THEOSOPHY, Vol. 85, No. 8, June, 1997
(Pages 230-232; Size: 7K)

ECLECTIC THEOSOPHY(1)

"What then is your religion or your belief?" we are asked. "What is your favourite study?" "The TRUTH," we reply. The truth wherever we can find it; for, like Ammonius Saccas, our greatest ambition would be to reconcile the different religious systems, to help each one to find the truth in his own religion, while obliging him to recognize it in that of his neighbour.
--H. P. Blavatsky
THERE WERE THEOSOPHISTS before the Christian era, notwithstanding that the Christian writers ascribe the development of the Eclectic theosophical system to the early part of the third century of their Era. Diogenes Laertius traces Theosophy to an epoch antedating the dynasty of the Ptolemies; and names as its founder an Egyptian Hierophant called Pot-Amun, the name being Coptic and signifying a priest consecrated to Amun, the god of Wisdom. But history shows it revived by Ammonius Saccas, the founder of the Neo-Platonic School. He and his disciples called themselves "Philalethians" -- lovers of the truth; while others termed them the "Analogists," on account of their method of interpreting all sacred legends, symbolical myths and mysteries, by a rule of analogy or correspondence.

It was the aim and purpose of Ammonius to reconcile all sects, peoples and nations under one common faith -- a belief in one Supreme Eternal, Unknown, and Unnamed Power, governing the Universe by immutable and eternal laws. His object was to prove a primitive system of Theosophy, which at the beginning was essentially alike in all countries; to induce men to lay aside their strifes and quarrels, and unite in purpose and thought as the children of one common mother. Hence, the Buddhistic, Vedantic and Magian, or Zorastrian, systems were taught in the Eclectic Theosophical School along with the philosophies of Greece. His chief object in order, as he believed, to achieve all others, was to extract from the various religious teachings, as from a many-chorded instrument, one full and harmonious melody, which would find response in every truth-loving heart.

The central idea of the Eclectic Theosophy was that of a single Supreme Essence, Unknown and Unknowable. As regards the Divine essence and the nature of the soul and spirit, modern Theosophy believes now as ancient Theosophy did. The popular Diu of the Aryan nations was identical with the Iao of the Chaldeans, Jahve of the Samaritans, the Tiu, of the Northmen, Duw of the Britains, and the Zues of the Thracians. As to the Absolute Essence, the One and all -- whether we accept the Greek Pythagorean, the Chaldean Kabalistic, or the Aryan philosophy in regard to it, it will lead to one and the same result. Ammonius, himself, declared that all moral and practical WISDOM was contained in the books of Thoth of Hermes Trismegistus. But Thoth means "a college," school or assembly, and the works of that name, according to the Theodidactos, were identical with the doctrines of the sages of the extreme East.

Every country has had its saviours. He who dissipates the darkness of ignorance by the help of the torch of science, thus discovering to us the truth, deserves our gratitude quite as much as he who saves us from death by healing our bodies. Such an one awakens in our benumbed souls the faculty of distinguishing the true from the false. What matters the name or the symbol that personifies the abstract idea, if that idea is always the same and is true! Whether the concrete symbol bears one title or another -- we have but to remember one thing: symbols of divine truths are the alpha and omega of philosophic thought. The symbols used to express the same idea may differ, but in their hidden sense they always do express the same idea. There exists a sacerdotal language, the "mystery language." "How can one learn this language?" we may be asked. We reply: study all religions and compare them with one another. It demands inspiration like that of Ammonius Saccas -- he learned the language of the mysteries by teaching the common origin of all religions. To do this, he had only to teach according to the ancient canons of Hermes which Plato and Pythagoras had studied. He concluded with every show of reason that the intention of the great Nazarene was to restore the sublime of ancient wisdom in all its primitive integrity. We think as did Ammonius -- the biblical narrations and the histories of the gods are great and profound allegories illustrating universal truths. Therefore, the allegories -- Jewish as well as Pagan -- contain all the truths that can only be understood by him who knows the mystical language of antiquity.

Theosophy being the way that leads to truth in every religion as in every science, occultism is, so to say, the touchstone and universal solvent. It is the thread of Ariadne given by the master to the disciple who ventures into the labyrinth of the mysteries of being; the torch that lights him through the dangerous maze of life, forever the enigma of the Sphinx. But the light thrown by this torch can be discerned only by the eye of the awakened soul -- by our spiritual senses; it blinds the eye of the materialist as the sun blinds that of the owl.


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(1) Note: Collated from the writings of H. P. Blavatsky.
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