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Ancient Or Modern Theosophy?
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H.P. Blavatsky linked together the most ancient Wisdom Religion, when infant Humanity had only ONE religion and ONE philosophy, to the modern philosophical system called Theosophy in an article entitled "What Is Theosophy?". In that essay, she said:
"Theosophy is, then, the archaic Wisdom-Religion, the esoteric doctrine once known in every ancient country having claims to civilization. This "Wisdom" all the old writings show us as an emanation of the divine Principle; and the clear comprehension of it is typified in such names as the Indian Buddh, the Babylonian Nebo, the Thoth of Memphis, the Hermes of Greece; in the appellations, also, of some goddesses – Metis, Neitha, Athena, the Gnostic Sophia, and finally the Vedas, from the word "to know." Under this designation, all the ancient philosophers of the East and West, the Hierophants of old Egypt, the Rishis of Aryavart, the Theodidaktoi of Greece, included all knowledge of things occult and essentially divine. The Mercavah of the Hebrew Rabbis, the secular and popular series, were thus designated as only the vehicle, the outward shell which contained the higher esoteric knowledge. The Magi of Zoroaster received instruction and were initiated in the caves and secret lodges of Bactria; the Egyptian and Grecian hierophants had their apporrheta, or secret discourses, during which the Mysta became an Epopta – a Seer.
The central idea of the Eclectic Theosophy was that of a simple Supreme Essence, Unknown and Unknowable – for – "How could one know the knower?" as enquires Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Their system was characterized by three distinct features: the theory of the above-named Essence; the doctrine of the human soul – an emanation from the latter, hence of the same nature; and its theurgy. It is this last science which has led the Neo-Platonists to be so misrepresented in our era of materialistic science. Theurgy being essentially the art of applying the divine powers of man to the subordination of the blind forces of nature, its votaries were first termed magicians – a corruption of the word "Magh," signifying a wise, or learned man, and – derided. Skeptics of a century ago would have been as wide of the mark if they had laughed at the idea of a phonograph or telegraph. The ridiculed and the "infidels" of one generation generally become the wise men and saints of the next.
As regards the Divine essence and the nature of the soul and spirit, modern Theosophy believes now as ancient Theosophy did. The popular Diu of the Aryan nations was identical with theIao of the Chaldeans, and even with the Jupiter of the less learned and philosophical among the Romans; and it was just as identical with the Jahve of the Samaritans, the Tiu or "Tiusco" of the Northmen, the Duw of the Britains, and the Zeus of the Thracians. As to the Absolute Essence, the One and all – whether we accept the Greek Pythagorean, the Chaldean Kabalistic, or the Aryan philosophy in regard to it, it will lead to one and the same result. The Primeval Monad of the Pythagorean system, which retires into darkness and is itself Darkness (for human intellect) was made the basis of all things; and we can find the idea in all its integrity in the philosophical systems of Leibnitz and Spinoza. Therefore, whether a Theosophist agrees with the Kabala which, speaking of En-Soph propounds the query: "Who, then, can comprehend It since It is formless, and Non-existent?" – or, remembering that magnificent hymn from the Rig-Veda (Hymn 129th, Book 10th) – enquires:
"Who knows from whence this great creation sprang?
Whether his will created or was mute.
He knows it – or perchance even He knows not;"
or again, accepts the Vedantic conception of Brahma, who in the Upanishads is represented as "without life, without mind, pure," unconscious, for – Brahma is "Absolute Consciousness"; or, even finally, siding with the Svabhâvikas of Nepaul, maintains that nothing exists but "Svabhâvat" (substance or nature) which exists by itself without any creator; any one of the above conceptions can lead but to pure and absolute Theosophy – that Theosophy which prompted such men as Hegel, Fichte and Spinoza to take up the labors of the old Grecian philosophers and speculate upon the One Substance – the Deity, the Divine All proceeding from the Divine Wisdom – incomprehensible, unknown and unnamed – by any ancient or modern religious philosophy, with the exception of Christianity and Mohammedanism. Every Theosophist, then, holding to a theory of the Deity "which has not revelation, but an inspiration of his own for its basis," may accept any of the above definitions or belong to any of these religions, and yet remain strictly within the boundaries of Theosophy. For the latter is belief in the Deity as the ALL, the source of all existence, the infinite that cannot be either comprehended or known, the universe alone revealing It, or, as some prefer it, Him, thus giving a sex to that, to anthropomorphize which is blasphemy.
True, Theosophy shrinks from brutal materialization; it prefers believing that, from eternity retired within itself, the Spirit of the Deity neither wills nor creates; but that, from the infinite effulgency everywhere going forth from the Great Centre, that which produces all visible and invisible things, is but a Ray containing in itself the generative and conceptive power, which, in its turn, produces that which the Greeks called Macrocosm, the KabalistsTikkun or Adam Kadmon – the archetypal man, and the Aryans Purusha, the manifested Brahm, or the Divine Male. Theosophy believes also in the Anastasis or continued existence, and in transmigration (evolution) or a series of changes in the soul1 which can be defended and explained on strict philosophical principles; and only by making a distinction between Paramâtma (transcendental, supreme soul) and Jivâtma (animal, or conscious soul) of the Vedantins.?
Readers will find Theosophy books and more essays on Theosophy by H.P. Blavatsky,W.Q. Judge and Robert Crosbie, as well as the unique Lead Articles by Sri Raghavan Iyer that originally appeared in HERMES Magazine, at the Theosophy Trust website, https://www.theosophytrust.org/
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