The Sphinx of Theosophy, Part 2

Annie Besant

Theosophy 212 d AB Besant Olcott und Judge in London

Annie Besant, Olcott and Judge in London, May 1891

Remember what I said to you about the seven planes of existence. Go to the fifth plane where the mind is working. Pass from the third, which is matter as you know it, to the fifth where the mind is in its own environment and living in its own life. There what to you is immaterial becomes material to it, for matter there is not identical with matter here, and that is visible and audible to the mind that is invisible and inaudible to the coarser senses of the body.

We learn from this dry science of the lecture hall, from our Western thought. We learn from this how the Occult Thought is justified by modern science, how that which has been taught for centuries in the Eastern schools is now becoming a matter of experience in the Western hospitals. If from that and from many another scientific proof of this real existence of thought and of mind, an existence other than we have known on our own earth, and within our own normal and daily life, if we once realize what that means, we learn that Man's destiny will indeed unfold itself before us as something loftier than poets have chanted, something mightier than ever prophets have dreamed.

Read more: The Sphinx of Theosophy, Part 2

The Sphinx of Theosophy, Part I

Annie Besant

Theosophy 212 b AB

The year 1917:  Annie Besant,  B. P Wadia and George Arundale were interned in Gulistan, Ootacamund. The photo was taken on the day of their internment . Dr Besant  is seen with New India which she published weekly

The Egyptian Sphinx will be familiar to every one of you, either by its pictured semblance, or possibly by the vision of its actual form. To me, and I dare say to many of you, there has always been a certain fascination in that mighty Sphinx, so serene in its composure, so absolutely still, so impressive in that stillness, with, as it were, the wisdom of ages sculptured on its impassive face. Few I think can have looked at it without feeling the fascination of the mystery of its wise eyes and fast-locked lips; few can have seen it without dreaming fantastically whether questions addressed to it might not possibly win answer to many problems of the world.

I have thought sometimes about that creed, so strange to many. Although it came from the East, it is of the thought of all climes and ages. That thought of the world that we speak of now as Theosophy, has in itself much likeness to that sculptured Sphinx, so much promise of answer to mystery and so much silence in face of the questionings of the world -- silence that has been profound for centuries, but silence that more recently has been broken. Tonight I am to try if it were possible to sketch for you something of what that Sphinx has to say of the world-questionings, to strive to give you in some fashion a rough answer, as it comes to some of us from the lips of the thinkers of the East.

Read more: The Sphinx of Theosophy, Part I

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky on the Authority of The Secret Doctrine -2


But our explanations are by no means complete, nor do they pretend to give out the full text, or to have been read by the help of more than three or four keys out of the sevenfold bunch of esoteric interpretation, and even this has only been partially accomplished. The work is too gigantic for any one person to undertake, far more to accomplish.

Read more: Helena Petrovna Blavatsky on the Authority of The Secret Doctrine -2


hpb fb

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

“We may not be in sympathy with materialism, and may even abhor it; yet the Theosophical Society ought never to forget that which it owes to Freethinkers. It is to the unceasing efforts of a long series of adherents to Freethought— almost every one of whom has been made a martyr to his convictions at the hands of bigotry—that we, in the present century owe the very possibility of our existence as an organized body.” Lucifer, 1889, volume 5, n. 25, page 76. Suppressio Veri Suggestio Falsi, by the Adversay (HPB).


“LUCIFER—the spirit of Intellectual Enlightenment and Freedom of Thought—is metaphorically the guiding beacon, which helps man to find his way through the rocks and sandbanks of Life, for Lucifer is the LOGOS in his highest, and the “Adversary” in his lowest aspect—both of which are reflected in our Ego”  The Secret Doctrine, Volume II, Stanza VII The Semi-Divine Down to the First Humanity page 162.


“The “lofty platform” is very flattering, though our modesty urges us to regard it as a mirage developed within the limitless area of our kind “friends and admirers’ “fancy. But, supposing it had any independent existence of its own, we would far rather descend from and abandon it forever, than accept the passive role of a dumb old idol, alike indifferent to the happiness as to the misery and woes of the surrounding world. We decline the exalted position if we have to secure it at the price of our freedom of thought and speech. Collected Writings volume 4 “The Chosen “Vessels of Election” Blavatsky



Helena Petrovna Blavatsky on the Authority of The Secret Doctrine-1

Theosophy HPB 212 2

“And here, we must be allowed a last remark. No true theosophist, from the most ignorant up to the most learned, ought to claim infallibility for anything he may say or write upon occult matters. . ..  Thus, mistakes have been made in Isis Unveiled, in Esoteric Buddhism, in Man, in Magic: White and Black, etc., etc.; and more than one mistake is likely to be found in the present work.

Read more: Helena Petrovna Blavatsky on the Authority of The Secret Doctrine-1

Prometheus — Reclaiming the Fire

David Grossman – USA

Theosophy DG 212 b

How ironic that in New York City, arguably the capital of modern culture and sophistication, in the middle of the Rockefeller Center, prime symbol of material power and wealth, stands a shining golden sculpture of a mythic figure, actually a god carrying a flame, a burst of fire, in his right hand. He is surrounded by the heavens, a ring representing the astrological constellations.

Read more: Prometheus — Reclaiming the Fire

What Is Truth?

Margaret Bove Sturman – Italy

Theosophy What is Truth 212 b

VERY simple! Truth is when we find our inner self, our golden core, our open heart of compassion, our deep silence, our serenity of days and nights, our wonder of wonders, the root without roots, our joy and bliss, all that is good, true, and beautiful.

We are Truth, being facsimiles of the Divine. So banish fear, be calm, eliminate worry and smile. The soldiers during the First World War, when confronting danger and possible death, sang a song together: “Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile. . . . What is the use of worrying?” So why worry about the coronavirus or any other virus. We are immortal divine beings and cannot go into oblivion. The so-called “death” does not exist. It is only a change of consciousness.

Read more: What Is Truth?

Listening to the March of the Future

Shikar Agnihotri – India

Theosophy SA 2 212

The author

Let us consider the very existence of the Theosophical Society (TS), in a changing world. Everything is changing within and without. So, one has to constantly listen to the march of the future, and remain relevant to the contemporary needs and requirements, yet not at the cost of diluting the teachings, but, instead, making them more appealing to the prevailing times, with the help of intuition, as for as possible.

We cannot listen to the future without giving due attention to the past because the past is the basis of the present, and the present is the seed for the future. Looking at the past, I would like to emphasize the aim with which the TS was founded, not in terms of its Objects but rather the approach that was to be taken. A very good expression of this is found in the foreword to the small but valuable booklet, Five Messages to American Theosophists, from H. P. Blavatsky. It says:

Theosophy commands us to work for humanity; that service is of a particular character; its nature is spiritual; the method whereof is twofold:

  • to watch the steps of erring humanity and erect signposts against certain pitfalls;
  • to hold aloft the beacon light of instruction which cheers the weary pilgrim and inspires him to make his very own the Power which is Peace, and the Service which is Joy.

Read more: Listening to the March of the Future

The Future of the Theosophical Society

Annie Besant

Theosophy AB 2 212

Annie Besant, photo taken in January 1930


We have met here this morning as members of a world-wide society, the Theosophical Society. I have often wished that we had translated that name into English, and we should then have had as our name the “Society of the Divine Wisdom”, we should thus have avoided a danger. For when a Society has existed for many years, there is always a certain peril that it will become crystallized in its thought and in its methods of activity. If that danger should overbear freedom of thought and of discussion, then the Society will become a danger to the progress of the world, instead of being an inspiration. We cannot avoid facing that danger, as we go on year after year: but, to recognize it is really half the victory.

We must everywhere, in our influence upon the world and our influence over our young members, remember that the life of the Society depends on its  remaining a Society in which thought is entirely free, and frank discussion is encouraged. Anyone who has — as he or she may believe — an idea, a truth, to give to the world, should be encouraged in its delivery, so that every member may exercise his own free judgment as to the truth or error which that idea conveys. The intellect of man is, or should be, the great motive power in the world of thought; and that intellect, if it is to act usefully upon the world, must make the common good, the common welfare of the world at large, its inspiration to activity.

Read more: The Future of the Theosophical Society

Freedom of Thought

David P. Bruce – USA

Theosophy FOD 212 b DavidBruce

The author

A fine line is crossed when we begin by trying to help someone and end up trying to control them. What starts as an act of kindness ends up as an imposition of will. Since this is not an uncommon human failing, members of the Theosophical Society are reminded that we should respect a person’s freedom to think and make their own choices.

Read more: Freedom of Thought

In the Light of Theosophy - DREAMS

Theosophy 212 2 Octopus

Sleeping (and dreaming) Octopus next to a Starfish

[This article appeared in the May 2021 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link:]

Researchers at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Natal, Brazil, have found that octopuses change color when they sleep, and that might be because they are dreaming. In fact, octopuses have been observed to pass through two distinct stages of sleep, active and passive. These conclusions are based on rigorous observations, through day and night periods, covering 180 hours.

Read more: In the Light of Theosophy - DREAMS

The Elemental Nature of Chitta

James LeFevour – USA

Theosophy JLF b Chitta

Rudolph Steiner is known in Theosophical circles as a student of Madame Blavatsky's work who broke off to form Anthroposophy, a German-based school for esoteric knowledge. What we can learn from his organization is that there are many writers who use the concept of the elements as a tool to describe the nature of the mind.

Read more: The Elemental Nature of Chitta

Our Special Task

Barbara Hebert – USA

Theosophy 212 BH b

The author

Several years ago, I was talking with a friend who is an avid worker for Theosophy and the Theosophical Society. Before working for the Society, he had a prestigious and important career in a field that he loved. I asked him why he had decided to leave his job to work for the Theosophical Society. He very wisely said something along these lines: I realized that anyone could do the work that I was doing, but very few people can work to share the Ageless Wisdom. I was stunned by his response, realizing the truth in his simple statement. It has frequently been a topic of contemplation for me in the years since our conversation.

Read more: Our Special Task

Dogmatism in Theosophy

William Quan Judge - USA 

Theosophy 212 WQJ b

The Theosophical Society was founded to destroy dogmatism. This is one of the meanings of its first object - Universal Brotherhood. And Col. H. S. Olcott in his inaugural address in 1875, at Mott Memorial Hall, New York, said that such was the object in view, citing the bad effect that intolerance had had in the past. That address was read by Mme. H. P. Blavatsky before its delivery, or its contents were communicated to her, so that it had her assent, for she was present when it was delivered.

In The Key to Theosophy, in the "Conclusion," H.P.B. again refers to this subject and expresses the hope that the Society might not, after her death, become dogmatic or crystallize on some phase of thought or philosophy, but that it might remain free and open, with its members wise and unselfish. And in all her writings and remarks, privately or publicly, she constantly reiterated this idea. Of this the writer has direct evidence as to her statements in private.

Read more: Dogmatism in Theosophy

Has Theosophy become a Creed?

Pedro Oliveira -- Australia 

Theosophy 212 PO b

The author

At the end of her book The Key to Theosophy, published in 1889, Madame H. P. Blavatsky (HPB) issued a warning to the members of the Theosophical Society (TS):

Every such attempt as the Theosophical Society has hitherto ended in failure, because, sooner or later, it has degenerated into a sect, set up hard-and-fast dogmas of its own, and so lost by imperceptible degrees that vitality which living truth alone can impart. You must remember that all our members have been bred and born in some creed or religion, that all are more or less of their generation both physically and mentally, and consequently that their judgment is but too likely to be warped and unconsciously biased by some or all of these influences. If, then, they cannot be freed from such inherent bias, or at least taught to recognize it instantly and so avoid being led away by it, the result can only be that the Society will drift off on to some sandbank of thought or another, and there remain a stranded carcass to molder and die. (1)

Read more: Has Theosophy become a Creed?


Theosophy HPB 212 b SK 

The first necessity for obtaining self-knowledge is to become profoundly conscious of ignorance; to feel with every fiber of the heart that one is ceaselessly self-deceived.

The second requisite is the still deeper conviction that such knowledge - such intuitive and certain knowledge - can be obtained by effort.

The third and most important is an indomitable determination to obtain and face that knowledge.

Read more: Self-knowledge

Temple of Light at Adyar

Jaishree Kannan - India

Theosophy 212 JK b

The author who resides and works at Adyar (photo: © Richard Dvořák )

There is an underlying unity that links the faiths of mankind in a deeper oneness of life and this is greatly stimulated by a direct acquaintance with the rituals of each religion. During the time when Dr Annie Besant was President, a number of shrines and temples for the performance of religious practices were erected on the Adyar estate and used by the adherents of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Sikhism, Islam, and Zoroastrianism. There is also a site reserved and a cornerstone laid for a Jewish synagogue which, however, did not get built. As is to be expected, there is great religious fellow-feeling at Adyar, and members belonging to different faiths freely attend the rites of their sister religions.

Theosophy 212 JK c

Read more: Temple of Light at Adyar

John Algeo and Senzar - Part one

John Algeo – USA

Theosophy JA and SZ 121 b John Algeo 1

John Algeo 

Original title: Senzar-The Mystery of the Mystery Language

[Note from the editor: this is a slightly revised version to suit Theosophy Forward’s  template and to make the paper better readable]

Among the curious lore of H. P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine  are her references to a language called Senzar. Senzar is a mystery. According to Blavatsky, it is the original language of the stanzas of Dzyan, which are the core of her great book, and of certain commentaries and glosses upon the Book of Dzyan, others being in Chinese, Tibetan, and Sanskrit.

The version of the Stanzas that she presents in The Secret Doctrine is an abridgment of the originals and blends together the text of the stanzas with various glosses (I, 23). 

Read more: John Algeo and Senzar - Part one

John Algeo and Senzar – Part two

John Algeo – USA


 John Algeo 1

The author 

Original title: Senzar-The Mystery of the Mystery Language

[Note from the editor: this is a slightly revised version to suit Theosophy Forward’s  template and to make the paper better readable]


What then is this "mystery language" of HPB's? What kind of "language" is Senzar? Blavatsky says that the Hermetic Philosophers (that is, alchemists) of the Middle Ages

renovated the ancient symbolical language of the high-priests of antiquity, who had used it as a sacred barrier between their holy rites and the ignorance of the profane, and created a veritable Cabalistic slang. This latter, which continually blinded the false neophyte, attracted towards the science only by his greediness for wealth and power which he would have surely misused were he to succeed, is a living, eloquent, clear language; but it is and can become such, only to the true disciple of Hermes. (CW I, 13)

In this passage, Blavatsky is clearly talking about alchemical "jargon" and saying that properly understood it is full of high meaning, and also that it is a renovated form of the "ancient symbolical language," apparently a reference to Senzar. Similarly, Blavatsky says that the Jewish holy writings from the Pentateuch to the Talmud were written

in a kind of Mystery-language, were, in fact, a series of symbolical records which the Jews had copied from the Egyptian and the Chaldaean Sanctuaries, only adapting them to their own national history. (CW, XIV, 170)

Again, what is meant by "mystery language" here is an allegorical or symbolic use of narrative language, such as the biblical narratives of the creation, the fall, the crossing of the red sea, and so on (as interpreted in considerable detail by Alvin Boyd Kuhn, Geoffrey Hodson, and others). Blavatsky makes various references to such symbolism:

... the art of speaking and writing in a language which bears a double interpretation, is of very great antiquity;

... it was in practice among the priests of Egypt, brought from thence by the Manichees, whence it passed to the Templars and Albigenses, spread over Europe, and brought about the Reformation. (quoted from Charles Sotheran, CW, I, 126)

Senzar 3

Senzar, always mysterious ....

Read more: John Algeo and Senzar – Part two

PREFACE to Evolution of the Higher Consciousness: An In-depth Study into H. P. Blavatsky’s Teachings

Pablo Sender – USA

Pablo z

The author

[Note from the editor: Dr. Ralph Hannon wrote, when he reviewed this book:

This is the book that Theosophist have been asking for. A book that brings the teachings of HPB into the present and with great clarity. In fact, if I needed to give a ‘one word’ review of this book it would be CLARITY. It has obviously been classroom tested because of the organization, anticipation of questions, and use of words. I thought the Preface was exceptional. It sets the stage for the double evolution of BOTH spirit and matter.

So, here is that PREFACE of Pablo Sender’s book Evolution of the Higher Consciousness: An In-depth Study into H. P. Blavatsky’s Teachings. Often forewords or prefaces are hastily overlooked and therefore it is a recommendation for every earnest student of Theosophy to read this particular preface as kind of appetizer, in order to ultimately purchase the book. Over the years Pablo has developed into a writer of caliber and well-versed international lecturer. His accessible exposé will surely assist any seeker to find answers to eternal questions like Who are we?, What is the purpose of Life? or How do we actualize our potential? After all, these are the questions thoughtful people have asked since time immemorial. This book is a comprehensive study of the teachings of H. P. Blavatsky on these issues.] 

Pablo and Michele

Michele and Pablo Sender, both living at Krotona, California


Read more: PREFACE to Evolution of the Higher Consciousness: An In-depth Study into H. P. Blavatsky’s...

The Last Song of the Swan - Editorials, The Lucifer Collection, Volume II

Erica Georgiades - Greece 


The author

[Note from the editor: All references are to VOLUME II of The Lucifer CollectionObtain your copy through AMAZON click HERE]

The second volume of “The Lucifer Collection,” entitled The Last Song of the Swan, presents all editorials published in Lucifer magazine while Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was the editor. The title given to the present volume is the same as H.P.B’s editorial for February 1890.[1] The editors chose it specifically because Lucifer was indeed one of her last "songs" before dying. In that editorial she discussed the pandemic, (which in 1891 was the cause of her death), and other problems affecting the world. One of such problems was electricity. Yes, The Theosophical Society’s mother was critical regarding electricity and even quoted an incident, in New York, about a horse that touched an electric wire and dropped dead. Then someone else touched the horse to help and dropped dead, then a third person went to help and received a powerful electric shock. “This is a cheerful prospect and looks indeed as if it were one of the ‘last songs of the Swan’ of practical civilization,”[2] said Blavatsky. Perhaps, in her mind, people were just too lazy to light their candles. Still, her editorial was a criticism of the press that highlighted (and still does) evils, ignoring acts of compassion and altruism. In any case, Blavatsky wasn’t on friendly terms with some environmental and scientific changes during her lifetime. She was promoting another kind of change, i.e., to show people that there is such a thing as a spirit and soul. She also promoted universal brotherhood and aspired to free the masses from slavery to conventionalities, or the simulation of feelings according to socio-cultural standards, by showing the importance of seeking the truth and living a spiritual and compassionate life.



In this manner, the name of the magazine was no accidental choice. The first editorial explained that Lucifer was chosen as a name because it represented “the divine spirit which sacrificed itself for humanity, the Morning Star.”[3] To illustrate that, she quoted Revelation 22:16: “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David and the bright Morning Star.” Lucifer is “a ray of truth on everything hidden by the darkness of prejudice, by social or religious misconceptions; especially by that idiotic routine in life.”[4] By ‘idiotic routine,’ she meant slavery to “the established opinions of the day;”[5] conventionalities, social hypocrisy. In her view, “truth is a gem that is found at a great depth; whilst on the surface of this world, all things are weighed by the false scales of custom…” The magazine aimed to go beyond conventionalities, established opinions, prejudices and superstition. To offer a pearl of ancient wisdom, a non-dogmatic approach. 

Read more: The Last Song of the Swan - Editorials, The Lucifer Collection, Volume II

The Ethical Revolution

Trân-Thi-Kim-Diêu - France

Theosophy KD 2 121

The author

Among the successive crises that humanity has gone through, the one that has been caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Covid-19, has an unprecedented significance in its form, manifestation, and implications. Though there were extremely serious health disasters such as the Black Death, which decimated a large part of the European population, there were also revolutions of various kinds, including that of 1789, which swept away the monarchy in France, bringing a wind of radical change.

Read more: The Ethical Revolution

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