by the Rt. Rev. C.W. Leadbeater


It is my desire to make this statement of Theosophy as clear and readily comprehensible as possible, and for this reason I shall at every point give broad principles only, referring those who wish for detailed information to larger books, or to monographs upon particular subjects. I hope at the end of each chapter of this little treatise to give a list of such books as should be consulted by those who desire to go more deeply into this most fascinating system.

I shall begin then, by a statement of the most striking of the broad general principles which emerge as a result of Theosophical study. There may be those who find here matter which is incredible to them, or matter which runs entirely contrary to their preconceived ideas. If that be so, then I would ask such men to remember that I am not putting this forward as a theory, as a metaphysical speculation or a pious opinion of my own, but as a definite scientific fact proved and examined over and over again, not only by myself, but many others also.

Furthermore, I claim that it is a fact which may be verified at first hand by any person who is willing to devote the time and trouble necessary to fit himself for the investigation. I am not offering to the reader a creed to be swallowed like a pill; I am trying to set before him a system to study, and above all, a life to live. I ask no blind faith from him; I simply suggest to him the consideration of the Theosophical teaching as a hypothesis, though to me it is no hypothesis, but a living fact.

If he finds it more satisfactory than others which have been presented to him, if it seems to him to solve more of the problems of life, to answer a greater number of the questions which inevitably arise for thinking man, then he will pursue its study further, and will find in it, I hope and believe, the same ever-increasing satisfaction and joy that I have myself found.

If on the other hand, he thinks some other system preferable, no harm is done; he has simply learnt something of the tenets of a body of men with whom he is as yet unable to agree. I have sufficient faith in it myself to believe that, sooner or later, a time will come when he will agree with them, when he also will know what we know.