Text Version for Handout
If you run a Theosophy group you can use
this page as an introductory handout
Background to Theosophy and the
What is Theosophy?
The word is a Greek derivative and means divine wisdom and has been in use for centuries.
Within the Theosophical Society it is used to refer to H P Blavatsky’s adaptation of the Eastern Esoteric tradition for Western Society. This is presented in The Secret Doctrine and other writings and is based principally on Brahminical Hinduism and Esteric Buddhism. H P Blavatsky’s knowledge was acquired from members of an inner circle of initiates who are usually referred to as The Masters.
Is Theosophy a Religion?
No. Theosophy requires no faith,has no dogma and everything within it is presented as a hypothesis or ideas for consideration.
How did the Theosophical Society start?
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and her mates William Q
Judge and Colonel Henry Steel Olcott founded it in
The Secret Doctrine
Published in 1888 By Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, this comprehensive work presents for consideration an outline of the divine scheme in operation for the unfoldment of the universe and a view of man’s place within that scheme.
Use of Sanskrit Terms
As you will notice, many Theosophical terms are taken
from Sanskrit with a few Tibetan ones thrown in. Sanskrit is the ancient
religious and philosophical language of
Basic Principles of Theosophy
No Dead Matter in the Universe
Theosophy makes no distinction between organic life and mineral. Everything contains life and a level of consciousness although in the case of minerals, not consciousness as we know it,
The Universe is all One Thing
The universe is all one thing and not put together from parts. One single life force animates the universe and all beings and forms are derived from this single source.
A Life Force Seeking Expression
The universal life force is constantly trying to express itself. Eventually this force will develop forms which have the principle of mind, intelligence and self awareness.
What about God?
The concept of God is so far beyond our comprehension that Theosophy just accepts that the principle exists. Some Theosophical writers use the term First Cause or Universal Consciousness.
Spirit and Matter (opposite poles of the same thing)
The act of creation has led to polarization within the universe as it has come into manifestation. This is why pairs of opposites pervade the universe such as Spirit and Matter, light and dark, male and female and positive and negative.
Activity and Rest
Every period of activity has its corresponding period of rest. This is seen in day and night, waking and sleeping, ebb and flow of tides and birth and death. Without this rest and recovery everything in the universe would burn out.
Involution and Evolution
Involution means descending into matter and spirit has to do this to gain experience and evolve. As spiritual beings we have descended into matter by taking physical bodies. We rise out of these bodies when we discard them at the end of our current physical life.
Following on from the concept of involution, we are engaged in a cycle of death and rebirth which is known as reincarnation. After a long period in the process we can expect to evolve to a spiritual level where we no longer need to return to physical life.
Karma (Law of Karma)
Often regarded as a system of reward and punishment but is really a mechanical law of cause and effect which provides a balancing act to keep the universe in kilter.
The Law of Karma is an inherent law of nature and operates at every level of creation. Under this law every action produces a corresponding effect of equal value.
Karma is important as a teacher and dealing with it is an integral part of our spiritual development.Although we learn through the effects of our actions and think in terms of good and bad karma (pleasant & unpleasant adjustments), the law itself is actually indifferent and mechanical.
Karma & Reincarnation
The effects of our actions can balance out over several lives and therefore karma can only be understood in the context of reincarnation
The Constitution of Man
Man has seven principles, sometime referred to as bodies.
Atma – The piece of the divine in everybody
Buddhi – Our individual spiritual identity
Manas – The Mind principle divided into higher – spiritual ideals and lower – concrete and rational thought.
Atma, Buddhi and higher Manas form the immortal part of man. The four principles below are dumped at the end of you physical life and you get new ones for next time.
Prana – The life energy principle
Linga Sharira – The model body or template for your physical body
Sthula Sharira – Physical body – we are all familiar with this one.
After Death States
This is in broadly 2 stages following a review at the point of death of the life just lived.
Kama Loka – where our earth life baggage and attributes are dissolved.
And after another review
Devachan – a state of bliss in which aspirations of the previous life are fulfilled.
Unfortunately you can’t stay there, you have to come back.
Physical forms are the means by which the universal life force or spirit expresses itself and the more complex the form becomes, the greater the potential for the spirit to do find expression. Evolution to a Theosophist is therefore spiritually based and driven.
The Cyclic Nature of Evolution
Theosophy postulates that evolution does not proceed in a linear manner but on a cyclic but ultimately upward spiral. This is true of everything including ourselves and our planet.
Kingdoms of Nature
There are 10 kingdoms of nature each occupying a rung on the evolutionary ladder
From the top these are:-
The 3 Dhyani-Chohanic Kingdoms
Dhyani-Chohans (Sanskrit-Tibetan) The Lords of Meditation. There are 3 types with several sub-divisions and they function in a hierarchy. In Christianity they appear as Archangels. They supervise the cosmos and they operate on higher planes than our physical plane.
Theosophy makes a clear distinction between the Human and Animal kingdoms. Humans have acquired a level of consciousness and self awareness which gives them a level of self determination in both their own personal evolution and that of the Human race as a whole.
The Animal Kingdom
Plant or Vegetable Kingdom
The Mineral Kingdom
The Mineral is the lowest of the visible kingdoms on the evolutionary scale.
The 3 Elemental Kingdoms
There are 3 classes of Elemental at different levels of consciousness with innumerable divisions within those classes. They cannot normally be seen. Elementals work behind the scenes and they directly affect what goes on in the world.
Life of the Universe
In line with the principle of activity and rest, the universe will exist for a given period called a Manvantara and then go into obscuration or rest called a Pralaya. The universe will then return to manifestation.
The terms Manvantara and Pralaya are also used in relation to stars and planets.
Creation of the Universe
The universe effectively wakes up from obscuration with the latent spirit exerting its influence on matter.
To get things moving spirit expresses itself in 3 aspects this is called in Theosophy The Triple Logos.
The aspects are;
First Logos – Will
Second Logos – Capacity
Third Logos – Activity
Beginning with the Third Logos there are three outpourings in which spirit gives form to matter and consequently creates a viable universe;
1st Outpouring – 3rd Logos – Activity. creates the seven planes of nature.
2nd Outpouring – 2nd Logos – Capacity. Builds form from the now newly created planes of nature.
Outpouring – 1st Logos – Will.
This takes place at the point in which the
This is the
The universe now exists and will run its course
Globes, Chains & Planetary Rounds
All Globes and stars that we can see in the physical universe are accompanied by six companion Globes of less density which are invisible to us.
Our current Globe and all visible Globes (to us) are the fourth in the Life Impulse’s tour of the seven.
Chain (Planetary Chain)
This is a group of seven companion Globes invoking the image of a string of beads.
A Planetary Round
This is the tour by the Life Impulse of all seven Globes.
On each Globe of a Planetary Round the human race will appear in seven group reincarnations. In our current form we are the fifth Root Race and there are two more to come. Root Races last several million years.
The principle of Involution or descent into matter applies here. Beginning with the non-physical first Root Race we became more physical and materialistic than we are now by the fourth. We our now on the ascending arc out of matter and the next two Root Races will be less physical and more spiritually developed.
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