Theosophical University Press Online Edition
Theosophy and Reform
The Hierarchical System of the T. S.
Study-Groups in Theosophy
What is Technical Theosophy?
I have often been asked what good, what practical, honest-to-goodness good the Theosophical Society does in the world. It has been said to me: Why, you people preach and preach and preach and preach the most beautiful things. But what practical good do you do? This is what Theosophy does, what the Theosophical Society is trying to do, and what we Theosophists are trying to do: We are trying to give unto men a light by which they can live. We are trying to change the hearts of men to feel for their fellows, to be in sympathy with their fellows instead of against them. We are trying to give unto our fellow-men a philosophy of life based upon the wisdom of the ages, which will make their own lives upright so that they live them in rectitude, in justice to themselves, and in justice to others. We are trying to change men's hearts and we are trying to change their minds. Now if you can show me anything more wonderful than that, more practical than that, I should be glad to hear.
Isn't it obvious that the reason we have trouble is because the world does not know what to do? They are all hunting for truth, hunting for the way out. Why? Because their hearts are broken; they do not know what to do because their hearts have been shut up in selfish questing, grasping "for me" and "my part." It is altruism, brotherhood in thought and act, the old-fashioned teaching, the decent treatment of man by man, which will bring peace on earth and heaven amongst us.
You have often heard me say that it is ideas which rule the world, which make and unmake civilizations, which ennoble or which degrade human life; and it is precisely in the dissemination of the beautiful ideals I have just alluded to, and the finding of proper soil in the hearts and minds of men for these ideas, that the Theosophical Society and its members are mainly engaged. Eschewing politics of every kind or color, utterly nonsectarian in principle as we are, our Work when once understood should be sympathetically received by kindly and thoughtful men everywhere; for we interfere with no man's life, we are strictly obedient to the laws of the country where we live, and we strive to bring back to men the philosophical, moral, religious, and scientific vision and hope, apart from any kind of dogmatic teaching, that the world for ages has lost.
That is our Work mainly, and it is intensely and grandly practical. By changing men's ideas we change their lives; and by changing their lives to happier and better things, in time such work will change civilizations. I repeat that ideas rule the world; and if you look around you, you will find this axiomatic truth substantiated everywhere, for men are thinkers as well as feelers, and their actions and their lives follow the ideas they cherish most strongly.
But I must say this: Let us apply to ourselves first what we ascertain to be the remedy for the world's ills — correct our own lives instead of trying to hammer our ideas of what is right into the heads of those who do not agree with us, just making more wretchedness in the world. Reformers are so very desirous of reforming the other fellow. It is so ungenerous. They want to reform other men in politics, in religion, in philosophy and science, and in their lives. How few of us try to reform the reformer! I, you. Nobody kicks so badly at reformation as does the reformer himself. A great man does not attempt to reform the other chap. He has work enough to reform himself. It is the consequence, the results, of his teaching and life which reform those who have heard, who have had the ears to hear.
And right here I believe is the largest part of the work of the Theosophical Movement: to set a current of thought and feeling moving in the world; but primarily, to see to it, each one of us, that the center from which this energy flows is right. The way to reform things is to begin on yourself, reform yourself. Be an example and others will follow. It is contagious, beautifully contagious.
Do you know, I believe the curse of the world today is that men have got it in their heads that they are going to correct the other fellow. It is a mental, a psychological, curse that is afflicting us all. Now please do not misconstrue my words to mean that we should allow evil free play and just sit by and let others work injury upon their fellows. I don't mean that at all. All organized human society must protect itself against evil-doing. My point is that we should not try to correct the other fellow, but that we should try to correct ourselves. There you have all the Law and all the Prophets; and I tell you, the example of a man who begins on himself is contagious unto others, because he has reason with him, he has justice with him, he has right with him. His actions are not wrong; they are not warped, distorted, twisted. His actions are upright, clean, straightforward. When we deal with our fellow-men we are dealing with reasonable and feeling human beings; and it is my firm conviction that the good in human nature far outweighs the evil. I for one have never found it to fail that when I appeal to my brother man to treat me as I want to treat him, he responds. I let him feel that I am sincere and that I am not going to try to correct his faults and impose my own opinions on him, my short-sighted views, my small and selfish feelings on him. I simply silently ask him to treat me as I want to treat him, and it never fails. Believe me!
The way of correcting evil in the world is not by putting more into it, thus adding to the store of horrors and wickedness in the world. Violence breeds violence, hatred arouses hatred; evil-doing other men resent and won't have it. And if they are small-minded men they will react by trying to do evil unto you. If they are men of larger intelligence they will try to put you where you belong for your evil-doing — and with a good deal of that feeling! I think the proper way to correct the evils in the world is by beginning on ourselves, and to leave the other fellow alone. Be an example unto the world, be a light unto the world, think what you believe, live what you preach, and leave the other fellow alone to work out his destiny.
What is meant by the phrase: the hierarchical system of the Theosophical Society?
Most people seem to think it means this: that the system of government in the T. S. is a great big boss at the top, delegating authority to smaller bosses but yet big ones who are the Presidents of the National Sections; and these, passing down the hierarchical system of authority, delegating their bossism to still smaller bosses, who are the Presidents of the Lodges, in other words that the hierarchical system of the T. S. is but a delegated system of bosses; and that is absolutely false and wrong — mischievous.
What we mean when we say the hierarchical system of government in the T. S. is simply the following: As in all else, we endeavor to copy our Brothers of the stars, of nature, in our case the gods who govern and inspire nature. Their system of government, if you will examine it, is not a system of bosses or autocrats or dictators in nature, for you won't see that anywhere. But a single body-corporate, a universe, a solar system; our own T. S., infilled with one life, having at its head a head; but every individual unit or limb of the body-corporate as free and independent in its own sphere as the top of his head in his, and maybe more so. Because under the hierarchical system of government of the spirit, the higher you go along the ladder upwards, the more the chief or head becomes the servant. It is the gods who serve the most, who are the servers of all below; so that as I, as the present Leader, have often said, quoting a Christian saying, Ego sum servus servorum Dei: I am the servant of the servants of the Divine.
The higher your soul is raised in understanding, the higher your hierarchical rung, the more universal you become, the more comprehensive — you take in more. The lower you are in the evolutionary development, the less you understand the universality of things, and the more you want to gather in to yourself: constriction. The I comes uppermost. There is no autocrat, there is no despot, there is no worshiper of force, so fanatic as precisely he whose ideas are the least universal, the least spiritual; for spirituality means universality. The biggest boss in nature is precisely he who is not big enough to take others into his life. Do you catch it? Bossism means the imbodiment of selfishness: 'I' and 'my way.'
The government of the T. S. is this: Every National Section is autonomous under the provisions of the Constitution of the T. S. This means it runs its own affairs as it will, well or badly. The Leader never interferes with the internal affairs of a National Section. Should he be asked for help, for advice, for counsel, he gives it instantly; but always with the reminder: Remember, Companions, you will never learn what responsibility is, you will never learn how to stand on your own feet, and do your own job like men, until you are willing to do it. I have refused a thousand times, I should think, to give advice which would have had the effect of making people look upon the Leader as a kind of Delphic Oracle, to whom they could come expecting him to bear the burden of all their own internal difficulties, solve all their problems, and do their thinking. I said: No! This guaranteeing under the Constitution of the individual freedom of the various units of the T. S. is my side of the problem and my duty and my happiness.
Another side of the picture is that throwing these dear people back upon themselves, they become men. They begin to think, begin to work. They thus feel their own responsibilities. And do you know, that is some of the finest training you can give to a good man, to put responsibility on his shoulders. Tell him to go do it. Then he does something, then he becomes an achiever instead of a dreamer or a leaner.
Similarly, within a National Section every Lodge is autonomous under the provisos of the Constitution of the T. S., and the By-laws of the Section. In other words, every Lodge in the T. S., in subordination to the Constitution and its national by-laws, can do exactly as it pleases, run its own affairs without interference from anyone. If the members of a Lodge make a hash of it, so much the worse. Then they are in hot water! But they learn from it.
Now, where is your system of bossism in all this? It is just the opposite. This system is based upon the inherent elements so dear to the human heart; the inherent, the fundamental, elements of human psychology and spirituality. Our fundamental law, is a freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, and freedom of action, and courtesy towards others, and brotherly love. The Leader's job is not only to keep the peace, but to see that these laws of freedom are held inviolate. These are glorious and beautiful ideas and ideals, the tradition of the heart of mankind. Freedom is fearless, slavery is always an abject hatred; and there is no slavery like that of selfishness, inability to see that the other man has just as many inherent rights in freedom and in duty as you have, no more, no less. He is a human being, your brother. He has the same right to think and feel in liberty of conscience; and as long as he conducts himself as a man and a gentleman should, in the T. S., there is no power that will gainsay him.
This hierarchical plan is based on nature. Look at the Solar System. The sun infills his kingdom with light and with life, and all within that kingdom are held subordinate to these common principles. But every planet follows its own path, spins on its own axis, produces its own inhabitants, has its own individuality, breeds its own productions: one common life, one common ideal, all in indissoluble unity, yet freedom under the law or constitution. That is the T. S. Authority is delegated from the Leader to the National Presidents, from them to the Lodge Presidents and officials, to see that these simple principles of our Constitution be carried out.
Any member of the T. S. of course has a full right of appeal to his Lodge President or to his National Secretary or President, or even direct to the Leader, if he think he does not get adequate justice; but actually, while this right exists, it is more or less academic. In the ordinary course, so dearly are these principles cherished, that the right of appeal is exercised, if ever, with extremest rarity; for all our members realize that the most straightforward and honorable way, if an injustice should ever occur, is to lodge an appeal with the immediate official superior, who thereupon transmits the appeal, if he himself cannot determine it, a step farther along, etc.
Hierarchical? Yes, because we live in an indissoluble unity of ideas, and ideals, and in one common life, in one common inspiration, in one common love and one common code of brotherly law. Not written, this code, but engraved in our hearts by our Theosophical traditions and teachers. And one fundamental law written, but likewise living in our hearts: the Constitution of the T. S. Show me any bossism in this system, the big boss at the top, delegating to smaller bosses and then to smaller ones still, the authority to rule more or less arbitrarily — for that is what real bossism is; and any man who says to any other man, "You should believe as I do," is a tyrant, and in his heart has no conception of the blessings of liberty, freedom. There is not an atom of such bossism in the T. S., not an atom; and the Presidents of our National Sections and the Lodge Presidents are coming more and more to understand all this, for they have always loved it. The more they can give of brotherly love and understanding and helpfulness to other Theosophists, the closer they will come to the spiritual life to which we incline our hearts in reverence.
I want to point out the extreme need of disseminating technical Theosophical teachings in the outside world of men and women; and by 'outside world,' I mean those who are not privileged to study together as we do. That is the only sense in which I use the word 'outside.' There are millions whose place, spiritually and intellectually, is here amongst us. But we have not succeeded in giving them the chance yet; we have not yet been able, with our teachings, to reach their imaginations, their hunger for more light, for more truth. Their lives are already founded in ethics and they are ethically inclined, they have the ethics of the magnificent religions and philosophies in the world, and they have the instincts of decency in the human heart. What they need is the technical Theosophy to show them How and Why and What -- something that can be achieved only by giving them and making them to love the study of our technical Theosophical doctrines.
Why do the Avataras come amongst us? To help us who to them are spirits in chains of matter, to raise ourselves out of the condition in which are those whom Pythagoras called the "Living Dead," into at least genuinely good men and women whose lives are good because they are ensouled, in other words who have a conception of spirituality and who love it, and loving it follow it.
Faint indeed must be the whisperings of the spirit within you if a picture like this does not arouse something within you as it did in me when first as a child or boy I was taught it again in this life, in this imbodiment. Then it was that I first dedicated my life to Theosophy.
What is the burthen of all the teachings of all our great god-like men? Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, comfort the heavy-laden. Do you think this means merely material benefits? It means aid and feed the naked and suffering and hungry souls of men — as well as their bodies; and if we can arouse by our Theosophical work, working under the mandate that we have received, sufficient enthusiasm along these lines, sufficient to change the thoughts and hearts of men, all the material wants of all mankind will be taken care of because men will no longer allow their fellow human beings to suffer the material wants.
All these latter things are needed, but they sink into utter insignificance compared with the majestic drama of the human soul swinging between spirit and matter, between Divinity and Avichi. And often, too much of the good things of life, too much concentration of thought and mind, too much devotion unto the material things, are dangerous because they concentrate the attention on and attachment to material things alone, and there is danger in this.
Notice that neither the Buddha nor Jesus the Avatara, nor Krishna, went around establishing soup-kitchens and charitable organizations and hospitals and things like these, great and beautiful though these often are. They were feeding and raising the hungry souls of men; they were ministering to the intellectual wants of their fellow-men; they were clothing their spiritual nakedness with the sheaths of consciousness, the garments of truth, knowing that when they did these things, a multitude thus ensouled would attend to the material wants of our fellow human beings.
Not that I decry soup-kitchens and things like that! Sometimes they are very needed; but when I hear people ask me: "Well, you Theosophists talk about loving your fellow-men, and you believe in Universal Brotherhood. Why don't you establish soup-kitchens, and do philanthropic work among the poor and visit hospitals?" Our answer is obvious: We have done it, and we are doing it as much as we can as individuals, and will do much more of it when we get the millions upon millions of the wealth of the churches, or the philanthropic organizations. But what we are doing is cutting at the root which brings these physical material wants, needs, lacks, into being. In other words we work mainly to change men's minds and hearts. What produces the poverty amongst us, and the illnesses, the untended material wants, the exactions on the poor and the weak who are the least able to respond to exactions? Human cruelty, human selfishness, human weaknesses, human thoughtlessness, the lack of an active warm beating heart feeling the woes of the world. Correct these, and you cut at the roots of all the material evils of mankind. That is what the Great Ones of the earth have always done, they cut at the root of the evil, knowing that when they get the multitudes together in a common ideal, if the multitudes are faithful these other things will be attended to.
Now, don't go to extremes. The next time you hear the cry for food, physical food, or the cry for a cup of water, don't say: "No, I am doing Master's work on a higher plane. Go elsewhere to him or her, he or she will attend to your wants." Take what comes in your daily work, and set the example of universal pity and helpfulness; but remember that these noble philanthropic material things will automatically come about if we first take care of the greater things.
It is really a terrible situation. The materialization of our age has become frenzied, so frenzied that there are millions of men and women in the world of today who have no patience with things of the spirit. They are utter materialists; they think there is no good in anything except what will benefit the human body. That is wrong and distorted, and as evil-working a state of mind as is the mind of those frenetic spiritualists in the other sense of the word, who want to be up in the clouds all the time, and will not even give a cup of cold water to a man whose body is thirsting. There are such.
When you remember that the majority of our fellow human beings are destined for two things, unconsciousness, with no progress, and no further light and no further help for aeons and aeons and aeons, unless they get spiritual enlightenment and intellectual help; or, on the other hand, destined to the annihilation of the Planet of Death or of Avichi — what is your reaction? I put it to you. I think these things ought to be talked from the housetops, preached all the time, brought to notice on every occasion possible. It does not matter two pins if people mock. The average man and woman today likes, like the Athenians of old, to hear something new; and even if a smile of incomprehension comes to the face — mark you the first time you attended a Theosophical gathering, and consider what your reaction possibly was. For all you know, you may be sowing seeds of thought every time you utter a technical Theosophical teaching. So wonderfully appealing and persuasive are they, that no matter how much a man may grin and hesitate and argue, and even mock perhaps at first, it may be for months, the seed sown will germinate some day. You may have saved that human soul and you know what I mean by 'saving'; and for pity's sake, when you talk about philanthropy, raise this grand old Greek word to the plane where we understand it, and don't think that the giving of glasses of water, or mush and sausages, or soup and stale bread, is going to save souls. I have seen these things done so mechanically and soullessly that it was almost an insult to the receiver, and a disgrace to the giver. I have seen it, and have blushed.
Of course I don't say all the philanthropy of human beings is like that. Undoubtedly there are thousands and thousands of noble men and women in the world who have never heard a word of genuine Theosophical teaching, whose hearts ache for the sufferings of their fellows, and who do what they can. But I am talking of mechanical charity, and the charity which humiliates when it is given.
What we want is to do away with the need of charity, and you will never succeed in this until you change men's hearts and their minds. The multi-millionaire who endows a College or a University, or some scientific institution, with several millions which he could spare perhaps as easily as the wealthiest among us could spare a few dollars, and immediately sees his name in the newspapers, may be doing far less good for his fellow-man than the poor woman at the cottage door who will give of the little she has to the wayfarer who may come and knock. The latter act is true human sympathy. The other may or may not be commendable.
I tell you this, it is my own pet dogma: I don't believe you will get any genuine spiritual brotherhood, no matter what the form of the power behind the movement, which is not based on spirituality and Theosophy. You will get mechanics and political theories and emotional outbreaks of charitable people. And these are often more dangerous than they are workers of good, because their whole concentration is on the things of the body. It is needful to have the body cared for, undoubtedly. Nobody questions it for a moment. But look here. You can feed a man's body and starve his soul to death. You can give him work and kill his spirit. You can give him a job and clothe him well and guarantee him against the cold of winter and the heat of summer, and you can starve that man to death. You may have made a lost soul out of him. Why? Because the concentration here is solely on the things of matter. When Jesus spoke of "feeding my little ones," do you think he meant babies? Children? "Little ones" is an old occult term for disciples, learners, as children are; loving as children are; receiving as children do: therefore "little ones." And such — and I say this with deepest reverence for human hearts and minds — and such, I repeat, are all those millions who await hungrily to be fed the bread of life and the water of inspiration that Theosophy, technical Theosophy, only can satisfy.
I have been asked to give my opinion about the most successful way of conducting Theosophical study-groups, and this I do somewhat reluctantly, the more especially when I see the really wonderful, sometimes self-denying, work that our various fieldworkers do. They labor and strive to do their best, and do it continuously, both our regular field-workers, and those who do it irregularly. But our efforts are not very successful, Companions, not as successful as could be expected.
I will now proceed to tell you what I think is the common fault. It is going out to meet the minds of those who know naught of Theosophy, and talking down to them, which often means talking over their heads. I don't mean that we should drop technical Theosophy. On the contrary, you will attract people by talking technical Theosophy; but use language that they can understand. It is difficult, very. But if you use language that they cannot understand, no matter how admirably accurate it may be, technically speaking, to us, you are wasting your strength and your time, and breaking your heart in Masters' Work.
An even graver fault than this is an attitude which the audience almost invariably look upon as being an evidence of self-believed superiority. Don't preach at your study-groups. Don't go to them as a teacher. Don't go to them as a professor. Don't go to them as one who knows a great deal more than they do. They don't like it. They feel resentful. That is human; it may not be very admirable, but it is human, and I dare say you would feel exactly the same way — I think I would.
The remedy for these things is simple in my judgment. I submit it to any of you who may be field-workers. I beg of you to try it out. Go into your parlor or into your lecture-hall, wherever the study-group may be held, as being yourself one of those you come to help. Don't go in with an attitude: "I have come to instruct you." That immediately is self-confessed superiority, and is resented. But in your heart say to yourself: "I will be one of them. My whole endeavor will be to lead out their thoughts instead of giving them my thoughts. My endeavor will be to make them take a lively part in the deliberations, in the discussions, in the study to come. If necessary I shall be merely a chairman, preserving order, insuring courtesy, nevertheless ever guiding constantly towards Theosophical thought; but I will let the audience do most of the talking. I will lead them out, lead their minds out into speech, let them express themselves; but my duty will be to keep Theosophy first and foremost in their minds."
Just here is where tact, diplomacy of the heart, comes in. Your meetings will invariably be successful, because almost everyone who has spoken and who has been courteously hearkened to, will say: "What a perfectly delightful group that is, I am going again, and I am going to bring X. It is most interesting, we had a most interesting time." Why? Because the members of the group themselves were led on to talk. Everybody knew — and this is the delicate job of the field-worker — everybody knew that it was a Theosophical meeting, that it was for the purpose of studying Theosophy; but actually what has happened? It is the members of the group themselves who have conducted their own meeting, under the Theosophical field-worker's chairmanship; and nine times out of ten they are enchanted. They have heard themselves talk, they have expressed the thoughts on their minds, they have unburthened their own souls of questions and comments, and have received answers. Perhaps the members of the group themselves have answered those questions; and thus everybody is happy.
Nevertheless the field-worker, being in the field for Theosophy and for the T. S., must not be merely a courteous chairman, listening to other people air their views. It is his privilege, as well as his joy, to keep Theosophy uppermost during the meeting, constantly himself referring to it, if necessary even plainly reminding the audience that this is a group for the study of technical Theosophy and its outlook on life; and the successful field-worker will find the way to combine these two things: talking of Theosophy whenever he has a chance, without absorbing everything to himself; and yet at the same time letting the members of the study-group candidly and freely express their own views on philosophical and religious and scientific points. In other words, the field-worker keeps the study-group purely and technically Theosophical, but manages to make the members of the group feel that they have just as much right to speak, and therefore just as much interest and proprietary right as it were in the group, as has the field-worker or field-lecturer himself.
Now unfortunately, take some of our workers from Point Loma — I won't say all, because some have learned this way of handling study-groups — so many of our field-workers go out to study-groups thinking that these study-groups can be conducted as we conduct our meetings in the Temple, where almost everybody is a Theosophist, where almost everybody understands our technical tongue, and where everybody is sympathetic. These meetings here at Point Loma are not study-groups in that sense; but even here, ever since I took office I have been striving very hard to make our Sunday afternoon gatherings and even our Lodge-meetings here times for a mutual interchange of ideas. And I think you will agree with me that your most successful speakers from this platform are those who have managed to make the audience think with them, and ask the largest number of questions, and contribute the most by way of giving their own ideas. We can do a great deal more in that way.
The main thing then in my judgment is this: Conduct your study-groups in such fashion that the most of the talking has been done by the members of the group themselves; and the lecturer, the field-worker, has gotten the talk going, has steered the talk, by a clever word here and there, by a kindly remark; but has let the audience, the members of the group, do most of the talking; yet himself speaking at length when the proper occasion arose to do so.
By 'technical Theosophy' I mean the study and comprehension of the Divine Wisdom, or Theosophia, as we have received it, full, complete, and in every respect rounded out, and neglecting no detail either of doctrine or of formulation; and thereafter rendering what we have received unto the world faithfully and fully to the best of our ability. I mean by this that just as a man is a composite entity, composed of different portions which make up his constitution, to wit: a divine element, a spiritual element, an intellectual element, a psychical element, and an astral-vital-physical element, and that no man is a complete man unless he has all these principles or elements more or less functioning, and that in order to be a complete man he must live in all these principles or elements more or less perfectly; and that if he live not in them all he is by so much the less complete: just so is our study of Theosophy and our giving of it to the world. Our Theosophy is not truly 'technical' Theosophy unless it is relatively complete in its exposition; otherwise it is relatively imperfect and incomplete. It is always so unless we give it from all the principles and planes that make up our own constitution.
To put the matter in other words: Genuinely technical Theosophy is not Smith's interpretation of the Theosophical books that he has read, nor Brown's, nor Richardson's, nor Richard Roe's, because these various individuals are more or less imperfect men, imperfectly functioning in all their principles at the same time. Consequently, our striving should always be so to live the life Theosophical, i. e., the life beautiful, that we are living on all the planes of our constitution more or less continuously, and thus having the awakened faculties or powers within us properly to understand the Theosophy that has been given to us, and being more or less adept in communicating it to others. This means, of course, that technical Theosophy in its fulness could be communicated only by a Master of Wisdom, or by a Buddha; but while we are neither Masters of Wisdom nor Buddhas as yet, we can strive to become like unto them; and in consequence, in our study of Theosophy, and in our interpretation of it to others, we can and should strive to make such study and interpretation as complete as possible.
Deduction: Any rendering of Theosophy by one beneath the spiritual stature of a Mahatman is therefore a more or less incomplete rendering, i. e., more or less fully technical depending upon the individual himself. You see now that keeping this thought in our minds cuts at the root of the egoisms which we find all too common in Theosophical circles today on the part of individuals who consider themselves to be fully qualified exponents of 'technical' Theosophy. A recognition of the truth which I have just tried to enunciate makes us modest in our claims, tolerant of the earnest efforts of others to teach Theosophy, and more than anything else I do believe will expose false claims, false leaders, and Theosophical egoists. The old saying is true: "Live the life and ye shall know the doctrine"; and the more fully the Theosophical life or the life beautiful is lived, the more fully we shall know the doctrine, because we shall then be more fully functioning on the higher planes of our constitution than now is the case, and therefore more capable of understanding wider reaches of Theosophy, and in consequence likewise more capable of interpreting the divine Theosophia for the benefit of others.
By 'technical Theosophy,' therefore, I understand the giving unto men of the more or less complete message of the Masters, as we have received it, and not otherwise: and this can best be done when we train ourselves to be living exemplars of the Wisdom which we ourselves are learners of. No man can teach genuinely technical Theosophy unless he has achieved a more or less complete union of heart and mind and life and intelligence and moral strength and love. Merely 'intellectual Theosophy,' as it has now become popular to describe it, may or may not be interesting, and can at best entertain only a certain part — a relatively blind part — of a portion of the population of the earth. But this is not all. Merely sentimental renderings of what any individual or individuals may understand to be Theosophy, and which such individual or individuals may call the 'heart-touch,' while possibly beautiful in portions, are not by any means technical Theosophy.
I now come to a concise and succinct definition of what I mean by technical Theosophy: Technical Theosophy means pure Theosophy as we have received it from the great Teachers, complete as far as it has been delivered unto us, and comprising physical, psychical, intellectual, spiritual, and divine elements; and must be given by us with all our psychical, intellectual, and moral strength, and with all the love of our hearts. That is what I mean by technical Theosophy, pure Theosophy, and, relatively speaking, all of it at least all of it that we have been able to master. I recognise that the word 'technical' is greatly defective in power to describe what I had in mind, but I chose it because it gave the idea of fidelity to the details and practice of the Divine Science.
For instance, science is both theoretic and practical. It is quite wrong to speak of technical astronomy, for instance, as only theoretic or speculative astronomy. Technical astronomy must likewise have its practical side, its practical studies, indeed its practical uses. Otherwise, I take it, it is not truly technical astronomy. Furthermore, you must understand all of astronomy, as now known, if you are to communicate it properly and technically to others; and one's skill as a technical teacher depends upon this. Just so is it with Theosophy. You must study it in all its branches if you are desirous of preparing yourselves to communicate it unto others in the proper way: to communicate it unto others so that their hearts will be touched by it, so that their minds will be set aflame by its holy light, and so that those to whom you speak when speaking of Theosophy, will feel their hearts touched as well as their minds enlightened. You must be technicians in Theosophy, giving all of it as you have received it, and giving it with all of yourself.
From another standpoint, similar but different, we should understand by technical Theosophy, the exposition of the Theosophical doctrines as a complete, systematic philosophy-religion-science, with all its doctrinal parts interlocked, inter-related, and interdependent, so that, as you must see, it is impossible to get an adequate comprehension of one doctrine without having in mental vision at the same time the other Theosophical doctrines; also their inter-working; again a clear understanding and exposition of our technical Theosophical terms; and above everything else the realization, and therefore the clear and lucid exposition, that the entire systematic philosophy which we today call Theosophy is a formulation in human language of the nature, characteristics, functions, processes, of Kosmic Being, and all that in it is. For instance, it is known that the Universe, the Macrocosm, is the source and ultimate destiny of one of its infinitudes of microcosms, man, and hence that whatever is in the Universe is in man, and vice versa; and that, for instance, merely to speak of man's seven principles and to recite their English or Sanskrit names is not teaching technical Theosophy; unless at the same time there is an adequate understanding, and therefore adequate exposition, of just what these principles or elements are; how they work together; what their characteristics or nature are; what their places in human evolution respectively are; what happens to the human constitution before birth and after death, etc.
I have attended Theosophical meetings in Theosophical lodge-rooms, fortunately not of our own beloved T. S. — and I say this with respect and with real reverence for the devotion that I have sometimes found in these lodges — where I have left the meeting grievously disappointed at what I have seen and heard; and I will tell you why, my Brothers. In some places I have found a merely mental or psycho-mental presentation of certain theories which were called, or mis-called, Theosophical teachings, theories which this or that or some other Theosophist had elaborated and called Theosophy; and furthermore even this was at times given frigidly, with neither genuine warmth of feeling, nor, so it struck me, with intellectual conviction. I felt that I was listening to the exposition of a purely intellectual pastime, an intellectual plaything. This assuredly is not what I understand by Theosophy. Again, I have been in other lodge-rooms of other Theosophical Societies — and I say this also with great respect for the very kindly people whom I have met there — where I found really no Theosophy at all, even intellectually speaking, but a lot of psychic stuff and, or, a lot of sentimental talk; and I could not call this a giving of genuine or technical Theosophy. In other lodges I have found a presentation of genuine Theosophy so far as verbal communication went; but in these last cases I discovered or felt that I was attending a meeting where individuals were giving their interpretations more or less faithfully of what they had read in Theosophical books written by H. P. B., W. Q. J., and others; but here too, I found an icy atmosphere, a frigid presentation, and an utter lack of intuition, understanding, and worst of all, an absence of that certain part of genuinely technical Theosophy which is its noblest part — what the great Buddha called the Heart-Doctrine, a combination of esoteric teaching and compassion.
Please understand that I am not endeavoring in these present remarks unkindly to criticize anyone, but am referring only to what I myself have found, and what I object to. No man can be a genuine Theosophist, and therefore he cannot be a true teacher of technical Theosophy, unless his heart is on fire with brotherly love even for those who differ from him, and unless his mind is illuminated with esoteric understanding. A Theosophic lodge-room should be the home of brotherly kindness towards all, irrespective of creed, color, or caste; and should be a center of high-minded and generous tolerance for the views of others, even should individuals consider such views to be erroneous. It is only in such an atmosphere that genuine or technical Theosophy can flourish and be properly delivered unto men.
In closing I might add that I could possibly phrase my understanding of technical Theosophy to be: "The giving of the intellectual aspects of the doctrines of Theosophy when combined with an outflow of the spirit within us, manifesting as brotherly love welling up in sincerity from the heart." We must have both brotherly love and intellectual activity in our presentation of Theosophy if we wish to reach all classes of men, all classes of minds.