Even though we have a website specifically dedicated to Perennial (or Esoteric) Philosophy, and even though we know that today there are many texts that can be considered as introductions to Perennial (or Esoteric) Philosophy, we chose here, as a synthetic introduction to this very important philosophy, the text Perennial Philosophy: General Aspects and Its Relevance, as well as the three chapters brought below, from the work Theosophy and Universal Broterhood: Decisive Elements of the Glory or Failure of the Theosophical Society. This work can be found in its entirety on the Anna Kingsford website.

Besides this synthetic introduction, we added a small set of quotations about the Perennial Philosophy and its importance, which is decisive to the well being of humanity. Below follow the links to the text, to the selected chapters and, after that, the set of quotations:


Basic Principles of the Perennial Philosophy

Universal Brotherhood in the Light of the Perennial Philosophy

Universal Brotherhood and the Welfare of Humanity

The Underlying Unity and the Law of the Universal Brotherhood


The Inner Constitution of Man

The Evolution of Man’s Higher Self

The Causal Body: The Only True Register of Evolution

Diversity Applied to Social Organization

The Importance of the Law of Reincarnation

Unity in the Great Religions

Diversity in the Great Religions


False Premises Lead to False Conclusions

The Present Evolutionary Stage of Humanity

Only a Small Minority is Egoically Mature

The Decisive Role and Responsibility of the Élites

More Quotations on the Evolutionary Level of Humanity

The Evolution of the Higher Self is a Very Slow Process

Quotations about the Perennial (or Esoteric) Philosophy and Its Importance:

Ideas Rule the World

“Hear (…) the old, old axiom that ‘Ideas rule the world’; and as men’s minds receive new ideas, laying aside the old and effete the world (will) advance; mighty revolutions (will) spring from them; institutions (aye, and even creeds and powers, they may add) – WILL crumble before their onward march crushed by their own inherent force (…) It will be just as impossible to resist their influence when the time comes as to stay the progress of the tide, – to be sure.” (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 93, p. 425; emphasis added)

All Subjects Are Connected to Metaphysics and Ethics (which Transcend the World of Ordinary Science): If They Are Not True, They Inevitably Lead to Disaster

“All subjects, no matter how specialized, are connected with a centre; they are like rays emanating from a sun. The centre is constituted by our most basic convictions, by those ideas which really have the power to move us. In other words, the centre consists of metaphysics and ethics, of ideas that – whether we like it or not – transcend the world of facts. Because they transcend the world of facts, they cannot be proved or disproved by ordinary scientific method. But that does not mean that they are purely ‘subjective’ or ‘relative’ or mere arbitrary conventions. They must be true to reality, although they transcend the world of facts – an apparent paradox to our positivistic thinkers. If they are not true to reality, the adherence to such a set of ideas must inevitably lead to disaster.” (Ernst Schumacher. Small Is Beautiful, pp. 94-95; emphasis added)

XIXth-Century Great Ideas Deny or Obliterate the Hierarchy of Levels in the Universe

While the nineteenth-century ideas deny or obliterate the hierarchy of levels in the universe, the notion of an hierarchical order is an indispensable instrument of understanding. Without the recognition of ‘Levels of Being’ or ‘Grades of Significance’ we cannot make the world intelligible (…) Maybe it is man’s task – or simply, if you like, man’s happiness – to attain a higher degree of realization of his potentialities, a higher level of being or ‘grade of significance’ than that which comes to him ‘naturally’: we cannot even study this possibility except by recognizing the existence of a hierarchical structure. To the extent that we interpret the world through the great, vital ideas of the nineteenth century, we are blind to these differences of level, because we have been blinded.” (Ernst Schumacher. Small Is Beautiful, pp. 95-96; emphasis added)

That the World Is in Such a Bad Condition Morally Is Evidence that Religions and Philosophies Are Distant from Truth

“To be true, religion and philosophy must offer the solution of every problem. That the world is in such a bad condition morally is a conclusive evidence that none of its religions and philosophies (…), have ever possessed the truth.

The right and logical explanations on the subject of the problems of the great dual principles – right and wrong, good and evil, liberty and despotism, pain and pleasure, egotism and altruism – are as impossible to them now as they were 1881 years ago. They are as far from the solution as they ever were; but to these there must be somewhere a consistent solution, and if our doctrines prove their competence to offer it, then the world will be quick to confess that must be the true philosophy, the true religion, the true light, which gives truth and nothing but truth.” (Mahachohan, letter with His visions. Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 1st Series, n. 1, p. 9; emphasis added)

Exoteric Creeds Generate Oppression and Struggle. It Is Esoteric Philosophy Alone that Can Bring Mediate State and Finally Lead to the Alleviation of Human Suffering

“Under the dominion and sway of exoteric creeds, the grotesque and tortured shadows of (…) realities, there must ever be the same oppression of the weak and the poor and the same typhonic struggle of the wealthy and the might among themselves … It is esoteric philosophy alone, the spiritual and psychic blending of man with Nature, that, by revealing fundamental truths, can bring that much desired mediate state between the two extremes of human Egotism and divine Altruism, and finally lead to the alleviation of human suffering.” (Adept. Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 2nd Series, n. 82, p. 157; emphasis added)

Only Object to Be Striven for: the Spread of Truth Suited to the Various Stages of His Development and of the Country He Inhabits and Belongs to

“The only object to be striven for is the amelioration of the condition of MAN by the spread of truth suited to the various stages of his development and of the country he inhabits and belongs to. TRUTH has no ear-mark and does not suffer from the name under which it is promulgated – if the said object is attained.” (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 85, p. 399; emphasis added)

Secret of the Spiritual Failure and Unconscious Egotism of this Age: Lack of a Universal Moral Law or Principle

The philanthropy (…) having no character of universality; i.e. never having been established on the firm footing of a moral, universal principle; never having risen higher than theoretical talk; (…) is but a mere accidental manifestation but no recognised LAW. (…) This, I think is, the secret of the spiritual failure and unconscious egotism of this age.” (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 28, p. 215; emphasis added)

Universal Brotherhood Is a Law in Nature

Brotherhood, then, in its full meaning, is a law in nature. Stress has more than once been laid on this in our meetings, but not too much stress has thereon been laid. For it is the very object, the desire, of our work that brotherhood shall become practical in society, and it will never become practical until men understand that it is a law, and not only an aspiration. It is a common experience that when men have discovered a law of nature they no longer fight against it. They at once accommodate themselves to the new knowledge. They at once adapt themselves to the newly understood conditions, and in that very way we have preached brotherhood. And yet brotherhood is but so little known in our world.” (Annie Besant. The Spiritual Life (vol. II), p. 160; emphasis added)

Universal Brotherhood: It Is the Only Secure Foundation for Universal Morality

The term “Universal Brotherhood” is no idle phrase. (…) It is the only secure foundation for universal morality. If it be a dream, it is at least a noble one for mankind: and it is the aspiration of the true adept.” (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 4, p. 17; emphasis added)

Esoteric Truths Are of the Highest Spiritual Importance, at Once Profound and Practical: They Have to Prove Both Destructive and Constructive – Destructive in the Pernicious Errors of the Past; But Constructive of New Institutions of a Genuine, Practical Brotherhood of Humanity

The truths and mysteries of occultism [NA.: esoteric philosophy] constitute, indeed, a body of the highest spiritual importance, at once profound and practical for the world at large. Yet, it is not as a mere addition to the tangled mass of theory or speculation in the world of science that they are being given to you, but for their practical bearing on the interests of mankind. (…) They have to prove both destructive and constructive destructive in the pernicious errors of the past, in the old creeds and superstitions which suffocate in their poisonous embrace like the Mexican weed nigh all mankind; but constructive of new institutions of a genuine, practical Brotherhood of Humanity where all will become co-workers of nature (…).” (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 6, p. 23; emphasis added)

Great Mission of True Altruism (Theosophy): Working Out of Clear Ethic Ideas and Duties, and Modelling of Their Institutions

The problem of true Theosophy [NA.: Altruism or Divine Wisdom] and its great mission is the working out of clear, unequivocal conceptions of ethic ideas and duties which would satisfy most and best the altruistic and right feelings in us; and the modelling of these conceptions for their adaptation into such forms of daily life where they may be applied with most equitableness … Such is the common work in view for all who are willing to act on these principles. It is a laborious task and will require strenuous and persevering exertion, but it must lead you insensibly to progress and leave no room for any selfish aspiration outside the limits traced.” (Adept. Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 2nd Series, n. 82, p. 158; emphasis added)

Faith That Is Without Understanding Is Credulity

“True it is ‘faith that saves,’ but the faith that is without understanding is not faith, but credulity.” (Edward Maitland. Selected Texts, Quotes and Glossary; emphasis added)

The Interpretation of Your Bibles

That which you need on Earth is the interpretation of your Bibles, and of all the Scriptures which contain the hidden wisdom, the mystery of which St. Paul so often speaks as existing from the foundation of the world. [As in Romans 16:25]” (A Message to Earth. Edited by Edward Maitland, p. 69. Selected Texts, Quotes and Glossary; emphasis added)

Two Things About the Christian Religion

“At the present moment there are two things about the Christian religion which must be obvious to every percipient person; one, that men cannot do without it; the other, that they cannot do with it as it is.” (Matthew Arnold, quoted in The Perfect Way. See Selected Texts, Quotes and Glossary; emphasis added)

Vegetarian Movement: Redeemer of the World

I consider the vegetarian movement to be the most important movement of our age. I believe this because I see in it the beginning of true civilization. My opinion is that up to the present moment we do not know what civilization means. When we look at the dead bodies of animals, whether entire or cut up, which with sauces and condiments are served at our table, we do not reflect on the horrible deed that has preceded these dishes; and yet it is something terrible to know that every meal to which we sit down has cost a life. I hold that we owe it to civilization to elevate the whole of that deeply demoralized and barbarized class of people – butchers, cattle-drovers, and all others who are connected with the deplorable business. Thousands of persons are degraded by the slaughter-house in their neighbourhood, which condemns whole classes to a debasing and inhuman occupation. I await the time when the consummation of the vegetarian movement shall have created perfect men, for I see in this movement the foundations of perfection. When I perceive the possibilities of vegetarianism and the heights to which it can raise us, I feel convinced that it will prove the redeemer of the world.” [Anna Kingsford. Quoted by Samuel H. Hart, “In Memoriam Anna Kingsford”. A booklet containing the full text, with some additions by the author, of a Lecture given to the Leeds Vegetarian Society on September 15th, 1946, to commemorate the Centenary of the birth of Anna Kingsford; emphasis added]

Only by Comparing the Great Religions and Philosophers that Men Can Hope to Arrive at the Truth

“It is only by studying the various great religions and philosophers of humanity, by comparing them dispassionately and with an unbiased mind, that men can hope to arrive at the truth. It is especially by finding out and noting their various points of agreement that we may achieve this result. For the sooner do we arrive – either by study, or by being taught by someone who knows – at their inner meaning, than we find, almost in every case, that it expresses some great truth in Nature.” (Helena Blavatsky. The Key to Theosophy, p. 58; emphasis added)

Only the Laws of Karma and Reincarnation and a Belief in the Spiritual Unity May Reverse the Drift Towards Materialism

“Student – Are there any causes, (…) which may operate to reverse the present drift towards materialism?

Sage – The spread of the knowledge of the laws of Karma and Reincarnation and a belief in the absolute spiritual unity of all beings will alone prevent this drift.” (Helena Blavatsky. Collected Writings, Vol. IX, p. 103; emphasis added)

Purpose We Have All at Heart: Dissemination of TRUTH Conveyed by Whatever Religious Channel

“This is not the desire alone of either of us two, known to Mr. Sinnett, or of both, but the express wish of the Chohan Himself. Mrs. Kingsford’s (Dr Anna Kingsford) election is not a matter of personal feeling between ourselves and that lady but rests entirely on the advisability of having at the head of the Society, in a place like London, a person well suited to the standard and aspirations of the (so far) ignorant (of esoteric truths) and therefore, malicious public. (…) a question whether the said lady is fitted for the purpose we have all at heart, namely the dissemination of TRUTH through Esoteric doctrines, conveyed by whatever religious channel, and the effacement of crass materialism and blind prejudices and skepticism. (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 85, p 398; emphasis added)

Reincarnation and Karma, in Other Words, Hope and Responsibility, Will Bring Better Days

“(…) if the doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma, in other words, of Hope and Responsibility, find a home in the lives of new generations, then, indeed, will dawn the day of joy and gladness for all who now suffer and are outcast.” (Helena Blavatsky. Collected Writings, Vol. XI, p. 202; emphasis added)

Influence and Responsibility of the Leaders of Thought

“(…) this our generation seems to evince but a very rudimentary spiritual grasp while apparently developed in intellect to the utmost extent possible. It is, indeed, a hard, materialistic age: a fragment of sparkling quartz is its appropriate symbol. And yet of what ‘age’ and ‘generation’ do we speak? Not of that of the masses, for they change but little from generation to generation: no, but of the educated class, the leaders of thought, the controllers and stimulators of the opinions of that great middle social group lying between the highly cultured and the brutishly ignorant. They are the skeptics of today who are as incapable of rising to the sublimity of Vedantic or Buddhistic philosophy as a tortoise to soar like an eagle.” (Helena Blavatsky. Collected Writings, Vol. III, p. 104; emphasis added)

Have No Desire for Psychic Powers

Have no desire for psychic powers; they will come when the Master knows that it is best for you to have them. To force them too soon often brings in its train much trouble; often their possessor is misled by deceitful nature-spirits, or becomes conceited and thinks he cannot make a mistake; and in any case the time and strength that it takes to gain them might be spent in work for others. They will come in the course of development – they must come; and if the Master sees that it would be useful for you to have them sooner, He will tell you how to unfold them safely. Until then, you are better without them.” [J. Krishnamurti (Alcyone). At the Feet of the Master, pp. 23-24; emphasis added]

Golden Stairs Up the Steps of which the Learner May Climb to the Temple of Divine Wisdom

“A clean life, an open mind, a pure heart, an eager intellect, an unveiled spiritual perception, a brotherliness for one’s co-disciple, a readiness to give and receive advice and instruction, a loyal sense of duty to the Teacher, a willing obedience to the behests of TRUTH, once we have placed our confidence in, and believe that Teacher to be in possession of it; a courageous endurance of personal injustice, a brave declaration of principles, a valiant defense of those who are unjustly attacked, and a constant eye to the ideal of human progress and perfection which the secret science (Gupta-Vidya) depicts – these are the golden stairs up the steps of which the learner may climb to the Temple of Divine Wisdom.” (Helena Blavatsky. Collected Writings, Vol. XII, p. 591)