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“The Key to Theosophy – Book Study 10”


“As mankind is essentially of one and the same essence, and that essence is one — infinite, uncreate, and eternal, whether we call it God or Nature — nothing, therefore, can affect one nation or one man without affecting all other nations and all other men.”


This week, we begin begin section III with: “THE WORKING SYSTEM OF THE T. S.”

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Below is the text if you wish to print out and/or read along.



Nota Bene, “T.S.” is an abbreviation for “Theosophical Society.”


ENQUIRER. What are the objects of the “Theosophical Society”?

THEOSOPHIST. They are three, and have been so from the beginning. (1.) To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, colour, or creed. (2.) To promote the study of Aryan and other Scriptures, of the World’s religion and sciences, and to vindicate the importance of old Asiatic literature, namely, of the Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Zoroastrian philosophies. (3.) To investigate the hidden mysteries of Nature under every aspect possible, and the psychic and spiritual powers latent in man especially. These are, broadly stated, the three chief objects of the Theosophical Society.

ENQUIRER. Can you give me some more detailed information upon these?

THEOSOPHIST. We may divide each of the three objects into as many explanatory clauses as may be found necessary.

ENQUIRER. Then let us begin with the first. What means would you resort to, in order to promote such a feeling of brotherhood among races that are known to be of the most diversified religions, customs, beliefs, and modes of thought?

THEOSOPHIST. Allow me to add that which you seem unwilling to express. Of course we know that with the exception of two remnants of races — the Parsees and the Jews — every nation is divided, not merely against all other nations, but even against itself. This is found most prominently among the so-called civilized Christian nations. Hence your wonder, and the reason why our first object appears to you a Utopia. Is it not so?

ENQUIRER. Well, yes; but what have you to say against it?

THEOSOPHIST. Nothing against the fact; but much about the necessity of removing the causes which make Universal Brotherhood a Utopia at present.

ENQUIRER. What are, in your view, these causes?

THEOSOPHIST. First and foremost, the natural selfishness of human nature. This selfishness, instead of being eradicated, is daily strengthened and stimulated into a ferocious and irresistible feeling by the present religious education, which tends not only to encourage, but positively to justify it. People’s ideas about right and wrong have been entirely perverted by the literal acceptance of the Jewish Bible. All the unselfishness of the altruistic teachings of Jesus has become merely a theoretical subject for pulpit oratory; while the precepts of practical selfishness taught in the Mosaic Bible, against which Christ so vainly preached, have become ingrained into the innermost life of the Western nations. “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” has come to be the first maxim of your law. Now, I state openly and fearlessly, that the perversity of this doctrine and of so many others Theosophy alonecan eradicate.






THEOSOPHIST. Simply by demonstrating on logical, philosophical, metaphysical, and even scientific grounds that: — (a) All men have spiritually and physically the same origin, which is the fundamental teaching of Theosophy. (b) As mankind is essentially of one and the same essence, and that essence is one — infinite, uncreate, and eternal, whether we call it God or Nature — nothing, therefore, can affect one nation or one man without affecting all other nations and all other men. This is as certain and as obvious as that a stone thrown into a pond will, sooner or later, set in motion every single drop of water therein.

ENQUIRER. But this is not the teaching of Christ, but rather a pantheistic notion.

THEOSOPHIST. That is where your mistake lies. It is purely Christian,although notJudaic, and therefore, perhaps, your Biblical nations prefer to ignore it.

ENQUIRER. This is a wholesale and unjust accusation. Where are your proofs for such a statement?

THEOSOPHIST. They are ready at hand. Christ is alleged to have said: “Love each other” and “Love your enemies”; for “if ye love them (only) which love you, what reward (or merit) have ye? Do not even the publicans* the same? And if you salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even publicans so?” These are Christ’s words. But Genesis ix. 25, says “Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.” And, therefore, Christian but Biblical people prefer the law of Moses to Christ’s law of love. They base upon the Old Testament, which panders to all their passions, their laws of conquest, annexation, and tyranny over races which they call inferior. What crimes have been committed on the strength of this infernal (if taken in its dead letter) passage in Genesis, history alone gives us an idea, however inadequate. **

* Publicans — regarded as so many thieves and pickpockets in these days. Among the Jews the name and profession of a publican was the most odious thing in the world. They were not allowed to enter the Temple, and Matthew (xviii. 17) speaks of a heathen and a publican as identical. Yet they were only Roman tax-gatherers occupying the same position as the British officials in India and other conquered countries.


** “At the close of the Middle Ages slavery, under the power of moral forces, had mainly disappeared from Europe; but two momentous events occurred which overbore the moral power working in European society and let loose a swarm of curses upon the earth such as mankind had scarcely ever known. One of these events was the first voyaging to a populated and barbarous coast where human beings were a familiar article of traffic; and the other the discovery of a new world, where mines of glittering wealth were open, provided labour could be imported to work them. For four hundred years men and women and children were torn from all whom they knew and loved, and were sold on the coast of Africa to foreign traders; they were chained below decks — the dead often with the living — during the horrible ‘middle passage,’ and, according to Bancroft, an impartial historian, two hundred and fifty thousand out of three and a quarter millions were thrown into the sea on that fatal passage, while the remainder were consigned to nameless misery in the mines, or under the lash in the cane and rice fields. The guilt of this great crime rests on the Christian Church. ‘In the name of the most Holy Trinity’ the Spanish Government (Roman Catholic) concluded more than ten treaties authorising the sale of five hundred thousand human beings; in 1562 Sir John Hawkins sailed on his diabolical errand of buying slaves in Africa and selling them in the West Indies in a ship which bore the sacred name of Jesus; while Elizabeth, the Protestant Queen, rewarded him for his success in this first adventure of Englishmen in that inhuman traffic by allowing him to wear as his crest ‘a demi-Moor in his proper colour, bound with a cord, or, in other words, a manacled negro slave.’ — Conquests of the Cross (quoted from the Agnostic Journal).”


Link to Google’s digitised original text of “The Key to Theosophy” from 1889:

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