The Society

ALAS and after - Theosophists, Truth, and the Pathless Land

Barbara Hebert – USA

Pathless Land

Krishnamurti told us that “Truth is a pathless land.” Certainly, one could interpret this statement in any number of ways, but it seems clear that one of the primary meanings of Krishnamurti’s statement is that there is not simply one path that leads us to Truth. There are many paths that lead us in this direction. 

We are talking here about TRUTH written in capital letters—Absolute Truth, rather than what is frequently referred to as relative truth (written with lower case letters). When we look at the world around us, we accept certain truths. These truths are relative ones that simply define or describe our physical experience. These truths are ever-changing and, at their base, are temporary and illusory. Absolute Truth, on the other hand, is Reality. It is Truth that is unchanging. It may be interpreted in different ways through various languages and in different traditions; however, at its core, it is the same. It is ineffable and unending: Absolute.

As seekers for Truth, that is, as individuals in physical manifestation who are seeking, we cannot know Absolute Truth. It is beyond our comprehension at this stage of development. We may perceive glimpses of it in our studies, our meditations, and our experiences, but these are only glimpses. One might even wonder if they are truly glimpses or perhaps more accurately simply reflections of Truth. We can use the analogy of the sun and the moon; that is, we look at the moon and assume it is the sun because it reflects the light of the sun. We may perceive a reflection of Truth in any number of ways, but we must realize that our conditioned and limited minds are not seeing Reality.

RSB sign Italian section

Radha Burnier, the 7th International President of the Theosophical Society

How, then, do we seek Truth, if it is unknowable at this point in our evolutionary journey? Former international president of the Theosophical Society, Radha Burnier provides us with insight. She writes

The first and primary condition for one who would follow the religion of Truth is a profound and persistent interest in finding it. This implies not having pre-judgments or a conviction that one knows already. Truth cannot be discovered by a mind which has fixations, prejudices and biases of any kind. So the mind must become pure and unruffled, free from opinions, biases and self-centered emotions, for only in this state can there be an awareness of Truth. 

Burnier points us in the direction of remaining open-minded and consistently inquisitive. 

We must question everything, even our most deeply held beliefs. Once we stop questioning, our beliefs begin to crystalize. They become dogma. This crystallization spells doom for our own development and in our search for Truth. We become stuck, stagnant. This is reinforced in Burnier’s additional comments in the same article when she says, “the wise man does not come to any conclusion about the truth of things” and “only one who keeps a continually open mind can find the Truth.”

Remaining open-minded and consistently inquisitive, questioning our most deeply held beliefs is a very difficult task. Yet, it is essential for our continuing evolutionary journey.

In terms of organizations, the Theosophical Society is unique because of its lack of dogma and its encouragement that each must find his/her own way. Open-minded inquiry keeps us—and our journeys—alive and growing. It allows us to recognize the multitude of things that we just do not know or do not understand, and conversely requires us to admit that we do NOT have the answers. Rather, we have personal perspectives that can be called relative truths. As we continue on our journeys, hopefully our perspectives will change and expand as we grow in understanding through experiences.

As Blavatsky states in her article, “The Dual Aspect of Wisdom”, published in Lucifer in 1890, “Valuing freedom of thought above all things, as the only way of reaching at some future time that Wisdom of which every Theosophist ought to be enamored, we recognize the right to the same freedom in our foes as in our friends.” Furthermore, the Mahatma KH, in Letter 120 (chronological) states “Not even the President-Founder has the right directly or indirectly to interfere with the freedom of thought of the humblest member.” This basic theosophical precept regarding freedom of thought keeps us from standing in one spot and proclaiming that we, and we alone, have the Truth.

As many know, a letter was received regarding the Maha Chohan’s thoughts about the Theosophical Society and the sharing of Theosophy. In Theosophy.Wiki, we read about this letter from the Maha Chohan. 

The Maha Chohan Letter, also known as the Great Master's Letter, appears in print as Appendix II in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, 4th chronological edition. It was also published as Letter No. 1 in Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 1881-1888. This letter, produced around 1881, is a summary by Mahatma K.H. of a conversation held with the Maha Chohan in reference to some arguments A. P. Sinnett and A. O. Hume were posing about reforming the nature of the Theosophical Society

This is considered to be the most important letter received from the Mahatmas, for it contains the views of the Maha Chohan on the Theosophical Society.  

In this letter, we read the following: 

For our doctrines to practically re-act 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. It is not the individual and determined purpose of attaining oneself 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 neighbor, to cause as many of our fellow creatures as we possibly can to benefit by it, which constitutes the true Theosophist.

Therefore, as Theosophists, the Maha Chohan adjures us to share the Divine Wisdom, in order to help humanity. We share Theosophy through our words, our beliefs, and ultimately our actions. We encourage self-awareness; we lead lives that align with the theosophical teachings of unity, study, meditation, and service. We provide an open and inviting environment in which individuals can seek their own path to Truth.

Unfortunately, we are all aware of those who claim to be Theosophists, but who also claim to possess the Truth with their perspective of theosophical concepts being not only the right way, but also the only way. These two statements, being a Theosophist and possessing Truth, are in total contrast with one another. The dogmatic attitude of such a statement inhibits the sharing of the Divine Wisdom with those who are earnestly seeking.

As Theosophists, we must remain open-minded, searching for glimpses or even reflections of the Truth in every corner, in every book, in every quiet whisper from within. It is as open-minded seekers that we will share the magnificence of the Divine Wisdom through our words, thoughts, and actions, encouraging others to seek Truth in their own way, through this pathless land.


Blavatsky, H.P. “The Dual Aspect of Wisdom.” Lucifer, 1890, v. vii, n. xxxvii, pp. 1-9.

Burnier, Radha. “There is no Religion Higher than Truth.” retrieved October 27, 2021 from

Hao Chin, Vicente. (1972). The Mahatma Letters to AP Sinnett: In Chronological Sequence. Quest Books: Wheaton, IL.


Text Size

Paypal Donate Button Image

Subscribe to our newsletter

Email address
Confirm your email address

Who's Online

We have 373 guests and no members online

TS-Adyar website banner 150




Vidya Magazine