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AAB/HPB, Theosophy/theosophy/gnosis

Jan 13, 1994 01:29 AM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins


     Yes, this bulletin board is consuming much more time than I
really have to give it. The worst part is that writing about
theosophy is much more fun than most of the things that I should
be doing. I just got hired today to teach a class in the Spring
at the University, and went to an orientation today. It will be
my first professional teaching job, so this, on top of my other
studies will leave me with far less time than I have now. Also
because this will be my first teaching position, I will have to
do a fabulous job and impress their socks off, because I'm really
considered too old for academia--therefore I have to perform much
better than everyone else to stay in the running. So our days of
long hours of correspondence are numbered, but I sure will commit
some time every week to this.

     Even with the present situation, I don't have time to read
everything either. I focus on whatever is directed towards me,
or whatever is written by you. Everything else gets attention as
I find time.

     My office phone is on the Invoice. It is hooked up to an
answering machine at the second ring. When I'm in the office, I
pick it up right away. I'll send you the residence number later.

     The only reason that I'm knowledgeable about theosophical
literature and history is because it has been my consuming
interest for over thirty years. In that length of time it is
hard not to have learned something. But that doesn't mean that I
know, seen and read everything there is in this field. I don't
think that this is possible. However, I am an associate editor
of THEOSOPHICAL HISTORY, the only academic journal that deals
exclusively with Theosophy. This puts me in the exciting
position of being among the first to hear when a new discovery is
made. I'm also personally responsible for an extensive library
and archive of original unpublished documents relevant to the
history of the movement. So any knowledge of Theosophy I have is
only the result of long years of study, and "good" karma.
Teaching theosophy over the years has helped a lot to. I have
probably learned a lot more from teaching it than from its study.

     As I frankly told you in the beginning, you have much more
experience reading AAB than I do, so how could I not be learning
a lot from you?  You have given lots of new information. When
you do, I usually ask you where I can find it. Even when a
specific piece of information you give is not be new to me, the
manner that you present it and the weight that you give that
information may be new to me. Sometimes this kind of "meta-
information" is as important as the original message. I learn
from what you say, what you don't say, and what is between the
lines of what you say and don't say. Does this make sense to

     Regarding the Ray Morgan monograph, the author was not
trying to prove that everything they wrote is wrong--he was only
showing that there are major and extensive differences between
theosophical and neo-theosophical teachings. The important issue
that arises out of his thesis, is that these differences throw
into serious question the reliability of assuming that Besant and
Leadbeater's writings are representative of Blavatsky's.

     I don't think that the Morgan pamphlet calls into question
the sincerity  of Besant and Leadbeater, but sincerity is not a
protection against error.

     You say that you don't believe that Besant and Leadbeater
were initiates, but that they were sincere disciples. Are you
aware that Besant and Leadbeater claimed to be Arhats?  How do
you explain this discrepancy?  There is a world of difference
between a disciple and a Arhat. Were they mis-informed? Self
deluded? Frauds?  If you admit this discrepancy (which is hardly
a trivial one), does it not throw question into your mind as to
the reliability of anything else they claim?

     Since you raised the issue of Leadbeater's book CHAKRAS, I
will use this to address some basic points of simple common sense
that is so often ignored. First of all, the existence of the
Mahatmas is ultimately unprovable. Therefore the
authoritativeness of writings and messages believed to be from
the Mahatmas is a matter of faith. Secondly, information gained
clairvoyantly and published is unverifiable unless there is
another clairvoyant seeing the same thing at the same time. Even
then, unless the reader has the same powers of clairvoyance and
is able to reliably replicate what is written about, the
authority of the clairvoyant's observations rest ultimately on
the merits of the author. In the case of CHAKRAS, you ask "who
is to prove that Leadbeater's famous pictures of the Chakras is
wrong?"  I will return the question by asking, who is to prove
that they are right?  The Indian scholar Sir John Woodroffe many
many years ago published a study of the Hindu teachings
concerning chakras, which still remains today as the
authoritative work. A comparison of his writings to Leadbeater's
show that the source Indian writings are completely at odds with
Leadbeater on this subject. Who is right?  Leadbeater, or the
source Indian literature?

     As you go through book after book by Leadbeater, you will
find no references to documents where his information can be
checked. Everything rests upon his own authority and the belief
that he is speaking from occult status.

     Blavatsky on the other hand, backs up every little point by
references that you can check. Never once in her major writings,
or even in her magazine articles does she ever invoke the names
of the masters as authority for what she says. Never does she
invoke her clairvoyance as authority for what she writes.

     O.K., lets say for the moment that Leadbeater's claims of
being an Arhat is a trivial fluke that may have somewhere a
perfectly logical explanation. Let us however look at a few
other "minor discrepancies:"  Ernest Wood, Leadbeater's private
secretary, writes in his autobiography that he entirely wrote
many of Leadbeater's books for him, and parts of others. He did
not follow any outline or instructions of any kind, according to
Wood, he just wrote what he thought that Leadbeater would have
written. Wood also points out that in THE LIVES OF ALCYONE (the
one book that Leadbeater is alone responsible for), Leadbeater
had Wood bring him a list of new members (who were important).
Leadbeater added the past lives of these people as a separate
unit at the end of the book. Wood found the inconsistency of
this last group of people not figuring in the past lives of the
first group of T.S. members, to be very bizarre. Wood was also
Krishnamurti's personal tutor. Wood says in his Autobiography
that Krishnamurti was incapable of writing AT THE FEET OF THE
MASTER when it came out. Krishnamurti, when asked about the book
as an adult, denied writing it.

     When you are finished digesting and explaining the above
little list of oddities concerning Leadbeater, I will give you
another list, even stranger than the first.

     O.K., regarding the "Astral Body:"  My understanding of what
you are saying as that the ego (whatever you mean by that)
"appropriates" the "bodies" in the order of Mental, Astral,
etheric and physical body. Ok, first of all, you need to
understand that the terminology used here may be Bailey's but it
also is Leadbeater's, not Blavatsky's. If the terminology is
interchangeable, then it probably would not matter. Let's see if
it is. Below are two schemes of the seven fold constitution
according to Leadbeater and Blavatsky:

Leadbeater               Blavatsky

Atma Body                Atma
Buddhic Body             Buddhi
Causal Body              Manas
Mental Body              Kama
Astral Body              Prana
Etheric Body             Linga Sarira
Physical Body            Sthula Sarira

     The terms you invoked here were mental, astral, etheric and
physical bodies. As you can see, Blavatsky does not have an
"etheric body,"  though she did use the name "astral body" and
"Double" as alternative names for "Linga sarira."  But which term
in Leadbeater's system is equivalent to Linga Sarira?  The
Astral,  or perhaps the Etheric?  You called the astral body, the
"emotional."  Since Kama is the seat of emotions, Astral must
equal Kama. Therefore, Etheric might equal Linga Sarira. thus:

Astral = Kama
Etheric = Linga Sarira

     However, on closer look, things become confused again.
Blavatsky says that the Linga Sarira is the model body from which
the physical body is moulded. But you say that the physical body
is patterned after the Astral body. In this case, the astral
must equal Linga Sarira.

Astral = Linga Sarira

     Then what does the Etheric Body equal?  Leadbeater's
teachings say that the Etheric is the vehicle of prana, so it
can't be prana. Stula Sarira is the physical body, so it can't be
that. It can't be kama, because kama is the seat of emotions.
Where does it go?

Astral = Linga Sarira
Etheric = ?

     But how can the Astral Body = the Linga Sarira if
Leadbeater's astral is the emotional body, and Blavatsky's Linga
Sarira has nothing to do with the emotions. Therefore astral
must equal Kama.

Astral = Kama
Etheric body = ?
? = Linga Sarira

I will leave it to you to play with this puzzle.

     H.P.B. did not have a "kama-manasic body"   She said that
the personality -- the terrestrial ego is seated in kama, and
partakes to a greater or lessor extent upon manas, depending upon
the person. Therefore our personality is said to be "kama-
manasic"  in nature. "Kama manas" is therefore the human ego--
not a "body."

     The astral light in H.P.B.'s terminology has nothing to do
with the "astral Body" (a term she uses interchangeably with
Linga Sarira). The astral light is a principle of the earth.

     For the person who pointed out that DK inserted lies in the
blue books, I would ask a lot of questions:

     1. What if the lies are taken as true, and wrong information
is promulgated. Who is responsible?

     2. What if a student misses a "lie," and that mis-conception
creates further distortions as newly learned information is

     3. What really is to be gained in tripping up students this

     4. How do you know this is true?

etc. etc. etc.

     By the time I write again, I probably will have read the
first 32 pages.


     Gnosis sounds great to me.


     I think Paul's observation that our differences are semantic
in nature is accurate. I am addressing theosophy as a historical
movement, I understand you to be addressing theosophy as a
transcendental TRUTH. The theosophy that I am addressing does
not deny the existence of the theosophy you are addressing.

     There are lots of books that address transcendental TRUTH,
and lots of people who believe themselves to be in touch with it.
They are usually called mystics. Since transcendental TRUTH is
beyond the ability of language to capture it--it can only be
experienced directly. I'm glad that you are interested in this
kind of theosophy. I'm interested in it also, but unlike you, I
don't bother to discuss it. For those interested in this kind of
theosophy, I would direct them to THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, or
PATH. This is what Blavatsky called the heart doctrine.

     My interest for discussion is to focus on what can be
discussed, and be silent on what cannot. Therefore, I have been
addressing the theosophical movement as a historical phenomena,
and theosophical doctrines in the sense of what H.P.B. called the
head doctrine.

     The head doctrine and the heart doctrine go hand in hand.
One is not superior to the other, but mutually bound to each
other. One can be discussed, the other practiced in silence.

     I hope this clarifies things.

Jerry Hejka-Ekins

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