Universal Brotherhood

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Universal Brotherhood appeared as the first Object of the Theosophical Society in 1881, as follows:

First — To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, the obvious philanthropic value of which must be beyond dispute, while the esoteric significance of a union formed on that plan, is conceived by the Founders, for reasons derived from a study of Oriental Philosophy, to be of great importance.[1]

In 1896 the Theosophical Society with International Headquarters in Adyar, India, gave the first Object its definitive form which it has today:

1. To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour.

The Theosophical Society with International Headquarters in Pasadena, California, mentions the idea of brotherhood in its third object as follows:

3- To form an active brotherhood among men.

Universal brotherhood in the Mahatma letters

The Mahatmas in their letters to A. P. Sinnett stated on several occasions that the Theosophical Society was meant to promote the Universal Brotherhood. For example, Mahatma K. H. said "it has been constantly our wish to spread on the Western Continent among the foremost educated classes 'Branches' of the T.S. as the harbingers of a Universal Brotherhood".[2]

Especially at the beginning of his correspondence, A. P. Sinnett was reluctant about the usefulness of this aim, and advised to remodel the Theosophical Society on the principle of a college for the special study of occultism, something the Mahatmas decidedly refused.[3] In Mahatma K. H.'s view:

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.[4]

It is important to notice the word "universal" along with "brotherhood". Master K.H. defined it as "an association of 'affinities' of strong magnetic yet dissimilar forces and polarities centred around one dominant idea".[5] The aim of the Theosophical Society is not merely to bring together people of a certain race, creed, caste, etc., but to gather different kinds of people around a central aim, without distinctions.

This attitude is also important as a spiritual practice. In another letter, the Master writes to Mr. Sinnett:

Beware then, of an uncharitable spirit, for it will rise up like a hungry wolf in your path, and devour the better qualities of your nature that have been springing into life. Broaden instead of narrowing your sympathies; try to identify yourself with your fellows, rather than to contract your circle of affinity.[6]

Online resources

Articles

Notes

  1. Ransom, J. A Short History of the TS (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1989), 155.
  2. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 44 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 30.
  3. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 2 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 8.
  4. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 5 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 20.
  5. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 10 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 27.
  6. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 131 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 435.