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Truth or Untruth?

May 06, 1998 08:27 AM
by K Paul Johnson

The question of how much of HPB's claims about her personal
history, her Masters, the sources of her teachings, etc. are true
and how much untrue is the central question facing anyone who
tries to study her objectively.  Anyone who asserts at the outset
that she always told the truth is simply ignoring the facts.
Nothing wrong with that for those who choose that path, but then
to make such a position the basis of harsh personal attacks on
others is indeed wrong.

Just one example of an obviously false statement will suffice to
prove that she didn't *always* tell the truth.  Just one example
of a demonstrably true claim suffices to prove that she didn't
always lie.  Which leaves us in the position of having to decide
when she told the truth and when not, and why.  Unless we opt out
of that difficult question and try to create a climate where no
one is allowed to bring it up without being attacked and
ostracized.  Some religions like it that way; Theosophy was
certainly not intended to foster such a climate.

One example of deliberate untruth, from TMR:

...Krishnavarma is described by HPB in letters she wrote her Aunt
Nadyezhda from New York in 1877.  She mentions a Krishnavarma who
had come to New York from Multan in the Punjab by cart (?!) and
was staying with the Founders.  He had praised Nadyezhda's last
letter to HPB and forwarded it to Swami Dayananda.  HPB proceeds
to tell of a trip "almost to California" that she and Olcott had
taken with Krishnavarma:

In Milwaukee and Nevada alll the ladies were all the time
walking near our windows and the terrace where we were sitting to
look at Krishnavarma; he is exceptionally beautiful although of
the color of a light coffee.  In his long white pyjama dress and
a white narrow turban on his head with diamonds on his neck and
in bare feet he is really a curious sight among the Americans in
black coats and white collars...When one sees him the first time
he seems not more than 25, but there are moments he looks like a
100 years old man.(HPB Speaks, vol. 1, pp. 198-99)

The facts: Swami Dayananda's disciple Krishavarma never visited
the TS Founders in America, first meeting them in Bombay in 1879.
They had corresponded prior to departure with him and other Arya
Samaj members.  Olcott and HPB never went together to Milwaukee
or to Nevada.  And all the details are invented.

What does this tell us about HPB?

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