Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Theosophists

Who are the theosophists?
The word means "Divine Wisdom" or the "Wisdom of God". It is not specifically Eastern, Western, Northern or Southern. Some of the famous theosophists of history are Paracelsus, Oetinger and Jacob Boehme; all of whom were Western or Christian theosophists - or you could be a Buddhist, Muslim or Jew; it doesn't matter.

The original impulse behind the modern Theosophical Society was a Rosicrucian one, according to Dr. Steiner- who was himself a member of that said society (along with his wife Marie). The word "theosophical" was picked out of a dictionary at the time- other suggestions were: "The Miracle Club" and " The Egyptological Society". During the long period in which he was a member, he was also the leader of the German section from 1902 until 1912 (which included Austria and Switzerland).

 "Theosophy" is a book by Rudolf Steiner. Now the question is, if the Theosophical society taught Eastern doctrines why was Dr. Steiner allowed to teach his Western Rosicrucian teachings and be a leader of the section? He titled his teachings "Rosicrucian Spiritual Science" and began lectures with "My Dear Rosicrucian Friends". Why was this allowed to happen?
The reason is that the stated aim of the Theosophical Society was to avoid dogma. It was a truly open forum with members making up their own minds on whether they wanted follow Eastern or Western paths.

Theosophy is not a religion. In London during the time when H.P. Blavatsky was alive (1883), Dr. Anna Kingsford was the leader of the London Lodge and she taught her own brand of Hermetic Christian teachings.


G.R.S Mead became Blavatsky's private secretary and also joint-secretary of the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society. He made many contributions to the Theosophical Society's Lucifer as joint editor, and eventually became the sole editor of The Theosophical Review in 1907 (as Lucifer was renamed in 1897).

He was attracted to western esotericism, religion and philosophy, but had to leave the TS in 1909 over the Leadbeater affair. "As of February 1909, Mead and some seven-hundred members of the Theosophical Society's British Section resigned in protest at Annie Besant's reinstating of Charles Leadbeater to membership in the society."

HPB moved away from the Rosicrucian to a more Eastern approach- first Indian Hindu and then Tibetan Buddhist. But her teachings were never meant to be dogma.

These are the aims of one of the Theosophical Societies:
"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."

There is nothing there about it being a path, setting up a new religion or having dogmas (Eastern or otherwise) and forcing people to believe one thing or another. You often find folk with a wide variety of views speaking at theosophical societies around the world. 

As I said, theosophy is not a path.  If someone wants to talk about anthroposophy or any other form of occultism, at the Theosophical Society they can- this goes for the Adyar society.

If Annie Besant had accepted Steiner instead of Leadbeater as her guide, there may never have been an anthroposophical society. Dr. Steiner was in no hurry to leave - as mentioned above, some seven hundred had already left the British Section over the Leadbeater affair in 1909. But things became unbearable with the Krishnamurti issue - also the establishment of a religion was against the statutes.
In 1929 Krishnamurti himself repudiated the great claims made for himself.

As Rudolf Steiner said, the TS was not an occult movement but a place where occultism was discussed. It was, as he saw it, a place for discussion, where each and every member was as important as another.


1 comment:

888 said...

On the mysterious Stanzas of Dyzan: "The oriental wise men say that ancient wisdom is contained in those books, which they have carefully protected, and that this ancient wisdom has not been handed down by people like us, but they derive from higher beings, that they derive from divine sources." "thinkers claimed that this literature testifies that an ancient wisdom existed that went far beyond anything the world knows about spiritual matters today."

What Dr. Steiner is saying here is that the wisdom in the Stanzas derives from the Holy Rishis, so one would have to say that they must be an important anthroposophical study of an advanced nature.

Only gradually will the Stanzas be understood in their depth, according to Dr. Steiner. "It is in fact the case that every advance in a person's own knowledge convinces him more of their limitless depth, and lets him see with increasing clarity things which even advanced knowledge can only surmise."