Human Regeneration – part fifteen
Published: Tuesday, 20 June 2017 09:38
Radha Burnier – India
[Recognizing regeneration as the kernel of all Theosophical work, the International Theosophical Centre at Naarden, the Netherlands, jointly with the Federation of Theosophical Societies in Europe, organized two seminars in July 1990, with a number of office bearers, workers and members of the Society from different countries as participants. Proceedings of the seminar were published as a book under the title Human Regeneration: Lectures and Discussion (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij der Theosofische Vereniging in Nederland, 1990). This chapter (discussions) is here slightly revised.]
Radha Burnier (far right) walking with HH the Dalai Lama at Olcott-Wheaton in July 1981
Regeneration and the Objects of the T.S.
Where does brotherhood begin, and where does it end, if ever?
AV: It has always been there and always will be there.
RE: Brotherhood is said to be a fact of Nature. In that sense, it has always existed and always will remain. But if we are talking about the realization of brotherhood by human beings, it is a different question.
JA: Can brotherhood ever end? How do we react to people who do not have the same opinions as we do? Should brotherhood end in respect of prisoners, or on the battlefield? Do we really practice it in our everyday lives?
CB: Looking at this from a practical point of view, for most people brotherhood starts in the family. In a good family, everybody has value, all members are equal, all have the right to develop their own qualities, and that is accepted as something natural. For some people, this kind of brotherhood ends with the family. For others it extends outward a little, to other relatives for instance. Still others are able to extend the feeling to very wide circles.
RB: Perhaps both selfishness and brotherhood originated when the One expressed itself as two, the positive and the negative. Selfishness and self-preservation are of the very nature of biological life. At the human stage, they get transferred to the psychological level. The instinct of self-preservation is the darkness side. But darkness cannot exist without light. Even in simple creatures there is brotherhood. If a crow is attacked, other crows come to drive away the enemy, to divert his attention, and save the one who is attacked. Elephants are known to come to each other’s help. Whales have a great sense of brotherhood; they become victims of human cruelty, because if one whale is injured, others rush to the spot to help, and all are killed. So it seems as if this instinct is also primordial. Both streams co-exist. Ultimately there has to be a transcending of the darkness.
From a practical point of view: does not brotherhood begin with simple things? Just being ordinarily kind, beginning to think in terms of another person, instead of only of ourselves. We like to enjoy ourselves, but somebody else has to work. Are we prepared to sacrifice a little of our enjoyment to help the person who is working? Brotherhood begins like that. But when we are brotherly and kind in the ordinary sense of the word, still the feeling of difference from others does not go – one remains in a world of duality. So we must continue practicing brotherhood, until the tendency of the mind to see in terms of duality disappears. Even the word “brotherhood” suggests that there is a brother and “myself.” C.W. Leadbeater says that in the buddhic consciousness there is experience of being one with everything else. But there is a stage beyond that, where there is no “I” to be one with the others. Everything is known as the one. When there is such oneness, perhaps we may say brotherhood ends.
Read more: Human Regeneration – part fifteen