Way of Essenic Studies
Theosophy is a body of ideas which holds that all religions are attempts by man to ascertain "the Divine", and as such, each religion has a valid perspective of the truth.
A more formal definition from the Concise Oxford Dictionary describes Theosophy as "any of various philosophies professing to achieve a knowledge of God by spiritual means, direct intuition, or special individual relations, esp. a modern movement following Hindu and Buddhist teachings and seeking universal brotherhood." Christian Theosophy is a branch that strives for the knowledge of God and Jesus obtained by the direct intuition of the Divine essence.
Adherents of Theosophy maintain that it is a "body of truth" that forms the basis of all religions. Theosophy represents a modern face of Sanatana Dharma, "the Eternal Truth", as the proper religion.
Basic Theosophical Beliefs- Consciousness is Universal and Individual.
According to Theosophy, nature does not operate by chance. Every event, past or present, happens because of laws which are part of a Universal Paradigm. Theosophists hold that everything, living or not, is "impregnated" with Consciousness. This paradigm has been called variously: God (nonpersonal), Law, Heaven, the Great Architect, Evolution, and Logos. (The term used in this essay is "paradigm")
Man is "Provisionally" Immortal
Theosophists believe that all human beings in their "Higher Selves" are immortal, but their personalities are unconscious of the link with their Divine Nature and will perish unless they strive to effect a union of the two.
Reincarnation is Universal
Theosophy teaches that beings have attained the human state through myriad reincarnations, passing through the mineral, plant and animal stages since the birth of life on earth. However, Theosophy differs from the exoteric belief that regression is possible. Humans cannot reincarnate as animals or plants again except in the rare cases of disintegrating or "lost souls". Conversely, humans are considered only the epitome of physical life on Earth and not the end stage of evolution, which continues for three further stages in the form of the Dhyani Chohans or Buddhic beings.
Essenic Theosophy is similar to the beliefs of the Hindu Arya Samaj sect concerning Karma, Dharma, and Cosmogony. Essenic Theosophy teaches that evil and good are the result of differentiation of spirit/matter in a cycle of becoming. There is a natural involution of spirit into matter followed by an evolution of matter back into spirit. The purpose of the Universe is for spirit to manifest itself self-consciously through seven stages.
The Universal Brotherhood
Essenic Theosophy teaches that every thing of whatever kind is from one divine source. All things are "monads" in reality. All monads potentially possess the same principles and their forms and natures are an expression of their present consciousness level.
Theosophy, as well as many other esoteric groups and occult societies claim that the universe is ordered by the number seven. The monad possess seven bodies:
The first one is called sthula-sarira (Sanskrit) [from sthula coarse, gross, not refined, heavy, bulky, fat in the sense of bigness, conditioned and differentiated matter + sarira to molder, waste away] A gross body, impermanent because of its wholly compounded character. The physical body is usually considered as the lowest substance-principle. The physical form is the result of the harmonious coworking on the physical plane of forces and faculties streaming through their astral vehicle or linga-sarira, the pattern or model of the physical body.
The second one called Linga-Sarira (Sanskrit) [from linga characteristic mark, model, pattern + sarira form from the verbal root sri to moulder, waste away] A pattern or model that is impermanent; the model-body or astral body, only slightly more ethereal than the physical body. It is the astral model around which the physical body is built, and from which the physical body flows or develops as growth proceeds.
The third body is prana (Sanskrit) [from pra before + the verbal root an to breathe, live] In theosophy, the breath of life. This life or prana works on, in, and around us, pulsating unceasingly during the term of physical existence. Prana is "the radiating force or Energy of Atma -- as the Universal Life and the One Self, -- Its lower or rather (in its effects) more physical, because manifesting, aspect. Prana or Life permeates the whole being of the objective Universe; and is called a 'principle' only because it is an indispensable factor and the deus ex machina of the living man.
The fourth principle is kama (Sanskrit) [from the verbal root kam to desire] Desire; the desire principle is the driving, impelling force. Born from the interaction of atman, buddhi, and manas, kama per se is a colorless force, good or bad according to the way the mind and soul use it. It is the seat of the living electric impulses, desires, aspirations, considered in their energic aspect.
The fifth principle is manas (Sanskrit) [from the verbal root man to think] The seat of mentation and egoic consciousness; in humanity Manas is the human person, the reincarnating ego, immortal in essence, enduring in its higher aspects through the entire manvantara. When imbodied, manas is dual, gravitating toward buddhi in its higher aspects and in its lower aspects toward kama. The first is intuitive mind, the second the animal, ratiocinative consciousness, the lower mentality and passions of the personality.
The sixth principle or vehicle is Buddhi (Sanskrit) [from the verbal root budh to awaken, enlighten, know] the vehicle of pure, universal spirit, hence an inseparable garment or vehicle of atman. In its essence of the highest plane of akasa or alaya. In man buddhi is the spiritual soul, the faculty of discriminating, the channel through which streams divine inspiration from the atman to the ego, and therefore that faculty which enables us to discern between good and evil -- spiritual conscience. The qualities of the buddhic principle when awakened are higher judgment, instant understanding,
discrimination, intuition, love that has no bounds, and consequent universal forgiveness.
The seventh is called Atman (Sanskrit) Self; pure consciousness, that cosmic self which is the same in every dweller on this globe and on every one of the planetary or stellar bodies in space. It is the feeling and knowledge of "I am," pure cognition, the abstract idea of self. It does not differ at all throughout the cosmos except in degree of self-recognition. It may also be considered as the First Logos in the human microcosm. During incarnation the lowest aspects of atman take on attributes, because it is linked with buddhi, as the buddhi is linked with manas, as the manas is linked with kama, etc.
Essene Theosophists believe that religion, philosophy, study, compassion, vegetarianism, fasting, abstinence and material renunciation, among other "virtues," lead humans ever closer to "the Divine." This, in Essenic Theosophy, is a continuation of the Divine purpose through individual spiritual evolution.
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