A Study in
George Sidney Arundale
First published 1926
I felt through all this fleshly dress Bright shoots of everlastingness.
I seem to have seen as in a flash a picture of the future of our Theosophical Society. In my higher bodies I am sure I know not only its general future but many of the details. But I find it extraordinarily difficult to hold the picture in the waking consciousness. I presume the reason for this is that the picture I have seen is the expression of the Will of God, of the Logos, in this particular connection, is a flash of the Lightning-standing-still, and almost defies translation through a brain unaccustomed to such transmission. The Nirvanic wave-length is almost too subtle for my brain machine, and most is lost in the process of transmission.
I see the Society in terms of the Eternal Now as a certain Light-quality, being independent of the existence of the Society since the Society is only the Light in a particular mode of manifestation, an incarnation of this Light. the Society is the expression of a great Light movement - with no beginning so far as I could see, and no end. I see this movement as I see the light-houses of Sydney Harbour, now shining in the outer world, now not shining; and you will realize my difficulty in holding the picture in the physical consciousness inasmuch as the various periods of manifestation of the Theosophical movement in the outer world are visualized as one sees the flashings of a light-house which sends out periodic beams of light. I see many such flashes, presumably occurring at the close of each century, temporarily illuminating the darkened world; and between each a period of slowly lessening darkness. Thus the first impression down here is darkness - light - darkness - light – darkness - light, with the darkness wonderfully, though very gradually, shading into the dawning of a Day of the Lord, upon the threshold of which stands the world at the present time.
Can I dissect this flash, analyse it? Only very generally, with my feeble powers. I seem to see the Theosophical Society move more and more in the direction of concentrating its efforts upon the insistence of goodwill in every department of life. The first Object remains the vital Object. The second and third Objects remain an integral part of the Society’s official principles, but
the second Object seems
to have to a certain extent fulfilled itself, while the third forms the special
objective of the
The Esoteric School of Theosophy is, of course, in fact the heart of the Society, for it is the link between the Society and the Great White Lodge, but it seems to become a more homogeneous activity even than at present, having its separate head and organization, though working in closest harmony with the Society itself. The Esoteric School of Theosophy is the school for discipleship, while the Theosophical Society has become far more part of the outer world in the sense that its members are engaged in active work in every field of life, some working in one way, others in other ways, perhaps opposed ways - but all maintaining in splendid comradeship the binding Unity above the most conflicting diversities.
Members of the Society are noted for their enlightened citizenship, and their utterances are heard with respect, because it is known that they are both selfless and wise. They are the world’s insurance against wars and quarrels of all kinds. Every member, wherever he may be, is an accredited ambassador from the Prince of Peace to his surroundings, and has the respect
due to a wise elder. The more members of the Society begin to take an active part in the world’s affairs, the more are people attracted to its membership who themselves are active; with the result that the Society becomes a picked body of idealistic, practical, efficient pioneers who get things done because they
really mean business.
Through the efforts of members many superstitions die, though some die a lingering death. The superstitions of meat-eating, and wine and spirit-drinking die. The superstition of racial superiority dies. The superstition of class or sect irreconcilability dies. And the new policy is a policy of intensifying capacity rather than of levelling differences, it being held that the differences will harmonize themselves if capacity is encouraged and directed to unselfish ends.
Little by little the whole world commits itself to brotherhood, and the Theosophical Society, still existing, becomes a great world-wide organization supplying every brotherhood movement, every Nation, every Faith, with its leaders and most stalwart protagonists. The common membership of them all within the Theosophical Society is the world’s guarantee against disharmony and conflicting aims.
I do not see most of us in all this. We have done our work. We belong ever to minorities and to beginnings, to experiments, to forlorn hopes, to unexplored forests, to uncharted seas. We have made these things possible, and this is what we had to do. Some of us are in the Great Community. Others are engaged in other duties in this and in other worlds. Thus other people have taken our places in the Theosophical Society, or at least the places of many of us; and the Society at this period represents the world’s acknowledged best. I think some former Presidents are in turn Presidents of the Society again, thus preserving the hierarchical and apostolic succession, but the majority of the members are people who to-day are not quite ready to join.
The difficulty in seeing all this lies in the fact that the whole impression is one single impact, and this impact has to be dissected. For example, I seem to contact an impression of the Presidents of the Society from the beginning up to
the period I am
describing. But I can only get quite vague impressions as to who they are.
There seems to be a kind of President-Man, just as we speak of the Heavenly
I see the Society as the Light-Nucleus of the forces radiating from it to energize Brotherhood-activity throughout the world and on many planes. The Society is a direct channel for the Power of the Great White Lodge, in many ways the most direct channel, but the Power of the Lodge flows through the Society into many brotherhood movements. the Society is the heart of them all, and the inspirer of most, whether they recognize the fact or not.
I see in the picture our Society leading the way to Brotherhood more and more directly. the Society begins to become an acknowledged 2power in politics, in religion, in education, in industry, in social life generally. More' and more, members of the Theosophical Society take practical and active part in the world’s affairs, and as time passes some of them occupy prominent and responsible positions.
The Society stands behind Brotherhood in all phases of life, and while it is not committed to any special form of activity or belief, and there are members belonging to various kinds of organizations and modes of thought, still the common membership causes a strong comradeship even amidst diverse and superficially antagonistic activity, so that members of the Society are always able to bring together opposing factions when the opposition becomes injurious to the community as a whole.
Lodges of the Theosophical Society tend to become Community Centres, self-contained, on the outskirts of towns, but with centres of, activity within the towns.* (*See Appendix E for a more detailed description.) In this way, the various Lodges become practical examples of Brotherhood, which the world admires, thus causing a great increase in membership. The members begin to become the Society’s best advertisement - which all are not to-day - and the outer world, for this very reason, gravitates towards hygienic and humane living.
As I have already written, meat-eating, “sport” of the kind in vogue to-day, vivisection, industrial quarrelling, religious antagonisms, international disputes-all tend to disappear, partly because of the direct activity of members of the Society, partly because of the indirect example of community living, and partly because the Society becomes a very potent network of Brotherhood, out of which the world is at last unable to escape. The members of the Society become efficient sentinels against anarchy, revolution and all other forms of destructive unrest.
I see the Society being led into closer contact with the outer world, and fine egos born within its ranks, attracted thereto by the immense possibilities which membership of the Society offers. Membership of the Society becomes much more valuable and valued than ever before. It confers a distinct cachet, and egos with a purpose realize that both educationally and as regards a starting-point for the delivery of their message, to grow up within the Society’s influence is a very great asset. There seems to be almost a rush to be born of members of the Society, especially with the wonderful ideal of Motherhood which the Society does so much to foster.
I see subsidiary activities very virile, very vigorous, definitely subsidiary in the sense of paying reverent homage to the Mother-movement, yet sturdily independent at the same time, and contributing to world-progress a vitality all their own. Interestingly enough, I see all these things in terms of colour and sound.Liberalizing and unifying movements are at work in every religion, through the
instrumentality of the Theosophical Society; and I see other movements in other Faiths taking their place side by side with the Liberal Catholic Church and the Hindu movement - both very powerful organisations - within a great League of Religions, an activity which takes the place of the World-Religion, for which the world was found, and still remains, not ready.
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