The relatively recent creation of an Esoteric School by H. P. Blavatsky in the 19th century took place in the much larger context of the occult teachings transmitted since time immemorial to those who aspire to eternal wisdom. The teaching is available not to the personalities, but to the souls of earnest students from all nations and every cultural tradition.
The true esoteric School is inner, invisible, and its antiquity cannot be easily described. It is as old as mankind, for human beings were never left alone in their spiritual learning and evolution. On the plane of cultural and historical evidences, this subtle school exists since some three thousand years ago, in the West as in the East.
Undetectable by one’s five senses, the School of Souls was active in ancient Greece and Egypt, and in some way or another it remains alive today in these and other countries. In India and China, it is alive today as it was many thousands of years ago. It is connected to the Himalayas. There is no reason for us to have a long and futile discussion about its “geographical location”, for it is not physically limited to this or that country. It is enough to say it has various physical ramifications, including the South American Andes, as H. P. Blavatsky clarifies in “The Secret Doctrine” . Being as old as mankind, it started to operate much earlier than the beginning of any civilization we can think of. And it is as alive and influential as ever in the 21st century.
Human evolution is not forsaken: there is no reason for despondency. Nothing occurs by chance. The evolution of humanity is silently led and inspired along the way to Truth by two natural processes. On one hand, there is the spontaneous work of the good Law of Karma, the universal law from whose action nothing escapes. On the other hand, there is the effort of the Brotherhood of wiser and experienced human souls, which liberated themselves from ignorance and work for the liberation of all beings. Crossing age after age, this brotherhood of compassion expresses the Law of Karma in creative ways in human evolution, so as to reduce the need for pain and the waste of time in our progress. It works in close harmony with the various degrees of high planetary consciousness.
Among those who have an active good will towards all and a philosophical view of life, many get unknowingly included in the field of observation of the Mahatmas and their direct disciples. The reason for this is simple. The consciousness of the higher self, which expresses itself through a feeling of universal brotherhood, is awakening in them: they have an inner affinity with the Teachings.
Any authentic esoteric school which works on the physical plane constitutes only an outer instrument of the real School. Many “students” (lay disciples) of this invisible School of Souls may have never heard about theosophy, Masters, or Helena Blavatsky. Therefore, the work of the true School is not attached to corporations. It also is not “entirely secret”. It does not need ritualisms or political struggles for power. It does not use “channeling”. It occurs on the plane of impersonal Ethics.
The Golden Verses of Pythagoras – a document of extraordinary importance – points to its ideal of human progression and perfection. 
The calm and contemplative reading of classic thinkers such as Plato, Socrates, Plotinus, Porphyry, Seneca, Cicero, Julian the Apostate, Musonius Rufus, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Dnyaneshwar (author of the “Dnyaneshwari”), Paracelsus, Cardinal de Cusa, Maine de Biran, S. Radhakrishnan, Arthur Schopenhauer and many others, will reveal a vast number of teachings related to this School.
In its inner and true aspect, this School is not an institution. It works through a non-verbal telepathy whose starting point is an affinity of intentions and thoughts.  The writings of Helena Blavatsky, William Judge, Damodar Mavalankar, B. P. Wadia, John Garrigues and Robert Crosbie, among others, give the students of theosophy elements to obtain a clearer and more specific understanding of the way such an invisible School works.
Some students and aspirants are conscious of the inner source of inspiration, and, of course, there are various degrees of perception in this department. The School has aspirants who are semiconscious in their lower selves. And there are a certain number of students who have no “verbal consciousness” of the process whatsoever. They must use a direct and intuitive access to the inner inspiration, whose tools on the verbal plane of mind are much more limited than the ones the classical theosophical literature gives its students.
The aspirants who have no verbal consciousness are called “unconscious Occultists” by H. P. Blavatsky. French writer Honoré de Balzac is a notable example of that, which she mentions in “The Secret Doctrine”. Victor Hugo and Alfred Tennyson are certainly other examples, not to mention Albert Einstein, and hundreds, if not thousands of thinkers and persons of good will in many different fields of knowledge.
A Master of the Wisdom wrote:
“… The aim of the philanthropist should be the spiritual enlightenment of his fellow-men, and whoever works unselfishly to that goal necessarily puts himself in magnetic communication with our chelas and ourselves.” 
This is a clear and direct statement. What does one need to do, in order to be able to take it as a serious matter and act accordingly? The answer to such a question involves one’s soul much more than the voluntary levels of individual consciousness.
One must answer it by oneself, and mainly to oneself.
Being verbally or visually conscious of a relation to a higher source of inspiration often brings more problems than help. In the inner process of lay discipleship, the consciousness of one’s left-side of the brain (which is linearly logic, depends on words and is limited to a personalized memory) is more often harmful than harmless. The “personal” perception of an inspiration should be left aside in most occasions and never be brought to the delusive world of words and appearances.
In spite of what some “esoteric” schools may teach, students do not have access to the Sacred School through blind faith or automatic obedience. One cannot join it with the help of ritualisms, and it is useless vanity to “imagine that one is already a member of it”. Outer personality shells do not attain to the real School.
To actually live and work within the higher waves of the Ocean of Life depends on the inner intentions of the student, and on his practical actions in the world. The “instructions” are not mainly verbal. Even when the instructions may seem to be clearly verbal, as in many a passage of “The Mahatma Letters”, the words are in fact only vehicles for the transmission of the true message, and to attach oneself too much to the wording will eliminate the inner flow of living perception.
Among the central factors leading to this direct and non-bureaucratic level of search and learning one will find these ones, according to the writings of H. P. Blavatsky:
1) A desire to understand the Cosmos;
2) A definite will to serve mankind rather to benefit oneself;
3) A sincere respect for all beings;
4) To walk along the Path of Moderation and Equilibrium.
The true “Instructions” are in the “subtle oceanic current”. They live, float and vibrate all the time in the higher (or buddhi-manasic) levels of the akasha or astral light.
The image of an “oceanic current of consciousness” is mentioned several times in the classical teachings of theosophy. It works like a correct metaphor and stimulates the buddhic or intuitive consciousness. The learning of the soul is complex and impersonal. It cannot be described in the world of words. There is a whole level of perception situated beyond the particular brain areas where linear and verbal thoughts occur. It allows one to understand the plane of reality where the immortal soul freely expresses itself.
 See “The Secret Doctrine”, by H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co. edition, Los Angeles, volume I, p. XXIII.
 “The Golden Verses of Pythagoras” are available at www.TheosophyOnline.com and its associated websites.
 “Letters From the Masters of the Wisdom”, TPH, India, 1973 edition, Letter 31, First Series, p. 75.
On the role of the esoteric movement in the ethical awakening of mankind during the 21st century, see the book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline.
Published in 2013 by The Aquarian Theosophist, the volume has 255 pages and can be obtained through Amazon Books.