Various Theosophical Traditions and Inquirers/New Students of Theosophy
Oct 18, 2005 01:48 PM
by Daniel H. Caldwell
There are probably at least ten different
Theosophical traditions based on the claims
of the various individuals listed at:
Speaking of claims, we have the initial CLAIM
of Madame Blavatsky to be in contact with
certain Adepts and to have transmitted in her
writings the teachings of these adepts. And
after her death in 1891 then we have the various
ADDITIONAL claims of the numerous persons listed
at the above link.
It seems to me that these additional claims are
all DEPENDENT on Mme. Blavatsky's initial claim. For example,
if she was a fraud and all her teachings were false
or simply made up or borrowed from genuine
religious and esoteric traditions, then all the later
claims based on hers would therefore seem to be
false also. But if her claims and teachings are
true and genuine, that is no guarantee that any of
the later claims are therefore true and genuine also.
Some of the later claims might be true but others might
also be false.
I have also quoted repeatedly the words of HPB and
her Masters about the existence of pseudo-Theosophy
and of false claims of being in contact with her
Masters. I would think that serious students of her
life and teachings might seriously consider the IMPLICATIONS
of what she and her Masters write about these false
claims and distorted teachings.
In the 1890s both W.Q. Judge and Annie Besant claimed
to be in contact with HPB's Master Morya. They gave completely
opposite statements as coming from Master M. Obviously
something was wrong!
Some Theosophists sided with Judge; others with Besant and this
lead to the breakup of the Theosophical Society into 2 competing
This apparently was the beginning of the lineage claims.
In the Adyar Society we have the following lineage:
Blavatsky - Besant & Leadbeater - ???
In the Point Loma Theosophical Society the following lineage:
Blavatsky - Judge - Tingley - de Purucker - ????
In the ULT:
Blavatsky - Judge - Crosbie
On the Theos-Talk forum we see present day "representatives"
of these above three traditions. And all of them are convinced that
their own lineage is the true, genuine one.
Anand Gholap is a strong advocate of the Besant & Leadbeater
lineage. But he seems hardly even aware of the other lineages,
claims and societies.
Frank Reitemeyer on the other hand is an extremely strong and vocal
advocate that promotes the Blavatsky-Judge-Tingley-dePurucker line
of succession. He has no doubt whatsoever that this lineage is the
true and genuine one. He is equally convinced that Leadbeater was
nothing but a "swindler", etc. etc.
Dallas TenBroeck is an advocate of the ULT lineage which seemingly
views Blavatsky and Judge almost as co-equals followed by Crosbie.
My own research indicates that even Crosbie claimed some kind of
contact with the dead Judge and even possibly with HPB and the
Masters. But the ULT organization has kept this very much hidden in
The important question I want to ask and bring to the discussion is:
What should inquirers and new students to Theosophy believe about
all these claims? And remember there are OTHER claims (e.g. those
of Alice Bailey, Helen Roerich, etc.).
And what theosophical literature should these new people to
Theosophy read and study?
Furthermore, who has the time, energy and inclination to wade
through all the various claims, all the historical material pro and
con, as well as through the hundreds of books on Theosophical
teachings written by all these claimants and to try to determine
what is what, whose claim or teaching is true or false or whatever??
Of course, some claim that they don't need to do such a laborious
task as outlined in the last paragraph. They say they have
intuitions and those intuitions are all they need to find the truth
in these matters. Others apparently don't even care what is true or
false or may even question the labels "true" and "false". Such
people may simply pick and choose what they "feel" is appropriate
for them. A cafeteria type approach. I guess. And witness of late
Jerry HE's statements about what he thinks is a "good teaching". I
should note here that Jerry's view on this matter is not, as far as
I can tell, that of HPB and the Masters as documented in HPB's
writings and the letters of the Masters. Of course, Jerry as well as
some readers may or may not care what HPB's and the Masters's views
are on this particular point.
In light of the above, I have for a number of years recommended to
inquirers and new students to concentrate on what was given in the
ORIGINAL claim (that is, by Madame Blavatsky in her 10,000 + pages
of writings as well as in the letters of the Masters also received
during HPB's lifetime). This is a vast amount of material in itself
especially if one also includes all the historical material relating
to HPB's life, the Masters and the early Theosophical Movment
covering the years 1874 through 1891. I seriously doubt that there
are more than a handful of longtime students of Blavatsky &
Theosophy who have read, studied and actually understood all of this
above material concerning the initial claim as given from about 1874
to 1891. I know that I have not.
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