Madame Blavatsky Discusses God and Prayer for Theosophists
Story By The United Lodge of Theosophists - Los Angeles
What is Theosophy?
"Theosophy" comes from the Greek "Theos" and "sophia" meaning literally "Divine Knowledge." It is a body of knowledge - accumulated since time immemorial - that answers the great questions of life - Who am I, Where am I going, What am I doing here, What is the nature of the soul, What is the origin of the universe and What can be said about the nature of divinity.
The term theosophy (in its Greek and other forms) had been used about 100 or so times over two millennia in western civilization before Madame Blavatsky. The term came to be the most appropriate word to describe her teachings and so, with a capital "T," Theosophy came to be the name given to that which she taught in the 19th century.
Some have, quite understandably, extended the meaning of the word to cover that entire body of knowledge known to Blavatsky's teachers - a portion of which was imparted to her.
The following excerpt is from "The Key to Theosophy, by H.P. Blavatsky," pages 60-66.
The Fundamental Teachings Of Theosophy
On God and Prayer
Enquirer: Do you believe in God?
Theosophist: That depends what you mean by the term.
Enquirer: I mean the God of the Christians, the Father of Jesus, and the Creator: the Biblical God of Moses, in short.
Theosophist: In such a God we do not believe. We reject the idea of a personal, or an extra-cosmic and anthropomorphic God, who is but the gigantic shadow of man, and not of man at his best, either. The God of theology, we say - and prove it - is a bundle of contradictions and a logical impossibility. Therefore, we will have nothing to do with him.
Enquirer: State your reasons, if you please.
Theosophist: They are many, and cannot all receive attention. But here are a few. This God is called by his devotees infinite and absolute, is he not?
Enquirer: I believe he is.
Theosophist: Then, if infinite - i. e., limitless - and especially if absolute, how can he have a form, and be a creator of anything? Form implies limitation, and a beginning as well as an end; and, in order to create, a Being must think and plan. How can the ABSOLUTE be supposed to think - i. e., to have any relation whatever to that which is limited, finite, and conditioned? This is a philosophical, and a logical absurdity. Even the Hebrew Kabala rejects such an idea, and therefore, makes of the one and the Absolute Deific Principle an infinite Unity called Ain-Soph. (1) In order to create, the Creator has to become active; and as this is impossible for ABSOLUTENESS, the infinite principle had to be shown becoming the cause of evolution (not creation) in an indirect way - i.e., through the emanation from itself (another absurdity, due this time to the translators of the Kabala) (2) of the Sephiroth.
Enquirer: How about those Kabalists, who, while being such, still believe in Jehovah, or the Tetragrammaton?
Theosophist: They are at liberty to believe in what they please, as their belief or disbelief can hardly affect a self-evident fact. The Jesuits tell us that two and two are not always four to a certainty, since it depends on the will of God to make 2 X 2 = 5. Shall we accept their sophistry for all that?
Enquirer: Then you are Atheists?
Theosophist: Not that we know of, and not unless the epithet of "Atheist" is to be applied to those who disbelieve in an anthropomorphic God. We believe in a Universal Divine Principle, the root of ALL, from which all proceeds, and within which all shall be absorbed at the end of the great cycle of Being.
Enquirer: This is the old, old claim of Pantheism. If you are Pantheists, you cannot be Deists; and if you are not Deists, then you have to answer to the name of Atheists.
Theosophist: Not necessarily so. The term "Pantheism" is again one of the many abused terms, whose real and primitive meaning has been distorted by blind prejudice and a one-sided view of it. If you accept the Christian etymology of this compound word, and form it of pan, "all," and theos, "god," and then imagine and teach that this means that every stone and every tree in Nature is a God or the ONE God, then, of course, you will be right, and make of Pantheists fetish-worshippers, in addition to their legitimate name. But you will hardly be as successful if you etymologise the word Pantheism esoterically, and as we do.
Enquirer: What is, then, your definition of it?
Theosophist: Let me ask you a question in my turn. What do you understand by Pan, or Nature?
Enquirer: Nature is, I suppose, the sum total of things existing around us; the aggregate of causes and effects in the world of matter, the creation or universe.
Theosophist: Hence the personified sum and order of known causes and effects; the total of all finite agencies and forces, as utterly disconnected from an intelligent Creator or Creators, and perhaps "conceived of as a single and separate force" - as in your cyclopaedias?
Enquirer: Yes, I believe so.
Theosophist: Well, we neither take into consideration this objective and material nature, which we call an evanescent illusion, nor do we mean by pan Nature, in the sense of its accepted derivation from the Latin Natura (becoming, from nasci, to be born). When we speak of the Deity and make it identical, hence coeval, with Nature, the eternal and uncreate nature is meant, and not your aggregate of flitting shadows and finite unrealities. We leave it to the hymn-makers to call the visible sky or heaven, God's Throne, and our earth of mud His footstool. Our DEITY is neither in a paradise, nor in a particular tree, building, or mountain: it is everywhere, in every atom of the visible as of the invisible Cosmos, in, over, and around every invisible atom and divisible molecule; for IT is the mysterious power of evolution and involution, the omnipresent, omnipotent, and even omniscient creative potentiality.
Enquirer: Stop! Omniscience is the prerogative of something that thinks, and you deny to your Absoluteness the power of thought.
Theosophist: We deny it to the ABSOLUTE, since thought is something limited and conditioned. But you evidently forget that in philosophy absolute unconsciousness is also absolute consciousness, as otherwise it would not be absolute.
Enquirer: Then your Absolute thinks?
Theosophist: No, IT does not; for the simple reason that it is Absolute Thought itself. Nor does it exist, for the same reason, as it is absolute existence, and Be-ness, not a Being. Read the superb Kabalistic poem by Solomon Ben Jehudah Gabirol, in the Kether-Malchut, and you will understand: - "Thou art one, the root of all numbers, but not as an element of numeration; for unity admits not of multiplication, change, or form. Thou art one, and in the secret of thy unity the wisest of men are lost, because they know it not. Thou art one, and Thy unity is never diminished, never extended, and cannot be changed. Thou art one, and no thought of mine can fix for Thee a limit, or define Thee. Thou ART, but not as one existent, for the understanding and vision of mortals cannot attain to Thy existence, nor determine for Thee the where, the how and the why," etc., etc. In short, our Deity is the eternal, incessantly evolving, not creating, builder of the universe; that universe itself unfolding out of its own essence, not being made. It is a sphere, without circumference, in its symbolism, which has but one ever-acting attribute embracing all other existing or thinkable attributes - ITSELF. It is the one law, giving the impulse to manifested, eternal, and immutable laws, within that never-manifesting, because absolute LAW, which in its manifesting periods is The ever-Becoming.
Enquirer: I once heard one of your members remarking that Universal Deity, being everywhere, was in vessels of dishonour, as in those of honour, and, therefore, was present in every atom of my cigar ash! Is this not rank blasphemy?
Theosophist: I do not think so, as simple logic can hardly be regarded as blasphemy. Were we to exclude the Omnipresent Principle from one single mathematical point of the universe, or from a particle of matter occupying any conceivable space, could we still regard it as infinite?
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(The Key to Theosophy, by H.P. Blavatsky pp.60-66), copyright 2013, The Theosophy Company, all rights reserved. The Theosophy Company does not endorse any advertising that may appear on or associated with this story. This story does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors of News Blaze.
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