A new volume of THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT commences with this issue. Over the years, regularly every month, it has offered its ration of Soul-nourishment and tried to bring to its readers Wisdom and Peace, and not only Theosophical information.
Its special task has been to point the way to a different life, a new style of thinking and of acting, and with renewed vigour it will continue that work. The Path of the Higher Life has to be entered one by one. Each has to find its beginning by self-effort and self-examination and to see himself as a unit linked to a mighty and magnificent whole. Our task is to awaken individuals to recognize that "the now ideal human perfection is no dream, but a law of divine nature."
The transition age is taking its toll in every land, and neglect of the advice and instruction which the Theosophy of H. P. Blavatsky offers for the right practice of Universal Brotherhood has precipitated grave consequences. Many front-rank thinkers of our time have voiced their concern over the crisis facing modern man. For all that, the turn of the cycle is fast approaching when a New Era of Peace and Progress will be ushered in. The grave, nay, critical state in which we find ourselves is but a prelude to the improvement which must soon set in. The degradation caused by selfishness and greed on the politico-economic plane having reached its nadir of manifestation, has sent a large number of individuals in search of true Peace—the Peace of the divine nature within each one.
It is not unnatural that the beneficent revolution taking place on the inner and invisible planes of being is unperceived by many, engrossed as humanity has been and is in the physical revolution which, with its conflicts, wars and carnage, has claimed our attention. Politico-economic afflictions are, like bodily diseases, the final expression of mental and moral disorders. The former are not causal; the latter are. To attend to humanity's moral and mental ailments is to work on the plane of causes. In spite of the obstacles rooted in the ignorance of the so-called leaders and patriots in every nation, large numbers of people are seeing through the glamour and the machinations of their animal-mind.
H.P.B. wrote in her article "The Fall of Ideals":
The periodical rise and fall of human character on the external planes takes place now, as it did before, and the ordinary average perception of man is too weak to see that both processes occur each time on a higher plane than the preceding. But as such changes are not always the work of centuries, for often extreme changes are wrought by swift acting forces—e.g., by wars, speculations, epidemics, the devastation of famines or religious fanaticism—therefore do the blind masses imagine that man ever was, is, and will be the same. To the eyes of us, moles, mankind is like our globe—seemingly stationary. And yet, both move in space and time with an equal velocity, around themselves and—onward. (U.L.T. Pamphlet No. 27, p. 2)
In writing this, H.P.B. emphasizes the task of "every man, as a unit," who "has it in his power to add his mite" in the grand task of ushering in an era of peace and prosperity—active peace and real prosperity arising from sacrifice.
Most of us look to others to secure the blessing of peace and the benefits of prosperity. We live in an age of constant change, yet to most human minds there seems to be a changeless monotony: going to sleep and waking up, breakfasting and going to work, recreation interspersed and friends seen, and then night and sleep again. Men and women experience numerous small joys and petty pains; a few major events such as births and weddings, disease and death, come the way of some, and thus the years pass. How many feel, except on rare occasions, the deep peace of the heart which alone spells happiness? If the real Sages are ever full of peace and bliss, and radiate these hour by hour and incarnation after incarnation, cannot men and women who, though less advanced than they are, belong to the same human kingdom, let stream forth a similar blessing once a week, once a month, once a year? But to give peace we must possess peace within; to sacrifice we must have something worth while to offer.
The monotony of days lengthening into months, of weeks stretching into years, can be relieved only when we feel that inner peace which illumines the whole field of our existence and touches those who come in contact with us. That is possible for ordinary men and women to feel heart-happiness is proven to them when through some act of genuine self-sacrifice they have pleased others—even if only their kin or they friends. But acts of genuine self-sacrifice are not common, and many deeds which are called sacrificial are not real offerings of the Spirit but only kindly acts which hide within them the desire for an adequate response. How many love only with a view to being loved in return! How many acts of charity are performed with a desire to gain recognition! How many times have we not heard people say, "I sacrificed for nothing"! Even so-called pious people resolve to offer to God or the Gods, if He or They will fulfil their desire. The bargaining spirit deprives any action of its aspect of sacrifice. That is why men and women do not feel the peace which comes with real sacrifice. The spirit of giving streams forth in one direction; the spirit of getting moves in the opposite direction. If men and women would distinguish their own acts of real sacrifice from those of pseudo-sacrifice they would take a step towards the kingdom of peace.
If we aspire to feel even for a short period the peace which the Sages always feel, not only do we have to learn the art of giving without desiring something in return, but, further, we need to possess some knowledge about the nature and the power of the Sages whose peace abides for ever. Many are the useless sacrifices which fail to produce beneficent results, and among such there are sacrifices which produce positive evil effects. The art of doing good, the art of making sacrifices, is difficult; that art has its principles and its technique without which one can no more create beauty in actions than a person having bought canvas, paints and brush, can begin to use them effectively without a knowledge of the principles and technique of the art of painting.
Is not living analogous to the painting of a picture? We can paint our days in colours which radiate light, beauty and peace. But the art of thus painting successfully the days and the years of life cannot be mastered unless we study the rules of that painting. Knowledge is therefore necessary.
The peace which the Sages feel results from their great knowledge. They understand the Universe; they understand the human kingdom, the ways of men and women, the pains which they suffer, the pleasures which beguile them; and, because the Sages are compassionate, they are ever ready to teach mortals the art of painting life in hues of the peace of the heart, the prosperity of the mind, the sacrifices made with hands of power. People say that they want peace, they want knowledge, they want truth; but only a few are willing and prepared to work for securing heart-peace, for obtaining wisdom, for seeking truth.
THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT endeavours to awaken as many as possible to that blessed state of peace, of wisdom and of truth, so that, in the words of H.P.B., the "abnormal, unnatural manifestation" of vice and wickedness may weaken and "the Higher Ego, or incarnating principle, the nous or Mind [may] reign over the animal Ego."
In our task of presenting ideas which enlighten the mind and energize and inspire the heart, we look to the help our contributors can give. Though their number is small, they are in the four quarters of the globe; we offer our thanks to them and appeal for more. Friends of THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT who are in sympathy with its aims and objects but feel for one reason or another that they cannot write for its pages can help in other ways, as in making the magazine known to as many of their friends as are likely to be interested in it.
What Mr. Judge wrote editorially in The Path of March 1890 is worth pondering over by all students of Theosophy, as much of what he says is applicable also to THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, which seeks to serve, as The Path did, the cause of genuine Theosophy:
All Theosophists who can afford $2 per year are asked if they should not support The Path. The magazine is not carried on for profit, and is solely devoted to the interests of the Theosophical Society, and yet it is a fact that its subscribers are nearly all non-theosophists. Its editor and its writers all work for nothing, but for four years it has been published at a loss which is always met out of private means. Members of the Society who all know that The Path maintains an independent attitude, supporting no clique and pandering to no self-interest, should not keep back their support from a journal that does much to keep alive and make respected the Society and its literature....The Path will not stop even if this suggestion is not followed, because so long as its Editor thinks the Society can be helped by it, he will publish the magazine. Nevertheless, a larger circulation aids a magazine in every way, bringing it to the attention of persons otherwise ignorant of it and of its mission, stimulating writers to their best efforts for its columns ensuring more notice of and quotation from it by other periodicals. One exceedingly valuable assistance to both it and Theosophy is private subscription on behalf of Public Libraries. It would be well if every such Library, willing to give it a place, was supplied regularly with The Path by private subscription. About 13 are thus supplied at present, and no one can calculate the missionizing influence thereby exerted. Well-to-do Theosophists can order it sent to their poorer brethren also, not as a benefaction to the Editor, but to them and to the Cause. For the life of a movement is largely in its literature, and its literature is epitomized in its magazines.