According to our theosophical tenets, every man or woman is endowed, more or less, with a magnetic potentiality, which when helped by a sincere and especially by an intense and indomitable will—is the most effective of magic levers placed by Nature in human hands—for woe as for weal. Let us then, Theosophists, use that will to send a sincere greeting and wish of good luck for the New Year to every living creature under the sun—enemies and relentless traducers included. Let us try and feel especially kindly and forgiving to our foes and persecutors, honest or dishonest, lest some of us should send unconsciously an "evil eye" greeting instead of a blessing.
Before our next issue is out, not only Christendom but the entire world will have made merry over Christmas, which but symbolizes the ancient Festival of the Winter Solstice—a fact forgotten by most people; and then the New Year will be ushered in.
The spirit of fraternity which prevails during this season makes people wish each other prosperity and happiness. Such wishes are more often than not mere formalities, being backed up neither by the power of thought nor by the energy of will, and do not generally come true. As nothing in life is secured without working for it, happiness and prosperity will not drop from the heavens at our mere wish, sincere though it be.
If our wishes for the happiness of our friends and kin are not to go in vain, we must acquire some knowledge about what happiness is and how it can be acquired. People say "Good morning," "Thank you," "Happy New Year to you!" generally by mere force of habit. The picture of happiness in the mind of any one person is different from that in the minds of others. When one says to his friend, "Happy New Year to you!" he conceives happiness for his friend in terms of the image of happiness in his own mind. Without some philosophic reflection it is not possible for us to define what we imply by our good wishes for others.
We all agree that in wishing others happiness we do not wish them suffering; that would be unnatural. And yet we are told that suffering is oftentimes a stepping-stone to happiness—a fact corroborated by philosophers and intuitive poets—and that it is wise to
welcome each rebuff
The relationship between joy and sorrow, happiness and misery, needs therefore to be looked into if we want to send out only those wishes that will be of real benefit to our friends. A solitary hour of pain and anguish is sometimes more rewarding than years of pleasure and seeming prosperity.
As rigid Justice rules the world, what place is there for wishes—even for prayerful wishes—which our hearts may stream forth for the benefit of others? Prayers uttered in sounds and words and even silent prayers do produce results of a sort, but are we sure that they are the results we actually desired and were looking for? Miracles are not possible in a cosmos where every effect is the result of a cause, and one who wishes or prays must know the right way to produce the very results he wants. No hocus-pocus is possible in the laboratory of Nature any more than in that of the chemist. If the latter desires to produce water he can do so by combining hydrogen and oxygen in the right proportion. How, then, to acquire the knowledge which would enable us to wish or to pray effectively and to create peace and goodwill and happiness for others?
The fogs of misery have descended on our civilized humanity time and again. People in political power are gambling with the lives of millions of human beings. Again and again the "brink of war" situation has arisen in the world. Dark days are upon us and men's minds and hearts are unsettled. Men of discernment, however, are learning the lessons of war.
Even if bloodshed be stopped, the problem of human suffering will persist, as it has been demanding solution these many years. And if happiness, order, peace and goodwill are desired, men and women themselves will have to seek and to secure them, inasmuch as happiness comes from within our own consciousness; order in our environment is created by the orderly mind within us; peace belongs to our hidden heart, and if it is not there it cannot be obtained anywhere else; goodwill is a feeling of the Soul which has to stream forth towards all, but if it does not well up in the Soul within, it cannot stream forth to others who are without.
What will the coming year bring to us? What we ourselves have desired. And as hours lengthen into days, weeks and months, our desire of today will fulfil itself tomorrow, or next week, or in the weeks and months to come. But have we always desired wisely? Do we desire wisely at this very hour? For example, people desire money, but what will they do when money flows into their coffers? If they do not know what money can do, or what they can do with money, they are sure to drive out happiness and to invite to their hearts pain and anguish. We do not get only what we deserve; we get what we desire. We reap as we sow and we deserve as we desire. How to deserve happiness? How to desire it?
It is futile to pursue happiness, for in our real nature we are it. We miss it because we look for it outside of ourselves. It is an inherent quality of the soul—a quality which the soul loses as it loses the true perception of its own nature. It is an inner harmony or contentment of the soul. We in our folly mistake cause for effect, and effect for cause, and try to attain happiness by hankering after what has not fallen to our lot under Karma and by attempting to change the circumstances in which we find ourselves, thinking that the changed circumstances will bring happiness. But our environment is only the outer manifestation of our inner state. Therefore let us begin by setting to work on ourselves, trying to adopt the right mental attitude and purifying our natures, and happiness will spring up spontaneously from within us in the progress of time, for there is a spring of happiness in our deeper nature.
Let us learn to desire righteously and soon the joy of life will be ours.
In our small way we should imitate the Great Brotherhood in its constant efforts to help Humanity. They know the cycles, and, using that knowledge, can see when the impulse of a new cycle is beginning. Taking advantage of this prescience, new ideas are projected among men and all good reforms are fostered. Why should we, merely because we are ignorant of the cycles, do nothing to help these great benefactors of the races? They offer to all men the truths of the Wisdom-Religion, making no selections but leaving results to the law. Is it for us to assume in our theosophical work that we, poor, weak, ignorant tyros, are able to select from the mass of our fellows the one or the many who may be fit to receive theosophy? Such a position of judge is vain, ridiculous, and untheosophic. Our plain duty is to present the truths of theosophy to all men, leaving it to them to accept or reject.