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Re: HPB = Theosophy?

Jun 18, 1998 09:41 AM
by Daniel H Caldwell wrote:

> If someone thinks that Theosophy "IS" HPB and her works - then one would not
> be perplexed at Paul's post.  However, not all who study Theosophy believe
> that the SECRET DOCTRINE or other such works authored by HPB are the bibles
> of Theosophy.
> HPB (via so-called "Mahatmas") did not invent Theosophy. Some Theosophists
> seem to think that she is the "messiah" of Theosophy - akin to the role
> Jesus has been delegated by many Christians.
> Paul has been a fave target of those who have such a view of the "Great and
> Holy HPB."  This viewpoint is prominent in the TSA and in others who claim
> to be the "teachers or leaders" in Theosophy today - and it is a prime
> reason why those who prefer more expansive and more tolerant viewpoints are
> fleeing the Society.
> The Christians say "If you don't believe in Jesus, you will not be saved."
> The TSA comes awfully close to that when implying that questioning the
> authenticity of the "Mahatmas" or HPB makes one some kind of lost, pitiful,
> and ignorant heretic.
> Is studying HPB studying Theosophy?  Can one be a Theosophist without ever
> having heard of HPB or the Mahatmas?  Why is there such a thing as a
> "Theosophist" vs. a "theosophist?"


I want to make a few points in relation to what you have written above.
I hestitate to do so because the subjects broached could probably not
be adequately covered in a 500 page volume. But I'll throw some things

Although there are probably some Theosophical students who view HPB as
have described, I would think that there are many that have a somewhat
different slant on HPB and her writings.

If an individual is not interested in reading H.P. Blavatsky's works---
that is
IMO okay.  The world is a big place. . . . But without viewing HPB as
the "messiah
of Theosophy" and her works as "the bibles of Theosophy", I certainly
HPB's works are worthy of reading and studying.  As I have said before,
wrote more than 10,000 pages on Theosophy and related subjects.
for one interested in Theosophical subjects and estoteric matters her
are a goldmine.  I always encourage *interested* inquirers and students
to dive
into her writings.  Read HPB.  Become acquainted with what she is
writing about
and what she is attempting to convey in her major books as well as her
articles.  In attempting to do that, I have found that one needs to gain
a whole education!  Hundreds of subjects need to be understood in order
really appreciate what HPB writes about.  For me HPB's writings have
been a "gateway"
to a whole world of potential knowledge, understanding and learning. I
have not
found the study of HPB's writings in anyway "confining" or "limiting".

When I read HPB I don't read her as though she is dictating absolute
from infalliable Mahatmas.  I simply try to *understand the ideas* she
is attempting to convey and then I try to relate those to other relevant
subjects, etc.

And I think Dallas' method of collating excerpts from her various
is another good approach.  I know that several people on Theos-L have
been irritated by his citations.  But for serious students of her
writings this is just another way of trying to understand what HPB
is teaching.  Like taking jig saw puzzle pieces and trying to fit them
together in order to see the whole picture.  This is a very productive
method but it may not be everyone's cup of tea!

There are literally hundreds of books that help to elucidate HPB's
writings and most of them were not written or published by the
various theosophical publishers.

One of my favorite books that have helped me appreciate HPB's
writings better is Mircea Eliade's 3 volume work A HISTORY OF
RELIGIOUS IDEAS.  Another wonderful work is IN SEARCH OF THE
etc etc etc etc

I don't believe this approach is "limiting", "dogmatic" or anything
that could be considered negative.

Regarding your comments:

> Paul has been a fave target of those who have such a view of the "Great and
> Holy HPB."  This viewpoint is prominent in the TSA and in others who claim
> to be the "teachers or leaders" in Theosophy today - and it is a prime
> reason why those who prefer more expansive and more tolerant viewpoints are
> fleeing the Society.

I have no idea if the "viewpoint" you write about is really "prominent
in the
TSA" or not.  But as one of Paul's critics, my views of Paul'works has
not been dictated by a belief in the "Great and Holy HPB."

Could not one's critcisms be based on motivations other than the one
you ascribe?  I have outlined my criticisms of Paul's views in my
HOUSE OF CARDS and have given in detail the reasons for those criticisms
and have given chapter and verse.  Readers can therefore assess the
validity of those criticisms without having to attribute "bad" or
"negative" or "good" motivations to me.  I don't like sloppy research
and some
of Paul's statements are based on such work.  I also don't like
onesided presentations and therefore I have given material that
Paul left out of his books.  Paul Johnson's wriings on HPB are not the
only writings I have criticized.  For example, see my critique of
Jean Overton Fuller's biography in THEOSOPHICAL HISTORY.

I have also criticized some of the findings of Boris de Zirkoff and
Geoffrey Barborka.  All of these writers were sincere students of
life and writings.  I don't question the sincerity of any of these
writers but
I have shown the defects in some of their research and findings.  Is
so terrible and bad?

And let me add that I still beleive that Paul Johnson and other critics
have brought
up good points, etc. that should be considered and addressed by any
student of HPB.  For example, see

One more thing and I will shut up.  I must say that I have found it
disconcerting to see Blavatsky students attempting to attribute bad
to Paul for writing his books.  But I find equally troubling the
of "negative" motivations to those who have taken the time and effort to
read, study and criticize Paul's works. These are really "side issues"
and do not
confront the real issues addressed in Paul's writings and in those of

Daniel H. Caldwell

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