This work deals with the great renaissance of ancient Oriental Esotericism in the Western world in modern times. This book is an attempt to present a unified picture of the Theosophic movement in its larger aspects. Contents: Theosophy, An Ancient Tradition; The American Background of Theosophy; Helena P. Blavatsky: Her Life and Psychic Career; From Spiritualism to Theosophy; Isis Unveiled; The Mahatmas and Their Letters; Storm, Wreck, and Rebuilding; The Secret Doctrine; Evolution, Rebirth, and Karma; Esoteric Wisdom and Physical Science; Theosophy in Ethical Practice; Later Theosophical History; Some Facts and Figures; Bibliography.
The following passage is an excerpt from ‘Theosophy: A Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom’:
In the mind of the general public Theosophy is classed with Spiritualism, New Thought, Unity and Christian Science, as one of the modern cults. It needs but a slight acquaintance with the facts in the case to reveal that Theosophy is amenable to this classification only in the most superficial sense. Though the Theosophical Society is recent, theosophy, in the sense of an esoteric philosophic mystic syste m of religious thought, must be ranked as one of the most ancient traditions. It is not a mere cult, in the sense of being the expression of a quite specialized form of devotion, practice, or theory,
propagated by a small group. It is a summation and synthesis of many cults of all times. It is as broad and universal a motif, let us say, as mysticism. It is one of the most permanent phases of religion, and as such it has welled up again and again in the life of mankind. It is that “wisdom of the divine” which has been in the world practically continuously since ancient times. The movement of today is but another periodical recurrence of a phenomenon which has marked the course of history from classical antiquity. Not always visible in outward organization – indeed never formally organized as Theosophy under that name until now – the thread of theosophic teaching and temperament can be traced in almost unbroken course from ancient times to the present. It has often been subterranean, inasmuch as esotericism and secrecy have been essential elements of its very constitution. The modern presentation of theosophy differs from all the past ones chiefly in that it has lifted the veil that cloaked its teachings in mystery, and offered alleged secrets freely to the world.
Theosophists tell us that before the launching of the latest “drive” to promulgate Theosophy in the world, the councils of the Great White Brotherhood of Adepts, or Mahatmas, long debated whether the times were ripe for the free propagation of the secret Gnosis; whether the modern world, with its Western dominance and with the prevalence of materialistic standards, could appropriate the sacred knowledge without the risk of serious misuse of high spiritual forces, which might be diverted into selfish channels. We are told that in these councils it was the majority opinion that broadcasting the Ancient Wisdom over the Occidental areas would be a veritable casting of pearls before swine; yet two of the Mahatmas settled the question by undertaking to assume all karmic debts for the move, to take the responsibility for all possible disturbances and ill effects.