The shocking events of September 11 have affected all Americans and indeed
peoples all around the world. In such circumstances, Theosophists naturally turn
to the principles of Theosophy, the timeless Wisdom Tradition, to understand
what has happened and how one can respond to it.
Theosophy tells us that all human beings are members of one family, that
there is an overarching Plan that guides the evolution of the world, and that
the universe is pervaded by divine intention, order, and love. But it also tells
us that things sometimes go awry because human beings have the privilege and the
burden of free action; and through ignorance and self-centeredness, we human
beings often make bad, indeed dreadful, uses of our freedom of action.
Theosophy does not tell us how we should apply its timeless principles in
response to any given situation. Each person must make that decision for himself
or herself and in the light of that situation. And so also must each human
community... Good and rational persons reach different decisions about what is
the best course of action in any given situation, and so we need to respect
others' decisions when they differ from ours.
One of the great spiritual guidebooks of the human race is the
Bhagavad-Gita, whose hero, Prince Arjuna, is faced with the moral dilemma of
whether or not to fight in a battle whose purpose is to protect the rights and
lives of the innocent but which will involve him in killing members of his own
family. The message of the Gita is that Arjuna must make his decision with a
knowledge of the order of the universe, a confidence in the beneficence
governing all life, and a complete disregard for what he may think is to his
personal benefit and welfare. The message given to Arjuna is given also to us.
None of us is all-knowing, so none of us can say what is indeed the best
action for ourselves or others. We can only examine our own hearts, answer the
call of duty we find there, and act not out of fear or hate but from a profound
and humble sense of what we believe to be right...
In our present situation, we are like Arjuna at the battle of Kurukshetra in
the Gita. As the divine charioteer Krishna told Arjuna, even refusing to act is
an action. So we have no alternative but to act. Like Arjuna, however, we need
to act in the right way, with the right motive, and in the right frame of
At this time it is imperative that whatever action we as individuals or we
collectively as a nation enter upon, we do so with an awareness of the unity of
all life, the orderliness of the universe, and the purposefulness of life. And
it is just as important that we act in humility, remembering the limitations of
human wisdom that we share with all our brothers and sisters around the globe.*
*John Algeo, National President, Theosophical Society in America, September,