Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil
[This editorial is condensed from a talk given during the openings procedures of ITC 2017 held in Philadelphia from August 10 -13]
One of the three main founders of the TS, William Quan Judge, at one point in time referring to a discussion he had with HPB in London, remembered what she in her own candid way had told him regarding the nucleus:
“You were not directed to found and realize a Universal Brotherhood, but to form the nucleus for one ; for it is only when the nucleus is formed that the accumulations can begin that will end in future years, however far, in the formation of that body which we have in view.” [From: Yours till Death and after, HPB - Reprinted in Sunrise magazine, August/September 1985].
Many wise women and men have written at length about Brotherhood and its Nucleus, so, what is there still to add?
Theosophists from the various traditions currently meet regularly on the platform of International Theosophy Conferences. Obviously their backgrounds are diverse, Theosophically speaking even very diverse, and although we consider ourselves Theosophists, over the past, let’s say 122 years we’ve gone out of our way to act in a manner among ourselves you wouldn’t expect from folks who are supposed to be tolerant freethinkers, claiming to strive for Brotherhood.
Although it is a bumpy ride at times, we can all agree that Brotherhood exists, being a fact in nature, and in that sense it has always existed and it will always remain. But if we are talking about the realization of brotherhood it is a different question. In this context Adyar-icon Joy Mills often mentioned, that we went astray, we had left our “home”, and that it is time to return to it, but in order to do so we need to heal and have a serious look at ourselves.
To return home, to heal and to become whole again in the broadest sense, we have to be aware of the Self which is the first step toward greater awareness of the divine dimension in oneself and in life. It’s all about knowing who we really are, not what others might tell us we should be. To reach knowledge of our transcendental, spiritual Self, we must begin to perceive the obstructions in the personality. We recognize our habits and emotional reactions, our prejudices, fears, or better said, the psychological patterns that largely govern the ways we handle situations and our feelings.
These patterns are not necessarily harmful or bad, but we must find the ones that are obstructions to us spiritually. Because if we do not, they can blind us to other, freer possibilities for living more spontaneously in the moment and can distort the way we see ourselves, our lives and others. As we become less dominated by habitual patterns, we can learn to live increasingly from a higher perspective and our problems, differences, become less urgent and we see our lives and our fellow seekers in an overall, balanced, and mature manner.
A system of knowledge, or a system of thought, per definition is not absolute. We need to observe and investigate that what is handed out to us, explore, and verify it, but in the end, we must decide for ourselves what applies to us, never on the authority of someone else. That is why the FREEDOM OF THOUGHT principle, so clearly formulated by the TS-Adyar in a resolution implemented in 1924, gives us tools to always remain seekers for Truth, never proclaiming it.
To be active in any Theosophical cell or group calls for responsibility, the commitment to serve cannot be taken lightly. If indeed we want to help this terribly fragmented world, if we really want to be that healing force it is apparent that studying Theosophy alone is far from sufficient. Theosophical studies are often regarded as being purely intellectual exercises. These studies however should provide paths toward tools and practicalities to lend helping hands in the world around us, making others aware of the fact that there is a Divine Wisdom as old as the planet,
If Brotherhood is a given fact, then how are we to come to that nucleus?
This can only be accomplished by going out into the world, setting practical examples and by making Theosophy a living force in our own lives.
In her book Human Regeneration the former International president of the TS Adyar Radha Burnier stated: “Theosophists do not seek wisdom for themselves but for the world they live in and the more deeply devoted they are, the more they can contribute to the regeneration of mankind, and the more ardently they seek to understand themselves and the world, they will find that they are able to penetrate further into the secret of life.”
If in 1875 there was a good reason for the Masters to allow our vehicle to start off, to make known through their channel H.P.B. that such a thing as Theosophy exists, although not all of them were equally enthusiastic, we can earnestly ask ourselves the question whether Theosophy is still relevant in our day and age. But let’s first look at that year, 1875, the world had taken a materialistic turn, and mankind erroneously thought it knew everything there was to know. It is a few decades after the finish of the industrial revolution, the first trains ride, Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone in 1876, Thomas Edison invents the tin foil phonograph in 1877, Charles Parson patents the first steam turbine in1884 and in 1887 Emile Berliner invents the gramophone. Also, most of the social, political and financial systems we see in 2017 found their origin in that same era: socialism, communism, liberalism, conservatism, capitalism, fundamentalism and all those other “isms”; so much was going on in the world when on November 17, 1875 in New York the TS was founded.
So, we are 142 years on the road with our movement, that is just a tiny drop on eternity’s hotplate. Is there an analogy with what happened around 1875? The answer, without a doubt is yes, so much is going on right now. Technical developments are hard to follow, we’re all interconnected through tablets, smartphones and computers. Medical science is able to cure many types of cancer that 25 years ago were incurable, we can transplant hearts, livers, lungs, through nanotechnology it might become possible that in a nearby future radio- and chemo therapy won’t be administered any longer, not to speak of what possibilities will come to light through stem-cell research. We send satellites into space that will travel far beyond our solar system in search of earth-like planets. and within a few decades we will send people on a mission to land on Mars.
But has the world really changed for the better, since 1875, in spite of all that so-called progress, have we really been able to deepen ourselves, has mankind demonstrated that it can let go of all the personal, did we do away with the “I”? Was it possible for us, earthlings, to grasp the notion that, as much as this was the case in 1875, religious misuse, religious misunderstanding and religious misinterpretation have brought our civilization once more to the brink of a total collapse?
So, if in 1875 the Masters did have good reasons to initiate another impulse, I dare to state that in 2017 the motives are still there, but now a hundredfold, because since the founding of the TS we have been introduced to new phenomena such as cooperate greed, inadequate educational systems, far going corruption, environmental disasters, fully ignored by a few who stubbornly deny climate-change, inequality among the peoples of this planet, severe famine and the darkish grip the almighty stock markets have on our daily lives.
When, in 1875. Henry Olcott spoke during his inaugural address in New York, he mentioned that he preferred not to be seen as a founder but as a former of the TS instead, therefore all who consider themselves Theosophists could look at themselves as formers of the movement, just as Olcott did. With that in mind we indeed shall come to the forming of a nucleus which by no means is an elite, buta cell being a part of a larger body that will consist of an inspired, motivated, active, unselfish group of women and men, who are taking on the challenge to come together with as goal to preserve, vitalize and keep the teachings accessible for those who knock, driven by an attitude to altruistic service.
So, what is our next step going to be?