BN-basic Course Syllabus
for
The Ancient Wisdom Tradition

I-Introduction: Theosophy Through the Ages

3.) Birth Of The New Age – Modern Source

 (Wm. Q. Judge, Theosophical Articles Vol. II "The Theosophical Movement")The Theosophical Movement, broadly considered, is found in all times and in all nations. Wherever thought has struggled to be free, where spiritual ideas, as opposed to forms and dogmatism, have been promulgated, there the great movement is to be discerned, for noble action is inspired by noble thought, and Theosophy represents the principles of such thought. H.P. Blavatsky and Wm. Q. Judge were co-founders of the original Theosophical Society in 1875. The movement begun by them has passed through many changes. But from these will arise the nucleus of a universal brotherhood of humanity, the formation of which the founders had in view from the first. There are today, groups of working students engaged in obtaining a theosophical education and in making Theosophy available to the community.

 

(HPB, Articles Volume I, " Recent Progress in Theosophy")
The theosophical movement was a necessity of the age, and it has spread under its own inherent impulsion, and owes nothing to adventitious methods. From the first it has had neither money, endowment, nor social or governmental patronage to count upon. It appealed to certain human instincts and aspirations, and held a certain lofty ideal of perfectibility, with which the vested extraneous interests of society conflicted, and against which these were foredoomed to battle. Its strongest allies were the human yearnings for light upon the problem of life, and for a nobler conception of the origin, destiny, and potentialities of the human being. While materialism and its congener, secularism, were bent upon destroying not only theology and sectarian dogmatism, but even the religious conception of a diviner Self, theosophy has aimed at uniting all broad religious people for research into the actual basis of religion and scientific proofs of the existence and permanence of the higher Self. Accepting thankfully the results of scientific study and exposure of theological error, and adopting the methods and maxims of science, its advocates try to save from the wreck of cults the precious admixture of truth to be found in each. Discarding the theory of miracle and supernaturalism, they endeavor to trace out the kinship of the whole family of world-faiths to each other, and their common reconciliation with science.

 

(HPB, Articles Vol. I, "Recent Progress in Theosophy")
At least we may claim to have placed before the thinking public a logical, coherent, and philosophical scheme of man’s origin, destiny, and evolution – a scheme preeminent above all for its rigorous adherence to justice. And, that we may broaden our criterion of truth, our research extends to an inquiry into the nature of the less known forces, cosmic and psychical.

For many a year the "great orphan," Humanity, has been crying aloud in the darkness for guidance and for light. Amid the increasing splendors of a progress purely material, of a science that nourished the intellect, but left the spirit to starve, Humanity, dimly feeling its origin and presaging its destiny, has stretched out towards the East empty hands that only a spiritual philosophy can fill. Aching from the divisions, the jealousies, the hatreds that rend its very life, it has cried for some sure foundation on which to build the solidarity it senses, some metaphysical basis from which its loftiest social ideals may rise secure. Only the Masters of the Eastern wisdom can set that foundation, can satisfy at once the intellect and the spirit, can guide Humanity safely through the night to "the dawn of a larger day." Such is the goal which theosophy has set itself to attain; such is the history of the modern movement; such is the work which theosophy has already accomplished in this nineteenth century.

 

(Wm. Q. Judge, Articles Vol. I, "Theosophy Generally Stated")
The claim is made that an impartial study of history, religion and literature will show the existence from ancient times of a great body of philosophical, scientific and ethical doctrine forming the basis and origin of all similar thought in modern systems. It is at once religious and scientific, asserting that religion and science should never be separated…Man, being spirit and immortal, is able to perpetuate his real life and consciousness, and has done so during all time in the persons of those higher flowers of the human race who are members of an ancient and high brotherhood who concern themselves with the soul development of man, held by them to include every process of evolution on all planes. Therefore from time to time they give out again and again the same doctrine from which time to time grows obscured in various nations and places.

From this living and presently acting body of perfected men H.P. Blavatsky declared she received the impulse to once more bring forward the old ideas, and from them also received several keys to ancient and modern doctrines that had been lost during modern struggles toward civilization, and also that she was furnished by them with some doctrines really ancient but entirely new to the present day in any exoteric shape. These she wrote among the other keys furnished by her to her fellow members and the world at large. Added, then, to the testimony through all time found in records of all nations we have this modern explicit assertion that the ancient learned and humanitarian body of adepts still exists on this earth and takes an interest in the development of the race.

 

(HPB, Key To Theosophy, pp 304-306)
THE FUTURE OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY

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 unbiased 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 biased by some or all of these influences. If, then, they cannot be freed from such inherent bias, or at least taught to recognize 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 realization 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.

 

Further Reading References:

Cranston, Sylvia; The Extraordinary Life & Influence of Helena Blavatsky, Founder Of The Modern Theosophical Movement

Wm. Q. Judge; Articles Volume I "Theosophy Generally Stated"

Wm. Q. Judge; Articles Volume II "Yours Till Death And After, H.P.B.", "H.P.B. A Lion-Hearted Colleague Passes", "The Theosophical Movement"

4) HPB; Articles Volume I "Recent Progress in Theosophy"

5) HPB; Five Messages From H.P. Blavatsky to the American Theosophists


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