By Katherine Tingley
(From the San Diego Union, February 22, 1915)
The meeting last night at Isis Theater was of unusual interest for the reason that it gave the large audience present an opportunity of learning something of the Men's Theosophical League of Humanity, of its aims and the ideals which actuate its members. As was explained by one of the speakers, its objects are in the main similar to those of the Woman's International Theosophical League. It was further explained that Mme. Tingley's object in organizing these two leagues was to bring about the perfect cooperation of men and women along all lines, and particularly those of practical humanitarian work.
The stage setting was effective. In front and on the wings were the usual beautiful decorations of foliage and flowers. In the center of the stage was an altar of white roses, back of which were seated some twenty members of the Men's League. Behind these, on a raised platform, was the Raja-Yoga International Orchestra of some forty-five performers, which during the evening rendered the following selections. Overture, Egmont, (Beethoven); To a Water-Lily (MacDowell); Barcarolle from Tribute of Zamora (Gounod); March from Aida (Verdi). During an intermission one of the students of the Isis Conservatory of Music sang a tenor solo, Homeward (Franz Abt).
The meeting was opened by Clark Thurston, president of the League, who welcomed the audience as guests of Mme. Tingley and of the members. He explained that the purpose of the League was the practical application of Theosophy and brotherhood to the needs of humanity. The atmosphere of brotherhood, he said, was alone that in which the spiritual life could find expression. The truths of Theosophy during the forty years since they were again presented to the world by Mme. Blavatsky, the foundress of the present Theosophical Movement have, to a great degree, changed the currents of human thought, he said.
J. H. Fussell, secretary of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society and private secretary to Mme. Tingley, spoke of the purpose of both the Men's and Women's Leagues which, he said, was to help humanity. "This purpose," he said, "is two-fold. On the one hand it is to lessen the world's suffering, its sorrow and its heart-ache, by removing all those obstacles which impede human progress, all forms of unbrotherliness, cruelty, and injustice; and on the other it is to inculcate those high ideals of conduct which are the opposite of these and upon the practice of which depend the future happiness and welfare of the world."
Prof. F. S. Darrow, A. M., Ph. D. (Harvard), declared man's mission to be to study his own dual nature, to learn to guide the outer material nature by the god within. "True happiness," he said, "can come only through unselfish striving; the path of progress knows no end; the soul as the child of the infinite must itself be infinite."
According to R. Machell, Director of the Art Department of the Raja-Yoga College, every man has to meet the question, "What is man's mission?" and he answers it by his life. "Man has ever two opposing ideals before him," said Machell, "that of giving and that of getting; altruism and egotism. Between these two man must and does choose, whether he will or no, and his life shows his choice."
J. F. Knoche, local business manager of the International Theosophical Headquarters, discussed the reasons why the study of Theosophy is of vital importance to the business man of today. "A fuller understanding of man's nature and possibilities is needed," he declared, "if man would not be a failure." This understanding, said the speaker, may be gained from the study of Theosophy.
Prof. W. A. Dunn, director of the Isis Conservatory of Music, spoke of the incongruity of man's accepting the reign of law over external nature without acknowledging its equal reign over man's moral nature. "Man's mission," he said, "is to cooperate with the laws of his moral and mental being equally as with the laws of his physical being. A strong and pure character can come only from perfect obedience to the laws of the spiritual life."
Iverson L. Harris, Professor of Law of the Raja-Yoga College, spoke of the disillusions of life and of the mistakes people were liable to make who considered themselves disillusioned. He claimed that Theosophy had a message for such people in particular.
"Man's mission is to be God's warrior," said Kenneth Morris, a member of the Theosophical Headquarters literary staff. "We must fight or die; between morning or night one wins or loses as many battles as there are moments. It is the concern of all men to make the moments of the day divine. Man is a fighting animal when he is not a fighting god."
After a brief selection by the Raja-Yoga International Orchestra, Mme. Tingley appeared on the stage. She said that the magnificent facts of Theosophy must be studied by all who truly seek the welfare of their fellowmen.
"These magnificent facts," she said, "bring to man a consolation and a hope that no others can."
Mme. Tingley spoke of the international character of the Men's and Women's Leagues. She said that seated on the stage were American, English, German, Swedish, French and Dutch, and that at the International Headquarters at Point Loma were representatives of every one of the nations now at war, all living and working together harmoniously. She said that while patriotism for one's country was a splendid thing, there was something higher -- a patriotism that was based upon soul recognition.
Speaking of the cooperation between the members of the Men's and Women's Leagues, Mme. Tingley quoted an Oriental saying: "Are we not the stars of the same one beam? Are we not the fruits of the same one tree? Are we not the waves of the same one sea?" "Men and woman," she said, "have come from the same source, seeking the same goal, guided by the same laws of life," and that, though outwardly different, with different duties to be performed, the spiritual nature was the same in each.
In conclusion, Mme. Tingley spoke of the work of the two Leagues in the prisons; how help had been brought to the discouraged and the despairing. She said the members of these Leagues are endeavoring to make their lives strong, forceful, and helpful, so that they may do their whole duty all along the way.
Friends: We welcome you as guests of Mme. Tingley and of the Men's International Theosophical League whom we have the honor to represent for this occasion.
We are well aware that this splendid audience has assembled to listen to no less a personage than Mme. Tingley, the Foundress of this League of Men and its companion League of Women; but in the interim we believe you will be interested to hear what we shall have to say regarding the practical application of Theosophy and brotherhood to man's needs and responsibilities. We have learned the practical side of Theosophy through working with Mme. Tingley in her humanitarian activities, and have found it to apply in business, educational, and professional pursuits, as well as in the purely philanthropic, and altruistic life.
To illustrate the characteristics of one schooled in Theosophy, let me quote:
There is no man who does not at some time feel within him a power urging him to acts of compassion, to brotherhood, to sympathy with the joys and pains of others. If he yield to it, as time goes on, he will become daily a nobler and richer character, a truer friend, helper, and counselor of others.
A natural dignity will develop about him; his mind will outgrow the littlenesses, spites, whims, prejudices, dislikes, and empty and fruitless aims that before obscured it. It will become steady, and wisdom will ripen in him.
He will become habitually serene, his mind constantly clear, and its workings pleasant; his bodily appetites will pass more fully under his control. In a word, he will be healthier in mind, body, and soul; to a degree, in no other way possible, he will have himself completely in hand.
For Theosophy consists of the theosophic truths lying at the basis of life, and is therefore capable of being found by all men within themselves. The very atmosphere of brotherhood is that in which these truths take root and grow.
They are truths that are absolute, and which cannot be lost, but yet may remain silent for lack of speech.
For the soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendor have no limit.
Each man is his own absolute lawgiver. The dispenser of glory or gloom to himself.
The decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment. These truths, which are as great as life itself, are as simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry with them.
We have kept these truths constantly before the public mind in many nations ever since the founding of the Theosophical Movement in America by Mme. Blavatsky some forty years ago, and they have changed the currents of thought and action to a remarkable degree, until men and women in many nations are seeking ways and means to apply them to the daily affairs and conditions of the time.
Such, under the guidance of Mme. Tingley, is the work allotted to the Men's International Theosophical League, and to the Woman's International League, regarding which, we trust, you will now have a better comprehension, and for both the work and its workers an increasing and lasting respect.
It must be clear to all who have attended the present series of lectures which Madame Katherine Tingley is giving on Sunday evenings in this Theater, that she holds that both men and women have their own part to play in the world's evolution: that there is a work which none but men can do, and similarly a work which none but women can do.
But Madame Tingley goes further than this, and says that for the perfect fulfilment by men of their mission and work, and for the perfect fulfilment by women of theirs, not only must each fulfil the duties of their own sphere as men and women, but there must be cooperation, sympathy, and mutual understanding -- there must be a balancing, a harmonious interplay between the two forces which find their expression in men and women. Only so can the perfection of human life be attained.
It is for these reasons that the Men's and Women's International Theosophical Leagues were organized, viz., that men and women, while each playing well their own part in the world's life, may work together in perfect harmony and cooperation. In this regard these two Leagues of men and women respectively are unique among the organizations of the present day.
The objects of both these Leagues are, in the main, similar. They are all summed up in the great purpose of helping humanity. And this purpose is twofold: on the one hand, it is to lessen the world's suffering, its sorrow and its heartache, by removing all those obstacles which impede human progress, all forms of unbrotherliness, cruelty, and injustice; and, on the other, it is to inculcate those higher ideals of conduct which are the opposite of these, and upon the practice of which depend the future happiness and welfare of the world.
Furthermore, the work of these Leagues is unsectarian and non-political. They supply a platform on which men and women of all faiths and opinions can unite, providing only that they recognize the brotherhood of all men and work unselfishly for the benefit of mankind. For in these bodies no salaries are paid, all service is voluntary, and officers and members alike work neither for fame nor emolument, but for the love of humanity.
And finally, the membership of these Leagues is international. It comprises men and women of all races and nationalities, and of all walks of life. And, working with the other organizations which are included in the worldwide Theosophical Movement -- all these in their varied fields of operation, constitute the greatest factor for peace, international and universal peace, that is active in the world today.
It is for this we are here, and for this we are working. It is for this we claim your earnest attention, because we believe that it is only as men and women come to realize the nobility of their calling and their true position in life that they can accomplish their mission.
Man's mission in the school of life is, first, to study his own dual nature and thus to learn how to control and how to guide the outer animal by the help of the God within.
The fundamental teachings, which explain man's mission, are universal brotherhood, individual responsibility, the perfectibility of man, and eternal progress.
All forms of existence are united by a common bond, all are brothers in one great family. In all, the spiritual life manifests to a greater or less degree and in so far as the inner light is dimmed or obscured either in the individual or in the nation, in so far all must suffer. Man's mission is to forge ahead onward and upward along the path of brotherly service, and in this pathway he must bridge the abyss of separateness, surmount the boulders of self-interest, and march steadily toward the goal of self-conquest, where alone in unselfish striving true happiness may be found.
Man himself is the ultimate creator of his own destiny, individually responsible for his thoughts and his acts, an intelligent agent, possessing the freedom of choice. All reformation and all redemption must come from within. There is no outward power which can be held accountable for the individual's actions, no outward power by which the consequences of those actions can be annulled. As the tree in its growth adds fresh rings beyond the old, so the soul, the real man, by its numberless experiences can keep adding fresh stores of knowledge to the old. The goal of the ideal, like the horizon, must ever recede before the vision of the eternal pilgrim-soul, for, says Theosophy, the possibilities of growth are limitless. Man, as an immortal being, possesses ever at hand greater and grander possibilities for growth because the path of progress knows no end and one vantage point gained reveals others beyond. The soul, as the child of the infinite, must in itself be infinite, living and acting throughout eternity until, by being reborn time and time again, it may be fitted to enter upon its divine heritage.
Man's mission from a theosophical standpoint, therefore, is by self-analysis and by self-conquest to render himself ever more truly a helper in humanity's cause, for he is an eternal pilgrim, individually responsible, subject to the laws of life, of death, and of rebirth, with infinite opportunities for growth and progress.
What is the mission of man on earth? That is a question that each man has to meet in some form, even if he refuse to put it into words, or even though he decline to think about it at all. The question is there for him to answer, and he answers it with his life. He may indeed never have given it a thought, but he has given it an answer by the way he is living. The same is true of the man who thinks and talks a great deal about the purpose of life: it is his actual way of living that is his real answer to the voiceless question that nature puts before him when he enters the natural world, and that question remains with him till he quits the sphere of human action and returns to his spiritual condition.
There are two great ideals of life that answer this question. The one is the ideal of giving; the other is that of getting. Altruism and egotism. Self-sacrifice and self-aggrandizement. These are the two ideals between which a man must choose, and does choose, whether he will or no; for a man must act in some way, and his acts are his life, whatever his explanation of his acts may be; and his life shows his choice, even though his words and wishes seem to point another way.
But what is giving, and what is getting? What is it that enables a man to choose whether he will be a giver or a getter?
It is said "the divine give . . ." and to become divine a man must act divinely. How is this possible if man is but man? Simply by the fact that the divine is universal and is potentially present in every man: but while man is man he can shut his eyes to his own inherent divinity and act as if he were an animal of that strange kind that materialistic science has invented, an animal that is free from the restrictions of natural law (which is the expression of the divine in nature) and that is not bound by the higher law of the human kingdom.
This false ideal of man as a creature of matter, soulless, less than an animal, the willing slave of his own passions, knowing no law but desire and no limitation to his greed or lust but that imposed by mere force: this degrading ideal places man in the region of chaos, where the unconscious atoms blindly obey the laws of chaos, which is matter in its lowest and simplest stage of evolution. This ideal in practice makes a man absolutely selfish and absolutely unmoral. While such a man thinks he is growing great and strong in his self-development, he is in reality falling at every step back on the path of evolution towards chaos, to be again the sport of the titanic forces of primitive nature.
But the divine give. How can a man give unless he has first gotten something to give? There lies the real point of interest in the whole subject: for it forces us to ask, what can a man really get? what does he really own? and what can he give?
Property, wealth, position, are so little his that in a moment he may lose them all by no fault of his own; nor can he really give these things to others (as all who think deeply know), for there is no real or permanent possession of things possible in the world as we know it here.
The only real possession a man can have is that which he has made a part of his own character, a part of himself. A brave man can give courage to others, a cheerful man can give hope, a generous man can give love, a capable man can give efficiency, a true poet, musician, artist, or orator can give inspiration. A religious man can give devotion or just such other qualities as his religion has developed in him. A man can give what he is because that is all he has to give. And the mission of man is to give, because the destiny of man is to become divine.
Divinity is the goal of human evolution.
I have been asked to present briefly a few reasons why the study of Theosophy and the living of a theosophical life are of vital importance to the businessman of today.
This is a critical time in the history of the world -- as well as in the history of the individual. It is a transition period; rapid changes are taking place daily; new conditions and problems are developing, the understanding and solution of which rest upon the man of today. If he would meet these new conditions and solve these new problems successfully, he must have a fuller understanding of his own nature and know his responsibilities; further, he must know something of the divine side of his nature, for if he lives his life without this knowledge, he must, in the course of time, be counted a failure.
The businessman's responsibility is quite as great as that of the educator, the scientist, or the philosopher, if he takes a broad view of his opportunities. A businessman of the ideal type is not in business merely for the purpose of making money. He makes his business the medium through which he does his part for the world's betterment.
Theosophy teaches that man must learn to know his weaknesses as well as his spiritual strength. He must learn to know his mission in life. Mazzini, the great Italian patriot and lover of humanity, said, "Life is a mission; any other definition of it is false and will lead him who accepts it astray." The man of today must know how to fulfil this mission.
Theosophy teaches that man must know himself; that through the doctrine of karma, which is the Divine Law of justice and one of the principal doctrines of Theosophy, he will be held strictly accountable for his thoughts and deeds; in short, he will reap as he sows; for man is the creator of his own life and through Theosophy he can find that spiritual will which is able to guide him on life's way to enduring success.
Theosophy emphasizes individual responsibility in things small and great; it is adapted to the needs of man in all walks of life, from the humblest to the highest. It explains the inequalities and the apparent injustice in life; it points clearly to the path man must take for his advancement on the highest lines.
It is essentially the teaching for the businessman, for the wage worker, for all men; it gives a man an understanding of how to sustain human life without doing injustice to his brothers.
There are weighty reasons why the businessman should familiarize himself with the principles of Theosophy, for his duties to his fellow men and his daily activities demand that he shall work with open mind, avail himself of, and be eager for, all knowledge that will advance the best interests of the human family.
What is the basis of an honorable business life? It is credit. And what is credit but mutual confidence? No matter if we do see business men perverting this trust, we know that among a large number there is yet mutual confidence and an acknowledged common interest.
A man who desires honorable success must conduct his business legitimately and conscientiously. In doing this, he proves that he is his brother's keeper and he learns why it is that brotherhood is a fact in nature.
Theosophy clearly defines man's duty on all lines. In whatever position he may be placed, it demands that he be just to his fellows, for it is only by so acting that he can help in the true upbuilding of society.
Thus man, working with the knowledge of the immutable laws governing human life, finds himself in place, never looking backward, but ever looking forward with hope and courage to the days to come, glad to be a worker in the rank and file if he can but serve. One who applies the principles of Theosophy in his business life gets an effective grip on the lower propensities of his nature and soon begins to gain self-control -- mastery over that part of his nature which has heretofore mastered him. Day by day he lives inspired with eternal enthusiasm and with dauntless courage to face life's duties, come what may.
In this conscientious course of right living, he is bound to fulfil his mission on earth and make the world better for having lived in it.
A man who strives to make the principles of Theosophy a living power in his life cannot help but make a better husband and father, nobler citizen and more honorable business man.
One of the strangest incongruities of modern thought is that shown between full acceptance of the reign of law over external nature, and denial or indifference as to the extension of that law over moral and mental conditions prevailing in human nature. It is as though man said to himself: "Here in my body, in the processes of digestion, in the purification of the blood by atmospheric air, in utter dependence upon the vital qualities of food and drink, I fully accept and obey the demands of natural law; but in respect to my feelings and thoughts I am skeptical as to the operation of any other law than that of my own will and desire."
But history proves that all nations who became indifferent to moral law incurred consequences denoting that the harmonious forces of physical nature bear the same appearance of justice as those of the spiritual.
In these days we have advanced medical practitioners insisting that all forms of excessive desire and emotion affect the vital functions of the body in a very definite manner, not to speak of the direful effects on the nobler brain-cells caused by twisted mental conditions.
These considerations suggest that man's mission in life is to cooperate with the law governing his moral and mental being as rationally as he cooperates with the natural law governing his bodily health. When a man cooperates with the laws of physical health, he in time becomes health itself -- his co-operation passing to actual possession of that law in his own person. In like manner, cooperation with the moral law, as voiced by conscience, must inevitably lead to the possession of moral and spiritual strength as exemplified in the lives of the helpers of humanity.
Music, as an art which expresses all grades of human feeling, is a forceful example of the reign of law over man's inner nature. Musical art is completely dependent on the laws of natural harmony, which are as absolute in governing combinations of sound as are the laws which determine chemical affinities in matter. And as perfect music arouses in us the noblest thoughts and feelings, we may logically assume that a strong and pure character is the natural resultant of perfect obedience to the spiritual laws of life, which Madame Blavatsky summed up as "justice."
Thus musical discipline is a fundamental necessity in all modes of true education, especially as it inculcates the need for constant practice to transform ideal aspirations into actual proficiency.
Theosophy teaches that the hidden currents of everyday thought and feeling are forces progressing from causes originated in the past towards physical expression in the future. A thought today becomes an emotional urge tomorrow. This matures to the strength of a desire which ultimately finds an outlet through physical action. These facts in a degree seem to correspond with the finer forces of nature passing from light, air, and atomic elements into the organic forms of tree and flower.
Thus the mission of man, from the theosophical standpoint, is to seek his highest source of power in the spiritual nature and by cooperation with the law of eternal justice naturally to harmonize all aspects of his manifested being.
There is a certain proportion of the men in every community who have become disillusioned; they look upon life as a sham and a mockery; to them there is no reality. In most cases this state of mind is the result of hasty conclusions.
For instance, they attempt to analyse the statements made in the Bible and the utterances of many of those supposed to be authorities on these questions, and they feel certain that these people are in the grip of puerile or dangerous superstitions. They conclude therefrom that Christianity is false and religion a delusion and, losing faith, they become convinced that there is no truth, that religion is a superstition and that God is a myth. It is for such men that Theosophy has a special mission.
From the study of Theosophy I have learnt that there is a vast distinction between the form and the spirit; and I have thus come to realize that though "Churchianity" may be in error, pure Christianity may be right; that though the Bible may contain many errors, truth is there also, especially when the Bible is interpreted theosophically. The same statements could, with little change in verbiage, be applied to all the other great systems of religion. And with suitable changes, the same principles could be shown to apply to our philosophies, sciences, and to our social, political, and business activities.
The fact is that when one has gained a certain limited measure of knowledge, all of the myriad details which constitute the life about him become so unreal, so flat, stale, unprofitable, that one readily falls into doubt and discouragement, and seeks extraneous means to find some zest in life.
And it is just at this point that such a man needs Theosophy, which will teach him that by arousing the soul -- the divine, immortal self that is asleep in his own nature -- he can in turn ensoul every commonplace object which surrounds him and every routine duty which he performs with a spirit that makes them more real and wonderful than all the idols which all the creeds have ever been able to fashion. And his doubt and discouragement will cease, because the spirit within is sweeter and purer and more potent than any artificial or extraneous mental stimulus.
When I say Theosophy, I include the Leaders of the Theosophical Movement -- the present Leader being Katherine Tingley. Life is so constituted that it is impossible for an individual to travel the path of divine evolution without the aid of teachers. It is true that the soul within speaks to every one in the form of the still small voice that we know as conscience, and it is true that if one faithfully and calmly follows the dictates of conscience, he will be acting in conformity with the will of the divine powers; but it is also true that though one obeys the voice of conscience, such obedience will, at most, only lead him to the path; but being on the path, he will find a teacher awaiting to guide him through its labyrinthic courses.
In short, during the present age there is no possibility, to my mind, of permanent spiritual growth and real happiness, except by the study and practice of theosophical principles.
Man's mission is to be God's warrior: we must fight or die. But we fight the wrong things and waste our lives over it; like the man who mistook the sea waves for his enemies and battled with them till he died.
Between morning and night one wins or loses or shirks as many battles as there are moments. In each, one has the chance to do splendid service for God and man, storming strategic points held by the hosts of evil; to skulk in one's tent, like Achilles, leaving others to do the hard fighting; or to play traitor, and surrender trenches to the hellions.
You awake and are confronted with a great marvel: a moment of time of self-consciousness. What to do with it? You must pack it with some kind of thought. Now there is thought that rises from the body, sluggish and unbeautiful; let that in, and your moment has gone to swell the evil of the world. There is thought that concerns your personal self -- business worries, the preoccupations of your ambition -- you can put that sort of thing into your moment. But the world is cursed with that sort of thing already: a raging, tearing pandemonium wherein every demon is someone's desire to get ahead. Or, you can seize upon your awakening consciousness and think peace, beauty, good will towards men into it.
The moments call their own kindred to succeed them. As if the one you made beautiful with thought-gold should beckon to his next of kin: "Here, brother, he is dealing with us this morning." That one comes running, anxious to help you fill it, too, with purity; and so throughout the day you go forward singing: things march, and you triumph easily. But let the first thought be sensual, and you shall struggle with a load all day; let it be selfish and personal, and by nightfall you shall have done something to line your face and whiten your hair. You may turn the tide at any time, but not without struggle. We ought not to have the bother we do with the forces of evil; we are of a superior order of being, above them. We can find divinity within ourselves and the means of quietly making our lives divine.
That is man's mission from the theosophical -- the real -- standpoint. For this is strictly the concern of all men: Jews, Turks, infidels and heretics, Particular Baptists and Seventh Day Adventists, as well as Theosophists. Make the moment and the day divine; let your light shine before men; carry on this business of the universe; win battles for God. That is what we have to do, we that call ourselves human. He who fights not the real battle will surely be fighting the false ones; for man is a fighting animal, when he will not be a fighting god. This war business obstructs the work of evolution. Stop it! Stop war; that is man's mission. Don't feel superior to the Mexican, or to the European, while you hold the least grudge against your neighbor. One can carry infectious peace about with him, can make his own mind a peace factory, but only by waking within himself the conquering soul, the divinity, and winning his own daily internal battles for God.
Eternity may be but an endless series of migrations which men call death, abandonments of home after home, even to clearer scenes of loftier heights. -- Bulwer
Friends: I greatly appreciate the close attention you have given to the program which has been presented to you tonight, and if it were my choice I should prefer that the meeting closed at this moment; but since I am named on the program to speak, I am expected to do my part. As the time is limited, I shall say but a few words; that is, I would impress you with the importance of the study of Theosophy, with the knowledge of these sublime truths that every human being should make a part of his life. These teachings are truly magnificent truths and they bring home to every man a hope and a consolation that no other teachings do, for the reason that they are based, not only on the soundest principles, but on knowledge. If one has true knowledge, and applies it to his life, he cannot fail to find happiness.
It may interest you to know that the gentlemen here tonight, who represent the Men's International Theosophical League of Humanity, are from different parts of the world -- from England, Ireland, Germany, France, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Canada, as well as from the United States; they are living at the World's Theosophical Center at Point Loma, and are century. And then in all the other departments of human activity -- in the scientific, the literary, endeavoring to cultivate the spirit of true brotherhood. Among them are a number who were pupils of Madame Blavatsky in the early days of the theosophical work, and who have since that time continued with determined effort, under the leadership of William Q. Judge, and with me, to sustain the cause they love so well -- Theosophy.
While looking at this earnest body of men, I have been impressed with the far-sightedness of Madame Blavatsky, for when she came to the Western world to reintroduce the unsectarian teachings of the Wisdom-Religion and to organize the Theosophical Society, she must have realized more than any of us can know, not only the great needs of humanity, but also that there were hundreds and thousands of hungry hearts awaiting her coming, calling for that help that her message would bring. Indeed, she must have realized in the silence of her heart and soul, the world-need. Well she knew that there were waiting souls the world over seeking opportunity to find the path, whereby they might find themselves and thus become higher expresssions of manhood and womanhood and better helpers of the human race.
Truly great was her prevision of the world-need and of the hope and help that Theosophy would bring to men; for all over the world today we have representatives, not only of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society, but of these two Theosophical Leagues, the Woman's League and the Men's League, working together.
Let me assure you that you have caught but a glimpse here tonight of what the workers in these Leagues are doing. Both the men and the women work together. They are not seeking self-aggrandizement, nor aiming to receive public recognition or honors. They are serving without any salary or expectancy of reward, except to feel that they are lifting as best they know how some of the burdens of humanity, and that they are bringing home to the hearts and minds of people of all nations, consolation and encouragement.
I recall a verse written by an Oriental. The lines are appropriate and suggest much thought. The title is "Man and Woman."
Are we not the tunes of the same one dream?
Are we not the stars of the same one gleam?
Are we not the fruits of the same one tree?
Are we not the waves of the same one sea?
Here is the keynote. Men and women have come from the same source, are seeking the same goal, are a part of the great universal life, are guided by the universal laws of being -- each of the two in place: the woman in her place, the man in his; the outward aspects different, with duties different, but the heart-hunger the same, and the spiritual will the same.
Can you not see that men and women such as I speak of, united as co-workers for the common good of humanity, must be able in the quiet of self-forgetfulness and in aspiration and devotion, really to do something more than is being done elsewhere today? Are they not bringing home to the minds of men that brotherhood is in fact a reality in nature? That separateness exists, is because the human race has not the understanding of the laws of being -- it has lost its way.
So Madame Blavatsky, that whole-souled Russian woman, realizing that the way must again be shown to men, gathered the ancient teachings, the principles of the Wisdom-Religion, which precede Jesus' time and that of other teachers -- garnered them, held them in her heart all through her life, infused them into her books and into all her acts, and brought them to the Western world, and laid them at the feet of humanity.
No wonder that hundreds and thousands of people all over the world sought this teacher; no wonder also that she was persecuted and misunderstood! But this was only by a class of people who had not studied their own inner being and who knew little or nothing of this inner knowledge that Theosophy gives. Never having sounded the depths of their own consciousnesses, in their blindness and egotism they were ready to destroy the torch-bearer, who came to the world to bring them the very light that they most needed.
Madame Blavatsky did not claim to have any special spiritual powers; she did not place herself before the world as a Savior; she asked for neither adoration nor laudation -- no sacrifice for her! She did not proclaim that she was the light, but simply declared herself to be a friend of humanity, a woman with a mission, a messenger bringing the ancient truths of the Wisdom-Religion to the people of the nineteenth century; and all that she asked of her students was to study Theosophy and to apply it in all their daily duties, and thenceforth to begin to live in a new way and to serve in a new way -- according to the highest dictates of conscience.
People sometimes question members of our Society and myself, and ask, "Why such enthusiasm? What is this telling power behind you that keeps you so cheerful and optimistic, that sustains you in your service to humanity, without salary or expectancy of reward? What is the wonderful power that holds your Society together so harmoniously? -- that is the greatest wonder of it all! And furthermore, what is the force that keeps the representatives of the different countries -- representatives even of the warring nations in your Society -- working in such a friendly spirit?" I answer, "It is the inner knowledge that I have spoken of, acquired by the students. They are endeavoring to round out their characters and to enlighten their minds, and to build for the future; indeed, they have sounded, to a degree, the depths of their consciousness. And they realize also that while they should hold to the highest spirit of patriotism for their respective countries, yet the international spirit is higher, and that one's own country can be better served by cultivating a right royal soul-patriotism, divine patriotism, justice to all people and all countries; that the most unselfish purposes must mark the life of the followers of Theosophy for the benefit of the people of the whole world -- our common home."
In meeting you tonight, and in having invited my comrades to be present and represent the Men's International Theosophical League of Humanity and the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society, I feel a very rich reward, for I know that most of you have been intensely interested and appreciative. Here tonight are my comrades, men of culture, men who are devoting their lives to their own and their fellows' betterment; these are men of strong will, of intense determination; and I am satisfied that nothing can hold them back from following the path they have chosen. Yes, they are trying to live out the theosophical life fearlessly; and in protesting against the errors of the age and the persecution that the Society they represent has met with, they hold compassion even for the enemies of our work. They realize that those who would obstruct the path of a reformer who knows what he is about, have not sounded the depths of their own consciousness, and that they have not had the light that those whom they persecute have; that sometime far back in some life or other, they have wandered away from the blessed knowledge of their divinity; and that they are truly lost in delusion. They have been building on faith, or perhaps on mere prejudice, while the theosophist builds on knowledge, knowledge of himself and of nature, for this is what Theosophy gives.
It is my hope that the utterances of my comrades on the value of Theosophy have stimulated you to new action, or renewed actions, on many lines; have given you new hopes and added courage. Many more interesting facts could have been given to you by my fellow workers, if their modesty had not held them from telling you of their experiences and victories. They would indeed have lifted the veil from the work of the two Leagues of this Society -- the Woman's League and the Men's League -- and they would have shown you what splendid results they are achieving for the world's good. In truth, their work is far-reaching; it touches all classes of people and many deplorable conditions in life, from the highest strata of society down to the unfortunates in prison and out of it, to the deluded, the discouraged, and the despairing.
What pathetic stories could be told of their experiences with their fellow men! In all the departments of human activity -- educational, the philanthropic, in business, and in fact on all lines, you will find they are meeting the vital problems of the day most intelligently and helpfully.
My final words to you tonight will express the pleadings that I so often present to my hearers here -- study our theosophical literature. Become acquainted with those heroic workers for humanity, Madame Blavatsky and William Q. Judge, through their writings; for these contain information and suggestions that every human being should know. Let us remember the following words from the Bible, so applicable to all human needs, that we may find strength therefrom, and do our whole duty all the time, all along the way: "If any man do His will, he shall know of the Doctrine."
Our life upon earth is rightly held to be a discipline and a preparation for a higher and eternal life hereafter. But if limited to the duration of a single mortal body, it is so brief as to seem hardly sufficient for so grand a purpose. Three score years and ten must surely be an inadequate preparation for eternity. -- Professor Francis Bowen of Harvard
Address No. 6