Because, the word means a Vehicle. In
Theosophical metaphysics this term denotes a basis, something,
as a bearer, more substantial than that which it bears;
e.g., Buddhi, the spiritual Soul, is the Vahan of Atmâ
the purely immaterial "principle." Or again, as
in physiology, our brain is the supposed physical vehicle or Vahan
of superphysical thought.
Thus, this little fortnightly paper is destined to serve as the
bearer of Theosophical thought, and the recorder of all Theosophical activities.
The enterprise is no financial speculation, but most decidedly
an additional expense which our meagre funds can ill afford, but
which our duty urges us to undertake. The journal is to go free
of charge to our British Branches and "unattached" Fellows.
It is also meant for those who are unable to subscribe to our
regular magazines, but the wealthier will profit along with the
poorer, for the following reasons. The Karma of those who could,
but will not subscribe for the organs of their Society,
whether from indifference or any other cause, is their own;
but the duty of keeping all the Fellows in touch with us,
and au courant with Theosophical events is ours. For,
many of those who being virtually cut off from almost everything
that goes on in the Theosophical centres, lose very soon their
interest in the movement and continue henceforward "Fellows" but in name.
It has been always held that a true Theosophist must have no personal
ends to serve, no favourite hobby to propagate, no special doctrine
to enforce or to defend. For, to merit the honourable title of
Theosophist one must be an altruist, above all; one ever ready
to help equally foe or friend; to act, rather than to speak; and
urge others to action, while never losing an opportunity to work
himself. But, if no true Theosophist will ever dictate to his
fellow, brother or neighbor, what this one should believe or disbelieve
in, nor force him to act on lines which may be distasteful to
him, however proper they may appear to himself, there are other
duties which he has to attend to: (a) to warn his brother
of any danger the latter may fail to see; and (b) to share his
knowledge if he has acquired such with those who have been less
fortunate than himself in opportunities for acquiring it.
Now, though we are painfully aware that a good number of members
have joined the T.S. out of simple curiosity, while others, remaining
for some time out of touch with the movement, have lost their
interest in it, we must never lose the hope of reviving that interest.
Many are the Fellows who, having failed at first to help on the
cause, have now become earnest "working members," as
they are called. Therefore, we say to-day to all: "If you
would really help the noble cause you must do so now; for, a
few years more and your, as well as our efforts, will be in vain."
The world moves in cycles, which proceed under the impetus
of two mutually antagonistic and destroying Forces, the one striving
to move Humanity onward, toward Spirit, the other forcing Mankind
to gravitate downward, into the very abysses of matter. It remains
with men to help either the one or the other. Thus, also, it is
our present task, as Theosophists, to help in one or the other
direction. We are in the very midst of the Egyptian darkness of
Kali-yuga, the "Black Age," the first 5,000 years
of which, its dreary first cycle, is preparing to close on the
world between 1897 and 1898. Unless we succeed in placing the
T.S. before this date on the safe side of the spiritual current,
it will be swept away irretrievably into the Deep called "Failure,"
and the cold waves of oblivion will close over its doomed head.
Thus will have ingloriously perished the only association whose
aims, rules and original purposes answer in every particular and
detail if strictly carried out to the innermost, fundamental
thought of every great Adept Reformer, the beautiful dream of
a UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD
Verily, of philanthropical, political, and religious bodies we
have many. Clubs, congresses, associations, unions, refuges, societies,
each of them a social protector of special men and nations, special
arts and sciences, or a bulwark against this or that evil, spring
up daily, each of these moved by its own party or sectarian spirit.
But which of them is strictly universal, good for all and
prejudicial to none? Which of them answers fully to the noble
injunction of the Buddhist Arhats and also of King Asoka? "When
thou plantest trees along the roads, allow their shade to protect
the wicked as the good. When thou buildest a Rest-House, let its
doors be thrown open to men of all religions, to the opponents
of thine own creed, and to thy personal enemies as well as to
thy friends." None, we say, none save our own Society, a
purely unsectarian, unselfish body; the only one which has no
party object in view, which is open to an men, the good and the
bad, the lowly and the high, the foolish and the wise and which
calls them all "Brothers," regardless of their religion,
race, colour, or station in life.
To all these we now say: As "there is no religion higher
than Truth," no deity greater than the latter, no duty nobler
than self-sacrifice, and that the time for action is so short-shall
not each of you put his shoulder to the wheel of the heavy car
of our Society and help us to land it safely across the abyss
of matter, on to the safe side?
Vahan, December, 1890
H. P. Blavatsky