Jan 11, 1994 01:09 AM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
No. My last reply was completely in response to Paul's
comments, and not in reference to your message posted earlier.
In fact, I had not read your message when I posted mine. But as
I read your message, I don't see how it challenges or even really
addresses my posting.
As for your latest posting, this also doesn't, in my mind,
disagree with anything I wrote to Paul. For the most part I
agree with you, except on some points, that I may as well
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.
I think you are being a bit generous by saying that *anyone*
can assemble ideas and end up with a new philosophy. In
Philosophical and literary circles, this is considered an act of
rare genius. H.P.B. was beginning to gain this kind of respect
during her time. Even Carl Jung stated that the Theosophical
Movement was one of the two wholly original continents of thought
to be given to the Western world in modern times. I submit that
if it wasn't for all of the hocus pocus revelations of Besant and
Leadbeater, that brought academic ridicule upon the T.S., and by
default upon H.P.B., she would today be considered by academia
and by the general population to be among the greatest
intellectuals of the last century.
If you take away the quotes, as you say, then you have to
consider the philosophy on its own merits. Yes, I agree. But an
interested reader will have to consider the philosophy on its own
merits in the end anyway, because that is usually the reason for
reading a philosophical work. But to interest the academic world
as H.P.B. was trying to do, you must put the quotes back in.
Most of H.P.B.'s books do not directly deal with the
spiritual life. The obvious exception is THE VOICE OF THE
SILENCE, which is not so much an original work, but rather a
translation of selected fragments. Therefore I cannot find any
application to your last sentence in context with your foregoing
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
Yes, we can speculate upon many reasons for H.P.B.'s
extensive quotations. But I prefer to stay with the reasons she
gives, unless you have reason to doubt them. As for Olcott's
authority, H.P.B.'s issues with him had nothing to do with her
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.
You may take Blavatsky's writings on "the same sort of
`faith' as Bailey's. Certainly most theosophists I have met do
take their favorite theosophical writers on faith. For myself, I
don't take Blavatsky or any other writer on faith. Just because
her genre is occultism doesn't warrant taking her writings on
faith either. In fact, she warns her reader against doing so. A
"suspended judgement" is not faith.
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.
I think you have been gravely mis-informed here. Purucker
never wrote any theosophical books. All of his books are
compilations of lectures, transcribed as he gave them. That is
why you don't find footnotes, references etc.--because that kind
of thing is not done in oral discourse. You may prefer reading
Purucker because of this, but for myself and others I have talked
to, his lack of references is annoying. One cannot go back and
check his statements or even read for one self his sources, if he
doesn't give them. I think, the greatest service Purucker
students could do for him, would be to research his sources and
add them in as they republish his works. The bottom line is that
as great a scholar as Purucker may have been, his scholarship is
useless when his statements are not backed up by references.
This is not my own judgement, this is the world we live in.
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.
As you indicated, Purucker's mention of his personal
connection with the Mahatmas is only to be found in his E.S.
material. This was not intended to be public knowledge. Emmett
Small, in his oral historical account, says that Purucker had
specifically forbidden the publication of the material that makes
up DIALOGUES, and believes that Conger was wrong in publishing
them. I'm not raising this point to start a debate on who is
right (between Small and Conger), but only to backup my point
that this E.S. material, when originally given out was private,
and only available to pledged members. Therefore, from the
public point of view, Purucker's books are only backed by
You might also keep in mind that Besant and Leadbeater also
claimed personal connection with the Mahatmas. Does that fact
elevate their writings to the same status as Purucker?
Yes I am interested in seeing the dialogue between you and
Nicholas, providing it is alright with both of you. Since
Nicholas is very familiar with AAB's and HPB's writings, I will
probably take a very quiet front row seat.
I'm also interested in your response to the pamphlet THE
PSEUDO OCCULTISM OF ALICE BAILEY, since you choose to answer it.
But I think it would be a waste of time to bring this piece into
the discussion, because I think it is based upon a very
superficial investigation of AAB's works, and should not have
been published in the first place. That is why I never brought
the pamphlet up in the first place. However, if you disagree
with this, I'm willing to go along with your wisdom. If you need
any assistance in answering any of the issues in this pamphlet
that requires a knowledge of Blavatsky, I will be glad to help in
any way that I can. But you are the expert on Bailey, so of
course I can't help you there, unless it is a historical
question--in which case, I might be able to help.
AAB wrote two categories of books : those that she authored
(there are half a dozen or so of this type incl. her
autobiography, 'From Intellect to Intuition', 'Soul, and
its Mechanism', 'Consciousness of the Atom') , and those
she wrote in collaboration with DK. The first type is full
of references, just like HPB's works are, to various and
sundry authors. The second type has very few references
(and I really appreciate that because it makes the reading
much easier). There is also a third type of book, the
'Light of the Soul' (Yoga Sutras of Patanjali) which has
commentaries by AAB and English translation of the Sutras
by DK. This one also has a bunch of references as well.
I have mentioned several times that I had read AAB's
Autobiography very closely, so you can assume that any
information about her that is in this book, I am already familiar
with. I confess that my original paragraph that you are replying
to failed to mention that AAB also drew information from her own
head, but I left that to be assumed, though I did mention this
source in a later paragraph. I also mentioned several times in
the past that I fumbled though ESOTERIC ASTROLOGY, which I found
to be inadequately referenced, even considering the nature of the
material. Her other books, I have not looked at as carefully. I
will take a closer look at her "first type" of books, and let you
You can see a change in the language and scholastic content
between the two (or three) types of books. For me, I love
the books for the language. Even if it was proved that the
contents were not 100% accurate, I'd still be reading them,
just for the conciseness of language. I know this comes as a
surprise to several on this network who claim that AAB's
literary style is verbose and difficult to understand;
incidentally, how many there are who think the same of SD?
I know of several persons who claim that SD is too
difficult to read (staunch 'theosophists' among them!)
Yes, I have heard from other students that the language and
difficulty of AAB's books vary. I hope we will eventually get to
the point where we can look at this. Most theosophists I have
met in my life tell me that they have read the S.D., but of those
who make this claim, very few exhibit even a rudimentary
understanding of what is in it. I have come to the conclusion
that most older generation theosophists (most whom are now dead)
used to claim to have read the S.D. as sort of a status symbol,
but at most, had only looked at it. Those who have really tried
to read it, but found it to difficult, are more honest in their
assessment. I have taught the S.D. for twenty years now to a lot
of students for whom I can vouch that they have not only read the
book, but understand it quite well. So I think I'm in a position
where, based upon my own teaching experience, I can tell you what
kind of problems people have in reading the S.D.:
The most common problem is from students who are already
familiar with theosophical teachings through a "neo-theosophical"
author. Neo-theosophical authors give different meanings to
identical terms, and shift the meanings of whole concepts, from
those given by H.P.B. These redefinitions and meaning shifts
must number in the hundreds. To give you one example: the neo-
theosophical meaning of the term "astral body" is a vehicle for
the emotions. In Blavatsky's terminology, the "astral body" has
nothing to do with emotions, but is the model from which the
physical body molds itself. Some examples of neo-theosophical
authors are: C.W. Leadbeater, Annie Besant, C. Jinarajadasa, A.E.
Powell, George Arundale, etc.
I found that those students who were already familiar with
another system of theosophy were the hardest to teach. They
wanted to cling to what they already knew, even if it met not
understanding what they were reading. Unlearning one system in
order to learn another is a very difficult and painful process,
that most people are, in the final analysis, unwilling to go
The second most common problem is that beginning students
are put off by the barrage of new terminology. I try to joke
with these people, assuring them that the number of new terms are
finite--eventually she runs out of them. This is reassuring for
the motivated, who usually get through. Others are just plain
lazy, and are unwilling to make the mental effort of reading
material "with too many big words."
Aside from the vocabulary and unfamiliar context, H.P.B.'s
writing is not very difficult for those of average intelligence.
Compared to some of the modern academic material in the fields of
philosophy and literature, Blavatsky is a piece of cake. She
does not resort to fragmented syntaxes, dense writing and thick
descriptions that are found today. True, there are a few
difficult paragraphs in the S.D., but the difficulty is not from
a difficult writing style, but from her occasionally trying to
stuff too much information into one paragraph.
I do not know whether AAB's manuscripts are available for
public viewing but I know she claims that DK corrected each
one of the articles/books that he wrote with her (AAB).
Personally I would love to see AAB's mss with DK's
corrections on them.
I think Eldon has done a pretty good job in his message of
this afternoon on this. DK through AAB has only asked the
readers to accept the writing as a sort of working
HYPOTHESIS (you can get the exact quote from 'An Extract
from a Statement by the Tibetan', which appears in front of
every book on which DK colloborated with AAB). Also, what
of the works like the Bible, or so many religious books that
have no references? It is not necessary to include
references to make a work a genuine piece of teaching.
I'm familiar with the quote, and had it in the back of my
mind when I was responding to Paul. I suggest that you read my
answer to Eldon above, and let me know if you still think he did
a good job answering for you.
Most religious books are quasi-historical, mythological and
metaphorical works. Works of these genres never required
references, as such a gesture would be meaningless. Blavatsky's
writings were clearly slanted towards the educated and the
academics. Her works are philosophical--not holy scripture.
Therefore, she has references.
The Bible (which you gave as an example) is a mixed bag.
Some books are very esoteric, others are devotional, while others
are fragments of folk lore. Others were written for obvious
political reasons. Some of it is mythological, much is
metaphorical, and some happens to be historical. The historical
portions were supposed to have been written first hand.
Obviously, first hand historical accounts, mythologies,
folklores, and devotional works don't have references, whether
they are esoteric or not.
I suggest that it is time that we start looking at the
Bailey teachings proper and compare them to Blavatsky's. I'm not
sure how this could best be done. Perhaps we might take one of
Bailey's books that you feel is most representative of the
teachings, and we examine it chapter by chapter. Or perhaps you
have another idea.
Until next time
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