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Feb 26, 1996 06:12 PM
Text supplied by Eldon Tucker
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Why is Theosophy Accepted?
Q. I understand to a certain extent; but I see that your
teachings are far more complicated and metaphysical than either
Spiritualism or current religious thought. Can you tell me,
then, what has caused this system of Theosophy which you support
to arouse so much interest and so much animosity at the same
A. There are several reasons for it, I believe; among other
causes that may be mentioned is:
1. The great reaction from the crassly materialistic theories
now prevalent among scientific teachers.
2. General dissatisfaction with the artificial theology of the
various Christian Churches, and the number of daily increasing
and conflicting sects.
3. An ever-growing perception of the fact that the creeds which
are so obviously self, and mutually, contradictory cannot be
true, and that claims which are unverified cannot be real. This
natural distrust of conventional religions is only strengthened
by their complete failure to preserve morals and to purify
society and the masses.
4. A conviction on the part of many, and knowledge by a few,
that there must be somewhere a philosophical and religious
system which shall be scientific and not merely speculative.
5. A belief, perhaps, that such a system must be sought for in
teachings far antedating any modern faith.
Q. But how did this system come to be put forward just now?
A. Just because the time was found to be ripe, which fact is
shown by the determined effort of so many earnest students to
reach the truth, at whatever cost and wherever it may be
concealed. Seeing this, its custodians permitted that some
portions at least of that truth should be proclaimed. Had the
formation of the Theosophical Society been postponed a few years
longer, one half of the civilized nations would have become by
this time rank materialists, and the other half
anthropomorphists and phenomenalists.
Q. Are we to regard Theosophy in any way as a revelation?
A. In no way whatever, not even in the sense of a new and direct
disclosure from some higher, supernatural, or, at least,
superhuman beings; but only in the sense of an "unveiling" of
old, very old, truths to minds hitherto ignorant of them,
ignorant even of the existence and preservation of any such
It has become "fashionable," especially of late, to deride the
notion that there ever was, in the mysteries of great and
civilized peoples, such as the Egyptians, Greeks, or Romans,
anything but priestly imposture. Even the Rosicrucians were no
better than half lunatics, half knaves. Numerous books have been
written on them; and tyros, who had hardly heard the name a few
years before, sallied out as profound critics and Gnostics on
the subject of alchemy, the fire-philosophers, and mysticism in
general. Yet a long series of the Hierophants of Egypt, India,
Chaldea, and Arabia are known, along with the greatest
philosophers and sages of Greece and the West, to have included
under the designation of wisdom and divine science all
knowledge, for they considered the base and origin of every art
and science as essentially divine. Plato regarded the mysteries
as most sacred, and Clemens Alexandrinus, who had been himself
initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries, has declared "that the
doctrines taught therein contained in them the end of all human
knowledge." Were Plato and Clemens two knaves or two fools, we
wonder, or, both?
Q. You spoke of "Persecution." If truth is as represented by
Theosophy, why has it met with such opposition, and with no
A. For many and various reasons again, one of which is the
hatred felt by men for "innovations," as they call them.
Selfishness is essentially conservative, and hates being
disturbed. It prefers an easy-going, unexacting lie to the
greatest truth, if the latter requires the sacrifice of one's
smallest comfort. The power of mental inertia is great in
anything that does not promise immediate benefit and reward. Our
age is pre-eminently unspiritual and matter of fact. Moreover,
there is the unfamiliar character of Theosophic teachings; the
highly abstruse nature of the doctrines, some of which
contradict flatly many of the human vagaries cherished by
sectarians, which have eaten into the very core of popular
beliefs. If we add to this the personal efforts and great purity
of life exacted of those who would become the disciples of the
inner circle, and the very limited class to which an entirely
unselfish code appeals, it will be easy to perceive the reason
why Theosophy is doomed to such slow, uphill work. It is
essentially the philosophy of those who suffer, and have lost
all hope of being helped out of the mire of life by any other
means. Moreover, the history of any system of belief or morals,
newly introduced into a foreign soil, shows that its beginnings
were impeded by every obstacle that obscurantism and selfishness
could suggest. "The crown of the innovator is a crown of thorns"
indeed! No pulling down of old, worm-eaten buildings can be
accomplished without some danger.
Q. All this refers rather to the ethics and philosophy of the
T.S. Can you give me a general idea of the Society itself, its
objects and statutes?
A. This was never made secret. Ask, and you shall receive
Q. But I heard that you were bound by pledges?
A. Only in the Arcane or "Esoteric" Section.
Q. And also, that some members after leaving did not regard
themselves bound by them. Are they right?
A. This shows that their idea of honor is an imperfect one. How
can they be right? As well said in The Path, our theosophical
organ at New York, treating of such a case:
Suppose that a soldier is tried for infringement of oath and
discipline, and is dismissed from the service. In his rage at
the justice he has called down, and of whose penalties he was
distinctly forewarned, the soldier turns to the enemy with false
information, a spy and traitor, as a revenge upon his former
Chief, and claims that his punishment has released him from his
oath of loyalty to a cause. Is he justified, think you? Don't
you think he deserves being called a dishonorable man, a coward?
Q. I believe so; but some think otherwise.
A. So much the worse for them. But we will talk on this subject
later, if you please.
Ancient Wisdom for a New Age
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