This original philosophy is really the foundation of what Theosophists call the “Secret Doctrine,” and the initiatory ceremonies by which men were inducted into its enlightening presence were what we now call the “Ancient Mysteries,” many of the symbols of which still survive in the Masonic Lodge.
The advancement of understanding in these “Secret Doctrines” received a setback through hundreds of years on the part of organizations that wished to monopolize all knowledge and practice of the Ancient Mysteries, and it has been only during the last century that the great gulfs that separated Occident and Orient have been successfully bridged by savants who have, piece by piece, reconstructed the whole ancient fabric.
Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, and India are every day yielding up long buried secrets, which throw a bright noonday glare upon the real derivations and significance of hitherto cabalistic dogmas; which are not proved untrue, but truer in altered senses than were ever dreamed of. ‘Under the protection of modern toleration, work is being done by excavators on the sites of ancient cities and translators of long buried documentary testimony to the participation of our ancient brethren in all of our most interesting philosophical speculations and how close they approached us in actual mental achievement . The persecution of one Galileo or the holocaust of 100,000 Huguenots would today be insufficient to stem the tide of discovery.
Theosophy is based upon a study of the “Secret Doctrine” derived by modern students from Indian (Hindu) sources direct. Masonry is what is left, after centuries of vicissitude, of its western development. In neither case was the original fund one of deception or charlatanism; but, let us again repeat, it was the science of the ancient world” expressed, through reverence, in terms of awe-fraught mysticism.