[A Republic of Conscience]
Theosophist, September, 1880
“Address of the President of the Ionian Theosophical Branch at Corfu, Upon Presenting the Charter of Constitution to the Fellows”, by Signor Pasuale Menelao, D.L., President of the Branch;
“Inaugural Address Before the Bombay Theosophical Society, by Kharsedji N. Seervai, Vice-President, President, pro-tem”;
Note by H.P.B.
[The address given by Mr. Menelao can be read in its entirety here. The address given by Mr. Seerval can be read in its entirety here. H.P.B.’s response, placed between the two addresses, follows, thus:]
The inaugural addresses of the respective presiding officers of the Ionian and Bombay Branches of the Theosophical Society, which appear side by side in the present number so well illustrate its policy of mutual tolerance and confraternity, that we bespeak for each a careful reading. Here we see the Italian thinker moved by the same lofty aspirations for individual perfection and the happiness and enlightenment of mankind, as the Parsi thinker of Bombay. And though the one conceives of the First Cause, or Deity, quite differently from the other, whose ancestors from time immemorial have worshipped the Sun as a visible type of Hormazd, yet a common religious feeling moves the heart of each, and a common instinct makes him see the way upward towards the truth brighter and clearer by the light of Theosophy. Ours is not an atheistical society, though it does contain atheists; nor is it a Christian one, even though our brother Dr. Wyld, President of the British Theosophical Society, would have us accept Jesus as the most divine personage that ever appeared among men. Our Fellows are of the most varied opinions and each has a right to claim respect for his ideas as he is bound to respect those of his brothers. We have presidents who are severally Christian, Deist, Buddhist, Hindu, and Atheist; none dogmatizers, none claiming to be wiser or more infallible than the other, yet each taking the other by the hand, calling him brother, and helping him and being helped in the divine quest after knowledge. Nor are all, or even a large minority, students of occult sciences, for rarely is the true mystic born. Few, alas! have they ever been, who so yearned after the discovery of Nature’s secrets as to be willing to pursue that hard and unselfish course of study: and our own century can show fewer than any of its predecessors. As to the secrets of the Theosophical Society, when we mention the masonic-like signs of recognition, and the privacy secured for the handful who do make their experiments in psychological science. all has been said. The Parent Society is, in one word, a Republic of Conscience, a brotherhood of men in search of the Absolute Truth. As was sufficiently explained in our opening October number, every one of us professes to be ready to help the other whatever the branch of science or religion to which his personal predilections may lead him.