The Theosophical Society - The
society was founded by Helena Blavatsky
(together with H.S.
Olcott) in 1875 in New York. In 1879, they moved the society to India and in 1882, they established the Society's International Headquarters in Adyar, near Chennai, where it has since remained. The word Theosophy is derived from theos (divine) and sophia (wisdom).
The motto they gave the society - There is No Religion Higher than Truth.
Blavatsky based her philosophy and knowledge on the teachings of the 'Masters'
under whom she trained in the Himalayas.
The objectives of the society are
To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction
of race, creed, sex, caste or color.
To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Science.
To investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in man
The basis of their beliefs were put forth in the following books by Blavatsky
(with material provide by Master M and Master K.H.):
I personally don't find any contradiction in the various teachings of the Masters
given in the books by those mentioned above. Each teaching is an expansion on
the previous ones, the seeming contradictions are minor ones, and may not be
contradictions at all, but further revelations or explanation.
However, in current Theosophical circles (among whom I include all the above
organizations) there is much disagreement about which are authentic teachings
from the Masters (apart from works of Blavatsky) and which teachings are the
writers own delusions or channelings from self-appointed astral teachers. Actually,
there are many others (besides those mentioned above - the couple from 'the Summit Lighthouse' for instance) who claim to have received messages or teachings from
the Masters, the ones listed above are the only ones I believe to be authentic.
Here, I would like to examine the different theosophical factions and reasons
or motives of the theosophists who belong to them.
Old-Style Theosophists - These are theosophists who are hard core
believers in Blavatsky and her writings. To them 'The Secret Doctrine' is
their Bible and anything that says something different is pure heresy. These
'theosophists' are no different than the pope who condemned Galileo for saying
the earth rotates around the sun when the Bible clearly says it does not.
These 'theosophists' have forgotten that theosophy was meant to be the search
for the truth - they think it is 'the study of the Secret Doctrine as told
to Blavatsky'. They write clever articles like Theosophy's
Shadow and this
They reject Bailey, Roerich - anyone who claims to having teachings
of the Masters and is not named Helena Blavatsky. Leadbeater, they think of as even worse, because
he discovered this new information by his efforts without much help from the Masters - he must have been either a genius or a charlatan, and the latter is much easier to believe.
The early theosophists were highly spiritual people - they could not enter a temple or a stupa without folding their hands and bowing their heads - humility and reverence were virtues they aspired to. The current 'Old-style' theosophists, I believe (without being too judgmental), are not very spiritual, they study Blavatsky's writings like they were reading books on science, only with their intellect, without love in their hearts and very little reverence. In some ways, an intellectually inferior Christian fundamentalist, who believes in the literal truth of the Bible with all his heart out of sheer faith, is to be respected more than these people, whose hearts are not at all open.
Neo Theosophists - These have been named as such by the Old-Style
Theosophists (when they want to be really unkind they use the term pseudo-theosophists).
The Neo-theosophists have been able to see that the information
given by Leadbeater, Besant and later by Hodson had validity. But even for
these relatively open minded people, it was too much when an upstart like
Alice Bailey claimed to have contact with Masters and set about writing over
twenty detailed books containing esoteric material most of which had not appeared
anywhere before. A lot of the material in her books would later show up in
books by Leadbeater and Besant. I personally don't think Leadbeater plagiarized
the material that appeared in the 'Masters and the Path'. I think he just
obtained very much the same information by other means. But these neo-theosophists
just can not accept that the Masters would speak through someone like Bailey,
when so many learned, advanced people were available in their own midst. Instead
of examining the books by Bailey/Master DK on their own merits, they prefer
to make snide remarks like 'when did the masters become so verbose?' or disparaging
it as 'channelled communication'. They make fun of the Great Invocation '...
this ... is supposed to induce Christ and his Masters to leave their hidden
ashrams, enter into major cities and begin to dictate the redemption of Aquarian
society?', but have no difficulty accepting the efficacy of Sanskrit mantras
repeated endlessly. DK (via Bailey's books) is quite hard to read and comprehend
- to use his own favorite term, the material is quite abstruse. However, I
find the material easier to read than Blavatsky's writings (particularly the Secret
The Bailey Theosophists - I call them that because the Bailey books
have influence far beyond the organization that she founded (The Arcane School).
In fact the Bailey books may have influenced or even spawned a whole set of
'New Age' organizations - the Summit Lighthouse, various 'Ascended Masters'
and 'Seven Rays' organizations - a lot of channelled stuff, most of which
is harmless, though some of it can be quite dangerous or misleading. The more
rational of these organizations, those who strictly follow Bailey's material
without adding any of their own channelled stuff, are those I call Bailey
theosophists. They are serious students of theosophy and do their best to
understand the DK material which is not easy (a lot of it has been deliberately
given ahead of its time). However, when they hear about Benjamin Creme who
claims to be in contact with a Master and his teachings, they react the same
way, that other theosophists reacted to Bailey. They just don't want to examine
it with an open mind. It is hard for them to accept that a Master would contact
some painter in London when all these sincere people were available in the
In one of the Bailey books, Master DK says: "The teaching planned by the Hierarchy
to precede and condition the New Age, the Aquarian Age, falls into three categories:
Preparatory, given 1875 - 1890...written down by H.P.B.
Intermediate, given 1919 - 1949...written down by A.A.B.
Revelatory, emerging after 1975...to be given on a worldwide scale via
the radio. "
Blavatsky has also predicted that the next messenger from the Masters would
come after 1975.
You would think that now that 1975 has passed, all theosophists especially
the Bailey ones would be eagerly looking for the revelatory teaching. But
there is no sign of them looking for any revelations - the Bailey books have
plenty of material still to be digested. I think they have been eagerly listening
to the radio just like DK suggested. Anything that comes by any other means - internet,
podcasting etc can be rejected, because how can a Master be wrong about the medium being the
radio? (actually Creme has given many interviews on the radio, and the first
I heard of him was on the radio).
Benjamin Creme/Share International - Finally the revelatory phase
of the Masters' teachings is upon us (pretty much as DK predicted since 1975).
cover more ground, are more readable, make Bailey/DK's teachings more simple
and available. In fact, it may be best for new students to skip Blavatsky
and much of Bailey's stuff altogether and directly go to Creme's material - it is far
more comprehensible and less intimidating.
In conclusion, we can all agree that one needs to be skeptical when someone claims
to be in touch with the 'Masters'. But when your own intuition and common sense
tells you that the teaching has the 'ring of truth', then you should not hesitate
to accept it.
The three things that usually stand in the way of accepting new messengers
Fanaticism in current beliefs/dogma
Lack of humility (Why don't the Masters just talk directly to me, when I
am so spiritual as well as brilliant?)
Fear of being wrong or misled or losing the respect of ones friends and
peers. (As an aside, this is the same reason that many do not want to investigate
UFOs or crop
circles or even how the Bush administration stole
the 2004 elections).
The Point in Evolution of some of the persons mentioned on this page (this information is from Creme's Master. All Master's are themselves at 5.0 and above. Note: The scale is not linear. 5.0 maybe considered to be 10 or more times higher than 4.0 - at 4.0 you would be an Arhat, at 5.0 you become a Master):
Blavatsky - 4.0
Helena Roerich - 4.0
Alice Bailey - 3.2
Charles Leadbeater - 2.4
H.S. Olcott - 2.2
Alfred Sinnett - 2.2
Annie Besant - 2.15
William Judge - 2.0
Geoffrey Hodson - 1.6
G. de Puruker - 1.6
Jiddu Krishnamurthi - 4.0 (He is here just for the record. I don't think he would have wanted to be known as a theosophist.)
Between the first and the second initiation - around 1.6 degrees, a person starts to become mentally polarized (before that he/she is astrally polarized and subject to the illusions of the astral plane). This process of mental polarization is completed at the third initiation. The Masters can not communicate with anyone below the 1.6 level, since they always do so on the mental plane. The communication is of course the clearest for disciples who are third degree initiates and above.
A Note: Towards the end of
her life and career as the President of the Theosophical Society, Adyar, Annie
Besant went a little soft in the head. Under the influence of one George Arundell,
she declared that all her close associates and friends at the society had become
Arhats (4th degree initiates) and had been designated to take important positions
in the new world and the new race under the Lord Maitreya. This lapse does not
diminish her scholarship or life long tireless work as a social reformer, theosophist as well
as a freedom fighter for India. She came to believe this nonsense in her old
age mainly because of George (who went on to become the President after her
death and really drove the society into the ground until 1945. It has recovered
since then). Old-style Theosophists would have you believe that this distribution
of Arhathood was Leadbeater's idea (he is the one they want to get). Leadbeater
had nothing to do with it and did not believe it himself.