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Why TS was launched?

Nov 21, 1997 05:53 AM
by M K Ramadoss

At 06:07 AM 11/20/97 -0800, Rodolfo Don wrote:
> doss... go ahead and post it. I think that it is a good idea for all of us
>to be reminded again and again what it is we're doing here. Just like
>sailors in the middle of the ocean check their compass to find out where
>true north is.

Here is the letter I was referring to. It is from theos-roots theosophy
maillist. It gives some idea about what the "Founders" had in their mind
when the TS was started. This letter is considered by many to be the most
important letter ever received from the Adept Teachers as it communicates
the views of the Great Master as regards the role of Theosophy and
Theosophical Society. Many things said in it seems to be appropriate in 1997
as it was in 1880. Parts of the letter has been widely quoted by every
Theosophical leader from HPB onwards. It is also considered by many as the
charter of modern theosophical movement.

Following is the post by Nicholas Weeks (and credit is due to him):

                           THE GREAT MASTER'S LETTER

     [This article was printed in Lucifer without signature as "An
     Important Letter," prefaced by the statement that it "was circulated
     by H.P.B. among many of her pupils, and some quotations from it have
     been published from time to time." The Letter belongs to the early
     days of the Theosophical Society in India and was part of the
     correspondence received (through H.P.B.) by A. P. Sinnett and A. O.
     Hume from the Theosophical Adepts. His Adept-teacher introduced the
     letter to Mr. Sinnett as "an abridged version of the view of the
     Chohan on the T.S. from his own words as given last night"--in reply
     to objections about the conduct of the Society and especially to the
     "Brotherhood plank."

     Although the text of the complete letter was not published until
     after H.P. Blavatsky and Wm. Q. Judge had left the scene, both
     provided a setting for the statements made, and both quoted in their
     magazines some passages for particular attention.--Eds.]

   The doctrine we promulgate being the only true one, must--supported by
   such evidence as we are preparing to give--become ultimately
   triumphant, like every other truth. Yet it is absolutely necessary to
   inculcate it gradually; enforcing its theories (unimpeachable facts
   for those who know) with direct inference, deduced from and
   corroborated by the evidence furnished by modern exact science. That
   is why Col. H. S. Olcott, who works to revive Buddhism, may be
   regarded as one who labours in the true path of Theosophy, far more
   than any man who chooses as his goal the gratification of his own
   ardent aspirations for occult knowledge. Buddhism, stripped of its
   superstition, is eternal truth; and he who strives for the latter is
   striving for eternal truth; and he who strives for the latter is
   striving for Theo-Sophia, divine wisdom, which is a synonym of truth.
   For our doctrines to practically react on the so-called moral code, or
   the ideas of truthfulness, purity, self-denial, charity, etc. , we
   have to preach and popularize a knowledge of Theosophy. It is not the
   individual and determined purpose of attaining Nirvana--the
   culmination of all knowledge and absolute wisdom, which is after all
   only an exalted and glorious selfishness--but the self-sacrificing
   pursuit of the best means to lead on the right path our neighbour, to
   cause to benefit by it as many of our fellow-creatures as we possibly
   can, which constitutes the true Theosophist.

   The intellectual portion of mankind seems to be fast dividing into two
   classes: the one unconsciously preparing for itself long periods of
   temporary annihilation or states of non-consciousness, owing to the
   deliberate surrender of intellect, and its imprisonment in the narrow
   grooves of bigotry and superstition--a process which cannot fail to
   lead to the utter deformation of the intellectual principle; the other
   unrestrainedly indulging its animal propensities with the deliberate
   intention of submitting to annihilation pure and simple, in case of
   failure, and to millenniums of degradation after physical dissolution.
   Those intellectual classes, reacting upon the ignorant masses--which
   they attract, and which look up to them as noble and fit examples to
   be followed--degrade and morally ruin those they ought to protect and
   guide. Between degrading superstition and still more degrading brutal
   materialism, the White Dove of Truth has hardly room whereon to rest
   her weary unwelcome feet.

   It is time that Theosophy should enter the arena. The sons of
   Theosophists are more likely to become in their turn Theosophists than
   anything else. No messenger of the truth, no prophet, has ever
   achieved during his life-time a complete triumph--not even Buddha. The
   Theosophical Society was chosen as the cornerstone, the foundation of
   the future religions of humanity. To achieve the proposed object, a
   greater, wiser, and especially a more benevolent intermingling of the
   high and the low, the alpha and the omega of society, was determined
   upon. The white race must be the first to stretch out the hand of
   fellowship to the dark nations, to call the poor despised "nigger"
   brother. This prospect may not smile for all, but he is no Theosophist
   who objects to this principle.

   In view of the ever-increasing triumph, and at the same time the
   misuse, of free thought and liberty (the universal reign of Satan,
   Eliphas Levi would have called it), how is the combative natural
   instinct of man to be restrained from inflicting hitherto unheard-of
   cruelty and enormous tyranny, injustice, etc., if not through the
   soothing influence of brotherhood, and of the practical application of
   Buddha's esoteric doctrines?

   For everyone knows that total emancipation from the authority of the
   one all-pervading power, or law--called God by the priests, and
   Buddha, Divine Wisdom and enlightenment or Theosophy, by the
   philosophers of all ages--means also the emancipation from that of
   human law. Once unfettered and delivered from their deadweight of
   dogmatism, interpretations, personal names, anthropomorphic
   conceptions, and salaried priests, the fundamental doctrines of all
   religions will be proved identical in their esoteric meaning. Osiris,
   Krishna, Buddha, Christ, will be shown as different means for one and
   the same royal highway to final bliss--Nirvana.

   Mystical Christianity teaches Self-redemption through one's own
   seventh principle, the liberated Paramatma, called by the one Christ,
   by others Buddha; this is equivalent to regeneration, or rebirth in
   spirit, and it therefore expounds just the same truth as the Nirvana
   of Buddhism. All of us have to get rid of our own Ego, the illusory,
   apparent self, to recognize our true Self, in a transcendental divine
   life. But if we would not be selfish, we must strive to make other
   people see that truth, and recognize the reality of the transcendental
   Self, the Buddha, the Christ, or God of every preacher. This is why
   even esoteric Buddhism is the surest path to lead men towards the one
   esoteric truth.

   As we find the world now, whether Christian, Mussulman, or Pagan,
   justice is disregarded, and honour and mercy are both flung to the
   winds. In a word, how--since the main objects of the Theosophical
   Society are misinterpreted by those who are most willing to serve us
   personally--are we to deal with the rest of mankind? with that curse
   known as the struggle for life, which is the real and most prolific
   parent of most woes and sorrows, and all crimes? Why has that struggle
   become almost the universal scheme of the universe? We
   answer,--because no religion, with the exception of Buddhism, has
   taught a practical contempt for this earthly life; while each of them,
   always with that one solitary exception, has through its hells and
   damnations inculcated the greatest dread of death. Therefore do we
   find that struggle for life raging most fiercely in Christian
   countries, most prevalent in Europe and America. It weakens in the
   Pagan lands, and is nearly unknown among Buddhist populations. In
   China during famine, and where the masses are most ignorant of their
   own or of any religion, it was remarked that those mothers who
   devoured their children belonged to localities where there was none;
   and where the Bonzes alone had the field, the population died with the
   utmost indifference. Teach the people to see that life on this earth,
   even the happiest, is but a burden and an illusion; that it is our own
   Karma [the cause producing the effect] that is our own judge--our
   Saviour in future lives--and the great struggle for life will soon
   lose its intensity. There are no penitentiaries in Buddhist lands, and
   crime is nearly unknown among the Buddhist Tibetans. The world in
   general, and Christendom especially, left for 2,000 years to the
   regime of a personal God, as well as to its political and social
   systems based on that idea, has now proved a failure.

   If the Theosophists say we have nothing to do with all this; the lower
   classes and the inferior races (those of India, for instance, in the
   conception of the British) cannot concern us, and must manage as they
   can, what becomes of our fine professions of benevolence,
   philanthropy, reform, etc.? Are those professions a mockery? And if a
   mockery, can ours be the true path? Shall we devote ourselves to
   teaching a few Europeans--fed on the fat of the land, many of them
   loaded with the gifts of blind fortune--the rationale of bell-ringing,
   of cup-growing, of the spiritual telephone, and astral body formation,
   and leave the teeming millions of the ignorant, of the poor and
   oppressed, to take care of themselves, and of their hereafter, as best
   they can? Never! perish rather the Theosophical Society with both its
   hapless Founders, than that we should permit it to become no better
   than an academy of magic, and a hall of occultism! That we, the
   devoted followers of that spirit incarnate of absolute self-sacrifice,
   of philanthropy, divine kindness, as of all the highest virtues
   attainable on this earth of sorrow, the man of men, Gautama Buddha,
   should ever allow the Theosophical Society to represent the embodiment
   of selfishness, the refuge of the few with no thought in them for the
   many, is a strange idea, my brothers!

   Among the few glimpses obtained by Europeans of Tibet and its mystical
   hierarchy of perfect Lamas, there was one which was correctly
   understood and described. The incarnations of the Bodhisattva
   Padmapani or Avolokiteshvara, of Tsong-ka-pa, and that of Amitabha,
   relinquished at their death the attainment of Buddhahood--i.e., the
   summum bonum of bliss, and of individual personal felicity--that
   they might be born again and again for the benefit of mankind. In
   other words, that they might be again and again subjected to misery,
   imprisonment in flesh, and all the sorrows of life, provided that they
   by such a self-sacrifice, repeated throughout long and weary
   centuries, might become the means of securing salvation and bliss in
   the hereafter for a handful of men chosen among but one of the many
   planetary races of mankind.

   And it is we, the humble disciples of these perfect Lamas, who are
   expected to allow the Theosophical Society to drop its noblest title,
   that of the Brotherhood of Humanity, to become a simple school of
   philosophy! No, no, good brothers, you have been labouring under the
   mistake too long already. Let us understand each other. He who does
   not feel competent to grasp the noble idea sufficiently to work for
   it, need not undertake a task too heavy for him. But there is hardly a
   Theosophist in the whole Society unable to effectually help it by
   correcting erroneous impressions of outsiders, by himself actually
   propagating this idea. Oh! for noble and unselfish men to help us
   effectually in that divine task! All our knowledge, past and present,
   would not be sufficient to repay him.

   Having explained our views and aspirations, I have but a few words
   more to add. The true religion and philosophy offer the solution of
   every problem. That the world is in such a bad condition, morally, is
   a conclusive evidence that none of its religions and philosophies,
   those of the civilized races less than any other, has ever possessed
   the truth. The right and logical explanations on the subject of the
   problems of the great dual principles, right and wrong, good and evil,
   liberty and despotism, pain and pleasure, egotism and altruism, are as
   impossible to them now as they were 1880 years ago. They are as far
   from the solution as they were; but to these problems there must be
   somewhere a consistent solution, and if our doctrines will show their
   competence to offer it, then the world will be the first to confess
   that there must be the true philosophy, the true religion, the true
   light, which gives truth and nothing but the truth.

  [Lucifer, August, 1896]

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