A Review of “Theosophy Undefined”: Theosophy is a Defined System
Intro. Commentary: Article written after reading Raphael Marques de Albuquerque’s Theosophy Undefined. This will touch on the significance of the ANCIENT MYSTERIES. Theosophy is a defined system, a body of knowledge collected by Initiates, Hierophants, Priests, Philosophers, and Adepts of all ages. Modern Theosophy is an exposition of a few fundamental tenets from Trans-Himalayan Adepts, of a School with its ramifications in the East. Modern Theosophy is a synonym for the Mysteries, for the Eastern Esotericism, using Western Occult Tradition to relate the ideas, and for supporting evidences. The Western Occultists frequently traced the ultima thule of knowledge to the Hebrew System, to the Bible, Jesus Christ, or Egypt. 19th c. Theosophists disagreed, demonstrating an inter-continental system, anterior to the Semitic and ‘Pan-Arab’ religion, using the approach of the Eclectics and Analogeticists. The theosophical exposition of the 19th c. Theosophists, is an elucidation of the very heart of the genuine Occult Philosophy of the archaic MYSTERIES.
Alternative names of Theosophy is the Wisdom-Tradition of the Golden Age, and the HEART DOCTRINE.
It has modes of interpretation to its teachings, and symbolism (down to pre-historic times), called “keys.” Theosophy would remain incomprehensible to readers, without the additional commentaries and explanations known to us. These are not lost, but in fact, Blavatsky’s teachers claim to have them all preserved; and the true answers to our most vexing problems exist. There are those who possess the knowledge.
They themselves, state, that Theosophy is a definite system of Gnōsis. “It only affirms, or denies.”
This is some thoughts on both Raphael Marques de Albuquerque’s article, Theosophy Undefined, in “The Theosophist” (Issue 2016) for the T.S. Adyar; and the review and critique from the Blavatsky Theosophy United Kingdom Group’s Theosophy Undefined. Firstly, the Academician Theosophical highlighted, time ago, an article of W.Q. Judge himself, in Echoes of the Orient, and from the Theosophical Forum (May 1895-Feb 1896).
In this article, William Q. Judge on Dogmatism in Theosophy, W.Q. Judge, states, that the strength of Theosophy, lies in the fact that it is not to be defined. It is the “wisdom of the gods,” and not God. It’s the Divine Wisdom (the SOPHIA) of the Mysteries, &c. There appears a pattern of jargon, about the MYSTERIES, which philosophers have used, since antiquity. W.Q. Judge, criticises, those whom would set an “unequivocal definition” to Theosophy, and suppose themselves to be infallible oracles. H.P.B. never made this mistake.
De Albuquerque says Theosophy is undefined, and the other disagrees, by supplying supporting evidences, from the correspondences of Helena P. Blavatsky’s superiors, about how Theosophy is a very definite system of a few fundamental tenets from the archaic Wisdom-Religion. I am an academic of Religious Studies, and spent some years studying the idiosyncrasies of people who have (a) a concretely defined religious orthodoxy; and (b) believe their religion to be the true religion and the last (truly) revealed religion by God.
FRAGMENTATION OF A PRIMEVAL WISDOM-TRADITION
This is when I first began my studies of Theosophy. So, Islamic mysticism and philosophy dovetailed with this study, and although, currently, I am “unaffiliated” from any religion, nor desiring to seek one, this is what I concluded. Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, etc., are what Theosophy would be like, if it were to become dogmatic in its rhetoric; and therefore, a religion, if its votaries adopted formulaic idiosyncrasies. However, this is not in opposition of ideology. THEOSOPHY becomes Ruism, Daoism, etc., in their religious and ritualistic forms we know, but it is in a sense, the concept of proto-Religion, or urreligion(?). Theosophy is described as RELIGION, by the 19th c. Theosophists, before any formalised crystallisation, or “blind dogmatism,” i.e., authoritarianism. We see in the modern history of the movement of Báb (ʿAli Muhammad Shirāzi), two splintered traditions later — the Azali Bábí and the Bahá’í (promoted to a world faith due to the promotion of `Abdu’l-Bahá). If a highly skilled and cunning student, were to come forth, and claim that Modern Theosophy should be unequivocally defined and practiced in a singular manner; then people will devise creeds, and such to adhere to, and fix behaviour in conformity to a code.
A code, that makes their adherence to what those defining the Modern Theosophy not to be, null and void. It does not mean, the Modern Theosophy has no identity, that defines something other as not Theosophy though.
It is unthinkable to a theosophist trying to exemplify the original programme to make Theosophy so vague. Many of these students are criticised by their contemporaries of Adyar, as being dogmatists.
The Wisdom Tradition is not defined by a singular man, but by the collective knowledge of minds, of scholarship, philosophical treatises, and archaeology itself.
There are scores of classical writers up till the 19th century, talking about what the MYSTERIES are, and what the eclectic Wisdom Schools taught.
Modern Theosophy would have all the features of a religion, or new sect, if it were to claim to be the fullness of the MYSTERIES. The fact, is that it does not. This is what almost happened to the Theosophical Society; but the Theosophical Movement still reeks of that Besantian and Leadbeater-esque liberal catholicism. It is certain idiosyncrasies and comparisons to religion, that drove Rene Guénon to call the Modern Theosophy, a “pseudo-religion,” although Rene Guénon’s critique is built on conjecture, irony, and other flaws. The perception, has been caused by theosophists also, as H.P.B. and Damodar K. Mavalankar knew. If a “theosophical member,” is writing articles to other members, about the undefined nature of Theosophy, in the manner, they have, then Theosophy has no real identity. It is a shell, or host for parasites, of any kind. It can be easily subverted, as it has been. It can be easily driven, from its original mission and idea.
This messes it up, for others unassociated with the Theosophical Society, whom still are nevertheless, students of the classical and traditionalist ways.
The Adyar accuse the U.L.T. of dogmatising, and the U.L.T. accuse Adyar of diluting. The term theosophy, is basically the synonym of the archaic MYSTERIES. If one were to say, they are teaching the genuine Mysteries — in the classical period, one is inclined to say “which,” and “of what lineage?,” or “what hero,” or god. “The MYSTERIES of what exactly?”
The Mysteries in Mexico, in Delphi, in Iceland? Of what period? The Mysteries of death, of life, of the psychic or divine planes, &c. “Which?” The archaic Mysteries is exactly what is meant, when Helena P. Blavatsky states, the archaic Secret Doctrine of all Ages, in its fullness, and every occult art and studies. While, Modern Theosophy only deals with a few fundamental tenets, that should be enough, to get us thinking about the fullness of this System of “Gupta-Vidya,” or Gnōsis. The archaic Secret Doctrine is stated to be, “Pre-Vedic,” “not from this plane,” “the primeval Wisdom-Religion,” passed down to men, from anterior “progenitors.” Theosophists are criticised about it, but the ancient philosophers and scholars speak of the same, what is to us, preposterous fables.
TRADITIONALISTS AND THEOSOPHERS ON T.S. THEOSOPHISTS
As there is a difference between the 18th c. Illuminists (or Alumbrados, or Theosophists) and the Illuminatists (of Bavaria, Germany), there is a difference between a) the Classical Mysteries; b) Traditionalists (e.g., Julius Evola) and Perennialists; and c) the 19th century “Theosophy” (associated with the T.S.). The traditionalists and self-defined “theosophers” feel, the Blavatsky-influenced theosophy is hogging the attention. It is the first two, who are doing theosophy, and call their systems and writings by various titles; hence, tracing their knowledge to an anterior, primeval-lineage, before their own times and civilisations. Blavatsky was doing the exact same, but there is some-thing new that theosophy brought to the aspect of the studies.
This made alot of adversaries in Western esotericists.
It is uniquely, the latter, that brought an entirely new and definite aspect, historical and regional context and theoretical concepts, only dimly made public and known, in the works of its predecessors. It showed to the Westerners, there are alternatives to the Semitic traditions and Jewish-derived perspective, we are familiar. According to this narrative, humanity is not progressing along a strictly linear line; and neither are the religions, from Animism to a superior model in Monotheism.
The more one studies the Classic Philosophers and East ASIAN Philosophy together, the more, one begins to realise, the knowledge we have lost, in comparison to our ancestors. However, you also see the same ideas, expressed in the works of Blavatsky’s writings, in them. You begin to understand that she is right. All the proofs are there. It’s just that no one has bothered to collate them. We find ideas, doctrines, and concepts, elucidated by the contemporary Theosophists, demonstrated as similarly in a pre-common era Philosophical Tradition, or School; or elucidated upon, even further. The source of that elucidation comes from both our own figuring out, from the disparate pieces, stretched over the ages in both written, and oral forms of communication.
INITIATES TRIED TO PROTECT DOCTRINES FROM PROFANATION
However, very few to none, have elucidated upon the ancient teachings, and notes from Schools of the MYSTERIES. Much of it is lost (due to secrecy) or in fragments in original context.. H.P.B. tells us, much archaic records and manuscripts are not even yet revealed to the public. Nevertheless, there are so many teachings, that are held in contempt by the ‘modern reasonable man,’ and the religious, that appear unbelievable; and conflicts with particular data and details of both Creationism and Neo-Darwinian theory.
This data, and teachings presented as ‘Theosophy’ is asserted to be, chosen from fragments of the SECRET DOCTRINES few fundamental tenets. What we know today as the MYSTERIES are shrouded under a morass of literary devices and schemes, for the purposes of protecting what was the knowledge learned by the Initiated. So shrouded, as to have given birth to all kinds of unjust speculations, and dilutions. When it is said, ‘Theosophy,’ is then, “the archaic Wisdom-Religion, the esoteric doctrine once known in every ancient country having claims to civilisation,” it is the MYSTERIES being spoken on. The proper examination of the MYSTERY TRADITION, lies with those who can decipher the language, and demonstrate its validity. Theosophists, I think should not be so arrogantly boastful, in saying, we have the ultimate truth and interpretation of the doctrines, because all religions are doing that now.
CHRISTIAN DISPUTE OF GNOSTICISM HURT WESTERN PHILOSOPHY
The lack of theosophists, who are even confident, to provide in research format, Theosophy as taught by the letters, and collected writings, is problematic; but becoming rabid zealots is a behaviour that should be avoided. We need zeal though. Now, like the Buddhists situation in ancient India, the Gnōstics have no place in the CHRISTIAN Tradition. Like the Buddhists, the Gnōstics, are like the nāstika, so-called; because they did not rely on scriptural literature, to obtain WISDOM. It was not a life, or death thing, to be without a scripture; yet they wrote and spread their doctrines. The JORDAN and TRANS-JORDANIAN mystics were desert-dwellers, and some separated from the herd, like the yogis. Iesous in the New Testament practices inner contemplation, declaring the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN to be within. The task of Academia is to write about it, but the Theosophists practice and systematise it.
“As for the Theosophical Society, the moment it makes a hard and fast definition of Theosophy it will mark the first hour of its decay.” (Echoes of the Orient: The Writings of William Quan Judge. 2nd ed. Pasadena: TUP: Vol. II, 2009; Question 50, pp. 379-80). Presently, at the time, it is the orthodoxy of the monotheists that remains, in the way; and the narratives and dogmas, are so set in the teachings of the Christians and Muslims, that neither will give up. It is Theosophists whom have made themselves subordinate, when they should be dispensing esoteric instructions, to correct the old mistakes in religion. Modern Theosophy is not meant to be a RELIGION, but a Philosophical School. Does it sound like Theosophists want to found a new religion, when its Adepts have stated, the non-existence of God and its alien origin to the Pre-Vedic Wisdom-Tradition they speak of; hence exclaiming they wish to rid man of priests and religion, for it was not what the cause of THEOSOPHY was for. Not following this, is what gave rise to the wild theories of Bishop Charles W. LEADBEATER.
The Occult Philosophy exposited by them, is an extremely powerful teaching of the Gnōsis, about self-conquest, the sovereign spiritual, leaving no need for Gods.
THE MYSTERIES BUILT NOBLE WARRIORS
No Theosophist worships a god, whether of the Mosaic-type, or not. It turns to the daimōn within, to bring out the inner Man.
It is the “nervo-intellectual” of Max Theon; the ubermencsh of Nietzsche; and the man of iron-will in the poetry of Gabriele D’Annunzio. It is the noble man of Ruism.
The teachings, are exactly as the Greek Mysticism, which requires the moral, psychical, spiritual, and intellectual development.
This Man, or woman (rare females of repute), they wish to develop is an Āryan आर्य, a noble one, capable of conquering the lower nature, becoming liberated. Blavatsky and her teachers, absolutely believe they are battling against a real darkness, or the ignorance from the real knowledge; and we should consider this, or else, our efforts are faint-hearted.
CHRISTIANISM OF PRIESTLY CLASSES PROFANED MYSTERY TEACHINGS
We have assertions to make, of the doctrine of the ANOINTED of the two Germs, or Sources (the silence and incomprehensible Mind of all things and the great SUBSTANCE giving birth to all things), and the teaching of the six Ages, together with עוֹלָם olam or INFINITE TIME (Duration) making the seven Aeons (hebdómada) of the FIRE, among many other difficult teachings. The Secret Initiation into the Sacred Mysteries, respecting the Seven-Rayed god, lifting up the souls through It, have resulted in the knowledge of things unknown, and would be very incomprehensible to the public, although well-known to the inspired (blessed) theurgists. The Truth of the Mysteries trumps the later off-shoot religions, abdicating glory onto themselves.
Logically, we end with their dominion, in eternal wars.
It would have been easier to syncretise the polytheists through Philosophical Colleges.
ABSENCE OF SAPIENTIAL TRADITION AND SCHOOLS IN MODERN PERIOD
The Grecism in the New Testament is not subordinate to the Christian explanation; but proofs, pointing to a superior esoteric system anterior to it, and which is the whole TRUTH, which no single organised religion, nor library could entirely contain. This is our beloved SOPHIA, the Gnōsis, the Genetrix of Pleroma. THEOSOPHY (the esoteric truth) is rooted in Nature. It is the SCIENTIA of old, and it needs elucidation.
Hitherto, no contemporary philosophical synthesis, has been attempted to the extent, that Blavatsky and her colleague’s carried out. The task, Theosophists are presented with, is to elucidate and give proofs of the MYSTERY RELIGION, which lie at the root-origin of the exotericism that veils the hypónoia. OCCULTISM, therefore must be known, whether for the beneficial addition to Academic Studies, or to awaken this somber agnostic period.
The people are wonting, because of the absence of expositors, and lack of interest in the Classical Studies. The repute of the latter, depends on the former; but the inability of the exoteric religions, to explain truthfully to the people, their origins, and to answer their inmost doubts with consistent logic, is causing further degradation. The absence of Theosophy in the wide public, has to be fixed. It will not be fixed, if Theosophists cannot take a stand, or merely give into the relativism.
I do not think Theosophy should develop a uniform mode of parlance, when perpetually referencing H.P.B. as an “agent of the Masters,” or “messenger,” like Religions do. Some theosophists do this, because “Theosophists” themselves, have tried to usurp, attack, or lie about H.P.B., but the public will see it otherwise. This is apart of a struggle near the death of Helena P. Blavatsky and after, for the Theosophical Society, as she was the main theoretician. Although she’s referred to as a direct agent of her superiors to the West, this does not have a religious meaning to it, as in a religion. An agent is an agent, and a carrier. That’s it. Any more, it becomes a religion.
“…it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others.” (Jiddu Krishnamurti)
Jiddu Krishnamurti is right in that regard. So, in some sense, I agree with Raphael de Albuquerque, however, not entirely, you see.
It is not a good idea, to state to the contemporary theosophist, that theosophy is a build-your-bear workshop. Blue Theosophy, Yellow Theosophy, Purple Theosophy, etc. Helena P. Blavatsky coined the very term Pseudo-Theosophy herself and criticised copyists, Pseudo-Messiahs, etc. Copyists are those who created a new mythology of the “Hidden Hand.”
Two quotes that stand out from the Blavatsky Group U.K. review of “Theosophy Undefined?”:
“As to the Neo-Budhism or the “Revival of the Ancient Wisdom” of the Ante-Vedic Aryas, the actual evolutionary period of the Occidental peoples will end in a blind alley, if they reject it…” (Helena P. Blavatsky, Misconceptions, Collected Writings, Vol. 8)
“The only man who is absolutely wrong in his method is the one who does nothing; each can and should cooperate with all and all with each in a large-hearted spirit of comradeship to forward the work of bringing Theosophy home to every man and woman in the country.” (“Five Messages to the American Theosophists” p. 24)