Theosophy vs Antisemitism

Young Jewish women in Europe prior to World War II. These women were quite probably amongst the approximately 6,000,000 (six million) Jews slaughtered by the Nazis during the Shoah, the Holocaust.

With antisemitism now on the rise once again, it would be useful for students of Theosophy – and indeed for anyone else – to be aware of the following, much of which is extracted from another article on this site: Responding To Lies about H. P. Blavatsky.

Occasionally, antisemitic racists begin to develop an interest in Theosophy due to their mistakenly assuming that because of the term “Aryan” in Theosophical literature and use of the swastika symbol in the Theosophical seal or logo it must be some sort of proto-Nazi spirituality. Soon, however, they start to lose interest in Theosophy, as any serious study shows them that Theosophy is inherently anti-Nazi and anti-racism.

And as detailed below, during the time of the Second World War the Nazis persecuted Theosophists, confiscated and burnt their books, banned their organisations, and sent them to the concentration camps.

It’s necessary to emphasise these facts because there are still some people who think that H. P. Blavatsky and the body of teachings she gave to the world under the ancient name of “Theosophy” are antisemitic as well as racist in general. This arises from three main things:

(1) Complete misunderstanding of the Theosophical teaching about the “Root Races.”

(2) Lack of awareness of the historical usage and original meaning of the term “Aryan” and the way in which it is used in Theosophy.

(3) Lack of awareness of the historical background, usage, and original meaning of the Swastika symbol.

One additional factor is that HPB was sometimes critical of the religion of Judaism, the prevailing Jewish theological mindset, and occasionally some of the behavioural characteristics of Jewish people themselves. Yet it is essential to realise that she took this same approach towards all religions and peoples. It is not possible to find any religion, nation, or theology, which she does not at some point subject to critique. And when she does so, it is not with hatred or bigotry, and is always more than balanced out by positive statements and appreciation.

The Jewish Kabbalah is referred to, quoted from, and utilised, in the Theosophical books and articles in a very big way and we also find such positive statements as these in HPB’s articles:

“Of all cruel bigots, the Spanish Catholics have, perhaps, earned the most shameful reputation. Their savagery towards the Jews . . . makes a dark blot upon the history of the race.” (“Miscellaneous Notes” from “The Theosophist” March 1882)

“The first, the best, the dearest as the most revered of the friends of our youth, one with whom we corresponded to the day of his death, and whose portrait we treasure as a relic, the learned Rabbi, in short, with whom we studied the Kabala – was a Jew. Let him inquire, and he will find that we have a number of Jews in our Society, both in America, Europe and here; and that many of our valued and most intelligent friends are Jews.” (“Doomed”)

“I have studied the Kabbala under two learned Rabbis, one of whom was an initiate. . . . I shall only show what the Tetragrammaton is said to be in the Zohar, and as explained to the writer personally by a Hebrew initiated Rabbi, in Palestine and made very plain to every advanced Kabbalist.”  (“Tetragrammaton”)

“Let not the reader conclude from these statements that real, learned Kabalists are not to be found in the Old and New Worlds. There are initiated Occultists, who are Kabalists, scattered hither and thither, most undeniably, especially in Germany and Poland [i.e. amongst the Ashkenazi Jews, the vast majority of whom in those countries ended up being murdered during the Holocaust].” (“The Kabalah and The Kabalists”)

“The Mysteries of the Jews were identical with those of the Pagan Greeks, who took them from the Egyptians, who borrowed them, in their turn, from the Chaldaeans, who got them from the Aryans, the Atlanteans and so on – far beyond the days of that Race.” (“The Secrecy of Initiates”)

“In our Society there are as many orthodox and other Christians, as there are devout Jews (even Rabbis), Brahmanas, Buddhists, Parsis, Mussulmans, repentant Materialists, and ardent atheists . . . The Theosophical Society has never been a “sect” – another error of the critic. It includes representatives of all the sects and religions, and none has ever been required to renounce his own religion upon becoming a Fellow of the Society.” (“Neo-Buddhism”)

She also wrote an article defending and standing up for the Jews of her native Russia, which can be found under the title “The Jews in Russia” on p. 126-127 of “A Modern Panarion.”

In the first half of the twentieth century, the United Lodge of Theosophists, in its monthly magazine “Theosophy,” declared antisemitism to be the result of nothing more than “mass paranoia” and after World War II addressed the Nazi atrocities through articles such as “The Susceptibility to Fascism,” “Concentration-Camp Psychology,” and “Anti-Semitism and Religion.” Although published in the USA, in Los Angeles, California, the magazine presented such pertinent observations as the following:

“Anti-Semitism of itself, of course, is an excellent example of mass paranoia. It has been our legacy from all the written and spoken words of the past which have enhanced the special value of certain racial and religious stock and designated differing groups as “inferior.” Every encouragement to American imperialism or world domination, however carefully phrased or concealed behind a professed desire to “improve the world,” gives psychological impetus to anti-Semitic and other forms of prejudice. Every defense of national conscription is similarly fraught with psychic danger.”

In a 1932 article, “Theosophy” remarked: “The Jews . . . have strengthened certain desirable qualities. In proportion to their numbers the Jewish race produces a greater number of men and women with aptitude for business than any other; it can claim more than its share of genius – mathematics, philosophy, and in every form of art. Had the Jews been destitute of a deep love and sympathy for the weaklings and failures of their own denomination – they might have been by this time a race of supermen. . . . That the Jews have by virtue of that very love and sympathy remained a race through twice the trials that have destroyed many a stronger stock; that their genius arises from inner realms made porous by adherence to family duty at the cost of high sacrifice; that never a race, however weak, perished so long as love and compassion remained uncontaminated in it; that never a race, however strong, survived without those qualities – these are the facts.”

In presenting the above and that which follows, we are not saying that the nation of Israel should never be criticised or challenged if it does things that are worthy of criticism and challenge. Even many Jewish people do not 100% support all the actions and conduct of Israel and so that cannot be considered antisemitic. We are also not saying that the Jewish people are perfect. NO nation, people, or individual, is perfect.

But we are saying that antisemitism – which takes many and varied forms and expressions, as can be seen from the videos embedded within this article – is “a dark blot upon the history of the human race” and that Theosophy and all true Theosophists have always been fundamentally opposed to it. If it seems to some that antisemitism is being talked about a lot these days, that is because it is a far more major and prevalent issue than many people currently realise, and because antisemitic hate crimes and violence are presently increasing rapidly around the world constantly. This has to stop.

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The Fifth Root Race is called the Aryan because the beginnings of its civilisation were in the ancient land once known as Aryavarta but today known as India. All the various races in the world today descend originally from “Mother India,” according to Theosophy, with the exception of the Orientals, Africans, and some aboriginals such as the native Australians. They are considered to be the surviving descendants of older races, particularly of the last Lemurian and especially Atlantean sub-races.

But this does not mean that those races or the billions of people belonging to them are in any way inferior. HPB taught that the real person is the soul within and that the soul reincarnates in the bodies of various races throughout its long cyclic journey of evolution. “Thus the reason given for dividing humanity into superior and inferior races falls to the ground and becomes a fallacy.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 425)

Anyone who takes the time and effort to do even a little historical research will readily see that the word “Aryan” was frequently used as a synonym for “Indian” in Victorian times, the era in which HPB lived and began the Theosophical Movement. “Aryan and other Eastern literatures, religions, and sciences” in the second object of the Movement means exactly “Indian and other Eastern literatures, religions, and sciences.”

In Theosophical terminology, all Europeans are also Aryans because of their being an offshoot from the Root Race which had its beginnings in old Aryavarta. To make the matter clearer, HPB also suggested the use of the term “Indo-European Root Race.” Although inhabiting a European body, she made no secret of the fact that she felt Indian in her heart.

There is not the slightest trace or faintest allusion to anything even mildly approaching “white supremacy” in any of her writings. Quite the opposite in fact, since she never failed to expose the prejudices, ignorance, hypocrisy, and viciousness which were at the time so prevalent amongst those races who nevertheless naively believed themselves to be the most superior, cultured, and civilised people in the world.

In Adolf Hitler’s use of the term “Aryan” he applied to it a completely different meaning from that used in Theosophy. Hitler’s theory was that the Aryans were a so-called “perfect race” of blonde haired, blue eyed people and that the Jews, who he sought to exterminate, were not Aryans. Prior to this, the usage of the terms “Aryan” and “Aryan Root Race” caused neither concern nor fear for anyone, Theosophist or otherwise. It is only because of his gross misuse of this term, as well as his misuse of the ancient Indian spiritual symbol of the swastika, that some people – those who prefer jumping to conclusions rather than doing independent and unbiased research into FACTS – have mistakenly thought there to be some type of connection between H. P. Blavatsky and Hitler.

The fact that Theosophists in Germany, Austria, and elsewhere were persecuted unsparingly by the Nazis during the Second World War and protested with all their might against Nazism, just serves as additional proof – as if any were needed – that neither HPB nor the followers of her philosophy could ever be sympathetic with such unspeakably evil ideologies and policies as those of the Nazis.

The translated text of an official document by the Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler, declaring the compulsory dissolution of all Theosophical Societies in Germany, can be found on p. 607 of the extensive and excellently researched and referenced biography “HPB: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky” by Sylvia Cranston.

“What Theosophical teaching so aroused Hitler that Theosophists were among the first to be sent to concentration camps? The first object of the Theosophical movement; to form a nucleus of universal brotherhood, naturally including all human beings, was an alarming concept for a tyrant planning to dominate by eliminating races and groups through genocide. The Secret Doctrine has one sentence (2:266) that would inflame the Nazi mentality: “The Aryan and their Semitic Branch are of the Fifth Race.” . . . Two teachers, Mary Linne and Emmi Haerter were imprisoned in Germany because of Theosophical literature found in their house – all of which was burned, including their own translation of The Secret Doctrine. This was also the fate of the letters from the Masters to Dr Hubbe-Schleiden.” (Sylvia Cranston, “HPB: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky,” p. 607-608)

According to H. P. Blavatsky, all the Middle Eastern peoples, including the Jews, are just as much Aryans as the Anglo-Saxons and white Europeans. Particularly important to our topic are her words on p. 200 of the second volume of “The Secret Doctrine” where she says, “The occult doctrine admits of no such divisions as the Aryan and the Semite . . . The Semites, especially the Arabs, are later Aryans . . . To these belong all the Jews and the Arabs.” We also read there that the Jewish people “are a tribe descended from the Tchandalas of India, the outcasts, many of them ex-Brahmins, who sought refuge in Chaldea, in Scinde, and Aria (Iran), and were truly from their father A-bram (No Brahmin) some 8,000 years B.C.” The same idea is also expressed on p. 471 of that volume.

As for the swastika symbol which adorns the official logo or seal of the Theosophical Movement, it is an ancient Indian spiritual symbol with inherent good and pure meaning.

Just because many centuries after the design or invention of the English flag it came to be used as a symbol of hate and intolerance in the rallies of such racist idiots as the misleadingly named “English Defence League,” that is no reason for the English flag to be denounced as an intrinsically evil or demonic sign. The same is true for the swastika. Prior to Hitler, it was never thought of by anyone as being a symbol of evil or hate.

Although originating in India and today predominantly the property of Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists, it was throughout history used all over the world, even by the early Christians, who used to accompany this archaic symbol with the inscription “Vitalis vitalia” – “Life of life.” The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word “svastika” is “all is well.”

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In closing, we hope that anyone inclined to give any credence to the claims of holocaust deniers will watch the 15 minute TED talk “Behind The Lies of Holocaust Denial” in the video below. It helps to show just how extremely flawed and absurd such claims are. If holocaust denial has become officially illegal, it is with good reason.

“One difficulty in arousing the popular conscience with respect to the death camps is the fact that most people seem to find the very existence of the Nazi crimes unbelievable. Even when faced by the most exact corroborating testimony, complete with photographs and statistical records kept by the Nazis, the mind seldom accedes to the reality,” wrote the ULT associates in the November 1948 “Theosophy” magazine.

It is indeed almost unbelievable and unimaginable that such atrocities were really committed and on such a huge and industrialised scale but all the facts are there . . . and unless we are careful, something similar – or even worse – could happen again.

It must also be added that the writings of Alice Bailey are indeed antisemitic but that the Bailey teachings are not representative of genuine Theosophy or of the work and teachings of H. P. Blavatsky. The latter point is explained in such articles as 14 Good Reasons To Question The Alice Bailey Teachings, The Pseudo-Occultism of Alice Bailey, and especially Tibetan Master or Christian Priest? (Uncovering the real inspiration behind the Alice Bailey Books). In “Tibetan Master or Christian Priest?” we provide a few examples of this and it can be seen that her antisemitism had its roots in her fanatical Christian beliefs, which led her – and have led countless others for centuries – to angrily blame the Jews for not accepting Jesus as the Messiah and for being responsible for his crucifixion. But as most Christians believe that Jesus’ death on the cross was a necessity for humanity’s salvation, they should logically be grateful (rather than hateful) to the Jews for what they supposedly did!

Writing during and shortly after the time that millions of Jewish people were being sent by the Nazis to their deaths, Bailey callously remarked: “The fires of suffering [will] at last succeed in purifying them . . . liberating them to the extent that they can recognise their Messiah . . . The Jews need humility more than any other nation. By humility they may learn something of value as well as a needed sense of proportion. . . . The Jew, however, fought only for himself, and largely ignored the sufferings of his fellowmen in the concentration camps.”

Anyone who knows anything about history knows that that last point is simply untrue, not to mention horrendously cold and heartless. But then again, what else can be expected from someone who glorifies and praises the dropping of the atomic bomb on the Japanese as being the greatest spiritual event for millions of years? For all exact references, page numbers, and quotations, proving that we are not making any of this up, please click here. Nothing even remotely approaching this can be found in the slightest degree in the words of H. P. Blavatsky and her Adept-Teachers, the Masters of Wisdom.

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