Of all the divisive forces rampant throughout history, religion has been amongst the most potent. Dogmatic belief in what men believe to be right has caused them to unleash terrible suffering on the fellow humans in the name of their God(s).

From the persecution of the Christians in Rome, through to the Spanish Inquisition to a world now threatened by dogmatism and terrorism; it seems that the greatest evils in the world have been wrought by men with an outraged sense of virtue.

Amid the clash of contending ideas, how often do we pause to consider what religion really represents?

The word ‘Religion’ itself gives the key to its true meaning for the salvation – not the ruination – of Humanity. The great Roman orator, statesman, and scholar, Cicero, tells us that  the word is derived from the Latin word, ‘Relegere’, which means, ‘To gather together that which once was one’ (from his De Natura Deorum II xxviii, 72). Far from being a cause of strife, the Ancient Wisdom perceived religion as an ultimately unifying force.

Theosophy teaches us that in the distant past a direct knowledge of the Unity of all things was the common property of mankind.  The Men (ie Humanity = Men and Women) of those early eras were in unconscious harmony with the kingdoms of Nature both above (angels, gods, etc) and below (animals, plants, minerals, elementals) them in a similar fashion as we see amongst the animals, plants, and the natural environment of our world today.

Just as each of us emerges from the playgrounds of childhood to adult responsibilities, Man of the distant past fell necessarily into greater materiality as he grew in experience which clouded his vision of the Oneness of Universal Nature.

Foreseeing this event and its potential disasters for fledgling humanity, high intelligences descended to Earth to instruct man in the arts of civilization and the mysteries of the Oneness which later found outward expressions as religions.

These events have been celebrated in the world’s mythology and religions which tell of Golden Ages of the distant past when God, or the Gods, moved freely amongst men, guiding, instructing and ruling them.

Just as parents must relinquish their direct responsibility for their children if they are to grow successfully to adults, the Gods have long since left direct and open communication with Humanity. Nevertheless, their emissaries/students/servants and those great man and women who have been worthy of direct knowledge or visions of the Universe-As-It-Is-In-Itself, have been active amongst the world’s peoples throughout the ages bringing the message of brotherhood which forms the basis of all the world’s great religions.

They have repeatedly encouraged man to self-consciously rediscover the Unity which is his natural heritage and the fulfilment of what it means to be truly Human. Through the power of their example, they point to the royal road of such understanding which lies within; to Unity with the Inner-God which is at the core of us and which is an inseparable part of the infinite Universe.

Let us celebrate the opportunities life offers us for learning in the true and original sense of ‘religion’, adding our effort ‘To gather together that which once was One’ for the sake of our brothers and sisters, and the future of our world.

…sooner or later mankind as a whole will once again become keenly conscious of the fact that there exists in the world a wisdom which once was the common property of the human race over the earth, and which…is what (students of Theosophy) call by various names, such as the Esoteric Tradition or the Esoteric Philosophy, or the Wisdom of the Gods, and in modern times by the term Theosophy.  It is only this Wisdom, which is knowledge of ‘things-in-themselves’, which can adequately feed the hunger of the human intellect and supply the spiritual and ethical needs of the human heart. – G de Purucker: from The Esoteric Tradition Vol.1 page 366.