When a visitor to our website asked for our view of Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy (Steiner’s
system of thought and philosophy, for the presentation of which the Anthroposophical Society was founded) we gave the following answer:
Our view of Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy isn’t a very positive one.
One of the most deluded and conceited of spiritual teachers, Steiner and his Anthroposophy are extremely pro-Christian, pro-Western, pro-Aristotelian, quite anti-Eastern in many ways, and built almost solely upon his own supposed readings and discoveries in “the Akashic Records”…it’s the very opposite and antithesis of H.P. Blavatsky and genuine Theosophy.
Unlike Besant, Leadbeater, and Bailey, however, Steiner did at least have the decency and honesty to openly and readily admit that his teachings were the opposite to those of HPB. He didn’t claim that they were from the same source or Masters.
When reading Steiner’s books, however, some find it hard not to come to the conclusion that he was a high-functioning schizophrenic. It can be seen online that numerous people have drawn the same conclusion. His descriptions and accounts of things tend to read more like psychotic fantasies and always elevate the figure of Christ above everyone and everything else. Whereas Theosophy doesn’t promote or recommend any one particular religion, or even any religion at all, Anthroposophy teaches that Esoteric Christianity is the one religion which needs to be accepted in the world today and that it’s the only thing which can make the necessary changes for humanity. But they don’t mean the genuine Gnostic Christianity of old but rather Steiner’s own concoction.
Both during his time in the Theosophical Society and after, he created all sorts of lies and fantastical stories to imply that HPB was spiritually inferior and ignorant and that he was so much greater than her – even using “White Lotus Day” (the annual Theosophical event which commemorates her life and work) to give a talk about how “ignorant” and “misguided” she was and how he was so much greater and more important because he recognised the primary importance of the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross which “spiritually baptised the Earth” etc. and which she had “failed” to understand – it’s hard for some of us Theosophists not to strongly dislike him!
HPB filled “Isis Unveiled” and “The Secret Doctrine” with literally thousands of references from a huge range of sources in order to show the validity and demonstrate the legitimacy and reliability of the teachings she was presenting. All Steiner’s teachings are dependent solely upon his own word and nothing else. The Theosophy presented by HPB PROVES ITSELF to actually be the Ancient and Ageless Wisdom, the esoteric Teaching which underlies all the world’s religions. The Anthroposophy presented by Rudolf Steiner proves nothing except Steiner’s own sense of self-importance and enormously pro-Christian bias.
These are strong words, we admit, and the time has now come to provide more specific details and information, largely from Steiner’s own words, in order to show the validity of what was said and also to demonstrate clearly that Anthroposophy and Theosophy (we refer to the original Theosophy; that of H.P. Blavatsky, William Q. Judge, and their Eastern Adept Teachers, not the later distorted and Christianised version) are entirely incompatible and that in reality Steiner had nothing but contempt for HPB and her work and writings, so much so that he was willing to voice all manner of ridiculous untruths and bizarre tales in an attempt to destroy the reputation of her work, limit the potential audience of that work, and reinforce his own ultra-Christian, ultra-Western position.
Steiner’s contact with Theosophy began in Germany around 1899. It’s important to consider a few facts in this regard:
* H.P. Blavatsky had passed away eight years earlier, in 1891. Thus she and Steiner never met, which is a shame, as she would surely have given him a good “telling off” for his attitude, actions, and awful arrogance. If HPB had still been alive, he would undoubtedly never have been allowed to reach the high status and position which he eventually attained in the Society.
* HPB’s most trusted colleague and closest friend, William Quan Judge, a co-founder with her of the Theosophical Movement, had passed away in 1896. The previous year, 1895, the Theosophical Society had split into two, the real reason being that Annie Besant, Col. Olcott, G.N. Chakravarti, and others, wanted to take the Society in a new direction. It was the beginnings of an anti-Blavatsky impulse which still exists to this day. The focus and teachings began to change, with Chakravarti (an orthodox Hindu Brahmin) having become Besant’s spiritual guide, and an increasing amount of criticism, depreciation, and even ridicule, of HPB had begun. In 1893, Besant had published a “Third and Revised Edition” of HPB’s 1888 masterwork “The Secret Doctrine,” which was later found to contain approximately 40,000 alterations from the original text, of both a minor and major nature, including deletion of whole paragraphs and significant alteration of wording.
As Judge remained defiantly faithful and loyal to HPB and continually upheld her good name and promoted and promulgated her teachings, being unwilling to side with the other leaders in their efforts, he became the victim of tremendous persecution and lies, finally resulting in the American Section of the Society, over which he presided, declaring independence from the rest of the Society, which was headquartered at Adyar, India. Other Theosophists, in the UK, Europe, and elsewhere, sided with Judge and parted company with the Adyar Society. By the time Steiner came on the scene, the Society in America had come under the control of Katherine Tingley. A few smaller groups had broken away and the United Lodge of Theosophists, founded by Judge’s friend and colleague Robert Crosbie, had not yet come into existence, as it was founded in 1909.
* The Theosophical Society into which Rudolf Steiner entered was “The Theosophical Society – Adyar” and was thus very different from how things had originally been just a few years before. New influences and emphases pervaded the atmosphere of the Society, respect for and interest in HPB was significantly reduced, and focus on her writings increasingly minimal. Olcott was still the President but Annie Besant was the real star of the show although a lesser star was on the ascendant in the form of one C.W. Leadbeater.
A self-proclaimed clairvoyant, Leadbeater went on to completely rewrite the teachings of Theosophy in accordance with his own supposed visions, revelations, and discoveries. Thoroughly supported in this by Besant, who trusted him implicitly, it was the increasingly Leadbeaterised form of “Theosophy” with which Steiner became the most familiar and which had a marked influence upon some of the terminology and ideas of his own later Anthroposophical teachings, although most Anthroposophists deny this, seeing as Steiner later only spoke critically of Leadbeater. In those early days, however, he had nothing but praise for the man. In the September 1903 issue of the German “Luzifer” magazine, he published a laudatory review of Leadbeater’s book “The Astral Plane,” describing its publication and content as evidence of “the communion between those who have been initiated into the high forms of knowledge, the so-called adepts, and their pupils.”
* In 1902 he became Secretary General of the German Section of the Adyar Society as well as chairman of the Berlin Lodge. In 1904, he was appointed by Annie Besant as Arch-Warden of the Society’s Esoteric School in Germany and Austria.
* In 1909 C.W. Leadbeater, having been readmitted to the Society after being forced out in 1906 due to his admission of inappropriate physically intimate behaviour with young boys, announced that the Second Coming of Christ would soon be occurring and that it would take place in and through a young Indian boy named Jiddu Krishnamurti, who was to be the chosen vehicle and vessel for “Christ-Maitreya,” the “World Teacher.” Steiner strongly disagreed with this and found it unacceptable, for which he and the rest of the German Theosophists were unceremoniously expelled by Annie Besant, whereafter they formed the Anthroposophical Society, with Steiner as their leader, teacher, and source of inspiration and information.
The lies of Rudolf Steiner concerning HPB and the Masters reached their worst point only after he had left the Theosophical Society but began while he was still a prominent member.
Some of his earlier words and statements stand in profound contrast with his later declarations, which rather calls into question the occult infallibility – or at least quasi-infallibility – with which he has been endowed by his followers and admirers.
In 1902 he wrote to his future wife Marie von Sivers, “The Secret Doctrine has duly arrived and lies on my desk; it is very useful in my relevant studies, and I consult it continually.” There is evidence that he initially held “The Secret Doctrine,” “Isis Unveiled,” and other works of HPB in fairly high regard, along with such books by A.P. Sinnett which contained teachings from letters of the Mahatmas, such as his “Esoteric Buddhism,” and that although always Western-oriented and Christian-minded, he gave at least some credence to the import and nature of these Eastern esoteric philosophical teachings.
But Steiner’s conceit and sense of self-importance, which was to later lead him to reveal numerous of his purported previous incarnations to his spellbound Anthroposophical audiences, was already firmly rooted. In a 1904 letter to German Esoteric Section members Doris and Franz Paulus, we find him making subtle or rather not so subtle hints and allusions as to his own spiritual importance and authority.
To give just a brief excerpt: “Whoever has experienced what I have experienced can speak as I do. I only ask you to meditate the next few weeks on the parts of The Voice of the Silence which precede the seven voices. In the coming days I will interpret these seven voices under authorization, and you will receive one of the first copies of this interpretation. This will be much more valuable for you than if I had given it to you two weeks ago, and then without full authorization. For it is only in the last few days that my esoteric work has undergone a complete consecration. You have more than once asked me who I am. There will once come a time to discuss this subject. At this moment I only want to tell you that I have reasons to assume that you once rendered me a great service in a former life. Do not misunderstand me. Even in the case of spiritual perceptions mistakes are not excluded. However, I am not accustomed to live amidst illusions. In the spiritual domain I am one of those who is considered careful, even matter-of-fact. In a previous life, hundreds of years ago, someone was instrumental in detaching me from a certain family circle, which was necessary in connection with the profession which I followed at the time, viz. that of a Catholic priest. These were times when the church had not yet become completely degenerated, as is the case now. It was you who at the time produced the evidence of being completely unprejudiced, a fact which also now strikes me as something great in you.”
We of course cannot say for definite whether Steiner really had been a Catholic priest in a former lifetime but it wouldn’t be overly surprising, in light of the strong air of Jesuitry that was to colour much of his actions and ideas and his propensity towards “esoteric popery.”
In the same year, 1904, Steiner held his first “Esoteric Service” which he opened with a prayer – a practice hardly in line with Theosophy! – and announced himself as being the mouthpiece of the two Masters most closely connected with the founding of the Theosophical Society, namely the Master Morya and Master Koot Hoomi. Declaring that these Mahatmas would now speak through him, he then proceeded to give forth messages as if direct from the Mahatmas Themselves. Portraits of these two Masters were put on display for those in attendance and Franz Seiler, the attendant recording the details of the “service,” noted that “The Master Morya explains the aim of human development. It is he who guides humanity to its destination. The Master Koot Hoomi is the one who indicates the way that leads to this aim.”
“Annie Besant is the Messenger of the Masters,” wrote Steiner to Mathilde Scholl later that year. He was prone to speaking of her in such terms as “our beloved, highly esteemed Annie Besant.” To Michael Bauer he wrote, “As long as H.P. Blavatsky lived on this earth she was the head of the school. At the moment it is Annie Besant. Within Germany, Austria and the German-speaking part of Switzerland, the direction of the school has been allocated to me.” And what of William Judge, who had helped to establish the Esoteric Section with HPB in the first place and about whom she spoke and wrote with far more occult significance and importance than about anyone else, Besant included? “This Judge was only an unimportant person,” Steiner informed his audience in 1923, whilst relating a concocted tale about Judge supposedly openly and jokingly forging letters from the Masters in order to deceive and control people.
A couple of years later, Steiner was speaking of there being four main Masters working through the Theosophical Society, who he identified in the following terms:
“- Master Morya: Power
“- Master Koot Hoomi: Wisdom
“- Master Saint Germain: To him one applies in the case of difficulties in daily life
“- Master Jesus: The intimate aspects of man.”
In an Esoteric School meeting on 22nd October 1906, he reported that “Koot Hoomi is the Master of Truth proper. Jesus, the leader of his church, especially affects the feelings. The great Masters…Koot Hoomi, Morya, Jesus and Christian Rosenkreuz – the Masters of wisdom and harmony of feelings.”
In Steiner’s view, Le Comte de Saint Germain had previously been incarnated as Christian Rosenkreuz, the name by which the founder of the medieval Rosicrucians had been known. This idea, along with the inclusion of Rosenkreuz/St Germain as one of the Masters behind the Theosophical Movement, plus the addition of “the Master Jesus” to the list, all originated with Leadbeater and were duly copied by Steiner, albeit with some finishing touches of his own, such as the increasingly Westerncentric emphasis which he applied to details concerning the Adepts.
In 1907, for example, he taught that of these four individuals, Koot Hoomi was “Inspirer of the transition from Egypt to the Greek era,” Saint Germain was “Inspirer of the Germanic civilization,” Morya was similarly an “Inspirer of the Germanic civilization,” and “Jesus of Nazareth” was an inspirer and motivating force behind “the transition from the Greek to the Germanic era.”
That year, Besant wrote privately to Dr Hubbe Schleiden that “Dr. Steiner’s occult training is very different from ours. He does not know the eastern way, so cannot, of course, teach it. He teaches the Christian and Rosicrucian way, this is very helpful to some, but is different from ours. He has his own School, and his own responsibility. I regard him as a very fine teacher on his own lines, and as a man of real knowledge. He and I work in thorough friendship and harmony, but along different lines.”
Anyone familiar with the work, writings, motivation, and character of HPB, on the other hand, will be well aware by now that she would have been completely appalled by the idea of working “in thorough friendship and harmony” with this deluded Christian psychic. But the worse delusions and the truly alarming lies were still to come.
It was later in that year, 1907, that Steiner’s disturbingly pro-Christian bias began to truly come to the fore, coupled with increasingly open disparagement of H.P. Blavatsky.
He stated that there are two methods or paths of initiation available nowadays for spiritual aspirants in the West. What are they? Who has made them available? “The Master Jesus and the Master Christian Rosenkreuz have prepared two ways of initiation for us, i.e., the Christian esoteric way and the Christian Rosicrucian way.” He continued by explaining that “Both ways have been in existence since the Middle Ages. However, as materialism grew, the spiritual life disappeared more and more from the consciousness of humanity. At the end of the last century materialism had advanced so much that humanity would have perished if it had not received a new spiritual impulse. Only one person could be found whose psychic faculties enabled her to hear the voice of the Masters. This was H.P. Blavatsky.”
So he is speaking highly of HPB after all…or is he? No, sadly not, for he follows this with the barefaced lie – completely unproven and unprovable by anyone or anything except his own prejudiced imagination and psychic fantasies – that HPB’s true intended work and mission had been “in the sense of Christian Esotericism, as had been her purpose.”
Such a revelation will astound anyone even remotely familiar with the life, work, and teachings of HPB. Not a single page or paragraph in the story of her life will lend support to Steiner’s claims. Yet what has been said, written, and recorded, by many others, including HPB herself, counted for nothing with Steiner, for he believed his own clairvoyant perceptions and readings of the “Akashic Records” to be infallible enough to give him the “true” story of things, regardless of how wildly it might differ from all known facts and inescapable evidence.
HPB failed in her Christian mission, he tells us, but at first she did faithfully serve “the Occidental Orders” of Initiates, for whom “binding Blavatsky’s properties direct to the essence of Anglo Saxondom became the object to be attained. … At first matters proceeded as planned, so to say. Indeed, Blavatsky began to acquaint herself with the spiritual life of Central Europe.” He is referring to her travels in Europe and particularly her visit to Paris in the early 1870s, prior to moving to live in the USA.
All known sources say that she hardly left her room in Paris during the three months she was there and occupied herself mainly with painting and waiting to receive further orders and directions from her Indian Guru, the Master Morya, as to where and when she was to go next. Eventually, as all know, the order came to set sail for New York.
Steiner tells us quite a different story of what was going on during her time in Paris. Over the course of several lectures from 1916, a few years after the Anthroposophical Society was established, he asserted that in Europe HPB worked under very competent leadership for some time and made a good degree of inner progress so that her Western esoteric overseers arranged for her to join a certain Christian Order in Paris. Due to being too demanding and laying down too many inconvenient conditions, she was eventually denied membership and then moved to the USA.
In America, according to Steiner, “she was actually admitted in an occult fraternity and as a result she obtained considerable insight into the objects which such occult fraternities pursue, and also into those which on no account strive for the welfare of humanity. She communicated with American spiritualists who wanted to do away with the teaching of reincarnation. Mediumship was the means to attain this. Such a field of activity was not in Blavatsky’s nature. Therefore she was expelled from this fraternity, the reason given being: An attack on the constitution.”
Again, in 1907, two years before he parted company with the Theosophists and while still a leading figure in the Theosophical Society’s Esoteric Section or School in Europe, Steiner’s attitude towards HPB and the Mahatmas was becoming increasingly negative.
He claimed that when HPB began the Society, it was a distinctly Christian Esoteric effort. “In the time that H.P. Blavatsky wrote Isis Unveiled she was inspired by Rosicrucians,” he said. “Subsequently Madame Blavatsky became detached from this source of inspiration and was drawn into the sphere of influence of an eastern-oriented form of theosophy. This gave rise to The Secret Doctrine, which contains great truths of a non-Christian character, but great nonsense where the Christian religion is concerned.”
Writing to Edouard Schure, he says that the Society’s “first foundation had a pronounced occidental character, and also the book Isis Unveiled, in which H.P. Blavatsky revealed a large number of truths, had such a western character. … the verities in question have been inspired by the great initiates of the West, who are also known as the initiators of the Rosicrucian wisdom. The distortion mentioned before is caused by the way in which these truths were absorbed by H.P. Blavatsky’s soul. For the educated portion of the world this very fact should have formed the proof that the sources which inspired these truths were of an elevated nature. For never could anyone of himself come to possess these truths which she represented in such a poor manner.”
HPB’s “occidental initiators,” as he calls them, were supposedly disappointed with HPB’s poor quality of writing and inability to clearly express their teachings. When they “realised how few possibilities this gave them to infuse a stream of spiritual wisdom into humanity, they decided to drop their efforts along these lines. However, the door had been opened, and Blavatsky’s soul had been prepared in such a way that it could absorb spiritual truths. Consequently eastern initiates were in a position to get hold of her. At first these eastern initiates’ intentions were beneficial. They saw how the imaginative faculty of humanity was running the risk of being materialised completely by Anglo-Americanism. They – these oriental initiators – wanted to infuse into the Western world their form of a spiritual knowledge that had been guarded for centuries on end. Under the influence of this tendency the ‘Theosophical Society’ got an oriental character, and the same influence inspired Sinnett’s Esoteric Buddhism and Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine. However, both works are distortions of the Truth. In Sinnett’s work the valuable statements it contains are distorted by his immature philosophical intellectualism. The contents of The Secret Doctrine are distorted by Blavatsky’s own chaotic soul.”
Not content with these deceptive slurs, Steiner added, at a meeting of the Esoteric School in Munich on 1st June 1907, that the knowledge of the Eastern Initiates was “in a rigid, petrified form, without any signs of life.” HPB, he says, wrote “Isis Unveiled” with the aim of presenting esoteric philosophy from a “Central European” perspective, which he declares to be an evident fact for anyone who will read the book, despite it having been written “in a kaleidoscopic, almost useless way.” Her beneficent “guide” “wanted to lead her further on the Central European way” but “she soon came under altogether different influences when she fell into the hands of other individuals.”
“These,” he states, “were the Oriental brotherhoods. When H.P. Blavatsky had written her Isis Unveiled, these brotherhoods claimed that it was their wisdom, for many of the symbols and doctrines mentioned were known to them and they searched for means to frustrate her as much as possible. Thus it was extremely hard for her to carry out her work in the sense of Christian Esotericism, as had been her purpose. In this period life was indeed exceedingly difficult for her. The occult fraternities in question pressed her forward to such an extent that she was obliged to clothe her second work, The Secret Doctrine, in an Eastern garment. Even now we are accustomed to use Oriental names for most of the concepts embodied in the occult doctrines. Nevertheless, this Eastern form of truth does not at all suit our Western peoples. It can only slow us down and lead us away from our goal.”
Several years later, he informed the Anthroposophists regarding HPB that “her first work, Isis Unveiled, shows us the entirely chaotic, illogical, passionate and contradictory character of her being, but also the fact that the powers behind her were working in a generally human sense. The Secret Doctrine reveals not only the understandable human interest in special subjects, but also an interest originating from certain occult centres who are not working in a generally human way, but have a particular goal in view, want something specific. Tibetan, Indian, but also the Egyptian initiation of the moment only want to take revenge on the Western world because of the suppression of Eastern occultism. They wish to revenge the fact that the Western world – due to materialism – has triumphed over the Eastern world.”
Let us put all these assertions into an orderly fashion so we can see exactly what Steiner is saying.
First, he tells us that:
* HPB’s true and original mission was to further and promote the cause of Christian Esotericism.
* Her preparatory training and initiation for this task was in the West and primarily in Central Europe.
* Her guides and inspirers were Western Initiates, including Rosicrucians.
* The Theosophical Society was founded by her and Col. Olcott in 1875 (he fails to mention William Judge) with a distinctly Western emphasis and character and for beneficent Western occult purposes.
* Her first book “Isis Unveiled,” published in 1877, also had a distinctly Western emphasis and character and was inspired by “the great initiates of the West.” These inspiring powers were working in a human way.
He then tells us what happened next:
* These Western Initiates were disappointed with her poor quality of writing and inability to clearly express their teachings and thus decided to give up these efforts.
* But as her soul had already been prepared and opened up for such a type of work, she became the target of Eastern Initiates, for whom she was effectively an easy prey. They wanted to use her to promulgate their “rigid” and “petrified” knowledge and defeat her Christian aims.
* They began by claiming that the knowledge in “Isis Unveiled” was their own and sought to frustrate her in her true mission. She was unable to resist their overpowering influence.
* These Eastern inspirers were working in a non-human way and with the hidden aim of taking revenge on the Western world for it having triumphed over the Eastern world.
Any Theosophist worthy of the name will know that this is all a complete pack of lies.
What makes it the more puzzling is the obvious fact that any of Steiner’s listeners and readers could easily and immediately disprove such notions just by reading “Isis Unveiled” for themselves, which would swiftly show them that things were the very opposite of what he was saying. The very first line in the preface of the book says:
“The work now submitted to public judgment is the fruit of a somewhat intimate acquaintance with Eastern adepts and study of their science.”
On the next page she says that “It was while most anxious to solve these perplexing problems [i.e. about spiritual matters] that we came into contact with certain men, endowed with such mysterious powers and such profound knowledge that we may truly designate them as the sages of the Orient. To their instruction we lent a ready ear.”
The book, particularly its second volume, is largely a powerful critique and exposé of the Christian religion whilst at the same time being a promotion of Indian and other Oriental philosophical ideas and teachings, so that at the end of the second volume the summary begins with the words “the reader must keep in mind the fundamental propositions of the Oriental philosophy which we have successively elucidated.”
What then was Steiner talking about? He had read these words for himself, perhaps many times. One can only assume that he was either extremely and conveniently forgetful or that he was deliberately and consciously deceitful. Whatever the case may have been, he can hardly be viewed in a decent or trustworthy light. Why did no-one challenge him about this? Again, one can only assume that his many admirers either chose to conveniently forget and overlook what they themselves had read in “Isis Unveiled” or that they had never read the book and never bothered to read it after hearing his potent yet fallacious critiques.
Any decent biography of HPB will show even more just how astoundingly false and impossible are Steiner’s claims about her life, work, and inspiration. We obviously cannot go into great detail in an article such as this but can recommend in particular the book “HPB: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky” by Sylvia Cranston, which is the lengthiest, most extensive, most well researched and referenced, and truly inspiring biography available of HPB.
Suffice it to say briefly here that her mission and work was from the very first an Eastern-inspired and Eastern-themed one; that the most important part of her training, instruction, and preparation for her world mission was in the East, partly in India but particularly in Tibet and the Trans-Himalayan regions; that from even before the Theosophical Society was founded her Adept Guardians identified themselves as Buddhists; and that both before and during the time of the writing of “Isis Unveiled” she described herself to friends, including in an extant letter to American Platonist Dr Alexander Wilder, as being herself “a Tibetan Buddhist” of the esoteric kind. Her Eastern Masters and Instructors were personally seen by and known to Olcott, Judge, and others, from the very earliest days of the Society, and never once did anyone have reason to believe there to be a Christian or pro-Western influence at work.
Steiner’s words will be brought into sharp contrast by these words from HPB’s letter to Sir T. Madhava Rao of India, written in 1877, the year “Isis Unveiled” was published. With her letter she enclosed a gift copy of the book for this high ranking Indian official:
“As to the Christians, the believers in and followers of their meek Jewish God Jesus, they are today led from their tender infancy to believe all the non-Christian people vowed to “eternal damnation” after their death; hence – they damn them during life, and for them to tell the most barefaced lies about the “heathen” is a meritorious and sacred duty.
“Finally, tired of fighting Christians in words, I determined that I myself, albeit a woman, a foreigner, and with no pretensions to scholarship, would do the work that others neglected. I came to America, the only country where a woman is entirely free to say as well as a man what she likes upon religious matters, and I have written a work of which a copy is now respectfully offered to Your Excellency for acceptance. It is in two large volumes, one devoted to a comparison of modern science with ancient, the other to a demonstration that this pretended divinely-given Christianity is but a mongrel mixture of various older Eastern faiths. I call the book ‘Isis Unveiled’ because Western people are familiar with the Egyptian goddess who represents nature and its sacred mysteries.
“That such a work was needed is proved by the public reception mine has met with. Within a week, it had reached its second edition. That it tells the public and the Christian theology very disagreeable truths is shown by its abuse by the clergy and the church-going hypocrites. The Russian Government has already decreed that it shall not be allowed to cross the frontiers of my native land and its sale is prohibited. I was just informed that the sacred college at Rome has placed it upon the “Index Expurgatorius.” Let these signs indicate to Your Excellency and other sons of India whether I have done my duty in defending them and the religion of their forefathers, as conscience and sincere and affectionate admiration would prescribe.
“Christianity is so unspiritual, so rotten at the core, that it is splitting into two great parties of materialists and Christian dogmatists of every colour – one representing blind reason, and the other blind faith. To attempt to save the middle party from the inevitable despair which attends the existence of man’s knowledge of the world of spirit, I have contrasted the psychological achievements of your gurus, sanyasis and fakirs with the childish miracles (!) of Christian saints, and the revolting and absurd phenomena of modern spiritualism and its so-called “medium.””
Perhaps the truths told in “Isis Unveiled” were too disagreeable for Steiner himself, the more that he fell under a distinctly anti-Eastern, pro-Western, ultra-Christian influence. His only option was to abuse the book and denounce – through what really amounts to malicious dishonesty – both the work, character, and reputation of H.P. Blavatsky, who he began to speak of as “poor Blavatsky” and “this dear, poor Blavatsky.”
Indeed, at the annual White Lotus Day meeting on 8th May, established after HPB’s death on that date in 1891 as a way for her students to commemorate her life, work, and sacrifice, he unhesitatingly informed his listeners:
“In her second great work, The Secret Doctrine, she had voiced the powerful ancient Aryan primeval religion, but the mysteries of Sinai and Golgotha are not to be found in Madame Blavatsky’s book, because she felt an antipathy to them. On this point she was guided by powers which were able to inspire with great force and clarity which can be labelled as anti-Christian. … as a result of the one-sided initiation which H.P. Blavatsky was subject to, she could in The Secret Doctrine bring out only that biased stream which was guided by the anti-Christian world view mentioned above.”
So here we have HPB and her Teachers being denounced on White Lotus Day as anti-Christian, biased, and one-sided. How could one stoop so low? And how could such behaviour be permitted or tolerated by Theosophists at large or by Annie Besant? Unfortunately quite easily, as Besant had herself been subjecting HPB and her writings to misleading criticism and insults ever since the mid 1890s and seems to have had little trouble with others in the Society doing the same. By 1910, she and Leadbeater had allowed all of HPB’s books to go out of print and were publishing and promoting their own, with an increasingly Christian character, albeit not quite the same flavour as Steiner’s.
“The mysteries of Sinai and Golgotha are not to be found in Madame Blavatsky’s book” precisely because there are no such “mysteries” of Sinai and Golgotha. The Christian religion and its Bible and Gospels are largely a gigantic lie, as “Isis Unveiled” and other writings of HPB have clearly and amply demonstrated. Our article Dismantling the Christian Edifice summarises the view of HPB and the Mahatmas on such matters.
Before long, Steiner developed the idea that there was a real Master K.H. and a false Master K.H. The “real” one had supposedly had Western esoteric interests at heart and was one of HPB’s early inspirers. But due to her uncontrolled mediumistic nature she came in contact during her early days in the USA with an impostor, who she failed to recognise as an impostor. In 1916 he explained that “Blavatsky’s original leader wanted to pilot her into safe waters, generally speaking, when another leader appeared on the scene who was far from what Blavatsky used to call a Mahatma, someone completely different.”
The idea that Steiner initially presented in regard to this purported occult interloper was that he was named John King and was a disembodied sea pirate who had been famous in the 17th century. In a lecture of 11th October 1915, he tells those in attendance that “it is this John King who, by means of the precipitation process, produced the letters for Sinnett’s books, both the first book The Occult World and the second Esoteric Buddhism.”
HPB was apparently powerless to resist and, according to Steiner, from 1874 onwards was under the guidance and control of this false K.H., namely John King. Why would a deceased pirate want to do such a thing, one might not unreasonably ask. As ever, Steiner is ready to tell us:
“Then – in a certain sense under the mask of a previous individuality – a person entered the spiritual horizon of H.P.B. who was actually the carrier of what certain ones wanted to be introduced into the world from India … under the mask of the Mahatma K.H. You probably know that Olcott has written a great deal about this Mahatma K.H., including the fact that in 1874 this Mahatma K.H. gave his opinion about the individuality which resided in him. He said that in fact his name was John King and that he had possessed the personality of a pirate who had been famous in the 17th century. Further, Col. Olcott expressed himself in a curious manner about this John King. He says that probably one has not at all to deal with the pirate’s spirit, but with the creation of an Order which exists as a visible Order amidst physical humanity, while for results it is dependent on the invisible.”
The actual facts of the matter are that (1) Olcott did not write a great deal about the Master K.H., (2) He never wrote anything at all about the Master identifying himself in any way with John King or a pirate, and (3) Nothing to this effect, nor even similar to it, can be found in any of Col. Olcott’s books.
So once again we are faced with the uncomfortable and unfortunate fact that Steiner was either completely unstable and out of control psychologically or a deliberate liar, perhaps being himself the one with highly suspect aims and possibly sinister inspiring forces.
He later went on to add more detail to this fiction. This Adept-impersonating pirate was in fact…”a Russian spy.” Yes, just as previous opponents and enemies of HPB and the genuine Theosophical Cause had accused her of being a Russian spy, always without any evidence or proof, Steiner accused her unseen inspirer of being a Russian spy! From his 9th December 1916 lecture: “After a Mahatma who was referred to by the letters K.H. had for some time exerted a favourable influence on her, this Mahatma, through a number of machinations, was replaced by a spy in the service of a certain body. This spy had deserted occult fraternities where he had been initiated into high degrees, so that he was able to remain in the background as a Mahatma in order to attain through Blavatsky results which he wished to attain.”
Many Anthroposophists continue to believe and promulgate such notions, accepting Steiner’s every proclamation as gospel. Another idea they keep alive is that of HPB’s supposed “occult imprisonment” or “occult captivity.” She “had already been used as a puppet by diverse powers which influenced her,” he states, when “in 1879 at a meeting of occultists from various countries” it was decided upon that now she had relocated to India she should be put into a state of occult imprisonment, “achieved by a certain form of ceremonial magic,” essentially disabling her own soul and rendering her an inwardly paralysed slave to be used by devious Eastern occultists for their own aims and ends.
Is it any wonder that few Anthroposophists hold HPB in high regard after being fed all this nonsense?
From where did Steiner get these ideas about the Mahatmic imposter and so on? He told his listeners that “there appeared – according to well informed occultists – under the mask of the Koot Hoomi personality, one who was in the service of the Russians and who consciously tried to unite the capacities of Blavatsky’s soul with English occultism.”
Who were these “well informed occultists” who stated such things? Were they figments of Steiner’s own imagination or unscrupulous living men – Jesuits, perchance? – who wished to use him as a tool for blackening the name and image of HPB, the Masters, and Theosophy? We can only speculate and speculation is rarely of much value. It is of equally little value to try to deduce why this Russian spy/disembodied pirate who had the task of forcing HPB to promulgate Indian and Eastern esotericism wished to inwardly unite her with English occultism. But as the reader may be starting to see, there is very little in Steiner’s world that makes much sense.
In August 1924, less than a year before his death, Steiner said that “Among all those who moved in circles of the Theosophical Society I have actually found only investigations and literature connected with the domain of the moon. The writings of H.P. Blavatsky contain very much that is incorrect, but also much which can be labelled as exceedingly important. However, everything that may be found in the writings of H.P. Blavatsky originated from the sphere in which she found herself, i.e. the sphere which I have just mentioned. This was caused by the fact that she was in touch with initiates who ventured no further than the moon sphere. Well, I can tell you that I have known many of these initiates, have observed in what way these initiates penetrated into the moon sphere and know they had not the least interest in proceeding further.”
What that might mean is anyone’s guess but, as we can clearly see, Rudolf Steiner is condemned out of his own mouth. For if, just to see the results, we fit all these statements together – all of which, mark well, he made with such a categorical tone of definiteness, authority, and exact knowledge – and take them to be true, to be factual and actual, then we are unavoidably faced with the imposing fact that at one time Steiner himself was in close contact with and in the admiring service of these moon-loving initiates, including the Russian spy/disembodied pirate/K.H. impersonator, for whom he even acted as the mediumistic mouthpiece in an “esoteric service.”
And how could “Isis Unveiled” have been written and produced under beneficent influences and prior to the “occult takeover” when this latter occurrence supposedly took place in 1874, a year before the Society was founded, and “Isis Unveiled” was not published until 1877? Steiner was insistent that John King, as the false Master K.H., replaced the real one in the year 1874, but this is entirely inconsistent with the rest of his story. Could he really have been so ignorant of even the most basic facts and dates of Theosophical history? Or again, was he deliberately and consciously lying and seeking to spread confusion and misinformation?
Whatever the case may be, the famous portraits of the Masters M. and K.H. painted by Herman Schmiechen were made in the 1880s, with HPB present, and under her guidance. Following Steiner’s later pronouncements, these must therefore have been of the false Masters, the sinister Oriental impostors, and not the real and original “Occidental” ones. But it was these portraits which Steiner proudly displayed and used during his Theosophical “esoteric services”!
What became of his earlier assurance that “I am not accustomed to live amidst illusions. In the spiritual domain I am one of those who is considered careful, even matter-of-fact,”?
We need not labour the matter further. The conclusions are obvious for all except the wilfully blind and, as said, Rudolf Steiner stands condemned out of his own mouth…as untrustworthy, deceptive, and the absolute opposite of spiritually or psychically infallible…along with many other suitably applicable adjectives for such a character.
Steiner’s disciple Herbert Wimbauer once wrote regarding this “Christian Esotericist” that “He does not want us to dwell on his successive incarnations as Eabani – Kratylos – Aristotle – Schionatulander – Thomas Aquinas.” Why then did Steiner bother to mention them, if he didn’t want his followers to dwell on them? They were most probably dwelling on false information anyway. Albert Steffen would have disagreed most strongly with our last remark. He spoke of Steiner as “friend of God and leader of humanity,” while Kurt Piper referred to him as “an authorised architect in the name of the stars of entire cycles in the future,” and Adolf Arenson reverentially described him as “the great Christ teacher who descends to earth every century.” Wimbauer opined that “In front of the altar in the spiritual world there stands on one side Christian Rosenkreuz; on the other side however stands he, Rudolf Steiner.”
It is not within the scope of this article to attempt to present and explain the differences between the teachings of Theosophy and Anthroposophy. They are manifold and occur at every hand and in regard to almost everything.
The teachings of Steiner will always hold appeal for the mystically minded with strong Christian inclinations, as do the Leadbeater/Besant/Hodson and Bailey teachings of Pseudo-Theosophy (to use a term coined by HPB herself). Similarly, original Theosophy will never hold much appeal for those with Christian leanings and beliefs or for the pro-Western. As HPB says on that first Preface page of her first book “Isis Unveiled,” “It is offered to such as are willing to accept truth wherever it may be found, and to defend it, even looking popular prejudice straight in the face.”
~ Blavatsky Theosophy Group UK ~
FOR A CLEAR AND ACCURATE OVERVIEW OF THEOSOPHY, THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, AND THE LIFE, WORK, AND MISSION OF H.P. BLAVATSKY, PLEASE SEE THE ARTICLE
WHICH IS SOON TO BE PUBLISHED IN A UNIVERSITY TEXTBOOK ON MYSTICAL AND ESOTERIC TRADITIONS.
The article “Rudolf Steiner’s Lies about H.P. Blavatsky and The Mahatmas” is largely based on the research and findings of the late Henk Spierenburg and his articles “Dr. Rudolf Steiner on Helena Petrovna Blavatsky” and “Dr. Rudolf Steiner on the Mahatmas” Parts 1 and 2, published in “Theosophical History” magazine in July 1986, October 1986, and January 1987 respectively. Unless otherwise stated, all quotations from Steiner can be found in his “Collected Works,” called in German “Gesamtausgabenummer.”
~ * ~
THE QUESTION OF ETHICS IN ESOTERICISM
The following comment about this article was recently received from a reader:
“Steiner is incredible, prolific, genius, life-changing. There are bigger battles to fight here and instead of finding the places where things meet, keeping a bigger picture, you choose divisiveness and perpetuate old patterns. Turns me off totally. How sad.”
Perhaps others may feel the same way. This is possibly a fairly normal reaction to make unless one is accustomed – as are students of HPB and William Q. Judge – to always assess the true ethical basis of everything, including every claim and every action, particularly of those who are widely viewed as spiritual or esoteric Teachers, Gurus, or Agents of one or another hidden Brotherhood.
We thus felt it appropriate to share here the response sent to our unhappy correspondent, as it could potentially contain valuable food for thought for others:
“You say that our attitude toward these things seems to many like “condemning” others. It is the duty of esoteric students to unmask error and hypocrisy; to face lie with truth; not as personal criticisms but as facts against mis-statements. It is assumed in charity that one who wrongs the Truth does so in ignorance; but the custodians of Truth voice it in the face of lie, ignorance and error, and take every opportunity possible to correct erroneous impressions. Theosophy is in the world for that purpose.” (Robert Crosbie, “The Friendly Philosopher” p. 181)
Rudolf Steiner has certainly spread many “erroneous impressions” about HPB, the Masters, and Their Teachings, and as his own words quoted and referred to in the article suggest, he did so deliberately and consciously. Those “erroneous impressions” – most of which can legitimately be described as outright lies – still mislead and misinform many today, especially Anthroposophists, as to both the nature and work of H.P. Blavatsky and the occult status, accuracy, and trustworthiness of Steiner.
Are Theosophists supposed to just ignore and tolerate all this, for the sake of “finding the places where things meet [and] keeping a bigger picture”? In other words, is Steiner supposed to be permitted for some reason to get away with all this, remaining unchallenged and uncorrected, whilst the name, reputation, and life’s work of HPB suffers continual misrepresentation, misunderstanding, and belittlement as a result? Perhaps you had not considered the matter from this perspective when writing your comment.
Yes, “there are bigger battles to fight” but this is part of the bigger ones. Deceit, lack of ethics, and purposeful misrepresentation, have to be challenged and confronted here in the world of spirituality and esotericism as well as in the outer world at large. No-one can successfully deny that Steiner was guilty of those things. The article is conclusive enough and those who may doubt or question it can look up the references for themselves and assess the facts.
Your statement “you choose divisiveness and perpetuate old patterns” would be more accurately addressed to Steiner, not to ourselves. It is to be sincerely hoped that devotion and admiration for an individual has not resulted in blindness to basic facts and aspects of human decency and right conduct.