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The Wisdom The World Awaits

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The Wisdom The World Awaits

John Coats

Sixth International President of The Theosophical Society (1973-1979)
[Slightly edited in this version for language sensitivity and inclusivity]

Originally published in The Theosophist magazine January 1976 p 232-243

We only have to open any newspaper in any land today, to realize that the world is in a sorry state. And if we are really responsible persons, perhaps we may ask ourselves, "Who is to blame for this?" Generally, again if we are what one might call ordinary people, we have the tendency to blame everybody else for the situations that arise. And I would like to suggest to you that the people who are to blame for the sorry state of the world are people like you and me, each of whom is responsible, in some measure, for some of the unhappy situations which surround us. After all, it was humanity who created these problems, and there is no-one else but humanity to solve them. The trouble is that in our way of life today, we have strayed far from the earlier standards of ethics that used to govern human life and our relationships with others.

In the last few decades, earlier ideals, reverence, chivalry and love, have been replaced in so many places by false gods of money, power and status. Modern humanity is increasingly self-centered. We worry about ourselves and what we are doing and what will happen to ourselves, and give far too little thought to our responsibilities towards our fellow humanity. And, if one were to be asked what is the greatest problem of the modern world, the answer would be this world-wide unwillingness of so many people to accept responsibility for what they do in life. And because we are not feeling responsible for what happens, we think we can do what we like. And we think, to put it in more colloquial terms, that we can "get away with it." So the problems abound around us, and arise like mushrooms, quickly and continuously, and many are potentially dangerous today to our world, on a variety of levels.

For a long time, theosophical leaders have warned us, and as far back as 1914 Mrs. Besant spoke of the dangers involved in the splitting of the atom. "The occultist," she wrote in The Theosophist for March, 1914, p. 869, "who knows how to liberate the forces imprisoned in the atom will not place within the hands of the competing nations of the world this means of wholesale destruction." This was written 30 years or so before Hiroshima. And in a lecture given at Adyar in October, 1922, (Brahnicividya, p, 84), Dr. Besant said: "One of the great efforts of the Higher Powers is directed to checking western science along this particular line of discovery. The reason is a moral and humanitarian one, qualities for which western science has no place. If the scientists find . . . how to break up an atom . . . the effect will be the letting loose of forces of such tremendous potency that, were they mastered by a scientist, he or she would be able to lay waste a great city, to shatter it into dust."

And there is a significant statement made by H. P. Blavatsky in her Instructions to her students (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. V. p. 466, Adyar Edition) which reads thus: "Civilized humanity, however carefully guarded by its invisible Watchers, the Nirmānakāyas, . . . is yet, owing to its collective Karma, terribly under the sway of (their) traditional opposers . . . embodied and disembodied. . . . Thus notwithstanding all precautions, terrible secrets are often revealed to entirely unworthy persons by the efforts of the 'Dark Brothers' and their working on human brains. This is entirely owing to the simple fact that in certain privileged organisms, vibrations of the primitive truth put in motion by the Planetary Beings are set up, in what western philosophy would term innate ideas, and occultism 'flashes of genius.' Some such idea based on eternal truth is awakened, and all that the watchful Powers can do is to prevent its entire revelation." And today scientists of considerable renown such as Mr. Hannes Alfven, a physicist, and Mr. Harold C. Urey, a chemist, both Nobel Prize winners, warn us in no uncertain terms that the proliferation of nuclear power, with the attendant difficulties of disposing of dangerous by-products such as plutonium, can "mean the threat of death to all of us."

Prophetic, too, was a statement in another of our earlier books regarding a new power which would become available to man (Man: Whence, How and Whither by Annie Besant & C. W. Leadbeater) "He simply turns on the force and, by a tiny little instrument which can be carried in the pocket, converts it into heat at exactly the point required. A temperature of many thousands of degrees can be produced instantly whenever needed, even in an area as small as a pin's head." Does this bear any relation to laser beams whose tremendous power can be used equally for destruction as well as for constructive ends?

If there is doubt in the world today about the future, it is because we see around us this decline in the standards of ethics and morality which at all times should really govern one's living and specially our relationship to our neighbour! And so problems arise and are too numerous to mention at any length. One might enumerate pollution, which is a world problem—in many places increasing—, and which creates a potential threat to many of humanity’s other hopeful projects. Yet, too few listen to the experts who have a real understanding of what is happening to us, even though in many countries governments and other agencies have undertaken very successful schemes to reduce pollution in their own areas.
There still remains the pollution of the oceans, of course, and we should do well to listen to the experts like Professor Picard or Jacques Cousteau, whose voices have been warning us for years.

There is also the adulteration of food, i.e., the over-processing, the addition of chemicals of many kinds, that requires urgent attention, but most of us simply accept the situation and we still go easily and regularly to the local store or supermarket and buy many things of which the health value is becoming increasingly suspect. As I said before, until humanity exerts itself, our problems will not change.
Then there is the fact of cruelty—cruelty of human being to human being and human being to animal as well. We may read an article in a newspaper about the horrors that are perpetrated on political prisoners in many lands, the concentration camps which still exist in various places, the ruthless exploitation which amounts almost to slavery: but normally we simply shrug our shoulders and turn the page to look at the baseball or football news.
The unnecessary cruelty to animals on such an unbelievable scale of experiments, to say nothing of the horrors of so many slaughter houses and abattoirs, continues to increase every year.

The cow is no longer a cow but a milk factory; the hen is no longer a hen but an egg factory; and what do we care, we who are supposed to have been brought up in the tradition of kindness and consideration for other people and other forms of life?
We may well ask ourselves the searching question, "Which side am I on?, am I on the side of love or am I on the side of cruelty?". We would like to think ourselves in the first group, but often we support the second because we do nothing, absolutely nothing at all, to try and set things right.
More and more we see, therefore, the need for us to raise our standards in this world of rapid unfoldment, to counteract the frequently accepted idea that science and technology are the only criteria of advancement. The world we are moving into will be a different world. . . . We shall have to become acquainted with very altered situations. The main characteristic of this development is not more evolution, nor revolution, but acceleration—a change over into a higher gear over and over again. Within one generation the aspect of the world has changed several times: one has to start a new life more than once within one's lifetime, and that is what makes people so terrified and confused. It means also that person will have to take responsibility, to give their opinion, to adapt or to resist. This is a process of the accelerated evolution of humanity. There are some signs at least that humanity is going to accept this responsibility; it becomes fashionable to think and to talk in terms of the year 2000; but it also puts responsibility on our shoulders, not to let future generations down by making mistakes now.

So, everything is quickly leading up to a dramatic, critical point, coinciding with the last quarter of the century, in which humanity will have to decide for itself, to be or not to be, to go forward together or to perish together. Change is endemic and perhaps it is the younger generation who will see it and adapt to it and make it more effective than their parents can, for they have a real problem, the problem of their own survival.
There has been much talk of a generation gap in these past years and it has been exaggerated but there is, nevertheless, a difference in the attitudes of many of the younger people in the world compared with our own when we were young. We still interest ourselves in what people do and how they do it, whilst the younger group are more concerned with what people are and why. We speak of progress and they of transformation. We cognize and interpret and they are concerned with what is. Our ideas are logically developed whilst they seem to have an immediate comprehension of many things. We are sequential and they spontaneous. We speak of teaching and they are interested in communication. In some ways they are one of the great hopes for the future. There are many such differences that one can find and this must lead inevitably to a change in the general pattern of the life which lies in the years ahead, in the Theosophical Society, as in the world.

Another great hope was the United Nations with the remarkable and amazing work done through so many of its agencies in the past quarter of a century. But on the other hand we see continually how difficult it is for the great ideal, which was enshrined both in the League of Nations and in the United Nations, to work out, in objectivity and justice, in honesty of purpose and sense of vision, in many of the debates and decisions of the General Assembly and the Security Council.

We all know the axiom that the part can never be greater than the whole of which it is a part and yet in many of the activities of public life prominent men and women have conveniently left this axiom on some mental shelf labelled "Arithmetic" and have not applied it as it could be applied in both family and international life. At all times the happiness and health of the whole depends upon the parts working harmoniously together according to the law which governs their existence. It is the application of this attitude and the development of the philosophy of wholeness that really suit the age in which we live. The religions help but are sometimes too narrow and parochial in their outlook.

Theosophy, the Divine Wisdom, is based on the principle of Oneness. Often we are asked, "What is Theosophy? and it is never easy to give a facile answer. Theosophy, which has been known since there was a mind to comprehend it, cannot be easily defined, but words such as these may help us in a measure:

—"The shoreless ocean of universal truth, love and wisdom; divine nature, visible and invisible; scientific Theosophy based on accurate knowledge of Nature's secret workings."
—"It is the last word of possible human knowledge—the Wisdom Religion."
—"Theosophy is the root and trunk of the tree of which all religions are branches."
—". . . . the esoteric science; the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven; the synthesis of science, religion and philosophy."

There are many words we can use, but few of them convey in any fullness the totality of that ageless and all-comprehensive wisdom which in this day and age is called "Theosophy."

We cannot do better than repeat, in the words of Madame H. P. Blavatsky, —great Founder as she was of this theosophical movement—, the Three Propositions that she offers for our consideration at the beginning of her great work, The Secret Doctrine.

The First Fundamental Proposition reads thus:

“An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception and could only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude."

Any words, even the most beautiful and all-embracing, can never be sufficient. Only the poets can sometimes offer us in the experience that lies beyond their phrases, some slight touch of the Being that is behind all existence—not a person in any sense—but a principle of life, love, law, spirit and light. This Oneness, being all inclusive, must contain all possible dualities and manifestations of itself. When faced with the idea that both good and evil must be within the One because there is no other place they can be, we are given cause to ponder and to wonder and perhaps to re-arrange some of our thinking.

Nothing can be outside the Oneness because there is no outside, and it is this which has led great teachers down the ages to stress the need for the recognition of human brotherhood, which is an expression at the material level of this self-existent and nameless something. The parts are many but the whole is one, so we may suggest that no race can be more important than humanity, no religion more important than truth, and no nation more important than the world itself. Man, particularly western man, tends to think in small compartments, fitting everything into separate and individual boxes. Theosophy helps to see the unity of all life beyond the separateness and accepts that brotherhood is a brotherhood of differences. It is not nature's way to make any two things identically the same. The Theosophical Society has added much over these last one hundred years to the universal efforts to achieve brotherhood, but mankind has not reached the goal yet.

And as we have already said, the United Nations is still far from achieving the great goals set before it at the end of the last world war. It remains, nevertheless, a hope for if it could but effectively represent the oneness of the world itself, rather than remain a battlefield for the parts, or for the nations which are the parts, many of our problems might be solved.

It may interest people in America especially, to know of one of the first efforts to reach international peace and happiness for the world originated in this country as early as 1910. In "On the Watch Tower" of The Theosophist for July, 1910, Mrs. Besant talks of "a World Federation League being formed in New York City with the object of bringing about a mutual understanding between nations. It was proposed that the Congress of the States would take the lead by setting up a commission of 5 members. They would establish an International Federation."

Again in "On The Watch Tower" of The Theosophist for August, 1910, Mrs. Besant goes on with the matter and sets out that "a resolution has passed the House of Representatives, desiring President Taft to appoint 'a Commission of five distinguished Americans, to confer with Foreign Governments, with a view to the promotion of world-wide peace.' It is also suggested that Mr. Theodore Roosevelt (then Vice-President) head the commission." The terms of reference were as follows:

"That a Commission of five members be appointed by the President of the United States, the duties of such Commission to be as follows:

First—To urge upon the attention of their Governments the fact that relief from the heavy burden of military expenditure and from the disasters of war can best be obtained by the establishment of an International Federation.

Second—To report to the Congress, as soon as practicable, a draft of articles of a Federation limited to the maintenance of peace, through the establishment of an international court having power to determine by decree, controversies between nations, and to enforce execution of its decrees by the arms of the Federation, such arms to be provided to the Federation and controlled solely by it.

Third—To consider and report upon any other means to diminish the expenditures of Government for military purposes and to lessen the probabilities of war."

Unhappily the efforts made were not sufficient to prevent the war which started in 1914.

Thus we see that the First Object of our Society—To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour—is an expression of the First Fundamental Proposition set forth by H. P. Blavatsky, to which I will refer once again: "An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE . . . " You might say to me, "You mean God?" Well, it is a very reasonable question but you know, God has so many connotations that it is a word perhaps that one would use sparingly, although often we must use it. You see, people's views of God vary so greatly. If you ask a Roman Catholic, "What do you think of God?" they will give you a picture in their own Roman Catholic frame. If you ask a Presbyterian, they will give you a picture in their Presbyterian way. If you ask an adherent to the great Islamic faith, they will give you a picture in a Moslem frame. Or it may be a Hindu frame, or a Parsi frame. It may be many, many frames. What we are trying to understand is what this something is, which, as it were, is projecting itself, is manifesting itself, through all these different frames—differently. What is the ONENESS behind it? And so, one does not use the name "God" too often in the theosophical studies. But we think more in terms of this totally impersonal, omnipresent, eternal, boundless and immutable Principle.

The Second Proposition of The Secret Doctrine as put before us by Madame Blavatsky "is the absolute universality of that law of periodicity, of flux and reflux, ebb and flow, which physical science has observed and recorded in all departments of nature," and deals with science, periodicity and the basic universality of fundamental Laws.

And this is a proposition which constrains us to consider the law in all its many aspects. The law which is said to be universal throughout the universe, and from which nothing whatever is free. Everything is working according to laws of a certain kind. We may not know all these laws. Many of them are still being unrealized—and yet science has discovered many that we know. There may be many which we have not yet discovered. But every one of us is subject to these laws. They affect human beings just as much as they affect the stars or the atoms. And it is our purpose, I think, in this Theosophical Society, to try to understand what these laws are, and to accept the responsibility which these laws impose upon us, making us responsible for everything we do, and everything we say.

The universal law, called in the East, "Karma," suggests to us that we are at all times individually responsible for our thoughts and actions. There is a karma of nations as well as of persons but the law in all cases, arises from the background of the Oneness within which we are all rooted and we are therefore irrevocably responsible as parts within the same whole, each to the other, at all times. To say, I am you, seems at first sight somewhat unlikely, possibly uncharitable, but you will readily understand the truth behind such an observation. All we do, we do to ourselves, and all that happens to us is our own responsibility. We are all agents of karma, one to another, but the reasons behind anything that happens to you or me are those for which you and I are responsible.

The tennis ball that I hit against a wall is returned to me but the wall has no personal axe to grind. It is simply there and the means whereby the tennis ball is returned. We must learn to blame ourselves for the things which happen to us and not blame those through whom such things occur.
How easy it is to say, "They did this to me." I suggest to you that this is a false way of looking at it, and a way which encourages us to be selfish—selfish and to think wrongly about our neighbour. They did not do it to you. He or she is simply the wall from which your tennis ball was returned to you. They are simply the means whereby some course that you set in motion works out and reacts upon you. Whatever responsibility he or she may have is theirs, and not our business. And we should cease to blame people for what happens to us, and try to understand that at all times. And I repeat at all times—, no matter how difficult it may be to understand, at all times—, what happens to us is our own fault basically.
This Proposition of universal law, in its many functions, is reflected in the Second Object of our Society, in which we are called upon to "encourage the study of comparative religion (moral), philosophy (ethical) and science (physical)."

Since the early days of the Society conditions have changed enormously and now in many places the ecumenical spirit is around, but there is still so much religious bias and snobbery in many parts of the world that the need is still great for people to know for themselves far more about the other great religions and the common source around which they all centre, and so be ready for an honest and friendly understanding of their differences. Although the goal is one, the ways to it are many.

The Society itself is a non-sectarian organization. It does not try to replace any one's religion but only to make that religion more meaningful. Our membership consists of adherents to all the great faiths of the world. We have also done much to bring about understanding of eastern thought in the west, whilst trying to explain in eastern lands the deeper principles of the Wisdom that is to be found in the doctrine of Christianity, as they are to be found everywhere. In the last 100 years, thousands of members of our Society have helped to bring the Wisdom of West and East into a mutually comprehensive picture. Theosophy offers for consideration a rational or central theme for all religions and spiritual philosophies but it has never been our habit to dogmatize upon these or any other ideas that are held by many in our membership. It is at all times the duty and the privilege of the individual to come to his or her own conclusions in matters spiritual.

The Third Fundamental Proposition offered to us by Madame Blavatsky is given thus:

"The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul, the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root; and the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul—a spark of the former—through the Cycle of Incarnation or ‘Necessity,’ in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law, during the whole term."

This last expression "during the whole term" means presumably "distance in the duration of the universe in which we find ourselves." Everything within it, in other words, is in a continual state of evolution, moving from a less to a more—everything that we know. It thus includes the world of plants, the animals and human beings themselves.

Our Third Object—"To investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in the human being," concerns itself with the ways whereby the individual may find their way home, and leads us to consider ESP [Extra-Sensory Perception] on the one hand and yoga on the other.
A consideration of the unexplained laws of nature helps human beings to understand the forces to which they are continually subjected. In the knowledge of this they are better able to live the kind of life which will lead them to self-discovery. This world of the less known is often called "occult" in these days and people seem fearful of this word. It only means "hidden" and in Astronomy is applicable, for instance, to an eclipse in which you may say the sun is "occulted" by the moon. Many laws which were hidden and unknown have now been discovered by science, and are therefore no longer occult.

There is no reason for supposing that any of these laws could necessarily be put under the heading of witchcraft or black magic, any more than you would have put under those categories the laws pertaining to electricity before they were known and to some extent harnessed for usefulness to humanity. Electricity as a force is neither good nor bad. It is neutral and can be used for killing or for giving light. There are other forces in nature, no doubt, which may yet be discovered, or which may already be known to a few, and to each such force, the same will apply. It might, for instance, be turned in the direction of black magic or in the direction of what we call, white. The responsibility lies not with the force, but with the user.
Astrology, today, has become an interest to millions around the world and has recently been assailed by a large group of scientists. Perhaps their criticisms are, in a large measure, justified, as no one who is a true student of the occult science of astrology can feel happy with the pronouncements made in so many newspapers, which are a travesty, in most cases, of what that hidden science may one day prove to be. Madame Blavatsky, when asked if astrology was a true and reliable science, replied that, as a science, it was indeed accurate, but that astrologers were not, and perhaps in that statement lies an indication of how the deeper student might feel in this matter.

There are then also the many new discoveries that are going on in the world of the less-known. A bridge is being built from the world of occultism to the world of science, and we have such fascinating developments still mostly in their infancy such as the sensitivity of plants, the development of unusual forms of healing, experiments in thought transference, the spoon bending of Uri Geller, and still other things which are opening up for us. The inevitable recognition of a world which is beyond our normal senses, but just as real as the world of our senses is to him who has developed within himself the ability to perceive, is bound to come.

I myself have been, for instance, in the Philippines, and although I am not in a position to say that every healer in the Philippines is always successful, they may not always be. But I can only testify to the fact that I have seen things, which I do not begin to understand, performed by people who seemed, to me, really to be doing what they appeared to be doing; making incisions in people's bodies in different places and removing things. I do not believe it was coming as a trick. Men had the sleeves rolled up, and nothing in their hands, there was nobody else nearby, and at the beginning of every one of these operations, I became involved because the healer put my hand in his, stood behind me, and took my hand in his two hands, and pointed my finger at the patient, at the point where he wanted to make an incision. And without being anyone else near the patient, no one else at all, and I at least a yard from the patient, he simply did a gesture with my hand, just did this gesture as if cutting—and immediately a cut appeared either on the chest, the back, the leg, or wherever it was that he was interested in operating, a little cut appeared and started to bleed. And he did that, as far as I am concerned, with my hand.

I do not know how it is done, but he did it with my hand to a whole number of patients when I went to see him on several occasions. Even that, apart from anything else, is surprising enough. There are all sorts of things going on in our world of which we should be aware. We should not become dabblers in various phases of psychism: perhaps, we should beware of getting our fingers burned. But we should be equally awake to what is happening in the world, and know, so far as we are able to inform ourselves, of the very interesting things that are developing under what we would call part of the Third Object of ours, the investigation of the unexplained laws of nature.

The field of yoga also offers a fascinating study and may lead to sublime experiences. In the west the word yoga is confined all too often to physical Hatha Yoga, i.e. asanas, and not much else; whereas, in India, the home of yoga, it refers to a vast philosophy, the understanding and the living of which can lead the student to that most supreme of all possible human experience—the final realization of his oneness with the universal life, which some call God.

And Yoga, in India, means basically that, and the word is used for that. It is not basically used for anything else, except that supreme experience in which manhood and womanhood is lifted into God, the drop falls forever into the ocean, the spark is reunited with the flame—poets have put it beautifully in so many ways. And there is no other experience which could be more wonderful and utterly all-fulfilling than this. It is the end, it is the purpose, it is the goal of all our living. The reason perhaps for the existence for one's life here on earth. That we should one day go full cycle and return to our source. And really that is what Yoga means.

In the west we have missed out on much that is of enormous value in the study of yoga, but the interest of so many millions of younger people particularly, in yoga and meditation is basically a source of happiness to us all, even though it is obvious that there are problems and difficulties to be solved.

People ask, "What is meditation?" and again in a few words it is not easy to explain. When we look at something, we look at it from outside whereas a true meditation upon that same thing would mean an awareness of it from all sides, both inside and out, and an identity with the nature of that object or idea that is the subject of the meditation. By the identifying of ourselves with every deepening level of our consciousness, we come inevitably to the realization that the body is for our use as an instrument but that it is not essentially ourselves.

Other levels of consciousness can be perceived more objectively, and although each, in its turn, can never be said to be totally excluded from whatever it is that makes you—you, and me—me, each seeker comes eventually to a realization of an equal or possibly stronger identification of themselves in the opposite or spiritual direction. For the mystic this experience can be unutterably real but impossible to describe to anyone who has not had that same inner realization. It is so important that we try to understand the usefulness of this deep, inner self-realization for if we do not make ourselves open to expanding experience, we may sink back. In the absence of experience, we fall back on authority, and authority then becomes the dogma we try to impose on others, and that opportunity is lost.

All over the period of its existence, the Theosophical Society has had an influence through the many hundreds of thousands of members who have passed through its ranks. We are not essentially interested in gaining members but rather that we should make these ideas of basic philosophy available to other people.

Many of us who have come into this Society have found a deep, deep happiness in being brought in touch with an answer to many questions, although I cannot say that we know all the ins and outs of everything—I would not say that. Life has become more meaningful, deeper, more purposeful, somehow without being sentimental—there is a feeling of coming home. And it is this happiness that one wants to share. It is this opportunity that we want to communicate, and so the work of the Society has always been to go out and make available such ideas as have been revealed to us in the study of the theosophical philosophy.

Many times, in crises, people look for reasonable explanations of suffering, of injustice, of death. They may often even wonder why the world should get itself into such an economic tangle as it is today. And the study of Theosophy indeed helps us to understand, although no one will say that he or she individually has the answer to all questions.

There is a need then for the individual to accept responsibility for their own life. There is a need to discover, a need to know, a need to participate. How to live is important; that we start on this way is important; that we maintain our endeavour and purpose without swerving, and that we never give up is important too.

It is knowledge of these things that so many in the world still lack, and although they do not admit nor even perhaps suspect it, it is basically the wisdom of Theosophy which the world awaits.

We might have called it by some other name, and in other ages it has been so-called. And we might be considered conceited, proud, if we think that this Society is the only pebble on the beach, and is the only organization that can help, and that probably is not true either. But. it is one of those which can help, for it has helped thousands of people to find themselves, and to set out upon a life of inner realization which has brought them the deepest happiness that can be known and the life which expresses itself continually in greater service to our fellow human beings. And so it is possible that for all of us, here in this room, Theosophy also may have some answers to some of our questions, and may be able to put our feet, too, upon the first steps of the way which leads finally to a happiness, a joy and a peace that all humanity is seeking and so if I have called this talk, "The Wisdom the World Awaits," it is because I truly believe that the world, whether it knows it or not, is waiting for an answer. And the world today is seeking for a meaning in life, seeking to know the whys, and hows and wheres of the various troubles that surround us. And we, in this Movement, are able to do something to help. It is not all, but it is something worthwhile.

And so, any of you here who have not yet looked into the purposes of this Movement, I hope you will do so. Not because we want to have members, although, of course, we would like to have members, but because you, too, can become an ambassador of hope, an ambassador of hope in a world where so many people are in suffering, unhappiness and do not see the way out of their problems. And here, we can all begin. There is no one who cannot do something of this kind. The answer to the problem of the world lies with us. Governments may or may not do what they can. Great individuals can inspire and do, although we do not have sufficient great people in the world today. But every one of us is a responsible unit in the human family and the happiness of the humanity of the future is going to depend, inevitably, upon what you and I do. The answer to the questions is in our own hands. It is how we live that is going to affect the people. It is what we do that is going to mean happiness or misery for the generations that follow us. It is a great responsibility that all men and women of good will must accept upon their shoulders today. The responsibility of being a man, of being a real true woman in this world of problems, trouble and unhappiness. And the solutions will arise, as you and I change the patterns of our lives and adapt them to these abiding principles that we have been speaking of this afternoon. The principles of oneness of the law from which no one is exempt, and of the path which leads to peace. If you believe in these things, then let us go forth and do them, not only for ourselves, but for this world, which needs our help.

Image Attribution: Stacks of Wheat, End of Summer (1890–1891) by Claude Monet. Original from the Art Institute of Chicago. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel


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