Blavatsky on Altruism

HPB

“For real Theosophy is Altruism, and we cannot repeat it too often. It is brotherly love, mutual help, unswerving devotion to Truth. If once men do but realize that in these alone can true happiness be found, and never in wealth, possessions, or any selfish gratification, then the dark clouds will roll away, and a new humanity will be born upon the earth . . . . .”
“But if not, then the storm will burst, and our boasted civilization and enlightenment will sink in such a sect of horror that its parallel History has never yet recorded.” – H.P.B. in “Our Cycle and the Next”.

“As long as people, instead of fraternizing with and helping each other, claim but the right to safeguard their national interests, while the rich man refuses to understand that in helping a poor stranger he helps his poor brother in the future, and sets a good example for other countries; as long as the feeling of international altruism remains an empty phrase in the air, progress will accomplish no other function than that of executioner of the poor.” – from “False Conceptions”

“We need all our strength to meet the difficulties and dangers which surround us . . . the cure [against the strong psychic trend] is ‘ALTRUISM’. And this is the keynote of Theosophy and the cure for all ills….” – from letter to TS Convention, April 28-29, 1889

The Great Cry of Humanity
“. . . While the heart is full of thoughts for a little group of selves, near and dear to us, how shall the rest of mankind fare in our souls? What percentage of love and care will there remain to bestow on the “great orphan”? And how shall the “still small voice” make itself heard in a soul entirely occupied with its own privileged tenants? What room is there left for the needs of Humanity en bloc to impress themselves upon, or even receive a speedy response? And yet, he who would profit by the wisdom of the universal mind, has to reach it through the whole of Humanity, without distinction of race, complexion, religion or social status. It is altruism, not ego-ism even in its most legal and noble conceptions, that can lead the unit to merge its little Self in the Universal Selves. It is to these needs and to this work that the true disciple of true Occultism has to devote himself, if he would obtain Theosophy, divine Wisdom and Knowledge.”
” . . . We are in the Kali Yuga and its fatal influence is a thousand-fold more powerful in the West than it is in the East; hence the easy preys made by the Powers of the Age of Darkness in this cyclic struggle, and the many delusions under whiich the world is now laboring. One of these is the relative facility with which men fancy they can get at the ‘Gate’ and cross the threshold of Occultism without any great sacrifice. It is the dream of most Theosophists, one inspired by desire for Power and personal selfishness, and it is not such feelings that can ever lead them to the coveted goal. . . .” – H.P. Blavatsky, ‘Occultism versus the Occult Arts,’ Lucifer, Vol. II, May, 1888.

“He who does not practice altruism: he who is not prepared to share his last morsel with a weaker or poorer than himself; he who neglects to help his brother man, of whatever race, nation, or creed, whenever and wherever he meets suffering, and who turns a deaf ear to the cry of human misery; he who hears an innocent person slandered, whether a brother Theosophist or not, and does not undertake his defense as he would undertake his own – is no Theosophist.” – Lucifer, Vol. I, p 169

   Disproving the Law of the “survival of the fittest”: “And this miracle the Theosophical Society will perform. It will do this, not by disproving the relative existence of the law in question, but by assigning to it its due place in the harmonious order of the universe; by unveiling its true meaning and nature and by showing that this pseudo law is a “pretended” law indeed, as far as the human family is concerned, and a fiction of the most dangerous kind. ‘Self-preservation,’ on these lines, is indeed and in truth a sure, if a slow, suicide, for it is a policy of mutual homicide, because men by descending to its practical application among themselves, merge more and more by a retrograde reinvolution into the animal kingdom. This is what the “struggle of life” is in reality, even on the purely materialistic lines of political economy. Once that this axiomatic truth is proved to all men; the same instinct of self-preservation only directed into its true channel will make them turn to altruism–as their surest policy of salvation.” – from “The Theosophical Society: Its Mission and Its Future”, Lucifer, Vol. II, No. 12, Aug 15, 1888

“… true evolution teaches us that by altering the surroundings of the organism we can alter and improve the organism; and in the strictest sense this is true with regard to man. Every Theosophist, therefore, is bound to do his utmost to help on, by all the means in his power, every wise and well-considered social effort which has for its object the amelioration of the condition of the poor. Such efforts should he made with a view to their ultimate social emancipation, or the development of the sense of duty in those who now so often neglect it in nearly every relation of life.”
“… no Theosophist has the right to this name, unless he is thoroughly imbued with the correctness of Carlyle’s truism: ‘The end of man is an action and not a thought, though it were the noblest’ – and unless he sets and models his daily life upon this truth.”
“… the main, fundamental object of the Society is to sow germs in the hearts of Men, which may in time sprout, and under more propicious circumstances lead to a healthy reform, conducive of more happiness to the masses than they have hitherto enjoyed.” – The Key to Theosophy, pp. 235, 230, 257.

“Self watchfulness is never more necessary than when wounded vanity and a personal desire to lead, dress themselves in the peacock feathers of altruism and devotion.” – HPB in Last Message to Am. Conventions

“The Theosophical ideas of charity mean personal exertion for others; personal mercy and kindness; personal interest in the welfare of those who suffer; personal sympathy, forethought and assistance in their troubles or needs. We Theosophists do not believe in giving money (N. B., if we had it) through other people’s hands or organizations. We believe in giving to the money a thousandfold greater power and effectiveness by our personal contact and sympathy with those who need it. We believe in relieving the starvation of the soul, as much if not more than the emptiness of the stomach; for gratitude does more good to the man who feels it, than to him for whom it is felt. Where’s the gratitude which your “millions of pounds” should have called forth, or the good feelings provoked by them? Is it shown in the hatred of the East-End poor for the rich? in the growth of the party of anarchy and disorder? or by those thousands of unfortunate working girls, victims to the “sweating” system, driven daily to eke out a living by going on the streets? Do your helpless old men and women thank you for the workhouses; or your poor for the poisonously unhealthy dwellings in which they are allowed to breed new generations of diseased, scrofulous and rickety children, only to put money into the pockets of the insatiable Shylocks who own houses? Therefore it is that every sovereign of all those “millions,” contributed by good and would-be charitable people, falls like a burning curse instead of a blessing on the poor whom it should relieve. We call this generating national Karma, and terrible will be its results on the day of reckoning. – Key to Theosophy, pp. 244-45, orig. ed.

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