Russian-Ukrainian Buddhist, Helena P. Blavatsky held to traditional and Theravada Position on Maitreya in Tuṣita. H.P.B. did not advocate or emphasize any millenarian element, or messianism in Theosophy, or its movement’s mission. The crux of many distorted perceptions about Theosophy and attacks from Christians are based on this Maitreya-Christ issue, which the occult view, as much as the Christian, could also refute.
There is a prophecy on Maitreya (Jampa) known to the Buddhist and very briefly discussed in “The Secret Doctrine.” An introduction to the traditional Theravada view of Maitreya in Tuṣita:
There was a time where a population of Anglicans were joining the Theosophical Society, and developments were occurring among scholars and theosophists, like G.R.S. Mead, James Morgan Pryse, and Anna Kingsford. In this time, there were brief developments in the Christianized Hermetic line, but this line of development, in the commendable works of William Kingsland (e.g., The Esoteric Basis of Christianity), is different from the idea developed, say in Annie Besant’s Esoteric Christianity. In the same period, we find a tendency to Christianize Theosophy, simplify Theosophy, or make it more appealing and palpable to Christian sensibilities, and this is the simplification you will find in the work, and writing style of Charles W. Leadbeater. It also became a popular approach with certain theosophists, continuing with the work of Alice Bailey (see Alice Bailey and her Christianised Pseudo-Theosophy). However, the theological error, from both ours, and an orthodox Christian perspective can be easily pin-pointed in Besant and Leadbeater’s writings on Jesus and Maitreya, full of imagination. Maitreya and Christ, in their idea were two inter-mingled entities.
Charles W. Leadbeater books were said to contain a simplicity, but with him, and another theosophical member in the early twentieth-century, Alice Bailey, there comes a strange teaching regarding the coming of a Christ and a Maitreya, which was carried on later by Ascended Masters groups and persons like Benjamin Crème.
An old documentary, despite its Christian propaganda (right on certain things we’d say also) details the issue and influence on intergovernmental institutions at certain levels, in relation to Alice Bailey on the Executives of the New Age and Politics.
The Secret Doctrine and Maitreya
Helena P. Blavatsky never applies any interpretation to Maitreya throughout the entirety of her collected writings, except to extremely brief mentions, that was not already known to the Hindus and the Buddhists. “The Secret Doctrine” mentions Jampa about ten times.
The first time the name Maitreya appears, is in a comparison between the Asclepios in Fragments of Hermetic texts in conversation with Hermes Trismegistus. Using the rare Eclogues of Joanne Stobaeus in the Florilegium, it is asserted that care has to be taken in studying the fragments, that Hermes in the texts is really a series of generations of mystics, under that name in the text. She simply draws a comparison between Parāśara — a maharishi credited with authoring the first (original) Viṣṇu Purāṇa — with Hermes, and Maitreya with Ascelpios (instructed by Hermes), as Parashara instructs Maitreya. The second mention is again from the Vishnu Puranas, on an instruction regarding the dissolution of the “egg of Brahma” (Hiraṇyagarbha), and thus mentions little except the name of Maitreya-Buddha.
Three other mentions are similar on instructions in ancient texts to Maitreya, as a student, on the nature of the kali-yuga, and the seven creations in the Vishnu Puranas. In the chapter on “Kwan-Shi-Yin and Kwan-Yin” in Volume 1, it is describing that Avalokitesvara, or Guan Shi Yin, both forms of the seventh Principle are not inventions of the Northern Buddhists. The texts goes into how this principle is known under different appellations, and that it is the “Alpha and Omega.”
The text then explains of a prophecy of the one to come at the renovation of the world, whom will be the last, but wait for it…
The Yugas in Theosophy
This evidently draws on the Indo-Iranian similarities between the Soshiosh (Saoshyant), Mithra and Maitreya. The next mention is that of the relation between the four bodies of Brahma in the exoteric account of the Vishnu Puranas, so there is not much you can squeeze from there. Another very brief mention in The Secret Doctrine is a passage of Parashara instructing Maitreya in the Puranas again, about the Sun, and them knowing that the earth revolved around the Sun.
In the chapter on Kwan-Shi-Yin, it comments on the fifth Buddha, stating that “MAITREYA is the secret name of the Fifth Buddha, and the Kalki Avatar of the Brahmins — the last MESSIAH who will come at the culmination of the Great Cycle,” i.e., the Mahayuga. These are the durations of the categorical yugas in the Vedic calculations.
(a) Satya Yuga (also called Krita Yuga) – Golden Age – 1,728,000 years;
(b) Treta Yuga (Silver Age – 1,296,000 years);
(c) Dvapara Yuga (Bronze Age – 864,000 years);
(d) Kali Yuga (Iron Age, ending at its 432,000rd year in the yuga). Its summation results in: 4,320,000 years (Maha-Yuga).
“He will appear as Maitreya Buddha, the last of the Avatars and Buddhas, in the seventh Race. This belief and expectation are universal throughout the East. Only it is not in the Kali yug, our present terrifically materialistic age of Darkness, the “Black Age,” that a new Saviour of Humanity can ever appear.” (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1., pg. 470, 1888)
“The Buddhist teaching of the coming of Maitreya, the future Buddha, actually refers to the same future event as the coming of the Kalki Avatar prophesied in the Hindu scriptures and the Soshiosh or Saoshyant of the Zoroastrian tradition. They are different names for one and the same thing.” (Theosophical Glossary)
“It is true, as the Hindus say, that the Kalki Avatar (i.e. the Buddha Maitreya) will not appear on Earth until the very end of the Kali Yuga. The Kali Yuga is the “Dark Age” through which mankind is presently passing. It began 5,000 years ago “at the moment of Krishna’s death” and will not end until sometime around the close of the 6th Root Race. We are currently still in the 5th Root Race and even the dawn of the 6th Root Race is still thousands of years in the future.” (see Maitreya in the Light of Real Theosophy)
A source The Secret Doctrine recommends on the Yuga calculations is from the Surya-Siddhanta and Samuel L. Mackey’s work on mythography and astronomy. One other method of calculating the Yugas is through arithmetical progression. This demonstrates again, that these ideas were not borne in the minds of children having mere epileptic visions, or fancies, but by learned astronomers. These astronomers were considered sages, because although ancient scientists, they were also learned in the ancient practice of Yoga.
Astronomical observations in calculating the Yugas in Indian Tradition
There are enumerated four Yugas, or Ages in the Vedic tradition. The first of the four ages is given an age or duration of 432,000 human years; the second, twice the number; the third, three times and fourth with four times that number, making a total of 432,000 years (or 12000 years of the gods). The four ages are called Chaturyuga, and 71 chatmyugas make a “Manavantara” or an Age of Manu. 14 Manavantaras make a day of Brahma (a KALPA), whose age is traditionally credited with an age of 100 Years or 4320000 x 71 x 14 x 360 x 100 x 2 (or 30,91,73,76,00,00,000 human years).
Satya-Yug: 1,728,000 — 1st Age
Treta-Yug: 1,296,000 — 2nd Age
Dvarapa-Yug: 864,000 — 3rd Age
Kali-Yug: 432,000 — 4th Age
The common ancient symbol or god was the Sun, and there were varying methods of recording the revolutions of the bodies they knew, of the constellation and degrees of the stars in the sky, as well as of the equatorial cycles. Part of the foundation of the Deity was studied by our forefathers in this theater of celestial observation, of Space around us.
Whether man was in Bactria, Persia, China, Americas, etc., the dial of the Sun, and the elevation of the pole, did not change. Upon the sacred point of the equator, they traced the cycles to the celestial bodies and heaven. The ancients recorded a history, to their knowledge, of the elements, and the cyclic revolutions of celestial and terrestrial objects in space, within mythology; and transmitted them orally, and through written forms.
They concealed their science in fiction and mythology, because then, by these ways, they could be remembered. These records were hid in clever tales. Stories, that could have been true of clan-heroes, etc., were made to fit in with a telling of the cycles of nature, and of the heavens.
Calculating the Yuga Durations
The Yugas, e.g., were established upon polar motion, and tropical cycles. They did not rely on technology, as possessing none of the millions of dollars equipment, we posses. They relied on other sophisticated methods, observing the cycles of nature and time, for their numbers. Now, what we will begin to refer to is the study of the Tropics, made by ancient astronomers.
The tropics is the region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. At the beginning of the Kali-Yuga, at 36° latitude, the tropics were said to be 54° from the Equator. In the north horizon of the Sun, the summer tropic occurred simultaneously with it, extending up to 72° of north altitude, and the winter tropic occurred simultaneously with the south horizon, and the polar circle round the south pole, to the 72° below the south horizon.
Between the distance of the poles, it was divided into 9 divisions of 4 degrees each. It is marked, that in under 24,000 years, in our time of the Kali-Yuga, the summer tropic would be 4° nearer to the north pole.
There are then, the 9 divisions to ascend, before the tropics coincide with the north pole; and thus, there are nine times 24,000 years before we reach the mid-point of the Kali Yuga, then nine more times before its end.
This in all 9+9=18 (x24), adds to 432,000 — the duration of the Kali-Yuga.
At the end of the Kali-Yug, the tropics would be 36° from the poles, Without recourse to bewildering the reader with length, this method is followed throughout the series of 432,000,000 tropical years, comprising a Divya-Yuga then onward, as illustrated below.
Therefore, we see, the calculations, were founded on a natural basis of astronomical and geographical observations. It would be seen, how the harmony of the numbers, demonstrates why they regarded them as sacred.
So, nothing was strange in Blavatsky’s explanations. This is highly revealing, because it means, everything the “New Age” movement, so-called, as well as claimants to prophecy, whom have even built their claims on Theosophy are unfounded, as the fraud of Benjamin Crème has demonstrated over the decades since 1975. Since, even when H.P.B. connects Maitreya Buddha to the Kalki Avatar, the use of both are under the Vedic calculations, still connected in the Tantras, and according to the esotericism, to the five and secret two Dhyāni-Buddhas.
The modern theosophists had no plans to inspire a new religion, a new age of global governance, or a new angelology (Ascended Masters). This is more like the conclusion of the Christian religion.
“Far from our thoughts may it ever be to erect a new hierarchy for the future oppression of a priest-ridden world.” (Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Letter no. 87)
Tell us, how did those theosophical adepts, the New Age Movement palmed off of, became so suddenly God-fearing, Bible-believing New Catholics blessing the ceremonies of their newly-created “Liberal Catholic Church!” The frauds and copyists apparently did not know of the strong views of the “Masters” they claim are the same as the Theosophists’.
This post was updated May 22, 2018.
- Mackey, Samuel A. The Mythological Astronomy of the Ancients in Three Parts (Second Part, or Key of Urania). 1823 ed. (pages 31-33)
- Blavatsky, Helena. The Secret Doctrine. 1888. Index: Yuga.
- Ifrah, Georges. Histoire Universelle des Chiffres. 1994. On History of Numbers.
- Seven Yugas – Blavatsky UK Group