The Key to Theosophy



Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

1831 -1891



The Key to Theosophy


Helena Petrovna Blavatsky


Key to Theosophy Index



The Relations of the

T.S. to Political Reforms



Q. The Theosophical Society is not, then, a political organization?

A. Certainly not. It is international in the highest sense in that its members

comprise men and women of all races, creeds, and forms of thought, who work

together for one object, the improvement of humanity; but as a society it takes

absolutely no part in any national or party politics.


Q. Why is this?

A. Just for the reasons I have mentioned. Moreover, political action must

necessarily vary with the circumstances of the time and with the idiosyncrasies

of individuals. While from the very nature of their position as Theosophists the

members of the T.S. are agreed on the principles of Theosophy, or they would not belong to the society at all, it does not thereby follow that they agree on

every other subject. As a society they can only act together in matters which

are common to all-that is, in Theosophy itself; as individuals, each is left

perfectly free to follow out his or her particular line of political thought and

action, so long as this does not conflict with Theosophical principles or hurt

the Theosophical Society.


Q. But surely the T.S. does not stand altogether aloof from the social questions

which are now so fast coming to the front?

A. The very principles of the T.S. are a proof that it does not-or, rather, that

most of its members do not-so stand aloof. If humanity can only be developed

mentally and spiritually by the enforcement, first of all, of the soundest and

most scientific physiological laws, it is the bounden duty of all who strive for

this development to do their utmost to see that those laws shall be generally

carried out. All Theosophists are only too sadly aware that, in Occidental

countries especially, the social condition of large masses of the people renders

it impossible for either their bodies or their spirits to be properly trained,

so that the development of both is thereby arrested. As this training and

development is one of the express objects of Theosophy, the T.S. is in thorough sympathy and harmony with all true efforts in this direction.


Q. But what do you mean by "true efforts"? Each social reformer has his own

panacea, and each believes his to be the one and only thing which can improve

and save humanity?

A. Perfectly true, and this is the real reason why so little satisfactory social

work is accomplished. In most of these panaceas there is no really guiding

principle, and there is certainly no one principle which connects them all.

Valuable time and energy are thus wasted; for men, instead of cooperating,

strive one against the other, often, it is to be feared, for the sake of fame

and reward rather than for the great cause which they profess to have at heart,

and which should be supreme in their lives.


Q. How, then, should Theosophical principles be applied so that social

cooperation may be promoted and true efforts for social amelioration be carried


A. Let me briefly remind you what these principles are-universal Unity and

Causation; Human Solidarity; the Law of Karma; Reincarnation. These are the four links of the golden chain which should bind humanity into one family, one

universal Brotherhood.


Q. How?

A. In the present state of society, especially in so-called civilized countries,

we are continually brought face to face with the fact that large numbers of

people are suffering from misery, poverty, and disease. Their physical condition

is wretched, and their mental and spiritual faculties are often almost dormant.

On the other hand, many persons at the opposite end of the social scale are

leading lives of careless indifference, material luxury, and selfish indulgence.

Neither of these forms of existence is mere chance. Both are the effects of the

conditions which surround those who are subject to them, and the neglect of

social duty on the one side is most closely connected with the stunted and

arrested development on the other. In sociology, as in all branches of true

science, the law of universal causation holds good. But this causation

necessarily implies, as its logical outcome, that human solidarity on which

Theosophy so strongly insists. If the action of one reacts on the lives of all,

and this is the true scientific idea, then it is only by all men becoming

brothers and all women sisters, and by all practicing in their daily lives true

brotherhood and true sisterhood, that the real human solidarity, which lies at

the root of the elevation of the race, can ever be attained. It is this action

and interaction, this true brotherhood and sisterhood, in which each shall live

for all and all for each, which is one of the fundamental Theosophical

principles that every Theosophist should be bound, not only to teach, but to

carry out in his or her individual life.


Q. All this is very well as a general principle, but how would you apply it in a

concrete way?

A. Look for a moment at what you would call the concrete facts of human society.


Contrast the lives not only of the masses of the people, but of many of those

who are called the middle and upper classes, with what they might be under

healthier and nobler conditions, where justice, kindness, and love were

paramount, instead of the selfishness, indifference, and brutality which now too

often seem to reign supreme. All good and evil things in humanity have their

roots in human character, and this character is, and has been, conditioned by

the endless chain of cause and effect. But this conditioning applies to the

future as well as to the present and the past. Selfishness, indifference, and

brutality can never be the normal state of the race-to believe so would be to

despair of humanity-and that no Theosophist can do. Progress can be attained,

and only attained, by the development of the nobler qualities. Now, true

evolution teaches us that by altering the surroundings of the organism we can

alter and improve the organism; and in the strictest sense this is true with

regard to man. Every Theosophist, therefore, is bound to do his utmost to help

on, by all the means in his power, every wise and well-considered social effort

which has for its object the amelioration of the condition of the poor. Such

efforts should be made with a view to their ultimate social emancipation, or the

development of the sense of duty in those who now so often neglect it in nearly

every relation of life.


Q. Agreed. But who is to decide whether social efforts are wise or unwise?

A. No one person and no society can lay down a hard-and-fast rule in this

respect. Much must necessarily be left to the individual judgment. One general

test may, however, be given. Will the proposed action tend to promote that true

brotherhood which it is the aim of Theosophy to bring about? No real Theosophist will have much difficulty in applying such a test; once he is satisfied of this, his duty will lie in the direction of forming public opinion. And this can be attained only by inculcating those higher and nobler conceptions of public and private duties which lie at the root of all spiritual and material improvement.


In every conceivable case he himself must be a center of spiritual action, and

from him and his own daily individual life must radiate those higher spiritual

forces which alone can regenerate his fellowmen.


Q. But why should he do this? Are not he and all, as you teach, conditioned by

their Karma, and must not Karma necessarily work itself out on certain lines?

A. It is this very law of Karma which gives strength to all that I have said.

The individual cannot separate himself from the race, nor the race from the

individual. The law of Karma applies equally to all, although all are not

equally developed. In helping on the development of others, the Theosophist

believes that he is not only helping them to fulfill their Karma, but that he is

also, in the strictest sense, fulfilling his own. It is the development of

humanity, of which both he and they are integral parts, that he has always in

view, and he knows that any failure on his part to respond to the highest within

him retards not only himself but all, in their progressive march. By his

actions, he can make it either more difficult or more easy for humanity to

attain the next higher plane of being.


Q. How does this bear on the fourth of the principles you mentioned, viz.,


A. The connection is most intimate. If our present lives depend upon the

development of certain principles which are a growth from the germs left by a

previous existence, the law holds good as regards the future. Once grasp the

idea that universal causation is not merely present, but past, present, and

future, and every action on our present plane falls naturally and easily into

its true place, and is seen in its true relation to ourselves and to others.

Every mean and selfish action sends us backward and not forward, while every

noble thought and every unselfish deed are stepping-stones to the higher and

more glorious planes of being. If this life were all, then in many respects it

would indeed be poor and mean; but regarded as a preparation for the next sphere of existence, it may be used as the golden gate through which we may pass, not selfishly and alone, but in company with our fellows, to the palaces which lie





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