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Re: Theos-World What is Theosophy

Feb 14, 2008 05:29 PM
by Cass Silva

Jeez Morten, when did Krishnamurti demand worship?  His favourite phrase was "ordinary beings like us".  I am not a student or a follower of Krishnamurti but he left us a great legacy and many of the topics he discussed in the early 60's are more relevant now than they were then.  
  You don't seem to want to acknowledge that Krishnamurti disbanded the Order of the Star and Theosophy because of the "incarnated saviour/messiah" message.  Perhaps he was naive initially, perhaps his ego was drawn to the idea of a self fulfilling prophecy, but at a time when he could have been erected as the pinnacle of philosophical and religious ideas, inspired by a Maitreya, he walked away.  It could have been that he walked away into religious oblivion, but his message must have had some importance, as at the time, I imagine he walked away quite penniless.

Morten Nymann Olesen <> wrote:
          To all readers

My views are:

Cass wrote:
"Have you considered that every great teacher will have a following."

In all friendliness:
The question is whether it is true at all times and on all levels of human evolution?
It is when the teacher start to demand people to worship him, like J. Krishnamurti did, I start to disagree.
For four years at least he and Annie Besant, and in part C. W. Leadbeater turned the T.S. into a Messiah Craze institituion. That was a very bad idea!

Just try to read the quotes I gave in a recent email to this place. 

H. P. Blavatsky said:

"The Secret Doctrine, original edition, Vol. I, p. viii. Italics added. 

"... A new and rapidly growing threatening...the spread 
of the pure Esoteric Philosophy and knowledge....I allude to those 
charlatanesque imitations of Occultism and Theosophy....By pandering 
to the prejudices of people, and especially by adopting the false 
ideas of a personal God and a personal, carnalized Saviour, as the 
groundwork of their teaching, the leaders of this 'swindle' (for such 
it is) are endeavoring to draw men to them and in particular to turn 
Theosophists from the true path." E.S. Instruction No. I., 1890 
edition, p. 2. Italics added."

Will the real Messiah show it self like J. krishnamurti did?
No way!

- - - - - - -

"Do not use me as an authority, do not say that Krishnamurti disapproves of ceremonies. I neither approve nor disapprove."

"I know that which I am; I know my purpose in life because I am Life itself without name, without limitation. And because I am Life I would urge you to worship that Life, not in this form that is Krishnamurti but the Life which dwells in each one of you. Put aside all the paraphernalia of beliefs, religions and ceremonies, and you will find the Truth."

J. Krishnamurti's rejection of the theosophical teachings
In the Star Bulletin August 1931, Page 7 - J. Krishnamurti says:
" So I have made it prefectly clear that what is generally believed by the Christian, the Theosophist, the Hindu, the Buddhist to be Truth, has nothing in common with what I say"
(Star Bulletin 1931 as Ebook at Google)

So you think we aught to agree with such a kind of thinking?

M. Sufilight

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Cass Silva 
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2008 1:21 AM
Subject: Re: Theos-World What is Theosophy

I can see your point, I think. Have you considered that every great teacher will have a following. Jesus did not start out to set up Christianity but to reintroduce the ancient wisdom. HPB had her advaitees too. It was Besant who (with Leadbeater's input) turned Theosophy into a religious organization through the LCC and the belief that a saviour was to return to save mankind. He was supposedly coming into Sydney Harbour!

I agree that many people who follow Krishnamurti have an intellectual mind set but one cannot blame the teacher if the followers misunderstand the message. Yes organizations were set up around him, but did he personally benefit from the establishment of these organizations? I never saw any trappings of wealth around him, all I saw, was a man who devoted his life to spreading the teaching of advaita.

I guess we are just going to disagree on Krishnamurti as I don't place him in the same pot as Besant and Leadbeater. Yes, he had personality issues, but so did HPB, the stronger the soul, the stronger the ego.


Morten Nymann Olesen <> wrote:

Allright Cass. But, I think you turn it all up side down. Try to listen to what I say.

I just follow H. P. Blavatsky's views. She said: Theosophy is religion, and not a religion.
So when I talk about a Theosophical camp it might not be the one you refer to.

It is when you turn theosophy into - A - religion like J. Krishnamurti, Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater did, I do not support their activities and views. And the same goes to the present day fanatics witihin the J. Krishnamurti camp.

M. Sufilight

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Cass Silva 
Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 2:03 AM
Subject: Re: Theos-World What is Theosophy

Sometimes one has to get lost in order to be found. Again, Morten, you are attacking Krishnamurti over Theosophy. He never said he was a theosophist. He rejected Besant/Leadbeater theosophy because it advocated a Maitreya. Don't make the mistake of making Theosophy the one true religion. 

Morten Nymann Olesen <> wrote:
To all readers

My views are:

Interesting email Pablo. I thank you.

Pablo wrote:
"It is our responsibility to
preserve a space of freedom for every member to discover universal
theosophy by himself so that, by living according to its teachings, he
or she may realize the theosophical state of consciousness."

A peacefully ask all readers:
Does this - "responsibility" - imply, that it is a very good idea to promote a socalled Messiah or Meitreya or J. Krishnamurti cult within the theosophical camp and thereby creating an emotional or intellectual cult of followers, claiming that this is theosophical teachings?

M. Sufilight

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Pablo Sender 
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 5:34 AM
Subject: Theos-World What is Theosophy

"What is Theosophy?" is one of the most frequently asked
questions in the theosophical milieu and, since the word
`theosophy' remains without an official definition, it will
always be a matter to ponder over. To answer this question, I will quote
H. P. Blavatsky's words, because the theosophical movement as a
whole accepts her as a common source of inspiration. Nevertheless, the
same concepts may be found in many other theosophical writers.

The term theosophia apparently was first recorded during the 3rd century
of our era by Porphyry, a well-known Alexandrian philosopher who
belonged to the Neo-Platonic school. It is composed of two Greek words:
theos, meaning `god' or `divine'; and sophia, or
`wisdom', which may also be translated as the `wisdom of the
gods', `wisdom in things divine', or `divine
wisdom'. The term flourished among Neo-Platonists down to the 6th c.
and was also used by certain Christians. In the course of time, several
people and movements spiritually inclined also adopted the denomination
of `theosophers' or `theosophists' for themselves. That
was the case of Meister Eckhart in the 14th c., a group of Renaissance
philosophers such as Paracelsus in the 16th c., Robert Fludd, Thomas
Vaughan, and Jacob Boehme in the 17th; and Emanuel Swedenborg and Karl
von Eckartshausen in the 18th c., among others. Finally, the
theosophical movement reappeared in the 19th c. with the founding of the
Theosophical Society in 1875 by H. P. Blavatsky, H. S. Olcott, and
others. Through it, certain eternal truths were presented again in a
suitable fashion to modern times and a rich literature has been produced
by Theosophical Society members in its more than 130 years of activity.

But then the question arises: Is theosophy what the founders of the TS
taught? Is it what every leader of the TS wrote? What is the
relationship between the teachings given through the TS and those older
ones also known as theosophy? Since people with different religious and
philosophical backgrounds used the same word `theosophist' to
call themselves, the term `theosophy' must represent something
that unites them beyond concepts and beliefs.

Theosophia as a state of consciousness

In her article `What is Theosophy?' HPB attempts an explanation
of the term `theosophy', describing who a theosophist is. To
that end, she quotes Vaughan's definition:

A Theosophist-he says-is one who gives you a theory of God or
the works of God, which has not revelation, but an inspiration of his
own for its basis. [i]

A theosophist's knowledge about the Divine does not come from any
external source. He does not gather information from books, teachers,
etc., but from his own inmost nature. In fact, an essential common
feature of every theosophist is his teaching about the possibility for a
human being to reach the Divine at the moment of real ecstasy, or what
is known as samâdhi in Eastern philosophy. In her article `The
Beacon of the Unknown', HPB speaks about this as being a
`transcendental Theosophy', which, according to her, `is
true Theosophy, inner Theosophy, that of the soul':

The infinite cannot be known to our reason, which can only distinguish
and define; but we can always conceive the abstract idea thereof, thanks
to that faculty higher than our reason-intuition, or the spiritual
instinct of which I have spoken. The great initiates, who have the rare
power of throwing themselves into the state of samâdhi-which can
be but imperfectly translated by the word ecstasy, a state in which one
ceases to be the conditioned and personal `I', and becomes one
with the ALL-are the only ones who can boast of having been in
contact with the infinite; but no more than other mortals can they
describe that state in words . . . .

These few characteristics of true Theosophy and its practice have been
sketched for the small number of our readers who are gifted with the
desired intuition. [ii]

And HPB herself had access to this kind of Divine Wisdom. Let us see
what she wrote about her own source of knowledge:

Knowledge comes in visions, first in dreams and then in pictures
presented to the inner eye during meditation. Thus have I been taught
the whole system. . . . Not a word was spoken to me of all this in the
ordinary way . . . nothing taught me in writing. And knowledge so
obtained is so clear . . . that all other sources of information, all
other methods of teaching with which we are familiar dwindle into
insignificance in comparison with this. [iii]

This kind of knowledge is much deeper than that acquired through books
and lectures, because one deals with reality in a more direct way than
through ideas-this perception is supra-conceptual. From this point
of view, theosophy, essentially, is not a limited body of concepts, but
transcends any verbal formulation. It is a state of Divine Wisdom, which
is potentially in every human being. A theosophist, in his turn, is one
who realizes that state of inner enlightenment, irrespective of his
culture, time, or language:

In this view every great thinker and philosopher, especially every
founder of a new religion, school of philosophy, or sect, is necessarily
a Theosophist. Hence, Theosophy and Theosophists have existed ever since
the first glimmering of nascent thought made man seek instinctively for
the means of expressing his own independent opinions. [iv]

Theosophia and theosophical teachings

But the word theosophy is also applied to the theosophical teachings;
that is, the body of concepts taught by a theosophist as a result of his
insight and wisdom. There is an important difference between theosophy
as the state of Divine Wisdom and theosophy as the teachings that come
through someone who has attained (whether temporarily or permanently)
that enlightened state. The Divine Wisdom is the perception of Truth,
but the teachings are a necessarily partial and conditioned expression
of the real theosophia. They are, therefore, not the Truth, but a
description of it. One may be in touch with the theosophical teachings
and know them very well, but it is not the same as to realize the
theosophical state of consciousness, because we cannot reach Wisdom
through the accumulation of knowledge. When taken as an end in
themselves, the theosophical teachings are of little value; but if the
aspirant is earnest, their application will help him to live the right
life, to develop self-knowledge, and ultimately to awaken the Divine
Wisdom that is in his inmost being.

Now, the very nature of the theosophical teachings accounts for their
diversity. A theosophist will speak according to his own inspiration
`expressing his own independent opinions'. They are not
brain-born ideas, but arise from a deep state of consciousness, where
the individual is facing Truth in some of its many aspects. And in that
state he does not learn through easily repeated concepts, but through
`images'. He has therefore the difficult task of putting into
words his holistic comprehension of something which is beyond our known
reality. We can imagine how faint must be the expression of a truth in
our languages, and why many mystics refused to put into words that which
is Sacred. Quoting again HPB's words:

One of the reasons why I hesitate to answer offhand some questions put
to me is the difficulty of expressing in sufficiently accurate language
things given to me in pictures, and comprehended by me by the pure
Reason, as Kant would call it. [v]

Nevertheless, they have to communicate it as skilfully as they can if
they want to point out the way to others. Thus, the expression of the
theosophical teachings must necessarily be different from theosophist to
theosophist according to his own temperament, intellectual background,
and so on, giving to the theosophical exposition an extraordinarily
dynamic nature that prevents it from becoming a creed. Therefore,
although one person may feel more attracted by the theosophical
teachings as expressed by a particular theosophist, if he has a right
understanding, he will know that no verbal exposition is able to express
the Truth (not even at an intellectual level) and that theosophia will
not be attained by believing in any body of concepts. This is why, since
its inception, the Theosophical Society has encouraged no dogmatism or

Ancient Wisdom, a universal theosophy

There were theosophists and Theosophical Schools for the last 2,000
years, from Plato down to the medieval Alchemists, who knew the value of
the term, it may be supposed. [vi]

Theosophy transcends the Theosophical Society and was with humanity
since its inception, not only in Western countries, but also in the
whole world. Since `every great thinker and philosopher is a
Theosophist', Buddha, Zoroaster, Lao Tzu, Jesus Christ,
Patañjali, Sankarâchârya, Nâgârjuna, and Rumi, among
others, gave theosophical teachings, no matter how they labelled their

According to the theosophical view, every world religion is based on,
and comes from, one and the same ancient truth known in the past as the
`Wisdom-Religion'. This universal theosophy we are talking about
`is the body of truths which forms the basis of all religions, and
which cannot be claimed as the exclusive possession of any'.

However, the pure and original teachings of religions became, in time,
more or less corrupted by human ambition and selfishness, and obscured
by superstition and ignorance. Thus, universal theosophy became
entangled in a mass of confusion, and now a special effort is necessary
to bring back its purity. One of the aims of the Theosophical Society is
to encourage its members to investigate and discover the eternal truths
enshrined in different religions, philosophies, and sciences, and to
offer them to the public in a purified form.

Modern Theosophy and the TS

When the Theosophical Society was founded it had no literature of its
own, and the main activity of its members was in the field of that
universal theosophy. But today, after more than 130 years, the
literature produced through the TS covers a wide field of subject
matter. It has a metaphysical dimension that teaches the functioning and
constitution of the Cosmos, the aim of sentient existence in different
forms of life, the universal laws that rule its development, and so on.
Besides, modern theosophical literature speaks about right living and
the application of theosophical principles in daily life and, finally,
there are also a good number of books revealing universal theosophy as
present in different myths, philosophies, religions, and sciences. All
this literature is known as `modern Theosophy' (now usually
written with a capital `T').

Modern Theosophy offers a certain shared cosmovision, but since it was
produced by some theosophists' own inspiration, it is not a definite
body of knowledge, but a dynamic exposition that differs in many details
or ways of expression from one author to another. Modern Theosophy is
not based on revelation or the teachings given by someone considered
special and infallible, and it constantly receives new additions,
presenting different aspects and new formulations of the theosophical
principles. In fact, that is the way the Founders originally meant it,
as revealed in many of their writings, and even in those of the Masters
of the Wisdom. For example, in her first letter to the American
Theosophists assembled in the 1888 Convention, HPB wrote:

According as people are prepared to receive it, so will new Theosophical
teachings be given. But no more will be given than the world, on its
present level of spirituality, can profit by. It depends on the spread
of Theosophy-the assimilation of what has been already given-how
much more will be revealed and how soon. [vii]

If modern Theosophy would have been given to the world only during the
first years of the TS, the remaining members working for more than 100
years on a repetition of what had already been given, it would mean the
failure of the theosophical movement, as HPB warns in The Key to
Theosophy [viii]. But fortunately that was not the case. There were
several theosophists in the Theosophical Society, and each one of them
transmitted his insights and wisdom in a distinct and original way.

The role of the Theosophical Society

Theosophy is an all-embracing Science; many are the ways leading to it,
as numerous in fact as its definitions. [ix]

Many are the ways leading to that state of Divine Wisdom, because many
are the different personal dispositions, states of development, and
karmic bonds of every aspirant. The emphasis in every genuine
theosophical association is not gathered around a single way but around
a single aim. Thus, for example, J. Boehme's Christian theosophy,
Mme Blavatsky's occultist theosophy, and J. Krishnamurti's
psychological theosophy (if we can give them those labels), though
different in language and concepts, are nevertheless theosophical
teachings, since they all tend to awaken the Divine Wisdom in the
aspirant. And this feature of the TS, the policy of allowing freedom of
thought and encouraging its members' incessant searching with an
open mind, is essential not only for the realization of theosophia in
oneself, but also for the vitality of the modern theosophical movement.
In HPB's words:

Orthodoxy in Theosophy is a thing neither possible nor desirable. It is
diversity of opinion, within certain limits, that keeps the Theosophical
Society a living and healthy body, its many other ugly features
notwithstanding. Were it not, also, for the existence of a large amount
of uncertainty in the minds of students of Theosophy, such healthy
divergences would be impossible, and the Society would degenerate into a
sect, in which a narrow and stereotyped creed would take the place of
the living and breathing spirit of Truth and an ever growing Knowledge.

Almost every sentence of this excerpt is worthy of deep thought, but we
will leave that to the reader. We will only point out that to say
genuine Theosophy is only HPB's and her Masters' teachings (for
example) is not only based on a misunderstanding of what theosophy
really is, but it also goes against the TS' own interests. One
individual member may agree particularly with a certain exposition of
theosophy, let us say, Mme Blavatsky's, and he has a right to do so.
But he should neither try to force others to accept his view, nor claim
that her particular expression of theosophy should be exclusively
studied, at the risk of betraying the Founders' original aim. The
Theosophical Society, aiming to become a nucleus of the universal
brotherhood, must remain open to universal theosophy, to everything that
may help to morally and spiritually elevate people who belong to
different races, creeds, sex, castes, and colours. Otherwise, it will
become a particular sect, promoting a `stereotyped creed',
suitable only to a portion of humanity sharing certain common
characteristics. That would be the failure of the TS:

Every such attempt as the Theosophical Society has hitherto ended in
failure, because, sooner or later, it has degenerated into a sect, set
up hard-and-fast dogmas of its own, and so lost by imperceptible degrees
that vitality which living truth alone can impart. [xi]

Of course, this does not imply that where Theosophical groups as such
meet should be a place to spread other traditions (see John Algeo's
`On the Watch-Tower', The Theosophist April 2007) nor that
everything promoted as being a `spiritual teaching' is really
theosophy. That is, not everything promoted as being spiritual,
philosophical or religious helps to elevate the human condition. As we
said, sometimes the originally spiritual teaching was corrupted out of
ignorance, thirst for domination, and so on. In other cases the teaching
is offered by a `false prophet'-someone whose intention is not
at all to give a spiritual teaching, but to obtain personal profit.
There are also some schools that spread a kind of `spiritual
materialism' leading to the psychic, to fanaticism, or other forms
of selfishness, as is happening today in the New Age movement to a large
extent. Therefore, each member of the TS must develop a deep
understanding and discrimination in order to discover, in an open and
non-dogmatic way, where theosophy is truly expressed and where it is


Thus it is clear that the term `theosophy' is used in different
contexts. To clarify this matter, we could apply the following
classification to make a distinction among the different applications of
this term:

a) theosophia: the transcendental theosophy, that is, the state of
consciousness of inner enlightenment.

b) universal theosophy: those theosophical teachings given by every
great thinker, sage, and philosopher, modern or ancient. In this
category we may add two subcategories:

b1) ancient theosophy, sometimes called the Ancient Wisdom,
meaning that ancient truth known in the past as the

b2) modern Theosophy, the Theosophical teachings offered by
members of the Theosophical Society.

Since the TS was not founded to promote any particular system, its
members should not limit Theosophy to a definite set of concepts, if
they do not want to create a new cult. It is our responsibility to
preserve a space of freedom for every member to discover universal
theosophy by himself so that, by living according to its teachings, he
or she may realize the theosophical state of consciousness.

Pablo D. Sender

The Theosophist, Dec. 2007 <>


[i] Collected Writings, vol. II, p. 88, `What is Theosophy?'

[ii] Ibid., XI, p. 258.

[iii] Ibid., XIII, p. 285, `Knowledge Comes in Visions'.

[iv] Ibid., II, p. 88, `What is Theosophy?'

[v] Ibid., XIII, p. 285, `Knowledge Comes in Visions'.

[vi] Ibid., VII, p. 169, `The Original Programme Manuscript'.

[vii] Ibid., IX, p. 244, `Letter from H. P. Blavatsky to the Second
American Convention'.

[viii] The Key to Theosophy, Conclusion, `The Future of the
Theosophical Society'.

[ix] CW, vol. VII, p. 169, `The Original Programme Manuscript'.

[x] Ibid., IX, pp. 243-4, `Letter from H. P. Blavatsky to the Second
American Convention'.

[xi] The Key to Theosophy, Conclusion, `The Future of the
Theosophical Society'.

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