The Problems Affecting the Lives of the Masses Should Be the Main Study of Every Young Idealist

“In an ancient land like India, where there are today so many religions, there is no need to add any teaching that can be termed new. (…)

Yet if you examine all these teachings,  you will note that in the main they concentrate on the life of the individual, and not particularly on his relations to those among whom he lives. (…) With regard to all that is evil in the social conditions of the community, you are told in brief, ‘Leave all that to God.’ That has so much been the case in India for thousands of years with its several millions of Sannyasis that no attention has been pa*id by these who are supposed to be aspiring to the highest spirituality to the conditions of poverty, ignorance, degradation and exploitation that is on all sides of them. It is true that every religion inculcates charity, that is, giving gifts to the poor. But hardly ever is there any question why, in a so-called civilized community, there should be any poor at all.

Seventy-five years ago the Theosophical Society was started, with the fundamental teaching of Universal Brotherhood. In other words, until something of the ideal of Brotherhood was really applied in social life there could not be any real spiritual or even civilized community. But what do we mean by Brotherhood? (…) what, after all, does Brotherhood mean, brought down from the ideal to the practical level of daily life? (…)

For the last three years, India is free to administer for her own affairs. But what are the conditions in which we live? I need not describe them, for all of you know them well. (…) I need hardly allude to the corruption in administration throughout the land (…)  You will say: what can you youth do today?

Certainly nothing very much at this moment. But it is these conditions that you must study and try to understand their causes (…) Your aspiration for spiritual realization today should be turned to understanding what is the true basis of wealth, what is a living wage, what are the eternal principles of justice.

It is when these truths have been built into the structure of the people that we shall have a real religious life, even if not a single temple, church or mosque exists in the land. (…)

It is the understanding of these problems which affect the life of the masses that should be the main study of every Youth Lodge, and not particularly to understand what the olders talk of as the “Plan of God”. The power to direct the affairs of the people will slowly pass from the elders to you. If you make the same blunders as the elders have done, you will have wasted your youth today. (…) ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ asked Cain. Almost the first application of Brotherhood is: I can never be my own keeper, unless I am first my brother’s keeper. (C. Jinarajadasa. My Brother’s Keeper. Inaugural Address of the “Radiant” Youth Lodge, Chennai (Madras), Sep. 03, 1950; emphasis added)