H PB -- WHAT ARE THEOSOPHISTS? 2nd article in THEOSOPHIST Oct. 1879
Feb 07, 2003 03:52 PM
Summary (extracts from)
WHAT ARE THE THEOSOPHISTS? -- by H. P. Blavatsky
Are they what they claim to be--students of natural law, of ancient
and modern philosophy, and even of exact science? Are they Deists,
Atheists, Socialists, Materialists, or Idealists; or are they but a
schism of modern Spiritualism,--mere visionaries? Are they entitled to
any consideration, as capable of discussing philosophy and promoting
real science; or should they be treated with the compassionate
toleration which one gives to "harmless enthusiasts"?
Men slander only those whom they hate--or fear.
He who would seriously attempt to fathom the psychological sciences,
must come to the sacred land of ancient Aryavarta [India] None is
older than she in esoteric wisdom and civilization, however fallen may
be her poor shadow--modern India.
Holding this country [India], as we do, for the fruitful hot-bed
whence proceeded all subsequent philosophical systems, to this source
of all psychology and philosophy
The line of philosophical heredity, from Kapila through Epicurus to
James Mill; from Patanjali through Plotinus to Jacob Boehme, can be
traced like the course of a river through a landscape.
Public interest in India is seen beginning: A. P. Sinnett --
PIONEER article: Aug 11, 1879
"the supernatural has again asserted itself as a fit subject of
inquiry and research.
And then, unaware that the cause he [Mr. Sinnett] pleads is one of the
chief aims and objects of our Society, the editorial writer remarks
that it is ...The leading members of the Theosophical Society in India
are known to be very advanced students of occult phenomena, already,
and we cannot but hope that their professions of interest in Oriental
philosophy . . . may cover a reserved intention of carrying out
explorations of the kind we indicate." [PIONEER, Aug. 11, 1879]
T S Objects
...one of our objects, '''[is] to revive the work of Ammonius Saccas,
and make various nations remember that they are the children "of one
mother." [ECLECTIC THEOSOPHY
of the 3rd Century, in Alexandria, Egypt. -- see "Key to
Theosophy," pp. 3-5 footnotes]
With how much, then, of this nature-searching, God-seeking science of
the ancient Aryan and Greek mystics, and of the powers of modern
spiritual mediumship, does the Society agree? Our answer is: With It
But if asked what it believes in, the reply will be: "As a
The Society, as a body, has no creed, as creeds are but the shells
around spiritual knowledge; and Theosophy in its fruition is spiritual
knowledge itself--the very essence of philosophical and theistic
The religion of the Society is an algebraical equation, in which so
long as the sign = of equality is not omitted, each member is allowed
to substitute quantities of his own, which better accord with climatic
and other exigencies of his native land, with the idiosyncrasies of
his people, or even with his own.
Having no accepted creed, our Society is very ready to give and take,
to learn and teach, by practical experimentation, as opposed to mere
passive and credulous acceptance of enforced dogma.
It is willing to accept every result claimed by any of the foregoing
schools or systems, that can be logically and experimentally
demonstrated. Conversely, it can take nothing on mere faith, no matter
by whom the demand may be made.
The Society's members represent the most varied nationalities and
races, and were born and educated in the most dissimilar creeds and
Some of them believe in one thing, others in another.
Some incline towards the ancient magic, or secret wisdom that was
taught in the sanctuaries, which was the very opposite of
supernaturalism or diabolism; others in modern spiritualism, or
intercourse with the spirits of the dead; still others in mesmerism or
animal magnetism, or only an occult dynamic force in nature.
A certain number have scarcely yet acquired any definite belief, but
are in a state of attentive expectancy; and there are even those who
call themselves materialists, in a certain sense.
Of atheists and bigoted sectarians of any religion, there are none in
the Society; for the very fact of a man's joining it proves that he is
in search of the final truth as to the ultimate essence of things.
If there be such a thing as a speculative atheist, which philosophers
may deny, he would have to reject both cause and effect, whether in
this world of matter, or in that of spirit...But even they are not
atheist in the speculative sense, whether they identify the material
forces of the universe with the functions with which the theists endow
their God, or otherwise; for once that they cannot free themselves
from the conception of the abstract ideal of power, cause, necessity,
and effect, they can be considered as atheists only in respect to a
Personal God, and not to the Universal Soul of the Pantheist.
On the other hand the bigoted sectarian, fenced in, as he is, with a
creed upon every paling of which is written the warning "No
Thoroughfare," can neither come out of his enclosure to join the
Theosophical Society, nor, if he could, has it room for one whose very
religion forbids examination.
The very root idea of the Society is free and fearless investigation.
As a body, the Theosophical Society holds that all original thinkers
and investigators of the hidden side of nature whether
materialists--those who find in matter "the promise and potency of all
terrestrial life," or spiritualists--that is, those who discover in
spirit the source of all energy and of matter as well, were and are,
For to be one, one need not necessarily recognize the existence of any
special God or a deity.
One need but worship the spirit of living nature, and try to identify
oneself with it. To revere that Presence, the invisible Cause, which
is yet ever manifesting itself in its incessant results; the
intangible, omnipotent, and omnipresent Proteus: indivisible in its
Essence, and eluding form, yet appearing under all and every form; who
is here and there, and everywhere and nowhere; is ALL, and NOTHING;
ubiquitous yet one; the Essence filling, binding, bounding, containing
everything, contained in all. It will, we think, be seen now, that
whether classed as Theists, Pantheists or Atheists, such men are near
kinsmen to the rest. Be what he may,
...once that a student abandons the old and trodden highway of
routine, and enters upon the solitary path of independent
thought--Godward--he is a Theosophist; an original thinker, a seeker
after the eternal truth with "an inspiration of his own" to solve the
With every man that is earnestly searching in his own way after a
knowledge of the Divine Principle, of man's relations to it, and
nature's manifestations of it, Theosophy is allied.
It is likewise the ally of honest science, as distinguished from much
that passes for exact, physical science, so long as the latter does
not poach on the domains of psychology and metaphysics.
And it is also the ally of every honest religion--to wit, a religion
willing to be judged by the same tests as it applies to the others.
Those books, which contain the most self-evident truth, are to it
inspired (not revealed). But all books it regards, on account of the
human element contained in them, as inferior to the Book of Nature; to
read which and comprehend it correctly, the innate powers of the soul
must be highly developed.
Ideal laws can be perceived by the intuitive faculty alone; they are
beyond the domain of argument and dialectics, and no one can
understand or rightly appreciate them through the explanations of
another mind, even though this mind be claiming a direct revelation.
And it is also due to the unremitting labors of such Orientalists as
Sir W. Jones, Max Müller, Burnouf, Colebrooke, Haug, St. Hilaire, and
so many others, that the Society, as a body, feels equal respect and
veneration for Vedic, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, and other old religions
of the world; and, a like brotherly feeling toward its Hindu,
Sinhalese, Parsi, Jain, Hebrew, and Christian members as individual
students of "self," of nature, and of the divine in nature.
T S Constitution
Born in the United States of America, the Society was constituted on
the model of its Mother Land. The latter, omitting the name of God
from its constitution lest it should afford a pretext one day to make
a state religion, gives absolute equality to all religions in its
laws... The Society, modelled upon this constitution, may fairly be
termed a "Republic of Conscience."
Members of the T S
We have now, we think, made clear why our members, as individuals, are
free to stay outside or inside any creed they please, provided they do
not pretend that none but themselves shall enjoy the privilege of
conscience, and try to force their opinions upon the others.
In this respect the Rules of the Society are very strict:
It tries to act upon the wisdom of the old Buddhistic axiom, "Honour
thine own faith, and do not slander that of others"; echoed back in
our present century, in the "Declaration of Principles" of the Brahmo
Samaj, which so nobly states that: "no sect shall be vilified,
ridiculed, or hated."
RULE: It is not lawful for any officer of the Parent Society to
express, by word or act, any hostility to, or preference for, any one
section (sectarian division, or group within the Society) more than
another. All must be regarded and treated as equally the objects of
the Society's solicitude and exertions. All have an equal right to
have the essential features of their religious belief laid before the
tribunal of an impartial world.
In their individual capacity, members may, when attacked, occasionally
break this Rule, but, nevertheless, as officers they are restrained,
and the Rule is strictly enforced during the meetings.
For, above all human sects stands Theosophy in its abstract sense;
Theosophy which is too wide for any of them to contain, but which
easily contains them.
...we may state that [the T S], broader and far more universal in its
views than any existing mere scientific Society, it has, plus science,
its belief in every possibility, and determined will to penetrate into
those unknown spiritual regions which exact science pretends that its
votaries have no business to explore.
And, it has one quality more than any religion in that it makes no
difference between Gentile, Jew, or Christian. It is in this spirit
that the Society has been established upon the footing of a Universal
Unconcerned about politics; hostile to the insane dreams of Socialism
and of Communism, which it abhors--as both are but disguised
conspiracies of brutal force and sluggishness against honest labour;
the Society cares but little about the outward human management of the
The whole of its aspirations are directed towards the occult truths of
the visible and invisible worlds.
Whether the physical man be under the rule of an empire or a republic,
concerns only the man of matter...They have no sway over the inner
The true student has ever been a recluse, a man of silence and
meditation. With the busy world his habits and tastes are so little in
common that, while he is studying, his enemies and slanderers have
undisturbed opportunities. But time cures all and lies are but
ephemera. Truth alone is eternal.
One man's thought, infinitely various as are its manifestations, is
Denied ubiquity, it must necessarily speculate but in one direction;
and once transcending the boundaries of exact human knowledge, it has
to err and wander, for the ramifications of the one Central and
absolute Truth are infinite.
But as all work for one and the same object, namely, the
disenthralment of human thought, the elimination of superstitions, and
the discovery of truth, all are equally welcome.
The attainment of these objects, all agree, can best be secured by
convincing the reason and warming the enthusiasm of the generation of
fresh young minds...And, as each--the great ones as well as
small--have trodden the royal road to knowledge, we listen to all, and
take both small and great into our fellowship. For no honest searcher
comes back empty-handed, and even he who has enjoyed the least share
of popular favor can lay at least his mite upon the one altar of
THEOSOPHIST, October, 1879
[ H P B Articles, U L T Vol. 1, p. 48 ]
D T B
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