Theosophy Tenets 10: Theosophia / Theosophy / Divine Wisdom / The Secret Doctrine / Gupta Vidya

“Theosophy, in its abstract meaning, is Divine Wisdom, or the aggregate of the knowledge and wisdom that underlie the Universe ― the homogeneity of eternal GOOD; and in its concrete sense it is the sum total of the same as allotted to man by nature, on this earth,”

“Theosophy is the shoreless ocean of universal truth, love, and wisdom, reflecting its radiance on the earth.”

“Theosophy is divine nature, visible and invisible, and its Society human nature trying to ascend to its divine parent.”

“Theosophy . . . is the fixed eternal sun, and its Society the evanescent comet trying to settle in an orbit to become a planet, ever revolving within the attraction of the sun of truth. It was formed to assist in showing to men that such a thing as Theosophy exists, and to help them to ascend towards it by studying and assimilating its eternal verities.”

— H.P. Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy

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Through the ages what are some of the names given to Divine Wisdom or Theosophy?


Gupta Vidya?  The Great Work? The Path? 


The Secret Wisdom, the Secret Knowledge.   Oddly enough Wikipedia had this to my surprise:

In the Theosophical tradition this means Secret knowledge, secret wisdom and the source of all known religions and philosophies. Regarded as the ancient religion, wisdom or esoteric philosophy, also known as a synonym for theosophy.


Another phrase for Theo-sophia is the Perennial Philosophy.  It is the Philosophy or Teachings of the Mystery Schools.


“The Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages, and its cosmogony alone is the most stupendous and elaborate system: e.g., even in the exotericism of the Puranas. But such is the mysterious power of Occult symbolism, that the facts which have actually occupied countless generations of initiated seers and prophets to marshal, to set down and explain, in the bewildering series of evolutionary progress, are all recorded on a few pages of geometrical signs and glyphs. The flashing gaze of those seers has penetrated into the very kernel of matter, and recorded the soul of things there, where an ordinary profane, however learned, would have perceived but the external work of form. But modern science believes not in the “soul of things,” and hence will reject the whole system of ancient cosmogony. It is useless to say that the system in question is no fancy of one or several isolated individuals. That it is the uninterrupted record covering thousands of generations of Seers whose respective experiences were made to test and to verify the traditions passed orally by one early race to another, of the teachings of higher and exalted beings, who watched over the childhood of Humanity. That for long ages, the “Wise Men” of the Fifth Race, of the stock saved and rescued from the last cataclysm and shifting of continents, had passed their lives in learning, not teaching. How did they do so? It is answered: by checking, testing, and verifying in every department of nature the traditions of old by the independent visions of great adepts; i.e., men who have developed and perfected their physical, mental, psychic, and spiritual organisations to the utmost possible degree. No vision of one adept was accepted till it was checked and confirmed by the visions — so obtained as to stand as independent evidence — of other adepts, and by centuries of experiences.”

— H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol I, pp. 272-73


“It is now very difficult to say what was the real ancient Aryan doctrine. If an enquirer were to attempt to answer it by an analysis and comparison of all the various systems of esotericism prevailing in India, he will soon be lost in a maze of obscurity and uncertainty. No comparison between our real Brahmanical and the Tibetan esoteric doctrines will be possible unless one ascertains the teachings of that so-called “Aryan doctrine,” . . . and fully comprehends the whole range of the ancient Aryan philosophy. Kapila’s “Sankhya,” Patañjali’s “Yog philosophy,” the different systems of “Saktaya” philosophy, the various Agamas and Tantras are but branches of it. There is a doctrine though, which is their real foundation and which is sufficient to explain the secrets of these various systems of philosophy and harmonize their teachings. It probably existed long before the Vedas were compiled, and it was studied by our ancient Rishis in connotation with the Hindu scriptures. It is attributed to one mysterious personage called Maha. . . . . . . . . .

The Upanishads and such portions of the Vedas as are not chiefly devoted to the public ceremonials of the ancient Aryans are hardly intelligible without some knowledge of that doctrine. Even the real significance of the grand ceremonials referred to in the Vedas will not be perfectly apprehended without its light being thrown upon them.”

—T. Subba Row, “The Aryan-Arhat Esoteric Tenets on the Sevenfold Principles in Man“, Theosophist, January, 1882


The Parent Doctrine
By H. P. Blavatsky

From The Secret Doctrine 1:xxxiv-vi, xliv-v.

The Secret Doctrine was the universally diffused religion of the ancient and prehistoric world. Proofs of its diffusion, authentic records of its history, a complete chain of documents, showing its character and presence in every land, together with the teaching of all its great adepts, exist to this day in the secret crypts of libraries belonging to the Occult Fraternity.

The Occultists assert that all these exist, safe from Western spoliating hands, to reappear in some more enlightened age, for which in the words of the late Swami Dayanand Sarasvati, "the Mlechchhas (outcasts, savages, those beyond the pale of Aryan (1) civilization) will have to wait."

For it is not the fault of the initiates that these documents are now "lost" to the profane; nor was their policy dictated by selfishness, or any desire to monopolize the life-giving sacred lore. There were portions of the Secret Science that for incalculable ages had to remain concealed from the profane gaze. But this was because to impart to the unprepared multitude secrets of such tremendous importance, was equivalent to giving a child a lighted candle in a powder magazine.

The documents were concealed, it is true, but the knowledge itself and its actual existence had never been made a secret of by the Hierophants of the Temple, wherein Mysteries have ever been made a discipline and stimulus to virtue. This is very old news, and was repeatedly made known by the great adepts, from Pythagoras and Plato down to the Neoplatonists.

More than one great scholar has stated that there never was a religious founder, whether Aryan, Semitic or Turanian, who had invented a new religion, or revealed a new truth. These founders were all transmitters, not original teachers. They were the authors of new forms and interpretations, while the truths upon which the latter were based were as old as mankind. Selecting one or more of those grand verities — actualities visible only to the eye of the real Sage and Seer — out of the many orally revealed to man in the beginning, preserved and perpetuated in the adyta of the temples through initiation, during the Mysteries and by personal transmission — they revealed these truths to the masses. Thus every nation received in its turn some of the said truths, under the veil of its own local and special symbolism; which, as time went on, developed into a more or less philosophical cultus, a Pantheon in mythical disguise.

There remains enough, even among such mutilated records, to warrant us in saying that there is in them every possible evidence of the actual existence of a Parent Doctrine. Fragments have survived geological and political cataclysms to tell the story; and every survival shows evidence that the now Secret Wisdom was once the one fountain head, the ever-flowing perennial source, at which were fed all its streamlets — the later religions of all nations — from the first down to the last.
(From Sunrise magazine, April/May 1999. Copyright © 1999 by Theosophical University Press.)


The concept of the Parent Doctrine is extremely interesting.  The teachings needed to guide humanity towards enlightenment must have a genesis.  Seeing the underlying unity behind all the great mystical teachers and religious movements has been the challenge HPB took on.


It is very interesting to think of Theosophy itself as one of these 10 key ideas.  And why not?  Isn't the foundation of Wisdom a key idea?


THEOSOPHY is an all-inclusive philosophy; not to be separated from it is the Theosophical Movement, whose objective is the practical realization of this philosophy in life. The philosophy and the movement are one, though all the problems of students have their source in a separation between the teachings as such and their practical applications.
Take the problems which revolve about the condition and welfare of the masses. Since the dawn of known history the plight of the masses has been the issue-making factor in the rise, growth and decay of nations and civilizations. This is no less true today than in the ages of the trackless past. Did humanity possess a larger perspective of history than the few thousand years which mark the remotest limit of our records, then the repeated mistakes of the past would be so impressed on our present age that men might at last resolve to build their civilization on a securer foundation. Man’s initial mistake is to separate the welfare of the masses from that of the more progressed part of mankind; the result has been that the so-called classes have been plagued by the poverty and the suffering of those whom they have chosen to regard as their inferiors, while the “classes” found that, do what they might, they could not separate themselves from their more unfortunate and ignorant brothers.

From Theosophy Magazine 1930


This passage makes it clear to me that Theosophy is given to mankind to remedy the suffering of mankind and is not intended for the amusement of the armchair scholar.


By a Paramahansa of the Himalayas1

1. Theosophy is that branch of human perfection, by which one may establish himself with the eternal cause of invisible nature; to which this physical effect is a visible bubble.

2. Theosophy is that knowledge which leads one from animalism to Divinity.

3. Theosophy is that branch of human philosophy, which theoretically teaches one what he really is beyond mind and personal individuality (Ego).

4. Theosophy is that branch of chemistry, by which one begets IMMORTALITY.

5. Theosophy is that branch of painting (one’s self) which Time cannot efface.

6. Theosophy is that branch of husbandry (agriculture) by which one may preserve the seed without rearing the tree.

7. Theosophy is that branch of optics, which magnifies one’s view to see beyond physical nature.

8. Theosophy is that branch of human surgery, which separates physical nature from the spiritual.

9. Theosophy is that branch of Masonry, which shows the universe in an egg.

10. Theosophy is that branch of music, which harmonises physical nature with spirit.

11. Theosophy is that part of gardening, which teaches one how to rear trees out of charcoal.

12. Theosophy is that branch of sanitation, which teaches one how to purify nature by means of cause and effect.

13. Theosophy is that branch of engineering, which bridges the gulf between life and death.

14. Theosophy is that warlike art, which teaches one how to subdue (subjugate) time and death, the two mightiest foes of man.

15. Theosophy is that food, which enables one to taste the most exquisite sweetness in his own self.

16. Theosophy is that branch of navigation, which teaches one the starting point and the final goal of human life.

17. Theosophy is that branch of commerce, which makes one fit to select unerringly the commodities for both lives.

18. Theosophy is that branch of politics, which unites past and future into one present, and establishes peace with the most tumultuous off-shoots of debased nature.

19. Theosophy is that branch of mineralogy, by which one may discover the source of eternal wealth, combining life, knowledge and eternal joy into one.

20. Theosophy is that branch of astronomy, which proves that spirit is the only fixed star which sets not throughout the revolutions of nature.

21. Theosophy is that branch of gymnastics, which invigorates the mind, expands the intellect, unites the thought with the tie of breath2, removes the heat of lust, and produces a balmy calmness, which is the heart’s eye, to penetrate the mysteries of nature.

22. Theosophy is that branch of mental philosophy, by which one may know the exact centre of his individual Self and its identity with the entity of the second principle of the Vedantists, or the seventh one of the present Theosophists3, or what is commonly known by the name, God.

23. Theosophy is that branch of medicine by which one may rid himself of his sins from time immemorial.

24. Theosophy is that branch of natural philosophy, by which one may watch and witness nature in her birth—chastity—adultery and the present old age.

25. Theosophy is that occult branch of the Christian church, on which the groundwork of that church was originally planned,—i.e., the essential non-difference of God with the individual witness.

26. Theosophy is that branch of Christianity, which eliminates the spiritual Christ from the corporeal one of the orthodox generation.

27. Theosophy is that part of the Christian theology, which shows that the present churches of the West are abusing the Bible by misinterpretations.

28. Theosophy is that part of the Aryan independence, by which one may exist without the help of nature.

29. Theosophy (to be brief) is the sum total of the wisdom of the Aryan Brahma — the happiest eternal — and the life everlasting. It is Theosophy which taught the Aryans how to soar far beyond the region of Shakti and to be in perpetual joy — (the playground of Shakti). In short, it is the basis of all the knowledge that exists in the eternity.

1. Paramahansas are the order of the highest Yogi-Sannyasis, who alone are allowed to throw off the yoke of the Hindu caste superstitions. While all the others have to perform, more or less, the daily exoteric ceremonies of their respective Ashrums or orders, no rules of action can be assigned to these. (H.P.B.)

2. This relates to occult practice. (H.P.B)

3. Jivatma, in the sense of the Vedantin, is the Soul of all life, and in that of the Theosophists it is Jiva—vital principle. (H.P.B.)

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Tommy Kehoe on March 16, 2015 at 9:45am

"Theosophy" is the name of the Philosophy taught by and recorded in the writings of H.P. Blavatsky.  This is a philosophy which can be studied,  can be applied in very practical ways, and can be made a living power in one's life.  This philosophy is that which, by one's own self effort, may lead him to more clearly recognize and accept himself as the divine, immortal Soul that he is.  Some say that as one learns and grows along the lines of this philosophy, he simultaneously finds a deeper, more profound conviction of Universal Brotherhood; he recognizes all around him as the divine, immortal Soul who we all are.  

"Theosophist is who Theosophy does." -- HPB

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on March 18, 2015 at 1:28pm

Thomas what does it mean to you to make Theosophy a living power in one's life?

What do others think?

Permalink Reply by Tommy Kehoe on March 18, 2015 at 3:55pm

What does it mean to "me" make Theosophy a living power in "my" life?  Well, really, who cares about my personal views?  Let's consider what the philosophy has to say about that...

Well, it is stated in the Philosophy, "Theosophist is who Theosophy does."   In this sense, "Theosophy" incorporates action.  So what actions one uses to incorporate Theosophy into his life really depends on where he's starting from.  One who in this life is just beginning to discern the path might consider just living a life of virtue.   Why try to be to complicated about it?  Virtue simply is doing the right thing because it's the right thing to do - without considering "what's in it for me".  A life of virtue is literally a life of moral courage...courage to do the right thing regardless of what others may even think of us.

In the philosophy we read that a student who takes such virtuous action sets up certain causes within himself. The effects of these causes may bring about a future birth into a family of souls far more advanced than he; those who would assist him along his path.  That future birth may be literally an incarnation into such a nuclear family in the next life.  It may be even a "re-birth" in this life wherein he suddenly finds himself newly surrounded by those who are prepared to help him along the Path in ways he hadn't before considered.

He may even recognize some of his current family, friends and associates as that "new" family; this can occur simply because he sees in them something "new" or "more" or "different" -- really though, it is HE, within HIMSELF, who has made certain adjustments.  So making Theosophy a living power in one's life might bring about growth within, which results in changes in outer relationships along certain lines.  

Perhaps it's important to bear in mind that such inner growth can only be accomplished by Self effort.  No one  else can do it for us.  In other words, the power of Theosophy in one's life cannot be "conferred" on us by any priest or minister, nor by any other so-called "outer authority".  Making Theosophy a power in one's life is dependent upon recognition of the authority of our own Higher Self, and by certain inner actions: our effort to raise our own awareness of that Higher Self.  Sometimes that's called "Raising the self by the Self."

Mr. Judge wrote a 2 part article about this, the first part of which can be found here:

and the SECOND part of which can be found here:

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on March 19, 2015 at 7:59am

How about this one?

Making Theosophy a living power in one's life is to: Seek to live for and as the Self of all creatures. To attempt to provide gentle service to all that lives. To bring the best of Wisdom that we have available to us to each relationship and situation of life.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on March 21, 2015 at 12:55am

No new ethics are presented by Theosophy, as it is held that right
ethics are for ever the same. But in the doctrines of Theosophy are to
be found the philosophical and reasonable basis for ethics and the
natural enforcement of them in practice. Universal brotherhood is
that which will result in doing unto others as you would have them do
unto you, and in your loving your neighbour as yourself—declared as
right by all teachers in the great religions of the world.


Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on March 24, 2015 at 10:59am

In the process of recording the general doctrines of Theosophy, H. P. Blavatsky went far beyond the exposition of intellectual abstractions. She brought the theosophical ideas to life in the world. Setting living truths among the manifold disguises and dissemblances of popular conventions, H.P.B. revealed the mockery of appearances and invited the strong-minded to look beneath the veneer of “culture.” The component parts of the race mind—its strengths and weaknesses, its false ideas and perverted truths, its buried knowledge and forgotten ideals—were precipitated out for the individual to weigh and measure against as much of theosophical truth as he could put to use. From the consideration of tendencies in thought and action of people as a whole, the theosophist might gradually gain the objectivity with which to approach the meaning of his own karma and to find in it nothing unique, except the particular combination of habits, tendencies, mistakes, and attitudes he formerly studied as social phenomena. Then, when ready, he could take up the ancient challenge: the preservation of justice in the moral nature, the destruction of wickedness in human nature, and the establishment of righteousness in his whole being.

Theosophy Magazine 1948