Theosophical Movement: its Sources, its Essential Nature and its Future

/Theosophical Movement: its Sources, its Essential Nature and its Future
Theosophical Movement: its Sources, its Essential Nature and its Future2018-12-08T13:41:39+00:00

Theosophical Movement: its Sources, its Essential Nature and its Future


Modern Theosophy is that portion of ancient wisdom-religion, which H.P.Blavatsky presented to us toward the end of the 19th century as conveyed to her by the Masters of Wisdom.

Ancient Wisdom exists from time immemorial and has preserved the knowledge of all laws governing the spiritual, ethical and material aspects along with deep insight into ourselves, our purpose in life, nature, the universe, the sublime spiritual principles and man’s pre-history on our earth.

The re-emergence of ancient wisdom was decided upon by the Masters of Wisdom who considered the time was ripe in the West for the revival of esoteric knowledge; a sort of knowledge that leads to the core of the “One becoming Many”, the essence of which is “divine ethics”.

Τhe challenge Theosophy offers us is to set our “lower selfish ego” to thinking about its immortal roots and to connect it with our  “buddhic selfless nature”. 

It shares with us transcendental knowledge of the universe and man, founded on the direct and profound experience acquired by those Beings called Mahatmas  “who keep the knowledge they have gained of the laws of nature in all departments and are ready, when cyclic law permits, to use it for the benefit of mankind. They have always existed as a body, all knowing each other, no matter in what part of the world they may be and all working for the race in many different ways.” [1]

Their more advanced students claim that such knowledge is not the fruit of fancy or speculation but that it is based on facts observed and known by those who are willing to follow the preconditions required to attain spiritual vision and divine wisdom.

According to H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy “… has existed eternally throughout the endless cycles upon cycles of the Past, so it will ever exist throughout the infinitudes of the Future, because Theosophy is synonymous with EVERLASTING TRUTH.” [2]

It directs our attention to our moral preparation which alone can help us approach eternal verities.
As H. P. Blavatsky said, the Mahatmas or Masters of Wisdom were the leaders and custodians of the movement, while she was their messenger and link to humanity. The Secret Doctrine, modern Theosophy’s  magnum opus and basis of the theosophical teaching, is the joint work of the two Mahatmas (Morya & Koot Hoomi)  on the one hand and Η.P.B. on the other; a fact that  gives it its unique authenticity.

HPB’s Mission and Work

  1. P. Blavatsky’s mission was to reinstate the link with ancient wisdom and to help revive its knowledge as put down in the East. She built a bridge of understanding founded on the observation of our physical and psychical environment, a bridge between modern thinking and the ancient sources of scientific thought, study and works preserved in the East.

Intersection of Three Cycles

In the days of H.P.Blavatsky, three cycles were intersected:

a) The cycle of the first 5.000-year- period of Kali Yuga, which began with the death of Krishna and was completed in 1897-98.

b) The 100-year- cycle or century, during the last 25 years of which an effort is made by the Masters of the Great Lodge to present the Ideas before mankind.

c) The third period is the new zodiac; during this period the sun passed from Pisces into Aquarius and this cycle coincided with the other two.

Ιt is also said that the Great Cycle projects the pivotal Idea; the cycle of the last 25 years in a century gives Adepts the opportunity to assess the good or bad applications of the Idea and to reinstate its original expression. The Zodiac, on the other hand, represents the period of the dissemination of Its Idea in society, turning It into a sort of culture that influences all levels of physical life, i.e. religion, ethics, science, education, art and occult tradition.

Therefore, “the intersection of these three cycles meant several things, but one signification was that in or about that period a Great Personage would appear on the earth, with such knowledge as the civilization and the mind of the time would allow. The being known to the world as H. P. Blavatsky was known to the Masters by quite another name, as They stated, and the knowledge put forward by Her or by Him is what we know as Theosophy. [3]

Early days of the Theosophical Society

In 1873, the Masters sent H. P. Blavatsky to New York to organize a group among people engaged in Spiritualism. Her mission was to help them comprehend the hidden factors affecting such phenomena. Two years later, in 1875, she received orders from her Master to form the nucleus of a regular Society whose explicit objectives were:

“(1) Universal Brotherhood.

“(2) No distinction to be made by the member between races, creeds, or social positions, but every member had to be judged and dealt by on his personal merits.

“(3) To study the philosophies of the East–those of India chiefly, presenting them gradually to the public in various works that would interpret exoteric religions in the light of esoteric teachings.

“(4) To oppose materialism and theological dogmatism in every possible way, by demonstrating the existence of occult forces unknown to Science, in nature, and the presence of psychic and spiritual powers in Man; trying, at the same time, to enlarge the views of the Spiritualists by showing them that there are other, many other agencies at work in the production of phenomena besides the “Spirits” of the dead. Superstition had to be exposed and avoided; and occult forces, beneficent and maleficent- ever surrounding us and manifesting their presence in various ways – demonstrated to the best of our ability.

“Such was the programme in its broad features. The two chief Founders were not told what they had to do, how they had to bring about and quicken the growth of the Society and results desired; nor had they any definite ideas given them concerning its outward organization – all this being left entirely with themselves.  (….)

“But if the two Founders were not told what they had to do, they were distinctly instructed about what they should never do, what they had to avoid, and what the Society should never become. Church organizations, Christian and Spiritual sects were shown as the future contrasts to our Society.” [4]

It would be helpful for the reader to look up the original charter of the Society described here, and then read the propositions later announced by the Adyar Society. It is obvious there are deviations between the initial intention and the document that followed, but what is more than obvious is that complete silence fell regarding the “initial rules”, owing to the diametrically adverse attitude of the subsequent Founders who “headed” the Society.

This is what the most well- known objects of the Theosophical Society are about:

  1. Brotherhood of Men, without distinction as to race, creed, caste, or color.
  2. Earnest study of ancient world religions, focusing on the comparison and selection of world codes of ethics.
  3. Study and development of the divine forces latent in human beings.

That was how the Theosophical Movement started and functioned till H.P.Blavatsky’s death in 1891. Then and up to 1895, the Movement oscillated to finally split into two, one section making up the American Theosophical Society under W. Q. Judge and the other one the Adyar Theosophical Society under A. Besant and H.S. Olcott.

The Theosophical Movement in the 20th century

During the 20th century, the Theosophical Movement underwent severe turbulences that were the aftermath of personal interventions, when the genuine targets originally set and the honest and righteous conduct of the founders literally vanished under a tide of irrepressible vanity and antagonism towards the founders of the Movement.

Annie Besant, having managed to secure her position in the society by denouncing its most worthy co-founder and great theosophist W.Q. Judge, tailored the changes she intended by repealing the previous program of the Society, because, as she said from day one, “she would follow her own personal truth”. In her speech titled “Why I Became a Theosophist” she speaks of her loyalty to truth as she saw it. “An imperious necessity forces me to speak the Truth, as I see it, whether the speech pleases or displeases, whether it brings praise or blame…” [5]

The teaching of the Movement was replaced with texts of her own choice, invalidating both the Masters and the Society’s founders. Now, her closest collaborator was the spiritualist Charles Leadbeater who claimed to be bishop of the Liberal Catholic Church. Under the auspices of A. Besant, he established Spiritualism i. e. communication with his astral masters and officialized his church organization. Both of them announced the new advent of Christ in Jiddu Krishnamurti whom they adopted and schooled for his mission. Of course, the idea of such a “new advent” evaporated as is the case with all things unauthentic; and the most important part in this story is that “the myth” was overturned by Krishnamurti himself, who quit the society, ever after unfolding his personal philosophy. That was Annie Besant’s “Waterloo”.

Against the “personal truth” of the then president stood all real theosophists, those who had remained faithful to the original program of the Society.

An excerpt from a text by Alice Leighton Cleather gives an idea of what was going on following the founders’ absence.

“ . . . You must know that in leaving the Theosophical Society, the great majority of us at all events have not given up Theosophy, even if we may feel compelled to teach it under another name, and though we can no longer work with or through the Theosophical Society, we are none the less carrying on the great work which H. P. Blavatsky initiated.”[6]

Yet, there have been some elect and enlightened Theosophists in the Society, men like Boris de Zirkoff, Geoffrey Barborka, Geoffrey Farthing, who fiercely fought to preserve genuine Theosophy and its teaching. In his historical “Manifesto” [7], G. Farthing expressed his forewarnings as to what was going on in the Society and the dissolution risk it was running following the complete suppression of its initial objectives.

Robert Crosbie and the ULT

After Blavatsky’s death, the parent organization split into two:

  1. a) The Society that followed H. S. Olcott and Annie Besant, which retained its international headquarters at Adyar, Madras, India. To a great extent, the Adyar Society adopted the “second generation” literature of Annie Besant, C.W. Leadbeater and others.
  2. b) That branch of the Society, which followed W. Q. Judge, Vice President of the T.S. and General Secretary of its American Section, its international headquarters being established at first in New York City and later on in Point Loma, Pasadena. The Pasadena Society follows the tradition of the Point Loma Society. Point Loma Publications Inc., however, operates independently from Pasadena and Point Loma Societies are active in various countries having no ties with the Pasadena one.

Additionally,

  1. c) In 1909, a group headed by Robert Crosbie formed another major theosophical association, the United Lodge of Theosophists (ULT), based in Los Angeles, California. This group focused on the original teachings presented by H.P. Blavatsky and W.Q. Judge.

ULT’s founder, Robert Crosbie, having found out that the teaching was being distorted owing to rivalries among T.S. members, thought it appropriate for the Theosophists to concentrate on the genuine teaching as given by the Masters of the Movement. We may well say that move rescued both the teaching and the objects of the Theosophical Movement functioning like an “Ark of the theosophical testament”.

In 1932, the “ULT Day Letter” – published in Los Angeles – said to Associates and friends all over the world:

“Pseudo-theosophy and pseudo-theosophists have at all times wrought havoc to the Movement by deceiving and misleading the sincere but unwary. Efforts conscious and unconscious on the part of individuals to make capital for themselves by exploiting the teachings of Theosophy continue now as during the lifetime of H.P.B. and W.  Judge. And to-day the same need exists to distinguish between genuine and spurious attempts at fraternity among Theosophical Societies as to discern between genuine and spurious Theosophy.” 

The Renewal of the Movement

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.” [8]
It differs immensely from the Society.  “One is, as an ideal, divine Wisdom, perfection itself; the other a poor, imperfect thing, trying to run under, if not within, its shadow on Earth.”
And also: “Theosophy is the soul of its Society; the latter the gross and imperfect body of the former”. [9]

  1. P. Blavatsky herself used to say it would be better for the Society to perish rather than destroy Brotherhood, and she declared the European section of it free and independent.

The power inherent in THEOSOPHY is like steady radiation emitted from the genuine writings of the Mahatmas and HPB. “Theosophist” is he who experiences Theosophy in daily life and practices it without necessarily being a “member” of any organization that calls itself “theosophical”. THEOSOPHY is no creed or dogma invented by theologians, men prone to error, but it is “the cumulative testimony of an endless series of Seers.”

21st Century Theosophical Education

Theosophy means EDUCATION. It involves a sort of education that looks ahead to fulfilling life’s great target and to the means through which such target can be properly attained.

The present moment, a very difficult one for humanity, is badly in need of “THEOSOPHY”. Mankind and the systems it has applied to gratify man’s personal ego and its unrestrained greed, have brought our planet’s communities to a dead-end. In order to overcome this situation, we need to realize that there exists another reality that extends beyond our physical senses, our limited mind and established man-made rules.

The infallible laws of Karma and Reincarnation, the existence of the soul, the purpose of our life on earth, the moral values and their application, states now left in the margin due to our having identified ourselves with our temporary personality, will have to be necessarily re-orientated. Theosophy is the “philosopher’s stone” that can transmute today’s man and outline his paragon for the future.

Nowadays, Theosophy keeps on being the Movement started in 1875 as established by our Elder Brothers. It was and still is the “Theosophical Movement, founded in 1875”. It is the Movement of Brotherhood, Solidarity and Co-existence of human beings side by side with all of our planet’s species of Life.

“Individuals and nations in definite streams return in regularly recurring periods to the earth, and thus bring back to the globe the arts, the civilization, the very persons who were, once on it at work (… ) Therefore the souls who made the most ancient civilizations will come back and bring the old civilization with them in idea and essence (… ) The soul ever retaining in Manas the knowledge it once gained and always pushing to completer development the higher principles and powers. (… ) And along this road are the points when the small and large cycles of Avatars bring out for man’s benefit the great characters who mould the race from time to time.” [10]

Mistakes are corrected with the flow of cycles. Under the law of ethical causation, every cycle provides the opportunity to restore the IDEA and accomplish its fuller realization. Human initiative, restricted by its own illusions, cannot change the LAW.  In the present 21st century cycle, we must definitely reinstate the Movement.

Theosophy believes in the “soul of things”; it is the pith and marrow of occultism; the wisdom acquired by spirit and soul; it is transcendental science and can only be grasped if we become well-aware that, higher above and more inwardly than personal ego, there exists the spiritual nature of the universe and man, eternal Truth, only glimpses of which can reach our mind.

The purpose of Divine Wisdom is to bring about the synthesis of the Many into ONE. It goes far beyond the critical and analytical mind – having nothing to do with intellectualism. It uses the mind only as an expression-tool on the physical plane and as a means to link the personal with its higher eternal nature.

In order to avoid misconceptions and distortions, the researcher must be of a mystical bent, feel respect for universal and everlasting ethics and a strong will to get to know “his real Self”. [11]

According to the founder of the Theosophical Movement, H.P.Blavatsky:

“Be this as it may, the religion of the ancients is the religion of the future. A few centuries more, and there will linger no sectarian beliefs in either of the great religions of humanity. Brahmanism [i.e.Hinduism] and Buddhism, Christianity and Mahometanism [i.e.Islam] will all disappear before the mighty rush of facts…But this can only come to pass when the world returns to the grand religion of the past; the knowledge of those majestic systems which preceded, by far, Brahmanism, and even the primitive monotheism of the ancient Chaldeans.” [12]

NOTES:

[1]  “Isis Unveiled” , H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, vol. 2, pp. 98-103.

[2] “The Key to Theosophy”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles.  First paragraphs of “Conclusion”, p. 304.

[3] Robert Crosbie, “Questions and Answers on the Ocean of Theosophy”, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, Chapter 14, pp. 190-1.

[4] “Theosophical Articles”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, vol. I,  pp. 223-224. The text is also known as “The Original Programme of the Theosophical Society”.

[5] “A Short History of the Theosophical Society”, Josephine Ransom, TPH, India, of 591 pages, see p. 257.

[6] “An Open Letter to Annie Besant. How in 1909 William Kingsland Denounced Annie Besant’s Farce”, by Alice Leighton Cleather, published on www.TheosopohyOnline.com  ; It can be easily traced either on the website here mentioned under the Alphabetical Text List or the Text List by Author.

[7]“A Theosophical Manifesto -1996” and “A Manifesto – Supplement 1997”, by Geoffrey A. Farthing. Both texts are available at www.TheosophyOnline.com  on the Alphabetical Text List or the Text List by Author.

[8] W.Q. Judge, in his article “The Theosophical Movement”. See: “Theosophical Articles”, William Q. Judge, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, volume II, p. 124.

[9] Refer to the article “Is Theosophy a Religion?” in “Collected Writings of H.P. Blavatsky”, TPH, vol. X, p. 166.

[10] “The Ocean of Theosophy”, by W.  Q. Judge, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, of 172 pages, Chapter 14, p. 119.

[11] “The Secret Doctrine”, H.P.Blavatsky

[12] H.P.Blavatsky, “Isis Unveiled”, vol.  I, p.613