The Principle or Law of Universal Brotherhood is Very Little Understood: It Is the One Essential of Doctrine and of Life of Both Buddhism and Christianity

“How little this principle of Universal Brotherhood is understood by the masses of mankind, how seldom its transcendent importance is recognized, may be seen in the diversity of opinions and fictitious interpretations regarding the Theosophical Society. This Society was organized on this one principle, the essential Brotherhood of Man, as herein briefly outlined and imperfectly set forth. It has been assailed as Buddhistic and anti-Christian, as though it could be both these together, when both Buddhism and Christianity, as set forth by their inspired founders, make brotherhood the one essential of doctrine and of life.” (Helena Blavatsky, quoting J.D. Buck. The Key to Theosophy, p. 18)


THE LATE MRS. ANNA KINGSFORD, M.D.

OBTUARY (1)

“We have this month to record with the deepest regret the passing away from this physical world of one who, more than any other, has been instrumental in demonstrating to her fellow-creatures the great fact of the conscious existence – hence of the immortality – of the inner Ego.

We speak of the death of Mrs. Anna Kingsford, M.D., which occurred on Tuesday, the 28th of February, after a somewhat painful and prolonged illness. Few women have worked harder than she has, or in more noble causes; none with more success in the cause of humanitarianism. Hers was a short but a most useful life. Her intellectual fight with the vivisectionists of Europe, at a time when the educated and scientific world was more strongly fixed in the grasp of materialism than any other period in the history of civilization, alone proclaims her as one of those who, regardless of conventional thought, have placed themselves at the very focus of controversy, prepared to dare and brave all the consequences of their temerity. Pity and Justice to animals were among Mrs. Kingsford’s favourite texts when dealing with this part of her life’s work; and by reason of her general culture, her special training in the science of medicine, and her magnificent intellectual power, she was enabled to influence and work in the way she desired upon a very large proportion of those people who listened to her words or who read her writings. Few women wrote more graphically, more takingly, or possessed a more fascinating style.

Mrs. Kingsford’s field of activity, however, was not limited to the purely physical, mundane plane of life. She was a Theosophist and a true one at heart; a leader of spiritual and philosophical thought, gifted with the most exceptional psychic attributes. In connection with Mr. Edward Maitland, her truest friend – one whose incessant, watchful care has undeniably prolonged her delicate ever-threatened life for several years, and who received her last breath – she wrote several books dealing with metaphysical and mystical subjects. The first and most important was The Perfect Way, or the Finding of Christ, which gives the esoteric meaning of Christianity. It sweeps away many of the difficulties that thoughtful readers of the Bible must contend with in their endeavours to either understand or accept literally the story of Jesus Christ as it is presented in the Gospels.

She was for some time President of the “London Lodge” of the Theosophical Society, and, after resigning that office, she founded “The Hermetic Society” for the special study of Christian mysticism. She herself, though her religious ideas differed widely on some points from Eastern philosophy, remained a faithful member of the Theosophical Society and a loyal friend to its leaders. (2)

She was one, the aspirations of whose whole life were ever turned toward the eternal and the true. A mystic by nature – the most ardent one to those who knew her well – she was still a very remarkable woman even in the opinion of the materialists and the unbelievers. For, besides her remarkably fine and intellectual face, there was that in her which arrested the attention of the most unobserving and foreign to any metaphysical speculation. For, as Mrs. F. Fenwick Miller writes, though Mrs. Kingsford’s mysticism was “simply unintelligible” to her, yet we find that this does not prevent the writer from perceiving the truth. As she describes her late friend, “I have never known a woman so exquisitely beautiful as she who cultivated her brain so assiduously. (…) I have never known a woman in whom the dual nature that is more or less perceptible in every human creature was so strongly marked – so sensuous, so feminine on the one hand, so spirituelle, so imaginative on the other hand.” (3)

The spiritual and psychic nature had always the upper hand over the sensuous and feminine; and the circle of her mystically-inclined friends will miss her greatly, for such woman as she are not numerous in the same century. The world in general has lost in Mrs. Kingsford one who can be very ill-spared in this era of materialism. The whole of her adult life was passed in working unselfishly for others, for the elevation of the spiritual side of humanity. We can, however, in regretting her death take comfort in the thought that good work cannot be lost nor die, though the worker is no longer among us to watch for the fruit. And Anna Kingsford’s work will be still bearing fruit even when her memory has been obliterated with the generations of those who knew her well, and new generations will have approached the psychic mysteries still nearer. (4)

NOTES

(1) Note from the editor of the Anna Kingsford Site: This text, The Late Mrs. Anna Kingsford, M.D., was published in H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, Vol. IX, pp. 89-91. TPH, Madras (India), 1962, 487 pp. It was first published in the magazine Lucifer, Vol. II, nº. 7, March 1888, pp. 78-79.

(2) Note from the original text: Both Mr. Maitland and Mrs. Kingsford had resigned from the “London Lodge of the Theosophical Society,” but not from the Parent Society.

(3) Note from the compiler of the work H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings: “Woman: Her Position and Her Prospects, Her Duties and Her Doings,” Lady’s Pictorial, London, March 3, 1888.

(4) Note from the original text: The statement made by some papers that Mrs. Kingsford did not find her resting place in psychic force, for “she died a Roman Catholic,” is utterly false. The boasts made by the R.C. Weekly Register (March 3 and March 10, 1888) to the effect that she died in the bosom of the Church, having abjured her views, psychism, theosophy, and even her The Perfect Way, and writings in general, have been vigorously refuted in the same paper by her husband, Rev. Algernon Kingsford, and Mr. Maitland. We are sorry to hear that her last days were embittered by the mental agony inflicted upon her by an unscrupulous nun, who, as Mr. Maitland declared to us, was smuggled in as a nurse – and who did nothing but bother her patient, “importune her, and pray.” That Mrs. Kingsford was entirely against the theology of the Church of Rome, though believing in Catholic doctrines, may be proved by one of her last letters to us, on “poor slandered St. Satan,” in connection with certain attacks on the name of our Journal, Lucifer. We have preserved this and several other letters, as they were all written between September, 1887 and January, 1888. They thus remain eloquent witnesses against the pretensions of the Weekly Register. For they prove that Mrs. Kingsford had not abjured her views, not that she died “in fidelity to the Catholic Church.”


Toynbee Declared: a Thousand Years From Now the Historian Will Be Preoccupied  with What Happened When for the First Time Christianity and Buddhism Began to Penetrate One Another

“Some years ago, Arnold Toynbee declared that when the historian of a thousand years from now comes to write the history of our time, he will be preoccupied not with the Vietnan war, not with racial strife, but with what happened when for the first time Christianity and Buddhism began to penetrate one another deeply. This remark is profoundly interesting and, I believe, profoundly true. Even the stubborn old Catholic Church, in a flush of post conciliar humility, feels that she has something to gain by sitting at the feet of the Zen roshi and imbibing the age-old wisdom fo the East.” (William Johnston. Christian Zen, p. 1)


At Some Distant Day It Will Become a Religion of Great Nations

“I know that at some distant day, now, indeed, perhaps very remote, the message we preach in a corner will become a religion of great nations.” (Anna Kingsford. Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism, p. 1)


Moses and Elias Correspond to Buddha and Pythagoras: the Mind and the Body. Jesus: the Heart-Spirit. Functions Exercized by Pythagoras, Buddha and Jesus: Works, Undestanding and Love, or Body, Mind and Heart

“As it was no part of the design of the Gospels to represent the whole course of the Man Regenerate, so neither was it a part of that design to provide, in respect of religious life and doctrine, a system whole and complete independently of any which had preceded it. Having a special relation to the Heart and Spirit of the Man, and thereby to the nucleus of the cell and the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle, Christianity, in its original conception, relegated the regeneration of the Mind and Body – the covered House and open Court of the Tabernacle, or exterior dualism of the Microcosm – to systems already existent and widely known and practised.

These systems were two in number, or rather were as two modes or expressions of the one system, the establishment of which constituted the “Message” which preceded Christianity by the cyclical period of six hundred years. This was the Message of which the “Angels” were represented in the Buddha Gautama and Pythagoras. Of these two nearly contemporary prophets and redeemers, the system was, both in doctrine and in practice, essentially one and the same.

And their relation to the system of Jesus, as its necessary pioneers and forerunners, finds recognition in the Gospels under the allegory of the Transfiguration. For the forms beheld in this – of Moses and Elias – are the Hebrew correspondences of Buddha and Pythagoras. And they are described as beheld by the three Apostles in whom respectively are typified the functions severally fulfilled by Pythagoras, Buddha, and Jesus; namely, Works, Understanding, and Love, or Body, Mind, and Heart, And by their association on the Mount is denoted the junction of all three elements, and the completion of the whole system comprising them, in Jesus as the representative of the Heart or Innermost, and as in a special sense the “beloved Son of God.”

Christianity, then, was introduced into the world with a special relation to the great religions of the East, and under the same divine control. And so far from being intended as a rival and supplanter of Buddhism, it was the direct and necessary sequel to that system; and the two are but parts of one continuous, harmonious whole, whereof the later division is but the indispensable supplement and complement of the earlier.

Buddha and Jesus are, therefore, necessary the one to the other; and in the whole system thus completed, Buddha is the Mind, and Jesus is the Heart; Buddha is the general, Jesus is the particular; Buddha is the brother of the universe, Jesus is the brother of men; Buddha is Philosophy, Jesus is Religion; Buddha is the Circumference, Jesus is the Within; Buddha is the System, Jesus is the Point of Radiation; Buddha is the Manifestation, Jesus is the Spirit; in a word, Buddha is the “Man,” Jesus is the “Woman.” But for Buddha, Jesus could not have been, nor would he have sufficed the whole man; for the man must have the Mind illuminated before the Affections can be kindled. Nor would Buddha have been complete without Jesus. Buddha completed the regeneration of the Mind; and by his doctrine and practice men are prepared for the grace which comes by Jesus. Wherefore no man can be, properly, Christian, who is not also, and first, Buddhist.

Thus the two religions constitute, respectively, the exterior and interior of the same Gospel, the foundation being in Buddhism – the term including Pythagoreanism – and the illumination in Christianity. And as without Christianity Buddhism is incomplete, so without Buddhism Christianity is unintelligible.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. The Perfect Way; or, the Finding of Christ, pp. 249-251)


Buddha Gautama (including Pythagoras) and Christ Are Necessary to One Another: Together They Form a System Whole and Complete

“As it was no part of the design of the Gospels to represent the whole course of the Man Regenerate, so neither was it a part of that design to provide, in respect of religious life and doctrine, a system whole and complete independently of any which had preceded it. (…) Christianity, in its original conception, relegated the regeneration of the Mind and Body (…), or exterior dualism of the Microcosm – to systems already existent and widely known and practised.

These systems were two in number, or rather were as two modes or expressions of the one system, the establishment of which constituted the “Message” which preceded Christianity by the cyclical period of six hundred years. This was the Message of which the “Angels” were represented in the Buddha Gautama and Pythagoras.

Of these two nearly contemporary prophets and redeemers, the system was, both in doctrine and in practice, essentially one and the same. And their relation to the system of Jesus, as its necessary pioneers and forerunners, finds recognition in the Gospels under the allegory of the Transfiguration.

For the forms beheld in this – of Moses and Elias – are the Hebrew correspondences of Buddha and Pythagoras. And they are described as beheld by the three Apostles in whom respectively are typified the functions severally fulfilled by Pythagoras, Buddha, and Jesus; namely, Works, Understanding, and Love, or Body, Mind, and Heart.

Christianity, then, was introduced into the world with a special relation to the great religions of the East, and under the same divine control. And so far from being intended as a rival and supplanter of Buddhism, it was the direct and necessary sequel to that system; and the two are but parts of one continuous, harmonious whole, whereof the later division is but the indispensable supplement and complement of the earlier.

Buddha and Jesus are, therefore, necessary the one to the other; and in the whole system thus completed, Buddha is the Mind, and Jesus is the Heart; Buddha is the general, Jesus is the particular; Buddha is the brother of the universe, Jesus is the brother of men; Buddha is Philosophy, Jesus is Religion; Buddha is the Circumference, Jesus is the Within; Buddha is the System, Jesus is the Point of Radiation; Buddha is the Manifestation, Jesus is the Spirit; in a word, Buddha is the “Man,” Jesus is the “Woman.”

But for Buddha, Jesus could not have been, nor would he have sufficed the whole man; for the man must have the Mind illuminated before the Affections can be kindled. Nor would Buddha have been complete without Jesus. Buddha completed the regeneration of the Mind; and by his doctrine and practice men are prepared for the grace which comes by Jesus. Wherefore no man can be, properly, Christian, who is not also, and first, Buddhist.

Thus the two religions constitute, respectively, the exterior and interior of the same Gospel, the foundation being in Buddhism – the term including Pythagoreanism – and the illumination in Christianity. And as without Christianity Buddhism is incomplete, so without Buddhism Christianity is unintelligible.

(…) of the spiritual union in the one faith of Buddha and Christ, will be born the world’s coming redemption.

(…) They who seek to wed Buddha to Jesus are of the celestial and upper; and they who interpose to forbid the banns are of the astral and nether. Between the two hemispheres stand the domain and faith of Islam, not to divide, but, as umbilical cord, to unite them.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. The Perfect Way; or, the Finding of Christ, p. 249-256)


Buddhism and Christianity Are Parts of One and the Same Gospel

“In brief, they are not two gospels but two aspects, the without and the within, of one Gospel. For Buddhism finds its translation and completion in Christianity, and Christianity its inception and foundation in Buddhism.” (Bertram McCrie. The Living Truth in Christianity, pp. 26-27)


Buddhism and Christianity Are But Parts of One Continuous, Harmonious Whole

“Christianity, then, was introduced into the world with a special relation to the great religions of the East, and under the same divine control. And so far from being intended as a rival and supplanter of Buddhism, it was the direct and necessary sequel to that system; and the two are but parts of one continuous, harmonious whole, whereof the later division is but the indispensable supplement and complement of the earlier. (…)

But for Buddha, Jesus could not have been, nor would he have sufficed the whole man; for the man must have the Mind illuminated before the Affections can be kindled. Nor would Buddha have been complete without Jesus. Buddha completed the regeneration of the Mind; and by his doctrine and practice men are prepared for the grace which comes by Jesus. Wherefore no man can be, properly, Christian, who is not also, and first, Buddhist.

Thus the two religions constitute, respectively, the exterior and interior of the same Gospel, the foundation being in Buddhism – the term including Pythagoreanism – and the illumination in Christianity. And as without Christianity Buddhism is incomplete, so without Buddhism Christianity is unintelligible”. (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. The Perfect Way; or, the Finding of Christ, pp. 250-251)


The Doctrine of the Buddha: Indispensable Forerunner and Interpreter of the Doctrine of the Christ

“For the fact is that the doctrine of the Buddha, with its Four Great Truths and its Noble Eightfold Path, its boundless compassion towards all sentient life, its reasonable ethical teaching of development through self-conquest and self-culture, its simple yet profound analysis of suffering and sorrow with the method of escape therefrom open to all, its entire regeneration of the mind, its exalted code of morality and standard of tolerance, peace, and charity – that doctrine is the indispensable forerunner and interpreter of the doctrine of the Christ.” (Bertram McCrie. The Living Truth in Christianity, p. 26)


Of the Union of Buddha and Christ Will Be Born the World’s Coming Redemption

“Of the spiritual union in the one faith of Buddha and Christ, will be born the world’s coming redemption.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. The Perfect Way; or, the Finding of Christ, p. 252)


The Doctrine of Karma and of Continuity of Existences Are Parts of Buddhism and Christianity: Which Alone Explains the Inequalities and Incongruities of Life and Vindicates the Divine Justice

“It is the doctrine of Karma and of continuity of existences which alone explains the inequalities and incongruities of life and vindicates the Divine justice. And, seen from this point of view, life has a far vaster scope than is compatible with the idea of a single existence, which makes the soul independent of the discipline of earthly experience, inasmuch as it denies such experience altogether to the vast number who die in infancy. That the Christian Scriptures do not explicitly recognise the doctrine is no argument against its being a Christian doctrine. It was already in the world in Buddhism; and Christianity, as the complement and crown of Buddhism, had no need to reiterate it.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. The Credo of Christendom, pp. 143-144)


Ecclesiasticism Normally Is Intolerant With All Other Religious Systems: This Attitude Towards Buddhism Has Been Little Short of Suicidal to Christianity

“Now one of the most deplorable features of Ecclesiasticism is its habitual intolerance of all other faiths and religious systems, despite their antiquity, authenticity, fundamental similarity, and standing. It regards them not as friends, but as rivals and foes; not to be understood, appreciated, and – in part at least – assimilated, but to be ignored, depreciated, or controverted. This attitude Ecclesiasticism credits to itself as zeal for its own particular tenets, while it is in fact nothing but the intolerance born of ignorance. But it is an attitude fatal in the long run to the existence of Ecclesiasticism itself, having in it an element of self-destruction.

The Light of Asia

This precise attitude towards that particular system of religion, Buddhism, which preceded the advent of Christianity by some five or six centuries has been little short of suicidal to the real success of the latter, having proved disastrous to its hold on all save the ignorant or elementary, the prejudiced, and the conventional classes still dominated by Ecclesiasticism. For the fact is that the doctrine of the Buddha, with its Four Great Truths and its Noble Eightfold Path, its boundless compassion towards all sentient life, its reasonable ethical teaching of development through self-conquest and self-culture, its simple yet profound analysis of suffering and sorrow with the method of escape therefrom open to all, its entire regeneration of the mind, its exalted code of morality and standard of tolerance, peace, and charity – that doctrine is the indispensable forerunner and interpreter of the doctrine of the Christ. In brief, they are not two gospels but two aspects, the without and the within, of one Gospel. For Buddhism finds its translation and completion in Christianity, and Christianity its inception and foundation in Buddhism.

The Light of the World

Thus regarded, Christianity, as religion, takes up the work of perfecting man in heart at that degree of partial regeneration to which Buddhism, as philosophy, has already brought him in mind; and so the former depicts and deals with but the closing stages of the whole great work.

Were this recognised the serious foundational deficiencies, those rational, intellectual, and moral ellipses which confront the thoughtful and impartial student of the Christian system, would be largely accounted for, and a step taken towards re-habilitating as a living whole that most mutilated faith.

How little they know Christianity who only an historical Jesus know, and leave out of account the way of the Buddha as the ladder that must be climbed to reach the state of Jesus!” (Bertram McCrie. The Living Truth in Christianity, pp. 26-27)