Comments to JHE and Nancy
Jan 13, 1994 09:11 PM
by Gerald Schueler
I want to thank you for your excellent discussions on the conflicting
names and definitions of bodies and planes as given to us by the
founders and early teachers of the Theosophical movement. I have been
saying this for a long time. In fact, one of my articles on this is
probably still on PeaceNet.
Although Eldon is adamant that there is a big distinction between
bodies and principles, it seems to me that many Theosophical writers
use the two terms indiscriminantly. However, HPB does use the term
"human principles" with her lists of 7 names and uses bodies
separately (I don't think she ever refers to 7 bodies anywhere), while
Besant/Leadbeater mainly use bodies and only occassionally refer to 7
principles. The problem that I have with Eldon's distinction is that it
doesn't "fit" any universe model that I am aware of, and thus makes no
sense to me. Judge, on the other hand, clearly says that we can use
either term pretty much as synonymous.
I don't want to start listing all of the conflicts here, as I have
done so elsewhere over several years. The real issue/concern of the
matter of terminology is that, as you said, it is terribly confusing
for new students and turns some off. Also, I am not really sure that
it does anyone any good to carefully study the mess, except perhaps
from an historical perspective, because no one today can possibly
eliminate the conflicts and show any real harmony. We simply do not
know if Leadbeater's Astral Body is the same as HPB's Linga Sirira.
And we likely never will.
As for G de P, take a look on page 437 of FOUNTAIN-SOURCE OF OCCULTISM
and you will see the name that he gives for the second cosmic plane,
or rather second cosmic principle. It is Astral Light, which he
defines as "cosmic ether." Below it is "Sthula-Sarira" which he
gives as the "Physical Universe." Now G de P's universe is more than
our Earth. But the early theosophists and occultists referred to
Astral Light as the aura of our Earth, or the invisible worlds
surrounding Globe D. So even G de P bent the older names somewhat.
While I like G de P, and respect him a great deal, I also feel that he
spent too much time dwelling on monads and principles, which cannot be
experienced, and not enough on bodies, which can be experienced. All
of this simply makes a mess of terminology to the point that we cannot
really say what *the* theosophical names are but only what *some*
theosophical names are.
My position is that once you learn from experience what all of this
body/plane business is about, the terminology no longer matters, and
you can then tell from their writings as to which authors really know
(or knew) what they are writing about from those who don't.
As to faith, I always follow Buddhism, which teaches that we should
always doubt. Doubt anything and everything, until you become certain,
and even then don't be too sure.
I am convinced that animals (especially dogs and cats) do, in fact,
sense our aura, or auric moods. Cats are especially psychic albeit
they like to remain independent and aloof from us.
Betty and I have had some remarkable healings of sick kittens by
playing classical music for them (for some reason, classical music
seems to work best).
As to quotes, I think that there is a time and a place for quotes, but
I enjoy hearing what a person has to say for themselves (ie., how they
see things). However, when someone makes a statement that I find
off-the-wall, I like to ask for their source, just to keep them honest.
I agree with you that essays or other formal writings should contain
quotes or at least give credits for sources being used.
As to Leadbeater's CHAKRAS, I rather like the book. I also have
Woodroffe's THE SERPENT POWER. Woodroffe was familiar with
Leadbeater's book, and mentions that Leadbeater's "snake" located at
the Brow Chakra is not found anywhere in the Hindu Tantras. I haven't
found it anywhere in the Buddhist Tantras either. But apart from two
things, I think Leadbeater's book is quite good and the pictures of
the chakras are as good as anyone elses. The two things I most object
to are: the brow snake (his use of Egyptian symbolism is, in my
opinion, erroneous) and his having the chakras stem out from the spine
toward the front of the body (all Hindu and Buddist Tantras teach that
they are to be visualized as being within the central channel, which
itself is within the spinal cord). We have to remember that all of the
elaborate descriptions of the chakras found in the tantras are
symbolic. The real, or esoteric, meanings of the Hindu Tantras, were
given to each student verbally by the guru, and never written down.
Gopi Krishna says that they all relate to biological functions and
forces which concern human evolution. The wealth of books available
today on the Tibetan Tantras show that the Tibetans clearly understood
the psychological/biological symbolism in the nadis and chakras and
they made "adjustments" according to the goal desired. Hindu Tantras
tend to take the texts as biblical and insist that every detail is
exactly as noted. Buddhist Tantras tend to be flexible and more
pragmatic using only those chakras and nadis necessary to accomplish
specific purposes. Leadbeater's chakras fall into the Buddhist type
rather than the Hindu type.
Your admonition to "focus on what can be discussed, and be silent on
what cannot" is excellent. It is just this area that sparked the
discussions between myself and Don shortly after the founding of this
study group. We both found ourselves debating in areas that have no
words or definitions and thus got wrapped around a semantics axle. Our
source experiences were similar if not identical, but the words we
were clothing them in were different.
As you know, Christian Science defines a "real healing" as one that
never comes back again. But they don't acknowledge reincarnation. When
we throw reincarnation into the picture, it is doubtful if such
definitions are possible. Because I believe that we spiral up and
down through our cycles, I cannot help but think that there is no such
thing as a permanent healing wherein specific karmic causes all go
away never to return again. However, I do believe in becoming
karma-less, wherein our personal karma no longer holds sway over us.
In other words, I see karma as a whole bag of worms rather than a
collection of components that we can add or subtract. I think that the
idea of gradually eliminating our karma, a piece at a time (as so many
of us try to do), is both naive and impossible. We have to throw away
the whole bag, all at once. Enlightenment requires a jump, not a slow
gradual progression (of course, we have to progress slowly up to the
jumping off point).
As to a good book, let me recommend THE HEART OF HEALING by the
Institute of Noetic Sciences, with William Poole (Turner Publishing,
Inc., Atlanta, 1993). This excellent book is the companion to the TBS
television series The Heart of Healing. It is filled with all sorts of
history and ideas. For example, on page 27 we find, "Research has long
shown that placebos may work as well as if the patient had taken
actual medicine. Key to this effectivness seems to be the patient's
belief in the doctor and the medical system." Also on the same page,
"Rituals also may help form our attitudes about healing, and so
influence whether or not we heal."
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