Theosophy is a religious philosophy. It was established in the United States during the late nineteenth century by Russian émigré Helena Blavatsky, and draws its beliefs largely from Blavatsky's writings. Categorised by scholars of religion as a form of Western esotericism, it draws upon both older European philosophies and Asian religions like Hinduism and Buddhism.
History[edit | edit source]
Theosophy holds that there is an ancient and secretive brotherhood of spiritual adepts known as Ascended masters, who — although found across the world — are centred in Tibet. These Masters are believed to have cultivated great wisdom and paranormal powers, and Theosophists believe that it was they who initiated the modern Theosophical movement through disseminating their teachings via Blavatsky. They believe that these Masters are attempting to revive knowledge of an ancient religion once found across the world and which will again come to eclipse the existing world religions. Theosophical groups nevertheless do not refer to their system as a "religion". Theosophy preaches the existence of a single, divine Absolute. It promotes an emanationist cosmology in which the universe is perceived as outward reflections from this Absolute. Theosophy teaches that the purpose of human life is spiritual emancipation and claims that the human soul undergoes reincarnation upon bodily death according to a process of karma. It promotes values of universal brotherhood and social improvement although does not stipulate particular ethical codes.
Theosophy was established in New York City with the founding of the Theosophical Society by Blavatsky, Henry Olcott, and William Quan Judge in 1875. Blavatsky and Olcott relocated to India, where they established the Society's headquarters at Adyar, Madras, Tamil Nadu.
Theosophy played a significant role in bringing knowledge of South Asian religions to Western countries, as well as in encouraging cultural pride in various South Asian nations. A variety of prominent artists and writers have also been influenced by Theosophical teachings. Theosophy has an international following, and during the twentieth century had tens of thousands of adherents. Theosophical ideas have also exerted an influence on a wide range of other esoteric movements and philosophies, among them Anthroposophy and the New Age.
Spiritual evolution[edit | edit source]
Within this broad definition, theories of spiritual evolution are very diverse. They may be cosmological (describing existence at large), personal (describing development of an individual), or both. They can be holistic (holding that higher realities emerge from and are not reducible to the lower), idealist (holding that reality is primarily mental or spiritual) or nondual (holding that there is no ultimate distinction between mental and physical reality). One can regard all of them as teleological to a greater or lesser degree.
Philosophers, scientists, and educators who have proposed theories of spiritual evolution include Friedrich Schelling (1775—1854), Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770—1831), Carl Jung (1875—1961), Helena Blavatsky (1831—1891), Henri Bergson (1859—1941), Rudolf Steiner (1861—1925), Sri Aurobindo (1872—1950), Jean Gebser (1905—1973), Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881—1955), Owen Barfield (1898—1997), Edward Haskell (1906—1986), (1911—1977), Erich Jantsch (1929—1980), Clare W. Graves (1914—1986), Alfred North Whitehead (1861—1947).
Victor Skumin elaborated on the theosophical conceptions of spiritual evolution and proposed (1990) a classification of Homo spiritalis (Latin: spiritual man), Sixth root race, consisting of eight sub-races (subspecies) – HS0 Anabiosis spiritalis, HS1 Scientella spiritalis, HS2 Aurora spiritalis, HS3 Ascensus spiritalis, HS4 Vocatus spiritalis, HS5 Illuminatio spiritalis, НS6 Creatio spiritalis, and HS7 Servitus spiritalis.
|The Culture of health is the basic science about Spiritual Humanity. It studies the perspectives of harmonious development of Spiritual man and Spiritual ethnos as a conscious creator of the State of Light into the territory of the Solar System.|
— —Victor Skumin
The culture of health means recognizing health’s central importance in life. Skumin referred to the works of Helena Blavatsky, Helena and Nicholas Roerich. In some of his publications, he argues that the culture of health will play an important role in the creation of a human spiritual society in the Solar System.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Agni Yoga (religious doctrine)
- Culture of health
- New Age
- Russian cosmism
- Victor Skumin
- Spiritual evolution
Video[edit | edit source]
- Juan Carlos Garcia. SUITE BLAVATSKY.
References[edit | edit source]
- John Gordon Melton, Theosophy, Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 2015. Accessed 04/11/2018
- The Rosicrucian Philosophy in Questions and Answers, 3, Rosicrucian Fellowship. "Since the mind was given to man, it is this original creative impulse, epigenesis, which has been the cause of all our development[...]"
- Skumin, V. A. (1996). Spiritual man: The role of the Culture of spiritual health for approval of the new human race on the planet (in Russian), theeuropeanlibrary.org.
- (2013) Art works by Russian cosmism painter XX – XXI ct. Catalogue of exhibition 2013, Roerich museum.
- Kovaleva E. A. (2009). Pedagogical Council. Slide 7 of the presentation "culture of health" to the lessons of physical education on the theme the "Health". 900igr.net.