Theosophy and Universal Brotherhood (17): The Attainment Of The Inner Truth (decisive, Yet Restricted):

The Third Object of the Theosophical Society
(Chapter XVII of the work “Theosophy and Universal Brotherhood”)

193 – “With the understanding of the outer, then the inner movement begins, not in opposition or in contradiction. (…) Then only the inner movement has validity and significance.” (Krishnamurti’s Notebook, p. 14)

This last chapter will examine the third Object of the TS:

To investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in man.”

In previous chapters, we have made an attempt to demonstrate that the first Object aims at the creation of a concrete example of organization, whose “general plan and outward administration” (K.H., ML, L. 28. p. 213) must be consistent with, or built upon, the law of the universal brotherhood of man and, hence, have a political and organizational model.  The purpose of the second Object is, above all, to divulge (or teach) this law of the universal brotherhood through the comparative method, once we have won the moral right to so teach due to having attained the first Object.

As we have seen, this second Object also deals with the dissemination of other basic laws and principles of the Perennial Philosophy, which are themselves linked to the law of the universal brotherhood and, thus, to “clear, unequivocal conceptions of ethic ideas and duties” (LMW, 2nd Series, L.82, p. 158) and, therefore, to “consistent solutions” (Maha-Chohan, LMW, 1st Series, L. 1, p. 9) to the world’s problems. In short, thus, the second Object aims at “the amelioration of the condition of MAN by the spread of truth SUITED (the capitals are ours, A.N.) to the various stages of his development and of the country he inhabits and belongs to.” (K.H., ML, L. 85, p. 399).

Thus, we see that the first and the second Objects, as they show  concrete and theoretical answers to the world’s problems, are directly linked to the work for the advent of a just society. That means that they are involved in a basic assistance to humanity in its task of creating a new society or, in other words, in the creation of “new institutions of a genuine, practical Brotherhood of Humanity”. (K.H., ML, L. 6, p. 24)

The Third Object: a True Regeneration of the Psyche

Similarly, we will now make an attempt to demonstrate that the third Object is meant to help those interested in the supreme purpose of man’s life, the realization of Inner Truth, which, as seen in the initial chapters, implies the development of a really Wise Mind, one that has attained Theosophy, and risen to the Temple of Divine Wisdom (or Truth and Love). We have also tried to demonstrate that the three Objects are not isolated compartments, but that they actually interact in a harmonious and complementary way.

A passage by Sri Ram summarizes the question of the universal brotherhood and search for Truth, as they relate to the Objects of the TS.

194 – “When we study the Objects of the Theosophical Society, we find in them two leading ideas, one of which is Brotherhood, and the other, though expressed as study and investigation, describable as a search for Truth.” (On the Watch Tower, p. 487)

In this chapter, we shall attempt to give more details of  how this third Object and the first two interact very closely, creating a truly “virtuous circle,” in which the attainment of one is of great help in the attainment of the others, and vice versa.  In reality, in the words of one of the Adepts, “the formation of the former being the sine qua non for the latter.” (K.H., ML, L.28, p. 213)

Finally, we shall attempt to show that this is the one goal of the TS, a society which aims at a real regeneration of the individual psyche.  This task, contrary to what is believed and preached by many leaders of the TS, must not involve the bulk of the TS programs and operations. The reason for this, as we also hope to show, is that, in terms of its achievement and because of the difficulties in bringing this about, this object involves only a minority of the members of the TS (although the third Object encompasses a task that is vital and crucial  for  the success of the TS as a whole).

Thus, the third Object is, as stated by HPB,  a crucial but restricted object. This restriction does not, however, imply  aprioristical limitations of the freedom enjoyed by any member of the TS who wishes to devote himself to this Object – rather the opposite, since all members are encouraged in this direction. This restriction, as HPB so well explained, means only that, in practice, the accomplishment of this Object confronts most people with enormous difficulties. Thus, in view of these great difficulties, most members will not feel really able to deal with, or be attracted by, its practical side. Let us now examine the third Object.

The Realization of the Inner Truth: a Decisive  Object

First of all, we should bear in mind that this quest for Inner Truth mentioned by N. Sri Ram is crucial to the success of the TS. HPB closed her “Key to Theosophy” with a statement, in the last chapter entitled “The Future of the Theosophical Society,” to the effect that the Society’s future depended on the selflessness, discernment, common sense, and judgment of those who would eventually succeed the founders. Thus, according to her, the Society’s future would depend on the leaders’ having a Wise mind or genuine rapport with the “living truth”. She continues, placing additional emphasis on the importance of this realization:

195 – “Every such attempt as the Theosophical Society has hitherto ended in failure, because, sooner or later, it has degenerated into a sect, set up hard and fast dogmas of its own, and so lost by imperceptible degrees that vitality which living truth alone can impart.” (HPB, The Key to Theosophy, p. 305)

We see, therefore, the decisiveness of the vitality that only living truth can bring, since its presence is the only chance of keeping the current attempt to create an organization like the TS from resulting in failure as ALL its predecessors.

This search for the living truth and for the attainment of the essential Unity of all beings and of Altruism (since, as seen before, Truth and Altruism are different aspects of the same state of spiritual attainment), implies a complete regeneration of the egocentrical psyche that characterizes the state of mind of the great majority of human beings. And it is precisely to further this regeneration that the third Object was proposed. Without this regeneration, at least among the Society’s principal leaders, the TS must also result in failure as did its predecessors, since it would be at a loss, lacking the right guidance to its major actions, a guidance that only living truth can provide.

Ideally, of course, the TS should assist in the task of providing the world with the enlightened agents who would promote the major reforms so badly needed. It should engage in this task because the contact with the living truth is  very rare in this world, as rare as it is important. Without such a quality of mind, who would be able to take up in safety the burden of immense responsabilities inherent in the offices that carry the most power?

It is in the context of the third Object that the TS should assemble groups for serious study of the most profound doctrines of the Esoteric Philosophy – in other words, that  study or research which aims at the practical realization of its truths in our consciousness. A quotation from N. Sri Ram, enclosing a passage by HPB, states very clearly the importance in which HPB held this Object, and what it meant for her:

196 – “No one was better qualified, whether by her own extraordinary powers, or by the light she has thrown in her works on the matters covered by the Third Object, or by her part in the founding and early development of the Society, to write on the place which the Three Objects should have in our work, than H.P.B. herself; and this is what she said (…) (Note: CW, XII, 292-308)
A Third Object, pursued by a portion of the fellows of the Society, is to investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the psychic powers of man. Two general Objects, one restricted Object, of attention (…)

Only a portion of our fellows occupy themselves with the study of the occult properties of matter and the psychical powers of man. The Society as a whole, then, is not concerned in this branch of research. And naturally; for out of every ten thousand people one may meet, the chances are that but a very small minority have the time, taste or ability to take up such delicate and baffling studies (…) We thought it a good thing to proclaim this line of research and SELFDISCOVERY (Note: Upper Case is ours.  A.N.) as the third of our three Objects. For those who are interested in it and all inquirers whom they can reach and encourage, the mystical philosophical books of the present and former times have been written.” (On the Watch Tower, p. 535)

The Attainment of the Inner Truth: a Restricted Object

From the earliest times of the TS, many have overlooked the restricted nature of this Object. That it must be pursued carefully and discreetly, and that it will interest only a small minority and will have no practical bearing on most of the programs and actions of the TS. Even the mystical books mentioned earlier by HPB almost invariably begin with remarks that are an integral part of these writings, which stress the point that the writings are intended “for the few,” “for the disciples,” “for those who knock at the door,” and so forth. We should not, under any circumstance, ignore the admonitions of these opening remarks or take them lightly.

Several passages from the letters of the Mahatmas were quoted in the previous chapter concerning the gradual, restricted, science-related approach that should guide the dissemination of the doctrines  of the Esoteric Philosophy. Still, we should like to quote part of a passage by HPB, mentioned in Chapter V of this book, which deals directly with the third Object:

197 – “Now our Society, as was explained even to the outside public repeatedly, has one general, and several – if not minor, at least less prominent aims. The earnest pursuit of one of the latter – occult science in this case – far from being regarded as the common duty and the work of all, is limited for the reasons given above to a very small faction of the Society, its pursuit resting with the personal tastes and aspirations of the members.” (HPB, CW, Vol. IV, p. 470)

HPB is obviously referring to the third Object as one “if not minor, at least less prominent” aim. This is in perfect agreement with the interpretation given to the third Object in this book: as crucial (not minor), but restricted (less prominent, reserved, directed to a minority of members, etc.).

As said before, there are many passages on this subject. There is one, however, that is impressive, taken from a letter by Damodar K. Mavalankar, the great disciple who assisted the TS in India in its earliest times. It deals with the need for reserve in the approach of esoteric subjects. Damodar’s letter evoked a precipitated note from one of the Adepts, reasserting the correctness of the statements made by Damodar:

198 – “A general impression appears to prevail that the Society is a religious sect. This impression owes its origin, I think, to a common belief that the whole Society is devoted to Occultism. As far as I can judge, this is not the case. If it is, the best course to adopt would be to make the entire Society a secret one, and shut its doors against all except those very few who may have shown a determination  to devote their whole lives to the study of Occultism. If it is not so, and is based upon the broad Humanitarian principle of Universal Brotherhood, let Occultism, one of its several Branches, be an entirely secret study. (…) By placing the facts before the unprepared general public, we only make a laughing stock of those who have been kind to us and have accepted us as their co-workers for doing good to humanity. By harping too much upon this subject, we have made ourselves in a measure odious in the eyes of the public.” (D.K. Mavalankar, ML, L. 142a, p. 486)

Unfortunately, as  mentioned earlier, there is a strong trend among the leaders of the TS, probably due to their genuine interest in the work of the third Object, to project to all members of the Society something that, although a crucial task, must be restricted to a small minority. These members tend to regard all the work of the TS as an esoteric school (which is part of the third Object). In order to justify such a projection, and confine the work of the three Objects to the issue of spiritual regeneration, they are obliged to see the universal brotherhood as a regeneration of the human psyche or as equal to universal love, rather than as a law. Because of this, the majority tend to look on brotherhood as an aspiration rather than as a law, which leads to the problems examined in Chapter X (The Universal Brotherhood as a Law and the Dominant Ideas).

The Genuine Regeneration of the Psyche is for the Few

These members consider the titanic task of a true regeneration of the human psyche, which is the essence of the path of “true Occultism or Theosophy,”  the same as the universal brotherhood of the first Object, and therefore, that this should characterize and guide all the programs and actions of the TS.  This would appear to be the same kind of mistake that was already pointed out in one of the letters of the Mahatmas:

199 – “You were a little bit too much carried away with your enthusiasm for occultism and mixed it up very imprudently with Universal Brotherhood.” (K.H., ML, L. 72, p. 374)

Well, if a minority of only five to ten percent, at most, of the Society members were really qualified to carry out this work, the TS would certainly exert a tremendous impact on the world in general, instead of being the pale, not at all dynamic organization we see today. Some earnest members of the TS, such as the aforementioned Jeanine Miller, have noticed this:

200 – “(…) If such a regeneration had occurred among members on a wider scale, the history of the Theosophical Society would have been rather different, the petty bickerings would never have marred it, and none of the public would be able to accuse us, in all justification, of being ‘dead’.” (“Theosophy for the Future,” in The American Theosophist, Jan-Feb/1989, p. 6)

In spite of these obvious facts there are still those who consider that the TS is in in good health, devoid of any major problema. These members regard anyone who ventures a criticism – loyal, serious, constructive and well-grounded though it may be as a tool of sinister, destructive forces! How can we qualify  this reaction as anything but the working of closed, prejudiced  minds, or even as a shortsightedness bordering on fanaticism?

A Hypothesis for the Lack of Success in the Third Object

We should contemplate the reason that accounts for the  arrested development and little ability of the TS to provide genuine psychic-spiritual regeneration even to a small minority (since hoping for more would be extremely naive or delusional). We should ask ourselves, in all honesty, if these reasons might not be found, as put by the Mahatmas in earlier quotations, in our failure to fulfill sine qua non requirements like the achievement of the first Object (K.H., ML, L.28, p. 213), as well as “the general misconception of the aims and objects of the Society” and “nothing else”. (M., ML, L. 38, p. 251).

That, indeed, is a very likely and sound hypothesis, unless our assertion that the TS currently faces serious problems in its progress is utterly wrong. If it is and the TS is doing fine, free from any major problem, our reasoning is totally misguided and our hypothesis meaningless. But if our diagnosis proves at least partially correct, these hypotheses stated as facts by the Adepts during the first years of the TS deserve serious contemplation.

Why do these hypotheses appear likely and logical? Simply because those who lack competence in small, trivial, more superficial matters, obviously will not show it in what is more comprehensive, more profound and harder to approach and demands a greater degree of competence.

Our mind and senses are usually drawn to the outer world, its devices and various relationships (professional, economic, political, family, etc), which, in comparison to the psychic and spiritual realities, are more easily measured, more familiar to our external senses, more superficial and so on.

Thus, is it conceivable or even logical that – if we were  unable to observe facts accurately at this level, if we were confused and deluded at this level – we have the lucidity, assurance and competence to accurately observe the much subtler and deeper truths and illusions of the psychic world, which are much harder to approach?

Is it conceivable or logical that a child that has not yet developed the necessary motor coordination to cut a piece of paper with scissors, is able to use a scalpel to excise a tumor? If this child cannot yet play with a toy car, is he or she able to safely drive a real car? Obviously not.

The logic of this  reasoning makes it clear that, if we are unable to observe the material world with accuracy, we have a very poor chance indeed of succeeding in the quest for Inner Truth.

A Nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood: a Sine Qua Non Condition

We have already referred several times to a passage in which the Adept calls the establishing of a nucleus of the universal brotherhood a sine qua non requirement prior to genuine esoteric teaching (K.H., ML, L.28, p. 213). Another passage. that tells us that a successful “live” approach to the Masters depends on our accomplishment of the beneficent work so badly needed by the world, has also become well known. However, there is still so much misunderstanding on this matter that it may be worthwhile to quote it one more time:

201 – “The problem of true Theosophy and its great mission is the working out of clear, unequivocal conceptions of ethic ideas and duties which would satisfy most and best the altruistic and right feelings in us; and the modelling of these conceptions for their adaptation into such forms of daily life where they may be applied with most equitableness… Such is the common work in view for all who are willing to act on these principles. It is a laborious task and will require strenuous and persevering exertion, but it must lead you insensibly to progress and leave no room for any selfish aspiration outside the limits traced…

(…) The degree of success or failure are the landmarks we shall have to follow, as they will constitute the barriers placed with your own hands between yourselves and those whom you have asked to be your teachers. The nearer your approach to the goal contemplated, the shorter the distance between the student and the Master.” (LMW, 2nd Series, L. 82, p. 158)

This passage clearly argues for the great likelihoos of our hypothesis. If the TS has led an excessively small number of people to the “living truth” of the conscious cooperation with the Mahatmas (a cooperation that is centrally related to the third Object of the Society), the reason for this may lie in our not even being successful in carrying out  the first and second Objects of the TS. Maybe we should start by learning to observe the needs of the outer world, and only then should we be able to observe the needs of the innter. Otherwise,  the inner life may become an escape or a cause of imbalance and confusion rather than something with a real and beneficent meaning.

With the Understanding of the Outer, then the Inner Movement Begins

As the letter from the Maha-Chohan reads, if we do not care about the fate of the teeming millions of the ignorant, of the poor and despised, and, even further, prove ourselves incapable of offering (to begin with, by setting an example within our organization), the “consistent solutions” the world’s problems so badly need, then – if we fail even at this comparatively easier task – we will surely obtain very poor results in the much harder task of achieving Self-Realization, of reaching the “living Truth” (or Theosophy), of climbing the steps to the Temple of Divine Wisdom, of being directly guided by the Masters on this Path.

We have reason to think that this is the meaning of the following passages:

202 – “Wherever one who does not suffer is unnhappy for those who do; wherever a human brain that might amuse itself finds joy in labour for the helping of the nation; wherever a human heart which has all that love can give it cannot be happy, but goes out in love to the outcast – there lies the promise of the future. (…) In those who are growing into the spiritual life; in those who cannot be happy while others are miserable; in those whose meals are rendered bitter by the starvation of the poor; in those whose luxury is a burden because of the want of the miserable – in those will you find the builders of the new civilisation, those who shall sacrifice that others may be happy.” (A. Besant, The Changing World, pp. 204-205)

203 – “The situation is this: men who join the Society with the one selfish object of reaching power making occult science their only or even chief aim may as well not join it – they are doomed to disappointment as much as those who commit the mistake of letting them believe that the Society is nothing else. It is just because they preach too much “the Brothers” and too little if at all Brotherhood that they fail (…) It is he alone who has the love of humanity at heart, who is capable of grasping thoroughly the idea of a regenerating practical Brotherhood who is entitled to the possession of our secrets.” (M., ML, L. 38, p. 251)

204 – “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, Inaugural address of the Youth Lodge “Radiant,” Madras (Chennai), Sep. 03, 1950)

These passages make it clear hat, crucial as the third Object may be to the accomplishment of the great task and mission of the TS, the two first Objects also stand high as a necessary preparation for a successful journey on the path of Selfknowledge implied in the third Object – and so much so that one of the Adepts calls them (especially the first one) a sine qua non condition to reach the third Object. Thus, as we can see, the three Objects of the TS, when properly understood and practiced, represent a genuine way of spiritual realization – a real mystical, religious or yogic path.

A passage by J. Krishnamurti seems to suggest similar truths. It is with his poetic and inspiring words that we shall close this book in the hope that it has shed some light on the meaning of Theosophy and the way to its Glorious Temple, as well as on the TS and the enormous and noble task of its three Objects. The quotation reads:

205 – “There is only one movement in life, the outer and the inner; this movement is indivisible, though it is divided. Being divided, most follow the outer movement of knowledge, ideas, authority, security, prosperity and so on. In reaction to this, one follows the so-called inner life, with its visions, aspirations, secrecies, conflicts, despairs. As this movement is a reaction, it is in conflict with the outer. So there is contradiction, with its aches, anxieties and escapes.
“There is only one movement, which is the outer and the inner. With the understanding of the outer, then the inner movement begins, not in opposition or in contradiction. As conflict is eliminated, the brain, though highly sensitive and alert, becomes quiet. Then only the inner movement has validity and significance.
“Out of this movement there is a generosity and compassion which is not the outcome of reason and purposeful self-denial.” (Krishnamurti’s Notebook, p. 14)