The Key to Theosophy
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
The Key to Theosophy
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
Why is Theosophy Accepted?
Q. I understand to a certain extent; but I see that your teachings are far more
complicated and metaphysical than either Spiritualism or current religious
thought. Can you tell me, then, what has caused this system of Theosophy which you support to arouse so much interest and so much animosity at the same time?
A. There are several reasons for it, I believe; among other causes that may be
1. The great reaction from the crassly materialistic theories now prevalent
among scientific teachers.
2. General dissatisfaction with the artificial theology of the various Christian
Churches, and the number of daily increasing and conflicting sects.
3. An ever-growing perception of the fact that the creeds which are so obviously
self-and mutually-contradictory cannot be true, and that claims which are
unverified cannot be real. This natural distrust of conventional religions is
only strengthened by their complete failure to preserve morals and to purify
society and the masses.
4. A conviction on the part of many, and knowledge by a few, that there must be
somewhere a philosophical and religious system which shall be scientific and not
5. A belief, perhaps, that such a system must be sought for in teachings far
antedating any modern faith.
Q. But how did this system come to be put forward just now?
A. Just because the time was found to be ripe, which fact is shown by the
determined effort of so many earnest students to reach the truth, at whatever
cost and wherever it may be concealed. Seeing this, its custodians permitted
that some portions at least of that truth should be proclaimed. Had the
formation of the Theosophical Society been postponed a few years longer, one
half of the civilized nations would have become by this time rank materialists,
and the other half anthropomorphists and phenomenalists.
Q. Are we to regard Theosophy in any way as a revelation?
A. In no way whatever-not even in the sense of a new and direct disclosure from
some higher, supernatural, or, at least, superhuman beings; but only in the
sense of an "unveiling" of old, very old, truths to minds hitherto ignorant of
them, ignorant even of the existence and preservation of any such archaic
It has become "fashionable," especially of late, to deride the notion that there
ever was, in the mysteries of great and civilized peoples, such as the
Egyptians, Greeks, or Romans, anything but priestly imposture. Even the
Rosicrucians were no better than half lunatics, half knaves. Numerous books have been written on them; and tyros, who had hardly heard the name a few years before, sallied out as profound critics and Gnostics on the subject of alchemy, the fire-philosophers, and mysticism in general. Yet a long series of the
greatest philosophers and sages of
the designation of wisdom and divine science all knowledge, for they considered
the base and origin of every art and science as essentially divine. Plato
regarded the mysteries as most sacred, and Clemens Alexandrinus, who had been himself initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries, has declared "that the
doctrines taught therein contained in them the end of all human knowledge." Were Plato and Clemens two knaves or two fools, we wonder, or-both?
Q. You spoke of "Persecution." If truth is as represented by Theosophy, why has it met with such opposition, and with no general acceptance?
A. For many and various reasons again, one of which is the hatred felt by men
for "innovations," as they call them. Selfishness is essentially conservative,
and hates being disturbed. It prefers an easy-going, unexacting lie to the
greatest truth, if the latter requires the sacrifice of one's smallest comfort.
The power of mental inertia is great in anything that does not promise immediate
benefit and reward. Our age is preeminently unspiritual and matter of fact.
Moreover, there is the unfamiliar character of Theosophic teachings; the highly
abstruse nature of the doctrines, some of which contradict flatly many of the
human vagaries cherished by sectarians, which have eaten into the very core of
popular beliefs. If we add to this the personal efforts and great purity of life
exacted of those who would become the disciples of the inner circle, and the
very limited class to which an entirely unselfish code appeals, it will be easy
to perceive the reason why Theosophy is doomed to such slow, uphill work. It is essentially the philosophy of those who suffer, and have lost all hope of being
helped out of the mire of life by any other means. Moreover, the history of any
system of belief or morals, newly introduced into a foreign soil, shows that its
beginnings were impeded by every obstacle that obscurantism and selfishness
could suggest. "The crown of the innovator is a crown of thorns" indeed! No
pulling down of old, worm-eaten buildings can be accomplished without some
Q. All this refers rather to the ethics and philosophy of the T.S. Can you give
me a general idea of the Society itself, its objects and statutes?
A. This was never made secret. Ask, and you shall receive accurate answers.
Q. But I heard that you were bound by pledges?
A. Only in the Arcane or "Esoteric" Section.
Q. And also, that some members after leaving did not regard themselves bound by them. Are they right?
A. This shows that their idea of honor is an imperfect one. How can they be
right? As well said in The Path, our theosophical organ at New York, treating of
such a case:
Suppose that a soldier is tried for infringement of oath and discipline, and is
dismissed from the service. In his rage at the justice he has called down, and
of whose penalties he was distinctly forewarned, the soldier turns to the enemy
with false information-a spy and traitor-as a revenge upon his former Chief, and
claims that his punishment has released him from his oath of loyalty to a cause.
Is he justified, think you? Don't you think he deserves being called a
dishonorable man, a coward?
Q. I believe so; but some think otherwise.
A. So much the worse for them. But we will talk on this subject later, if you
The Working System of the T.S. *1)
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