Barbara Hebert – USA

Theosophy BH 2 Why

Toddlers and young children frequently ask “why?”:  Why is the sky blue?  Why does it rain? Why is grass green? and so on. They are trying to learn about the world in which they find themselves. As seekers for truth, we also frequently ask the question “why?” We want to understand ourselves, the world into which we were born, and the cosmos in which we exist. While these are all valuable questions and help us as we seek, there is an important question that we don’t often consider. It is: Why were we born at this particular time in history?

Of course, we don’t typically know the answer as to why we are in incarnation at this point in time. What we do know, according to the Ageless Wisdom, is that the universe is not chaotic and there are very few, if any accidents. Thus, there must be a reason for why we were born at this particular time in history. Whether we chose this specific period of history for our current incarnation or whether it was chosen for us, it was not accidental; therefore, the time in which we are living must have some significance for us. Contemplating this idea, we may be led to ask “What am I supposed to do? What role am I supposed to play? Even though each of us must answer these questions for ourselves, there are some aspects to consider.

It has been said that with great knowledge comes great responsibility. The Ageless Wisdom provides students with a framework for living that focuses on a deeper understanding of the cosmos and our role in the spiritual evolution of life and consciousness. As the recipients of this great knowledge, we inevitably have great responsibility. Therefore, as we contemplate the role we play at this time in history, we recognize that our actions take on an even deeper significance because of our study and understanding of the Ageless Wisdom.

We quickly realize that we have an important responsibility. Once again, we may ask ourselves: What knowledge does the Ageless Wisdom provide for us that others may not have? What aspects of this knowledge are especially pertinent in our world today? What are we supposed to do with this understanding of ourselves, the world, and the cosmos?

If we accept that a core tenet of the Ageless Wisdom teachings is unity, then we recognize the necessity of service to humanity. In a letter from the Mahatma KH found in Jinarajadasa’s Letters of the Masters of the Wisdom, we read

The true Theosophist is a philanthropist—‘not for himself but for the world he lives’. This, and philosophy, the right comprehension of life and its mysteries will give the ‘necessary basis’ and show the right path to pursue.

 Clearly this is at least part of the answer to our questions. Taking the knowledge and understanding that we have, our role is to serve humanity. There are many paths we can follow in order to serve humanity, and many of us are already engaged in activities that provide service: involvement in social service work; education; working in food banks; facilitating the building of housing for those in need; working within and through the Theosophical Order of Service, and so on.

These activities are very valuable, and there are even more relevant activities for those of us who have a deeper insight into the Ageless Wisdom teachings. Perhaps that is why we find ourselves in incarnation at this particular time in history. We can provide service in a very specific way, based on our understanding of the Ageless Wisdom teachings. It find that it is incumbent upon us to serve humanity in this very focused and unequivocal manner.

As theosophists and seekers for Truth, we espouse a belief in unity. We read in the literature that we are all rays of the divine clothed in physical bodies. Therefore, we perceive ourselves as united, as One at our root. Because of this belief, contemplating our own perspectives on unity is imperative.

We must be honest with ourselves, objectively observe ourselves and ask ourselves pertinent questions such as: Do we really understand unity as more than a cognitive concept. Do we actually practice unity? Do we treat all others, not as brothers and sisters, but as ourselves, as rays of the divine rooted in the Absolute? When we come into contact with someone whose political, religious, or moral values differ from ours, how do we perceive them? Is it through the lens of unity and interconnectedness or in some other way?

Further objective self-observation brings us to question something as simple as the language we use. Do we use language that encourages divisiveness rather than unity? That is, do we consistently use words like “us and them” instead of we? Although we live in different geographical locations, do we perceive ourselves as champions of our own locations in opposition to those in other locations? We may even find ourselves feeling grateful that we don’t live “over there” which focuses on an “us and them” mentality, even in the midst of gratitude.

Objective awareness of the thoughts we send into the world is also very important. Our studies in the Ageless Wisdom tell us that thoughts have power. We understand that our thoughts impact not only us but all others as vibrations are sent out into the mental field of consciousness. Do we find ourselves getting caught up in the innumerable divides that human beings create? Do we perceive those who have ideas that are unlike ours in a disparaging way? Are these the vibrations we are contributing to the already tumultuous mental field of consciousness?

Do we, on some level, feel the fear and despair of hunger, thirst, and homelessness that are experienced by so many in the world, or are we dismissive of the suffering of others? We recognize that a misinterpretation of the Law of Karma can easily lead to this lack of compassion. How often have we heard someone say, “Well, that is their karma. I shouldn’t interfere with that” and off that person goes with no more thought to the suffering of others. Annie Besant tells us

You need not be troubled about Karma any more than by the law of [gravity]. You cannot interfere with it. That is a point that all who are beginning to read theosophical books ought to realize very clearly. Sometimes you find an ill-trained Theosophist who says, "I must not help so and so; it is his Karma to suffer." You might as well say you will not pick up a child that has fallen, because by the law of [gravity] it has fallen and must be left under its law to take care of itself. Your duty is to do all you can to help others. Do not take Karma as an excuse for indolence, as I am sorry to say many people do.

Ultimately, we each have the responsibility of looking at ourselves and how we implement the Ageless Wisdom teachings in service to humanity. This implementation on a daily basis, even hour to hour or minute to minute, makes a difference in the inner worlds. Perhaps we have the qualities, knowledge, and understanding that allow us to service humanity in this very pointed way. Perhaps this is why we are currently in incarnation. Each of us must decide how we will shoulder the great responsibility laid upon us through our understanding of the great knowledge of the Ageless Wisdom teachings.


Besant, A. (1907). Theosophical Lectures. Chicago: The Rajput Press. p. 136

Jinarajadasa, C. (1973).   Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, First Series. Sixth Edition, Letter #32, Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House. p. 76.

Text Size

Paypal Donate Button Image

Subscribe to our newsletter

Email address
Confirm your email address

Who's Online

We have 382 guests and no members online

TS-Adyar website banner 150



Vidya Magazine