THEOSOPHY, Vol. 15, No. 4, February, 1927
(Pages 145-151; Size: 23K)
(Number 5 of a 13-part series)
THE RISING CYCLE
THE Theosophical Movement as it exists today, as it existed yesterday, as it will exist tomorrow, is one Movement. It is one in the kingdoms below man as in the kingdoms above and in Humanity itself. It is one in the three great fields of endeavor which we name as religion, science, and philosophy. Its unity and prevalence do not consist in having a single organization, or a number of organizations, or no organization at all.
Wherever thought has struggled to be free, wherever spiritual ideas, as opposed to forms and dogmatisms, have been promulgated, there the Theosophical Movement lives, moves, and has its real being. In every sect and in every church of every religion, in every department of human activity, in schools and colleges, in business and government, in theoretical and applied science, will be found men and women who, having assimilated all that is good within their visible field of life and duty, are wrestling with its evils and shortcomings, are striving by any and every means in their power to enlarge their field of vision, to brighten the radiation of that vision itself.
It is with this vast, but unorganized segment of mankind composed of the Pioneers of Progress, that the portion of the Theosophical Movement, as inaugurated by H. P. Blavatsky, has to do, for they are the already incarnated and incarnating Fore-runners of the Sixth sub-race of the Fifth Root-race of Fourth-Round Humanity.(1) The unity and prevalence of the Movement among all these is to be noted in similarity of aim, of aspiration, of purpose, if not of method, of policy, of ethics and of teaching. The famous Three Objects of the Parent Theosophical society did not have to do with the already organized and crystallized bodies of thought and action in the world, for each and all of these had and have their own rigidly defined objects, their own deeply-graved channels of expression and practice. The Theosophical Movement of H. P. Blavatsky, her Masters, and her understanding Colleagues and Disciples had for its Objects the ironing out of the barriers separating the pioneers of thought in the only way those barriers can ever be leveled -- by the spiritual and moral, the intellectual and practical education of all lovers of freedom of conscience and liberty of thought. Her appeal, therefore, was of necessity to individuals, not to any class, organization or association whose energic basis was special, exclusive. She proposed to ignore, by doing away with, all distinctions based on race, creed, color, caste, sex, condition, or organization. As practically all human conceptions of brotherhood are based on one or another of these distinctions as a fundamental and inviolable principle of their existence, the mission of H. P. Blavatsky was iconoclastic as well as constructive. She came to destroy dogmatism, not to endow it with new virility. She had to use one of two methods, force or education. To use the one was herself to violate the very essence of Brotherhood, which is intellectual and ethical freedom; to use the other was to invoke the Higher Self in all who might in any way be interested.
Her method of education was not simply to found a Society; to record a Philosophy; nor was it to gather round her a few favored individuals to whom she might impart, as one makes a gift or devise physical, to some a lesser and to others a larger portion of the treasures she brought, for their especial reward or largesse.
No; she came to do her part and Masters' part, in effecting a change in the Buddhi-Manas(2) of the whole human family, first by dealing with the mind of the race as she found it, by trying to lead it on step by step; and by seeking out and educating a few who, appreciating the majesty of the Secret Science and devoted to "the great orphan Humanity," could carry on her work with zeal and wisdom after her departure -- who would inject into the thought of the day the ideas, the doctrines, the nomenclature of the Widsom-Religion, so that when the twentieth century shall have seen its 75th year the new Messenger coming again into the world would find its ideas sown broadcast, the nomenclature ready to give expression and body to the immutable truth, and thus to make easy the task which for her was so difficult and so encompassed with obstacles in the very paucity of the language.
Regarding fifty years' growth and vicissitudes of the Movement since 1875, the rising cycle is apparent. None of the terms imported into Western speech by H.P.B. could be found in any lexicon or cyclopedia in current use in 1875, any more than in popular language or the diction of the schools. Today the words for all her great ideas are part of the vocabulary of every-day speech, are daily current in the ephemeral press, form the theme of learned articles, of books, of the labors of philologists and cyclopediasts. The terms popularized, the ideas which they embody permeate more and more with every passing day the popular as well as the scholastic mind. Every new formulation of dogmas, every freshly invented interpretation of doctrine, every "latest theory" in every sect of every religion and every school of thought in every science show clear signs of the profound change going on in the mind of the race fundamentally, i.e., in the "Buddhi-Manas" of the race. The whole trend is toward greater freedom, truer ethical perception. Even the very opposition, the very antagonism, of the forces of reaction is a sure sign of the effects of the "ideas sown broadcast" by H.P.B. and those who drank and drink at the fountain of her inspiration. It is the enemies of progress which are shattered and in disarray, on the defensive in the warfare of ideas invoked. Modernism in the churches, paganism in public, irreverence in youth, psychic research in science, psychism in theosophical and occult societies, disorder and lawlessness in communal life, upheavals politically and economically, are something more than diseases, they are symptoms of the vast and misunderstood fermentation going on in human nature itself. They are very literally "growing pains" and betoken the adolescence of many minds breaking free from the childish restraints hitherto imposed in the name of the most revered sanctions; as well, they betoken the breaking up and breaking down of those very sanctions themselves. These are not the disorders and diseases of senility and decay, but the eruptions and unhealthiness due to so many incarnating Egos coming of age, to emancipation from the slavery of ages, to mistaking the metaphysical emancipation proclamation of the Theosophical Movement for freedom from any and all responsibility. A false sense of responsibility destroyed is apt to be succeeded by an equally false sense of liberty, and with multitudes that liberty is construed to mean license. The rule of "thou-shalt-nots" being overthrown, the excesses of "I can" are the natural reaction, and many have made themselves drunken with the sacramental wine. But everywhere, in all the intoxication of the New Year, are those who are soberly studying, soberly diagnosing, more or less clearly discerning the mental and moral evolution going steadily on, and so making better and more enduring Resolutions for the future, in the light of the present and the past. All such are learning that the future is not arbitrarily formed by any separate acts of the present, but that the whole of the future is in unbroken continuity with the present as the present is with the past. Whatever omens or prognostications may be indulged in, they all reflect the perception of the continuity of the Theosophical Movement; the ferment of today is its injected energic effect.
But energy, Divine or human, like any other of the Forces of Nature, without true direction given and maintained, must inevitably degenerate into the old grooves of thought and action. Not from any of the sporadic and evanescent efforts now being made on every hand will true enlightenment come for the race. The educational as well as the energic aspect of the Movement is certainly not being maintained by any of the churches nor by any of the scientific bodies, nor by any of the intellectual efforts of the "intelligentsia;" nor yet by any of the numerous Theosophical societies and other mystical and occult associations, heretical as these may seem to the orthodox and modern as they may seem to themselves. They are all alike testimonials to the energy of the Movement, not witnesses of its Soul; they are all mere by-products and ephemeral effects. The moral and philosophical continuity of the Movement depends upon the similarity of ethics and teaching and their effect: Unity of thought, will, and feeling; hence upon individuals who not only have the same aims, aspirations, and purposes as all other pioneers, but who have and hold one single modulus of principles and practice. The world had it not till H. P. Blavatsky provided it; the world has and will have it not, save as individuals who have learned from her instruction maintain it, promulgate it, keep it accessible, preserve its purity, do as H. P. Blavatsky did, "seek out and educate the few (out of the many) who may appreciate the majesty of the Secret Science," and who live and labor but to "carry on her work with zeal and wisdom." More copies of the writings of H.P.B. and Mr. Judge were purchased by non-members of the Parent society, than by its own Fellows; the circulation of Lucifer and of The Path was in by far the larger part among pioneers of thought not members of the Theosophical Society. Those writings have been resuscitated, restored to currency, in the various societies of today and outside them, by individual efforts, as they were originally written and circulated by individuals. What may be called the Program of the Theosophical Movement is the same now as always, and that program can only be ascertained by consulting the writings of H.P.B. and her Masters, by keeping them afloat, by applying them as the criterion of conduct and of growth. Last month we called attention to some of the fruits of this educated individual Theosophical activity, as evidenced in the facsimile reprint of the original edition of "The Secret Doctrine," in the publication of "The Mahatma Letters" and the "Letters of H. P. Blavatsky," and in the issuance of "The Theosophical Movement" -- all these the direct continuation of the work of H.P.B. because they mirror forth her "zeal and wisdom" and that of her Masters, not the mistaken and misguided, however well intended, efforts and aspirations of those who have too easily assumed the role of teacher.
All these are English publications, as originally written and as reproduced. The same continuity of teaching and of practice is steadily reaching out across the barriers of language as across all other barriers. In September, 1925, there was begun at Paris, France, against all obstacles, the publication of Théosophie, a monthly periodical devoted wholly to translated reprints of the old magazine writings of H.P.B. and Mr. Judge. In a year and a half the essentials of Theosophical education and application have been made accessible to French speaking pioneers, and the magazine has attained a substantial and wide-spread circulation. The same devoted group which undertook the great responsibility of Théosophie, has signalized the rising cycle thus inaugurated by bringing out an accurate translation of Mr. Judge's "Ocean of Theosophy." Who can doubt the pervading and reconstructive power of this educated energy of our French brothers? Already there are hundreds of subscribers to Théosophie, thousands of readers on the Continent, of the pure teachings, the pure applications, given by the Founders. In half a hundred cities of France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Russia, and other countries, there are groups engaged in studying in English and in French, the pure teachings of Theosophy in order to gain a theosophical education, while in hundreds of other places individual students are doing the same thing. All these are not only the strength of the present, but the hope of the future. Moreover, a constant interchange, by correspondence and otherwise, goes on amongst these various groups and individuals, so that isolation and insularity are alike avoided. There is in this order of work, this species of application, no room for discord, but every occasion and stimulus to harmony and co-operation in the Brotherhood of a common Cause -- that Cause wholly impersonal, inclusive.
This organic though unorganized continuity of individual devotion, singly or in groups, is unhampered by the presence of antipathetic elements, is free from many encumbrances which confront or neutralize the efforts, whether of the pioneers in the various long-crystallized organizations, or of their fellow Theosophists who endeavor to work within the fast-crystallizing theosophical bodies. They have no exclusions to enforce, no contradictions to ignore or gloss over, no claims to defend, no "powers that be" to offend, so that they can maintain the original lines of direction, promulgate the original Teachings, avail themselves of the unimpaired impulsion of the Theosophical Movement. In all the organized theosophical bodies the genuine Students are more or less paralyzed, more or less compelled to compromise, more or less to divert, or suffer to be diverted, their energies in alien channels because of the conflict between their convictions on Theosophy and their adherence to some society or leader. Yet even in this anomalous situation there lies hope, for this very conflict compels readjustment of relations whether by purification or further degradation, whether by life or by death.
Further, the influence of the pure teachings of H.P.B. and their promulgation have an invisible range and influence far exceeding their surveyed and recorded boundaries, as the influence of freedom extends beyond the territory of the free citizens. No tariffs and no immigration acts run in the republic of the mind. Wherever there is sectarianism in any doctrine or in any organization it imposes self-limitations and, by induction, prevents and impedes the free circulation of its own ideas in the world mental. There is no dogma and no sectarianism in the Theosophy of H.P.B., and hence it is continually being investigated even by the dogmatists and sectarians. "Whoever," wrote H.P.B., "teaches Theosophy, preaches the gospel of good-will. And conversely, whoever preaches the gospel of good-will, teaches Theosophy." One has but to examine book and periodical literature quite outside that called by the name Theosophical to find how deeply and how far has carried the broadcasting of the Theosophical Movement. In America, for example, the magazine Asia is a continuous power of good will and educative force in fostering mutual understanding on terms of moral and intellectual equality between the West and the East. This is no less Theosophical by reason of its being purely secular, for each hitherto alien Brother is faithfully and sympathetically represented to the other. In the Orient, Mr. Gandhi's Young India carries the dynamic high potential inherent in a character and purpose purely spiritual, and in application without exclusiveness of religion, caste, or nationality. Great as is his influence on the best in Indian youth and tradition it is, in our opinion, not less soul-stirring on the minds and consciences of numberless Western philanthropists and thinkers. All this is pure practical Theosophy in daily life, and the example of Asia and Young India can be traced in numberless efforts inspired directly and indirectly by their influence. All these fraternal emulations are aids and inspirations to the rising generation, with which will rest the fortunes of the rising cycle of the Theosophical Movement. All are preparatory sowing and tilling for the cyclic coming of the next Messenger from the Masters of Wisdom, now less than half a century away in years -- a blessing in the present, a promise for the future, a harvest from the past of the Theosophical Movement.
So the individual Theosophists can go on, with ever-renewed zeal, with ever increasing wisdom, in the Path provided by the zeal and the wisdom of H.P.B. and her few faithful and understanding Colleagues and Disciples, expanding, not changing, her work and her program, sure that the rising cycle of the Movement will continue to attract the true and the false, the wise and the foolish, within its sphere of Light and Life. But being the channel for the flow of forces of the Heart Doctrine of Universal Brotherhood, that Movement, while it rejects no one, is yet "the doctrine called Great Sifter." So while the ranks will continue to hold many changing quantities, its direction and continuity will depend, as always, on those who are loyal and true to the great mission and the great message of H. P. Blavatsky.
The Rising Cycle
(Part 6 of 13)
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TWO (2) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:
COMPILER'S NOTE: I added these footnotes; they were not in the article. If any of them don't paint an accurate enough picture, or are incorrect, I hope the Editors of THEOSOPHY magazine will spot them and point the inaccuracies out to me, so that I can make the necessary corrections.
(1) "... Fore-runners of the Sixth sub-race of the Fifth Root-race of Fourth-Round Humanity.": The "Fifth Root-race" means the whole Human Race here. A "Root-Race" is contained within a much longer evolutionary period (or cycle) called a Manvantara, which has a beginning and an ending. In the present Manvantara we are in the evolutionary period of humanity known as the Fifth Sub-Race of the Fifth Root-Race. A Manvantara is many millions of years long. Within that immense period there are seven Root-Races, each of which is divided into seven "Sub-Races", which are each divided into seven "Family-Races". It is always cycles within cycles. The shortest of these cycles is about 30,000 years. There is always a long period of overlapping as one racial period of development blends into the next one. But it is we, each eternal soul, individually, and all of us together, who are going through all of these evolutionary periods over and over again, incarnation after incarnation, from age to age, with no final end to this cosmic process. A "Round" is a very long cyclic period of planetary manifestation which has a beginning and an ending, during which humanity, which is present from the start and is the cause of its beginning and all of its activity until the end of the Great Cycle (a Maha-Manvantara) of seven Rounds, develops each of the seven planes or "Globes" or states of consciousness of our "Planetary Chain" -- from the most ethereal down to the densest material plane which we are familiar with, and then back again to the most spiritual, with the experience gained. And then again and again back through the Planetary Chain as there are seven "Rounds" of this evolutionary activity. We are about half way through this immense cycle of activity of developing our planet and the advancement of the human race on it, being only a little more than half way through the Fourth Round. Each one of these seven "Rounds" of activity contains, for each of the seven planes (or globes or states of consciousness) of our earth-chain, those seven long periods of humanity's evolution called "Races" (also known as "Root-Races", which is explained above). We are talking about immense periods of time and human activity, as each of the seven Rounds has a total of 49 Root-Race periods and all that this implies. Sixth-Race mankind (or the Sixth Root-Race) is the next very long evolutionary period for humanity. As said, right now we are in the cycle known as the Fifth Race. During each great cycle of evolutionary activity, humanity develops another sense. Right now we speak of five physical senses that are developed: sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. We are working toward the Sixth one, Intuition, fully developed, not just partially developed intuition as is now the case for most of us, where we experience only glimpses of it every now and then. Most of what we tend to call our intuition so freely at this time is not really the case.
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(2) "Buddhi-Manas": "Buddhi" means Intuition (or Spiritual Soul); "Buddhi-Manas" means Intuitional-Mind (Higher mind). "Atma-Buddhi-Manas" means Spirit-Intuition-Mind: the immortal Triad -- the Eternal Pilgrim, the Higher Self, the Reincarnating Ego, what and who we really are: an Eternal Thinker, in or out of a physical body. "Atma-Buddhi" means Spirit-Intuition (but without the Mind principle developed, such as is the case in the animal kingdom and all of the other kingdoms below Man, the Thinker).
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