Re: Theos-World RE: RE: Cayce's relevance to Theosophy/theosophy
Nov 08, 2004 06:01 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
>I sometimes think we are saying the same things in a slightly different
Yes, we share many of the same opinions and, at least for me, your
language does not obscure this fact. My concern is not about teachings.
It is about how one is to approach Theosophical writings and how to best
communicate them to the general public. We agree that Theosophy is not
a religion, and I think we agree that the term is no more easily defined
than Plato's "the Good" or some of the more metaphysical implications of
the Avaita philosophical term "Dharma." With that said, I have in these
exchanges been trying to get across and make understood my view that
since Theosophy is not a religion, it is an injustice to the Movement to
treat it as such. One can communicate Theosophical ideas in a
theological package or as an opportunity to launch into a meaningful
inquiry concerning the nature of existence. An example of a theological
approach is to begin with the premise that HPB was the messenger of the
Masters, who in turn are relatively all-knowing and practically
immortal. I submit that this kind of theologizing, if accepted by a new
student, severally compromises their freedom to openly and fairly
consider, accept or reject HPB's ideas. It is once again, circular
thinking. If one begins with the premise that the Masters have the
TRUTH, because then everything they write must be true. Below are
responses to some of your statements, that I hope will bring more
clarity to this situation.
>It is nonsense (after paying attention in MAHATMA LETTERS and LETTERS FROM
>THE MASTERS OF WISDOM, and H P B SPEAKS, etc... ) to try to identify them as
>KPJ has. I say it CANNOT BE DONE.
I also am not convinced of Paul's identifications, nor was I satisfied
by the methodology he used for making these connections. With that
said, let us not throw out the baby with the bath water. What is
admirable was that Paul went sought out evidence outside of the
Mahatma's letters. Theosophical historians should have been doing this
years ago. Aside from a couple of inquiries made by Basil Crump, and a
defense made by Beatrice Hastings, I can't off hand think of any
significant efforts among Theosophists to do this. On the other hand, I
was critical of Paul for not (in his book) making an examination of the
Mahatma's letters to determine their authenticity and relevancy to his
inquiry. I think it reasonable for an unbiased inquirer to at some
point ask whether these letters are authentic or forgeries. Either way,
they would remain important documents for an inquiry into the existence
and nature of the Masters. Then again, to use the Master's letters
exclusively without an inquiry into outside material is like writing a
biography of Jesus based exclusively upon the Gospels. I say it also
CANNOT BE DONE.
>I see a parallel here, like the Hodgson Report did. But unless someone will
>go to India and do the necessary proving and leg-work, the nonsense will
>prevail here in the "West." -- and I cannot bear to see any attempt to
>smirch the Great Personages to whom humanity's and my Honor is due. I am too
>old and unwell to do it myself, but I know it can be done.
I would say that at this point, it cannot be done. And here is why:
You are already aware that a mutual friend, who (for the sake of
privacy) I will not name, did go to India and tried to do that leg-work,
only to be blocked from doing so. This was not an exception, but the
general rule. Nethercot, the author of a two volume biography of Besant
visited Adyar in the course of his research and was not permitted to see
any records at all. Paul Johnson, during the course of his research,
went to Adyar in order to access Olcott's diaries, and has reported on
this discussion board that he was denied access to them. The truth is
that those who control critical records and evidence, are unwilling to
allow access to anyone making an open inquiry who might come to
conclusions that could challenge or in some way modify the party-line
version of history that has been embedded in the Theosophical theology.
I have tourist book of India from the 1970's that shows the Adyar
Theosophical Headquarters as a tourist stop, open to all. Since the
1980's, a guard has been posted at the gate, and one cannot even enter
the grounds with first proving that one is a card carrying member. I
have this information from at least a half dozen people I know who have
tried to visit there in the last twenty-five years. More recently, I
have heard that access to the historical ES documents, which have
understandably always been closed to non ES members, are now no longer
available to ES members either.
>"Hagiography" is -- in whose esteem ? Easy to say -- but who does the
>proving? No one will ever satisfy all the rest.
There is nothing to prove. Hagiographies are very easy to recognize
because they always begin with the theological/mythological premises and
proceed to prove the truth of the very premises upon which they are
based. It is not a matter of proof in any honest sense of the word.
Rather, the reader needs to develop the discriminative skills to
distinguish between history and hagiography. For too many Theosophists,
this is a serious lack.
>While the SD points to the Secret Doctrine, I have never seen anywhere
>in the SD where the Secret Doctrine is openly elaborated upon, or as you
>say, "revealed.". Can you give an example?
> DTB Well, Read The Book and read ISIS UNVEILED
Dallas, "read the book" this is not an answer to my question. It is what
my generation used to call a "cop out" answer, and I'm rather
disappointed in you for resorting to such an answer. In case you have
forgotten, I have been reading the SD for forty years, worn out several
copies of the book, and have been leading classes on it for thirty
years. In the 1980s, It was Wes and myself and a couple of other vocal
ULT associates who finally got the supposedly nonexistent "leaders" at
the LA ULT to finally allow us to have study groups on the SD there
(Yes, I'm a trouble maker from way back. But the kind of trouble I make
is to push groups to help seekers in their inquiries, not to hinder
them, or to try to turn them into ideologues). I was told that the
last SD class before ours was led by John Garriques, and none was done
since he died! As for Isis, I was one of the leaders of a study group
on Isis at the LA ULT. If my memory serves me right, you also
participated in that class.
>That depends upon what you mean by ethics and metaphysics.
>DTB I mean those that are common to all.
Ethical and metaphysical teachings vary from culture to culture--there
is nothing universal about them. I call in one of HPB's articles
acknowledging that fact and writing that a universal ethic is something
that humanity will need to achieve. Regarding metaphysics, she also
added that the issue of vicarious atonement, a metaphysical construct
which divides the world, will also need to be resolved before any true
human fraternity can be possible.
>>Every Great Teacher, Reformer, or Prophet to which a religion has been
>>ascribed as its founder, will be found to offer as ideals the same general
>>verities and enjoin their practice.
>So we are told--and as long as one sticks with Indo-European religions,
>it works--more or less. Once one begins to look more closely at
>non-indo-European religions, this idea becomes increasingly problematic.
>DTB Trace them back from Christianity to, in succession: Judaism, Greek
>and Egyptian Mysteries, Assyrian and Chaldean and Zoroastrian Wisdom,
>Hinduism and Brahmanism -- and the Buddhist reform thereof.
Which proves my point. All of the religions you mention above are
Indo-European--including the so-called "Egyptian Mysteries," which
emerged from a Greco-Egyptian synretism.
>ISIS UNVEILED says that Jesus studied under Buddhist monks, who had
>established a vihara on the shores of the Dead sea.
>At the Council of 'Constantinople in 326 AD the link to Buddhism was severed
>by the Romish church. Apparently the Eastern Orthodox retained some of that
Buddhism was also initially an Indo-European religion (and basically
still is), which again re-inforces my point. BTW, when HPB writes of
Jesus in Isis, she distinguishes between an historical, a Biblical, and
a Theological Jesus. They are quite different, and to overlay one upon
the other is a real mistake. In my experience, most misreading of
HPB's writings, I have observed to have come from people who fail to
distinguish which level HPB is writing (e.g. historically, textually,
theologically; or literally, metaphorically; or even failing to
distinguish when she is making statements of her own or quoting someone
(Regarding turning the three fundamentals into a credo):
>How many who verbalize the CREDO understand and can prove it? [This is why I
>use the phrase "student of THEOSOPHY" -- since no one except the Masters,
>or HPB can claim to the real THEOSOPHISTS.]
Yet, we both know many "students" who have memorized and recite the
three fundamentals as one would a credo.
>Agreed if that practice is a personal one. On the other hand, preaching
>of the "TRUTH" of Theosophy defeats the whole intent.
>DTB How? It is either true or untrue. Which?
It can also be neither true nor untrue, and/ or it can be both true and
untrue. Let us avoid smothering the life out of Theosophy by forcing it
into modernistic binds of true and false, authoritative and not
authoritative, good and bad et. These are only a few out of many
options we may employ to broaden our understanding. Quantum physics have
shown that universe is much greater than the limits of binary thinking.
>This reminds me of a story that W.B. Yeats told concerning an open
>discussion meeting he attended at HPB's. He wrote that there was a
>woman present who was so taken by this idea of a divine spark within her
>that during the course of the evening she repeated it again and again at
>every opportunity. Finally HPB spoke up and said that: "My dear, what
>you say is true, but if you keep repeating it, that spark will go out."
>DTB Excellent comment -- as it was purely superficial.
Superficial? That wasn't Yeats' point for telling the story. Yeats was
very negatively impressed by the rampant fanaticism of many of the
people who surrounded HPB. This woman who became obsessed by this idea
of a "divine spark" is only one of many examples he gave. Indeed,
behind HPB's little put-down is a very serious point, because, how can
the divine spark come through one who has become fanatically obsessed?
>Like the portraits of M and KH, which, as an Indian member of our group
>characterized as looking like "a couple of white men." ?
>DTB I don't agree to that. In the Punjab and N. India there are men and
>women as fair as any.
Which is precisely where this person I mentioned above, grew up. He is
also fair enough of complexion to be called "white" but he also knows
the difference, which has to with much more than skin color.
>DTB Now whether this may be characterized as globular, linear, or circular,
>personal, individual or general thinking or, "whatever," has little meaning
>for me. The main point is: IS IT COMPLETE? Is everyone free to discover,
>test and use it?
>I would say, circular. Which is my initial point. Treating Theosophy
>as an endless elaboration upon certain notions in order to prove certain
>axioms is just another theology. A truly universal approach to Truth is
>one that does not endlessly feed upon itself, but constantly broadens
>its self by the progressive discovery of new truths which brings about a
>broadening and ever evolving understanding of ourselves and the universe
>in which we live.
>DTB NATURE and the UNIVERSE pre-exist us and our present superficial
>searches. We are enable to live thanks to the sacrifice of innumerable
>monadic entities and also due to the well regulated laws of NATURE that are
>universal and prevalent.
I know a nice lady who lives in this town. She goes from door to door
reading Psalm 35 to everyone. Her point is that God pre-exists us and
our present superficial searches. He enabled us to give thanks to Him
and to the sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son. Does this ring familiar
to your point above? It does to me.
>>>DTB The next point is: How do we, students all, view the PROFESSORS (I mean the Masters of Wisdom in this, our "University of Life") and the practitioners of truth and law? Do we recognize and understand their sacrifice?
>That understanding would require an inquiry that includes and is
>collaborated by information which lies outside of the Theosophical texts.
>DTB Of course. But then THEOSOPHY includes everything, does it not?
>What does it exclude?
NOT-THEOSOPHY, QUAZI-THEOSOPHY, PSEUDO-THEOSOPHY, our limited notions of
>DTB I though that free thought was a matter of self-evidence and common
>sense ? Everything is available for that -- no restrictions.
>If someone else says or expresses it better, let that be used -- as HPB and
>Masters do -- let me quote:
> "We, of Tibet and China, know not what you mean by the word
>[plagiarism]. I do, but this is no reason, perhaps, why I should accept your
>literary laws. Any writer has the privilege of taking out whole sentences
>from the dictionary of Pai -- Wouen -- Yen -- Fu the greatest in the world,
>full of quotations from every known writer, and containing all the phrases
>ever used -- and to frame them to express his thought... But you may find,
>perchance throughout my letters twenty detached sentences which may have
>been already used in books or MSS. When you write upon some subject you
>surround yourself with books of references etc. : when we write upon
>something the Western opinion about which is unknown to us, we surround
>ourselves with hundreds of paras: upon this particular topic from dozens of
>different works -- impressed upon the Akasa. What wonder then, that...even
>myself -- should use occasionally a whole sentence already existent applying
>it only to another -- our own idea? I have told you of this before and it is
>no fault of mine if your friends and enemies will not remain satisfied with
>the explanation." M L 420
Yes, I recognize the letter--it is in regard to the Kiddle incident.
The point here concerns the difference between compilation, plagiarism
and "Bible thumping." KH is correct in his argument. He borrowed a
phrase from Plato, gave Plato due credit, and applied it to own point.
If you go back to Kiddle's speech, you will find that he borrowed the
same phrase from Plato but did not give Plato his due credit.
Therefore, the truth is that Kiddle was the plagiarist, not KH, who
merely borrowed a phrase and put it to his own use. What is the
difference between the compiler and the "Bible thumper"? The former
uses the quotes as a tool to further explore and expand upon ideas. The
ladder uses the quotes to confirm his/her own theology.
>>Certain things connected with the personality of a "great leader" have to be explained every now and again, even in among a group of students, or in a Society whose effort is as much as possible to avoid the discussion of personalities.
>Explained? or, explained away?
>DTB Can you be more explicit?
Gladly. I think you will be very interested in the October issue of
Theosophical History, which should be going into the mail in the next
week or so. Pat Deveney has a fascinating article on A.L. Rawson,
whose testimony has been used to prove some things about HPB, while
other statements of his have been ignored when they were --let us
say--inconvient to the party-line version of history. With giving away
the article, just let me say that Mr. Deveney has dug us some real
surprises which am sure that certain Theosophical apologists who pose as
historians will have to explain away.
>Yes. A real problem which needs to be solved by going outside of the
>Master's letters and HPB's writings if one is to get a balanced
>DTB No prohibition there of course.
Not even a prohibition against Paul Johnson? ;-)
>>DTB Hence any theory or assertion touching on Their relations - which to us are
>>unseen -- and between her and the Masters she spoke for, opens up for
>>discussion some occult laws or principles.
>Occult laws or principles of which are beyond the personal experience of
>your presumed discussors.
>DTB Why presume that? Look at TRANSACTIONS OF THE BLAVATSKY LODGE see
>the depth added to the SECRET DOCTRINE explanations there.
OK, lets take a look. Here we have a hierarchical structure--a group of
students posing questions to the "authority" (HPB). These Transactions
are indeed important and fascinating reading, but again, because of how
the meeting was structured, and who was answering the questions, it is
again a session which by the very nature of its structure and how the
audience chose to define itself, the subject matter is merely
elaborating upon its own premises. It depends upon the student as to
whether anything was gained. Yeats once wrote about a fellow student
who mentioned that HPB, has just told him that there is another globe
attached to this one, like two balls on a dumbbell. Yeats commented
that she must have been discussing some mythology. The fellow student
said, Oh no, if it wasn't true HPB would not have said it. How the word
"true" is understood is where the point of this tale hangs.
>However, Sinnett claimed (and evidently believed) that he also got
>confirmation concerning this Mars/Mercury controversy from the same
>masters through communications from them that continued beyond 1885.
>DTB I have looked through the TRANSACTIONS OF THE LONDON LODGE in which
>this has been done. I did not find any of the depth there that is displayed in MAHATMA LETTERS
>as a "for instance" or in the SECRET DOCTRINE .
>I think Sinnett went astray with psychic attempts whish he was warned
Yes, these (and others you raised) are old arguments between the various
denominations of the Theosophical faith. One denomination proclaiming
the supremacy of HPB and her Masters; another proclaiming the supremacy
of Sinnett and his Masters. There is no resolution between those who
have already staked out their camps only polarization.
>DTB I am well aware of this and have researched it all. Would you like a
>copy of this research?
I have done my own research as well as read others'. Unless your
research shows how Theosophists (and the world, for that matter) of
different denominations can be brought together into a genuine
solidarity, I don't know how it could be of much service to the
forwarding of the TM. The Masters called for a world Brotherhood of
Mankind not a world brotherhood of Theosophists, or of this or that
brand of Theosophy. It is in my eyes a worthy goalie more worthy of
pursuit than of proving one Theosophical denomination more right than
>>Although wide publicity was not given to the charge then, it was fully
>>discussed by the many visitors to both camps, and its effect remains to this
>>day among those who of late have turned in private against H.P.B. Among
>>themselves they explain away very easily, and in public they oppose those
>>who adhere firmly to her memory, her honor, and the truth of her statements
>>about the Masters and their communications to her.
>Because of what they were told.
>DTB No, in my opinion those facts prove themselves. In THEOSOPHY why
>should anyone "believe" anything?
I don't trust "facts that prove themselves." I trust personal
experience, which, moment by moment is in a state of revision. Being
familiar with "facts" from their different points of view is helpful and
part of living a life in awareness. The problem is when facts become
confused with reality.
>>They think that by dragging her down to the mediocre level on which they
>>stand they may pretend to understand her, and look wise as they tell when
>>she was and when she was not obsessed.
>An ad hominem argument.
>DTB And so ? Is it right or wrong? Is anyone of us at her LEVEL ? Can
>anyone claim to be personally at the MASTER'S level?
An ad hominem argument only deflects the real issue to personalities or
a personality. Your rephrasing of the question to "Is anyone of us at
her LEVEL...." beckons to a straw man argument, because it inherently
requires the questionee to accept that HPB was at the level the
questioner assumes her to be. Either way, the questions are so devised
to trap the questionee into either a confession of belief or disbelief.
If we were to bring back the inquisition, the devotees could then burn
the heathens at the stake. So in answer to your question: the point
you wish to make is neither right nor wrong, but rather, merely the
product of your own experience at your stage of spiritual realization.
This beings me once again back to how Theosophy may effectively be
discussed. In my experience, I learn more by exploring other's views
and realities than by trying to entrap them into mine (which will be
different in a minute anyway). In Theosophical discussion groups we
can hone our skills of debate and discrimination by sharing with each
other new ways of viewing and interpreting our life's experiences.
Discussing history is OK too, if we don't confuse it with the past. We
can't discuss the past. We can only discuss our experiences or out
perceptions of the past. In its best spirit, history is an open
dialogue in a constant state of revision as our insights deepen. At
its worst, it is divisive agenda laden rhetoric designed to win warriors
to one side of the battle in order to defeat the other.
>>An effort ought to be made by those who know the history (I mean the sequence of events and documents) to clear their reputations once and for all. All who can ought to participate in that.
I agree with you. However, only if that effort were to be done in an
honest and balanced way. Of course, with this level of unbiasness,
there is no guarantee that any reputations will be cleared. More
likely, we will end up with a very different view that while more
accurate and comprehensive, neither the party line nor the detractors
will wish to embrace it. That is the cost of seeking after truth.
By the way, I have a personal archive of thousands of unpublished
documents, as well as rare books and journals, open to anyone who is
doing this kind of research, providing they are equally open to allowing
me equal access to their collections. Wes have seen some of this
collection and can fill you in on the details. So far, two
Dissertations, a Masters thesis, several articles and a book have
resulted from those who made use of this collection. A second book is
in the works.
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