People are sometimes surprised to hear that Theosophy is radically different from any of the popular blends of science and religion offered under a variety of names. What’s the difference, they ask. After all, isn’t Theosophy called a “religious science and a scientific religion” by the Teachers themselves?
At first glance it may seem perfectly logical that the only real difference would be the special “blend” offered by Theosophy. And this is understandable in one who does not yet see that true science and true religion have a common origin; that the substratum of all sciences and religions in all ages is the Wisdom Religion. In the last century, H.P.B. used the name Theosophy to designate this timeless Wisdom. Theosophy, therefore, is not a compound of anything. Strictly speaking, it is a pure and clear emanation of universal reality, and for those who perceive it, the emanating light of eternal truth.
Theosophy is no more a mixture of modern science and traditional religion than spiritual knowledge (the perception of eternal truths) is a compound of assertions, rituals, and experimentation. Spiritual knowledge is comprehended and reflected by the human mind, and cannot be found in data, procedures, or books, where at best it can only be indicated or suggested in representative language. Moreover, it might be observed that the expensive lenses used by scientists to investigate the physical world and the fine spectacles worn by scholars in examining ancient and modern scriptures are pointed in the wrong direction, seeing effects and objective forms, not toward “eternal truths and primal causes.” (See S.D. I, 108.)
Small wonder, then, that students pause to gather their thoughts when asked to define Theosophy, knowing that whatever they choose to say can do no more than symbolize truth or indicate where its traces may be found.
Theosophy, as the Teachers continually remind us, is distinctly of its own nature. This implies that universal truths are necessarily confined and cramped by objective language. No doubt this is why the wise have always said that when the effort is made to live the life, people awake to Reality “in no long time.”