A cyclic attempt is made by the Preservers of the knowledge of Theosophy—the age-old Divine Wisdom or Wisdom-Religion—to present it to the world of men. Theosophy is declared by them to be as old as thinking man, i.e., it has been taught on earth since man became a self-conscious thinker and chooser, over 18 million years ago, and thus reached an important stage in his evolution. The knowledge of Theosophy could only be given to beings having the light of mind. Before the lighting up of Manas, this knowledge was in the custody of those beings who had perfected themselves in previous cycles of evolution.
The purpose of evolution, as far as the macrocosm is concerned, is for each globe to become a man-bearing globe. There are therefore in the cosmos two types of worlds: those on which there is no human evolution proceeding, and those on which intelligent beings are evolving. Our earth is not the only man-bearing world; there are others also. And so the Divine Wisdom and Divine Ethics are not the monopoly of our earth.
There are two ways in which the wisdom of Theosophy can be gained: (1) from the inner planes of being—intuitively; and (2) through the unadulterated record of the teachings of the Wisdom-Religion, given out at certain definite cyclic points. Sometimes a portion of these teachings has been given out openly; at other times, in a veiled manner. Always there have been the exoteric and esoteric aspects of the teachings—the one for the laity, the other for the intimate circle of disciples. The Buddha and Jesus, for example, taught the multitude by means of simple ethical precepts, allegories and parables, but the deeper mystic teachings were reserved for the "inner circle."
The teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita, given out by Sri Krishna 5,000 years ago, just when Kali Yuga, the black age, was about to begin, contain the ethics and the metaphysics which are needed for the whole of the Kali-Yuga cycle of 432,000 years. Theosophy as given to us by H.P.B. for this era is also as complete a system of ethics and metaphysics as could be given to our present era. The teachings are given according to the needs of the cycle. We human beings make the cycles, and the Masters of Wisdom respond if we put forth the effort and our Karma as individuals, or as a Race, permits.
When Manas was lit up, the first great instalment of Theosophia or the Wisdom-Religion was presented. The one, universal Wisdom antedates the Vedas. It is referred to in The Secret Doctrine as the "ancient Lemuro-Atlantean Wisdom." The Fourth-Race Atlanteans misused it and went mad with pride bringing destruction to their civilization. The few who were "saved" set themselves apart, so to say, and spent their time in learning and verifying the system, not in teaching. They became the Instructors of the early Fifth, the Aryan Race.
From those saved from the great Atlantean cataclysm, two great branches, two great efforts emanated: one took root and flourished in India (the India of those days was very different in its geographical boundaries from the India of today), and the other in and around Persia. Sanskrit and Avesta are two sister languages, born of the mother language, Senzar, which is now lost to the outer world. Of these two surviving branches, very little of the wisdom of ancient Persia is known today; from this fragmentary record we cannot now reconstruct the whole of the original system.
In Isis Unveiled (II, 123) H.P.B. has written:
Here is a direct assertion that Hinduism emerged from prehistoric, pre-Vedic Buddhism, or rather Bodhism, the doctrine of the Wise Ones in whom Bodha-Wisdom manifested, both in terms of compassionate acts and in terms of discriminative wisdom.
The Vedas were first taught orally for thousands of years and later reduced to writing. The Great Teachers and reformers that the world has produced, all taught Bodhism. Of this secret, eternal and universal doctrine, H. P. Blavatsky wrote:
This pre-Vedic Buddhism as also pre-Vedic Brahmanism existed long before the Rig-Vedic hymns were chanted on the banks of the Ganga millennia ago. H.P.B. makes the position clearer by saying:
Buddhism as taught by Gautama the Buddha was a protest against Brahmanical orthodoxy. He taught the masses the original and pure philosophy without any intermediaries. His disciples went East and West. In the West, they were responsible for movements of reform in Egypt and Judaea. The Essenes and the Nazarenes were taught by Buddhist reformers; from them Jesus learned, and from his teachings has Christianity been derived.
The present Theosophical Movement is in line with these great movements of the past. It presents to the logical, reasoning mind of today the philosophy and mysticism, myth and legend, theogony and ethics of the ancients. Wrote H.P.B: