keep looking behind the words
Dec 09, 1993 01:13 PM
In a theosophical class, a topic may be hotly discussed. Everyone is
contributing their ideas. There may not be general agreement on the
truth of the matter. Many different viewpoints are being exchanged. And
then, someone opens up "Isis Unveiled" and gives a H.P.B. quote. There
is a dramatic silence, and everyone appears to concur.
Does this happen in your theosophical group? How is the discussion kept
true to Theosophy and yet kept living, alive, directly chasing the
greater truths? How do we keep the right direction, yet cut loose to
the chase? How can we stay true to the Teachings yet really delve into
them, to go after them on their own ground?
One statement that we find Blavatsky to have made is that some disciple
in the twentieth century may be sent forth by the Masters to give final,
irrefutable proofs of the science of Gupta Vida, the Esoteric
Philosophy. Let's consider what this statement means.
First, we have a possible task, something that *may* be done. This is
not biblical prophecy, something that is predestined according to some
inflexible plan, a plan laid out in ages past that cannot be altered
and does not change according to the actual events of life, as they
happen. Things change. So do the plans of men. And, I'd say, so also
do the plans of the Masters.
We are talking, in this quote, about a possible task, a single
project, a single thing for one or a few people to be concerned about
making happen. This task, of providing proof of the Wisdom Teachings,
of providing irrefutable proof, has, itself, to be considered, as to
what it means.
In "The Mahatma Letters," we read of how the Masters did not want to
give Sinnett final, irrefutable proof about their existence, or about
the Occult Sciences. He had asked for, but was refused, a copy of
the daily "The London Times", so that he could show without question
that the phenomena was valid. They preferred to not do so.
What kind of proof of the Gupta Vidya might be given, and to whom?
Certainly, a majority of mankind is not ready for such, and would not
accept any proof, however convincing. The proof, perhaps, was for
*those with eyes to see*, that is, it was for students of Theosophy.
This proof would wrap up the purpose of the book "The Secret Doctrine,"
and show how prevasive the Wisdom Tradition was.
The activities of the Masters in the world are not limited to the
few things that we find mentioned in our theosohical books. And we
can read how they are fallable, how they too can make mistakes. They
will try experiments that will fail. Things do not always work out.
Based upon an understanding of the philosohpy, we can infer by reason
and intuition--not merely idle speculation--both the nature of life as
well as the work of the Masters. We can do this, to a degree, limited
by our own innate capacity, the reach of our own ability *to know*.
We must not let ourselves come to the point where we are like
fundamentalist Christians, where they say that if it's not in the Bible,
then it cannot be true. We must not substitute "Theosophist" for
"Christian" and "Secret Doctrine" for "Bible", and do the same thing!
Consider the Masters. They have a stated purpose, an avowed intent in
doing a particular project, a particular task or activity in the world.
They can change their minds at any point of time, and this can be from
their own change of heart, or from an unexpected turn to events in the
world, where things are not working out as intended. If they say
something in 1888, that does not mean that they would say the same
thing a hundred years later.
Putting everything to the test of H.P.B. quotes is an intellectual
exercise that can be helpful. We need to continually reevaluate our
thinking and see if we've gone astray. But we also need to put things
to the test of *the philosophy*, to the test of an understanding that
we have deep within ourselves, for we can readily misunderstand the
quotes or overlook the truths behind them.
An understanding of the actual Teachings is much more than an
intellectual exercise, and requires us to originate the same thoughts,
and more, from within.
Someone can say: "Show me a quote to prove that statement." And it
might very well be possible to do so. But not always. And we cannot
deny that there is this wider field of study, apart from the quotes.
The written texts are the *diving boards* off which we jump, not the
bench we may sit on. If we are told that citations cannot be found to
support a particular insight, or that only a weak case can be made
when we weave together a dozen assorted passages, we are saying that
there are no readily available words to help us arrive at the insight.
The insight stands, if it is true, independent of any scholarly
The type of learning that we are talking about, the type of direct
insight that we are seeking to foster, cannot be understood simply
by describing how it works. We do not understand how to do it or what
it really involves by describing it in psychological or metaphysical
terms. We understand it, and greatly benefit from it, *by doing it*.
We are told of Buddhi-Manas, higher Manas, our own faculty of knowing.
It can be used. We can stand back and deny it, or say that it is
too difficult, too advanced, say that we cannot try it because only
one in a million may be ready, by saying that everyone talking about it
are just pretenders or lost in some mayavic delusion. We can say all
this, but we would be wrong. These are excuses for keeping on our
own mental blinders, out of a sense, perhaps, of insecurity, of the
insecurity that comes of venturing into uncharted waters.
Try sitting down, with books closed, and be prepared to take notes.
With pen in hand, see if you can write the outline of some genuine,
substantial materials on the Esoteric Philosophy. With no references,
no one to talk to, and no distractions, try to see what comes. You
may be surprized! You may find that you've learned something that you
did not know before.
Mental clarity and scholarly accuracy are very important. We can come
up with all sorts of untrue things through a mind that is without
direction, that is directed by the emotional nature or psychic visions.
Regarding books to study, I would include Purucker and the Point
Loma books among those that I give serious attention to. This is since
I would consider Purucker as a Teacher, and would expect that
individuals of a certain temperament would be attracted to him. His
being a Teacher does not preclude other Teachers, but I would not
always be in a position where I could judge their validity. I can only
speak for myself, where I find considerable value in the study of
Something else is needed, though, in addition to that clarity. We need
a spiritual vision where we can *see* truth, and we must develop this
vision by using it.
If we realize a grand idea, we must not automatically say that it is
not really theosophical, because we did not read it first. We may
seek to read about it to study it more. But it is not automatically
necessary to find a quote to authenticate the idea. The real support for
an idea is by an inner *knowing* that it is true, a perception, and
not from external sources.
These uncharted waters are dangerous, though, and it is easy to lose
one's way. Many try them and end up confused. It is easy to mix in
much misunderstanding with the insights arrived at. These
misunderstandings could have been cleared up by the continued study of
the core concepts of Theosophy. The use of the intellect allows us a
reality check, a compass that helps us keep our directions straight.
The intellectual study of the Teachings is never over, though our
progress depends upon much more than just that intellectual study.
We are told to know, to dare, to will, and to keep silent. We are not
really authorized to Teach, to directly reveal the deepest secrets that
may come to us. Just because we have an insight does not mean it's a
good time to open our mouths and tell others. The act of telling
engenders karmic responsibilities that we may not want to take on.
There may be many errors in the initial ideas, errors that we need to
work out over years of study and contemplation. So it is best to
share what we really know well, what we have made a part of ourselves,
and leave the deepest that we know to grow within, in the silence.
We should let our ideas grow to adulthood before we put them out into
These ideas that we arrive at form within our minds like crystals,
objects of mathematical perfection and intrinsic beauty. They arise
out of a rich sea of understanding, and can be admired and enjoyed.
But they are impermanent, have when their time has come, they must be
destroyed and replaced by yet other ideas.
The validity of what we achieve in our contemplation is intrinsic.
There is not a need, for us, to have an H.P.B. quote to approve, to
sanction, to authorize it. It is only when we being to teach others,
that we must stay close to what was already taught, or to what we
really, truly know, what we've thoroughly mastered and made a part of
our lives. We should observe the rule of silence regarding anything
still too new to us, regarding things that we have not well mastered.
Coming back to the "Secret Doctrine" quote regarding a Messanger to
come in the twentieth century, we should remember that, quote or not,
if it was necessary for others to follow and expand on or complete and
round out H.P.B.'s work, they will come.
We do not have to personally know a Master, or to be in direct
communication with one, to understand something of them, and what they
might be doing. What we know of them does not have to be limited to
those quotes that everyone can agree are authoritative. We can also
derive knowledge from an understanding and a direct application of the
philosophy in our lives.
We have a number of ism's to avoid, including psychism, materialism,
and spiritualism. There's perhaps another, if we may coin a new word:
cite-ism, the fixation on citations where they are seen as an end in
themselves rather than the starting place for the study.
Theosophy does not *stop at the quote*. It *starts at the quote*.
It is not just something to read about, it should also be taken
seriously as a reality in its own right and applied.
Eldon Tucker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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