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Theosophy Applied

to Social Problems


Annie Besant



It may help the reader to understand the value of Theosophy in its bearing on Life, if we consider how it may be applied to the resolution of some of the more

painful problems which confront us in the present state of Society.


Many suggestions may be drawn from civilisations founded and ruled in the past by members of the White Brotherhood, although, under the greatly changed conditions now prevailing, new applications of the fundamental principles must be devised.


The foundation of a stable Society must be Brotherhood; the need for every human

being is for happiness and for conditions favourable to his evolution, and the

duty of Society is to supply an environment which yields these.


The birth of the human being into an organised Society gives to him a claim, and

to Society a duty – the claim of a child on its parents, the duty of the parents to the child.


It is natural and proper claim of the younger on the elder that has been perverted into the aggressive doctrine of “rights”; animals, children, the sick, the ignorant, the helpless, all these have rights – the right to be kindly used, protected, nursed, taught, shielded; the strong, the grown-up, have only duties.


Organised Society exists for the happiness and welfare of its members, and where

it fails to secure these it stands ipso facto condemned. “Government exists only

for the good of the governed”. So said Pythagoras, preaching on the hill at

Tauromenion, and the phrase has echoed down the centuries, and has become the

watchword of those who are seeking the betterment of social conditions.


Only when the good of the governed is sought and secured does the State deserve the eloquent description with which the great Greek Teacher closed one of his

lectures to the Greek colony of Naxos, whose citizens were gathered round him on

the hill:


“Listen, my children,  to what the state should be to the good citizen. It is more than father or mother, it is more than husband or wife, it is more than child or friend.  The state is the father and mother of all, is the wife of the husband, and the husband of the wife. The family is good, and good is the joy of the man in wife and in son. But greater is the State, which is the Protector of all, without which the home would be ravaged and destroyed.  Dear to the man is honour of the woman who bore him, dear the honour of the wife whose children cling to his knees; but dearer should be the honour of the State that keeps safe the wife and child.


It is the State from which comes all that makes your life prosperous, and gives you beauty and safety. Within the State are built up the Arts, which make the difference between the barbarian and the man. If the brave man dies gladly for the hearthstone, far more gladly should he die for the



Pythagoras has become the master K.H., well known in connection with the

Theosophical Society, and he speaks out the Theosophical ideal of the State – the father-mother of its citizens, the Protector of all.


The duty of the State, of organised Society, is to secure to every one of its members at least the minimum of welfare – of food, clothing, shelter, education, leisure – which will enable each to develop to the full the faculties which he brought with him into the world. There is no necessity for the existence of starvation and poverty, of overwork and absence of leisure, of lack of comfort and the means of enjoyment. Human brains are quite clever enough to plan out a social system in which every citizen should have enough for a happy life; the only obstacles are selfishness and want of will.


It was done long ago under the King-Initiates who ruled in the city of the

Golden Gate and in Peru. It was done in the time of King Rämachandra, as may be

read in the Rämäyana. It was done when the Manu ruled in the City of the bridge.

 [Much of interest and value may be found on the Manu’s policy in Bhagavän Däs

Science of Social Organisation.]  But it must be planned out by wisdom, not by

ignorance, and brought about by the love and sacrifice of the higher, and not by

the usurping of the lower. Mobs can make revolutions; but they cannot build a






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