Theosophical University Press Online Edition
(Lecture delivered March 30, 1930)
You have heard lovely things said of me in the announcements that were made to you this afternoon. Those announcements were not prepared by me. I have protested at being held up as a sort of demigod before I come on the platform, because it is giving me a reputation that I may find it very difficult to sustain.
I am a man, one of your fellow human beings. Nevertheless, I am a man with a message to give to my fellow man, and I don't occupy this position as one who is superior, but simply because my destiny has put me at this post. It has devolved upon me to deliver to my fellow human beings the message of the ancient wisdom-religion of mankind; and the beautiful things that you hear about me are not about this human personality that you see before you, but concern the inner splendor which is working in me, as it is in every one of you: the inner god within each one of you.
You have been used for so long to hearing one of two things: either that you are naught but an outgrown or an overgrown ape; or, on the other hand, that you were created in time and space by some almighty arbiter of the destiny of worlds and of men: brought forth out of the abyss of "nothingness" to make a few gestures on this stage of life, and thereafter to enter into one of two totally unmerited places. You had your choice of these two places while you lived, and while you lived you chose your seat! Such was the idea.
I remember that when I was a little boy my dear father thought assuredly that he was bringing up a youngster for the service of the Church — and I thought most assuredly he was not. And my will prevailed in the end — not my boy's will, but the instincts of my soul carried me out of the narrow and restricted purlieus of a dying system of thought; and just as the striving and aspiring spirit within me could never rest satisfied with theological or dogmatic asseverations of belief, likewise, in a precisely similar manner, have I been riding at times full tilt, Don Quixote-wise, at all the windmills, bogies, phantoms, ghosts, of human thinking, wherever I have seen them, and without a Sancho Panza. I never had one. I myself always had to carry my own lance, helmet, and shield. My favorite tilting has always been at the scientific bogies and windmills.
I refuse to look upon science — one of the sublimest occupations of human thinking — as other than a holy thing; and I will not accept hypotheses, theory, or scientific dogma, in lieu of truth. Give me truth at whatever cost is something that I have always felt; and then, when I found as a youngster that these ideas were not mine, but that other men had them too — when I came into theosophy and found there that other human minds and hearts were vibrating in unison of thinking with mine — then I did what every honest man does. I said: These people think as I do. What they teach is sympathetic to me. I feel the truth of what they say. Therefore I am going to join them. And I forthwith became a Fellow of The Theosophical Society.
You could not have kept me out; and if it had been anything less than what I had expected to find when outside, then you could not have kept me in. I mean every word of this. I am a lover of truth, as every theosophist is. We have no dogmas in The Theosophical Society. It is an explanation and a search for the wisdom locked up in cosmic and human history; it is a translation into human thought of what the great seers and sages of the ages have seen, and seeing, have registered in human formulation; and this formulation, no matter in what age it may have appeared, is the ancient wisdom-religion of the race, of the human race, of mankind, today called theosophy.
Theosophists have no dogmas. We have teachings, doctrines, beliefs, which are clear-cut, well-defined, definite, and as easily provable as are the postulates of mathematics; but no dogmas. Every theosophist is sworn, not by any pledge or oath of mouth, but sworn by his heart and soul, to stand in the ranks of seekers for truth forever, and when a new light comes to us, we follow that light, no matter whither it may lead.
But don't imagine for one moment, from what I have just told you, that the teachings of theosophy are naught but a syncretistic collection of wise sayings gathered together and pieced together in more or less haphazard fashion. Not a bit of it — not a bit of it! Theosophy is a system which is wholly coherent and symmetrical in every line, because it is formed from within outwards, and is not a mere brain-mind structure of thought. There are in this theosophical system no awkward lacunae, no aching voids, which blind belief must attempt to bridge. Undertake the study of theosophy, and find out what it is, and then you will see that what I tell you is truth.
So much for one side of the matter; but there is another, and to most human hearts a still more fascinating side, to our theosophy, than is the mere statement that it is a reasoned formulation of the operations of nature — of nature's structure and fabric. This other side is that there are teachers in the world, men who know, who have sent their spirits behind the veil of the outward seeming, into the very abysses of nature, and have brought back and have taught what there they saw. These men are the titan seers and sages of the ages, and they compose even today a brotherhood of men who to us average men would seem, and are in fact, what we would call perfected men; but we use the word perfected in a relative sense only, for beyond them there are other spirits, souls, entities — thinking and self-conscious beings, call them what you will — all along the rungs of the rising ladder of life.
Look at what the human race has already produced in its greatest children. Look at the annals of history where their names are recorded. See the records of the great ones, and what they have done. You Occidental people with your young civilization do not really think. We speak of the great ones, and you think that they are mere theory, a mere idea, and you say, "Prove their existence." Prove it? I in turn ask, and then I answer: Look at the historical records of the human race and see what it has brought forth in the way of grandeur. See for yourselves the great ones: men who have made and unmade civilizations by their magic power of thought, and by the splendor of their lives; men whose names are known at the fireside of every civilized home: men who were the founders of the human thinking current even in our age, great men who lived not only in Greece but in all countries of the world; and alas, were it not our misfortune that due to bigotry and intolerance and egoism, the egoism of our stiff Occidental minds, so that we do not yet know all the recorded teachings of the human race, the proof of what I say would be even more evident than it now is.
Theosophists stand with the pioneers of thought — scientists, religionists, philosophers, it matters not. Wherever we see a human spirit striving for truth and towards truth, there are we at his side. That is why — and I cannot speak for other theosophists, but I can speak for myself, and I know pretty well what my fellow theosophists think — that is why, I repeat, I read with such deep interest the marvelous advances in discovery and thought that our present-day scientific thinkers and researchers are making. They are beginning to see a great light, a new knowledge is coming into human consciousness because the old barriers have been surmounted, the bonds holding in the human mentality have been broken, and the sunlight of truth is beginning to stream into the temple of human thought and illumine human minds; so that "I SEE" is the watchword today.
It matters not what mistakes the scientists may make. It is by our mistakes that we learn, and by them we grow. They are growing, and growing fast, because they are learning. They are beginning to see a vision, and to dream dreams; and their use of the imaginative faculty employed within the bounds of reason and good sense and human experience will lead them on like a bright light into the realms of future human thought.
Yes, ultramodern scientists are becoming mystics, seers; and it is a most interesting thing to see how closely they are approximating in their newest discoveries and in their interpretations of these newest discoveries, to what our majestic theosophical system teaches. How many times have I not spoken of this before from this platform? Often, and cited instances, given you points, to which I now again refer you.
I have many questions before me today that in justice to those who send these questions in to me I ought to answer this afternoon, but I simply shall not have time to do so. I will try to answer them in the order in which I have received them, excepting one or two that, by special request and for good reason given to me, I will also try to answer this afternoon.
The first question, therefore, is:
"Is the discovery of the new planet of any occult significance? Just where does this planet fit into the scheme of hidden wisdom which, as theosophy, is now making itself manifest?"
I do not think that the discovery of this new or so-called ninth planet of our own solar system has any particular occult significance. It merely is a proof that what the main founder of The Theosophical Society said fifty years ago is true, and what the teachers of wisdom at about the same time said is true, to wit: There are many undiscovered planets in our solar system and they will be discovered in due course of time. The planet just discovered — if indeed it is a real discovery — is the first instance. Other planets doubtless will be found in time. But there are planets in our solar system which no human instrument will ever find, for they are not visible to eyes vibrating in unison with the vibrational rates which form and make our own physical plane of existence; and these planets are invisible worlds — planets invisible to us — nevertheless centers of life, and they are just as real to the beings living on them as is to us our own most illusory and unreal planet of physical matter, composed mostly of holes and "vacant spaces" as it is.
Yes, there are invisible planets, and scores of them; and there are some other planets which are visible, because formed of the physical substance of this plane, and doubtless they in time will be discovered just as this present planet 'X' has been.
I will say, however, that this ninth planet is not truly a member of our solar system, although it is probably under the sway and control of our sun. It is not a real planet, nor, for the matter of that, is Neptune. This newly discovered body is a planet if we follow the usual scientific sense of that word. But it is not a planet in our theosophical sense of the word. It and Neptune are what we may call captures, but they are not planets in our own theosophical sense, that is, born of the womb of the substance of our own solar system, true members of our solar family. They are captures.
Those of you who have read somewhat of the studies and researches and teachings of our modern physical chemists, as regards the structure of the atom — the electronic theory in other words — will have some inkling of what I mean when I speak of a celestial body as being a capture. A solar system can capture bodies — and you may call them planets if you will, although from our theosophical standpoint and teaching they are not true planets. They are adopted children, if you like. And, on the other hand, if they are captures, likewise can they be lost; and the polarity of the solar system is changed, reversed, by either such a capture or such a loss.
This is an old thought to theosophists. In ultramodern science, however, the idea is altogether new, wonderful. And in fact it is wonderful, that human genius, unaided by the wisdom of immemorial time, should intuitively have grasped these ultramodern scientific ideas. But isn't it always so? Isn't every new, great, and epoch-making discovery an intuition, a flash of light, coming into the mind of some great man? Most assuredly it is.
Here is a question of quite another type.
"You have several times mentioned Olen of Lycia, Pamphos of Attica, and Musaeus of Eleusis, as having been great sages and seers. I have not been able to find anything about them in the books I have access to; will you kindly tell me something more about them?"
How? What this questioner wants is something that is read in a book. Then most people would think that the statement is true. Is it? Theosophists do not accept truth in that way. What you read in a book is some man's statement supposedly based on a "fact of nature," or of history. A fact of nature — isn't it a familiar phrase! Is indeed any authoritative statement a fact of nature? How often do the ideas of the authorities regarding the facts of nature change? The truth of our fathers is today in the dust-heap, and our present-day truth will in its turn be discarded for a greater light. Therefore I say: Keep your minds open, free!
Now then, in answering this question I am not going to tell you something that you can read in a book. What would be the use of that, spending my time here telling you what you yourself can read? Instead, I am going to tell you something that perhaps you have not heard, but not giving it to you as a dogma: not saying that you must believe it on the authority of the theosophical teachings — simply that what I say is one of our teachings. On the contrary I tell you: Examine what I say; think about it, reflect upon it. If you like it, hold to it. If you don't like it, then it is not yours.
These three men — and there were others, such as Philammon and Orpheus — were members of a series of great initiates who taught that small portion of the human race which we are accustomed to call the archaic Greeks certain of the mysteries of nature. They were great men of lofty intellect, of intuitive spiritual perception, and of eager, aspiring minds. And so great was the impression that they made upon succeeding generations of Greeks that their names have come down even to us, an alien people in a foreign land, and in a far distant time, as examples of men whose ideas founded the civilization of one of the most brilliant peoples in recorded history.
They were all seers and sages, high initiates, men who had been taught by others, who in their turn had been taught, and who in addition had "lived the life," so that they were able to touch, as it were, a spiritual, psychical spring in their being, and thereupon could send their visioning spirit into the very womb of nature, into the deep abysses of natural being, and bring back and formulate into human language what there they saw and learned.
These men were all poets. It was customary in those days to put wisdom in poetical form. Poetry is much more easily remembered than is bald prose. That was the reason for using poetry as the vehicle of their teachings.
Very little is known about these great Greeks of the archaic days, because the records concerning them were never fully committed to writing, and such records as were then made have long since been lost, so that the present-day scholar has almost nothing at all to go upon in attempting to discover their real characters and lives, except the age-old reverence in which they were held by all later generations of the Hellenic race.
"Will you please tell us what is the afterdeath state of children and quite young people whose lives are cut short by disease or accident?"
There is a pathos about this question. Theosophical teachings are very clear with regard to the afterdeath states, and these states are not the same for the one who dies at a ripe old age, full of years and of human experience, glad for freedom and rest, as they are in the cases of young people and children. The states are not the same for middle-aged and old people and for the child or infant which dies even before nature has been enabled to bring into active functioning the human brain, expressing the human consciousness. The former are released and go to their spiritual home for rest and recuperation. As the life dies down in the deciduous tree during the autumn time, when it sheds its leaves and goes to rest, so also does the life-wave return clothing the tree anew with a garment of green; so does the average man pass out of this physical sphere into rest and peace, and returns again to earth-life after a period of well-earned repose. But a little child dying: in this case do you think that nature works haphazard, by chance? I would like to meet any human being who thinks that nature so does, and that anything whatsoever happens without preceding cause, without a precedent chain of causation — in other words, that chain of causation which our theosophical teachings speak of, and which we explain in our doctrine of karma, the doctrine of consequences: that what ye sow ye shall reap, that everything that is is the fruitage of what preceded it — cause and effect in other words.
Do you think that a little child comes into the world by chance, and goes out of it by chance — dies by chance? To you who thus believe I have nothing to say except: Go and learn, turn to nature, think! But to all human beings who have learned to think, whose minds follow logical processes, and who refuse to take the statements of other men on blind faith, but who will to know and insist upon having inner confidence and conviction — those who will to have these: to them I now speak and I tell them that nature is not mocked. Nature is never balked; and hence when a little child goes out, nature's design of a human life has been frustrated, pro tempore it is true, but nevertheless frustrated; and in consequence nature puts forth that human bud again, and does so very soon.
The reincarnating ego, as it approaches physical incarnation, is a bundle of energies seeking an outlet along lines of least resistance; and that outlet along lines of least resistance is precisely attraction to its own sphere. Hence, in the case of a child dying before this bundle of energies has exhausted its power, it seeks a new body almost immediately, in a family most like the one to which it formerly had been drawn. It does not do this consciously. Are we conscious when we sleep? And yet we are cared for by surrounding natural laws, and awaken safely in the morning.
So it is with the little child whose call into physical life has been frustrated by an early death. It returns very, very soon to another human body. All the bundle of energies which compose that Reincarnating Ego which manifested so feebly and so ineffectually in the previous baby body, having been unable to express themselves, in consequence when freed from the one body seek the next open door, drawn thither by attraction; and reincarnation takes place almost immediately, in an environment, in a family circle, where the vibrational rate, if I may use popular words, is the nearest to its own.
Nature is very kindly. There are no chances, no haphazard actions, anywhere. The very foundation of nature is love — love and harmony, which are the same; and the root of these is Consciousness. There, in a few brief words, is the archaic theosophical teaching; and our ultramodern scientists, who are fast becoming mystics, speak of this consciousness to which I have just alluded, and call it mind-stuff. This is admirable! Similarly might theosophists call it mind-stuff, but we use another name — consciousness — but the root idea is identic.
I do not object to this fundamental of the universe being called mind-stuff, but I prefer our own theosophical term. Consciousness is the fundamental of the universe, and that is why things are orderly, logical, consequential. Think of it. Pause a moment in thought upon it.
Now, as regards the afterdeath states, which is the exact way the question reads, of children and quite young people. It is in these cases precisely like a quiet, peaceful sleep, without dreams. The child in its short and ineffectual incarnation has built up no karma. It has laid down no fruitage of consequences which inevitably follow a human life. It died too young. So at death, at the baby's death, it passes into a state of personal unconsciousness, exactly like what it might have had when alive in its mother's arms. It is peaceful and quiet in sleep.
I tell you that nature is infinitely merciful in her major processes, and it is only human imbecility and human weakness and the imbecility and weakness of other beings like us humans elsewhere in the boundless universe, which cast discord and disharmony into the cosmic harmony.
Man can do that, and beings like him can do that, because he has self-consciousness, and thereby partakes of the very existence and life-energies of his kin, the immortal gods. Yes, the gods, the great spirits which infill the universe — for the universe is filled full with them — are children of the cosmic consciousness, living and working in hierarchies within hierarchies, thus providing the infinite and bewildering diversity, the heterogeneity, of the life that we have around us. Every flower, for instance, is a manifestation of an embryo-individuality, expressing itself in its own particular type and characteristic. Every chemical element is the same. Every sun, every rate of vibration of anything, all exemplify the operation and manifestation of this law of infinite diversity, rooted in cosmic consciousness.
What did I say — cosmic consciousness? Yes, I use this as a convenient phrase, but speaking more accurately, I should say in cosmic consciousnesses, which are the roots of individuality in the universe, in the gods our kin — for every human being in the core of the core of him is a god.
The Christians of modern days have begun to get some inkling of this wondrous fact; and hence they speak of the immanent Christ — an old idea, purely theosophical, known for ages upon ages in the past, but called by different names. I call it the Buddha within, for it seems to me that this word more accurately describes the divine entity of which I, a man, am the imperfect and feeble expression; and all evolution is simply the increase in self-expression of this deathless energy within, of this characteristic, this individuality: unwrapping, unfolding, unrolling, bringing out what is within itself; and this process takes place slowly through the revolving ages.
Can a thing become something which it is not in itself? Can a thing produce something which is not locked up within it? Think! Can it be other than it is? Can it bring forth something that it is not within? Think! O you Occidentals, you have not been taught to think! You have been taught to believe, to believe; and I call upon you in the name of holy truth, to think! Yes, you have been the wards, first, of an outgrown religion — and I here mean no disrespect; I never throw mud, but I am here to talk truth — and, on the other hand, you have been the wards of a system of scientific thought whose main characteristic is its virtue: change, changing views, growth, evolution, development of opinion and vision. Change, at once the weakness and the strength of modern science.
Do not believe anything that your conscience tells you is wrong, no matter who teaches it; no matter what the authority, god or demon. Be children of truth, and seekers of light.
"How closely is the god within each person related to the gods without?"
This is a beautiful question. My answer is: Closer than hand or foot, as an English poet says, nearer than the breath you breathe; for all these gods, whether they be the guardians and watchers of the universe, whose thoughts and whose wills compose what men call the laws of nature, acting with unerring accuracy and on a scale so majestic that we men, seeing but a short cross section of the universe, do not realize what it is that we see — even they, and the god within, are all children, offspring, of one supreme consciousness, which is the summit of our own cosmic hierarchy — not God, but the sublimest expression of consciousness and love and will in our own hierarchy of lives.
This sublimest, of which we are all children, and in which we move and live and have our being, is but the lowest rung of another and grander ladder of life, to us still more incomprehensibly sublime. The god within you, the divine being, the immanent Christos, the inner Buddha, is akin with the entire universe of which it is an inseparable part — inseparable because there is nowhither that it may go outside of the boundless All. Therefore it is a part of the frontierless and beginningless and endless infinitude. We are all kin, we are all rooted in the same universe, all participant in the same cosmic life — by this phrase generalizing the truth; all participants in the same cosmic consciousness — by this phrase generalizing the truth; all participants in the same destiny, all springing from the same origin, and all pursuing that same grandiose evolutionary path leading ever upwards.
This does not mean that there are no evolutionary ebbs or swirls. There are. There are temporary retrogressions — that is our theosophical teaching; but the general trend and impulse is steadily from better to better to better. To a best? Never. There are no endings, there are no frontiers. That idea, so ancient that formerly the whole world knew it and that theosophy has always taught, is one fine thing that Einstein did for the world: he introduced to the West in scientific and mathematical formulation what was to that West a new idea, but it is as old as the ages with us theosophists: that all things are relative to each other, and that there are no absolutes or jumping-off places — utter and unbridgeable gulfs or divisions. All things are forever interlinked, interlocked, interbound, interfunctioning, for we all are the children and offspring of one vast incomprehensible entity. But as such entities are literally infinite in number, where then can even human imagination, with all human wisdom, stop, and say: Here is the end? Vain, vain egoism!
I have here three questions which seem to be so closely along the same line of thought, that I will answer them together or, rather, read one and answer it briefly, and then go to the next and answer that briefly from a slightly different viewpoint, and then take up the next. The first question then is:
"How is one to answer in a few words, off-hand, the question: 'What is the basis of theosophy?', satisfactorily for the purely matter-of-fact man of worldly experience?"
Some people are certainly ambitious! Fancy trying to answer the world problem in a few words, satisfactorily to the man of matter-of-fact worldly experience! I would not even think of trying to do so. It cannot be done. Tell the problem of the universe in a few words satisfactorily to some man of matter-of-fact worldly experience! What would you say? — I would say — no, I won't say it.
I can tell you how I always answer this question, though I recognize full well that it is a very imperfect answer, but I let my questioner know that fact. I say: Read our books. But if you want a statement from me, I can tell you what I have found Theosophy to be: it is a formulation in human language of the operations, structure, origin, present state, and destiny of the Universe. Now, I don't expect you to accept that definition offhand. If you did, I would not respect you. But study it. Study our books. I have told you what I have found to be the truth.
Let me add a few words to that. I would say that theosophy is also for those who suffer, whose hearts are heavy-laden and burdened with pain. It gives comfort; it brings peace; and weary human hearts blossom and have rest under the blessed balm of healing thought that theosophy gives. Prove it! That is all I ask of you. Prove it by reading our literature, by thinking about it, by just a little honest-to-goodness thinking!
I wonder how many of you think? How many of you think that you think? Do you think that you are thinking, if you read something in a book, an encyclopedia or a dictionary or a newspaper, and accept it as your belief? In what way are you then better than the animals, or superior to the beast, who believes that whenever its master says "cluck, cluck, come," it means a little meat or something to eat? Are you going to be like that? Do you want somebody to come along and say "cluck, cluck, come," to you? Well, it is ridiculous, and you see it; but that is just what happens so often today.
I tell you that the Occidentals — and I do not mean this unkindly because in so speaking I want to wake you up — the Occidental peoples are the most credulous, superficially-thinking people in the world. Now, that is a fact, I believe. It is a fact. You will find that multitudes, hosts, armies of people believe something. But begin to probe a little bit. "Where did you learn that?" "Well, I read it." "Where?" "Oh, in a magazine article, the newspaper, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, or Americana," or something of the sort. "Have you yourself thought about it?" "Why no, I have not the time to think. I take it for granted that if they print it in a book, under some eminent man's name, it must be true."
But I say to you: Not for me! Precisely because I believe in teachers, I am going to choose my teacher, and it must be a man who knows, and to him I give my allegiance, faithful and true, because it will be a long time before I shall be convinced that he is my Teacher. Or, it may be very quickly. As a theosophist it took me just ten minutes to make up my mind that I had found truth when I first met theosophical teachings; and I have been searching and probing for more truth ever since, and the more I have searched and the more I have probed in our sublime teachings, the more I have found to support my first choice. That is my experience in theosophy.
"I often need to give an inquirer into theosophy a short and concise definition of its meaning and also of the work of The Theosophical Society, but find it difficult to put the essential points briefly in such a way as to attract his interest and make it clear that theosophy has a more vital message for him than anything else he can possibly meet. What is your advice as to the best way to do this in a few words?"
My advice is: Do not do it. If you can set forth the problem of the universe and of man in a few words, or think you can, I will come and sit at your feet. You will tell me how to do it. I will work my fingers to the bone to get that knowledge. I will be the slave of love and truth, if someone can show me how to win almighty truth and to express it in a few words.
However, I can try to express at least one aspect of truth in a few words, and I will now make the attempt. It is as follows: Learn to love; learn to forgive. That will exercise all your manhood or womanhood. Love is the cement of the universe, the binding energy which keeps all things in place and harmoniously acting and interacting. I pity a man or a woman whose heart has never stirred. I say that I pity him or her. He or she does not know one-tenth of life: neither its beauty and its grandeur nor its pain. Do not live in a fool's paradise of illusion. There are pain and sorrow in the world, and it is our human duty to bring help and comfort to burdened hearts; and while ordinary philanthropy and charity are excellent, I tell you that better than feeding the body is feeding men's souls and minds. Oh, these hungry human hearts!
"When a man has been deeply interested in the teachings of theosophy for many years, would you advise him to join The Theosophical Society? What benefit is derived from openly joining a body of people whose ideals are similar to one's own?"
I think that I have already answered this question. You have the benefit of friendship; you have the feeling that you are giving as well as receiving, which feeling any decent, honest, and honorable man likes and respects. You have the feeling that you are putting your energy, your intelligence, your will, and your power, back of what you believe to be true. You begin to respect yourself for being an honest and an earnest man, doing a part in the world's work.
Is not that inducement enough? Every one of these motives appeals to every fiber of a decent man's being or a decent woman's being. And you notice that I have not said that the laborer is worthy of his hire. I haven't said that you are going to get something. You certainly will — that is automatic — but you spoil a magnificent movement of the human soul if you sell yourself. Give yourself! Give, give, give! Give your very soul for truth! Join hands with those who are laboring in a great and noble work.
"Are not the many theosophical societies the world over merely separate groups of one universal Theosophical Movement with the same basic spiritual ideal?"
They are all unquestionably members of the same Theosophical Movement. I hope that all these different Theosophical Societies have the same spiritual ideal. I am looking for it in these societies and there I hope to find it.
Since I came into office last July, following the heart-longing of my great predecessor, Katherine Tingley, I pledged my word that I would work to bring about union and harmony among men, and more especially among fellow theosophists the world over, never minding what their society is, what their opinions may be. I know what I have and what I can give to those who believe in me — the ancient wisdom of the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion; but as far as regards these other societies, I seek the points of union and harmony with the T.S., not those of disunion and discord. I offer in the name of the Society which I have the high honor to head, the hand of good fellowship and fraternal feeling to the members of every other Theosophical Society everywhere — a gesture of sincere friendship and goodwill.
I am beginning to receive most welcome and encouraging responses. Plans I hope in a short time will be under way for a unifying of all the theosophical societies, or at least most of them, the nobler and better of them, into one theosophical brotherhood, doing together our sublime labor for humanity.
I do not favor so much a federation of these societies, although I, and I believe my Fellows of The Theosophical Society, would be willing to enter such a federation in default of a closer union. No, I do not favor a federation so much, as the idea of union. Union is strength. Disunion is weakness; and I have been instructed to carry out, as best I can and may, this labor of unification. It does not mean that I abandon by one iota the noble ground upon which The Theosophical Society stands. It does not mean that in joining us, the members of any other Theosophical Society must of necessity give up the Society in which they saw the first gleams of theosophic light. But it were better that they do, for then there would not be the same separation of interests which now exists, and all true theosophists would be united in one society partaking of one common life under one common head.
Our constitution is broad enough to satisfy anyone at any time. The only prerequisite to membership is an acceptance of the principle of universal brotherhood; and those who belong to The Theosophical Society will tell you — and they are honest men and women — that I came to teach the ancient wisdom-religion as best I could; that the light has not died out from the world and can be had by all who come to our temple door (not this building, but the Temple of the Esoteric Wisdom) and thereon give the right knock. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you; ask, and ye shall receive in good measure, overflowing, without reservation.
In taking leave of you this afternoon, I do so by repeating to you what I tell my audience on every Sunday, as a thought for them to carry away with them, for this thought is the very basis of all theosophical teaching, and it is also the fundamental meaning of natural evolution. Every human being is a manifestation, still imperfect, still feeble, of a divine entity within him, or above him — never mind the adverb. Every one of you is an incarnate god, attempting to express in ever larger measure its transcendent powers and faculties and energies; and your ordinary human nature can manifest this only in the ordinary human way as intelligence, as love, as pity, as compassion, as understanding; and all the other large variety of the operations of the human inner constitution which make men men.
But you can confabulate with the gods, if you first learn to confabulate with the god within. And this you can do. You can follow ever more withinwards the path of spiritual selfhood — spiritual selfhood, I repeat, not the small, puny, petty, little human self, but the selfhood divine within you, which has no frontiers of place or time, and which is the same in you and in me, in all beings; the pure and unalloyed consciousness which is the very fundamental of the boundless universe. Of it you are a child. In it you are rooted. All the faculties and powers of boundless infinitude, therefore, are in you, latent or expressing themselves feebly. This is the message of the great seers and sages of all the ages; and I pass it on to you.
Vol 1, No 42