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Re: "Re: CWL-two sides"

Jan 23, 1995 04:14 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins

A comment or two concerning the Alan Bain/Murray Stentiford

Thank you both for taking up and discussing this topic.  CWL and
psychism in general needs to be looked at with a far more
objective lens than is normally used.  I'm glad to see that CWL's
clairvoyance is being discussed as well as the editing policies
of Theosophical literature.  I'm a little disappointed, however,
that there is no comment on CWL's moral obligations to the
parents--perhaps my observation was too obvious to merit comment.
Yet it is curious that it never seems to be raised.

AB> Leadbeater's psychism *was* peculiarly his own, as was that
of Hodson, and as is also my own.  It is a very individual thing.
My objection to CWL in this particular book is that he presents
his own subjectivity as being valid for the entire Christian

This brings to mind a conversation I had with Dr.  Bendit many
years ago.  His wife was considered one of the three living
clairvoyants in the TS (i.e.  Dora Kunz, Geoffrey Hodson, Phoebe
Bendit).  I was questioning him about his evaluation of the
accuracy of clairvoyance in general and of his late wife's
observations.  He replied, first reminding me that he had fifty
years experience of living with a clairvoyant.  Bendit said that
one always has to keep in mind that the most difficult problem
clairvoyants have is knowing when their observations leave off
and their imagination begins.  I asked him about his evaluation
of CWL.  Bendit felt that CWL's psychism was very flawed for the
same reason--he could not distinguish between his observations
and his imagination.

Sometime in the mid sixties, E.L.  Gardner published a pamphlet
"There is no Higher Religion than Truth." Gardner, who was once a
major proponent of CWL, offered the opinion that CWL's
clairvoyance was a product of kriyasakti.  In other words, he was
seeing images created from his own imagination.  Gardner took a
180 degree turn in this pamphlet, and moved away from CWL.  Too
bad they let this pamphlet go out of print, yet keep reprinting
his early writings--which he had rejected.

AB> I see it - as an example of how things can get out of
hand, with people becoming "followers" instead of "discoverers"
(see second and third objects of the TS).


AB> Selective editing of any historical work with a view to
making it conform to a current "party line" or "politically
correct" presentation should have no place in theosophical
studies.  There may well be a need to restate the ancient wisdom
in modern language, and I applaud those who try to do this.  I
can even see a case for paraphrasing the work of a previous
author (such as CWL)

Yes, I agree.  We have no business editing an author's work after
he is dead.  We cannot know what editing decisions an author
would have made, or what the author might have added.  Once an
author is gone, the editing and or re-arranging of the text
without informing the reader of exactly what the editor is doing
and why, is in MHO dishonest, deceitful, and unfair to both the
memory of the author and to the reader.  On the other hand, if
someone wants to write a paraphrase of, for instance, CWL's as "a
paraphrase of C.W.  Leadbeater's ~The Christian Creed~".  Authors
should be allowed to stand or fall on their own merits, and it is
a matter of fairness that readers be given the opportunity to
judge the merits of the author based upon what was written--not
upon what the editor wants the reader to see (and doesn't want
the reader to see).

Another argument concerns the modernization of the language of
the old theosophical classics.  I understand, for instance, that
there is a project going on to "modernize" HPB's ~The Key to
Theosophy~ whatever that means.  It is true that HPB lived in the
Victorian age, and her word choice reflected the times.  For
instance she used the word "chinamen"--a perfectly proper word in
1890, but a pejorative today.  Have readers become so uneducated
that they can no longer understand something written only a
hundred years ago? IMHO, if a reader is unwilling to make the
mental effort to adjust to the period of the writing, then
perhaps that reader is too d**n mentally lazy to understand
theosophical teachings in the first place.  On the other hand,
new books on Theosophy in our current languages are very
desirable, and something that we should be writing in every
decade.  So, let's write those modern books and let them stand or
fall on the merits of their own authors.  But please, let's leave
the old books unaltered so that they can also undergo the test of
time.  If these old theosophical classics are truly great, then
they will be around in 500 years.  If not--then let them rest in

Jerry Hejka-Ekins

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