We will investigate the different interpretations HPB gives to the concept Theosophy and how each one of them influences the viewpoint of Theosophists on the so called Spiritual Path. We will begin by assessing the notions of Spiritual and Path. Then we will discuss about the threefold interpretation Helena Petrovna Blavatsky gives to ‘Theosophy.’ In some instances, she interprets Theosophy as a wisdom beyond the reach of human understanding, metaphorically and poetically described by her as wisdom in darkness. In some other instances, she defines Theosophy as ‘creative intelligence’ or a sort of wisdom that cannot be realized by intellectual processes, a wisdom defying any form of outward expression which may be interpreted as an apophatic or ineffable mystical experience. She also interprets Theosophy as wisdom-religion or wisdom-tradition or a body of teachings which has been taught throughout the ages and is found in the core of all religions. This last interpretation involves a threefold aspect: a. Theosophy as a doctrine i.e. technical knowledge such as roots and chains karma, reincarnation and so forth; Theosophy as a hidden/occult knowledge taught throughout the ages by way of myths, symbols, legends with concealed and enigmatic meanings able to be deciphered only by persons “initiated” into the mysteries of the mind; Theosophy as an ethical system, taught throughout the ages by way of practices deemed capable of leading someone to live a noble life which may culminate in enlightenment. Finally, I will close by demonstrating how such different cognitions of Theosophy influence the way Theosophists interpret the so called ‘Spiritual Path.’
Erica’s suggested study list:
Beatrice, P.F., 2000. Anonymi Monophysitae theosophia: an attempt at reconstruction. Brill Academic, p. xxix,
Blavatsky, H., P., 1888. The Secret Doctrine, vol I. Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing Company Limited,. < http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/sd-pdf/SecretDoctrineVol1_eBook.pdf>
—————–.1972. The Key To Theosophy. Pasadena, Calif.: Theosophical University Press.
—————–‘Knowledge Comes in Visions ‘in Collected Writings, XIII, p. 285.
—————–‘What is Theosophy’ in The Theosophist, Volume 1, Number 1 (October 1879) also in The Collected Writings V. II, pp87 -97.http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/theos/th-origp.htmFarthing, Geoffrey, 1975.
——————The Original Programme of the Theosophical Society <http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/theos/th-origp.htm> Last Accessed 11/25/2015
Brucker, 1742–1744, History of Philosophy, Vol. II Chapter III.
Faivre, A., 1994. Access to Western Esotericism. State University of New York Press
Farthing, G., 1969?. What Theosophy is not.
<http://www.blavatskytrust.org.uk/html/articles/what%20theosophy%20is%20not.htm> Last Accessed 11/25/2015
—————-, 1975. The Relation of Theosophy to the Theosophical Society.
—————-, 199. The Theosophical Society and the Wisdom Religion. <http://www.blavatskytrust.org.uk/html/articles/relation%20of%20theosophy%20to%20ts.htm> Last Accessed 11/25/2015
Goodrick-Clarke, N., 2008. The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction. Oxford University Press.
Godwin, J.,1994. The theosophical enlightenment. State University of New York Press
James, William, 1902. The Varieties of Religious Experiences. Longman. < http://csp.org/experience/james-varieties/james-varieties16.html> Last Accessed 11/20/2015.
John 4:8, Holy Bible, New International Version. <http://biblehub.com/1_john/4-8.htm> Accessed 11/25/2015.
Malinowski, Bronislaw, & Redfield, Robert, 1954. Magic, Science and Religion. Doubleday, Garden City, N.Y.
Theol. Et Scr. Eccl., Praeparatio evangelica, Book III, Chapter V, Section 4, line 2.
Thittila, Ashin, (?). Buddhist Metta, Buddhist Library <http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/B%20-%20Theravada/Teachers/Sayadaw%20U.%20Thittilla/Buddhist%20Metta/Buddhist%20Metta.htm> Last Accessed 11/25/2015
Thomas, Jan,?. Vedanta: The Oneness of All. <soulandmeaning.com. http://soulandmeaning.com/vedanta-the-oneness-of-all/> Last Accessed 11/25/2015
Stephens, Williams, O.,? “Stoic Ethics,” in Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. Available at: < http://www.iep.utm.edu/stoiceth/> Accessed 11/20/2015.
Πορφύριος: Περί Αποχής Εμψύχων (Ακρεοφαγία) β. 4,17,227. Μετάφραση Μαρίας Ι. Σίδερη, Εκδόσεις Πύρινος Κόσμος.