December 2015 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the December 2015 Newsletter to members. Non-members may or may not be able to relate to the contents.
Some Thoughts on the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary
By Geoffrey Hodson
An Extract from
Sharing the Light, Volume II
On 7th September, 1875, at Madame Blavatsky’s rooms, 46 Irving Place, New York, after a private lecture on The Lost Canon of Proportion of the Egyptians, delivered by Mr G. H. Felt, Colonel Olcott, as he relates in Old Diary Leaves, ‘wrote on a scrap of paper the following: ‘Would it not be a good thing to form a Society for this kind of study?’ — and gave it to Mr Judge, at the moment standing between me and H.P.B. [Helena P. Blavatsky], sitting opposite, to pass over to her. She read it and nodded assent’ (Old Diary Leaves, Vol. I, pp. 117-118). From these two apparently simple actions on the outer plane, the Theosophical Society [T.S.] came into existence, and Colonel Olcott is said to have exclaimed later, ‘The child is born! Hosannah!’
Action had, however, been decided upon some time before that date. One of the Masters wrote to Mr A. P. Sinnett that ‘One or two of us hoped that the world had so far advanced intellectually, if not intuitionally, that the Occult doctrine might gain an intellectual acceptance, and the impulse given for a new cycle of occult research. . . . So casting about, we found in America the man to stand as leader — a man of great moral courage, unselfish, and having other good qualities. He was far from being the best, but . . . he was the best one available. With him we associated a woman of most exceptional and wonderful endowments. Combined with them she had strong personal defects, but just as she was, there was no second to her living fit for this work. We sent her to America, brought them together — and the trial began’ (The Mahatma Letters, No. 45).
The two hoped-for results referred to in this letter throw open a wide field of speculation concerning other considerations, immediate and long term, which may have influenced the Great Brotherhood in its decision to found the Society. Some of them have been stated in other letters of the Masters. One most arresting statement indicates the profound significance of the Theosophical Society in the Masters’ eyes and is made clear in another letter to Mr A. P. Sinnett during a critical period in the Society’s life: ‘The present crisis that is shaking the T.S. to its foundations is a question of perdition or salvation to thousands; . . .’ (The Mahatma Letters, No. 136).
Other statements of the purpose of the Masters in founding the Society are: ‘The Chiefs want a ‘Brotherhood of Humanity’, a real Universal Fraternity started; an institution which would make itself known throughout the world and arrest the attention of the highest minds’ (The Mahatma Letters, No. 12).
‘Our chief aim is to deliver humanity of this nightmare, to teach man virtue for its own sake, and to walk in life relying on himself instead of leaning on a theological crutch, that for countless ages was the direct cause of nearly all human misery’ (The Mahatma Letters, No. 88).
‘. . . we seek to bring men to sacrifice their Personality — a passing flash — for the welfare of the whole humanity, hence for their own immortal Egos, a part of the latter, as humanity is a fraction of the integral whole that it will one day become’ (The Mahatma Letters, No. 74).
There is some evidence in other writings of Mahatmic origin that foreknowledge of the two World Wars and such horrors as the Nazi concentration camps and the two atomic bombs, induced Them to sound forth the note of the universal brotherhood of man, possibly in an endeavour to prevent or minimize the suffering to come. In The Secret Doctrine one reads: ‘It is simply knowledge, and mathematically correct computations, which enable the WISE MEN OF THE EAST to foretell, for instance, that England is on the eve of such or another catastrophe; that France is nearing such a point of her Cycle; and that Europe in general is threatened with, or rather is on the eve of, a cataclysm, to which her own Cycle of racial Karma has led her’ (The Secret Doctrine, Adyar Edition, Vol. II, p. 371 [2-vol. ed.: Vol. 1, p. 646]). ‘Every nation and tribe of the Western Aryans, like their Eastern brethren of the Fifth Race, has had its Golden and its Iron Age, its period of comparative irresponsibility, or its Satya Age of purity, and now, several of them have reached their Iron Age, the KALI YUGA, an age Black with horrors’ (The Secret Doctrine, Adyar Edition, Vol. II, p. 369 [2-vol. ed.: Vol. 1, pp. 644-45]).
One must assume that the almost inevitable concomitants of the development of the ahamkaric and analytical aspects of the human mind were also fully known to the Masters. Self-separateness, egoism, individualism and nationalism, materialism, pride, acquisitiveness, aggressiveness, lust of power, craving for possessions and capacity to become obsessed by an overweening desire to dominate these and other undesirable attributes of the concrete mind were almost certain to assume the monstrous proportions exhibited since the founding of the Theosophical Society and to lead to the horrors so clearly foreseen.
The wonderful letter from the Maha-Chohan, written in 1881, would seem to support this assumption. This very great Adept, ‘to whose insight the future lies like an open page’, wrote: ‘The intellectual portions of mankind seem to be fast dividing into two classes, the one unconsciously preparing for itself long periods of temporary annihilation or states of non-consciousness, owing to the deliberate surrender of their intellect, its imprisonment in the narrow grooves of bigotry and superstition — a process which cannot fail to lead to the utter deformation of the intellectual principal; the other unrestrainedly indulging its animal propensities with the deliberate intention of submitting to annihilation pure and simple in cases of failure, to millenniums of degradation after physical dissolution.
‘Those “intellectual classes”, reacting upon the ignorant masses which they attract and which look up to them as noble and fit examples to follow, degrade and morally ruin those they ought to protect and guide. Between degrading superstition, and still more degrading brutal materialism, the white dove of truth has hardly room where to rest her weary unwelcome foot.
‘It is time that Theosophy should enter the arena. . . . In view of the ever-increasing triumph and at the same time misuse of free-thought and liberty (the universal reign of Satan, Eliphas Levi would have called it), how is the combative natural instinct of man to be restrained from inflicting hitherto unheard-of cruelty and enormities, tyranny, injustice, etc., if not through the soothing influence of a brotherhood, and of the practical application of Buddha’s esoteric doctrines?’ (The Maha-Chohan’s Letter, 1831, T.P.H., 1948.)
This very remarkable letter strongly suggests that the decision to draw the attention of humanity to Theosophy, and to promulgate the ideal of a universal brotherhood, well before the foreseen disasters fell upon the race, was also made in an attempt, if not to prevent, then to minimize, the growing evils and the oncoming racial adversities.
Again, the fact that numbers of Egos with Theosophical knowledge were to come into incarnation in the late nineteenth and the twentieth centuries may possibly have influenced the Elder Brethren in Their decision to found a Society in which, in their new personalities, Their former disciples, students and co-workers could find both Theosophy and a way to renewed service under Them. In founding the Theosophical Society, and especially the Esoteric School within it, the Masters rendered two services to such Egos. They made the Path relatively easy to find and provided a Movement in which they could serve humanity along Theosophical lines. This is an inestimable boon both for Theosophists, themselves and for the Race.
The publication in The Theosophist for July, 1883, of the article, Chelas and Lay Chelas, and the later establishment of the Esoteric School, suggest that the recruitment of disciples and Initiates of the Great Brotherhood had its place amongst other objectives of the Masters. This must surely be accounted amongst Their very far-reaching purposes; for every human being who enters the Path — and still more each one who treads it to its end in Adeptship — renders aid of incalculable value to the whole of humanity. This aid is not necessarily limited to those evolving upon this planet for the brotherhood of man bridges inter-planetary and superphysical space and binds together in indissoluble unity the humanity of all Planetary Schemes of this Solar System. Doubtless one should not stop there but reach out in thought to include humanities of all universes. One must not presume to put a boundary upon the range and extent of the oneness of all life and all beings. Indeed, all men, past, present and to come in all Cosmoi ‘are parts of one stupendous whole’. Progress made by one man must therefore uplift all others.
Such possible cosmic implications and effects of the adoption of idealism, of entry upon the Path and the attainment of Adeptship by any one man or woman on any globe of any Solar System would seem to be hinted at in the closing verses addressed to the victorious one in The Voice of the Silence: (pp. 99, 100) ‘Behold, the mellow light that floods the eastern sky. In signs of praise both heaven and earth unite. And from the four-fold manifested powers a chant of love ariseth, both from the flaming fire and flowing water, and from sweet-smelling earth and rushing wind. Hark! . . . from the deep unfathomable vortex of that golden light in which the Victor bathes, all nature’s wordless voice in a thousand tones ariseth to proclaim: JOY UNTO YOU, O MEN OF MYALBA. A PILGRIM HATH RETURNED BACK FROM THE OTHER SHORE. A NEW ARHAN IS BORN’. The Lord Christ said: ‘I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me’ (John 12:32).
What thought, then, dominates others when contemplating the action of the Masters in founding the Theosophical Society seventy-five years ago? Is it not gratitude, profound and inexpressible? Indeed, it must be, for that action was fraught with the possibility of incalculable benefits bestowed upon humanities, past, present and as yet unborn, and not only on this globe and in this universe, but upon those following their cyclic paths in the apparently infinite depths of space; for distance does not divide Life and, in truth, all men, where-so-ever ascending, are indissoluble ONE.
The keynotes of this, as of all other anniversaries of the founding of the Theosophical Society, must surely be gratitude and the determination, by selfless and wise collaboration, to be worthy of so great a gift.