Friday, 11 September 2015

Blavatsky on Religion

Something that might not be obvious to some is that Blavatsky was not totally against organized religion per se; although she was critical of dogmatism and abuse in organized religion  and was concerned with reforms within those structures; yet she was not one to want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as it were. She was concerned with the problem of what today we would call fundamentalism, which is why freedom of thought and tolerance were important aspects of her policy. The second quote, I think, is one of her clearest statements on this question:

 “Orthodoxy in Theosophy is a thing neither possible nor desirable. It is diversity of opinion, within certain limits, that keeps the Theosophical Society a living and a healthy body, its many other ugly features notwithstanding. Were it not, also, for the existence of a large amount of uncertainty in the minds of students of Theosophy, such healthy divergencies would be impossible, and the Society would degenerate into a sect, in which a narrow and stereotyped creed would take the place of the living and breathing spirit of Truth and an ever growing Knowledge.” First Letter to the American Convention

Yet the masses could not be allowed to remain without some sort of moral restraint. Man is ever craving for a “beyond” and cannot live without an ideal of some kind, as a beacon and a consolation. At the same time, no average man, even in our age of universal education, could be entrusted with truths too metaphysical, too subtle for his mind to comprehend, without the danger of an imminent reaction setting in, and faith in Gods and Saints making room for an unscientific blank Atheism. No real philanthropist, hence no Occultist, would dream for a moment of a mankind without one tittle of Religion. Even the modern day Religion in Europe, confined to Sundays, is better than none. But if, as Bunyan* put it, “Religion is the best armour that a man can have,” it certainly is the “worst cloak”; and it is that “cloak” and false pretence which the Occultists and the Theosophists fight against. The true ideal Deity, the one living God in Nature, can never suffer in man’s worship if that outward cloak, woven by man’s fancy, and thrown upon the Deity by the crafty hand of the priest greedy of power and domination, is drawn aside." (THE SECRECY OF INITIATES) Blavatsky Collected Writings, Volume 14 Page42
"But so also is the Occultist justified, if he would serve truth and only truth, in rejecting such a onesided view. The student of Occultism must belong to no special creed or sect, yet he is bound to show outward respect to every creed and faith, if he would become an Adept of the Good Law. He must not be bound by the prejudged and sectarian opinions of anyone, and he has to form his own opinions and to come to his own conclusions in accordance with the rules of evidence furnished to him by the Science to which he is devoted. Thus, if the Occultist is, by way of illustration, a Buddhist, then, while regarding Gautama Buddha as the grandest of all the Adepts that lived, and the incarnation of unselfish love, boundless charity, and moral goodness, he will regard in the same light Jesus––proclaiming Him another such incarnation of every divine virtue."  (THE DUTY OF THE TRUE OCCULTIST TOWARD RELIGIONS) Blavatsky Collected Writings, Volume 14 Page 108

Canada's sad role in the Syrian refugee crisis: