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Blavatsky Net - Theosophy

This site focuses on Madame Blavatsky and her teaching - Theosophy. It features an introduction to Theosophy, study aids, research tools, original text, supporting evidence, membership, and visitor interaction.

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YOU invite questions respecting all points of difficulty in subjects connected with Occult Science. I cannot reconcile some things relating to the Apostles of Modern Theosophy.

In the "Preface to the Original Edition" (page xxiii. of the 5th Edition) of "Esoteric Buddhism," by Mr. A. P. Sinnett, there are these words--"Two years ago, neither I, nor any other European living, knew the alphabet of the science here for the first time put into a scientific statement." This is an emphatic expression; it would seem to imply that the thinking world is exclusively indebted to this book and to its author for that knowledge of the truths of Esoteric Science, which is now making its way amongst European and American Theosophists. But this can hardly be Mr. Sinnett's meaning.

For, can the statement and its implication be consistent with the fact that Madame Blavatsky, herself a European,1 had, some years previously, written "Isis Unveiled," which though it does not give the same constructive teaching respecting the mysteries of the Universe as does "Esoteric Buddhism," does yet imply a knowledge on the part of its author of much more than "the alphabet of the science"?

But is it not true, as indicated in "The Occult World," that Mr. Sinnett owed to Madame Blavatsky his own first knowledge of Esoteric Science, and also his introduction to the adept teacher, the Master from whom he derived the bulk of his information? Madame Blavatsky, we have been led to understand, taught these truths of Occult Science years previously to Colonel Olcott, and in so doing converted him from a Spiritualist to a Theosophist. It is further likely that Madame Blavatsky taught others the same truths.2

I would also ask if there are no secret students of Science, in its broadest aspects, who have known these things in advance of its recent publication?

It would be a satisfaction to myself and others if it could be stated how the recent teachings of Occult Science really originated, and what the true position of "Esoteric Buddhism" is as an authoritative exponent of Occult truth.

Now that Theosophical teachings are taking hold of men's minds, it is very desirable that the genesis of the modern movement should be truthfully known. I acknowledge myself greatly indebted to "Esoteric Buddhism," but I am very anxious to understand the facts to which I have alluded, and to have them reconciled.

Yours faithfully,


The case in point is a good illustration of the misconceptions which often spring from looseness of expression in a writer. Certainly, Mr. Sinnett could have no wish whatever to convey the idea that he was the first and only channel for the transmission of Esoteric doctrine. In fact, he specially repudiates the claim, as our correspondent will find if he will turn to p. xxi. of the Preface to the very edition he cites. "Let me add," says Mr. Sinnett, "that I do not regard myself as the sole exponent of the outer world, at this crisis of Esoteric truth." If he omitted to mention the writer and her American pupils and colleagues of 1874-8, Colonel Olcott and Mr. Judge, it was undoubtedly because he regarded "Madame Blavatsky," on account of her Russian nationality, as more Asiatic than European--a harmless delusion many a patriotic Englishman labours under--and the former gentlemen, as Americans. It had also escaped him for the moment, no doubt, that among the group of Initiates to which his own mystical correspondent is allied, are two of European race, and that one who is that Teacher's superior is also of that origin, being half a Slavonian in his "present incarnation," as he himself wrote to Colonel Olcott in New York.

"'Esoteric Buddhism" has rendered precious service. by popularizing in exoteric form esoteric truths, meddling with pure metaphysics being disclaimed by its author (Vide p. 46), and in the propagation of theosophical ideas throughout the world; and it has proved its popularity by passing already through six editions, and being just at this moment about to appear in a seventh. Yet it is not free enough of minor errors to entitle it to be regarded as an infallible Scripture, nor its modest author as a Divine Revelator--as some foolish enthusiasts, in search of new idols, figure to themselves. The correspondent's question as to "how the recent teachings of Occult Science really originated," is easily answered. A crisis had arrived in which it was absolutely necessary to bring within reach of our generation the Esoteric Doctrine of the eternal cycles. Religion, both in the West and East, had long been smothering beneath the dust heaps of Sectarianism and enfranchised Science. For lack of any scientific religious concept, Science was giving Religion the coup-de grace with the iron bar of Materialism. To crown the disorder the phantom-world of Hades, or Kama-loca, had burst in a muddy torrent into ten thousand séance-rooms, and created most misleading notions of man's post--mortem state. Nothing but a few fundamental tenets from the Esoteric philosophy, sketched in broad outlines by such a clear and brilliant writer as Mr. Sinnett is known to be, could snatch mankind from drowning in the sea of ignorance. So once again the Gates of the Palace of Truth were opened and Mr. Sinnett and many other willing workers have caught each a ray. But as all the light can only be got by re-uniting all the different rays of the spectrum, so the archaic philosophy in its entirety can only be apprehended by combining all the glimpses of light that have passed through the many intellectual prisms of our own and preceding generations.

H.P. Blavatsky
Lucifer, October, 1888

1 In view of a number of such letters received, a full answer will be given in the "Secret Doctrine," now nearly ready.--[ED.]
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2 She did, most undeniably. But as her several pupils (Europeans) were pledged disciples, which Mr. Sinnett never was, they could not give out to the world what they had learned.
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List of Articles
African Magic
Ahkoond of Swat
An Astral Prophet
An Unsolved Mystery
Ancient Doctrines Vindicated
Ancient Magic in Modern Science
Animated Statues
Answers to Queries
Antiquity of the Vedas
Apollonius Tyaneus and Simon Magus
Are Chelas "Mediums"?
Are Dreams but Idle Visions?
Arya Samaj
The Babel of Modern Thought
Black Magic in Science
Blessings of Publicity
Bright Spot of Light
Buddhism, Christianity and Phallicism
Buddhism in America
Can the Double Murder?
Can the Mahatmas Be Selfish?
Case of Obsession
Chelas and Lay Chelas
Chinese Spirits
Christmas Then and Christmas Now
Civilization, the Death of Art and Beauty
Claims of Occultism
Classification of "Principles"
Count St. Germain
Cross and Fire
Cycle Moveth
Denials and the Mistakes of the Nineteenth Century
Devil's Own-Thoughts on Ormuzd and Ahriman
Diagnoses and Palliatives
Dialogue on the Mysteries of the After Life
Dialogues between the Two Editors
Do the Rishis Exist?
Does Vaccination Prevent Smallpox?
Dr. Beard Criticized
Dreamland and Somnambulism
Drift of Western Spiritualism
Dual Aspect of Wisdomhe
Echoes from India. What is Hindu Spiritualism?
Eddy Manifestations
Editorial Comment
Editorial Appendix
Eighth Wonder
Electric and Magnetic Affinities between Man and Nature
Esoteric Axioms and Spiritual Speculations
"Esoteric Buddhism" and its Critic
"Esoteric Buddhism" and the "Secret Doctrine"
Esoteric Character of the Gospels
Fakirs and Tables
Fall of Ideals
Fate of the Occultist
Few Thoughts on Some Wise Words from a Wise Man
Force of Prejudice
French View of Women's Rights
Grand Inquisitor
"H. M." and the Todas
H. P. Blavatsky on Precipitation and Other Matters
H. P. Blavatsky's Masonic Patent
Have Animals Souls?
Hindu Widow-Marriage
History of a "Book"
History of a Planet
Holmes Controversy
Holmes Controversy(continued)
Huxley and Slade
Hypnotism, and Its Relations to Other Modes of Fascination
Imperfections of Science
Indian Metaphysics
Intro-Version of Mental Vision
Is Creation Possible for Man?
Is Denunciation a Duty?
Is Foeticide a Crime?
"Is it Idle to Argue Further?"
Is Suicide a Crime?
Is the Desire to "Live" Selfish?
Is Theosophy a Religion?
"Isis Unveiled" and the "Theosophist" on Reincarnation
Isis Unveiled and the Vishishtadwaita
"It's the Cat!"
Jews in Russia
Kabalah and the Kabalists
Kabalistic Views of "Spirits"
Karmic Visions
Knout, The. As Wielded by the Great Russian Theosophist
Kosmic Mind
Lack of Unity among Spiritualists
Lamas and Druses
Land of Mystery
Last Song of the Swan
Le Phare de L'Inconnu
Leaven of Theosophy
Leo Tolstoi and His Unecclesiastical Christianity
"Let Every Man Prove His Own Work"
Life and Death
Life Principle
Literary Jottings on Criticism, Authorities, and Other Matters
Lodges of Magic
Logic versus Peripatetic
Madame Blavatsky on "The Himalayan Brothers"
Mahatmas and Chelas
Memory in the Dying
Mind in Nature
Missing Link
Missionaries Militant
Mistaken Notions on "The Secret Doctrine"
Modern Apostles and Pseudo-Messiahs
Mote and the Beam
Mr. A. Lillie's Delusions
My Books
Mysterious Race
Nature's Human Magnets
Negations of Science
New Cycle
(New) York against Lankester. A new War of the Roses
"Not a Christian"!
Note on Eliphas Levi
Note on "Memory"
Notes on some Aryan-Arhat Esoteric Tenets
Notice to Mediums
Number Seven
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Occult or Exact Science?
Occult Phenomena
Occultism or Magic
Occultism versus the Occult Arts
Old Hindu Ships
Old Philosophers and Modern Critics
On Pseudo-Theosophy
On The New Year's Morrow
"Oppressed Widowhood" in America
Organisation of the Theosophical Society
Origin of Evil
Our Cycle and the Next
Our Three Objects
Paradoxical World
Parting Words
Persian Zoroastrianism and Russian Vandalism
Pertinent Queries
Pertinent Questions
Philosophers and Philosophicules
Popular Idea of Soul-Survival
Posthumous Publication
Practical Occultism
Pralaya of Modern Science
Premature and Phenomenal Growths
Progress and Culture
Psychic and Noetic Action
Psychic Warning
Psychology - The Science of the Soul
Puzzle from Adyar
Puzzle in "Esoteric Buddhism"
Queries and Answers
Questions Answered about Yoga Vidya
Re-Classification of Principles
Recent Progress in Theosophy
Reincarnations in Tibet
Reply to Our Critics, A.
Republican Citizen
Retort Courteous
Roots of Ritualism in Church and Masonry
Russian Atrocities
Sacred Tree of Kum Bum
Science of Life
Science of Magic
"Scrutator Again"
Search after Occultism
Seeming "Discrepancies"
Seventeen-Rayed Sun-Disc
She Being Dead Yet Speaketh
Signal of Danger
Signs of the Times
Six-Pointed and Five-Pointed Stars
Society Without a Dogma
Some Scientific Questions Answered
Spiritual Progress
Spiritualism and Occult Truth
Spiritualism and Spiritualists
Spiritualism in Russia
Spiritualistic Tricksters
Star-Angel-Worship in the Roman Catholic Church
Stars and Numbers
Stray Thoughts on Death and Satan
Substantial Nature of Magnetism
Theories about Reincarnation and Spirits
Theory of Cycles
"Theosophical Mahatmas"
Theosophical Society: Its Mission and Its Future
Theosophists and their Opponents
Theosophy and Spiritualism
Theosophy or Jesuitism?
Thoughts of the Dead
Thoughts on the Elementals
Tibetan Teachings
Tidal Wave
"To the Readers of 'Lucifer'"
Transmigration of the Life Atoms
Trickery or Magic?
Universe in a Nut-Shell
Views of the Theosophists
War in Olympus
Warning to Mediums
Was Cagliostro a "Charlatan"?
Washing the Disciples' Feet
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What of Phenomena?
What Shall We Do for Our Fellow-Men?
What's in a Name? - Why the Magazine is called "Lucifer"
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