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Blaming the messenger

Apr 07, 1998 08:47 AM
by K Paul Johnson

I would like to inject some historical perspective onto the
blaming of Krishnamurti for "decline" in the TS that has been
voiced here. First, statistically speaking the TS has not been
declining, but stagnant. Its membership now is about the same as
it was in 1940, and in 1920-- around 30,000. There was a brief
and dramatic increase to 45,000 in the 1920s, and an even more
sudden and dramatic shrinkage in the 1930s back to the earlier
size. So the most you could say is that Krishnamurti's promotion
resulted in a 50% increase in numbers and his defection caused
the loss of all those people.

But what do we mean by "decline"? If the decline is measured in
terms of cultural influence, that began with the death of HPB and
accelerated with the death of Olcott, IMO. And the blame for
that probably should go to the passage of time as much as to the
decline in intellectual content in the teachings promoted by the
TS. Commenting on lmhem and Govert's specific points:
> << Personally I think that K's failure to qualify for vehicle for Maitreya
> and his denouncements of the Masters and theosophy, created so much confusion
> within theosophical circles that it started the decline of the TS.

Personally, I think that the rise of Besant and Leadbeater to
leadership of the Society created so much confusion within
Theosophical circles that it started the decline of the TS.
Others have different views, and I'd be interested in hearing

 That the
> TS did not fold completely is not due to K challenging beliefs and concepts,
> but to the fact that it
> was already a viable organization with a body of very relevant literature
> and the backing of the Masters.

The issue of the backing of the Masters is so arguable that I'll
just ask what evidence could be adduced for this claim.

 Rather than vitalizing the TS I am afraid
> that the teachings of K sap its strength. The TS is not aware of this,
> because it is still in a state of shock and denial regarding what really
> happened. >>

There is surely denial going on, although "what really happened"
is quite different in my opinion from what you claim.
> I agree with the above. I noticed when I visited Australia two years ago, the
> TS there was split into a pro-Krishnamurti school and a pro-Geoffrey Hodson,
> CWL, AB school, the Krishnamurti-ites being ensconced at Nat'l HQ in downtown
> Sydney and the neo-theosophists centered around The Manor.

Somehow I find it discouraging to think that those two
alternatives exhaust the possibilities, since both of them are
equally unappealing to me. Why not a Blavatsky faction, a
Steiner faction, a Bailey faction, and a none-of-the-above
faction? Why would K vs. Hodson/Leadbeater issue be the defining
one there?

> many theosophists who felt the same way. Many acknowledge that he created a
> great division in the TS which is still healing.

There was great division in the TS before K's defection: in the
early 20s with the anti-CWL movement, in the 1890s with the Judge
issue, and before that with conflicts between HPB and Olcott and
their respective partisans. All K. did in my opinion was to
point out the nakedness of an emperor that had been unclothed for
a very long time.


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