The "Canonical" Esoterists and Theosophists (1)
Nov 08, 2005 12:19 PM
by M. Sufilight
The few words in the below are from some papers of a friend of mine.
I have rewritten them slightly.
Were the word "he" has been used in the below, the word "she" would
perhaps have been even better to use. I did choose one version just for
I think I have emailed a similar version like this one
some months back here at Theos-Talk.
Yet, I thought it would be helpful to some of the
readers of this place, even to some of the so-called Theosophical
or Esoterical teachers.
And I can only encourage the interested Seeker to read
the text more than one or two times. Keep it at your Heart. :-)
Here we go...
THEOSOPHICAL THOUGHT, EXPERIENCE AND TEACHING
The following could be called an interpretation of Theosophy and
Theosophical and Esoterical writings and it intends to show,
where some of the problems with Theosophy
and Esoterism are today year 2005.
Thousands of book and monographs have been written on
Theosophy and the Theosophists, almost all of them from the
point of view of other ways of thinking. The result has been
chaos in the litterature, and confusion in the reader.
Over the centuries, some of the world's most eminent scholars
have fallen into the trap of trying to examine assess or consider
the Theosophy phenomenon through a set of culture-bound
All this may not be as foolish as it looks to us today: after all, it
is only relatively recently that students, including academics and
people of the spirit, have begun to realise that their attitudes
have traditionally been heavily influenced by subjectivity and
unexanined assumptions. Although the pendulum is slowly
swinging back, there is still no lack of people - specialists and
others - who continue to look at anything, including Theosophy, in
anything but an objective way.
The main problem is that the most commentators are accustomed
to thinking of spiritual schools as 'systems', which are more or
less alike, and which depend upon dogma and ritual: and
especially upon repetition and the application of continual and
standardised pressures upon their followers.
The Theosophicl or Esoterical path, except in degenerate forms
which are not to be classified as Theosophical or Esoterical, is entirely
different from this.
Following closely after the primary misconception is the
general impression that all spiritual entities must strongly depend
upon emotion. Indeed, there is a marked confusion, even in
the most lucid writers, between spirituality and emotionalism.
Such confusion does not exist in authentic Theosophical or Esoterical
teaching or study.
The misconsecptions of which the above two are typical
produce in the students a frame of mind through which he or she
will try to approach the understanding or study of Theosophy, with
predictably useless results. For this reason Theosophical literature
shows a marked rejection of ultra-formalism, of mental fetishes, the
over-simplifications, which hamper understanding.
The Theosophists refer to the action of the mixture of primitive
emotionality and irrelevant associations, which bedevil outside
would-be observers as that of the Lower Self.
It is only since the nineteen-fifties, with the discovery of the
far-reaching effects of conditioning, brain-washing and attitude-
engineering, that the subjective nature of virtually all
approaches to knowledge has been perceived to the degree to
which the Theosophists, for centuries has tried to establish.
The Theosophists have always taught: 'Examine your assumptions;
avoid mechanicality; distinguish faith from fixation'.
The Theosophical teacher, in the first place, has to be someone
who has experienced all the stages of the Path along which he will
conduct his disciples. Outward observers are not capeable of
commenting upon Theosophy, only upon its externals. They lack
both the experience and the capacity to discriminate between
real and degenerate forms. 'Who tastes, knows' is a Theosophical
saying. Equally, whoever does not taste, does not know.
The validity of this concept is, naturally enough, strenously
opposed by outward observers. But if, in any field, an unqualified
person, lacking essential experience, decides to 'become an
expert', it is inevitable that the specialist, the person with the
experience, will - indeed must - assert the primacy of proper
It has to be remembered here that the externalists (whether
people of the spirit or of the pen and tounge) are themselves not
particularly to blame. Reared on the concept that anyone can, at
will, examine anything, they are victims of their own culture's
assumptions. After all, this approach is adequate for a large
number of disciplines. They have merely apllied a principle
which holds good in one area to a subject where it does not.
The Theosophist, unlike the externalist, cannot, and does not, work
mechanically. The projection of the message and the help which
is given to the learner, must always vary in conformity with the
needs of the time, the culture involved and the nature and
potential of the student.
But as soon as we say this, we can see that the real Theosophical
organisations teaching and learning differ fundamentally from all
The Theosophist, in short, is aiming for a development, not to
produce conditioned reflexes. He or she is teaching, not training.
He or she intervenes, to provide the right stimulus at the right time
for the right person. Such an activity is seen as chaotic by those who
cannot perceive its purposefulness; just as the way of life in
some open societies feels unbearably disorderly to those who
have escaped from regimented ones: something which
frequently happens today.
The tendency to seek reassurance and regularity is common
to all human beings. This is reflected in their cleaving to oversimplified
systems. It explains why many people are drawn to organisations
which offer authority and certainty. There is nothing wrong
with order and discipline: indeed, these are essentials to all
human groupings. But the misuse of this proclivity in areas
where it does not apply attentuates or delays progress. It results in
the uncomfortable feeling, even amongst the most regimented,
that 'there is something else.'
And yet exposure to strong discipline does not itself produce
as a reaction a necessarily wholesome affinity for truth. It is
noticeable that coercive, regimented or rigorously intellectualist
societies throw up weird cults and abborations, providing both
the supply of and the demand for certain emotions.
There is a vast accumulation of Theosophical teachings, much of it in
writings, which would-be students plough through, looking for
Theosophy, and wondering why it seems, so often, self-contradictory.
The simple answer is that this material is largely time-and-culture-
based. Most of it was prescribed for specific audiences at
certain times and under particular conditions. Choosing the
relevant materials for any time is a specialised task. To try to
make sense of all of it would be like taking a bundle of medical
prescriptions, issued over the years to a variety of people, and
working out one's own therapy from such largely irrelevant
papers - and without a certain specialised knowledge. Theosophical
Teaching is PRESCRIBED.
Such parts of the Theosophical and Esoterical Classics, stories,
and letters and lectures and so on which apply to the individual
and the group today - have to be selected and applied consciously
and appropriately, by someone who is attuned to certain realities.
This concept is especially irksome to the academic worker, who
always has a bias towards utillising every scrap of information
he can find, not towards assessing contemporary applicability.
He is, in fact, in a different field from the Theosophist. His attitude
influences even general readers.
If the scholar is unwilling to accept this concept, the conventional
spiritual thinker is equally hampered. He, or she, does not wish
to face the fact that Theosophical activity is often carried out in
a way, which does not, for the conventionalist, resemble spiritual
matters at all. The fact that the Theosophist has to script and
project his teaching in a manner which will work - not in a
manner which will remind others of spirituality - arouses, if ever
perceived, feelings of great discomfort in the conditional
'devout' man or woman.
Yet the Theosophist insists that the adherence to traditional forms is
not a spiritual activity at all. It is only in recent years that he has
been able to call upon the insights and experiments of the
sociologists and psychologists to establish in current terminology,
and hence in acceptable form, the fact that very many 'people of
the spirit' are only religious in the sense that they have been
conditioned to feel certain emotional responses. And that such
people are, anthrologically speaking, little else than members
of a tribe. These facts, written down and asserted centuries ago
by Esoterists and Theosophists, are now thought by modern
thinkers - to be a great new discovery.
The supposedly devout are, in Theosophical terms (as well
as in the new understanding of contemporary workers in the
social sciences) cultists but hardly people of the spirit in the
The use of authorithy figures, "canonical" litterature, liturgy,
exercises, special clothes, and similarly standardised elements,
are now plainly seen as ingredients in trainning systems which
differ, one from the other, only in the ideas and symbols used.
Yet, these factors linger and confuse, producing blinkered
The deluded 'Theosophists', down the centuries, are those who have
taken temporary situations, parables and the like and
strecthed them to apply as perennial 'truths', 'exercises' and the
like. This kind of development, or hyperthrophy, has taken place
in other projections than that known as Theosophy. Indeed, it is this
which is responsible for the existence of a large number of cults
and religious bodies which are generally believed to be authentic
and authoritathive. In, reality, the fossilization which is represented
by such groups is the antithesis of a spiritual school.
Instead of developing people, it imprisons them, as genuine
Theosophists have never tired of pointing out.
So far has this process gone that, in most cultures, the imitation
has all but driven out the original. The result is that,
examining certain existing religious cults (some of them involving
multiple millions of people and possesing great influence)
nobody could be blamed for believeing this degenration
to be religion itself.
An fictious example:
Recently, explaining this attitude to a famous spiritual leader,
I received the answer; 'But it MUST be true: otherwise so many
people would not believe it.'
He had, clearly, not heard of Gresham's Law: 'Bad money
drives good out.'
I said, 'There are twice as many adherents of such-and-such a
religion as there are of your own. By your logic. THAT one
must be true. Its success proves it. Why don't you join that one
instead of your own?'
It was at that point that he started shouting at me.
Quality is more important than Quantity when we talk about
Theosophical or Esoterical members.
Among Theosophists, the development of Theosophical Organisations
gives us a conspicuous example of the process which I have been
describing. Of many of the major 'Paths' among the supposed
Theosophists of today (generally speaking), not a single one or only
very very few is traceable in its foundation to the man or woman who
is named as its founder. Each of the 'artificial ones' came into being only after
the founders death, formulated from some of his specific teachings
employed for local purposes, and soon turned into a cult.
'Theosophical Organisations' are temporary and time-limited. None
was started by its putative founder. When the teacher died, his disciples,
heroically but misguidedly, tried to preserve his teachings. Often in a
dead-letter manner.The result we know.
All the distortions - and more - which have persisted in Theosophy,
Esoterical - and other - teachings are due to the presence and activity
of the Lower Self.
There is no intention of destroying or undermining the Lower Self. But
the Theosophical activity insists upon asking: does is command you,
or do you command it?
I am happy If I have helped you all just a little.
M. Sufilight with peace and love.and some "Canonical" rugrats :-)
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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