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?

Self-knowledge

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 IS SENZAR?

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

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