Theosphy & Ethics
Nov 20, 1994 09:53 PM
by Liesel F. Deutsch
A book came across my desk on its way to Africa. It's Annie
Besant's "The Spiritual Life", & the article which I think fits
in with what we've been discussing back & forth is called
"Theosophy & Ethics". AB gave it as a speech to the parliament
of religion in 1893, but I think it's still very cogent, if we
can put it into practice. I'm paraphrasing & abridging, but I
think her meaning comes across.
Altruism, striving to perfect service to others, is a stage of
progress, rather than a goal. As long as service is given to
others, separated from our own self, there is still some
incompleteness in our ethics.
All true love has its root in unity. For our most beloved there
is no such thing as service regarded as altruistic, because the
deepest joy comes in serving the better self of each. As we
grow, we find that the best beloved is humanity itself. We serve
our Higher Self in serving it... Our destiny is 1: the
perfection of a divine humanity that is 1 in origin and 1 in
Unity is the foundation of brotherhood. ... All true conduct
has its roots in the Law of Love. As long as external law is
needed, that law is the measure of our imperfection. ... When
the nature expressing itself spontaneously is one with the Divine
Law (then) is humanity perfected. Ethical systems ask for some
... imperative which announces what is right. We don't need "If
you would be perfect, do this or that" but we do need "you shall
be perfect, and the Law of Life is thus". Is it not true that
Nature speaks in this way? ... Humans ... not knowing the laws
that surround them, desire to follow the promptings of their own
untrained will ... are driven perhaps by the desires of the
lower nature ... Nature mandates sternly "Thou shalt". The
human will, able to choose, answers "I will not". Then 2 words
fall upon the silence: "Then suffer"
Such is the way in which physical nature teaches the
inviolability of law. Humans ... dash themselves against the
iron wall they cannot break, & the pain of the bruises teaches
them ... Does nature speak as clearly in the moral & spritual
worlds? ... All Nature is one.... But unhappily some have ....
thought that they could sow 1 seed (vice) & reap another (virtue)
If to you law seems cruel, & death soulless, you don't understand
the universe. Law is but the will of the Divine, & the Divine
desires your happiness. Law is but the expression of the
perfect, & only in perfection can joy & peace be found.
Ralph Waldo Emerson taught ... the great truth that nature looks
cruel only when you oppose her; she is your strongest helper when
you join yourself to her. (Since we're looking at "The
Voice...." - "Help nature, and work on with her, and nature shall
regard thee as one of her creators and make obeisance." Emerson
tells to hitch your wagon to a star, & then the wagon shall move
with all the force of the planet above you. ... Nature is
conquered by obedience; the Divine is found in a unity of justice
Brotherhood in its full meaning is a law of nature. It will
never become practical until people understand that it is a law,
not an aspiration. When we discover a law of nature, we no
longer fight against it. We at once adapt. People have not
understood the absolute necessity of brotherhood. Every effort
that goes against universal law fails. We are brothers & sisters
in our bodies by the interaction of physical molecules. We are
brothers & sisters in our minds by that interaction of mental
images .. with which everyone of us is constantly affecting
others. We are brothers & sisters in our spirits, above all. On
every plane of life, brotherhood exists as a fact.
We are apt to make a distinction between brothers & sisters in
church & outside. The life of love ... starts in the home and
builds on the passion & pity the mother feels for her child.
That love extends to embrace every child, by strengthening &
widening it. These relationships (in the home, & church)...
teach the wider possibility. ("Voice of ...") "Follow the wheel
of duty to race & kin." At the beginning of the path the first
step is to make the heart respond "to every cry of pain..." Our
love to those near us is lower love. We must grow upward,
widening ... The love we are to give is to be measured by their
need ... not by any lesser ties of personality that may or may
not bind us to them.
Karma & Reincarantion
As humanity develops it answers to nobler & nobler impulses. If
people will not learn by love, they must learn by pain . If they
will not learn by longing for God, they must learn by experience
of evil... The dissatisfaction of the temporary - that will turn
him once more homeward, till he come near enough to be drawn by
love & no longer by pain.
As we reincarnate ... no one who molds character towards evil
will discover tendencies to good. Thus we remove arbitrariness
... we take away all doubt & hope that we may escape the results
of our own actions & creep into unearned bliss by some side door
of vicarious atonement where we have not labored. We learn that
each must walk on his or her own feet, grow by their own efforrt.
Though other souls must help us, we must also help ourselves.
Men & women ... stand in strength they have acquired for
themselves ... that the still weaker may be inspired by their
All this has been our pricless heritage for millions of years.
Every great teacher of religion has taught this. (She quotes
several. Here's the last one:) "Love your enemies, bless them
that curse you, do good to them that hate you, that you may be
children of your Father in Heaven, who sendeth his sunlight on
the evil & on the good, & sendeth rain alike on the just &
Isn't that a nice belief system?
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application