THEOSOPHY, Vol. 20, No. 8, June, 1932
(Pages 361-364; Size: 12K)
[Article number (20) in this Q&A Department]
IN what way would you consider that the United Lodge of Theosophists embodies the three objects of the original Theosophical Society?
(a) 1st Object: To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.
2nd Object: The study of ancient and modern religions, philosophies and sciences, and the demonstration of the importance of such study.
3rd Object: The investigation of the unexplained Laws of Nature and the Psychical Powers latent in Man.
The very basis of the U.L.T. Declaration is the first Object, or the effort put forth toward the realization of a Universal Brotherhood. If one wishes to study True Theosophy, which is the aim and purpose of U.L.T., the second Object becomes self-evident, for if Theosophy is not new, but has existed throughout all ages, then the study of ancient religions and philosophies as carried on in Theosophy School, for instance, is not only important, but very necessary, in order to understand Theosophy at all. The Students in U.L.T., as stated in the Declaration "desire to fit themselves by study and otherwise to be the better able to help and teach others." How is that possible without the third Object? In order to "intelligently" help and teach others, one would have to gain an understanding of the Laws of Nature and the Constitution of Man. The Three Objects, even as the Three Fundamental Propositions, are really one: one of the three has no meaning or sense, unless it is inseparably connected with the other two.
(b) The existence of the United Lodge of Theosophists is in itself an embodiment of the First Object of the Theosophical Society. As the Declaration of Principles states, U.L.T. aims to disseminate the fundamentals of the philosophy through "a profounder conviction of Universal Brotherhood." Its avowed basis is one of non-discrimination; all men are brothers and welcome to take part in the work and partake of the teaching. A nucleus is an energizing center. U.L.T. has taken upon itself the task of energizing the whole of Humanity to live a new life upon a true basis. The study of ancient and modern religions, science and systems of thought is fulfilled by studying the teaching. The writings of H.P.B. and W.Q.J. teem with allusions to all the great philosophies and religions of the past, casting light on their true meaning and origin. The study of Theosophy demonstrates the importance of an inquiry into these things by revealing their oneness in source. The Ocean of Theosophy, the many articles published in THEOSOPHY, and references in Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine give ample opportunity for the investigation of the unexplained laws of nature and of the psychical powers latent in man. In fact, all U.L.T. activities are carried on with the First Object as a practical ideal, the remaining two objects being supplementary to and an aid in making the first an actual realization.
I have heard it said many times from the U.L.T. platform that "impersonality is the keynote of the work." Would you explain this statement?
(a) The keynote of the work, the fundamental basis on which the U.L.T. platform is built, is impersonality; the true explanation of this may be found in its Declaration. The basis of the work is not personal authority or personal leadership; it is a basis of Principle. Personal beings try, to the best of their ability and knowledge, to present the Theosophical Teachings from the platform, and to point out the Source of the Teachings so that each one may go and study for himself and thus not have to take anyone's word for it. U.L.T. consists of a group of students whose "leader" is no person, but the Pure, Original, Age-Old Teaching of Theosophy itself.
(b) We hear and read a great deal nowadays about what a wonderful thing it is to have personality: it is represented as the key to all success. The student of Theosophy knows what an upside-down point of view this is. He knows that personality is merely a tool, a means of contacting the workaday world where duty lies. Therefore, in the work of U.L.T., "personality" is relegated to its proper place -- that of a faithful and tractable servant. The Theosophist regards persons as souls rather than personalities; the philosophy is presented in such a way as to appeal to the souls of men, not their personalities. So-called teachers may have a great personal following but such teaching has nothing to do with philosophy. Followers of this kind are interested in the man, not the message. In Theosophy the message is all important, hence, impersonality is the keynote of the work.
What is the true ideal of "autonomous" Lodges?
(a) Should not the U.L.T. Lodges act on the same basis as the students -- on the basis of the Declaration? Each student is "independent," yet has taken upon himself certain duties to be performed. He may ask and will receive the help of those students who have studied longer and gained a wider experience, but he is self-governed. Should not that be the ideal of autonomous Lodges also? With each Lodge independent and self-governing, but all sharing with each other the experiences gained, thereby all would become stronger and "wiser," individually and collectively. In order to be ideal, all would have to work on the same BASIS. Should we not regard Lodges as students, only on a larger scale?
(b) A truly autonomous Lodge is one in which the students run the Lodge as students, not as grand or petty officers with their meek followers. The U.L.T. Declaration states that this Lodge "has neither Constitution, By-Laws nor Officers, the sole bond between its associates being that basis" (similarity of aim, purpose and teaching). That very statement would prevent any one Lodge from presuming to usurp authority over another Lodge with the same Declaration. The maintenance of this spirit of autonomous government is doubtless one of the reasons for reading the Declaration at every meeting.
Could not any number of people make use of the Declaration whose ideas and teachings might be contrary to it?
(a) Those whose ideas and teachings are contrary to the ideal represented in the Declaration, would not want to have anything to do with the Declaration, it would seem. If a group of people decided to work together on the basis of the Declaration, how could their ideas and teachings be contrary to it? Should changes be made to suit their own purposes, then the Declaration would no longer be the Declaration of U.L.T., and could in no way be mistaken for such.
(b) How could they? What appeal would the Declaration make to any but those whose heart is in the work of independent devotion to the cause of Theosophy and loyalty to the great Founders of the Theosophical Movement? Then, the work it has on hand and the end it keeps in view are assertedly too absorbing and too lofty to leave it the time or inclination to take part in side issues. Such a Declaration does not leave a loop-hole for the personal man to enter.
What kind of a man would you consider the founder of the Lodge to be, according to his writings?
It is hard in the case of Robert Crosbie, when one already has a feeling as to the depth and at the same time simplicity of his mind, to feel sure that one is not reading qualities into his writings that exist because of one's own acquaintance with them. His style is that of pure Theosophy simply expressed. Although simplicity is a characteristic of the child, here in connection with depth of mind it is significant of a truly noble character. With him ideas came first, expression naturally flowed. There is no literary "style" to attract us by its beauty. His thoughts are as grave as they are pure. One imagines that he was kind without, stern within, possessing a mind which saw beyond appearances, personalities, and presumptions. There is nothing to indicate harshness, and there is also nothing that flavors of sentimentality. There is nothing colorful on the outside to attract, yet there is a great deal to be found within. Testing these observations with the experiences of those who knew him, one is doubly sure of his character.
Why did Mr. Crosbie start U.L.T.? Were there not already at that time many Theosophical Societies? Why did he not join with them instead of starting this new kind of Theosophical body?
Mr. Crosbie was for a time associated with a Theosophical Society, and although many and various Theosophical societies and organizations existed, all had lost sight of the great Ideal and become societies for the furtherance of personal glory and power. The Original Teachings were put on a back shelf or changed beyond recognition and all that each society was interested in was to be recognized as "The One and Only" Theosophical Society. Therefore Mr. Crosbie started a new Theosophical body; certainly not for his own interests or personal elevation (otherwise he would have called it the "Crosbie Society"), but to put forth an effort to bring the Original Teachings in their pure and unaltered form before the world. His Ideal was to form a body of students who would try to learn to understand and live Theosophy, without being interested in any personal Teachers, Leaders or "Heads." After all, the only way we can gain a true understanding of the Teachings is to go to the Source and contact the Teaching itself -- not to have some one else give his or her opinion or understanding of it. All one can do to help is to point out where the True Teachings can be found, but the learning and studying will have to be done by the inquirer himself; no one can gain an understanding for him. And was it not the hope and wish of H.P.B. herself that some day just such a body as U.L.T. would be formed where the students would work and study together, without petty personal fights and disagreements -- older student helping younger student, no one relying on any one's authority, but all standing on their own feet, guided and checked by Theosophy itself?
[Article number (21) in this Q&A Department]
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