Key Ideas of Theosophy


Here is an example of what I could call a 'lesser' mystery (secret teaching). We must die in order to live. We must slay the person (personality) within. We must cause our mind, intelligence, and personality to completely be subdued or silenced, in order to finally allow ourselves to become conscious on a higher plane of consciousness, the plane of consciousness that our Higher Self works on. Only when we can become conscious on that Higher plane will we be ready for enlightenment and then nirvana (two entirely different things.).

Most people cannot fathom the idea of slaying their intellect and personality (and huge ego).

This is a mystery of a lesser type, taught by many religions. We can only hope for the day when we prove ourselves worthy of learning the higher mysteries (mysteries which are now hidden from us).
I have to ask, with respect to the Hierarchy of Masters, how can such a thing exist in oneness? It seems to be an invention of the mind that they be ranked at all.
Is it an invention of the mind that one person can have more IQ points than another? That one person has 20/20 vision and another is measurably nearsighted? Or that two people do not have equal knowledge and understanding of the new archaeological discovery at Göbekli Tepe, Turkey ... or of archaeology in general? I would say not.

Your point is not lost, however. Those who have misinterpreted the Eastern doctrines as suggesting that consciousness itself, along with Individuality become annihilated upon the attainment of Nirvana, have completely misunderstood what the Buddha taught, what was already believed before the Buddha, and also what has come after - either by way of clarification, summary or elucidation. I would suggest that those who have *given up* on such pursuits ... renew the search. Keep questing. You will find that things aren't nearly so cut and dried as the self-designated `experts' and scholars have suggested. Also, see below ...

Lunitik said:
Mind wishes to compare, to order, but in absolute oneness there cannot be a higher or lower, there cannot be left and right, there cannot be forward and back, there is only this. For me, any Master that presents itself to me, I will say he has not attained to the absolute, he has retained some concept of separation.
We are not speaking of anything absolute at all! But yes, quite agreed, it is a seeming paradox that, in oneness, there can be multiplicity. This is an old problem, and one which the Greek philosophers helped us to focus upon ... about the same time of the Buddha. Pythagoras knew well the Teachings of the Great One, owing at least partially to his travels Eastward and *direct experience*.

Let me ask you, for a moment, about your OWN physical body. Is your brain confused, simply because it consists of several billion cells, certainly each one IMPORTANT to your being CONSCIOUS in the physical world? Or is your body confused because it is composed of TRILLIONS of cells? Why such confusion, then, over a group of just sixty-three permanent members?

Even several hundred, or several thousand, should be able to operate quite efficiently and effectively ... when there is no ego involved to muck things up!

No Master has an ego. The fact that you and I do is what proves the obstacle - almost regardless of the situation, including our best efforts to understand the nature of the Great Ones or their motivation.

Nor are any of the Masters likely to present themselves to you ... so long as ego gets in the way. Perfect enlightenment is not a prerequisite for application to (or the pledge of) discipleship. A dedication to selfless service, including purity of both thought & speech, is most definitely a basic requirement.

Lunitik said:
From where has this personality arisen? Just because they are on a higher plane does not mean they are above us, or at least our potential. They must still be in some sort of suffering, because they desire distinction and to be treated with a special honor.
The Masters retain no separated personality as such; the illusions we may buy into have never been taught by those with direct access to or experience of the Masters. The Theosophical Society and other esoteric schools of like tradition have always tried to eschew the kind of confusion you echo ... and even H. P. Blavatsky stated that she bitterly resented making the existence of the Masters known to the public, due to the scandal and ridicule it produced, but also - and more importantly - because so few were able to understand or take any of it very seriously.

That the Masters are more experienced, more enlightened than we are ... is something you will need to verify for yourself. If it were not the case (that they are more advanced and more enlightened) then by definition they would not be Masters. The idea of self-mastery indicates the point. You and I are not Masters on the physical, astral and mental planes, much less the subtler planes on which the Masters are normally found. These latter include the Buddhic [or Intuitional, the 4th or `middle' plane of our septenary system], the Nirvanic/Atmic plane, and also the highest two planes of the system which are not accessible by uninitiated human beings at all.

As for special honor, I don't recall mentioning anything about this. If you have come across this somewhere, I would suggest that you have been misinformed. Charlatans on television, asking for money "in the name of Jesus" ... or the same at tent revivals, request `special honor' though deserving of none. The Masters have never asked for this. Let me illustrate:

I ask pardon for publishing a long excerpt, although this is only half of the statement found at the beginning of *every one* of the 19 volumes dictated to Alice Bailey by the Tibetan Master. I should clarify that prior to August 1934, this statement was NOT found within Alice Bailey's books, reinforcing the Tibetan's own statement, and demonstrating clearly that a true Master does not desire the kind of recognition to which you refer. Again, this is because he HAS NO EGO ... and because the flocks of devotees which invariably gather 'round him only serve to hinder him in the selfless work of World Service. The story of the Buddha and the Christ, and the hindrance that occurred due to their choice to work *on the public stage* should also serve as an example. Their case, however, is different, because these were no ordinary Masters; they were, in short, the two Greatest of the Great Ones that have ever set foot upon our planet ... and the time had come in each of their cases to demonstrate something on the world stage.

In August, 1934 the Tibetan Master [DK] writes:

"My work is to teach and spread the knowledge of the Ageless Wisdom wherever I can find a response, and I have been doing this for many years. I seek also to help the Master M. and the Master K.H. whenever opportunity offers, for I have been long connected with Them and with Their work. In all the above, I have told you much; yet at the same time I have told you nothing which would lead you to offer me that blind obedience and the foolish devotion which the emotional aspirant offers to the Guru and Master Whom he is as yet unable to contact. Nor will he make that desired contact until he has transmuted emotional devotion into unselfish service to humanity--not to the Master.

The books that I have written are sent out with no claim for their acceptance. They may, or may not, be correct, true and useful. It is for you to ascertain their truth by right practice and by the exercise of the intuition. Neither I nor A.A.B. is the least interested in having them acclaimed as inspired writings, or in having anyone speak of them (with bated breath) as being the work of one of the Masters. If they present truth in such a way that it follows sequentially upon that already offered in the world teachings, if the information given raises the aspiration and the will-to-serve from the plane of the emotions to that of the mind (the plane whereon the Masters can be found) then they will have served their purpose. If the teaching conveyed calls forth a response from the illumined mind of the worker in the world, and brings a flashing forth of his intuition, then let that teaching be accepted. But not otherwise. If the statements meet with eventual corroboration, or are deemed true under the test of the Law of Correspondences, then that is well and good. But should this not be so, let not the student accept what is said."​

For further clarification, let me just add that the entire reason the Tibetan only published his statement in 1934 ... was because, as HE himself points out, Alice had been up working late one night, and in ERROR she forgot to remove the Tibetan's name, or a reference to him, from some of the Teachings. The result was that his identity was released, even though some of his students certainly already knew him ... by several names. He also adds that it is of NO REAL CONSEQUENCE that his identity was given out; after all, if you have read the above statement, and understood it in the least, you will not be much phased ... or swayed to become an unthinking, glamoured devotee. ;)

Lunitik said:
They may exist, they may not, but if they do they are subject also to death, they cannot be forever, that is not the way of things.
Yes, after several hundred years in the body, even the Masters "die." This means that they put aside the physical body, and instantly they withdraw to the Buddhic or Nirvanic worlds. They do not have to undergo the purgatory or centuries of `Devachanic reward' and contemplative Bliss-states as we do. They forsake such conditions - as you and I are not yet able - in order to serve Humanity, precisely because they are on the Bodhisattva Path ... even though not all of the Great Ones will become a Bodhisattva or World Teacher in the Theosophical or esoteric Buddhist sense. A more general term for them is Nirmanakaya, since they retain not only the Dharmakaya vestiture, but also the Sambhogakayic and the Nirmanakayic, as taught in Buddhist doctrine.

Nor do the Great Ones avoid oneness. Rather, they have sacrificed the Nirvanic Bliss - and *abstracted* state of Being - which is rightly their reward for countless lifetimes of selfless service to Humanity and the other Kingdoms of life on planet Earth.

Lunitik said:
They are avoiding oneness, still afraid of it, but then how are they any more a Master than us?
Afraid? The Great Ones? You are projecting, or speaking of some other, clearly non-Initiated type of entity. A Master is well beyond such limitations, although they are the humblest beings you will ever encounter while on this planet.

For clarity, I would direct you to this brief essay on the Great Ones, written by Annie Besant, former president of the Theosophical Society and also a student of the Masters.

Lunitik said:
They may know more, but that doesn't make them higher, it only means their egos are fueled more. If I met one, I would ask why it persists, why it is trying to change man this way or that, I would say to it that it must move on and let those who remain here do what we can to improve this world. The very choice to do this or that creates its antithesis, you force this on people and eventually they will fight back with that. If the highest on high has not realized this, all conscious beings are in trouble, consciousness itself is doomed.
Egos? Again, you have missed the point.

Indeed, I think there are some realizations in order. Read the piece by Annie Besant, then reconsider your questions. Clearly you have misunderstood the concept of the Mahatmas.

Lunitik said:
There is the concept that all Bodhisatva's are awaiting the last sentient being to pass into enlightenment before they can, it seems very compassionate. I too wish to help as many as I can here, but still it is a method of delaying, of procrastination. As such, it is deeply flawed, they have not realized absolute truth because they are still looking back, trying to carry others there when they have not allowed themselves to dissolve into it themselves - it is almost hypocritical, like they are scared so they want to do it with the masses, not alone, they still need some sort of support.
Procrastination? Delaying what? "Seems compassionate? ROFL

And you have a better solution? Forsake the suffering that could be *avoided* if we but cooperated and sought to live more simply? With adequate clothing, food, shelter and love? Lunitik, with all due respect, you make no sense. It seems to me you do not grasp the Bodhisattva ideal whatsoever. It is the conscious choice to remain IN THIS WORLD in order to help its struggling, suffering inhabitants. Yes, you and I - and all aspirants - must do our best to try and rectify apparent duality(ies), illusions, paradoxes and mysteries. But that's part of what life is all about. If it were cake, we'd all be Buddha's by now! :D

Lunitik said:
It is all very human, very much the way of the mind, but the very goal is of no-mind, to simply reside in the being without desire for anything, simple contentment and happiness. It all looks very strange for me, but if you do not know oneness, it probably looks very appealing, so much knowledge to devour, you can feast forever on it. You needn't ever succumb to the calling, you can postpone infinitely.
This business of dissolution of self (ego) you refer to ... is quite misunderstood. The Western notion is confused, because the Principles of Consciousness, the very essence & foundation required for the study and proper understanding of self and Soul ... has never been adequately taught or mastered. If you do not gravitate at all toward the Eastern Wisdom, at least let me suggest a few alternative routes. Else, no wonder you draw such hasty and inaccurate conclusions.

Knowledge alone cannot, and will never lead to full enlightenment. The Buddha warned against this [referring to it as the `Doctrine of the Eye' vs. the `Doctrine of the Heart'], the Great Ones have cautioned us firmly ... and also the Christ! We are all agreed on this I suspect: You, me, Thomas ... and most likely everyone on these forums. I'd hate to see an argument in the other direction.

Lunitik said:
To what end though? Enjoy life, but it is not possible when death is such a fear, you will always be just avoiding death, never really going into aliveness. When you have lived totally, death is welcomed, you only fight it because you have regrets, things you wish you had done. What do these beings wish they had done? Certainly, they still have not let go.
If you fear death, let's talk about it. Let's get it out in the open. There has been so much revealed about the nature and specifics of life beyond the veil, with studies on the very process of transition out of the body ... that I suspect all, or very nearly all of your questions can be answered. Again, just ask ... or start such a thread. :)

You have a great deal of projection going on. I am not a psychologist or psychotherapist, but I promise to help any way I can. Just ask!

For me, ego is the conception of "I", if they remain distinct and cling to a name they still have an ego. Ego is that which chooses in us, whether we are arrogant or humble, it is that which chooses the pattern. Without ego, there is no pattern to behavior, you simply flow with existence. Eventually, you utterly dissolve into existence, and Buddha goes on saying it is the final death - these Masters have not entered the final death, they are still subject to death and rebirth. I do not fear death at all, I fear having to exist separately for all time, it is simply pointless and will not be enjoyable.

Just because you are a Bodhisatva and have made the vow doesn't mean you have attained the ultimate, in fact it means you have not - it means you have avoided so that you can help others. The very notion that you can help all other sentient beings is fundamentally ego based - because you think YOU can do it. These Masters may be Boddhisatvas, but it means by definition there is something higher. That something is the final extinction of your self, for me these people are simply delaying that, seeking some sort of power - and always if there is a hierarchy it shows only power. In truth, you are Dhammakaya, God, Brahman, if there is anything distinct in you, you remain deluded.
On the essay you have linked: The flaw is that she says this man is the ideal, it means she sees him as a certain extreme, as half. None of the men she has listed are half, each shows signs of being total and not an ideal at all. The mind strives for ideals, it wants there to be a goal, but this is fuel for the ego.

You are talking to someone who has finished the human career, using Annies words, but it seems she is not such a being, still she is thinking logically and very human. She has not yet understood the way of things, the dance of opposites which are always balanced. The awakened man sees the dance and sees it is perfect, there is no possibility of the ideal. The more you strive for one pole, the more the other pole will assert, this is a law. The problem is that humans want to worship these beings, they are not something to be worshiped or emulated, they are simply complete. They are your own potential, but you must die to self to realize. For instance, Jesus says "I and my father are one" - it means he no longer experiences as an individual AND no longer considers God as distinct. This is the fundamental of religion: merge the opposites and transcend them. When this is done, you are no more separate, you are no longer full of desires or will, you are merely floating with existence, going with the current of life.

Life has no personality, it has no goal, it merely enjoys.
It is beautiful that the Theosophists have tried to marry all the faiths of the world, but they have tried to do it with the mind - it looks very complicated, but it is because they have not understood the truth of it. The "perfect man" is one who has died to self, has realized what exactly he has always been, free from delusion. In nature, they are all the same being, there can be no comparison made, no difference can be asserted, they are one with life itself. There have been millions of such men, but of course mind has chosen a few otherwise it becomes too complicated, it stops making sense in this hierarchy. The ultimate contains all of these, but it is absolute oneness, undivided. The Theosophists want to respect the manifestation, but each manifestation has said something about their nonbeing, why respect their being? Find out the nature of their nonbeing, for that is what is important if you ever wish to find out what exactly you truly are.
It doesn't sound like Theosophy is your thing. If something doesn't work for you ... leave it alone.

Getting back to the discussion of key ideas ...
No religion can be absolutely true, and none can be absolutely false. A religion is true in proportion as it supplies spiritual, moral and intellectual needs, and helps the development of mankind in these respects. It is false in proportion as it hinders that development, and offends the spiritual, moral and intellectual portion of man’s nature.

HP Blavatsky
T. Subba Row (d. 1890) was a disciple of the same Guru as HP Blavatsky. Here is one of his short articles from 1888:

An excerpt:

This path is eminently dangerous to those who do not hold the talisman which ensures safety; this talisman is a perfectly unselfish, self-forgetting, self-annihilating devotion to the religious good of mankind, a self-abnegation, which is not temporal, but must have no end for ever, and the object of which is the religious enlightenment of the human race.
"An isolated fact, separated from all those to which it is related, may seem strange, bizarre, incredible. Just as a fragment of a child’s puzzle, lifted from the table, unrelated to any surroundings, shows curious outline, unintelligible form, but dropped into its proper place in the puzzle completes the whole, which is seen to be natural and significant, so the great happenings in the history of the world, looked at divorced from all else, seem unintelligible, impossible; but when they come in a regular sequence, when they are recognized as part of a perfect whole, then that which was strange becomes natural; that which was incredible becomes believable; and we realize that, however strange it may have appeared, torn away from its place in history, there is nothing in it incredible or even strange when we see it in its rightful place."

Annie Besant

my hero.
Rightly or wrongly, modern Theosophy is often considered the foundation of the New Age movement. Here is G. Farthing's list of the key ideas of the movement toward Divine Wisdom:
Basic Ideas of Theosophy by Geoffrey A. Farthing

And also ...

Here is a glimpse of Theosophy by the late Grace Knoche:
Ch 1 - To Light a Thousand Lamps by Grace F. Knoche

In general terms, I regard theosophy much as stated by Grace Knoche (in Intro in above) although with a couple of provisos. As a follower of the Traditionalist School of the Sophia Perennis there is much here that I agree with, and likewise, elements I do not. That having been said, I do rather see more ground for useful dialogue than once I saw ...

Hence, I've bumped this thread ...
Had a quick look at Universal Theosophy and, again, there is much I agree with, and much one might suppose I would, but in fact do not ... interesting.

I might question or clarify understandings.

Also I find it interesting that among the Traditionalists, whilst there was a massive regard for the Hindu Tradition (Guénon particularly – he thought Indian metaphysics was the purest metaphysical discourse we have – the Advaita Vedanta of Shankara), the Trads were by majority Sufi.

While I find the Theosophic writings interesting from a metaphysical point of view, I do find them rather cold and heartless ... but that may well be me.
While I find the Theosophic writings interesting from a metaphysical point of view, I do find them rather cold and heartless ... but that may well be me.
“The essence of Theosophy is the perfect harmonizing of the divine with the human in man, the adjustment of his god-like qualities and aspirations, and their sway over the terrestrial or animal passions in him. Kindness, absence of every ill feeling or selfishness, charity, goodwill to all beings, and perfect justice to others as to oneself, are its chief features. He who teaches Theosophy preaches the gospel of goodwill; and the converse of this is true also — he who preaches the gospel of goodwill, teaches Theosophy.” HPB