A Living Religion

This article was transcribed from the February 2001 issue of "The Theosophical Movement," a publication of Theosophy Company (India).
Valuing freedom of thought above all things, as the only way of reaching at some future time that Wisdom, of which every Theosophist ought to be enamoured, we recognize the right to the same freedom in our foes as in our friends.

—H.P. Blavatsky

The great Teachers of humanity come among us for the purpose of teaching us the Law of Life and making us understand the object of existence, thus enabling us to be self-reliant and responsible human beings. A mere glance around shows that most people live for themselves, without any consideration for others. There is such a great attachment to the transitory things of life that the immortal Essence beyond is not even recognized or believe in. Consequently, people think and act and live in an irresponsible manner.

This earth, Disciple, is the Hall of Sorrow, wherein are set along the Path of dire probations, traps to ensnare thy Ego by the delusion called "Great Heresy."

(The Voice of the Silence, p. 4)

That which is unreal is taken for the Real, and so this world has become the Hall of Sorrow, where Human Egos, instead of fulfilling their divine destiny, are caught up in the traps of illusions and delusions, self-created. People go through terrible suffering because of their false concepts about themselves, God and Nature. Would they commit suicides or murders in an irresponsible way if they understood the principle of unity in diversity? Would there be deliberate robbing or covert dishonesty in trade if they understood the divine Law of Karma? Would there exist slaughter-houses and butchers, would there be a craze for hunting and shooting, would there be cruelty to animals in any form by human beings if they understood the law of interdependence? Would there be any thought of making weapons of destruction if the law of brotherhood was practised? This shows how lack of correct knowledge as given by the Teachers has led people to irresponsible behaviour. Theosophy is the Religion of Responsibility that awakens in man his divine intuitions and makes him aware of his own responsibilities to himself, to his fellow beings and to the whole of Nature.

Those who are scientifically inclined do not care to study the Scriptures because they have divorced religion from science. They associate religion with orthodoxy and superstition. They try to understand everything in Nature, whether the distant firmament or the tiniest atom, only through their telescopes or microscopes. What they cannot prove through their own methods cannot exist! They want to conquer outer space without knowing the fullness of the invisible space! Though their inventions have brought forth useful articles of material comfort, they have not succeeded in bringing mankind any nearer to true peace, inner contentment and happiness

Every religion, on the other hand, the religion of the churches, the temples and mosques, keeps people away from the true teachings so that they may rely more and more upon the outer crutches of rites and ceremonies which are considered to be necessary for the forgiveness of sins. Religion has become a form of rituals instead of a way of Life, as it should be.

Madame Blavatsky, in her first great book, Isis Unveiled, exposes false science and false religion, and points out where and how they became corrupted. She also indicates the One Source of all religions, philosophies and sciences.

As cycle succeeded cycle, and one nation after another came upon the world's stage to play its brief part in the majestic drama of human life, each new people evolved from ancestral traditions its own religion, giving it a local colour, and stamping it with its individual characteristics. While each of these religions had its distinguishing traits, by which, were there no other archaic vestiges, the physical and psychological status of its creators could be estimated, all preserved a common likeness to one prototype. This parent cult was none other than the primitive "wisdom religion."

(Isis Unveiled, II, 216)

What this Wisdom-Religion is, is also indicated by her:

A philosophy so profound, a moral code so ennobling, and practical results so conclusive and so uniformly demonstrable is not the growth of a generation, or even a single epoch. Fact must have been piled upon fact, deduction upon deduction, science have begotten science, and myriads of the brightest human intellects have reflected upon the laws of nature, before this ancient doctrine had taken concrete shape.

(II, 99)

So it is a practical philosophy, a living religion, an ennobling moral code. It is not a speculative philosophy, changing its theories from year to year. It is an exact body of knowledge, dealing fully with the whole of Nature in all its aspects, visible and invisible. At the same time it is an ennobling moral code to be applied in daily life. Morality and moral education have little value in our age and era. It is hardly recognized that the moral nature of man belongs to his immortal aspect and therefore no attention is paid to the building of character. This ennobling moral code of Theosophy can bring about practical results so conclusive and uniformly demonstrable that it can be relied upon. What H.P.B. says needs to be noted, that the brightest human intellects first reflected upon the great laws of Nature, and then only the doctrine took a concrete shape. This is the Religion of Responsibility that makes man fully aware and responsible for every thought, word and deed. The word "religion" means a binding force that can unify every aspect in man's constitution as well as every man to his fellow beings, and to the whole of Nature around him. Instead of this, religion has become a source of constant fights and struggles. In the words of a Master: "Remember, the sum of human misery will never be diminished unto that day when the better portion of humanity destroys in the name of truth, morality, and universal charity, the altars of their false gods."

This is the task adopted by Theosophy, the Religion of Responsibility. It shows each man, each woman, each child, how to live in the world, how to fulfil each duty, how to avoid the conflict of duties. Man himself becomes a mediator between the human and the divine. The Religion of Responsibility indicates to him that he is the mover of his own Law to a certain extent, that it cannot be propitiated, nor can it be thwarted, but its course can be followed wisely. This Religion of Responsibility, once contacted, cannot be abused, misused or neglected, but it is to be practised, and lived to the best of one's ability. We are not navigating unknown oceans without chart or compass; everything is provided for. All that is needed is to make a beginning and to go on sailing, patiently and perseveringly, in the right direction, till the other shore is reached. To watch for the beacon light of Truth and to avoid the pitfalls indicated by Those who have reached the other shore triumphantly is the one and only method to be adopted.

The Religion of Responsibility, first and foremost, teaches us to keep clean and clear the storehouse of thought. No one would wish to keep dirty, rotten things in his storeroom; then why allow ugly and evil thoughts to enter the mental storehouse and remain there? Why not restrict admission to pure, noble and altruistic thoughts that would feed the hungry and uplift the downtrodden?

The second lesson taught by the Religion of Responsibility is the cultivation of the right type of speech that would give visible expression to the invisible ideas stored in the mind. The tone of our speech should be such as to comfort and help others.

Next, on the plane of action, too, the Religion of Responsibility indicates the correct way: Fulfil all duties; perform all deeds as sacramental actions, offer every act to the Divine. Thoughts, speech and deeds are the triple avenues of life that would raise one to a higher level. Not only does the individual rise above the normal, average mankind, but he can also help the very matter that he comes in contact with to become purer. This dual task is to be achieved by every student-practitioner of the Religion of Responsibility. Observance of the Divine Discipline of moderation—avoidance always of the two extremes and the walking of the middle way—is also a great necessity.

The Religion of Responsibility can be lived by anyone, anywhere. It requires no outer formalities but inner restrictions, inner discipline, inner transformation. In the words of a Master:

Each one of you contains within the precincts of his inner tabernacle the Supreme Court—prosecutor, defence, jury and judge—whose sentence is the only one without appeal; since none can know you better than you do yourself, when once you have learned to judge that Self by the never wavering light of the inner divinity—your higher Consciousness.

(U.L.T. Pamphlet No. 22, p. 11)

to return to my main page