Theosophy Undefined?

Quotations from the articles "What is Theosophy?" and "Is Theosophy A Religion?" by H.P. Blavatsky.
Quotations from the articles “What is Theosophy?” and “Is Theosophy A Religion?”


In the April 2016 issue of “The Theosophist,” the monthly magazine of “The Theosophical Society – Adyar,” appeared an article titled “Theosophy Undefined” written by Rafael Marques de Albuquerque, a member of that Society. That issue can be read online here. The article contains a number of statements and ideas which students of H. P. Blavatsky are bound to consider inaccurate, highly misleading, and even potentially detrimental to the Theosophical Cause espoused by HPB and her Eastern Masters.

There is concern about the article amongst some Adyar Society members as well as those of other Theosophical groups. In this present article we shall address one by one the most misleading – and, let us say it, harmful (to the Cause) – points from “Theosophy Undefined” and leave it to the readers to draw their own conclusions.

~ * ~

“The particular set of beliefs described by HPB and others are historically situated, hence have particular characteristics that are unique and not shared by other sages throughout history. In other words, it is an eclectic belief system developed in the 19th Century according to its zeitgeist, or spirit of the time.”

* It has “particular characteristics that are unique” because it presents certain teachings, doctrines, and information, which until that time had not been permitted to be given out to the general public.

For example: “Even the teaching about the Septenary constitution of the sidereal bodies and of the macrocosm – from which the septenary division of the microcosm, or Man – has until now been among the most esoteric. In olden times it used to be divulged only at the Initiation and along with the most sacred figures of the cycles.” (H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 168)

And: “As a whole, neither the foregoing nor what follows can be found in full anywhere. It is not taught in any of the six Indian schools of philosophy, for it pertains to their synthesis – the seventh, which is the Occult doctrine.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 269)

This is also why some of its teachings appear to have “not [been] shared by other sages throughout history,” although HPB’s writings show with sufficient clarity that (1) When one becomes familiarised with the Esoteric Doctrine and with the universal language of mystical symbolism, one can recognise some of those supposedly “unique” teachings and characteristics in the teachings and work of many “other sages throughout history”; (2) Many of the great Sages and Teachers had both an exoteric teaching and an esoteric teaching; a public one for the masses and a private one – a “secret doctrine” – for their initiated disciples.

Apart from a few fragments and glimpses, we cannot at present really know or say what their secret doctrines consisted of, yet the more one delves into and deeply studies the writings of HPB, particularly “The Secret Doctrine,” the more one – usually – becomes convinced that the secret teachings of such individuals must in most cases have been the same, or at least virtually so, as that expounded by HPB and her Masters.

As for the Philosophy of the latter being “an eclectic belief system developed in the 19th Century” one can only assume that Mr Marques de Albuquerque either (a) has never made an in depth study of “The Secret Doctrine” for himself; (b) does not believe that HPB was truly the Direct Agent and Messenger of the Mahatmas; or (c) does not accept that the Mahatmas are really “Masters of Wisdom” in possession of the Ancient and Ageless Wisdom.

Like all Theosophists, he is entitled to believe or disbelieve whatever he wishes, but it may be useful to make clear to his readers exactly where he stands on such matters, so that all can clearly understand his motives and inspiration for confidently making such assertions which stand so contrary to those put forth by H. P. Blavatsky and her Adept Teachers.

“The first potential problem is the development of an arrogant approach to spirituality. This danger arises from the belief that the doctrinal knowledge elaborated in the theosophical literature expresses the universal absolute knowledge behind all forms of religion. Logically, this leads to the conclusion that any doctrinal detail from a specific religion which agrees with ‘Theosophy’ is correct; whilst divergences are attributed to superstition, cultural bias, or a supposed failure of believers in comprehending their own religion.”

* “The doctrine we promulgate being the only true one, must – supported by such evidence as we are preparing to give – become ultimately triumphant, like every other truth.” With these words, the Maha Chohan, the Chief of the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood and Guru of the Masters M. and K.H., opened the short but celebrated document that has become known as “The Great Master’s Letter” and which sets out some of the main aims and purposes of the modern Theosophical Movement.

He closed the Letter by speaking of “the one esoteric truth” and stating, “That the world is in such a bad condition, morally, is a conclusive evidence that none of its religions and philosophies – those of the civilized races less than any other – has ever possessed the TRUTH. The right and logical explanations on the subject of the problems of the great dual principles, right and wrong, good and evil, liberty and despotism, pain and pleasure, egotism and altruism, are as impossible to them now as they were 1880 years ago. They are as far from the solution as they ever were; but to these problems there must be somewhere a consistent solution, and if our doctrines will show their competence to offer it, then the world will be the first to confess that ours must be the true philosophy, the true religion, the true light, which gives truth and nothing but the TRUTH.”

This may come across to some, perhaps to Mr Marques de Albuquerque himself, as being “an arrogant approach to spirituality” and as giving voice to “the belief that the doctrinal knowledge elaborated in the theosophical literature expresses the universal absolute knowledge behind all forms of religion.” Again, he is well within his rights to think so, but why did he not refer to this and similar statements from the Masters and HPB in his article, and criticise them directly and upfront? His criticisms or kindhearted reproofs appear to be directed towards purportedly misguided students of Theosophy, whereas no genius is required to see that his real issue is with HPB and her Teachers. We have encountered numerous Theosophists like this but few will openly admit to that which to others is plainly apparent. They need not fear judgment or condemnation. All we ask for is honesty and straightforwardness.

Mention is made, critically, of “a supposed failure of believers in comprehending their own religion.”

Does anyone genuinely believe that all religionists correctly comprehend all the teachings and principles of the religion to which they belong? Many adherents may think that they do but since most are exotericists, that cannot count for much in the whole scheme of things. One may have a correct understanding of their religion from its exoteric perspective, but how can it be imagined that one not acquainted with the archaic Esoteric Doctrine could understand the esoteric nature, origins, and teachings, of the religion, for which the exoteric is merely a veil and exterior garb? If Mr Marques de Albuquerque does not happen to credit esotericism as a legitimate actuality, perhaps he should say so, since otherwise his arguments are puzzling and virtually meaningless to those of his Theosophical readers who do not already see things in the same light as him.

If something diverges from the Doctrine/Philosophy put forth by the Masters, HPB, and her closest and most trusted colleague William Q. Judge, as “Theosophy,” can it still be considered as Theosophy? That is for each to decide for themselves but here are some key statements either unknown to Mr Marques de Albuquerque or deliberately avoided by him when writing his article:

“Well; if in the different spheres contradictory doctrines are propounded, these doctrines cannot contain the Truth, for Truth is One, and cannot admit of diametrically opposite views.” (Master K.H.)

“Our doctrine knows no compromises.” (Master K.H.)

“We have no two beliefs or hypotheses on the same subject.” (HPB, “The Key to Theosophy” p. 87)

“Occult Science has its changeless traditions from prehistoric times.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 516)

No-one would be so foolish or naïve as to claim that the whole of Theosophy is contained in our Theosophical literature but there is nothing foolish or naïve in one who has really studied the original literature concluding that it represents an accurate and reliable presentation of the Esoteric Teaching which underlies all the world’s religions. And if this is so, why should it not be used as the standard and test against which to measure all other claims, concepts, and teachings?

“It is needless to explain that this book is not the Secret Doctrine in its entirety, but a select number of fragments of its fundamental tenets, special attention being paid to some facts which have been seized upon by various writers, and distorted out of all resemblance to the truth.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, Preface, p. viii)

As a member of “The Theosophical Society – Adyar,” is Mr Marques de Albuquerque familiar with an article by Annie Besant titled “Theosophy and Christianity”? Although in our view the same cannot be said for much of her later writings, what she says here is truly admirable:

“None of us has any right to put forward his own views as ‘Theosophy,’ in conflict with hers [i.e. HPB’s], for all that we know of Theosophy comes from her. When she says ‘The Secret Doctrine teaches,’ none can say her nay; we may disagree with the teaching, but it remains ‘the Secret Doctrine’ or Theosophy; . . . Theosophists have it in charge not to whittle away the Secret Doctrine for the sake of propitiating the Christian churches that have forgotten Christ, any more than they may whittle it away for the sake of propitiating Materialistic Science. Steadily, calmly, without anger but also without fear, they must stand by the Secret Doctrine as she gave it. . . . The condition of success is perfect loyalty; let the churches climb to the Wisdom Religion, for it cannot descend to them.” (From “Lucifer” Magazine, October 1891)

“Despite the historical involvement of theosophists in interfaith activities, which surely is not completely absent today, it becomes difficult to establish healthy and honest dialogues if we believe that our books express the true doctrine (that is, the true interpretation of deeper realities) and all the others are but distortions of it. If we consider Theosophy as the only true doctrine we hinder our potential to learn and grow from the wisdom of others, and assume the posture of teachers and ‘light bringers’ in relation to other religions, instead of humble and openminded seekers of wisdom. In other words, to understand Theosophy as a doctrine spoils our interest in learning about other approaches and dissuades others’ interest in communicating with us. The danger of becoming insular is not only related to religion. It might jeopardize the possibilities of approximation even to groups which have roots in the Theosophical Society, such as the Anthroposophical Society.”

* In November 1881 – 135 years ago – HPB received from her Guru a message intended for A. P. Sinnett to pass on to the Hindu Brahmins who comprised the Prayag Theosophical Society in Allahabad, India. It is often referred to as the “Prayag Letter.” Transcribed by HPB at Dehradun, it was very firm in tone and strong and direct in content. William Judge later published it in his magazine “The Path” under the title “A Mahatma’s Message To Some Brahmans.” Since Mr Marques de Albuquerque objects to anyone holding to the notion that Theosophy is, or at least may be, “the only true doctrine,” we cannot help but wonder what he makes of the Master’s words:

“. . . It is useless for a member to argue ‘I am one of a pure life, I am a teetotaller and an abstainer from meat and vice. All my aspirations are for good etc.’ and he, at the same time, building by his acts and deeds an impassable barrier on the road between himself and us. What have we, the disciples of the true Arhats, of esoteric Buddhism and of Sang-gyas [i.e. the Tibetan name for Buddha] to do with the Shasters and Orthodox Brahmanism? There are 100 of thousands of Fakirs, Sannyasis and Saddhus leading the most pure lives, and yet being as they are, on the path of error, never having had an opportunity to meet, see or even hear of us. Their forefathers have driven away the followers of the only true philosophy upon earth away from India and now, it is not for the latter to come to them but to them to come to us if they want us. Which of them is ready to become a Buddhist, a Nastika as they call us? None. Those who have believed and followed us have had their reward. Mr Sinnett and Hume are exceptions. Their beliefs are no barrier to us for they have none. They may have had influences around them, bad magnetic emanations the result of drink, Society and promiscuous physical associations (resulting even from shaking hands with impure men) but all this is physical and material impediments which with a little effort we could counteract and even clear away without much detriment to ourselves. Not so with the magnetism and invisible results proceeding from erroneous and sincere beliefs. Faith in the Gods and God, and other superstitions attracts millions of foreign influences, living entities and powerful agents around them, with which we would have to use more than ordinary exercise of power to drive them away. We do not choose to do so. We do not find it either necessary or profitable to lose our time waging war to the unprogressed Planetaries who delight in personating gods and sometimes well known characters who have lived on earth. There are Dhyan-Chohans and “Chohans of Darkness,” not what they term devils but imperfect “Intelligences” who have never been born on this or any other earth or sphere no more than the “Dhyan Chohans” have and who will never belong to the “builders of the Universe,” the pure Planetary Intelligences, who preside at every Manvantara while the Dark Chohans preside at the Pralayas.”

In light of the above, is it at all likely or plausible that the Masters of the Trans-Himalayan School would seek to come together externally on a basis of “brotherhood,” “tolerance,” “fraternity,” and “unity,” with the Hindu Fakirs, Sadhus, and Sannyasis, simply because they are leading a spiritual life and are good people despite promoting philosophies and practices inconsistent with those of the Trans-Himalayan School? The Masters’ words and positions speak for themselves.

There is a danger, says the author, in understanding Theosophy “as a doctrine.” In such case, he ought to lay the blame for that openly and fearlessly on HPB and the Masters Themselves, rather than continuing to imply that the “problem” lies with overzealous Theosophical students.

If any point is made clear by HPB throughout her writings, it is that Theosophy is a very definite Body of Knowledge, a specific System of Teaching, and that there are definite doctrines of this definite Teaching. Once more, anyone can doubt or deny this, but none can lay the blame for adherence to such an idea on Theosophists themselves, when anyone who cares to read the works of the principal Founder and most well known figurehead of the Theosophical Movement will inevitably come across such words and inferences as the following (bold added for emphasis):

“It is needless to explain that this book is not the Secret Doctrine in its entirety, but a select number of fragments of its fundamental tenets, special attention being paid to some facts which have been seized upon by various writers, and distorted out of all resemblance to the truth.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, Preface, p. viii)

“The esoteric truths, presented in Mr. Sinnett’s work, had ceased to be esoteric from the moment they were made public; nor did it contain the religion of Buddha, but simply a few tenets from a hitherto hidden teaching which are now supplemented by many more, enlarged and explained in the present volumes. But even the latter, though giving out many fundamental tenets from the SECRET DOCTRINE of the East, raise but a small corner of the dark veil. For no one, not even the greatest living adept, would be permitted to, or could – even if he would – give out promiscuously, to a mocking, unbelieving world, that which has been so effectually concealed from it for long aeons and ages.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, Introductory, p. xvii)

“This is the true reason, perhaps, why the outline of a few fundamental truths from the Secret Doctrine of the Archaic ages is now permitted to see the light, after long millenniums of the most profound silence and secrecy. I say “a few truths,” advisedly, because that which must remain unsaid could not be contained in a hundred such volumes, nor could it be imparted to the present generation of Sadducees. But, even the little that is now given is better than complete silence upon those vital truths.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, Introductory, p. xxii)

“Indeed, that which is given in these volumes is selected from oral, as much as from written teachings. This first instalment of the esoteric doctrines is based upon Stanzas, which are the records of a people unknown to ethnology; it is claimed that they are written in a tongue absent from the nomenclature of languages and dialects with which philology is acquainted; they are said to emanate from a source (Occultism) repudiated by science; and, finally, they are offered through an agency, incessantly discredited before the world by all those who hate unwelcome truths, or have some special hobby of their own to defend.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, Introductory, p. xxxvii)

“…the esoteric Senzar Catechism.” … “The Occult Catechism” … “In the Catechism, the Master is made to ask the pupil:” … “Occult Catechism” … “(Esot. Catechism.)” … “The breath returning to the eternal bosom which exhales and inhales them,” says our Catechism.” … “(Catechism of the inner Schools.)” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 9, 11, 120, 147, 619, Vol. 2, p. 43, 282)

[Note: One can hardly have a Catechism unless a very definite and specific teaching and system of doctrines is being presented therein. This has always been the primary purpose and accepted meaning of the word.]

“Before the reader proceeds to the consideration of the Stanzas from the Book of Dzyan which form the basis of the present work, it is absolutely necessary that he should be made acquainted with the few fundamental conceptions which underlie and pervade the entire system of thought to which his attention is invited. These basic ideas are few in number, and on their clear apprehension depends the understanding of all that follows; therefore no apology is required for asking the reader to make himself familiar with them first, before entering on the perusal of the work itself.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, Proem, p. 13)

The Secret Doctrine establishes three fundamental propositions:-” … “Further, the Secret Doctrine affirms:-” … “Moreover, the Secret Doctrine teaches:-” … “The pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosophy“. (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, Proem, p. 14, 16, 17)

Esoteric doctrines teach the existence of “an antecedent form of energy having periodic cycles of ebb and swell, rest and activity” (p. 21) – and behold a great scholar in Science now asking the world to accept this as one of the postulates.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 625)

The doctrine we promulgate being the only true one, must – supported by such evidence as we are preparing to give – become ultimately triumphant, like every other truth. … For our doctrines to practically react on the so-called moral code, or the ideas of truthfulness, purity, self-denial, charity, etc., we have to preach and popularize a knowledge of Theosophy. … how is the combative natural instinct of man to be restrained from inflicting hitherto unheard-of cruelties and enormities, tyranny, injustice, if not through the soothing influence of Brotherhood, and of the practical application of Buddha’s esoteric doctrines? … the one esoteric truth … They are as far from the solution as they ever were; but to these problems there must be somewhere a consistent solution, and if our doctrines will show their competence to offer it, then the world will be the first to confess that ours must be the true philosophy, the true religion, the true light, which gives truth and nothing but the TRUTH.” (The Letter from The Maha Chohan, also known as “The Great Master’s Letter”)

“It is only by means of the philosophy that an intelligent and educated man can avoid the intellectual suicide of believing on blind faith; and it is only by assimilating the strict continuity and logical coherence of the Eastern, if not esoteric, doctrines, that he can realize their truth. Conviction breeds enthusiasm, and “Enthusiasm,” says Bulwer Lytton, “is the genius of sincerity, and truth accomplishes no victories without it”; while Emerson most truly remarks that “every great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is the triumph of enthusiasm.” And what is more calculated to produce such a feeling than a philosophy so grand, so consistent, so logical, and so all-embracing as our Eastern Doctrines?” (“The Key to Theosophy” p. 247)

[Note: Incidentally, Section V of “The Key to Theosophy” is titled “The Fundamental Teachings of Theosophy”.]

“The Occultists, however, know that the traditions of Esoteric Philosophy must be the right ones, simply because they are the most logical, and reconcile every difficulty.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, Preliminary Notes, p. 3)

“Previous explanations of a similar kind have drawn much wrath upon the writer’s devoted head; the Spiritualists, like too many others, preferring to believe what is pleasant rather than what is true, and becoming very angry with anyone who destroys an agreeable delusion. For the past year Theosophy has been the target for every poisoned arrow of Spiritualism, as though the possessors of a half truth felt more antagonism to the possessors of the whole truth than those who had no share to boast of.” (“The Key to Theosophy” Preface, p. xii)

“ENQUIRER. Then what is the good of joining the so-called Theosophical Society in that case? Where is the incentive?

“THEOSOPHIST. None, except the advantage of getting esoteric instructions, the genuine doctrines of the “Wisdom-Religion,” and if the real programme is carried out, deriving much help from mutual aid and sympathy.” (“The Key to Theosophy” p. 21)

“In its pages, month by month, I give such public teaching as is possible on Theosophical doctrines and so carry on the most important of our Theosophical work.” (“Five Messages to the American Theosophists” p. 30)

“I have sent Vol. I of the S.D. to Adyar and am now on Vol. II – the Archaic. This alone with the new information in it will be more than you will be able to digest in 25 years with the explanations promised – if you succeed in forming a Society of your own, faithful to the original programme and doctrine and the Masters, or their teaching.” (“The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett” #C, p. 222)

Much more could be provided but this should be sufficient to demonstrate the validity of our point. “The esoteric doctrine,” wrote the Master K.H. in a letter to A. P. Sinnett, is “the sole custodian of truth.” Let us make of that what we will.

In regard to making approximation “to groups which have roots in the Theosophical Society, such as the Anthroposophical Society,” it is easy to see how those Theosophists who give no credence to HPB, Mr Judge, or the Masters, would have no issue with doing this, but surely they can understand – especially now, in light of all the quotes and references that we have shared – why those Theosophists who do have respect and devotion for Them, and who take Them seriously, would have little or no interest at all in such a project. As the Anthroposophical Society was particularly mentioned, we ought to here refer our readers to an important article titled Rudolf Steiner’s Lies about H.P. Blavatsky and The Mahatmas.

“The third potential problem of understanding Theosophy as doctrine is to become dogmatic, even though HPB warned against it. ‘Theosophists repudiate all claim to infallibility’, she wrote in Society Without a Dogma, and yet some theosophists struggle to question her words or the Mahatmas, or to admit that despite all their wisdom they were still placed within cultural and historical boundaries, and were influenced (and sometimes misled) by them. Such a dogmatic approach to Theosophy is a natural consequence of using the word Theosophy to refer simultaneously to the universal Truth behind all religions and to the doctrine or belief system elaborated by Blavatsky and others.”

* So there we have it: according to Mr Marques de Albuquerque, Theosophists ought to be ready and willing to admit that not only HPB but also the Mahatmas (!) “were still placed within cultural and historical boundaries, and were influenced (and sometimes misled) by them.”

Unfortunately for his readers, he does not bother to give proof, examples, or illustrations, of this; not even one. By now, his real attitude towards HPB and the Masters Themselves should be unmistakably clear. It is a peculiar conception of Mahatmas, that makes Them influenced and misled by cultural and historical boundaries. Adyar, according to that particular Theosophical Society organisation which has its international headquarters there, is “The Masters’ Home.” And there at Adyar, such flings at the Masters are freely published, without the slightest challenge or comment upon them, in the Society’s official monthly magazine “The Theosophist.” A strange – or sad – state of affairs, this.

But then again, perhaps we are just being “dogmatic,” since after all we are some of those guilty of “using the word Theosophy to refer simultaneously to the universal Truth behind all religions and to the doctrine or belief system elaborated by Blavatsky and others”…just like HPB herself did. The whole point of her writing is that the Teaching or Doctrine she was propounding IS “the universal Truth behind all religion” or, rather, as much of that Universal Truth as can be made public, revealed, and elucidated at this point in time.

Utilising literally thousands of supporting references and quotations from the realms of religion, philosophy, classical literature, ancient and modern history, and science, HPB demonstrated the timelessness, reliability, and universality of her doctrines, even those which seem 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. Those who have not and will not, will never accept what we are saying and cannot expect to know whether what we are affirming is true or otherwise.

“Phrases such as ‘Theosophy tells us that . . .’ or ‘According to Theosophy . . .’ make little sense in this perspective. Theosophy is neither a body of knowledge nor someone. Instead, we could say ‘Blavatsky tells us that . . .’, ‘The theosophical literature tells us that . . .’, or even ‘Theosophists often say that . . .’, or to be more rigorous such as ‘“The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali” tells us that . . .’ or ‘The Key to Theosophy tells us that . . .’ Furthermore, we cannot teach, spread, or explain Theosophy.”

* Most of these points have already been addressed. HPB makes clear that Theosophy is a Body of Knowledge and makes many statements such as “According to Theosophy…,” “The Secret Doctrine affirms…,” “Theosophy says…,” etc. Mr Marques de Albuquerque says that she is wrong and that Theosophists should not speak like that.

“If any authority pertains to the Secret Doctrine, it must be sought inside, not outside. It must rest on its comprehensiveness, its completeness, its continuity and reasonableness; in other words, on its philosophical synthesis, a thing missed alike by the superficial and the contentious, by the indolent, the superstitious, and the dogmatic.” (William Q. Judge, “The Synthesis of Occult Science”)

But should we not endeavour to spread or promulgate Theosophy? Not only should we not but apparently we literally cannot. But what does HPB have to say about that? As usual, we find her presenting something wholly antithetical to our author’s assertions:

“There’s our salvation. To overflood the world with occult publications and our doctrines so far as allowable and so bring conviction to their hearts. K.H. and M. will help of course.” (“The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett” #XIII, p. 25)

“… we have to preach and popularize a knowledge of Theosophy. It is not the individual and determined purpose of attaining Nirvana – the culmination of all knowledge and absolute wisdom, which is after all only an exalted and glorious selfishness – but the self-sacrificing pursuit of the best means to lead on the right path our neighbour, to cause to benefit by it as many of our fellow creatures as we possibly can, which constitutes the true Theosophist.” (The Letter from The Maha Chohan, also known as “The Great Master’s Letter”)

“Of all past centuries, the nineteenth is the most criminal. It is criminal in its fearful selfishness, in its scepticism that scoffs at the mere idea of something beyond matter; in its idiotic indifference to all that is not the personal “I” – far more so than any of the centuries of barbaric ignorance and intellectual darkness. Our century must be saved from itself before its last hour strikes. Now is the time for action by all who see the sterility and foolishness of an existence blinded by materialism and so ferociously indifferent to the fate of others. It is for them to devote their best energies, all their courage and all their efforts to bring about an intellectual reform. This reform cannot be accomplished except through Theosophy, and, let us say it, Occultism, or the Wisdom of the East. Many are the paths leading to it, but Wisdom is forever one. Artists foresee it, those who suffer dream of it, the pure in spirit know it. Those who work for others cannot remain blind before its reality even though they do not always know it by name. It is only the light-headed and empty-minded, the selfish and vain drones deafened by the sound of their own buzzing who can ignore this high ideal. They will live until life itself becomes an unbearable burden to them.” (“The New Cycle” article)

“As to the Neo-Budhism or the “Revival of the Ancient Wisdom” of the Ante-Vedic Aryas, the actual evolutionary period of the Occidental peoples will end in a blind alley, if they reject it. Neither the true Christianity of Jesus – the great Socialist and Adept, the divine man who was changed into an anthropomorphic god – nor the sciences (which, being in their transition period, are, as Haeckel would say, rather protistae than definite sciences), nor the philosophies of today which seem to play at Blind Man’s Buff, breaking each other’s noses, will allow the Occident to attain its full efflorescence if it turns its back upon the ancient wisdom of bygone centuries. … As long as intellectual progress will refuse to accept a subordinate position to ethical progress, and egotism will not give way to the Altruism preached by Gautama and the true historical Jesus (the Jesus of the pagan sanctuary, not the Christ of the Churches), happiness for all the members of humanity will remain a Utopia.”

The Theosophical “missionaries” aim also at a social revolution. But it is a wholly ethical revolution. It will come about when the disinherited masses understand that happiness is in their own hands, that wealth brings nothing but worries, that he is happy who works for others, for those others work for him, and when the rich realize that their felicity depends upon that of their brothers – whatever their race or religion – then only will the world see the dawn of happiness.” (“Misconceptions” article)

“The only man who is absolutely wrong in his method is the one who does nothing; each can and should cooperate with all and all with each in a large-hearted spirit of comradeship to forward the work of bringing Theosophy home to every man and woman in the country.” (“Five Messages to the American Theosophists” p. 24)

“One may do good in a smaller and humbler way by taking note and exposing in impersonal narratives the crying vices and evils of the day, by word and deed, by publications and practical example. Let the force of that example impress others to follow it; and then instead of deriding our doctrines and aspirations the men of the XXth, if not the XIXth century will see clearer, and judge with knowledge and according to facts instead of prejudging agreeably to rooted misconceptions. Then and not till then will the world find itself forced to acknowledge that it was wrong, and that Theosophy alone can gradually create a mankind as harmonious and as simple-souled as Kosmos itself; but to effect this theosophists have to act as such.” (“The Tidal Wave” article)

The Ethics of Theosophy are more important than any divulgement of psychic laws and facts. The latter relate wholly to the material and evanescent part of the septenary man, but the Ethics sink into and take hold of the real man – the reincarnating Ego. We are outwardly creatures of but a day; within we are eternal. Learn, then, well the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation, and teach, practise, promulgate that system of life and thought which alone can save the coming races.

“After all, every wish and thought I can utter are summed up in this one sentence, the never-dormant wish of my heart, “Be Theosophists, work for Theosophy!” Theosophy first, and Theosophy last; for its practical realization alone can save the Western world … Theosophy alone can save it from sinking entirely into that mere luxurious materialism in which it will decay and putrefy as civilizations have done. In your hands, brothers, is placed in trust the welfare of the coming century; and great as is the trust, so great is also the responsibility. My own span of life may not be long, and if any of you have gained by my help a glimpse of the True Light, I ask you, in return, to strengthen the Cause by the triumph of which that True Light, made still brighter and more glorious through your individual and collective efforts, will lighten the World, and thus to let me see, before I part with this worn-out body, the stability of the Society secured.” (“Five Messages to the American Theosophists” p. 26, 31)

If Theosophy prevailing in the struggle, its all-embracing philosophy strikes deep root into the minds and hearts of men, if its doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma, in other words, of Hope and Responsibility, find a home in the lives of the new generations, then, indeed, will dawn the day of joy and gladness for all who now suffer and are outcast. For real Theosophy IS ALTRUISM, and we cannot repeat it too often. It is brotherly love, mutual help, unswerving devotion to Truth. If once men do but realize that in these alone can true happiness be found, and never in wealth, possessions, or any selfish gratification, then the dark clouds will roll away, and a new humanity will be born upon earth. Then, the GOLDEN AGE will be there, indeed.

“But if not, then the storm will burst, and our boasted western civilization and enlightenment will sink in such a sea of horror that its parallel History has never yet recorded.” (“Our Cycle and the Next” article)

Is that clear enough?

Finally, Mr Marques de Albuquerque presents for our consideration the idea that anyone can develop their own Theosophy. He says that there can be “a Buddhist Theosophy,” “a Zoroastrian Theosophy,” “a Blavatskian Theosophy,” “a Leadbeaterian Theosophy” (may the “Lord Christ-Maitreya” save us from this!), and “a Krishnamurtian Theosophy.” We understand by now that such a thing as a Genuine, Pure Theosophy is most unpalatable for him.

But in her article “Misconceptions,” HPB asks, “why don’t you study genuine Theosophy before criticizing it?” And adds in the first of her “Five Messages to the American Theosophists”:

“Although Theosophical ideas have entered into every development or form which awakening spirituality has assumed, yet Theosophy pure and simple has still a severe battle to fight for recognition. The days of old are gone to return no more, and many are the Theosophists who, taught by bitter experience, have pledged themselves to make of the Society a “miracle club” no longer. The faint-hearted have asked in all ages for signs and wonders, and when these failed to be granted, they refused to believe. Such are not those who will ever comprehend Theosophy pure and simple. But there are others among us who realize intuitionally that the recognition of pure Theosophy – the philosophy of the rational explanation of things and not the tenets – is of the most vital importance in the Society, inasmuch as it alone can furnish the beacon-light needed to guide humanity on its true path.” (bold added for emphasis)

So there is a Pure Theosophy, a Theosophy Pure and Simple, a Genuine Theosophy. If there is and if it can be found, why would anyone want to settle for anything less?

The ideology that pervades the “Theosophy Undefined” article is nothing new. A number of leading lights within the Adyar Society have promoted it before. Back in the 1920s, George Arundale stated:

“Let us give them the Theosophy they need, for each member has his own particular brand of Theosophy within the all-embracing circle of Brotherhood. . . . There is purple Theosophy, blue Theosophy, yellow Theosophy, green Theosophy, red, or I would rather say rose, Theosophy, orange Theosophy, violet Theosophy – all within white Theosophy, the Divine Wisdom itself. I like one colour. You like another. Which colour will suit our prospective member? I suggest, that you study the various particular types of wisdom which these colours typify; you will probably find many new Theosophies unfolding before you, and will be able, much more than heretofore, to become all things, all Theosophies, to all men.”

C. Jinarajadasa expressed the same and, in somewhat more scholarly terms, so did John Algeo in his article “The Tree of Theosophy,” published in the November/December 1990 issue of “The American Theosophist” which was challenged by Geoffrey Farthing, founder of the Blavatsky Trust, in his article “Theosophy: The Tree of Life” which the same magazine published in its May/June 1991 issue.

After “The Theosophical Society – Adyar” the second largest and most influential international Theosophical association is the United Lodge of Theosophists, or ULT for short, which was founded in 1909 by Robert Crosbie with the mission “To spread broadcast the Teachings of Theosophy as recorded in the writings of H. P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge.”

Mr Crosbie wrote in some of his letters, posthumously published in the book “The Friendly Philosopher”:

“Much as it may seem like dogma, there is but one philosophy; there are Masters; there is Their Message. It is not dogma because it is a statement of fact, which each is invited to prove for himself – and shown how to do it. True knowledge has been lost to the world; the Masters restore it. They help those directly whom They can; those so helped help others directly and indirectly. The cycle has an upward, less material, tendency; it needs right direction, which the direct and indirect influence of the Message provides. Blessed are those who are able to perceive and take the direct way.” (p. 76)

“One may speak convincingly of that which to him is true, without incurring the charge of dogmatism. When we are convinced of the truth of a matter, there is no reason why we should not voice that conviction as strongly as the case demands, but there is no reason why, in such case, we should demand acceptance of it. In our case, we do not demand acceptance of Theosophy; we point out its principles and their applications. Theosophy makes certain statements as being matters of knowledge by perfected men, but not as statements to be believed. It is shown that such knowledge, being acquired by Them from observation and experience in many bodies, can be reached by all men, and the ways to do so are pointed out. The reasonableness of the claim of knowledge takes the statement out of the realm of dogma.” (p. 114)

“The failure to accept the teaching as given and to revere the ones whose sacrifice made that presentation possible is at the root of every past failure. The responsibility for every failure [i.e. in the various branches of the Theosophical Movement] rests with those who interposed themselves between the Message and those who would learn. The woe of the world has been intensified by such as these, and surely a fearful responsibility is theirs. It is no small thing to obstruct the work of the Lodge of Masters, . . .

“There is but one safe course. Theosophy must be understood to be a gift to mankind by more progressed beings than ourselves. We must learn, and apply, the fundamental principles which underlie that grand philosophy, and understand the operation of law as disclosed therein. Then, and then only can we begin to make Theosophy a living power in our lives. We should preserve a willingness to give and receive instruction, but we should in either case be sure that such instruction is in exact accord with the principles and laws set forth in the Theosophic philosophy.

“If each student did this, all would have one aim, one purpose, one teaching, and a sure basis for united effort. Such differences of individual opinion as might arise would be solved by a careful adjustment of these to the philosophy. Thus all would be united; all preserve the utmost freedom of thought; all progress most rapidly by self-induced and self-devised efforts. No one, then, would make the fatal blunder of imagining that Theosophy is something which can be developed, but each would devote his thought and effort to growth along the lines that Theosophy indicates, so that he may become the better able to help and to teach others.

“If there are Masters, and They have delivered a Message to us, that Message is Their Orthodoxy – or right understanding; this should be preferred to that of all others, however highly such may esteem themselves or be esteemed by their fellow-men.” (p. 403-404)

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