Re: The Critical Path
Nov 01, 1994 09:54 AM
by K. Paul Johnson
Here's my two cents worth on the Voice of the Silence.
According to Arthur Patterson:
AP 2 >My training and habit of doing critical work on texts is
> showing up here. I will tell you what I am up to. I know that
> BHP is claiming to be translating Chinese Tibetian material but I
> think that translation is a more subjective matter than what
> first meets the eyes. If you add to that the real possibility
> that BHP wrote in a altered state of consciousness through an
> inner Teacher, which I think is not uncommon for her to assert,
> then we are drifting considerably from the idea that this is a
> strictly "literal translation" of the Books of Dzyan. I have
> been reading Boris De Zirkoff on the "Sources of Secret
> Doctrine". This is found in an anthology by Virgina Hanson.
The Book of the Golden Precepts is the alleged source of the
Voice. No one has identified this with any Asian text. Yet the
internal evidence in the Voice is sufficient to persuade
knowledgable readers (I don't class myself in this group-- I mean
Asians or students of Buddhism etc.) of its authenticity. But
confusing the matter of its origin is HPB's statement in a letter
(to Hartmann I think) that the original language was Telugu.
This fits neither with the fragments themselves (maybe the first
one, which is more Hindu in flavor and less Buddhist than the
other two) nor with what she said elsewhere about her sources.
My tentative theory is that the Voice, and maybe the SD, and more
definitely some posthumously published stuff on Buddhism, were
derived from authentic Tibetan source materials acquired through
Olcott's friendship with the Bengali explorer Sarat Chandra Das.
Evidence on this is in The Masters Revealed-- not conclusive, but
persuasive. Das obtained about 240 texts from the library of the
Panchen Lama in Shigatse-- and HPB wrote about being in
correspondence with the person in charge of this library.
Another way for HPB to get Tibetan Buddhist texts without going
to Tibet (which she may well have done when younger, but not
after 1875) was through the Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Kashmir, who
maintained a large library of texts in Sanskrit, Tibetan,
Persian, Punjabi-- and who was a supporter of the TS. (My
nominee for Master M>)
> am much more at home with the West.
> Where is HPB in all of this. She is living on the dividing line
> between both being a Russian. Just some scattered thoughts on
> this but these are the rattlings in my brain.
HPB was the first modern person to attempt (and successfully) to
create a synthesis of Eastern and Western spirituality. This
means that her view tends to reconcile the South Asian religions
with elements of Western occultism and religion. Early childhood
exposure to Tibetan Buddhism (as practiced by the Kalmucks) was
followed by adolescent reading about Russian Rosicrucianism, so
by the time she began her life of travel HPB was already oriented
to East/West synthesis.
For an earlier prototype of the same kind of synthesis one might
look at Central Asian Isma`ilism, which draws on a wide variety
of sources. It may be the origin of HPB's "Chaldean Book of
Numbers," another never-identified mystery book cited by her.
The relentless septenary explanations of everything found in HPB
strongly hint at Isma`ili influence-- they were after all called
Welcome to Theos-l, where you are livening things up after a slow
period. Hope you stay around.
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