United Lodge of Theosophists

Theosophy Simply Stated

Theosophy, as the Wisdom–Religion, has existed from immemorial time. It offers us a theory of nature and of life which is founded upon knowledge acquired by the Sages of the past; and its higher students claim that this knowledge is not imagined or inferred, but that it is a knowledge of facts seen and known by those who are willing to comply with the conditions requisite for seeing and knowing. As the oldest tradition of human wisdom, Theosophy has been expressed in different ages by such as Krishna and Buddha in the East, by Pythagoras, Plato and Jesus in the West. Following these teachers, lesser voices have supported the central tenet of the philosophy — immortality through reincarnation or rebirth. Bruno van Helmont, Goethe and Schopenhauer, Shelley, Kipling and Masefield, Emerson and Whitman, to name but a few, have all upheld the doctrine given its full philosophical import in the Theosophy presented by H. P. Blavatsky.

Theosophy is not a “Faith,” for “Faiths” may be changed; but, being knowledge which each can make his own, it is not dependent upon dogma or revelation. Theosophists do not demand acceptance of Theosophy; they point out its principles and their applications. Theosophy makes certain statements, but not as statements to be believed. The object of Theosophy is to teach man what he is, through showing him the necessity of knowing for himself and becoming his own authority.

Theosophy Defined

Although Theosophy contains by derivation the name God and thus may seem at first sight to embrace religion alone, it does not neglect science. It is the Science of sciences, for no science is complete which leaves out any department of nature, whether visible or invisible. Conversely, that religion which, depending solely on an assumed revelation, turns away from things and the laws which govern them, is nothing but a delusion, a foe to progress, and an obstacle in the way of man's advancement toward happiness. Embracing both the scientific and the religious, Theosophy is a scientific religion and a religious science.

No new ethics are presented by Theosophy, as it is held that right ethics are forever the same. But in the doctrines of Theosophy are to be found the philosophical and reasonable basis for ethics and the natural enforcement of them in practice. The ideas we entertain of Deity and of the Self, of Nature's Laws, and of Evolution, govern the actions we perform. We are now acting, either consciously or unconsciously, according to the philosophical ideas we hold. Are they the best and highest possible!

Theosophy is to be explained by reference to the three great principles which underlie all life, as well as every religion and every philosophy that ever has been, or ever can be. They may be briefly named: (1) The Self, as reality in man; (2) Law, as the processes by which man evolves both in form and soul; (3) Evolution, as the design of life in terms of meaning and purpose.

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First Fundamental Idea
As to Self, and the Source of Life, the great Theosophists, both ancient and modern, have recorded that there is One Infinite Principle, which is the Cause of all that was or ever shall be. Thus this causal Self, the only true "Deity," can be absent from no point of space, and we are inseparable from it. Each one is a ray from and one with that Absolute Principle. This is the one realization which immediately sets our minds in order: we are, in essence, THAT which is unchangeable and unchanging. Behind all perceiving and knowing and experiencing is the One undivided Self. The power in us to perceive, to know, to experience - apart from anything that is seen, known or experienced - is the One Self, the one Consciousness, shared by all alike, the Power of every being. Herein lies the true basis of Brotherhood - the unifying bond for all above man and for all below man.

Second Fundamental Idea

The second great principle - law, is referred to in Theosophy as Karma. Karma is the law of recurring cycles in Nature and the constant tendency to restore disturbed equilibrium. Applied to man's moral life it is the law of ethical causation, of justice, reward and punishment, the cause for birth and rebirth. Viewed from another standpoint it is simply effect flowing from cause, action and reaction, exact result for every thought and act. It is act and the result of act; for the word's literal meaning is action. Theosophy views the Universe as an intelligent whole, hence every motion in the universe is an action leading to results, which themselves become causes for further results. We are all reaping what we have sown, individually and collectively; we never act alone. We always act on and in connection with others, affecting them for good or evil, and we get the necessary reaction from the causes set in motion by ourselves. This presents to us the idea of absolute Justice, in accordance with which each being receives exactly what he gives - the essence of free-will.

Indissolubly connected with Karma is another aspect of the law of cycles - Reincarnation. It means that man as a thinker, composed of soul, mind and spirit, occupies body after body in life after life on the earth which is the scene of his evolution, and where he must, under the very laws of his being, complete that evolution, once it has been begun. In any one life he is known to others as a personality, but in the whole stretch of eternity he is one individual, feeling in himself an identity not dependent on name, form, or recollection. The physical body is merely the shell of man, made of matter of the earth, from the three lower kingdoms - mineral, vegetable, and animal - and is being constantly renewed and worn out from day to day. Man, himself, is that invisible entity which inhabits the body, which is the cause of its present construction and development from lower forms of consciousness. The body is but one instrument of the man within. Other divisions are the psychic, mental and intuitional natures. Each of these "instruments" is composed of intelligent "lives," and when the controlling being withdraws at death, the "instruments" and "lives" separate, only to be later re-assembled. In this separation of the instruments of man lies the explanation of "spirit-manifestations" - which are nothing more than the automatic reflexes of "lives" impressed by the departed soul with psychic impulses.

The doctrine of Reincarnation is the very base of Theosophy, for it explains life and nature. It is one aspect of evolution, since evolution could not go on without reembodiment. Reincarnation was believed in at the time of Jesus and taught by some of the early Christian Fathers. According to the view offered by Karma and Reincarnation, each is his own judge, and his own executioner; one's own hand forges the weapon which works for his punishment, and each earns his own reward. Reincarnation banishes the fear and sorrow of death, for as sleep is a release from the body, during which we have dreams, so death is a rest and release, after which we are again incarnated in a new body on earth. We come once more into what we call waking existence, and meet again and again the various Egos whom we have known in prior births, that the causes generated in company with them may be worked out. Schopenhauer once wrote that this doctrine "presents itself as the natural conviction of man whenever he reflects at all in an unprejudiced manner."

Third Fundamental Idea
Reincarnation brings us to the doctrine of Universal Evolution as expounded by the Sages of the Wisdom-Religion. The third fundamental principle of Theosophy points to the fact that all beings in the universe have evolved from lower points of perception into greater and greater individualization; that beings above man have gone through our stage; that there never can be a stoppage to evolution in an infinite universe of infinite possibilities; that whatever stage of perfection may be reached in any race, on any planet, or in any solar system, there are always greater opportunities beyond.

Viewing life and its probable object, with all the varied experience possible for man, one must be forced to the conclusion that a single life is not enough for carrying out all that is intended by Nature, to say nothing of what man himself desires to do. The scale of variety in experience is enormous; every form of evolving intelligence in nature either is now a man, has been a man, or will become a man. Further there is a vast range of powers latent in man which may be developed under lawful conditions. Knowledge infinite in scope and diversity lies before us, although we perceive that we have no time to reach up to the measure of our high aspirations. To say that we have but one life here with such possibilities put before us and impossible of development is to make of the universe and life a huge and cruel joke.

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The Teaching Of Hope
The two teachings that the West is most urgently in need of are those of Karma and Reincarnation, the doctrines of hope and responsibility. Karma, the doctrine of responsibility, means that whatever a man sows he shall also reap. Reincarnation, the doctrine of hope, means that whatever be is reaping, he may yet sow better seed. The very fact of suffering is a blessing. Karma and Reincarnation show us that suffering is brought about by wrong thought and action; through our suffering we may be brought to a realization that a wrong course has been pursued. We learn through our suffering.

What Theosophy Explains
Theosophy is the only system of religion and philosophy which gives satisfactory explanation of such problems as these:

First. The contrasts and unions of the world's faiths, and the common foundation underlying them all.

Second. The existence of evil, suffering, sorrow - a hopeless puzzle to the mere philanthropist or theologian.

Third. The inequalities in social condition and privilege; the sharp contrasts between wealth and poverty, intelligence and stupidity, culture and ignorance, virtue and vileness; the appearance of men of genius in families destitute of it, as well as other facts in conflict with the theory of heredity; the frequent cases of unfitness of environment around individuals, so sore as to embitter disposition, hamper aspiration, and paralyze endeavor; the violent antithesis between character and condition; the occurrence of accident, misfortune and untimely death - all of them problems solvable only by the Theosophic doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation.

Fourth. The possession by individuals of psychic powers - clairvoyance, clairaudience, etc.

Fifth. The true nature of genuine phenomena in spiritualism, and the proper antidote to superstition and to exaggerated expectation.

Sixth. The failure of conventional religions to extend their areas, reform abuses, re-organize society, expand the idea of brotherhood, abate discontent, diminish crime, and elevate humanity; and an apparent inadequacy to realize in individual lives the ideal they professedly uphold.

From the perspective of Theosophy, life is one grand school of Being, and we have come to that stage where it is time for us to learn to understand the purpose of existence; to grasp our whole nature firmly; to use every means in our power in every direction - waking, dreaming, sleeping, or in any other state - to bring the whole of our nature into accord, so that our lower instrument may be "in line" and thus more fully reflect our divine inner nature.

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The Theosophical Movement
The Theosophical Movement, broadly considered, is to be found in all times and in all nations. Wherever thought has struggled to be free, wherever spiritual ideas, as opposed to forms and dogmatism, have been promulgated, there the great movement is to be discerned, for noble action is inspired by noble thought, and Theosophy represents the principles of such thought.

The Theosophical movement begun by Madame Blavatsky in 1875 has passed through many changes - changes unavoidable in a period of transition and among people whose heredity and training are obstacles in the way of right appreciation and application. But out of all these confusions must come the nucleus of brotherhood among all men and nations, the formation of which these teachers had in view from the very first.

Centers For Study And Work
There are today, in America and elsewhere, lodges of working students without organizational affiliations of any kind, engaged in obtaining a Theosophical education and in making Theosophy available to the community. The name chosen for this common endeavor is "The United Lodge of Theosophists," under which the work of public meetings, study classes, and distribution of literature is conducted.

The United Lodge of Theosophists is an integral part of the Theosophical Movement begun in New York in 1875. It is - as the name implies - an association of theosophists irrespective of organization, who are bound together by the tie of common aim, purpose and teaching. Theosophy, being the origin, basis and genius of every Theosophical organization forms in itself a common ground of interest and effort, above and beyond all differences of opinion as to persons or methods. Theosophy is the philosophy of Unity, and it calls for the essential union of those who profess and promulgate it.

U.L.T. Lodges holding regular public meetings exist in a number of the larger cities of the United States, among them New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Besides these and other Lodges, there are numerous smaller groups meeting for study and discussion of the Theosophical philosophy. The Theosophy Company of Los Angeles (245 West 33rd St.) works cooperatively with U.L.T. for the purpose of publishing authentic Theosophical literature, and also serves as a center of information regarding Theosophical activities, and invites correspondence concerning the Lodge or study group most conveniently located for inquirers. The meetings and classes are free to all, and all are welcome. Attendance involves no fees, dues or collections; the work of the United Lodge of Theosophists is supported entirely by voluntary contributions.

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