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Re: "The Critical Path"

Nov 01, 1994 05:25 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins

Arthur Patterson,

AP> ...I still haven't written my first impressions on Silence
but I have read it several times and right now I am putting the
chinese or sanskrit terms into english in the margin of the text.
I think the publisher should put the notes as end notes.  My
impressions will come but I am in no rush.  At least about this.

Actually some editions, including the original, do use end notes.
There are also some corrupted versions out there.  What edition
are use using?

AP> 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.

I see that I will have to be very careful about word choice with
you.  The word "translation" is my own, and I was using it
loosely.  HPB says that she had put this material to memory some
years ago, while she was living in or near Tibet.  Therefore when
she wrote the ~Voice~, she was not working from a text, but from
a well digested memory of one.  Therefore, the word "translation"
in the sense applied to say, Jowett's Plato, would be the wrong
word here.  HPB did not do translations in the ordinary sense of
the word anyway.  For instance, when she quoted "translations"
from the Greek, she used Thomas Taylor instead of Jowett.  Taylor
is considered a terrible "translator," because he ignored the
subtleties of grammar and word usage for the goal of trying to
impart the "flavor"--the "feeling" the "inner sense" of what was
being written.  For HPB, Taylor represented more of what she was
trying to achieve.

I become very apprehensive when people mention HPB writing in an
"altered state of consciousness" because this can mean so many
things.  A sizable number of people in this movement believe that
HPB was "channeling the Masters".  This is not at all true in the
since that the word is used today.  The evidence is that the vast
majority of what HPB wrote came from her own mind.  I don't want
to get into the details of the nature of HPB's alleged occult
powers.  A book by Geoffrey Barborka entitled ~H.P.B.  Tibet and
Tulku~ covers this, as least from Barborka's point of view.  But
unless there is direct evidence that HPB wrote a particular piece
of work through some extraordinary means, I would prefer to
assume that it was written by ordinary means.  As for the
~Voice~, I think HPB's own explanation (which is very ordinary)
fits the evidence.

AP> About that Eastern flavor.  I am by no means familiar with a
lot of Eastern thought beyond intro courses in comparitive
religion but I have read and expreienced that the Western psyche
is on another track.  I will give my HO as to what I think the
central difference is.  The East for all its use of images is
striving for an Apophatic Spirituality, that is an imageless
spirituality where the distinction between the One and the Many
is eradicated.  The West seems to be striving for relationship
between the One and the many through a kataphatic spirituality, a
spirituality of images.  The greatest example of this in my
estimate is Dante The Divine Comedy.

While appreciating the Eastern value of neti neti, that is not
knowing, I 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.

I see what you mean about "neti neti" in Hinduism, but I'm not
sure this covers all Eastern though.  For instance take Kukai's
school of Buddhism.  It is crowded with symbolism which takes
years of training to master.  But I agree with you, that in the
East, it is pretty consistent that one achieves through the
transcendence of the symbols into direct knowing.  But I suspect
that this is where you were going in your earlier communication
when you talked about the "hermeneutic of experience."

AP> I would be very interested if you knew where Jung spoke of
Theosophical thought.  Don't go out of your way but if it comes
to mind just note it if you would be so kind.

Jung's mention of theosophy is scattered through his writings,
but he does not speak very highly of it in the form that it has
taken after HPB had died.  He does, however, speak of the
importance of the Theosophical movement.  The source of most of
my information concerning Jung and Theosophy come from a
friendship and many discussions with the late Dr.  Bendit.
Bendit was a Theosophist (since 1914 I think), a Jungian
psychoanalysis and a friend of Jung.  Most of what he told me is
only in my memory, though one tape recording on this material
does exist.  To put it in a nutshell, Jung was very deeply
interested in Theosophy, astrology, psychic phenomena etc., but
did not get along with most theosophists, who according to Jung
took a very philistine attitude towards his work.  He did,
however have a friendship with Bendit and his wife.  His
secretary of twenty years was also a theosophist.

AP> As confusing as taking this hermeneutic is.  It does seem to
lead to a state of non-knowing, a truly admirable place if you
are a mystic.  As a "word child" I am not comfortable here in the
dark place of unknowing where some speak of the light of the
darkness.  ie Eckhart.  But after all is said and done the
correct response to the truth is not analysis but perhaps
something akin to worship or contemplation.  It is hard not to
see conceptual clarity as the end all be all of experience.  But
there I go sounding awful eastern, eh (Canadianism).

Yes, sounds like the East meets West here.

Jerry Hejka-Ekins

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