Re: Theos-World Standard of Truth?
Jan 14, 2003 08:05 AM
by Bill Meredith
Very nice essay, Zack.
In my opinion, The Society of Theosophy (in each of its near-religious
forms) appears dogmatic and the stench of dead carcass is all that wafts
from it. However, the movement (a loose and near-all-inclusive term for
those individuals and groups who consider themselves theosophists by HPB's
own definition) seems to be the only hope to "burst asunder the iron fetters
of creeds and dogmas." Of course the first iron fetters that must be
respectfully burst are those that chain us exclusively to HPB and the
masters of her era. While this may appear as a conundrum it is the only way
that one can "be a light unto oneself."
----- Original Message -----
From: "Zack Lansdowne" <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 6:47 AM
Subject: Theos-World Standard of Truth?
> There has been much debate in recent days about whose doctrine is true:
> versus AAB; ancient Hindu scriptures versus HPB; HPB versus Besant and
> Leadbeater. Members on this list have pointed out that there are clear
> differences between the writings or doctrines of these various
> Here, I would like to emphasize an area of AGREEMENT among different
> In "The Key to Theosophy", published in 1889, H. P. Blavatsky saw two
> possible futures for the TS. On the one hand, she described its possible
> failure: "Every such attempt as the Theosophical Society has hitherto
> in failure, because, sooner or later, it has degenerated into a sect, set
> hard-and-fast dogmas of its own, and so lost by imperceptible degrees that
> vitality which living truth alone can impart. You must remember that all
> our members have been bred and born in some creed or religion, that all
> more or less of their generation both physically and mentally, and
> consequently that their judgment is but too likely to be warped and
> unconsciously biassed by some or all of these influences. If, then, they
> cannot be freed from such inherent bias, or at least taught to recognise
> instantly and so avoid being led away by it, the result can only be that
> Society will drift off on to some sandbank of thought or another, and
> remain a stranded carcass to moulder and die."
> That is a very vivid image: "a stranded carcass to moulder and die." But
> what if the aforementioned danger can be averted? In this case, HPB
> predicted: "Then the Society will live on into and through the twentieth
> century. It will gradually leaven and permeate the great mass of thinking
> and intelligent people with its large-minded and noble ideas of Religion,
> Duty, and Philanthropy. Slowly but surely it will burst asunder the iron
> fetters of creeds and dogmas, of social and caste prejudices; it will
> down racial and national antipathies and barriers, and will open the way
> the practical realisation of the Brotherhood of all men."
> So, Blavatsky, in 1889, made two quite different predictions for the
> Theosophical Society in the 20th Century: she says that it might set up
> "hard-and-fast dogmas of its own" and then become "a stranded carcass to
> moulder and die"; or it might "burst asunder iron fetters of creeds and
> dogmas" leading to "the practical realisation of the Brotherhood of all
> men." Which outcome has occurred?
> Next, let us turn to Alice A. Bailey. In "A Treatise on White Magic",
> published in 1934, AAB wrote:
> "All that is possible for me is to grope for those feeble words which will
> somewhat clothe the thought. As they clothe it they limit it and I am
> of creating new prisoners who must ultimately be released. All books are
> prison houses of ideas."
> Here AAB is pointing out that even her own books are "prison houses of
> ideas." The purpose of her books was to free her readers from past dogmas
> that had become barriers to their spiritual progress. But if her readers
> turn her own books into hard-and-fast dogmas, as many of her readers have
> done, then they have become prisoners of those books who must be freed by
> future writers.
> One of the most popular contemporary teachings on spirituality is A Course
> in Miracles (ACIM). As many of you might know, ACIM was channelled
> allegedly from the Master Jesus, was first published in 1975, and has sold
> several million copies. Today, more students are probably studying ACIM
> than the books of HPB and AAB combined. I, myself, led a ACIM study group
> for many years at the Theosophical Society in Boston. Here, is what ACIM
> says: "Words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed
> reality." And yet several ACIM organizations are now fighting each other
> over the proper interpretation of the ACIM words, with bitter lawsuits and
> legal attempts to destroy or prevent opposing interpretations from even
> being published.
> I think that HPB, AAB, and ACIM are telling us the same thing: namely, it
> is a mistake to turn any written doctrine into a hard-and-fast dogma, or
> standard of truth. This message was especially emphasized by Krishnamurti
> who wrote in "Krishnamurti's Journal":
> "One has to be a light to oneself ... To be a light to oneself is not to
> follow the light of another, however reasonable, logical, historical, and
> however convincing."
> Zack Lansdowne
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