OPPOSITION OR EXPLANATION, WHICH?
It has been my good or evil fortune to hear some members of the Society say on this wise: "If the Masters who are said to have founded the Society and now watch over it also engage in other works and movements among men, why do Theosophists oppose other developments of thought, such, for instance, as Metaphysical Healing, Christianity, and so on?" The question at the end is a misconception as I read what Theosophists have said. H. P. Blavatsky has been accused of great violence against Christianity, but a careful reader of her books knows that her opposition was directed to dogmatism and not to the true teachings of the founder of that now extinct religion. She tried to explain, to revive the truth, since, as she declared, it was her opinion that but one truth lies under all religions. Indeed, the series of papers that gained for her the Subba Row medal in India was entitled "The Esotericism of the Gospels." And so also with the writers in PATH whom I have read on Metaphysical Healing. They deal with explanations in the course of which some unwarranted assumptions are demolished. This is not opposition. But we know that sometimes, if yon cannot agree with the Metaphysical Healer or dogmatic Christian on points of logic and history, you are said to oppose.
In the sense that one is not on exactly the same side, he might be said to be in opposition, just as the moon is often in opposition to the sun. But some devotees of the various Mind Cures, holding up before themselves the optimism that first declares all things are good, making a weak play on the English word "God", and then decides that a continually flourishing health is the most important of the good, dislike logical explanations or the pointing out of disagreeable facts, and call it opposition.
Theosophy opposes nothing but dogmatism, cant, evil action. It is a foe, open or declared, to the dogmatism which has chased Christianity away, but it explains to the sincere where the truth is hidden. So it points out in Old and New Testaments the same truths taught by other religions that borrowed naught from us. Thus while it may in that process dispose of the claim for exclusive revelation asserted for the Christian books, it shows all nations as not deserted by a jealous God, but all alike possessing several forms of the one thing. And that is neither Jewish, nor Presbyterian, nor Hindu, nor Mohammedan, but simply the one system of scientific religion called Theosophy.
Theosophy, then, draws all philosophical and religious ideas to a focus by its synthesis of all. Embracing all, it throws the concentrated light obtained by thus bringing all together, upon the many cherished forms and rituals which obscure reality beneath.
THE T. S. SHOULD NEVER HAVE A CREED.
It is only within the pale of a creedless body that investigation of religions will reveal the truth. If it were a Buddhist or Hindu Society, then every effort of its members would run on those lines. If the one, then only revivals of Buddhism would be sought; if the other, then the spreading of present-day Hinduism. If even it had adopted Reincarnation as its creed, so as to cause us all to be called "Reincarnationists", no right progress could ensue. As Reincarnationists we could not all fully agree with Karma, and, indeed, many varieties of reincarnation would be insisted on. But our body being without a creed, any man who is not a fierce dogmatist may join to help the work which cooperation always enlarges and accentuates.
So our history and present composition declare against a creed. We had Brahmins from the first, with several Parsees. Mr. Judge told me that among the first diplomas he sent to foreign lands in the early days were several to Parsees in Bombay and to Hindus elsewhere; with a few to some Greeks in Europe. And today the rolls in the different sections disclose the names of Hindus, Buddhists, Mohammedans, Christians, and agnostics.
SIZE NO MEASURE OF POWER.
The desire for a large membership is entertained by some. A few years ago a member, in changing the rules so as to have no dues, thought thereby to call in everybody, but soon found that small fees bring no one in and large dues keep few out. We are a leavening movement, and, like leaven, we act silently but surely upon the whole mass. Human nature will not permit us to hope that men will abandon the fame of a congregation and an expensive church to become members of a Society whose ideals necessarily destroy separate distinction and increase general good by rooting out selfishness. The small speck of leaven disturbs the whole mass of dough, and the tiny fungus can lift the heavy stone. In the same way the small band of devoted Theosophists, though never growing much in numbers, has power to keep the thought of the day turned in such a direction that the prospect of causing a union in the search for truth increases. For the mind of this and next century is evolving more and more, demanding answers to the questions which present theology fails to solve, and in Theosophy only is the final solution. If, then, the small band of true devotees ever persists, and each hour increases the ability of each to explain the really simple theosophic system, our Society can be content to remain a force which is mighty for effect though small in appearance.
IS THERE IDOLATRY OF H. P. B.?
This question has been raised. There may be on the part of some an intense respect for the words of our deceased friend which comes within the charge. But such people are generally those who do not think for themselves. They live on the thoughts of others. But as a whole it is otherwise. More members can be found who do not make an idol of H. P. B. than the other kind. Her words, of course, especially about occult subjects, command respect, but in the same way a student of astronomy would give room in his thoughts for the views of a great astronomer when the vague opinions of a unlettered person ought to be rejected. But this is not idolatry. H. P. B. herself spoke against such worship; yet that does not mean we are to give no attention to her writings or to listen to her detractors. I have heard much eulogy of her wonderful work, of her learning, her research, and also of her occult insight, but very little has cropped up of idolatry. The charge seems to arise from the known love, respect, and admiration entertained for our departed leader by several well-known Theosophists. But over and over again I have myself heard these same persons assert the right of others to reject H. P. B. if they please on questions of theosophic interest. Is one to give up his respect and admiration and love for her merely because other people fear that idolatry among weak brethren will result? I think not. But as the fear has been expressed, all we have to do is to continue to use H. P. B. as guide and friend, seeing to it meanwhile that idolatry does not creep in. It can be kept out by the use of what is known as common-sense.
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