VI – THE PERENNIAL PHILOSOPHY AND THE UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD:
The Essential Unity of All Humanity
55 - “The man who successfully probes his own inner nature and existence back to its Centre and Core, finds one single source of all men, all beings, all existence. Unity then emerges as the supreme verity, the everlasting truth.” (G. Hodson, Basic Theosophy, p. 81)
In the preceding chapter we analyzed several passages concerning the importance of the principle or law of the universal brotherhood of humanity. Most of them were written by the Adepts, Whom hypothetically throughout this text we consider exemplary exponents of the true Theosophy (Wisdom of the Gods, Liberation, Spiritual Illumination, and Altruism) – the so-called Mahatmas or Masters. We were able to see clearly that, in short, “That was Their main aim, from the beginning” in relation to the TS, as N. Sri Ram stated in a previous quotation.
Thus, it appears that there must exist a direct and fundamental relationship between true Theosophy or Altruism and the law of the universal brotherhood of humanity. It can be seen that when the glance of those who climbed to the top of the “Golden Stairs” (which lead to the “temple of Divine Wisdom”) turns compassionately toward the problems of the world, the vision they transmit to us is, in short, that there is no way of alleviating the suffering of the world “if not through the soothing influence of a brotherhood, and of the practical application of Buddha’s esoteric doctrines,” as was quoted from the Maha-Chohan.
This same great Adept who expressed the above view stated that these esoteric doctrines, if true, must offer consistent solutions for the problems of the world. In this way, the law of the universal brotherhood of mankind (and, naturally, its practical applications) must at the same time be connected with the Perennial Philosophy (becoming one of its most important laws) and with the consistent solutions to the problems of the world.
In other words, this principle or law of the brotherhood of humanity must, given the emphasis placed on it by the Mahatmas, be one of the most important principles or laws of Esoteric Philosophy, as it is in total agreement with the latter’s fundamental doctrines such as the Unity underlying the manifestation, the essence, the divine destiny of man, and the laws of Karma and Reincarnation, among others. And, when applied to the world’s problems, the law of the universal brotherhood must be very useful in the sense of offering them real solutions.
However, as we have observed in some of the preceding quotations, this law of the universal brotherhood of humanity, as well as its transcendental importance to the solutions of the great problems of humanity, is not a subject that is easily understood by the majority of people, not even by the members of the TS in general.
This is the reason why, from this point forward, we shall analyze the law of the universal brotherhood of humanity in the light of the principal doctrines of Esoteric Philosophy, with a view toward clarifying its fundamental aspects. We shall also attempt to show its decisive importance in finding consistent solutions to the great human problems by comparing the law of the universal brotherhood to the fundamental principles of the guiding currents of thought of our times. In this way we shall attempt to show the fundamental errors of these currents, as well as the errors incurred in their failed models of socio-political organization.
Throughout this analysis we shall attempt to show that this is valid for a given interpretation of the law of the universal brotherhood. And that within this interpretation the three Objects of the TS indicate roads of action that are perfectly in tune with the consistent solutions to the world’s problems. In this case, the law of human brotherhood and the three Objects, in the same way as occurs in Theosophy, turn into the glory of the TS. Along the same lines we shall show that this does not occur with other interpretations of the law of the universal brotherhood, nor, as a consequence, with other interpretations of the three Objects of the TS, which could lead to the paralysis of the progress of the TS (as we shall quote from one of the Mahatmas), thus becoming the failure of the TS.
With this general panorama in mind, let us begin to analyze the principle of the human brotherhood in the light of Occult Philosophy. It is fairly obvious that in this kind of text it is not possible to present the many aspects encompassed by this vast and perennial philosophy, except in a very summary form. However, since it is possible that this text will be read by someone with little knowledge of the Perennial Philosophy, it becomes necessary to attempt an outline of its principal doctrines and then, in the light of this sketch, to analyze the fundamental aspects of the principle or law of the universal brotherhood of humanity.
A first very simple outline of this
kind was already given when we presented the “three truths which are absolute”
mentioned in The Idyll of the White Lotus. This is a synthesis of what they
(1)The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour have no limit. (2) The principle which gives life dwells in us and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent and is perceived by the man who desires perception. (3) Each man is his own absolute lawgiver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.
These truths, which are as great as is life itself, are simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry with them.
Let us now look at a somewhat more developed outline which is mostly based on a summary presented by Dr. I. K. Taimni in his book, Self-culture in the Light of Occultism (chapters I and II; pp. 3-29). In accordance with this summary, these are the principal doctrines of the Perennial Philosophy:
1) The manifested Universe is rooted in an Eternal, Boundless, Immutable, Ever-unmanifested Principle which is called the Absolute, Parabrahman or the Ultimate Reality. This Principle transcends the power of ordinary human comprehension.
2) Consciousness and power, or Spirit and Matter are not two independent realities but the two polar aspects of the Absolute. They are the first products of differentiation and the basis of Manifestation.
3) From this Triad proceed all the numberless universes which appear and disappear in an endless cycle of Manifestation and Dissolution.
4) The innumerable Solar Systems which form part of the manifested universe are expressions of this Ultimate Reality, each Solar System forming an independent unit and yet remaining rooted in the Ever-Unmanifested Reality
5) Every Solar System is a perfectly ordered mechanism which is not only governed by immutable laws of Nature but is the manifestation of a transcendent Intelligence which is called God or Logos.
6) The physical Sun and the planets connected with it are the outermost or densest part of the Solar System, there being several invisible worlds composed of increasingly finer matter interpenetrating the physical world.
7) The whole Solar System with its planets, visible and invisible, is a vast theatre of evolution on which life in its various stages and innumerable forms is evolving to greater and greater perfection.
8) All this stupendous process is taking place according to a definite Plan present in the Divine Consciousness and controlled and guided by various hierarchies of Beings at different stages of evolution.
9) Life evolves gradually stage by stage through the mineral, vegetable, animal and human kingdoms, the evolution being continued even after the perfection of the human stage has been reached.
10) Every human being is Divine in essence, contains within himself all the qualities and powers which we associate with Divinity in a germinal state and these are unfolded gradually, leading to an ever increasing perfection and expansion of consciousness which has no limit.
11) The unfoldment of these latent qualities and powers is brought about through the process of reincarnation, the soul incarnating again and again in different countries and under different circumstances to gain experiences of all kinds and then spending periods of rest on the superphysical planes to assimilate these experiences.
12) The accumulation of these experiences is the main factor in the explanation of the stage of evolutionary development reached by each individual human being. And it is this same factor which determines the differences in the evolutionary development between the great evolutionary kingdoms (mineral, plant, animal, human and super-human), as well as the extraordinary differences of evolution that are present inside each of these kingdoms.
13) The absolute essential Unity and the Diversity of manifested forms and existences are the determining factors to the understanding of the evolutionary process in all its stages, including the human. Thus, in the human kingdom these are the factors that are at the foundation of the principle or law of the Universal Brotherhood of humanity.
14) Not only the physical but all other aspects of the human life are governed by natural laws operating in their respective spheres. This all embracing law of cause and effect which is generally known as Karma makes man the master of his destiny and the dispenser of happiness or misery to himself.
Universal Brotherhood in the Light of the Perennial Philosophy
With this global view in mind, we shall make a more thorough analysis of those points which may help us in our aim to clarify the law of the universal brotherhood of humanity.
From the perspective of the Esoteric Philosophy presented above, we are able to verify the existence of a great evolutionary cycle rooted in the divine Unity and which in its human stage is processed through successive reincarnations. This view is decisive for the understanding of the law of the brotherhood of all men, because it is this law on which it is based and which defines its principal characteristics. On one side it reveals the aspect of the Unity that underlies all beings, and on the other it shows and lights the aspect of Diversity manifested (through the different evolutionary stages).
The very word “brotherhood” gives us the key to this whole panorama not only in its basic structure but also in relation to its development in time. Thus, we are structurally all brothers (and sisters) because we enjoy a communal parent; this parent is Divine Life, although we may have different ages or find ourselves on different levels of evolutionary development. These are the two fundamental aspects of Unity and Diversity.
It is important, at this point, to emphasize that this is, in summary, the concept proposed to us by the Perennial Philosophy. And, if it is true as has been clearly declared by those highest on the evolutionary scale (the Mahatmas and Their more advanced disciples), then it is this concept on which the establishing of correct ethical notions and the corresponding duties are based. These notions and duties may be applied universally (i.e.: to all), which would indicate a universal morality. In the same way, it is on this morality that depend the upsurge of fair and scientifically healthy socio-political institutions that may conduct humanity to greater harmony and so alleviate its sufferings.
In view of the importance of this point, it seems an appropriate moment to remember two passages in the letters from the Masters, in which the facts and logical connections presented in the preceding paragraphs are clearly stated. They declare that the welfare of the whole human family largely depends on this view of humanity as an all-encompassing (universal) brotherhood, as also does its practical application, mainly in the form of new social institutions. And it is in its absence that we shall find the roots of the greater part of human conflicts and sufferings.
As stated earlier, this last point will be taken up again in more detail at a later time when we shall attempt to show the following fact: that the currents of thought that govern our times, as well as the social institutions originating from them, are based on concepts that contradict the view of humanity as a universal brotherhood. But let us return to the passages of the letters from the Masters in this respect:
56 - “The term ‘Universal Brotherhood’ is no idle phrase. (...) It is the only secure foundation for universal morality. If it be a dream, it is at least a noble one for mankind: and it is the aspiration of the true adept.” (K.H., ML, L. 4, p. 17)
57 - “The truths and mysteries of occultism constitute, indeed, a body of the highest spiritual importance, at once profound and practical for the world at large. Yet, it is not as a mere addition to the tangled mass of theory or speculation in the world of science that they are being given to you, but for their practical bearing on the interests of mankind. (...) They have to prove both destructive and constructive – destructive in the pernicious errors of the past, in the old creeds and superstitions which suffocate in their poisonous embrace like the Mexican weed nigh all mankind; but constructive of new institutions of a genuine, practical Brotherhood of Humanity where all will become co-workers of nature (...).” (K.H., ML, L. 6, pp. 23-24)
And since this principle or law is of the greatest importance for the individual and the collective welfare of all human beings and as there appears to be a generalized poor understanding of it, we shall go into more details in our analysis of the principle or law of the Universal Brotherhood of humanity in the light of the Perennial Philosophy. To this end we shall divide our approach in accordance with the two fundamental aspects of this principle. These aspects, as mentioned above, are the underlying Unity and the Diversity in manifested existence.
The aspect of the Unity that underlies human brotherhood is frequently commented on in the literature of the TS as well as in spiritual literature in general. This being so, it will not be necessary to extend ourselves in its analysis. Let us just look at a passage from Geoffrey Hodson, well-known author and clairvoyant, in which he deals with this first and fundamental aspect:
58 - “(...) I wish to advance one supremely important idea concerning man. I speak not only of man as Thinker, but man in his real Essence, the mysterious Dweller in the Innermost, the Logos of the Soul, the Spark of the Divine Flame, the Scintilla of the Spiritual Sun.
“That supremely important idea is that there is in existence in the whole Universe only one Spiritual Essence, one Spiritual Being, one Divine Flame – and the Spiritual Self of man is for ever at one with that all-inclusive One Alone. This is the one great truth, the true source of power, the sovereign secret.
“The man who successfully probes his own inner nature and existence back to its Centre and Core, finds one single source of all men, all beings, all existence. Unity then emerges as the supreme verity, the everlasting truth. ‘All are but parts of one stupendous whole.’ (...) behind all existence is one Supreme Power, one Energy, one Force, one Law and, because of this characteristic of oneness, all the components of that One are united in the One Alone.
“All are one. Minerals, plants, animals and men, Supermen, Angels, Archangels, worlds, suns, stars and galaxies of stars – all are one, inseparably united. So far as the billion human beings now on Earth are concerned, all are members of one spiritual Race which is without divisions of any kind. This is the sublime truth, the Master fact – all are one.” (G. Hodson, Basic Theosophy, p. 81-82)