Nelda Samarel – USA
I am quite certain that nothing new, nothing that already has not been said, is being added in response to this question. However, it is quite instructive for each of us to ask this question of ourselves, to ponder upon it, and to make whatever adjustments in our lives that may be a natural outcome of our query. And so I am grateful for the opportunity to ponder upon this question, essential for every true Theosophist.
Prior to attempting to state how we may make Theosophy a living force in the world, it is helpful to first define our terms. What is meant by “Theosophy”? Theosophy is a word, a doctrine, and a way of life. As a word, it simply means “wisdom of the Gods,” or “divine wisdom.” As a doctrine, Theosophy offers a unique body of knowledge which, when studied and understood, assists us in making sense of the universe and of our place in it.
Theosophy as a word and as a doctrine, however, are empty unless they are lived, unless Theosophy is a way of life for the student. This requires making the teachings, the doctrine, a part of oneself, assimilating the doctrine --- studying it, owning it, digesting it, and becoming one with it. When something is thus assimilated, as with any nutrient, it changes us; we are different than we were prior to its assimilation. Assimilation of Theosophical doctrine changes our outlook, broadens it, makes it more complete, resulting in a wider perspective on life and on living a more complete life.
This often is referred to as living Theosophy, as practical Theosophy in contrast with academic Theosophy. Making the doctrine come alive in our lives is what differentiates the two. Theosophy as a “living force” is a power that changes our lives.
The very first thought that came to mind when confronted with the question, “How can we make Theosophy a living force in the world?” was similar to what came to mind for many others who previously answered the same question: In order to make Theosophy a living force in the world, we first must make it a living force in ourselves.
Assimilation requires a willingness to change who and what we are, a willingness to accept changes in values and in a way of life. It is done, not through a conscious decision, although a conscious decision may be the first step in the process, but through an openness to the doctrine. This openness must be not only emotional and intellectual, but a spiritual or intuitional receptiveness, as well. We must allow the doctrine to penetrate, to permeate, not only Kama and Manas, but Buddhi. Buddhi only may be reached through meditation, the 2nd arm (following study) of the Theosophical Society.
If meditation is so essential, and I am suggesting that it is, what is needed in the Society, then, is in-depth meditative instruction and supported meditative practice, more than the occasional workshop and pre-meeting “moment of silence.” As members, we rightly place great emphasis and spend much time on study; I am suggesting that the same or greater emphasis be place on meditation.
Through study and meditation Theosophy becomes a living force in ourselves, absolutely necessary prior to thinking about making Theosophy a living force in the world; necessary, but not sufficient. The third arm of the Theosophical Society, service, is required in order to reach beyond ourselves and make Theosophy a living force in the world.
Addressing the American Section during an annual convention, when asked what is the hallmark of a true Theosophist, H.P. Blavatsky replied in a single word: “Altruism.” Altruism implies unselfishness, using the Theosophical doctrine and all that is learned from it not only for oneself, not only for our own growth, but in the service of others. It implies self-sacrifice, or making our actions sacred for the benefit of humanity. The Master K.H. has said,
“… it is the duty of every man who is capable of an unselfish impulse to do something, however little, for its (humanity’s) welfare. … Since there is hope for man only in man, I would not let (go) one cry whom I could save! ” (The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Chronological Edition, Letter 15, page 49)
And so it is suggested that the purpose of study and meditation is to ready oneself for service, for work on behalf of our brothers and sisters. Only then may Theosophy become a living force in the world, only through living the three arms of our Theosophical Society, only through study, meditation, and service.