Mar 29, 1994 10:55 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
AK>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?
It was a networking conference put on by Krotona, marking
the tenth anniversary of the original conference under that theme
that I organized in 1984. It went pretty well. All of the
speakers stayed with the theme and spirit of the conference save
one. I think the talk that got the most positive comment was
Nancy Coker's. Nobody realized that she has such a powerful
stage presence. In spite of everything, I think the spirit of
fraternalization between the theosophical organizations is still
alive and well.
AK>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
Fair enough. I'm still studying too.
JHE>> 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
AK>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.
The Wesak festival is without doubt uniquely Leadbeater's,
and was clearly part of Leadbeater's E.S. teachings long before
it was published in ~Masters and the Path~. The inconsistencies
I was trying to raise between Leadbeater and Blavatsky concerning
the seven principles is also a result of Leadbeater changing the
teachings. These are not "overlaps" but the direct adoption of
Leadbeater teachings. They are not H.P.B.'s and they contradict
her teachings. So I guess that means that Leadbeater still needs
to be a subject for scrutiny. How important is the Wesak
Festival in the AAB teachings?
JHE>> 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.
AK> 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).
Being a literature major, I was taught not to judge a book
by its title. The title of the book doesn't assure me that the
contents of the book is consistent with the title, nor does it
tell me if AAB's teachings on the subjects suggested by the
titles are consistent with HPB's. Too bad--if the covers did
tell us these things, our job would be very easy.
I remember reading the "rules" that you are referring to
some years ago. Which of HPB's teachings are they suppose to be
AK>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 understanding?
No. I don't think he "simplified" her teachings--though he
lectured on many of them, explaining them in different words. By
"extend" I understand you to mean introducing new teachings not
in HPB's writings, but perhaps hinted at. I think that would be
a fair assessment of GdeP's works. For instance his teachings
concerning the twelve globes, inner rounds, the initiatory
cycles, and teachings concerning the nature of the historical
Jesus are not found in Blavatsky. He also gives solutions to
several riddles found in HPB's writings and in the Mahatma
Letters. So, based upon your definition, I would say that GdeP
"extends" as well as "expands" upon HPB's writings. Like AAB,
whether these "extensions" are correct is another question. But
we are not investigating Purucker here.
JHE>> 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.
AK> 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.
As I stated above, one makes a hypothesis *after* the data
is collected. This is my understanding of the scientific method.
Please correct me if I misunderstand the scientific method. I
don't think I do. The Sciences were my best subjects in
undergrad studies. As for "accepting AAB teaching," that would
not be appropriate for me to accept or reject it. When you
present an AAB teaching, I ask: where does it come from?; how
does it relate to HPB's teachings? These are exactly the same
questions I would have to ask for the purpose of this
investigation regardless of my feelings about AAB teachings. As
I have stated many times before, I'm not interested in accepting
or rejecting AAB's teachings. Therefore rather than forming a
hypothesis without data, I think we should stick with the
original course of pursuing the question: How does the teachings
of HPB and AAB compare? If you want a hypothesis, perhaps we
have enough information to form the hypothesis that AAB borrowed
from Leadbeater's E.S. teachings. I'm ready to pursue this
hypothesis if you are.
JHE>> 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
AK> 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.
If the investigation requires getting information on other
systems of thought (e.g. Vedanta), there are ample resources to
supply the needed info. Your suggested approach reminds me of
the Medieval philosophers who used to set up arguments, based
upon Aristotelian logic, to prove the existence of God. They
would begin with the hypothesis that God exists, then proceed to
logically build their evidence upon the original hypothesis until
it is "proven." "St. Anselm's island" is a very famous example
of this method. In modern philosophy classes they call this
method "circular thinking," and is rejected as being fallacious.
It proves nothing but the biases of the inquirer. I don't see
what can be accomplished by proceeding this way.
Regarding the Bowen article, I will mail you a copy.
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