Boris de Zirkoff – USA
[Note from the editor: this article was first published in the spring of 1957]
A Living Philosophy For Humanity
No. 4 (70) - Spring 1957
[Original over photo: Picturesque Scene on the Coast of Brazil.]
A great many students of Theosophy, especially members of various Theosophical Organizations, are eagerly expecting the appearance in the world of a direct Messenger from the Brotherhood of Adepts sometime around 1975.
Their belief is based upon various pronouncements by the Founders of the modern Theosophical Movement. Such pronouncements are usually quoted out of their actual context, robbing them of one or another aspect of their true meaning. A certain statement regarding a fact in nature, or the possibility of a condition, coupled to a strong sentimental wish that it would occur, add up in the long run to a fairly strongly established dogmatic belief, that can easily become a set article of faith, particularly in matters religious.
In connection with the subject of the periodic appearance of spiritual Teachers among men, it should be borne in mind that they take place in response to a call on the part of the more awakened portion of mankind, seeking a greater light. This obvious fact in the operations of Nature is usually disregarded by students, creating the impression that the Adepts have a habit of sending out some Envoy or another at periodic times, irrespective of existing conditions in the world, and merely because the latter part of a century has dawned. This is a mechanical view of things which finds no support in the natural functions of Nature.
If the Adepts must gear the appearance of their Envoys to the passage of our centuries, they are therefore powerfully influenced in their actions by the calendar accepted in the present-day civilization. That calendar is based upon utterly unsound foundations, its year 1 being merely a fiction of imagination unsupported by any actual historical data, and its centuries being purely arbitrary ways of dividing time. One would therefore imagine that the Adepts, in their functions and plans, depend upon the whims and superstitions of the Western world, and this is obviously an utter impossibility. Hence it would be better to think in terms of spiritual needs than in terms of time-periods based upon mere convenience and habit of thought.
And here we might ask ourselves the question: does the present condition of mankind and the circumstances prevailing the world over warrant us to conclude that the search for truth and the great spiritual "thirst" among men are increasing with every passing year, and the call for a greater light becomes more and more insistent? It would be unwise to give too specific an answer, because many invisible conditions of consciousness exist which do not necessarily reflect themselves as yet in the outward circumstances of the present world. But it is probable that most intelligent people would agree that we are passing through a period in which the greatest appeal to men all over the world - but more especially in the Occident - consists mainly in the distractions of life, the emotional and sentimental releases, the possession of material objects, the rush after dissipation, sensuous satisfaction and the exercise of power over those weaker than themselves. This applies individually, nationally and on the vast international scale, with but minor exceptions. If the call for the spiritual life exists at all, it is certainly confined to individual persons here and there, small groups of mystics, retiring students of the ancient occult lore, or dedicated people who work tirelessly inside and outside of various organizations, trying to lessen the overwhelming weight of human suffering and misery.
This might change; it might even change with an unexpected suddenness; but this is a matter of speculation, and we have to face facts as we see them today. And these facts of human behavior do not show at the present time any encouraging signs of a great spiritual search, of a vital and dynamic urge to find truth and to escape illusions, to renounce the old habits of selfish greed and to try a new way of life based upon genuine brotherhood among all nations. Without these new trends in human thinking, why should the Brotherhood of Adepts send amongst us an Envoy whose work may well be impeded and shackled by the intense intellectual and emotional pride of the present era?
It is probable that the reader will think that we disregard the great achievements of modern Science which is constantly seeking for greater and greater truths. We do not disregard Science, but we would like to remind students that the ethical objectives of modern scientific research are especially conspicuous by their total absence. The heaviest weight of discoveries is directed towards implementation of future wars, and the perpetuation of presently existing power-combines over other people, and this irrespective of whatever continent or country we may take for an example. How much of modern Science is dedicated to the cause of the Good Life? How many scientists are men and women whose sole pursuit is to benefit mankind and raise its moral standards? Let anyone answer these questions in his or her own mind!
As to the Theosophical Organizations as such, it would be a good thing if students in their midst would try to understand more deeply than they seem to do the various factors involved in the periodic appearance of spiritual Teachers. It is of no use whatever to sit and wait for this happy day. As a matter of fact, it is positively injurious, both to those who indulge in this trend of thought and to those they may influence. The only way to bring about the desired event is to work to the limit of one's power and knowledge to change men's minds and hearts, and to sow broadcast seeds of spirituality which may grow later into sturdy trees. Mere waiting for the appearance of another Messenger, and expecting him to produce some startling change, might result in the curious fact that if and when he does come, those who had been so eagerly waiting for him will utterly fail to recognize him for what he is, and will continue to wait for the ultimate "appearance" of their self-created illusion, reading books, going to meetings, finding fault with those who work, and wondering why the occult time-tables seem to have been so sorely upset.