Quotes from Classic Theosophical writers like H.P. Blavatsky, W.Q. Judge, the Mahatmas Morya and Koot Hoomi and others.
Theosophical Society - Theosophists
The value of psychology
The first letter of K.H. to A.O. Hume, p. 37 combined chronology for use with the Mahatma Letters and The letters of H.P.Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett
You can do immense good by helping to give the Western nations a secure basis upon which to reconstruct their crumbling faith. What they need is the evidence that Asiatic psychology alone supplies. Give this and you will confer happiness of mind on thousands. The era of blind faith is gone; that of enquiry is here. Enquiry that only unmasks error, without discovering anything upon which the soul can build, will but make iconoclasts. Iconoclasm from its very destructiveness can give nothing, it can only raze. But man can not rest satisfied with bare negation. Agnosticism is but a temporary halt.
This is the moment to guide the recurrent impulse which must soon come, and which will push the age toward extreme atheism, or drag it back to extreme sacerdotalism, if it is not led to the primitive and soul-satisfying philosophy of the Aryans.
Blavatsky Collected Writings, XI, p. 398-99
Though but a minority of our members are mystically inclined, yet, in point of fact, the key to all our successes as above enumerated [see Coll. WR. XI, p. 392-398] is in our recognition of the fact of the Higher Self - colourless, cosmopolitan, unsectarian, sexless, unworldly, altruistic - and the doing of our work on that basis. To the Secularist, the Agnostic, the Sciolistic Scientist, such results would have been unattainable, nay, would have been unthinkable. Peace Societies are Utopian, because no amount of argument based upon exoteric considerations of social morals or expediency, can turn the hearts of the rulers of nations away from selfish war and schemes of conquest.
Social differentiations, the result of physical evolutions and material environment, breed race hatreds and sectarian and social antipathies that are insurmountable if attacked from the outside. But, since human nature is ever identical, all men are alike open to influences which centre upon the human "heart," and appeal to the human intuition; and as there is but one Absolute Truth, and this is the soul and life of all human creeds, it is possible to effect a reciprocal alliance for the research of and dissemination of that basic Truth. We know that a comprehensive term for that Eternal Verity is the "Secret Doctrine"; we have preached it, have won a hearing, have, to some extent, swept away the old barriers, formed our fraternal nucleus, and, by reviving the Aryan Literature, caused its precious religious, philosophical and scientific teachings to spread among the most distant nations.
If we have not opened regular schools of adeptship in the Society, we have at least brought forward a certain body of proof that adepts exist and that adeptship is a logical necessity in the natural order of human development. We have thus helped the West to a worthier ideal of man's potentialities than it before possessed.
Col. Wr. VIII, p. 402-409
[this is a fragment of a conversation between Charles Johnston and H.P. Blavatsky about different subjects. The questions have been put in italics by the present compiler.]
The Theosophical Society represents their [the Mahatma's] work for this epoch.
How does it benefit mankind?
How does it benefit you to know the laws of life? Does it not help you escape sickness and death? Well, there is a soul-sickness, and a soul-death. Only the true teaching of Life can cure them. The dogmatic churches, with their hell and damnation, their metal [streets paved with gold] heaven and their fire and brimstone, have made it almost impossible for thinking people to believe in the immortality of the soul. And if they do not believe in a life after death, then they have no life after death. That is the law.
How can what people believe possibly affect them? Either it is or it isn't, whatever they may believe.
Their belief affects them in this way. Their life after death is made by their aspirations and spiritual development unfolding in the spiritual world. According to the growth of each [in our world] so is his life after death. It is the complement of his life here. All unsatisfied spiritual longings, all desires for higher life, all aspirations and dreams of noble things, come to flower in the spiritual life, and the soul has its day, for life on earth is its night. But if you have no aspirations, no higher longings, no beliefs in any life after death, then there is nothing for your spiritual life to be made up of; your soul is a blank.
What becomes of you then?
You reincarnate immediately, almost without an interval, and without regaining consciousness in the other world.
What else do you teach, as theosophists?
Well, Sir! I am being cross-examined this evening, it would seem. ... We Teach something very old, and yet which needs to be taught. We teach universal brotherhood.
Don't let us be vague and general. Tell me exactly what you mean by that.
Let me take a concrete case. ...Take the English... How cruel they are! How badly they treat my poor Hindus!
I have always understood they had done a good deal for India in a material way. ...
But what is the use of material benefits, if you are despised and trampled down morally all the time? If your ideals of national honor and glory are crushed in the mud, and you are made to feel all the time that you are an inferior race - a lower order of mortals - pigs, the English call them, and sincerely believe it. Well, just the reverse of that would be universal brotherhood. No amount of material benefit can compensate for hurting their souls and crushing out their ideals. Besides there is another side of all that, which we as theosophists always point out. There are really no 'inferior races,' for all are one in our common humanity; and as we have all had incarnations in each of these races, we ought to be more brotherly to them. They are our wards, entrusted to us; and what do we do? We invade their lands, and shoot them down in sight of their own homes; we outrage their women, and rob their goods, and then with smooth-faced hypocrisy we turn around and say we are doing it for their own good. But there is a just law, 'the false tongue dooms its lie; the spoiler robs to render. Ye shall not come forth, until ye have paid the uttermost farthing.'
So that is what the adepts sent you forth to teach?
Yes, that and other things - things which are very important, and will soon be far more important. There is a danger of black magic, into which all the world, and especially America, is rushing as fast as it can go. Only a wide knowledge of the real psychic and spiritual nature of man can save humanity from grave dangers.
Witch-stories in this so-called nineteenth century, in this enlightened age?
Yes, Sir! Witch-tales in this enlightened age! And mark my words! You will have such witch-tales as the Middle Ages never dreamt of. Whole nations will drift insensibly into black magic, with good intentions, no doubt, but paving the road to hell none the less for that! Do you not see the tremendous evils that lie concealed in hypnotism? Hypnotism and suggestion are great and dangerous powers, for the very reason that the victim never knows when he is being subjected to them; his will is stolen from him. These things may be begun with good motives, and for right purposes. But I am an old woman, and have seen much of human life in many countries and I wish with all my heart I could believe that these powers would be used only for good! If you could foresee what I foresee, you would begin heart and soul to spread the teaching of universal brotherhood. It is the only safeguard!
How is it going to safeguard against hypnotism?
By purifying the hearts of people who would misuse it. And universal brotherhood rests upon the common soul. It is because there is one soul common to all men, that brotherhood, or even common understanding, is possible. Bring men to rest on that, and they will be safe. There is a divine power in every man which is to rule his life, and which no one can influence for evil, not even the greatest magician. Let men bring their lives under its guidance, and they have nothing to fear from man or devil.
Judge, Lucifer, june 1891, "Yours Till Death and After, HPB"
In London I once asked her [H.P. Blavatsky] what was the chance of drawing the people into the Theosophical Society in view of the enormous disproportion between the numbers of members and the millions of Europe and America who neither knew or cared for it. Leaning back in her chair, in which she was sitting before her writing desk, she said: "When you consider and remember those days in 1875 and after, in which you could not find any people interested in your thoughts, and now look at the widespreading influence of theosophical ideas - however, labeled - it is not so bad. We are not working merely that people may call themselves theosophists, but that the doctrines we cherish may affect and leaven the whole mind in this century."
O.D.L. 1, p. 400
[H.P. Blavatsky about the goal of the T.S. in New York circular, clause VI, 1878]
As the highest development, physically and spiritually, on earth of the creative cause, man should aim to solve the mystery of his being. He is the procreator of his species, physically, and having inherited the nature of the unknown but palpable cause of his own creation, must possess in his inner, psychical self, this creative power in lesser degree. He should, therefore, study to develop his latent powers, and inform himself respecting the laws of magnetism, electricity, and all other forms of force whether of the seen or unseen universes.
Damodar, p. 352-355
THE WORK OF THE BRANCHES
Notwithstanding the repeated protest of the Parent Theosophical Society, there does yet seem to linger in the minds of individual members and some of the Branches, a tendency to look upon the whole movement as a school where Yoga Vidya and Occultism may be learnt in a much more expeditious and easy way than heretofore. This arises out of an ignorance of the laws of Occult Institutions and those governing psychological development. Since the commencement, the Theosophical Society has tried to impress the fact that the Laws of Nature are immutable; and no living being, however high and powerful, can ever alter them to suit the convenience of students. The attempt, therefore, which is now being made is not to carry on the vain and profitless task of finding a short cut to Brahma Vidya, since this is an impossibility, but to revive once more its knowledge, and thus to stimulate a true aspirant to adapt his life and thoughts to that standard which will better him and lead him gradually to such ways as run their courses to the Divine Wisdom. It will thus be seen that the Theosophical Society promises no Teachers, no Gurus, to take every member, upon joining, under their special charge.
This explanation ought to make it clear that what the Society expects from all its Branches and individual members, is co-operation and help in its grand task of uniting the East and West, the North and the South, in a Scientific Brotherhood armed against dissension and consequent failure by the principle of mutual Toleration and mutual Intellectual Sympathy. It is an unthinkable proposition that any man with average intelligence cannot contribute his quota towards the realization of this noble scheme. If each man were but to do his duty to search, to investigate, to study, to digest, and join with his fellowmen, actuated by the same noble aspirations, in giving to mankind the benefits of their labour, the day would not be very far off when the Masters of Occultism might find the necessary conditions to enable them to once more live in the world as openly and freely as did their predecessors of times long, long gone by, and give to such a prepared people the benefits of THEIR knowledge. Until that blessed day comes, a duty is before us: we have to hasten its approach. And this cannot be done by merely joining the Theosophical Society and without preparation, training or qualifications, expecting the Adepts to place within our reach tremendous weapons of Power. For KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, which in the hands of the ignorant and the wicked is fraught with dangers to their holders and to Humanity at large. Enough has already been given out to bring home to anyone, endowed with ordinary intelligence, fairness, and desire for knowledge - conviction of the truth of this Science and the Powers it confers upon its devotees. When once all this is clearly understood, the only question for solution is how best to promote the Cause, and thus by an unselfish effort for the good of our fellowmen and their regeneration, to fit ourselves for the higher life of a true co-worker with those who have devoted themselves to the amelioration of the moral and spiritual condition of Humanity. There are various ways of accomplishing this result, but as one man's meat is another man's poison, the Parent Theosophical Society has always endeavoured to leave the practical working of its Branches to their members, who are, or should be, the best judges of the circumstances they have to work under, and the material that can be utilized. Psychology is a vast field wherein many workers may employ themselves with advantage. The tastes of individuals must differ, but surely there can be found two or three in every Branch interested in the same subject. If a Branch divides itself into various Commitees for the investigation of various subjects of Science, and communicates its results at general meetings, much good will ensue. Various articles in The Theosophist and other publications of the like nature might be taken up by different members, and the Society given the benefit of every individual exertion. Knotty questions arising out of such studies might be referred to the Headquarters in the form of an article, or in any other shape which may be found best under the circumstances. Every legitimate demand for help and assistance has been, and will always be, granted by the Founders to their co-workers in this cause of Humanity. Several other matters of Reform might be undertaken by other Commitees, without, or course, infringing upon any individual's or people's religious or social right. For those who are capable of an unselfish impulse to work for the moral and spiritual regeneration of Humanity, there is plenty to do. And it is men of this stamp that are the pillars of such a grand movement, which must necessarily depend upon their co-operation and zeal for its success.
C.W. I, p. 377 [from The Theosophical Society, Its Origin, Plan and Aim, written (according to Boris de Zirkoff) mostly by Col. Olcott.]
The objects of the Society are various. It influences its fellows to acquire an intimate knowledge of natural law, especially its occult manifestations. As the highest development, physically and spiritually, on earth, of the Creative Cause, man should aim to solve the mystery of his being. He is the procreator of his species, physically, and having inherited the nature of the unknown but palpable Cause of his own creation, must possess in his inner, psychical self, this creative power in lesser degree. He should, therefore, study to develop his latent powers, and inform himself respecting the laws of magnetism, electricity and all other forms of force, whether of the seen or unseen universes. The Society teaches and expects its fellows to personally exemplify the highest morality and religious aspiration; to oppose the materialism of science and every form of dogmatic theology, especially the Christian, which the Chiefs of the Society regard as particularly pernicious; to make known among Western nations the long-suppressed facts about Oriental religious philosophies, their ethics, chronology, esoterism, symbolism; to counteract, as far as possible, the efforts of missionaries to delude the so-called "Heathen" and "Pagans" as to the real origin and dogmas of Christianity and the practical efforts of the latter upon public and private character in so-called civilized countries; to disseminate a knowledge of the sublime teachings of that pure esoteric system of the archaic period, which are mirrored in the oldest Vedas, and in the philosophy of Gautama Buddha, Zoroaster and Confucius; finally, and chiefly, to aid in the institution of a Brotherhood of Humanity, wherein all good and pure men, of every race, shall recognize each other as the equal effects (upon this planet) of one Uncreate, Universal, Infinite and Everlasting Cause.
C.W. IV, p. 130-132
The New Society for Psychical Research
[In small print the letter is given that the newly founded Society for Psychical Research sent to the Theosophist, july 1882]
It has been widely felt that the present is an opportune time for making an organized and systematic attempt to investigate that large group of debatable phenomena designated by such terms as mesmeric, psychical, and spiritualistic.
From the recorded testimony of many competent witnesses, past and present, including observations recently made by scientific men of eminence in various countries, there appears to be, amidst much illusion and deception, an important body of remarkable phenomena, which are prima facie inexplicable on any generally recognized hypothesis, and which, if incontestably established, would be of the highest possible value.
The task of examining such residual phenomena has often been undertaken by individual effort, but never hitherto by a scientific society organized on a sufficiently broad basis. As a preliminary step towards this end, a Conference was held in London, on January 6th, 1882, and a Society for Psychical Research was projected. The Society was definitely constituted on February 20th, 1882, and its Council, then appointed, have sketched out a programme for future work. The following subjects have been entrusted to special Committees:
- An examination of the nature and extent of any influence which may be exerted by one mind upon another, apart from any generally recognized mode of perception.
- The study of hypnotism, and the forms of so-called mesmeric trance, with its alleged insensibility to pain; clairvoyance, and other allied phenomena.
- A critical revision of Reichenbach's researches with certain organizations called sensitive, and an inquiry whether such organizations possess any power of perception beyond a highly exalted sensibility of the recognized sensory organs.
- A careful investigation of any reports, resting on strong testimony regarding apparations at the moment of death, or otherwise, or regarding disturbances in houses reputed to be haunted.
- An inquiry into the various physical phenomena commonly called Spiritualistic; with an attempt to discover their causes and general laws.
- The collection and collation of existing materials bearing on the history of these subjects.
The aim of the Society will be to approach these various problems without prejudice or prepossession of any kind, and in the same spirit of exact and unimpassioned inquiry which has enabled science to solve so many problems, once not less obscure nor less hotly debated. The founders of the Society fully recognize the exceptional difficulties which surround this branch of research; but they nevertheless hope that by patient and systematic effort some results of permanent value may be attained.
Letters of enquiry or application for membership may be addressed to the Hon. Secretary, Edward T. Bennett, The Mansion, RIchmond Hill, near London.
[H. P. Blavatsky replies:]
It was intended, in founding the British Theosophical Society, our London Branch, to cover this exact ground, adding to it the hope of being able to work up to a direct personal intercourse with those "Great Masters of the Snowy Range of the Himavat," whose existence has been amply proven to some or our Fellows, and, according to the Rev. Mr. Beale - "is known throughout all Tibet and China." While someting has, certainly, been done in that direction, yet for lack of help the scientific men, like those who have joined to found this new Society, the progress has been relatively slow. In all our Branches there is more of a tendency to devote time to reading books and papers and propounding theories, than to experimental research in the departments of Mesmerism, Psychometry, Odyle (Reichenbach's new Force), and Mediumship. This should be changed, for the subjects above-named are the keys to all the world's Psychological Science from the remotest antiquity down to our time. The new Psychical Research Society, then, has our best wishes, and may count upon the assistence of our thirty-seven Asiatic Branches in carrying out their investigations, if our help is not disdained. We will be only too happy to enlist in this movement, which is for the world's good, the friendly services of a body of Hindu, Parsi and Sinhalese gentlemen of education, who have access to the vernacular, Sanskrit, and Pali literature of their respective countries, and who were never yet brought, either by governmental or any private agency, into collaboration with European students of Psychology. Let the London savants but tell us what they want done, and we will take care of the rest. In the same connection we would suggest that the Psychical Research Society and our London and Paris Branches should open relations with the Committee of the Academy of France, just formed, or forming, to make a serious study of these very subjects, as the result of the recent experiments of Drs. Charcot, Chevillard, Burq, and other French biologists. Let us, by all means, have an international, rather than a local, investigation of the most important of all subjects of human study - PSYCHOLOGY.