Besides two classical meanings of the word Theosophy, the absolute and the relative, the question in the title of this series indicates an additional, practical meaning. The absolute meaning is that of Theosophy as the ultimate goal for each individual, to transform consciousness; and the relative meaning is the knowledge sometimes called the Ancient Wisdom. When the Theosophical Society was formed in 1875, it had one object statement, emphasizing knowledge: "The objects of the society are, to collect and diffuse a knowledge of the laws which govern the universe." When the objects took their current form in 1896, the first object was a statement great importance for the brotherhood and rights of all human beings, "without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color." Although stated so long ago, this object was ahead of its time and is now of paramount importance in the situation of our world today.
Nowadays the ideal of brotherhood seems far away, and there appears to be little understanding or tolerance between people of various cultural and religious backgrounds. Still, many positive forces are at work, creating understanding, unity and peace. To be sure, the powers of fundamentalism increase in their fanatic attitudes when they realize they are losing their grip. Such difficulties are rooted in the mind of every human being because, as Krishnamurti said, "You are the world." The real root of fanaticism is to be found in the 'I-process.' As Robert Linssen said: "All our social, religious, and moral structures are based on the reality of the 'I-process' whose expression in all domains they encourage. The fundamental notion of the impermanence of the 'I-process' leads man to an attitude of detachment, both from himself and from other things."
In the teachings of Krishnamurti and Theosophy, we have the means to heal human spiritual sickness. It is important to gain knowledge, mainly about how we live. As it may take some time for us to reach a transformation of consciousness, meanwhile we have to make such knowledge a living force in our world. But how do we do that?
The work of the Theosophical Society in the world today clearly has an effect outside the Society itself. Meetings, workshops, conferences, books, CDs, DVDs, lectures, and discussion programs for the Internet reach many outside the Society. But in addition, allies in other fields support our views. Psychologists in many countries have accepted the practice of mindfulness meditation with very positive results; discoveries in physics support some of the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom; the worldwide popularity of yoga, Zen, and the like, although sometimes commercial, has on the whole a beneficial effect; research into ESP and reincarnation by acknowledged scientists is remarkable, having earlier been blocked by prejudice. All such activities are in sympathy with the objects of the Society, especially the third object. Whether those activities are known by the name of Theosophy or something else is of no significance. What matters is that they are happening. We need to keep an open-minded attitude.
Besides all the theories and teachings, throughout history some people have had remarkable, unexpected, mystical experiences, generally including both higher states of consciousness and also knowledge in accordance with the Ancient Wisdom or perennial philosophy. And the important thing is that such experiences keep on happening spontaneously or by personal effort. One transformed person cannot transform another; each person has to have the experience individually. However, transformed persons can have an effect on others by the way they behave, live, or simply are. I'm tempted here to use a favorite phrase: "When you smile, other people smile, and when other people smile, there will be miles and miles of smiles." This is not just funny. It is a fact.
We see proof in the present worldwide financial crisis of how we influence one another. Greed for money and power is repeated in the same pattern in many countries. It is as if these mysteriously worldwide circumstances are forcing us to learn a lesson. This financial crisis has immense moral implications. Having seen the unmasked face of greed, we may reach a deeper understanding, with unexpected benefits for all of us, not only financially, but even at deeper levels. As a result, we may be able not just to solve our financial difficulties, but also to change ourselves for the better. If we, each and every one of us, can actually make Theosophy a living reality in our own lives, we can make it a living force in our world, for we are the world and the world is us.