Prologue to the Esoteric Studies Guide
On this website I have attempted to bring together texts, quotes and articles on the subject of "the esoteric life" and the goal's of the TS from early theosophical writers. These are Blavatsky, but also Subba Row, Damodar, W.Q. Judge and the Mahatma's and a few lesser gods. Included is also a quote from the E-maillist theos-l because of its brevity and clarity. I have tried to use Henk Spierenburg's concept as used in his H.P.Blavatsky Reference Books, but have loosened it up somewhat, to suit my personal style. The quotes are loosely ordered in chapters, according to content, but many quotes and articles could as easily have found their place in another chapter. The fact that the subjects discussed are so interwoven, makes this almost inevitable. A project like this one is almost impossible, because understanding what the Mahatma's and Blavatsky meant by chelaship, is something that comes partly from reading it all (or almost all, as I've had the pleasure of doing), and reading between the lines. I have not been able to include all that has been written on these subjects, because that would have meant including much that was not directly relevant to the theme of this book. Precisely because reading between the lines is so important here, this site will be mainly a collection of Blavatsky's most important articles. In these she gives worlds of thought and a very original way of looking at life, priorities and the way aspects of our lives are interwoven.
I have to thank Henk J. Spierenburg, for providing me with the opportunity of studying the Collected Writings in their entirety. Without him I would not have been able to compile this book.
The goal of this reader is the collecting together the most important texts, articles and quotes from the chaos that is the H.P.Blavatsky Collected Writings and to give an order to these texts. Also included are texts from other writers from the early theosophical movement. The aim is an overview, with sufficient nuance about the essence of theosophy. My selection criterion has been that what interests me, will probably interest others. There has been no attempt at completeness in any of the subjects. The student is referred to The Key to Theosophy, The Secret Doctrine and the Collected Writings for more details and completeness as far as H.P.Blavatsky's ideas are concerned. Also all the other works from which I use quotes and articles are obviously worth studying.
Theosophy is primarily a way of life, a way of dealing with life and a way of viewing life. This can most easily be seen in the articles about chela's, Mahatma's and practical occultism. Therefore, these will become a large part of this website. I have tried to let the full richness of H.P.Blavatsky's theosophy shine through. It seems to me that such has partly been lost in the oral tradition that has become part of the TS-es in in the last century. H.P.Blavatsky and the Mahatma's looked at subjects from different angles. Precisely the lack of knowledge about those different sides is often what makes the student of theosophy come face to face with difficult questions or in avoiding these questions dogmatism comes in. What is not often known is that H.P.Blavatsky very often answers those questions, but because we do not all have the Collected Writings, we do not know that, which is a pity.
The subjects in this reader are precisely those that have interested me most over the last couple of years and that seem the most essential to a practical understanding of what it is to try to live theosophy. While compiling this book I found that there was an order to my favorite quotes that I had not suspected was there.
The following conventions are used on this site:
- Anything between square brackets is added by me or the editor of the Collected Writings.
- Three dots mean that I have deleted words or have skipped to a different part of the article.
- C.W.: Blavatsky Collected Writings, compiled
by Boris de Zirkoff. Volumes I through XIV.
- Reminiscences: Reminiscences of H.P.Blavatsky and The Secret Doctrine, by Countess Constance Wachtmeister et al, Quest edition, 1976.
- Isis: Isis Unveiled volume I and II, by H.P.Blavatsky, Collected Writings edition, 1972.
- Cranston: HPB; The Extraordinary Life & Influence of Helena
Blavatsky Founder of the Modern Theosophical Movement, by Sylvia Cranston,
1993, New York.
- O.D.L: Old Diary Leaves: The History of the Theosophical Society,
as Written by the President-Founder Himself, by Henry Steel Olcott, President
Founder of the Society. First through Sixth series, Adyar, Madras.
- She Being Dead Yet Speaketh: W.Q.Judge, "She being dead yet
speaketh," The Path, july 1892, 121-122; original in Adyar Archives, The
Theosophical Society, Adyar, Madras, India.
- Letter to Skinner: Blavatsky, Letters to Ralston Skinner, Ralston
Skinner Collection, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Echoes: Echoes from the Orient, W.Q. Judge. His collected writings,
though it is incomplete. Volumes I through III.
- Inner Group: The Inner Group Teachings of H.P.Blavatsky, to her personal pupils (1890-91), 2nd revised and enlarged edition; compiled and annotated by Henk J. Spierenburg