There is much enthusiasm at the present moment, in the face of rapidly changing world conditions, on the part of Stellarians to get The Religion of the Stars more widely recognized. Some are especially anxious to get knowledge of extra-sensory perception and conditions of life beyond death before people's attention. Others are more anxious that people should know about, and guide their lives by, the sound facts of astrology.
We get many suggestions here at headquarters on methods by which these objectives may be accomplished. One ardent Stellarian recently took out a life insurance policy with The Church of Light as beneficiary, and suggested we put on a campaign in the QUARTERLY to get others to follow this example. And we have hopes that many will do this, and thus assist financing the work in the future.
But the most common suggestion is that we should compel members to pay dues, or that in some other way The Church of Light should commercialize its activities. One fine Hermetician, who has demonstrated his own willingness to make sacrifices to get The Religion of the Stars more widely disseminated, suggested that instead of seeking voluntary contributions of $25 each from those who were willing to become members to contribute $1.00 per year, and thus receive about $8,000 a year.
Still more recently another fine Hermetician, in sending in a nice contribution, wrote a letter suggesting a Hermetician's Club be formed, with each Hermetician to pay $5.00 a month in dues, and that other legitimate ways be devised, such as a fee for each degree passed, and an initiation fee of some amount for the 21st degree. Said he, "There is too much left to free will offering and not enough mandatory."
He continued, "Why not apply modern sales methods to get the results you want. . . . After we got some money coming in we could sit down and devise ways and means to pick up at least 1,000 new students per month. Such a job is no different than managing a national sales force." As this man is a successful sales manager, his suggestion should not be ignored.
But if The Religion of the Stars is to perform its function, in addition to getting people familiar with the facts of the outer plane and the facts of the inner plane, it must also get them to use the knowledge so acquired, not for their own selfish interests, but for the benefit of humanity.
We consistently emphasize, and point to the evidence, that man lives in, and is influenced by, two environments. A vast amount of observation indicates that the inner-plane environment and its forces are as effective in determining his thoughts, emotions, behavior, health and the events which enter his life as are the outer-plane environment and its forces.
Man is influenced from the outer plane by what people say orally, over the radio, through the press and on the screen. And he is equally influenced from the inner plane by people's thoughts. He is influenced from the outer plane by objects. And he is equally influenced from the inner plane by the character vibrations of objects. He is influenced from the outer plane by the weather. And he is equally influenced from the inner plane by the astrological energies, which constitute the inner-plane weather.
What would happen to people if they had no idea what the outer-plane weather would be? Not planting crops at the proper time, and not storing food for non-crop--raising periods, they would starve. Not lying in fuel, in some regions they would freeze. And people ignorant of what the inner-plane weather will be during certain periods may suffer as serious disasters, which could be avoided by proper astrological foreknowledge.
An individual ignorant of inner-plane energies is able to live up to one-half of his possibilities. Through knowledge of the inner-plane energies an individual who will apply such knowledge should be able to increase his spirituality, success, happiness and health 100%. Whatever his objectives may be, he stands a far greater chance of reaching them if he understands how the inner- plane environment influences his life, and how to take advantage of its energies.
It is the job of The Church of Light to enable people to learn about the three types of inner-plane energies and how to take advantage of them. But that is only half the job. It is equally important that it persuade people who learn about the three types of inner-plane energies and how to take advantage of them, to use this knowledge for the benefit of universal welfare.
Brotherhood of Light Lesson No. 4 points out that the mission of the soul is Self-Conscious Immortality, and it explains in detail why knowledge alone is ineffective in carrying out this mission. "The plan of action by which Self-Conscious Immortality is to be attained is this: Man must develop, to the highest possible extent, the attributes of Love and Wisdom." Unselfish emotion is equally as important as knowledge. Quoting the last paragraph of this Lesson No. 4:.
"To attain immortality the soul must have the love and the wisdom to construct for itself forms in which to function on higher planes of existence than the astral. To do this it must continue to exercise and develop Love and Wisdom to a degree that it can influence the substances of such higher planes. To gain information about all other entities in the universe and one's proper relation to them is the exercise of the greatest wisdom. To work persistently to be of greatest possible service in this universal society is the expression of the highest love. A life devoted to the exercise of such Wisdom and such Love builds for itself an imperishable form on the spiritual plane that provides, here and now, for Self-Conscious Immortality.".
Knowledge of the three types of inner-plane energies and how best to handle them is important to humanity. Also knowledge of atomic energy and how to control its activities is important to humanity. But in each instance, it is fully as important that this knowledge shall be used, not to destroy people, but to benefit them. Atomic energy can be used to destroy humanity, or it can be used to run industries and cure certain diseases. And inner-plane knowledge can be used to take advantage of others and to influence them to their own detriment, or it can be used to benefit others as well as self.
Hitler was able to use extra-sensory perception and psychokinetic power to act with great cleverness and to influence his countrymen to a course of ruthlessness which otherwise they would not have followed. Gandhi also was able to use extra-sensory perception and psychokinetic power to act with great cleverness and to influence his countrymen to a non-resistance course they otherwise would not have followed. The result in each instance was tremendous. But Gandhi was motivated in the use of inner-plane energies, not by the selfishness and hate, which dominated Hitler, but by the desire to benefit all. Gandhi not only loved his people, but he loved all mankind.
Today both Hitler and Gandhi are dead. But the people of Hitler are dominated by those they sought to enslave, while the people of Gandhi have gained their freedom.
Because it is equally important that people should be induced to use such inner-plane and outer-plane knowledge as they acquire to benefit others as well as themselves, as it is that they acquire such knowledge, the problem arises as to how this can best be done. The one answer to this problem is that they must be conditioned to desire to benefit others, and conditioned to act in response to this desire. Good intentions are not enough. To benefit their own souls and to benefit mankind, they must act. The desire to be of benefit to others, to be effective, should become habitual. And they should act, no merely on rare occasions in response to this spiritual impulse, but it should become habitual.
We of The Church of Light, therefore, encourage in every way we can, Stellarians to condition themselves to the habit of doing something for others. Paragraph 2 of the application to become a member of The Church of Light reads:.
"It is my desire to Live the Life of the Spirit, here and now, upon this earth, and to that end I agree to devote some time and energy to the assistance of others without thought of recompense.".
It is quite possible that through ordinary commercial channels, and the charging of fees for this and that, and the high- pressure salesmanship that could be purchased with the fees so acquired, many more people could be made acquainted with inner- plane facts. But it is equally important that the people acquiring such information be induced to use it to benefit others as well as themselves.
If there is a better method of approach than we are now using we shall be glad to consider it. It may be that if we charged a high price for admittance to classes, we would, as many have suggested, have much larger attendance. These hold that people only appreciate what they pay for. And it may be that our funds would be larger if we charged a fee for becoming a member of The Church of Light. But are people who lack the discrimination to discern the value of something apart from the price they have to pay for it the kind of people who make good Stellarians? Are those who must be coerced into assisting a movement by which they have benefited and which they realize will benefit the human race, desirable Stellarians?
Is there not too much commercialism in the world already? Is not coercion used too freely now in most quarters? Everywhere you turn the emphasis is on price. All over the world coercion is engendering strife.
A religion should have spiritual objectives. But neither commercialism nor coercion is spiritual. If people are to become spiritual, which we of The Church of Light hope they will, they must desire to become spiritual. They neither can buy spirituality nor be coerced into it. If they are to endeavor to assist universal welfare they must desire thus to assist. And if they are to assist in marked degree, they must develop the habit-system of acting on this desire.
The Church of Light not only points out the desirability of such a course of action, but its leaders and active members provide living examples, and all Stellarians are given ample opportunity to follow such a course of action through contributing time, ability or finances on a free-will basis to the dissemination of The Religion of the Stars.
At the present moment people are jittery over the possibility that the whole population will be annihilated. This state of affairs has been brought about by greed and selfishness. What is needed to cure these jitters is not shrewd bargaining nor coercion, but a worldwide willingness freely to assist and cooperate with others. Such a worldwide attitude would result in the four freedoms for all. And as a religion advocating the four freedoms, it seems appropriate that The Church of Light should operate on the plan which it believes will not only result in the greatest spirituality for its members, but which will save the world: the plan of Each Contributing His Utmost to Universal Welfare.