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The cardinal principles are (1) There exists an "omnipresent, eternal, boundless and immutable principle" from which the visible world arises. (2) Universes come and go, and our universe is the periodical manifestation of immaterial reality. (3) The universe, with everything in it, is temporary compared with the eternal immutability of the One. (4) Everything in the universe, throughout its kingdoms, is conscious of its own nature and degree. (5) The universe, is not the product of chance, but is worked and guided from within. (6) The whole order of nature gives evidence of purposiveness. (7) Every individual is fundamentally identified with the universal Oversoul and evolves through cycles of reincarnation in accordance with the law of cause and effect called karma.
The process of cosmic manifestation is considered to have two phases: The fist is involution, during which billions of units of spiritual consciousness, called "monads," emerge from the One undifferentiated Source. They continually become more deeply involved in matter in the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms and, through the limitations and impacts of this condition, finally attain self-consciousness in the human kingdom. The second phase is evolution, during which these self-conscious units, as humans, gradually unfold the potentials inherent in them from the beginning of the cycle, attain freedom from attachment to matter, and eventually return to the Source from which they came, but with an incalculable increase of consciousness as a result of their aeonic pilgrimage. Theosophy denies that the human spirit can ultimately be lost, because it is intrinsically eternal and indestructible. Through successive reembodiments in physical form, with accompanying motional, mental, and psychic responses to experience, the spirit attains mastery over its vehicles, and man reaches the expression of his godhood.
Theosophy examines the underlying of basic wisdom or thought of various religious teachings that have been important in the development of humankind. This examination does not seek to draw away anyone from the religion that he belongs to, but to give an rational explanation and interpretation of the inner meanings of the creeds and ceremonies of religion.
Theosophical examination is conducted by observation, experimentation, organization and hypothesis. Through the use of these techniques Theosophy may be thought to be scientific, although it makes no pretense of encompassing the .indefinite number of specializations and hypotheses of the advanced sciences.
In its philosophical aspect Theosophy postulates a logical explanation for the universe and its laws, and of man's origin, evolution and destiny. It renders various reasons for many circumstances and processes which are not touched on by dogmatic religions and codified sciences. In summary it postulates that matter, which comes from an immutable principle, is the instrument of life, that thought is the creative and molding power, and the experience of joy and suffering is the mean to the development of character and ability and the consequent attainment of spiritual power and wisdom.
Theosophy maintains that the attainment of spiritual power and wisdom is within the reach of everyone, and there are those who have reached that goal. Included among them are Christ and Buddha plus other great spiritual teaching saviors. Others are lesser known, but continue to strive toward this goal in obscurity which serves the welfare of humankind. A.G.H.
Joy Mills, The Theosophy Society in America 61.