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Jan 07, 1994 03:17 PM
by K. Paul Johnson

There's so much talk about Alice Bailey that I can't resist
offering my 2 cents (or less) worth.  I've read all of HPB and
just a couple of Bailey books, so have a limited basis for
comparison.  And as Arvind points out, different sources will
awaken different people, and we should never disparage any
source that leads to spiritual awakening.  That said, I would
suggest a very important distinction between HPB and AAB.  HPB
spent a lifetime in active pursuit of adept wisdom, meeting
scores of teachers of various traditions, traveling more widely
than any woman of her time, striving to make a conscious
synthesis of all the material she discovered.  She paid enough
dues in this regard to be considered the most learned woman of
her century.  By emphasizing her indebtedness to her teachers,
she may have sold herself short in terms of letting us realize
her own greatness.  Bailey, on the other hand, like CWL and
many others, was a passive receiver rather than an active
pursuer.  We have no way of empirically testing her assertions
about her sources; with HPB there is abundant historical
evidence to support what she says.

My own theory about Bailey, or the Temple of the People
channeled material, etc. etc. is that we don't have to limit
ourselves to the options of 1)genuinely came from HPB's
teachers or 2)is deliberate fraud or 3)is self-deluded material
from the unconscious of the medium.  The theory of egregores
gives another, more persuasive option: that there are objective
reservoirs of thought/feeling generated by collective belief,
and that they can be tapped into rather readily.  E.g. Richard
Smoley tells me there's a woman in California who channels
Barbie!  Think of the millions of little girls whose love for
Barbie is gathered in some pool of Barbie-ness on the astral
plane, and it seems entirely plausible that she can get
channeled.  Does this mean there's a real cosmic Barbie?  Yes
and no.  Is AAB tapping into the "real" DK?  My research
suggests otherwise.  But that she was entirely sincere, was
channeling something objectively/subjectively existent, and
that the results of this channeling may be valuable, I have no
doubt.  Still, I can't help feeling a lot more comfortable
studying someone like HPB whose works you can get hold of in an
objective historical way.

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