DUTY from a Standpoint of an Occultist

Note from the editor: This is written some 110 years ago by the Swedish-American publicist Jacob Bonggren. (see photo) Discovered this text coincidentally while working in the Adyar archives and although style and phrasing are typically related to the early 20th century, its content is spot on.

Theosophy From 2 Jacob Bonggren

The author

First published in The Theosophic Messenger of January, 1908 volume 9 issue 4 page 65

 Theosophy From 3


  • Duty is not what others ought to do; it is what I myself ought to do. 
  • If we do what we consider to be right, then we do our duty.


  • If we think that someone else is not doing his duty we simply see our own faults in others, and as long as we get angry when thinking or speaking of the defects of others, we ourselves have the same defects and should try to eradicate them in ourselves as quickly as possible. 
  • We are certainly at liberty to denounce all human defects and imperfections as such and in general, but we should not denounce the particular brothers who show these defects. 
  • The most effective way of helping others to do their duty is to do our duty and to thereby give a good example for others to follow. 
  • We should never expect others to do their duty if we don't do our duty. 
  • Defects are like specks of dirt; they can be washed off and removed. We should remove our own defects wash off our own specks of dirt; then others will finally do the same thing. Defects are not inherent in the individual; therefore no one should be blamed for them. They are specks of dirt that can be removed whenever we want to – in us
  • We must refer everything to ourselves and blame ourselves, if we want to blame anyone. 
  • It is our duty to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to have no enemies. Our love is for all beings, for the brothers who call themselves our enemies just as much as for those who call themselves our friends. 
  • There is one way of trying to understand our duty fully: to bear always in mind the unity. "I am that" (Tat) our Hindu brother says repeatedly, identifying himself with all the realities as well as unrealities. 

If anyone is to blame, "I am that”. (Tat) 

Remember this, everyone! 

All the duty is FOR ME. And the fruits of action are FOR ALL. 

Peace to all beings.  


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