Wed, Jun 29, 2022

Brief Brushstrokes on Theosophy


  • 02/15/2022 - by Gloria Acero Muñoz

Modern Theosophy was born and expanded as a universal philosophical-religious movement with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. She is a charismatic figure who sparked passionate controversies in her time. Some of her consider her an exceptional woman and others, however, see her as a clear example of charlatanism and mystification. The success of the Theosophical Society contributed to the exaltation of a Buddhism with a universal vocation and to the awakening of India. Alongside Annie Besant stood Mohandas Karamanchand Gandhi, the father of India's emancipation.

Modern Theosophy was born and expanded as a universal philosophical-religious movement with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. She is a charismatic figure who sparked passionate controversies in her time. Some of her admirers consider her an exceptional woman, while others see her as a clear example of charlatanism and mystification.

H.P.B wrote The Secret Doctrine which is a fundamental pillar of theosophical esotericism, but her fundamental work was Isis Unveiled, with which she achieved worldwide success. H.P.B died on May 8, 1891 at the age of sixty, having appointed Annie Besant as her successor at the head of the Theosophical Society.

The success of the Theosophical Society contributed to the exaltation of a Buddhism with a universal scope and to the awakening of India. Alongside Annie Besant stood Mohandas Karamanchand Gandhi, the father of India's emancipation.

Gandhi was deeply influenced by Theosophical doctrine and by Madame Blavatsky, whom he met in London. In his autobiography, Gandhi exposes how theosophy transformed his social, philosophical and religious outlook, directing him towards the liberation movement of his country.

In principle, he did not pay much attention to the popular traditions of India, and, influenced by English culture, even despised them, considering them to be a cluster of superstitions. It was Helena Blavastky who reproached him for his lack of knowledge and interest in this regard and convinced him of the importance of the Hindu spiritual legacy, assuring him that Theosophy would restore Western spirituality through the Eastern tradition.

Thus, thanks to H.P.B and the London Theosophists, Gandhi awakened to a previously unexperienced “national consciousness,” vowing to strive for the emancipation and development of India.

It can be affirmed that this immense country woke up to the tension of the Theosophists. Thinkers trained in the theosophical currents, such as Ramakrishna, Rabindranath Tagore, Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo, tried to make the people aware through a spiritual movement that advocated the freedom of the homeland. Gandhi participated in this movement, although more as a man of action than as a thinker, following the postulates of Gokhale, leader of the Hindu nationalist movement.

The supreme purpose of the Theosophical Society was to restore peace, that total peace that flourished in ancient Egypt, governed by the feminine principle, and its doctrine has been the engine that has generated movements such as anti-colonialism, the independence of India, the introduction of Buddhism, Brahmanism and Yogiism in the West, religious acumenism, criticism of the dogmas of the Church, the victory of feminism, etc.

In short, the value that Theosophy has lent to humanity is not insignificant, offering alternative paths to oppressive materialism and making it glimpse higher planes of existence.

With Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, a movement for the "democratization" of occultism begins, in the sense that a knowledge that until then had been the privilege of the initiates, or at least of those "knowledgeable" of the science of the spirit, found a propagation channel that would universalize it.

Theosophy satisfied in many cases that taste for the mysterious and exotic with which the human soul unconsciously seeks compensation for the harsh reality of life, generating a large number of followers who saw in this doctrine a means to approach the supernatural on a level beyond themselves.

Furthermore, if we consider that each era produces its own philosophy, Theosophy was born at a propitious moment for its development as a philosophical system, at the same time that it provided a self-discipline for the actualization of the latent powers in the human psyche.

Introducing occultism into religion, Mrs. Blavatsky stands as a great reformer, although her actions were not due to a personal initiative, but to a "revelation" of sorts, which made her a messenger of doctrines and points of view that were inspired by history’s teachers.

In fact, the intention of this vast work carried out by the Theosophists, rather than to amalgamate the teachings of the East and the West, was fundamentally to find a justification for the Eastern initiatic doctrines or teachings in the systems created by the Western mind. In this way, she linked the Eastern and Western minds, bridging the gap between the two different concepts of life, but failing to reconcile them.

The exposed Theogony The Secret Doctrine is a faithful reflection of the old Hindu philosophy that there is more part of imagination than of positive scientific spirit, not to mention a constant symbology that makes it difficult to understand its convoluted metaphysics, always turning with the eternal theme of karma or reincarnation.

On the other hand, with its reiterated denial of personality, Theosophy does nothing more than persist in an unnatural order of things, establishing a regression or inversion of values.

It should be noted that the triumph of Christianity is mainly due to having put the "I Am" before the "I am not" of the Orientals, since man seeks himself and finds the path of his regeneration not in the annulment of his "I,” but in the exaltation of personal values. Therefore, the motto of "impersonal life" created by the Theosophists and widely spread in modern literature is something against nature, which is not conceivable.

Life cannot be lived impersonally, under penalty of annihilating in us the most transcendent and noble of the human constitution: our own psychic essence.

Let us not forget that "the kingdom of heaven is conquered by effort," that is, by will in action and not by passivity. And we all know what that “kingdom of heaven” implies: the “voluntary” identification with our most sublime essence; self-control and exercise of the will against the impulse that pushes us to certain behaviors; the conscious development of everything that elevates us, immersing us in a loving and fraternal worldview.

And let's not talk about the deep aspiration to internal balance – latent in the human being and accessible through a volitional act – that eternal search for inner peace, so elusive and difficult to achieve; or the impulse that makes us look at the stars, and want to feel one with the universe, but without ceasing to be ourselves.

The human being, as he evolves and rises, feels the desire to harmonize with the cosmic consciousness, to access increasingly subtle planes of knowledge that expand and enrich his personality, that perfect the perceptive levels of his "I Am." In this sense, Theosophy neglected one of the main foundations of human evolution.

There is a diversity of doctrines and sects that invoke Theosophy, all of them through mystical postulates that seek to achieve wisdom through a search for God in the inner life and an aspiration to glimpse the eternal truth in the depths of common knowledge proper to all religions.

The concept of mysticism, in fact, according to its Greek etymology means an "initiation," an access to the truth through union with the origin of that truth. When a high degree of mysticism is reached, a special state is reached, an ecstasy produced by "the intimate union with God" or at least, one communes with certain supersensible levels of "the superior spheres."

On the other hand, mysticism is a heartbeat that is inherent in the pulse of humanity; it has always been present in the human race, from its most basic manifestations to its most evolved expression. Thus, in primitive societies, only the "initiates" have access to the mysteries of the tribe and the knowledge bequeathed by the elders.

Formerly, science and religion, at their highest levels, were not opposed but formed a field of knowledge, a single "philosophy" that integrated magic among its components. Thus, from the historical point of view, scientific thought is not opposed to the magical spirit, but proceeds directly from it. Science and religion instrumented initiation to gain access to knowledge with two aspects, at the same time exoteric or popular and esoteric or reserved for an elite. We can, therefore, infer that the initiations to some mysteries in which neither logic nor reason were excluded, powerfully influenced and determined the genesis of our civilization.

Theosophists have contributed to the evolution of ideas as well as the development of the sciences and humanism. They have studied the dogmas and rites of various religions to drink from the sources of archaic metaphysics and primitive beliefs. However, both Western churches and positivist materialists continue to believe that Theosophy rests on far from self-evident postulates.


Gloria Acero Muñoz

Philologist.