THEOSOPHY, Vol. 22, No. 3, January, 1934
(Pages 97-100; Size: 12K)
[Compiler's Note: All 12 articles have the same name.]
THE FRIENDLY PHILOSOPHER(1)
[Part 3 of a 12-part series]
WE are not concerned in "seeing things", but in awakening the Higher Consciousness -- for we know that Theosophy gives the knowledge of the principles that should guide its students in their public and private work. We should also be able to find explicit directions -- explicit in the sense that Theosophy points the way clearly how best to serve our fellows. So it is good work to search out and make available to all, those necessary quotations from their writings which carry the intent of the Teachers. If such could not be found, one might have grave doubts as to the course to be pursued. If we are able thus to throw a clearer light upon the intent, our work will be good for both the learners and the learned.
The basis of successful work is Unity: this is the constant cry of H.P.B. and W.Q.J. To be able to afford a basis for Unity to individuals or organizations, without demanding any relinquishment of affiliation or belief, is no small thing. The Declaration of "U.L.T." does just that: it is not a theory, but a carrying out of the spirit of the Messengers. Paraphrasing a saying of the Master, we might say: "All Theosophy is before you; take what you can."
The part we play, major or minor, does not concern us at all. We might say, as Judge once did, "sometimes a minor agent is used by the Lodge to call the attention of greater ones to a proper course." Our work is to call attention to the true basis for Union among Theosophists -- and at the same time to set the example. People need, whether new students or old, to grasp the message of Theosophy for itself -- not because of belief in any person or organization. If students succeed in grasping and applying the Philosophy, they will have true clairvoyance as to men, things and methods, and their gratefulness will include all that contributed to their opportunity; this gratitude will find expression in their doing the same for others.
So, the effort should be to get those interested to participate, to associate themselves with the Work and share in its responsibility -- not by proselyting or urging, but by keeping the idea before them in various ways. As with anything else, every method has to be tried, but without making the line too hard-and-fast. The main work is to convey ideas.
No doubt the "successorship" and organizational proponents will do some squirming over the "U.L.T." Declaration. Anything that might be said will not prevent their thinking and saying what they like -- nor will their squirming affect the facts. If the Declaration shows itself to be directly in line with the teachings, the teachers, and the original lines laid down, it will make the observant think. Doubtless the Declaration could be amplified, but would not amplification detract from attention to the points made by it? It is direct and it is short, therefore quickly grasped. All can make their own deductions, but with us it is "a firm position assumed out of regard for the end in view."
Our purpose is to draw attention to the Teachers and the Teaching, not to any others; hence it is conservation, safety, to maintain the impersonality of "U.L.T." Its aim, scope and purpose are shown in the Declaration, and besides, attention is called to the great underlying Movement which compels such alterations from time to time; so, as the declared policy is followed out and the Teaching is studied, the practical amplification will come of itself. Until each one clarifies his own perceptions he would not know gold of Ophir from base metal. What we have avoided is the prevailing tendency to say too much.
Let "U.L.T." flourish on its moral worth alone. The work we have to do, the knowledge we have to give out, depends on no other names than those of the true Teachers, H.P.B. and W.Q.J. Associates must learn to look to Them, to point to Them and to the Masters whom They served. Nothing else will restore the Movement. Unity is the key note of our attempt, and living persons, if made prominent, will detract from that attempt, will be attacked, to the injury of the Movement. So we will keep their names out of consideration. Let the curious and the antagonistic surmise all they want to -- the really earnest will then judge by the fruits, not by persons. Theosophy does not emanate from any society nor from any living persons. So far as the world and all Theosophists are concerned, Theosophy comes from H.P.B. and W.Q.J., or rather, through them. So, to avoid misconceptions, we get back of living persons to the Message and the Messengers.
W.Q.J. was not the "successor" of H.P.B.; he was her Colleague and Co-worker who retained his body a few years longer than she remained in hers. He was the "stone that was rejected by the builders," who desired to pose as successors to H.P.B. -- to the confusion of all who depended on them. The real foundation of the "successor craze" is the itch for more instructions; this begets the hunt after anyone who will promise fresh "revelations." What was given out by H.P.B., and applied by W.Q.J., was not and is not studied by Theosophists at large, or it would have awakened a fuller thought and realization by the students. All the theosophical follies are the result of ignorance, superstition and selfishness, which knowledge alone can overcome. Our efforts may seem inadequate, but they are in the right direction, and "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." We will do what we can and all that we know how to do, enduring the evils of the present while attempting that which will work for greater good in the future, here a little and there a little, thus leading the minds of Theosophists of every degree and in every society to as broad a conception of the Philosophy as possible. And all these efforts will be educational for us, too, for we will have to meet all kinds of minds from ignorance to arrogance, and so speak as to leave an impress that will stick. H.P.B. once wrote: "If anyone holds to Buddha's philosophy, let him say and do as Buddha said and did; if a man calls himself a Christian, let him follow the commandments of Christ -- not the interpretations of his many dissenting priests and sects."
The moral is -- If anyone desires to be a Theosophist, let him study Theosophy as it was given by those who enunciated it. For one to accept as true what any teacher chooses to tell him, without any means given him by which to verify the statements made, or without verifying for himself the facts alleged -- is simply to believe on blind faith, as do so many others.
Our own difficult task is to avoid all semblance of authority of any kind, while being at the same time sure of our ground and not afraid to say so. We have, like the Founders, to give every one an opportunity to see for himself that what we have to say is well founded. At present, the initiative is in our hands as the pioneers. We have to strike the key-note for those who come after us; once struck, it will be followed by those who take hold. The others will find it "too absorbing and too lofty" for them, and will not attempt it. In other words, we have to show the raison d'être of "U.L.T." so that others may see it as clearly as we do. We have undertaken a high mission and a heavy task -- not because we think ourselves so eminently fit, but because we see the need and there is no one else to do it; and we also know that we will not be left alone in the doing. So, what we have to give are the salient points, clear and definite, as well as concise in statement, so that thought shall be directed to them; to make the points so striking that they cannot be passed over, even by the careless reader; and that they shall stand as facts, and facts only, before the mind, verifiable by anyone who cares enough to do so.--ROBERT CROSBIE.
COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:
THE SECTARIAN TENDENCY
Every such attempt as the Theosophical Society has hitherto ended in failure, because, sooner or later, it has degenerated into a sect, set up hard-and-fast dogmas of its own, and so lost by imperceptible degrees that vitality which living truth alone can impart. You must remember that all our members have been bred and born in some creed or religion, that all are more or less of their generation both physically and mentally, and consequently that their judgment is but too likely to be warped and unconsciously biassed by some or all of these influences. If, then, they cannot be freed from such inherent bias, or at least taught to recognise it instantly and so avoid being led away by it, the result can only be that the Society will drift off on to some sandbank of thought or another, and there remain a stranded carcass to moulder and die.--H.P.B.
THE FRIENDLY PHILOSOPHER
[Part 4 of a 12-part series]
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GROUPING OF HUNDREDS OF "COLLATED ARTICLES"
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"Additional Categories of Articles".
ONE (1) FOOTNOTE LISTED BELOW:
(1) [Note: The Index that I selected this series from said that the 12 articles were "Collated from Robert Crosbie". Researching this, I found the collation to be made up of 12 of his many letters. On another note, "U.L.T." refers to "The United Lodge of Theosophists".--Compiler.]
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