By Edward Abdill
Originally printed in the SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2008 issue of Quest magazine.
Citation: Abdill, Edward. "The Universal Brotherhood of Humanity." Quest 96.5 (SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2008):177-179, 191.
IN HER LETTER TO THE SECOND CONVENTION of the American Section, H. P. Blavatsky wrote:
[There are those] among us who realize intuitionally that the recognition of pure Theosophy—the philosophy of the rational explanation of things and not the tenets—is of the most vital importance in the Society, inasmuch as it alone can furnish the beacon-light needed to guide humanity on its true path. This should never be forgotten, nor should the following fact be overlooked. On the day when Theosophy will have accomplished its most holy and most important mission—namely, to unite firmly a body of men of all nations in brotherly love and bent on a pure altruistic work, not on a labor with selfish motives—on that day only will Theosophy become higher than any nominal brotherhood of man.
There have been several other revisions, the latest in 1896, being the current objectives:
To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color.To encourage the comparative study of religion, philosophy, and science.To investigate the unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in humanity.
An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and immutable PRINCIPLE on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception and can only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude. It is beyond the range and reach of thought—in the words of the Mandukya Upanishad "unthinkable and unspeakable."
Beware then, of an uncharitable spirit, for it will rise up like a hungry wolf in your path, and devour the better qualities of your nature. . . . Broaden instead of narrowing your sympathies; try to identify yourself with your fellows, rather than to contract your circle of affinity. . . . Friend, beware of pride and egoism, two of the worst snares for the feet of him who aspires to climb the high paths of knowledge and spirituality.
There are thousands of members of the Theosophical Society, but there are very few Theosophists. It is very easy to sign a piece of paper and say you want to join the Theosophical Society and that you believe in brotherhood, but brotherhood is something we should live instead of talking about it. The Theosophical Society is the testing ground for brotherhood. It is the place to let ourselves grow, to let ourselves understand that we are not to be dogmatic, to let ourselves learn to get along with one another whether we like one another or not. You must be willing to have differences of opinion. You must be willing to stand the acid test, even if you are called names. It is you who are being tested. If you walk out because one individual says something nasty to you, you are failing the test of brotherhood. . . . If you could think of the personalities that you meet as the acid test of your own character, of your own Theosophy, you would get a different point of view. When something comes up, ask yourself how you will take it, and ask yourself what it is about you that needs to be changed.
Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways.Old now is earth, and none may count her days.Yet thou, her child, whose head is crowned with flame,Still wilt not hear thine inner God proclaim,"Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways."
Earth might be fair and all men glad and wise.Age after age their tragic empires rise,Built while they dream, and in that dreaming weep:Would man but wake from out his haunted sleep,Earth might be fair and all men glad and wise.
Earth shall be fair, and all her people one:Nor till that hour shall God's whole will be done.Now, even now, once more from earth to sky,Peals forth in joy man's old undaunted cry:"Earth shall be fair and all her folk be one!"
Edward Abdill, author of The Secret Gateway (Quest Books 2005), has served six years on the National Board of Directors of the Theosophical Society in America. He also presents courses on Theosophy at the New York Theosophical Society and lectures, in English and Spanish, in the United States, Australia, Brazil, England, and New Zealand. His video course, "Foundations of the Ageless Wisdom," is viewed throughout the world. He and his wife, Mary, are certified teachers of the Royal Scottish Dance Society and live in midtown Manhattan.