THEOSOPHY, Vol. 72, No. 10, August, 1984
(Pages 300-306; Size: 18K)
THOUGHTS ON THE OBJECTSTo form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color;ONE of the dictionary definitions of Nucleus is "anything that serves as a center of development." This implies that from such a center there would emanate those influences which would draw to it more of its own kind, and would so organize and direct the growing mass that its significance would steadily increase.
The study of ancient and modern religions, philosophies and sciences, and the demonstration of the importance of such study; and
The investigation of the unexplained laws of Nature and the psychical powers latent in man.
Within three years of its founding, the Theosophical Society had risen like a shooting star and had become the focus of wonder and controversy. Isis Unveiled set the intelligentsia of both science and religion on their collective ears, and the publicity given to H.P.B. in the press, along with articles explaining her views, won more adherents than might have been expected. No doubt, many were attracted by the novelty of Theosophical ideas, which so admirably filled the void of their own beliefs; others delighted simply in debate and contention. It was too much to expect that more than a handful would grasp the fundamentals of the philosophy or its high purpose. Yet, that there were some who did, and who stuck through the ensuing years of turmoil, is proof of the underlying power of great intention and courageous action. These few were the first real nucleus of a group that stands before all else, for the promulgation of Universal Brotherhood, not only as philosophical rhetoric, but as a fact of being.
The three objects of the Theosophical Movement remain unchanged. They are the instrumentalities for furthering what may be considered a fourth object -- the amelioration of the human condition.
As men think, so they act, and if one is to have any effect in an effort to make human life function in smoother fashion, this is the sole means available. The Secret Doctrine of all ages has maintained that there is a Supreme Purpose operating in the Universe which involves every existing thing, large and small, in the context of its intention. Purpose presupposes thought and a mind to think, but a Mind that is synonymous or consubstantial with all. Things, in essence, are congealed thoughts, though to higher perceptions they are fluid and changing, for thought does not stand still.
If the universe and every portion of it is thought, man is a progressed product of Thought-Power, a center of perception in which thought has become an autonomous motivator of action, then it is the quality of his thought which either aligns his life with the Plan of Nature or pits it in opposition thereto. As we are presently endowed, we cannot see or recall our history before birth; any significant purpose to life is not discernible; in addition, we are blind to "the tie that binds" all things together into an operating whole. Blindness and misinformation have become so embedded in the consciousness of mass man that they are the constant prompters of choice, and thus lie at the bottom of most of the troubles that afflict us.
No new idea can replace an old one until the latter has been removed, and no true information can subsist together with its antithesis. Either the one must be repulsed or the other must go. And there is the rub, for in demolishing there is pain and in renovation there is effort. Old ideas, set in the concrete of centuries, are practically impregnable. If the obvious lessons of life's hardest blows fail to pierce their shell, how can they be breached even with the most cogent arguments? If the plain words of Great Teachers are misinterpreted and unheeded, how can a mere theosophical student with no special training hope for a hearing?
Yet it was the very power of Truth which excited response in the minds of some who heard it. There are souls prepared by the passage of ages, whose eyes seek light in the stygian darkness, ready to entertain new hope. The awful pain of errancy has sharpened discrimination in such souls and they are careful to test the ground before they venture to tread. It is these pilgrims, humble in their need, strengthened by their inner wars, that Theosophy finds and seeks to help. Out of such is the Nucleus forged, and to that Nucleus must be added an ever growing number.
The Movement was born in a time of crass and burgeoning materialism, when religion had virtually reached its nadir of sterility. Science and technology were heading into a period of dominance, unguided by the principles of morality that could have made them the designers of heaven on earth, rather than spawning greed and selfishness. The clergy had little to offer to stem this dreadful tide because its fulminations concerning the vengeance of an extra-cosmic God could no longer command respect. So it was that when both these drives were called into question by a voice so powerful in its dissection, so accurate in its demonstrations, the first reactions were antagonistic maneuvers. But ridicule and acrimony only gave Theosophy publicity; and it became a world-wide movement in spite of these onslaughts.
There is no measure of what the Theosophical movement has accomplished. Its great truths have entered in subtle ways into the hearts and minds of a great many people who do not even guess their source. If we demur that the world is still a quagmire of evil, ignorance, and suffering, a closer look can show a new set of perspectives leading to new insights that will improve the lives of all. Theosophical terminology has been widely adopted. A few professors in our best universities have gained wide audiences by espousing some of its aspects; and a few courageous scientists seek better answers in the ancient wisdom.
The understanding of "One Life in all beings" may be more a matter of lip service than a reality, yet there have been some remarkable advances in the humanity of man to man, in tolerance for those of different skins, cultures, and religions. Some amelioration in the plight of animals is evident, though much more is to be desired. The welfare of the planet is more on our mind, and even if this is largely due to a realization that we hurt ourselves by spoiling the environment, it is a welcome development. All such movements toward conservation and stewardship and empathy with lesser creatures are Theosophical concepts and admonitions.
The Brotherhood of man and reverence for all that lives can never become the over-riding motive for action until it is realized that we are all one in fact and in theory. We draw our life-force from the same Sun, we breathe the same air, drink the same water, eat the same food. Our bodies borrow atoms from other bodies and send them forth again to be used over and over in the restructuring of other bodies. But the paramount Truth of Truths is that every scintilla of Creation is a spark of the One Ocean of Being and can never be divorced from it; nor, in fact, can it commit the smallest act or make the least motion on its own. Every life-spark that enters into a bodily form is due to suffer. It is the only exercise that strengthens spiritual muscles, and the only way possible for evolution to take place.
In a world such as ours, where is the hope? It is in learning to think, to speak, to act as brothers. It is in knowing the Great Plan and living it; for then, as with Job, our end shall be better than our beginning.
It has been said that to be a good theosophist, one has to be a good Christian, a good Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, etc. How is this possible when they are all different? To the superficial observer, all religions are different. They are so burdened with fantasy that it seems strange that they would attract any but the most gullible. It appears that the particular fantasies one has grown up with have a special power of persuasion. The more unreal they are, the more difficult to understand, the more they must be believed. Certain psychological arguments are advanced to justify their absurdities, but no argument can gainsay one fact: only an enforced ignorance could maintain such practices and compulsions.
Great initiates are the authors of all religions, whether they spoke them only, or wrote them for immediate and future generations. The very nature of their communications determined that they would be generally misunderstood. They were working for the exceptions -- those prepared by the "threshing floor" of evolution to seek a surer Truth. If the symbols and allegories of Their teachings were seized upon by the ever-abundant opportunists, and interpreted in ways that would further their own ends, there was not much help for it; nor is there today. We see the misapplication of Theosophical ideas springing up in ever-ingenious forms.
Exoteric religions, as they are perceived by the multitudes, are indeed all different; but they are not modeled after the teachings of their founders. All who have brought mankind a saving message spoke as one Voice and agreed as one mind. Each had cultural and language hurdles, but they all revealed Truth by clothing their ideas in imaginative allegories and in all sorts of figurative terms. Presumably, the people to whom they spoke understood the similes and parables. Others, however, with little or no knowledge of the subject, were quick to seize the words and turn them into dogmas. This is how the plethora of follies were spawned. The endless lists of gods and goddesses, angels and devils, patriarchs and kings, sun-gods and adversaries, became actual realities in the minds of the world's majorities, thus distorting history, confusing morals, and perverting the meanings originally intended.
It was into such a situation that H.P.B. plunged with unmatched vigor, armed with a mass of arguments and proofs so powerful that they could not be disregarded. No other author in all history has produced a match for her works. A thousand researchers could not have perused all the literature she peered into, selecting the exact quotation needed to make each point. There was, seemingly, no book, published or unpublished, in any language, with which she was unfamiliar. She exposed their key-thought to prove them in error or to expand on their truths.
It was the same with science, that most recent of religions, vaunting its triumphs, jealous of its dogmas, tough-minded and iconoclastic. H.P.B. analyzed science with an incisive eye, appreciated it where she could and called it to account where she could not. Again, the amount of research was enormous, the comprehension of the subjects far beyond the ability of any imaginable mind.
The world's great philosophers of all ages were also at her beck and call and their favored views had to run the gauntlet of her critique. But such accomplishments were meager compared to the end-result of their purpose. These three warring factions were brought into a harmonious relationship. H.P.B. culled from each its core of essential fact, weaving them together by means of a master formula. She proved the theorem with which she began: "There is no religion higher than Truth," nor any science or philosophy. The project was memorialized in the second object of the Theosophical Movement. The example she set and the help she gave can serve us in our own striving for growth in understanding.
Theosophical books tell us how man is made and offer good reasons why we, too, may possess powers far greater than we are presently able to use. But it seems more in line with our evolutionary phase that we should first learn to appreciate the miracles around us and to use our environmental accoutrements for constructive purposes.
To a truly perceptive mind, everything is full of miracles; life itself is the greatest. How life can spring out of the seed, drawing its growth from the inert earth, is a marvel never yet explained. All the observations of molecular activity and cell growth, monitored by genes to build pre-programmed structures, do not touch the mystery. Processes are catalogued, their intricate developments described, but no one has ever discovered what life is. Energy is its attribute as form is its foil, but whence come its awareness and its self-direction?
Who fashioned the mandibles of an ant and the pincers of a crab, to say nothing of the ant and the crab themselves? There is as much to astonish and confound us in a mouse as there is in a galaxy of stars. Perhaps there is more, for the mouse has a measure of autonomy that the galaxy lacks.
Poets and philosophers have dilated on the wonders of man, and science has dissected him to his smallest elements; but they have, none of them, discovered what he is and why. Everything about Man is wonderful: how he grows from infinitesimal beginnings, how he learns, how he chooses, how his organs and his senses work, how he adapts, makes rational communications, invents and creates. A big-city printing press staggers the imagination; but man's mouth and tongue, in the act of speaking, would defy all the engineers in the world to duplicate.
If there is one thing that gives Man distinction it is the quality of his mind. Through his ability to understand, he is able to order the environment where he lives. He can choose and combine, imagine, project and build nearly anything he wishes. The intricacy of his mental formulations is unlimited, whether he deals with concretion or abstraction. Man has produced the technology and hardware to send men to the moon, watching that fateful step from earth module to lunar surface, hearing the words that marked it. We now watch and hear the events taking place all over the world. There is seemingly no end to our brilliance. Yet to mend the fragmentation in our own psyches, or heal the tragic divisions in the social body of mankind, or reunite the disparate relationships between man and nature would be a miracle indeed!
Let us seek the miracle of knowledge and understanding for the elevation of our own minds and communicate it to the desperately confused problem-beseiged masses of men. This is the way and the only way of amelioration.
Study the spectacular powers and possibilities of our psychic nature, but leave them to develop spontaneously in their own good time. We can better spend our energies in a higher cause -- helping to bring the saving light of Theosophy to the world.
COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:
However mean your life is, meet and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The faultfinder will find fault even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man's abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace. The town's poor seem to me often to live the most independent lives of any.
THE "THREE OBJECTS" OF THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT
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