THEOSOPHY, Vol. 17, No. 5, March, 1929
(Pages 199-200; Size: 7K)
FOR PRACTICAL WORK(1)
OPPORTUNITIES for producing permanent effects for good in themselves and in the world as a whole, are given to Theosophists at the present time, which they may never have again if these are scattered. What we most need is such a Theosophical education as will give us the ability to expound Theosophy in a way to be understood by the ordinary person. This practical, clear exposition is entirely possible. That it is of the highest importance there can be no doubt whatever. It relates to and affects ethics, every-day life, every thought, and consequently every act.
It is preëminently our duty to be thus practical in exposition as often as possible. Intellectual study only of our Theosophy will not speedily better the world. It must, of course, have effect through immortal ideas once more set in motion, but while we are waiting for those ideas to bear fruit among men a revolution may break out and sweep us away. Let us, then, acquire the art of practical exposition of ethics based on our theories and enforced by the fact of Universal Brotherhood.
Although philosophy seems dry to most people, and especially to minds in the Western world who are surrounded by the rush of their new and quite undeveloped civilization, yet it must be taught and understood. It has become the fashion to some extent to scout careful study or practice and go in for the rapid methods inaugurated in America. In many places emotional goodness is declared to exceed in value the calmness that results from a broad philosophical foundation, and in others astral wonder seeking, or great strength of mind whether discriminative or not, is given the first rank. Strength without knowledge, and sympathetic tears without the ability to be calm, -- in fine, faith without works -- will not save us.
We are not seeking to cater to a lot of fiction readers and curiosity hunters, but to the pressing needs of earnest minds. We are not fighting for any form of organization, nor for badges, nor for petty personal ends, but for Theosophy; for the benefit, the advantage and the good of our fellow-men. What a petty lot of matter we spend time on, when so much is transitory. After a hundred years what will be the use of all this? Better that a hundred years hence a principle of freedom and an impulse of work should have been established.
We appeal, therefore, to all who wish to raise themselves and their fellow creatures -- man and beast -- out of the thoughtless jog-trot of selfish everyday life. It is not thought that Utopia can be established in a day; but through the spreading of the idea of Universal Brotherhood, the truth in all things may be discovered. What is wanted is true knowledge of the spiritual condition of man, his aim and destiny. Such a study leads us to accept the utterance of Prajapati to his sons: "Be restrained, be liberal, be merciful," it is the death of selfishness. This is the line for us to take and to persevere in, that all may in time obtain the true light.
It is natural for one to ask: "What of the future, and what of the defined object, if any, for our work?" That can be answered in many ways. There is, first our own work, in and on ourselves, each one. That has for its object the enlightenment of oneself for the good of others. If that is pursued selfishly some enlightenment comes, but not the amount needed for the whole work. The main thing is for the members to study and know Theosophy, for if they do not know it how can they give any of it to others?
Too many who think themselves theosophically alone in their own town, have folded their hands and shut up their minds, saying to themselves that they could do nothing, that no one was near who could possibly care for Theosophy, and that that particular town was the "most difficult for the work."
The Masters have written that we are all bound together in one living whole. Hence the thoughts and acts of one react upon all. Experience has shown that it is true, as said by Masters, that any sincere member in any town can help and benefit his fellow townsmen. It is not high learning that is needed, but solely devotion to humanity, faith in Masters, in the Higher Self, a comprehension of the fundamental truths of Theosophy and a little, only a little, sincere attempt to present those fundamental truths to a people who are in desperate need of them. That attempt should be continuous. This is the great tone running through all the words from these sources. It is a call to work for the race and not for self, a request to bring to the west and the east the doctrines that have most effect on human conduct, on the relations of man to man, and hence the greatest possibility of forming at last a true universal brotherhood.
This is really the culmination of the work of ages, and it would be a poor thing, indeed, if the Lodge had to depend alone on our puny efforts. All the work that any of us do anywhere redounds to the interest and benefit of the whole. Let us all work, work; work shines forth after all is over. Let that be our watchword.
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(1) Excerpted from the writings of William Q. Judge.
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