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Re: Theosophical Doctrines (HPB)

May 23, 1998 04:51 PM
by Dallas TenBroeck

May 23rd '98

Dear Pam:

Current literature on theosophy is largely (in my esteem) quite

Is it the result of very few knowing what Theosophy really is ?

The supposed association of the "New Age" and its vast literature
with Theosophy is not very accurate.  Theosophy came to be
presented in the period 1875-1896 to coordinate what was then
called "spiritualistic phenomena," but was not much appreciated
by those who desired to enjoy sensation and indulge their
curiosity in seances, channeling, automatic writing, dowsing,
fortune telling, and most marvelous of all, "speaking with the
dear departed.".  Let me interject here an historical 'aside:'

If one reads through ISIS UNVEILED (1877), one will soon discover
that it is more romantic than any of the novels written about
that time that used psychic themes as a basis for their plots.
It has a deeper side also.  It draws together information about
the esoteric and the occult, such as was scattered through
thousands of fragmented records in dozens of distant libraries.

It speaks of the unity of all religions and demonstrates that
they emerged, one after the other, and one from the other, in
historical succession.

Another fact becomes gradually apparent to the reader, and that
is:  all the Wise Men of any era quite evidently knew each other,
had studied each other's work and teachings, and they apparently
continued to be working together.  In ISIS, II, pp. 95-103 you
will see that HPB wrote that there was a single Grand Lodge and
all its branches all over the world were inter-connected, and
taught the same basic ideas.  She called this the "Wisdom
Religion," or the "Perennial Philosophy."

The work of the Grand Lodge was educational, and preservative.
Educational in the sense that it kept alive the ideas that led to
the practice of brotherhood among all humans.  And Preservative,
to the extent that they kept libraries and records of all the
wisdom accumulated over untold ages by students and researchers.
The value of this is that the "laws of nature" could be seen in
operation according to the records of actual "Witnesses on the
Scene."  Not as extrapolations form recent and current
observations, or the delving into a past that is largely obscured
for us.

ISIS in 1877 caused a furore in Academic circles, as well in the
centers where the various religions had their central bases.  It
was hailed, it was denounced, but it created a wide-spread
interest in what the Theosophical Society had to say.   HPB was
at the center of this.

As I said earlier, the periodical literature then developed as
students and inquirers began either challenging the Theosophical
presentations or asking for more information.  In India, Mr.
Sinnett entered into correspondence (through HPB) with the
Mahatmas.  Several books resulted from that.  The THEOSOPHIST
monthly was started in October 1879.  You ought to read at least
the first 5 or 6 volumes of THEOSOPHIST to get a flavor for what
was happening.  HPB's articles are most valuable.

Preparations for a new edition of ISIS were begun -- to be titled
THE SECRET DOCTRINE.  As time passed and inquiry mounted the
plans for this work had to be revised several times.  It was
eventually published 11 years later in 1888, and contained not a
rewrite of ISIS, but material that was almost entirely new,
embracing the history of Universal, and our World's, "creation,"
[ or rather, reincarnation ].  A whole volume was then devoted to
showing in great detail the history of man's evolution, and that
three lines of progress were merged in each human:  1. the
Spiritual, 2, the Intellectual and sensitive, and 3. the
physical.  HPB demonstrated the fact that intelligence and the
faculty of the Mind are not the product of physical evolution,
nor that a man evolved from the body of an "ape."  [  The "Secret
Doctrine" has, in my esteem, unjustly been called a 'difficult'
book to read and understand.  I will admit that one needs to have
read ISIS first.  If one does that, then the themes and
explanations found in the SECRET DOCTRINE are not daunting.]

The SECRET DOCTRINE is stated to be partially authored by HPB's
two teachers, the Mahatmas who corresponded with Mr. Sinnett
earlier.  Now let me turn to another aspect of early history:

Mr. William Q. Judge (one of the original founders of the T S,
visited India in 1884 on behalf of Col. Olcott and HPB, who were
then busy in Europe; and he returned to New York at the end of
that year.

The Coulomb/Missionary accusations burst in Madras on the
Theosophical Society, and simultaneously a draft report of
investigations made by a delegate from the Psychical Research
Society of London was released in December 1884.

 HPB and Olcott returned to India early in 1885.  HPB, extremely
ill, soon went back to Europe.  Col. Olcott remained in India,
and in April 1886 Mr. Judge launched the magazine THE PATH
monthly.  Recovering her health at the home of friends, HPB began
work on the SECRET DOCTRINE.  Shortly thereafter her friends in
London, afraid for her health persuaded her to come to live with
them there.  In 1887 she launched the monthly magazine LUCIFER,
which she edited till her death in May 1891.  Her articles that
appear there are equally valuable to the student of Theosophy.
If I review the early history of the Theosophical
Society/Movement it is because it is so crucial to all those who
desire to know if Theosophy is valuable and practical.

I mention these things because some knowledge of the early phases
of the Theosophical Movement is essential to all of us.
Especially we ought to become familiar, if we are going to be
real students of Theosophy with the articles of HPB and W Q

The entire record of this is to be found in the early periodical
literature of Theosophy, and it makes very interesting reading,
besides, it will be found to be very educative.  Although I
repeat this, it is because I want to draw your attention to the
content of current "Theosophical periodical literature."  Without
some familiarity with those early magazines, their style and
contents you will not be able to make a comparison with what is
today printed and offered to subscribers.  I say that such a
comparison is important, as each one of us ought to be able to
decide one the relative value of the "present" in comparison to
the "past."

And there I will set down my figurative pen and rest the case for
you to consider.   You have to determine in the quality of the
writing in say, the "Quest" magazine, or the "Theosophist" (which
is still published from Adyar) or other magazines, like THEOSOPHY
or the THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT have value.

    Vest wishes to you,        Dallas

> Date: Thursday, May 21, 1998 9:05 AM
> From: "Pam Giese" <>
> Subject: Re: Theosophical Doctrines (HPB)

>> Dallas offers:
>> The attempt to "date" HPB's writings with the stigma (?) of
>> time in which they were written "Victorian," etc ...  Why not
>> take them on face value ?  The moral condition of the world
>> its philosophical evolution are to be considered on the basis
>> what is being offered -- in terms of verity, or accuracy of
>> description.  The "age" of the language, and the slight change
>> colloquial expression in 100 years has very little to do with
>> those concepts.
>It is not HPB's writing that I was criticizing. I believe they
stand on
>their own.
>What I keep wondering is how has this extraordinary basis of
>knowledge been enhanced within the last 100 years? The
availability of
>Eastern writings and philosophy has increased greatly over that
time.  We'd
>had advances in physics, chemistry, biology, and psychology that
>reshaped the general western view of the whole.  Recent
>revolutions have made the world a much more connected place.
How have
>these changes been incorporated into the TS body of language?  I
see an
>organic progression when I read Alice Bailey.  How is this
tradition being
>expanded  today?  When I last scanned the TS section of the
Quest Bookshop,
>I had trouble finding anything philosophical (excluding
>history) that was written after 1940.
>"Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light..."

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