In today’s world writing about the virtues of brotherhood, without mentioning the feminine aspect of sisterhood, seems to be politically incorrect. Unfortunately, those with high attachment to political correctness will often sacrifice accuracy in communication for what feels good to their emotional body.
In presenting this principle one must realize that there is a big difference between “brotherhood” and “sisterhood,” especially as it is used in esoteric teachings.
The word “brotherhood” is inclusive and “sisterhood” is not. When one writes of sisterhood he or she is only including the female gender and their positive interplay and connection. There is nothing wrong with this, as often such a word is needed to accurately communicate this special aspect of female relations.
Now, it is true that brotherhood does at times refer to the opposite polarity of meaning. Depending on the context of the writing it will sometimes be clear that the writer is using the word only in reference to the male gender.
However, when writing from a spiritual prospective the words “brother” and especially “brotherhood” often are inclusive and refers to human beings of either sex.
Many of the great female spiritual teachers of this age have avoided using sisterhood and used brother and brotherhood in an inclusive way to include all people of all races and both sexes.
Mary Baker Eddy who founded Christian Science, used brotherhood to include both sexes because, as she taught, both males and females are part of the one mind of God, not two minds. Helena Blavatsky and Alice A. Bailey, who popularized Theosophy and the Ancient Wisdom, both considered themselves part of a great brotherhood, not a sisterhood. Their writings even refer to themselves as “brothers.”
Another female spiritual innovator and Theosophical leader, Annie Besant wrote much about the value of brotherhood. Here is a quote from her treatise, Brotherhood of Religions:
The concept of Brotherhood stands on steadfast pillars. In it there can be no restrictions of age, race, or of occasional moods. Indeed, above all else there is the primary energy. If it is manifest, and if contacts through it can be harmonized, then there will be affirmed a lasting bond.
Helena Roerich was another innovative female spiritual teacher who was also intensely into brotherhood, even writing a book on the subject. Here is just one quote of many that could be given:
The spark of Infinity must be expressed in everything. Each concept must include presupposition of its development into Infinity. There may be noted whole series of concepts which succeed each other. Neither friendship nor cooperation can be terminal. Between them and the Subtle World there must be still another something that can equally belong to the two worlds. This something is called Brotherhood.
No greater concept can be named, none which could so crown human relations and correspond to the essential nature of the Subtle and Fiery (spiritual) Worlds. Therefore the Brotherhood is called threefold. It extends between the three worlds as a firm bridge. It is almost impossible to imagine the contact of the earthly with the Fiery World, but under the panoply of Brotherhood such confluence is made possible.
In more recent times we come to Helen Schucman, who penned A Course In Miracles, one of the most influential spiritual books of our age. The terms brother and brotherhood are stressed throughout as an inclusive concept that applies to all. She wrote:
The miracle acknowledges everyone as your brother and mine. It is a way of perceiving the universal mark of God.
Your mind will elect to join with mine, and together we are invincible. You and your brother will yet come together in my name, and your sanity will be restored.
Through your gratitude you come to know your brother, and one moment of real recognition makes everyone your brother because each of them is of your Father.
Even though it is politically correct to acknowledge both sexes in all that is written for the masses, such an effort would not only be fruitless, but detract from the pure teachings given out to spiritual seekers.
When it doesn’t interfere with the context I will occasionally throw in terms such as “brothers and sisters,” “he or she,” and “brotherhood and sisterhood,” but the readers of spiritual teachings must realize that, “brother” and “brotherhood” refers not to the male gender but to a spiritual recognition that we are all from the same Source and should look upon each other as family and friends.
Spiritual teachers of the present time have to deal with the fact that any slanting of wording toward the male gender is considered old fashion and sexist.
The problem in adapting to the politically correct crowd is that there has been no word created to replace “brotherhood.” Something like “humanityhood” sounds silly and still has the word “man” in it.
Stating “brotherhood and sisterhood” each time the view is expressed is wordy and not accurate, for sisterhood is not an inclusive word.
That said, let us put in words the true principle of brotherhood.
The principle of “brotherhood,” in the true spiritual sense, recognizes that we are all from the same Source and the one God dwells in each of us whether we are male or female, black or white, or of any belief system. A spiritual brother is another soul like ourselves who is traveling the path of return, moving through many lifetimes of both sexes and many races and types of individuals. In the end each of us have been all things to all people. The understanding and application of true love and brotherhood is the saving grace that finally redeems us from the lower nature.
“I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother and I found all three.” – Unknown.
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