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Adyar Pamphlets - No. 184

Third Object of the Theosophical Society

by

C. W. Leadbeater

THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE ADYAR, MADRAS, INDIA 

 1.              A member asked me a few days ago :

2.              Have we not as a Society rather neglected our Third Object? Very few have investigated the powers latent in man at first-hand. Is not the time coming when the Third Object should receive more attention?

3.              We, who are members of the Society, have we attended to it? Perhaps not very, assiduously. There are obviously two ways of investigating. People may make experiments for themselves, or they may study the experiments made by others. The latter method is that which is usually employed in the study of most sciences. It is only a few of us who take up any science and actually experimentalize in it. All of us at school long ago learnt something of astronomy; but I hardly imagine that many of you bought a large telescope and went into the study at first-hand. It happens that I did ; therefore I may say that I have a little first-hand knowledge of astronomy. Naturally, most of my information on the subject comes from books; I cannot pretend to have made astronomical investigations in the sense of trying to discover anything new; but I have at least confirmed something of what I have read in the books; and most people do not even go so far as that. I suppose that it is the same with many sciences. A person may know a great deal about any subject without having actually tackled it himself.

4.              So you will be doing something in order to learn about the powers latent in man if you read carefully what has been written of them, if you try to understand what these powers are, and to convince yourself of their reality by studying the enormous mass of printed evidence. Of course, you can do a good deal more if you take the thing in hand and try for yourself. A number of our members have been encouraged to do this, and a great deal of instruction has been given in regard to meditation, which is one of the safest of the methods of approaching this subject experimentally. But not all methods are safe; we have to remember that investigation at first-hand into the development of psychic powers has its dangers, and the tradition of our Society has always been to discourage people from rash experiments - I think quite rightly.

5.              Many books have been written upon Yoga practices - some of them, I fear, by people who have little practical acquaintance with the subject; and in a number of cases harm has resulted from ill-judged attempts to follow the directions given. I am told that there are Indian Yogis who give instruction in these arts; but the Yogi usually teaches only those who are definitely his pupils and follow him everywhere. He therefore has his experimenters always under observation, and can at once check anyone who may be running into danger; whereas the man who learns his Yoga from a book has no such safeguard. I have myself received a large number of applications for help from persons who have seriously injured their brains, their nervous system, and their constitution generally, by plunging blindfold into this kind of psychism ; and, sadly, often no effective help can be given. It is so easy to lose one's balance - so terribly difficult to regain it. That is why our beloved President [Annie Besant] has forbidden the sale of such books at any of the Theosophical shops under her direction.

6.              The President at least has been most careful not to give any dangerous advice, and has explained to her pupils that they should at once stop all meditation if any dangerous symptoms appear - even such as a headache. Those to whom psychic unfoldment comes fairly naturally, who would therefore be in very little danger, have been able to make progress along this line. But no one wants to be responsible for people risking their lives or their reason, and consequently those who know something about the subject have been exceedingly careful as to what they said. I personally made no attempt in that direction at all, until it was suggested to me by my Master that I might with advantage make certain experiments. I took that to mean that he would watch over them, so I made the experiments and the endeavour succeeded ; but I dare not advise any other person to do the same thing. I suppose the Master satisfied himself that in my case it could be done safely. I must not describe the method - indeed, I promised not to do so; but I have written what little I may as to the later stages of the training in my booklet "How Theosophy Came to Me".

7.              Still, there are certain things that we can all try without danger. The scheme of meditation which I have suggested in the final chapter of several of my books is quite harmless; but remember that you must not overstrain. These operations do involve a certain strain, whatever line is adapted; but they should not involve direct pain of any sort. In all such cases, we are working either with the higher vehicles altogether, or if we are using chiefly the physical brain, we are trying to make it do a little more than it is intended to do; and that is always a dangerous thing to attempt, so it must be done with the greatest care, and very gradually.

8.              "Have we neglected our Third Object?" We have always been told that the development of psychic faculty is not a necessity till a certain rather advanced stage is reached. Obviously, then, what we have to do first of all is to work at our character. Most of us find that there is still something to do along that line. My own plan, as I have already said, was to wait until I was directly told by my Master to move. That is absolutely safe, of course. Many of us might be willing to run a small risk for the sake of making some definite attempt in that direction ; but that is, naturally, a man's own responsibility.

9.              It is an uncertain undertaking, for no one can tell when any result will be reached. Some people with slight effort obtain at least indications that psychic powers may open; others try for a long time without any observable effect. At any time the man steadily working may break through, and no one ever knows how near he may be to success. On the other hand, we are bound to tell enquirers that we do not know how long or how difficult it will be. No person undertaking to train another could promise anything; even if he could see the past karma of the applicant, it would still be impossible to speak with certainty.

10.           The intermediate stage of carefully studying the subject is always open to us, and is always useful. Study the case of the people in whom such powers are developed. I myself learnt a good deal about such things before I made any attempt to advance in them myself. I went into the Highlands of Scotland to examine cases of what is called "second-sight". That is a bad name for it - it is really foresight. I examined very many cases, and absolutely satisfied myself that this strange foresight is possible, though without trying any experiments of my own. I think such a course might be called study of the powers latent in man, and of course it is open to anyone.

11.           Then there are experiments in telepathy or psychometry; many people can do something in that way with a little practice. Then there is always spiritualism, although the latter is chiefly concerned with trying to prove the return of the dead to earth. A great deal in mediumship, however, indicates the possession of latent powers by man ; though spiritualists preach the idea from another side, and wish a man to be absolutely passive and lay himself open to influences of all sorts, which we consider unsafe.

12.           The line recommended to us has always been to try to develop your own powers; to be active, not passive. It is true that the spiritualist tries first of all to engage a "spirit-guide" - some dead person who will act as a sort of guardian to the medium, and drive away all evil influences, while leaving him open to what is good. But this is not always sufficient; I have seen one case, at least, in which a spirit-guide was absolutely overpowered by an evil entity; and if a certain great person had not been physically present at that stance, it would have meant death for one or two people. So the spiritualistic method of investigation is not to be unreservedly recommended.

13.           I am not attacking spiritualism. I know that a vast amount of good has been done by it, though no doubt some harm as well. I was told many years ago that there were over twenty million people in the United States alone who had been convinced of the life after death by spiritualism. It would take a great deal of evil to counterbalance that. I am not attacking the system; but I have seen cases where things went very badly wrong with people who dabbled in spiritualism; so I cannot recommend it as a method, though a certain amount of physical-plane proof may be obtained along those lines for persons who cannot believe any evidence but that of their own eyes and ears. I satisfied myself as to the phenomena eventually, though I had to attend more than a hundred sťances to make quite sure. Some of these were actually fraudulent, many had no evidential value to my mind, but others absolutely did prove their case.

14.           Has the Society neglected its Third Object? If so, it is open to you to remove that reproach by beginning to study it now. Classes may be formed to read and discuss the voluminous literature on the subject, for before undertaking a serious and long-sustained effort to attain these powers, it is well to be absolutely convinced that there are powers to attain. When that stage of certainty is reached, it may be worth while to consider their cultivation. There is no doubt that one who is able and willing to enter upon that arduous course may be of the greatest use to his fellow-men, but it is indeed hard to find one who possesses all the necessary qualifications, for they are not only physical and mental, but; moral. And uttermost unselfishness and lack of all personal pride are among the first of these pro-requisites.

15.          

16.           [During the sessions of the Geneva Congress of the Federation of National Societies in Europe, C.W. Leadbeater contributed, on the 1st July, 1910, the following to the Symposium on "The Future of the Theosophical Society". - Unrevised Notes]

17.           I am supposed to speak to you on this subject of the Future of the T. S. which has been occupying the interest of the members for some days. It is rather hard to be late on the list to speak on a subject, as the previous speakers have already said so much worth considering. Still I will see whether I can make one or two suggestions.

18.           The first question is, Are we speaking of the distant future, or of the near future ?

19.           If we are thinking about the distant future, well, I personally have no doubt whatever as to that. The Theosophical Society will certainly continue its work, it will undoubtedly increase very greatly, not only in numbers, but I hope in usefulness and in influence. I have not the slightest hesitation in prophesying so far as that goes,

20.           But when you speak of the near future, well, it seems to me that that depends very largely upon ourselves who are members of that Society. We may all pull together for its Objects and carry them out, or, I suppose, if we are less wise, we may spend a great deal of time in arguing about the methods and interpretations.

21.           Methods of course change; they must change with the times. The best plan of doing the work half a century ago may not be the best plan now; and really, I fancy that our discussion is more about the best way of doing the work than about the work that has to be done. We all know what are the Objects of our Society, and I think we all agree that the Objects are good.

22.           No one is likely to dispute that the idea of trying in every way to promote the Brotherhood of Humanity is a good thing, and that to form a nucleus of that Brotherhood is a step towards greatly increasing its influence. But how the thing is best to be done is of course a question on which there may quite legitimately be many opinions, and there is not the faintest objection to there being many opinions.

23.           It is that, I submit, which keeps the Society alive and which we hope may prevent the crystallization against which our revered Leader was warning us. Certainly we must not crystallize, but must try to keep ourselves abreast of the times. But that which we have to give to the people in its fundamentals, I don't think that has changed or can change very greatly.

24.           You see, we have to try to spread abroad this idea of Brotherhood, but at the same time to remember that we are not creating a Brotherhood; it already, exists. But we want to bring people to realize it, and that they do not realize it fully you may see by looking around the world. Wars and rumors of wars, strikes and all kinds of misunderstanding and trouble between capital and labor, and one party and another, all these things are going on because brotherhood is not realized. We must try to help people towards a realization of it, and that, we know, is the principal object of the Society.

25.           I should regard the second and third Objects as subsidiary to that. The second Object, the study of comparative religions, is a very fine thing, because religious difficulties and religious quarrels have been among the most dangerous and fruitful causes of strife and separation. The study of comparative religions is intended to bring people to realize that in serious, fundamental aspects all these religions agree.

26.           Each has its own presentation, which is suitable for some and not for others; but in the fundamentals of what is the right line of conduct, what constitutes a noble and true man, all these religions would agree, and that is perhaps the only thing in religion that really matters. So that is a very long step towards brotherhood if you can get people to realize that all their religions amount to the same thing fundamentally.

27.           And then the third Object of the Society, to investigate the unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in man. That is also, I think, meant to give us a basis, a sound basis, for our thought and life and actions generally, because Occultism is simply the study of the inner side of Nature and man, and that study is necessary so that you may see the whole of life and not merely a part.

28.           If you are dealing with what you can see on the physical plane only, that is a very superficial view. There is always an inner side to everything in connection with the higher planes, and nearly always that inner side is a good deal more important than the outer side. And so, if we are to have any sort of a reasonable theory of life we must study that inner side of things. I think that is the reason for the promulgation of the third Object.

29.           So that really all these things are to help the great idea of Brotherhood. It is because we wish to understand - those of us who are really in earnest - the whole and not only a part, that this system which we call Theosophy has been revealed to us.

30.           I hope I shall not hurt the feelings of my friend * * * *, if I venture to think that the very strong distinction, or even antithesis, which he makes between revelation and realization is perhaps almost a little illusory. It seems to me as though they were two stages of the same thing, because every new fact is a literal revelation when it is first stated. It really must be so.

31.           When Professor [Albert] Einstein propounds an entirely new theory you may accept it or you may not; but, if you do for the moment it is a revelation. But then if it is to be of any use, you must consider it for yourself and try to understand it. I don't say that everyone who follows Professor Einstein thoroughly understands his theories. I think there are distinct difficulties myself . But every new theory, when it is first propounded, must be a revelation.

32.           Madame Blavatsky, who was the revealer so far as Theosophists were concerned in those early days of the Theosophical Society, always said to us: "Now here are the facts, but don't believe them because I tell you. You must take them, turn them over in your mind, see whether they appear reasonable to you, whether they are the best way of accounting for life, and whether they solve any of your problems. If you accept them you must do so not on my authority, but because having examined them you think them to be the best hypotheses that have yet been put before you."

H. P. B. used to insist upon this, and the Masters, from whom she in turn got her facts, always insisted upon this too: 'A truth is no use to you unless you have thought it out, thought around it, and turned it over in your mind, and seen whether it is really the best explanation for you. We have never been under the illusion (nor was she either) that We know the whole truth. Most certainly not.

We are entirely incapable of knowing the entire truth about almost anything at our present stage. We are very proud of our intellect in this Aryan Root-Race whose special business it is to develop it. Certainly it has made wonderful achievements. The discoveries of the scientific men of the present age are marvelous, and they stand out greatly in advance of anything of the same kind that was ever done before. Much of what they have discovered was known to the ancients, but it was known to a very few only, and perhaps not tabulated in the way in which in these days we try to tabulate all our knowledge. So that there is something to be proud of in this development; but because it is the latest thing, and it is our special business to develop it, we are just like a child with a new toy, or a man with a new discovery; we think we know everything, whereas there are higher levels to which mere reason does not reach.

Mind, you have to judge by your own reason, just as a man has to obey his own conscience, even though, as has been said, it may sometimes be the conscience of a fool. But it is all he has, and he has to stick to it. You cannot say that you know anything which lies beyond reason, and yet there is sometimes an inner conviction that you do know it.

In these days when there are many Theosophical books, so many that they would fill half a library, I suppose you cannot imagine the way in which this system of thought that we call Theosophy came to us in those early days - when there were only two or three books. You cannot put yourself hack into the state of mind of a man of reasonable religious disposition in the middle of the last century when I was born, for example. The orthodox system of Christianity as it was presented to us then was frankly incredible. It did not solve many of our problems, but presented us with the most glaring injustice as being true of God. We were like people living in a gloomy cave filled with a chaos of inexplicable superstition. So the revelation Theosophy came to us like a great light flashing out of the darkness, which enabled us to step out of that gloomy cave into the sunlight of a reasonable theory. It was something that at least explained a good deal and held out to us the promise that when we evolved and knew more, all these difficulties would gradually dissolve in the light of reason, common-sense, and more perfect powers.

33.           You can imagine what a relief that was to a thinking man. We had had before then to put aside all kinds of vital problems because we simply could not face them with the religious teaching given that drove many of the greatest minds, many of the keenest thinkers, into an atheistic, or at any rate an agnostic, position.

34.           The first time I had the honor of hearing your present President speak in public was in the Hall of Science in London, where she was delivering a lecture, not along Theosophical lines - in fact, I think the Theosophical Society had been founded only a few years. I won't say she was speaking against Christianity, but she was speaking against the orthodox presentation of the religion at that time.

35.           I was then a curate of the Church of England, and I must admit that she hit us pretty hard. The worst of it was that what she said was unquestionably true. I thought she pressed a little unduly hard on some points, but very logically she pushed these things to their conclusion. That was the first thing that started me to trying to get the facts, because I saw from what she said that facts were the only things that really mattered.

36.           I hope you won't have my experience, any of you, because every effort you'd make to prove the assertions of orthodox religion would fail. I don't believe that short of actual evidence you could prove that Christ really lived in Palestine. There seems little proof for anything that really happened.

37.           There was no question of revelation to us in those early days, for Madame Blavatsky always said: "Don't accept it because I say so, but think it out for yourself." We had good reason to see the wisdom of that advice only a very little later, because I knew some estimable ladies who had accepted Theosophy rather rapidly because Madame Blavatsky said so.

38.           Then came the report of the Society for Psychical Research, of which no doubt you have heard because it is ancient history now, and which stated that Madame Blavatsky was unreliable and a charlatan! So all the people who had accepted Theosophy merely because of Madame Blavatsky reasoned - it was the first time they did reason!- if she is unreliable in these other points, the teaching may be unreliable also.

39.           Of course, that is not logical, it is non sequitur, but they dropped the whole thing. I know a good deal about that Report because I was at Adyar when Mr. Hodgson came there, and I have my own opinion of his unscientific methods.

40.           At any rate, those who accepted Theosophy merely because H. P. B. said so were terribly upset at his Report and dropped the whole business. We did not. Why ? Only because we had listened to what she said, and thought the thing over, reasoned it out, and said; " Well, I can't tell whether this is so or not, but I think it must be so because it answers the questions, because it is the only reasonable hypothesis to account for life as we see it."

41.           That is a good basis to go on, for the very first time I heard the whole thing I somehow knew inside that it was all true. I may say that my soul leapt out to grasp it and take it with " open arms ". But I could not have proved to you in any way why that was so. I did not know why it was so then. I do know now.

42.           It was not a reasoning acceptation only, it was an absolute subjective certainty. You may say that might be all an illusion. Certainly it might, yet when one has an intuitional conviction like that it is no use reasoning about it. Somehow one knows, one feels. And we received it. I cannot begin to tell you what it was to us. But it would not be quite fair to say that I accepted it on cold reason only, because I had that certainty within.

43.           But when I have tried to follow Madame Blavatsky's example in spreading the gospel of Theosophy I always said, " Don't believe anything just because I tell you, because I am liable to make mistakes just as any human being can." I can only tell you what I have seen, what has been revealed. It is perfectly real to me, and I have taken a good deal of trouble to convince myself that it is not merely an illusion.

44.           Of course I know that people sometimes come to the stage when they wonder whether anything is real or not. I may be absolutely under an illusion when I think I am standing here and talking to you ; and you may all be under a collective hallucination when you think that you are sitting here and listening to me. But if this is real, then all the other things are real too, and they have a philosophy even greater than reality, which comes from the higher realization.

45.           That is only my personal testimony in the matter, and I should not wish that any human being should base his convictions on that. He may take it; if he will, as evidence, but it is not proof; and he must remember that, and he must arrange his thoughts accordingly all the way through.

46.           Our great leader, Annie Besant, has borne testimony to what she has seen, but I feel sure that she will agree with me when I say that she would wish no one to believe merely on that. Take the thing, and consider it, and turn it over, and if it seems to you the best and most reasonable thing, accept it. There is no reason why you should not do that, that I can see, because we are all doing it in regard to science every day. Very few of us have made the experiments upon which scientific theories are based. It would be said, of course, that we could repeat those experiments if we knew how. Of course, that is a large assumption, and the scientific people do not invariably agree among themselves.

47.           We have to accept the testimony of specialists in most cases. I think often of astronomy because that is a subject that I happen to have studied. There we have to be always ready to revise accepted opinions when any new fact is brought before us. We look through our telescopes, and we see something remarkable taking place in some far-off star, millions and millions of miles away, almost countless millions. First of all we know that that thing which we actually see is not happening now, but that it happened many years ago, in some cases thousands of light-years ago, and we are seeing it now only because the light which left that star at that period has taken all that time to reach us. We cannot tell what it is that has caused the apparent explosion, if that is the particular phenomenon we happen to be observing.

48.           We form our theory. We try to account for what we see, but often later discoveries force us to modify that theory. Take something quite close, for example, our own moon. Various phenomena are to be observed in examining the moon. Only quite lately I notice that there has been quite a considerable change as to the causes which produce the conditions we see now.

49.           Always in science you have to make hypotheses for these things which you cannot reach, and the best hypothesis holds the field until something better is found, or until facts turn up which cannot be reconciled with that, and then the hypothesis must either be changed or extended.

50.           If you will ground your belief in spiritual revelations on the same sort of scientific basis, I don't think you will easily be shaken or troubled. New facts may be presented to you, you may see the old facts in a new light, but that does not alter them. Remember that facts are true as far as they go, but deductions from them may always be revised. The facts may be imperfectly seen, but they themselves are unaltered; we may learn more about them, learn how to see them more clearly, and that, I think, we should always be ready to do in our Theosophical teachings.

51.           Times change, and the method of presentation of our doctrine, as I have said, may have to change with it, but the broad outline of Theosophy simply is so. Don't imagine for a moment that because that is so, and that some of us can say that we know it to be so, don't imagine that we know the whole of it. There will always be wider and wider vistas opening before us. Whether we shall ever arrive at a full knowledge, how can one say ? But at any rate we try to mould our lives by the things we do know, and surely that is a reasonable basis to take.

52.           So, when you speak of the future of our Society, I say the immediate future is very largely in our own hands. If we can be liberal in our thought, ready to face new facets and new presentations of the truth, then surely we shall be able to carry on and to hold our rather heterogeneous crowd together.

53.           But remember that the aspect from which you look at truth does not matter so long as you realize the great central facts. We cannot allow ourselves to be swept by differences of opinion into an attitude of hostility towards others of our brothers who are seeking the same goal. Their path may be different. Well, there are many paths.

54.           I know quite well that our Krishnaji [J.Krishnamurti] has been teaching that the highest of all is pathless, either that there is no specified path or that every man must find his own. That is true; but we have to remember, haven't we, that we are not all at the heights where we can hew out some entirely new scheme for ourselves. Nor, I think, would it be wise to ignore definite, recorded facts.

55.           I read some years ago of a shepherd boy who, somewhere out with his sheep, gradually thought out for himself the general rules of what we call geometry, and actually succeeded in rediscovering, or at least in reproducing, by himself, many of the problems and demonstrations in Euclid. I suppose that hard thinking with the right kind of brain - he must have been something different from a shepherd boy in his past life - can bring you to what has already been reached. But it is our principle in civilization to take advantage of the labours, the revelations, of those who have gone before.

56.           If every man has to begin from the beginning, knowing nothing, it seems to me we should waste an enormous amount of time. I suppose if we were to push that theory to its extremity, you must never teach a child anything because you would be prejudicing his mind. But of course that is not reasonable or logical. The child comes newly into the world so far as his brain and vehicles are concerned. I cannot see any reason why you should not acquaint him with the conditions around him, while leaving him to discover anything new for himself.

57.           Well, that is what we are doing in the Society, isn't it ? We are putting before people a revealed system which appears to us to be the best. I think we cannot do better than that. But if you endeavor to force your ideas upon anybody you are violating one of the fundamental laws of life, and that leads to persecutions and all the terrible things that the Christian Church did in medieval times, and even now it is not entirely free from the persecuting spirit.

58.           And so, it seems to me, that the future of our Society will rest greatly upon our adaptability, for one thing; and yet, on the other hand, on the adherence to our general principles. We can make what we will of it. I do not think it ever will or can be destroyed. Our Masters once said that if only three people remained faithful to this inner teaching, " We shall still be with them to help and to strengthen them." It will never come to that, but if it did I can only say personally that I am going to be one of the three; that is, if I am alive on this plane. But it won't come to that.

59.           Can't you see that many of you have assimilated, or you think you have, the Theosophical teaching, and you feel it is all the same story over and over again ? A lecturer starts to speak about reincarnation and karma, and you say, " We know all about karma." Now it takes a great deal to know all about karma. Our President [Annie Besant] herself has written no less than three books on karma.

60.           What I want to say is, don't despair of your future. Great and new aspects of the truth, new ways to attain it, are being very beautifully, very poetically, very forcefully put before you. Try them, and follow by all means, if that is the way it appeals to you. I feel very strongly that every man must think for himself, and in thinking for himself he must follow that which seems to him to be the best.

61.           I cannot quite hold that there is only one Path, because, after all, we do see around us numbers of people striving to be more than good and making progress along different lines of teaching. I have myself seen personally, and I am sure you have too, men of the most excellent life in every way, good, splendid, charitable, noble gentlemen, everything that they should be; and I have seen them among Roman Catholics, Baptists, Congregationalists, Buddhists, Hindus, Parsis, and all sorts of religions.

62.           But being " good" has very little to do with the form of your belief, it has a good deal to do with your putting it fully into practice. And so I can hardly subscribe to the idea that there is only one path, but I should most certainly say that they all converge to this extent, that you must try to understand the truth for yourself and you must not accept it blindly.

63.           I do think that on that point we can all agree. And, as I told you, Madame Blavatsky taught it from the beginning, and our Masters have taught it from the beginning. But remember, while there be scriptural texts which you can use on either side in a discussion on that point, there is another older one which seems to cover the point, for the Lord Himself is represented as saying, " Upon whichever path a man approaches me, on that path do I meet him, because all the paths from every side are Mine."

64.           If we recognize that, then while being entirely true to our own convictions we shall also be infinitely charitable towards the convictions of others. And that, I think, is the most important thing of all in the many discussions about the existence or non-existence of the mystic path, the occult path, and so on. Follow whichever suits you, whichever pleases you, but don't revile or despise the brother who is following the other.

65.           Recognize that they also have and ought to have a place in the sun. Recognize that they, too, may be right. It is quite possible for people to hold opposite opinions and yet have a good deal to be said for them both. When we know the whole of the truth we shall see that all these different paths do eventually converge.

66.           And so I would say, "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind," and the best way to attain that full persuasion is to go ahead and work. You cannot be doing wrong if you are working for the good of mankind. Of course, there will arise the question, What is the good of mankind ? Well, there are very many lines of activity about which no one can be in doubt. But because you may be divided on the question as to what you think is nearest to the truth, don't cease active work. Go on with whatever good work you have been doing.

67.           You have not only your own soul to save. You might hold out a helping hand to a brother who stands a step lower than you, and you do not permit any useful activity because you are not quite certain about some aspect of truth which you may be considering.

68.           It was St. Paul who said what I have just quoted, " Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." But in the meantime remember another saying: " They that do the will of my Father which is in heaven, they shall know of the doctrine whether it be true." And never forget that all our ideas of truth, of whatever kind they may be, are imperfect at present The only perfect truth must be on higher planes. Let brotherly love guide you. You may differ as much as you like in opinions, but you must not let it lead to any sort of ill-feeling or any sort of conceit in your superior discernment in being able to see what to you is the right path. It may be the right path for you, and yet it may not be the right one for me. There are many paths.

69.           Let us stand together in brotherhood and carry on our work whatever that work may be. There is plenty of time later on to argue exactly what this means and what that means, but, as to the work, that is present and it ought to be done. Let us spread our knowledge, as far as it goes, by every means in our power. And I think if we do that, for one thing, we shall find ourselves so occupied in that that these other things will perhaps cease to trouble us. And then, for another, we shall be definitely helping in the scheme of evolution which, as Krishnaji said in At the Feet of the Master, is God's plan for man.

70.           Don't let yourselves be worried or troubled about differences of opinion. Why should you worry? Hold your own opinion, keep perfectly steady and calm. Let us be Theosophical; we are more likely to see the truth, and meanwhile we shall save ourselves worry.

71.           So I say let us stand as brethren and work together. The Brotherhood of Man is the great reality and wonderful reality. If we are to be a nucleus of a higher side of that, then surely the brotherhood of this Society ought to mean a very great deal to us. I hope and believe it does. I have had forty-seven years of it, I shall remain in it until the end of this incarnation at any rate, and I hope that I may know enough in the next incarnation to join it again.

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