The Uniqueness of Theosophy
- Published: Wednesday, 21 June 2017 09:42
Geoffrey Farthing – England
In these latter days Theosophy as such, i.e. as given us by the Masters directly or through H. P. Blavatsky, is seldom seriously studied. These original teachings have become ousted by or confused with later teachings, mostly personalized views but some claiming direct inspiration from a Master or Masters. Those who subscribe to these later teachings are content that they have authentic material. That there are radical differences between their views and Theosophy proper could for them be somewhat disquieting but for the most part they are ignorant of the differences.
So what does Theosophy have that the others have not? First, we must understand it as a great outpouring at the end of the nineteenth century of some knowledge of true Occultism or aspects of the Wisdom Religion of which some parts had never before been made public in the history of the world. The release of information was against the tenets and beliefs of established religious teachings, philosophies, even scientific writings, at that time. The religious systems then existing included the great scriptures of India. There had been traditional teaching by gurus in the Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, Zoroastrian and Jain modes for centuries if not millennia. In one way or another these scriptures and those of some other religions included ideas of a transcendental Deity, reincarnation, and Karma particularly as it related to individual men. The great world Teachers were true mystics, and in their schools and ashrams they brought many hundreds of aspirants up through various degrees of enlightenment up to even the highest.
It could be argued that these teachings are sufficient in themselves and that they are all we need to know of Theosophy, but are they? Against this historical background let us see what happened at the end of the nineteenth century. We know that at that time there was a considerable and widespread interest in spiritualism, of which there were various branches. Some were concerned only with phenomena, others attempted to establish a kind of philosophical religious system which demonstrated survival after death. These ideas were merged with those of the then traditional ideas of an anthropomorphic Deity, which was particularly prominent in the current ideas on heaven. There were also some ‘occult’ or secret societies, all operating independently of one another and each with its characteristic literature, teachings and practices.