THEOSOPHY, Vol. 8, No. 3, January, 1920
(Pages 65-67; Size: 8K)
(Number 1 of a 34-part series)


(Prefatory Note)

IN the February, 1920, number of the Magazine THEOSOPHY there will be commenced the publication of an authoritative history of the Theosophical Movement of the Nineteenth century, and thereafter instalments will be published each month until the conclusion of the work.

There exists nowhere such a collected and authentic recital. Yet, although a scant half century has elapsed since the foundation of The Theosophical Society at New York City, the work there begun has spread into all portions of the civilized world, until the word Theosophy is a familiar term to every educated mind. The teachings known under that name have been more or less investigated and adopted by millions, while its more earnest students who have accepted it as a complete and satisfactory explanation of all the problems of life, here and hereafter, are numbered by thousands in every country and of every race.

In an indirect but none the less powerful manner the teachings of Theosophy have profoundly affected the ideas and ideals of the race on the great questions of ethics, of morality, of religion, philosophy and science, so that today it may be truly said that there is nothing worthy of the consideration of the human mind that has not been leavened by the injection of Theosophical leaven. It is not too much, therefore, to affirm that the direct and indirect influence of Theosophy upon humanity in the course of a single generation has been greater than that of any other system ever promulgated, during as many centuries as the Theosophical Movement numbers decades. And the Movement can as yet scarcely be said to have passed the stage of its germinal impulsion.

The record of the Theosophical Movement is scattered through thousands upon thousands of pages of books, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets and other documents. Many of these are extremely controversial in character, many inaccurate, many contradictory and confusing. The attempt to study, digest, collate and compare the immense literature of the subject is a monumental undertaking. The writers have spent more than thirty years in connection with the work of the Theosophical Movement, and their opportunities and facilities have been greater than most. Yet they know only too well the impossibility of doing anything like justice to the subject, or of affording satisfactory replies to all questions of the sincere student of its complexities. The very nature of the subject forbids. For Theosophy, the Theosophical Movement, and the real and true Theosophical Society have, each of them, an esoteric as well as an exoteric side, and the latter can never be fully grasped and understood but through the former.

Some of this hidden side can be touched upon, some documents referred to, some indications submitted, some deductions offered for the consideration of the reflective mind, but for by far the most important portion of the esoteric aspect the student must rely upon his own intuition: for the hidden side of Theosophy can only be arrived at through the hidden nature of the student himself.

Still another difficulty that confronts alike the writers and the sincere student is the fact that many of those who were active in the life-time of the original Theosophical Society are still living and now prominent, both in the public eye, and as leaders and exponents of the many existing and conflicting theosophical and occult societies that have sprung up in the past twenty-five years, since the disruption of the Parent society. All these antagonistic organizations have their devoted adherents, their own particular tenets and claims of pre-eminence and successorship. The situation exactly parallels that of the early centuries of Christianity. Rival pretensions to apostolic succession, to knowledge, to authority, and to the possession of the keys to the teachings of the Founders confront the inquirer. The danger is imminent that if a better knowledge and understanding of the real teachings of Theosophy, the real mission of the Theosophical Movement, and the real facts in connection with the history of the Parent Theosophical Society, are not made available for any one who may become interested, the fate that has long since overtaken Brahmanism, Buddhism and Christianity, will inevitably befall the great Message of H. P. Blavatsky.

For all the reasons expressed and implied, an accessible record of the facts, as accurate a survey of their significance and bearing on the present and on the future as possible, is of the utmost moment to all sincere students and to all earnest inquirers. Themselves members of none of the existing organizations, but profoundly convinced of the surpassing value of the noble philosophy of Theosophy, the writers are moved to this attempt to aid the unimpeded flow of the great stream of the Theosophical Movement, not so much by any belief in their own especial ability as by the conviction that that flow is being impeded and corrupted by the sectarian partisanship and pretensions of the leading exponents of the existing societies. It is therefore addressed, not to any society or societies, but to all true Theosophists, whether members of any of the existing organizations or of none, and to all true inquirers everywhere, who may be willing to accept truth wherever it may be found, and to defend it, even looking popular prejudice and their own straight in the face.

Readers of this magazine are advised that we cannot guarantee to supply back numbers of the series, and it is therefore suggested that subscribers and others interested should not depend upon our being able to fill later requests for the full series. Only the regular editions of the magazine will be printed, plus any additional requirements from month to month. The series will run during the greater part of the ensuing two years. We respectfully invite our readers to call the attention of their friends and fellow-students of their acquaintance to this Notice. 


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