Bailey, Faith, Medicine.
Jan 12, 1994 03:22 AM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
I like the distinctions you have made concerning the two
significations of the word "theosophy." However, the Adyar
Society had long ago adopted the jargon of "big `T' and little`t'
theosophy, to distinguish between "Theosophy" as those teachings
presented by their accepted theosophical writers, and "theosophy"
as those ideas they believe to be "theosophical," that they find
in all other literature. For example Leadbeater's MASTERS ON THE
PATH is big "T" Theosophy, while Capra's THE TAO OF PHYSICS is
little "t" theosophy. This also seems to be the definition that
Eldon puts forth in his message to us, though he may disagree
with the Adyar definition on specific titles. Therefore, I
wonder, if we can come up with another set of labels for your
distinction, that won't be confused with the already established
Adyar distinctions. Perhaps "Theosophy" might be "historical
theosophy" and "theosophy" might be "spiritual theosophy."
In you final paragraph you wrote:
My first instinct in reading Eldon's comment about taking
HPB on faith was to totally reject it. In fact, I do not
take any Theosophical teaching on faith and think she would
be horrified if anyone did. But on reflection I realized
that where faith comes in is the basic faith that there is
such a thing as theosophy. That cannot be proven, we just
have to have an inner feeling guiding us toward it. Perhaps
the best definition of a theosophist is anyone who believes
there is such a thing as theosophy.
I feel your first instinct better hits the mark. Once
again, the issue is one of semantics, but an important one to be
in touch with if we are to be able to communicate Theosophy or
theosophy meaningfully in today's changing paradigm. What we
know of theosophy is based upon what has been communicated to us
in one way or another. It is true that we can have faith in the
existence of theosophy as a transcendental truth, just as some
people have faith in the existence of God, Heaven, Hell and the
Devil. But I don't believe that even this kind of faith is
necessary. However, if one prefers to use faith, then there is
an even more basic issue of faith than the existence of
theosophy. That is the existence of a transcendental TRUTH. In
our present theosophical study group, we spent about three weeks
discussing this issue.
For your last message, I think it might be easiest for me to
reproduce each of your paragraphs and respond to them:
In your latest message, you wrote:
>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
>probably take a very quiet front row seat.
I think you will (and I will too) be active participants in
this discussion, not only silent observers.
I don't see what I can contribute to such a learned
dialogue, but I will follow your lead.
This plus the following items are what I propose as the next
items on the 'agenda':
(a)Discussion of daily spiritual practice as advocated in
AAB books (I will comment on what I do based on almost
exclusive AAB teaching so you can comment on what if
anything is wrong with it, or what you will do differently
if you only believed in HPB writing and not AAB writings).
I believe that spiritual practice is a very personal matter.
I rarely discuss my own practices, nor do I enquire into others.
As a matter of principle, I don't criticize the spiritual
practices of other people, regardless of my personal opinion of
these practices--unless they are obviously destructive--like self
mutilation or something. I feel that any practice that makes a
person more in tune, more centered, more loving etc. is a good
spiritual practice for that person. Therefore, I will tell you
in advance that unless AAB is advocating something outrageous
such as mass murder as a spiritual practice, I will have no
criticism of it. So perhaps we can move onto something more
conducive for discussion.
(b)Examination of the Cleather pamphlet. I donot know
whether anyone has discussed it before, but there are
important points that may come out of our discussion on it.
I've already several times on this bulletin board made
unfavorable comments about the Cleather Pamphlet. But if you
feel that discussion of it is productive, I will be happy to go
along with you.
Perhaps we should begin with 'A Treatise on Cosmic Fire',
which I have not read but am very anxious to read; I had
earlier suggested that we each read a certain portion of it
and compare notes on a weekly basis... or something like
that. Will that be acceptable to you.
A TREATISE ON COSMIC FIRE is fine with me, though it is a
very long book, and will take a while--but I don't mind. I
suggest that we read through to page 33--that seems like a
natural breakoff point, and won't burden my tight schedule.
And you had earlier stated that you will write
about why Theosophists donot like AAB writing (before you
left for vacation). Can you address that now?
From my earlier perusal of AAB's writings, I found that many
of her teachings were drawn directly from Besant and Leadbeater's
E.S. writings, which to this day, are not publicly available.
For the E.S. to publicly acknowledge that AAB was publishing
secret E.S. material, would give away to the public the nature of
the very material the E.S. is trying to keep secret. Therefore,
Bailey had to be condemned on other grounds. To condemn her as a
channeler solved the dilemma. I cannot prove this--it is only a
hypothesis, but it seems to fit the facts much better than the
"offical story." To this day, an E.S. member who studies and
practices AAB meditation methods is subject to immediate
expulsion from the E.S. For obvious reasons, I probably should
not elaborate much more on this.
You also wrote:
> 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.
Bailey says that everything goes from the mental body to the
'astral body' to the etheric to the dense physical, so in a
sense the astral body is the model from which the physical
body molds itself. I think this stuff is 'semantics' or
terminology more than anything else. Also I donot think
that we can condemn everything that A.Besant or Leadbeater
wrote as necessarily opposite to what HPB said. I'll say
more on this later...
I don't know how Bailey defines the "astral body" and can't
draw any conclusions from your above statement, because I can't
follow it. What do you mean by "everything?" How is your
statement that "everything goes from the mental body to the
astral body to the etheric to the dense physical" supposed to
lead me to the conclusion that the astral body is the model from
which the physical body molds itself?
If you had spent as many hours as I have trying to
straighten out the confusion in student's minds concerning the
conflicting terminology in the two systems of theosophy, you
might feel differently about this. Apparently you haven't yet
read the Ray Morgan book Dan Caldwell sent you on the differences
between theosophy and neo-theosophy. If you have read and
understood this book and still feel that there is no conflict
between H.P.B. and C.W.L., then I find your position astounding,
and we will need to discuss and resolve this issue before we can
go any further.
I would not agree that quotes would be needed to interest
the academic world. It really depends upon what the purpose
of the quotes is for. Using citations is almost a ritual in
writing academic papers; one is supposed to throw in a few
dozen references, from one's growing collection, to somehow
show the value of one's material.
The purpose of a citation is to tell you where you can go to
read further on a particular topic, or to get additional
information on a particular point being made. It is a sort
of cross-reference between different works or papers.
Yes, there is "almost a ritual" in the writing of academic
works, but it goes further than using citations. The general
formula for writing an academic work is: 1. Make a thesis
statement and for a logner work, give an overview; 2. Cite other
writers who have written on the same topic, and show where they
have fallen short; 3. elaborate and support your own thesis using
authoritative evidence. 4. form a conclusion. Every academic
paper by definition more or less follows this formula. If you
look carefully at the S.D. you will find that H.P.B. followed
this academic model: 1. Her thesis is in the Introduction and
her overview is in the Proem; 2. She begins her introduction by
citing the only other exposition of theosophical doctrine at the
time--ESOTERIC BUDDHISM, and shows where it had fallen short; 3.
The bulk of her two volumes elaborate upon her thesis stated in
the Introduction, and is backed up throughout by authoritative
references; 4. Each volume has a conclusion section, followed by
additional supporting arguments.
Therefore, the S.D. exactly follows the academic "ritual."
I submit that this was not an accident, but intentional,
precisely because she *wanted* to catch the attention and
interest of academics. She realized that for a work to be
accepted as academic, it must follow the academic form.
I find Purucker's writings especially helpful in this
regard. Some were based upon articles in "Theosophical
Forum", although most were based upon talks. Books like
"Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy" were based upon
series of E.S. classes that he held. The style of their
writing is their strength, and I don't find the absence of
extensive footnotes and citations to be a handicap at all.
The materials are direct in their approach, spiritually
direct, inspirational, and capable of communicating
Theosophy is a way that cannot otherwise be accomplished.
Far deeper truths can be conveyed in this manner than in a
more scholarly, academic style of presentation.
FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY was not *based* upon
the series of E.S. classes that he held. Each of the 48 chapters
are *transcriptions* of the 48 E.S. lectures he gave. This is
very plainly stated in the preface: "DR. DE PURUCKER,...delivered
the lectures contained in this volume to members of the Esoteric
Section during the years 1924-1927." Therefore the "style of
writing" is not writing at all, but a transcription of oral
discourses. This is a very important distinction concerning
Purucker's books, because footnoting is not a part of oral
discourse. If Purucker had written anything for publication (As
far as I know, he never did), he probably would have followed the
academic standard of using footnotes. That you find unfootnoted
written discourse superior to footnoted discourse, I guess is a
matter of taste. But I can't agree with it. I find writers who
cite information without giving the source annoying. Though I
read FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY many years ago and
found it to be a good book--for me it would have been a far
better book if he gave references.
A Mystery Teaching will not be proven to someone, academic
or not, with any number of citations. It cannot even be
communicated, using simple language, in a plain,
straight-forward manner. An attempt to do so will often fall
on deaf ears; people aren't ready to consider much of the
Here, I believe you are addressing what Paul called
"theosophy," or Divine Wisdom, which as you have already
acknowledged is a matter of "faith" for you. I submit that this
"theosophy" when taken as a matter of faith becomes a religious
doctrine. I agree with you that your faith theosophy does not
need references, any more than scriptures of any religion based
upon faith needs them. I'm sure that if this was the kind of
theosophy that H.P.B. intended to teach in the S.D., she would
not have bothered to use references.
Coming to the subject of faith, I'd bring up three aspects
of it. (1) There is faith in the competence of a Teacher.
When you study mathematics, you have to insure, then believe
that your instructor is truly knowledgable in the field that
he would teach you. You do not study mathematics from a
child. (2) There is faith in the practice that you may
undertake. When you jump out of a plane, you trust the
parachute to work for you, but you cannot know for sure
until you've tried it. And (3) there is faith or belief in
the reality of the actions that you undertake in meditation
and in life, the sort of total belief or confidence that
makes magic work in the world.
What you illustrate as "faith" in your first two examples,
is what H.P.B. calls "certitude." See the final section of ISIS
UNVEILED (or perhaps, you prefer that I don't give you
references?). You study mathematics under a professor, whom you
have certitude is qualified, because of your lifetime of
experiences has taught you that our social system is set up in
such a way that professors are not hired to teach mathematics
unless they have an adequate knowledge of the subject to teach
it. Therefore, in H.P.B.'s use of the term, this is not a matter
of faith. In your second instance, if one jumps out of an
airplane with a parachute that they had taken no precautions or
personal responsibility to assure that it will work--or at least
made sure that someone else who is competent to do so has taken
that precaution for him, then that person is living very
dangerously. That kind of faith will probably get them killed.
If I were to parachute out of a plane (which I would never do), I
would create *certitude* by checking the equipment out first.
I'm not sure what you mean by your third instance, but I think
that what you are referring to here is what I would call "self
H.P.B. uses the word "Faith," in the religious context, and
that is the way that I'm using it here. In this context, faith
is a belief in what is not known. H.P.B. also makes a
distinction between "blind faith" and "reasoned faith" (I won't
bother you with references). Blind faith is based upon authority.
One who believes the Bible to be the word of God because it is so
taught by his church, is going on blind faith. Reasoned faith is
a belief based upon personal evidence, though still not
demonstrable. A devoted mother can have (reasoned) faith that
her psychopathic son who is a serial killer will become a
productive member of society if he is paroled, but that reasoned
faith does not make it so.
Yes, Endersby took the Cleather pamphlet that you sent
Arvind, and published an extensive annotation of it, where he
contributes his own research to the subject. His conclusions
reinforced the conclusions of the original pamphlet. I'll send
you a copy if you are interested.
My clairvoyant friend sort of came to the same conclusion.
Like you, she also felt that Kuhlman may have been picking up
subliminal messages. I think we all do, and that this is what
most of psychism is all about. On a germane subject--I use to
have an Irish Setter (I still miss her), whose body language use
to exactly reflect my mood whenever she saw me coming home from
work. If I was angry, she would approach me with care, if I was
in a good mood, she would run up to me an joyous abandon. I
monitored this, eliminating possible clues, and finally came to
the hypothesis that she saw my aura and discerned my mood from
it. Remember, dogs are very near sighted, so she wouldn't be
reading facial expressions.
Sometimes I find myself putting in six hours at a time
responding to conversations, if it requires looking things up
etc. I pay dearly for it when I do, and will have even less of
an opportunity to get away with this when the spring semester
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