THEOSOPHY, Vol. 11, No. 2, December, 1922
(Pages 54-55; Size: 9K)


THE MASTERS have written that this is an "age of transition," when established embodiments, religious, social, ethical, political, scientific, are approaching dissolution. Disintegration in all of them is going on before our eyes. Hence the chaos, the bewilderment, the running to and fro on every hand, the seeking remedies to cure "existing evils" in the body politic of humanity, by those who still believe such evils to be merely transitory or, at worst, something chronic which can somehow be made tolerable. Those whose voyage on the sea of knowledge has left them without leeway in the doldrums of pessimism rock back and forth on the waves of depression, fast fixed in the delusion that the disease of our modern civilization is stronger than the patient, and prophesy gloomily "the end of the world."

Theosophy was brought into the world for the very reason that the Masters of Wisdom knew that the time was ripe for the New Order of the Ages to begin, and They sent the materials for the structure of a change in the motives, the ideals, the thought and application of the energies of mankind. Ours the task, as students of Their philosophy of life and action, to make those materials accessible and workable by the Race Mind. Being ourselves human, having in ourselves all the characteristics of our fellows, it follows that Theosophists but too often are deceived internally and externally in their vision of things, and are thus drawn, all unknowing to themselves, into the currents of one and another of the prevailing tendencies. Many of them are as unable as the rest of mankind to distinguish between disintegrating and formative processes. This is because they have studied the phenomena of life, objective and subjective, as manifested in others, instead of observing with utmost care those phenomena as manifested at first hand in themselves, in the workings of their own consciousness. It is because they have studied and applied Theosophy in the light of their own prevailing tendencies, instead of checking, guiding, controlling those tendencies in the light of the teachings of the Wisdom-Religion. Let us endeavor to illustrate the two processes, the one destructive, the other regenerative, which are going on side by side in every Theosophist, even far more intensively than in the world at large; for the Theosophist, of all men, is the one in whom this process of transition is most fiercely active, and upon his individual clear-seeing depends whether the disintegrative or the formative forces shall prevail.

The Third Object of the Parent theosophical society has ever been the most popular with students: Point One; the prevailing race tendency to "seek a sign" instead of an explanation has dominated all such students as actually as it has the "spiritualists" and the "psychic researchers." That Third Object, as definitely worded was: "The investigation of the unexplained laws of nature and the psychical powers latent in man." Almost without exception students have laid their stress upon the phenomena to which those laws and latent powers give rise, not upon the investigation and understanding of those laws and powers. Hence they have been sucked into innumerable astral tangents, and have become so enamored, not to say intoxicated, with the phenomena witnessed and experienced, that they are totally unaware, as insane persons are unaware, of the true nature of their delusions, and as impossible to restore to balanced reason as any insane person. Point Two: all such are in the process of mental and moral disintegration, not regeneration. This natural mistake and misdirection was and is due to the neglect of fundamental philosophical and moral principles from which to conduct the experiment of living. Every religious sect, off-shoot, and bizarre cult of every kind has its origin in some misunderstood phenomenon, "some personal experience in psychology," which compelled the deluded victim henceforth to view Nature in the light of his "experience." Already this tendency has produced a score of sects and cults calling themselves theosophical, a hundred corruptions of teachings presented as Theosophy.

The Second Object of the original theosophical association was the study of ancient and modern religions, philosophies and systems of thought, in order to detect the common vital principles underlying them all; not to resurrect or revivify those moribund and decayed faiths, but to hasten the dissolution and final disintegration of them all. Theosophy, being the veritable elixir vitae of the spiritual man, but slight contact with its principles, but a modicum of study of comparative religion, would rouse to a factitious warmth the old religious tendencies, whatever they might be, in the student and, unless he were well upon his guard, would infallibly drift him back once more into the vicious circle of the hereditary faith. The new wine of life would be turned back into the old sectarian bottles. Hence we have Christian Theosophists, Brahmin Theosophists, Buddhist Theosophists, and so on. Point Three: this is spiritual Atavism, recurrence to type; disintegration, not progression.

Thus we have two great classes of theosophical students: those swept away by the lure of phenomena and those carried into the eddies of sectarianism, no matter how named. Pseudo-Science and pseudo-Religion, two of the most powerful prevailing race tendencies, have turned them backward upon the descending arc. Empirical philosophy, empirical - religion, have replaced THEOSOPHY with them, though they know it not. Anyone can see the inherent grotesque paradox of the very phrases, Experimental Philosophy, Experimental religion, for the terms Religion, Philosophy, Science, imply that which is not phenomenal, but that which is by its very nature stable and unchanging. To go further: Not only Theosophists, but religious devotees of all persuasions, spiritualists, psychical researchers, numberless scientific students, now all admit and allege the reality of a vast range of natural phenomena hitherto denied or looked upon with doubt and suspicion. So far, there is genuine fraternity, because genuine unity; the fraternity of a common knowledge. But this is as to the "facts," i.e., perceived phenomena.

But the moment one essays to step from the field of fact to the area of causation -- behold the discords! Why is this? Is it not because there is as yet among them all no real knowledge of Law -- of Philosophy, Science, Religion, Ethics? Yet the same process that produced unity and fraternity of knowledge in regard to the facts must infallibly yield the same common knowledge of their Causes. Sensible men do not form parties over facts:-- they investigate, experiment, confer, compare the results obtained and are thus able, each and all, to separate the wheat from the chaff, the spurious from the genuine in phenomena. Would not the same Method, the same assiduity in the field of Causes, yield a unitary philosophy, a solid ethic, a religion undefiled?

H.P.B. knew our prevailing tendencies. Hence her article, "Is Theosophy a Religion," which we reprint herewith. Its practical value in personal application has yet to be realized by students of Theosophy. The article was first published in Lucifer for November, 1888. [Note: Here is a link to it: Is Theosophy A Religion?. --Compiler.]

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