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More what is theosophy?

Sep 20, 1993 07:15 AM
by Donald DeGracia


It would seem that Eldon has hit on an interesting and useful topic
here. I would like to continue commenting on the msgs that have
appeared so far.

First, to Sarah:

<By the way, what DID Blavatsky smoke?>
Yes she did, and she swore a lot too! Olcott often called here
"the old cow", and they both got a kick out of that!

Now in regard to what Eldon said:

<I believe that there are genuine Mystery Teachings, in an exoteric
form, at the core of the theosophical writings, and feel concerned
that they are being hidden from or lost to the general public behind
a smoke screen of personal opinions and interpretations. >

Regarding this statement, its useful to hold Sarah's comment next to it:

<Philosophies are ideas, are thoughts, and thus they are mortal, and
by that limitation should be judged by their usefulness in the moment
of a particular circumstance ultimately. >

Personally, as is obvious from my previous statements, I favor Sarah's
attitude, which is the attitude of the relativity of ideas. From this
framework, the burden of proof falls on Eldon in regard to dislaying
a "genuine Mystery the core of the theosophical

I guess how you take Eldon's comment depends on how you view
Theosophy. At one extreme you could think of theosophy as an
organized religion akin to Christianity. Look at how the Roman
Catholic Church has fought for 1000 years to maintain a constant
core to its teachings. On the other hand, you could look at
theosophy as a type of science, in which case, the merit of the
ideas lives or dies on their validity. It all depends on what
role faith and belief will play in how we interpret the theosophical
teachings. If we want to think that theosophy requires a degree
of faith and belief, then theosophy will be more like the Church.
If we want to see theosophy as more like science, then we will
strive to eliminate faith and look for concrete proof of the
valitidy of the theosophical teachings. Again, I opt for the
latter, and have made numerous inroads in finding means to display
the validty of certain of the theosophical teachings. Those
teachings in which I can find no way to test, I treat as tentative
ideas, that I neither deny nor give absolute validity to.

Still, I generally agree with Sarah here. As well, Dane Rudhyar in
his book "Occult Preparations For A New Age" discusses theosophy as
a historical phenomena and what it means for these teachings to
have appeared when they did in human history. Rudhyar's general
idea is that there is always a constant influx of spiritual energy
into humanity from Divine sources. However, this energy can only
enter into the human sphere by a human agent.  This human agent can
only work with in the boundaries and framework of the culture and
society to which this agent belongs. Thus, the picture Rudhyar paints
is that the constant, or "core" factor here is Divinity entering
Humanity, and what is always relative is the form that this Divine
impulse will take.  The impulse will always be forced to express
itself in the raw materials of the culture of the time. Again, this
is the basis Rudhyar uses to analyze Theosophy in the book mentioned
above.  This book is highly recommended to those who have a deep
interest in what we are discussing here. I can only paraphrase
Rudhyar, but can not even begin to capture his brilliance and depth
of insight.

To me, the bottom line to Rudhyar's thinking revolves around the
dualism of form verses substance. From Buddha to Jesus to Blavatsky
to Karl Marx to Darwin to Einstien, we see a common essence or
substance at work here. This common core is the progressive
enlightenment of Humanity as a whole. However, the form changes
drastically from one era to the next.  What we need to focus on is
the essence, the substance behind the form. The form itself, the
forms that the divine uses to enter humanity are relative. When we
worship the form without understanding the substance, then we make
the sin of worshipping the Golden Calf.

Even Blavatsky attmepted to show that a common thread, the
so-called "perineal tradition" ran through all the worlds religions.
Blavatsky attempted to distill out this common perineal tradition,
this common essence or substance behind all mystery teachings and
religions, and to codify it. However, her codification was expressed
in the form and symbols relevant to the late 19th century of Western
Civilization.  Today, even the symbols of our own civilization from
1 mere century ago are not that relevant to the mind of the modern
western person. A *lot* has changed since Blavatsky's day.  None of
the original theosophists saw, for example, Hiroshima.

So, this leaves us in the position where we must be careful what
we mean when we queston; what is theosophy?  If we want to cling to
symbols and ideas create by Victorian minds who lived at the very
dawn of the technological age we now inhabit, then we are probably
getting too close to worshiping the golden calf. If, on the other
hand, we want to continue with Blavatsky's challange of finding the
perineal tradtion that threads through all noble teachings, then we
are probably closer to the truth of theosophy.   As John Mead said,
its a process, not a doctrine.

In this regard, we have to be careful making statements like:

<and feel concerned that they (i.e. the core of the Mystery
Teachings) are being hidden from or lost to the general public
behind a smoke screen of personal opinions and interpretations. >

We must ask ourselves? What is the relevance of a teaching if it
can't be put into a perspective that is relevant for an indivdual
or even for a whole era in history? Was not Blavatsky's writing her
own personal interpretation of things that transcend the purely human
world of affairs?

Again, Sarah's words are relevant here:

< Refrain from giving these human,
though divinely inspired thoughts the status of the "Gods", who alone
understand the nature of LAW, which lies beyond the human mental

Well, nuff for now. Cheers to everyone!


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