In my first article on universal brotherhood for Theosophy Forward, "Do We Truly Aspire to Universal Brotherhood," we saw that, according to the Mahatmas, universal brotherhood "is the only secure foundation for universal morality . . . and it is the aspiration of the true adept." And thus it provides the safe moral basis for the study of universal ideas which lead to a knowledge of the Laws of Life. This article will briefly examine how an understanding of the mystic aspects of universal brotherhood will help put our understanding of universal morality on a "secure foundation," that is, in line with the laws of life.
One way of considering the nature and constitution of the universe is to consider it as a ladder of hierarchies of beings from the highest to the lowest in the evolutionary progression of life. Within that scheme, humanity has not only a special role but also has a special unified nature. To understand why humanity has a special unified nature we need to look at what the Ancient Wisdom says about our sevenfold constitution.
What we, each member of humanity, truly are is not to be found in our lower nature alone but in our higher nature, in our higher principles. It is in the mystic relationship of our higher principles to the higher spiritual hierarchies that we must look if we are to find who we truly are and what our true relationship to each other is. Theosophy teaches that each of humanity's principles was and is given to us by one of the hierarchies. We are told, for example, that our linga sharira was given by the hierarchy known as the Lunar Pitris and that our mind or manas was given by the hierarchy known as the Solar Pitris, also known as Manasaputras. It is this latter principle, manas and its donating hierarchy, that is most informative to study in order to understand more about the reality of the universal brotherhood of humanity. Briefly, the teaching is that during the third Root Race, some eighteen million or so years ago, the mind or manas principle of the humanity of that time was quickened by the action of the Solar Pitris, whose karmic duty it was to assist the evolution of humanity (Collected Writings 12:411):
"Occult philosophy teaches us that the human mind (or lower Manas) is a direct ray or reflection of the Higher Principle, the Noëtic Mind. The latter is the reincarnating Ego which old Aryan philosophers call Manasaputra, the "Sons of Mind" or of Mahat, the Universal Cosmic Mind".
Our mind or manas is a direct ray or reflection of our higher manas, which is the reincarnating Ego, the Manasaputra. Humanity's special unified nature is due to the unified nature within each hierarchy, in our case, that of our higher Egos, the Manasaputras, whose "Individuality is the characteristic of their respective hierarchies, not of their units" (Secret Doctrine 1:275):
"none of these Beings, high or low, have either individuality or personality as separate Entities, i.e., they have no individuality in the sense in which a man says, 'I am myself and no one else'; in other words, they are conscious of no such distinct separateness as men and things have on earth. Individuality is the characteristic of their respective hierarchies, not of their units."
Each of us, each member or "unit" of Humanity, does not have a personality or individuality as a separate entity. We and all of humanity are inseparable parts of the hierarchy to which we belong. However, it should not be thought that there is no such thing as individuality in the spiritual sense within the hierarchies (Secret Doctrine 2:246):
"tradition shows the celestial Yogis offering themselves as voluntary victims in order to redeem Humanity—created god-like and perfect at first—and to endow him with human affections and aspirations. To do this they had to give up their natural status and, descending on our globe, take up their abode on it for the whole cycle of the Mahayuga, thus exchanging their impersonal individualities for individual personalities [italics added]—the bliss of sidereal existence for the curse of terrestrial life. This [was a] voluntary sacrifice of the Fiery Angels, whose nature was Knowledge and Love."
Thus one way to perceive the difference between life on Earth and on the plane of the hierarchy to which we belong is the difference between individual personality and impersonal individuality. The life of the individual personality we all experience; the keynote is one of perceived separateness of the self. At the level of our higher Ego on its own plane, the keynote appears to be the direct perception of the unity of the hierarchy. The sense of Self or Individuality is founded on a direct perception of the unity of life. This perception is not only of Knowledge but also of Love. This direct Knowledge of unity and its co-existing Love is the very nature of our higher Ego.
Here we see that both the study of universal ideas leading to knowledge of the laws of life and also the practice of universal brotherhood are necessary for us to return, that is, to evolve consciously towards our inherent true nature, which is Knowledge and Love. Put into practice, such study and practice will lead to a greater influence in our life from our inner God, our own higher Ego, the Manasaputra, which, if listened to, will help the flowering of these qualities. The illusion of our individual personality here on Earth deludes us to see ourselves as separate from one another and all the problems separateness creates. The impersonal—meaning not cold or indifferent but "without distinction," hence the universal love required for the practice of universal brotherhood—is a reflection of our impersonal individuality, our higher Ego and its Love.
The indivisible unity of humanity at the mystic plane of the higher Ego is the underlying reality of human life, and the evolutionary attainment of that understanding is humanity's true purpose. By understanding those two truths, we can begin to realise how universal brotherhood can be "the only secure foundation for universal morality," by which we should live our lives.