This website “Perennial Philosophy”, as we said in the Presentation, has several other associated websites, such as: Anna Kingsford; Ideas for a Better World; Universal Brotherhood As a Law; The Wheel and the Cross; The Gospel of Interpretation; Buddhist Christianity. Also closely related to this site is the Publishing House and the Farm that have in their denominations “Wheel and Cross” (Buddhism and Christianity), as well as some groups and several Facebook pages (Associated Sites and Pages). All of them, including books and other associated activities, are “living odes” to Perennial (or Esoteric) Philosophy, and its great Universal Brotherhood of Humanity Law.
While the other associated sites, although derived from the Perennial Philosophy, deal with specific aspects, the present site aims to present the Perennial (or Esoteric) Philosophy itself. This implies an additional difficulty, when compared to the other sites mentioned, because while on these other sites, channels and activities the messages we seek to spread are still little known and (for this very reason) sometimes seem new, as far as the Perennial Philosophy itself is concerned the situation is significantly different. This is because, in this case, we have to take into account the existence of different currents and schools of thought, which seek to present to the world what they understand to be the Perennial Philosophy, and in the way they understand to be the best way to spread it.
Therefore, in order that we are not confused with one or another of these currents and schools of thought — which have points of view that are sometimes quite different from those presented here and, in some cases, even with conflicting attitudes and concepts with each other — on this website we have the additional difficulty of clarifying some of the differences between these currents of thought and the message and principles of Perennial Philosophy as presented here.
In this site (as in the vast majority of sites, groups, pages and other associated activities) the Perennial Philosophy and its great Law of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity seek to be transmitted to the world, mainly, through the dissemination of the teachings (still little known) of the “New” Gospel of Interpretation, as well as of subjects and authors in harmony with this message. This is the denomination of the philosophical-religious message bequeathed to the world by Dr. Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, which contains the esoteric meaning of Christianity.
Within the immense interpretative work of the Christian Scriptures, which is the main aspect of this “New” Gospel, we find the clear exposition of the necessary complementarity and unity existing between Buddhism and Christianity — Buddhist (or Esoteric) Christianity. Both Buddhism and Christianity, even in their known forms today, have the Law of Universal Brotherhood at the heart of doctrine and life. In turn, ethical principles (right and wrong, rights and duties etc.) as well as social institutions derived from the Principle or Law of Universal Brotherhood are the bases of the social philosophy called Humanitarianism, and its new model of social organization called Democracy of the Future.
As we can see, all the other sites and activities mentioned are related to each other and are logically derived from the Perennial Philosophy.
The notion of the existence of a Perennial (or Esoteric) Philosophy can be presented, very briefly, from the well-known phrase of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: “Everything that rises converges”. In other words, if it is possible for human consciousness to “rise”, to penetrate internally and deeply towards the essence of things and reach, or at least approach, that essence (Reality, Truth), then it is a necessary logical consequence, that the human consciousness that proceeds and “rises” also approaches, or converges in relation to all the others that do so, because they all encounter, or at least approach, the same essence (Reality, Truth).
By the way, it is worth mentioning here that it is for this same reason that “Perennial Philosophy” is presented here as a synonym for “Esoteric Philosophy”, since “eso” means the internal, as opposed to “exo” which means the external, as in the phrase “esoteric meaning of Christianity”, in distinction to the “exoteric meaning of Christianity”. That is, the first alludes to the inner, deep, true meaning of Christianity, while the second to the superficial meaning, to its garb of symbols and allegories, and even its deviant forms of idolatry (which is to exaggerate the importance of form over content, of the letter at the expense of its true, profound, life-giving meaning). So, the Perennial Philosophy is the result of this “elevation” movement, of penetrating deep into the core, into the interior, into the real or true essence of all things.
Thus, it is from this living movement of “elevation”, approximation or convergence towards the same essence — if this is really possible for human consciousness — that there must come a knowledge of universal principles or laws that are logically and necessarily the same, or at least very similar. These are precisely the principles or laws that (when transmitted) must compose an ideational map that is necessarily the same (or very similar), that is, a Perennial (or Esoteric) Philosophy.
This general panorama, this ideational map, can and should be expressed through different symbols throughout different moments and points of time and space, that is, in different times, regions, peoples, languages and cultures in general. Thus, if the living movement of consciousness “elevation” that gave birth to a given panorama of symbols (of a given culture) was truly and legitimately successful, then when these symbols are correctly interpreted they will necessarily reveal the same or very similar meanings, that is, meanings that approach or converge with each other, constituting a true Perennial Philosophy.
For the current of thought that is dominant in our time, that is, for modern science (or “scientism”, in its bias of materialistic dogmatism), this notion of the existence of a Perennial Philosophy can and should be treated as a hypothesis which, if true, it should deserve experimental proof.
This can be done through the comparative method, especially applying this method to the meanings of the symbols of different religions and philosophies, from different regions, times and cultures. In other words, if the hypothesis of the existence of a Perennial (or Esoteric) Philosophy is true, very similar principles and points of view should emerge from this comparative investigation.
For this reason, in a recent lecture at the headquarters of the Theosophical Society in London (Feb-2018), on the occasion of what may have been the first International Conference on Dr. Anna Kingsford’s Message, the organizer of this website, presented a closing lecture with the view that from this comparative study must arise the emergence of a really Catholic religion and, at the same time, in harmony with the best of modern science. And also that this would be the appropriate way to combat and overcome the materialistic dogmatism of the pseudo-scientific “priesthood” that now dominates the world. Likewise, the conclusion was presented that in view of the immense practical implications for the well-being of humanity (such as the advent of consistent solutions to its enormous problems), this is the greatest need of our times.
In this sense, according to our best lights, it is in line with what we think is the tradition of genuine mystics, sages or philosophers from all places, times and cultures, that Dr. Kingsford and Maitland bequeathed us statements such as those contained in the quotations that follow:
1) Ex Oriente Lux. Why the Christian Church Is Catholic? The Central Figure of the Christ Synthetizes All the Characteristics, Legends, and Symbols Appertaining to the Central Figures of Preceding Dispensations
“The Christian Faith is the direct heir of the old Roman faith. Rome was the heir of Greece, and Greece of Egypt, whence the Mosaic dispensation and Hebrew ritual sprang. Egypt was but the focus of a light whose true fountain and centre was the Orient in general – Ex Oriente Lux. For the East, in every sense, geographically, astronomically, and spiritually, is ever the source of light.
But although originally derived from the East, the Church of our day and country is modelled immediately upon the Greco-Roman mythology, and draws thence all its rites, doctrines, ceremonies, sacraments, and festivals.
Hence the exposition to be given of Esoteric Christianity would deal more especially with the mysteries of the West, their ideas and terminology being more attractive and congenial to us than the inartistic conceptions, the unfamiliar metaphysics, the melancholy spiritualism, and the unsuggestive language of the East.
Drawing its life-blood directly from the pagan faith of the old Occidental world, Christianity more nearly resembles its immediate father and mother than its remote ancestors, and will, therefore, be better expounded by reference to Greek and Roman sources than to their Brahminical and Vedic parallels.
The Christian Church is Catholic, or it is nothing worthy the name of Church at all. For Catholic signifies universal, all-embracing: – the faith everywhere and always received. The prevalent limited view of the term is wrong and mischievous.
The Christian Church was first called Catholic because she enfolded, comprehended, and made her own all the religious past of the whole world, gathering up into and around her central figure of the Christ all the characteristics, legends, and symbols hitherto appertaining to the central figures of preceding dispensations, proclaiming the unity of all human aspiration, and formulating in one grand ecumenical system the doctrines of East and West.
Thus the Catholic Church is Vedic, Buddhist, Zend, and Semitic. She is Egyptian, Hermetic, Pythagorean, and Platonic. She is Scandinavian, Mexican, and Druidic. She is Grecian and Roman. She is scientific, philosophic, and spiritual.
We find in her teachings the Pantheism of the East, and the individualism of the West. She speaks the language and thinks the thoughts of all the children of men; and in her temple all the gods are shrined. I am Vedantist, Buddhist, Hellenist, Hermetic, and Christian, because I am Catholic. For in that one word all Past, Present, and Future are enfolded.
And, as St Augustine and other of the Fathers truly declared, Christianity contains nothing new but its name, having been familiar to the ancients from the beginning. And the various sects, which retain but a portion of Catholic doctrine, are but as incomplete copies of a book from which whole chapters have been torn, or representations of a drama in which some only of the characters and scenes have been retained.” (Anna Kingsford e Edward Maitland. The Credo of Christendom: and Other Addresses and Essays on Esoteric Christianity, pp. 94-95)
2) Once the Veil of Symbolism is Lifted All Churches Are Akin, and the Basic Doctrine of All Is identical
“Once the veil of symbolism is lifted from the divine face of Truth, all Churches are akin, and the basic doctrine of all is identical (…). Greek, Hermetic, Buddhist, Vedantist, (1) Christian – all these Lodges of the Mysteries are fundamentally one and identical in doctrine. (…)
We hold that no single ecclesiastical creed is comprehensible by itself alone, uninterpreted by its predecessors and its contemporaries.
Students, for example, of Christian theology will only learn to understand and to appreciate the true value and significance of the symbols familiar to them, by the study of Eastern Philosophy and Pagan Idealism
For Christianity is the heir of these, and she draws her best blood from their veins. And, forasmuch as all her great ancestors hid beneath their exoteric formulas and rites – themselves mere husks and shells to amuse the simple-minded – the esoteric or concealed verities reserved for the initiate, so also she reserves for earnest seekers and deep thinkers the true interior Mysteries which are one and eternal in all creeds and Churches from the foundation of the world.
This true, interior, transcendental meaning is the Real Presence, veiled in the Elements of the Divine Sacrament: the mystical Substance and Truth figured beneath the Bread and the Wine of the ancient Bacchic orgies, and now of our own Catholic Church.
To the unwise, the unthinking, the superstitious, the gross Elements are the objects of the rite; to the initiate, the seer, the son of Hermes, they are but the outward and visible signs of that which is ever and of necessity, inward, spiritual, and occult.
(1) A careful and an erudite student of the Hindû Scriptures said that The Perfect Way contained “passages identical with some which he had rendered from the Upanishads, but of which no translation had ever been published; and he accounted for the coincidence by supposing an identical illumination of both” (Life of Anna Kingsford, Vol. II, p. 310). Edward Maitland says: “Whenever the highest plane of consciousness has been attained, and entrance won to the ‘kingdom within,’ the doctrine discerned has been one and the same – to the mind a necessity, and to the soul a reality: and has always been that of the Gnosis, variously termed, by the Gentiles, Hermetic, and by Hebrews, Kabbalistic.” (Edward Maitland’s MS. Preface, dated March, 1885, to an American Edition of The Perfect Way.) Samuel Hopgood Hart.” (Edward Maitland, quoted by Samuel Hopgood Hart, in his Preface to the Fifth Edition, pp. xii-xiii, to the work The Perfect Way. Quotation from The Life of Anna Kingsford, Vol. II, pp. 123-124)
3) Appealing to the Intellectual As Well As to the Devotional Side
“In an age distinguished, as is the present, by all-embracing research, exhaustive analysis, and unsparing criticism, no religious system can endure unless it appeals to the intellectual as well as to the devotional side of man’s nature. At present the faith of Christendom is languishing on account of a radical defect in the method of its presentation, through which it is brought into perpetual conflict with science; and the harassing and undignified task is imposed on its supporters of an incessant endeavour to keep pace with the advances of scientific discovery, or the fluctuations of scientific speculation. The method whereby it is herein endeavoured to obviate the suspense and insecurity thus engendered, consists in the establishment of these two positions: –
(1) That the dogmas and symbols of Christianity are substantially identical with those of other and earlier religious systems.
(2) That the true plane of religious belief lies, not where hitherto the Church has placed it, – in the sepulchre of historical tradition, but in man’s own mind and heart; it is not, that is to say, the objective and physical, but the subjective and spiritual; and its appeal is not to the senses but to the soul. And,
(3) That thus regarded and duly interpreted, Christian doctrine represents with scientific exactitude the facts of man’s spiritual history.” (p. lxxii) (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. From Preface to the Second (Revised) Edition, of The Perfect Way; or, the Finding of Christ)
4) Bible, Collection of Parables About the History of the Soul: Persons, Peoples, Animals etc, Are Symbols – To Materialize the Symbols Is to Commit Idolatry
“The Bible, in short, may be defined as a collection of parables setting forth the history of the Soul from its first descent into matter, to its final return to its original condition of pure spirit. And as the Soul undergoes the same process whether it be one or many – a person, a church, a race, or even the universe at large – the narrative that sets forth, or the parable that represents the history of one, does so equally of all. And the same terms, which are three in number, comprise the entire process. These are Generation, Degeneration, and Regeneration, and these, therefore, as applied to the Soul, are the subject of the Bible, as we shall presently show, and not the physical history of any person or people whatever, though described in terms derived from persons and people. And to take such persons, people, or other symbol from their proper place as symbols, and, ignoring their true signification, to pay to them the honour due only to that signification is, in biblical language, to commit idolatry. For, in so doing, we materialise spiritual mysteries, and accord to the Form the regard due only to the Substance. Whenever we understand the things of Sense where the things of Spirit are alone implied, and so conceal the true features of Divinity with false and spurious presentations, we commit what the Bible regards as the most abhorrent of sins, and make ourselves idolaters, and, at the same time, identify ourselves with that materialistic school which is fast overspreading the world with the avowed object of eradicating the very idea of God and the Soul.
For “Idolatry is Materialism, the common and original sin of men, which replaces Spirit by Appearance, Substance by Illusion, and leads both the moral and intellectual Being into error, so that they substitute the nether for the upper, and the depth for the height. It is that false fruit which attracts the outer senses, the bait of the serpent in the beginning of the world” (Clothed with the Sun, Part I, Nº. v.); and this alike for the race and for each individual who has ever lived, for all are liable to its attraction.
We ought then to know, for the right understanding of the mystical scriptures, that in their esoteric, or interior and real, sense, they deal, not with material things, but with spiritual realities; and that neither is Adam an actual man, but denotes rather the lower personality or intellectual force in every human being; nor is Eve an actual woman. But denotes the feminine element in every human being, namely, the Soul or moral conscience; and she is therefore called the “Mother of the Living” or spiritually alive, namely, those in whom the Soul has attained self-consciousness. Nor is Eden an actual place, but a condition of innocence prior to a fall from a height attained. Nor is the Tree of Life in its midst an actual tree, but God standing in the midst of the Universe as its life. Nor is man made all at once in the image of God, but only after long ages of development, beginning in the lowest forms of vegetable life, and passing upward through many forms, till he reaches the human form; and even then he is not made in the image of God, is not truly man in the Bible and mystic sense.
For in this sense it takes something more than the man physical, more than the man intellectual, more, even, than the man moral, to be a man. To be made in the image of God he must attain his spiritual majority, through his development of the consciousness of his spiritual nature. He must be soul as well as body; Eve as well as Adam; as on the physical, so on the spiritual plane, he requires the woman to make him man, and the mystic woman is his Soul. Prior to her advent, he is man materialistic and rudimentary merely, human in form only, and an animal in all else. But she comes at length, manifested as alone the Soul can be, when his lower self is wrapped in deep slumber, and he awakes to find himself wholly man, in the image of God, male and female, in that he represents the two aspects, masculine and feminine, of Deity, the divine power and the divine love, and also the Seven Spirits through whom God creates all things.
Thus constituted he is indeed Man, for he is a manifestation of God, by whose spirit, working within him, he has been created. And thus created has been and will be every man who ever lived or will live.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism, chapter Vegetarianism and the Bible, pp. 216-218)
Again, it is mainly through the dissemination of the message of Dr. Kingsford and Mailtland that we seek to transmit to the world the principles of Perennial (or Esoteric) Philosophy, with special emphasis on its great Law of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, in view of its immense practical implications for human well-being.
That been said, it is important to make it clear and even to emphasize the fact that the principles of Perennial (or Esoteric) Philosophy can also be transmitted to the world through other religious and philosophical traditions, and even through modern science and the arts. This really fraternal spirit – which is at the same time really Catholic (universal) and scientific – being something very important for an appropriate diffusion of metaphysical and ethical principles, that is, in a coherent and harmonious way with the very existence of a Perennial Philosophy, as well as with the best of the dominant current of thought – modern science.
Thus, the question we are now considering is how the Perennial Philosophy can be taken to the world so that it has the possibility of gaining greater space and acceptance, especially on the part of the foremost educated, the higher caliber (and therefore dominant) minds, which is exactly the section most influenced by modern science – for good and for bad.
In this synthetic general appraisal of Perennial (or Esoteric) Philosophy, we cannot allow ourselves to detail the reasons for what we believe to be the best ways to bring the world in general knowledge about this philosophy, which we hope to do in later writings. But we can now at least provide some of our views through a few quotes on this question of how Perennial Philosophy can and should be taken to the world:
1) “The doctrine we promulgate being the only true one, must, supported by such evidence as we are preparing to give become ultimately triumphant as every other truth. Yet it is absolutely necessary to inculcate it gradually enforcing its theories, unimpeachable facts for those who know, with direct inferences deducted from and corroborated by the evidence furnished by modern exact science.” (Mahachohan, letter with His visions. Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 1st Series, n. 1, p. 9)
2) “The only object to be striven for is the amelioration of the condition of MAN by the spread of truth suited to the various stages of his development and of the country he inhabits and belongs to. TRUTH has no ear-mark and does not suffer from the name under which it is promulgated — if the said object is attained.” (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 85, p. 399)
3) “Under the dominion and sway of exoteric creeds, the grotesque and tortured shadows of Theosophical realities, there must ever be the same oppression of the weak and the poor and the same typhonic struggle of the wealthy and the might among themselves. It is esoteric philosophy alone, the spiritual and psychic blending of man with Nature, that, by revealing fundamental truths, can bring that much disered mediate state between the two extremes of human Egotism and divine Altruism, and finally lead to the alleviation of human suffering.” (Adept. Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 2nd Series, n. 82, p. 157)
4) “It is only by studying the various great religions and philosophers of humanity, by comparing them dispassionately and with an unbiassed mind, that men can hope to arrive at the truth. It is especially by finding out and noting their various points of agreement that we may achieve this result. For the sooner do we arrive — either by study, or by being taught by someone who knows — at their inner meaning, than we find, almost in every case, that it expresses some great truth in Nature.” (Helena Blavatsky. The Key to Theosophy, p. 58)
5) “This is not the desire alone of either of us two, known to Mr. Sinnett, or of both, but the express wish of the Chohan Himself. Mrs. Kingsford’s (Dr Anna Kingsford) election is not a matter of personal feeling between ourselves and that lady but rests entirely on the advisability of having at the head of the Society, in a place like London, a person well suited to the standard and aspirations of the (so far) ignorant (of esoteric truths) and therefore, malicious public. (…) a question whether the said lady is fitted for the purpose we have all at heart, namely the dissemination of TRUTH through Esoteric doctrines, conveyed by whatever religious channel, and the effacement of crass materialism and blind prejudices and skepticism. (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 85, p 398)
The aspect we wish to emphasize at this moment is the vital need to adapt to the different levels of development of the brothers within the human family, that is, within the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity. As well as adapting to different traditions, cultures and currents of thought in general. These quotes above may give an idea of the reasons why the world needs a really catholic and scientific religion, it needs a serious, non-sectarian, catholic study, in which the Perennial Philosophy must appear through the comparison of the great religious and philosophical traditions, as well as modern science.
This means that this study should bring contributions from all religious, philosophical and modern sciences. Science with its experimental method and its logical rationality is essential to interpret and understand fallen religions and prey to religious sectarianism and priesthood. “Priesthood” which, in a broad sense, in our day can be both religious and scientific. In this way, as already mentioned, it is only through tolerant and dispassionate comparison, that is, through the comparative method, that the paths will be opened to fight “priesthood”, both religious and scientific, without which the world will not find solutions consistent for their immense problems.
This is one of the main reasons that point to the need for the advent of a really catholic and really scientific interpretation of the Scriptures of different religious traditions, great philosophies and modern science itself. This may seem like a mistake. That is, how can there be a really scientific interpretation of science itself, and of religious and philosophical traditions? It turns out that the dominant viewpoints in modern science are not truly scientific, since they are attached to a kind of “straightjacket”, in the same way as the vast majority of religious and philosophical traditions in our time. This “straightjacket” is its submission, under the dominance of a type of “dogma”, that is, to the dogmatic belief that the human being is inescapably dependent on discursive thinking.
The consequences of this “straightjacket” are simply catastrophic, as the writings of Dr. Kingsford and Maitland seek to clarify, in the same way as the quotations mentioned above. So this is, in fact, one of the reasons that highlight the importance of “New” Gospel of Interpretation and, within it, the union of Buddhism and Christianity.
This “New” Gospel, first of all, is linked to the dominant religious tradition in the West, that is, to one of the pillars of Western civilization, which today dominates the world as a whole. Second, it serves as an excellent example of how the great religious and philosophical traditions can be interpreted in a catholic (universal) and really scientific way, that is, when science breaks free of the “straightjacket” that today limits and enslaves it: – the “dogma” of which the only valid knowledge faculty is discursive thinking. A notoriously dogmatic “straightjacket”, which currently limits the dominant currents of thought in the world, and is leading the world to major catastrophes.
In view of this domination, among other reasons, we can understand why the Perennial Philosophy can and should be better presented as a great hypothesis, a great “if”. This is because “if” the reffered “elevation” is possible, through an intuitive-unitive knowledge, then logically follow several consequences of the greatest importance. As we will try to expose, everything depends on this “being or not being” (“being” possible, or “not being” possible, this “elevation”, which is the product of capacity, or faculty of intuitive-unitive knowledge). So, let us examine, even briefly, this line of argument.
“If” the human being has this inheritance, this faculty of knowledge by “fusion”, necessarily beyond common thinking, so it follows, logically and necessarily, that there are two ways for the human being to reach the truth.
The first way can be presented by the New Testament phrase: “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). That is, if this possibility exists, if there is this latent faculty, which can be evolved (developed, matured), then the way of accessing Truth (intuitive-unitive) is the development of this faculty of knowledge, a unitary or direct knowledge, by “fusion” with Truth, where the subject-object relationship (which is always mediated by the comparison of images and symbols) is transcended. There are other passages in the New Testament that also allude to this possibility of direct (intuitive-unitive) knowledge of the Truth, as when the Master reveals: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), or in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God!” (Matthew 5: 3-16)
This direct path – within the field of the fundamental illusion implicit in merely common thought knowledge – is the path “to the few” (as written at the beginning of the classic esoteric work The Voice of the Silence: – “Dedicated to the Few”).
We are alluding to that small portion of the human family that presents not only greater thought scope, but also ethical qualities that, in theory, can enable them to evolve this intuitive-unitive faculty of knowledge. Such ethical qualities and their psycho-spiritual and cognitive consequences are present in all great traditions, as beautifully and synthetically mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12):
“5 And seeing the multitudes, He went up onto a mountain; and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him.
2 And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying,
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
11 Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake.
12 Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in Heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you.”
Within the catholicity and scientific nature that seeks to guide this text, it is important to mention and even emphasize that this possibility of a superior knowledge capacity (an intuitive-unitive faculty of knowledge) is affirmed in all the great religious and philosophical traditions and, thus, can and must constitute a great a hypothesis for true science, if and when it frees itself from its dogmatic “straightjacket” that the only faculty of knowledge possible the human being is that of discursive (ordinary) thought.
As another example of a clear affirmation of the presence in the human being of this faculty of intuitive-unitive knowledge we can mention the classic work of one of the six great windows of philosophical interpretation of Hinduism (which is Yoga): the work Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. There, in many of the aphorisms (sutras) that make up this work – a true “Bible” for the tradition of this school of thought (Yoga) – where it is written, right at the beginning (I-2) of the work: “Yoga citta-vrtti-nirodhah” (“Yoga is the cessation of changes to the mental principle”). In other words, the faculty of knowledge that the Union (Yoga) provides can be developed or achieved by quieting the mind. Quieting that in our level of interest mainly concerns discursive thinking. The word “nirodhah” has a broad meaning: “control, cessation, suppression, overcoming, total stillness” etc. It is a clear statement that in stillness, in the cessation of thought activities, there arises another capacity or faculty of knowledge that enables us to unite or “merge” with Truth.
All this classic work divides the path to the Union (Yoga) in eight stages, members or aspects (angas). That is why Patanjali Yoga is known as Ashtanga Yoga. The Yoga of the eight (ashtan) steps, limbs or aspects. And these eight aspects are divided into two large groups called Bahiranga (the angas or external aspects/steps) and Antaranga (the angas or internal aspects/steps). The external aspects deal with the vices and virtues, the study, the devotion, the conditions of the physical body that enable the aspirant to the internal stages. And the internal (angas) aspects (Dhãrana, Dhyãna and Samãdhi, that is, Concentration, Meditation and Transcendence, or Ecstasy) concern the gradual quieting of the mind in general, and of discursive thinking in particular (from what emerges the faculty of knowledge here considered).
As another example we can mention the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddha Gautama, that is, of Buddhism. This classic exposure of Buddhism in eight steps, or aspects, can also be divided into its external and internal aspects. These steps or aspects are: 1) Right World View; 2) Right Thought, or Intention; 3) Right Word; 4) Right Conduct; 5) Right Occupation, or Means of Making a Living; 6) Right Memory, or Effort; 7) Right Attention, or Concentration; 8) Right Samãdhi, or Transcendence.
Clearly, the first five aspects or stages tell us about the need for an ordering of our external life. This concerns the natural and necessary preparation for success in quieting and consequently overcoming the illusions of the ordinary mind in general, and discursive thinking, which is the particular aspect emphasized here.
As in Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga, the Noble Eightfold Path culminates in Samādhi, Transcendence or Ecstasy. In other words, we have here another clear statement of the possibility of overcoming merely thought processes and, therefore, also affirming the existence of another and superior faculty of knowledge.
The second way or path to the truth, which seems to be the only due and even possible way for “the many”, can be presented by the phrase: “Either make the tree good and his fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and his fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by his fruit.” (Matthew 12:33)
This is, it seems to us, the only path for the vast majority, who are trapped in the field of discursive thought, separativeness, forms, the accumulative processes of time, the comparison of images and symbols and languages. Allegorically, that majority, which is us, is trapped in the perception of the shadows of Plato’s cave or, likewise, in the denser regions of the “veil” of illusion that covers the realm of the goddess Maya.
It is the area where, in the words of J. Krishnamurti: “all knowledge is within the field of ignorance”. As a majority of the human family, we are in terms of our present knowledge capacities, allegorically, as “children” and, thus, we need “tales”, mythologies, allegorical stories or parables, in order to grow and live in harmony and balance.
In this field of knowledge through images, symbols and comparison, the only path seems to be that of experimental method, of logical comparison, and therefore of “knowing the tree by its fruits”, aware that for us knowledge will always be something analogous to that phrase with which the genius of Isaac Newton used to present his studies and laws: “In Nature everything goes as if …” (and then he presents his laws).
As long as we have not evolved, matured or developed this faculty of intuitive-unitive knowledge in us, we have no way of knowing the Truth directly, by “fusion”, but we can recognize the truth, by “experimenting the fruits”, that is, by observing the consequences, which are the “fruits” of the different ideational maps etc. Whatever gives us “good fruit”, such as harmony, peace, or that “much disered mediate state between the two extremes of human Egotism and divine Altruism”, then this will be the ideational map, the parable for the “children”, the fable, the allegory that reflects, that is in harmony with the Truth.
This, therefore, is the natural, balanced and safe path for the majority of the human family, the one that can lead us to the recognition of the truth. In other words, to the knowledge that certain ideational references (or “maps”) are derived from the Truth, since from these “maps” we obtain the “good fruits”.
So, in this second way, by comparing the great traditions and science we can arrive at the great principles. This is because if in different times, places and cultures the sages, the most illustrious children of the human family reached the same principles, then we can accept these great principles, with due humility, as great hypotheses, to be tested and studied in relation to the consequences, to its “fruits”, whether good or bad.
Thus, we can and must compare the fruits of “being”, of “yes”, of possessing this inheritance of a latent faculty of intuitive-unitive knowledge, supra thought; with the fruits of “not being”, “not” having this latent faculty, this heritage, this divine seed in us.
Everything becomes simple, although profound: – if we have this “yes” (this “being”) in us, then, logically and necessarily a Perennial Philosophy derives. If “no”, we do not have this inheritance, if we are condemned to this “no” (this “not to be”), this denial of our divine inheritance, then we do not have the possibility of a Perennial Philosophy, and we are condemned to skepticism, as we cannot know the Truth, not even the most qualified in intellectual and ethical terms among us (“the few”). In this case, the “esoteric”, the path of silence (of quieting the mind), leads us only to a void, to a false and illusory hope, to a perpetual ignorance (in terms of deep metaphysical truths).
It turns out, however, that we can and must compare, observe, experiment, “taste” the fruits of either hypothesis; of “being” and “not being”, so to speak. We can and must observe that a hypothesis leads to peace, balance, hope, harmony, acceptance of humanity’s universal brotherhood as a law, the “much disered mediate state between the two extremes of human Egotism and divine Altruism”, and from that, the consistent solutions of our great metaphysical, ethical and institutional problems.
Likewise, we can and must observe the “fruits”, the consequences of the other hypothesis, of not having this heritage, this divine seed in us, of not having, therefore, a Perennial Philosophy. And the “fruits” of the denial of this inheritance, as we can see, are the ignorance of materialistic superficiality, discouragement, the inability of consistent solutions to the great world problems, the absence of a principle or law that underlies a universal ethic (which brings harmony between the superficial and the profound in Nature), the denial of the law of universal brotherhood of humanity, the denial of “everything that rises converges”. This is due to the simple fact that we deny the possibility of this “elevation”, of this faculty of knowledge (although it is only present in a latent form, in “seed” form, as far as the majority of the human family).
This is a really scientific proposal, which is not out of harmony with the hypothesis, with the possibility of an intuitive-unitive faculty of knowledge and, therefore, with the hypothesis, with the possibility of the existence of a Perennial Philosophy. In other words, it is not out of harmony with the possibility of reaching a set of true principles and laws, although they must be tested as scientific hypotheses, in a world today dominated by modern science, for better and for worse.
As we said in this website’s Presentation, Perennial Philosophy has been presented to the world, in the contemporary era, through different schools of thought, such as those that we could call, in a broad sense, Theosophism and, also in a broad sense, the Perenialist (or Traditionalist) School. Theosophism and the Perenialist School present points of view that are at times substantially different, and not only that, these currents have also been subdivided into some sub-currents, which often not only differ significantly from each other, but also criticize and conflict with each other.
These schools of thought and their subdivisions present Perennial Philosophy in the way that seems pertinent to them. On this website, we do not think it is opportune to try to criticize these schools, although we must say, at least, that all of them seem to contain successes and failures. As hits and misses will also be found in the present exhibition of Perennial Philosophy.
Here, as has already been said, we seek to bring the fundamental principles of Perennial Philosophy to the world, mainly, through the message of “New” Gospel of Interpretation. But our ideational foundations, as can easily be seen from the various quotations presented, are also supported (although critically, as we can see in the book “Theosophy and Universal Brotherhood”) in many writings of Theosophism, either by Helena Blavatsky or by other authors of greater or lesser elevation.
Finally, it should be said that just as we cannot disagree with many points made by the Perenialist School of René Guénon and others, we also cannot agree with many of his positions, such as (among other things) his criticisms of Ms. Helena Blavatsky and Theosophism.
As for Mr. René Guenón’s unfair and ill-founded criticism of Mrs. Helena Blavatsky, in which she is accused of being an imposter, a fraud, who even forged all the literature related by her Divine Masters (that would have inspired the foundation of the Theosophical Society), we answer that his criticism is very much based on an investigation by SPR (Society for Psychical Research), as we can read in his work Theosophism: History of a Pseudo Religion. In view of this, it is opportune to attach, below, a translation of SPR’s own press release (in the original English), in which that investigation and its conclusions are seriously questioned.
Having presented this general panorama, in the next section of this website we will bring examples of works that can serve as introductions to Perennial (or Esoteric) Philosophy, as well as a synthetic presentation of its great principles or laws, and a small collection of quotes on Perennial Philosophy and its relevance.
Press Release of Society for Psychical Research (SPR) – 1986
The Incorporated Society for Psychical Research
Registered Office Telephone: 01-937 8984 1
Adam & Eve Mews
Kensington, London, W8 6UG
News Release —– Not for publication before 8 May 1986
MADAME BLAVATSKY, CO-FOUNDER OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, WAS UNJUSTLY CONDEMNED, NEW STUDY CONCLUDES
The ‘exposure’ of the Russian-born occultist, Madame H. P. Blavatsky by the S.P.R. in 1885, is in serious doubt, with the publication in the S.P.R. Journal (Vol.53 April 1986) of a forceful critique of the 1885 report.
The case has been re-examined by Dr. Vernon Harrison, past president of The Royal Photographic Society and formerly Research Manager to Thomas De La Rue, who is an expert on forgery. The 1885 report was written mostly by Richard Hodgson, an Australian pioneer of both the British and American S.P.R.’s, who became widely known through the case.
Central to the case were two sets of disputed letters. One set, provided by two dismissed employees of The Theosophical Society at its headquarters in India, were apparently in the handwriting of Madame Blavatsky and implicated her in fraudulent psychic phenomena. The other set, were ostensibly written in support of The Theosophical Society by members of an oriental fraternity, popularly called Mahatmas. Dr. Hodgson accepted the genuineness of the first set. He argued that the Mahatma Letters were spurious productions by Madame Blavatsky and occasional confederates.
Dr. Harrison on the contrary, suggests that it is the incriminating letters that are forgeries, concocted by the ex-employees for revenge; while the bulk of the Mahatma Letters, now preserved in the British Library, are not in Madame Blavatsky’s handwriting. disguised or otherwise.
Dr. Harrison concludes;
“As detailed examination of this Report proceeds, one becomes more and more aware that, whereas Hodgson was prepared to use any evidence, however trivial or questionable, to implicate H.P.B., he ignored all evidence that could be used in her favour. His report is riddled with slanted statements, conjecture advanced as fact or probable fact, uncorroborated testimony of unnamed witnesses, selection of evidence and downright falsity.
“As an investigator, Hodgson is weighed in the balances and found wanting. His case against Madame H. P. Blavatsky is not proven.”
Much of Dr. Harrison’s paper is an examination of the handwriting evidence presented in the 1885 report. He believes this was so weak, partisan and confused that it might just as easily show that Madame Blavatsky wrote “Huckleberry Finn” – or that President Eisenhower wrote the Mahatma Letters.
In an introductory note to the paper, the Editor of the S.P. R., Dr. John Beloff, recalls that other researchers have criticised the 1885 report, and that it had wrongly been taken as expressing an official view of the S.P.R., when in fact the S.P.R. had no opinions. Noting that Dr. Harrison is not a member of The Theosophical Society, but a long-standing member of the S.P.R., Dr. Beloff says;
“Whether readers agree or disagree with his conclusions, we are pleased to offer him the hospitality of our columns and we hope that, hereafter, Theosophists, and, indeed, all who care for the reputation of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, will look upon us in a more kindly light.”
Responding to the publication of Dr. Harrison 5 paper, Dr. Hugh Gray, General Secretary of The Theosophical Society in England, said;
“We welcome the publication of Dr. Harrison’s findings, which independently confirm what many Theosophists have pointed out in the past century. We hope that the Theosophical message in general, and Madame Blavatsky’s work in particular, can now be studied without the distraction of the Hodgson allegations.”
Dr. Vernon Harrison, who lives in Surrey, may be available for interviews from 6 May onwards. Please contact the S.P.R. in the first instance.
The Society for Psychical Research, as noted above, has no collective views. Thus it was not the S.P.R. which condemned Madame Blavatsky in 1885, but only an S.P.R. Committee, whose report was mostly written by Dr. Hodgson. Similarly, Dr. Harrison’s paper represents only his personal views.
Cordial relations have existed between psychical researchers and Theosophists in England for sometime. In 1982, the S.P.R. chose as its centenary president, Professor Arthur Ellison of The City University, a distinguished engineer, psychical researcher and Theosophist.
Madame Blavatsky founded The Theosophical Society with others in New York in 1875, and it is an international body active in more than 60 countries with its headquarters in Adyar, Madras, India. The Society exists to promote a knowledge of Theosophy, a word of Greek origin meaning Divine Wisdom. Madame Blavatsky’s main work was “The Secret Doctrine” (1888). She died in London in 1891 at the age of 59.
For further information contact;
The Society for Psychical Research
Tel. 0l 937 8984
The Theosophical Society in England
50 Gloucester Place, London W1H 3HJ
Tel. 01 935 9261