Theosophia (Gr.). Wisdom-religion, or “Divine Wisdom”. The substratum and basis of all the world-religions and philosophies, taught and practised by a few elect ever since man became a thinking being. In its practical bearing, Theosophy is purely divine ethics … (Theosophical Glossary, HPB)
Theosophists hold to the idea that Theosophy in its ancient roots is as old as Man. No new and genuine presentation of Theosophy is truly original, but rather is but a restatement of old truths in modern language, and this holds true for all presentations, throughout the whole of recorded human history. As H.P. Blavatsky says, in her own unique presentation of this ancient wisdom:
“More than one great scholar has stated that there never was a religious founder, whether Aryan, Semitic or Turanian, who had invented a new religion, or revealed a new truth. These founders were all transmitters, not original teachers. They were the authors of new forms and interpretations, while the truths upon which the latter were based were as old as mankind. Selecting one or more of those grand verities—actualities visible only to the eye of the real Sage and Seer—out of the many orally revealed to man in the beginning, preserved and perpetuated in the adyta of the temples through initiation, during the Mysteries and by personal transmission—they revealed these truths to the masses. Thus every nation received in its turn some of the said truths, under the veil of its own local and special symbolism; which, as time went on, developed into a more or less philosophical cultus, a Pantheon in mythical disguise. Therefore is Confucius, a very ancient legislator in historical chronology, though a very modern Sage in the World’s History, shown by Dr. Legge—who calls him “emphatically a transmitter, not a maker”—as saying: “I only hand on: I cannot create new things. I believe in the ancients and therefore I love them.”
(Secret Doctrine, Introductory, xxxvi-xxxvii)
We are taught that a body of knowledge was tested, verified and passed on from age to age throughout all the ancient races and civilizations until it was eventually lost, particularly in the west. Krishna makes this very point in the fourth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita:
“This exhaustless doctrine of Yoga I formally taught to Vivaswat; Vivaswat communicated it to Manu and Manu made it known unto Ikswaku; and being thus transmitted from one unto another it was studied by the Rajarshees, until at length in the course of time the might art was lost …”
Thus the core teachings of this Secret Doctrine are the roots of all the ancient religious, spiritual and philosophical systems, each of which was presented using its own unique language, symbolism and stories, customized to the culture to which they were given. Theosophists defend the idea that at its mystical core the teachings of all great sages and schools, such as: Pythagoras and Plato, the Gnostics and Kabalists, the Neoplatonists and Rosicrucian in the West; Krishna, Shankara, Patanjali, Buddha, Lao Tzu and the many schools of Indian and Chinese philosophy in the east, all share a common root and foundation.
The teachings of the esoteric sciences has been obscured in the West primarily through the agency of dogmatic religion which has expelled philosophical inquiry in favor of blind faith. On the other hand, purely materialistic sciences—themselves often founded in a fierce rejection of blind religious dogma—have but served to further blind us from the truth of our divine nature. This false polarization tends further and further from that ancient middle-way of Truth, which remains ever-changeless while both religious and scientific dogma mold themselves anew with each generation.
The use of the term “Theosophy”, traces its roots to the Alexandrian philosophers, specifically Ammonius Saccas and his disciples, who spent much effort attempting to demonstrate the underlying unity between various philosophic and religious systems. The roots of the Modern Theosophical movement itself, following in their footsteps, can be seen through the agency of several western teachers and schools since the 14th century, as part of a regular series of efforts originally initiated by Tsong Kha Pa. These efforts culminated in a fresh presentation given primarily through the agency of Madame H.P. Blavatsky in the latter part of the 19th century. She boldly proclaimed and provided evidence for the underlying common truths and tenets of all the spiritual traditions of mankind and put herself forward not as an inventor or founder, but as a transmitter. Her efforts, as well as those before her, were intended to lift the darkness of dogmatism and reinvigorate the spiritual life of man.
This line of teaching notwithstanding, there is no ownership or papal authority over Truth. The modern presentation of Theosophy is just that, a modern presentation. It belongs not to one individual, nor to any group, but rather to all mankind. Thus we firmly stand by the words of H.P. Blavatsky, when she repeats what all the great sages have told us, that:
“The “Wisdom Religion” is the inheritance of all the nations, the world over.”
For more on this ancient “Divine Wisdom”, see here: