Blavatsky Net - Theosophy
This site focuses on Madame Blavatsky and her teaching - Theosophy. It features an
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Design or Darwin
Helena Blavatsky, in 1888, was the first person to use the phrase "intelligent design" to
convey her understanding of evolution.
Checklist of Some Principles of Theosophy
ANCIENT WISDOM knew - and continues to know - deep and vast knowledge about
ourselves, our purpose in life, nature, the universe, the highest god-like principles, and
man's long pre-history on this earth. Theosophy is the portion of that ancient
knowledge brought to us by H. P. Blavatsky toward the end of the 19th century, as
taught to her by her Teachers in Tibet.
Some of its principles are:
• Everything in the universe originates from one boundless, eternal, unknowable
source. After a period of manifested existence the universe returns to that source.
• The universe itself is an organic whole, alive, intelligent, conscious, and divine.
• The laws of nature are the result of intelligent forces.
• The law of karma holds throughout the universe. It operates at all levels,
ensuring justice, harmony, and balance.
• We reincarnate into successive lives. Once we have reached the human level we
do not regress back into animal forms.
• The law of karma acts over our successive lives to ensure justice. (We don't get
away with it.) We are the cause of every joy and pain in our own life.
• A law of cycles provides fundamental structure at all levels. Two examples are our
pattern of reincarnation, and the continuing "lives" of the universe as it appears, then
returns to its source.
• Analogy and correspondence provide fundamental structure for the universe.
This is a broad statement of the Hermetic axiom - "As above, so below".
• Evolution applies on a grand scale to all of life.
• Soul gets involved in this world of matter. It experiences and learns. Soul then
works its way back in a long pilgrimage to its primal source. This again follows a cyclic
• This evolution achieves experience, self-awareness, and ever increasing
perfection. Evolution occurs on the physical, mental, and spiritual planes.
• "Survival of the fittest" along with gradual accumulation of small beneficial
changes does not explain the "origin of the species". The origin of the species is due to
• Humanity has experienced significant evolution in long periods on the continents
(not islands) of Atlantis and Lemuria.
• There is a seven fold constitution of man ranging from the physical plane to the
purely spiritual plane.
• Thoughts are tangible objects on higher planes. Every thought and action has its
effect on us and on our surroundings and has a karmic consequence.
• The three higher planes of this constitution form the "higher self" and that is
what reincarnates from life to life and accumulates the experience, the lessons, the
virtues. The lower planes form the "lower self" and are the vehicle used by the higher
self while it is living in this active testing ground of incarnate life.
• At the moment of death we have a review of our life just past - as we cast off this
physical frame. After a short period, that varies greatly between individuals, we cast off
other lower aspects of our constitution and the reincarnating self begins a long period
of merciful, earned, rest before the next birth.
• Often during this life, our spiritual nature is obscured in our self-centered daily
lives as we cater to our immediate needs and desires. But the spiritual self is always
there to guide us if we seek it with strong earnest desire.
• We can strive to reach our higher self by:
o Listening to our still small voice of conscience.
o Noting the dreams from the higher self.
o Developing our intuition.
o Studying principles of the Wisdom Religion.
o Aligning ourselves with Nature.
o Engaging in action for the greater good.
o Carefully reading the events of our daily life.
• Brotherhood is a fact in nature. We are ONE at the highest spiritual component of
our nature. We are sparks from one flame. We are the fingers on one hand. We are ONE
at other levels as well.
• We should:
o Understand we are not separate from humanity or the world.
o Emphasize brotherhood, altruism, and compassion in our daily lives.
o Strive to know our higher self.
o As a guiding rule - act for and as the Self of All.
• The religions of the world are branches on the tree whose trunk is the one
ancient - once universal - wisdom religion. The religions are the tributaries of one great
river. (But they borrow from each other to make the actual details much more complex.)
• Mythology often transmits some of this knowledge in symbolic form.
• Periodically, great teachers come amongst us to help us in this evolutionary path.
They may create another branch on the tree.
• Humanity's potential is infinite and every being has a contribution to make toward
a grander world. We are all in it together. We are one.
Blavatsky was the first person
to use the phrase "Intelligent Design" in a book
The phrase "intelligent design" can be found in an 1847 issue of Scientific American but
it is unrelated to the current meaning of the term.
The phrase was used in an address to the 1873 annual meeting of the British
Association for the Advancement of Science by botanist George James Allman (a
followerer of William Paley):
No physical hypothesis founded on any indisputable fact has yet explained the origin of
the primordial protoplasm, and, above all, of its marvellous properties, which render
evolution possible — in heredity and in adaptability, for these properties are the cause
and not the effect of evolution. For the cause of this cause we have sought in vain
among the physical forces which surround us, until we are at last compelled to rest
upon an independent volition, a far-seeing intelligent design. ('The British Association',
The Times, Saturday, 20 September, 1873; pg. 10; col A.) 1
Subsequent to Blavatsky's use of the phrase it was used by Schiller:
It will not be possible to rule out the supposition that the process of Evolution may be
guided by an intelligent design. 2
However Helena Blavatsky was the first person to use the phrase in a published book.
She uses it in her master work "The Secret Doctrine" published nine years earlier in
1888. Moreover she was not hypothesizing in an essay on what "could not be ruled
out" as Schiller was in this quote. Instead she was actively asserting intelligent design
as a property of life in her comprehensive 1500 page book.
According to Blavatsky, Dr. Bourges, a member of the Paris Anthropological Society had
read a paper of his before that French group (presumably in French) entitled
"Evolutionary Psychology; the Evolution of Spirit, etc." Blavatsky referenced his paper
because he mentioned a Theosophical idea of combining evolution of both spirit and
mater. She was attempting to draw upon whatever scientific evidence she could to
buttress her Theosophical claims. So she wrote:
He explains the origin of the variety of organic forms, made to fit their environments
with such evident intelligent design, by the existence and the mutual help and
interaction of two principles in (manifest) nature, the inner Conscious Principle adapting
itself to physical nature and the innate potentialities in the latter. (The Secret Doctrine
volume 2, page 654)
In another case she specifically refers to "design" and to "designers" (plural). After
disclaiming a kind of theistic "special creation," she proceeds to describe the
"designers" of Theosophy:
This is, again, no “special creation,” nor is there any “Design,” except in the general
“ground-plan” worked out by the universal law. But there are certainly “designers,”
though these are neither omnipotent nor omniscient in the absolute sense of the term.
They are simply Builders, or Masons, working under the impulse given them by the ever-
to-be-unknown (on our plane) Master Mason — the ONE LIFE and Law. Belonging to
this sphere, they have no hand in, or possibility of working on any other, during the
present Manvantara, at any rate. That they work in cycles and on a strictly geometrical
and mathematical scale of progression, is what the extinct animal species amply
demonstrate; that they act by design in the details of minor lives (of side animal issues,
etc.) is what natural history has sufficient evidence for. In the creation of new species,
departing sometimes very widely from the Parent stock, as in the great variety of the
genus Felis—like the lynx, the tiger, the cat, etc.—it is the “designers” who direct the
new evolution by adding to, or depriving the species of certain appendages, either
needed or becoming useless in the new environments. Thus, when we say that Nature
provides for every animal and plant, whether large or small, we speak correctly. For, it
is those terrestrial spirits of Nature, who form the aggregated Nature; which, if it fails
occasionally in its design, is neither to be considered blind, nor to be taxed with the
failure; since, belonging to a differentiated sum of qualities and attributes, it is in virtue
of that alone conditioned and imperfect. (Secret Doctrine vol II p 732)
Both of these quotes were from her magnum opus that was prefaced with words that
aimed directly at Darwinism:
The aim of this work may be thus stated: to show that Nature is not "a fortuitous
concurrence of atoms," and to assign to man his rightful place in the scheme of the
Universe; to rescue from degradation the archaic truths which are the basis of all
religions; and to uncover, to some extent, the fundamental unity from which they all
spring; finally, to show that the occult side of Nature has never been approached by the
Science of modern civilization.(preface Secret Doctrine)
Here she explains that the second of her two volume Secret Doctrine is "the best
possible answer to such a worthless contention" [of man descending from ape]:
The pendulum of thought oscillates between extremes. Having now finally emancipated
herself from the shackles of theology, Science has embraced the opposite fallacy; and in
the attempt to interpret Nature on purely materialistic lines, she has built up that most
extravagant theory of the ages — the derivation of man from a ferocious and brutal ape.
So rooted has this doctrine, in one form or another, now become, that the most
Herculean efforts will be needed to bring about its final rejection. The Darwinian
anthropology is the incubus of the ethnologist, a sturdy child of modern Materialism,
which has grown up and acquired increasing vigour, as the ineptitude of the theological
legend of Man’s “creation” became more and more apparent. It has thriven on account
of the strange delusion that — as a scientist of repute puts it — “All hypotheses and
theories with respect to the rise of man can be reduced to two (the Evolutionist and the
Biblical exoteric account)... There is no other hypothesis conceivable...”!! The
anthropology of the secret volume is, however, the best possible answer to such a
worthless contention. (Secret Doctrine vol II p 689.)
In one other case Blavatsky uses the exact phrase "intelligent design" in a
posthumously published article hand-written three years earlier in 1885.
The "Collected Writings of H.P. Blavatsky" says:
[THE TEN SEPHIROTH]
[The following is the draft of an essay in the handwriting of H. P. B. which is in the
Archives of The Theosophical Society, Adyar, India. It is probable that it was left there
by H. P. B. when she went to Europe in 1885, not to return to India. It has no title, and
the one above has been provisionally supplied by C. Jinarâjadâsa when he published
this essay in The Theosophist. December, 1925. The manuscript consists of four
foolscap pages, and its continuation is missing. The original punctuation has been left
unaltered, even though some of the sentences are exceedingly long and somewhat
On the other hand the design displayed in the mechanism, the order shown in the
preservation=destruction and renewal of things forbid us to regard the world as the
offspring of chance, and force us to recognize an intelligent design. Collected Writings
of H.P. Blavatsky vol vI p 316
2. Jonathan Witt Ph.D Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute "The Origin of Intelligent
Design: A brief history of the scientific theory of Intelligent Design" "http://www.
Schiller's essay first appeared in "Contemporary Review" in June 1897.
Books for further reading
• Introductory Theosophy
o Deity, Cosmos and Man: An outline of Esoteric Science at www.seekerbooks.
o Theosophy: What's it all about by Jeoffrey A. Farthing at www.seekerbooks.
o Ocean of Theosophy by William Q. Judge at www.seekerbooks.
• Masterwork of Blavatsky
o Secret Doctrine by Helena Blavatsky (in text form) at www.seekerbooks.
o Index to Secret Doctrine (indispensible for serious study) hardback at www.
o Complete works of Blavatsky on CD (built-in search engine) at www.seekerbooks.
• Problems with Darwinism
o Of Pandas and People by Percival Davies and Dean H. Kenyon at www.
o Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution by Michael J. Behe at
o Darwin on Trial by Philip Johnson at www.seekerbooks.
o Icons of Evolution by Jonathan Wells at www.seekerbooks.
• Biographies of Blavatsky
o The extraordinary Life & Influence of Helena Blavatsky by Slyvia Cranston at
o H.P. Blavatsky: The Mystery by Gottfried Purucker at www.seekerbooks.
• Some science supportive of Theosophy
o Hidden History of Human Race by Michael A. Cremo, Richard L. Thompson at
o Cataclysm! by D. S. Allen and J. B. Delair www.seekerbooks.
o Consciousness in universe at www.seekerbooks.
Additional Sources of Information
• Discovery Institute at http://www.discovery.org - the most prominent web site
on intelligent design
• talk origins at http://talkorigins.org - "talkorigins.org is a Usenet newsgroup
devoted to the discussion and debate of biological and physical origins. Most
discussions in the newsgroup center on the creation/evolution controversy, but other
topics of discussion include the origin of life, geology, biology, catastrophism,
cosmology and theology."
• IDEA at http://www.ideacenter.org - "Our primary focus is to help students
form "IDEA Clubs" on university and high school campuses.
The Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Center is a 501 (c)(3) non-
profit organization dedicated to promoting intelligent design theory and fostering good
- spirited discussion and a better understanding over intelligent design theory and the
creation - evolution issue among students, educators, churches, and anyone else
copyright © 2006 by Reed Carson