Quotes from the Classic Theosophical writer H.P. Blavatsky.
Isis II, p. 307
The secrecy preserved by these sub-lodges, as well as by the one and supreme great lodge, has ever been proportionate to the activity of religious persecutions; and now, in the face of the growing materialism, their very existence is becoming a mystery.
The kabalists represent Adam as the Tree of life, of which the trunk is humanity; the various races, the branches; and individual men, the leaves. Every leaf has its individual life, and is fed by the one sap; but it can live through the branch, as the branch itself draws its life through the trunk. "The wicked," says the kabalah, "are the dead leaves and the dead bark of the tree. They fall, die, are corrupted, and changed into manure, which returns to the tree through the root."
False prophets could have no existence had there been no true prophets. And so there were, and many of both classes, and in all ages. Only, none of these ever saw anything but that which had already come to pass, and had been before prototypically enacted in higher spheres - if the event foretold related to national or public weal or woe - or in some preceding life, if it concerned only an individual, for every such event is stamped as an indelible record of the Past and Future, which are only, after all, the ever Present in Eternity.
Isis I, p. 181
... though during its brief sojourn on earth our soul may be assimilated to a light under a bushel, it still shines more or less bright and attracts to itself the influences of kindred spirits; and when a thought of good or evil import is begotten in our brain, it draws to it impulses of like nature as irresistibly as the magnet attracts iron filings. This attraction is also proportionate to the intensity with which the though-impulse makes itself felt in the ether; and so it will be understood how one may impress himself upon his own epoch so forcibly, that the influence may be carried - through the ever-interchanging currents of energy between the two worlds, the visible and the invisible - from one succeeding age to another, until it affects a large portion of mankind.
Isis I, p. 236
When we say knowledge we do not mean that brilliant and clear definition of our modern scolars of particulars to the most trifling detail in every branch of exact science; or that tuition which finds an appropriate term for every detail insignificant and microscopic as it may be; a name for every nerve and artery in human and animal organisms, an appellation for every cell, filament, and rib in a plant; but the philosophical and ultimate expression of every truth in nature.
Cranston 337, The Canadian Theosophist september-oktober, 1991
[dialogue between H.P. Blavatsky and a student. Questions in italics by present compiler.]
Madame, what is the most important thing necessary in the study of Theosophy?
Common sense, my dear.
And Madame, what would you place second?
A sense of humour.
And third, Madame?
Oh, just MORE common sense!
Secret Doctrine 1,p 644, 639
It is a law of occult dynamics that "a given amount of energy expended on the spiritual or astral plane, is productive of far greater results than the same amount expended on the physical objective plane of existence." [Thus] the suppression of one single bad cause will suppress not one, but a variety of bad effects. And if a Brotherhood or even a number of brotherhoods may not be able to prevent nations [in the future] from occasionally cutting each other's throats - still unity in thought and action, and philosophical research into the mysteries of being, will always prevent some ... from creating additional causes in a world already so full of woe and evil ... This state will last ... until we begin acting from within, instead of ever following impulses from without ... The closer the union between the mortal reflection MAN, and his [inner Divine Self], the less dangerous the external conditions and subsequent reincarnations.
The difference between personal and individual identity is suggested, if not fully set forth at page 315, Vol. I [Isis Unveiled]. There it is stated as the view of certain philosophers, with whom, it is easy to see, the writer concurs: "Man and Soul had to conquer their immortality by ascending towards the Unity with which, if successful, they were finally linked ... The individualisation of man after death depended on the spirit, not on his soul and body. Although the word 'personality,' in the sense in which it is usually understood, is an absurdity, if applied literally to our immortal essence, still the latter is a distinct entity, immortal and eternal per se." And a little later on: "A person may have won his immortal life, and remain the same inner-self he was on earth, throughout eternity; but this does not imply necessarily that he must either remain the Mr. Smith or Mr. Brown he was on earth. ..." [p.316]
A full consideration of these ideas will solve the embarrassment in which our correspondent is placed. Éliphas Lévi is talking about personalities - the "Fragments" about individualities. Now, as regards the personalities, the "useless portion of mankind" to which Éliphas Lévi refers, is the great bulk thereof. The permanent preservation of a personal identity beyond death is a very rare achievement, accomplished only by those who wrest her secrets from Nature, and control their own super-material development. In his favourite symbolical way Éliphas Lévi indicates the people who contrive to do this as those who are immortal in good by identification with God, or immortal in evil by identification with Satan. That is to say, the preservation of personal identity beyond death (or rather, let us say, far beyond death, reserving for the moment an explanation of the distinction) is accomplished only by adepts and sorcerers - the only class having acquired the supreme secret knowledge by holy methods, and with benevolent motives; the other having acquired it by unholy methods, and for base motives. But that which constitutes the inner self, the purer portions of the earthly personal soul united with the spiritual principles and constituting the essential individuality, is ensured a perpetuation of life in new births, whether the person, whose earthly surroundings are its present habitat, becomes endued with the higher knowledge, or remains a plain ordinary man all his life.
But passing over this branch of the subject, there is still some consolation for weak brethren who find the notion of quitting their present personality at the end of their present lives too gloomy to be borne. Éliphas Lévi's exposition of the doctrines is a very brief one - as regards the passage quoted -and it passes over a great deal which, from the point of view we are now engaged with, is of very great importance. In talking about immortality the great Occultist is thinking of the vast stretches of time over which the personality of the adept and the sorcerer may be made to extend. When he speaks of annihilation after this life, he ignores a certain interval, which may perhaps be not worth considering in reference to the enormous whole of existence, but which none the less is very well worth the attention of people who cling to the little fragment of their life experience which embodies the personality of which we have been talking.
It has been explained, in more than one paper published in this magazine during the last few months, that the passage of the spiritual monad into a rebirth does not immediately follow its release from the fleshly body last inhabited here. In the Kama-loka, or atmosphere of this earth, the separation of the two groups of ethereal principles takes place, and in the vast majority of cases in which the late personality - the fifth principle - yields up something which is susceptible of perpetuation and of union with the sixth, the spiritual monad, thus retaining consciousness of its late personality for the time being, passes into the state described as Devachan, where it leads, for very long periods indeed as compared with those of life on this earth, an existence of the most unalloyed satisfaction and conscious enjoyment. Of course this state is not one of activity nor of exciting contrasts between pain and pleasure, pursuit and achievement, like the state of physical life, but it is one in which the personality of which we are speaking is perpetuated, as far as that is compatible with the nonperpetuation of that which has been painful in its experience. It is from this state that the spiritual monad is reborn into the next active life, and from the date of that rebirth the old personality is done with. But for any imagination, which finds the conception of rebirth and new personality uncomfortable, the doctrine of Devachan - and these "doctrines," be it remembered, are statements of scientific fact which Adepts have ascertained to be as real as the stars though as far out of reach for most of us - the doctrine of Devachan, we say, will furnish people who cannot give up their earth-life memories all at once - with a soft place to fall upon.