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Evidence of HPB's continuing ed.

Apr 27, 1998 06:57 AM
by K Paul Johnson

Frank asks "what evidence?" in respopnse to my assertion that the
evidence argues against the Theosophical dogma that HPB knew
everything significant that appears in her writings before she
started to write in 1874. That could generate a voluminous
answer, but the simple answer is "Check out The Theosophical
Enlightenment by Joscelyn Godwin" since this book goes into great
length on the matter. I will mention a couple of pieces of
evidence reported in my own books that are relevant, though.
According to Dayananda's letters, HPB was an avid student of
Sanskrit under him and was making tremendous progress as of the
early 1880s. How can it be merely coincidental that her writings
after that period are far more detailed and accurate about
Hinduism than was Isis Unveiled? (Again, don't demand proof of
this, but look to the sources and you will see it; she relies on
dubious secondary sources in Isis, and cites far more reliable
primary sources in the SD.) Another example of her learning is
that the material on Tibetan Buddhism found in her very late
writings is far more consistent with available source material on
the subject than the things she earlier presented as
emanating from Tibetan sources. As for conflicts indicating that she had
no profound understanding of things Tibetan during her public
career, I would refer you to an article by Ian Brown, a Gelugpa
initiate, that was originally presented as a paper at a
Theosophical History Conference in the 1980s. His article was in
TH but I don't know the date.

You may be right that she privately taught reincarnation from the
beginning, but it appears that Judge's testimony conflicts with
Olcott's on this, and I would favor the latter as having much
more contact with her. I originally read the Collected Writings
through the lens of Theosophical dogma, i.e. that she knew it all
at the start and unveiled her knowledge gradually according to
circumstances and orders. But rereading them in light of
historical information about her associations during her public
career shows influences constantly coming in that coincide with
changes of emphasis and new kinds of information appearing.


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