[Note: page numbers cited for The Esoteric Tradition are to the 2-vol. Second Edition and do not correspond to the 1-vol. 3rd & Revised Edition.]
Having joined the Christian Church at the age of twelve, I had read the Bible from cover to cover before I was twenty-one. I should, therefore, have a justifiable basis for speaking sympathetically on this subject: "Theosophy and Christianity." During the last seven years of association with the Theosophical teachings, I have become deeply convinced that Theosophy is not an enemy or a competitor of Christianity, but, on the contrary, is Christianity's greatest friend. Why? Because it points to, interprets and upholds the inner meaning of the Divine Nature and teachings of Christ, and at the same time confirms his mission in the world as a Great Spiritual Teacher of real Esoteric Wisdom, and therefore a Savior of the Human Race; that is, for those who have eyes to see and ears with which they may hear.
The main doctrine of Christ gives the comforting assurance that each individual may become like unto Him, in due course of time, in the familiar phrases: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" and, "Greater things than these shall ye do," again implying the future. He does not here refer to himself as a "personality" as being "the way" or as the performer of "miracles," but to the Divine Principle within Him, which exists within the hearts of all men. It is instinctive from within the deeper side of man to desire to help others. But in order to help others wisely in ways that are vitalizing and permanent, it is necessary to be in possession of and to understand the Knowledge that deals with the Facts of Nature. When properly understood, and I repeat, when properly understood, Theosophy is that Knowledge. Its literature abounds with logical and convincing interpretations of many hitherto misunderstood or little understood phrases in the Christian Scriptures. Theosophy simplifies, it does not complicate. Let me give you an example: An early Church-Father by the name of St. Clement, writes that when Jesus was asked when his "kingdom" would come into being, he replied, "It will come when two and two make one; when the outside is like the inside; and when there is neither male nor female." Does this make sense to you? What does it mean? Referring to Theosophy as the "Interpreter," Dr. G. de Purucker, present Leader of the Theosophical Society at Point Loma, gives a very simple and interesting explanation of this, in somewhat the following manner:
"The two and two make one" portion of the phrase, refers to the two upper and the two lower principles of man's composite nature, the upper two being the Universal Spirit and the Inner Christ, while the lower two in this case are the Soul of man and its vehicle, the physical body with its counterparts. In the long course of man's evolutionary growth, the two lower will grow into or unite with, the two higher, thereby forming a single Unity; hence the two and two shall make one.
"When the outside is like the inside" refers to the type of body man will have in the distant future as he evolves out of the present Fifth Root-Race type of dense physical body into an ethereal, luminous and more or less transparent one when he evolves into the Sixth Root-Race type; therefore, the inside and outside could be said to resemble each other.
As to that portion of the passage referring to the disappearance of the sexes, this will actually take place also, in the far off future, as man evolves from a bi-sexual entity into a sex-less, god-like Being. Thus, when the higher and lower become unified, the body luminous and sexless, the Inner Christ will then be able to express itself with a greater degree of perfection, and the Kingdom of Christ or of Heaven shall become a reality upon earth. (2)
And so does Theosophy throw a flood-light upon all the early Christian scriptures. All that is needed is an open mind and an awakened intuition, which latter is really the Inner God. Nothing exists upon this earth that does not need periodic rejuvenation or quickening, whether it be a Theosophical Society, a Christian Church, or the Individual Soul of Man. And all men need the guidance of their own inner light and that of a Spiritual Teacher; but this guidance must be put into expression and conveyed with a Universal feeling, if it is to be understood and convincing to others. To become alert to a greater light on existing Christian doctrine, is to become more individually awake and alike unto the disciples of the Great Teacher Himself. And this in turn makes us more alive to the needs of our fellows, and to the ways and means of offering — but never forcing — to bring a renewal of life and understanding into their hearts and minds, greater than they have ever experienced before.
Now let us examine the words we are using and define their meanings. The term Christ comes from the Greek word Christos, meaning "anointed," or one who has been prepared for initiation into the Mysteries, or Secrets of Nature. The Hebrew word for one who has been "anointed" was Messiah, a term by which Christ is often referred to.
The term Theosophy also has a Greek origin and comes from Theos, meaning a God; and Sophia, meaning Wisdom; hence it means God or Divine Wisdom, Wisdom of the Gods, or the Wisdom-Religion as it is frequently called. It is as ancient as thinking man, which is millions of years old, and is therefore sometimes called the Ancient Wisdom.
This Age-old Wisdom has been handed down to evolving man from the highest evolved Beings of the Human Race, those who have become by a more rapid evolutionary growth the God-men or Sages of the Race — the Giants of all mythologies, if you like — and who have given out to mankind through their Messengers, appropriate portions of this Wisdom of the ages, as needed by man, in the various time periods and stages of his evolutionary development. Why? The answer is very simple. As the child needs paternal care and guidance to train and educate it to the full flower of human adulthood, so does man, as a whole humanity, require a deeper knowledge of the Laws of Nature, as taught by these Great Ones of all the Ages. By understanding the knowledge already existing in the world by means of the light that a deeper interpretation throws upon that knowledge, vast strides toward a greater unity of Science, Religion and Philosophy would result. Likewise a better relationship between one individual, one nation, or one Religion toward another would also certainly exist.
Instead of this, and due to ignorance of what the Theosophical interpretation of life and Nature really is, we have a world of confused thought, of angry emotional outbursts and wars, of prejudice against real truth, and forced thinking within certain accepted and traditional molds.
The facts of Universal Nature are so very simple. Let me name a few of them for you — Cause and Effect, Cyclic Periods, Evolution of Consciousness, the Spark of the Divine within all things, the Oneness of all Life, the Relationship of all to all or Universal Brotherhood. The child-like state of all clear and learning minds understands these instinctively and well, and strives to live by them. In fact, a man's Religion can be defined as that high standard of life or understanding by which he lives, not merely what he professes.
The study of the operations and laws of Universal Nature and of their relationship to man, is another way of referring to the primitive and therefore pure and simple doctrines of early Christianity, with which Theosophy is at one, because in essence they are one and the same. It is of little value to argue over the differences of meanings of various words and phrases in an unfriendly way. Unity comes from finding and understanding the factors that exist in common.
If I as a Christian discover in Theosophical writings an account of a similar story to the birth of Jesus in the story of Krishna, spiritual Savior of the Hindus of 5,000 years ago, I should not be disappointed because I had previously thought that the story of Jesus was that of the first and only Savior of the Human Race. Rather should I rejoice and be glad that the humanity of that day had a Savior who taught the Golden Rule as Jesus did, and elevated the human race thereby.
I see all men as evolving human Souls, growing greater each day, each year, each life-cycle upon earth. And I see all Souls eventually reaching that Inner Kingdom of Heaven as the Soul and the Spirit are unified into one Being — a god-man made perfect by the radiations of the Inner Christ.
What about the phrase in Christian Scriptures, "Know ye not that ye are Gods, and that the Spirit of the Most High dwelleth in you?" What does this mean? Obviously we are not very god-like today; hence this implies what man will become in the future. We are today only Gods in the making. Many rebirths will be required before that attainment is reached. Did not Jesus say: "Ye must be born again."?
We approach this higher state of consciousness every time we allow the Better Self within us, to expand our minds and open our hearts to manifestations or expressions of the Best that lies within us. This is the way to peace and good cheer, for it is the path that leads to ever higher or deeper states of understanding toward the realization of the Oneness of all things, which is the basis for Universal Brotherhood.
May Christianity find in Theosophy what the Theosophical School of Thought seeks to give, namely: a deeper and clearer knowledge and understanding of each for the good of all.
1. Radio Broadcast over KFSD, under auspices of San Diego County Ministerial Association, Wednesday morning, February 26th, 1941, at 8.30 to 8.4S by the Regional Vice-President, Western District, American Section, The Theosophical Society. (return to text)
2. See The Esoteric Tradition, pp. 64-6. — Eds. (return to text)