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Feb 26, 1996 10:32 PM
by Alan


Text supplied by Eldon Tucker
Converted to ASCII by Alan Bain

The Common Origin of Man

Q. How?

A. Simply by demonstrating on logical, philosophical,
metaphysical, and even scientific grounds that: (a) All men have
spiritually and physically the same origin, which is the
fundamental teaching of Theosophy. (b) As mankind is essentially
of one and the same essence, and that essence is one, infinite,
uncreate, and eternal, whether we call it God or Nature,
nothing, therefore, can affect one nation or one man without
affecting all other nations and all other men. This is as
certain and as obvious as that a stone thrown into a pond will,
sooner or later, set in motion every single drop of water

Q. But this is not the teaching of Christ, but rather a
pantheistic notion.

A. That is where your mistake lies. It is purely Christian,
although not Judaic, and therefore, perhaps, your Biblical
nations prefer to ignore it.

Q. This is a wholesale and unjust accusation. Where are your
proofs for such a statement?

A. They are ready at hand. Christ is alleged to have said: "Love
each other" and "Love your enemies;" for

B if ye love them (only) which love you, what reward (or merit)
have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if you salute
your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even
publicans so?

These are Christ's words. But Genesis says "Cursed be Canaan, a
servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren." And,
therefore, Christian but Biblical people prefer the law of Moses
to Christ's law of love. They base upon the Old Testament, which
panders to all their passions, their laws of conquest,
annexation, and tyranny over races which they call inferior.
What crimes have been committed on the strength of this infernal
(if taken in its dead letter) passage in Genesis, history alone
gives us an idea, however inadequate.  At the close of the
Middle Ages slavery, under the power of moral forces, had mainly
disappeared from Europe; but two momentous events occurred which
overbore the moral power working in European society and let
loose a swarm of curses upon the earth such as mankind had
scarcely ever known. One of these events was the first voyaging
to a populated and barbarous coast where human beings were a
familiar article of traffic; and the other the discovery of a
new world, where mines of glittering wealth were open, provided
labor could be imported to work them. For four hundred years men
and women and children were torn from all whom they knew and
loved, and were sold on the coast of Africa to foreign traders;
they were chained below decks, the dead often with the living,
during the horrible "middle passage," and, according to
Bancroft, an impartial historian, two hundred and fifty thousand
out of three and a quarter millions were thrown into the sea on
that fatal passage, while the remainder were consigned to
nameless misery in the mines, or under the lash in the cane and
rice fields. The guilt of this great crime rests on the
Christian Church. "In the name of the most Holy Trinity" the
Spanish Government (Roman Catholic) concluded more than ten
treaties authorizing the sale of five hundred thousand human
beings; in 1562 Sir John Hawkins sailed on his diabolical errand
of buying slaves in Africa and selling them in the West Indies
in a ship which bore the sacred name of Jesus; while Elizabeth,
the Protestant Queen, rewarded him for his success in this first
adventure of Englishmen in that inhuman traffic by allowing him
to wear as his crest "a demi-Moor in his proper color, bound
with a cord, or, in other words, a manacled Negro slave."

Q. I have heard you say that the identity of our physical origin
is proved by science, that of our spiritual origin by the
Wisdom-Religion. Yet we do not find Darwinists exhibiting great
fraternal affection.

A. Just so. This is what shows the deficiency of the
materialistic systems, and proves that we Theosophists are in
the right. The identity of our physical origin makes no appeal
to our higher and deeper feelings. Matter, deprived of its soul
and spirit, or its divine essence, cannot speak to the human
heart. But the identity of the soul and spirit, of real,
immortal man, as Theosophy teaches us, once proven and
deep-rooted in our hearts, would lead us far on the road of real
charity and brotherly goodwill.

Q. But how does Theosophy explain the common origin of man?

A. By teaching that the root of all nature, objective and
subjective, and everything else in the universe, visible and
invisible, is, was, and ever will be one absolute essence, from
which all starts, and into which everything returns. This is
Aryan philosophy, fully represented only by the Vedantins, and
the Buddhist system. With this object in view, it is the duty of
all Theosophists to promote in every practical way, and in all
countries, the spread of non-sectarian education.

Q. What do the written statutes of your Society advise its
members to do besides this? On the physical plane, I mean?

A. In order to awaken brotherly feeling among nations we have to
assist in the international exchange of useful arts and
products, by advice, information, and co-operation with all
worthy individuals and associations (provided, however, add the
statutes, "that no benefit or percentage shall be taken by the
Society or the 'Fellows' for its or their corporate services").
For instance, to take a practical illustration. The organization
of Society, depicted by Edward Bellamy, in his magnificent work
Looking Backwards, admirably represents the Theosophical idea of
what should be the first great step towards the full realization
of universal brotherhood. The state of things he depicts falls
short of perfection, because selfishness still exists and
operates in the hearts of men. But in the main, selfishness and
individualism have been overcome by the feeling of solidarity
and mutual brotherhood; and the scheme of life there described
reduces the causes tending to create and foster selfishness to a

Q. Then as a Theosophist you will take part in an effort to
realize such an ideal?

A. Certainly; and we have proved it by action. Have not you
heard of the Nationalist clubs and party which have sprung up in
America since the publication of Bellamy's book? They are now
coming prominently to the front, and will do so more and more as
time goes on. Well, these clubs and this party were started in
the first instance by Theosophists. One of the first, the
Nationalist Club of Boston, Massachusetts, has Theosophists for
President and Secretary, and the majority of its executive
belong to the T.S. In the constitution of all their clubs, and
of the party they are forming, the influence of Theosophy and of
the Society is plain, for they all take as their basis, their
first and fundamental principle, the Brotherhood of Humanity as
taught by Theosophy. In their declaration of Principles they

The principle of the Brotherhood of Humanity is one of the
eternal truths that govern the world's progress on lines which
distinguish human nature from brute nature.

What can be more Theosophical than this? But it is not enough.
What is also needed is to impress men with the idea that, if the
root of mankind is one, then there must also be one truth which
finds expression in all the various religions, except in the
Jewish, as you do not find it expressed even in the Cabala.

Q. This refers to the common origin of religions, and you may be
right there. But how does it apply to practical brotherhood on
the physical plane?

A. First, because that which is true on the metaphysical plane
must be also true on the physical. Secondly, because there is no
more fertile source of hatred and strife than religious
differences. When one party or another thinks himself the sole
possessor of absolute truth, it becomes only natural that he
should think his neighbor absolutely in the clutches of Error or
the Devil. But once get a man to see that none of them has the
whole truth, but that they are mutually complementary, that the
complete truth can be found only in the combined views of all,
after that which is false in each of them has been sifted out,
then true brotherhood in religion will be established. The same
applies in the physical world.

Q. Please explain further.

A. Take an instance. A plant consists of a root, a stem, and
many shoots and leaves. As humanity, as a whole, is the stem
which grows from the spiritual root, so is the stem the unity of
the plant. Hurt the stem and it is obvious that every shoot and
leaf will suffer. So it is with mankind.

Q. Yes, but if you injure a leaf or a shoot, you do not injure
the whole plant.

A. And therefore you think that by injuring one man you do not
injure humanity? But how do you know? Are you aware that even
materialistic science teaches that any injury, however, slight,
to a plant will affect the whole course of its future growth and
development? Therefore, you are mistaken, and the analogy is
perfect. If, however, you overlook the fact that a cut in the
finger may often make the whole body suffer, and react on the
whole nervous system, I must all the more remind you that there
may well be other spiritual laws, operating on plants and
animals as well as on mankind, although, as you do not recognize
their action on plants and animals, you may deny their

Q. What laws do you mean?

A. We call them Karmic laws; but you will not understand the
full meaning of the term unless you study Occultism. However, my
argument did not rest on the assumption of these laws, but
really on the analogy of the plant. Expand the idea, carry it
out to a universal application, and you will soon find that in
true philosophy every physical action has its moral and
everlasting effect. Hurt a man by doing him bodily harm; you may
think that his pain and suffering cannot spread by any means to
his neighbors, least of all to men of other nations. We affirm
that it will, in good time. Therefore, we say, that unless every
man is brought to understand and accept as an axiomatic truth
that by having wronged one man we wrong not only ourselves but
the whole of humanity in the long run, no brotherly feelings
such as preached by all the great Reformers, pre-eminently by
Buddha and Jesus, are possible on earth.

Publicans, regarded as so many thieves and pickpockets in these
days. Among the Jews the name and profession of a publican was
the most odious thing in the world. They were not allowed to
enter the Temple, and Matthew (Matt. 18:17.) speaks of a heathen
and a publican as identical. Yet they were only Roman
tax-gatherers occupying the same position as the British
officials in India and other conquered countries.
Unallocated footnotes: [AB, 1996]

Gen. 9:25.
Conquests of the Cross, cited from The Agnostic Journal.

Ancient Wisdom for a New Age

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