Critical Path to Silence
Nov 02, 1994 08:07 AM
by Arthur Patterson
Concerning the Voice of The Silence Edition:
J1> Actually some editions, including the original, do use end
notes. There are also some corrupted versions out there. What
edition are use using?
AP1> The edition I have is the verbatim edition by Theosophical
University Press 1992. Yes it does have end notes but not
footnotes. You have to jump to the back constantly so I have
transcribed the words in the margin.
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 Tibetan 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.
J2> 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 "flavour"--the "feeling" the "inner sense" of what was
being written. For HPB, Taylor represented more of what she was
trying to achieve.
AP2> You have hit upon exactly what I was thinking. She is like
an oral interpreter rather than a recorder. Is she is taking
whatever she remembers of this text and doing spirituality around
it. That is making it move beyond its original intention into
something that is relevant to the concerns she and her world were
grappling with. I don't have any problem with this. I think it
is just one way to do spirituality.
The problem is that those who read her 100 years or so later will
do all kinds of things to her spirituality. This may not be as
bad as it first appears since they are only following her que.
How close or how far from the original documents HPB was I am in
no position to judge since I have never read the Golden Precepts
but how relevant her spiritual take on the material is, is
something that I am exploring for myself.
J3> 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.
A3> I understand your reticence about channeling I am of the same
mind but when Zirkoff mentioned the Tulku, I couldn't resist
wondering if she is not having a prophetic experience similar to
Ezekiel of Jeremiah, here is what Zirkoff says:
This technical Tibetan term describes the condition when a
living Initiate sends a part of his consciousness to take
embodiment, for a longer or shorter period of time, in a
disciple or chela whom the Initiate sends into the outer
world to perform a duty or to teach. ... HPB acted
frequently throughout her public career as the temporary
tulku of one or another Adept or Initiate of the
Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood.. Talku is performed without
the loss of consciousness and with definite and complete
knowledge of what is taking place, the occultist maintaining
his self- consciousness at all times, and merely lending his
astro-physical organism to the temporary usage of a higher
consciousness by mutual consent. p. 14 Virgina Hanson,ed.
HP Blavatsky and the Secret Doctrine.1988.
While I don't really understand the above quote it does give me
cause to wonder about how to interpret texts that are written
through what I used to call "inspiration". I suppose it involves
a theory or revelation or some such thing. Blavasky was
obviously not just what her physical presence suggested she seems
to be a prophet of sorts. As such interpreting her is tricky
however awe inspiring.
The Voice of Silence
Sages do not grieve for the living nor the dead. Never did I
not exit, nor you, nor these rulers of men; nor will anyone
of us ever hereafter cease to be.
This quote from the Bhagavatgita II 27 struck me deeply for some
reason. The belief in a hereafter, which at times I find very
hard to sustain, certainly changes the way we perceive our day to
day existence. When I can accept the truth of these words my
everyday activity is not a frantic, and definitely not an
immortality project. I have time even though my body is getting
older and my diseases increase in the physical host of my spirit.
I am hoping to strengthen my belief in this through my studies in
Please, anyone on the list, feel free to add or correct or
confirm these explorations.
I am going to try to paraphrase, with full recognition that I am
very new to all this, what I think HPB is speaking of:
The instruction is for those who need to learn the dangers
of collectivity, animality, and living according to the
It is necessary to become detached from the objects of sense
experience, the clutter of everyday life, in order to hear
the voice of God or The Silence. This detachment require
some sort of training.
The Mind is the Slayer of the Real. That is our mind
through its incessant need to re-interpret reality to serve
our comfort, or our personal agenda, distorts reality.
Let the Disciple slay the Slayer. This reminds me of
Kierkegaard and his story of Abraham and Issac as
symbolizing slaying of the rationality on the mount of
revelation. This is what I find so dangerous about most
forms of literalism when it comes to interpreting spiritual
texts. So I read this as slay the need to control what you
are experiencing through the subtle and illusionary use of
words and ideation.
We are ready to understand when we see our waking life as a
dream. I take this seriously. I think that when I view the
personality that I think is myself as my Self then I am
deluded. My personality is a dream, it is not the totality
of me but the way I present myself to myself in the dream
drama I call life.
When I am living according to the externals or self
perceptions I am "diverse". This can be exciting and
interesting but it can be a cacophony of fragmentation and a
distraction to the path. To be one is to move to the
solitude of Silence which blots out the external noise which
I call "having a life". Being alive is to be unified with
When we have blocked out the outer and become harmonized
with the Unity of Life then I will be able to hear and
remember. Otherwise I will let the spiritual words drop out
of my ear as if they were a morning dream that is not taken
seriously enough to be remembered.
Lesson One is be silent, still the irritation, and listen to the
sound of the Silence.
Well that's my morning devotions in HPB. Thanks for reading
along with me.
Under the Mercy,
Arthur Paul Patterson
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