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The Fourth Object Of Theosophists

There Exists a Special Division
In the Theosophical Movement
Carlos Cardoso Aveline
An image of the Himalayas, in a painting by N. Roerich
What kind of future should theosophists endeavour to build?”
Such a question must be examined again and again by each generation of those who Try to walk along the theosophical path. It constitutes a central topic in the action of the Independent Lodge of Theosophists. For Time is like a Sphinx, and it tends to devour those who can’t give a reasonable answer to the mystery of its multiple potentialities. 
The theosophical movement aims at helping the birth of Wisdom in the present humanity.
It was created, therefore, to live many thousands of years, while its outer structures are short-lived. A clear vision of its long-term duty and “dharma” is probably the best magic talisman with which theosophists can renew the work and the form of the movement, wherever and whenever it is necessary.   
In her text “The Organization of the Theosophical Society”, H.P.Blavatsky refers to the first moments of the creation of the movement.
She  says the Masters did not tell the two chief Founders  (H. S. Olcott and herself)  what they “had to do” to organize it.
And she adds:
“But if  the two Founders were not told what they had to do, they were  distinctly instructed about what they should never do, what they had to avoid,  and what the Society should never become. Church organizations, Christian and Spiritual sects were shown as the future contrasts to our Society.” [1]
At the same time, and in apparent conflict with that, an utter respect should be kept for everyone’s religious beliefs.
The contrast between dogmatic churches and the theosophical movement is a decisive point.  Opposition to blind faith must be active, and not passive, as we can see by the “fourth object of the movement”, which H.P.B. describes in the same text.
While examining the movement’s History, she mentions its various objects as they were initially defined. The first one was brotherhood. Another one was to ignore distinctions among races, social rank or creeds. A third object pointed to the study of Eastern philosophies.
The fourth  goal was -
“To oppose materialism and theological dogmatism in every possible way, by demonstrating the existence of occult forces unknown to science, in nature, and the presence of psychic and spiritual powers in man; trying, at the same time to enlarge the views of the Spiritualists by showing them that there are other, many other agencies at work in the production of phenomena besides the ‘Spirits’ of the dead. Superstition had to be exposed and avoided; and occult forces, beneficent and maleficent - ever surrounding us and manifesting their presence in various ways - demonstrated to the best of our ability.” [2] 
This was no isolated statement.
In September 1877,  H.P.B. had written at the preface to the first volume of “Isis Unveiled”:
“The work now submitted to public judgment is the fruit of a somewhat intimate acquaintance with Eastern adepts and study of their science. It is offered to such as are willing to accept truth wherever it may be found, and to defend it, even looking popular prejudice straight in the face. (...) The book is written in all sincerity. It is meant to do even justice, and to speak the truth alike without malice or prejudice. But it shows neither mercy for enthroned error, nor reverence for usurped authority.”
She further explained it in the closing paragraphs of the preface to the second volume of “Isis”:
“An analysis of religious beliefs in general,  this volume is in particular directed against theological Christianity, the chief opponent of free thought. It contains not one word against the pure teachings of Jesus, but unsparingly denounces their debasement into pernicious ecclesiastical systems that are ruinous to man’s faith in his immortality and his God, and subversive of all moral restraint.”
And also:
“We cast our gauntlet at the dogmatic theologians who would enslave both history and science; and especially at the Vatican, whose despotic pretensions have become hateful to the  greater portion of enlightened Christendom. The clergy apart,  none but the logician, the investigator, the dauntless explorer should meddle with books like this. Such delvers after truth have the courage of their opinions.”
Such an abstract view of things had a more practical counterpart in esoteric levels of the theosophical movement itself. 
In the “Mahatma  Letters”, one can find a reference to it in a message dated March 1882:
“Even in the T.S. there is a division, managed by a Greek Brother about which not a person in the Society has a suspicion excepting the old woman and Olcott; and even he only knows it is progressing, and occasionally executes an order I send him in connection with it.” [3]
And to this we could associate another passage in a letter which Alfred Sinnett had received only two months earlier,  in January 1882.  It  was written by D.K., by orders of an Adept-Teacher. It says:
“I am also to tell you that in certain Mr. Bennett of America who will shortly arrive at Bombay, you may recognize one, who (...) is one of our agents (unknown to himself) to carry out the scheme for the  enfranchisement of Western thoughts from superstitious creeds.” [4]
One should observe the confluence of two facts: the goal - which corresponds to the fourth object -  is to liberate Western thoughts;  and  there is a division in the  movement under the direction of a Greek, a Western Adept. 
In “Isis Unveiled”, H.P.B writes about the theosophical movement:
“The object of its founders was to experiment practically in the occult powers of Nature, and to collect and disseminate among Christians information about the Oriental religious philosophies. Later, it has determined to spread among the ‘poor benighted heathen’ such evidences as to the practical results of Christianity as will at least give both sides of the story to the communities among which the missionaries are at work.   With this view it has established relations with associations and individuals throughout the East, to whom it furnishes authenticated reports of the ecclesiastical crimes and misdemeanors, schisms and heresies, controversies and litigations, doctrinal differences and biblical criticisms and revisions, with which the press of Christian Europe and America constantly teems. (...) It may also have much to say about the conduct of the missionaries to those who contribute to their support.” [5]
The movement was not meant to remain in silence before the crimes and frauds of ecclesiastical Christianity, or any other sect, nor to run away from correcting its own mistakes.
Dangers and obstacles are never exclusively external.  There was a reason for William Q. Judge to name “dogmatism”, “priesthood”, and “materialism” among the main possibilities of failure for the theosophical movement, in his paper “Suggestions to Branches”. [6]
It is fortunate that failures are impermanent and can always be corrected, for large sections of the movement have failed in this regard, starting during HPB’s life.
Her text “Why I Do Not Return to India” is one among many evidences of that. During the 20th century,  “theosophical” groups expanded the mistake and got down to the level of  creating a “Liberal Catholic Church” and other Vatican-like organizations.
In spite of  all obstacles, the essential movement has survived.
The United Lodge  of Theosophists and independent students and workers  have fulfilled  a key role in preserving both the authentic teachings and common sense. This, of course, was not always easy. In 1932, the “ULT Day Letter” -  issued from Los Angeles -  had this to say to the ULT Associates and friends all over the world:  
“Pseudo-theosophy and pseudo-theosophists have at all times wrought havoc to the Movement by deceiving and misleading the sincere but unwary. Efforts conscious and unconscious on the part of  individuals to make capital for themselves by exploiting the teachings of Theosophy continue now as  during the lifetime of H.P.B. and Mr. Judge. And to-day the same need exists to distinguish between genuine and  spurious attempts at fraternity among Theosophical Societies as to discern between genuine and spurious Theosophy.”
The 1932 ULT Letter - most likely written by John Garrigues - continued:
“There can be no true basis of ‘fraternization’ between those, who not only add to and whittle away, but contradict the teachings of H.P.B. and those who recognize in her Secret Doctrine what  she said, that ‘it contains all that can be given out to the world in this century’; that ‘it will take centuries before much more is given out’. But there should be, and ever has been, genuine fraternity  felt and manifested by all Associated of the United Lodge of Theosophists toward all fellow-students of the Message of H.P.B., regardless of all minor considerations or affiliation. That this true brotherhood was a prime factor in the foundation of the United Lodge, its Declaration and history bear testimony.” [7]
In a document of critical importance, Robert Crosbie showed the great similarity between “the way the Jesuits side-tracked Masonry” and the way pseudo-theosophists infiltrated the esoteric movement founded by H.P.B., Olcott and Judge. After mentioning the Jesuits in Masonry, Mr. Crosbie wrote:
“They entered it, obtained its secrets, invented ‘higher degrees’ to draw attention from what lay hidden in the original ones, and gradually made it innocuous, and incapable of leading to the knowledge that they feared. Much of what is going on and has gone on in the  . . . . society has the appearance of leading into innocuous desuetude. This is the mode of working of Brahmano-Jesuitical forces, and the ordinary thinker is unable either to perceive, or credit it if warned.” [8]
There has always been a certain inner line of action in the movement which is sustained by workers who will not put their personal comfort above Truth, and who will fight illusions as they  emerge in themselves or within the ranks of the movement. These people have played a central part in preserving the heart of the movement, which is, of course, much smaller than its outer body.   The student who takes this into consideration and examines the movement’s history will perhaps ask himself:
“After all, what could be a nutshell description of the events since H.P.B.’s death in 1891? ”
A common sense  answer might well include these seven points:
Both subjectively  and objectively, the movement ceased to interact as intensely as before with the “outside world”, or “the great orphan” - humanity as a whole.
The nucleus of universal brotherhood was preserved; but it got smaller than one would initially think of.  In that aspect, the movement got poorer since 1891.
At the same time, a  great part of the movement stopped discussing and criticizing dogmatic religions.
In their search for psychological comfort, many students forgot the “Fourth Object” quoted above. They also left aside (among others) such essential documents as: 1)  the “Prayag Letter” (which is Letter number  CXXXIV in the Mahatma Letters);  2) the Mahatma Letter number X;   3) the complete text of the 1900 Letter, which was only partially published  in the first series of “Letters From the Masters of  the Wisdom”. [9]
In connection with a new comfort-loving attitude, the movement got more and more fragmented for reasons related to “internal power struggles”, often  fueled and justified by the exercise of false clairvoyance, lower “iddhis” and several kinds of occult fancies emerging from a sense of “personal importance”.
Different sections of the movement started to search for a comfortable sensation of  tamasic security through  uniformity of thought. Thus they forgot that real safety can only be found in the courage to preserve diversity and contrast. 
This fact then led to a “theosophical  quietism”, a sort of “mystical immobilization of the soul” -; a danger which had already been emphatically denounced  in the Mahatma Letters. [10]
Pseudo-theosophical ritualisms - such as neo-masonry,  “Liberal” Catholic Church and the “Egyptian” Rite - are gradually losing importance in the Adyar TS since 1953, when N. Sri Ram took over. This process had some small and far too insufficient acceleration since Radha Burnier took over in 1980.
In spite of these problems, part of the movement is gradually coming back to its original programme and literature. Progress is slow. The origin of such a historical trend can be objectively traced to the foundation of the United Lodge of Theosophists in 1909.
The Independent Lodge of Theosophists belongs to this renewing dynamics. It was founded in 2016, precisely one hundred and seven years after the  creation of the ULT. This period of time forms an occult cycle according to the Mahatma Letters.
While the  ILT  works above all on the level of occult causes, some visible results of its work already exist. Its cooperative effort started years before its own name and form emerged. The small Independent Lodge tries to be a living flame of  study  and  loyalty to the philosophy of the movement.
The movement’s greatest potentialities as to the  future are yet to be developed.
They  include the fact that, if the movement opens itself to  its own occult responsibility to the world as the world is today, it can grow morally much better and bigger, and easily get rid of its small inter-group and inter-personality conflicts, as well as its petty forms of blind belief and tamasic attachment. 
Stimulating such a process is among the goals of the Independent Lodge.
Thus the movement  will be able to accept truthfulness and contrast, reclaiming the fourth object formulated by HPB. It  will also be able to liberate itself from the old ritualistic appendixes and Vatican-inspired structures fabricated in the first three decades of the 20th century.  It will strongly act out of  a pure and direct universal compassion and love for truth.
The Adyar Theosophical Society is not the sole proprietor of  the movement’s mistakes. Also, no theosophical virtue belongs exclusively to this or  that part of  the movement.
There is no true separation in humanity, or in the movement, from an occult viewpoint. The  fragmentation process which has occurred since 1891 is much  more external and apparent than internal or real. Unity is dynamic. The progress or failure of each one is a living factor that helps or hinders everyone else.
The most dangerous path, one should remember, is often that which seems to be the easiest and the most comfortable of all. The pioneers who actually know their lofty goal pave the way to a healthier future and perform a task that seems to be arid.
[1] “The Organization of the Theosophical Society”, in “Theosophical Articles”, H.P.B., The Theosophy Co., 1981, edition in three volumes, see vol. I, pp. 223-224.  The same text is published as a volume under the title “The Original Programme of the Theosophical Society”, H. P. Blavatsky, TPH, India, 1974, 76 pp., see it from p. 3.
[2] “The Organization of the Theosophical Society”, in “Theosophical Articles”, H.P.B., Theosophy Co., p. 223.
[3] “The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett”,  T.U.P.,  Pasadena, CA, USA, 1992, 494 pp., see Letter  XLVII,  p. 271. (Letter 48 in the chronological edition.)
[4] “The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett”,  T.U.P.,  Pasadena, CA, USA, 1992, 494 pp., see Letter  XXXVII,  p. 249. (The Letter has the same number, 37,  in the chronological edition.)
[5]  “Isis Unveiled”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Company, Volume I, pp. xli  and xlii.
[6] “Suggestions to Branches”, an article included in “Theosophical Articles”, by William Q. Judge, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, 1980, volume II, pp. 163-172.
[7]  The 1932 ULT Day Letter  can be seen in the compilation entitled “The ULT Day Letters, 1931-1960”. The name of the author “United Lodge of Theosophists”, and it is available at our associated websites.
[8]  “The Friendly Philosopher”, Robert Crosbie, Theosophy Company, 1945, 416 pp., see Letter Twelve, section “Living the Life”, p. 161.
[9] The complete text of the 1900 letter can be found in our associated websites. Title: “The 1900 Letter From a Mahatma”. Its  author name is “A Master of the Wisdom”.
[10] See Letter XXVIII, p. 210, in “The Mahatma Letters”, TUP edition. 
An  initial version of the above text was published  in the August 2007 edition of “The Aquarian Theosophist”.
In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.
E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).
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The Fourth Object Of Theosophists

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