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The Society may become "a stranded carcass to moulder and die"....

Oct 08, 2008 07:00 PM
by danielhcaldwell

In the last section of THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, H.P. Blavatsky


ENQUIRER. Tell me, what do you expect for Theosophy in the future? 

THEOSOPHIST. If you speak of THEOSOPHY, I answer that, as it has 
existed eternally throughout the endless cycles upon cycles of the 
Past, so it will ever exist throughout the infinitudes of the Future, 
because Theosophy is synonymous with EVERLASTING TRUTH. 

ENQUIRER. Pardon me; I meant to ask you rather about the prospects of 
the Theosophical Society. 

THEOSOPHIST. Its future will depend almost entirely upon the degree 
of selflessness, earnestness, devotion, and last, but not least, on 
the amount of knowledge and wisdom possessed by those members, on 
whom it will fall to carry on the work, and to direct the Society 
after the death of the Founders. 

ENQUIRER. I quite see the importance of their being selfless and 
devoted, but I do not quite grasp how their knowledge can be as vital 
a factor in the question as these other qualities. Surely the 
literature which already exists, and to which constant additions are 
still being made, ought to be sufficient? 

THEOSOPHIST. I do not refer to technical knowledge of the esoteric 
doctrine, though that is most important; I spoke rather of the great 
need which our successors in the guidance of the Society will have of 
unbiassed and clear judgment. 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. You must remember that all our members have been 
bred and born in some creed or religion, that all are more or less of 
their generation both physically and mentally, and consequently that 
their judgment is but too likely to be warped and unconsciously 
biassed by some or all of these influences. If, then, they cannot be 
freed from such inherent bias, or at least taught to recognise it 
instantly and so avoid being led away by it, the result can only be 
that the Society will drift off on to some sandbank of thought or 
another, and there remain a stranded carcass to moulder and die. 

ENQUIRER. But if this danger be averted? 

THEOSOPHIST. Then 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 
realisation 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. 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 good-will which will reign in 
his mind, instead of the discord and strife which is everywhere 
apparent around us to-day. 

ENQUIRER. A truly delightful picture! But tell me, do you really 
expect all this to be accomplished in one short century? 

THEOSOPHIST. Scarcely. But I must tell you that during the last 
quarter of every hundred years an attempt is made by those "Masters," 
of whom I have spoken, to help on the spiritual progress of Humanity 
in a marked and definite way. Towards the close of each century you 
will invariably find that an outpouring or upheaval of spirituality --
 or call it mysticism if you prefer -- has taken place. Some one or 
more persons have appeared in the world as their agents, and a 
greater or less amount of occult knowledge and teaching has been 
given out. If you care to do so, you can trace these movements back, 
century by century, as far as our detailed historical records extend. 

ENQUIRER. But how does this bear on the future of the Theosophical 

THEOSOPHIST. If the present attempt, in the form of our Society, 
succeeds better than its predecessors have done, then it will be in 
existence as an organized, living and healthy body when the time 
comes for the effort of the XXth century. The general condition of 
men's minds and hearts will have been improved and purified by the 
spread of its teachings, and, as I have said, their prejudices and 
dogmatic illusions will have been, to some extent at least, removed. 
Not only so, but besides a large and accessible literature ready to 
men's hands, the next impulse will find a numerous and united body of 
people ready to welcome the new torch-bearer of Truth. He will find 
the minds of men prepared for his message, a language ready for him 
in which to clothe the new truths he brings, an organization awaiting 
his arrival, which will remove the merely mechanical, material 
obstacles and difficulties from his path. Think how much one, to whom 
such an opportunity is given, could accomplish. Measure it by 
comparison with what the Theosophical Society actually has achieved 
in the last fourteen years, without any of these advantages and 
surrounded by hosts of hindrances which would not hamper the new 
leader. Consider all this, and then tell me whether I am too sanguine 
when I say that if the Theosophical Society survives and lives true 
to its mission, to its original impulses through the next hundred 
years -- tell me, I say, if I go too far in asserting that earth will 
be a heaven in the twenty-first century in comparison with what it is 

For various material on THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, see:


Blavatsky Study Center / Blavatsky Archives

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