Help the Work
[from the book LIVING THE LIFE ]
by B. P. Wadia
© 2009 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö
There are various motives which prompt students to serve the Cause of Theosophy. The nature and extent of that service are according to the motive. The avenues of service are definite and limited just as the motives of service are. Some students are moved to service by the desire of self-growth; others are inspired to be altruistic by the compassionate longing to better the lot of their fellow men. Some serve to work out the surplus energy of their natures; others energize themselves so that service may result.
Whatever the starting point, a little study reveals a supreme fact – service of Theosophy, irrespective of time, place, circumstance, as well as friends, relatives, and strangers, is imperative, not only for growth, but also for very existence.
Students of Theosophy prepare themselves by study and otherwise to serve humanity; they seriously endeavor to fit themselves to be better able to help and teach others. Theosophists do not make propaganda for the purposes of gaining power, popularity, and prosperity for Theosophy, but for bettering men and women, for enlightening human souls and leading them on to peace and wisdom. Our philosophy discourages proselytism and advocates the inner conversion of each by himself.
When by dint of study an individual has remade himself, he is, in a sense, as one who is newly born. The great Initiations of the Ancient Mysteries have their projections in the hearts of mortals. As we learn to be born again and again, we come nearer to the Great Birth of the Dwija, the Twice-Born, the Initiate. Just as daily bathing of the body is the reflection of the Baptism by Water, so is seasonal renovation of the mind and heart a symbol of the Baptism by Fire. For the health of the body, elimination of waste matter is a necessity, and there is a corresponding elimination of the moral and mental dregs of our consciousness.
Service of Theosophy is the avenue whereby students of Theosophy are reborn. It is the great clearinghouse of energies and ideas – eliminator of false notions and retainer of the true. Thus, students of Theosophy do not confer any benefit on the philosophy or on the Movement by their service; they oblige and benefit themselves. Columbus did not confer any benefit on America by his discovery; he and his fellows have been bettered thereby. America, undiscovered, would have continued to live on, until human necessity compelled some Columbus to discover it. It is the same with Theosophy. Let us rid ourselves of the idea that by our helping the Cause we are obliging Theosophy. We are helping ourselves. Further, that helping is a necessity of our own existence.
All of us have three great possessions – Energy to create, Wealth to sustain, and Time to renew ourselves. These are our three jewels. We make ourselves by work, we preserve ourselves with wealth, and we better ourselves in time. Work, Wealth, and Time are inter-dependent. In time, work begets wealth; wealth in due season energizes us to labor; time compels us to work so that we may enrich ourselves; work whiles away time and time checks the destructive and wearing power of toil. One without the other two, nay, even two without the third would end in man's ruin and annihilation.
In the service of Theosophy, all three of Time, Wealth, and Work are necessary. We must create ourselves by study; we must grow through regeneration, in the passage of time. Under the Law of Periodicity as cycles run their rounds, Wisdom and Wise Men work to preserve Themselves in Their Ever-Green Nature by perpetual renovation. Nature labors and is born; her bounties sing of her existence; her ever continuing changes are an indication of her subservience to the God of Time – Kala.
The Theosophical Movement, in all eras and climes, is created by the work of the Masters, is sustained by the Wealth of Their Wisdom, and is regenerated from corruption, century-by-century and cycle by cycle. The Movement never dies because the Great Ones and Their faithful servants keep up this threefold process. The visible and organic incarnation of the Immemorial Movement decays and perishes because its work, wealth, and time through friction come to a close. When those who belong to that visible expression of the Movement cease to work, poverty overtakes them; famished, they cease to exist. When they labor and toil but fail to share their earnings with the body through which they enriched themselves, they perish along with the body. When they create by work and nourish by wealth, they sometimes fail to renew friendship with the Ever-Green Source and suit themselves to the Motion of the Stars. Then they live on, corpses or shells, while the Life creates elsewhere the body of Truth.
Minor cycles are but replicas of major ones. The Law of Correspondence and Analogy works perfectly everywhere and all the time. What is true of previous ages and other bodies is also true of this and the Lodge to which we belong. As a voluntary association of students, we exist not for the glorification of that body, nor of ourselves who belong to it. We exist to serve the Cause and are responsible for keeping it going as the visible incarnation of the Invisible Movement. This can be done by Work, Wealth, and Time and in no other way.
Work that creates for the self is selfish; that which creates for Self is Sacrifice.
Wealth that preserves the self causes poverty; that which preserves the Self leads to Wisdom.
Time that renews the self begets pain; that which renews the Self is Bliss.
Therefore, we must obtain the wherewithal for creative work, preserving wealth, and regenerating time. These consist of the Faculty of Sacrifice, the Possession of Wisdom, and the Energy of Bliss.
We must gain the faculty of sacrifice on the plane of action, labor, and work. This means that we should toil for the Great Sacrifice, exert ourselves by the power of the Great Actor. We must come to possess the wealth of Wisdom on the plane of mind, study, and contemplation. This means that we must teach, instruct, and inspire by the power of the Great Teacher, offer the boon and the blessing of the Great Contemplation. We must obtain the energy of Bliss on the plane of life, heart, and being. This means that we should grow by giving, giving by the power of the Great Renovator, thus bestowing the Joy of the Great Birth. Thus, Sacrifice builds, Wisdom sustains, and Bliss renovates life for ever and ever. The sacrifice of all we have,
the wisdom of all we are, the bliss that is our Self – every student of Theosophy should make this triple offering on the altar of the Sacred Movement.
We create ourselves theosophically by work that is Sacrifice. Egotism is the one source from which spring the many excuses that keep us from being theosophically born. Often the desire to work is wrongly identified with the capacity to serve. The latter really belongs to the second aspect: wealth. Most students fail to work not because of the lack of capacity but the absence of desire to serve and help. The one sure sign of Theosophical birth is the Will to Work, which seeks out ”him who knows still less than thou.” Ahankara-Egotism manifests sometimes as conceit, at others as mock modesty. This false humility is more subtle and therefore more insidious. It was not through lack of capacity that Arjuna cried, ”I shall not fight, Oh Govinda,” but because of the lack of Will to serve both the Pandus and the Kurus. He who in the daily affairs of life loves and sacrifices gains the great opportunity to enter the Path of Compassion, the Way of Altruism. To be born is to manifest the power of the Inner Ruler – however restricted in scope and small in quantity, ”Doing the King's work all the dim day long” is dependent on the previous recognition of the King in the Chamber of the Heart.
It is only when we desire to serve and begin working that our lack of knowledge is truly perceived. When people complain of their lack of knowledge or their poor capabilities and refuse to work on that score, they are not aware of either. Only when we begin to teach do we truly find out what we have to learn; only when we lift a weight do we know what burdens we cannot bear; only by expressing what we know do we become aware of what we do not. It is work, the first aspect, which brings to us our wealth of wisdom, by revealing to us how very poor we are. When the spirit of service encounters the fact that we are poverty-stricken, it sets about accumulating wealth.
Everyone possesses, however poor he be, the threefold wealth of Heart, Head, and Hands, the last of which has a double aspect of bodily health and money. If each of us made the right and adequate use of what we have of (1) money (2) health, (3) knowledge and (4) devotion, we would get more of these and the Cause of Theosophy would flourish. Spiritual poverty is the cause of all poverty. Poverty and impurity go hand in hand and work side by side. There is a very close connection and interdependence between (1) bodily ill health, (2) vital impurity, (3) emotional deformity and (4) mental weakness. Once again, we actually know how poor we are only when we have found out how rich we are.
Lack of time is a very general complaint and as an excuse is very commonly offered. But there is a universal saying to the effect that he who is the busiest has time always at hand. Time and laziness are enemies and he who uses time is ever the friend of Time. It is when our time is not used to the best of our strength that stagnation sets in and death results. Time, the third aspect, is the initiating power that brings to birth new and newer aspects of the God within, the Inner Ruler immortal. ”Every man is an impossibility, until he is born.” By the offering of Time on the altar of Theosophical Service, we manifest the radiance of Joy; we live and multiply ourselves until we find ourselves a loved and loving member of the human family.
Thus, work that is sacrifice creates the wealth that is the capacity to serve wisely, and thus serving all the time, we radiate joy for all, and help in establishing the Kingdom of God, Righteousness, and Theosophy.
B. P. WADIA
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