Theosophy and the Great War
THE whole Christian world today is celebrating the birth of its Saviour, or ought to be celebrating it; for who can say what will happen on Christmas Day 1914, since some nine millions of nominally Christian men are furiously endeavouring to annihilate each other? The Pope, with a true intuition, sought to still the tumult of battle on the natal day of "the Prince of Peace", so that the roar of guns should not intrude into the quiet hour, when
"Very early, very early,
Christ was born."
The Babe of Bethlehem might well have been granted the "truce of God", and gentle memories of home and family might have brooded over the silent trenches. But his proposal was rejected, and gloom, instead of joy, must rest upon the nations. For ourselves, though not Christians, we have no mind to wax sarcastic over the gulf between Christ's peace and love and Christian practice. The war is too terrible and sad a thing to be used as a weapon against any creed, especially by one who believes that the "Resist not evil" of the Sannyasin is no teaching for the man of the world. To us, war, waged in defence of the weak, of honour and of plighted faith, against a nation which is trampling on all  public morality, is a righteous thing, and to die in it is to die well. But then we regard the Sermon on the Mount as being teaching for the Sannyasin only, and in no wise intended as a general rule.
Apart from this, the doctrine of Divine Incarnation is found in all great religions, and implies a universal truth - that the human spirit is divine, that every man is a divine incarnation, that the great Christian apostle St Paul spoke a sober and literal truth when he asked: "Know ye not that your bodies are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" In the cave of man's heart burns the Light Eternal, the "light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world". As the soiled glass of a lamp may dim the flame when the flame is seen through it, and yet the flame remaineth the same, so is the Divine Spirit in His shining dimmed by human ignorance, human folly, human sin. Clean the glass, and the light shines out. Purify the lower nature, and the Divine Light radiates through it.
As witnesses to this universal truth, man has loved to see in the noblest of the human race the fact of Divine Incarnation proved so that all may behold it. When the Jews, in their zeal, accused the Christ of blasphemy, because "thou, being a man, makest thyself God", His answer was the gentle quotation of a Hebrew scripture: "I said, Ye are gods". In the dead faiths as well as in the living ones "God made man" was adored. Mithra and Osiris and Tammuz were as dear to their votaries as the Christ and Shri Krishna are to hundreds of millions of men today.
The Hindus, in the many-sided perfection of their noble faith, hold the doctrine of Divine Incarnation in a form of striking completeness. Christ as man shows out one side of human nature in its perfection; the sufferer, the martyr, the man of sorrows, and the pathetic figure draws the heart in bonds of love. But Hinduism represents divine-human perfection in the many-sided aspects of human life. Perfect son, perfect brother, perfect king, perfect warrior, perfect ascetic, Shri Rama shines out in many-coloured glory. Joyous child, radiant youth, mighty warrior, steadfast friend, wisest counsellor, skilful statesman, Shri Krishna dominates all higher human roles. But that is the unique beauty of Hinduism that it meets us in every walk of life, and holds up ideals for every stage of evolution. Like Nature herself, it has forms for the manifestation of every type of life.
To all, then, of every faith, in every land, be peace and goodwill;
on all creatures who rejoice and suffer,
may happiness descend; may war pass into peace; may hatred melt into love; for
the Divine is bliss eternal, and the heart of all is love. - New