HPB/AAB discussion - comments from an onlooker
Jan 10, 1994 01:09 PM
It would be interesting to comment on the Bailey discussion at this
point, since Jerry H-E's last reply seems to challenge my posting today,
but a half-hour earlier, on "Theosophy is not borrowed:"
In her writings, H.P. Blavatsky includes considerable references to
the religions and philosophies of the world. She cites extensively
from writers of her time. She would sometimes state ageeement, and say
that this idea is in line with the Secret Doctrine, and at other times
In doing so, she showed that the ideas found in the theosophical
teachings were not unique to her writings, but could be found elsewhere.
She attempted to express some of the Mystery Teachings, but often used
the words of others rather than her own words.
I don't think that a single exoteric religion or philosophy in the world
can be found that would be considered completely correct by Theosophy,
point-for-point correct. Disagreement would be found with all.
It is possible to take Blavatsky's writings and check her references,
to see that what she cited actually existed, and that the ideas that
she referred to were not taken out of context. The point that she made
that the ideas that she presents are found, scattered among the beliefs
of mankind, can be proven.
It is entirely another matter, thought, to prove her philosophy. Apart
from showing that much of her ideas are not original, the proof only
lies in one's practice of Theosophy, and the resulting experiences that
come from that practice.
Anyone can assemble a series of quotes, a group of ideas from
literature, and by selecting a good combination, end up with a new
philosophy. And the ideas in that philosophy can be shown to already
exist in the world. But when you take away the quotes, and look only
at the philosophy, then you have to consider it on its own merits.
And when it deals with the spiritual life, and with experiences that
go beyond what the reader can easily undergo, the philosophy has to
stand on its own.
To prove Theosophy requires living the life, a belief in the Teachings
that makes them a living reality, a spiritual presence that affects
the experience of life, and a willingness to give up the personal, the
selfish, the limiting consciousness of everyday existence, and to think
of others first.
There may have been many reasons for the extensive quotations in HPB's
writings. One may be to show that many of the ideas were not made up.
Another may have been to find ways to express ideas that did not have
an existing terminology in English to draw upon. And a third reason may
have been to draw attention away from herself as a Teacher, and make
her work seem of a more literary nature. Perhaps this would be a
more diplomatic manner of writing "The Secret Doctrine", one that did
not seem as much a challenge to Col. Olcott's authority as President of
The Theosophical Society. We could speculate and come up with a number
of possible reasons.
The reasons don't really matter, though, for we are talking about
differences in style of writing, and not addressing the primary issue
of the philosophy itself. The core concepts of Theosophy and the
derived worldview are what is found at the heart of the writings.
A discussion of the value of Theosophy should approach an analysis
of these ideas, and not merely deal with which historical figures may
have agreed with any particular one of them.
Blavatsky's writings are taken on the same sort of "faith" as Bailey's,
a faith of belief, and suspended judgement in a metaphysics that would
describe a far wider expanse of life that we are capable of experience.
A complete, unquestionable proof of either would require *initiation
into the Mysteries,* a proof that would only hold for the initiant, and
be of little use to others.
Other theosophical writers like Purucker approached the subject more
directly, and used quotations sparingly. The philosophy stands out as
clear, if not clearer, in his style of presentation, as it does in
that of Blavatsky's. Purucker's style was more concerned with teaching
the material, rather than just presenting it and showing that it was
not made up. He did not need to do so because of the work that Blavatsky
had already done.
Purucker also mentions a connection with the Mahatmas in the work that
he did. In his esoteric writings, he mentioned how there were four
Mahatmas behind his work, including Morya, Koot Humi, and J.K. Like
the philosophy itself, that claim may be difficult to prove to someone.
Depending upon which theosophical worldview that one subscribes to, it
may either seem quite true, or may be rejected out of hand. We will
each seek to find arguments to justify our own views, to show that
the idividuals whom we make our authorities somehow come out on top in
and are shown to be the ones whom really know!
Eldon Tucker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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