The Spiritual Revolution of the twentieth century -- the "New Age" -- is unimaginable without the spiritualist movement and the formidable personality of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the creator of the Theosophical Society. Without these two, the work of Rudolf Steiner, G. I. Gurdjieff, Hazrat Inayat Khan, Sri Aurobindo, and C. G. Jung, and could not have been what it was. In this fascinating volume on the Theosophical movement, Rudolf Steiner, one of its leading participants, tells his own story in his own words about the origins of the theosophical movement in spiritualism and somnambulism, as well as his own version of Anthroposophy's relation to Theosophy. Steiner also relates Theosophy to its historical ground in Western esotericism, above all Rosicrucianism. He reveals events from the seventeenth century that led to the emergence of Freemasonry and other secret societies, the hidden history of the creation of Theosophy itself in the nineteenth century, and conflicts that are still reverberating between Anglo-Saxon and Germanic occult streams today.
There are Spirits and Spirits; High Planetary Spirits who have been human beings millions of ages since, and upon other besides our own planet; there are the illusionary appearances of these, projected upon the intra-psychic screen of our mediumistic, hence confused, perceptions; and there are seers and mediums, as there are great men of science, willing and sincere, but ignorant tyros. Spiritualism has spawned almost as many books as a herring does eggs. There can be no spiritual intercourse, either with the souls of the living or the dead, unless it is preceded by self-spiritualization, the conquest of selfishness, and the unfoldment of the nobler powers within us. Spiritualism and Theosophy are mere opinions and beliefs, and nothing more. They can no more claim to be regarded as “facts” than any other emotional belief, for the facts of one will be delusion in the eyes of the other. Spiritualists and Theosophists fully agree that there are higher and pure spirits outside the realm of our physical senses. But they entirely disagree as to the nature and causal agency of “communicating intelligences.” The “disembodied spirits,” instead of having become the wiser for being rid of the physiological impediments and the restraints of their gross material senses, would seem to have become far more stupid, far less perspicacious and, in every respect, worse than they were during their earthly life. As nations became restricted by their own tongue, the once-universal Mystery Language is being gradually denied to subsequent generations. While the disciples of Eastern Occultism are trying to purify matter, Western Spiritualists are striving to degrade spirit. Spiritualists and Theosophists travel along a parallel, if not quite identical, path. Yet, to those bereft of a metaphysico-spiritual vocabulary, Eastern Occultism will remain impassable to the babel tower of modern thought, caused by ignorance of the true meaning of words and their synonyms, a skin deep learning leading to mistaken notions, and the tendency of elevating misconceptions to the dignity of dogmas. If people would stop speculating, and would simply stick to substantiated fact, truth would be more readily attained in each and every case. Truth stands higher than any earthly consideration ever will. Let each of us show our facts and give our explanations; and let those who are neither Occultists, Spiritualists, nor sceptics, adjudicate between the contestant parties. The world must learn at last, under the penalty of falling back to superstitious beliefs in the biblical devil, why such phenomena do so happen, and to what cause or causes they are to be attributed. New Dispensation is the latest folly of dogmatic Christianity. We are not acquainted with a god who thinks, plots, rewards, punishes, and repents. The only god whom we serve is humanity, and our only cult is love of our fellow man. This our religion and dogma. Men have done their best to replace the solar rays with the false glare of error and fiction; none more so than the bigoted, narrow-minded theologians and priests of every faith, the sophists and perverters of the Spirit of Truth. Parsifal is the theatrical representation of good and evil in a supreme struggle. It is our universe, saved through atonement; it is sin redeemed through grace, and the triumph of faith and charity. Thus far, Pilate’s “What is truth?” has never been sufficiently answered to the satisfaction of narrow-minded sectarians. The Theosophical Society upholds and advocates only corroborated facts and Truth, and nothing but the Truth, whencesoever and from whomsoever it may come. Our views have to stand or fall upon their own merit, since we claim neither divine revelation nor infallibility. We will not serve Truth and Falsehood at the same time. Our policy is war to death to every unproved dogma, superstition, bigotry, and intolerance.
This peer-reviewed study represents a culmination of years of research into the history of the Theosophical Society. In this unique project which combines biographies with source analyses, Jeffrey D. Lavoie records a detailed history of the early Theosophical Society and examines its relationship with the modern Spiritualist movement between the years 1875-1891. Special attention has been paid to some of the neglected figures associated with these organizations including Arthur Lillie- the Gnostic-occultist and early critic of the Theosophical Society; the Davenport Brothers- the Spiritualist mediums who developed many of the standard elements which became associated with modern Spiritualism; Alfred Wallace- the prominent scientist, Spiritualist, and supposed member of the Theosophical Society and many others. This work will appeal to a wide array of readers including those interested in modern religious movements, Western Esotericism, South Asian history, and Victorian studies.
Author: Joanne Miyang Cho,Eric Kurlander,Douglas T McGetchin
Providing a comprehensive survey of cutting edge scholarship in the field of German--Indian and South Asian Studies, the book looks at the history of German--Indian relations in the spheres of culture, politics, and intellectual life. Combining transnational, post-colonial, and comparative approaches, it includes the entire twentieth century, from the First World War and Weimar Republic to the Third Reich and Cold War era. The book first examines the ways in which nineteenth-century "Indomania" figured in the creation of both German national identity and modern German scholarship on the Orient, and it illustrates how German encounters with India in the Imperial era alternately destabilized and reinforced the orientalist, capitalist, and nationalist underpinnings of German modernity. Contributors discuss the full range of German responses to India, and South Asian perceptions of Germany against the backdrop of war and socio-political revolution, as well as the Third Reich's ambivalent perceptions of India in the context of racism, religion, and occultism. The book concludes by exploring German--Indian relations in the era of decolonization and the Cold War. Employing a diverse array of interdisciplinary approaches to understanding German--Indian encounters over the past two centuries, this book is of interest to students and scholars of Germany, India, Europe, and Asia, as well as history, political science, anthropology, philosophy, comparative literature, and religious studies.
A thoughtful biography of one of the most polarizing pioneers of alternative spirituality, the occult-mystic Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Pioneer. Visionary. Provocateur. Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky—mystic, occult writer, child of Russian aristocrats, spiritual seeker who traveled five continents, and founder (with Henry Steel Olcott) of the Theosophical Society—is still being hailed as an icon and scorned as a fraud more than 120 years after her death. But despite perennial interest in her life, writings, and philosophy, no single biography has examined the controversy and legacy of this influential thinker who helped define modern alternative spirituality—until now. Gary Lachman, the acclaimed spiritual biographer behind volumes such as Rudolf Steiner and Jung the Mystic, brings us an in-depth look at Blavatsky, objectively exploring her unique and singular contributions toward introducing Eastern and esoteric spiritual ideas to the West during the nineteenth century, as well as the controversies that continue to color the discussions of her life and work.
"If this work is of men it will come to nothing: but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it " -Rabbi Gamaliel, Acts 5:38?39 Was Theosophical Society founder Helena P. Blavatsky a prophetess or charlatan? Since the 1870's detractors have lambasted both her character and ideas. Yet, H.P.B.'s reputation has continued to grow. Theosophy's non-dogmatic and ecumenical approach to spirituality offers 21st Century seekers a viable alternative to religious fundamentalism. Today thousands of people on every continent belong to the Theosophical Society. All of Madame's books and articles remain in print. The freshness and wit of her letters make them seem as if they were written yesterday. Though controversial, she's withstood time's test. Madame Blavatsky Revisited tells H.P.B.'s remarkable story in an entertaining manner.
At the age of 17, rejecting nineteenth-century materialism, Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891) left her native Russia and traveled through India, Tibet, Egypt, Europe, and the Americas seeking out the sources of ancient wisdom as a key to spiritual truth. In 1875 in New York, she co-founded the Theosophical Society for the study of occult traditions. Many popular ideas of rediscovered ancient wisdom, including reincarnation and karma, trace their origin to Helena Blavatsky and Theosophy. This anthology includes material on her life and travels, as well as excerpts from her major works.
The Classic Eyewitness Account of Madame Blavatsky's Journey to America and the Occult Revolution She Ignited
Author: Henry Steel Olcott
Category: Biography & Autobiography
A memoir of the Theosophical Society cofounder, writer, lawyer, investigator and confident, originally published under the title Old Diary Leaves covers his years with Madam Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the birth of the American occult and his own spiritual awakening. Original.