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Blavatsky Net - Theosophy

This site focuses on Madame Blavatsky and her teaching - Theosophy. It features an introduction to Theosophy, study aids, research tools, original text, supporting evidence, membership, and visitor interaction.


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THE DRIFT OF WESTERN SPIRITUALISM


 

LATE advices from various parts of the world seem to indicate that, while there is an increasing interest in the phenomena of spiritualism, especially among eminent men of science, there is also a growing desire to learn the views of the Theosophists. The first impulse of hostility has nearly spent itself, and the moment approaches when a patient hearing will be given to our arguments. This was foreseen by us from the beginning. The founders of our Society were mainly veteran Spiritualists, who had outgrown their first amazement at the strange phenomena, and felt the necessity to investigate the laws of mediumship to the very bottom. Their reading of mediaeval and ancient works upon the occult sciences had shown them that our modern phenomena were but repetitions of what had been seen, studied, and comprehended in former epochs. In the biographies of ascetics, mystics, theurgists, prophets, ecstatics; of astrologers, "diviners," "magicians," "sorcerers," and other students, subjects, or practitioners of the Occult Power in its many branches, they found ample evidence that Western Spiritualism could only be comprehended by the creation of a science of Comparative Psychology. By a like synthetic method the philologists, under the lead of Eugéne Burnouf, had unlocked the secrets of religious and philological heredity, and exploded Western theological theories and dogmas until then deemed impregnable.

Proceeding in this spirit, the Theosophists thought they discovered some reasons to doubt the correctness of the spiritualistic theory that all the phenomena of the circles must of necessity be attributed solely to the action of spirits of our deceased friends. The ancients knew and classified other supracorporeal entities that are capable of moving objects, floating the bodies of mediums through the air, giving apparent tests of the identity of dead persons, and controlling sensitives to write and speak strange languages, paint pictures, and play on unfamiliar musical instruments. And not only knew them, but showed how these invisible powers might be controlled by man, and made to work these wonders at his bidding. They found, moreover, that there were two sides of Occultism--a good and an evil side; and that it was a dangerous and fearful thing for the inexperienced to meddle with the latter,--dangerous to our moral as to our physical nature. The conviction forced itself upon their minds, then, that while the weird wonders of Spiritualism were among the most important of all that could be studied, mediumship, without the most careful attention to every condition, was fraught with peril.

Thus thinking, and impressed with the great importance of a thorough knowledge of mesmerism and all other branches of Occultism, these founders established the Theosophical Society, to read, inquire, compare, study, experiment and expound, the mysteries of Psychology. This range of inquiry, of course, included an investigation of Vedic, Brahmanical and other ancient Oriental literature; for in that--especially the former, the grandest repository of wisdom ever accessible to humanity--lay the entire mystery of nature and of man. To comprehend modern mediumship it is, in short, indispensable to familiarize oneself with the Yoga Philosophy; and the aphorisms of Patanjali are even more essential than the "Divine Revelations" of Andrew Jackson Davis. We can never know how much of the mediumistic phenomena we must attribute to the disembodied, until it is settled how much can be done by the embodied, human soul, and the blind but active powers at work within those regions which are yet unexplored by science. Not even proof of an existence beyond the grave, if it must come to us in a phenomenal shape. This will be conceded without qualification, we think, provided that the records of history be admitted as corroborating the statements we have made.

The reader will observe that the primary issue between the theosophical and spiritualistic theories of mediumistic phenomena is that the Theosophists say the phenomena may be produced by more agencies than one, and the latter that but one agency can be conceded, namely--the disembodied souls. There are other differences--as, for instance, that there can be such a thing as the obliteration of the human individuality as the result of very evil environment; that good spirits seldom, if ever, cause physical "manifestations"; etc. But the first point to settle is the one here first stated; and we have shown how and in what directions the Theosophists maintain that the investigations should be pushed.

Our East Indian readers, unlike those of Western countries who may see these lines, do not know how warmly and stoutly these issues have been debated, these past three or four years. Suffice it to say that, a point having been reached where arguments seemed no longer profitable, the controversy ceased; and that the present visit of the New York Theosophists, and their establishment of the Bombay Headquarters, with the library, lectures, and this journal, are its tangible results. That this step must have a very great influence upon Western psychological science is apparent. Whether our Committee are themselves fully competent to observe and properly expound Eastern Psychology or not, no one will deny that Western Science must inevitably be enriched by the contributions of the Indian, Sinhalese, and other mystics who will now find in THE THEOSOPHIST a channel by which to reach European and American students of Occultism, such as was never imagined, not to say seen, before. It is our earnest hope and belief that after the broad principles of our Society, its earnestness, and exceptional facilities for gathering Oriental wisdom are well understood, it will be better thought of than now by Spiritualists, and attract into its fellowship many more of their brightest and best intellects.

Theosophy can be styled the enemy of Spiritualism with no more propriety than of Mesmerism, or any other branch of Psychology. In this wondrous outburst of phenomena that the Western world has been seeing since 1848, is presented such an opportunity to investigate the hidden mysteries of being as the world has scarcely known before. Theosophists only urge that these phenomena shall be studied so thoroughly that our epoch shall not pass away with the mighty problem unsolved. Whatever obstructs this--whether the narrowness of sciolism, the dogmatism of theology or the prejudice of any other class, should be swept aside as something hostile to the public interest. Theosophy, with its design to search back into historic records for proof, may be regarded as the natural outcome of phenomenalistic Spiritualism, or as a touchstone to show the value of its pure gold. One must know both to comprehend what is Man.

Theosophist, October, 1879



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List of Articles
1888
1890!
African Magic
Ahkoond of Swat
An Astral Prophet
An Unsolved Mystery
Ancient Doctrines Vindicated
Ancient Magic in Modern Science
Animated Statues
Answers to Queries
Antiquity of the Vedas
Apollonius Tyaneus and Simon Magus
Are Chelas "Mediums"?
Are Dreams but Idle Visions?
Arya Samaj
The Babel of Modern Thought
Black Magic in Science
Blessings of Publicity
Bright Spot of Light
Buddhism, Christianity and Phallicism
Buddhism in America
Can the Double Murder?
Can the Mahatmas Be Selfish?
Case of Obsession
Chelas
Chelas and Lay Chelas
Chinese Spirits
Christmas Then and Christmas Now
Civilization, the Death of Art and Beauty
Claims of Occultism
Classification of "Principles"
Count St. Germain
Cross and Fire
Cycle Moveth
Denials and the Mistakes of the Nineteenth Century
Devil's Own-Thoughts on Ormuzd and Ahriman
Diagnoses and Palliatives
Dialogue on the Mysteries of the After Life
Dialogues between the Two Editors
Do the Rishis Exist?
Does Vaccination Prevent Smallpox?
Dr. Beard Criticized
Dreamland and Somnambulism
Drift of Western Spiritualism
Dual Aspect of Wisdomhe
Echoes from India. What is Hindu Spiritualism?
Eddy Manifestations
Editorial Comment
Editorial Appendix
Eighth Wonder
Electric and Magnetic Affinities between Man and Nature
Elementals
Elementaries
Esoteric Axioms and Spiritual Speculations
"Esoteric Buddhism" and its Critic
"Esoteric Buddhism" and the "Secret Doctrine"
Esoteric Character of the Gospels
Fakirs and Tables
Fall of Ideals
Fate of the Occultist
Few Thoughts on Some Wise Words from a Wise Man
Force of Prejudice
Fragments
French View of Women's Rights
Genius
Grand Inquisitor
"H. M." and the Todas
H. P. Blavatsky on Precipitation and Other Matters
H. P. Blavatsky's Masonic Patent
Have Animals Souls?
Hindu Widow-Marriage
History of a "Book"
History of a Planet
Holmes Controversy
Holmes Controversy(continued)
Huxley and Slade
Hypnotism
Hypnotism, and Its Relations to Other Modes of Fascination
Imperfections of Science
Indian Metaphysics
Intro-Version of Mental Vision
Is Creation Possible for Man?
Is Denunciation a Duty?
Is Foeticide a Crime?
"Is it Idle to Argue Further?"
Is Suicide a Crime?
Is the Desire to "Live" Selfish?
Is Theosophy a Religion?
"Isis Unveiled" and the "Theosophist" on Reincarnation
Isis Unveiled and the Vishishtadwaita
"It's the Cat!"
Jews in Russia
Kabalah and the Kabalists
Kabalistic Views of "Spirits"
Karmic Visions
Knout, The. As Wielded by the Great Russian Theosophist
Kosmic Mind
Lack of Unity among Spiritualists
Lamas and Druses
Land of Mystery
Last Song of the Swan
Le Phare de L'Inconnu
Leaven of Theosophy
Leo Tolstoi and His Unecclesiastical Christianity
"Let Every Man Prove His Own Work"
Life and Death
Life Principle
Literary Jottings on Criticism, Authorities, and Other Matters
Lodges of Magic
Logic versus Peripatetic
Madame Blavatsky on "The Himalayan Brothers"
Magic
Mahatmas and Chelas
Memory in the Dying
Mind in Nature
Missing Link
Missionaries Militant
Mistaken Notions on "The Secret Doctrine"
Modern Apostles and Pseudo-Messiahs
Mote and the Beam
Mr. A. Lillie's Delusions
My Books
Mysterious Race
Nature's Human Magnets
Negations of Science
New Cycle
(New) York against Lankester. A new War of the Roses
"Not a Christian"!
Note on Eliphas Levi
Note on "Memory"
Notes on some Aryan-Arhat Esoteric Tenets
Notice to Mediums
Number Seven
Number Seven and Our Society
Occult or Exact Science?
Occult Phenomena
Occultism or Magic
Occultism versus the Occult Arts
Old Hindu Ships
Old Philosophers and Modern Critics
On Pseudo-Theosophy
On The New Year's Morrow
"Oppressed Widowhood" in America
Organisation of the Theosophical Society
Origin of Evil
Our Cycle and the Next
Our Three Objects
Paradoxical World
Parting Words
Persian Zoroastrianism and Russian Vandalism
Pertinent Queries
Pertinent Questions
Philosophers and Philosophicules
Popular Idea of Soul-Survival
Posthumous Publication
Practical Occultism
Pralaya of Modern Science
"Precipitation"
Premature and Phenomenal Growths
Progress and Culture
Protest
Psychic and Noetic Action
Psychic Warning
Psychology - The Science of the Soul
Puzzle from Adyar
Puzzle in "Esoteric Buddhism"
Queries and Answers
Questions Answered about Yoga Vidya
Re-Classification of Principles
Rebuke
Recent Progress in Theosophy
Reincarnations in Tibet
Reply to Our Critics, A. Our Final Answer to Several Objections
Republican Citizen
Retort Courteous
Roots of Ritualism in Church and Masonry
Russian Atrocities
Sacred Tree of Kum Bum
Science of Life
Science of Magic
"Scrutator Again"
Search after Occultism
Seeming "Discrepancies"
Seventeen-Rayed Sun-Disc
She Being Dead Yet Speaketh
Signal of Danger
Signs of the Times
Six-Pointed and Five-Pointed Stars
Society Without a Dogma
Some Scientific Questions Answered
Spiritual Progress
Spiritualism and Occult Truth
Spiritualism and Spiritualists
Spiritualism in Russia
Spiritualistic Tricksters
Star-Angel-Worship in the Roman Catholic Church
Stars and Numbers
Stray Thoughts on Death and Satan
Substantial Nature of Magnetism
Tetragrammaton
Theories about Reincarnation and Spirits
Theory of Cycles
"Theosophical Mahatmas"
Theosophical Society: Its Mission and Its Future
Theosophists and their Opponents
Theosophy and Spiritualism
Theosophy or Jesuitism?
Thoughts of the Dead
Thoughts on the Elementals
Tibetan Teachings
Tidal Wave
"To the Readers of 'Lucifer'"
Todas
Transmigration of the Life Atoms
Trickery or Magic?
Universe in a Nut-Shell
Views of the Theosophists
War in Olympus
Warning to Mediums
Was Cagliostro a "Charlatan"?
Washing the Disciples' Feet
What Are the Theosophists?
What is Occultism?
What is Theosophy?
"What Is Truth?"
What of Phenomena?
What Shall We Do for Our Fellow-Men?
What's in a Name? - Why the Magazine is called "Lucifer"
Which First - the Egg or the Bird?
Why Do Animals Suffer?
Why I Do Not Return to India
Why the "Vahan"?
"Word with Our Friends"
World-Improvement or World-Deliverance
Year is Dead, Long Live the Year
Year of Theosophy
Yoga Philosophy
 
Acknowledgement