OUTSIDE THEIR CIRCLE
We will first discuss, if you please, the one question relating to the presumed failure of the 'Fraternity' to leave any mark upon the history of the world. They ought, you think, to have been able, with their extraordinary advantages, to have gathered into their schools a considerable portion of the more enlightened minds of every race. How do you know they have made no such mark? Are you acquainted with their efforts, successes, and failures? Have you any dock upon which to arraign them? How could your world collect proofs of the doings of men who have sedulously kept closed every possible door of approach by which the inquisitive could spy upon them? The precise condition of their success was that they should never be supervised or obstructed. What they have done they know; all that those outside their circle could perceive was the results, the causes of which were masked from view. To account for these results, many have in different ages invented theories of the interposition of gods, special providences, fates, the benign or hostile influences of the stars. There never was a time within or before the so-called historical period when our predecessors were not moulding events and 'making history,' the facts of which were subsequently and invariably distorted by historians to suit contemporary prejudices. Are you quite sure that the visible heroic figures in the successive dramas were not often but their puppets? We never pretended to be able to draw nations in the mass to this or that crisis in spite of the general drift of the world's cosmic relations. The cycles must run their rounds. Periods of mental and moral light and darkness succeed each other as day does night. The major and minor yugas must be accomplished according to the established order of things. And we, borne along the mighty tide, can only modify and direct some of its minor currents . . . . There have been times when 'a considerable portion of enlightened minds' were taught in our schools. Such times there were in India, Persia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome . . . .
Can you turn the Gunga or the Bramaputra back to its sources; can you even dam it so that its piled-up waters will not overflow the banks? No; but you may draw the stream partly into canals, and utilize its hydraulic power for the good of mankind.