Her messages to the American Theosophists where She stated, "The function of Theosophists is to open men's hearts and understandings to charity, justice, and generosity, attributes which belong specifically to the human kingdom and are natural to man when he has developed the qualities of a human being." She followed this with a bold promise by saying, "--- and when people have learned to think and feel as truly human beings should feel and think, they will act humanely, and works of charity, justice, and generosity will be done spontaneously by all."
Both Her portrayal of man and the subsequent promise are based on the Theosophic postulate that genuine philanthropy is the true nature of the Inner Reincarnating Ego, that man, when he is free from the many false and selfish ideas that have been spawned by the "one life" concept, is quite comfortable with a life of helping and being helped. One of the basic aims of the true student of the Philosophy is to be the better able to help and teach others.
But how do we truly help another? How do we practice that philanthropy without interfering with the experience and development of those we want to help? Does the student of Theosophy have something that will be of lasting help but will leave the individual free to make his own choices, to make his own discoveries as well as his own mistakes?
Again, H.P.B. gives an answer. In "The Key To Theosophy" She states, "Make men free and recognize in their inmost hearts what is their real, true duty to all men, and every old abuse of power, every iniquitous law in the national policy, based on human, social or political selfishness, will disappear of itself."
Theosophy does have something very special to offer, something magical in the way of help, undoubtedly the most truly helpful gift package that the Western world has ever been given. A wonderful, magical tale and a picture of great beauty and promise.
It is the tale of our true Self, this semi-divine being that knows no death, that has lived through all the times and climes of this mighty Manvantara, that has experienced every possible state of human consciousness, lived and learned in every race, religion or nationality - for each, this Ego has been there. And the picture, the true picture of each one of us, the Reincarnating Ego the real Self with all the wisdom garnered from countless incarnations, the Prince within that is ever present to guide this shadow self, this mask, we call the personality.
Theosophy offers a reasonable and reliable basis for ethics, one that makes sense even in this world of selfishness and greed. By recalling to our minds these ancient doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma it has given us the lost keys that make sense out of life and give credence to those truly human promptings we all would like to live by.
Mr. Judge offers another answer to the question when he introduces the idea of duty as "the royal talisman." He states, "Duty persistently followed is the highest yoga, and is better than mantrams or any posture, or any other thing. If you can do no more than duty it will bring you to the goal." Again, the idea that the practice of Theosophy is the practice of Universal Brotherhood, our duty to the whole of Humanity. It is encouraging to think that all the Great Teachers down through history are a part of our family. It is, perhaps, wise, also, to remember that even the lowest human is also a part of our family.
This confirms the prcmise that even the "how to's" of Theosophy begin on the higher planes. The philosophy clearly teaches that the process of gaining wisdom is not one of reading more books, It is one of thinking and acting is such a way that we open up the lower nature to the light and wisdom of the Inner Being - acting for and as the Self of all beings, acting as if we are that universal being. This places us en rapport with the intent of the Higher Self and thus opens us up to that more universal perspective, a task that calls on that heroic endowment deep within each one of us, "the light of daring burning in the heart."
Mr. Judge puts it simply, "We advance most rapidly when we stop to help other wayfarers. We receive most when we sacrifice most."