The Path of Goodness

Erica Georgiades – Greece

Theosophy 420 EG b The Path

 A few days ago I arrived from Greece (…in India), where there was much tension. We lived through many days of savage vandalism in Athens, where hundreds of shops, cars, and properties were burned and destroyed. India, which is mourning the victims of the terrorist attack in Mumbai, is filled with tension from trying to find ways to prevent future terrorist attacks. These situations show the chaos that grows all over the world, and remind me of the prophecy in the Vishnu Purana about the Kalki Avatar that among other things says:

There will be rulers reigning over the Earth who will think of themselves as modern and superior; they shall rule through leaders of nations, and these leaders shall be men of vulgar, corrupt disposition, having a violent temper, and ever addicted to falsehood and evil. They will inflict death on women, children, and animals ... The people of various countries, influenced by propaganda of their leaders, will follow the example of their leaders, and the Barbarians of materialism. In all nations, wealth and spirituality will decrease day by day until the entire world will be corrupt, crooked, and depraved.

We are witnessing day by day the prophecy of the Vishnu Purana becoming true. We know we are only in the beginning of Kali Yuga and things will get worse. The winter humanity is entering promises to be a dark and cold one. But we Theosophists have a mission, which we must try to carry on from generation to generation, and this is to try to keep the Spiritual Truths alive. To stand against materialism, to stand against barbarism, to stand against violence is part of our work. But how can we do this?

The promotion of our three Objects is a step in this direction, but not the major one. The major one is to make Theosophy a living force in our everyday life. There is nothing that can cause more impact in the world than becoming a living example of the force of Theosophy. We Theosophists should work towards this. This implies an inner commitment, which is to begin treading a certain path: The Path of Goodness. Here we may ask: what is the nature of goodness and how can we express it in our everyday life? How can we become a living and inspiring example of the force of Theosophy?

In order to reply to this question, we must first look at the definition of the Hellenic word Theosophy. It has two compounds: "Theos" (God-Divine) and "Sophia" (Wisdom). In ancient Greece, "Sophia" was one of Plato's four cardinal Virtues. According to Plato, Wisdom was an inner condition which is an expression of the energy of the soul.

When we talk about Theosophy, we refer to the energy of the soul. Consequently, we refer to something that can be known only from within. Theosophy is truth, and there are no words in any language to express the great truth of Theosophy, which is Divine Wisdom. You may learn by heart all the system presented in the works of H. P. Blavatsky and in the works of others; you may write, debate, teach, and affirm this knowledge is Theosophy, but you will be still trapped by intellect, and consequently unable to know what Theosophy is. In order to become a living example of Theosophy, we must look not only at books and to those things that are outside us, but also to that which is closest to us, our inner self.

Our search for truth is the search for our real nature, our divine nature. It is the longing for a conscious union with the divine. The divine that we long for is in fact so close to us, that we cannot see it. We keep searching for it in everyone else, except there where we have to look. Plato once said there is nothing closer to us than our soul, and if we do not know that which is so close, what is the meaning of knowing things that are far? The one, who truly focuses on knowing his own self and truly comprehends it, is the one who will have the ability to tread the Path of Goodness. He, and only he, is a real Theosophos (a wise one).

A question still remains open: what is the nature of goodness? We may say good actions are the result of actions without attachment, actions without attachment to ideas, to things, to the GREAT HERESY which is the attachment to our illusory and transitory personality. The major lesson taught in Hellenic Mythology is that The Temple of Virtues is within us. The virtues we express depend on the virtues we have cultivated within us, for we know the mind is to be found where we have sent it. Pythagoras taught this to his disciples when he advised them to reflect upon the virtues they wanted to acquire. Because when reflecting upon the virtues that one aspires to acquire, such virtues will gradually become a reality in the life of the aspirant. What better definition of virtue than the one Lao Tzu gave us: "I am good to people who are good. I am also good to people who are not good, because virtue is goodness." Virtue is goodness. And the nature of goodness is selfless action, action without attachment.

The path of goodness is not a lethargic path, but a path of action. To act with goodness we need to act without attachment; only the fruit of such actions can bring great goodness to humanity. In The Baghavad Gita (III.25), we read the following

“As the ignorant act from attachment to action, so should the wise act without attachment desiring the welfare of the world.”

There is nothing that justifies suffering except our own ignorance. Attachment is born out of ignorance. By performing actions without attachment we reach the Divine as Lord Krishna said in The Baghavad Gita (III.19):

“Therefore without attachment, always perform action which should be done; for by performing action without attachment, man reaches the Supreme.”

We must also remember that even if opportunities for great deeds should never come our way, opportunities for good deeds can be renewed day by day. The thing for us to long for is goodness, not glory. There is a saying that goes: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, and today is a gift. Let us realize that today's 'gift' is a Divine Gift. Let us keep in mind that we are united here today, in the Theosophical Society, for we all have a common interest, the good of mankind, to maintain the spiritual truths alive, to stand against materialism, violence, barbarism, and fanaticism. And what is the better way to do it? What is the noblest way to do it? It is by transforming our everyday life into an example of goodness. In this process, we discover the real nature of Theosophy.

Voltaire once said: "Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do." Let us not be guilty of the good we did not do.

[Note from the editor: the text above is from a lecture given during at the International Convention of the Theosophical Society, Adyar, Chennai, India on December 29, 2007.]

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