THEOSOPHY, Vol. 14, No. 1, November, 1925
(Pages 10-12; Size: 11K)
(Number 1 of a 59-part series)
(This is the Introduction)
ANCIENT LANDMARKSThe Secret Doctrine is the common property of the countless millions of men born under various climates, in times with which History refuses to deal, and to which esoteric teachings assign dates incompatible with the theories of Geology and Anthropology. The birth and evolution of the Sacred Science of the Past are lost in the very night of Time.... It is only by bringing before the reader an abundance of proofs all tending to show that in every age, under every condition of civilization and knowledge, the educated classes of every nation made themselves the more or less faithful echoes of one identical system and its fundamental traditions -- that he can be made to see that so many streams of the same water must have had a common source from which they started. What was this source? If coming events are said to cast their shadows before, past events cannot fail to leave their impress behind them. It is, then, by those shadows of the hoary Past and their fantastic silhouettes on the external screen of every religion and philosophy, that we can, by checking them as we go along, and comparing them, trace out finally the body that produced them. There must be truth and fact in that which every people of antiquity accepted and made the foundation of its religions and its faith. (Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, p. 794.)IN GIVING her Message to the world H. P. Blavatsky reiterated the fact of the existence of a body of knowledge universal and ever-present. She did not stop with this assertion but proceeded to demonstrate its veracity. There is no better proof of her spiritual profundity and wisdom than the manifestation of her power to discern the true from the false; of her capacity to put together the beautiful gems in a perfect piece of jewelry, rejecting the ugly with which the world of human thought is adorned; of her faculty to show what evil is and how good can supplant it in the moral universe. Of all her phenomena this one was the most marvellous -- the presentation of a practical philosophy of life, not new but old, to be found in the literature, sacred and secular, esoteric and exoteric, of every land and every era.
The study of the hidden meaning in every religious and profane legend, of whatsoever nation, large or small -- pre-eminently the traditions of the East -- has occupied the greater portion of the present writer's life. She is one of those who feel convinced that no mythological story, no traditional event in the folk-lore of a people has ever been, at any time, pure fiction, but that every one of such narratives has an actual, historical lining to it. (Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 303.)
H.P.B. performed her varied phenomena for the edification of those who surrounded her. Most of them entertained themselves with these "psychological tricks;" very few indeed gained the instruction they conveyed. Unfortunately this is true also of the most marvellous phenomenon she ever produced. Only a limited number have concerned themselves with the presentation of Theosophy, in different climes and ages. This is one reason why Theosophy is still called a new creed, one of the many neo-isms with which our civilization is running amuck. As students, practitioners and promulgators of the Teachings of the Great Lodge to our century many among us have over-looked our solemn duty to those Predecessors who laboured in Their days and generations as H.P.B. laboured in hers. The mission of those Mighty Theosophists often failed because Their Message got transformed into a creed, religious, philosophic or magical. The well-meaning enthusiasts among the followers of great spiritual teachers are among those responsible for the degeneration which takes shape as a church or a mosque, a creed or a religion. Such a degeneration often starts because the "faithful" followers of the Teacher narrow their examination of Truth to only one channel. Unlike their Teacher who went wide afield, with courage and vigour, seeking Truth wherever and whenever He found it, the followers, out of a sense of false loyalty to Him, refuse to do what He did. Such do not use his teachings as pick and shovel to unearth the gems of other mines and learn by comparison their relative values. The main feature of any creed is the false value it sets and the false meaning it imparts to certain truths. This arises because the power of discretion through adequate comparison, and thus of perception of real values, is not utilised. This obstacle has to be removed if H.P.B.'s Message is not to dwindle into a creed.
Generally speaking, it is among the poorer students of their Teacher's philosophy that the perpetrators of creeds are to be found. The doubters, the shallow critics, the ambitious are failures in the practice of Theosophy; this because of insufficient study. Their lower nature does not gain sufficient purity of perception; but it adopts its own limited understanding and faulty vision as truth. The capacity to weigh and judge their own conclusions and deductions in the light of their own Teacher's philosophy is absent. Thus the luke-warmness of many so-called Theosophists towards the mission and message of H.P.B. would have disappeared if they had compared her pearls with those of others. The message of H.P.B. does not suffer by comparison with that of any Teacher or Prophet; her teachings gain in value and worth when placed side by side with others; the Secret Doctrine proves of better content than the Vedas, the Upanishads and their commentaries; the Voice of the Silence can more than stand comparison with the Sermon on the Mount; Isis Unveiled has a profounder philosophy than the Book of the Dead; the Key to Theosophy has better practical wisdom than the Quran and the Bible put together. For a proper appreciation of the Message of H.P.B., both as to technique-form and life-inspiration, an examination of theosophies of various cycles and cultures is essential.
There is still another thought which should be reflected upon, especially by those who are endeavouring to propagate Theosophy. In our work and life we meet people seeking for an explanation of problems; many of them are honest and earnest and suffer from hastily built mental structures, from preconceptions, from false notions, and the like. Through mental laziness or intellectual narrowness such people often fail to accept Theosophy which is spoken in a language not their own. Of course it is their fault that they will not study Theosophy; but is there not something to be shared by us in that fault? Can we familiarize ourselves with their language and speak it as far as possible to arouse interest, to awaken understanding, to deepen perception? Can we who have come out from among them and become separate help others to do likewise by speaking their tongue -- be it of science, of religion, of art, of letters?
If we are following in the footsteps of our Predecessors, then the forms in which They cast Their Teachings ought to be subjects of study for us; if we are to know and not only believe that Theosophy and Its Light-Bearers are ever in the world and that identity of doctrines subsists, a proper examination of the languages of Theosophy becomes necessary; if we are to help the masses and the classes to recognize Theosophy we have to go with our gospel of H.P.B.'s Message in their midst and help them to destroy their false gods and to worship at the inner shrine of the God within each.
In the coming cycle the task awaits us to continue that work of H.P.B., which figures so prominently in Isis Unveiled and the Secret Doctrine; and that of Mr. Judge who laboured energetically and wisely to bring to the notice of the West the Theosophy of the ancient East and to that of the East the Hidden Wisdom of the West. In the plan and the programme of the Great Masters the Second Object of the Theosophical Movement demands our thought and reflection.
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 civilization of today, and especially of the United States, is an attempt to accentuate and glorify the individual. The oft-repeated declaration that any born citizen may aspire to occupy the highest office in the gift of the nation is proof of this, and the Mahatmas who guard the truth through the ages while nations are decaying, assert that the reaction is sure to come in a relapse into the worst forms of anarchy. The only way to prevent such a relapse is for men to really practice the Universal Brotherhood they are willing to accept with the tongue.--W.Q.J.
THE FRATERNITY OF PERFECTED SOULS
(Part 2 of a 59-part series)
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