In 1888, speaking of Col. Olcott, an article in this magazine quoted from letters from the Adepts sent to Mr. Sinnett at a time some objections were made to the work of the Society on the ground that enough attention was not paid to men of science and to science itself. 1 Since the year in which those letters were written many persons have joined the Theosophical Society and its sphere of work has greatly extended. And now no less than then, the workers have begun to pay too much attention to the intellectual side of Theosophy and too little to that phase on which the Masters who are behind insist and which is called by H.P.B. in The Voice of the Silence the “heart doctrine.” Others also have said that they do not want any of the heart doctrine, but wish us to be highly respectable and scientific. Let us consult the Masters, those of us who believe in them.
When the letters to the Simla Lodge were written it was said by objecting Theosophists that it was time now to take a different tack and to work for men of science, and there was a slight suspicion of a repulsion between the Hindus, who are black, and the Europeans, as well as an openly expressed condemnation of the methods of Col. Olcott and H. P. Blavatsky. The reply from the Adepts, made after consultation with others very much higher still, runs in part:
No messenger of truth, no prophet, has ever achieved during his lifetime a complete triumph—not even Buddha. The Theosophical Society was chosen as the corner-stone, the foundation of the future religion of humanity. To achieve the proposed object a greater, wider, and especially a more benevolent intermingling of the high and the low, of the alpha and omega of society was determined on.
Who determined this? The Adepts and those who are yet still behind them, that is to say, for the Theosophist, the Dhyan Chohans who have control of such matters. Why was it decided? Because the world is sunk in sorrow and in selfishness which keeps the one side of society from helping the other. The letter goes on:
The white race must be the first to stretch out the hand of fellowship to the dark nations. This prospect may not smile to all alike. He is no Theosophist who objects to the principle . . . and it is we, the humble disciples of the perfect Lamas, who are expected to allow the Theosophical Society to drop its noblest title, The Brotherhood of Humanity, to become a simple school of philosophy. Let us understand each other. He who does not feel competent enough to grasp the noble idea sufficiently to work for it need not undertake a task too heavy for him.
The depth of the sarcasm here cannot be measured, and at the same time it is almost impossible to fully understand the opportunity pointed out in those words and the loss of progress one may suffer by not heeding them. They apply to all, and not merely to the persons they were written to, for the Masters always say what applies universally. The letter continues:
But there is hardly a Theosophist in the whole Society unable to effectually help it by correcting the erroneous impression of outsiders, if not by actually himself propagating this idea.
Later on, near the time when H.P.B. was in Germany, others came and asked what they might do, how they might work, and what “sphere of influence” they might find. The Master known as K. H. then wrote a letter to one, and at the same time sent copies with fuller notes on the communication to others. A part of that letter has lately been published in the German magazine, the Sphinx. In it the Master said among other things:
Spheres of influence can be found everywhere. The first object of the Theosophical Society is philanthropy. The true Theosophist is a philanthropist, who “Not for himself but for the world he lives.” This, and philosophy, the right comprehension of life and its mysteries, will give the “necessary basis” and show the right path to pursue. Yet the best “sphere of influence” for the applicant is now in [his own land].
The reference to a basis and a sphere of influence is to the idea of those who held that a scientific or at least a very long preparation to get a basis and a sphere for work was needed first. But the answer shows the Adept as not agreeing, and as pointing out the way to work along the line of the heart doctrine. And some of the fuller notes annexed to the copy of this letter sent at the same time to others read:
My reference to “philanthropy” was meant in its broadest sense, and to draw attention to the absolute need of the “doctrine of the heart” as opposed to that which is merely “of the eye.” And before, I have written that our society is not a mere intellectual school for occultism, and those greater than we have said that he who thinks the task of working for others too hard had better not undertake it. The moral and spiritual sufferings of the world are more important and need help and cure more than science needs aid from us in any field of discovery. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”—K.H.
After seventeen years of work it is now time that the whole Society should pay a little more attention to the words of those Masters of wisdom who have thus indicated the road, and these are the “original lines” traced out and meant to be followed. All those who do not follow them are those who feel dissatisfied with our work, and those who try to go upon these lines are those who feel and know that help is always given to the sincere Theosophist who ever tries not only to understand the philosophy but also to make it forceful for the proving and the exemplifying of the doctrine and object of Universal Brotherhood.
1. PATH, Vol. iii, p. 12.