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Re: Theos-World approaches to the subject of Theosophy

Nov 18, 2002 10:37 AM
by Steven Levey

Dear Eldon-Thank you for Richard Taylor's essay. I believe I read it before but reading now, in the context of approaching Theosophical thought for the perusal of others, makes it sound more useful. The article allows for the freedom of interaction of all students, even those who would misuse the forum provided to cast shadows for their own purposes upon the work of others. Perhaps argumentative or the "bulldog" approachs, mentioned in the article, are not always on purpose. I think its possible for one to become so protective of their own views and wihout realizing what they are doing they lash out at any disscusion of them. I don't believe that there is any justification for this behavior. But I can see how it can happen. We have to be so careful. Thanks again-Steve Levey

From: "Eldon B Tucker" <>
To: <>
Subject: Theos-World approaches to the subject of Theosophy
Date: Sat, 16 Nov 2002 11:13:22 -0800

One knowledgeable Theosophist who is also a scholar of Buddhism, knowing
and studying texts in their original Tibetan and Sanskrit, is Richard
Taylor. He mentioned the origin of the Stanzas of Dzyan in his recent
talk appearing in THEOSOPHY WORLD. I would personally give more weight
to something he said.

Richard said,

>There is more than one kind of Tantra. What does Blavatsky say
>about the light side? Some of you may have Volume III of THE
>SECRET DOCTRINE. It may not have been intended for publication.
>I do not know if it is really part of the book. That is beside
>the point. It is a fact that Blavatsky wrote the essays in that
>volume that Annie Besant and friends published. The volume
>consists of a largely-unedited bunch of essays. Even so,
>Blavatsky wrote them. On page 405, she says:
>> The Book of Dzyan -- from the Sanskrit word "Dhyan" (mystic
>> meditation) -- is the first volume of the Commentaries upon the
>> seven secret folios of Kiu-te, and a Glossary of public works of
>> the same name. Thirty-five volumes of Kiu-te for exoteric
>> purposes and the use of the layman [not the celibate monks], may
>> be found in the possession of the Tibetan Gelugpa [Yellow Hat]
>> Lamas, in the library of any [Gelugpa] monastery; and also the
>> fourteen books of Commentaries and Annotations on the same by
>> initiated Teachers.
>> Strictly speaking, those 35 books [of Kiu-te] ought to be termed
>> "The Popularized Version" of the Secret Doctrine [that is a
>> unique thing to say, the popular "Secret Doctrine!"], full of
>> myths, blinds, and errors; the fourteen volumes of Commentaries,
>> on the other hand -- with their translations, annotations, and
>> ample glossary of Occult terms, worked out from one small archaic
>> folio [darn, I wish we had this!] THE BOOK OF THE SECRET WISDOM
>> OF THE WORLD -- contain a digest of all the Occult Sciences.

The comments in square brackets are Richard's.

There may be other theosophical theories about the origins of the
Stanzas. It would be interesting to review what they are and how we
would explain them philosophically.

There are many approaches to this subject and to a study of any aspect
of Theosophy. One approach is to understand the philosophy as it stands,
to clearly picture in our minds what it says so that we can consider and
optionally incorporate the idea into our thinking.

The second approach is evolutionary. We have a responsibility to carry
forward the philosophy, making it real, alive, and growing into the
future. Although timeless truths, like the basic principles of
mathematics, remain ever unchanging, there is much that can be adapted
to the needs of changing times. This is sometimes attacked as
"reinventing Theosophy," but it's something true of any living school of
thought that wants to remain of value in the world.

The third approach is destructive. Enemies of the philosophy look for
miscellaneous bits of information and quotes easy to misrepresent. They
do not want people to know what Theosophy actually says but rather want
to depict it as something awful so that they can turn away people that
otherwise might find it of interest, come to it, and benefit from it.
This is what the Catholic Church did with its Inquisition, and what some
religiously-ruled nations try to do even today, controlling or even
banning dissenting philosophies and religions. The intent with this
approach is destruction of some school of thought that someone is
opposed to.

Some people find Theosophy threatening since its ultimate goal is to get
people to think for themselves. This is threatening to any system of
thought that requires blind faith in the dictates of its church
hierarchy. It starts people to question church dogma and perhaps be "led

The problem arises when people get narrow-minded. They start thinking
their approach to God, spirituality, enlightenment, perfection, a better
world, etc. is the only one, and that everyone must be converted for
their own good. We read that this is the cause of 2/3 of the world's
evil (the other 1/3 being from selfishness). I'd tend to agree. There
are too many missionaries and jihad warriors with sword, gun, bomb, or
pen and pencil that are out to destroy enemies of their "one, true
faith." It is ironic that they think they are battling for bringing
light into the world, whereas they are actually the cause of the world's

I'd say that there's nothing to battle for except a clearer view of the
truth, and the battlefield is in our own minds, not in beating up and
bruising the minds of others. I think that most of us are quite able to
sit together and have a lively exchange without making fists and coming
to blows. I hope there's none that are like angry pitbull dogs, seeking
to bite our legs with dogged persistence, unable to stop and join into
any reasonable interchange.

The best way to deal with would be missionaries, for instance, those
picturing themselves as "Daniel in the lion's den," is to get to the
philosophical basis for their beliefs. Discuss what Theosophy says and
unravel their dogma. The biggest threat to them is to question their
faith and beliefs, and they cannot help doing so when it comes up for
intelligent discussion. We had one on theos-l many years before
theos-talk started. Within a month, he quickly tired, when he found he
wasn't getting anywhere with us, that we didn't think his ideas were
perls of wisdom, but rather saw though them to depths of understanding
he hadn't seen before in his church.

The only defense that a would-be missionary in his position has is to
avoid any discussion of his beliefs and philosophy. If he never says
what he thinks and why, it would fall apart before his eyes as people
start discussing it in an intelligent fashion outside of the thought
control of his church. He would conceal his personal background and
beliefs and only seek to find or fabricate excuses for his would-be
converts to doubt their beliefs and ripen them for "conversion" to a
"belief in the one God."

Anyone with a modest practice in theosophical thought would rarely make
such a convert. They know too much and can see though the illogic
presented as religious dogma by established churches. Furthermore, they
would have learned a bit how to read between the lines and get beyond
literal interpretations of religious texts, so they see beyond any
short-comings of how theosophical books may have been written as well as
seeing beyond the short-comings in religious texts like the Bible,
Koran, Gita, Book of Mormon, and other man-written books attributed to
divine inspiration.

Truth is paramount and acquiring skills to approach it is the primary
goal, as I see it, of the theosophical movement. There is much
metaphysics that may be of other value, but it's only fragmentary
outside the Mysteries. As in other things in life, we each take what we
find of value from it and share as we can, even when we may face at
times people that seem to not understand it and only seem interested in
mocking, obscuring, and killing it out.

-- Eldon

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