“The Key to Theosophy” – Book Study 6
This week we are moving forward through section II, “Exoteric and Esoteric Theosophy” and into “Theosophists and Members of the ‘T.S.’” (Theosophical Society).
I have hope that there are Theosophists who are truly working for the benefit of mankind and not personal status, wealth or fame, there are those who may be classified as such without ever even having heard of “Theosophy” ~
“The archaic Wisdom-Religion, the esoteric doctrine once known in every ancient country having claims to civilization.”
When man looks up from the busy world of the senses and sets his sights on the stars, he can hear the eternal questions: Who, Why, Where and WHAT am I? Who is the “asker” behind these questions? Surely it is not the cry of the material body alone? Divine Wisdom has come through for us, i.e. “Man, know thyself”, “The Kingdom of Heaven is Within”, unfortunately, man will be man and too often in the search for purpose and meaning we slip into and are blinded by self-importance and separation.
This is dreadfully rampant in the new age movement and throughout organised religion. When will we finally listen and hear that what we are searching for is nearer than our own breath? With the world’s libraries right at our fingertips, if one wishes to, the sacred texts are available and absolutely free. Though the personal, daily application, digestion, study and understanding of these teachings; peace, calm, strength, unity, serenity, purpose and hope CAN be found, a magnificent oasis in our loud, tumultuous world.
THROUGH this process, which is done at your own pace, in your own world and WITHOUT joining an organisation or following any self-proclaimed guru or human ordained human ~ but through the Self to the self. You can access these ageless widsoms and study, re-study, practice and investigate on your own. No one can do this for you nor can this knowledge come from anyone else.
“Desire wisdom; love all men; do your duty; forget yourself; let each thought and act of your life have for its aim the finding of divine wisdom; strive to apply that wisdom for the good of other men. If you search in every direction, Light must come to you.”
~ William Q Judge
“The Key to Theosophy”
written down by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.
Book Study 6:
EXOTERIC AND ESOTERIC THEOSOPHY.
(most of) THEOSOPHISTS AND MEMBERS OF THE “T. S.”
ENQUIRER. This applies to lay members, as I understand. And what of those who pursue the esoteric study of Theosophy; are they the real Theosophists?
THEOSOPHIST. Not necessarily, until they have proven themselves to be such. They have entered the inner group and pledged themselves to carry out, as strictly as they can, the rules of the occult body. This is a difficult undertaking, as the foremost rule of all is the entire renunciation of one’s personality — i. e., a pledged member has to become a thorough altruist, never to think of himself, and to forget his own vanity and pride in the thought of the good of his fellow-creatures, besides that of his fellow-brothers in the esoteric circle. He has to live, if the esoteric instructions shall profit him, a life of abstinence in everything, of self- denial and strict morality, doing his duty by all men. The few real Theosophists in the T. S. are among these members. This does not imply that outside of the T. S. and the inner circle, there are no Theosophists; for there are, and more than people know of; certainly far more than are found among the lay members of the T. S.
ENQUIRER. Then what is the good of joining the so-called Theosophical Society in that case? Where is the incentive?
THEOSOPHIST. None, except the advantage of getting esoteric instructions, the genuine doctrines of the “Wisdom-Religion,” and if the real programme is carried out, deriving much help from mutual aid and sympathy. Union is strength and harmony, and well-regulated simultaneous efforts produce wonders. This has been the secret of all associations and communities since mankind existed.
ENQUIRER. But why could not a man of well-balanced mind and singleness of purpose, one, say, of indomitable energy and perseverance, become an Occultist and even an Adept if he works alone?
THEOSOPHIST. He may; but there are ten thousand chances against one that he will fail. For one reason out of many others, no books on Occultism or Theurgy exist in our day which give out the secrets of alchemy or mediaeval Theosophy in plain language. All are symbolical or in parables; and as the key to these has been lost for ages in the West, how can a man learn the correct meaning of what he is reading and studying? Therein lies the greatest danger, one that leads to unconscious black magic or the most helpless mediumship. He who has not an Initiate for a master had better leave the dangerous study alone. Look around you and observe. While two-thirds of civilized society ridicule the mere notion that there is anything in Theosophy, Occultism, Spiritualism, or in the Kabala, the other third is composed of the most heterogeneous and opposite elements. Some believe in the mystical, and even in the supernatural (!), but each believes in his own way. Others will rush single-handed into the study of the Kabala, Psychism, Mesmerism, Spiritualism, or some form or another of Mysticism. Result: no two men think alike, no two are agreed upon any fundamental occult principles, though many are those who claim for themselves the ultima thule of knowledge, and would make outsiders believe that they are full-blown adepts. Not only is there no scientific and accurate knowledge of Occultism accessible in the West — not even of true astrology, the only branch of Occultism which, in its exoteric teachings, has definite laws and a definite system — but no one has any idea of what real Occultism means. Some limit ancient wisdom to the Kabala and the Jewish Zohar, which each interprets in his own way according to the dead-letter of the Rabbinical methods. Others regard Swedenborg or Boehme as the ultimate expression of the highest wisdom; while others again see in mesmerism the great secret of ancient magic. One and all of those who put their theory into practice are rapidly drifting, through ignorance, into black magic. Happy are those who escape from it, as they have neither test nor criterion by which they can distinguish between the true and the false.
ENQUIRER. Are we to understand that the inner group of the T. S. claims to learn what it does from real initiates or masters of esoteric wisdom?
THEOSOPHIST. Not directly. The personal presence of such masters is not required. Suffice it if they give instructions to some of those who have studied under their guidance for years, and devoted their whole lives to their service. Then, in turn, these can give out the knowledge so imparted to others, who had no such opportunity. A portion of the true sciences is better than a mass of undigested and misunderstood learning. An ounce of gold is worth a ton of dust.
ENQUIRER. But how is one to know whether the ounce is real gold or only a counterfeit?
THEOSOPHIST. A tree is known by its fruit, a system by its results. When our opponents are able to prove to us that any solitary student of Occultism throughout the ages has become a saintly adept like Ammonius Saccas, or even a Plotinus, or a Theurgist like Iamblichus, or achieved feats such as are claimed to have been
done by St. Germain, without any master to guide him, and all this without being a medium, a self-deluded psychic, or a charlatan — then shall we confess ourselves mistaken. But till then, Theosophists prefer to follow the proven natural law of the tradition of the Sacred Science. There are mystics who have made great discoveries in chemistry and physical sciences, almost bordering on alchemy and Occultism; others who, by the sole aid of their genius, have rediscovered portions, if not the whole, of the lost alphabets of the “Mystery language,” and are, therefore, able to read correctly Hebrew scrolls; others still, who, being seers, have caught wonderful glimpses of the hidden secrets of Nature. But all these are specialists. One is a theoretical inventor, another a Hebrew, i. e., a Sectarian Kabalist, a third a Swedenborg of modern times, denying all and everything outside of his own particular science or religion. Not one of them can boast of having produced a universal or even a national benefit thereby, not even to himself. With the exception of a few healers — of that class which the Royal College of Physicians or Surgeons would call quacks — none have helped with their science Humanity, nor even a number of men of the same community. Where are the Chaldees of old, those who wrought marvellous cures, “not by charms but by simples”? Where is an Apollonius of Tyana, who healed the sick and raised the dead under any climate and circumstances? We know some specialists of the former class in Europe, but none of the latter — except in Asia, where the secret of the Yogi, “to live in death,” is still preserved.
“Learn, then, well the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation, and teach, practice, promulgate the system of life and thought which alone can save the coming races
(*races = ALL mankind, not ethnicity).
Do not work merely for the Theosophical Society, but through it for Humanity.”
~ CW Volume 12: page 156
Orignal Text from 1889:
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