LETTER TO THE FIFTH ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE AMERICAN SECTION OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
[Originally published in the Report of Proceedings of the Convention, held April 26-27,1891, in the Steinert Hall, Boston, Massachusetts. Read by Annie Besant at the afternoon session of April 26. Also published in Lucifer Vol. VIII, June, 1891, pp. 343-45.]
TO THE BOSTON CONVENTION, T.S., 1891.
For the third time since my return to Europe in 1885, I am able to send to my brethren in Theosophy and fellow citizens of the United States a delegate from England to attend the annual Theosophical Convention and speak by word of mouth my greeting and warm congratulations. Suffering in body as I am continually, the only consolation that remains to me is to hear of the progress of the Holy Cause to which my health and strength have been given; but to which, now that these are going, I can offer only my passionate devotion and never-weakening good wishes for its success and welfare. The news therefore that comes from America, mail after mail, telling of new Branches and of well-considered and patiently worked-out plans for the advancement of Theosophy cheers and gladdens me with its evidences of growth, more than words can tell. Fellow Theosophists, I am proud of your noble work in the New World; Sisters and Brothers of America, I thank and I bless you for your unremitting labours for the common cause, so dear to us all.
Let me remind you all once more that such work is now more than ever needed. The period which we have now reached in the cycle that will close between 1897-8 is, and
will continue to be, one of great conflict and continued strain. If the T.S. can hold through it, good; if not, while Theosophy will remain unscathed, the Society will perish—perchance most ingloriously—and the World will suffer. I fervently hope that I may not see such a disaster in my present body. The critical nature of the stage on which we have entered is as well known to the forces that fight against us as to those that fight on our side. No opportunity will be lost of sowing dissension, of taking advantage of mistaken and false moves, of instilling doubt, of augmenting difficulties, of breathing suspicions, so that by any and every means the unity of the Society may be broken and the ranks of our Fellows thinned and thrown into disarray. Never has it been more necessary for the Members of the T.S. to lay to heart the old parable of the bundle of sticks, than it is at the present time: divided, they will inevitably be broken, one by one; united, there is no force on Earth able to destroy our Brotherhood. Now I have marked with pain a tendency among you, as among the Theosophists in Europe and India, to quarrel over trifles, and to allow your very devotion to the cause of Theosophy to lead you into disunion. Believe me, that apart from such natural tendency, owing to the inherent imperfections of Human Nature, advantage is often taken by our ever-watchful enemies of your noblest qualities to betray and to mislead you. Sceptics will laugh at this statement, and even some of you may put small faith in the actual existence of the terrible forces of these mental, hence subjective and invisible, yet withal living and potent, influences around all of us. But there they are, and I know of more than one among you who have felt them, and have actually been forced to acknowledge these extraneous mental pressures. On those of you who are unselfishly and sincerely devoted to the Cause, they will produce little, if any, impression. On some others, those who place their personal pride higher than their duty to the T.S., higher even than their Pledge to their divine SELF, the effect is generally disastrous. Self-watchfulness is never more necessary than when a personal wish to lead, and wounded vanity, dress themselves in the
peacock’s feathers of devotion and altruistic work; but at the present crisis of the Society a lack of self-control and watchfulness may become fatal in every case. But these diabolical attempts of our powerful enemies—the irreconcilable foes of the truths now being given out and practically asserted—may be frustrated. If every Fellow in the Society were content to be an impersonal force for good, careless of praise or blame so long as he subserved the purpose of the Brotherhood, the progress made would astonish the World and place the Ark of the T.S. out of danger. Take for your motto in conduct during the coming year, “Peace with All who love Truth in sincerity,” and the Convention of 1892 will bear eloquent witness to the strength that is born of unity.
Your position as the fore-runners of the sixth sub-race of the fifth root-race has its own special perils as well as its special advantages. Psychism, with all its allurements, and all its dangers, is necessarily developing among you, and you must beware lest the Psychic outruns the Manasic and Spiritual development. Psychic capacities held perfectly under control, checked and directed by the Manasic principle, are valuable aids in development. But these capacities running riot, controlling instead of controlled, using instead of being used, lead the Student into the most dangerous delusions and the certainty of moral destruction. Watch therefore carefully this development, inevitable in your race and evolution-period so that it may finally work for good and not for evil; and receive, in advance, the sincere and potent blessings of Those whose good-will will never fail you, if you do not fail yourselves.
Here in England I am glad to be able to report to you that steady and rapid progress is being made. Annie Besant will give you details of our work, and will tell you of the growing strength and influence of our Society; the reports which she bears from the European and British Sections speak for themselves in their record of activities. The English character, difficult to reach, but solid and tenacious when once aroused, adds to our Society a valuable factor, and there are being laid in England strong and firm
foundations for the T.S. of the twentieth century. Here, as with you, attempts are being successfully made to bring to bear the influence of Hindu on English thought, and many of our Hindu brethren are now writing for Lucifer short and clear papers on Indian philosophies. As it is one of the tasks of the T.S. to draw together the East and the West, so that each may supply the qualities lacking in the other, and develop more fraternal feelings among Nations so various, this literary intercourse will, I hope, prove of the utmost service in Aryanising Western thought.
The mention of Lucifer reminds me that the now assured position of that magazine is very largely due to the help rendered at a critical moment by the American Fellows. As my one absolutely unfettered medium of communication with Theosophists all over the World, its continuance was of grave importance to the whole Society. In its pages, month by month, I give such public teaching as is possible on Theosophical doctrines, and so carry on the most important of our Theosophical work. The magazine now just covers its expenses, and if Lodges and individual Fellows would help in increasing its circulation, it would become more widely useful than it is at the present time. Therefore, while thanking from the bottom of my heart all those who so generously helped to place the magazine on a solid foundation, I should be glad to see a larger increase in the number of regular subscribers, for I regard these as my pupils, among whom I shall find some who will show the capacity for receiving further instruction.
And now I have said all; I am not sufficiently strong to write you a more lengthy message, and there is the less need for me to do so, as my friend and trusted messenger, Annie Besant, she who is my right arm here, will be able to explain to you my wishes more fully and better than I can write them. After all, every wish and thought I can utter are summed up in this one sentence, the never-dormant wish of my heart, “Be Theosophists, Work for Theosophy!”—Theosophy first, and Theosophy last; for its practical realisation alone can save the Western World from that selfish and unbrotherly feeling that now divides race from
race, one nation from the other; and from that hatred of class and social strifes, that are the curse and disgrace of so-called Christian peoples. Theosophy alone can save it from sinking entirely into that mere luxurious materialism in which it will decay and putrefy as older civilizations have done. In your hands, Brothers, is placed in trust the welfare of the coming century; and great as is the trust, so great is also the responsibility. My own span of life may not be long, and if any of you have learned aught from my teachings, or have gained by my help a glimpse of the True Light, I ask you, in return, to strengthen the cause by the triumph of which that True Light, made still brighter and more glorious through your individual and collective efforts, will lighten the World, and thus to let me see, before I part with this worn-out body, the stability of the Society secured.
May the blessings of the past and present great Teachers rest upon you. From myself accept collectively the assurance of my true, never-wavering fraternal feelings, and the sincere, heartfelt thanks for the work done by all the workers.
From their Servant to the last,
H.P. BLAVATSKY. . .