In Krotona of Old Hollywood, Vol II (1914-1920), the preface contains a lecture by A.P. Warrington on the First Object of the Society. The lecture is undated, and contains a number of references to Krishnamurti, but I found it to be both timely and inspiring in the passages I have set out here. This is an excerpt from the lecture:
If time is urging us as members of the Theosophical Society to throw a greater emphasis on Brotherhood, then there are many ways open to us for doing so. One is to study life and to work with it. If every theosophist did his every deed as living exemplar of Theosophy, there would be no very great need for specialized propaganda. Our lives would be the best forever: “Our lives if they are unselfish, pure, loving and helpful are the best propaganda of theosophical ideas.” The great trouble with life as it is lived today is, it lacks the theosophical motive, the note of unity. Life, being one, must work as one, even through the countless isolated fragments of its manifestation. With the depression, the unemployment, the general collapse of systems and the confusion of mind everywhere, the world today shows the results of a life that is led, not for others on the principle of Universal Brotherhood, but on the basis of every man for himself, and calamity take the weak, the ignorant and the unfortunate.
But I do not believe that, as a general practice, it is best for theosophist to form themselves into various groups to duplicate outer service, which can be so much better don by others. Our job is rather to influence others properly to do such things, thus bringing the blessing of Theosophy into their livews where they are, in the way they can appreciate and understand best. Therefore I believe 23 we should learn to work with others in their own realm and to inspire them with our particular ideals for their work. Associate service of this nature will be productive of a more extensive result on behalf of Theosophy and in the growth of Brotherhood than all your propaganda material and effort however important in themselves, if confined for the most part to our own members and a very limited few outside.
Not the least advantage will be the growth that will result in oneself. As it is now, I fear that many of us are sadly wanting in a proper knowledge of people, how they look at life, how they are moved to action and all the rest of it. A mere theory of human nature will not do. We must know; for people change from time to time in their reaction to circumstances which themselves are more or less in a state of flux. When we know, we can serve. Each person has a particular approach to an appreciation of Theosophy (if he has any at all), and first now, in the Brotherhood aspect of our work, we shall find their best and most open approach.
The temperament of the race fluctuates, like the surface of the windblown sea it is ever changing in wave after wave, even though all the while beneath the surface the waters remain ever calm and serene. Let us look for the changes in the surface of life and work with that according as it is at the moment.
From the very beginning of our Society prominent members set the example for us by taking a leading part in important, outside activities. (here he cites Olcott’s efforts on Buddhism and Besant’s work on behalf of India)…
Theosophists, let’s take stock of ourselves, let’s discard the unspiritual and take on anything that really means fresh truth, and let’s go into the future with a firm determination to make our movement so spiritually true and strong and so faithful in the service of mankind that it will successfully pass through the decades ahead…This is our privilege; this is our opportunity. We can rise to it, or we can go to sleep in our cherished doctrines and the worship of persons. We can help our Society to go forward into the future as a true Brotherhood nucleus of active seekers for truth and become a power of vital usefulness, permeating the world with the spirit of brotherhood; or allow it to lapse into merely a repository of teachings and doctrines- a sort of library of mystical and occult information for people to split hairs over as to doctrine and personalities…..Well friends the choice is ours.
And how shall the choice be made? Not by rushing out to “tell the world how to do it.” Not by setting everybody right where we think they are wrong. Not by starting this and that effort in the name of Theosophy. But rather by making ourselves more loving and kind and our nucleus of brotherhood so strong and vital that its influence will permeate every walk of life…..Well theosophists, I say again the choice is ours.