practicing universal brotherhood rather than merely mouthing the concept
Sep 08, 2004 08:44 PM
by Eldon B Tucker
At 07:18 PM 9/1/2004, you wrote:
People may come to Theosophy from many different approaches. Some may have
started with books by Leadbeater and Besant, others with books by Barkorka
and Purucker, others with Judge and Blavatsky books. I would expect that if
they can engage each other in friendly discussion, they can broaden their
knowledge and grow to greater insight.
... newcomers may join the list in
the hope of sharing, for example, their understanding of the
writings of Besant and Leadbeater, among other authors. The
statistics from amazon.com posted by Daniel recently clearly
indicate that both Besant and Leabeater continue to be identified,
in the public mind, as belonguing to the field of Theosophy (or
I don't think it's necessary to tell people to only read certain authors
and avoid others as being tainted. I will say what I prefer, but leave it
to other people to decide what appeals to them best. In a free exchange of
ideas over an extended period of time, I think people will gravitate to the
highest approach they are ready for. Each person sets their own limit and
is better able to seek it out when exposed to a friendly, diverse
environment that encourages thoughtful study.
Although I'd consider my studies as being advanced, I recognize that it is
just from my point of view and others would see things differently, often
with wherever they are at being highest, for now, in their estimation. And
it does not serve a useful purpose to rank and order different approaches,
with one's own on top, of course, in order to add to one's self-importance
and putting others in their place.
If someone wants to study Leadbeater's life from a historic standpoint --
or Blavatsky's, Judge's, or Krishnamurti's -- that's fine as long as they
don't use their appraisal as a hammer to hit people on the head when they
say that they read and like the books any of these people may have written.
A metaphysical and spiritual thread of discussion is as valid as any
historic one, and everyone should be free to share their ideas, regardless
of the author or any historic threads of discussion going on at the same time.
Regardless of what we might discuss, it's important that we respect the
others among us of different backgrounds and beliefs, and not put things in
a way that sounds like a personal insult, like "You like that idea from a
Crowley book? You must be an evil dugpa!" Or "You say you like that idea
from a Bailey book, yet we have just proven in our historic discussions
that Bailey was a fraud. Only an idiot would believe something she wrote.
Do you recant any belief in her works or do you confess to being an idiot?"
Or "Do you profess a belief in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and
profess a belief in the One True God, or do you admit to being a devil
worshiper destined to burn it hell?" -- Note that there are all leading
questions that require people to either submit to one's belief or confess
It's possible from any particular slant of discussion to find ways to put
people down, even if one is not doing so intentionally. A discussion of the
actual history and spiritual credentials of someone's favorite theosophical
figure could have a chilling effect upon people reading his or her books
and wanting to discuss the ideas presented. Yet were they free to discuss
the ideas, perhaps we'd learn something from them and they're be exposed to
better ideas from us as well.
A discussion of metaphysics might lead to suggestions that people not
versed in that particular set of philosophical ideas is "not ready yet" and
should simply be dismissed as spiritual wannabes. That, of course, has a
chilling effect on the skeptic or believer in something different, making
him or her to want to brand people a bunch of religious kooks and leave for
a better group of people.
It all comes down to a matter of respect. We can explore new ideas,
challenge existing assumptions, and seek a greater understanding of things.
But we should maintain sufficient objectivity to know that our personal
viewpoint isn't the prime perspective of the universe. Everything only
seems that way *to our eyes*. If we can believe what we will and yet
happily allow others to coexist with different beliefs and assumptions,
respecting their individual and likely different seeking of truth, we are
actually practicing universal brotherhood rather than merely mouthing the
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