THEOSOPHY, Vol. 86, No. 7, May, 1998
(Pages 210-212; Size: 7K)

STUDENT REFLECTIONS

[Article number (24) in this Department]
[No subtitle in this one.]

The following on H.P.B. was written by William Kingsland, F.T.S., and published in Lucifer May 1891. It appeared in the article, "What She Taught Us," composed of reflections from various students on the occasion of her passing. [Editors]
THE KEYNOTE of her teachings, the keynote of her life, was Self-sacrifice.
But stay, Disciple ... Yet one word. Canst thou destroy divine COMPASSION? Compassion is no attribute. It is the LAW of LAWS -- eternal Harmony, Alaya's SELF; a shoreless universal essence, the light of everlasting Right, and fitness of all things, the law of love eternal. ... Now bend thy head and listen well, O Bodhisattva -- Compassion speaks and saith: "Can there be bliss when all that lives must suffer? Shalt thou be saved and hear the whole world cry?"*(1)
And, thus, though doctrinal Theosophy speaks of Devachan and Nirvana: of rest for the weary storm-tossed pilgrim of life; yet, to those who are able to receive it, it says that there is something higher and nobler still, that though thrice great is he who has "crossed and won the Aryahata Path," he is greater still, who having won the prize can put it aside, and "remain unselfish till the endless end."

And, so, H.P.B. often pointed out to us those men and women who were true Theosophists, though they stood outside of the Theosophical movement, and even appeared antagonistic to it. Already in the world, a Theosophist has come to mean someone who believes in reincarnation and Karma, or some other distinctive doctrine. But the term was never so limited in its application by the great founder of the Theosophical Society. She taught these doctrines in order that men might dissociate themselves from all forms of doctrine, and reach "Alaya's Self." There is no older doctrine than that of Divine Compassion, of Universal Brotherhood. It is the essence of all the teachings of all the Buddhas and Christs the world has ever known. It is above all the doctrines, creeds and formulas; it is the essence of all religion. Yet men ever miss it, miss the one principle which alone can save the world.

Individualism is the keynote of modern civilization; competition and survival of the fittest, the practical basis of our morality. Our modern philosophers and scientific teachers show our ancestry as belonging to brute creation, and conditioned by the laws of blind force and dead matter. What wonder then that one who believed so ardently in the divine nature of man, in the divine law of love, should oppose with scornful contempt the teachings of both religion and science which thus degrade humanity.

And she paid the inevitable penalty. Misunderstood, slandered, and vilified to the last degree, she lived a hero's life, and died a martyr's death. Only those who were her intimate friends knew how she suffered, mentally and bodily. The man who dies his face to the foe, fighting to the last battle though covered with wounds, is accounted a hero. She chose the cross. And, thus, not merely did she teach us the meaning of Theosophy by precept, but also by example. She was herself the greatest of the Theosophists, not merely because she founded the movement, and restored to the world the treasures of ancient wisdom, but because she herself had made the "Great Renunciation."


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 Universe is the externalization of the soul. Wherever the life is, that bursts into appearance around it. The earth and the heavenly bodies, physics, and chemistry, we treat as if they were self-existent; but these are the retinue of that Being we have. "The mighty heaven," said Proclus, "exhibits, in its transfigurations, clear images of the splendor of intellectual perceptions; being moved in conjunction with the unapparent periods of intellectual natures." Therefore, science always goes abreast with the just elevation of the man, keeping step with religion and metaphysics; or, the state of science is an index of our self-knowledge. Since everything in nature answers to a moral power, if any phenomenon remains brute and dark, it is because the corresponding faculty in the observer is not yet active. 


--Ralph Waldo Emerson

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(1) * These passages are from The Voice of the Silence [Editors].
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