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Re: Theos-World Krishnamurti, theosophy, & the TS

May 16, 2008 09:56 PM
by Govert Schuller

Dear Aryel,

Good to hear from you. How was your minor pralaya? How is your wife doing?
I'm sorry to hear you had some grave challenges with your health, but glad
that your mind is in good shape.

As we had some good battles in 2000 over phenomenology and Krishnamurti you
might be interested that I persued some more of this school of thought,
especially Heidegger. This led in 2004 in hosting a class at the TSA on
phenomenology titled "The Power of Existential Intuition," for which I wrote
a paper "The Relevance of Phenomenology for Theosophy," with a little
sub-section on Krishnamurti in which I mention your study on K. More can be
done in this direction, though I'm sure you'd consider it as relatively

Best wishes


The Relevance of Phenomenology for Theosophy

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Aryel Sanat" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, May 12, 2008 6:36 AM
Subject: Re: Theos-World Krishnamurti, theosophy, & the TS

To all readers,

My name is Aryel Sanat, & I am introducing myself to all of you,
since I'll be participating in some of the discussions.  For health
reasons, I may not be able to stay long.  I am particularly
interested in comments made by a number of you about Krishnamurti &
his relationship to theosophy & the TS, which strikes me as a central
issue in the present elections.  I'd like to share with you my five
cents' worth on the subject, hoping also to learn something in the
process.  Before I jump in to respond to some comments & issues
raised on this subject, I'd like to make a brief statement.

My perception is that it is extremely difficult, perhaps impossible,
to make any sense of what K might mean in a theosophical context
unless one understands the difference between what I have called
Theosophy (with a capital T) and theosophy (small t), based on the
distinction made by HPB & her teachers between "esoteric" and
"exoteric."  Capital T Theosophy is a system of thought that was
created around teachings given initially by HPB & her teachers, &
then further elaborated on by others, both in & out of the TS.  Small
t theosophy refers to the process of psychological transformation
that has always been at the center of every single perennial school
in the world.

So Theosophy & theosophy have some points in common, but they are
radically different in essence.  When one speaks (in the present
context) of such things as reincarnation, karma, life after death,
root races, & the like, one is speaking in Theosophical terms.  When
one speaks of the psychological rigors implicit in what used to be
called "initiation" in every single perennial school, one is speaking
of theosophy.  In this context, anyone engaging in the death of the
me that theosophy consists of, would be almost certain to understand
someone who is engaged in Theosophy, which is a system of ideas.  On
the other hand, someone engaging exclusively in Theosophy might find
it very hard to understand theosophy.  A Theosophist might find it
difficult to understand someone trying to convey some of the
implications of theosophy.  A Theosophist might expect to see his
ideas & expectations, based mostly on reading books & listening to
"knowledgeable" people, confirmed in some way or another.  A
Theosophist might even be shocked to hear what a theosophist might
say on some subjects.

For instance, a theosophist --- being someone engaged in dying to the
known --- might shun beliefs of any kind, given that all beliefs can
become forms of attachment, crutches in important ways.  In the
process of being a theosophist, she had to face the reality that
beliefs --- like any other "possessions" of the me --- need to be
transcended, & are ephemeral.  So when a Theosophist hears this, he
might be shocked.  Conceivably, he might say things like:  "You mean
I must not believe in reincarnation?  Preposterous!  You must be crazy!"

According to HPB & her teachers, they were attempting to make the
world aware of the existence of theosophy throughout the ages.
Unfortunately, they had a very big problem in being able to
accomplish this:  The majority of people were of the world, worldly,
& the last thing these worldly people would be likely to be
interested in would be for someone to tell them that in order for
there to be true wisdom/compassion, they had to die to all their
attachments based on their conditioning.  After all, this is
precisely what all candidates in the world, for millenia, had to do,
in every single perennial school we know of.  In Egypt, a candidate
is said to have been put in a sarcophagus (a coffin) for several days
on end, so as to face his own mortality, & so as to see directly the
lack of substance in the candidate's various attachments in "the
outside world."  This also is part of the purpose of Tibetan lamas
meditating while sitting on the bones of some formerly wise lama, now
physically gone:  Meditation under such circumstances brings home the
point that even if you're very wise & compassionate, important
components of why people remember you after you die are also gone.
theosophical realities can be ruthlessly clear about some realities
of life.

People in "the outside world" don't want to hear about any of this,
finding it rather loony & "impractical" & even "fantastical."  & if
such a reaction is true today (when we've been exposed to Buddhism,
transpersonal psychology, mythology, Krishnamurti, & a great deal
more), imagine what the reaction would have been in the late 19th
century, when HPB, at the behest of her teachers, was trying to point
out the existence & reality of this "other world" to people who were
snobishly certain that they already knew all that was important to
know.  For instance, in 1895 (4 years after HPB died) Lord Kelvin
(whose work is still relevant in the field of physics) made the
statement that perhaps the Chair of Physics should be closed, since
everything that needed to be known in physics was already known!  &
please look at the fact that Lord Kelvin was a particularly smart guy
of the times.

In such environment of unmitigated hubris, HPB's teachers had no
other choice than to provide people with something they might be more
likely to accept.  This is why various "teachings" were presented to
such an audience, in the hope (perhaps a "forlorn hope," as KH called
it at one point) that perchance a few would see the importance of
theosophy, of engaging in a transformative lifestyle.  The
"teachings" that were given out eventually became known as
"Theosophy."  These "teachings" were meant all along to provide an
avenue for the few, to move on to what really mattered to the
perennial teachers:  transformation of human society through the
theosophical transformation of individuals.

If you are interested in seeing documentation for these statements
regarding theosophy & Theosophy, I provide it in part in the
following two papers, which were presented at the Third Secret
Doctrine Symposium, held in Oklahoma City in May, 1998.  The first
paper documents this distinction in the major works of HPB other than
The Secret Doctrine.  The second paper shows how this distinction is
critical in order to understand the deeper meaning of The Secret
Doctrine.  As I pointed out in this second paper, The Secret Doctrine
is in great part a commentary on The Stanzas of Dzyan, & based on
what HPB herself says (as quoted in the paper) this ancient
manuscript would have been called The Stanzas of Zen if HPB had been
living 50 years later, when the world was more acquainted with the
word "zen."

The Stanzas, as she points out at the beginning of The Voice of the
Silence, is the same kind of book that The Voice is.  As she put it:

"The work from which I here translate forms part of the series as
that from which the "Stanzas" of The Book of Dzyan were taken, on
which The Secret Doctrine is based."

It should be observed that The Voice of the Silence is strictly a
book of psychological transformation, not a metaphysical treatise in
any way, shape, or form.  This is a work of theosophy, not of
Theosophy.  Of further interest is that it is from these texts that
HPB derived some of her theosophical "training" under her teachers.
As she put it, "I know many of these Precepts by heart," suggesting
that her own theosophical "training" consisted in part on meditating
on these "Precepts."

In any case, here are the two papers, with fuller documentation of
the fact that HPB & her teachers made a very clear & vital
distinction between theosophy & Theosophy.  Usually, they made this
distinction by calling theosophy "the esoteric teachings," & calling
Theosophy "the exoteric teachings."  Both have a value.  Without
Theosophy, many people would never have found out about theosophy.
So we do need Theosophy, & making this distinction is not a matter of
putting it down as unessential.  But it is also true that Theosophy
is not theosophy, & we should be very, very clear about this fact.
Otherwise, it does not seem possible to have any clarity at all
regarding K & his place in theosophical history.

> I will address specific questions & issues raised by some of you in
> subsequent messages.

> Aryel

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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