Theosophy

A Few Theosophical Threads From HPB

David M. Grossman – USA

HPB

 It was the work of H.P. Blavatsky, central messenger of the modern Theosophical movement, through her writings and tireless efforts, to paint a living picture of who we are, where we have come from and where we are going, placing us within the historical map that she draws of cyclic evolution as well as to cultivate and spread the vision of Universal Brotherhood in the world.

She called this expression of the ancient wisdom Theosophy. She asks in her article The New Cycle,

What is Theosophy? Why use this pretentious name, we are asked at the outset. When we answer that Theosophy is Divine Wisdom, or the Wisdom of the Gods (Theo-Sophia), rather than that of a God, a still more extraordinary objection is raised: Then, are you not Buddhists? Yet we know that the Buddhists believe neither in a, nor several Gods. . . .

Nothing could be more correct. But, in the first place, we are no more Buddhists than we are Christians, Mussulmans, Jews, Zoroastrians or Brahmins.

HPB points out in her article Is Theosophy A Religion?,

It is perhaps necessary, first of all, to say, that the assertion that "Theosophy is not a Religion," by no means excludes the fact that “Theosophy is Religion" itself. A Religion in the true and only correct sense, is a bond uniting men together--not a particular set of dogmas and beliefs. Now Religion, per se, in its widest meaning is that which binds not only all MEN, but also all BEINGS and all things in the entire Universe into one grand whole.

And again in The New Cycle HPB paints us a portrait of a true Theosophist,

Whoever feels his heart beating in unison with the great heart of humanity, whoever feels his interests at one with those who are poorer and less fortunate than himself; whoever, man or woman, is ever ready to lend a helping hand to those who suffer, whoever is fully conscious of the real meaning of "Egoism," is a Theosophist by birth and by right. He can always be sure of finding sympathetic hearts amongst us. Our Society is in fact a small, special humanity, where, as among mankind at large, one may always find his counterpart.

To take the first step on this ideal path requires a perfectly pure motive; no frivolous thought must be allowed to divert our eyes from the goal; no hesitation, no doubt must fetter our feet. Yet, there are men and women perfectly capable of all this, and whose only desire is to live under the aegis of their Divine Nature. Let these, at least, have the courage to live this life and not to hide it from the sight of others! No one's opinion could ever be above the rulings of our own conscience, so, let that conscience, arrived at its highest development, be our guide in all our common daily tasks. As to our inner life, let us concentrate all our attention on our chosen Ideal, and let us ever look beyond without ever casting a glance at the mud at our feet….”  These are the words of the teacher H.P. Blavatsky.

    And she continues in her usual “no nonsense” direct fashion,

No Theosophist has the right to this name, unless he is thoroughly imbued with the correctness of Carlyle's truism: "The end of man is an action and not a thought, though it were the noblest" — and unless he sets and models his daily life upon this truth. The profession of a truth is not yet the enactment of it; and the more beautiful and grand it sounds, the more loudly virtue or duty is talked about instead of being acted upon, the more forcibly it will always remind one of the Dead Sea fruit. Cant is the most loathsome of all vices; Those capable of such an effort are true Theosophists. The New Cycle.

Madame Blavatsky sets a high bar for all of us, but with much encouragement, presents in Theosophy those grand truths and principles that can guide us on the path of both Hope and responsibility.

 If we take a look back we find that the original Theosophical Society, founded in 1875, had no literature of its own. As has been pointed out Isis Unveiled published in 1877 “was an attempt to gather into a single work those elements of the cultural heritage of the West which could serve as the foundation of a new religious philosophy and unite them by means of the occult and spiritual teachings she had learned in the East.”

Thus Madame Blavatsky  begins the preface to Isis:

The work now submitted to public judgment is the fruit of a somewhat intimate acquaintance with Eastern adepts and study of their science. It is offered to such as are willing to accept truth wherever it may be found, and to defend it, even looking popular prejudice straight in the face. It is an attempt to aid the student to detect the vital principles which underlie the philosophical systems of old.   

With the power of the pen HPB challenged both the religious orthodoxy of the day and the conclusions of western science. She brought the new concept of physical evolution,  riding the coat tails of Darwin, on the scientific side, as she was doing with the Spiritualist movement, on the transcendental side, using them as levers, as a bridge,  to present a true view of the inner and spiritual side of existence.         

There is an overarching spiritual evolution and the physical and mental are subsidiary turnings within that primal spiritual impulse which gives conscious direction to the cosmos and the countless lives that make it up; and furthermore accidents and blind forces are not part of the equation.

It may be hard to imagine how radical these ideas were in the West just 100 to 150 years ago; challenging the crystalized ideas within the prevailing religious and scientific institutions, which themselves were diametrically opposed to each other for the most part.

The advent of Theosophy and theosophical writings had a great deal to do with bringing Eastern philosophical literature and thought to the west and is a foundational root of the whole “Mindfulness” concept and the popularity of various yoga practices and interest in Eastern religions and philosophies. Theosophical thought has actually expanded the race mind to some degree with a kind of spiritual renaissance in the west caused by an introduction to various genuine spiritual teachings from the ancient world as well as from some relatively contemporary sources, of course tempered by the dazzlement of material power and control through technology and scientific innovation without, unfortunately, an equal balance of an attending moral and ethical awareness and sense of responsibility.

With all the metaphysics,  dissertations on the sevenfold nature of man and the universe, cycles, fohat and hidden laws of nature, HPB underpins all her metaphysical  and erudite writings, telling us  that ‘real Theosophy is altruism, brotherly love, mutual help and unswerving devotion to truth. She says let Theosophy stand on its moral worth alone.  And in this regard it is that vision of Spiritual Unity that is the driving force  throughout the three objects of the original Theosophical Society that acted and act as doorways of approach to exploring the philosophy of Theosophy and carrying on the work of cultivating brotherhood.   

As pointed out earlier some saw and see Theosophy  as an Eastern teaching. Western thought even with its breakthroughs in science, engineering & technologies was stunted by its materialistic view of man, banishing the idea of consciousness as causal and primary, and with the religious dogmas of  a newly created soul for every new body and the daily disproven “blank slate theory,” it was necessary for HPB to turn East to resuscitate the beating heart of The Wisdom Tradition with “The Doctrine of Continuance,” introducing the West once more to what has been referred to as “The lost chord of Christianity, Reincarnation, along with the fuller expression of what Saint Paul Taught:  “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7, KJV)  

So, along with the vision of a triple evolution, spiritual, mental and physical, turning simultaneously  and blending Eastern and Western thought to various degrees, the teachings of Karma and Reincarnation provide an opportunity to uncover many of the mysteries of life, our lives. 

It has been said that one can find the mind of the writer within his or her writings. In the case of HPB we find that she was the consummate optimist.. She points out over and over that we have the power within to transform ourselves, no matter where we are now, and eventually the world around us into an expression of that essential oneness or unity, not to be confused with uniformity.

Unity is our foundation, as well as our destiny. So In one sense the goal of Theosophy is to give us the tools to consciously be “conscious co-workers with nature,” making brotherhood/sisterhood, humanhood, however you want to express it,  a reality through the process presented  in The Voice of the Silence, to “Learn above all to separate Head-learning from Soul-Wisdom, the "Eye" from the "Heart" doctrine.” (Voice: Fragment 2.)

And we can go further and say that the teachings of Theosophy, thanks to HPB and the masters who stand behind, provide in this age an opportunity for humanity to get once again on course with the underlying spiritual impulse of life, turning these days of darkness towards the light once more; (dissolving race and class antipathies in the west, and caste barriers in India and the East.)  As Buddha says in The Light of Asia, bk 6, “There is no caste in blood.”    

We can be heartened as students and participants in the Wisdom Tradition, Theosophy, to have a path forward which when tread, as best we can, will aid in the upliftment and positive direction for all living beings even if only in seemingly small ways.    

As HPB says in The Key To Theosophy,

It is an occult law moreover, that no man can rise superior to his individual failings without lifting, be it ever so little, the whole body of which he is an integral part. In the same way no one can sin, nor suffer the effects of sin, alone. In reality, there is no such thing as 'separateness' and the nearest approach to that selfish state which the laws of life permit is in the intent or motive.

So we can be inspired by The positive vision that HPB gives us about the impact that Theosophy can have on the future gives nourishment to work on in difficult times. 

Theosophy will gradually leaven and permeate the great mass of thinking and intelligent people with its large-minded and noble ideas of Religion, Duty, and Philanthropy. Slowly but surely it will burst asunder the iron fetters of creeds and dogmas, of social and caste prejudices; it will break down racial and national antipathies and barriers, and will open the way to the practical realization of the Brotherhood of all men. 

                                                                                                                     The Key to Theosophy, Conclusion,

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