Cautions in Paragraphs
The Path, July, 1893
Do not make statements that tend to mix up the Theosophical Society with any religious belief, political theory, or social observance or non-observance.
Beware of the proposition that the rich or those in social life needing theosophy as much as the humbler ranks should therefore have special efforts made for them while they fail or refuse to openly help the Society with their countenance and effort.
Do not be misled by the fancy that special effort to “convert” a scientific celebrity will lead to any great benefit to the theosophical movement, or sufficiently offset the time thereby lost from the general work among those who are ready to listen.
Never cry down the efforts of a sincere member to disseminate theosophy merely because it does not meet your standards of method or propriety.
Always discountenance any proposal to establish a censorship of either literature or effort in theosophical ranks, for such a censorship is against the broad and free platform on which the Society rests.
Suffer not yourself to be annoyed because scientific men claim as their new and original discoveries that which theosophical literature has always claimed: remember we are not in this movement for glory, but that men shall know the truth regardless of where the credit for discovery is given.
Never forget that a theosophical Branch is for the study of theosophy, and not for discussion upon outside topics.
Let not sentimentality make you fear to bring forward what you believe to be theosophy, even though some persons threaten to leave the ranks because their own fad seems endangered by the strength of your theory; but beware you do not mistake self-assertion in yourself for the strength of your theories.
Be not deluded by the idea that you can do great good by entering a church society in which you do not believe. Theosophy is not benefitted by being thrown among those who declare they do not want it.
Beware of the person who offers to sell spiritual science in so many lessons for a sum of money. Expositions by lectures in public of general theosophical principles for an admission fee are proper, but courses of lessons on magic arts, spiritual science, secrets of nature, and the like are eternally improper, emanate from cupidity or undisciplined intellect, and lead to nothing.
Be charitable enough to remember that the theosophist is human, and perhaps has to struggle all the harder with our common failings just because he has entered on the battle with the lower nature.
Do not fancy that because ours is called a brotherhood any exclusion of woman is inferred. English is not the only language on earth, and in many others the same terms describes both feminine and masculine. Theosophy does not concern sex distinctions, and talks more of souls, which are sexless, than it does of the bodies they inhabit.
Carefully avoid confounding Brahmanism with Buddhism, and the religions flourishing outside India with those of that country. Buddhism not being the religion of India, confusion of uttered sounds and knowledge results from calling Hindus Buddhists.
Very carefully refrain from confusing Christianity with the religion of Jesus. The latter is not the former, inasmuch as Christianity is split up into over three hundred different sects, whereas Jesus had but one doctrine.
Pay the highest respect to the sermons of Jesus, from the remembrance of the fact that in his discourses he but gave forth once again the old doctrine taught to him by the ancient theosophists of whom he was a disciple.
Do not make the blunder of mistaking the glitter of our civilization for true progress. Weigh fine houses, good clothes, mechanical devices, and universal male suffrage against the poverty, misery, vice, crime, and ignorance which go with the former, before you conclude what is the best civilization.