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Re: Theosophy (Bee)

Jul 07, 1996 09:27 PM
by Maxim Osinovsky

On Sun, 7 Jul 1996, Bee Brown wrote:

> please something concise but meaningful :-)

Hi Bee:

Welcome to the Kafkaesque but addictive world of online theosophy. 

Here are some bits and pieces for you. WARNING: Not for a general 
discussion. No response please.

Theosophy is one of the existing systems of theoretical and practical 
spirituality, i.e. it is a system of thought that is based on the belief 
that beyond the well known material world there is an immaterial world 
that may be accessed by anyone who would be willing to undertake the 
necessary  training.

So theosophy is in the same boat as many, many other systems both 
religious (Christianity, ...) and not exactly religious (like 
Southern Buddhism, Raja Yoga or thanspersonal psychology). What makes it 
different is this:

1. It claims that it reconciles all known religions and spiritual 
philosophies, so the word 'theosophy' may be loosely translated from 
Greek as "the Wisdom-Religion.' It is stated that it 'was the universally 
diffused religion of the ancient and prehistoric world,' has been lost or 
corrupted since then, and has recently reemerged in its pristine form.

2. It claims that it relies on the living tradition having being 
preserved and carried through millenia by a community of fully 
enlightened people, known as adepts or Masters. 

(Unfortunately, it is in fact what MADE it different in the past. Now one 
find on the spiritual supermarket other teachings that claim having same 
features--e.g. Mark and Elisabeth Prophet's books, Sri Bhagavan 
Rajneesh's literary output, Donov and Aivanhov's teachings--so that it is 
not so easy anymore to explain or prove why theosophy is different without 
going into lengthy discussion.)

Theasophical Society has been created to promote and support study and 
practice of theosophy. Its history is highlighted in Chuck's brilliant 
FAQs; if you need something meaningful but not necessary cute, you may 
wish to slightly rehash Chuck's input. Three well-known objectives of 
T.S. are:

1. to form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood. -- Hmmm... not even in 
sight... (I hesitate to cite this discussion group as a standard of 

2. to encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy, 
and science. -- Again, I hesitate to offer a progress report on this 
since there is no progress in sight made by theosophists. It 
looks like theosophists are not known for their contribution into the 
above areas of study. 

3. to investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in 
human beings. -- Something is being done along these lines, but there is 
no definitive progress, so it would be difficult to impress a skeptical 

Besides that, theosophy--as it exists now--is too heavy on speculation 
and very weak on practical training. I would even say that specifically 
theosophical practices hardly exist.

So in virtually all respects the theosophical movement has failed to 
keep its promise. Nevertheless, H.P.Blavatsky has been able to prepare 
the ground for INDIVIDUAL study and practice of theosophy, and many people 
who remained faithful to the original ideas have profited from her teachings.

So it looks like the only reliable point of entry into theosophy is 
H.P.B.'s works--not just The Secret Doctrine or Isis Unveiled, but THE 

1. Collected Writings in 14 vols., including her articles and esoteric  

2. Isis Unveiled (the best edition has been published as a part of 
Blavattsky's Collected Writings series),

3. The Secret Doctrine (same series),

4. Other works: The Key to Theosophy, From the Caves and Jungles of 
Hindustan, etc.

Other primary sources, perhaps more authoritative than H.P.B.'s 
writings, include:

1. Mahatma Letters to Sinnett,

2. The Voice of Silence,

3. The light on the Path.

Some books of Annie Besant (but not C.W.Leadbeater--God forbid) may serve 
as a useful INTRODUCTION to theosophy, but they are no substitute for the 
original works.

So my best suggestion is this: explain to anyone curious about theosophy 
basic ideas and (unfulfilled) promises of theosophy, and then recommend 
to try and study the primary sources. After all people spend many years 
studying such boring subjects as math, so anyone concerned about the 
meaning of life and such SHOULD put enough time and energy into what's 
immeasurably more important.


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