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TS Organization - Part 4 of 4

Jul 12, 1997 12:14 PM
by ramadoss

Part 4 of 4 ================

Verily it is easier to destroy than to build. The words "untheosophical" and
"unbrotherly" are ever ringing in our ears; yet, truly theosophical acts and
words are not to be found in too unreasonable a super-abundance among those
who use the reproof the oftener. However insignificant, and however limited
the line of good deeds, the latter will have always more weight than empty
and vainglorious talk, and will be theosophy, whereas theories without any
practical realisation are at best philosophy. Theosophy is an all-embracing
Science; many are the ways leading to it, as numerous in fact as its
definitions, which began by the sublime, during the day of Ammonius Saccas,
and ended by the ridiculous--in Webster's Dictionary. There is no reason why
our critics should claim the right for themselves alone to know what is
theosophy and to define it. There were theosophists and Theosophical Schools
for the last 2,000 years, from Plato down to the mediÁval Alchemists, who
knew the value of the term, it may be supposed. Therefore, when we are told
that "The question is not whether the T.S. is doing good, but whether it is
doing that kind of good which is entitled to the name of Theosophy"--we turn
round and ask: "And who is to be the judge in this mooted question?" We have
heard of one of the greatest Theosophists who ever lived, who assured his
audience that whosoever gave a cup of cold water to a little one in his
[Theosophy's] name, would have a greater reward than all the learned Scribes
and Pharisees. "Woe to the world because of offences!"

Belief in the Masters was never made an article of faith in the T.S. But for
its Founders, the commands received from Them when it was established have
ever been sacred. And this is what one of them wrote in a letter preserved
to this day:
"Theosophy must not represent merely a collection of moral verities, a
bundle of metaphysical Ethics epitomized in theoretical dissertations.
Theosophy must be made practical, and has, therefore, to be disencumbered of
useless discussion. . . . It has to find objective expression in an
all-embracing code of life thoroughly impregnated with its spirit--the
spirit of mutual tolerance, charity and love. Its followers have to set the
example of a firmly outlined and as firmly applied morality before they get
the right to point out, even in a spirit of kindness, the absence of a like
ethic Unity and singleness of purpose in other associations and individuals.
As said before--no Theosophist should blame a brother whether within or
outside of the association, throw a slur upon his actions or denounce
him11lest he should himself lose the right of being considered a
theosophist. Ever turn away your gaze from the imperfections of your
neighbor and centre rather your attention upon your own shortcomings in
order to correct them and become wiser. . . . Show not the disparity between
claim and action in another man but--whether he be brother or
neighbour--rather help him in his arduous walk in life. . . .

"The problem of true theosophy and its great mission is the working out of
clear, unequivocal conceptions of ethic ideas and duties which would satisfy
most and best the altruistic and right feelings in us; and the modeling of
these conceptions for their adaptation into such forms of daily life where
they may be applied with most equitableness. . . . Such is the common work
in view for all who are willing to act on these principles. It is a
laborious task and will require strenuous and persevering exertion, but it
must lead you insensibly to progress and leave no room for any selfish
aspirations outside the limits traced. . . . Do not indulge in unbrotherly
comparisons between the task accomplished by yourself and the work left
undone by your neighbor or brother, in the field of Theosophy, as none is
held to weed out a larger plot of ground than his strength and capacity will
permit him. . . . Do not be too severe on the merits or demerits of one who
seeks admission among your ranks, as the truth about the actual state of the
inner man can only be known to, and dealt with justly by KARMA alone. Even
the simple presence amidst you of a well-intentioned and sympathizing
individual may help you magnetically. . . . You are the Free-workers in the
Domain of Truth, and as such, must leave no obstructions on the paths
leading to it." . . . {The letter closes with the following lines which have
now become quite plain, as they give the key to the whole situation} . . .
"The degrees of success or failure are the landmark we shall have to follow
as they will constitute the barriers placed with your own hands between
yourselves and those whom you have asked to be your teachers. The nearer
your approach to the goal contemplated--the shorter the distance between the
student and the Master." . . .

A complete answer is thus found in the above lines to the paper framed by
the two Theosophists. Those who are now inclined to repudiate the Hand that
traced it and feel ready to turn their backs upon the whole Past and the
original programme of the T.S. are at liberty to do so. The Theosophical
body is neither a Church or a Sect and every individual opinion is entitled
to a hearing. A Theosophist may progress and develop, and his views may
outgrow those of the Founders, grow larger and broader in every direction,
without for all that abandoning the fundamental soil upon which they were
born and nurtured. It is only he who changes diametrically his opinions from
one day to another and shifts his devotional views from white to black--who
can be hardly trusted in his remarks and actions. But surely, this can never
be the case of the two Theosophists who have now been answered. . . .
Meanwhile, peace and fraternal good will to all.       

    Corres. Sec'ty, T.S.

Ostende, Oct. 3rd, 1886  
Theosophist, June, 1924 

* These opening words enclosed in brackets were presumably on the first
manuscript page by H.P.B., which was lost, but they were later restored from
a typed copy at Adyar and included in the August 1931 reprinting of the
article in the Theosophist.-- Eds .  

[1] A liberal Christian member of the T.S. having objected to the study of
Oriental religions and doubted whether there was room left for any new
Society--a letter answering his objections and preference to Christianity
was received and the contents copied for him; after which he denied no
longer the advisability of such a Society as the professed Theosophical
Association, A few extracts from this early letter will show plainly the
nature of the Society as then contemplated, and that we have tried only to
follow, and carry out in the best way we could the intentions of the true
originators of the Society in those days. The pious gentleman having claimed
that he was a theosophist and had a right of judgment over other people was
told . . . 

"You have no right to such a title. You are only a philo-theosophist; as one
who has reached to the full comprehension of the name and nature of a
theosophist will sit in judgment on no man or action. . . . You claim that
your religion is the highest and final step toward divine Wisdom on this
earth, and that it has introduced into the arteries of the old decaying
world new blood and life and verities that had remained unknown to the
heathen? If it were so indeed, then your religion would have introduced the
highest truths into all the social, civil and international relations of
Christendom. Instead of that, as any one can perceive, your social as your
private life is not based upon a common moral solidarity but only on
constant mutual counteraction and purely mechanical equilibrium of
individual powers and interests. . . . If you would be a theosophist you
must not do as those around you do who call on a God of Truth and Love and
serve the dark Powers of Might, Greed and Luck. We look in the midst of your
Christian civilisation and see the same sad signs of old: the realities of
your daily lives are diametrically opposed to your religious ideal, but you
feel it not; the thought that the very laws that govern your being whether
in the domain of politics or social economy clash painfully with the origins
of your religion--does not seem to trouble you in the least. But if the
nations of the West are so fully convinced that the ideal can never become
practical and the practical will never reach the ideal--then, you have to
make your choice: either it is your religion that is impracticable, and in
that case it is no better than a vain-glorious delusion, or it might find a
practical application, but it is you, yourselves, who do not care to apply
its ethics to your daily walk in life. . . . Hence, before you invite other
nations 'to the King's festival table' from which your guests arise more
starved than before, you should, ere you try to bring them to your own way
of thinking, look into the repasts they offer to you. . . . Under the
dominion and sway of exoteric creeds, the grotesque and tortured shadows of
the theosophical realities, there must ever be the same oppression of the
weak and the poor and the same typhonic struggle of the wealthy and the
mighty among themselves. . . . It is esoteric philosophy alone, the
spiritual and psychic blending of man with Nature that, by revealing
fundamental truths, can bring that much desired mediate state between the
two extremes of human Egotism and divine Altruism and finally lead to the
alleviation of human suffering. . . " (See next to last page for
continuation. [See p. 35.]) 

[2] Mr. Cobb.

[3] For years the wise rule by which any member accused of backbiting or
slander was expelled from the Society after sufficient evidence--has become
obsolete. There have been two or three solitary cases of expulsion for the
same in cases of members of no importance. Europeans of position and name
were allowed to cover the Society literally with mud and slander their
Brothers with perfect impunity. This is the President's Karma--and it is just. 

[4] This may be a reference to the legal term, querela, for "bill of
complaint"; Gebhard being in Germany, the "Allemand" is clear.--Eds THEOSOPHY.

[5]Furthermore the writer of the complaints in "A Few Words, etc.," is
himself a member on the General Council for over two years (see Rules 1885).
Why has he not spoken earlier?

[6] Yet, the Theosophical Brotherhood does seem doomed to outrival the group
of Apostles in the number of its denying Peters. its unbelieving Thomases,
and even Iscariots occasionally, ready to sell their Brotherhood for less
than thirty sheckels of silver!  

[7] The members of the T.S. know, and those who do not should be told, that
the term ' Mahatma," now so subtly analysed and controverted, for some
mysterious reasons had never been applied to our Masters before our arrival
in India. For years they were known as the "Adept-Brothers," the "Masters,"
etc. It is the Hindus themselves who began applying the term to the two
Teachers, This is no place for an etymological disquisition on the fitness
or unfitness of the qualification, in the case in hand. As a state
Mahatmaship is one thing, as a double noun, Maha-atma (Great Soul) quite
another one. Hindus ought to know the value of metaphysical Sanskrit names
used; and it is they the first, who have used it to designate the MASTERS.

[8] XIV "The Society having to deal only with scientific and philosophical
subjects, and having Branches in divergent parts of the world under various
forms of Government, does not permit its members such, to interfere with
politics, and repudiates any attempt on the part of any one to commit it in
favor of or against any political party or measure. Violation of this rule
will meet with expulsion." 
This rather alters the co complexion put on the charge, which seems to
conveniently forget that "scientific and philosophical subjects" are not the
only declared objects of the Society. Let us not leave room for a doubt that
there is more animus underlying the charges than would he strictly

[9] It is the first time since the T.S. exists that such an accusation of
"arbitrary power," is brought forward. Not many will be found of this way of

[10] No need taking a roundabout way, to say that no Brotherhood would ever
be possible if many theosophists shared the very original views of the writer.  

[11] It is in consequence of this letter that Art. XII was adopted in Rules
and a fear of lacking the charity prescribed, that led so often to neglect
its enforcement. 

================end of part 4 of 4 =================

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