The Key to Theosophy
H. P. Blavatsky
Being a Clear Exposition, in the Form of Question and Answer, of the ETHICS, SCIENCE, AND PHILOSOPHY for the Study of which The Theosophical Society has been Founded
Originally published 1889. Theosophical University Press electronic version ISBN 1-55700-046-8 (print version also available). For ease of searching, no diacritical marks appear in this electronic version of the text.
Dedicated by "H. P. B." To all her Pupils that They may Learn and Teach in their turn.
Section 1: Theosophy and the Theosophical Society
The Meaning of the Name
The Policy of the Theosophical Society
The Wisdom-Religion Esoteric in all Ages
Theosophy is not Buddhism
Section 2: Exoteric and Esoteric Theosophy
What the Modern Theosophical Society is not
Theosophists and Members of the "T. S."
The Difference between Theosophy and Occultism
The Difference between Theosophy and Spiritualism
Why is Theosophy accepted?
Section 3: The Working System of the T. S.
The Objects of the Society
The Common Origin of Man
Our other Objects
On the Sacredness of the Pledge
Section 4: The Relations of the Theosophical Society to Theosophy
The Abstract and the Concrete
Section 5: The Fundamental Teachings of Theosophy
On God and Prayer
Is it Necessary to Pray?
Prayer Kills Self-Reliance
On the Source of the Human Soul
The Buddhist Teachings on the above
Section 6: Theosophical Teachings as to Nature and Man
The Unity of All in All
Evolution and Illusion
On the Septenary Constitution of our Planet
The Septenary Nature of Man
The Distinction between Soul and Spirit
The Greek Teachings
Section 7: On the Various Post-Mortem States
The Physical and the Spiritual Man
Our Eternal Reward and Punishment; and on Nirvana
On the Various "Principles" in Man
Section 8: On Re-Incarnation or Re-Birth
What is Memory according to Theosophical Teaching?
Why do we not Remember our Past Lives?
On Individuality and Personality
On the Reward and Punishment of the Ego
Section 9: On the Kama-Loka and Devachan
On the Fate of the Lower "Principles"
Why Theosophists do not believe in the Return of Pure "Spirits"
A few Words about the Skandhas
On Post-mortem and Post-natal Consciousness
What is really meant by Annihilation
Definite Words for Definite Things
Section 10: On the Nature of Our Thinking Principle
The Mystery of the Ego
The Complex Nature of Manas
The Doctrine is Taught in St. John's Gospel
Section 11: On the Mysteries of Re-Incarnation
What is Karma?
Who are Those who Know?
The Difference between Faith and Knowledge; or, Blind and Reasoned Faith
Has God the Right to Forgive?
Section 12: What Is Practical Theosophy?
The Relations of the T. S. to Political Reforms
Theosophy for the Masses
How Members can Help the Society
What a Theosophist ought not to do
Section 13: On the Misconceptions about the Theosophical Society
Theosophy and Asceticism
Theosophy and Marriage
Theosophy and Education
Why, then, is there so much Prejudice against the T. S.?
Is the Theosophical Society a Money-making Concern?
The Working Staff of the T. S.
Section 14: The "Theosophical Mahatmas"
Are They "Spirits of Light" or "Goblins Damn'd"?
The Abuse of Sacred Names and Terms
Conclusion: The Future of the Theosophical Society
The purpose of this book is exactly expressed in its title, "THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY," and needs but few words of explanation. It is not a complete or exhaustive text-book of Theosophy, but only a key to unlock the door that leads to the deeper study. It traces the broad outlines of the Wisdom Religion, and explains its fundamental principles; meeting, at the same time, the various objections raised by the average Western enquirer, and endeavouring to present unfamiliar concepts in a form as simple and in language as clear as possible. That it should succeed in making Theosophy intelligible without mental effort on the part of the reader, would be too much to expect; but it is hoped that the obscurity still left is of the thought not of the language, is due to depth not to confusion. To the mentally lazy or obtuse, Theosophy must remain a riddle; for in the world mental as in the world spiritual each man must progress by his own efforts. The writer cannot do the reader's thinking for him, nor would the
latter be any the better off if such vicarious thought were possible. The need for such an exposition as the present has long been felt among those interested in the Theosophical Society and its work, and it is hoped that it will supply information, as free as possible from technicalities, to many whose attention has been awakened, but who, as yet, are merely puzzled and not convinced.
Some care has been taken in disentangling some part of what is true from what is false in Spiritualistic teachings as to the post-mortem life, and to showing the true nature of Spiritualistic phenomena. Previous explanations of a similar kind have drawn much wrath upon the writer's devoted head; the Spiritualists, like too many others, preferring to believe what is pleasant rather than what is true, and becoming very angry with anyone who destroys an agreeable delusion. For the past year Theosophy has been the target for every poisoned arrow of Spiritualism, as though the possessors of a half truth felt more antagonism to the possessors of the whole truth than those who had no share to boast of.
Very hearty thanks are due from the author to many Theosophists who have sent suggestions and questions, or have otherwise contributed help during the writing of this book. The work will be the more useful for their aid, and that will be their best reward. — H. P. B.
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