The Key to Theosophy



Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

1831 -1891



The Key to Theosophy


Helena Petrovna Blavatsky


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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

mentioned is:

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

merely speculative.

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

Hierophants of Egypt, India, Chaldea, and Arabia are known, along with the

greatest philosophers and sages of Greece and the West, to have included under

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



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