A Question For Theosophists

I am reading The Inner Life by Charles W. Leadbeater. Leadbeater is one of the pillars of Theosophy and the clairvoyant man who picked the boy Jiddu Krishnamurti out of a crowd and proclaimed him the vehicle for the Lord Maitreya. Essentially, he located and helped raise the Theosophical version of the Second Coming of Christ.

Maitreya is a spiritual entity said to be the world teacher, the bridge between spiritual and human knowledge. So that’s what Krishnamurti was raised to be and he famously rejected it when he came of age.

With that as background, take a look at these chapter headings and subheadings for The Inner Life:

Leadbeater Book 1


Leadbeater Book 2


Those are only some of the chapters, a sampling to give you an idea how exhaustive his material is. Keep in mind, this is only one of several books by the man on life, death, and everything in between. And these are like supplemental materials to Theosophical co-founder Madame Blavatsky’s voluminous works.

Here, then, is my question: What was the need of a world teacher? Leadbeater’s got it all figured out.

I suppose the same question could be put to Christians: If we look at the evidence that John the Baptist was Jesus, and that evidence is based partly on the similarities in what they preached, then why did Jesus need to exist? I mean, whether John was actually him or not, did we need a Christ at that point? Did Jesus add anything new to the dialogue outside of the need to believe in him to get to heaven? (Which is a kind of tax when you think about it.)

But, I’m on shakier ground with the Christian question because not everything is so meticulously outlined as it is in Theosophy. As I read all of the minutiae of Leadbeater’s truth claims, which have devolved into New Age claims and principles, I have to wonder what a world teacher would have had to offer and if anyone in Theosophy ever asked that question.

Really, the only new thing a world teacher could bring to the table is exactly what Krishnamurti did: Take a look around at all that has been written, all that has been said, and all that has been foisted upon you and say, “Nah. I’m all set with that, thanks.”

Then walk away.


2 thoughts on “A Question For Theosophists

  1. I’m not a Theosophist but my take on the question – which is essentially about the need for an exemplar I guess – would be that Jesus, Buddha etc are people who have reached ‘enlightenment’ (for want of a better term) which is something conditional partly on the environment and partly on knowing the route.

    The teacher knows how to get to this realised state and also, having got there, knows how to navigate any new factors in the equation due to time, human progress, whatever.

    The esoteric view is essentially dynamic in this way while the ordinary religions view is ‘static’ – God is what he is and does not change or react to circumstance (although of course in recorded scripture this is exactly what he did do – he changed his mind and took new actions all the time), so I guess it depends how you are looking at it: esoterically or in a more orthodox way. Leadbetter imo tried to meld the two and ended up quite orthodox… (and he was questionable in other less savoury ways), perhaps this is why Krishnamurti rejected his assigned role.

    • How could Leadbeater know everything he claimed to know without being an enlightened exemplar himself? What would such a person have to say that would trump what he’d already written to that point? Arguably, the only thing that trumps it is tearing it down, which is what Krishnamurti did. That aside–if we stick to their own terms, what is it they were looking for beyond what they had?

      What is it any of us are looking for that we haven’t already read?

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