Questions About Esoteric Theosophy Answered
Theosophist, August, 1882
Letter by W.H.C.D. | Reply by H.P.B.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE THEOSOPHIST
I have been studying the pamphlet on Esoteric Theosophhy, and find the doctrines inculcated therein very beautiful indeed, but after reading it I asked myself the question: Is it really the chief end of man to live an ascetic do-nothing life, and then, when dead, to lose his identity?
In my humble opinion, the laws of nature which your doctrine processes to teach are altogether against you, in proof of which I would ask you the following quesitons, viz.:
1. Supposing we all turned Esoteric Theosophists, how would we continue our species?
2. For what purpose were various organs given to us by Nature, if they were not intended to be used?
3. Supposing we were all good, what would be man’s mission upon earth?
I should say your religion is only intended for priests, and, if we all turned into priests, there would be no one to preach to, and the world would come to a stand-still.
I have no doubt that you would do a lot more good if you only propounded your moral laws to the public, keeping the hidden laws of nature to yourselves until you had fitted mankind to accept and understand them. I think you injure your cause (a very good and high one, indeed,) by trying to dissuade ordinary mortals from a belief in God, and what they consider the supernatural.
I myself believe in you and Madame Blavatsky thoroughly, but I am afraid to show your paper, the THEOSOPHIST, to any of my friends who are good Christians, (not only professing, but behaving as such).
I am a Spiritualist, and try to be a Christian.
Trusting you will not grudge me a few lines in explanation of the three questions.
I am, dear Sir,
Our correspondent need not trouble himself as to what might be the consequences, if all the world should turn ascetics and chelas and train for adeptship. There are enough realities in this life for us to look into, without concocting such wild contingencies to vex ourselves withal. There was never a time yet, nor ever will be, while this human race lasts, when anything more than a small minority would devote themselves to the mighty task of self-conquest and spiritual evolution. The adept is as rare as the flower of the Vogay tree, which, the Tamil proverb says, is most difficult to see. So what our friend read in Hints on Esoteric Theosophy referred to the ideal man, the living—and most necessary—type of human perfectibility. The mere certainty that such rare powers—psychical and intellectual—and such moral grandeur, as he exemplifies, are within human reach, gives dignity to our common nature and a worthy model to look up to, and, in some degree, pattern after. The organs of our body were not “given” to us at all—if we may credit modern science; they developed themselves as occasion required; and, when disused, they gradually diminish and disappear: which they would not if “given.” “What man’s mission upon earth would be if all were good,” is more than we can say. To merely imagine such a state of things is beyond the limited range of our mental powers. But if they were not too good they might, perhaps, try to become better. There is no “Theosophical religion,” and every member professes the one he prefers.
We regret our inability to concur in the suggestion to suppress discussion of the occult powers of nature, since that is the only thing most needed to extinguish superstition and sweep away false religions from the face of the earth. Our correspondent does well not to show to any persons who are “good Christians (not only professing, but behaving as such)” any copy of our magazine, which may contain an attack upon professed Christians, who do not at all behave as such: our strictures are not meant for the former, and it would only give them pain to see how the bad conduct of the others provokes reprisal, and brings disgrace upon the faith they misrepresent.