THEOSOPHY, Vol. 20, No. 1, November, 1931
(Pages 16-18; Size: 10K)

YOUTH-COMPANIONS' FORUM

[Article number (13) in this Q&A Department]

IS it better to teach children some religion, rather than none, even if it is a foolish one?

Certainly not. In the first place, is it even necessary to teach a child a religion? A religion is based on form; all religions are particular forms of Religion itself. In its true sense Religion is a body of knowledge based on the unchanging facts and principles in Nature; by the application of its principles, knowledge of the Self may be gained. Religions are based on the idea of a Being who creates, punishes, rewards and forgives. Since this is a false idea, and since ideas form the basis for our actions, the result naturally would be harmful leaving us forever in ignorance of the meaning and purpose of life. Knowledge of the essential nature of man and the universe has always existed, and all religions can be traced to it at their original source -- the ancient Aryan, Wisdom Religion -- known in this age as Theosophy. The true purpose of Theosophy is to promulgate the fundamental and universal principles of its philosophy for the benefit of all, in order to give a true basis for thought and action. [Note: This same question is answered in a different way in the 15th article of this department.--Compiler]

What lies back of the tendency in all men to follow personal leaders instead of their own best judgment and individual authority?

In other words, why do we identify ourselves with outward things and depend on them for our happiness? Is this not characteristic of the personality -- itself but a reflection of various fragments of this universe on our mind? We, looking into that picture-gallery called the mind, mistake ourselves for these flimsy worldly fragments, and call ourselves -- the Perceiver -- the reflection. While we rightly call ourselves the summation of our experiences, we forget that our identity has not changed in all the turmoil of them. Take away a man's possessions and he will cry out for more. If it is not possible to immediately obtain more, then he will seek the advice of some other, depend upon some system of knowledge, some religion -- anything but himself. Of course, this is not true in all cases. There have always been men daring enough to use their own minds in an individual way, even for purely selfish aims; it is they who have achieved, and we know that they gain more joy in the act of achievement than in the results. But the great majority of people have always been willing to rely on outside forces to aid them. This quality of non-self-reliance, the stagnant side of the personality, is one of the most predominant and pernicious of human qualities. In the Gita it is called Tamas. Because of it, priestcraft and superstition have been able to take root in men's minds, and one may infer that it is the cause of at least half the world's evil. The other half must be blamed to Rajas, the principle of active selfishness. We often say that the personal God idea is at the root of this; but the principle of Tamas -- ignorance -- must be seen as its primary basis. [Note: This same question is answered in a different way in the 15th article of this department.--Compiler]

Why did Jesus have to take the Karma of the race? Was that not reaping the effect of causes set up by other individuals?

Jesus had no Karma, in the sense of reaping the effects of past action. Such a being is in full harmony with nature and performs actions to further the evolution of life. Since he is not working against the tide of nature nor disturbing her equilibrium, he is free from the laws of reaction. When incarnating among a particular people for a particular purpose a great being must use the body that they can supply, and in the effort to teach and help them he will invariably meet with their praise and blame; in this sense he is taking the karma of the race. But when Jesus was crucified, he received no personal retribution; he but gave himself as a sacrifice to the ignorance of the men he sought to help. We have a more recent example in H.P.B. She took a body of the Russian race with all its limitations and she braved the ridicule of the world. She certainly suffered from causes set up by other individuals; but that was the only way she could contact the people, and voluntarily undertaken. So, it was not her personal Karma. [Note: This same question is answered in a different way in the 15th article of this department.--Compiler]

Can Theosophy penetrate into any mind if the person really wants to learn?

Theosophy is a science of the inner facts of life, a study of the cause and causes of things. There is no particular place to study it, no special way to begin it, no outstanding objects which alone contain within themselves the secret of life. Everything in this universe is alive and has a message to give. A lesson can be learned from anything and anyone and at all times. What is learned that is true is Theosophy. The Light on the Path says that nature itself is a song and that it is the disciple's duty to hear and interpret it. But since the objects of this world are innumerable and as varied in complexity, there is no reason why one may not start with the simplest of things. Take one's family, the duties to children and household -- these all have a profound meaning and may teach much to the simple soul. "Be content with the common duties of life" said Buddha many centuries ago to those of weaker strength and the statement is as true today. Life is a great teacher and in it there are many grades. It is the lot of some to start with the lowest, but unless "the lowest" is understood through faithful performance of duty, there will never be any so-called "higher" grades. [Note: This same question is answered in a different way in the 15th article of this department.--Compiler]

Why don't we promulgate Theosophy by sending it over the radio?

Theosophy is essentially for those who want it, and for no others. It does not appeal to many because it places responsibility on ourselves, and tells us that we suffer from ourselves. While this is the hope and assurance that keeps many people alive, when they realize that they can get out of any mess into which they have drifted by simply reversing their steps, this responsibility does not appeal to those who want their sins cancelled vicariously. They prefer their personal gods. Now, Theosophy must be sought for and proved by the individual for himself. It requires individual effort and self-determination -- which is the use of Man's higher nature. H.P.B. says in the Preface to The Key to Theosophy:

To the mentally lazy or obtuse, Theosophy must remain a riddle; for in the world mental as in the world spiritual each man must progress by his own efforts.
Therefore, to broadcast Theosophy over the radio would be to expose it to the wonder and ridicule of the populace. It would only antagonize some and furnish others a topic for idle speculation. If a man wants the truth, he will seek for it until he finds it. Theosophy is not an interesting diversion to be tuned in on in order to while away an hour or fifteen minutes.


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:

IN OUR OWN PLACE

All help you extend to any other soul is help to yourself. It is our duty to help all, and we must begin on those nearest to us, for to run abroad to souls we might possibly help we again forsake our present duty. It is better to die in our own duty, however mean, than to try another one. ... We have a duty to see that we do all we can in our own place as we see best, undisturbed and undismayed by aught ... It is not that you must rush madly or boldly out to do, to do. Do what you find to do.--W.Q.J.


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(December 1931)
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