A Series of Addresses delivered between
January 10 and March 28, 1915
At the Isis Theater, San Diego, California
Originally Published by The Woman's International Theosophical League, International Theosophical Headquarters, Point Loma, California, 1915.
Address No. 1 - January 10, 1915
Address No. 2 - January 17, 1915
Address No. 3 - January 24, 1915
Address No. 4 - January 31, 1915
Woman's Mission - February 7, 1915
Short Addresses by Katherine Tingley and Officials of the Woman's International Theosophical League
Address No. 5 - February 14, 1915
Man's Mission - February 21, 1915
Short Addresses by Katherine Tingley and Officials of the Men's International Theosophical League
Address No. 6 - February 28, 1915
Address No. 7 - March 28, 1915
Appendix: Parliament of Peace and Universal Brotherhood
Owing to the fact that San Diego is crowded with visitors to the California-Panama Exposition, it is to be presumed that there are many strangers here tonight; and it is quite natural that there should be some who are unfamiliar with the history and work of the original Theosophical Society, founded in New York City in 1875 by Mme. H. P. Blavatsky, continued after her death under the direction of her colleague and successor, William Q. Judge, and now having its International Headquarters at Point Loma, California, just across the bay.
It has therefore occurred to me that it would be well to give you a short account of the Foundation of the Society and of its foundress. It was about forty years ago that Mme. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky left her native land, Russia, and a home of ease and comfort, surrounded by everything that would make life agreeable to the ordinary pleasure-seeker, and came to the Western world with a mission. On her father's side, she was the granddaughter of General Alexis Hahn von Rottenstern Hahn (the representative of a noble family of Mecklenburg, Germany, settled in Russia); on her mother's side, the granddaughter of Privy-Councillor Andrew Fadeef and of the Princess Helena Dolgorouky.
During the interval that elapsed between the time of her leaving Russia and of her coming to this country, she became intensely interested in the welfare of humanity, for she had marked the striking contrasts in human life, the great divisions in the human family -- she found that brother was pitted against brother, nation against nation. She became convinced that the dogmatism and materialism of the age were growing, and that men were moving away from their best opportunities in life.
You should read our theosophical literature, if you wish to become acquainted with her life-work and with the philosophy she taught, which she called the "wisdom-religion," because it is both a scientific religion and a religious science. The teachings of Theosophy are fully set forth in her wonderful book, The Secret Doctrine, and in her other writings.
Reincarnation was one of the most important doctrines introduced in her theosophical teachings. It was only about forty years ago, that, to mention the word "reincarnation," or to attempt to analyze this doctrine before an American audience was almost enough to insure the speaker being hissed from the platform. But the American people have made rapid strides in some ways; and we as a people are now accepting propositions which heretofore our prejudices and misconceptions would not permit us to consider. Today we are outgrowing some of our old ways, so that now we are setting aside the images that we had fashioned through our misconceptions and prejudices; new ideas are taking root in our minds, and are bringing us to a point of understanding, where we shall be able to take up all serious subjects from different viewpoints and handle them with that intelligence and devotion which all serious subjects demand.
I say let those who are interested in the advancement of the human race study the subject of reincarnation. One of the greatest possible proofs that I can bring to sustain my argument in favor of reincarnation is Mme. Blavatsky's own life and the work that she accomplished. This is the question which I have presented to some of the savants and brightest minds of the age, and also to some of the severest critics: Will you please explain how it was that Mme. Blavatsky acquired the knowledge which she has presented to the world in her writings? How could a woman of her apparently limited experience and of her youthful age, when she started her work, have gained in one life the comprehensive insight and the knowledge which she presents in her wonderful writings? Surely there is no other way to explain it, except to admit that she must have lived before, and that in her former lives she had, through experience and study and investigation, garnered these glorious truths of Theosophy and held them to be used when the opportunity should present itself to her. That she was a woman of rare attainments and wonderful capabilities, intellectual and otherwise, cannot be questioned.
There must have been a great urge in her life, for her to have thought herself away even from her home environments, away from her worldly interests, away from her country to other countries and to other people. Realizing the needs of the great human family, her heart was moved; and she courageously stepped forth into a field of service. It was a colossal undertaking which she began. It was a tremendously great and serious work, and a perplexing one; but with the conviction that she had the needed knowledge, and with her love of humanity, there was a courage born of her urge which brought her to the Western world, where she introduced the teachings of Theosophy and organized the Theosophical Society in 1875. Although an able scholar in other languages, at that time Mme. Blavatsky was unfamiliar with English. This was a great obstacle in her way, which in the course of time she overcame. She began her work in New York City, and almost immediately attracted the attention of some of the most intellectual and progressive minds of the age -- by whom she was considered a strange study.
In her efforts to teach and help she was ready to investigate all subjects; she pointed out with abundant logic the necessity of the ideas of Theosophy being implanted in the minds of the people of the present age; that these ideas might lead the people from dogmatism and materialism into a larger and broader life. She declared that unless humanity awakened to its real needs and to its opportunities, the human family as a whole must retrograde into the shadow and lose sight of the spiritual life and light that rightfully belong to every man.
So it was that she established the Theosophical Society on entirely unsectarian and non-political lines. She accentuated tirelessly the truths of Theosophy; she declared that man's essential divine nature was a potent quality which should be aroused continuously: i. e., that man was dual in his nature -- that the higher, the nobler, the divine part, was the corrective and inspiring part, and that the human mind, no matter how splendidly trained, must be controlled by this higher self: before this man could not find his true place or realize his latent possibilities. She declared in her teachings that one who would know his strength must find his divinity, not outside himself but within; that he must understand the laws of evolution and involution; that spiritually he must realize that he is a part inseparable of the great human family; and that if he carried the investigation of Theosophy far enough, he would readily conceive of Deity as an all-powerful, omnipresent principle, rather than as a personal God existing at some point in space.
Theosophy, in its teachings of a Supreme Power, places Deity in quite a different light from that of the theologians; and let me assure you that it required courage on the part of Mme. Blavatsky publicly to declare these bold and daring ideas forty years ago. She accentuated the splendid optimism of Theosophy, whose illuminating teachings eliminate fear. She reminded all men that according to the teachings of Theosophy, no man is an "original sinner," in the theological sense; and that man must not depend upon certain redemptive powers outside of his own divine nature for salvation.
Theosophy soon began to take root in the minds of some of the most progressive characters in America and Europe; but Mme. Blavatsky continued her arduous work for many years, until now the teachings of Theosophy have spread throughout the world and have attracted to the membership of the Theosophical Society, not only the learned and the prosperous, but hundreds and hundreds of people who would otherwise be on the negative side of life, hopeless and despairing; for Theosophy gives encouragement and hope, and it shows that man's possibilities are greater than we dream, but that humanity is asleep and needs to be aroused, to be awakened to realize its latent power. When this is done, man will take up his life more understandingly; and as his mind opens to the light, he will realize the sacredness of his responsibilities, he will have more trust in himself, and more trust in his fellows. His conception of life -- of the essence of life and of those higher laws governing man -- will be so illuminating that a new courage will be born in him, and he will meet his sacred responsibilities with growing knowledge and real devotion.
Theosophy teaches that there is no such thing as chance in life, but that our lives are governed by immutable laws; and that as we work in consonance with these, on lines of least resistance, the mysteries of our own natures are more fully revealed to us. Then follows the strength for overcoming and for becoming. This brings us to a broader conception of human life, and to a wider sympathy, so that we shall be better able to enter into the fields of investigation and human effort for the upliftment of our kind.
Mark the contrast between these simple teachings and the old theological ideas which have been for ages obscuring the glorious and royal truths which belong to the nature, origin, and destiny of man. But pray bear in mind that Theosophy is not opposed to Christianity, pure and simple, as the Nazarene taught it; but it is opposed to all error; and consequently is opposed to "churchianity" -- to all forms, creeds, and dogmas which blind the minds of men and lead them from the true knowledge. To these things it is decidedly opposed; but in no sense is it opposed to the ideals of true Christianity.
It can readily be imagined that forty years ago, one declaring these unsectarian ideas and making an earnest effort to live up to them, and to establish a Theosophical Society which would become a vehicle, in a way, of them, must necessarily have suffered some persecution; and Mme. Blavatsky did suffer persecution, and so did those who supported her and cooperated with her. And this persecution came mostly from a class of people who professed to be followers of the lowly Nazarene, of him who said: "Love ye one another." I would not have you think that I include in this statement all professed Christians -- not by any means -- but only a certain class. They still live, and are sometimes our neighbors. They are still so much attached to their creeds and their prejudices, to their dogmatism and their blindness, that they have failed to realize their responsibilities, and to recognize the glorious truths of the divine possibilities in man and the divine laws governing life and man. Such as these are held down by man-made dogmas, and are selfishly indifferent to the highest interests of humanity.
But I am sure that there are thousands and thousands of splendid, noble-hearted people upholding these dogmas and creeds in all sincerity -- in a certain quality of faith; but surely not in knowledge, because if they had the real knowledge, if their faith were bringing them the spiritual strength that their hearts crave and their souls aspire to, death would be deprived of all its terror, for fear should have no place in a true Christian life. Theosophy teaches that if the spiritual light is shining, if the knowledge is in the life, fear disappears; and death, that awesome subject to most people, is robbed of its terror and its shadows and sorrow, and it stands out in quite a new meaning. Theosophy teaches that death is but rebirth; that man passes through different schools of experience in different lives, in order to evolve and ultimately to attain a state of perfection; and that when the body, which Theosophy teaches is the living temple of the Christos Spirit, is worn out, the soul is freed, not by death, but by a new birth, and moves on to other states, where it rests and gains strength to return to the earth-plane and take up its life on earth where it left it off. Only a few years ago the subject of reincarnation was an unpleasant one to people of limited views and of not over-courageous natures; but now the widespread influence of Theosophy has brought about a revolution of thought and feeling on this subject; and there are thousands of people today who believe in it and depend upon it, as a great factor in adjusting their lives.
The doctrine of reincarnation affords great hope, great encouragement, and more spiritual light and incentive than one can possibly find in the old doctrines of a future state. The old idea that man is allotted but seventy-seven or a hundred years in this life, and then goes to a state of glory or to another place, is disappearing. According to the old theology, you know, there are but two alternatives, and there is no other choice. While we know that but few intelligent people accept the old doctrine today, there are still many who are preaching it -- not with the intensity of forty years ago, but it is taught, it is suggested, and it is brought out in many ways directly and indirectly, and man is still reminded that a day is coming when, unless he repents and accepts the means of salvation which are generally presented, he is lost.
Contrast this man-made system with the glorious old teaching of reincarnation, and tell me: Is not this doctrine worth investigating? Is it not a subject that one should try to understand? What a lift, mentally and spiritually, all humanity could receive through studying such a subject! Think of the optimism of it, the beauty of it, the inspiration of it, and the blessing of it! Yes, truly, the doctrine of reincarnation means much to humanity; and I know that as the years go on and Theosophy becomes more widespread, the old ideas will die a natural death, the old theological teachings will disappear, and that those who now depend for salvation upon their creeds and dogmas will modify their beliefs and ultimately have the courage to stand out as champions of the broader views of the great laws of life.
This is a pivotal time in the history of humanity, and we are having opportunities now that may never come again in this life -- possibly never at all. Does not this awful war in Europe, which is reaching the very threshold of our hearts and of our national life, afford us a lesson which challenges us to higher and nobler efforts for the upliftment of humanity? Have we done our duty in the past to our fellows? Have we not, by our doubts, our half-heartedness, and our selfishness, assisted in the disintegration of those moral and spiritual forces which should hold all men at peace with one another and all nations in unity?
Your aim henceforth should be to try to refashion human life -- first in the self, then by the example of courage, compassion, and knowledge, to impart strength to the faltering, the weak, and the discouraged. Oh help, I pray, to break the bondage of the old ideas about man and his destiny! Clear the way for the coming generation, that it may find the light and live on a higher plane than we know of now! Through new endeavor and greater trust in the higher law, help to lift the burdens from the people, and make knowledge a potent factor in human life, instead of more faith!
The children of this age are making a demand upon all humanity, upon our institutions, and upon the national and international spirit of our time. Depend upon it, our children are feeling this undercurrent -- this new touch of liberation that is in the soul of things; and they are pulling away from the old ideas which you were taught to bow down to and follow; and unless you substitute something practical, pure, and uplifting -- unless you bring into their lives a new hope and more optimistic pictures for the future -- you will fail in your duty to the children, and you will make for yourselves, by your acts of omission, a karma which I feel sure you would not care to meet.
Men have been for ages drifting apart and are pathetically separated. It is because of this that they have lost sight of their larger responsibilities. Then too, the people of this age, in their limited view of human life and in their uncertainty about the future, are growing careless in building their own characters and in so preserving their own bodies that they may live out their fullest time and thus fulfil the law.
Fear is an ever-haunting power which stands as a phantom, overshadowing the best possibilities of man. The fear of death, shown in the preparations for its coming, in the material sense, and the letting go of the love of the nobler life, have not only stultified man's possibilities, but have deprived him of the joy that would be his, if he were on the real path of advancement. The fear of death! How it haunts poor humanity, and what cowards it makes of many!
In studying the history of the nations and of men, note how some of the greatest minds are shut off in this life, just when they begin to show signs of broadening their views and extending their service for the betterment of all. False teachings have left their mark even on the strongest minds and the strongest characters; and not until they are eliminated can man stand like a warrior and meet the vicissitudes of life with strength and courage and hope; not until he realizes his nearness to the Infinite can he see beyond the grave and dare to live in strength and purity on and on -- even to a hundred years, with his faculties alive and his energies at his command until the last.
Let man no longer follow the lines of negation, but stand firmly for the positive forces in life. Let him win for himself, through self-conquest, the power to control his body and stimulate his mind to a broader view of human needs. We need new human laws of the kind that will breathe justice in every word, the kind that will touch the hearts of humanity and evoke a new cooperation. It is the song of brotherhood, of peace and good will to men, that must be the outgrowth of the heart-life of the world, which waiting humanity is calling for. Let humanity find a key to the true situation, before it is too late, and consider the first fifty years of life as years of serious preparation on the path of perfectibility, and the remaining years as but a higher school of thought and service. It is the afterglow of human effort that affords inspiration. Man's nature, mellowed and strengthened through suffering and experience, could stand out like a god, if man would but permit it, at the end of one mortal life, facing the next with a courage known only to the warrior.
Ah, Theosophy! It is the great beacon-light! It stands in its colossal strength and its wonderful potentialities, as the Good Angel of the twentieth century. Let all turn to its teachings, and find the Lost Word, and through this, let each and all become imbued with the real spirit of brotherhood. Remember that we -- the least of us -- are all a part of the great universal life, and we are all enfolded in the compassionate divine law which governs all humanity; that within us is the Christos Spirit; that there is a living, spiritual power in our natures, ever seeking for higher expression. There is the "Knower" -- the higher ego, the higher self. It is something that can think above your brain-mind thinking, and dream dreams of life's possibilities beyond all the dreams of the brain-mind. It is something that can fashion your mentality to the will of the Higher Law, and to the beauty and grandeur of spiritual life. If you will listen to its voice and its urge, it will eliminate from your mind doubts, fears, and heartaches, and tears; and it will crowd out the nightmares and delusions from your life, and fill your intellect with ideas which, in the course of time, will lead you to real knowledge.
I have dreamed of the time, possibly fifty years hence, when through the teachings of Theosophy, it will be almost impossible to see in the faces of humankind such suffering and despair. I have even dared to dream that under the beneficent power of these teachings, the peculiar unrest which fills all human life today will have died a natural death; that doubt, uncertainty, and selfishness will be shadows of the past. The many vital problems in human life which we have before us in our daily experiences, and through our general observation, challenge us for nobler effort; and many lose hope of any change. Not having faith in themselves, they have no faith in the future. I admit that it is difficult for us to see how we are to meet all the pressures which are upon us with any degree of knowledge which will prove beneficial -- particularly at this time of international unrest when it seems as though one half of the human family were struggling to destroy the other half, when the very air is pregnant with the insanity of the age -- unbrotherliness.
I am not ready to say that peace -- permanent peace -- can be established through even the best efforts of our greatest statesmen and most sympathetic people. If we are to have permanent peace and are to hope for a permanent unity among the nations and peoples, we must necessarily follow a new line of thought and action, and there must be hearty and splendid cooperation manifest before the subject could be successfully approached. We would have to start out with the idea that we were building for eternity; and the seeds that we sow today must bring a rich harvest in the life of the coming generations. We would be obliged to carry in our lives that sweet touch of practical human brotherhood which would give us the inspiration to meet all these issues and to call upon the people for the establishment of a new order of ages.
Humanity has been startled by the pictures of suffering and sorrow and death. Why not awaken it under the beneficent influence of promised joy? Let us accentuate the spirit of brotherhood in our natures -- of unselfish, noble brotherhood. Demand it of the people and of the nations. Work for the spiritual regeneration of man, free from creeds and dogmas, Work and work! This would be prayer of a potent quality!
Do you believe for a moment that the brightest minds of the age -- representatives of the different nations, our greatest statesmen -- could meet today and fashion any possible scheme by which we could have continued peace? We all know it would be but temporary; that if treaties were made they could be broken, as treaties have been made and broken. We know that in spite of the best efforts that could be presented, wars must come in the course of time, and more suffering and despair, ignorance and crime.
So, with this picture of humanity as it is, and our national and international life as it is, can we not build for the more beautiful picture -- that optimistic and inspiring one which must shed a light over all humanity because of its spiritual growth?
Here is another problem: the home life. Are the mothers and fathers and the educators and the progressive minds of the age satisfied with the home life of the twentieth century? Are we satisfied -- knowing as we do, what the home-life is among the majority of the people of today? Do we not all realize that under the present regime the future generation can have but little of the greater hope? Are not crimes increasing -- crimes unspeakable? Are we not reading from day to day, in our daily newspapers, the stories of youthful crimes? Are we not meeting the harvest of our acts of omission in the past, and our failure to make home life what it should be?
The question naturally arises: What can bring a change for the better in the home life? What factors can be introduced to readjust it and bring it nearer to perfection? Theosophy answers that the parents should begin to study the higher laws of life and the great responsibilities of fatherhood and motherhood even before marriage. Home should be acclaimed as the center from which the higher life for the nations should spring.
Theosophy says: Build spiritual altars in the home. Let the parents spend as much time in accentuating the spiritual laws of life in the family as they do in caring for their worldly needs and pleasures and the impermanent things of life. How inspiring is the picture of a home that has been really touched by the teachings of Theosophy! I open the door on such a one, and before me I see the little children gathered about the home-altar, grasping even in their childhood life some of the teachings which are necessary to help them to build and fashion their own characters. They are being taught the divine laws governing us all, and not the least is overlooked. Even little children can assume responsibilities, which can be brought out through the cooperation of the parents. But the parents must not only understand, they must have learned to live the life, and be sincere and inspiring examples of real parenthood.
I linger on the threshold of such a home, and feel in its atmosphere that the kingdom of heaven on earth has already begun.
Let the coming generations see the preciousness of human life, and the splendor and royalty of it. Permit the children to be imbued with a love for the higher harmonies, and a distaste for anything that would mar the charm of home. Oh, what power and what enlightenment would then creep into the lives of the parents! Make the home the center of the true and ennobling life. Make it beautiful and attractive, even though it be simple. Cultivate music and the love of art and literature in the home. Make these an active part of the home life. Parents living in such an atmosphere as I have depicted would guard the sacredness of home in a new way, and would realize more fully the sacred ties of marriage and the responsibilities belonging thereto.
As I have often said before, when woman finds her true place in life, man will find his. When woman realizes the true power of motherhood and its responsibilities, then man will also awaken to his duties in this connection. Then we can conceive that home life built on a solid foundation of spiritual life will bring a higher and richer expression of joy than we have ever dreamed of; and that true marriage would be an eternal courtship. My listeners may think this is a far-fetched dream which I have presented; but you see, I have more faith in humankind and its possibilities than those have who might criticize me or my word pictures. I marvel that the men and women of the age do as well as they do, when I consider what they have been deprived of -- deprived of the opportunity to understand the true science of life.
The bread-and-butter question is a hard one, and many a brave man and woman has sunk under the pressure of it. But let the men and women, the builders of the home, find their strength through the teachings of Theosophy. This will give them the knowledge and the courage to overcome obstacles and to win for all time; for those who have failed have not had the knowledge. Consequently they have not had the courage. Not having faith in themselves, they have lost faith in their fellows and in their future; but a new trust can be born -- an inspiring courage can come, when man has found his essential divinity -- the key to all the problems of life; when man has found the sweetness and the glory of spiritual life and has so fashioned himself that the whole of life is one practical, helpful expression of all that is noblest and best.
Address No. 2
The Parliament of Peace and Universal Brotherhood was founded as a permanent organization, March 3, 1913. The Parliament will convene in the Greek Theater, Point Loma, San Diego, California, in 1915, the year of the Panama-California Exposition at San Diego, and the Panama-Pacific International Exposition at San Francisco. The announcement of the date of opening the Parliament will be made later.
While due recognition must be given to the splendid efforts of Peace Conferences and Peace Societies in different countries, we must all realize that there is much to be done before permanent results can be obtained in the cause for which they are working. The main efforts of workers for peace have been directed so far towards the amelioration of outer conditions, and of the relations between governments in their political and economic aspects. These efforts have not, however, gone to the root of the matter, though they have their place as rightful and most important factors in the peace question.
If peace is ultimately to be consummated, the truly progressive people of the age must find the key that will open the way to a broader conception of freedom and of their responsibility to their homes and their fellow men. Do not the conditions of the world challenge and invite all lovers of humanity to a closer cooperation in this sacred cause of brotherhood and universal peace?
While immediate appeals on behalf of peace must necessarily be addressed to the men and women of our time, the results that follow will at best be only temporary unless the children of today and of succeeding generations are educated rightly on lines that shall make war and strife impossible both between nations and individuals. It is upon the children of today that will depend the peace of the world tomorrow. Realizing that permanent peace was not possible until a sure foundation had been laid through right education of the young, it was my privilege in the year 1896 to found The School of Antiquity, regarding which I then declared that
"Although American in Center, this school is international in character -- a temple of living light, lighting up the dark places of the earth.
"Through this school and its branches, the children of the human race will be taught the laws of physical, moral and mental health and spiritual unfoldment. They will learn to live in harmony with nature. They will become compassionate lovers of all that breathes. They will grow strong in an understanding of themselves, and as they gain strength they will learn to use it for the good of the whole world."
As a department of the School of Antiquity, it was my further privilege in the year 1900 to organize the Raja-Yoga system of education, and found the Raja-Yoga College, at Point Loma, California. One of the objects of this system is to inculcate the spirit of mutual respect, toleration, and love between the children of all nationalities. The Raja-Yoga College has now some twenty different nationalities represented among its pupils.
Workers for peace all over the world are now coming to realize the importance of education as a factor in the peace problem. Much, however, still remains to be done along this special line of work, and the importance of education on higher lines as the prime factor in the establishment of peace will receive particular attention during the proceedings of the Parliament of Peace and Universal Brotherhood.
To assert that war is the normal state of mankind, and that peace is but as it were a breathing time in which to gather new energy for fratricidal conflict, is to go in the face of all the nobler aspirations of the heart and mind. Human solidarity, another name for universal brotherhood, cannot be held merely as a fiction of the imagination or as a sentiment. On the contrary, it is the law of our being and the natural condition of an enlightened humanity. In the deeper sense universal brotherhood is a fact in nature; humanity is fundamentally one; and all nations are indissolubly linked together. A truer spiritual insight and greater moral courage would lead nations as well as individuals to realize their best interests are served by the application of this great principle in international as well as in private concerns.
The Parliament of Peace and Universal Brotherhood presents therefore the following as its main purposes:
(a) To accentuate the basic principles upon which alone a true and lasting peace alliance can be made between the nations of the earth.
(b) To inaugurate and carry out such practical measures as shall make those principles effective.
(c) To demonstrate the importance of education on higher lines as the prime factor in the establishment of universal peace.
(d) And in general to show the basic causes of war and to proclaim and apply the remedy.
By reason of its worldwide extension and single-hearted aim this Parliament is peculiarly fitted to inaugurate and safeguard this effort to unite the peoples of all lands on newer and higher lines of practical cooperation in the interests of peace.
Friends of progress and universal peace, is it not our duty to grasp this great opportunity?
Point Loma, California, June 16, 1914