THEOSOPHY, Vol. 85, No. 2, December, 1996
(Pages 38-41; Size: 9K)


No genuine, no sincere searcher after truth can ever be found among the blind believers in the "Divine Word," let the latter be claimed to come from Allah, Brahma or Jehovah, or their respective Kuran, Purana and Bible. For:

Faith is not reason's labour, but repose.

WHAT, then, is Theosophy, and how may it be defined in its latest presentation. Theosophy, we say, is not a Religion. Yet there are, as everyone knows, certain beliefs, philosophical, religious and scientific, which have become closely associated with the word "Theosophy" that they have come to be taken by the general public for theosophy itself. Moreover, these beliefs have been put forward, explained and defended by those very Founders who have declared that Theosophy is not a Religion. What is then the explanation of this apparent contradiction? How can a certain body of beliefs and teachings, an elaborate doctrine, in fact, be labelled "Theosophy" and be tacitly accepted as "Theosophical", if Theosophy is not a Religion? -- we are asked.

It is perhaps necessary, first of all, to say, that the assertion that "Theosophy is not a Religion," by no means excludes the fact that "Theosophy is Religion" itself. A Religion in the true and only correct sense is a bond uniting men together not a particular set of dogmas and beliefs. Now Religion, per se, in its widest meaning is that which binds not only all MEN, but also all BEINGS and all things in the Universe into one grand whole. This is our theosophical definition of religion.

Thus Theosophy is not a Religion, but RELIGION itself, the one bond of unity, which is so universal and all-embracing that no man, as no speck -- from gods and mortals down to animals, the blade of grass and atom -- can be outside of its light. Were it otherwise, Theosophy would be but a word added to hundreds other such words, as high sounding as they are pretentious and empty.

Viewed as philosophy, Theosophy in its practical work is the alembic of the Mediæval alchemist. It transmutes the apparently base metal of every ritualistic and dogmatic creed into the gold of fact and truth, and thus truly produces a universal panacea for the ills of mankind. This is why no one is asked what religion he belongs to, nor what his deistic views may be. These views are his own personal property, because Theosophy can be practiced by Christian or Heathen, Jew or Gentile, by Agnostic or Materialist, or even an Atheist, provided that none of these refuse to recognize as his brother any man or woman outside his own special creed or belief. The principles preached on the Mount are those of Theosophy; not because they were uttered by the Christian Christ, but because they are universal ethics, and were preached by Buddha and Confucius, Krishna, and all the great Sages. Hence, once that we live up to such theosophy, it becomes a universal panacea indeed, for it heals the wounds inflicted on the sensitive soul of every naturally religious man.

Its doctrines, if seriously studied, call forth, by stimulating one's reasoning powers and awakening the inner in the animal man, every hitherto dormant power for good in us, and also the perception of the true and the real, as opposed to the false and the unreal. Tearing off with no uncertain hand the thick veil of dead-letter with which every old religious scriptures were cloaked, scientific Theosophy, learned in the cunning symbolism of the ages, reveals to the scoffer at old wisdom the origin of the world's faiths and sciences. It opens new vistas beyond the old horizons, turning blind belief into a reasoned knowledge. It gives a clear and well-defined object, an ideal to live for, to every sincere man or woman of whatever culture and degree of intellect.

Practical Theosophy is not one Science, but embraces every science in life, moral and physical. It may, in short, be justly regarded as the universal "coach," a tutor of world-wide knowledge and experience, and not only assists and guides his pupils toward a successful examination for every scientific or moral service in earthly life, but fits them for the lives to come, if those pupils will only study the universe and its mysteries within themselves.

Theosophy is spoken of by friends and foes as a religion when not a sect. Let us see how the special beliefs which have become associated with the word has come to stand in that position. We have said that we believed in the absolute unity of nature. Unity implies the possibility for a unit on one plane, to come into contact with another unit on or from another plane.

So-called "Occultism," or rather Esoteric Science, has to be traced in its origin to those Beings who, led by Karma, have incarnated in our humanity, and thus struck the key-note of that secret Science which countless generations of subsequent adepts have expanded since then in every age, while they checked its doctrines by personal observation and experience. The bulk of this knowledge -- which no man is able to possess in its fullness -- constitutes that which we now call Theosophy or "divine knowledge." Beings from other and higher worlds may have it entire; we can have it only approximately.

Thus, unity of everything in the universe implies and justifies our belief in the existence of a knowledge at once scientific, philosophical and religious, showing the necessity and actuality of the connection of man and all things in the universe with each other; which knowledge, therefore, becomes essentially RELIGION, and must be called in its integrity and universality by the distinctive name of WISDOM-RELIGION.

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:


There are three stages of growth: the search for knowledge, the service of that knowledge and the sacrifice for it.

In every affair of daily life we attain to knowledge only through the search for it. That knowledge is really mere information until we use it in service, i.e., apply it in practice for the benefit not only of ourselves but also of others. To apply it means to sacrifice time, money and work, desires and feelings. As the plant grows through the sacrifice of the seed, the flower through the sacrifice of the bud, so in life tranquillity grows through the sacrifice of harmful thoughts and actions; knowledge grows through the sacrifice of old ideas. Ignorance, which is said by the poet to be bliss, has to be sacrificed for knowledge.

--The Theosophical Movement

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(1) Note: Collated from "Is Theosophy a Religion?," H.P.B. Articles I, p. 56.
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