The Value of Theosophy

in the World of Thought


Annie Besant


An Address on taking office as President of the Theosophical Society.

Delivered at the Queen's Hall, Langham Place,

London on 10th July 1907.




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You will have seen on the handbill announcing the lecture, that we are holding this meeting in connection with my taking office as President of the Theosophical Society, and it is my purpose, in addressing you to-night, to try to show you, at least to some small extent, what is the value which the Society represents, as regarded from the standpoint of human activities, manifested in

the world of thought. I want to try to show you that when we say Theosophy we are speaking of something of real value which can serve humanity in the various departments of intellectual life. I propose, in order to do this, to begin with a very brief statement of the fundamental idea of Theosophy; and then, turning to the world of religious thought, to the world of artistic thought, to the world of scientific .thought, and lastly to the world of political thought, to point out to you how that which is called Theosophy may bring contributions of value to each of these in turn.


Now Theosophy, as the name implies, is a Wisdom, a Divine Wisdom;  and the name historically, as many of you know, is identical with that which in Eastern lands has been known by various names—as Tao, in China; as the Brahmavidya, in India; as the Gnosis, among the Greeks and the early Christians; and as Theosophy through the Middle

Ages and in modern times.


It implies always a knowledge, a Wisdom that transcends the ordinary knowledge, the ordinary science of the earth; it implies a wisdom as regards life, a wisdom as regards the essential nature of things, a wisdom which is summed up in two words when we say " God-Wisdom." For it has been held in elder days—although in modern times it has become largely forgotten—that man can really never know anything at all unless he knows

himself, and knows himself Divine; that knowledge of God, the Supreme, the Universal Life, is the root of all true knowledge of matter as well as of

Spirit, of this world as well as of worlds other than our own; that in that one supreme knowledge all other knowledges find their root; that in that supreme light all other lights have their origin; and that if man can know anything, it is because he is Divine in nature, and, sharing the Life that expresses itself in a universe, he can know at once the Life that originates and the Matter that



Starting from such a standpoint, you will at once realise that Theosophy is a spiritual theory of the world as against a materialistic, It sees Spirit as the moulder, the shaper, the arranger of matter, and matter only as the obedient expression and servant of the Spirit; it sees in man a spiritual being, seeking to unfold his powers by experience in a universe of forms; and it declares that

man misunderstands himself, and will fail of his trueend, if he identifies himself with the form that perishes instead of with the life which is deathless. Hence, opposed to materialism alike in science and

philosophy, it builds up a spiritual conception of the universe, and necessarily it is idealistic in its thought, and holds up the importance of the ideal as a guide to all human activity.


The ideal, which is thought applied to conduct,

that is the keynote of Theosophy and its value in the varied worlds of thought; and the power of thought, the might of thought, the ability that it has to clothe itself in forms whose life only depends on the continuance of the thought that gave them birth, that is its central note, or keynote, in all the remedies that it applies to human ills. Idealist everywhere, idealist in religion, idealist in art, idealist in science, idealist in the practical life that men call politics, idealist everywhere; but avoiding the blunder into which some idealists have fallen, when they have not recognised that human thought is only a portion of the whole, and not the whole.


The Theosophist recognises that the Divine Thought, of which the universe is an expression, puts limitations on his own power of thought, on his own creative activity. He realises that the whole

compels the part, and that his own thought can only move within the vast circle of the Divine Thought, which he only partially expresses; so that while he will maintain that, on the ideal depends all that is called " real" in the lower worlds, he will realise that his creative power can only slowly mould matter to his will, and though every result will depend on a creative thought, the results

will often move slowly, adapting themselves to the thought that gives them birth.   Hence, while

idealist, he is not impracticable; while he sees the power of thought, he recognises its limitations in space and time; and while asserting the vital

importance of right thought and right belief, he realises that only slowly does the flower of thought ripen into the fruit of action.


But on the importance of thought he lays a stress unusual in modern life. It is the cant of the day, in judging the value of a man, that "it does not matter

what he believes but only what he does." That is not true. It matters infinitely what a man believes; for as a man's belief so he is ; as a man's thought, so inevitably is his action. There was a time in the world of thought when it was said with equal error: " It does not matter what a man does, provided his faith is right." If that word " faith " had meant the man's thought in its integrity, then there would have been but little error; for the right thought would inevitably have brought right action ; but in those days right thought meant only orthodox thought, according to a narrow canon of interpretation, the obedient repetition of creeds, the blind acceptance of beliefs imposed by



In those days what was called Orthodoxy in religion was made the measure of the man, and judgment depended upon orthodox acquiescence. Against that mistake the great movement that closed the Middle Ages was the protest of

the intellect of man, and it was declared that no external authority must bind the intellect, and none had right to impose from outside the thought which is the very essence of the man—that great assertion of the right of private judgment, of the supreme principle of the free intelligence, so necessary for

the progress of humanity.


But like all things it has been followed by a reaction, and men have run to the other extreme: that nothing matters except conduct, and action alone is to be considered. But your action is the result of your thought of yesterday, and

follows your yesterday as its expression in the outer world; your thought of to-day is your action of to-morrow, and your future depends on its accuracy and its truth, on its consonance with reality. Hence it is all-important in the

modern world to give back to thought its right place as above action, as its inspirer and its guide. For the human spirit by its expression as intellect

judges, decides, directs, controls. Its activity is the outcome of its thinking; and if without caring for thought you plunge into action, you have the constant experiments, feeble and fruitless, which so largely characterise our modern life.


Pass, then, from that first assertion of the importance of right thinking, to see what message Theosophy has for the world of religious thought.


What is religion ? Religion is the quenchless thirst of the human spirit for the Divine. It is the Eternal, plunged into a world of transitory phenomena, striving to realise its own eternity. It is the Immortal, flung into a world of death, trying to realise its own deathlessness. It is the white Eagle of Heaven, born in the illimitable spaces, beating its wings against the bars of matter, and striving to break them and rise into the immensities where are its birthplace and its real home. That is religion : the striving of man for God. And that

thirst of man for God many have tried to quench with what is called Theology, or withbooks that are called sacred, traditions that are deemed holy, ceremonies and rites which are but local

expressions of a universal truth.


You can no more quench that thirst of the human Spirit by anything but individual experience of the Divine, than you can quench the thirst of the

traveller parched and dying in the desert by letting him hear water go down the throat of another. Human experience, and that alone, is the rock on which all religion is founded, that is the rock that can never be shaken, on which every true Church must be built. Books, it is true, are often sacred; but you may tear up every sacred book in the world, and as long as man remains, and God to

inspire man, new books can be written, new pages of inspiration can be penned.


You may break in pieces every ceremony, however beautiful and elevating, and the Spirit that made them to express himself has not lost his artistic power, and can make new rites and new ceremonies to replace every one that is broken and

cast aside.


The Spirit is deathless as God is deathless, and in that deathlessness of the Spirit lies the certainty, the immortality of religion. And Theosophy, in appealing to that immortal experience, points the world of religions—confused by many an attack, bewildered by many an assault, half timid

before the new truth discovered every day, half scared at the undermining of old foundations, and the tearing by criticism of many documents—points it back tcp its own inexhaustible source, and bids it fear neither time nor truth, since Spirit is truth and eternity. All that criticism can take from you is the outer form, never the living reality; and well indeed is it for the churches and for the religions of the world that the outworks of documents should be levelled with the ground, in order to show the impregnability of the citadel, which is knowledge and experience.


But in the world of religious thought there are many services, less important, in truth, than the one I have spoken of, but still important and valuable to the faiths of the world; for Theosophy brings back to men, living in tradition, testimony to the reality of knowledge transcending the knowledge of the senses and the reasoning powers of the lower mind.


It comes with its hands full of proof, modern proof, proof of to-day, living witnesses, of unseen worlds, of subtler worlds than the physical. It comes, as the Founders and the early Teachers of every religion have come, to testify again by personal experience to the reality of the unseen worlds of which the religions are the continual witnesses in the physical world. Have you ever noticed in the histories of the

great religions how they grow feebler in their power over men as faith takes the place of knowledge, and tradition the place of the living testimony of living men ? That is one of the values of Theosophy in the religious world, that it

teaches men to travel to worlds unseen, and to bring back the evidence of what they have met and studied; that it so teaches men their own nature that it enables them to separate soul and body, and travel without the physical body in worlds long thought unattainable, save through the gateway of death. I say " Long thought unattainable " ; but the scriptures of every religion bear witness

that they are not unattainable. The Hindu tells us that man should separate himself from his body as you strip the sheath from the stem of the grass.


The Buddhist tells us that by deep thought and contemplation mind may know itself as mind apart from the physical brain. Christianity tells us many a story of the personal knowledge of its earlier teachers, of a ministry of angels that remained in the Church, and of angelic teachers  training  the  neophytes   in knowledge. Islam tells us that its own great prophet himself passed into higher   worlds, and brought back the truths which civilised Arabia, and gave knowledge which lit again the torch of learning  in  Europe when the Moors came to Spain.   And so religion after religion bears testimony to the possibility of human knowledge outside the physical world; we only re-proclaim the ancient truth—with this addition, which some religions now shrink from making: that what man did in the past man may do to-day; that the powers of the Spirit are not shackled, that the knowledge of the other worlds is still attainable to man.   


And outside that practical knowledge of other worlds it brings by that same method the distinct assertion of the survival of the human Spirit after death.    It is  only in  very  modern times that that has been doubted by any large numbers of people.   


Here and there in the ancient world, like a Lucretius in Rome, perhaps;  like  a Democritus  in Greece; certainly like a Charvaka in India, you find one here and there who  doubts  the  deathlessness  of the Spirit in man; but in modern days that disbelief, or the hopeless  cynicism  which thinks knowledge  impossible, has  penetrated far and  wide  among  the cultured, the educated classes, and from them to the masses of the uneducated.


That is the phenomenon of modern days alone, that man by hundreds and by thousands despairs of his own immortality.   And yet the deepest convictionof humanity, the deepest thought in man, is the persistence of himself, the " I " that cannot die. And with one great generalisation, and one method, Theosophy asserts at once the deathlessness of man and the existence of God; for it says to man, as it was ever said in the ancient days : " The proof of God is not without you but within you." All the greatest teachers have reiterated that message, so full of hope and comfort; for it shuts none out from knowledge.


What is the method ? Strip away your senses, and you find the mind; strip away the mind, and you find the pure reason; strip away the pure reason, and you find the will-to-live; strip away the will-to-live, and you find Spirit as a unit; strike away the limitations of the Spirit, and you find God. Those are the steps: told in ancient days, repeated now. "


Lose your life," said the Christ, " and you

shall find it to life eternal." That is true: let go everything that you can let go; you cannot let go yourself, and in the impossibility of losing yourself you find the certainty of the Self Universal, the Universal Life.


Pass again from that to another religious point. I mentioned ceremonies, rites of every faith. Those Theosophy looks at and understands. So many have cast away ceremonies, even if they have found them helpful, because they do not understand

them, and fear superstition in their use. Knowledge has two great enemies: Superstition and Scepticism. Knowledge destroys blind superstition by asserting and explaining natural truths of which the superstition has exaggerated the unessentials; and it destroys scepticism by proving the reality of the facts of the unseen world. The ceremony,

the rite, is a shadow in the world of sense of the truths in the world of Spirit; and every religion, every creed, has its ceremonies as the outward

physical expression of some eternal spiritual truth. Theosophy defends them, justifies them, by explaining them; and when they are understood they cease to be superstitions that blind, and become crutches that help the halting mind to

climb to the spiritual life.


Let us pass from the world of religious thought, and pause for a moment on the world of artistic thought. Now to Art, perhaps more than in any other department of the human intelligence, the ideal is necessary for life. All men have wondered from time to time why the architecture—to take one case only—why the architecture of the past is so much more wonderful, so much more beautiful, than the architecture of the present. When you want to build some great national building to-day you have to go back to Greece, or Rome, or the Middle Ages for your model. Why is it that you have no new architecture, expressive of your own

time, as that was expressive of the past ? The severe order of Egypt found its expression in the mighty temples of Karnak; the beauty and lucidity of Grecian thought bodied itself out in the chaste and simple splendor of Grecian buildings; the sternness of Roman law found its ideal expression in those wondrous buildings whose ruins still survive in Rome; the faith of the Middle

Ages found its expression in the upward-springing arch of Gothic architecture, and the exquisite tracery of the ornamented building. But if you go into the Gothic cathedral, what do you find there ?   


That not alone in wondrous arch and splendid pillar, upspringing in its delicate and slender

strength from pavement to roof, not there only did the art of the builder find its expression. Go round to any out-of-the-way corner, or climb the roof of

those great buildings, and you will find in unnoticed places, in hidden corners, the love of the artist bodying itself forth in delicate tracery, in stone that lives. Men carved for love, not only for fame; men carved for beauty's sake, not only for money; and they built perfectly because they had love and faith, the two divine builders, and embodied both in deathless stone. Before you can be more than copyists you must find your modern ideal, and when you have found it you can build buildings that will defy time.


But you have not found it yet; the artist amongst us is too much of a copyist, and too little of an inspirer and a prophet. We do not want the painter only to paint for us the things our own eyes

can see. We want the artist eye to see more than the common eye, and to embody what he sees in beauty for the instruction of our blinded sight. We do not want accurate pictures of cabbages and turnips and objects of that sort. However cleverly done, they remain cabbaggs and turnips still. The man who could paint for us the thought that makes the cabbage, he would be the artist, the man who

knows the Life. And so for our new Art we must have a splendid ideal.


Do you want to know how low Art may sink when materialism triumphs and vulgarises and

degrades ? Then see that exhibition of French pictures that was placed in Bond Street some years ago, which attracted those who loved indecency more than those who loved the beautiful, and

then you will understand how Art perishes where the breath of the ideal does not inspire and keep alive. And Theosophy to the artist would bring back that ancient reverence which regards the artist of the Beautiful as one of the chief God-revealers to the race of which he is a portion; which sees in the great musical artist, or the sculptor, or the painter, a God-inspired man, bringing down the grace of heaven to illuminate the dull grey planes of earth.


The artists should be the prophets of our time, the revealers of the Divine smothered under the material; and were they this, they would be regarded with love and with reverence; for true art needs reverence for its growing, and the artist, of all men— subtle, responsive, sensitive to everything that touches him—needs an atmosphere of love and reverence that he may flower into his

highest power, and show the world some glimpse of the Beauty which is God.


And the world of science — perhaps there, after the world of religion, Theosophy has most of value to offer. Take Psychology. What a confusion; what a mass of facts want arrangement; what a chaos of facts out of which no cosmos is built!


Theosophy, by its clear and accurate definition of man, of the relation of consciousness to its bodies, of Spirit to its vehicles, arranges into order that

vast mass of facts with which psychology is struggling now. It takes, into that wonderful " unconscious " or " sub-conscious "—which is now, as it were, the answer to every riddle ; but it is not understood—it takes into that the light of direct investigation; divides the " unconscious" which comes from the past from that which is the presage of the future, separates outthe inheritance of our long past ancestry which remains as the " sub-conscious" in us; points to the higher " super-conscious," not " sub-conscious," of which

the genius is the testimony at the present time; shows that human consciousness transcends the brain ; proves that human consciousness is in touch with worlds beyond the physical; and makes sure and certain the hope expressed by science,

that it is possible that that which is now unconscious shall become conscious, and that man shall find himself in touch with a universe and not only in touch with one limited world. That which Myers sometimes spoke of as the " cosmic

consciousness," as against our own limited consciousness, is a profound truth, and carries with it the prophecy of man's future greatness. Just as the fish is limited to the water, as the bird is limited to the air, so man has been limited

to the physical body, and has dreamed he had no touch with other spaces, to which he really belongs.


But your consciousness is living in three worlds, and not in one, is touching mightier possibilities, is beginning to contact subtler phenomena; and all the traces of that are found in your newest psychology, and are simply proofs of those many theories about man which Theosophy has been

teaching in the world for many a century, nay, for many a millennium.


And physics and chemistry is there anything of value along Theosophical lines of thought and investigation, which might aid our physicists and our chemists, puzzled at the subtlety of the forces with which they have to deal?


Has it never struck some of the more intuitive physicists and materialists  that there  may

be subtler senses which may be used for investigation of the subtler forces? That man may

have in himself senses by the evolution of which he will able to pierce the secrets that now he is striving vainly to unveil ?


Has it never even struck a physicist or a chemist that, if he does not believe in the possibility of

himself developing those subtler forces, he might utilise them in others in order to prosecute further his own investigations ? They are beginning to to do that in France. They are beginning to now try to use those whom they call " lucid "; that is, people who see with eyes keener than the physical; they are beginning to use those in medicine, are using them for the diagnosis of disease, are using them for the testing of the sensitiveness of man, are beginning to use them to try to discover if man has any body subtler than the physical. And while

I would not say to the scientific man: " Accept our theories," I would say to him: " Take them as hypotheses by which you may direct your further experiments, and you may go on and make discoveries more rapidly than you can at the present time." For there is many a clairvoyant who, put before a piece of some elemental

substance, could describe it very much better than is done by your fractional analysis. And along other lines—chemical and electrical—surely there is something a little unsatisfactory, when a few years ago men told us that the atom was composed literally of myriads of particles, and during the last year it has been suggested that perhaps one particle is all of which an atom is composed. Might it not be wise to try to get hold of your atoms by sight keener than the physical, as it is possible to do, whether  by the  ordinary clair-voyant who is sometimes developed up to that point, or by an untrained sensitive whose senses are set free from the limitations of the physical brain, and from

that sensitive try to gather something of the composition of matter which may guide you in your more scientific search ? I realise that what one, or two, or twenty people see, is no proof for the scientific man ; but it may give a hint whereby mathematical deductions may be made, and calculations which otherwise would not be thought of. So that I only suggest the utilising by science of

certain powers that are now available, keener than those of the ordinary senses—a new sort of human microscope or human telescope—whereby you may pierce to the larger or the smaller, beyond the reach of your physical microscopes and

telescopes, made of metal and not of intelligence showing itself in matter.


Is there anything of value in Theosophical ideas, shall I say to the science of medicine? Some say it is not yet a science, but works empirically only. There is some truth in that; but are there not here again lines of investigation which the physician might well study? For instance, the power of thought over the human body, all that mass of facts on which partly is built up such a science as Mental Healing, or what is called Faith Cure, and so on. Do you think that these things have been going on for hundreds of years, and that there is no truth

lying behind them ? " The effects of imagination," you say. But what is imagination? It does not matter of what it is the effect, if it brings cure

where before there was disease- If you put into a man's body a drug that you do not understand, and find that it cures adisease and relieves a pain, will you throw the drug aside because you do not

understand it ? And why do you throw the power of imagination aside because you cannot weigh it in your balance, nor find that it depresses one scale more than the other? Imagination is one of the subtlest powers of thought: imagination is

one of the strongest powers that the doctor might utilise when his drugs fail him and his old methods no longer serve his purpose. Suggestion, the power of thought. Why, there are records of cases where suggestion has killed! That which has killed can also cure, and man's body being only a product of thought, built up through the ages, answers more rapidly to its creator than it does to clumsier products from the mineral and vegetable

kingdoms. Here again I only ask experiment. You know that you can produce wounds upon the body of the hypnotised patient, in a state of trance. By suggestion lesions are made, burns are caused,

inflammation and pain appear by the mere suggestion of a wound. A blister is placed on a patient and forbidden to act; the skin is untouched when the blister is removed: a bit of wet paper is given by thought the qualities of the blister,

and it will raise the skin, with all the accompaniments of the chemical blister.


Now these things are known. You can see the pictures of wounds thus produced, if you will, in some of the Paris hospitals, for along this line the Frenchman is investigating further than the Englishman has done. And along that line also

lies much of useful experiment to be brought to the relief of the diseases of humanity.


But as I have touched upon medicine, let me say—

for I ought here to say it—that there are some methods of modern medicine which Theosophy emphatically condemns. It declares that no knowledge which is gained from a tortured, a vivisected creature, is legitimate, even if it were as useful as it has been proved to be useless. It declares that all inoculations of disease into the healthy body are illegitimate, and it condemns all such.


It declares that all those foul injections of modern medicine which use animal fluids to restore the exhausted vitality of man are ruinous to the body into which they are put. Here again France, by the very excess of its methods, is beginning to recoil before the results which have come about. Only two years ago I was told by a leading physician of Paris that many of the doctors had met together to look at the results which had grown out of the methods that for years they had been following without hesitation and without scruple, and that

they feared that they had caused more diseases than they cured. Why are these things condemned as illegitimate ? Because the building up of the human body is the building by a living Spirit of a temple for himself, and it is moulded by that Spirit for his own purposes.


The higher powers of intelligence have made

the human body what it is, different from the animal bodies out of which, physically, in ages long gone by, it has grown. Your delicacy of touch, the

exquisite beauty and delicacy of your nervous system, these things are the outcome of the higher powers of the Spirit expressing themselves in the human body, where they cannot express themselves in the animat form. And if you ignore this,  if you  forget  it,  if   you  forget that  this splendid human temple built up by the Spirit of man through ages of toil and of suffering, to express his own higher qualities—compassion, tenderness, love, pity for the weak and the helpless, protection of the helpless against the strong—if you forget the whole of that, and act as a brute even would not act,

in cruelty and wickedness to men and animals alike, you will degrade the body you are trying to preserve, you will paralyse the body you are trying to save from disease, and you will go back into the savagery which is the nemesis of cruelty, and ruin these nobler bodies, the inheritance of the civilised races.


I pass from that to my last world, the world of political thought. Now Theosophy takes no part in party politics. It lays down the great principle of human Brotherhood, and bids its followers go out into the world and work on it—using their intelligence, their power of thought, to judge the value of every method which is proposed.


And our general criticism on the politics of the moment would be that they are remedies, not preventions, and leave untouched the root out of which all the miseries grow. Looking sometimes at your party politics, it seems to me as though you were as children plucking flowers and sticking them into the sand and saying: " See what a beautiful garden I have made." And when you wake the next morning the flowers are dead, for there were no roots, but only rootless flowers. I know you must make remedies, but you should not stop at that. When you send out your Red Cross doctors and nurses to pick up the mutilated bodies that your science of war has maimed, they are doing noble work, and deserve ourlove and gratitude, for the wounded must be nursed; but the man who works for peace does more for the good of humanity than the Red Cross doctors and nurses. 


And so also in the political world. You cannot  safely live "hand-to-mouth" in politics any more than in any other department of human life.    But how many are there in the political parties who care for causes and not only for effects ? That is the criticism we should make. We see everywhere   Democracy  spreading;   but  Democracy  is on its trial, and unless it can evolve some  method by which the wise shall rule, and not merely the weight of ignorant numbers, it will dig its own grave.    So long as you leave your people ignorant

they are not fit to rule.


The schools should come before the vote, and knowledge before power.    You are proud of your liberty; you boast of a practically universal suffrage—leaving out, of course, one half of humanity!—but taking your male suffrage as you have it, how many of the voters who go to the poll know the principles of political history, know anything of economics, know anything of all the knowledge which is wanted for the guiding of the ship of the State through troubled waters ? You do not choose your captains out of people who know nothing of navigation;  but you choose the makers of your rulers out  of those who  have  not studied and do not know.    That is not wise.   


I do not deny it is a necessary stage in the evolution of man. I know that the Spirit acts wisely, and guides the nations along roads in which lessons are to be learned; and I hope that out of the blunders, and the errors, and the crudities of present politics there "will  evolve  a  saner method, in which the wise of the nation will have power and guide its councils, and wisdom, not numbers, shall speak the decisive word.


Now there is one criticism of politics that we often hear in these days. It is said that behind politics lie economics. That is true. You may go on playing at

politics for ever and ever ; but if your economic foundation is rotten, no political remedies can build a happy and prosperous nation. But while I agree that behind politics lie economics, there is something that lies also behind economics, and of that I hear little said.


Behind economics lies character, and without character you cannot build a free and a happy nation. A nation enormous in power, what do you know of the way in which your power is wielded in many a far-off land ? How much do you know about your vast Indian Empire ? How many of

your voters going to the poll can give an intelligent answer to any question affecting that 300,000,000 of human beings whom you hold in your hand, and deal with as you will ? There are responsibilities of Empire as well as pride in it, and pride of Empire is apt to founder when the responsibilities of Empire are ignored. And so the Theosophist is content to go to the root of the matter, and

try to build up for you the citizens out of whom your future State is to be made. Education, real education, secular education, is now your cry. They tried secular education in France; they destroyed religious teaching; they tried to give morality without religion. But the moral lessons had no effect: they were too cold and dull, and dead. Is it not a scandal that in a country like this, where the vast majority are religious, you are quarrelling so much about the trifles that separate you, that the only way to peace seems to be to take religion out

of the schools altogether, and train the children only in morality, allowing an insignificant minority to have its way ? Why! we have done better than that in India, we Theosophists. Hindu Theosophists have founded there a College in which, despite all their sects and all their religious quarrels, they have found a common minimum of Hinduism on which their children can be trained in religion

and morality alike. I grant it was a Theosophical inspiration that began the movement; but the whole mass of Hindus have fallen in with it, and are accepting the books as the basis of education. Government has recognised them, and has begun to introduce them for the use of Hindus in its own schools. That is the way in which we Theosophists work at politics. We go to the root to build

character, and we know that noble characters will make a noble and also a prosperous nation.


But you can no more make a nation of free men out of children untrained in duty and in righteousness, than you can build a house that will stand if you use ill-baked bricks and rotten timber. Our keynote in politics is Brotherhood. That worked out into life will give you the nation that you want.

And what does Brotherhood mean ? It means that everyone of us, you and I, and every man and woman throughout the land, looks on all others as they look on their own brothers, and acts on the same principle which in the family rules. You keep

religion out of politics ? You cannot, without peril "to your State; for unless you teach your people that they are a Brother-hood, whether or not they choose to recognise it, you are building on the sand

and not on the rock. And what does Brotherhood mean ? It means that the man who gains learning, uses it to teach the ignorant, until none are ignorant. It means that the man who is pure takes his purity to the foul, until all have become

clean. It means that the man who is wealthy uses his wealth for the benefit of the poor, until all have become prosperous. It means that everything you gain, you share; everything you achieve, you give its fruit to all.


That is the law of Brotherhood, and it is the law of national as well as of individual life. You cannot rise alone. You are bound too strongly each to each. If you use your strength to raise yourself by trampling on your fellows, inevitably you will

fail by the weakness that you have wronged.

Do you know who are the greatest enemies of a State? The weak, injured by the strong. For, above all States, rules an Eternal Justice; and the tears of

miserable women, and the curses of angry, starving men, sap the foundations of a State that denies Brotherhood, and reach the ears of that Eternal Justice by which alone States live, and Nations continue. It is written in an ancient scripture that a Master of Duty said to a King: " Beware the tears of the weak, for they sap the thrones of Kings." Strength may threaten: weakness undermines.

Strength may stand up to fight: weakness cuts away the ground on which the fighters are standing. And the message of Theosophy to the modern political world is: Think less about your outer laws, and more about the lives of the

people who have to live under thoselaws.


Remember that government can only live when the people are happy; that States can only flourish where the masses of the population are contented; that all that makes life enjoyable is the right of the lowest and the poorest; that they can do without external happiness far less than you, who have so many means of inner satisfaction, of enjoyment, by the culture that you possess and that they lack. If there is not money enough for everything, spend your money in making happier, healthier, purer, more educated, the lives of the poor; then a

happy nation will be an imperial nation; for Brotherhood is the strongest force on earth.


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