Ancient Mysteries Unexplained Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom

Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom

Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom
Catalog # SKU1216
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.20 lbs
Author Name Alvin Boyd Kuhn


Modern Revival
Ancient Wisdom

Alvin Boyd Kuhn Ph.D.

In the mind of the general public Theosophy is classed with Spiritualism, New Thought, Unity and Christian Science, as one of the modern cults. It needs but a slight acquaintance with the facts in the case to reveal that Theosophy is amenable to this classification only in the most superficial sense. Though the Theosophical Society is recent, theosophy, in the sense of an esoteric philosophic mystic system of religious thought, must be ranked as one of the most ancient traditions. It is not a mere cult, in the sense of being the expression of a quite specialized form of devotion, practice, or theory, propagated by a small group.


It is a summation and synthesis of many cults of all times. It is as broad and universal a motif, let us say, as mysticism. It is one of the most permanent phases of religion, and as such it has welled up again and again in the life of mankind.

It is that "wisdom of the divine" which has been in the world practically continuously since ancient times. The movement of today is but another periodical recurrence of a phenomenon which has marked the course of history from classical antiquity. Not always visible in outward organization--indeed never formally organized as Theosophy under that name until now--the thread of theosophic teaching and temperament can be traced in almost unbroken course from ancient times to the present. It has often been subterranean, inasmuch as esotericism and secrecy have been essential elements of its very constitution.

The modern presentation of theosophy differs from all the past ones chiefly in that it has lifted the veil that cloaked its teachings in mystery, and offered alleged secrets freely to the world. Theosophists tell us that before the launching of the latest "drive" to promulgate Theosophy in the world, the councils of the Great White Brotherhood of Adepts, or Mahatmas, long debated whether the times were ripe for the free propagation of the secret Gnosis; whether the modern world, with its Western dominance and with the prevalence of materialistic standards, could appropriate the sacred knowledge without the risk of serious misuse of high spiritual forces, which might be diverted into selfish channels. We are told that in these councils it was the majority opinion that broadcasting the Ancient Wisdom over the Occidental areas would be a veritable casting of pearls before swine; yet two of the Mahatmas settled the question by undertaking to assume all karmic debts for the move, to take the responsibility for all possible disturbances and ill effects.

If we look at the matter through Theosophic eyes, we are led to believe that when in the fall of 1875 Madame Blavatsky, Col. H. S. Olcott, and Mr. W. Q. Judge took out the charter for the Theosophical Society in New York, the world was witnessing a really major event in human history. Not only did it signify that one more of the many recurrent waves of esoteric cultism was launched but that this time practically the whole body of occult lore, which had been so sedulously guarded in mystery schools, brotherhoods, secret societies, religious orders, and other varieties of organization, was finally to be given to the world en pleine lumiè re! At last the lid of antiquity's treasure chest would be lifted and the contents exposed to public gaze. There might even be found therein the solution to the riddle of the Sphynx! The great Secret Doctrine was to be taught openly; Isis was to be unveiled! To understand the periodical recurrence of the theosophic tendency in history it is necessary to note two cardinal features of the Theosophic theory of development. The first is that progress in religion, philosophy, science, or art is not a direct advance, but in advance in cyclical swirls.

When you view progress in small sections, it may appear to be a development in a straight line; but if your gaze takes in the whole course of history, you will see the outline of a quite different method of progress. You will not see uninterrupted unfolding of human life, but advances and retreats, plunges and recessions. Spring does not emerge from winter by a steady rise of temperature, but by successive rushes of heat, each carrying the season a bit ahead. Movement in nature is cyclical and periodic.

History progresses through the rise and fall of nations. The true symbol of progress is the helix, motion round and round, but tending upward at each swirl. But we must have large perspectives if we are to see the gyrations of the helix.

The application of this interpretation of progress to philosophy and religion is this: the evolution of ideas apparently repeats itself at intervals time after time, a closed circuit of theories running through the same succession at many points in history. Scholars have discerned this fact in regard to the various types of government: monarchy working over into oligarchy, which shifts to democracy, out of which monarchy arises again. The round has also been observed in the domain of philosophy, where development starts with revelation and proceeds through rationalism to empiricism, and, in revulsion from that, swings back to authority or mystic revelation once more. Hegel's theory that progress was not in a straight line but in cycles formed by the manifestation of thesis, antithesis, and then synthesis, which in turn becomes the ground of a new thesis, is but a variation of this general theme.

430+pages - 8.25 x 5.25 inches SoftCover