Sinnett’s Esoteric Buddhism was soon recognized as the work of a spiritual dilettante, a compendium of old, badly understood esoteric bits and pieces.
But it was less easy to find access to a phenomenon of the period such as Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine. For this work did at least reveal in many places that much of its content had its origins in real, powerful impulses from the spiritual world. The book expressed a large number of ancient truths which had been gained through atavistic clairvoyance in distant ages of mankind.
People thus encountered in the outside world, not from within themselves, something which could be described as an uncovering of a tremendous wealth of wisdom which mankind had once possessed as something exceptionally illuminating. This was interspersed with unbelievable passages which never ceased to amaze, because the book is a sloppy and dilettantish piece of work as regards any sort of methodology, and includes superstitious nonsense and much more.
In short, Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine is a peculiar book: great truths side by side with terrible rubbish. One might almost say that it sums up very well the spiritual phenomena to which those who developed into the homeless souls of the modern age were subjected.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 258 – The Anthroposophic Movement – Lecture 1: The Homeless Souls – Dornach, 10 June 1923
Translated by Christian von Arnim