Rosicrucianism, Theosophy and ‘I am’ Activity

Even while Christianity held unquestioned sway in Europe, certain heterodox schools of mysticism flourished in a small way alongside it, Rosicrucianism being one of the earliest. However, these continued as secret societies which were looked upon with suspicion by the general public. But when institutional Christianity began to suffer at the hands of science, they suddenly acquired an importance that they never had before.

Men whose faith in Christianity had been shaken by Darwin and Huxley but who could not accept the mechanistic view of the Universe, turned to these societies in the hope of arriving at a more satisfying explanation of life. Many took to the tenets of Rosicrucianism while others, seeking their inspiration from the East, founded the Theosophical movement. Still others, claiming to be guided by St Germain, have developed what is called the 'I am' Activity. These movements do not claim to be religions in the traditional sense, even though they have their own codes. They are rather occult societies which share in common a belief that human life is guided and directed by unseen Cosmic Beings or Mystical Brotherhoods.

These Beings cannot be met directly in this physical world; they either live in remote mountain fastnesses or work from a plane higher than the earthly one. However, one may, by believing in them and by following a particular discipline, lend oneself to their influence and benefit thereby. Though they all imply, one way or another, the ultimate unity of life, in practice they seem to touch it at its fringes. The most a disciple may hope to do get in direct touch with one of the Cosmic Beings, but that state in which the soul becomes one with the Source of Time and Timeless, of which the great Masters have spoken, is seldom treated as a practical possibility.

Again, since one seeks guidance not from a human being like oneself, who has realized the Infinite, but from visionary beings whom one may never meet, the kind of detailed instructions and step by step guidance in every field of life, which is an essential feature of the Surat Shabd Yoga, is also missing. However, each in its own way seeks to carry human evolution a step further, and the step taken is certainly not a mean one.

Thus, Madam Blavatsky, writing in 'The Voice of the Silence,' speaks of a fairly advanced mystic experience when describing the inner Sound:

The first is the nightingale’s sweet voice chanting a song of parting to its mate. The second comes as a sound of silver cymbals of the Dhyanis awakening the twinkling star. The next is plaint-melodies of the ocean spirit imprisoned in its shell. And this is followed by the chant of Vina. The fifth like the sound of a bamboo flute shrills in the ears. It changes into a triumphant blast. The last vibrates like the dull rumbling of thunder clouds.