The Tree of Universal Brotherhood
A Few Paragraphs on the
Transition to the New Cycle
Helena P. Blavatsky
The tree of universal brotherhood is still young
A 2011 Editorial Note
The following text is a fragment from H. P. Blavatsky’s
essay “The Beacon of the Unknown” . First published
in France in 1889, the article says the task of theosophists is
to build the esoteric movement so that it comes to be an Ark
and a refuge in troubled times: “…An ark destined, in a future
not too distant, to transport the humanity of a new cycle beyond
the vast muddy waters of the deluge of hopeless materialism.”
In the first half of the 21st century, the idea seems to sound
both updated and potentially powerful as a key to the future.
While reading the fragment, one must take into consideration
that the original Theosophical Society ceased to exist a few
years after H.P.B. left physical life in 1891. There has been
since then a theosophical movement with an important degree
of diversity. In the following paragraphs, therefore, whenever
H.P.B. refers to “Society” one must read instead “Movement”.
(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)
Our Society is the tree of Brotherhood, grown from a kernel planted in the earth by the angel of Charity and Justice, the day the first Cain slew the first Abel.
During long centuries of the subjugation of women and of the suffering of the poor, this kernel was watered by the bitter tears shed by the weak and the oppressed.
Blessed hands transplanted it from one corner of the earth to another, under different climes and at epochs distant from one another. “Do not do unto others what you would not wish others to do unto you,” said Confucius to his disciples. “Love one another, and love all living creatures,” preached Gautama the Buddha to his Arhats. “Love one another,” was repeated as a faithful echo in the streets of Jerusalem. It is to the Christian nations that belongs the honour of having obeyed this supreme commandment of their Master in all its paradoxical force! Caligula, the pagan, wished that humanity had but one head, so that he might sever it with one blow. Christian powers have improved upon this desire which hitherto had remained theoretical, after seeking and finally finding the means to put it into practice. Let them therefore prepare to cut each other’s throats and let them exterminate more people in one day in war than the Caesars killed in a whole year. Let them depopulate whole countries and provinces in the name of their paradoxical religion, and let them perish by the sword, they who kill by the sword. What concern of ours is that?
Theosophists are powerless to stop them. That is true. But it is in their power to save as many survivors as possible. Being a nucleus of a true Brotherhood, it depends upon them to make of their Society an ark destined, in a future not too distant, to transport the humanity of a new cycle beyond the vast muddy waters of the deluge of hopeless materialism. These waters are rising and at the present moment flood all the civilized countries. Are we going to let the good perish with the bad, afraid of the hue and cry and the ridicule of the latter, either against The Theosophical Society or ourselves? Are we going to see them perish one after the other, one from fatigue, the other vainly seeking the ray of sunlight which shines for all, without throwing them a plank of salvation? Never!
It may well be that the beautiful utopia, the philanthropic dream, that sees as if in a vision the triple wish of The Theosophical Society come true, is still far off: entire and complete freedom of human conscience granted to all, brotherhood established between the rich and the poor, and equality between the aristocrat and the plebeian recognized in theory as well as in practice - these are so many castles in Spain, and for a good reason. All this must take place naturally and voluntarily, on both sides; however, the time has not yet come for the lion and the lamb to lie down together. The great reform must come about without social upheaval, without spilling a drop of blood; solely in the name of that axiomatic truth of Oriental philosophy which shows us that the great disparity of fortunes, of social rank and intellect, is due but to the effects of the personal Karma of every human being. We harvest but what we have sown. If the physical personality of man differs from every other man, the immaterial being in him or the immortal individuality emanates from the same divine essence as that of his neighbour. He who is thoroughly impressed by the philosophic truth that every Ego begins and ends by being the indivisible ALL, cannot love his neighbour less than himself. But, until the time this becomes a religious truth, no such reform can possibly take place. The egotistical saying that “charity begins at home,” or the other which says that “each for himself, and God for all,” will always move the “superior” and Christian races to oppose the practical introduction of the beautiful pagan saying: “Every pauper is a son of a rich man,” and even more to the one that says: “Feed first the hungry, and then eat what is left yourself.”
But the time will come when that “barbarous” wisdom of the inferior races will be better appreciated. In the meantime what we should seek is to bring some peace on earth to the hearts of those who suffer, by lifting for them a corner of the veil which hides from them divine truth. Let the strong point the way to the weak and help them to climb the steep slope of existence. Let them turn their gaze upon the Beacon-light which shines upon the horizon, beyond the mysterious and unchartered sea of Theosophical sciences, like a new star of Bethlehem, and let the disinherited of life take hope . . .
The Tree of Universal Brotherhood
 “The Beacon of the Unknown”, in “Collected Writings”, Helena Blavatsky, TPH, USA, volume XI, pp. 212-283, and especially pp. 281-283 for the present fragment, which closes the essay. The article was originally published in French at “La Revue Théosophique”, Paris, Vol. I, Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6; May 21, 1889, pp. 1-9; June 21, 1889; pp. 1-7; July 21, 1889, pp. 1-6; August 21, 1889, pp. 1-9.
In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.
E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).