The impact of the Theosophical Movement on the New Age
The term “New Age”, which denotes the Movement formed during the last quarter of the 20thcentury, is the gist of a collective metaphysical consideration relating to practices that aim at the well-being of the individual and
nature. Its ideas, branching off from the theosophical positions, have been complimented with practices such as yoga and meditation, divination, practices like astrology, taro, hypnotism, astral flights, past life regression, magneto therapy and other alternative practices connected to energies.
Today, we are right in the middle of the New Age as confirmed – for the moment only outwardly -by the mottos used in politics, religions and society on the whole as well as by the considerable number of alternative schools, therapeutic methods and products which are abundant in the markets. We can also detect it in current scientific progress and its latest achievementsthat shift it to metaphysics.
The New Age Movement combines theory and practice in a holistic way – mainly practice- and seeks to activate the inner human potential and bring about its balance. It was based on the esoteric knowledge presented to the West during the last quarter of the 19th century –namely the Theosophical Movement- which showed forth and particularly stressed the transcendent aspect of human existence alongside with the laws that govern it.
Once made public such esoteric knowledge threw a new light onto previous perceptions concerning man and his purpose in life and, by making clear that life is an emanation of the One Universal Life and its laws, it considerably helped the individual become aware of his responsibility as a doer (karma), of the consequences of his deeds but also helped him realize how far his deeds during each lifetime (reincarnation) predetermine individual and collective life both present and future. The refinement of the individual and the amelioration of planetary life became the target but also the necessity for a diversified, more humane conduct. However slow such a realization, it will bring about big changes on the planet itself and its former institutions.
Change, being a tool of evolution, will be neither easy nor immediate. Yet, the expansion of human consciousness supported by esoteric tradition, ideas, technology, science and practical esoteric techniques has begun to bear fruit. A new culture is already under way, a culture of solidarity, coexistence of races, states and religions – mostly the latter – a great turn to ecology and to respecting all species of life, invigoration of human rights and a tendency towards a universal equal life based on justice, merit, solidarity and altruistic giving.
This sort of culture has begun to re-arrange forgotten spiritual principles. Needless to say, the road is going to be a long and difficult one and properties such as selfishness, greed and attachment to worthless values are still intense. Yet, nowadays, we, humans, know more; we can learn things more easily because progress provides us with ampler means. Man’s consciousness has become so expanded that he can profit by the favorable provisions of the New Age both mentally and spiritually.
It is a fact that life all around us has changed and is continually changing at a very fast pace. We witness the change for ourselves, experience it, we are part of it – willingly or unwillingly. The political systems of the past are collapsing along with the worn-out egocentric and utilitarian mentality of those heading them. A new wind is blowing everywhere inspiring people to watch out and fight against the roots of corruption and world poverty. The wind of renewal is blowing through the soul of humanity inspiring it to act more wisely so that the personal may kneel before the collective, greed may bend against the common good and the craze of speculation and thirst for power may be minimized thanks to collective and voluntary activity.
The Theosophical Movement
The Theosophical Movement was founded in 1875 in New York by H.P. Blavatsky, Henry St. Olcott and William K. Judge. The Movement presented to the West the Eastern teachings and their doctrines. It ranks among the renewed expressions of Ancient Wisdom which has always existed side by side with human life on earth. Every single expression of this universal esoteric knowledge sustained in the past, is now sustaining and will always sustain the evolution of human consciousness. It should rather be called Modern Theosophical Movement.
Ancient Wisdom has to do with the core of our being. It is the universal esoteric Knowledge that informs us on divinity, the universal laws, our spirit and soul, the purpose of our life, our past and our future. It is the motivating power existing on our planet its purpose being to guide humanity towards its mental and spiritual development giving it at the right moment what it mostly needs either in the form of initiation, or in the form of religion, science and culture. We owe its preservation on earth to the Brotherhood of the Adepts and our Spiritual Masters.
In 1875, Ancient Wisdom was given the name of Theosophy.
The theosophical propositions concerning the brotherhood of men, karma and reincarnation, after-death consciousness, humanity’s occult evolution, psychic powers and the study of them –all of the above analyzed and explained by H.P.Blavatsky in a way comprehensible to Westerners – have established a new way of thinking that has ever since exerted tremendous impact on the modern world.
The Theosophical Movement ushered humanity in the Age of Aquarius and its declarations –even though as old as humanity itself – have contributed to a shift from the older materialistic attitude of science and society. The positions of modern Theosophy have helped renew mainly the belief in the Supreme Principle of Life that underlies all gods and religions and have fostered the tendency of accepting varying universal religious aspects and cults.
Expanding human consciousness has always been the purpose of modern Theosophy. Through esoteric knowledge it seeks to enable the individual to perceive the purpose of life and his own responsibility as to spiritual progress and self-knowledge.
It brought to the West “all that can be given out in the present century” from the ancient and eternal truths. As William Q Judge, co-founder and remarkable worker of the Movement, says:
“There is a very great difference between the Theosophical Movement and any Theosophical Society. The Movement is moral, ethical, spiritual, universal, invisible save in effect, and continuous….it is to be found in all times and in all nations. Wherever thought has struggled to be free, wherever spiritual ideas, as opposed to form and dogmatism, have been promulgated, there the great movement is to be discerned”. (William Q. Judge, “The Theosophical Movement”)
Where and when the Theosophical Movement started
The 14th century marked a major event that was to change the history of Europe. A great Adept, known as Tsong-Kha-Pa, was born in the province of Koko-nor, Tibet. One of his acts and his most important mission was to summon to a conference all the Adepts in the world; during that conference certain rules were laid down, necromancy was forbidden and the “lamaic reincarnations” were established. It was then also that the Adepts of the snow-capped Himalayas decided and programmed the presentation of the Ancient Wisdom to the West, thinking that the time was ripe for the open presentation of the Theosophical Movement in Europe. The lot fell on H.P.Blavatsky to present the ancient wisdom to the Western audiences while some forerunners of hers such as Roger Bacon (1214), Theophrastus Paracelsus (1493), Giordano Bruno (1548), Jacob Boehme (1575), Saint Martin, Cagliostro and Saint Germaine, Anton Mesmer (1734) had done invaluable esoteric work paving the way for the new presentation of the age- old theosophical tradition.
We should add here that there is a whole list of noble and enlightened men who considerably helped prepare the path for a new religious freedom and a different approach to life.
The Elder Brothers
One of the fundamental postulates of ancient wisdom concerns the existence of a hierarchy of Divine Powers whose rank on the scale of Evolution is evaluated with regard to their spiritual and divine qualities. They are called Elder Brothers, Masters of Wisdom, Mahatmas, Budhas and Saviors. They are the Higher Beings who, throughout the centuries, through observation and experience, attained divine knowledge and preserved it for the sake of humanity. It is They who possess the knowledge of the powers of their own nature but also the knowledge of the laws of universal life.
The primary concern of the Masters is to revivify and pass down the torch of ideas that will awaken man’s inner nature. They also pursue the mental and spiritual development which they advance with all means available at a given age and in proportion to the needs and mental capacity of humanity. The diffusion of ancient knowledge through initiation and religion has been a factor moulding education, politics and culture at all times. Even though this esoteric teaching-knowledge varies depending on personal and social circumstances, nevertheless, even so, its knowledge assists man’s evolution, continuously reminding him that ethics is the only unfailing way to the spiritual purpose of life.
Intersection of three Cycles
Esoteric tradition also says that the life of both the universe and the planet is set up in cycles, each cycle having its own duration and exerting its own impact. At the last quarter of every century, a cycle in itself, i.e. during the last 25 years of a century, the Elder Brothers or Their adepts make an effort to infuse humanity with worthier ideas.
At the time when the Theosophical Movement was presented there occurred an intersection of three cycles: a) the one-hundred-year cycle b) the 5.000 year-cycle from Krishna’s death and c) the Zodiac of Aquarius.
That intersection of the three Cycles prescribed the destiny of the next two millennia, as the cycles apart from being a source of Life, also provide and establish, through their properties, the mentality that will predominate in the impending era.
This is no fatalism, as some might tend to gather; it is pure knowledge of the laws of Life, laws which are presently called “occult”. The law of Cycles is the one determining the periodic appearance and disappearance of both universal (day and night of Brahma) and individual life (birth and death) and furthermore the periodic emergence and development of ideas and civilizations.
Since every decline is the proem to an upcoming turn for the better– something we have surely witnessed – likewise the cycle of spiritual activation comes, goes and then re-emerges. With its every new re-appearance following the needs of the times and man’s capacity to perceive it, the new cycle revivifies the Universal Law, the law of justice, harmonious coexistence and selfless giving.
The ideas of the New Age cycle have already been defined and are being transformed into acts which, if they succeed to keep the ideas alive, will change a lot of things regarding the planet and its sufferings. Respecting and preserving esoteric knowledge which alone can trace the causes of and interpret every single event in our life, ought to become our daily task. The severe impediment of attachment to the old, with all of its shortcomings struggling to keep us confined, will have to be continuously overcome. However small, every step we make towards the universal Idea which is the source of the beauty of life brings us closer to its attainment. For the sake of such an attainment, the whole of Nature and its Powers – which are in fact our Spiritual Masters- are on our side, providing us, through the cycles of life, with everything deemed appropriate for every little step we take up in our evolutionary course.
The New Age is exactly such a moment. Let us make the best of its ideas and putting aside attachments and habits, mentalities and personal gains and by activating our code of ethics and wisdom, let us surmount as smoothly as possible the consequences of previous unwise actions and let us set up proper conditions for a better and more spiritual future.