The term Theosophy comes from the Greek “theos” (god) and “sophia” (wisdom).
It denotes a philosophical religious system which claims knowledge of the existence and nature of the Diety.
This knowledge may be obtained by individual revelation or a higher faculty.
God is conceived in Theosophical beliefs as the transcendent source of being. Human beings in their natural state are far removed.
In many ways Theosophy has come to signify the teachings of the founders of the Theosophical Society. Founded in the United States in 1875 its object was to establish a centre of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity.
It would investigate the mystic powers of life and matter. Also it would promote the study of comparative religion and philosophy.
Underlying this was a secret doctrine of esoteric teachings. Over time the Theosophical Society has had many important members which has greatly improved the status of the organization.
Theosophy allows for individual differences of opinion. It also has its aspect as a science.
The teachings are that there are three truths which are absolute. The soul of humanity remains immortal and its future is the future of the thing whose growth and splendor has no limits.
Each individual is his or her own absolute law giver. The principle which gives life dwells in us and without us.
Although Theosophy posits the existence of an absolute it does not pretend to knowledge of its attributes.
Theosophy is a doctrine of religious philosophy and metaphysics originating with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. In this context, theosophy holds that all religions are attempts by the “Spiritual Hierarchy” to help humanity in evolving to greater perfection, and that each religion therefore has a portion of the truth. Together with Henry Steel Olcott, William Quan Judge, and others, Blavatsky founded the Theosophical Society in 1875.
In theosophy, Root Race (or Epochs to subsequent authors) is a term first used in the late 19th century by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky in her book The Secret Doctrine. The word designates the large time periods in her esoteric cosmology and relates also to supposed stages in human evolution. In the early 20th century, Max Heindel in his book The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception furthered a similar line of thought related to humanity’s development toward a future “sixth epoch”. Since the 1930s, the Ascended Master Teachings and various new age descendants and offshoots of theosophy sometimes refer to the 21st century as the time of the incarnation of the sixth root race. However, students of esoteric traditions see this century as a being the time of the emergence of the sixth sub-race of the current fifth root race. According to Blavatsky’s writings, there will be seven root races assembled for our Earth; each root race is divided into seven subraces. Only five root races have appeared so far; the sixth is expected to emerge in the 28th century. First Root Race
The first root race was “ethereal”, i.e. they were composed of etheric matter. They reproduced by dividing like an amoeba. Earth was still cooling at that time.
Second Root Race
The second root race lived in Hyperborea. Hyperborea included what is now Northern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia, Northern Asia, and Kamchatka. The climate was tropical because Earth had not yet developed an axial tilt. The esoteric name of their continent is Plaksha. The second root race has no present-day descendants.
Third Root Race
The third root race, the Lemurian, lived in Lemuria. The esoteric name of Lemuria is Shalmali. Lemuria, according to Theosophists, existed in what a large part of what is now the Indian Ocean and included also Australia and in addition extended into the South Pacific Ocean.
Fourth Root Race
The fourth or Atlantean root race, Theosophists believe, arose approximately 4,500,000 years ago in Africa from the fourth subrace of the Lemurians in a part of Africa that had been colonized by that subrace in the area now inhabited by the Ashanti. After they arose in Africa, they left Africa and colonized the continent of Atlantis.
Fifth Root Race
The Human Race as it stands in its current phase of evolution according to Theosophy. Currently we are about midway through the Fifth Root Race. There are two more Root Races, the Sixth and Seventh to go.
Seventh Root Race
A few million years in the future, the seventh root race will arise from the seventh subrace of the sixth root race.
On completion of the Seven, Human spiritual evolution will be complete.
In Theosophy the Eighth Sphere is a term used synonymously with the planet of death. It is a place where the totally evil lost souls are finally destroyed. It is thought by some to be a symbolic condition of being. Some believe it to be a literal location somewhere in the universe.
Theosophy (history of philosophy):
Blavatsky addressed the name in the beginning of The Key to Theosophy::
It comes to us the Alexandrian philosophers, called lovers of truth, Philaletheians, from phil “loving,” and aletheia “truth.” The name Theosophy dates from the third century of our era, and began with Ammonius Saccas and his disciples, who started the Eclectic Theosophical system. Theosophy, literally “god-wisdom”, designated several bodies of ideas predating Blavatsky: The term appeared in Neoplatonism. Porphyry De Abstinentia (4.9) mentioned “Greek and Chaldean theosophy”. There was a group of Renaissance philosophers: Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus, Robert Fludd, and, especially, Jacob Boehme; the Enlightenment theologian Emanuel Swedenborg was influenced by these.
The three objects of Theosophy:
The three declared objects of the original Theosophical Society as established by Blavatsky, Judge and Olcott were as follows:
- First : To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour.
- Second : To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Science.
- Third : To investigate the unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in man.”
Consciousness is universal and individual of Theosophy:
According to Theosophy, nature does not operate by chance. Every event, past or present, happens because of laws which are part of a universal paradigm. Theosophists hold that everything, living or not, is put together from basic building blocks evolving towards consciousness.
Immortal higher self of Theosophy:
Theosophists believe that all human beings in their “Higher Selves” are immortal, but their lower personalities are often unconscious of their eternal Spiritual Nature and that their physical, emotional, and lower mental components will decompose and perish.
Reincarnation is universal in Theosophy:
Theosophy teaches that what is known as human is actually a Spiritual Nature classically called the Monad (Higher Self). This has prompted wakefulness (self analyzing reflection) called the human state through myriad lives passing through the mineral, plant and animal stages during the evolution of life on earth. However Theosophy differs from the common belief that regression is possible. Human beings cannot incarnate as animals or plants again having attained awareness of Self, or really awareness of themselves as distinct from the lower kingdoms for whom such awareness does not exist, for form follows functional mind. Conversely, people are considered only the epitome of spiritual/physical life on Earth and not the end stage of evolution, which continues for further stages. This natural progression includes those types of beings that were men and women like ourselves, but have since become more than egocentric personalities. The Ancient Wisdom Religion considers that in reaching such levels of selfless spiritual development, a man or woman naturally partakes in a Hierarchy of Being, where concern is the welfare and highest good of all beings. Therefore, in this sense, where religions would have men worship such Angelic types as the son of the Father (God), Theosophy teaches that all people are such beings in various stages of attainment, through the changing of their focus of life from the outer ego to the welfare of all others. Of course this must take as many lives to occur as it took to become enmeshed in so called material life. Men and women that have accomplished this are known throughout history as the benefactors and teachers of humanity, and have taught that all people may become what they have become. They teach that it is the duty of human beings to follow this Path of self-emancipation from the bondage of selfishness and become their own saviours, vicarious atonement essentially being impossible and outside the natural order. For although the thoughts and actions of another may be emulated, no being can be saved from foolishness through another’s actions. Therefore Theosophy teaches that the immortal ethical life must be lived, and to this end teaches a Heart Doctrine of ethical thought and action as the practice by which the changes spoken of may be made.
Karma in Theosophy:
Theosophy professes the method for people to free themselves from unconsciously causing negative karma, which has become the cause of suffering of humanity during life, through an emulation of dharma-duty to all that lives. Theosophy teaches, as do many ethical/religious doctrines, that what ye sow, so shall ye reap. The point being that a sense or law of rigid justice rules nature, whereby Causes sown (in terms of conscious and unconscious actions) all have their mathematically connected consequences. Evil and good are the result of human determination, and of themselves are illusions caused by the mind being absorbed in spirit/matter in a cycle of becoming. There is a natural involution of spirit into matter followed by an evolution of matter back into spirit. The purpose of the Universe is for spirit to manifest itself self-consciously. This is done in small unassuming ways where individuals make a decided work out of doing their duty in the daily round, and learning to treat all others as their equal. In this way the Karma of our past, which precoccupies much of our endeavor, is resolved, the resolvent and solvent being the application of what the Buddhists call Good Heart through Mindfulness.
Universality of Theosophy:
Theosophy teaches that all life exists in an essential “Radical Unity” and in which all individual beings, regardless of the kingdom in which they exist (human, animal, vegetable or mineral), are involved in an inextricably interconnected single life. The advancement of any one aspect of this synergistically bound Unity affects all for the good. Of course, therefore, the opposite must be true. Human beings, being the only self conscious types in this continuum, are the product of countless awakenings into this state through lives of involvement with this “Radical Unity” and are therefore growing positively, when the awareness of this has become obvious.
Evolution and Race in Theosophy:
Theosophists believe that religion, philosophy, science, the arts, commerce, and philanthropy, among other “virtues,” lead people ever closer to “the Absolute.” Planets, solar systems, galaxies, and the cosmos itself are seen as conscious beings, fulfilling their own evolutionary paths. Theosophists also believe that human civilization, like all other parts of the universe, develops through cycles of seven stages. Thus in the first age, humans were pure spirit; in the second age, they are known as Hyperboreans; in the third as Lemurians; and in the fourth, Atlanteans. Since Atlantis was the nadir of the cycle, the present fifth age is a time of reawakening humanity’s psychic gifts. The term psychic here really means the realization of the permeability of consciousness as it had not been known earlier in evolution, although sensed by some more sensitive individuals of our culture.
The Septenary in Theosophy:
It might be important and quite useful to see that the most material of the vestures of the Soul are interpenetrated by the particles of the more subtle vesture. For example-The “Sthula-Sarira” or most material body, is, as science is aware, mostly space at its so-called atomic level (as all matter is known to be), and these interstitial spaces are inhabited by the those subtler particles of the Astral Body or Linga sarira, and so on for the other more energy like envelopes of the Soul. The important thing about this interpenetration of each sheath, is that we see the inner person as a fluid and unbroken continuity, although varying in density/flexibility and energy and therefore more and more susceptible to the behest of the Real Person – the Soul/Higher Self since they are less and less encumbered in material boundary. Perhaps the image of a suspension or colloid in chemistry is an apt perspective. And since matter is merely the material opposite of consciousness (ultimately the Highest aspect of us being pure consciousness), this interpenetration of sheaths allows for consciousness to interpenetrate Man’s nature and explains how we are sensitive to what we think is external stimulate, through the five senses. Theosophy, as well as many other esoteric groups and occult societies, claims in their esoteric cosmology that the universe is ordered by the number seven. The reincarnating consciousness of the monad utilizes spirit/matter forms in seven bodies:
The first body is called sthula-sarira (Sanskrit, from sthula meaning coarse, gross, not refined, heavy, bulky, fat in the sense of bigness, conditioned and differentiated matter + sarira to moulder, waste away). A gross body, impermanent because of its wholly compounded character. The physical body is usually considered as the lowest substance-principle. The physical form is the result of the harmonious co-working on the physical plane of forces and faculties streaming through their astral vehicle or linga-sarira, the pattern or model of the physical body.
The second body is called Linga-Sarira, (Sanskrit, from linga meaning characteristic mark, model, pattern + sarira, from the verbal root sri to moulder, waste away). A pattern or model that is impermanent; the model-body or astral body, only slightly more ethereal than the physical body. It is the astral model around which the physical body is built, and from which the physical body flows or develops as growth proceeds.
The third body is prana (Sanskrit, from pra before + the verbal root an to breathe, to live). In theosophy, the breath of life. This life or prana works on, in, and around us, pulsating unceasingly during the term of physical existence. Prana is “the radiating force or Energy of Atma — as the Universal Life and the One Self — its lower or rather (in its effects) more physical, because manifesting, aspect. Prana or Life permeates the whole being of the objective Universe; and is called a ‘principle’ only because it is an indispensable factor and the deus ex machina of the living man.”
The fourth principle is kama (Sanskrit, from the verbal root kam meaning to desire). Desire; the desire principle is the driving, impelling force. Born from the interaction of atman, buddhi, and manas, kama per se is a colourless force, good or bad according to the way the mind and soul use it. It is the seat of the living electrical impulses, desires, and aspirations, considered in their energetic aspect.
The fifth principle is manas (Sanskrit, from the verbal root man meaning to think). The seat of mentation and egoic consciousness; in humanity Manas is the human person, the reincarnating ego, immortal in essence, enduring in its higher aspects through the entire manvantara. When embodied, manas is dual, gravitating toward buddhi in its higher aspects and in its lower aspects toward kama. The first is intuitive mind, the second the animal, ratiocinative consciousness, the lower mentality and passions of the personality.
The sixth principle or vehicle is Buddhi (Sanskrit, from the verbal root budh to awaken, enlighten, know). The vehicle of pure, universal spirit, hence an inseparable garment or vehicle of atman, which is, in its essence, of the highest plane of akasa or alaya. In man buddhi is the spiritual soul, the faculty of discriminating, the channel through which streams divine inspiration from the atman to the ego, and therefore that faculty which enables us to discern between good and evil: spiritual conscience. The qualities of the buddhic principle when awakened are higher judgment, instant understanding, discrimination, intuition, love that has no bounds, and consequent universal forgiveness.
The seventh is called Atman (Sanskrit). Self; pure consciousness, that cosmic self which is the same in every dweller on this globe and on every one of the planetary or stellar bodies in space. It is the feeling and knowledge of “I am,” pure cognition, the abstract idea of self. It does not differ at all throughout the cosmos except in degree of self-recognition. It may also be considered as the First Logos in the human microcosm. During incarnation the lowest aspects of atman take on attributes, because it is linked with buddhi, as the buddhi is linked with manas, as the manas is linked with kama, etc.