THEOSOPHY, Vol. 52, No. 5, March, 1964
(Pages 140-142; Size: 9K)


[Article number (17) in this Department]

I have a question that has been discussed many times, but this appears to be inevitable. To what extent are the writings of Theosophy "progressive"? That is, while one may grant that certain fundamental axioms remain the same in all Theosophical teachings, regardless of era, is it not also inevitable that each new presentation of Theosophy will contain elements of synthesis not present before, and applications which are "new" simply because each human being is evolving, reaching levels of subtlety in understanding not previously possible?

Perhaps the chief difficulty in formulating the elements of such a problem is that we tend to conceive of that which is "eternal" as being static. To realize that this is not the case is to discover something of the necessity for metaphysics, in which matters that are paradoxical to the intellect can be held in suspension and focused in a new sort of way for meditative reflection. In her discussion of the First Fundamental Proposition of The Secret Doctrine, Madame Blavatsky, for example, introduces a kind of "duality" in presenting the unity of "an omnipresent, eternal, boundless, and immutable Principle":

"Be-ness" is symbolized in the Secret Doctrine under two aspects. On the one hand, absolute abstract Space, representing bare subjectivity, the one thing which no human mind can either exclude from any conception, or conceive of by itself. On the other, absolute Abstract Motion representing Unconditioned Consciousness. Even our Western thinkers have shown that Consciousness is inconceivable to us apart from change, and motion best symbolizes change, its essential characteristic. This latter aspect of the one Reality is also symbolized by the term "The Great Breath," a symbol sufficiently graphic to need no further elucidation.
The pertinence of these words to our question should be apparent, for Theosophy in its dual aspect is both eternal and changeless -- and eternally new. Or, to put it in another way, Be-ness, the center from which all activity originates, is changeless in its inexhaustible potency -- and this is precisely the experience which the serious student of Theosophy encounters in his reading and study of the teachings.

It is by no means unusual for a man to respond immediately to Theosophy, study with enthusiasm and a measure of devotion for a while, and then become engulfed in professional or family responsibilities. Yet he knows that "Theosophy," considered both as a body of writings and as intuitively perceived wisdom, is there all the time. However, the Theosophy which is "there," is for this student only Theosophy externally considered. The important Theosophy for the individual is an activity, which manifests within his own nature when his study and devotion are resumed.

What is manifestly true for the individual is also true for cultures, religions, and psychology. A regeneration of Theosophical ideation is both a return and a progression -- a progression, because the new impulse to study has had to find its way through a labyrinth of distractions; and these have had to be resolved before the luminous nature of Theosophical inspiration again emerges. The development of an intellectual climate, like the progress of an individual, is both fragmentary and cyclical, and to realize that this is so means that one has grasped the significance of the Second Fundamental of The Secret Doctrine. The relationship of the individual to Theosophical teachings is a peculiar one, since, also paradoxically, there is always more "Theosophy" than he can assimilate at any time and also not enough that he can assimilate. Those whom we consider to be great teachers have always had a difficult choice as to how much they should try to teach; and H. P. Blavatsky indicates that Gautama Buddha revealed "too little," while Jesus of Nazareth revealed "too much." This should not be taken as criticism, but rather as a suggestion of the universality of the pendulum swing of consciousness. Jesus apparently felt that essential and eternal truths could be grasped directly by the pure in heart, whereas Gautama emphasized the disciplines of a philosophical psychology, hoping that the devotee could stand on solid mental ground -- always aware that he must progress through various stages to full comprehension.

In our time, certainly, the psychology of the day is not the psychology of fifty years ago, nor does either physics or biology have the same reference-points. Progress in awareness of the Theosophical point of view is clearly evident, and this progress, in turn, must constitute a regeneration of other progressions in the past. Theosophy does not appear, now, with an unprecedented view of the soul of man, but rather reappears. In this reappearance, though, there are literally new creations of consciousness which are neither embellishments of the old nor a mere repetition. There is this pertinent passage in H. P. Blavatsky's Key to Theosophy:

We believe in no creation, but in the periodical and consecutive appearance of the universe from the subjective on to the objective plane of being, at regular intervals of time, covering periods of immense duration. In short, our Deity is the eternal, incessantly evolving, not creating, builder of the universe; that universe itself unfolding out of its own essence.

COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:


Our age has shifted all emphasis to the here and now, and thus brought about a daemonization of man and his world. The phenomenon of dictators and all the misery they have wrought springs from the fact that man has been robbed of transcendence by the shortsightedness of the super-intellectuals. Like them, he has fallen a victim to unconsciousness. But man's task is the exact opposite: to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious. Neither should he persist in his unconsciousness, nor remain identical with the unconscious elements of his being, thus evading his destiny, which is to create more and more consciousness. As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being. It may even be assumed that just as the unconscious affects us, so the increase in our consciousness affects the unconscious. 


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