Published by Blavatsky Study Center.  Online Edition copyright 2005.




The Fountain Source
of Modern Theosophy

Our knowledge of modern Theosophy sprang from two sources:  from the letters of the Masters Koot Hoomi, Morya and several other Adepts and from the writings of H.P. Blavatsky.

From the letters of the Masters, A.P. Sinnett wrote two books:  The Occult World and Esoteric Buddhism. From the knowledge gained directly from these Mahatmas, Madame Blavatsky penned more than 10,000 pages of writing including her major works Isis Unveiled, The Secret Doctrine, The Key to Theosophy and The Voice of the Silence.

The Mahatma Koot Hoomi wrote the following on the origin of modern Theosophy:

"Theosophy is no new candidate for the world's attention, but only the restatement of principles which have been recognised from the very infancy of mankind."

But the Master also emphasized:

". . . Our [esoteric and theosophical] doctrine . . . is now being partially taught to Europeans for the first time."

". . . We have broken the silence of centuries . . . . "

". . . Let it be known that your Society['s] . . .  chief aim is to extirpate current superstitions and skepticism, and,  from long sealed ancient fountains to draw the proof that man may shape his own future destiny, and know for a certainty that he can live hereafter, if he only wills; and that all 'phenomena' are but manifestations of natural law, to try to comprehend which is the duty of every intelligent being. "

H.P. Blavatsky wrote of her own role in the "restatement" of Theosophy to the modern world:

". . .We came into contact with certain men, endowed with such mysterious powers and such profound knowledge that we may truly designate them as the sages of the Orient. To their instructions we lent a ready ear."

"The work now submitted to public judgment is the fruit of a somewhat intimate acquaintance with Eastern adepts and study of their science."

" . . .  I was the first in the United States to bring the existence of our Masters into publicity; and . . . exposed the holy names of two members of a Brotherhood hitherto unknown to Europe and America (save to a few mystics and Initiates of every age), yet sacred and revered throughout the East, and especially India . . . ."

And the Mahatmas provided these insights about Madame Blavatsky's mission:

"[H.P.Blavatsky is] . . . a woman of most exceptional and wonderful endowments. Combined with them she had strong personal defects, but just as she was, there was no second to her living fit for this work. We sent her to America...."

"This state of hers [H.P.B.'s] is intimately connected with her occult training in Tibet, and due to her being sent out alone into the world to gradually prepare the way for others. After nearly a century of fruitless search, our chiefs had to avail themselves of the only opportunity to send out a European body. . . ."

". . . We employ agents - the best available. Of these for the past thirty years the chief has been the personality known as H.P.B. to the world (but otherwise to us). Imperfect and very troublesome, no doubt, she proves to some, nevertheless, there is no likelihood of our finding a better one for years to come. . . . With occult matters she has everything to do. . . . She is our direct agent. . . . "

For more on the origin and source of Modern Theosophy as given in the words of Madame Blavatsky and the Mahatmas, see:

•  From Long-Sealed Ancient Fountains

•  Great Adepts and Trained Seers

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Since Blavatsky's death in 1891, numerous individuals have claimed contact with her Masters, stating that they were new "messengers" conveying further esoteric teachings. See a partial list of claimants.

The end result has been a confusing morass of claims, counterclaims and various contradictory and conflicting teachings.

Even during her lifetime, Mme. Blavatsky told her Theosophical students:

"Great are the desecrations to which the names of two of the Masters have been subjected. There is hardly a medium who has not claimed to have seen them."

H.P.B. and the Mahatmas also warned about "imitations of Occultism and Theosophy" and "disfigured" expositions of Theosophy.

They even corrected "wild and fanciful speculation" and "erroneous notions" about Theosophy that were distorting the original teachings that they had given. See one example of a correction.

Anna Kennedy Winner has graphically described the situation:

"For most students, the first difficulty lies in knowing what and how to study, and how to find the right clues. The word 'occultism' is badly misused, and the student who has no trustworthy guide may easily lose himself in a morass of superstition and pseudo-occultism. . . . Many pseudo-occult organizations utilize the ideas obtained from the works of Madame Blavatsky, without giving her (or her teachers) any credit for them, but adding all kinds of nonsense and misinterpretations. . . . "

Concerning certain "false ideas" grafted onto Theosophy, Madame Blavatsky penned the following:

"Nothing is more dangerous to Esoteric Truth than the garbled and distorted versions disfigured to suit the prejudices and tastes of men in general."

For more background on the above, see:

•  Various Theosophical Traditions & New Students of Theosophy

•  Madame Blavatsky's Occult Status and the Claims of Latter-Day Messengers of the Masters.

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In light of the above confusion and conflicting claims,  interested inquirers and new students would do well to go directly to the fountain source of Modern Theosophy:  the original writings of H.P. Blavatsky and the Mahatmas.

We have available H.P.B.'s major books, more than 1000 of her articles, hundreds of her personal letters to correspondents, more than a hundred Mahatma letters received during H.P.B.'s lifetime, and voluminous historical accounts of people who met and knew H.P.B. and her Teachers.

These source writings contain a wealth of valuable material on Theosophy, metaphysics, esoteric lore and knowledge, occult laws and processes in nature, ethical, spiritual and devotional material, and much more.

Some of the historical accounts of people who met and knew H.P.B. and her Teachers have been compiled in the book The Esoteric World of Madame Blavatsky.  See also A Casebook of Encounters with the Theosophical Mahatmas.

The Blavatsky and Mahatma source material is now available on CD-ROM.   Also much of this material is online.

Inquirers and students are encouraged to read and also study this original material. But no one should blindly believe or disbelieve what is written. But a worthy endeavor is to try to gain an understanding of what is being conveyed by H.P.B. and the Masters in this wealth of material.

The Mahatmas gave the following advice:

"Knowledge for the mind, like food for the body, is intended to feed and help to growth, but it requires to be well digested and the more thoroughly and slowly the process is carried out the better both for body and mind."

"For a clearer comprehension of the extremely abstruse and at first incomprehensible theories of our occult doctrine never allow the serenity of your mind to be disturbed during your hours of literary labour, nor before you set to work. It is upon the serene and placid surface of the unruffled mind that the visions gathered from the invisible find a representation in the visible world. Otherwise you would vainly seek those visions, those flashes of sudden light . . . which alone can bring the truth before the eye of the soul. It is with jealous care that we have to guard our mind-plane from all the adverse influences which daily arise in our passage through earth-life."

"On close observation, you will find that it was never the intention of the Occultists really to conceal what they had been writing from the earnest determined students, but rather to lock up their information for safety-sake, in a secure safe-box, the key to which is - intuition. The degree of diligence and zeal with which the hidden meaning is sought by the student, is generally the test - how far he is entitled to the possession of the so buried treasure."

Unfortunately, far too many readers don't take the necessary time and effort to try to understand what H.P.B. is attempting to convey in her many writings. 

And far too often, students interject their own thoughts and understanding into the subject matter.  Nothing is inherently wrong with that approach but it is suggested that a student might try to ascertain first of all what H.P.B.'s and the Mahatmas' views actually are on various subjects.

As a reader studies the material, he might constantly ask himself: "Do I really understand what H.P.B. and the Mahatmas are trying to convey?"

The advice of one student is as follows: Give H.P.B. and the Mahatmas the lectern and allow them to speak. The initial goal should be to try to "listen" to them and to try to understand their view and their take on the subject.

None of the above should lead one to assume that H.P.B. and the Masters are always right or anything like that. H.P.B. and her Teachers never claimed they were infallible. But at the same time many serious students of these original writings have reasonably concluded that H.P.B. and her Teachers were very knowledgeable on a wide range of subjects and also had wise and insightful comments on many of the mysteries and problems of life.

William Doss McDavid in his book An Introduction to Esoteric Principles:  A Study Course writes:

"Should we take H.P.B. as an infallible authority? . . . Absolutely not. . . . But there is another side to the question.  We have to remember that the modern Theosophical movement owes its very existence to H.P.B. and the Masters, whose faithful agent she claimed to be. It would be extremely unwise to reject the teachings given through her without understanding what those teachings really were in the first place. And how can we acquire this understanding if we do not study her writings? We don't have to blindly accept what she says or take her views as the last word, but at least we should become familiar with those views firsthand. Then we can reject or accept intelligently. When the works of other and later writers who claim to be continuing the work begun by H.P.B. present viewpoints and 'revelations' which are at direct variance with the original lines of teaching, we may feel justified in questioning the source of the newer pronouncements. A familiarity with the original writings, therefore, provides a criterion for intelligent judgment." p. 37

One might also ponder on the following words of H.P.B.:

"Every reader will inevitably judge the statements made from the stand-point of his own knowledge, experience, and consciousness, based on what he has already learnt."

Readers might also keep foremost in mind the possibility that their own knowledge, experience and consciousness may be limited and incomplete.

For more background information, see:

•  Madame Blavatsky's Occult Status and the Claims of Latter-Day Messengers of the Masters

•  Various Theosophical Traditions & New Students of Theosophy

•  On Pseudo-Theosophy and Pseudo-Adepts

•  Psychic VERSUS Initiate Visions & Knowledge

•  Theosophical Claims After H.P.B.'s Death

For more information on H.P. Blavatsky and Theosophy, see:

•  Introduction to H.P. Blavatsky & Theosophy

•  Who Is H.P. Blavatsky?

•  H.P.B. Speaks

•  A Brief Overview of Theosophy

•  Basic Ideas of Theosophy

•  Overviews of the Classics of Theosophy

•  Recommended Titles about H.P.B. & Theosophy

•  In the Blavatsky Tradition:  Major Online Books, Pamphlets & Other Material on H.P. Blavatsky, the Mahatmas & Theosophy


Endnote 1:

Partial List of Claimants

Dr. Gordon Melton, an expert on modern cults and minority religions, has written:

"A number of individuals have claimed contact with one of the Masters first described by Blavatsky and have begun new organizations based upon the individual revelation imparted."

Below  is a partial list of the claimants:

(1) In the 1890s, William Q. Judge said he was in contact with HPB's Master Morya as well as the deceased HPB.   Judge claimed he precipitated letters from Master M. and gave out further esoteric teachings.

(2) Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater affirmed that they were in direct communication with HPB's Masters and the deceased HPB.  They gave out various Theosophical teachings in their voluminous writings.

(3) Katherine Tingley, the occult successor of Judge, said she was in contact with HPB's Masters and claimed to have met on at least two occasions the Master Morya in his physical body.

(4) G. de Purucker, Tingley's successor, testified that the Masters M. & K.H. came to visit him in 1929 at Theosophical Society headquarters, Point Loma, San Diego, California.  Purucker claimed that he was allowed to give out deeper esoteric teachings than HPB, Judge or Tingley had given.

(5) Alice Bailey said she was in contact with Masters K.H. and D.K and wrote more than 20 volumes of teachings said to be from D.K. She even gave out further installments of the Stanzas of Dzyan.

(6) Mrs. Francia A. La Due (of the Temple of the People) gave out messages from the Masters, especially from Hilarion. She also published more Stanzas from the Book of Dzyan.

(7) Guy Ballard (of the "I Am" Movement) claimed to be in communication with the Masters, especially St. Germain.

(8) Helena Roerich (of the Agni Yoga Society) published some 13 volumes of communications supposedly from the Master Morya.

(9) Mark Prophet and his wife Elizabeth Clare (of the Church Universal and Triumphant) claimed to be the emissaries of the Great White Brotherhood and have channeled thousands of messages from El Morya, Kut Humi, the Virgin Mary, Hercules, Chastity and a variety of other Masters and entities.

(10) Earlyne Chaney (of Astara) believed she was in communication with Kut-Hi-Mi and Zoser and other Masters of the Great White Brotherhood. She has given out various so-called esoteric and occult teachings.

(11) Nada-Yolanda (of Mark-Age, Inc) has channeled numerous messages from M., K.H., and others Masters associated with UFOs.

(12) Max Heindel, Rudolf Steiner and Geoffrey Hodson have claimed clairvoyant powers and to be in contact with various Masters - Rosicrucian, Theosophical or otherwise.

(13) Other supposed communications from HPB's Masters have come from Brother Philip in his book titled Secret of the Andes, from Cyril Scott in his series of books starting with The Initiate, and from David Anrias in his book Through the Eyes of the Masters.

And the list goes on . . . .

For more claims, see:

"The Masters and Their Emissaries:  From H.P.B. to Guru Ma and Beyond" by Govert Schuller

For more background information on these numerous and conflicting claims as well as related material, see:

•  Madame Blavatsky's Occult Status and the Claims of Latter-Day Messengers of the Masters

•  Various Theosophical Traditions & New Students of Theosophy

•  On Pseudo-Theosophy and Pseudo-Adepts

•  Psychic VERSUS Initiate Visions & Knowledge

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Endnote 2:

"Mistakes have now to be checked by the original teachings and corrected."

In her magnum opus The Secret Doctrine, H.P. Blavatsky wrote that "mistakes have now to be checked by the original teachings and corrected. . . ."    Italics added.  

Madame Blavatsky explained in Volume I.:

"Esoteric Buddhism" [by A.P. Sinnett] . . .  is an excellent book [on Theosophy], and has done still more excellent work. But this does not alter the fact that it contains some mistaken notions. . . .

The time has arrived for the explanation of some matters in this direction. Mistakes have now to be checked by the original teachings and corrected. . . .

As the author [A.P. Sinnett] . . . was himself, as he says, "an untrained mind" in Occultism, his own inferences, and his better knowledge of modern astronomical speculations than of archaic doctrines led him quite naturally, and as unconsciously to himself, to commit a few mistakes of detail rather than of any "broad rule." One such will now be noticed. It is a trifling one, still it is calculated to lead many a beginner into erroneous conceptions. But as the mistaken notions of the earlier editions were corrected in the annotations of the fifth edition, so the sixth may be revised and perfected. . . .

Among such . . . [was] the erroneous statement that two of the superior Globes of the terrestrial chain were two of our well-known planets:

"besides the Earth . . . there are only two other worlds of our chain which are visible. . . . Mars and Mercury. . . ." (Esoteric Buddhism; p. 136.)

This was a great mistake. . . .

Let it now be distinctly stated, then, that the theory broached is impossible, with or without the additional evidence furnished by modern Astronomy. Physical Science can supply corroborative, though still very uncertain, evidence, but only as regards heavenly bodies on the same plane of materiality as our objective Universe. Mars and Mercury, Venus and Jupiter, like every hitherto discovered planet (or those still to be discovered), are all, per se, the representatives on our plane of such chains. As distinctly stated in one of the numerous letters of Mr. Sinnett's "Teacher," "there are other and innumerable Manvantaric chains of globes which bear intelligent Beings both in and outside our solar system." But neither Mars nor Mercury belong to our chain. They are, along with the other planets, septenary Units in the great host of "chains" of our system, and all are as visible as their upper globes are invisible. . . .

When the present work was commenced, the writer [H.P. Blavatsky herself] , feeling sure that the speculation about Mars and Mercury was a mistake, applied to the Teachers [the Mahatmas] by letter for explanation and an authoritative version. Both came in due time, and verbatim extracts from these are now given.

". . . . . both (Mars and Mercury) are septenary chains, as independent of the Earth's sidereal lords and superiors as you are independent of the 'principles' of Daumling (Tom Thumb) -- which were perhaps his six brothers, with or without night-caps. . . . "

. . . Again, here are more extracts from another letter written by the same authority. This time it is in answer to some objections laid before the Teachers. They are based upon extremely scientific, and as futile, reasonings about the advisability of trying to reconcile the Esoteric theories with the speculations of Modern Science, and were written by a young Theosophist as a warning against the "Secret Doctrine" and in reference to the same subject. He had declared that if there were such companion Earths "they must be only a wee bit less material than our globe." How then was it that they could not be seen? The answer [from Master Koot Hoomi] was: --

". . . . Were psychic and spiritual teachings more fully understood, it would become next to impossible to even imagine such an incongruity. Unless less trouble is taken to reconcile the irreconcilable -- that is to say, the metaphysical and spiritual sciences with physical or natural philosophy, 'natural' being a synonym to them (men of science) of that matter which falls under the perception of their corporeal senses -- no progress can be really achieved. Our Globe, as taught from the first, is at the bottom of the arc of descent, where the matter of our perceptions exhibits itself in its grossest form. . . . . . . Hence it only stands to reason that the globes which overshadow our Earth must be on different and superior planes. In short, as Globes, they are in CO-ADUNITION but not IN CONSUBSTANTIALITY WITH OUR EARTH and thus pertain to quite another state of consciousness. Our planet (like all those we see) is adapted to the peculiar state of its human stock, that state which enables us to see with our naked eye the sidereal bodies which are co-essential with our terrene plane and substance, just as their respective inhabitants, the Jovians, Martians and others can perceive our little world: because our planes of consciousness, differing as they do in degree but being the same in kind, are on the same layer of differentiated matter. . . . . What I wrote was 'The minor Pralaya concerns only our little STRINGS OF GLOBES.' (We called chains 'Strings' in those days of lip- confusion.) . . . 'To such a string our Earth belongs.' This ought to have shown plainly that the other planets were also 'strings' or CHAINS. . . If he (meaning the objector) would perceive even the dim silhouette of one of such 'planets' on the higher planes, he has to first throw off even the thin clouds of the astral matter that stands between him and the next plane. . . . ."

It becomes patent why we could not perceive, even with the help of the best earthly telescopes, that which is outside our world of matter. Those alone, whom we call adepts, who know how to direct their mental vision and to transfer their consciousness -- physical and psychic both -- to other planes of being, are able to speak with authority on such subjects. And they tell us plainly: -- . . .

". . . . . . Be prudent, we say, prudent and wise, and above all take care what those who learn from you believe in; lest by deceiving themselves they deceive others . . . . . for such is the fate of every truth with which men are, as yet, unfamiliar. . . . Let rather the planetary chains and other super- and sub-cosmic mysteries remain a dreamland for those who can neither see, nor yet believe that others can. . . ."

It is to be regretted that few of us have followed the wise advice; and that many a priceless pearl, many a jewel of wisdom, has been cast to an enemy unable to understand its value and who has turned round and rent us. . . .

Abridged from H.P. Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine, 1888, Volume I, pp. 160-167.