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A History of Esotericism -- Recent inquiries

Nov 04, 2002 03:11 AM
by dalval14

Nov 4 2002

Dear Friends:

Recent inquiries into the past traces of Theosophy in the history of
our world may be had below from the pen of H P B


431 The most ancient religions have always had their greater and
lesser mysteries.

431. The great schools of Esotericism were international, although

432 Wisdom is inseparable from divinity..

433 The INFINITE cannot be known to our reason, which can only
distinguish and define;--but we can always conceive the abstract idea
thereof, thanks to that faculty higher than our reason,--intuition, or
the spiritual instinct of which I have spoken. Only the great
initiates, who have the rare power of throwing themselves into the
state of Samadhi,--which can be but imperfectly translated by the word
ecstacy, a state in which one ceases to be the conditioned and
personal "I," and becomes one with the ALL

p. 437 Theosophy ....the most grandiose and sublime
philosophy in the world.

P. 445 "The root idea of the Neo-Platonists was the existence
of one only and supreme Essence." -- Wilder

P. 437 [It has] esoteric teachings, which are not divulged to
a mocking public...

P. 438 Theosophy is a descendant in direct line of the great
tree of universal GNOSIS, a tree ...which, ...gave shelter all
the temples and ...nations of the earth. That Gnosis represents the
aggregate of all the sciences, the accumulated wisdom of all the gods
and demi-gods incarnated in former times upon the earth...We believe
in Avatars and in divine dynasties, in the epoch when there were, in
fact, "giants upon the earth"

P. 438 "What then is your religion or your belief?" ..."The
TRUTH," we reply. The truth wherever we can find it...our greatest
ambition [is] reconcile the different religious systems, to help
each one to find the truth in his own religion, while obliging him to
recognize it in that of his neighbour.

P. 439 [Who is a] saviour...He who dissipates the darkness of
ignorance by the help of the torch of science, thus discovering to us
the truth, deserves that title as a mark of our gratitude...Such an
one awakens in our benumbed souls the faculty of distinguishing the
true from the false, by kindling a divine flame, hitherto absent, and
he has the right to our grateful worship, for he has become our

P. 439 ...we have but to remember one thing: symbols of
divine truths were not invented for the amusement of the ignorant;
they are the alpha and omega of philosophic thought.

Fn. [Eliminate] the illusion of the personality of the
Ego, placed by our egotism in the first is necessary to
assimilate the whole of humanity, live by it, for it, and in it, in
other terms, cease to be "one," and become "all" or the total.

P. 439 Theosophy being the way that leads to truth, in every
religion, as in every science, occultism is, so to say, the touchstone
and universal solvent. It is the... light thrown by this torch can be
discerned only by the eye of the awakened soul--by our spiritual
senses; it blinds the eye of the materialist.

P. 439 Having neither dogma nor ritual,--these two being but
fetters, the material body which suffocates the soul,--we do not
employ the "ceremonial magic"

Page 424 The Beacon-light of Truth is Nature without the veil
of the senses. It can be reached only when the adept has become
absolute master of his personal self, able to control all his physical
and psychic senses by the aid of his "seventh sense," through which he
is gifted also with the true wisdom of the gods--Theosophia.

H P B then traces the evidence of a continuous History of
Esoteric Wisdom:

425 Simon the magician, and his disciple Menander ...the system
followed by Apollonius of Tyana, Iamblicus and other magi... its true
character is only half revealed by the author of the book De
Mysteriis... his explanations sufficed to convert Porphyry, Plotinus,
and others, who ...became its most fervent adherents."...True Magic,
the theurgy of Iamblicus, is ...identical with the gnosis of
Pythagoras ...the science of things which are, and with the divine
ecstacy of the Philaletheans, "the lovers of Truth." ... who have
witnessed to the divine character and the reality of that ecstacy
which is called Samadhi in India?

426 A long series of men, instance, Ammonius Saccas, called the
Theodidaktos, "God-instructed"; the great master whose life was so
chaste and so pure, that Plotinus, his pupil, had not the slightest
hope of ever seeing any mortal comparable to him. Then there is this
same Plotinus who was for Ammonius what Plato was for Socrates--a
disciple worthy of his illustrious master. Then there is Porphyry, the
pupil of Plotinus, the author of the biography of Pythagoras. Under
the shadow of this divine gnosis, whose beneficent influence has
extended to our own days, all the celebrated mystics of the later
centuries have been developed, such as Jacob Boehme, Emanuel
Swedenborg, and so many others. Madame Guyon is the feminine
counterpart of Iamblicus. The Christian Quietists, the Mussulman
Soufis, the Rosicrucians of all countries, drink the waters of that
inexhaustible fountain--the Theosophy of the Neo-Platonists of the
first centuries of the Christian Era. The Gnosis preceded that era,
for it was the direct continuation of the Gupta Vidya and of the
Brahmâ-Vidya ("secret knowledge") of ancient India, transmitted
through Egypt; just as the theurgy of the Philaletheans was the
continuation of the Egyptian mysteries.

426 ...the point from which this... starts, is the Supreme
Divinity; its end and aim, the union of the divine spark which
animates man with the parent-flame, which is the Divine ALL. This
consummation is the ultima thule of those Theosophists, who devote
themselves entirely to the service of humanity.

Concerning Intuition she says:

Every one of us possesses the faculty, the interior sense, that is
known by the name of intuition, but how rare are those who know how to
develop it! It is, however, only by the aid of this faculty that men
can ever see things in their true colours. It is an instinct of the
soul, which grows in us in proportion to the employment we give it,
and which helps us to perceive and understand the realities of things
with far more certainty than can the simple use of our senses and
exercise of our reason.

The instinct of which I speak, being a projection of our perceptive
consciousness, a projection which acts from the subjective to the
objective, and not vice versa, awakens in us spiritual senses and
power to act; these senses assimilate to themselves the essence of the
object or of the action under examination, and represent it to us as
it really is, not as it appears to our physical senses and to our cold
reason. "We begin with instinct, we end with omniscience" says
Professor A. Wilder.

Iamblicus says, [there is] "a faculty in the human mind which is
immeasurably superior to all those which are grafted or engendered in
us. By it we can attain to union with superior intelligences, finding
ourselves raised above the scenes of this earthly life, and partaking
of the higher existence and superhuman powers of the inhabitants of
the celestial spheres. By this faculty we find ourselves liberated
finally from the dominion of destiny (Karma), and we become, as it
were, the arbiters of our own fates. For, when the most excellent
parts in us find themselves filled with energy; and when our soul is
lifted up towards essences higher than science, it can separate itself
from the conditions which hold it in the bondage of every-day life; it
exchanges its ordinary existence for another one, it renounces the
conventional habits which belong to the external order of things, to
give itself up to and mix itself with another order of things which
reigns in that most elevated state of existence."

Plato expressed the idea in two lines: "The light and spirit of the
Divinity are the wings of the soul. They raise it to communion with
the gods, above this earth, with which the spirit of man is too ready
to soil itself. . . . To become like the gods, is to become holy, just
and wise. That is the end for which man was created, and that ought to
be his aim in the acquisition of knowledge." This is true Theosophy,
inner Theosophy, that of the soul.

Is asceticism essential?

In isolating themselves as they themselves profoundly
indifferent to the fate of mankind whom they fly from ... the only
track that leads to the truth... on which each one voluntarily bears
the cross of humanity, and for humanity. In reality it is a nest of
the coarsest kind of selfishness

429-30 Gautama, the Buddha, only remained in solitude long
enough to enable him to arrive at the truth, which he devoted himself
from that time on to promulgate, begging his bread, and living for
humanity. Jesus retired to the desert only for forty days, and died
for this same humanity.

430 Apollonius of Tyana, Plotinus, Iamblicus, while leading lives
of singular abstinence, almost of asceticism, lived in the world and
for the world. The greatest ascetics and saints of our days are not
those who retire into inaccessible places, but those who pass their
lives in travelling , doing good and trying to raise mankind;

430 [The Brothers are] Those who regard the human soul as an
emanation of the Deity, as a particle or ray of the universal and

430 The Beacon-light upon which the eyes of all real Theosophists
are fixed is the same towards which in all ages the imprisoned human
soul has struggled. This Beacon, whose light shines upon no earthly
seas, but which has mirrored itself in the sombre depths of the
primordial waters of infinite space, is called by us, as by the
earliest Theosophists, "Divine Wisdom." That is the last word of the
esoteric doctrine; and, in antiquity, where was the country, having
the right to call itself civilized, that did not possess a double
system of WISDOM, of which one part was for the masses, and the other
for the few,--the exoteric and the esoteric?

Wisdom -- Esoteric Science

430 This name, WISDOM, or, as we say sometimes, the "Wisdom
Religion" or Theosophy, is as old as the human mind. The title of
Sages--the priests of this worship of truth--was its first derivative.
These names were afterwards transformed into philosophy, and
philosophers--the "lovers of science" or of wisdom. It is to
Pythagoras that we owe that name, as also that of gnosis, the system
of "the knowledge of things as they are," or of the essence that is
hidden beneath the external appearances. Under that name, so noble and
so correct in its definition, all the masters of antiquity designated
the aggregate of our knowledge of things human and divine.

431 ...philosophers, have always classified that science in two
divisions--the esoteric, or the true, and the exoteric, disguised in

431 We are accused of mystery, and we are reproached with making a
secret of the higher Theosophy. We confess that the doctrine which we
call gupta vidya (secret science) is only for the few.

431 it has been the invariable rule that the disciple must gain
the confidence of the master before receiving from him the supreme and
final word.

P. 441 the solar globe [is] nothing but a beautiful metaphor, a
maya--thus announcing an occult axiom.

P. 442 Theosophy...examines the reverse side of every
apparent truth. It tests and analyses every fact put forward by
physical science, looking only for the essence and the ultimate and
occult constitution in every cosmical or physical manifestation,
whether in the domain of ethics, intellect, or matter. In a word,
Theosophy begins its researches where materialists finish theirs.

P. 442-3 Theosophy, therefore, or rather the occult sciences it
studies, is something more than simple metaphysics...Theosophy rejects
the testimony of the physical senses entirely, if the latter be not
based upon that afforded by the psychic and spiritual perceptions.
Even in the case of the most highly developed clairvoyance and
clairaudience, the final testimony of both must be rejected, unless...
like that of our five senses, [it] should receive the imprimatur of
the sixth and seventh senses of the divine ego, before a fact can be
accepted by the true occultist.

P. 443 ...physical science has not made a step towards the knowledge
of the real nature and constitution of matter

P. 446 This numerical signification is one of the branches of the
mystery language, or the ancient sacerdotal language. This was taught
in the "Lesser Mysteries," but the language itself was reserved for
the high initiates alone. The candidate must...take an oath never to
divulge the higher doctrines to any one to whom the preliminary ones
had not already been imparted...and...was not ready for initiation.

P. 446 Therefore the "similes" employed by Jesus were part of the
"language of the mysteries," the sacerdotal tongue of the initiates.
Rome has lost the key to it: by rejecting theosophy and pronouncing
her anathema against the occult sciences,--she loses it for ever.

P. 444 Theosophy is synonymous with Gnana Vidya, and with the
Brahma-Vidya of the Hindus, and again with the Dzyan of the
trans-Himalayan adepts, the science of the true Raj-Yogis, who are
much more accessible than one thinks.

Fn. Vidya... the knowledge of Brahm, that is to say, of the God
that contains all the gods.

Fn. Samadhi is a state of abstract contemplation...It is a mental,
or, rather, spiritual state, which is not dependent upon any
perceptible object, and during which the subject, absorbed in the
region of pure spirit, lives in the Divinity.

P. "Preach altruism, keep unity, mutual understanding and harmony
in your groups, all of you who place yourselves among the neophytes
and the seekers after the ONE TRUTH," other Teachers tell us.
"Without unity, and intellectual as well as psychic sympathy, you will
arrive at nothing. He who sows discord, reaps the whirlwind."

P. is better to confess one's imperfections openly, in
other words, to wash one's own dirty linen, than to dirty the linen of
one's brothers in Theosophy, as some people love to do. Let us speak
in general terms, confess our errors, denounce anything that is not
Theosophical, but let personalities alone; the latter lies within the
province of each individual's Karma

P. Those who desire to succeed in abstract or practical Theosophy
must remember that disunity is the first condition of failure.

P. In Theosophy, what is required is emulation and not rivalry,
otherwise, he who boasts of being the first, will be the last. In true
Theosophy, it is the least who becomes the greatest.

P. 62-3 "we believe in an impersonal and absolute
Principle...non-being, or the ABSOLUTE...The idea of being limited to
something which exists...does not exist for us.

P 62 fn ...the Theosophical Society is a Republic of Conscience."

P. 63 "the god who does not exist but who is...nameless, and
without qualities..." [The ABSOLUTE]

P. 63 The Absolute neither having, nor being able to have, any
relation with the conditioned or the limited, that from which the
emanations proceed is the "god that speaks"...the Logos...the second

P. 63 Absolute [is unable] to have any relation with the conditioned

P. 63-4 ...that from which the emanations proceed is the "God that
speaks...the Logos...the Wisdom of God ONE and the creator of forms
[the NOTHING is the ABSOLUTE -- the WHOLE].

P. 64 ...this "second god"... is the periodical effect of an eternal
and immutable law, independent of time and space, and of which the
Logos or creative intelligence is the shadow or the reflection.

P. 64 ...our plane...where everything is in a mirror
... from the point of view of the Absolute Reality, the universe with
all its conscious and intelligent inhabitants... is the shadow of the

P. 64 ...the Absolute, from our point of view, is deprived of all
conditioned qualities by the very fact that it is the absolute.

P. 67 [ancient libraries beyond the Himalayas -- repositories of the
"intellectual treasures"... and guarded by] ...the primitive
interpreters of the divine Wisdom...

P. 67-8 Our Society is the tree of Brotherhood...[members] it
depends on them to make ...a bridge destined in the near future to
carry the humanity of the new cycle beyond the muddy waters of the
deluge of hopeless materialism...stretching to them a plank of safety.

P. 68 ...the triple desire of the T S...

1. Full and entire liberty of conscience allowed to all,

2. fraternity reigning between the rich and the poor,

3. equality recognized in theory and practice...

The great reform must take place without any social shocks...
[diversity] is due but to the personal Karma of each human being.

P. 88 ...the immortal him, emanates from
the same divine essence, as does that of his neighbours...the
philosophic truth that every Ego begins and ends by being the
indivisible Whole, [he] can not love his neighbor less than he does
himself. But, until this becomes a religious truth, no such reform
can take place.

P. 69 Let those who are strongest show the road to those who
are weaker.


These words H PB wrote in LE PHARE DE L'INCONNU. [La Revue
Teosophique, Paris 1889]

These are extracts therefrom.

Best wishes,



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