Anarchy: A Living Question
THE subject that has most deeply
affected the public mind during the past month is, of course, the
assassination of our late President. We find ourselves compelled
to pause and think. What does it indicate as to the past? What does
it signify as to the future? We are face to face with a great problem.
Time was when many would have felt
the assassination to be in some measure atoned by the death of the
assassin. No one feels so today. His trial, conviction and all that
have followed during the current month are disagreeable contingencies
which do not in any degree solve the real problem, but in fact,
make it harder to solve. In spite of current talk of changed legislation
with regard to anarchy, more stringent laws as to immigration, treason,
etc., deep, deep beneath all this chatter there is in the national
heart a conviction that these man-made laws will avail little, that
we must begin to understand and follow the Higher Law. There is
a growing conviction that all this calamity is “God’s will” and
that any remedy which leaves out of the question the Higher Law
or God, will be no remedy at all.
What is the meaning of this expression,
“It is God’s will”? Not at all what it meant a hundred or even twenty-five
years ago. For we have to thank the Dark Ages for a degrading ideal
of God,—an arbitrary being who dwells outside of the Universe, ruling
it in an arbitrary way, yet who may, by prayers, be induced to confer
certain penalties or benefits. 
Today there has sprung up in the hearts
of many an unshakable trust in Law as the basis of all the processes
of nature and of life. With it we find a higher conception of God,
the Causeless Cause of all that is, informing and permeating all
things, stone and atom as well as man, the One Life of which all
nature is but the garment and expression.
In the words of the Bhagavad-Gita:
“Understand that all things are in me even as the mighty air which
passes everywhere is in space. . . . . . I am the father and mother
of this Universe, the grandsire and the preserver. I am the goal,
the comforter, the Lord, the Witness, the resting place, the asylum
and the Friend. I am the origin and the dissolution, the receptacle,
the store-house and the eternal seed. . . . . . I am the cause unseen
and the visible effect.”
One who builds on a true conception
of God is certain to think, certain to look below the plane of effects
to that of causes. And there is every sign that throughout the nation
there is coming to birth a deeper trust in God, a more abiding refuge
in the Great Law of cause and effect. That is the assurance that
this problem of anarchy, which has faced every nation of the Old
World and so far has not been solved by any of them, this problem
of which we are reminded by the recent assassination, will probably
be solved by us.
The fact is, the entire current of
the world’s thought has been changed. And if we will examine the
various theories and doctrines that have been given to the world
during the last fifty years, it will be plain that we owe this to
H. P. Blavatsky. She was the first messenger in this cycle of a
true philosophy of life, a truer and diviner conception of God,
a conception of the Higher Law as the basis and the dispenser of
all that is.
When she came she found humanity apathetic,
unlighted. She brought it a philosophy of hope and of inspiration
which has come to so permeate our mental atmosphere that many who
may never have heard of her or of Theosophy as a specific doctrine,
have felt a new light enter their lives and have found a fresh courage
to go on and fight the battle out along higher lines. This is true
because H. P. Blavatsky spoke to the soul of humanity and soul is
one. Because she brought to us higher ideals of life and conduct
and then proved them practical and true by a philosophy which is
unassailable. She did what no other World Teacher has been able
to do in centuries, she builded a bridge between the actual and
the ideal, and over that bridge all humanity is one day destined
And that is why, with regard to the
many problems that confront us, we are more honest than in the past.
We used to think that, whether we did our share or not, evolution,
somehow, would go on just the same. Today we realize that we are
not separate from humanity or from the world and that we cannot
pass into a higher grade or evolutionary state until we have solved
the problems and passed all the examinations that pertain to this
one. Our souls realize this even though our brains may not and that
is why there is something within us that compels us to think and
think and think over this prob- 
lem of anarchy. How shall we reach the hearts of the lawless, the
jealous, the discontented? How shall we teach them that law cannot
be abolished, that this is a law-governed universe with chaos as
the only alternative, and that it is only by the help of the wise
Law that the soul is able to lift the self to higher planes. How
shall we teach them that all men are brothers, because all come
from the same Absolute Source? How shall we lead them to understand
that all the pain and disappointment of their own lives is but the
result of past deeds, if not in this life then in another, that
God is not mocked and that whatsoever a man soweth that shall he
also reap. How shall we transform an element which today would destroy
our civilization into an element that would desire to be a help
to it and a part of it?
What is anarchy? The two Greek words
of which it is composed mean “without a Leader.” To us it signifies
a total absence of government, total lawlessness. Those who believe
in the Divine Order of things, who believe that the Universe and
all that is sprang from the very bosom of the Infinite Law, realize
what complete chaos would exist under a reign of anarchy. Imagine
for a moment that the Solar system should abandon all law and whirl
into anarchy. What would become of us? Suppose the seasons of the
year should break the laws which govern them and vouchsafe to us
a spring six months long and no harvest time at all, for two or
three years? The people of the earth would starve. Suppose the law
of gravity should become inoperative. Yet the same laws operate
in the world of mind and soul, unseen, yet swifter, more far-reaching
in action, more terrible in the penalties that befall those who
break them. It is inconceivable that there are those who would sweep
them aside. Yet there are such.
But the beauty of it is that the Great
Law is stronger than the caprices of any person or collection of
persons. Its march cannot be stayed. Such a thing as anarchy is
a simply impossibility. Yet, while it is true that a state of anarchy
simply could not exist, we have had in our western states, at times,
conditions that approached it. In California, during the rush which
followed the “gold fever” in ’49, hundreds of mining camps sprung
up in isolated districts in a very short time. At first, in some
of these, there was a condition bordering on anarchy,—no Leader,
no head, no government, each man for himself. But this did not last.
Disease, crime and horror soon taught these men a sharp lesson.
In no long time, invariably, the Leader appeared and organized his
followers in the interests of law and order. Though the earliest
of such organizations was not on a particularly high plane, though
they were agents of much that was unjust and unwise—the very fact
that these “Vigilance Committees” recognized the function and office
of Leader, indicates that they were the first step toward good government.
It also indicates that even reckless men prefer a Leader and a Law—though
the Leader may be untrustworthy and the Law fallible,—to anarchy.
The anarchists have very much to say
of freedom. Yet their ideal of freedom differs greatly from the
Theosophical ideal. And to understand the lat- 
ter one must go back to the soul, the source of all. For the soul
is the fundamental proposition. The ancient Wisdom Religion, today
known as Theosophy, is the eternal, primeval Doctrine of the Soul.
For the World-Saviors have always taught that the soul is the real
man, and the brain and body are but the garment he wears, the instrument
he uses. Just as the sunbeam is of one light and substance with
the Sun, its parent, so the Soul is of the essence of God, the Absolute
Source of all that is and ever will be. Thus, born of God as the
sunbeam is born of the Sun, the soul descends into earth life and
clothes itself with matter, that is, with the bodies it builds and
uses. And the purpose of the soul in thus permeating and informing
matter, has ever been to lift and spiritualize and purify matter,
to lift it into a freedom as absolute as that of the soul itself.
“Compassion is the Law of Laws, Alaya’s Self,” and this gives us
the key to the process.
Freedom is the Soul’s heritage, and
the acts of the Soul are followed by no penalties, only by rewards.
But our lower tendencies concern themselves mainly with self-indulgence.
The elemental self never goes out in compassion, but, unless the
soul prevents, it turns continually in on itself, a suicidal method.
The very fact that the lower nature, if allowed to act unguided
by the Soul, brings upon itself penalty after penalty is proof that
it is not working with the Higher Law, but against it.
Thus the Soul’s task is not easy and
no doubt the elemental self often believes itself to be under a
hard task-master. For the pricking of conscience which is the voice
of the Soul often prevents a man from following the bent of his
desires or appetites. Yet if he obeys the Soul’s still voice, is
he less free or more so? Has he not by that very yielding to the
Higher Law made a step upwards toward true freedom? For freedom
is not a state wherein one may break all laws with impunity but
a state in which the man works in such perfect harmony with the
Great Law that he becomes verily one with it.
Most of us do not find our freedom
interfered with by the law against stealing. Yet the criminal does.
And yet the laws upon our statute books are very fallible, at best
but an outward and inadequate expression of the Higher Law. For
the Higher Law is that of the Soul, unseen in workings but swift
and sure in results, needing no detectives, no police, no executioners,
for, as has been said, it contains within itself its own executioner.
It seems strange that there are those
who cannot distinguish between true freedom, perfect harmony with
the Soul, and a licensing of appetite and desire. But there are
such, a fact which can only be explained because man’s nature is
dual. Within each heart is the angel and the demon, one seeking
to lift man into true freedom, the other seeking ever to pull him
down into the slavery of appetite or some selfish desire. If the
man centers his consciousness in the lower, the process of being
brought into harmony with the Soul is certain to be very uncomfortable
and even terrible. It may be that the lower nature will utterly
rebel and then the man will sink back into darkness and the Soul
will leave him to his own devices. For this the Teacher must always
do when his  pupil refuses
to learn, and the Soul is the Teacher of the personality.
But the wise man will lift his consciousness
to the plane of soul, will endeavor, in spite of continual failure,
to keep it always at its highest point and will be thankful that
the Great Law has hedged his lower nature around with laws and penalties.
For without these helps the soul could never lift it.
We do not need fewer laws, we need
more. We need to know more and not less of the Higher Law. We need
to discover new phases, new applications of it as diligently as
may be. Then, if we have the will and the perseverance to bring
the lower nature into harmony with it, we shall be free, gods actually,
creators. That is the theosophical ideal of freedom.
It is not strange that anarchists
have a perverted idea of freedom. “God! I don’t believe in God,”
are the words of one of their exponents. “The first thing anarchists
have to do is to destroy every altar, extinguish every religion
and tear God from the heavens.” This then, is the basis upon which
they build, a basis of nothing at all, of denial.
It is not strange that they advocate
the extermination of rulers, the very doctrine which incited the
assassin to commit this crime. Yet these who taught him shrink away
from him and say: “He is not one of us. He does not distinguish
between violent anarchy and philosophical anarchy. Certainly we
teach these doctrines, but only theoretically.”
Do we need anything more to enable
us to place doctrines of this stamp where they belong,—in the realm
of confusion and of the shades. This age has no use for anything
that is merely theoretical. It demands that theories be proven,
be made practical or abandoned. And there is something grimly humorous
in the spectacle of a group of people endeavoring to gain our respect
for their doctrines on the plea that they are merely theoretical!
Today, those who believe in theosophy
and the theosophical movement are prouder of nothing than that every
principle of this wisdom religion is practical and that the Universal
Brotherhood stands before the world today as a practical organization
and not a collection of dreamers.
Another truth is brought to our minds
forcibly at this time by the statements of the assassin and his
associates: “Why should we grieve at the death of the President?
His death is of no more consequence than that of a common laborer.”
We are shocked at this expression
because our souls remember, though perchance our brains do not,
that ancient doctrine that humanity is a vast organism, having its
head, its heart, its ganglionic centres, its innumerable conscious
cells, each with its own function to perform. That this knowledge
inheres in the soul is proven by our commonest expressions, “the
public pulse,” “the public conscience,” “the public mind,” “the
national heart;” another proof that H. P. Blavatsky did not bring
us new doctrines, but came to remind us of old truths which, somehow,
we had forgotten. And the truth that humanity is a living, pulsating
organism and not a mere collection of isolated fragments, is one
of the basic principles of Theosophy. 
In degree, therefore, is our nation
an organism and our President, on outer planes, functions as its
head and heart, a centre of force, guiding, holding all together.
Therefore the assault upon our President is as much more serious
in its consequences than an assault upon an ordinary citizen, as
an injury to the brain or heart is more serious in its effects upon
the physical body than a similar injury to one of the extremities.
It has been well characterized as “A stab at the Heart of American
liberty.” Whether our President was wise or unwise scarcely enters
the question, from this point of view. That he had both wisdom and
goodness is our good fortune, and doubtless one reason why this
nation has had such a marvelously rapid and healthy growth is because
the head and heart has always been vigorous and full of health.
How deeply significant are the words
of Plato: “Not until kings are philosophers and philosophers are
kings will cities cease from ill; no, nor the human race.” (The
And because the innumerable cells
of a healthy physical body work together in common helpfulness and
harmony, we know that they are interdependent of their very nature.
If certain cells refuse to perform their functions, or perform them
badly, or try to perform functions that belong to other cells, which
sometimes happens, disease and ill health results. If the unbrotherly
cells cannot be brought into line, there is but one alternative,
they must be cast out of the body. If, perchance, the body is not
strong enough to do this, certainly then, sooner or later, it perishes.
And as with the body, so with humanity.
Each unit soul is a part of the great whole, interdependent, with
a certain place to fill, certain work to do. Not one of us can do
his own work, can even exist independent of the others. It is utterly
impossible. Not one, if he do his work poorly or unwillingly, but
can so interfere with the health of the whole, that more or less
disturbance, or social disease is the result. We see all about us
evidence of such a condition. Yet we dream of better days, when
all shall work together and social health will result. And those
who can “discern the signs of the times” know that such an era,
a Golden Age, is even now coming to be. For beneath all the surface
differences that appear to separate men, runs the golden cable-tow
of brotherhood, linking all men together. It is the thread of soul,
for soul is one, and it is because of this that all souls are verily
children of God.
No man liveth unto himself and no
man dieth unto himself. We are our brother’s keeper in a deeper
sense than we realize. Our acts, our words, our very unspoken thoughts
influence others more than they do ourselves, though we may not
realize it, may not even believe it. It is useless for those who
have been preaching a counterfeit philosophy, called anarchy, to
repudiate this abject fellow who has tried to practically apply
their theories. They are more guilty than he, for their insight
into life is greater, their opportunities have been more abundant.
And not these, alone, are guilty. All about us is the mental atmosphere.
Into it we pour our thoughts, good or vile, pure or 
selfish. It is the air that the mental self breathes. The pure and
wise and strong choose from it as they will, strong enough to refuse
all that is selfish or sensual, and aware that the pure elements
within it will gravitate toward themselves, inevitably. For the
laws of magnetic attraction operate in the metaphysical as well
as in the physical world.
But few are strong enough so to choose.
The weaker majority are constantly fed and vampirized by the evil
in this mental atmosphere about them. How often do we hear of a
criminal saying, “I am sorry. What made me do it?” And today the
half responsible fellow who took the life of our President is less
guilty than those who have made our thought atmosphere filthy with
thoughts of revenge, of jealousy, of discontent, of atheism. Though
our statutes do not recognize this, and inflict no penalty, yet
there is a Higher Law which will exact its due even to the uttermost
Yet does this relieve the assassin
of the responsibility for his act? Not at all. Life after life he
has had the chance to choose between good and evil, life after life
has he chosen to drive out and crucify the warrior and to strengthen
the demon within him. He has opened the gateway of the fortress
of his soul to enemies, jealously, deceit, unbrotherliness. And
these traitors, once within the Sacred City, have held open the
gate until the evil of the race has entered in and the man was lost.
Once he might have driven out these traitors and barred the door.
At last it became too late. How true it is that “we do not possess
our ideas; we are possessed by them.” The assassin has been his
own victim. He might have been his own creator. Instead of choosing
the true philosophy as his guide, he has chosen the false.
But how are we to discriminate between
the true and the false? Is there no criterion? There is an infallible
criterion—the Soul. And the philosophy which alone can lead
the restless mind into soul-knowledge, is and must be the eternal
Doctrine of the Soul, as ancient as time itself, as necessary to
the budding soul as is sunlight to the flower. And if today we are
groping blindly, it is our own fault. The world has never been without
the Great Teacher. The Cycles fail not of their due. The Higher
Law forsakes not those who trust in it. And today, at their own
Cyclic time, the Great Souls have come to teach their own, Helena
P. Blavatsky, William Q. Judge and Katherine Tingley.
Theosophy alone contains the solution
of this problem of anarchy. And it does not counsel force. “Hatred
ceaseth not by hatred,” said a great teacher of the Heart Doctrine
centuries ago, “hatred ceaseth by love.” For Theosophy is the Heart
Doctrine and never until it reaches the heart of humanity can we
hope to solve the problems of human life. Once let the anarchist
realize that all men are his brothers, King, President, statesman,
that all have common interest, common sorrows, common temptations,
and this problem will be very near solution.
Yet we have a great responsibility
here. Do we really feel as if the anarchist were our brother, or
do were carefully keep him at arm’s length while we 
talk law, and police, and deportation, and electrocution? It is
plain enough that not until we have conquered ourselves, our own
vanity, our self-righteousness and sense of separateness, can we
hope to conquer him.
On the other hand, as long as the
anarchist denies God, denies the soul, so long as he refuses to
recognize the soul thread that binds all men into one vast brotherhood
on the soul plane, the gulf between the anarchist and humanity can
never be bridged.
Yet the matter is not hopeless, for
these are the children. They belong to the nation to educate. And
the nation is already beginning to realize that mere intellectual
learning is not enough, that the heart has been neglected far too
long. President McKinley was intellectually a great man. Yet his
greatness is never associated with that, but always with the heart
qualities that he possessed, his gentleness, purity, courage and
brotherliness. It is the straw which shows the direction of the
wind. It is plain that the world needs but the example of education
on right lines, to follow and copy. And such an example is already
before it in the Raja Yoga School for Children at Point Loma. There
the children realize that they are Souls, they live in the sunshine
and the joy of soul life, and the methods used are not experimental
but are founded on principles that the ages have sifted and proven.
When we can find men of good education in every penitentiary, every
insane asylum, every disreputable line of business, it is evident
that modern education does not educate. But these conditions will
pass, for the education of the future will build upon that eternal
foundation called the Soul.
The test of greatness in a nation,
as in an individual, is this; the ability to turn all circumstances,
however unfavorable, to good. During the recent crisis this nation
has stood the test. Above all petty political differences is a strong
feeling of unity, of brotherhood. Above the snarl of those who say
“I don’t believe in God,” there rises, like a song, from the heart
of the nation a deep conviction that God is, a deep, abiding faith
in the Higher Law. The whole nation uttered its faith in the last
words of the President “It is God’s way. His will, not ours, be
As a shock clarifies the mind of an
individual, so does a great calamity act to clarify the public mind.
And it is plain at last that this nation has taken refuge in the
Soul. On that basis is our future to be builded. Much that was dawn
before to our statesmen will now become daylight, for the Sun