Anthroposophy vs Theosophy II
The criticism by Steiner of Blavatsky that I posted yesterday is from 1923, that is, after Anthroposophy parted ways with Theosophy. But this type of criticism was hardly new for Steiner. Writing for Eduard Schure in 1907, Steiner said:
"The Theosophical Society was first established in 1875 in New York by H.P. Blavatsky and H.S. Olcott, and had a decidedly Western nature. The publication "Isis Unveiled", in which Blavatsky revealed the large number of esoteric truths, has just such a western character. But it has to be stated regarding this publication that it frequently the great truths of which it speaks in a distorted or even caricatured manner. It is a similar to a visage of harmonious proportions appearing distorted in a convex mirror. The things which are said in "Isis" are true, but to how they are said is a lopsided mirror-image of the truth. This is because the truths of themselves are inspired by the great initiates of the West, who also inspired Rosicrucian wisdom. A distortion arises because of the inappropriate way in which H.P. Blavatsky's soul has received these truths. The educated world should have seen in this fact alone the evidence for a higher source of inspiration of these truths. For no one who rendered them in such a distorted manner could have created these truths himself. Because of the Western initiators saw how little opportunity they had to allow the stream of spiritual wisdom to flow into mankind by this means, they decided to drop the matter in this form for the time being. But the door had been opened: Blavatsky's soul had been prepared in such a manner that spiritual wisdom was able to flow into it. Eastern initiators were able to take hold of her. To begin with these Eastern initiators had the best of intentions. They saw how Anglo-American influences were steering mankind towards the terrible danger of a completely materialistic impregnation of thinking. They - these Eastern initiators - wanted to imprint their form of spiritual knowledge, which had been preserved through the ages, on the Western world. Under the influence of the stream the Theosophical Society took on its eastern character, and the same influence was the inspiration for Sinnett's "Esoteric Buddhism" and Blavatsky's "Secret Doctrine". But both of these again became distortions of the truth. Sinnett's work distorts the high teachings of the initiators through an extraneous and inadequate philosophical intellectualism and Blavatsky's "Secret Doctrine" does the same because of her chaotic soul.
"The result was that the initiators, the eastern ones as well, withdrew their influence in increasing measure from the official Theosophical Society in the latter became an area of all kinds of occult forces which distorted the great cause. There was a short phrase, when Annie Besant entered the stream of initiators through her pure and elevated mentality. But this phase came to an end when Annie Besant gave herself up to the influence of certain Indians who developed a grotesque intellectualism derived from certain philosophical teachings, German ones in particular, which they misinterpreted. This was the situation when I was faced with the necessity of joining the Theosophical Society."
Rudolf Steiner and Marie Steiner. "Correspondence and Documents: 1901-1925." New York: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1988. Pages 17-18. (Translated by Christian and Ingrid von Arnim).