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Original Programme

Feb 12, 1998 12:24 PM
by K. Paul Johnson

Here are the crucial passages from HPB about the priority of
brotherhood and the need to avoid sectarianism about the Masters,
from an unpublished ms., The Original Programme of the
Theosophical Society:

In order to leave no room for equivocation, the members of the
T.S. have to be reminded of the origin of the Society in 1875.
Sent to the U.S. of America in 1873 for the purpose of organizing
a group of workers on a psychic plane, two years later the writer
received orders from her Master and Teacher to form the nucleus
of a regular Society whose objects were broadly stated as
1. Universal Brotherhood;
2. No distinction to be made by the member between races, creeds,
or social positions, but every member had to be judged and dealt
by on his personal merits;
3. To study the philosophies of the East-- those of India
chiefly, presenting them gradually to the public in various works
that would interpret exoteric religions in the light of esoteric
4. To oppose materialism and theological dogmatism in every
possible way, by demonstrating the existence of occult forces
unknown to science, in nature, and the presence of psychic and
spiritual powers in man...
Such was the programme in its broad features.  The two chief
Founders were not told what they had to do, how they had to bring
about and quicken the growth of the Society...But if the two
Founders were not told *what they had to do,* they were
distinctly instructed about *what they should never do,* what
they had to avoid, and what the Society should never become.
Church organizations, Christian and Spiritual sects were shown as
the future contrasts to our Society.  To make it clearer:
(1) The Founders had to exercise all their influence *to oppose
selfishness of any kind*, by insisting upon sincere, fraternal
feelings among the Memberrs-- at least outwardly; working for it
to bring about a spirit of unity and harmony, the great diversity
of creeds notwithstanding; expecting and demanding from the
Fellows, a great mutual toleration and charity for each other's
shortcomings; mutual help in the research of truths in every
doman-- moral or physical-- and even, in daily life.
(2) They had to oppose in the strongest manner possible anything
approaching *dogmatic faith and fanaticism*-- belief in the
*infallibility* of the Masters, or even in the very existence of
our invisible Teachers, having to be checked from the first.  On
the other hand, as a great respect for the private views and
creeds of every member was demanded, any Fellow criticizing the
faith or belief of another Fellow, hurting his feelings, or
showing a reprehensible self-assertion, unasked (mutual friendly
advices were a duty unless declined)-- such a member incurred
expulsion.  The greatest spirit of free research untrammeled by
anyone or anything, had to be encouraged.

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