The Importance of Supporting Evidence

Ancient Manuscript


“It was at the very beginning of a new cycle, in days when neither Christians nor Spiritualists ever thought of, let alone mentioned, more than two principles in man – body and Soul, which they called Spirit. If you had time to refer to the spiritualistic literature of that day, you would find that with the phenomenalists as with the Christians, Soul and Spirit were synonymous. It was H.P.B., who, acting under the orders of Atrya (one whom you do not know) was the first to explain in the Spiritualist the difference there was between psyche and nous, nefesh and ruach – Soul and Spirit. She had to bring the whole arsenal of proofs with her, quotations from Paul and Plato, from Plutarch and James, etc. before the Spiritualists admitted that the theosophists were right.

– From a Master’s Letter, 1882

Such a work as this [i.e. “The Secret Doctrine”] has to be introduced with no simple Preface, but with a volume rather; one that would give facts, not mere disquisitions, since the SECRET DOCTRINE is not a treatise, or a series of vague theories, but contains all that can be given out to the world in this century.

“It would be worse than useless to publish in these pages even those portions of the esoteric teachings that have now escaped from confinement, unless the genuineness and authenticity – at any rate, the probability – of the existence of such teachings was first established. Such statements as will now be made, have to be shown warranted by various authorities: those of ancient philosophers, classics and even certain learned Church Fathers, The writer will have to give historical and trustworthy names, and to cite well-known authors, ancient and modern, of recognized ability, good judgment, and truthfulness, as also to name some of the famous proficients in the secret arts and science, along with the mysteries of the latter, as they are divulged, or, rather, partially presented before the public in their strange archaic form. …

“This accounts for the necessity under which the writer has laboured to be ever explaining the facts given from the hoariest Past [i.e. given throughout the thousands of pages of “The Secret Doctrine”] by evidence gathered from the historical period. No other means was at hand, at the risk even of being once more charged with a lack of method and system. The public must be made acquainted with the efforts of many World-adepts, of initiated poets, writers, and classics of every age, to preserve in the records of Humanity the Knowledge of the existence, at least, of such a philosophy, if not actually of its tenets. The Initiates of 1888 would indeed remain incomprehensible and ever a seemingly impossible myth, were not like Initiates shown to have lived in every other age of history. This could be done only by naming Chapter and Verse where may be found mention of these great characters, who were preceded and followed by a long and interminable line of other famous Antediluvian and Postdiluvian Masters in the arts. Thus only could be shown, on semi-traditional and semi-historical authority, that knowledge of the Occult and the powers it confers on man, are not altogether fictions, but that they are as old as the world itself.”

– H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. xxxviii-xxxix, xlv (“Introductory”)

“The Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages,” declared HPB. She was referring to the Secret Doctrine itself, of which the book titled “The Secret Doctrine” is the chief and highest representative in our day.

Theosophy is the Ancient and Ageless Wisdom. H.P. Blavatsky did not invent it; she merely fulfilled her mission and duty and transmitted it. Utilising thousands of supporting references from a multitudinous array of the most diverse and distant sources, she proved the timelessness, reliability, and universality of her doctrines, even those which seemed at first glance to be the most peculiar. Those who have read and studied her work, particularly “The Secret Doctrine” and “Isis Unveiled,” know for themselves that this is the case.

She never claimed any of her teachings to be the result of any “clairvoyant investigations” or “readings of the Akashic Records” carried out by herself. Unfortunately, as later so-called “theosophical teachers” purported to have derived their own teachings (which were invariably totally contradictory and even entirely opposite to those presented by HPB) through such methods, some have automatically assumed that HPB’s teachings must have been the outcome of the same and have not bothered to do any independent study or research of their own to check whether or not this was actually so.

Whereas HPB’s major books contain literally thousands of supporting references and quotations from the realms of religion, philosophy, classical literature, ancient and modern history, and science, the books of such individuals as C.W. Leadbeater, Annie Besant, Alice Bailey, Geoffrey Hodson, and Helena Roerich, contain nothing of the sort. They are content to simply present their manifold claims and statements on what have been described as “lines of pure assertion with implied authority in the background.” (See The Pseudo-Occultism of Alice Bailey by Alice Leighton Cleather and Basil Crump)

Whilst original Theosophy describes itself as the synthesis of religion, philosophy, and science (see the subtitle of “The Secret Doctrine”) and presents itself as a perfect and naturally occurring unity and synthesis of the three, the later “Pseudo-Theosophy” – to use a term coined by HPB herself, in contradistinction to what she called “Pure Theosophy” – dwells solely on the religion element and is content to entirely ignore both the philosophy element and the science element. Those later teachings thus tend to appeal more to the credulous, unthinking, and religiously minded, who will accept almost anything if said in sufficiently authoritative tones or proclaimed to come from “a Master.” This is of course also the case for the vast majority of the literature and adherents of the New Age Movement.

Nor were any of HPB’s teachings the result of any theories, speculations, or ideologies arrived at by herself. She specifically disclaimed this, writing that “The sole advantage which the writer has over her predecessors, is that she need not resort to personal speculations and theories. For this work is a partial statement of what she herself has been taught by more advanced students, … The writer … believes in the ancients, and the modern heirs to their Wisdom. And believing in both, she now transmits that which she has received and learnt herself to all those who will accept it.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. vii, xxxvii)

The basic foundational premise of Theosophy is that Truth exists and that there are “Those who KNOW.” The motto of the Theosophical Movement is “There is no religion higher than Truth.” We too may come to KNOW and to UNDERSTAND, if we make wise, respectful, and diligent use and application of the vast mass of knowledge, information, and instruction that has been made so freely and generously available and accessible to us in the original and genuine teachings of Theosophy.

It demands neither belief nor acceptance but simply invites us to examine it and to find out for ourselves what it has to say. If we do so, we may discover – as many others have over the last 100 years – that it proves itself to be exactly what it claims to be.

The Masters of the Wisdom are not foolish or naïve enough to expect the world to accept their Knowledge unsupported, unreferenced, or unsubstantiated, nor do they work along the “lines of pure assertion.” It is only priests, dogmatists, and power-seeking individuals of sinister or questionable character and motive who do so.


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