Reprinted by Blavatsky Study Center

Theosophy Versus Neo-Theosophy

compiled by Margaret Thomas

2003 online edition
Edited and with Additional Material by Mark R. Jaqua
[The Jaqua edition reprints only Part I of Margaret Thomas' original publication.]

See Table of Contents below.

Online Introduction to Theosophy Versus Neo-Theosophy:
Margaret Thomas' Study of C.W. Leadbeater's and Annie Besant's Theosophical Teachings

James A. Santucci, professor of religious studies at California State University (Fullerton) and editor of Theosophical History, has written the following:

". . . Annie Besant, the President of the [Adyar Theosophical] Society from 1907 to her death in 1933, and Charles Webster Leadbeater, arguably the most influential theosophical writer from the early years of the 20th century to his death in 1934, . . . were largely responsible for the introduction of new teachings that were often in total opposition to the Theosophy of [Madame H.P.] Blavatsky and her Masters. These teachings were  designated by their opponents as Neo-Theosophy . . . or less often Pseudo-Theosophy. The differences between Theosophy and Neo-Theosophy are too numerous to mention in the context of this paper. . . . An extensive overview [of the differences] is given in . . . Theosophy or Neo-Theosophy by Margaret Thomas. . . . "  Italics added. Quoted from "The Aquarian Foundation." 

Jerry Hejka-Ekins, a long-time student of Madame Blavatsky's teachings, has also commented:

"The earliest use of the term 'neo-theosophy' was used by F.T. Brooks around 1912 in a book called Neo Theosophy Exposed. . . . Around 1924, Margaret Thomas published a book called Theosophy Versus Neo-Theosophy: Part one compares Blavatsky's teachings to those of Besant and Leadbeater's by juxtaposing quotes from each party on various subjects, so that the thoughtful reader could easily discern the differences and contradictions. Part two published documents concerning the Leadbeater scandal, and part three publishes documents concerning the Judge case. . . . " Italics added.  Quoted from "Discussions on the Theosophical Philosophy"

In his book Theosophy:  A Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom (published 1930), Dr. Alvin Boyd Kuhn wrote in greater detail:

"Certain schools of his critics assert flatly that he [C. W. Leadbeater] has only succeeded in vitiating her [H.P. Blavatsky's] original presentation [of Theosophy]. . . . . . . [Starting in the March 15, 1928 issue] The Canadian Theosophist, a magazine published . . . at Toronto, published a series of articles [excerpted from Margaret Thomas' Theosophy or NeoTheosophy?] in which parallel passages from the writings of Madame Blavatsky and the Mahatma Letters on one side, and from the books of Mrs. Besant, Mr. Leadbeater, Mr. C. Jinarajadasa, on the other, give specific evidence bearing on the claims of perversion of the original theories by those whom they call Neo-Theosophists. The articles indicate wide deviations, in some cases complete reversal, made by the later interpreters [Besant, Leadbeater, Jinarajadasa] from the fundamental statements of the Russian Messenger [Blavatsky] and her Overlords [the Mahatmas]."

"The differences concern such matters as the personality of God, the historicity of Jesus, his identity as an individual or a principle, the desirability of churches, priestcraft and religious ceremonial, the genuineness of an apostolic succession, and a vicarious atonement, the authority of Sacraments, the nature and nomenclature of the seven planes of man's constitution, the planetary chains, the monad, the course of evolution, and many other important phases of Theosophic doctrine. This exhaustive research has made it apparent that the later exponents have allowed themselves to depart in many important points from the teachings of H.P.B." (pp. 330-331) Italics added.

Comparison of Teachings

"How... can the system be judged by the standard of those who would assume the name without any right to it?  Is poetry or its muse to be measured only by those would-be poets who afflict our ears?" - H. P. Blavatsky (Key to Theosophy, p. 56)


Table of Contents

•  Forward by M.R. Jaqua
•  Introduction by Margaret Thomas
•  Teaching on the Logos, or Deity or God
•  On Religion
•  On "Founders" of Religions
•  On Jesus and the Christ Principle
•  Churches and Priests
•  "Absolution" and "Confession" Through "Apostolic
•  Vicarious Atonement
•  The Sacraments
•  On Ceremonial
•  The "Coming" Messiah or Lord Maitreya or World
•  Cosmogony
•  Atman or Atma
•  Nebular Theory
•  Formation of Earth Chain 
•  Mars - Mercury Teachings
•  Principles of Man
•  Atma - As Seventh Principle of Man
•  Causal Body

•  Astral Body
•  Monad
•  The Goal of Evolution - Man
•  Teachings on Lower Kingdoms Vs. "Group Souls"
•  Conditions During Sleep ("Invisible Helpers")
•  After Death Conditions - Kamaloka
•  Devachan
•  Skandhas or "Permanent Atoms"?
•  Sleeping Atoms
•  Occultists and Facts
•  Memory
•  The Secret Doctrine 
•  "Great Beings"
•  The How and Why of True Occult Study [Conclusion by Margaret Thomas]
•  Notes
•  Appendix
•  [See also Theosophy Or NeoTheosophy? (reprint of the complete, unabridged original edition) compiled by Margaret Thomas]


See also

Theosophy Or NeoTheosophy? (reprint of the complete, unabridged original edition) compiled by Margaret Thomas