Leadbeater and Svabhavat
Dec 07, 1993 02:51 AM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
I'm glad to hear that you were already familiar with the
history concerning Leadbeater. Whether or not he is worthy of
devotion is an individual matter, and I wouldn't dream of trying
to talk anyone out of their deeply held beliefs, least of all
My own evaluation of Leadbeater, for the purposes of the
discussion at hand was irrelevant, as my purpose was to clarify
the sequence of events concerning the scandal between 1906 and
1908. I feel that I have accomplished that necessary task, and
am ready to drop it.
According to my Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Gossip is
defined as 1. "idle talk or rumor, esp. about personal or private
affairs of others: the endless gossip about Hollywood stars. 2.
light familiar talk or writing."
My discourse on this historical period was hardly idle, as I took
considerable time reviewing documents to assure that what I wrote
was correct. Since this was based upon documents, my little
essay hardly fits the description of rumor. I concede that if
Leadbeater were alive, this subject would be personal to him, but
on the other hand, that fact that the documentation we have on
this incident is drawn from documents generated by officials of
the Theosophical Society, the issue should not be considered
private. Though I understand that many would prefer this matter
to remain secret. But that is another story. Perhaps you are
drawing from a different definition of "gossip." If so, you will
need to enlighten me.
I'm afraid that you have misjudged my motives. I was perfectly
sincere in responding to these "painful issues" as you call
them. Who was I ridiculing?
For many people, Leadbeater is deserving of "credit, love and
admiration" as you say. My suggestion is that you take this
opportunity to educate us of the things that Leadbeater has done
that you find deserving of "credit, love, and admiration." Also,
if I have made any error of fact concerning the events of 1906-
1908, I think it your duty to correct me on them, and present
your documentation. I'm always ready to retract any information
proven to be erroneous.
When I use the term *universal*, I usually mean it in terms of
the solar system or of the galaxy, depending upon the context. I
believe this to be consistent with both Blavatsky's and
Purucker's usage. I agree with your use of the word *absolute*
as relative to the "world or universe" if you are implying that
this term also can be used in different contexts. I would be
careful of using the term *absolute* in the context of
quantification however, as I don't think it works without
misusing the term. The *absolute* that H.P.B. uses in the
cosmology in THE SECRET DOCTRINE is in contest to the Solar
System. This may surprise you, but look into THE TRANSACTIONS OF
THE BLAVATSKY LODGE, where she discusses the number
4,030,000,000,000, and you will see what I mean.
My I put my two cents worth in on this svabhavat/svabhava
Svabhavat is of course mentioned about ten times in the cosmology
section of THE SECRET DOCTRINE, and discussed at length on two of
those occasions. H.P.B. associates this philosophical term with
a sect of Buddhists she called Svabhavikas. I have never seen
this sect mentioned outside of THE SECRET DOCTRINE, but Buddhism
is not a subject I consider myself up on.
The term Svabhava, on the other hand, I have seen used once, or
no more than twice in all of H.P.B.'s writings, and then only
mentioned in passing. Purucker, on the other hand, makes
extensive use of this term.
In my experience, the term "svabhava" as a theosophical term is
almost unknown outside of the Point Loma tradition. The term is
not used at U.L.T., and Adyar theosophists are not familiar with
this word, unless they have read Purucker.
Personally, in the context of Buddhists studies, I would go by
Suzuki's definition, and just keep in mind that Purucker uses
this term in his own way.
Sometimes Theosophical terms are like that. H.P.B.'s definition
of "Devachan" does not pass scrutiny among Buddhist scholars.
Other Theosophical terms may be correctly used in some schools
but incorrect in others. I had a talk with Dr. Santucci on this
subject some years ago. His specialty is Vedic Studies. We had
a dialogue comparing Blavatsky's presentation of the Advaita
Vedanta to Dr. Santucci's understanding of the teaching of that
school, and found a lot of differences.
I can't account for these differences. Many may be due to the
discrepancies between popular expositions of religious ideas and
deeper, inside information. But the main lesson I have learned
is that it is a mistake to assume that the definitions of
theosophical terms as we have them, are representative of how
they are defined in the religions they are drawn from.
Concerning Leadbeater. The term "self abuse" was the polite term
for masturbation in Victorian society. In order to avoid
speaking of things concerning sexuality, the victorians had quite
a code worked out. You might find it interesting to read some of
the novels of that period. Babies came out of nowhere, and two
lovers having sexual relations was usually coded with the phase
"they kissed." The school of sex magic came to the surface
around 1904-5 through Aleister Crowley. Tillett has a theory
that Leadbeater may have drawn his ideas from him or from a
common source, but that can't be proven one way or the other so
far. You might be quite interested in Tillett's documentation of
Leadbeater's inner group practices however.
Unfortunately some theosophists are still in a Victorian
consciousness and sensitive to modern terminology. At a meeting
at the Los Angeles Branch, a woman once used the word "penis" in
a discussion. One of the older members was deeply shocked.
Since I was President at the time, he complained to me bitterly
and insisted that I talk to her. I did, but she didn't
understand the problem. "My mother was a Nurse" she said, "that
was the term we learned to use."
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