The Key to Theosophy



Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

1831 -1891



The Key to Theosophy


Helena Petrovna Blavatsky


Key to Theosophy Index



The Difference Between

Faith and Knowledge,

Or Blind and Reasoned Faith



Q. You say that they accept and believe in the doctrines of Theosophy. But, as

they do not belong to those Adepts you have just mentioned, then they must

accept your teachings on blind faith. In what does this differ from that of

conventional religions?

A. As it differs on almost all the other points, so it differs on this one. What

you call "faith," and that which is blind faith, in reality, and with regard to

the dogmas of the Christian religions, becomes with us "knowledge," the logical

sequence of things we know, about facts in nature. Your Doctrines are based upon interpretation, therefore, upon the secondhandtestimony of Seers; ours upon the invariable and unvarying testimony of Seers. The ordinary Christian theology, for instance, holds that man is a creature of God, of three component

parts-body, soul, and spirit-all essential to his integrity, and all, either in

the gross form of physical earthly existence or in the etherealized form of

post-resurrection experience, needed to so constitute him forever, each man

having thus a permanent existence separate from other men, and from the Divine.

Theosophy, on the other hand, holds that man, being an emanation from the

Unknown, yet ever present and infinite Divine Essence, his body and everything

else is impermanent, hence an illusion; Spirit alone in him being the one

enduring substance, and even that losing its separated individuality at the

moment of its complete reunion with the Universal Spirit.


Q. If we lose even our individuality, then it becomes simply annihilation.

A. I say it does not,since I speak of separate, not of universal individuality.

The latter becomes as a part transformed into the whole; the dewdropis not

evaporated, but becomes the sea. Is physical man annihilated,when from a fetus

he becomes an old man? What kind of Satanic pride must be ours if we place our infinitesimally small consciousness and individuality higher than the universal

and infinite consciousness!


Q. It follows, then, that there is, de facto, no man, but all is Spirit?

A. You are mistaken. It thus follows that the union of Spirit with matter is but

temporary; or, to put it more clearly, since Spirit and matter are one, being

the two opposite poles of the universal manifested substance-that Spirit loses

its right to the name so long as the smallest particle and atom of its

manifesting substance still clings to any form, the result of differentiation.

To believe otherwise is blind faith.


Q. Thus it is on knowledge,not on faith, that you assert that the permanent

principle, the Spirit, simply makes a transit through matter?

A. I would put it otherwise and say-we assert that the appearance of the

permanent and oneprinciple, Spirit, as matter is transient, and, therefore, no

better than an illusion.


Q. Very well; and this, given out on knowledge not faith?

A. Just so. But as I see very well what you are driving at, I may just as well

tell you that we hold faith, such as you advocate, to be a mental disease, and

real faith, i.e., the pistis of the Greeks, as "belief based on knowledge,"

whether supplied by the evidence of physical or spiritual senses.


Q. What do you mean?

A. I mean, if it is the difference between the two that you want to know, then I

can tell you that between faith on authority and faith on one's spiritual

intuition, there is a very great difference.


Q. What is it?

A. One is human credulity and superstition, the other human belief and

intuition.As Professor Alexander Wilder says in his "Introduction to the

Eleusinian Mysteries,"

It is ignorance which leads to profanation. Men ridicule what they do not

properly understand … The undercurrent of this world is set towards one goal;

and inside of human credulity … is a power almost infinite, a holy faith capable

of apprehending the most supreme truths of all existence.

Those who limit that "credulity" to human authoritative dogmas alone, will never

fathom that power nor even perceive it in their natures. It is stuck fast to the

external plane and is unable to bring forth into play the essence that rules it;

for to do this they have to claim their right of private judgment, and this they

never dare to do.


Q. And is it that "intuition" which forces you to reject God as a personal

Father, Ruler, and Governor of the Universe?

A. Precisely. We believe in an ever unknowable Principle, because blind

aberration alone can make one maintain that the Universe, thinking man, and all

the marvels contained even in the world of matter, could have grown without some intelligent powers to bring about the extraordinarily wise arrangement of all

its parts. Nature may err, and often does, in its details and the external

manifestations of its materials, never in its inner causes and results. Ancient

pagans held on this question far more philosophical views than modern

philosophers, whether Agnostics, Materialists, or Christians; and no pagan

writer has ever yet advanced the proposition that cruelty and mercy are not

finite feelings, and can therefore be made the attributes of an infinite god.

Their gods, therefore, were all finite. The Siamese author of the Wheel of the

Law,expresses the same idea about your personal god as we do; he says:

A Buddhist might believe in the existence of a god, sublime above all human

qualities and attributes-a perfect god, above love, and hatred, and jealousy,

calmly resting in a quietude that nothing could disturb, and of such a god he

would speak no disparagement not from a desire to please him or fear to offend

him, but from natural veneration; but he cannot understand a god with the

attributes and qualities of men, a god who loves and hates, and shows anger; a

Deity who, whether described as by Christian Missionaries or by Mohammedans or Brahmins, or Jews, falls below his standard of even an ordinary good man.


Q. Faith for faith, is not the faith of the Christian who believes, in his human

helplessness and humility, that there is a merciful Father in Heaven who will

protect him from temptation, help him in life, and forgive him his

transgressions, better than the cold and proud, almost fatalistic faith of the

Buddhists, Vedantins, and Theosophists?

A. Persist in calling our belief "faith" if you will. But once we are again on

this ever-recurring question, I ask in my turn: faith for faith, is not the one

based on strict logic and reason better than the one which is based simply on

human authority or-hero-worship?Our "faith" has all the logical force of the

arithmetical truism that two and two will produce four. Your faith is like the

logic of some emotional women, of whom Tourgenyeff said that for them two and two were generally five, and a tallow candle into the bargain. Yours is a faith, moreover, which clashes not only with every conceivable view of justice and logic, but which, if analyzed, leads man to his moral perdition, checks the

progress of mankind, and positively making of might, right-transforms every

second man into a Cain to his brother Abel.

Q. What do you allude to?




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