H.P.Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine & Theosophy: A Brief Overview


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The Theosophical Society was founded by those who are known as the Masters of Wisdom or Great White Brotherhood, through their amanuensis, H.P. Blavatsky. (HPB) Other names for them throughout history have been the Elder Brothers and The Secret College.

If it is difficult to accept the fact of their existence, ask the question, where do the Masters of all the different traditions ‘go’, after they have attained Liberation or Enlightenment? The term Master implies mastery over life; complete control of the material side of life and perfection in human living as far as is possible in Earth evolution.

There is a point of perfection reached in evolution in all kingdoms of nature that is always relative to the overall evolution of the ‘greater life’, in our case this planet and later the solar system. It helps to understand the solar system as the incarnation of a great Life, of which the Earth and her kingdoms are a part. Is it not logical then, that all perfected lives go on to evolve with the rest of the solar system? All is in a state of flux, movement and change.

There are choices though, as humanity has always had free will: Some may have moved on to more obscure evolutions within the planet, others to different planets in the solar system, and many will follow their evolution well beyond the solar system.

Groups of Masters have always existed throughout the ages, whatever tradition you look at: Buddhist, Celtic, Christian, Egyptian, Hindu, Jewish or Sufi. The one common thread these exalted beings have had is their deep wisdom and love for their fellow humanity, coupled with an unerring will that has demonstrated truth and beauty in their lives.

Their examples of perfected living have inspired millions throughout history, as the many life waves that pour through the planet have evolved, learnt and stepped of the ‘wheel of sangsara’. Many perfected beings have moved to other evolutions, yet a certain percentage have always chosen to ‘tarry’ in the earthly realms a little longer, ‘until the last weary pilgrim reaches home’.

The Masters watch over and guide human evolution, always allowing humanity to exercise their free will and determine their destiny, no matter how misguided at times. They have the task of holding their chosen offices for immense periods of time, in order to effect the manifestation of the ‘Plan’, the ‘blueprints’ that exist in the mind of ‘God’; that immense consciousness which has chosen to incarnate as this planet, whose personality expression is known as Sanat Kumara, Melchisidec, or the Ancient of Days.

An ‘initiate’ is one who has become self-initiated through their own effort. Through dint of their own persistent endeavours, through ‘fighting their way into a greater measure of light’, they have earned the spiritual responsibility to wield great power. Hence, there are only a small number of initiates needed on the planet at any one time, yet they vacate their positions periodically to allow other qualifying members of the ‘great life wave’ to take their places.

Egypt and the Himalayas have been the main enclaves of the Masters since Atlantean times. Hence H.P. Blavatsky visited both these places when she received the ‘Call’ to be their messenger. The 1880s saw the first public proclamation of the existence of the Masters in recent human history, and it was carried out through HPB, the setting up of the Theosophical Society, and the transmission of The Secret Doctrine. These secret teachings had previously been ‘ear-whispered truths’ passed on to those aspirants and disciples in various traditions throughout the ages.

Esoteric lore given to the profane or those not properly prepared will cause misuse or abuse. However, it was deemed that humanity, by cyclic karmic right, had reached the stage whereby further ‘light’ (wisdom/knowledge) could be imparted.

The 1880s saw the outgoing peak of a Ray 3 cycle that started in 1425. It coincided with the Centennial Conclave of the Masters, who undertook some forward planning, according to the specific energy and karma of that cycle. Much of The Secret Doctrine was seen as the catalyst for a new cycle, which was taking into account the great war of Atlantean times, whose karma was starting to cycle back, and which manifested as the two World Wars this century, esoterically seen as one.

Hence the interesting fact that much symbolism and information was gleaned from The Secret Doctrine by the Axis nations in their bid for absolute power. The Nazis were the vehicle for the same materialistic forces that existed in Atlantean times. The most obvious symbol was that of the swastika and its reversal.1

It has not been since the days of Atlantis that all the Masters of Wisdom have externalised openly amongst humanity, and last century was the start of a gradual externalisation process that will culminate with the ‘reappearance’ of the Christ in physical form, the ‘Master of all Masters, angels and humanity alike’. The karma underlying the reappearance of the Christ has to do with the completion of that which was started 2,000 years ago, and taking over the role of the Buddha; becoming in fact the new Maitreya.

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was born in Russia in 1831 and died in 1891. She led a very colourful and adventurous life. As early as six years old, she lived near the border of Tibet and showed an interest in Mongolian Buddhism. She was also trained to ride horses by the fabled Cossacks, and frequently rode over the border into Tibet.

Later, after she escaped an unhappy arranged marriage at a young age, her adventurous spirit led her to fight alongside Garibaldi the Italian revolutionary; she was left for dead after one battle but miraculously survived.

During her travels by herself in Europe and Asia she frequently ‘packed a pistol’ to protect herself; a single female traveller was unheard of in her day.

There are many other stories about HPB and time has made the distinction between fact and fiction somewhat dubious. Nevertheless, an indomitable courage comes through this leonine woman that was certainly needed in her role as a destroyer of an old culture and explorer of a new one.

She was a ‘Messenger of the Masters’, an advanced initiate choosing to incarnate in a female body, which partially gave her the great sensitivity needed to be a telepathic amanuensis. The following is an interesting note from a source who wishes to remain anonymous:

“Just a comment about the “he” in D.K.’s remarks about H.P.B. for your interest and for what it is worth. The reference was made to H.P.B. as a “he” because strangely enough the initiate functioning through H.P.B.’s body was a “male” polarised initiate who had been relentlessly persevering the path of Initiation for several lives. This initiate “took” over H.P.B.’s female body when she was about three or four years old and was quite a stranger to the female form.”

In 1868 she was ‘called’ to Tibet by the Master Morya for training at Shigatse, an abode of a few of the Masters, near Tashi Lunpo monastery; (150 miles west / south-west of Lhasa, and home of the Panchen or Tashi Lama.) Later she encountered the Egyptian Brotherhood at Luxor.

There are many biographies that detail her life activities, and this is only a sketch of the essence. HPB made many sacrifices as an advanced initiate, and was encumbered with physical disabilities such as dropsy, kidney disease and obesity – one way for residual karma to rapidly burn itself off.

Those who come to break down the old encounter resistance to their new ideas and are usually persecuted for it. This would have added to the strain on her – mentally, emotionally and physically.

The forces of materialism, working through many people consciously and unconsciously, tried to oppose her groundbreaking acts, through lying propaganda, innuendo and psychic attack. Speculation about HPB often exceeded information and understanding. She endured much public derision and slander and still does from the ignorant.

Some biographies do no justice to HPB, Theosophy or The Secret Doctrine. Even though factually correct, they tend to focus on the intrigues of events and personalities, rather than the essence of ideas; particularly academics of a concrete disposition, only the ignorant can pass superficial judgment on HPB’s work.

HPB influenced others such as Gurdjieff, Rudolph Steiner and The Golden Dawn. Many authors prolifically refer to The Secret Doctrine. She was an agent of destruction for the old culture; she came to dismantle it, and to act as a catalyst for the new culture.

HPB challenged doctrines that were the cradle of old culture, whilst her great intellectual acumen took on the finest minds of the time in the realm of science and religion. She understood thesis, antithesis and synthesis, and was able to give convincing rational argument in any debate.

HPB re-interpreted the doctrinal structure of the mental plane and of culture, demonstrating the ‘power of the mind to slay the real’. Her commitment was to release humanity from the slavery of dogma. She possessed the ‘Atma Vidya’, the root source of all knowledge, which synthesises all schools of thought.

Her presence opened dialogue for the idea of the brotherhood of humanity; this paved the way for the first tentative steps towards the Theosophical Society.

Her first book, Isis Unveiled, was ‘a plea for the recognition of Hermetic philosophy and the ancient universal wisdom religion’. It was a fusion of science and religion and an argument against the materialistic doctrines of the time. It is very complex as HPB’s English was not too good, and the Masters were experimenting with methods of ‘impressing’ her; if it were re-written with modern quotes it would be a very good book. (There is now a simplified version that has been released)

The Secret Doctrine was her ‘magnum opus’ and still has not had its secrets unravelled. Cosmogenesis (Book 1) is the study of the origin and development of the universe. Anthropogenesis (Book 2) is the study of the origin and development of humanity. Both draw upon the most arcane aspects of all spiritual disciplines.

The Secret Doctrine is a synthesis of world religions and mythologies, revealing the golden thread running through them all.

The Book of Dzyan is the skeleton of The Secret Doctrine. It is the first volume of fourteen volumes of commentaries on the seven secret folios of Kiu-Ti. There are 35 ‘exoteric’ volumes of these in most Tibetan monasteries, but they are full of gross distortions and exaggerations. The Teshu Lama of Tjigad-je keeps the Book of Dzyan separate from the other volumes.

‘Dzyan’ comes from ‘Dhyana’, meaning ‘spiritual meditation’. It is with this attitude that these teachings should be approached, not purely through the lop-sided Western analytical method of study.

There are three sets of books by Kiu-Ti:

1) 7 secret volumes
2) 14 volumes of Commentaries, annotations and a glossary for Initiates.
3) 35 exoteric volumes.

The Tibetans are among the last of the sub-races of the Atlantean rootrace, and have been the custodians, along with Egypt and India, of this ancient wisdom.

Knowledge paves the way for Wisdom, yet these teachings cannot be penetrated without some wisdom or heart understanding.

Hardly any of the public or many theosophists have studied these books, or really done them any justice. The Masters have given a great gift to humanity, but it is not yet being fully utilised.

Some of us may have read, but who has studied The Secret Doctrine? Even today, there are not many serious students of this book.

The Secret Doctrine was a ‘secondary revelation’ – conveyed from its source to the outer plane. The Master Djwhal Khul (The Tibetan), who transmitted a great deal of the text to HPB, said later of Theosophical Society (TS) members:

“There, the minds of men, veiled by illusion and clouded by glamour, formulated it into an inelastic doctrine, recognising no further revelation and holding steadily … that The Secret Doctrine was a final revelation …”2

Divine knowledge leads to Wisdom; it is a scaffolding for learning the ultimate lessons of Love, which eventually bring about Liberation. Theosophy means literally ‘Wisdom pertaining to the Gods’ or, Wisdom of God in his many forms. The motto of the TS is:

“There is no religion higher than truth”. The TS offers a forum for ideas and traditions. Theosophists come from many traditions. Their credo is “To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, caste or colour”, emphasising the uniqueness of all cultures, yet also that which binds them together.

When we understand the ‘life wave’ as taught in Theosophy and the etheric web that underlies all of physical reality, it is impossible to feel separation from one’s fellow human beings.

All souls in this life wave are equal; there is simply the relativity of some being younger and some older in their experience. This realisation also extends to other kingdoms such as the animal kingdom, when the vast cycles of time (yugas) are comprehended. We are simply the manifold differentiation of a vast Life.

In the human kingdom, this Life expresses through the ‘vehicles’ of religion, philosophy, science, arts, commerce and industry. Human nature grows in its virtues and capacities through these areas of life experience.

Adyar is the name of the TS headquarters in India, where there was much of the original focus for the establishment of the society and the promulgation of The Secret Doctrine. HPB lived there and it was a convenient place for some of the Himalayan Masters to visit.

India is the cradle of civilisation as we know it, and our Western races are sub-races of that ancient race. India plays the unique role of synthesising both East and West. The Secret Doctrine seeks to demonstate this unity.

Phillip Lindsay © 2006.
(From”Soul Cycles of the Seven Rays I”

  1. See Goodrick-Clarke, The Occult Roots of Nazism. []
  2. Glamour: A World Problem, Alice A. Bailey. pp. 183-4. []

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