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
The Constitution of Man
Man has seven principles, sometime referred to as
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
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
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
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
The Mineral is the
lowest of the visible kingdoms on the evolutionary scale.
The 3 Elemental
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
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 –
Third Logos –
Beginning with the
Third Logos there are three outpourings in which spirit gives form to matter
and consequently creates a viable universe;
Outpouring – 3rd Logos – Activity. creates the seven planes of
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
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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