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Mar 28, 1994 08:21 PM
by Arvind Kumar

Hi Jerry H-E,

I saw your name (alongwith that of Nancy and John Coker)
mentioned in the American Theosophist that I was reading
over the weekend.  This was in connection with some meeting
planned for March 26 to discuss the past and the future of
the theosophical movement.  How was it?  Any conclusions
or action items?

>      My apologies for not getting back to you.  I have been
> completely buried in work.  My class alone was demanding 40 hours
> just planning the lessons and going through my student's reading
> guides, essays and journals.  On top of that, I have been taking
> three seminar classes, each requiring a research paper by the end
> of the semester.  Needless to say, I'm in trouble.  Being a
> student and a teacher at the same time is almost an impossible
> task when taking a full load of classes.  So as I warned you
> before, my visits with you and Internet will have to be much less
> frequent until summer.

I am having a similar scenario unfold at my end due to some
organizational changes which have resulted in a much
heavier than ususal workload for me.  It was great when we
could exchange a couple of messages a week but I am afraid
I'll have to limit my time on the network as well, which is
quite all right.  We have reached a stage where I think (a)I have
learnt a fair bit from you and about you, and benefited greatly
from it, and (b) I need to study a number of references, not to
mention TCF itself, and above all, all of the works by HPB!
I am going to try to put in as much effort as possible into
the study of these materials so I can contribute better to our
discussion eventually.
>        Then I am to understand that you don't believe that
> Leadbeater's teachings are used anywhere in AAB's writings.  Our
> investigations over the last six months did show evidence that
> Leadbeater's teachings were combined with AAB's.  However, if
> this was a misreading, and Leadbeater's teachings are not part of
> AAB's, then I agree that there is no reason to scrutinize
> Leadbeater.  However, if it turns out that AAB did incorporate
> CWL's teachings, then we will have to bring him up again.

I definitely see a few areas where Leadbeater's teaching seems
to jive with AAB's (e.g. terminology for man's constitution or
vehicles, the description of the Wesak festival in The Masters
and the Path matches AAB's description) but I have no idea whether
AAB incorporated CWL's teachings (or vice-versa) or what exactly
lies behind this 'slight overlap' of their teachings.

>        I would have to see specific examples of the new
> "fundamental truths" that you believe AAB gave out in order for
> me to follow and make an evaluation of your statement.  A
> specific example of AAB's teaching that is an "extension" and a
> specific example of G.deP.'s teaching that is an "expansion,"
> showing how each differs from HPB's teaching on the same subject
> would help me a lot.

Just by looking at the titles of AAB books, you can see that she has
written entire books on topics on which HPB perhaps wrote a few
paragraphs or a chapter or two.  I have no time to write down the
teachings of AAB here but as examples, you can refer to the rules
given in a treatise on white magic or A Treatise on the Seven Rays
etc.  Each one of AAB's books extends 'theosophic' material or ideas
hinted at by HPB (or perhaps not even hinted by HPB but rather
altogether new material presented by AAB for the first time in
this cycle of humanity's progress).

I am not very familiar with G.deP.'s works but it is my understanding
that his main contribution to the theosophical movement was to
expand on, and/or simplify HPB's teachings.  Is that not your

>        I don't have one.  In the scientific method, a hypothesis
> is a "guess" that is put forth to explain a particular phenomena.
> A hypothesis is made *after* the data is collected.  Since we are
> still collecting data, a hypothesis is inappropriate.  Therefore
> any "hypothesis" at this point of our investigation is really
> just a mis-named presumption.  As we look at the "phenomena"
> (i.e. HPB's and AAB's writings) and make note of consistencies
> and/or inconsistencies, then we can formulate hypothesis to
> explain them.  In other words, as far as I'm concerned, we
> haven't collected the evidence yet upon which to form a
> hypothesis--therefore, I don't have one.

I think that it is very hard to work without a hypothesis!  Your
intentions are no doubt very noble (and you claim to be able
to study both AAB and HPB objectively, in a dispassionate manner).
But I have seen your reactions on this network which lead me
to believe that you have difficulty in accepting AAB teaching.
I am not blaming you, but rather just pointing out what I
have observed about you.  I think it will be better to work
with a hypothesis because of our backgrounds.

>        Yes I follow you.  You are saying that what I call your
> challenge, i.e. that there is no conflict between the teachings
> of AAB and HPB, is really your "hypothesis."  From the stand
> point of scientific methodology, it follows then that you are
> pursuing this investigation to prove your "hypothesis."  The
> reason why I didn't follow you before is because in the beginning
> of this enquiry, I pains takingly laid down what I hoped we would
> accomplish and stressed that we put aside any preconceptions.
> Obviously, your hypothesis (since we haven't collected any
> meaningful amount of data) is by definition a preconception.  The
> problem is that your preconception makes this investigation
> problematical.  While I'm exploring the subject with you, based
> upon the question: how do HPB and AAB compare?; your
> preconception obligates you to concentrate your energy towards
> defending against any data that may contradict your so called
> "hypothesis."  Thank you for clarifying this, because it explains
> your constant declarations, and your almost sacerdotal tone of
> defense against anything that has come up that may have been
> evidence showing any possible incongruencies between AAB and
> HPB's writings.

Yes, that is me, and you have correctly diagnosed the problem!
Objective evaluation of the two sets of teachings I believe I
cannot attempt because of lack of knowledge of other systems
of thought (e.g. Vedanta), hence my preference for an
approach involving a  hypothesis that I can relate to.

>      Yes, early in our correspondence, I often made that
> statement ("this will come in handy down the road in our
> investigation"), but this had nothing to do with hypothesis.  I
> think you may be confusing "hypothesis" with "methodology."   In
> the beginning we had agreed to begin our investigation by
> comparing HPB and AAB's use of occult terms.  Whenever you or I
> mentioned something that was not immediately germane to the task
> at hand, but yet referred to the investigation in general, I
> would say something to the effect that this information or idea
> `will come in handy down the road.'
>      But we quickly found problems in our comparisons when we
> looked at AAB's seven principles.  I raised some issues, which
> you promised to respond to but never did.  Shortly after that,
> you suggested that we change our methodology and read one of
> AAB's books.  I agreed, and you suggested TCF.  We got about 80
> pages into the book, I raised some issues, many of which you
> responded to, some you let drop.  We also got tied up with the
> SD/TSD issue, which you never saw the point of.
>      More recently (March 1st), the term "stupendous being" came
> up, and I suggested that we compare HPB and AAB's usage.  In
> other words, I suggested that we go back to the more straight
> forward task of comparing terms.  You agreed (Message of March
> 10th), and said that you would collect material on the "planetary
> logos."  So we are back to comparing terms again.  I would rather
> if we started with the more elementary terms, as we tried in the
> beginning, but I think we can do it this way too.
>      What worries me, however, is your "hypothesis."  As long as
> you hold to it, I see little hope of us accomplishing anything.
> I suppose I could adopt the opposite "hypothesis," and we can
> debate, but I see nothing positive coming out of this approach
> either.  I can come up with convincing arguments to prove either
> hypothesis.  It doesn't matter to me.  Debates just prove who is
> better at logic.  I'm interested in something more meaningful.

This is a good summary of what has happened and I still hope to
cover some of the action items for me eventually!

>        Yes, I follow you.  If the teachings conflict, you will
> choose the teaching that is most appealing to you.  This is a
> very different approach than the one I would take if I were in
> your position.  If I discovered that they were incongruent, I
> would ask myself which system, (if either one) is correct; i.e.
> which system is most consistent with what I know and able to
> discover about the real world.  I would hope that the "appeal" of
> the system would not determine my choice.  This is because I
> learned from experience that the "appeal" of a system tell me
> more about my personal needs, than it does about Truth.  But,
> being different people, we approach life differently.

Excellent point!

>        Yes there are countless meanings that can be found in any
> complex piece of literature.  Any attentive reader will get
> different meanings from any literary work, every time he reads
> it.  It doesn't have to be an occult work either.  There are
> whole journals and books devoted to interpreting the meaning of
> works of literature, and whole books anthologizing different
> interpretations of a single work.  This is precisely the type of
> thing a literature student studies.  There is nothing esoteric
> about any book having multiple meanings.
>      Perhaps the AAB books do say that their texts have seven
> keys. It would be an interesting statement. Please send the quote
> when you find it.  As for TSD, I can say with reasonable
> certainty that HPB did not claim seven keys to its interpretation
> --the seven keys are applied to the SD, not TSD.  But of course,
> like every other complex work, there are countless levels of
> interpretation to TSD.  Every person who reads it will get a
> different experience out of it, and that experience will be
> different with every re-reading.  There is nothing esoteric about
> this.  It is true with all good novels, philosophical works,
> poems, and short stories.

I owe you the quote from AAB, which I will have to research.

>        As I anticipated, you did not understand my answer.  As
> for H.P.B.'s statement, I'm of course will aware of what she says
> on this subject.  Since you had discussed the issue of HPB's
> understanding in an earlier posting, I had guessed that if you
> misunderstood me, you would raise it again in answer to my
> statement.  HPB's statement is also true and accurate, and yet is
> not contradictory to mine.  Obviously, you neither understand my
> statement nor hers.  I suggest that you carefully read the Bowen
> article (also published as a pamphlet) usually entitled: "H.P.
> Blavatsky on How to Study The Secret Doctrine"   In this
> pamphlet, HPB discusses in some detail the nature of "truth" and
> about her "understanding" of TSD and the SD.  I also suggest that
> while reading it, you keep in the back of your mind the concept
> of there being an infinitely gradated spectrum between the
> extremes of "truth" and "TRUTH."  If you are able to grasp the
> meaning of what HPB is trying to say in this pamphlet,  the above
> apparent contradiction will make sense, and no longer be
> contradictory. I would try to explain it myself, but past efforts
> have shown that I don't do very well in communicating subtle
> ideas to you.

Where can I get this Bowen article?



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