The Impossible Dream of Theosophical Unity

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891)

The subject and theme of “Theosophical Unity” is an ever-present undercurrent in the Theosophical Movement today. This is of course a very good and important thing but the numerous serious obstacles which lie in its way continue to be conveniently ignored and left unmentioned. As long as this remains the case, all efforts and attempts to cause Theosophists from all branches and streams of the Movement to “unite” will prove vain and futile, as they have done for many decades and throughout several major attempts to bring about such intended unification.

Those Theosophists who most strongly and actively promote organisational unity are usually of one of two opinions, in that they either (a) believe that all Theosophists should work together, “cross pollinate,” and join together harmoniously in mutual respect and tolerance in their various Theosophical endeavours, whilst still remaining true to their current organisational allegiances or memberships; or (b) believe that all Theosophists should unite together into one Theosophical organisation. Whether they believe that this one should be their own (as was G. de Purucker’s view in his “fraternisation movement” attempts in the 1930s) or that all the existing organisations and associations should be dissolved and replaced by one new super-society is not very clear.

Option (a) is far more preferable for the majority of Theosophists and is far more likely to one day come about than option (b). However, both still remain but an impossible dream.

We have already written at length on this subject in the article International Theosophy Conferences – A Hidden Agenda? which all are invited and encouraged to read carefully, including the “Aftermath” postscript and the comments left by readers of the article. The inspiration for this present article lies in a statement recently made online by a member of “The Theosophical Society in America” (the American Section of “The Theosophical Society – Adyar”) who wrote, “It would be wonderful if all Theosophic organizations would unite into one. The cause for their separation is long past and over.”

Most of today’s “Theosophical Unity” supporters and promoters certainly believe in the second sentence of that quote, even if they do not all necessarily believe in the first.

We are compelled to disagree particularly with the assertion that “The cause for their separation is long past and over.” There are several reasons which immediately spring to mind as to why there are still several different, unrelated, and largely unconnected, Theosophical organisations, which may be briefly stated and summarised as follows:

(1) DIFFERENT IDEAS OF WHAT THEOSOPHY IS; HENCE DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF “THEOSOPHY” BEING PROMULGATED.

The United Lodge of Theosophists has always existed solely to promote Theosophy in exactly the same way it was given to the world by H.P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge and without introducing or permitting any alterations, additions, revisions, etc. of any sort. For the ULT, HPB’s word is final, at least in this present time period.

For “The Theosophical Society – Pasadena” and “The Theosophical Society – Point Loma” the most important presentation of Theosophical teachings is that by G. de Purucker, who claimed to be commissioned and authorised by the Masters to give out greater and deeper teachings than HPB and WQJ could ever dream of. Pasadena and Point Loma Theosophists affirm great love and respect for HPB but for them G. de Purucker’s word is final. However, de Purucker’s teachings contradict and distort HPB’s in numerous ways, a fact which cannot be denied.

For “The Theosophical Society – Adyar” the emphasis and influence seems to be spread out in various degrees over C.W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant, Geoffrey Hodson, Krishnamurti, the Liberal Catholic Church, with a bit of HPB (and hardly any of WQJ) thrown in for good measure.

In short, the four branches of today’s Theosophical Movement are by no means presenting the same thing as “Theosophy.”

(2) THE NOTION OF SUCCESSORSHIP.

This now seems to play far less of a role in the Adyar Society than it did during the days of Annie Besant and her immediate successors. However, the idea is still central within both of the Katherine Tingley revering organisations – i.e. the Pasadena and Point Loma Societies – that their respective leaders are the direct “Occult Successors” in an unbroken lineage from HPB, WQJ, Katherine Tingley, G. de Purucker, etc.

The Leader of the Point Loma Society and the Leader of the Pasadena Society both claim to be the one true living Successor to HPB. Not only does this whole notion have no basis in the words and work of HPB and WQJ but it is also based on an unfounded sham which arose shortly after the passing of WQJ, for details of which see The Point Loma & Pasadena “Successorship” Claim Exposed.

The Point Loma Society is never likely to accept organisational unity unless Herman Vermeulen is acknowledged as supreme Leader; the Pasadena Society is never likely to accept organisational unity unless Randell Grubb is acknowledged as supreme Leader; and the other organisations and groups are never likely to acknowledge either of these as such.

(3) C.W. LEADBEATER: THE ISSUE WHICH JUST WON’T GO AWAY.

Documentary evidence (including his own admission in the transcript of his 1906 “theosophical trial” after which he resigned rather than face inevitable expulsion) and numerous accusations and serious reports of others, spanning a period of around 30 years, show that Leadbeater was a paedophile, sex criminal, chronic liar, and blatant fraud.

His complete rewriting of the Theosophical teachings to make them fit in with his own self-proclaimed clairvoyant discoveries and revelations is one matter which stands firmly in the way of unity, especially as this was sanctioned and promoted by Annie Besant and the work and writings of these two are still upheld by a not insignificant number within the Adyar Society; his character and activities are another matter, perhaps even a much more serious one, since who wants to unite with and be seen to be endorsing – whether directly or indirectly – a perverted sexual molester of young boys?

This is by no means hearsay, as many Theosophists – especially those who have done research into the history of the Movement – know well.

Perhaps most Adyar Society members do not realise it but to many other Theosophists they seem very strange and questionable for continuing to either endorse or fully or partly condone or at least failing to condemn, the work and actions of this man who, after his death, was described in one obituary by some Canadian Theosophists as having singlehandedly destroyed the Theosophical Movement.

(4) MANY DO NOT KNOW WHAT HPB, WQJ, AND THE MASTERS SAID OR – WORSE – DO NOT WANT TO KNOW.

Three important points (amongst others) can be, and have been, demonstrated, in the writings of H.P. Blavatsky, William Q. Judge, and the Mahatmas, which have a very important bearing on the work and character of the Theosophical Movement but which, as of the present time, are rejected, ignored, or simply entirely unknown, by the majority of Theosophists:

(1) The Masters and HPB emphasised that Theosophy – the Esoteric Philosophy – is a very definite Body of Knowledge, a specific System of Teaching, and that contradictions, dilutions, and alterations are not part of it and cannot be accepted as legitimate Theosophical teaching. According to HPB, there is such a thing as “Pure Theosophy” and such a thing as “Pseudo-Theosophy.”

(2) It was the Masters and HPB themselves who repeatedly emphasised the importance for Theosophists and the Theosophical Movement of staying true and faithful to what they variously called the “original lines,” “original programme,” “original impulse,” “original system,” and “original teachings.”

(3) Under the Law of Cycles the Masters were only able and permitted to give out new teachings to the world between 1875-1900 and no further or deeper information would or could be made available from the Esoteric Doctrine until the closing quarter of the following century – i.e. 1975-2000 – and even this would be provisional.

The ULT is the only Theosophical association which acts accordingly with these points and which does not casually gloss over them in order to make things fit in with personal preferences and preferred and more comfortable ideas. Being associated with the ULT ourselves, we feel it right and relevant to emphasise that this is not a statement born out of pride or a sense of spiritual superiority; it is a simple statement of fact which anyone can verify for themselves.

It is misleading and inaccurate to say that the cause for Theosophical disunity is long past and over. It is, sadly, still very much alive.

The “Declaration” of the United Lodge of Theosophists – which was founded by Robert Crosbie in 1909 with the expressed mission statement “To spread broadcast the original teachings of Theosophy as recorded in the writings of H.P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge” – says that the ULT “holds that the unassailable basis for union among Theosophists, wherever and however situated, is “similarity of aim, purpose and teaching,” and therefore has neither Constitution, By-Laws nor Officers, the sole bond between its Associates being that basis. And it aims to disseminate this idea among Theosophists in the furtherance of Unity.”

That “similarity of aim, purpose and teaching” exists within the ULT but is still lacking as regards the relation between the various different Theosophical groups. It all ultimately comes down to one main point, which will have to be firmly and openly addressed sooner or later, if the ITC and similar endeavours truly want to make real progress in a genuinely effective way: will Theosophists fully and wholeheartedly trust and accept HPB?

We close with these words from a previously unpublished letter, which was written by Armand Courtois (an associate of the United Lodge of Theosophists in Antwerp, Belgium, who lived 1922-2002) to F. Pierce Spinks, promoter and organiser of the “Theosophists Reunite!” initiative. The letter is dated “Paris, November 3, 1966.” and says in part:

“All your admirable efforts notwithstanding, I am afraid that Theosophical unity will not progress by having one organization rather than many, people gathering in one room rather than in several, and preaching a mixture of allegedly theosophical teachings rather than simply and sincerely trying to find out what the original Theosophy is as such. As soon as Theosophists themselves stop showing to the world the image of grotesquely undisciplined thinking, engaged in sickeningly sentimental pursuit of misty and vague “initiations,” and teaching anything that sounds even remotely “occult,” the world will show more respect for Theosophy. No combination of Jesuits, Dominicans and Scientists can beat us if we understand our “Three Fundamental Propositions.” So, Theosophists who are interested in the real, not outer unity of their movement should set about studying, propagating and applying the Theosophy which is to be found in the original and unmodified works of HPB and her main and most eminently reasonable collaborator, Mr. Judge. This is not meant to disparage the valuable efforts of others, nor do I need to make a list of the so-called “theosophical” works which have appeared later and which have thrown such vast discredit on Theosophy in the eyes of an intellectually and scientifically growing race-mind. Surely, any one has the right to follow his preferences and believe in anything he pleases, be it his own dreams or those of others. But Theosophy is not an all-including mixture of all manner of theories, opinions and dreams however “mystical” and artistic they may sound. If Theosophy is supposed to be the Science of the Soul, surely it must have something of the rigor of mathematics in its principles and laws? And that is NOT being dogmatic; it is just plain common-sense.

“. . . I would state with the utmost possible emphasis that no ULT ever claims to be “in possession of the Truth.” ULT, whether in Paris or elsewhere, simply makes the original works of the Theosophical Messengers available to interested people, and points out that it has chosen as its own mission to study, promulgate and to try to apply those teachings. Now, ULT is clearly and decidedly the only organization which does this on principle. It has not promulgated any new “revelations,” it has neither added to nor subtracted from the Original Message. Why reproach them with stating the facts as they are? Will the Société Théosophique de France [i.e. the French Section of “The Theosophical Society – Adyar”] publish an accurate translation of the original and unmodified text of the “Secret Doctrine”? If so, my gratitude and admiration to them. If not, its members should stop reproaching others with being “in possession” of that which they themselves refuse to give out. After all, ULT does not pretend even to be an authority on what constitutes Theosophy, much less would its members claim to “know it all.” As soon as one becomes a student, one realizes that one’s ignorance is vast, that others may follow a different path and be quite right. All ULT members can do is to say that they are students of Theosophy, and it is their duty to make that Theosophy available to enquirers, who can draw their own conclusions. No views are imposed on anybody, and no “personal following” is encouraged. As far as I can see, ULT comes closest to that simple ideal. Evidently, it is the fact of all of us being sincere students which unites us, not organizational identity.”

~ Blavatsky Theosophy Group UK ~

SOME RELATED ARTICLES: International Theosophy Conferences – A Hidden Agenda?, The United Lodge of Theosophists, The Question of G. de Purucker, The Point Loma & Pasadena “Successorship” Claim Exposed, The Theosophical Society is Disloyal to Theosophy, Theosophy – An Explanation and Overview, The Four Branches of the Theosophical Movement, Why Stick To The Original?, The Closing Cycle, The Theosophical Movement after H.P. Blavatsky, The Case against C.W. Leadbeater, Maitreya in the Light of Real Theosophy, The Question of Orthodoxy, Dogmatism, or Fundamentalism, Col. Olcott’s Disloyalty to H.P. Blavatsky, Who was William Quan Judge?, The Welcome Influence of William Q. Judge, Understanding The Importance of Mr. Judge, Original Theosophy and Later Versions, Tibetan Master or Christian Priest? (Uncovering the real inspiration behind the Alice Bailey Books), A Challenge to Fainthearted and Halfhearted Theosophists, and The Task & Responsibility of Theosophists – Some Serious Warnings.

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