Re: What is Theosophy?
Sep 23, 1995 06:13 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker
>"Who do you say I am?" The question was
>first asked of Peter by Christ nineteen centuries ago, and has
>continued since then to the present day to be the litmus test of
Wondering about what we really are, about the origin of ourselves
and of life, is as old as the hills. What you mean here is when
is the question first posed in Christian literature?
>Perhaps never in the history of the
>Christian church has this question been more relevant than it is
The question is not more relevant now. It is always one of the
questions that we ask ourselves, once we begin to seek, to question
the beliefs given us by our society, and start to look for Truth.
>One reason for this is that Theosophists have taken the New
>Testament sculpture (if you will) of Christ, crafted an esoteric/mystical
>chisel, and hammered away at this sculpture until a completely new
>image has been formed.
We're not particularly concerned with the New Testament, nor with any
particular religious book. You're giving it too much importance in
our eyes, perhaps because of the extreme significance that you give
it in our own views. Our ideas are not based upon any biblical interpretation,
nor do we look to twisting what is said in the Bible for support for
any of our beliefs.
>This Christ is broad-minded and non-judgmental. He is a "Master" among
>"Masters," who -- with the others -- is leading the human race into
>a New Age of enlightenment and harmony.
He is a particular teacher for a particular age. Not master of Masters,
but one culture-specific spritual Teacher. He is only relevant to our
present day to the extent that Christianity has changed since his day
to be responsive to modern times.
>I know that an Avatar is One who "descends" into human form from
>above, never having gone through reincarnation. Such a one is
>considered a manifestation of divinity and seeks to reveal divine truths
>especially important to a particular age.
>Theosophy teaches an escoteric form of Christianity with no true
Theosophy teaches the same spiritual Teachings that have come out from
age to age in different cultures in different ages. Theosophy is not
a form of Christianity, Christianity is one of many masks that attempt
to interpret Truth "for the flocks," for those unable to take self-
initiative in their lives and follow the spiritual.
>Theosophy and Quimby's teachings are two trees which grew side by
>side, having been planted close to the same time (the mid to late
>1800s) in the same soil, fertilized with common ingredients
>(nineteenth-century transcendentalism, the philosophy of Emmanuel
>Swedenborg, the influx of Hindu monism, etc.).
Theosophy is not a product of Western thought. It's presentation in
the 1800's was appropriate to that time, but it is not a product of
>Certainly, in many
>respects these two have distinct beliefs and different goals, but
>they both took root and flourished in the same mystical climate.
>Taken together, these represent an appropriate starting point for
>a study in New Age Christology.
I'm not sure we can use the term "New Age Christology" since there
is no special emphasis given to any particular religion, including
the Christian. And much of what is today called "New Age" is really
a mix of theosophical ideas and a mass of contradictory opinions.
>The Aryan rootrace and other "races" were declared by Blavatsky's
>reception of some type of revelation experience. I wonder which
>Christ entered her? Maybe an angel of light.
>Anyway...The five incarnations of Christ in the five subraces of the
>Aryan rootrace were Buddha, Hermes, Zoroaster, Orpheus, and Jesus.
The terminology in Theosophy is borrowed from various religons and
philosophies. The terms had to be newly coined, since there was not
a preexisting body of thought in the west to borrow terms from.
(The spiritual and metaphysical thought-life in the west was impoverished
at the time.) Terms like "root race" could have been better chosen,
because they refer to a culture and cultural experience, and not
particularly to the physical bodies and races of individuals.
There are Avataras as needed, appearing at key points in the
history of humanity. Jesus was one. There were many.
>Theosophists reject any suggestion that Jesus died on the cross
>to pay for man's sins.
True. No one else can pay the price for what you have done. It's not
like a creditor forgiving a bank loan. The "banking model" of justice
is overly-simple, and there are much better ways to describe the law
of karma. Basically, you do something and suffer the consequences. Why?
Because the consequences are the direct results of your actions. You
and the others are changed by a particular act, and those changes lead
to further actions. Those changes are the karma, and they cannot be
forgiven anymore than you can go backwards five minutes into the past
and undo what you have just done.
>May I remind you that the Holy Scripture
>declares the the Cross of Christ is foolishness to those that are
You can refer to the Bible as long as you're aware that it is not
authoritative, and when you use it to back up something you're saying,
you're seen as coming from a weak position, a position where you do
not have the necessary words to support what you say.
>Man supposedly saves himself through continual reincarnations.
>This spiritual evolution leads men further and further away from the
>physical plane and closer and closer to spiritual planes of existence.
>Because of this process, every human being -- regardless of race or
>religion -- is a potential "Christ".
True as far as it goes.
>Annie Besant first announced the coming of this Messiah in
>1906. Her aim was to groom Jiddu Krishnamurti for the role of World
>Teacher or Messiah. In 1925 she claimed for this young Indian man
>the title of "Messianic Leader and Reincarnation of the World
>Teacher." But by 1929, Krishnamurti became convinced it was all a
>MISTAKE. On November 20 of that year, he "refused to receive
>further adoration, 'I am not an actor; I refuse to wear the robes of a
>Messiah; so I am again free of all possessions.'" Theosophy's Christ
>remains to appear.
Those claims were clearly in error. The world is not saved by looking
for an external savior, it is saved through the individual efforts of
all of us to make the spiritual a living reality in our lives. Theosophy
is not looking for a Christ to some and make things better.
>And of course I too look for the Sixth coming of Christ...but objectively
>it will be the second and final.
More like one of thousands, with that many more to come. We are talking
about a time period of billions of years, not about a world mistakenly
thought to be a few thousand years old.
>Theosophy where friends can be friends.
>Dr. Rudolf Steiner was an active member of the Theosophical
>Society and headed the German charter of the group. However, when
>a Theosophical subgroup, the "Order of the Star of the East," began
>promoting Krishnamurti as the new incarnation of the Christ,
>Steiner threatened to expel any member of the German charter who
>joined the Order. Annie Besant retaliated by cancelling Steiner's
>charter. Steiner then founded the Anthroposophical Society in 1912,
>and most of the German membership of Theosophy joined with him.
And both the Point Loma Theosophical Society and the United Lodge of
Theosophists did not find this idea particularly appealing. There was
a bias to add some Christian-like ideas into the theosophical literature
at the time with the Adyar Theosophical Society, causing it to lose
for a which its strong philosophical foundation.
>>From the foundation you now have Steiner reading the Akasha records
>where he was able to establish the significance of Christ on the human
Yes, he also took a strong Christian tone to his materials. I find
that tone misleading, because it introduces a culture-specific mask
(the Christian) over a direct study of the spiritual Teachings.
>And this is where I first encountered the difference between the
>physical earth and the etheric earth. Jesus's purpose is to be the
>mediator between the two realms.
I'm not sure about this. Perhaps Steiner said it? I wouldn't not
myself agree with it.
>Steiner believes that Christ's crucifixtion and resurrection was the
>avenue for success of this mediation. You probably don't want
>to know what he thought about the blood.
Since Jesus has nothing to do on our behalf, it really doesn't matter.
The appearance of Avataras are to combat cultural trends towards evil
and darkness, not to somehow save specific individuals from having to
work out their own salvation.
>As for Alice...
>Like Theosophy and Anthroposophy, Bailey believed that Jesus
>was a medium who allowed the Christ to use his body. But Bailey
>distinguished her beliefs from Anthroposophy by arguing that the
>"second coming" referred to the Christ coming in a single Avatar,
>not in all humanity.
We find in any group of people, that the came dynamics come into
play. Followers become leaders of their own break-away groups. There
is always a question we must ask of each such person: What is the
basis for their differing ideas and approaches? We cannot rely on
some external authority, like a Bible or church or guru to simply
tell us. Ultimately, we have to rely on our own ability to distinguish
right from wrong, truth from fiction, the spiritual from the material,
and *know* for ourselves.
>Then there is Guy and Edna...but I have not yet heard much on theos-l
>about I AM so I will refrain from posting here.
And dozens of others. And the same in the Christian sects, and of
any religion or philosophy over time. This is due to the limitations
of human nature.
>I must admit that the terminology you all use is complex but it certainly
>reveals the foolishness of man regarding the simple truth about Christ.
It's not a "simple truth". The confusion is with regard to different
people, both inside traditional Christianity and outside it, trying to
find some symbol of authority, be it Christ, God, Buddha, the Masters, etc.,
to give special weight to what they say. When a theosophical student says
that he is speaking for the Masters, it is no different than when you say
that you are speaking for Jesus or God. In either case, there is the use
of an external authority to give special weight to one's personal views.
>I aslo haven't heard much about Benjamin Creme on this list.
>I suppose because He has been proven a false prophet.
Except to his followers. The problem is not that there are so many
claimed authorities. The problem is *with us* (including Theosophists
and you and others with your background). The problem is with wanting
to be a follower, rather than an independent thinker.
>Then you have Spangler who who described what the Christ
>accomplished through Jesus. ...
We can go into a bookstore and find perhaps hundreds of different
opinions about such things. And every author has a following. How
do we tell the real from the unreal, and make sense of it? By
unfolding our own innate ability to directly know life, apart from
any would-be teachers, be they gurus of fundamentalist Christianity,
or the writers of fairy tales. How do we *know*? We look within and
>Anyway here is a start...to MY understanding about theosophy.
I'm glad to see you start to write, but not sure this directly
addresses what Theosophy is about. Theosophy is the fundamental
philosophy, first found clearly described in Blavatsky's writings,
that attempts to deal with the occult or hidden side of life,
apart from the culture-specific religions and philosophies of
different times. As its ideas work their way into mainstream
thought, they change and become culture-specific. That makes them
more relevant to modern times, but also dates them, causing such
particular expressions of the Esoteric Philosophy to become
out-of-date and in need of revision.
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