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the theosophical dharma as a path

Nov 22, 2002 07:04 AM
by Eldon B Tucker

Bhakti Ananda Goswami:

An examination of Theosophy as presented in various theosophical groups
reveals several variants of the philosophy. There are a number of
differing viewpoints represented, each with its own distinctive

There is the original philosophy as taught by HPB and her Teachers. This
could be considered the source writings of Theosophy. There is a
particular interpretation presented by the ULT that also considers the
writings of Robert Crosby as important. Another version includes
Katherine Tingley and G. de Purucker. Another variant braches out with
the writings of Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater. Yet another would
focus on the writings of Krishnamurti.

Even within one of these different versions, a student may entertain
different and changing views about the purpose of the Theosophical
Society and the role of Theosophy in the world. The student is left in a
situation where continued self-reflection and examination of basic
beliefs is fostered, helping create an inquiring, searching, aware, and
awakened mind.

A critic of the theosophical dharma may try to define Theosophy, the
purpose of the Theosophical Society, or the role of its key historic
figures. In order to refute something, it first has to be defined or
described. The problem is that the subject is amorphous, and
theosophical students are readily entertaining new views about things.
There is no one single way of describing it all that can be defined,
critiqued, and refuted, since the better theosophical students are
always moving onto better ways of looking at things. There is no fixed
view of reality entertained by them that can be shattered in the hope
that they may adopt one's own beliefs.

When someone says that HPB thought up or copied an idea from elsewhere,
that is but one of many possible theories of what happened. A student
entertains many theories. Even should someone accept that idea, there
are yet many further refinements to it that one could consider. One
might say that regardless of her knowledge and intentions, which might
be disputed, there was some form of Destiny behind her actions that led
her to fulfill an important philosophical role in our society. There can
be a unique worldview coming out of her efforts that is as based on the
reality of life as other great philosophies. The greatness that comes
out in life is bigger than the capabilities of any particular individual
expressing it. Blavatsky brought in something big, and it continues to
grow and evolve. We can continue its perfection as something of value,
presenting and interpreting it in a manner that makes it a force for
good in the world.

There is not a precise definition of Theosophy that can be formalized
into some orthodoxy. Even so, many theosophical groups have their
favorite view that they promote. Each group may have its own biases or
slant on the Message. Each student likewise has his or her explanation
that best fits their worldview. That explanation grows and evolves over
time as the student's spirituality deepens and progress is made on the

The theosophical approach encourages one to explore many different
explanations and not simply accept a single dogmatic package. Even so,
there are a definite core of ideas that are presented. Someone could
write the basic doctrines of Theosophy in a way that most would agree
represent what it says. Over time, these doctrines will evolve into a
coherent philosophical school of thought deserving the same level of
respect as other major schools.

For an individual's study, it is important to know what H.P. Blavatsky
and the Mahatma Letters says. One needs to know these ideas so that they
can be compared to what one's favorite secondary authors, like, say,
what C.W. Leadbeater, Robert Crosby, or James Long may say. In order to
sort out one's thinking, one needs to see and somehow explain any
apparent differences. If Blavatsky says one thing, for instance, and
Leadbeater another, why is this so? Did Leadbeater misunderstand an
idea, misperceive things psychically, or did he know better and have
direct personal experience that was more direct and real than
Blavatsky's intellectual training? Were both wrong? Or do both
contrasting ideas serve as a paradox that leads one into a deeper
insight that is not readily found in either writing when standing by

There are archetypal forces at work behind all systems of thought. These
forces compel people to evolve, perfect, or progress the system to
something more luminous, transparent, and expressive of divine

Whatever blemish one may find on a guru or teacher, the dharma shines,
made of gold, ever increasing in value. Students of Theosophy may
consider it a more accurate wording of the Mysteries, expressed anew in
relatively modern terms and containing significant insights. The value
of it as a dharma remains as long as there are people that understand
and share it. Apart from that dharma, which could be considered its
aspect as a spiritual movement, there are advanced metaphysics that hint
at occult truths. These metaphysics represent a starting point to an
occult understanding of life, though, only hinting at the highest
teachings. The deeper understanding comes with Initiation.

Even though they never met them in person, some theosophists would
consider Blavatsky or her Masters as their spiritual teachers. When
others seem intent on giving their teachers a bad name and on the
destruction of their dharma, such a student would be challenged to
respond in the proper way. The student would be challenged to even know
what the proper response should be. 

There will always be people that stay within their favorite religion or
philosophy, refusing to acknowledge the light found in other approaches.
Such people are harmless, if narrow-minded. They are only a problem when
they feel a need to destroy other approaches, seeking converts to their
faith or philosophical, religious, or scientific outlook on life. When
meeting these people, we must decide if we should ignore them, or waste
time opposing their destructiveness.

Dialog can only be established with people that cultivate an open mind
and people with sufficient spirituality and insight into life that they
recognize it in others, regardless of differences of language, culture,
and religion. 

In a forest, there are periodic fires that burn out the underbrush,
leaving behind the large trees. This is important on a regular basis. If
too much time goes without such a fire, when a fire does come the entire
forest will burn to the ground. For a system of thought, there are times
when it needs such a renovation. The theosophical movement needs to be
reenergized, revitalized, and put into a form that makes it a powerful
force for good. If those of us that consider ourselves active
theosophical students can do this, we will have done a great service.
Otherwise, things move on. The light of the Mysteries, the work of
Bodhisattvas and other great beings to "bring forth the kingdom of
heaven on earth" will continue in other ways. In every way possible, the
good seeks to come forth into the world, and we can play a role in
helping it happen, or just sit back and let others do the work. It will
happen, though. It's just a matter of time.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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