Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
Helena Petrovna Hahn (also Hélène) (July 31, 1831 (O.S.) [(August 12, 1831 (N.S.)] – May 8, 1891), better known as "Helena Blavatsky" or "Madame Blavatsky", was an occultist, spirit medium, and author who co-founded the Theosophical Society in 1875. She gained an international following as the leading theoretician of Theosophy, the esoteric movement that the Society promoted.
- The possible truths, hazily perceived in the world of abstraction, like those inferred from observation and experiment in the world of matter, are forced upon the profane multitudes, too busy to think for themselves, under the form of Divine revelation and scientific authority. But the same question stands open from the days of Socrates and Pilate down to our own age of wholesale negation: is there such a thing as absolute truth in the hands of any one party or man? Reason answers, "there cannot be." There is no room for absolute truth upon any subject whatsoever, in a world as finite and conditioned as man is himself. But there are relative truths, and we have to make the best we can of them.
- Lucifer (February 1888)
- "There is often greater martyrdom to live for the love of, whether man or an ideal, than to die" is a motto of the Mahatmas.
- There is no religion higher than truth.
- Motto of the Theosophical Society. See for instance: Blavatsky Collected Writings, Volume 6, p. 168
- Maitreya is the secret name of the Fifth Buddha, and the Kalki Avatar of the Brahmins - the last Messiah who will come at the culmination of the Great Cycle.
- Secret Doctrine I, p. 384
- We are in the Kali Yuga [Sanskrit term meaning Dark Age] and its fatal influence is a thousand-fold more powerful in the West than it is in the East; hence the easy preys made by the Powers of the Age of Darkness in this cyclic struggle, and the many delusions under which the world is now laboring. One of these is the relative facility with which men fancy they can get at the "Gate" and cross the threshold of Occultism without any great sacrifice. It is the dream of most Theosophists, one inspired by desire for Power and personal selfishness, and it is not such feelings that can ever lead them to the coveted goal. For, as well said by one believed to have sacrificed himself for Humanity--"Strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life" eternal, and therefore "few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:14) So strait indeed, that at the bare mention of some of the preliminary difficulties the affrighted Western candidates turn back and retreat with a shudder... Let them stop here and attempt no more in their great weakness. For if, while turning their backs on the narrow gate, they are dragged by their desire for the Occult one step in the direction of the broad and more inviting gates of that golden mystery which glitters in the light of illusion, woe to them!
- Studies in Occultism, (1888)
- Nothing of that which is conducive to help man, collectively or individually, to live — not "happily" — but less unhappily in this world, ought to be indifferent to the Theosophist-Occultist. It is no concern of his whether his help benefits a man in his worldly or spiritual progress; his first duty is to be ever ready to help if he can, without stopping to philosophize.
- I speak "with absolute certainty" only so far as my own personal belief is concerned. Those who have not the same warrant for their belief as I have, would be very credulous and foolish to accept it on blind faith. Nor does the writer believe any more than her correspondent and his friends in any "authority" let alone "divine revelation"!
Isis Unveiled (1877)
- We venture to say a few words in explanation of the plan of this work. Its object is not to force upon the public the personal views or theories of its author; nor has it the pretensions of a scientific work, which aims at creating a revolution in some department of thought. It is rather a brief summary of the religions, philosophies, and universal traditions of human kind, and the exegesis of the same, in the spirit of those secret doctrines, of which none — thanks to prejudice and bigotry — have reached Christendom in so unmutilated a form, as to secure it a fair judgment. Since the days of the unlucky mediaeval philosophers, the last to write upon these secret doctrines of which they were the depositories, few men have dared to brave persecution and prejudice by placing their knowledge upon record. And these few have never, as a rule, written for the public, but only for those of their own and succeeding times who possessed the key to their jargon. The multitude, not understanding them or their doctrines, have been accustomed to regard them en masse as either charlatans or dreamers. Hence the unmerited contempt into which the study of the noblest of sciences — that of the spiritual man — has gradually fallen.
- The discoveries of modern science do not disagree with the oldest traditions which claim an incredible antiquity for our race.
- Chapter I
- The astral perisprit is contained and confined within the physical body as ether in a bottle, or magnetism in magnetized iron. It is a centre and engine of force, fed from the universal supply of force, and moved by the same general laws which pervade all nature and produce all cosmical phenomena.Its inherent activity causes the incessant physical operations of the animal organism and ultimately results in the destruction of the latter by overuse and its own escape. It is the prisoner, not the voluntary tenant, of the body.
- Chapter VI
- The infinite and uncreated spirit that we usually call GOD, a substance of the highest virtue and excellency, produced everything else by emanative causality. God thus is the primary substance, the rest, the secondary; if the former created matter with a power of moving itself, he, the primary substance, is still the cause of that motion as well as of the matter, and yet we rightly say that it is matter which moves itself. "We may define this kind of spirit we speak of to be a substance indiscernible, that can move itself, that can penetrate, contract, and dilate itself, and can also penetrate, move, and alter matter," which is the third emanation.
- Chapter VII
- Everything lives and perishes through magnetism; one thing affects another one, even at great distances, and its "congenitals" may be influenced to health and disease by the power of this sympathy, at any time, and notwithstanding the intervening space.
- Chapter VII
- Science tells us that heat may be shown to develop electricity, electricity produce heat; and magnetism to evolve electricity, and vice versa. Motion, they tell us, results from motion itself, and so on, ad infinitum. This is the A B C of occultism and of the earliest alchemists. The indestructibility of matter and force being discovered and proved, the great problem of eternity is solved.
- Chapter VII
- Evidently Proclus does not advocate here simply a superstition, but science; for notwithstanding that it is occult, and unknown to our scholars, who deny its possibilities, magic is still a science. It is firmly and solely based on the mysterious affinities existing between organic and inorganic bodies, the visible productions of the four kingdoms, and the invisible powers of the universe. That which science calls gravitation, the ancients and the mediaeval hermetists called magnetism, attraction, affinity. It is the universal law, which is understood by Plato and explained in Timaeus as the attraction of lesser bodies to larger ones, and of similar bodies to similar, the latter exhibiting a magnetic power rather than following the law of gravitation. The anti-Aristotelean formula that gravity causes all bodies to descend with equal rapidity, without reference to their weight, the difference being caused by some other unknown agency, would seem to point a great deal more forcibly to magnetism than to gravitation, the former attracting rather in virtue of the substance than of the weight. A thorough familiarity with the occult faculties of everything existing in nature, visible as well as invisible; their mutual relations, attractions, and repulsions; the cause of these, traced to the spiritual principle which pervades and animates all things; the ability to furnish the best conditions for this principle to manifest itself, in other words a profound and exhaustive knowledge of natural law — this was and is the basis of magic.
- Chapter VII
- "True science has no belief," says Dr. Fenwick, in Bulwer-Lytton's Strange Story; "true science knows but three states of mind: denial, conviction, and the vast interval between the two, which is not belief, but the suspension of judgment." Such, perhaps, was true science in Dr. Fenwick's days. But the true science of our modern times proceeds otherwise; it either denies point-blank, without any preliminary investigation, or sits in the interim, between denial and conviction, and, dictionary in hand, invents new Graeco-Latin appellations for non-existing kinds of hysteria!
- Chapter VII
- According to the ancient doctrines, the soulless elemental spirits were evolved by the ceaseless motion inherent in the astral light. Light is force, and the latter is produced by the will. As this will proceeds from an intelligence which cannot err, for it has nothing of the material organs of human thought in it, being the superfine pure emanation of the highest divinity itself — (Plato's "Father") it proceeds from the beginning of time, according to immutable laws, to evolve the elementary fabric requisite for subsequent generations of what we term human races. All of the latter, whether belonging to this planet or to some other of the myriads in space, have their earthly bodies evolved in the matrix out of the bodies of a certain class of these elemental beings which have passed away in the invisible worlds.
- Chapter VII
- Annihilation means, with the Buddhistical philosophy, only a dispersion of matter, in whatever form or semblance of form it may be; for everything that bears a shape was created, and thus must sooner or later perish, i.e., change that shape; therefore, as something temporary, though seeming to be permanent, it is but an illusion, Maya; for, as eternity has neither beginning nor end, the more or less prolonged duration of some particular form passes, as it were, like an instantaneous flash of lightning. Before we have the time to realize that we have seen it, it is gone and passed away for ever; hence, even our astral bodies, pure ether, are but illusions of matter, so long as they retain their terrestrial outline. The latter changes, says the Buddhist, according to the merits or demerits of the person during his lifetime, and this is metempsychosis. When the spiritual entity breaks loose for ever from every particle of matter, then only it enters upon the eternal and unchangeable Nirvana. He exists in spirit, in nothing; as a form, a shape, a semblance, he is completely annihilated, and thus will die no more, for spirit alone is no Maya, but the only REALITY in an illusionary universe of ever-passing forms.
- Chapter VII
- While Moses forbids 'graven images' of Him whose name is not to be taken in vain, Spinoza goes farther. He clearly infers that God must not be so much as described. Human language is totally unfit to give an idea of this "Being" who is altogether unique. Whether it is Spinoza or the Christian theology that is more right in their premises and conclusion, we leave the reader to judge for himself. Every attempt to the contrary leads a nation to anthropomorphize the deity in whom it believes, and the result is that given by Swedenborg. Instead of stating that God made man after his own image, we ought in truth to say that "man imagines God after his image," forgetting that he has set up his own reflection for worship.
- Chapter IX
- What is imagination? Psychologists tell us that it is the plastic or creative power of the soul; but materialists confound it with fancy. The radical difference between the two, was however, so thoroughly indicated by Wordsworth, in the preface to his Lyrical Ballads, that it is no longer excusable to interchange the words. Imagination, Pythagoras maintained to be the remembrance of precedent spiritual, mental, and physical states, while fancy is the disorderly production of the material brain.
- Chapter XI
- As Mr. Wallace justly observes, Hume's apothegm, that "a miracle is a violation of the laws of nature," is imperfect; for in the first place it assumes that we know all the laws of nature; and, second, that an unusual phenomenon is a miracle.
- Chapter XII
- What proofs other than negative have we that the animal is without a surviving, if not immortal, soul? On strictly scientific grounds we can adduce as many arguments pro as contra. To express it clearer, neither man nor animal can offer either proof or disproof of the survival of their souls after death. And from the point of view of scientific experience, it is impossible to bring that which has no objective existence under the cognizance of any exact law of science.
- Chapter XII
- There is a phenomenon in nature unknown, and therefore rejected by physiology and psychology in our age of unbelief. This phenomenon is a state of half-death. Virtually, the body is dead; and, in cases of persons in whom matter does not predominate over spirit and wickedness not so great as to destroy spirituality, if left alone, their astral soul will disengage itself by gradual efforts, and, when the last link is broken, it finds itself separated forever from its earthly body. Equal magnetic polarity will violently repulse the ethereal man from the decaying organic mass. The whole difficulty lies in that 1, the ultimate moment of separation between the two is believed to be that when the body is declared dead by science; and 2, a prevailing unbelief in the existence of either soul or spirit in man, by the same science.
- Chapter XII
- The kabalists say that a man is not dead when his body is entombed. Death is never sudden; for, according to Hermes, nothing goes in nature by violent transitions. Everything is gradual, and as it required a long and gradual development to produce the living human being, so time is required to completely withdraw vitality from the carcass. "Death can no more be an absolute end, than birth a real beginning. Birth proves the preexistence of the being, as death proves immortality," says the same French kabalist [Eliphas Levi].
- Chapter XIII
- Man is not dead when he is cold, stiff, pulseless, breathless, and even showing signs of decomposition; he is not dead when buried, nor afterward, until a certain point is reached. That point is, when the vital organs have become so decomposed, that if reanimated, they could not perform their customary functions; when the mainspring and cogs of the machine, so to speak, are so eaten away by rust, that they would snap upon the turning of the key. Until that point is reached, the astral body may be caused, without miracle, to reenter its former tabernacle, either by an effort of its own will, or under the resistless impulse of the will of one who knows the potencies of nature and how to direct them. The spark is not extinguished, but only latent — latent as the fire in the flint, or the heat in the cold iron.
- Chapter XIII
- When science shall have effectually demonstrated to us the origin of matter, and proved the fallacy of the occultists and old philosophers who held (as their descendants now hold) that matter is but one of the correlations of spirit, then will the world of skeptics have a right to reject the old Wisdom, or throw the charge of obscenity in the teeth of the old religions.
- Chapter XV
- But, if the knowledge of the occult powers of nature opens the spiritual sight of man, enlarges his intellectual faculties, and leads him unerringly to a profounder veneration for the Creator, on the other hand ignorance, dogmatic narrow-mindedness, and a childish fear of looking to the bottom of things, invariably leads to fetish-worship and superstition.
- Chapter I
- In the Book of Hermes, "Pimander," is enunciated in distinct and unequivocal sentences, the whole trinitarian dogma accepted by the Christians. "The light is me," says Pimander, the DIVINE THOUGHT. "I am the nous or intelligence, and I am thy god, and I am far older than the human principle which escapes from the shadow. I am the germ of thought, the resplendent WORD, the SON of GOD. Think that what thus sees and hears in thee, is the Verbum of the Master, it is the Thought, which is God the Father... The celestial ocean, the AETHER, which flows from east to west, is the Breath of the Father, the life-giving Principle, the HOLY GHOST!" For they are not at all separated and their union is LIFE.
- Chapter I
- Every one of the numberless religions and religious sects views the Deity after its own fashion; and, fathering on the unknown its own speculations, it enforces these purely human outgrowths of overheated imagination on the ignorant masses, and calls them "revelation." As the dogmas of every religion and sect often differ radically, they cannot be true. And if untrue, what are they?
- Chapter II
- We can assert, with entire plausibility, that there is not one of all these sects — Kabalism, Judaism, and our present Christianity included — but sprung from the two main branches of that one mother-trunk, the once universal religion, which antedated the Vedaic ages — we speak of that prehistoric Buddhism which merged later into Brahmanism.
The religion which the primitive teaching of the early few apostles most resembled — a religion preached by Jesus himself — is the elder of these two, Buddhism. The latter as taught in its primitive purity, and carried to perfection by the last of the Buddhas, Gautama, based its moral ethics on three fundamental principles. It alleged that 1, every thing existing, exists from natural causes; 2, that virtue brings its own reward, and vice and sin their own punishment; and, 3, that the state of man in this world is probationary... However puzzling the subsequent theological tenets; however seemingly incomprehensible the metaphysical abstractions which have convulsed the theology of every one of the great religions of mankind as soon as it was placed on a sure footing, the above is found to be the essence of every religious philosophy, with the exception of later Christianity. It was that of Zoroaster, of Pythagoras, of Plato, of Jesus, and even of Moses, albeit the teachings of the Jewish law-giver have been so piously tampered with.
- Chapter III
- Perhaps the Church of Rome was but consistent in choosing as her titular founder the apostle who thrice denied his master at the moment of danger; and the only one, moreover, except Judas, who provoked Christ in such a way as to be addressed as the "Enemy." "Get thee behind me, Satan!" exclaims Jesus, rebuking the taunting apostle.(Gospel according to Mark, viii. 33.) There is a tradition in the Greek Church which has never found favor at the Vatican. The former traces its origin to one of the Gnostic leaders — Basilides, perhaps, who lived under Trajan and Adrian, at the end of the first and the beginning of the second century. With regard to this particular tradition, if the Gnostic is Basilides, then he must be accepted as a sufficient authority, having claimed to have been a disciple of the Apostle Matthew, and to have had for master Glaucias, a disciple of St. Peter himself...
- Chapter III
- This tradition, then, of which we have been speaking, affirms that, when frightened at the accusation of the servant of the high priest, the apostle had thrice denied his master, and the cock had crowed, Jesus, who was then passing through the hall in custody of the soldiers, turned, and, looking at Peter, said: "Verily, I say unto thee, Peter, thou shalt deny me throughout the coming ages, and never stop until thou shalt be old, and shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee and carry thee whither thou wouldst not." The latter part of this sentence, say the Greeks, relates to the Church of Rome, and prophesies her constant apostasy from Christ, under the mask of false religion. Later, it was inserted in the twenty-first chapter of John, but the whole of this chapter had been pronounced a forgery, even before it was found that this Gospel was never written by John the Apostle at all.
- Chapter III
- "Tell me who it is who brings about the re-birth (the revolutio)?" is asked of the wise Hermes. "God's Son, the only man, through the will of God," is the answer of the "heathen." "God's son" is the immortal spirit assigned to every human being. It is this divine entity which is the "only man," for the casket which contains our soul, and the soul itself, are but half-entities, and without its overshadowing both body and astral soul, the two are but an animal duad. It requires a trinity to form the complete "man," and allow him to remain immortal at every "re-birth," or revolutio, throughout the subsequent and ascending spheres, every one of which brings him nearer to the refulgent realm of eternal and absolute light.
- Chapter IV
- The Buddhists maintain that there is no Creator but an infinitude of creative powers, which collectively form the one eternal substance, the essence of which is inscrutable — hence not a subject for speculation for any true philosopher. Socrates invariably refused to argue upon the mystery of universal being, yet no one would ever have thought of charging him with atheism, except those who were bent upon his destruction. Upon inaugurating an active period, says the Secret Doctrine, an expansion of this Divine essence, from within outwardly, occurs in obedience to eternal and immutable law, and the phenomenal or visible universe is the ultimate result of the long chain of cosmical forces thus progressively set in motion. In like manner, when the passive condition is resumed, a contraction of the Divine essence takes place, and the previous work of creation is gradually and progressively undone. The visible universe becomes disintegrated, its material dispersed; and "darkness," solitary and alone, broods once more over the face of the "deep." To use a metaphor which will convey the idea still more clearly, an outbreathing of the "unknown essence" produces the world; and an inhalation causes it to disappear. This process has been going on from all eternity, and our present universe is but one of an infinite series which had no beginning and will have no end.
- Chapter VI
- In the "fall of Adam" we must see, not the personal transgression of man, but simply the law of the dual evolution. Adam, or "Man," begins his career of existences by dwelling in the garden of Eden, "dressed in the celestial garment, which is a garment of heavenly light" (Sohar, ii., 229 b); but when expelled he is "clothed" by God, or the eternal law of Evolution or necessarianism, with coats of skin. But even on this earth of material degradation — in which the divine spark (Soul, a corruscation of the Spirit) was to begin its physical progression in a series of imprisonments from a stone up to a man's body — if he but exercise his WILL and call his deity to his help, man can transcend the powers of the angel. "Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" asks Paul (1 Corinthians, vi. 3). The real man is the Soul (Spirit), teaches the Sohar. "The mystery of the earthly man is after the mystery of the heavenly man... the wise can read the mysteries in the human face" (ii., 76 a).
- Chapter VI
- The inference to be drawn from all this is, that the made-up and dogmatic Christianity of the Constantinian period is simply an offspring of the numerous conflicting sects, half-castes themselves, born of Pagan parents. Each of these could claim representatives converted to the so-called orthodox body of Christians. And, as every newly-born dogma had to be carried out by the majority of votes, every sect colored the main substance with its own hue, till the moment when the emperor enforced this revealed olla-podrida, of which he evidently did not himself understand a word, upon an unwilling world as the religion of Christ. Wearied in the vain attempt to sound this fathomless bog of international speculations, unable to appreciate a religion based on the pure spirituality of an ideal conception, Christendom gave itself up to the adoration of brutal force as represented by a Church backed up by Constantine. Since then, among the thousand rites, dogmas, and ceremonies copied from Paganism, the Church can claim but one invention as thoroughly original with her — namely, the doctrine of eternal damnation, and one custom, that of the anathema.
- Chapter VII
- "The myths," says Horace in his Ars Poetica, "have been invented by wise men to strengthen the laws and teach moral truths." While Horace endeavored to make clear the very spirit and essence of the ancient myths, Euhemerus pretended, on the contrary, that "myths were the legendary history of kings and heroes, transformed into gods by the admiration of the nations." It is the latter method which was inferentially followed by Christians when they agreed upon the acceptation of euhemerized patriarchs, and mistook them for men who had really lived.
- Chapter IX
- The allegories of the "fall of man" and the "deluge," are the two most important features of the Pentateuch. They are, so to say, the Alpha and Omega, the highest and the lowest keys of the scale of harmony on which resounds the majestic hymns of the creation of mankind; for they discover to him who questions the Zura (figurative Gematria), the process of man's evolution from the highest spiritual entity unto the lowest physical — the post-diluvian man, as in the Egyptian hieroglyphics, every sign of the picture writing which cannot be made to fit within a certain circumscribed geometrical figure may be rejected as only intended by the sacred hierogrammatist for a premeditated blind — so many of the details in the Bible must be treated on the same principle, that portion only being accepted which answers to the numerical methods taught in the Kabala.
- Chapter IX
- "Noah is a revolutio of Adam, as Moses is a revolutio of Abel and Seth," says the Kabala; that is to say, a repetition or another version of the same story. The greatest proof of it is the distribution of the characters in the Bible. For instance, beginning with Cain, the first murderer, every fifth man in his line of descent is a murderer. Thus there come Enoch, Irad, Mehujael, Methuselah, and the fifth is Lamech, the second murderer, and he is Noah's father. By drawing the five-pointed star of Lucifer (which has its crown-point downward) and writing the name of Cain beneath the lowest point, and those of his descendants successively at each of the other points, it will be found that each fifth name — which would be written beneath that of Cain — is that of a murderer. In the Talmud this genealogy is given complete, and thirteen murderers range themselves in line below the name of Cain. This is no coincidence. Siva is the Destroyer, but he is also the Regenerator. Cain is a murderer, but he is also the creator of nations, and an inventor. This star of Lucifer is the same one that John sees falling down to earth in his Apocalypse.
- Chapter IX
- And is there no possibility that there was a period, and several periods, when man existed, and yet was not an organic being — therefore could not have left any vestige of himself for exact science? Spirit leaves no skeletons or fossils behind, and yet few are the men on earth who doubt that man can live both objectively and subjectively. At all events, the theology of the Brahmans, hoary with antiquity, and which divides the formative periods of the earth into four ages, and places between each of these a lapse of 1,728,000 years, far more agrees with official science and modern discovery than the absurd chronological notions promulgated by the Councils of Nice and Trent.
- Chapter IX
- The Gnostics were the earliest Christians with anything like a regular theological system, and it is only too evident that it was Jesus who was made to fit their theology as Christos, and not their theology that was developed out of his sayings and doings. Their ancestors had maintained, before the Christian era, that the Great Serpent — Jupiter, the Dragon of Life, the Father and "Good Divinity," had glided into the couch of Semele, and now, the post-Christian Gnostics, with a very trifling change, applied the same fable to the man Jesus, and asserted that the same "Good Divinity," Saturn (Ilda-Baoth), had, in the shape of the Dragon of Life, glided over the cradle of the infant Mary.
- Chapter X
- Jesus taught the world nothing that had not been taught as earnestly before by other masters. He begins his sermon [on the Mount] with certain purely Buddhistic precepts that had found acceptance among the Essenes, and were generally practiced by the Orphikoi, and the Neo-platonists... Every word of his sermon is an echo of the essential principles of monastic Buddhism.
- Chapter X
- The Christian virtues inculcated by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount are nowhere exemplified in the Christian world... Meanwhile the vices which coarse-mouthed slanderers have attributed to Paganism, are current everywhere among Christian Fathers and Christian Churches.
- Chapter X
- The light of Christianity has only served to show how much more hypocrisy and vice its teachings have begotten in the world since its advent, and how immensely superior were the ancients over us in every point of honor.
- Chapter X
- The clergy, by teaching the helplessness of man, his utter dependence on Providence, and the doctrine of atonement, have crushed in their faithful followers every atom of self-reliance and self-respect. So true is this, that it is becoming an axiom that the most honorable men are to be found among atheists and the so-called “infidels”.
- Chapter X
- Let them [i.e. the Christian priests and leaders] pass on – we have devoted too much space to them and their conglomerate theology, already. We have weighed both in the balance of history, of logic, of truth, and found them wanting. Their system breeds atheism, nihilism, despair, and crime: its priests and preachers are unable to prove by works their reception of divine power. If both Church and priest could but pass out of the sight of the world as easily as their names do now from the eye of our reader, it would be a happy day for humanity.
- Chapter X
- Comparative theology is a two-edged weapon, and has so proved itself. But the Christian advocates, unabashed by evidence, force comparison in the serenest way; Christian legends and dogmas, they say, do somewhat resemble the heathen, it is true; but see, while the one teaches us the existence, powers, and attributes of an all-wise, all-good Father-God, Brahmanism gives us a multitude of minor gods, and Buddhism none whatever; one is fetishism and polytheism, the other bald atheism. Jehovah is the one true God, and the Pope and Martin Luther are His prophets! This is one edge of the sword, and this the other: Despite missions, despite armies, despite enforced commercial intercourse, the "heathen" find nothing in the teachings of Jesus — sublime though some are — that Christna and Gautama had not taught them before. And so, to gain over any new converts, and keep the few already won by centuries of cunning, the Christians give the "heathen" dogmas more absurd than their own, and cheat them by adopting the habit of their native priests, and practicing the very "idolatry and fetishism" which they so disparage in the "heathens." Comparative theology works both ways.
- Chapter XI
The Secret Doctrine Volume I & II (1888)
- Separate wikiquotes page for this book
The Key to Theosophy (1889)
- The purpose of this book is exactly expressed in its title, “The Key to Theosophy,” and needs but few words of explanation. It is not a complete or exhaustive text-book of Theosophy, but only a key to unlock the door that leads to the deeper study.
- HPB:...Theosophy is Divine Knowledge or Science... "Divine Wisdom," (Theosophia) or Wisdom of the gods, as (theogonia), genealogy of the gods. The word theos means a god in Greek, one of the divine beings, certainly not "God" in the sense attached in our day to the term. Therefore, it is not "Wisdom of God," as translated by some, but Divine Wisdom such as that possessed by the gods. The term is many thousand years old... It comes to us from the Alexandrian philosophers, called lovers of truth, Philaletheians, from phil "loving," and aletheia "truth." The name Theosophy dates from the third century of our era, and began with Ammonius Saccas and his disciples, who started the Eclectic Theosophical system.
- Our age, we say, is inferior in Wisdom to any other, because it professes, more visibly every day, contempt for truth and justice, without which there can be no Wisdom. Because our civilization, built up of shams and appearances, is at best like a beautiful green morass, a bog, spread over a deadly quagmire. Because this century of culture and worship of matter, while offering prizes and premiums for every "best thing" under the Sun, from the biggest baby and the largest orchid down to the strongest pugilist and the fattest pig, has no encouragement to offer to morality; no prize to give for any moral virtue.
- Because it has Societies for the prevention of physical cruelty to animals,and none with the object of preventing the moral cruelty practiced on human beings. Because it encourages, legally and tacitly, vice under every form, from the sale of whiskey down to forced prostitution and theft brought on by starvation wages...
- This is the age which, although proclaimed as one of physical and moral freedom, is in truth the age of the most ferocious moral and mental slavery, the like of which was never known before.
- Slavery to State and men has disappeared only to make room for slavery to things and Self, to one's own vices and idiotic social customs and ways. Rapid civilization, adapted to the needs of the higher and middle classes, has doomed by contrast to only greater wretchedness the starving masses.
- That the teachings of neither our modern teachers nor preachers are "wisdom from above" is fully demonstrated. It is proved not by any personal incorrectness in their statements or mistakes in life, for "to err is but human," but by incontrovertible facts.
- Wisdom and Truth are synonymous terms, and that which is false or well-known representative of the Church of England, that the Sermon of the Mount would, in its practical application, mean utter ruin for his country less than three weeks;
- To doubt the exalted wisdom of the religion of... the Church of England, or again of our great modern scientists, is to sin against the Holy Ghost and Culture. Woe unto him who refuses to recognize the World's "Elect."...their "wisdom" is at best -- "terrestrial, psychic, devilish."
- Valuing freedom of thought above all things as the only way of reaching at some future time that Wisdom, of which every Theosophist ought to be enamored, we recognize the right to the same freedom in our foes as in our friends.
- [We do not]... blame, but rather pity, in our innermost heart, the "wise men" of our age for trying to carry out the only policy that will keep them on the pinnacle of their "authority"; as they could not, if even they would, act otherwise and preserve their prestige with the masses, or escape from being speedily outcast by their colleagues.
- The origin of all religions -- Judaeo-Christianity included -- is to be found in a few primeval truths, not one of which can be explained apart from all the others, as each is a complement of the rest in some one detail. And they are all, more or less, broken rays of the same Sun of truth, and their beginnings have to be sought in the archaic records of the Wisdom-religion. Without the light of the latter, the greatest scholars can see but the skeletons thereof covered with masks of fancy
- Thus, what with several generations of most active Church Fathers ever working at the destruction of old documents and the preparation of new passages to be interpolated in those which happened to survive, there remains of the Gnostics -- the legitimate offspring of the Archaic Wisdom-religion -- but a few unrecognizable shreds.
- Those who translate Pistis by "Faith," are utterly wrong. The word "faith" as grace or something to be believed in through unreasoned or blind faith, is a word that dates only since Christianity.
- We hold that a good book which gives people food for thought, which strengthens and clears their minds, and enables them to grasp truths which they have dimly felt but could not formulate—we hold that such a book does a real, substantial good.
- You must bear in mind how many powerful adversaries we have aroused ever since the formation of our Society... Intrinsically, Theosophy is the most serious movement of this age; and one, moreover, which threatens the very life of most of the time-honoured humbugs, prejudices, and social evils of the day—those evils which fatten and make happy the upper ten and their imitators and sycophants, the wealthy dozens of the middle classes, while they positively crush and starve out of existence the millions of the poor.
- We have to contend against... the hatred of the Spiritualists... the constant opposition of the clergy of all denominations... especially the relentless hatred and persecution of the missionaries in India.
- To this day no one seems even to feel quite certain whether the Theosophists are a kind of Serpent-and-Devil worshipers, or simply “Esoteric Buddhists”—whatever that may mean. It was useless for us to go on denying, day after day and year after year, every kind of inconceivable cock-and-bull stories about us; for, no sooner was one disposed of, than another, a still more absurd and malicious one, was born out of the ashes of the first.
- So long as the T.S. has a few devoted members willing to work for it without reward and thanks, so long as a few good Theosophists support it with occasional donations, so long will it exist, and nothing can crush it.
Enquirer: I have heard many Theosophists speak of a “power behind the Society” and of certain “Mahatmas,” mentioned also in Mr. Sinnett’s works, that are said to have founded the Society, to watch over and protect it.
HPB: You may laugh, but it is so.
- We call them “Masters” because they are our teachers; and because from them we have derived all the Theosophical truths, however inadequately some of us may have expressed, and others understood, them. They are men of great learning, whom we term Initiates, and still greater holiness of life. They are not ascetics in the ordinary sense, though they certainly remain apart from the turmoil and strife of your western world.
- The Society will live on into and through the twentieth century. It will gradually leaven and permeate the great mass of thinking and intelligent people with its large-minded and noble ideas of Religion, Duty, and Philanthropy. Slowly but surely it will burst asunder the iron fetters of creeds and dogmas, of social and caste prejudices; it will break down racial and national antipathies and barriers, and will open the way to the practical realization of the Brotherhood of all men.
- Through its teaching, through the philosophy which it has rendered accessible and intelligible to the modern mind, the West will learn to understand and appreciate the East at its true value. Further, the development of the psychic powers and faculties, the premonitory symptoms of which are already visible in America, will proceed healthily and normally.
- It is curious to see how prophetic in almost all things was the writer of Vishnu Purâna when foretelling to Maitreya some of the dark influences and sins of this Kali Yug. For after saying that the “barbarians” will be masters of the banks… There will be contemporary monarchs, reigning over the earth— kings of churlish spirit, violent temper, and ever addicted to falsehood and wickedness... Wealth and piety will decrease until the world will be wholly depraved. Property alone will confer rank; wealth will be the only source of devotion; passion will be the sole bond of union between the sexes; falsehood will be the only means of success in litigation; and women will be objects merely of sensual gratification.
- Mankind will be saved from the terrible dangers, both mental and bodily, which are inevitable when that unfolding takes place, as it threatens to do, in a hot-bed of selfishness and all evil passions. Man’s mental and psychic growth will proceed in harmony with his moral improvement, while his material surroundings will reflect the peace and fraternal goodwill which will reign in his mind, instead of the discord and strife which is everywhere apparent around us today.
Quotes about HPB
- And we, who lived around her, who in closest intimacy watched her day after day, we bear witness to the unselfish beauty of her life, the nobility of her character, and we lay at her feet our most reverent gratitude for knowledge gained, lives purified, strength developed.
- Annie Besant, An Autobiography Chapter XIV
- Throughout the last 100 years, the Ageless Wisdom Teachings have been communicated through individuals such as Helena Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society, and later by Alice A. Bailey and Helena Roerich.
- Blavatsky, who worked directly with the Masters, revealed that these perfected beings have guided humanity from behind the scenes of everyday life for countless millennia.
- One day in the winter of 1875, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, one of the founders of the Theosophical Society, made a vow: to spread by every means in her power the teachings which she had received from several Masters of the Himalayan Lodge of the Spiritual Hierarchy of our planet. True to her vow, she set to work to inform the world of these teachings. Her books, The Secret Doctrine, Isis Unveiled and The Key to Theosophy, are testimony to her indefatigable industry and will, in the face of great physical illness. These seminal works have informed and inspired many thousands of true seekers over the years and continue to do so.
- Benjamin Creme in "The perennial light of Truth, Share International (5 September 2009)
- The Tibetan Master Djwhal Khul... between 1919 and 1949... dictated, by mental telepathy, a series of 19 books through [[Alice Bailey|Alice A. Bailey]. (Bailey herself wrote five additional volumes.) These 19 very profound, and to my mind very practical, teachings are the intermediate phase of the teachings given out by the Masters for the new age of Aquarius now beginning. The Secret Doctrine was the preparatory phase of the teachings, given through Madame [Helena Petrovna ] Blavatsky, who lived and worked for some years with a group of Masters in the Himalayas. One of them was the Master Morya, her own Master, and another the Master Koot Hoomi, both very advanced Masters. These two Masters are deeply involved with humanity and, with the Master Jesus...
- Mme Blavatsky is a bit wild and somewhat irrational and speaks as if she were the Oracle of Delphi. But I will admit that I find some interesting observations in her book which was published as you know, back in 1888, at a time when physics and science were in their swaddling clothes... I'm astonished how much in keeping it is with modern Physics... There are many other significant statements of hers which I find interesting, but for which i have no time to discuss now.
- Asked the human sources of his inspiration, Creme said he was a student of the writings of Helena Blavatsky and Alice Bailey, whose books have had a profound influence on that diverse range of contemporary spiritual beliefs called New Age -- a blend of elements of Eastern and Western mysticism and a strong dose of self-improvement thinking.
Madame Blavatsky, as she was known, was an aristocratic, Russian-born medium who founded the Theosophical Society in New York in 1875 and who taught, among much else, that people could contact the spiritual realm with help from higher entities called Masters of Wisdom.
- Gustav Niebuhr in New Millennium, Great Expectations New York Times (20 July 1996)
- She was a splendid pianist, playing with a touch and expression that were simply superb. Her hands were models—ideal and actual—for a sculptor and never seen to such advantage as when flying over the keyboard to find its magical melodies... There were times when she was occupied by one of the Mahâtmas, when her playing was indescribably grand. She would sit in the dusk sometimes, with nobody else in the room beside myself, and strike from the sweettoned instrument improvisations that might well make one fancy he was listening to the Gandhâvas, or heavenly choristers. It was the harmony of heaven...she was loyal to the last degree to her aunt, her other relatives, and to the Masters; for whose work she would have sacrificed not only one, but twenty lives, and calmly seen the whole human race consumed with fire, if needs be.
- Henry Steel Olcott, Character Sketch of Madam Blavatsky, Old Diary Leaves, Volume One, (1895)
- Unconventionality was with her almost a cult, and nothing pleased her more than to do and say things to shock the prudish... HPB felt herself in revolt to every conventional idea of society, being in beliefs, tastes, dress, ideals, and behavior a social helot; ...The world was to her an empty sham, its prizes but dross, her waking life a lugubrious existence, her real life that of the night when, leaving the body, she would go and sit at the feet of her Masters.
So she felt little else than scorn and profound contempt for the blind bigots and narrow-thinking men of science, who had not even a stray glimpse of the truth, yet who would judge her with unrighteous judgment and conspire to silence her by a conspiracy of calumny. For clergymen as a body she felt hatred, because, being themselves absolutely ignorant of the truths of the spirit, they assumed the right to lead the spiritually blind, to keep the lay conscience under control, to enjoy revenues they had not earned, and to damn the heretic, who was often the sage, the illuminatus, the adept. We had one scrapbook into which we used to paste paragraphs from the newspapers telling of the crimes of clergymen and priests who had been brought to justice, and before we left for India there was a large collection of them. HPB made numberless friends, but often lost them again and saw them turned into personal enemies. No one could be more fascinating than she when she chose, and she chose it when she wanted to draw persons to her public work. She would be caressing in tone and manner, and make the person feel that she regarded him as her best, if not her only friend.
- Henry Steel Olcott, Character Sketch of Madam Blavatsky, Old Diary Leaves, Volume One, (1895)
- There’s ancient Indian knowledge brought forward some 100 years ago by H.P.Blavatsky, C.W.Leadbeater and others. I think it was Leadbeater who said something like “One day men of faith and men of science will stand in the same place. And the men of faith will turn to the men of science and say ‘We’ve been waiting all this time for you to arrive.’”
- Harry Oldfield in Another piece of the puzzle, Interview with researcher and inventor Harry Oldfield, Share International (February 2013)
- H. P. Blavatsky said, in language which no thoughtful mind could misinterpret: Come unto me, my Brothers. I have been taught. Only as I have been taught am I authorized to give; but what I have been taught I can give, and it is my duty to give it. She gave, and gave lavishly. What she gave was not her own; it is not my own; it is not your own. It is the common spiritual and intellectual heritage of mankind; it belongs to us all as human beings, to every son of man; and anyone who studies this common heritage of mankind and who follows the pathway that it opens... The pathway, remember, is endless, for it leads over and through the spacious fields of the spaces of invisible space.
- In her efforts to teach and help she was ready to investigate all subjects; she pointed out with abundant logic the necessity of the ideas of Theosophy being implanted in the minds of the people of the present age; that these ideas might lead the people from dogmatism and materialism into a larger and broader life. She declared that unless humanity awakened to its real needs and to its opportunities, the human family as a whole must retrograde into the shadow and lose sight of the spiritual life and light that rightfully belong to every man.
So it was that she established the Theosophical Society on entirely unsectarian and non-political lines. She accentuated tirelessly the truths of Theosophy; she declared that man's essential divine nature was a potent quality which should be aroused continuously: i. e., that man was dual in his nature -- that the higher, the nobler, the divine part, was the corrective and inspiring part, and that the human mind, no matter how splendidly trained, must be controlled by this higher self: before this man could not find his true place or realize his latent possibilities. She declared in her teachings that one who would know his strength must find his divinity, not outside himself but within; that he must understand the laws of evolution and involution; that spiritually he must realize that he is a part inseparable of the great human family; and that if he carried the investigation of Theosophy far enough, he would readily conceive of Deity as an all-powerful, omnipresent principle, rather than as a personal God existing at some point in space.
- Katherine Tingley, H.P. Blavatsky, and the Founding of the Thesophical Society, (10 January 1915)
- Annie Besant
- H.P. Blavatsky
- Geoffrey Hodson
- William Quan Judge
- C.W. Leadbeater
- Henry Steel Olcott
- Alfred Percy Sinnett
- The Ageless WisdomTeachings
- Agni Yoga
- Alice A. Bailey
- Benjamin Creme
- Djwhal Khul
- Masters of Wisdom
- Helena Roerich
- Kali Yuga