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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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[Vol. II. No. 6, March, 1881.]

THOSE of us whose duty it is to watch the Theosophical movement and aid its progress can afford to be amused at the ignorant conceit displayed by certain journals in their criticisms upon our Society and its officers. Some seem to think that when they have flung their handful of dirt we must certainly be overwhelmed. One or two have even gone so far as, with mock sympathy, to pronounce us already hopelessly disrupted. It is a pity we cannot oblige them, but so it is, and they must make the best of the situation. Our Society as a body might certainly be wrecked by mismanagement or the death of its founders, but the idea which it represents and which has gained so wide a currency, will run on like a crested wave of thought until it dashes upon the hard beach where materialism is picking and sorting its pebbles. Of the thirteen persons who composed our first board of officers, in 1875, nine were Spiritualists of greater or less experience. It goes without saying, then, that the aim of the Society was not to destroy but to better and purify Spiritualism. The phenomena we knew to be real, and we believed them to be the most important of all current subjects for investigation. For, whether they should finally prove to be traceable to the agency of the departed, or but manifestations of occult natural forces acting in concert with latent psychophysiological human powers, they opened up a great field of research, the outcome of which must be enlightenment upon the master problem of life: Man and his Relations. We had seen phenomenalism running riot and twenty millions of believers clutching at one drifting theory after another in the hope to gain the truth. We had reason to know that the whole truth could only be found in one quarter, the Asiatic schools of philosophy, and we felt convinced that the truth could never be discovered until men of all races and creeds should join like brothers in the search. So taking our stand upon that ground, we began to point the way eastward.

Our first step was to lay down the proposition that, even admitting the phenomena to be real, they need not of necessity be ascribed to departed souls. We showed that there was ample historical evidence that such phenomena had from remotest times been exhibited by men who were not mediums, who repudiated the passivity exacted of mediums, and who simply claimed to produce them by cultivating inherent powers in their living selves. Hence the burden of proving that those wonders were and could only be done by the dead with the agency of passive medial agents, lay with the Spiritualists.

To deny our proposition involved either the repudiation of the testimony of the most trustworthy authorities in many countries and in different epochs, or the wholesale ascription of mediumship to every wonder-worker mentioned in history. The latter horn of the dilemma had been taken. Reference to the works of the most noted Spiritualistic writers, as well as to the newspaper organs of the movement, will show that the thaums, or "miracles" of every "magician," saint, religious leader, and ascetic, from the Chaldæan Magians, the ancient Hindu saint, the Egyptian Jannes and Jambres, the Hebrew Moses and Jesus, and the Mussulman prophet, down to the Benares sannyâsî of M. Jacolliot, and the common fakir of to-day, who has made Anglo-Indian mouths gape with wonder, have each and all been spoken of as true mediumistic marvels. This was the best that could be done with a difficult subject, but it could not prevent Spiritualists from thinking. The more they have thought, read and compared notes, during the past five years, with those who have travelled in Asia and studied psychological science as a science, the more has the first acrid feeling against our Society abated. We noticed this change in the first issue of this magazine. After only five years of agitation, without abuse from us or any aggressive propagandism on our part, the leaven of this great truth has begun to work. It can be seen on every side. We are now kindly asked to show Europe and America experimental proofs of the correctness of our assertions. Little by little a body of persons, including some of the best minds in the movement, has come over to our side and many now cordially endorse our position: that there can be no spiritual intercourse either with the souls of the living or the dead, unless it is preceded by self-spiritualization, the conquest of the meaner self, the education of the nobler powers within us. The serious dangers, as well as the more evident gratifications of mediumship, are becoming gradually appreciated. Phenomenalism, thanks to the splendid works of Professor Zöllner, Mr. Crookes, Mr. Varley, and other able experimentalists, is tending towards its proper limits of a problem of science. There is a thoughtful and more and more earnest study of spiritual philosophy. We see this, not alone among the Spiritualists of Great Britain, Australasia and the United States, but also among the intellectual and numerous classes of the continental spiritists and the magnetists. Should nothing occur to break the present harmony and impede the progress of ideas, we may well expect, within another five years, to see the entire body of investigators of the phenomena of mesmerism and mediumism more or less imbued with a conviction that the greatest psychological truth in its most unadulterated form, can be found in the Indian Philosophies. And let it be remembered we ascribe this great result not to anything we few may personally have done or said, but to the gradual growth of a conviction that the experience of mankind and the lessons of the past can no longer be ignored.

It would be easy to fill many pages with extracts from the journalism of to-day that sustain the above views, but we forbear. Wherever these lines are read—and that will be by subscribers in almost every quarter of the globe—their truth will not be denied by impartial observers. Merely to show the tendency of things, let us take the following excerpts from the Spiritual Notes and the Revue Spirite, organs respectively of the spiritualist and the spiritist parties. The first says:

From certain delicate yet well-defined signs of the times we are led to believe that a great change is gradually passing over the spirit of that system which, for the last thirty years, has been called by the not altogether happy title of Modern Spiritualism. This change is observable, not perhaps so much in the popular aspect of the subject, which will doubtless always remain more or less one of sign and wonder. It is probably necessary that such should be the case. It is very likely a sine quâ non that there should always be a fringe of the purely marvellous to attract the criers of " Lo here!" " Lo there! " from whose numbers the higher and inner circle of initiates may be from time to time recruited. It is here we discern the great value, with all their possible abuses, of physical manifestations, materializations, and the like. These form the alphabet of the neophyte. But the change which strikes us at the present moment is what we may call the rapid growth of the initiate class as opposed to the neophytes; the class of those who have quite grown out of the need of these sensible wonders (a need through which, however, they have duly passed) and who are prepared to pass to the sublimest heights of the spiritual philosophy. We cannot but regard this as an eminently happy sign, because it is the evidence of normal growth. We have had first the blade, then the ear, but now we have the full corn in the ear. Among the many evidences of this change we note two especially, each of which has been mentioned already in these columns in its single aspect. One is the publication of Dr. Wyld’s book on Christian Theosophy, the other the formation and development of the secret society called the Guild of the Holy Spirit. We are not prepared to commit ourselves to all the doctrines of Dr. Wyld’s book. The Guild would probably be too ecclesiastical in its structure for many of our readers—it is founded, we may mention, by a clergyman of the Church of England—but in each case we notice what is called a "levelling up." We perceive that the paramount idea is not to call spirits from the vasty deep—not to force the hand of the spirit world, so to say, and to compel its denizens to come "down" or "up" to us, but so to regulate life as to open up the dormant sense on our side, and enable us to see those who are not in a land that is very far off, from which they have come up or down to us. This, we happen to know, is preëminently the case with the Guild, which, beginning by being regulative of life and worship, includes a margin for any amount of thaumaturgical element. We may not say more, but we may also point to every page of Dr. Wyld’s book as an indication of a similar method; and we notice the supervention of that method with much satisfaction. It will never be the popular method, but its presence, however secret, in our midst, will work like leaven, and affect the whole mass of "Modern Spiritualism."

H.P. Blavatsky
The Theosophist, March 1881

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List of Articles
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 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
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
French View of Women's Rights
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, 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"
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
Premature and Phenomenal Growths
Progress and Culture
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
Recent Progress in Theosophy
Reincarnations in Tibet
Reply to Our Critics, A.
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
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'"
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