Remembering HSO's vision
Dec 22, 2008 01:11 AM
by Pedro Oliveira
"The time seems to have come for me to say a word or two about the
constitution and ideals of the Theosophical Society, so that they may
be made perfectly plain to the thousands of new colleagues who have
entered our membership within the past five years. The American
public, out of whose bosom the Society evolved, is entitled to the
first word on this subject from their compatriot; whose love for
India and absorption in the Society's life have never quenched his
patriotic feeling for the land of his forefathers.
After the lapse of nineteen years, the small group of friends who
casually met in the drawing-room of H.P. Blavatsky, in Irving Place,
New York City, has expanded into a Society with nearly four hundred
chartered Branches in the four quarters of the globe; known of all
men; discussed, complimented, reviled and misrepresented in almost
all languages; denounced usually, but sometimes praised in the pulpit
and the press; satirized in literature, and grossly lampooned on the
stage. In short, an important factor in modern thought and the
inspiring cause of some high ideals. Like every other great movement,
it has its centres of intensest activity which have developed amidst
favouring environments, and, as in other cases, the evolutionary
force tends to shift its swirl from place to place as these
conditions change. Thus, for instance, India was the first centre
where the thought-engendering power accumulated, and our movement
overspread the Great Peninsula from North to South, from East to
West, before it flowed westward. What was done at New York was but
the making of the nucleus, the bare launching of the idea. When the
Founders sailed away to Bombay, in December 1878, they left little
more than the name of the Society behind them; all else was chaotic
and unmanifested. The breath of life entered its infant body in
India. From the great, inexhaustible store of spiritual power
garnered up there by the Ancient Sages, it came into this movement
and made it the beneficent potentiality it has become. It must be
centuries before any other country can take its place. A Theosophical
Society with its base outside India would be an anomaly; that is why
we went there.
The first of the outflowing ebb went from India to America in 1885-6.
Ceylon came into line six years earlier, but I count Ceylon as but
an extension of India. After America came Europe. Then our movement
reached Burma, Japan and Australasia. Last of all, it has got to
South Africa, South America and the West Indies.
What is the secret of this immense development, this self-sowing of
Branches in all lands? It is the Constitution and proclaimed ideals
of the Society; it is the elastic tie that binds the parts together;
and the platform which gives standing room to all men of all creeds
and races. The simplicity of our aims attracts all good, broad-
minded, philanthropic people alike. They are equally acceptable to
all of that class. Untainted by sectarianism, divested of all
dogmatic offensiveness, they repel none who examine them impartially.
While identified with no one creed, they affirm the necessity and
grandeur of the religious aspiration, and so bid for the sympathy of
every religious-minded person. The Society is the open opponent of
religious nihilism and materialistic unbelief. It has fought them
from the first and won many victories among the best educated class.
The Indian press testifies to its having stopped the tendency towards
materialism, which was so strong among the college graduates before
our advent. This fact is incontestable, the proofs are overwhelming.
And another fact is, that a drawing together in mutual good-will has
begun between the Hindu, Buddhist, Parsi and Mussulman Fellows of the
Theosophical Society; their behaviour towards each other at the
Annual Conventions and in the local Branches, shows that. It is a
different India from what it was prior to 1879, and the late tour of
Mrs. Besant lightened up the sky with prophetic brightness."
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